The first major acquisition of Google Cloud under CEO Thomas Kurian appears to have gone less than smoothly. U.S. authorities are said to be investigating the planned acquisition of business intelligence platform Looker.

Sources who are aware of the investigation report to Bloomberg that the antitrust department of the U.S. Department of Justice started the investigation. According to an insider, the department wants to know whether the acquisition is harmful to competition.

Google announced the acquisition plans in June this year. The internet giant wants to deposit 2.6 billion dollars (2.3 billion euros) to take over Looker. In this way, the company hopes to close the gap with solutions from competitors AWS and Azure.

Looker

Looker has a cloud-based platform that allows companies to analyze data, which is stored in the cloud. The platform consists of two components. There is a modeling platform where the display of data can be programmed using an SQL-like modeling language called LookML. There is also a visualization tool for end users.

When Kurian announced the takeover, it was already stated that Looker customers could continue to use data stored by other cloud providers. The intention is that Looker’s services will be added to the Google Cloud Platform. The acquisition had to be completed before the end of 2019, but whether this is now still possible is unclear.

Criticism to be expected

According to Bloomberg, it was to be expected that there would be criticism from regulators. The DOJ is in the midst of broader investigations into acquisitions of Google and other tech companies from the past.

Among other things, the authorities want to know whether tech giants deliberately take over smaller companies in order to undermine rivals and strengthen their own dominance. As early as July, when this investigation was announced, the Justice Department announced that it had no final objective, other than to understand whether there are any competition problems that need to be addressed.

Google, Looker and the Justice Department did not yet respond to the news.