US: Google pays $2.6B for data analytics Software company

Google’s parent company Alphabet announced on Thursday, June 6, that it is buying data analytics company Looker for US$2.6 billion, according to a report from Reuters.

The acquisition will be the first under new Google Cloud Chief Executive Thomas Kurian. The company’s cloud computing sector trails Amazon’s and Microsoft’s when it comes to revenue and methods. However, analysts say Google Cloud’s BigQuery, which handles large datasets, is an attractive system in terms of customer attraction.

Kurian said focusing on analytics makes sense, as he aims to close some gaps in the cloud unit. He also said that Looker and Google Cloud are similar in a cultural sense. They share some customers as well, like Blue Apron and Hearst Communications.

“When we looked at how do we broaden our portfolio, (data and analytics) is a segment where we have strength,” Kurian said. Looker is “complementary and completes our analytics foundation.”

Looker was founded in Santa Cruz, California in 2012. It has about 800 employees and has raised US$281 million in venture capital. Last year, it was valued at US$1.6 billion.

Kurian’s plan for the cloud unit is to focus on specialized software rather than general tools. Looker’s software enables organizations to define calculations for important customers for things like revenue, and then show trends in the data without the need for complicated scripts. It can be compared to products like Tableau and Power BI by Microsoft.

Looker is seen by many analysts as the premier business intelligence software of the cloud era, and they say it will benefit greatly from Google’s resources. The acquisition means that Looker will get new features, Kurian said.

Alphabet shares did not move on the news.

Looker’s Chief Frank Bien will not leave the company, and will report to Kurian. “We’ve had great synergy with Google Cloud from the beginning,” Bien said.

Kurian said the deal should be approved and will likely avoid antitrust attention because Google is buying a software company and not using it exclusively. The deal is Google’s largest since it acquired Nest in 2014 for US$3.2 billion.

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