In private life most people need a lawyer for important events such as buying or selling a home, but for the most part the average person does not need to have a law firm on retainer. In business, there are many contracts and lawsuits, hopefully the lawsuits are minimal, but having a law firm on retainer and legal advice is part of the normal operating business procedures. Companies are sued for a variety of reasons and companies always want to have the conclusion as a one off or somebody in the lower level went over the established line the company operates in. Sometimes the fine is less than typical normal operating procedures and the company will continue to operate be fined and continue to operate because the reward is great.
In an article by Foo Yun Chee of Reuters, the most important search engine is Google and being the most important in the world, how the company ranks its ratings is carefully viewed by competition bureaus around the world. Given Google makes 81% of its income from advertising, particularly from companies who want to be highly ranked in the search outcome, in Europe the top European court fined Google and fined the company $5.38 billion because Google broke competition rules.
Over the past decade, Google has been fined $10.84 billion in 3 investigations. Google has the right to appeal the decision, and likely will. The case is T-604/18 Google vs European Commission and the case involves the restrictions Google imposed on manufacturers of Android mobile phones for Google owns Android operating system.
Linking to dividend paying stocks, given all large companies have lawyers and use outside law firms to handle various cases, you might want to know what lawsuits are pending and has the company put enough money in reserve to pay for them or what the expectation will be. Lawsuits are normal operating aspects for companies, not so much for individuals, but for companies as long as the expected costs are either in reserve or could easily be paid by profits, you have less to be concerned about.
There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.