Google Sued by Axel Springer, 31 Other Media Groups in Europe for $2.3 Billion Over Digital Ad Practices

By Jace Dela Cruz

Feb 29, 2024 02:25 AM EST

Google is facing a 2.1 billion euros ($2.3 billion) lawsuit filed by 32 media organizations in Europe, including Axel Springer and Schibsted, over alleged financial losses due to the company's digital advertising practices that harmed their business. 

(Photo : KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)
This illustration photograph taken on December 22, 2023, shows the logo of US multinational technology and Internet-related services company Google displayed on a smartphone's screen, in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany.

Media Groups File a Lawsuit Against Google

According to Reuters, the consortium of media groups from various European countries, such as Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, and Sweden, among others, asserted that Google's actions in the digital advertising market have reduced competitiveness and brought financial setbacks for the publishers involved.  

Their legal representatives highlighted the impact of Google's dominant position, claiming that the media companies could have generated higher advertising revenues and paid lower fees for ad tech services in a more competitive environment.

"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 noted.

The media group tried to strengthen its case against Google's alleged misconduct by citing past regulatory rulings against the company, including a 220-million-euro fine from the French competition authority in 2021 and charges from the European Commission last year.

READ NEXT: Google Lays off Around a Thousand Workers in Engineering and Other Divisions 

Response of Google to the Lawsuit

However, in opposing the lawsuit, Google labeled it as "speculative and opportunistic." The company emphasized its collaboration with publishers across Europe and the ongoing evolution of its advertising tools in partnership with them.

The media group filed the lawsuit in a Dutch court on Wednesday due to the country's status as a vital jurisdiction for antitrust damages claims in Europe and to avoid multiple claims across different European countries.

Austria's Krone, Belgian groups DPG Media and Mediahuis, Poland's Agora, Spain's Prensa Iberica, and Switzerland's Ringier were also among the group.

READ MORE: Google Agrees to Settle $5 Billion Consumer Privacy Lawsuit 

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