Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Harris and Harris (NASDAQ:TINY) are both fairly large holdings for me, though Google is much bigger and is currently neck and neck with Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) for the title of my largest individual stock holding. Lots of chatter today about the Google and Harris and Harris secondaries, so I thought I'd post my thoughts, too. First, Google.
I don't understand the Google secondary offering at all. The Googlers have done a great job this year, earnings growth is spectacular and free cash is coming in a gusher. They have no debt, and they have always indicated that they aren't interested in major acquisitions (though I assume they'll continue to make small acquisitions with some frequency, a la Picasa, Keyhole and Urchin).
So that begs the question, what do they need $4 Billion for?
One has to assume it's for investing in growth, but it's a little disheartening to see this dilution without a plan that's released to the shareholders. There has been a lot of insider selling as we celebrate the one year anniversary of GOOG going public, but that doesn't bother me at all. These people toiled for years for the promise of riches, it's fine for them to diversify their investments and cash out some of their holdings when they can.
I hope that they need the money for something good, and I guess I have to trust management to have a plan. I generally like that they are closed-mouthed with the analysts on earnings projections, etc., but I do wish actual news about operations and management plans was a bit more forthcoming. I expect that this money is for more significant expansion overseas, most likely especially in Asia where they have some catching up to do to make it to the top of the search engine heap. I applaud that initiative if that is indeed their aim.
Whatever else I've said, this relatively minor dilution is not enough of a worry for me to sell, and if the share price falls much further than this dilution should mandate I might again be a buyer. My last buy was at $240, and my fuller, somewhat dated writeup on Google can be found here.