Google Cloud’s $2.6 Billion Looker Acquisition: The Details You Should Know About

By Amit Chowdhry ● June 9, 2019
  • Google Cloud recently announced it is acquiring Looker for $2.6 billion
  • The deal is expected to close later this year
  • Microsoft and Amazon were also both reportedly interested in buying Looker

This past week, Google Cloud announced it was acquiring data analytics company Looker for $2.6 billion. The acquisition is expected to be completed later this year and is subject to closing conditions.

Prior to the acquisition, Looker raised over $280 million and with a valuation of $1.6 billion. Some of Looker’s investors include IVP, Kleiner Perkins, Meritech Capital Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, First Round Capital, Goldman Sachs, and CapitalG (formerly known as Google Capital).

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Looker is a business intelligence software and big data analytics platform company that helps users explore, analyze, and share real-time business analytics. In an interview with Business Insider, Redpoint Ventures partner and former Looker board member Tomasz Tunguz said he fell out of his chair when he saw the technology “because it’s just so hard to build.”

There is a fundamental requirement for organizations looking to transform digitally to store, manage, and analyze vast amounts of data from a wide variety of sources. Google Cloud provides customers with a broad and integrated suite of cloud services for ingesting data in real-time, processing it, and then aggregating it in a highly scalable data warehouse.

Looker’s technology makes it easier for organizations to visualize and make sense of their data being pulled from AWS, Google Cloud, Snowflake, and MySQL.

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Why did Google buy Looker? Here is how Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian explained it:

“Looker extends our business analytics offering with two important capabilities—first, the ability to define business metrics once in a consistent way across data sources. This makes it easy for anyone to query data while maintaining consistent definitions in their calculations, ensuring teams get accurate results. Second, Looker also provides users with a powerful analytics platform that delivers applications for business intelligence and use-case specific solutions such as Sales Analytics, as well as a flexible, embedded analytics product to collaborate on business decisions. The addition of Looker to Google Cloud will help us offer customers a more complete analytics solution from ingesting data to visualizing results and integrating data and insights into their daily workflows. It will also help us deliver industry-specific analytics solutions in our key verticals, whether that’s supply chain analytics in retailing; media analytics in entertainment; or healthcare analytics at global scale.”

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Kurian was previously the president of Oracle where he led a 35,000 person team including many enterprise cloud sales members. And Kurian recently became the CEO of Google Cloud and he succeeded VMware co-founder Diane Greene for the position.

Many customers use Google Cloud including Google BigQuery as their Enterprise Data Warehouse for business analytics — using SQL for querying real-time data streams, Spark clusters, running fully managed Hadoop, and using machine learning for automatically categorizing and running forecasting and predictions on their data.

This acquisition is building on an existing partnership between Google and Looker where they share more than 350 joint customers including Buzzfeed, Hearst, King, Sunrun, WPP Essence, and Yahoo.

“The combination of Google Cloud and Looker will enable us to further accelerate our leadership as a WordPress digital experience platform,” added Heather Brunner — the Chairwoman and CEO of WP Engine. “By combining our BigQuery data warehouse with extended BI and visualization tools from Looker, we’ll be empowered with faster, more actionable data insights that will help drive our business forward and better serve our customers.”

The integration of Looker will be deepened into Google Cloud Platform (GCP). And customers will be able to continue benefiting from Looker’s multi-cloud functionality and its ability to bring together data from SaaS applications such as Salesforce, Marketo, and Zendesk along with traditional data sources.

This also enables companies to create a cohesive layer built on any cloud database including Amazon Redshift, Azure SQL, Snowflake, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, or Teradata along with other public clouds and in on-premise data centers.

“Now, we’ll have greater reach, more resources, and the brightest minds in both Analytics and Cloud Infrastructure working together to build an exciting path forward for our customers and partners. Together, we are reinventing what it means to solve business problems with data at an entirely different scale and value point,” added Looker CEO Frank Bien.

Looker was founded by Lloyd Tabb and Ben Porterfield. And the company board members include Tunguz, Marc Randolph, Rob Ward, Bill Trenchard, Frank Bien, Alan Black, and Lynn Vojvodich. And Looker is going to continue operating out of its existing offices in Santa Cruz, California.

Google was not the only company that was interested in acquiring Looker. Looker’s exec team also worked with Frank Quattrone of Qatalyst Partners for potential bidders and also received interest from Microsoft and Amazon, according to CNBC’s sources. Qatalyst is also known for facilitating the sale of Motorola to Google in 2011.

This deal is especially important for Google as its cloud business is trailing behind Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. According to Canalys, Amazon has a 32% cloud market share compared to Microsoft Azure at 13.7% and Google at 7.6%.