The investigation of Google by the state attorneys general has once again moved to the forefront. Reports suggest that it could lead to a breakup of the tech company's ad business as part of an expected lawsuit.
Fifty attorneys general have been looking into Google’s ad business for months. A similar probe is being done by the U.S. Department of Justice. Both are looking to file a suit against the company within the next few months.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading the probe.
A recovery in digital ad spend has begun to surface, according to Colin Sebastian, senior analyst at Baird Equity Research.
In a report published Friday, Sebastian points to data from PubMatic's ad-spending trends showing how travel rose 129% between May 19 and May 25, 3030, compared with April 21 and April 27. Home and Garden also saw a bump, at 81%; and careers rose about 76%.
As the advertising industry begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, the DOJ has asked DuckDuckGo, a Google rival, for details about the company and competition in online search, according to one media outlet. CNN Business reported that DuckDuckGo has met with federal officials to discuss a proposal that could increase use choice and impact Google’s hold on the search market.
Google, owned by Alphabet, has not ruled out alternatives for its ad business. One might impose restrictions on how it runs its business or breaking it up.
The biggest issue is that Google’s ad group does not exist as a stand-alone business. Google Ads, Google Marketing Platform, and Google Ad Manager keep it going.
Once the attorneys general file their lawsuit, per CNBC.com, they have tools to use that signal their intent to push for a breakup such as the evidence they introduce, pre-trial briefings, and press conferences.