Report: DOJ close to approving Google's acquisition of ITA

The Department of Justice is on the verge of approving Google's proposed acquisition of ITA Software with some conditions attached aimed at preserving competition in the online travel market, according to The Wall Street Journal.

According to the report, the proposed agreement, which hasn't been finalized, would require Google to keep licensing ITA's software to competitors. ITA makes the search application that powers many online travel and airline websites.

A coalition of online travel sites and tech firms including Kayak, Expedia and Microsoft have formed a coalition to oppose the transaction, arguing Google's dominance of the search market would give it an unfair advantage.

Google has said its plan is to improve online travel search and drive traffic to other sites, not take over the market, and pledged to honor all of ITA's existing commitments. However, the agreement would specify terms with which Google would have to comply or risk additional legal action.

The search firm has faced increasing scrutiny in recent months, with the Federal Trade Commission reportedly considering opening a broader antitrust probe pending the Justice Department's decision on the ITA deal. Several states and the European Commission are also reportedly weighing antitrust investigations.