A PYMNTS Company

EU Launches Antitrust Probe On Google, Facebook Over Ad Deal

 |  March 13, 2022

The European Commission has formally opened an antitrust probe into a 2018 deal between tech giants Google and Facebook allegedly aimed at cementing their dominance over the online advertising market, reported Bloomberg. 

The EU’s executive said it was investigating the so-called “Jedi Blue” agreement to see if it had been used to “restrict and distort competition in the already concentrated ad tech market.”

The European Commission announced its formal antitrust investigation in a press release in which it voiced its concerns that an agreement between the two companies in 2018 may have breached EU competition rules. 

Meanwhile, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that the deal may have restricted or prevented the uptake of header bidding services.

The Jedi Blue agreement came under fire in the United States in September 2021, after four members of Congress asked the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation into whether the pact violated federal antitrust laws.

Header bidding is a service that allows sellers like news publishers to offer their online advertising space to multiple buyers at the same time as opposed to doing so on an individual basis. This makes it so that buyers (or in this case advertisers) must compete against each other for ad space while publishers can compare bids from multiple buyers at the same time. 

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.