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Austrian BWB approves acquisition of Looker Data Sciences by Google in phase I

Christian Fernsby |
The BWB has approved the anticipated acquisition of Looker Data Sciences, Inc. by Google LLC in phase I.

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The extensive investigation conducted by the BWB has shown that the proposed transaction would not lead to the creation or strengthening of a dominant position in Austria.

Since Lookers business activities concentrate on the North American market, the major focus of the proposed transaction lies in the USA. The competition authorities in the USA and Australia have cleared the transaction unconditionally.

Looker is an American computer software and data analytics company. In return for the payment of license fees, Looker offers tools to companies of all sizes, from

mall and medium businesses to large enterprises, for the visualization and analysis of data.

Looker has no establishment in Austria. Google, a 100%-subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., also offers a data analysis tool for business customers. Therefore, the proposed transaction is confined to the business-tobusiness (B2B) sector.

In contrast to Lookers data analysis tools, Google´s data analysis tool offers limited data analysis and visualization functions.

Furthermore, Google´s data analysis tool is only compatible with its own data warehouse solution, whereas data analysis tools of competitors are developed as “multi-cloud”-tools.

The BWB concluded that the horizontal overlaps would not give rise to competition concerns because of the numerous competitors and the differences of the data analysis tools currently offered by Looker and Google. The results of the market survey of Lookers competitors essentially confirmed this assessment.

Furthermore, the BWB has assessed possible negative vertical effects arising from the transaction such as foreclosure of third-party data warehouse solutions.

According to concurring statements of all interviewed market participants, the interoperability of data analysis tools with various data warehouses from different providers constitute a major factor for the attractiveness of the tool for business customers.

Data analysis tools absent compatibility with different data warehouse solutions would result in a decrease of users and customers.

The BWB also examined possible risks of market foreclosure through Googles position in the field of web analytics services and online and offline advertising.

The BWB concluded that foreclosure through Googles Web analytics and advertising data would not be profitable for Google and would also not be suitable to restrict competition in the business analytics software market.

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