Google Holding Back Documents Amid Anti-Competitive Probe

Google is holding back emails, text messages and other documents from states attorneys general amid an anti-competitive probe, according to a report.
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Facing a probe by a coalition of state attorneys general over allegedly anti-competitive practices, Alphabet-owned Google  (GOOGL) - Get Report is holding back on surrendering emails, text messages and other documents, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Google also hasn’t agreed to a waiver that would give the coalition of state attorneys general access to documents obtained by the Justice Department for its own probe, the Journal said, citing a person familiar with the situation.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the investigation by 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, said the company’s actions suggest it is withholding information that could be damaging, the newspaper reported.

“Every indication right now is they don’t believe that they’re clean because they don’t act in any way like they are,” Paxton told the Journal.

For its part, Google said it has cooperated with the probe but also has raised concerns that the Texas-led investigation has been advised by outside business consultants who could share confidential information from Google with rival companies.

“To date, Texas has requested, and we have provided, over 100,000 pages of information,” a Google spokeswoman told the Journal. “But we’re also concerned with the irregular way this investigation is proceeding, including unusual arrangements with advisers who work with our competitors and vocal complainants.”

The investigation by state attorneys general seeks to determine whether Google engaged in anti-competitive behavior in building up its ad business, among other issues, according to the report.

Shares of Alphabet were down 0.69% at $1,506.48 in morning trading on Friday.

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