Monday 2 December 2019 8:34 am

Google's £2bn acquisition of Looker faces competition probe

Google’s proposed acquisition of rival analytics firm Looker faces an investigation by the UK’s competition watchdog.

Google agreed to buy Looker for $2.6bn (£2bn) in the summer as part of its efforts to expand the service’s cloud offerings.

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However, the Competition and Markets Authority has said it is now considering whether this merger could “substantially” reduce competition in the UK’s cloud computing market.

At this stage the competition watchdog has invited comments from “any interested party” on the merger by 20 December as it carries out its assessment.

The deal, which was initially announced in June, was the first by the company’s new cloud chief, Oracle veteran Thomas Kurian, who replaced Diane Greene last year.

The purpose of the planned merger is to help Google build upon its BigQuery tool, which is used for managing large datasets.

Looker uses a visualisation tool that helps clients spot patterns in data, competing alongside the likes of Tableau and Microsoft’s Power BI.

It is used by Yahoo, Buzzfeed and Hearst magazines, among others.

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Google had been struggling to compete with Microsoft and Amazon, the latter of which has a 65 per cent share of the cloud market, according to analysts at Jefferies.

At the time of the announcemnet, Kurian said: “The addition of Looker to Google Cloud will help us offer customers a more complete analytics solution from ingesting data to visualizing results and integrating data and insights into their daily workflows.”

Google and Looker have been contacted for comment.