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

The Google name 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) – Alphabet unit Google ( GOOGL.O ) will face damages claims of up to 25 billion euros ($25.4 billion) over its digital advertising practices in two lawsuits that will be filed in British and Dutch courts in in the coming weeks by a law firm on behalf of publishers.

Google’s adtech has recently come under scrutiny from antitrust regulators following complaints from publishers. read more

The French competition watchdog fined the company 220 million euros last year while the European Commission and its British counterpart investigate whether Google’s adtech business gives it an unfair advantage over rivals and advertisers.[Readmore[readmore[Lesmer[readmore

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“It is time for Google to take responsibility and pay back the damage it has caused to this important industry. That is why today we are announcing these actions across two jurisdictions to seek compensation for EU and UK publishers,” says Damien Geradin by law. The firm Geradin Partners said so in a statement on Tuesday.

Google criticized the impending lawsuits and said it is working constructively with publishers across Europe.

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

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

The Dutch claim is open to publishers affected by Google’s actions. Litigation financier Harbor is financing both lawsuits.

($1 = 0.9860 euros)

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

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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