Google has completed its US$2.6 billion acquisition of Looker Data Sciences after receiving approval from the UK’s competition authorities. The Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) review, which follows similar probes by the US Department of Justice and the Austrian Federal Competition Authority, found that the deal would not increase prices or harm rivals’ access to data.
Looker, which makes business intelligence analytics software, is Google’s biggest acquisition for many years, alongside its planned US$2.1 billion purchase of Fitbit. “Together, we’re excited to offer customers a comprehensive analytics solution that integrates and visualizes insights at every layer of their business,” said Thomas Kurian, chief executive of Google Cloud, in a blog post on Thursday, February 13, announcing the deal’s completion.
He added that customers would retain “complete control of their data”. 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 €2.4 billion 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 announced 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.
Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.