Google’s $2.6B Looker takeover probed by U.K. watchdog

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(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. formally announced a merger probe into Google’s $2.6 billion takeover of Looker Data Sciences Inc. a week after its antitrust watchdogs raised concerns about Amazon.com Inc.’s purchase of a minority stake in Deliveroo.

The Competition and Markets Authority said in a Tuesday statement it will verify whether the Alphabet Inc. unit’s acquisition might substantially weaken competition.

The CMA said it set a Feb. 13 deadline to take a decision in this first phase review. The companies were told about the merger inquiry yesterday.

The British competition regulator is taking a tough look a technology deals. U.K. watchdogs last week threatened Amazon with an extended competition review of its Deliveroo deal unless the e-commerce giant addressed concerns that customers, restaurants and grocers would face higher prices.

Google announced in June that it planned to buy U.S.-based Looker for its cloud unit, which lags far behind Amazon and Microsoft Corp. with just 4% of the cloud-computing infrastructure market as of 2018, according to the most-recent figures from analyst Gartner Inc. U.S. regulators cleared the deal in November.

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