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Google’s $2.6 Billion Looker Deal Under Greater DOJ Review: Report

The DOJ’s antitrust division is conducting a deep review of the proposed tie-up, according to a report, which says investigators have initiated a 'second request' for information from Google and Looker to assess whether the deal will harm competition.

The U.S. Department of Justice is placing greater scrutiny on Google’s planned $2.6 billion acquisition of Looker Data Sciences that is expected to close this year, according to a new report.

The DOJ’s antitrust division is conducting a deep review of the proposed tie-up, Bloomberg has reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the investigation who said investigators have initiated a “second request” for information from Google and Looker to assess whether the deal will harm competition.

Google unveiled the all-cash acquisition in June to bolster Google Cloud’s capabilities with Santa Cruz, Calif.-based Looker, a cloud-based business analytics company. The acquisition syncs with Google Cloud’s multi-cloud approach and courting of enterprise customers under new Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian.

“We remain committed to our multi-cloud strategy and will retain and expand Looker’s capabilities to analyze data across clouds,” Kurian said in June when the deal was unveiled.

Google and the DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report. A spokesman for Looker declined comment.

The Bloomberg report comes amid greater federal and state scrutiny of technology giants Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook in the U.S. and abroad. U.S. investigations by the DOJ and the Federal Trade Commission are looking at whether the technology giants engage in anti-competitive business practices, including whether they acquire smaller firms and startups to get footholds in new markets and box out competition. In September, 50 Democratic and Republican attorneys general also announced a bipartisan investigation into Google’s potentially anti-competitive and “monopolistic” online search and advertising practices.

Google parent company Alphabet in August disclosed it received a civil investigative demand from the DOJ that requested information and documents related to prior antitrust investigations of Google in the U.S. and elsewhere.

“We expect to receive in the future similar investigative demands from state attorneys general,” Alphabet said in an Aug. 30 regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. “We continue to cooperate with the DOJ, federal and state regulators in the United States, and other regulators around the world.”

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