Google faces $25.4 billion damages claims in UK, Dutch courts over adtech practices

The name Google is displayed outside the company’s offices in London, Britain November 1, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

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BRUSSELS, Sept 13 (Reuters) – Google Alphabet Unit (GOOGL.O) will face claims for damages of up to 25 billion euros ($25.4 billion) for its digital advertising practices in two lawsuits due to be filed in UK and Dutch courts in the coming weeks by a law firm on behalf of the publishers.

Google’s adtech has recently come to the attention of antitrust regulators following complaints from publishers. Read more

France’s competition watchdog fined the company 220 million euros last year, while the European Commission and its British counterpart are investigating whether Google’s adtech business gives it a boost. unfair advantage over competitors and advertisers. [ read more

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“It is time that Google owns up to its responsibilities and pays back the damages it has caused to this important industry. That is why today we are announcing these actions across two jurisdictions to obtain compensation for EU and UK publishers,” Damien Geradin at law firm Geradin Partners said in a statement on Tuesday.

Google criticised the imminent lawsuits, saying that it works constructively with publishers across Europe.

“This lawsuit is speculative and opportunistic. When we receive the complaint, we’ll fight it vigorously,” a spokesperson said.

The British claim at the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal will seek to recover compensation for all owners of websites carrying banner advertising, including traditional publishers. Britain has an opt-out regime.

The Dutch claim is open to publishers affected by Google’s actions. Litigation funder Harbour is funding both lawsuits.

($1 = 0.9860 euros)

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Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Philip Blenkinsop and David Evans

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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