Sanoma and European Media Coalition Pursue €2.1 Billion Damages Claim Against Google Over Ad Tech Anticompetitive Practices

Sanoma Corporation, in collaboration with over 30 European media groups, has launched a substantial €2.1 billion damages claim against Google, citing anticompetitive practices within the ad tech market.

The core allegation revolves around Google’s purported abuse of its dominant position in ad tech by showing favoritism towards its own tools over those of its competitors. This bias is claimed to have resulted in higher ad tech fees for media companies and subsequently diminished revenues.

This legal action follows a pattern of regulatory actions against Google, including a €220 million fine levied by the French competition authority for similar anticompetitive conduct.

Several European authorities have documented and raised concerns about Google’s alleged abuses of its dominant position. In 2021, the French competition authority determined that Google favored its own ad tech tools at the expense of competitors, adversely affecting website publishers. Subsequently, in 2023, the European Commission issued a statement of objections regarding similar conduct, triggering legal challenges from the U.S. State Attorneys General and the Department of Justice.

The repercussions of Google’s actions have resulted in financial losses for media companies, creating a less competitive market. This, in turn, has impacted advertising revenues and increased fees for ad tech services. The media companies argue that, in the absence of Google’s dominance, they would have enjoyed higher advertising revenues and incurred lower fees, enabling them to reinvest in fortifying the European media landscape. The ongoing legal challenges underscore the significance of addressing concerns related to Google’s practices and their broader impact on the media industry.

The anticipated legal process is expected to be protracted, spanning multiple years, underscoring the complexity and scale of the allegations made by Sanoma Media Finland and the consortium of European media companies.

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