Investigation into suspected anti-competitive conduct by Google in ad tech

The CMA is investigating whether Google might have abused a dominant position through its conduct in ad tech

Statutory timetable

Date Action
May 2022 - February 2023 Initial investigation: including information gathering, analysis and review of information gathered
25 May 2022 Investigation opened

Case Information

On 25 May 2022, the CMA launched an investigation under Chapter II of the Competition Act 1998 into suspected breaches of competition law by Google. The investigation concerns Google’s conduct across parts of the ad tech stack.

Notes

  • ‘Ad tech’ is used in the sale of online advertising. A series of tools have been developed and sold to help intermediate the sale of online advertising between sellers (publishers, like newspapers and news websites) and buyers (advertisers). Google has a strong positions at various levels of the ad tech stack. More information can be found in the CMA’s final report for its market study into online platforms and digital advertising.
  • ‘Ad tech stack’ means the supply chain of intermediation services involved in the automatic buying, selling and serving of open display advertisements, operating between advertisers and publishers (including publisher ad servers, SSPs/Ad exchanges, DSPs, advertiser ad servers).
  • The investigation is under Chapter II of the Competition Act 1998 in relation to Google.
  • The CMA has not reached a view as to whether there is sufficient evidence of an infringement or infringements of competition law for it to issue a statement of objections to any party under investigation. Not all cases result in the CMA issuing a statement of objections.
  • The CMA will consider any representations it receives before any decision is taken as to whether competition law has been infringed.
  • On 10 March 2022, the CMA opened a competition investigation into Google and Meta’s ‘Jedi Blue’ agreement in relation to header bidding services, which are a part of the wider ad tech stack. This investigation concerns additional Google conduct regarding in the ad tech stack not pertaining to header bidding.
  • Further detail of the CMA’s procedures in Competition Act 1998 cases is available in our guidance.

Personal data

The CMA may collect, use and share personal data for its investigations, including investigations under the Competition Act 1998. This includes processing personal data for the purposes of the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018.

For more information about how the CMA handles personal information, please see the CMA’s Personal Information Charter.

Contacts

Media contact

Any media enquiries should be directed to a member of our Press Office (020 3738 6460, press@cma.gov.uk)

Assistant Directors

Sophie Mitchell (020 3738 6905, sophie.mitchell@cma.gov.uk)

Angela Nissyrios (020 3738 6821, angela.nissyrios@cma.gov.uk)

Director

Sue Aspinall (020 3738 6368, sue.aspinall@cma.gov.uk)

Senior Responsible Officer

Ann Pope (020 3738 6786, ann.pope@cma.gov.uk)

Anyone with information about suspected anti-competitive activity is encouraged to contact the CMA.

Published 26 May 2022
Last updated 27 May 2022 + show all updates
  1. Administrative timetable published.

  2. First published.