Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) executives and the company’s lawyers are preparing for what could potentially be the biggest antitrust fine by the EU.
Google is preparing to face penalties related to the shopping search investigation that the EU has been conducting and the fine faced by the tech firm could exceed the record $1.2 billion fine imposed on Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) in 2009. The European regulator has been keeping major firms on their toes. EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager showed firms that she was not afraid to pin them against the wall after she imposed a $14.5 billion tax bill on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). She may change her mind if Apple purposely lowers its business activity in the EU however.
Google is on the EU watch list
Google is considered a top priority for the EU due to the fact that European politicians have been calling for action against the software and tech firm regarding its advertising practices. The European watchdog has been hinting towards a fine against the Silicon Valley firm.
“If there’s going to be a fine, it has to be the biggest ever. The European Commission has strongly signaled that if there is going to be a fine it would need to be at a level that would have deterrent effect,” stated Stephen Kinsella, Sidley Austin, representing the companies complaining about Google.
Despite Kinsella’s claims, neither Google nor the EU has released any statements regarding the matter. Both parties have upheld privacy about the issue and they are yet to meet so that they can talk about what the EU demands as well as how changes may be implemented.
The European regulator has been known to make major rulings just before the summer break. It imposed fines worth more than $3 billion on truck makers in July last year. Christopher Bright, a lawyer at Shearman & Sterling in Brussels pointed out that Vestager has been keen on major announcements right before the summer break. At this point, it is not yet clear whether Google will face any fines despite the signs against it. It is only a matter of days until the final details regarding the antitrust matters are out.
Alphabet stock closed the latest trading session on Friday at $970.12 after tanking by 3.4%.