Google fell for a real Looker, but now Brit competition watchdog’s probing data biz slurp

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is considering whether Google’s takeover of Looker Data Sciences is likely to have a negative impact on the market.

The CMA said today that it is asking for comments from interested parties. But anyone concerned about the deal better act fast – the deadline for submissions is 20 December.

The CMA is still considering whether the $2.6bn deal “will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom.”

The Enterprise Act increased penalties for executives found guilty of creating cartels to five years in prison.

The Phase 1 investigation is to decide whether there is a need for a full Phase 2 probe. If that goes ahead and finds evidence of market harm, the CMA can impose a variety of remedies on the companies in order to get approval for the deal.

It can force companies to divest parts of their business or to sign undertakings to limit future behaviour.

Google splurged $2.6bn picking up Looker, which provides data analytics and machine learning, back in June. The deal was meant to bolster Google’s cloud analytics for larger customers and provide simple, dashboard-based analysis of web marketing and sales and increase pressure on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure platforms.

Thomas Kurian, Google’s cloud boss, said at the time: “The combination provides an end-to-end analytics platform to connect, collect, analyze and visualize data across Google Cloud, Azure, AWS, on-premises databases and ISV applications.”

The details of how to submit comments to the CMA are here.

Slurpee check on aisle 4

In other news, European Commission regulators confirmed to Reuters this weekend that they are continuing to investigate Google’s data collection practices.

The commission told the newswire that it “has sent out questionnaires as part of a preliminary investigation into Google’s practices relating to Google’s collection and use of data. The preliminary investigation is ongoing.”

A document seen by Reuters shows the EU’s focus is on data related to local search services, online advertising, online ad targeting services, login services, web browsers and others.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has already whacked Google with €4.3bn in fines over Android and another €1.49bn fine over its ad-broking business. ®

Sponsored: How to Process, Wrangle, Analyze and Visualize your Data with Three Complementary Tools