Google and Yahoo Say Deal Would Have Survived a Suit

07 Nov Google and Yahoo Say Deal Would Have Survived a Suit

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — A day after Google walked away from an advertising partnership with Yahoo, Eric E. Schmidt, the chief executive of Google, said he believed that the companies would have been successful if they had chosen to defend the deal in court. Google chose to abandon the controversial plan after the Justice Department notified the companies that it would file an antitrust suit to block it. “We canceled the deal with about one hour to go before a lawsuit was going to be filed against our deal,” Mr. Schmidt said in an interview on Thursday. “We concluded after a lot of soul-searching that it was not in our best interest to go through a lengthy and costly trial which we believe we ultimately would have won.” Yahoo said it would have preferred to defend the deal in court. “Yahoo strongly believes we would have prevailed in court if the Department of Justice had filed a lawsuit, but unlike Google, we were prepared to defend our agreement,” said Tracy Schmaler, a Yahoo spokeswoman. At a conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, Yahoo’s chief executive, Jerry Yang, said he was “disappointed” that Google had chosen to walk away. Both executives said that the Justice Department, as well as advertisers who opposed the agreement, failed to understand its benefits. A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

New York Times, By MIGUEL HELFT, November 6, 2008