Wed, Jul. 13, 6:43 PM
- Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT) closed today up 3.5% after touching a 52-week high on news that it's looking into strategic alternatives -- which could include a buyer from outside telecom.
- Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is speculated to be a possibility among suitors, but so is Google (GOOG, GOOGL), with whom Level 3 signed an interconnection agreement earlier this year.
- Citigroup analysts Michael Rollins and Neth Wiedemann can't confirm the reports, but they love the stock ("top pick within our coverage group given its growth, financial flexibility, valuation, and strategic optionality") and float another candidate: rival Zayo Group (NYSE:ZAYO).
- Zayo could itself be an attractive target for a cableco, but "We also would not dismiss the possibility that Level 3 and Zayo could consider a merger scenario to become a larger competitor for the enterprise market against the incumbents AT&T and Verizon Communications."
Mon, Jun. 27, 3:40 PM
- In a new setback for computer users, Google (GOOG -0.9%, GOOGL -0.5%) and Viacom (VIA -5.5%, VIAB -5.3%) prevailed in a lawsuit over children's Web privacy, though Viacom will still face one charge tied to the case.
- The two companies won on appeal of a class action suit that had charged them with illegally tracking children under 13 who visited Nickelodeon's website.
- That largely upholds a January 2015 ruling, but resurrects one state-law claim against Viacom saying the company promised not to collect children's info on Nick.com but did so anyway. That claim is remanded to a New Jersey District Court Judge.
Fri, Jun. 24, 6:51 PM
- Facebook (FB -2.6%) is pressing its wireless connectivity ambitions by hiring Kevin Lo -- a co-founder of Google Fiber who served as the project's first manager when it was still a moonshot.
- Lo will hold the title of director of Infrastructure Connectivity and Investments at Facebook. He left Google last year just before the Alphabet (GOOG -3.8%, GOOGL -4.2%) reorg.
- That means he'll help lead Facebook's partnerships tied to connectivity, including a recent deal to lay a new trans-Atlantic data cable with Microsoft as well as the Terragraph urban project.
- Facebook says, however, that it's definitely not getting into the service-provider business like Google Fiber is, and that Lo will not work on the controversial Free Basics emerging-markets app.
Fri, Jun. 17, 9:49 AM
Fri, May 20, 10:31 AM
- Shares in Sohu.com (NASDAQ:SOHU) are up 3.5% in U.S. trading after a Chinese newspaper reported it's in talks to partner with Google (GOOG +1.3%, GOOGL +1%) on searches.
- The South China Morning Post says the two have talked about a partnership where Google would perform "some of the searches," while Sohu's search engine Sogou would screen the results. Meanwhile, other Google applications (including Google Play and Google Maps) would return to China's market, TheFly noted.
- Now read Sohu.com: The Next Privatization Target »
Thu, May 19, 6:56 PM
- Google's (GOOG -0.9%, GOOGL -0.9%) CEO of autonomous cars says there's no plans to expand a partnership with Fiat Chrysler (FCAU -3.3%) on building such a car for market.
- "This is just FCA and Google building 100 cars together," John Krafcik said at an energy conference in Washington.
- The two companies described a partnership early this month where the two would build 100 Pacific minivans, but each firm said the deal wasn't exclusive and that they could seek out other partners.
- Those vehicles weren't designed for sale, and Google said it wasn't sharing proprietary info with Fiat Chrysler, but FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne had suggested the deal could evolve into something stronger.
- There's no timetable for marketing the cars, Krafcik says, but: "We have a responsibility to get this out there as soon as we can and really as soon as we have data that says we're better than the current system of flawed human drivers ... As soon as we're better, we should push the button and go."
- Now read Google's Payoff: After A Decade Of Research, Search Turns Into AI »
Tue, May 10, 10:01 AM
- Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) is up 2.8% and touching an all-time high, just shy of $700/share, following news that it's launching its own YouTube-esque user video upload service.
- Users can start today in uploading their own or licensed videos to Amazon Video Direct, and earn royalties based on hours streamed. The company's users can even decide whether the videos are free to all, to rent or own, or offered as a subscription channel or behind the Prime paywall.
- That's a direct lineup with YouTube (GOOG +0.9%, GOOGL +0.9%) and another front in a rivalry with Google that now broadly covers shopping and Web services as well as areas like devices.
- Like YouTube, Amazon will keep 45% of revenues from ads on the free broadcasts. Users who choose to upload ad-free Prime videos will get $0.15/hour streamed in the U.S. and $0.06/hour overseas; Amazon keeps 50% of revenue from subscriptions, purchases and rentals.
- Launch partners include Conde Nast, The Guardian, Mattel and Mashable.
- Now read Amazon Web Services: The New Face Of Tech Giant's Profitability »
Fri, Apr. 22, 2:45 PM
- Alphabet (GOOG -5.2%, GOOGL -5.5%) is lower today after a Q1 miss driven by ad price declines, and nearly a dozen analysts have come in with price target declines.
- Notably, all of those maintain Buy ratings, suggesting a valuation adjustment and some product-based catalysts ahead.
- The lowest targets on GOOGL came from SunTrust Robinson Humphrey and Morgan Stanley, trimming to $850 from $875 and $900 respectively. GOOGL is trading at $737.49.
- SunTrust's Bob Peck says "the bull/bear debate will center around the secular cost headwinds from mobile and programmatic TAC and the incremental core investments vs. solid ex-FX topline results, the inherent leverage of the platform and incremental cash flows.”
- On another end of the scale, Oppenheimer trimmed its target to $958, and Credit Suisse maintained its target at $920, saying “Google continues to show signs of opex control and controlled capex as both came in below our expectations, which led to better-than-expected adjusted EBITDA.” Macquarie actually boosted its target, to $890.
- Other cuts: Baird, to $860 from $880; FBN, to $875 from $925; B. Riley, to $875 from $930; Stifel Nicolaus, to $888 from $930; JMP, to $904 from $916; and Jefferies, to $925 from $950.
- Now read Did Alphabet Wreck Tech? »
Fri, Apr. 22, 9:57 AM
- Tech peace in our time? Microsoft (MSFT -7.3%) and Google (GOOG -4.8%, GOOGL -5.3%) have agreed to drop the regulatory complaints they have against each other, on a global basis.
- There's no product commitments in the deal, but it may help relieve headaches such as the one Google is facing with the EU's case against Android.
- “Microsoft has agreed to withdraw its regulatory complaints against Google, reflecting our changing legal priorities,” that company tells Re/code.
- Google: “Our companies compete vigorously, but we want to do so on the merits of our products, not in legal proceedings.”
- Now read Alphabet: Sunk By Hidden Costs »
Thu, Apr. 21, 5:39 PM
Thu, Apr. 21, 4:29 PM
- Ad price declines pressured Alphabet/Google's (GOOG, GOOGL) Q1 results: Cost per click (CPC) was flat Q/Q but down 9% Y/Y. The company has previously said YouTube video ad growth has depressed CPCs; relatively low smartphone search ad prices have also been an issue. CPCs fell 12% on Google sites and 8% elsewhere.
- Paid clicks: Ad click growth remains strong: Paid clicks were down 3% Q/Q (seasonality) but up 29% Y/Y, a growth rate nearly even with Q4's 31%. Paid clicks rose an impressive 38% on Google sites (YouTube, mobile search, and shopping search ad growth), and just 2% on other sites, where ad policy changes and competition from Facebook have weighed.
- Segment performance: Google segment revenue rose 17% Y/Y to $20.1B; op. profit rose 21% to $6.3B. The Other Bets segment (dominated by Nest/Dropcam, with Google Fiber also playing a role) saw revenue rise 108% to $166M; op. loss grew to $802M (nearly 5x revenue) from $633M. Forex had a 600 bps impact on total revenue growth (+17% vs. +23%).
Within the Google segment, Google sites ad revenue rose 20% to $14.3B, and Network sites ad revenue 3% to $3.7B. Other revenue (Google Play, hardware, etc.) rose 24% to $2.1B.
- Financials: Traffic acquisition costs were 21% of Google ad revenue vs. 22% a year ago. Cost of revenue was 38% of revenue vs. 37%, and operating expenses 36% vs. 37%. Stock compensation expense totaled $1.5B vs. $1.2B. The tax rate fell to 18% from 24%, and headcount grew by nearly 9K Y/Y to 64,115.
$2.3B was spent to buy back 3.2M shares. Notably, capex fell 17% Y/Y to $2.4B. That, along with revenue growth, helped free cash flow rise 37% to $5.2B. Google/Alphabet ended Q1 with $75.3B in cash/investments (much of it offshore) and $5.2B in debt.
- GOOG -5% after hours to $720.25. GOOGL -4.6% to $743.95.
- Q1 results, earnings release (.pdf)
Tue, Apr. 19, 7:30 PM
- The preliminary proxy for Google parent Alphabet (GOOG -1.7%, GOOGL -1.5%) shows a big decline in pay for Chairman Eric Schmidt, and a sizable sum for first-year Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
- Schmidt's total compensation for 2015 was $8M, sharply down from $108.7M, as $100.4M in stock awards in 2014 made up the difference.
- Meanwhile, Pichai earned $100.5M at the helm of Google -- $652,500 in salary, and $99.83M in stock awards. And Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat earned $31M in her first year there ($395K in salary, $5M in bonus, $25.1M in stock awards and $549K in other compensation).
- Former CFO Patrick Pichette earned $56.5M, and former Chief Business Officer Omid Kordestani earned $16.9M total.
- As in the past few years, Alphabet's CEO Larry Page and President Sergey Brin each earned just $1 in total comp.
- Now read Google Takes On Akamai And Teams Up With Autodesk As Its Cloud Reach Grows »
Thu, Apr. 7, 2:58 PM
- Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) shares have jumped into positive ground, now up 1.2%, on news that Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is proceeding with a bid for its core assets.
- Shares were down as much as 2.6% today.
- Alphabet unit Google (GOOG, GOOGL) is also weighing its own bid, Bloomberg reports, with interest also showing up from Bain Capital and TPG. Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME) is still out there as well.
- AT&T (NYSE:T) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) are losing interest, Bloomberg also said, with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) also deciding it wouldn't bid.
- Verizon might also put in for Yahoo's Japan interests, the report said.
- Updated 3:06 p.m.: After a big spike into positive ground, Yahoo shares have gone negative again, -0.1%. Verizon is said to value the core business at less than $8B, vs. Yahoo's hopes for a $10B valuation, and has engaged three banks.
- Now read Yahoo Should Be At Least $48 A Share »
Wed, Mar. 23, 1:39 PM
- At its GCP Next 2016 cloud user conference, Google (GOOG, GOOGL) has unveiled a Cloud Speech API that provides voice recognition services for third-party apps.
- The API supports 80+ languages, and can work in either real-time streaming and batch mode. Notably, Google (has made huge A.I./machine learning investments) says the API will rely on the same neural network powering voice search used by Google's search and keyboard apps. It will initially be free to use; Google plans to eventually charge, while offering low-cost pricing tiers.
- VR software leader Nuance (NUAN -4.2%), which claims an ecosystem of 30K+ developers, has sold off on the news. In December, Nuance unveiled its Mix platform, which provides developers working on mobile apps and IoT devices with SDKs that can be used to embed voice recognition and text-to-speech functionality.
- Also announced by Google: Cloud Machine Learning, a platform that allows developers using Google's cloud infrastructure to add A.I./machine learning functionality to their apps. The service could compete against IBM's Watson Developer Cloud platform.
Wed, Feb. 3, 11:13 AM
- Bloomberg reports Google (GOOG, GOOGL) is "planning to publicly give its support" for Qualcomm's (QCOM +1.4%) first ARM (ARMH +2.2%) server CPUs at an investor event next week. It adds Google and Qualcomm have cooperated on design work, and that the former will commit to using the latter's chips if they meet performance goals.
- Google is the world's biggest server buyer, and has largely relied on Intel's (INTC -4.1%) Xeon CPUs. The Web giant's adoption of Qualcomm processors, even if for only a fraction of its workload, would act as a major reference win for the fledgling ARM server CPU market. There has been speculation Amazon might also adopt ARM server CPUs, following its acquisition of chip startup Annapurna Labs (recently unveiled a line of low-end network processors).
- Qualcomm is just four months removed from showing off a prototype ARM server CPU featuring custom cores. The company has been hoping the server market will provide a long-term sales lift as it continues dealing with mobile pressures - Qualcomm's chip division (QCT) sales fell 22% Y/Y in calendar Q4 to $4.1B.
- Intel has been hoping to keep Google and other major Web/cloud clients loyal in part by providing custom Xeon CPUs, and by creating products that place Xeon chips and recently-acquired Altera's FPGAs (can be programmed on the fly to handle new algorithms/code) in the same package. Qualcomm has partnered with Altera archrival Xilinx.
- Qualcomm and ARM are higher in spite of a 1.6% Nasdaq drop. Intel is underperforming; shares are down 3.3% after accounting for the fact Intel is trading ex-dividend.
Tue, Feb. 2, 9:17 AM| Tue, Feb. 2, 9:17 AM | 5 Comments
Alphabet, Inc. is a newly founded holding company for the Google group of businesses. Under the new operating structure, its main Google business will include search, ads, maps, apps, YouTube and Android and the related technical infrastructure (the 'Google business'). Businesses such as Calico,... More
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