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Google buy of Groupon could see antitrust review

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CIOL Bureau
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NEW YORK: Google Inc could run into antitrust scrutiny that would make any acquisition of discount coupon provider Groupon a long, complex affair, a source and experts said.

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The two companies remain in direct negotiations, sources said on Wednesday.

"The more Google acquires, the more antitrust issues they are opening themselves up to," said a source familiar with the situation, who requested anonymity because the talks are ongoing. "That has to be considered."

But one argument that Google could make is that the barriers to entry for a discount coupon company are low, given the 80 to 100 participants already in the market, said a sector banker who is not involved in the talks.

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Groupon said it would not address any speculation about its business, an apparent reference to media reports on Tuesday that Google was close to buying it for $6 billion.

Google shares gained 1.6 per cent to close at $564.35 on Wednesday.

Groupon's global network has more than 33 million subscribers in 35 countries.

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