Google faces billions of dollars in damages in Europe
Google is facing damage claims of up to 25 billion euros (USD 25.4 billion) in British and Dutch courts. The suits are being filed over its digital advertising practices. Google's ad tech has recently drawn scrutiny from antitrust regulators following complaints from publishers.
Last year, the French competition watchdog imposed a 220-million euro fine on Google. The European Commission and its UK equivalent have begun investigating whether Google's ad tech business gives it unfair advantage over rivals.
"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 expressed its displeasure over the imminent lawsuits. It has said that it works constructively with publishers across Europe. The company has termed the lawsuit 'speculative'.
"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.