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By Aisha Al-Muslim
Google has made a long-awaited acquisition to bolster its cloud-computing business, a booming industry where it has lagged behind rivals.
The Alphabet Inc. unit unveiled a deal on Thursday to acquire Looker, a business-intelligence software and big data analytics platform, for $2.6 billion in cash. The two companies were well acquainted; Alphabet earlier invested in Looker through its venture-capital arm CapitalG.
The move indicates Google will continue to pour resources into its Google Cloud division as it remains far behind rivals Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp in cloud computing. The area is a priority of Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai, who replaced the unit's head, Diane Greene, with ex- Oracle executive Thomas Kurian earlier this year. Analysts have long speculated an acquisition as likely.
Yet Google Cloud remains a problematic. Just this weekend, Google reported widespread rolling outages in the U.S. that dramatically slowed crucial Google services like Gmail, YouTube and Google Cloud Storage for much of Sunday. The disruption, which reduced regional network capacity, was caused by an incorrectly applied configuration change, Google said.
The acquisition builds on an existing partnership between Google and Looker, which share more than 350 joint customers, such as BuzzFeed Inc., SunRrun Inc. and Yahoo, a unit of Verizon Communications Inc., the companies said. The deal is expected to be completed later this year, pending regulatory approval.
The addition of Looker to Google's cloud-computing business will give customers more capability to analyze data and create visualizations from the information, Google said.
Looker, whose software is used to connect to databases like Amazon's Redshift and Microsoft's SQL Server, will continue to support cloud databases from vendors other than Google, said Looker CEO Frank Bien.
"We remain committed to our multi-cloud strategy and will retain and expand Looker's capabilities to analyze data across Clouds," Mr. Kurian said in prepared remarks.
Looker previously raised about $280 million from venture-capital firms including Redpoint Ventures, First Round Capital and PivotNorth Capital.
Google's latest deal to bolster its cloud offerings comes as federal regulators ramp up scrutiny of large technology companies and the influence they wield.
The Wall Street Journal has reported the Justice Department is gearing up for an antitrust probe of Google, whose reach extends from online search and advertising to smartphone technology and its YouTube video platform.
Write to Aisha Al-Muslim at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 06, 2019 15:49 ET (19:49 GMT)
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