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Google is facing a $2.27 billion lawsuit by 32 media groups claiming that the company’s digital advertising practices have led to financial losses.

The publishers, including Axel Springer and Schibsted, are based in various countries across Europe, such as Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, and Sweden.

What the lawsuit is saying. A statement issued by the media groups’ lawyers Geradin Partners and Stek said per Reuters:

  • “The media companies involved have incurred losses due to a less competitive market, which is a direct result of Google’s misconduct.”
  • “Without Google’s abuse of its dominant position, the media companies would have received significantly higher revenues from advertising and paid lower fees for ad tech services. Crucially, these funds could have been reinvested into strengthening the European media landscape.”

What Google is saying. Google denies the allegations and has described them as “speculative and opportunistic.” Oliver Bethell, Legal Director, Google, told Search Engine Land in a statement:

  • “Google works constructively with publishers across Europe – our advertising tools, and those of our many adtech competitors, help millions of websites and apps fund their content, and enable businesses of all sizes to effectively reach new customers.”
  • “These services adapt and evolve in partnership with those same publishers. This lawsuit is speculative and opportunistic. We’ll oppose it vigorously and on the facts.”

Timing. This lawsuit follows the French competition authority imposing a $238 million fine on Google for its ad tech business in 2021, as well as the charges brought by the European Commission last year, both of which are referenced in the media groups’ claim.

Dutch court. The group chose to file the lawsuit in a Dutch court because the country is well-known for handling antitrust damages claims in Europe. This decision helps avoid dealing with multiple claims across different European countries.

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Deep dive. Read our antitrust trial updates article for information on Google’s legal battles in the U.S., where the tech giant is being sued by the U.S. Justice Department.

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