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Google Settles With States Over Consultants in Antitrust Probe

David McLaughlin and Ben Brody

(Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.’s Google has reached a settlement with state attorneys general over the states’ use of consultants in their antitrust investigation of the internet search giant.

Google in October went to court to restrict the Texas Attorney General’s office from disclosing sensitive information to consultants who have worked for competitors and other companies such as News Corp. and Microsoft Corp that have complained about Google to regulators.

Both sides reached a settlement that places some restrictions on how the experts can access confidential business information, Google said on Friday.

Google had raised concerns over Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s hiring of consultants including Cristina Caffarra, an economist with Charles River Associates. She has worked for Google adversaries News Corp. and Microsoft as well as Russia’s Yandex NV, according to court filings.

“We remain concerned with the irregular way this investigation is proceeding, including unusual arrangements with advisers who work for our rivals and vocal critics,” Google said in a statement.

Paxton later released a statement saying, “With this agreement, experts retained by the state will not be burdened with the unreasonable prohibitions sought by Google. They will be able to lend their important expertise to the state without fear of being frozen out of other employment within their field.”

(Updates with Paxton statement, in final paragraph.)

To contact the reporters on this story: David McLaughlin in Washington at dmclaughlin9@bloomberg.net;Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at btenerellabr@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, John Harney

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