Google to acquire data firm Looker for $2.6 billion

Google to acquire data firm Looker for $2.6 billion
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Google announced Thursday that it will acquire data analytics firm Looker for $2.6 billion in cash, expanding the services offered to its cloud computing customers.

The acquisition comes amid increased scrutiny of Google and other major U.S. tech firms from federal regulators like the Justice Department who are reportedly taking a closer look at market share and competition.

But Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian told Reuters that he is not concerned about antitrust scrutiny over the Looker acquisition because it involves software rather than data.

Google is far behind competitors Amazon and Microsoft in the cloud computing business and holds much stronger positions in search and online advertising.

Looker is a big-data analytics platform that will allow Google Cloud customers to tap into better insights about their data, Google's parent company Alphabet Inc. said Thursday.

The two companies had an existing partnership, sharing more than 350 customers, according to Alphabet. Google's acquisition of Looker is expected to be completed later this year. It will be subject to regulatory approval.

Cloud computing allows companies to store their data in remote servers operated by companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon and IBM.

"One of the most important ways we advance Google's mission is by helping other businesses realize theirs,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement. “We are excited to welcome Looker to Google Cloud and look forward to working together to help our customers solve some of their biggest challenges.”

Frank Bien, the CEO of Looker, in a statement said the companies together will advance their mission to "empower humans through the smarter use of data."