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PriceRunner sues Google for 2.1 billion euros, prepares for long fight

In a press release issued on Monday, PriceRunner, a Swedish price comparison website, announced that it was suing Alphabet-owned Google (GOOG) for approximately 2.1 billion euros ($2.4 billion), making it the latest company to file a lawsuit against the search giant over alleged search result manipulation.

An appeal against a 2.42 billion-euro fine Google received in 2017 for using its own price comparison shopping service to gain an unfair advantage over smaller European competitors was denied in November by the European Court of Justice.

According to PriceRunner CEO Mikael Lindahl in an interview with Reuters, "They are still abusing the market to an extreme degree" and haven't changed much in the last year.

According to a statement released by PriceRunner, which is currently in the process of being acquired by Swedish fintech company Klarna, the company has filed a lawsuit in Sweden seeking compensation for profits lost in the United Kingdom since 2008, as well as in Sweden and Denmark since 2013.

According to a Google spokesperson, the company intends to vigorously defend its position in court.

"The changes we made to shopping advertisements in 2017 are proving to be successful... PriceRunner did not use Google shopping ads, and as a result, it is possible that it did not achieve the same level of success as other companies "According to a Google spokesperson.

PriceRunner, according to Lindahl, is prepared to fight for an extended period of time, has secured tens of millions of euros in external financing, and has contingency plans in place in the event that it loses.

In 2017, the European Commission imposed a fine on Google as a result of a seven-year investigation into allegations that the company manipulated internet search results to favor its shopping service, thereby harming competitors and consumers.

A recent investigation by the Federal Trade Commission revealed that Google routinely elevated its own comparison shopping service to a prominent position in its search results while demoting rival comparison shopping services.

As a Klarna spokesperson put it, "European consumers have been deprived of genuine choice in shopping services for many years, and this is one step toward ensuring that this continues."

Klarna reached an agreement with investment firm Creades in November to acquire PriceRunner for 1.06 billion Swedish crowns ($124.36 million), which was completed in December.

During the first quarter of this year, the transaction is expected to be completed.

Shopping comparison service developed by Axel Springer Idealo filed a lawsuit against Google in 2019 for 500 million euros.

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