Google is hoping that its controversial deal to buy online marketing company DoubleClick can be closed by the end of the year.

The $3.1 billion (£1.56 billion) acquisition is reported to be the subject of an inquiry by the US’ Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over antitrust concerns raised by competitors and privacy groups.

However, Google has reiterated its confidence that the deal will go through and expects closure by the end of 2007, SeekingAlpha reports.

"We are quite convinced that the proposed merger meets all appropriate US laws and is ultimately very good for consumers and for advertisers and publishers," said Google chief executive Eric Schmidt at the Seoul Digital Forum.

Mr Schmidt’s comments echo the sentiments of Don Harrison, Google’s senior corporate counsel, who told the New York Times that the company expects the FTC to approve its latest consolidation move in the online marketing sector.

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