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Google said it is in talks with the relevant regulators and has no plans to exit the ad tech business
Alphabet Inc’s Google has offered concessions to avoid a possible U.S. antitrust lawsuit that claims the company is abusing its influence in the ad-tech business, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Google has proposed spinning off parts of its business, which auctions and places ads on websites and apps, into a separate company under Alphabet that could be valued at tens of billions of dollars, the report added.
In a statement to Reuters, Alphabet said it was in talks with regulators to address their concerns, adding that it had no plans to sell or exit the ad technology business.
“We are deeply committed to delivering value to a broad range of publisher and advertiser partners in a highly competitive sector,” the Google parent said.
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.
Brandon Kressin, an antitrust lawyer representing publishers and ad-tech companies, seemed skeptical that the offer would be enough.
“I don’t see how the problem would be solved by spinning off the business but keeping it under the Alphabet umbrella. Google would still have an incentive to self-preference,” he said in an email.
The department, under President Joe Biden, has expressed a strong preference for asset sales, also called structural remedies, to address antitrust concerns.
The US Department of Justice sued Google in October 2020, accusing the company of illegally using its market power to bend rivals, the biggest challenge to Big Tech’s power and influence in decades.
Britain’s competition regulator launched a second investigation into Google’s advertising practices in May, saying the search giant could be distorting competition and illegally favoring its own services.
Google also faces an investigation by regulators in Europe, which launched an investigation in June last year into whether its digital advertising business gives the Alphabet unit an unfair advantage over competitors and advertisers.