The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority said Thursday that it has cleared Google LLC’s (GOOG) acquisition of Looker Data Sciences, Inc. after a thorough review.
The CMA noted that both companies supply business intelligence or BI tools that allow companies to analyse a broad range of business data including sales, finance and advertising data.
“While BI tools are the primary focus of Looker’s business, Google offers this capability alongside various other software and internet-based products and services including web analytics, online search advertising and cloud-based data storage,” the CMA said.
The CMA said it explored the different ways in which the completed merger could adversely affect competition. Firstly, the CMA considered whether the loss of direct competition between Google and Looker in the supply of BI tools could lead to increased prices or reductions in quality.
However, the UK competition watchdog found this was unlikely because Google and Looker are not considered close competitors by businesses using BI tools, who can still choose from other providers, including Microsoft, Oracle, Tableau, SAP and IBM.
The CMA also considered whether Google could leverage its market power in online advertising and web analytics to drive rival BI providers out of the market.
The CMA noted that while Google would be able 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 Google would have the incentive to do this.
The deal was also investigated and cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Austrian Federal Competition Authority. The CMA said it cooperated closely with both authorities through the course of its investigation.
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