Google hit with $2.3 billion lawsuit by Axel Springer, other media groups


New Delhi: Alphabet'S Google had to face trial A lawsuit of 2.1 billion euros ($2.3 billion) filed by 32 media organizations, including axel springer and Schibstad, on Wednesday. They allege that their losses were caused by Google's digital advertising practices.
Shares of the company in Mountain View, California fell more than 2%.
The action, taken by a group of publishers from countries such as Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain and Sweden, is in line with an increased crackdown by antitrust authorities. Google's focus on the ad technology sector.
The group's legal representatives, Geradin Partners and Stake, said, “The media companies involved have suffered losses due to a less competitive market, which is a direct result of Google's misconduct.”
They argue that without Google's abuse of its dominant position, media companies would have received more advertising revenue and paid less for ad technology services. Lawyers said these funds could support the growth of the European media sector.
Their claim is supported by the French competition authority's 2021 fine of 220 million euros against Google and last year's European Commission charges.
“If regulatory examinations lead to action, Google may have to modify its practices and offer advertisers more stable, predictable prices,” said DA Davidson & Co. analyst Gil Luria.
Luria also pointed out that Google's core advertising business is at risk from the rise of generative AI chat.
In response, a Google spokesperson opposed the lawsuit, calling it “speculative and opportunistic” and saying, “Google works creatively with publishers across Europe. … (Our advertising tools) work with those same publishers. Let's adapt and grow in partnership.”
Google previously dissented on EU antitrust charges against its ad tech operations, where it engages in both buying and selling in the ad supply chain.
Publishers globally have criticized Big Tech's increasing control of the advertising market, reducing their revenue share. Analysts recognize Google as the leading digital advertising platform.
The lawsuit was filed in the Netherlands by the group due to the country's strong reputation for antitrust damage claims in Europe and to prevent multiple lawsuits in various European countries.
The group includes media units from different countries, such as Austria's Krone, Belgium's DPG Media and Mediahuis, Denmark's TV2 Danmark A/S, Finland's Sanoma, Poland's Agora, Spain's Prensa Ibérica and Switzerland's Ringier.
(with inputs from agencies)

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