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UPDATE 1-Google to buy data analytics firm Looker for $2.6 bln

Paresh Dave

(Adds detail on acquisition target, analyst comment)

June 6 (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's Google said on Thursday it would buy Looker, a big-data analytics company, for $2.6 billion in cash, in the first major acquisition for new Google Cloud Chief Executive Thomas Kurian.

The deal builds on an existing partnership where the two companies share more than 350 customers, including BuzzFeed, Hearst and Yahoo, Google said https://abc.xyz/investor/news/releases/2019/0606 in a statement.

Looker provides a visualization tool that helps customers spot trends and draw other lessons from their data. It competes with tools such as Tableau and Microsoft Corp's Power BI.

"This is a true built-for-cloud visualization tool, and it signals Google Cloud is serious about making acquisitions," said Ray Wang, a cloud industry analyst at Constellation Research.

Alphabet shares were down 0.6 percent in early trading. (Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Nick Zieminski)