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Will stock, hiring surge at a more transparent Google?

Sharon Gaudin | Aug. 12, 2015
Google's restructuring could finally deliver to Wall Street something it's been after for years: more insight into what the company is spending on things like Nest, drones and health research.

Historically, Google has released financials on three areas: the Google website, the network of third-party sites where ads are shown, and then a bucket that includes things like hardware, the Google App Store, Nest and everything else Google does.

Some analysts expect that by the fourth quarter, they'll see financials for Alphabet as a whole and each separate business, including Google, under that Alphabet umbrella.

Dawson doubts that.

"I think there will be a two-way split between core Google and the rest," he said. "There won't be a lot more transparency. You'll be no closer to knowing how profitable Nest is or how much Project Loon is costing. A lot will be buried under those general headings. They'll carry on being pretty opaque."

While Google hasn't given Wall Street the kind of transparency big investors want, the company's numbers have remained strong. Just last month, Google reported second-quarter financials showing that the company had overall revenues of $17.7 billion and revenue growth of 11 percent year over year.

Wall Street investors, though, have long wanted to know how Google is spending its money, which research projects are sucking up the most investment and which show real potential for return. That level of detail could relieve Wall Street and excite investors enough to raise the company's stock, which has been relatively flat for the last year or so.

The company's stock popped late yesterday after the restructuring was unveiled. It was up 6.5 percent after hours and, as of 3 p.m. ET today, it was up 4.03 percent.

A stronger stock price could help the company.

For instance, the hiring market has been especially tough in Silicon Valley with companies like Facebook and Netflix pulling out the stops to grab top-tier engineers and tech workers. Netflix, in fact, just began offering parents unlimited paid leave for a year as one of its perks.

With Google's stock flat, recruiters - as well as managers trying to retail the best workers -- haven't been able to dangle healthy stock options as an employment carrot.

"The stock has jumped, so it's not out of the question that the stock will rise," said Dawson. "But we're putting the cart before the horse. We need a lot more detail. We won't know what they'll be reporting until we get to that first report later this year.... There's just tons of questions we don't know the answers to right now."


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