This summer brought big news for the tech world: Google (GOOG) finally cleared its last hurdle and closed its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility. This buyout has been in the works since mid-August of last year and represents the largest wireless-equipment deal in over ten years. Motorola Mobility - best known for manufacturing Android-based smartphones like the popular Droid - was spun off from Motorola Solutions (MSI) in January of last year. The company also owns about 17,000 patents, which should be great for Google's defense against lawsuits from competitors like Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT). Since Google completed its acquisition of Motorola Mobility in July of this year, it has wasted no time in announcing a 20% layoff of workers. The slimmed-down company will trim its bloated line of phones. How Google handles its other partners, like Samsung, is an open and important question. I expect Google to continue to treat Samsung as a partner instead of a competitor, at least for the near future.
Google's new Nexus 4 mobile phone will go head-to-head with Apple's iPhone, with both companies controlling their own hardware and software. But phones are not Google's only way into the hardware arena. It recently launched the Nexus 7, a tablet focused on Google Play, an online Apple Store-equivalent with a whole collection of apps, books and games for Android-operated devices. Google is setting itself up to take rival Apple head-on. So far, Google has shown it can hold its own against Apple. Google mobile devices have a large market share. Google based Android devices far outstrip Apple in the smartphone market. More than half the smartphones sold in the first quarter this year were Android-based phones. I expect such conditions to continue, and only get better for Google.
Google also does a lot of other things. For instance, it is focusing on wind power. It is a broadband internet provider, using high speed fiber optics. It is a cloud computing company. It is also developing self-driving technology for automobiles. This diversity only makes the company more attractive. It is truly a broad based technology company, whose name is synonymous with technological convenience.
In its 2011 annual report, 96% of Google's revenue came from advertising last year. The success of Google's search engine is being used to finance diversification in many directions. As Google begins to sell more and more devices in direct competition with Apple, I expect a significant increase of revenue going forward.
Google is not expensive based on valuation. Google currently has a P/E ratio of 21.16, which compares to a five-year growth rate in earnings of 24.5%. Its operating margins and profit margins are impressive. Growth in advertising revenues has been consistent, and I believe this will continue. The company will soon begin profiting from its new ventures. The stock has been flat over the past several months and presents significant value. I believe Google is headed for a very nice turnaround in the coming months.
Google is a market mover in the technology sector and will only get stronger. Out of the 88 companies that comprise the Internet Information Providers industry, Google is the largest in terms of market cap at $221.30 billion. The company also produces a very healthy 18% return on equity, and it is at the top in terms of year-over-year earnings growth. Compared to the industry, Google is in the top third in terms of sales growth and long-term growth rate.
I believe Google is a strong buy right now. The company has been aggressive in expanding and will see very healthy growth from its acquisition of Motorola. Going forward, Google will not be so heavily dependent on advertising for its revenue growth. This will reduce the volatility associated with advertising revenue. It will also allow for a substantial increase in the bottom line. I believe this stock is geared to see minimum price appreciation of 20% to 25% in the next 12 to 24 months.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.