14 February 2020

Google’s acquisition of Looker Data Sciences receives unconditional Phase I clearance

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has approved Google’s acquisition of Looker Data Sciences, Inc. following a Phase I investigation. Although both firms provide business intelligence (BI) tools, the CMA found that they are not close competitors, and that customers would still be able to choose from other providers, including Microsoft, Oracle and Tableau.The CMA raised concerns that the transaction would allow Google to leverage its position in the upstream markets of online advertising and web analytics to partially foreclose rival BI tool providers from accessing these Google-generated data sources post-merger. Ultimately, the CMA found that while Google might have the ability to restrict access to Google-generated data, it would not have the incentive to do so. In particular, it was noted that engaging in such a foreclosure strategy would likely have a negative impact on Google’s online advertising revenue and/or require costly changes to its business model. The CMA’s media release can be found here. RBB was instructed by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, acting for Google.

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