Thursday 13 February 2020 11:28 am

Google gets the green light for $2.6bn Looker acquisition

Google today completed its $2.6bn (£2bn) acquisition of analytics firm Looker after the deal was approved by the competition watchdog.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) opened an investigation into the merger in December amid concerns it could damage competition in the UK’s cloud computing market.

Read more: Irish regulator launches probe into Google and Tinder

However the regulator today said it had cleared the deal, ruling it would not increase prices or drive competitors out of the market.

The acquisition — one of Google’s largest — will help the search firm build its Big Query tool, which is used for managing large datasets.

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

“Looker will strengthen Google Cloud’s analytics and data warehouse capabilities, including Big Query, enabling our customers to address some of their toughest business challenges, faster — all while maintaining complete control of their data,” wrote Thomas Kurian, chief executive of Google Cloud, in a blog post.

The watchdog approval comes after the merger was also investigated and cleared by the US Department of Justice and the Austrian Federal Competition Authority.

The CMA said that while Google could make it difficult for rivals to access Google-generated data from online advertising and web analytics services, there was “no strong evidence” the company would do so.

Read more: Google admits it may have shared your private videos with strangers

“As part of its assessment, the CMA examined a wide range of evidence including thousands of internal documents detailing the companies’ strategic plans, and submissions from a large number of customers and competitors,” the watchdog said in a statement.

The green light will come as a welcome boost to Google amid a series of competition probes in both the US and the EU.