October 14, 2013
The biggest just got indirect permission to get even bigger. U.S. antitrust regulators won't challenge California-based Google Inc.'s purchase of the mapping app Waze with any allegations of unfair practices. As owner of the largest search engine in the world, Google may have been concerned about being contacted by the Federal Trade Commission, but this had not happened, according to industry insiders who asked that their names not be used because they didn't have authorization to talk publicly about the issue. In June 2013, however, the company said that the FTC had not contacted it about the transaction. A representative for the FTC declined to comment on the agency's review of the deal.
Google said that it was buying the app in a deal to give the search engine new tools to assist drivers in navigating traffic using their smartphones. The deal was said to be worth $1.1 billion. Waze was the latest in a recent spate of companies started in Israel bringing in about $1 billion each from their sales.
Google offered what is known as a standstill agreement, which would keep the Waze brand, business and sales separate from the search engine's business while any potential U.K. antitrust review of the transaction took place, according to a September 2013 statement by the Office of Fair Trading in London.
In California, business fraud and unfair practices can mean penalties above and beyond fines and a bad reputation. An attorney who is experienced in fighting unfair competition and excessive business regulation may be able to provide valuable assistance to clients chafing at a restraint of trade. A lawyer might be able to help business owners in cases of a breach of contract or tortuous interference in a business relationship.
Source: Bloomberg, "Google Said to Avoid U.S. Antitrust Challenge Over Waze", Sara Forden & David McLaughlin, September 30, 2013