Regulator investigates Google’s £2 billion Looker merger

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating the £2 billion takeover deal of Looker by Google.

Looker, the big-data analytics company, agreed terms with Google in June, with Google aiming to expand its cloud services operations.

But now the CMA is investigating whether the investment may constitute a merger and whether that would lead to a substantial lessening of competition within the marketplace in the UK.

Looker is a privately held company that was founded in 2012 and currently employs 800 people, aiming to provide data visualisation (DataViz) and analytics to firms that use complex cloud systems.

Google Cloud, the cloud computing division of Google, is currently the third-largest cloud system in terms of data infrastructure services, behind Microsoft and Amazon. Looker currently has a number of UK customers, including the Economist, and the competition watchdog has expressed concern that the deal may lessen competition in the UK cloud data market.

Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud, said: “For any business that is looking for a partner to help drive digital transformation, the combination of Google Cloud and Looker will offer an incredible data management and analytics platform.”

The deal was approved by the US regulator, but the CMA has given until 20 December 2019 for any ‘interested party’ to provide comments in relation to the merger.

Nigel Fry, General Practice Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “The merger between Google and Looker is a significant deal, particularly in relation to the expanding cloud data market. It will be interesting to see how the CMA responds to potential concerns over the lessening of competition in the sector.

“For advice on matters relating to mergers and acquisitions, contact our expert team at Milsted Langdon today.”

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