WASHINGTON — Google Inc. agreed to delay the start of a Web advertising partnership with rival Yahoo Inc., giving U.S. antitrust regulators more time to review the deal.
Under a plan announced in June, Google would provide advertising next to some of Yahoo's search results. The companies voluntarily held off for three months to give regulators time to assess whether the alliance will hurt competition.
Microsoft Corp., the No. 3 player in Web search, and a large group of advertisers, have protested the deal because together, Google and Yahoo control more than 80 percent of the rapidly growing U.S. market for search advertising.
Two weeks ago, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told The Associated Press he would not wait much beyond the intended Oct. 11 start date.
But in a statement Friday, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company said that since it was still in talks with the Department of Justice, it has agreed to "a brief delay" in implementing the agreement while the discussions continue.
The deal with Google represented a much-needed escape hatch for Yahoo, under pressure from shareholders to prove it could recover from lackluster financial performances after spurning a rich takeover offer from Microsoft.