One of the wonders of Google is the way they’ve been able to have Wall Street eat out of there hand at the same time the company slams the financial establishment. I’ve always felt that Google’s unconventionality was a bit affected. They seem to relish the role of outsider too much.
And if you watch carefully, Google has backed down several times when important principles were at stake--principles which they claim they stand for. Never underestimate these moments. There's a reason why I admire companies like Expeditors (EXPD).
The Google Dolls love to quote Warren Buffett but the company is perversely secretive. That’s not at the service of shareholders. The Journal asks Rashtchy about Google’s secrecy:
Google publicly discloses very little information about itself. How does that affect your ratings?
I don't find it particularly difficult because of a couple of reasons. I've known Google nearly since it started. And also I've covered the search industry longer than other analysts. Google is so big that I liken it to Wal-Mart. If you know the retail market, you have a pretty good chance of knowing how Wal-Mart is doing. I study the broader search market. In reality, Google has a very easy business model. It's basically how many searches they have done times how much revenue they get per search.
Having said that, Google discloses very little. It poses some difficulty for analysts, but it really poses more risk for investors. Right now, it is a boom time for Google, and people aren't that worried about a lack of transparency. Should there be any slip or any miss from expectations, investors could be very concerned and there could be some selloff because investors wouldn't know what caused it. So, yes, it is a factor.
No. Not at all. And by that, I mean yes. Investors could become concerned if at some point investors were to become concerned. He tells us how well he knows Google, but if he’s such an expert, why has he raised his price target five times since April? His own actions signal that there’s something important he’s been consistently missing.
What annoys me about most about Sarbanes-Oxley or antics of Governor-to-be Spitzer is that they’re only willing to attack targets once they’re down. Where were they before? I’ll be very blunt. Google is one of the most hostile companies to investors possible. What they’ve been allowed to get away with is ridiculous. And the slate is wiped clean all because the stock has gone up.
People like Safa Rashtchy aren’t helping things. Google’s rally isn’t going to last forever. Once the shares fall, some white-haired widow will son to her congressman, and then we’ll hear the indignation: “Wait a minute! This company has two classes of stock; one with ten times the voting power of the other! How come no one told us?