Ad Groups Back Microsoft-Yahoo Search Pact

The ad industry expressed concerns when Yahoo inked a search deal with Google back in 2008. There are no such concerns when Yahoo’s partner is Microsoft.
The American Association of Advertising Agencies and four top ad holding companies sent a joint letter to federal regulators urging them to approve the agreement, which is still under review, saying it will improve competition in the key search ad market.
We believe that Yahoo and Microsoft’s proposal to combine their technologies and search platforms is good for advertisers, marketing services agencies, Web site publishers and consumers,” the letter says. It goes on to urge a “speedy conclusion” to the review.
The letter, sent by 4A’s CEO Nancy Hill, is co-signed by Omnicom Group CEO John Wren, WPP Group chief Martin Sorrell, Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy and Interpublic Group leader Michael Roth.
The reaction is in sharp contrast to the objections agencies made to Yahoo’s deal with Google to sell some of its search ads. Agencies feared the deal would put Google, already owner of well over half the search ad market, in a dominant position. Google scrapped the partnership plan in November 2008 after regulators raised objections. Yahoo went on to cut a deal with Microsoft for it to handle its search technology while Yahoo handles ad sales.
Yahoo hailed the support of the ad groups in a brief statement.
“Yahoo welcomes the broad support this deal has received, and remains hopeful that the closing of this transaction can occur in early 2010,” a spokesman said.