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Competition watchdog to investigate Google takeover of data firm

By Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent

Google’s takeover of a data analytics firm is to be investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The watchdog said it was looking into the tech giant’s purchase of Looker Data Sciences to establish whether the merger could impact competition within the sector in the UK.

Google acquired the US software firm in June for 2.6 billion dollars (£1.9 billion) – Looker creates products which help customers better visualise data.

The CMA said it was considering whether the acquisition “may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services”.

It is inviting comment from any interested party on the deal.

The CMA will decide in February whether to escalate the case to a more in-depth investigation.

In response, Google said the review was standard acquisition procedure.

A Google spokesman said: “The acquisition of Looker has received regulatory approval in the US and Austria and we continue to make progress with regulators in the UK.”

The announcement appears to show an increase in the scrutiny of deals by big technology firms from the watchdog.

Last week, the CMA warned it could launch a full-scale investigation into Amazon’s attempts to buy a minority stake in online food delivery business Deliveroo after it said it had serious concerns that competition could be stifled.