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Bipartisan bill aims to break up Google’s ad business

Bipartisan bill aims to break up Google’s ad business

New legislation that would threaten to break up Google’s multibillion-dollar online advertising business was introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers.

The proposal seeks to break up businesses that take in in excess of $20bn in annual digital ad revenue, disallowing their ownership of digital advertising exchanges, including sell-side and buy-side brokerages.

The Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising Act was introduced in the Senate today. It was sponsored by Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust members – Republicans Mike Lee (UT), Ted Cruz (TX), as well as Democrats Amy Klobuchar (MN), and Richard Blumenthal (CT).

The bill would have a severe effect on Google, which dominates online advertising and hosts ad exchanges and buy- and sell-side brokerages. In Q1 2022, Google parent company Alphabet reported $54.66bn in advertising revenue, around 80% of its total revenue of $68.01bn.

Under the new restrictions, the company would be forced to break up its advertising businesses.

Furthermore, under the proposal, any company with more than $5bn in digital advertising revenue would be subject to additional transparency requirements and other regulations.

Though still early on in the legislation process, the bipartisan nature of the bill is a noteworthy sign that it may have success in Congress more broadly.

Google’s ad tech services have been previous targets of antitrust lawsuits.

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