The Justice Department said it will conduct new interviews in its investigation into Google’s advertising practices

The Justice Department has conducted new interviews in recent weeks to probe Google’s ad technology, a sign it may be moving closer to bringing a second antitrust case against the company, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Justice Department has been investigating for more than a year whether Google is abusing its dominance over the interconnected technologies that serve ads to the Internet. His lawyers are now still talking to publishers and Google’s rivals to gather new material, corroborate evidence and test his legal theory before launching a possible lawsuit, said the people, who were not authorized to discuss confidential matters.

A Justice Department spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Bloomberg previously reported on the Justice Department meetings.

“Immense competition in online advertising has made online advertising more relevant, reduced ad tech costs and expanded options for publishers and advertisers,” said Peter Schottenfels, a Google spokesman.

On August 31, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York will hear Google’s motion to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit filed by the state of Texas over the company’s ad tech practices. Pending a ruling on the matter, Justice Department officials are seeing what the judge thinks about the antitrust claims before proceeding with their own lawsuit, these people said.

Texas alleges in its lawsuit that Google obtained and abused a monopoly over the digital advertising industry to manipulate auctions and generate far greater profits than competing ad exchanges. Those are the same issues the Justice Department has been investigating, people familiar with the investigation said.

In 2020, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit alleging that Google violated antitrust laws by abusing its power over online search. Later that year, the attorneys general of Texas and nine other states filed their own lawsuits, which focus on Google’s control over the ecosystem of display advertising technologies used by publishers such as news outlets to sell ad space on their websites.

This summer, Google offered to settle a Justice Department investigation by spinning off its ad technology business into a separate unit under its parent company, Alphabet, according to a person familiar with the proposal, previously reported by The Wall Street Journal. But the government was very skeptical of the offer, the person said.

Mr. Schottenfels said Google is “engaging constructively with regulators to resolve their concerns” and “we have no plans to sell or exit this business.”

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