Exclusive Google faces EU antitrust charges over its ad tech business – sources

BRUSSELS, Oct 13 (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) unit Google could face antitrust charges next year over its digital advertising business, people familiar with the matter said on Oct 13, as European Union regulators slammed a deal with the company. Frustrated by the slow pace of settlement talks. Thursday.

Google’s advertising business is Alphabet’s biggest cash cow, accounting for about 80% of annual revenue, despite efforts to drive sales of hardware, subscription services and cloud computing technology over the past decade.

Last June, the European Commission launched an investigation into Google’s ad tech business, concerned that the U.S. tech giant could gain an unfair advantage over rivals and advertisers.

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The company risked a fourth billion-euro fine and then sought a settlement, but the concessions were small and very preliminary, one of the people said. Google’s EU antitrust fines have exceeded 8 billion euros ($7.7 billion) over the past decade.

The EU competition enforcement agency could issue the allegations early next year, but the timing could still change, one of the people said.

The committee declined to comment. Google, the world’s leading seller of online ads and well ahead of Facebook and Instagram owner Meta Platforms Inc (META.O), had no immediate comment.

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Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, additional reporting by Paresh Dave in Oakland, Calif.; Editing by Susan Fenton and David Evans

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