RICHMOND (September 9, 2019)–As part of his ongoing commitment to the enforcement of antitrust protections, Attorney General Mark R. Herring and a bipartisan coalition of 50 attorneys general have begun an investigation of tech giant Google’s business practices to examine compliance with state and federal antitrust laws. The coalition will be investigating Google’s overarching control of online advertising markets and search traffic that may have led to anticompetitive behavior that can harm consumers through reduced choice, higher prices, and reduced innovation.
“Big tech companies and their products have become ubiquitous in nearly every phase of American life, offering an unprecedented range of products, gathering and utilizing consumer data in a way we’ve never seen before, and exercising significant influence over a diverse set of important markets. That’s why it’s important to ensure that these large, powerful corporations do not harm Virginians by engaging in unlawful, anticompetitive business practices,” said Attorney General Herring. “We know that concentration of market share can stifle innovation, limit choice, reduce employment, and drive up prices. That’s why during this era of megamergers and corporate consolidation it’s important that state attorneys general step up to protect our citizens from anticompetitive behavior that violates the law and hurts consumers.”
Attorney General Herring serves on the Antitrust Committee of the National Association of Attorneys General, and has prioritized antitrust enforcement as part of his mission to strengthen the Office of Attorney General’s Consumer Protection efforts. He recently filed suit to block a proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint because of its potential to reduce choice, eliminate competition, and raise prices on mobile phone service.
Attorney General Herring has also filed two wide-ranging lawsuits against generic drug manufacturers for alleged antitrust violations that raised the cost of prescription drugs, and sued the maker of Suboxone, an opioid treatment medication, for illegally keeping monopoly profits.
In 2015, Attorney General Herring challenged a proposed merger of Sysco and US Foods that would have raised food prices for Virginians, and in 2017 he successfully blocked the anticompetitive proposed mergers of Aetna and Humana, as well as Cigna and Anthem, a proposed merger in which the Richmond, Virginia market was identified as the most negatively impacted market in the entire country.