Google Shares Tumble On Reports Of Imminent Antitrust Lawsuit

While bulls had comforted themselves that amid a "work from home" pandemic lockdown, any regulatory actions against the mega-tech firms would likely be put on hold, it appears that is not the fact.

The Wall Street Journal reports that both the Justice Department and a group of state attorneys general are likely to file antitrust lawsuits against Alphabet's Google - and are well into planning for litigation.

According to people familiar with the matter, The Justice Department is moving toward bringing a case as soon as this summer.

The timeline confirms AG Barr's previous comments in March that he wanted the Justice Department to make a final call this summer. “I’m hoping that we bring it to fruition early summer,” Mr. Barr said at the time.

“And by fruition I mean, decision time.”

Much of the states’ investigation has focused on Google’s online advertising business

Mr. Paxton, Texas AG, said the pandemic was not slowing the states’ efforts.

“We’ve issued [civil subpoenas] to Google and impacted third parties. We hope to have the investigation wrapped up by fall,” Mr. Paxton said in a statement.

“If we determine that filing is merited we will go to court soon after that.”

This sent shares in GOOGL lower after hours...

As The Journal concludes, the lawsuits - if they are filed - could pose a direct threat to Google’s businesses and rank among the most significant antitrust cases in U.S. history, alongside the government’s antitrust case against Microsoft Corp. in the late 1990s. 

And moreover, the lawsuits come ahead of the election and increasing rumors of a push for e-democracy.