The European Union (EU) is expected to give Google's $3.1bn acquisitio of advertising firm DoubleClick the go-ahead, according to Reuters. Citing people familiar with the situation, Reuters said the approval is expected to come next week.

The approval has been expected because the European Commission (EC), the competition watchdog for the EU, said in January it would not formally oppose the deal.

Privacy groups have objected to the deal, saying it would substantially reduce competition. The EC, however, has said it has no authority to consider privacy issues in mergers.

The US Federal Trade Commission approved the merger in December. According to Reuters, the EU has never rejected a merger approved by US authorities. The takeover is one of several recent mergers in the online advertising marketing.

Microsoft bought aQuantive for $6bn last year; Yahoo acquired BlueLithium for $300m and AOL bought Tacoda, a company that uses behavioural targeting technology, for an undisclosed sum.