Media Moves

Google buys big data analytics firm for $2.6 bln

February 13, 2020

Posted by Irina Slav

Google has finalized the acquisition of UK big data analytics firm Looker for $2.6 billion.

Shashwat Awasthi and Yadarisa Shabong had the news for Reuters:

Alphabet Inc-owned Google (GOOGL.O) said on Thursday it has completed its $2.6 billion buyout of privately held big-data analytics firm Looker Data Sciences after winning clearance from Britain’s competition watchdog.

Google announced the cash deal in June, the first major acquisition for its new cloud business Chief Executive Officer Thomas Kurian. The deal aims to build upon the success of Google Cloud’s BigQuery, a tool for managing large datasets.

Looker’s tool enables analysts and other workers to define calculations for items such as revenue or high-value customers and then visualize trends in their data without writing complicated scripts. It competes with Tableau Software Inc DATA.N, Domo Inc (DOMO.O) and Microsoft’s (MSFT.O) Power BI.

The Competition and Markets Authority said its probe found the deal would not adversely impact quality of service or competition in the market for data analytics tools and software.

Ed Targett from Computer Business Review noted:

CEO Thomas Kurian said the acquisition “will strengthen Google Cloud’s analytics and data warehouse capabilities, including BigQuery”.

Bay Area-based Looker is a unified data platform provider. GCP had announced a commitment to buy the company in June 2019.

It has a 1,700-strong customer base that includes Amazon, IBM, Kickstarter, Sony, Spotify and The Economist and has offices in San Francisco, New York, Boulder, London, Tokyo and Dublin. It was founded in 2011.

The two companies already shared more than 350 joint customers, including Buzzfeed, Hearst, King, Sunrun, WPP Essence, and Yahoo!

Looker CEO Frank Bien reiterated to customers that the move would not mean an end to the company’s multicloud capabilities.

He said: “Looker customers will continue to have the freedom to choose from any cloud data management system like Amazon Redshift, Azure SQL, Snowflake, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Teradata and more.

He added: “Over the coming months we will share more details about our product integration plans and roadmap. I would like to thank all of our 2,000+ customers and over 160 global partners for their support over the years and look forward to sharing the exciting work we have ahead.”

The Financial Times’ Tim Bradshaw wrote:

Getting the go-ahead on Looker from the CMA relieves Google of at least one antitrust battle, as it faces off against the EU in court in Luxembourg this week over a €2.4bn fine for allegedly promoting its shopping search engine at the expense of smaller rivals.

Still, dealmaking is getting more difficult for big tech companies as regulators have become increasingly concerned that M&A has been used by the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon to stifle competition. This week, the US Federal Trade Commission said it would review hundreds of smaller start-up acquisitions made over the past decade by the five largest US companies, including Microsoft and Apple.

Google’s Fitbit deal is facing regulatory challenges in Europe and the US over how it will handle the fitness tracker maker’s store of health data from some 28m users. Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, is seeking tougher powers, such as the ability to impose fines, to use against tech companies.

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