Google to buy cloud company Looker for $2.6 billion

Alphabet Inc.’s Google announced Thursday that it plans to buy Looker, a business-intelligence and big-data analytics company, for $2.6 billion in cash.

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“Google Cloud is being used by many of the leading organizations in the world for analytics and decision-making,” Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud, said in a statement. “The combination of Google Cloud and Looker will enable customers to harness data in new ways to drive their digital transformation.”

The acquisition builds on an existing four-year-old partnership between the companies, which already share more than 350 joint customers like Buzzfeed, Hearst, Sunrun and Yahoo, Google said in a news release,

In November, Google Cloud replaced its CEO with Kurian, a former Oracle executive. This marks his first major transaction as chief executive of the cloud unit; it's the biggest purchase Google has made since it purchased Nest Labs -- a developer of connected thermostats and smoke detectors -- in 2014.

"Google Cloud and Looker are a natural fit together," Looker CEO Frank Bien said in a statement.

The acquisition is expected to be completed later this year.

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According to Synergy Research Group, Amazon has dominated the industry, controlling more than 30 percent of the cloud infrastructure services market share. It’s trailed by Microsoft at 15 percent, while Google lags with less than 10 percent.