The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has announced it will carry out a preliminary investigation into Google’s deal for mapping firm Waze to see if it could lead to any imbalance in the UK market.
The deal for the Israeli mapping company was announced in June, with Google paying $1.3bn for the firm. Since then the Federal Trade Commission in the US has already said it will investigate the deal, now followed by the OFT.
The OFT said it was considering whether the wider mapping market could be affected by the deal given the sheer scale of Google’s dominance in this sector. It decided to begin the investigation after its own in-house mergers team flagged the deal as worthy of scrutiny.
“The OFT is considering whether this agreement has resulted in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation has resulted, or may be expected to result, in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services,” it said on its website.
The OFT now wants any interested party to submit feedback to help it draw up a decision within 40 working days, which could include actions such as clearing the deal without issue, forcing Google to sell others areas of its business or even blocking the deal.
V3 contacted Google for its response to the investigation from the OFT but had receieved no reply at the time of publication.
Although the OFT investigating a deal between a US and Israeli company seems odd, it regularly reviews such mergers, with Facebook’s deal for Instagram subjected to scrutiny last year, before it was cleared.
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