Digital Transformation Antitrust Tech

32 media groups levy $2.3bn antitrust suit against Google over its adtech practices


By Kendra Barnett, Associate Editor

February 28, 2024 | 5 min read

The development comes at a time when Google is facing elevated regulatory scrutiny in both the European and US markets over its digital advertising practices.

Google building facade

Google is facing a new multi-billion-dollar antitrust lawsuit in Europe / Dylan Carr

A group of 32 European media organizations, including notable names like publishing giant Axel Springer and media heavyweight Schibsted, have jointly filed a Є2.1bn ($2.3 billion) antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet-owned Google.

The suit, filed in the Netherlands Wednesday, alleges that these media organizations have suffered significant financial losses as a result of Google’s anticompetitive practices in the digital advertising sector.

“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,” said Geradin Partners and Stek, the law firm representing the plaintiffs, in a statement. “Crucially, these funds could have been reinvested into strengthening the European media landscape.”

The plaintiffs behind the suit include organizations from across Europe, including Austria's Krone, Belgium's DPG Media and Mediahuis, Denmark's TV2 Danmark A/S, Finland's Sanoma, Poland's Agora, Spain's Prensa Iberica and Switzerland's Ringier.

In particular, the coalition of companies allege that Google’s outsized role in the digital advertising ecosystem has unfairly harmed their publishing businesses. The group said in a statement: “News media were negatively affected at a time when their economic model is already weakened by the decline in sales of print subscriptions and the decline in associated advertising revenue.”

Suggested newsletters for you

Daily Briefing


Catch up on the most important stories of the day, curated by our editorial team.

Ads of the Week


See the best ads of the last week - all in one place.

The Drum Insider

Once a month

Learn how to pitch to our editors and get published on The Drum.

Google intends to fight the case ; the company’s legal director Oliver Bethell called the lawsuit “speculative and opportunistic” in a statement. He defended Google, saying that the company works collaboratively with publishers and supports their businesses by adapting and evolving its advertising tools in partnership with them.

“We’ll oppose it vigorously and on the facts,” Bethell said in his statement.

Shares of Google dipped by more than 2% today following the news.

The development comes as antitrust scrutiny against the tech titan – and its adtech business in particular – ramps up around the world. Plaintiffs in the new case cite the French competition authority’s 2021 fine against Google’s adtech business, which totaled Є220m, as well as the European Commission’s charges from the previous year.

But it’s not just European organizations and regulators that have a bone to pick with Google over its adtech dominance. The US Department of Justice sued the search giant last year, alleging that it uses deceitful, anti-competitive approaches to secure an outsized position in the online search market. The case is scheduled to go to trial in September.

The European media coalition that sued Google today hopes that it will find success in the Netherlands, which has a track record of friendliness towards antitrust cases.

For more, sign up for The Drum’s daily newsletter here.

Digital Transformation Antitrust Tech

More from Digital Transformation

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +