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Google Faces A$3.5bn Lawsuit By 32 Media Groups Over Advertising Practices

Google headquarters in California

Google was hit with a $3.5 billion lawsuit by 32 media groups including Axel Springer, alleging that they had suffered losses due to the company’s practices in digital advertising, according to the New York Post.

The report says that the move by the group comes as antitrust regulators also clamp down on Google’s ad tech business.

The group includes publishers in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain and Sweden.

A statement issued by their lawyers Geradin Partners and Stek, obtained by the New York Post, said that 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,” the lawyers said.

They cited the French competition authority’s A$369-million fine against Google on its ad tech business in 2021 and the European Commission’s charges last year to defend their group claim.

According to the report, the lawsuit was filed in the District Court of Amsterdam, “a key jurisdiction for antitrust damages claims in Europe,” the lawyers said.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Google said the company opposes the lawsuit, adding that it is “speculative and opportunistic” and that it would be vigorously opposed by the tech giant on the facts.

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