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Google’s Acquisition Of Data Firm Triggers UK Watchdog Probe

Google’s Acquisition Of Data Firm Triggers Probe

The U.K. watchdog Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) is questioning Google’s purchase of the analytics firm Looker Data Sciences and is launching an initial investigation, the Associated Press (AP) reported on Tuesday (Dec. 17).

The CMA informed both firms that an inquiry was underway and that a decision would be handed down on Feb. 13 regarding a deeper probe. The agency is investigating whether Google’s $2.6 billion takeover of Looker Data Sciences would result in less competition in the British market.

Google announced on June 6 that it had struck an acquisition deal with Looker, which hinged on “customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals.”

In a statement regarding the CMA inquiry, Google said “the acquisition of Looker has received regulatory approval in the U.S. and Austria, and we continue to make progress with regulators in the U.K.”

“The combination of Google Cloud and Looker will enable us to further accelerate our leadership as a WordPress digital experience platform,” Heather Brunner, chairwoman and CEO of WP Engine, said in the June announcement. “By combining our BigQuery data warehouse with extended BI and visualization tools from Looker, we’ll be empowered with faster, more actionable data insights that will help drive our business forward and better serve our customers.”

The probe comes on the heels of the CMA’s inquiry into Amazon’s plan to buy a big stake in Deliveroo. The authority told Amazon there would be an in-depth investigation unless the eCommerce giant addressed competition concerns.

Google is also under fire in the U.S., as up to a dozen state attorneys general are meeting to discuss the ongoing investigation into the tech giant. The probe is being led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who said at a September press conference that 48 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. have joined the investigation. Absent from the roster are Alabama and California.

Google is also facing two other investigations: one with the U.S. Justice Department, which is looking into the company’s business practices, and another by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee.

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