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Yelp loses bid to intervene in Google antitrust challenge

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – the U.S. search and advertising company Yelp has lost its bid to intervene in the Google challenge against a 2.4 billion euro ($2.7 billion) of the EU antitrust fine after an EU court said it had no direct interest in the case.

FILE PHOTO: The Yelp Inc. the logo is to be seen in their offices in Chicago, Illinois, on March 5, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young/File Photo

The Luxembourg-based Court also rejected an application by U.S.-based lobbying group Consumer Watchdog for the same reason, according to her Dec. 7 ruling.

The European Commission penalized Google, the world’s most popular internet search engine, last year for the benefit of its own comparison shopping service in internet searches.

The case was started by the British price comparison shopping site Foundem, while other European and AMERICAN competitors also filed a complaint.

Yelp had bid to take part in the proceedings so that the rights and interests would be covered by the final judgment in the case.

The Court is, however, a backup Google’s argument against Yelp’s intervention, saying that while Yelp took part as an interested party in the investigation of the EU, it runs a different business from Google.

“If Yelp does not work a search service, that specializes in comparison shopping results, it may not be directly affected by the decision with respect to the contested act and therefore do not meet the criterion in the case law,” judges said.

The court dismissed the lobbying group FairSearch’s bid to intervene in the shops the case.

Judges said FairSearch had failed to prove that it is a representative body. They rejected intervention quotes from Prestige Gifts, Connexity, Pricegrabber.com Ltd and the lobby group ICOMP.

This is one of the two Google challenges against the EU antitrust rulings, with the other in connection with Android.

($1 = 0.8801 euros)

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Susan Fenton

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