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Google-Yahoo Search Deal Caveat Emptor: Could Collapse Where Google Is Facing Antitrust Suits

A search deal comes with clauses around Google's antitrust cases in Europe and India.

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In its third-quarter earnings today, Yahoo delivered one bright spot: A new search deal with Google. Yahoo can now send select search queries Google’s way, and Google gets some added traffic from Yahoo’s site, for which it will dole out cash.

It’s a bigger deal for Yahoo — whose core business could use the lift — than for Google, which is unlikely to see any noticeable uptick.

The deal covers the U.S. and more than 20 other countries. The European Union, where Google is facing an antitrust lawsuit over its Google Shopping service, is not included. But that doesn’t mean the case goes unmentioned.

In the deal’s terms as stated in its 8-K, Yahoo lays out the stipulations wherein either company could break the deal. One theoretical reason is if either company is hit with “material adverse impact” from an “antitrust proceeding” in Europe and India — two places where Google is currently facing antitrust proceedings.

Either party may terminate the Services Agreement … in its entirety if either party reasonably anticipates a filing by the European Commission to enjoin it from performing the Services Agreement or that continued performance of the Services Agreement would have a material adverse impact on any ongoing antitrust proceeding involving either party in Europe or India

The EU charge, which Google is fighting, could potentially result in a fine of up to 10 percent of Google’s annual revenue.

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