United Kingdom

On behalf of the team

On 11 March 2022, the CMA and the European Commission launched parallel probes into the ‘Jedi Blue’ agreement between Google (Google UK Ltd, Google LLC and Alphabet Inc) and Meta (Facebook UK Ltd, Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd and Meta Platforms, Inc.).[1]Press release of the CMA of 11 March 2022, ‘CMA investigates Google and Meta over ad tech concerns’. The suspicion is that the agreement contributed to the exclusion of ‘header bidding’ ad tech services that were competing with Google’s Open Bidding program. Therefore, the CMA and the European Commission will assess whether the agreement breaches antitrust law. The CMA is also scrutinising Google’s conduct in relation to header bidding services more widely to determine whether the company abused a dominant position and gained an unfair advantage over competitors trying to provide a similar service. Furthermore, US litigation has already uncovered the allegedly anticompetitive deal. In response to the EU and UK probes, both companies stated that the agreement was ‘non-exclusive’ and helped to increase competition in the ad tech market.