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PriceRunner Sues Google for $2.4B

February 7, 2022

PriceRunner has sued Google for a preliminary amount of almost EUR 2.1 billion (SEK 22 billion) at the Patent and Market Court in Stockholm. The lawsuit follows the conclusion of the European General Court which established that Google has breached EU antitrust laws by manipulating search results in favour of their own comparison shopping services. Google has thereby caused harm to European consumers who overpay when shopping online as well as to PriceRunner and other comparison shopping services. Since the violation is still ongoing the amount of damages increases every day, we expect the final damages amount of the lawsuit to be significantly higher.

”After extensive and thorough preparations, we have today sued Google for close to 2.1 billion euros. We are of course seeking compensation for the damage Google has caused us during many years, but are also seeing this lawsuit as a fight for consumers who have suffered tremendously from Google’s infringement of the competition law for the past fourteen years and still today” said Mikael Lindahl, CEO of PriceRunner, and continued:
”This is also a matter of survival for many European entrepreneurial companies and job opportunities within tech. If American tech giants, through a market position almost equal to a monopoly, are allowed to do exactly as they please and manipulate markets, we can almost certainly count on the fact that many tech companies in Europe will be affected far beyond the comparison shopping market in focus today.”
Google’s general search engine has a market share of over 90 percent in most countries in the EEA-region[1] and thereby is in a monopoly-like position. After an almost eight-year-long investigation, the European Commission announced in June 2017 that Google had violated European competition laws by giving unfair advantages on its own search engine to its own comparison shopping service (Google Shopping). It was concluded that Google had deprived other comparison shopping services the opportunity to compete on equal terms. Furthermore, Google had thereby also denied consumers the benefits of competition on the market. Google was therefore ordered to pay a record fine of EUR 2.4 billion. Following Google's appeal to the General Court, the decision was essentially upheld by the General Court in November 2021.

In addition to Google’s violation of the competition law until 2017, PriceRunner believes that Google has not complied with the Commission’s decision but is still abusing its dominant position. The result is that internet traffic, and thereby profits, are diverted from PriceRunner and other comparison shopping services to Google’s own services. The behaviour is also harmful to consumers. Accountancy company Grant Thornton has established that prices for the offers shown in Google’s own comparison shopping service are 12-14 percent higher than from other services. For the most popular areas, clothes and shoes prices, these are 16-37 percent higher. As a result of Google’s violation, European consumers are estimated to be overpaying billions every year.

The EU Commission’s decision means that any company that has suffered from Google’s abuse has the right to claim damages from Google. PriceRunner’s lawsuit aims to make Google pay compensation for the profits that PriceRunner has lost in the United Kingdom since 2008, as well as in Sweden and Denmark since 2013. For the infringement up until the year 2020 (including interest for the year 2021), PriceRunner’s total damages are estimated to roughly EUR 2.1 billion (SEK 22 billion SEK). PriceRunner has, with support from leading legal and financial advisors, thoroughly prepared a lawsuit and is expecting the process to take several years. Given the time frame, the significant costs and the scope of the application, PriceRunner has secured external funding that is deemed to cover all litigation costs .

During the course of the litigation, the amount of damages in the lawsuit will be increased significantly. Since the violation is still ongoing the damages amount will also increase from 2021 for every day that Google continues the abuse. In addition, there is interest, which after the lawsuit will be 8 percent per year.

”With financially strong owners, external funding and Europe’s leading experts on our team, we look forward to receiving compensation for our loss and to contributing to Google ending its illegal behaviour. Both European consumers and digital corporations suffer greater direct damage by these tech giants’ dominance than many would believe” Mikael Lindahl concluded.

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