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Google triples deal spending to $4.2 Billion in 2014 first half

Google Inc. more than tripled spending on acquisitions in the first half of the year to $4.2 billion, as the Internet company ramps up investments to expand its services.

The world’s largest online advertiser spent $3.2 billion for thermostat company Nest Labs Inc. in February and an additional $1 billion on other purchases in the first six months of 2014, the Mountain View, California-based Web company said in a filing yesterday. That’s up from $1.3 billion for the same period a year ago, according to a previous filing.

The 2014 numbers exclude the more than $1 billion that Google has announced it’s paying for home-camera company DropCam Inc. and satellite service Skybox Imaging Inc.; those deals didn’t close in the first half.

Google’s scale of deal spending is climbing as it works to bolster its core search-advertising business and extend its reach into new markets such as mobile, telecommunications and driverless cars. The company’s smaller acquisitions this year have covered everything from drones to video advertising.

“These acquisitions generally enhance the breadth and depth of our expertise in engineering and other functional areas, our technologies, and our product offerings,” the company said in yesterday’s filing.

Antitrust Probe

Google also said in the filing that an antitrust investigation into its business practices by the Texas Attorney General’s office has ended. The attorney general’s office had started an investigation into the Web company in July 2010 to look into whether Google was thwarting competition. The state had sought information from the company including the search engine’s formula for setting advertising rates.

The investigation’s end follows the U.S. Federal Trade Commission dropping a similar probe last year. The European Union Antitrust Commissioner Joaquin Almunia in February also made a deal to resolve a dispute over how Google uses its market leadership to deal with competitors. Under the plan, Google pledged to display results from rival search services. The agreement has since come under criticism.

Tim Drinan, a spokesman for Google, declined to comment on the ending of the Texas investigation.

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