Yahoo and Google agreed to delay an Internet-advertising partnership while U.S. regulators investigate whether the deal will hurt competition.

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Yahoo and Google agreed to delay an Internet-advertising partnership while U.S. regulators investigate whether the deal will hurt competition.

The companies agreed to a “brief” delay while discussions with the Justice Department continue, Yahoo and Google said Friday.

Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt had said in August the partnership would start in early October.

Microsoft has opposed the deal, saying it will give Google 90 percent of the search-based ad business.

Microsoft spokesman Jack Evans declined to comment Friday.

Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang, 39, chose the Google accord after rejecting Microsoft’s takeover advances earlier this year. In August, investors withheld about one-third of their votes for Yang’s re-election to the board to show their displeasure.

Yahoo needs the Google agreement to offset the slowing online-ad market, said Ross Sandler, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in New York.

The Justice Department hired attorney Sanford Litvack as an adviser in September, signaling it was looking into an antitrust challenge.

Litvack, the department’s antitrust chief under President Carter, headed a 2006 commission created by Congress to consider changes to antitrust law.

If the companies proceeded before the review was complete, the Justice Department could have sought an injunction, said Blair Levin, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus in Washington, D.C.