Google’s $2.6 billion Looker deal cleared by U.K. regulator


The U.K.’s antitrust authority cleared Google’s $2.6 billion takeover of Looker Data Sciences Inc., joining U.S. regulators in declining to open an in-depth review.

The purchase was not likely to weaken competition as Google would not be inclined to stymie its rivals, the Competition and Markets Authority said Thursday.

Google announced in June that it planned to buy California-based Looker to boost its cloud offering, which lags behind Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. The company, which had initially intended to complete the purchase last year, is pushing to expand its tools to better help customers manage data.

The regulator said it pored through thousands of internal documents detailing the companies’ plans and consulted with data scientists before reaching its conclusion.

“Although Google had the ability to make it difficult for rivals to access the Google-generated data they need from online advertising and web analytics services, there was no strong evidence they would have the incentive to do this,” the CMA said in its statement.

It’s a relief for the Alphabet Inc. unit, whose dealmaking has faced increased attention from regulators across the globe. The CMA has ramped up its scrutiny of mergers in digital industries, with a particular focus on the tech giants and leaving uncertainty over their transactions.

U.S. regulators at the Justice Department cleared the deal in November.

The CMA is separately running a review of Amazon’s purchase of a minority stake in U.K. food startup Deliveroo, saying the deal might substantially weaken competition. The investigation stunned the parties because the agency doesn’t typically review minority acquisitions. Lawyers said scrutiny of the deal may be down to growing fears about monopolies in Big Tech that have been allowed to go unchecked in the past.

In elaborating on Thursday’s decision, the CMA said that Google and Looker aren’t considered close competitors in the provision of business intelligence, or BI, tools and there are other providers like Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp. and SAP SE that customers can choose from.

Bloomberg News