Google To Acquire Analytics Firm Looker To Bolster Cloud Offerings

Google Cloud
The Google logo is displayed outside the company offices in New York
(Photo: Reuters / Brendan McDermid)

Alphabet's Google Cloud unit made waves this week after it announced its intention to acquire data analytics startup firm Looker for $2.6 billion. Google plans to add the California-based software and business intelligence firm to its growing Google Cloud unit, further diversifying its offerings.

Google Cloud head Thomas Kurian, who took the helm of the business unit late last year, mentioned that he plans to integrate the company to provide a more complete package to its data analytics customers. Kurian spoke at a media event held Thursday this week and outlined his plans for Looker.

The executive revealed that the combination of Google Cloud and Looker should result in a comprehensive end-to-end analytics platform that can collect, connect, analyze, and visualize across various databases.

Google has intensified its efforts to expand its cloud offerings, with the planned acquisition being its latest move to get ahead of competitors such as Amazon and Microsoft.

The company is currently lagging behind Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle in terms of annual revenues. It is also facing stiff competition from overseas in the form of Alibaba's own cloud services, which is slowly catching up with western service providers.

The planned acquisition of Looker should give Google an edge this time around. Looker has had a good track record in providing comprehensive analytics products with investors continually pouring money into the firm. Looker was able to raise around $103 million in its most recent funding round, valuing the company at around $1.6 billion. Google's offer is an even billion over Looker's market value and it is yet to be seen if the premium will be worth it.

Looker currently has around 1,600 customers and its revenues have already passed the $100 million mark as of this year. The company's growth is pretty impressive as well, at least for a SaaS company. Looker had reported a 70 percent year-on-year growth for 2018, a trend that will likely continue under Google.

Looker's CEO Frank Bien announced in a media briefing this week that the acquisition should give his company the reach and scale they had always wanted. Both companies had already worked together on various projects over the past four years. Google Cloud and Looker had worked on projects for over 350 customers, including firms such as Hearst, Sunrun, Buzzfeed, and Yahoo.

Bien had stated that it was only logical for the companies to merge as they do naturally fit together. Both companies are currently ironing out all the details of the acquisition, which is expected to be finalized before the year ends.

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