Outside DoJ Expert Litvak on Why Google/Yahoo Deal was Opposed: “Google had a monopoly”

From American Lawyer Daily’s interview with Sandy Litvak (the outside expert DoJ asked to review the now scuttled Google/Yahoo search ad combine). Excerpt: “Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. called off their joint advertising agreement just three hours before the Department of Justice planned to file antitrust charges to block the pact, according to the lawyer who would have been lead counsel for the government. Sanford “Sandy” Litvack left Hogan & Hartson in September to consult for the department’s antitrust division on a possible court challenge to the Web giants’ agreement. The companies abandoned the deal in November after the Justice Department informed them it would seek to block the deal. “We were going to file the complaint at a certain time during the day,” says Litvack, who rejoins Hogan & Hartson today. “We told them we were going to file the complaint at that time of day. Three hours before, they told us they were abandoning the agreement.”…The never-filed government complaint would have charged that the agreement violated Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, Litvack tells the Am Law Daily in one of his first interviews since the companies canned the venture. Section 1 bans agreements that restrain trade unreasonably. Section 2 makes it unlawful for a company to monopolize or attempt to monopolize trade.

“It would have ended up also alleging that Google had a monopoly and that [the advertising pact] would have furthered their monopoly,” Litvack says.

source: Hogan’s Litvack Discusses Google/Yahoo. Nat Raymond. TheAmLaw Daily. Dec. 2, 2008

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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