Wed, Mar. 4, 1:58 PM
- A day after slumping to new post-IPO lows and coming within $0.03 of $80, Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) has seen dip-buyers emerge in large numbers. Naturally, Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) is along for the ride.
- The gains come as a Chinese publication reports Jack Ma once said he considered acquiring Yahoo, which plans to spin off its Alibaba stake into a publicly-traded company in Q4. Ma's alleged comments: "The acquisition of Yahoo is something I worked [on] a couple of years ago, this is a political problem, not an economic problem, Yahoo is a media [company], more sensitive."
- There has already been speculation Alibaba will try to buy Yahoo's spinoff (much less politically challenging than buying the whole of Yahoo) at some point. Bloomberg's Matt Levine has noted the spinoff will have to wait a year before a deal occurs, in order to maintain its tax-free status.
- Meanwhile, Alibaba's Aliyun cloud services unit (a giant in the Chinese cloud infrastructure market) has opened a Silicon Valley data center, its first in the U.S. For now, the data center will cater to Chinese companies with U.S. operations, but it plans to go after non-Chinese clients later this year. When it does, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and a slew of other incumbents will be waiting.
Wed, Mar. 4, 11:37 AM
- Bloomberg reports Facebook (FB +0.8%) is working on a mobile ad platform for 3rd-party apps that would compete against Twitter's (TWTR -2%) popular MoPub mobile ad server/exchange platform for publishers. Twitter is lower following the news.
- Bloomberg adds Facebook could unveil the offering at its annual f8 developer's conference (March 25-26), and might also make several other ad announcements at the time.
- Facebook used last year's f8 conference to launch its Audience Network, which allows advertisers to sell ads on 3rd-party apps while leveraging Facebook data and targeting tools. The company later launched a revamped version of its Atlas ad-serving/measurement platform that links measurement of both Facebook and non-Facebook ads to user profiles.
- Whereas Audience Network provides a set of Facebook ad units for publishers and advertisers, MoPub is a publisher-centric (i.e. supply-side) platform that gives developers a variety of tools (and access to many ad-buying platforms) for monetizing their ad inventory. Thus, creating a MoPub rival would represent an expansion of Facebook's efforts to act as an ad partner for app publishers.
- Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) AdMob is a major player in this space. Millennial Media (MM -0.9%) remains a notable independent player, in spite of its recent struggles.
Thu, Feb. 26, 9:20 AM
- Hungry as ever to add more project financing, SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY) has created a $750M fund to finance residential solar projects in 14 states and Washington D.C. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), which is no stranger to renewable investments, will be investing $300M in the fund.
- Google and SolarCity partnered on a $280M residential project fund back in 2011. SolarCity stated last week it had already lined up most of the financing it needed to hit a 2015 deployment target of 920MW-1GW.
- SolarCity has risen to $54.00 premarket.
Wed, Feb. 18, 12:15 PM
- Down AH yesterday due to the light sales guidance provided with its mixed Q4 results, Rackspace (RAX +1.4%) is now back above $50. Helping its cause: Pac Crest has upgraded to Outperform, and at least four firms have hiked their targets.
- Pac Crest cites enterprise and OpenStack momentum as reasons for upgrading: "In the second half of 2014, Rackspace won more large enterprise contracts worth at least $100,000 per month than it had in the prior five quarters combined ... management indicated that OpenStack now makes up more than 50% of its public cloud revenue, which implies OpenStack revenue is at least 15.6% of its total revenue."
- Cowen (target hiked to $75) now considers it likely Rackspace "will announce support for a mega cloud provider in 1H15," thereby boosting its long-term addressable market and lowering future capex needs (in exchange for sharing revenue). It adds sales guidance was in-line after adjusting for forex, and that EBITDA margin guidance was better than expected.
- Meanwhile, new CEO Taylor Rhodes argues the cloud infrastructure (IaaS) market's price war is calming down. "Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ:AMZN) in November, for the first time, didn’t make a price cut move ... AWS is feeling like they are the reference brand leader, that they are strong versus Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), so they don’t need to do it as much. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is cutting price, but who knows how much share they are actually taking."
- He also reiterates Rackspace's assertion that its OpenStack/hybrid cloud offerings are differentiated in the battle for enterprise accounts. "The mainstream market has two problems: They have legacy apps that won’t go [to multi-tenant public clouds] automatically ... the second problem they have is this skills set gap ... There is a need for software and tools development."
- Q4 results, guidance/details
Tue, Feb. 10, 9:53 AM
- WebMD (NASDAQ:WBMD) is down 2.9% as Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) rolls out a blog post saying it will answer basic health questions with summary information, directly in search results.
- Google says one in 20 queries are for health info, and that its users will see typical symptoms and treatments, along with illustrations, without clicking any further.
- Google cites working with a team of doctors on the information and verifying it with the Mayo Clinic for accuracy.
- Everyday Health (NYSE:EVDY), which has its own symptom checker, is down 1.6% as well.
Fri, Jan. 30, 5:30 PM
- Though it had previously struck a deal to use TubeMogul's (NASDAQ:TUBE) video ad-buying platform, snack food giant Mondelez partly opted to use Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) rival DoubleClick Bid Manager platform to run YouTube campaigns following "contentious behind-the-scenes negotiations," TheStreetSweeper reports. Google is believed to have used YouTube's TrueView ad system as leverage.
- An analyst talking with TheStreetSweeper: "It’s clear Tube’s technology is nothing special, since Google did this. And besides Google, there’s a lot of other companies that could do the same."
- TubeMogul CEO Brett Wilson has argued the Google/Mondelez deal is a positive for the online video ad industry at-large, and stated TubeMogul still thinks it "will continue to be used as Mondelez's software for brand advertising and will be the pipes, if you will, to facilitate any of their publisher buys Google or otherwise."
- In addition to the Mondelez deal, TheStreetSweeper cites strong insider selling from CTO Adam Rose (through an automatic trading plan) and steep multiples relative to peers Rocket Fuel and YuMe as reasons to be bearish on TubeMogul. Worth noting: TubeMogul's Y/Y sales growth (112% in Q3) is much stronger than that of either of the cited peers.
- Shares fell 4.5% in regular trading. Q4 results arrive on Feb. 26.
Fri, Jan. 30, 1:02 PM
- "Management offered a slightly-more-friendly rhetoric around the pace of investment in 2015, stating that it plans to “balance growth and discipline, and throttle back," writes Deutsche's Ross Sandler, pleased with Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) CC commentary (transcript) and reiterating a Buy. "At 14x 2016 consensus EPS, we see 5% downside and 40%+ upside from current levels"
- Sandler adds the tone of Google's call felt "a little more shareholder-friendly" than usual. "We suspect there is an effort underway to improve employee morale through a higher stock price."
- Credit Suisse: "[T]his is the second quarter in a row in which we are seeing signs the CapEx step up is starting to slow down ... Google is approaching a harvest cycle following what has now been a multi-year period of investment ... we are paying particular attention to its quickly growing Play and Display businesses to provide the next leg of revenue growth."
- SunTrust notes revenue would've beat consensus if not for forex, and that hardware sales were hurt by sourcing constraints. "Net-net, a noisy but solid quarter and certainly better than feared."
- Morgan Stanley, however, remains worried about a mature PC search market and a mix shift to lower-margin (read: non-search) revenue streams. "[W]e remain [Equal Weight] until valuation comes in further or we see a path towards higher growth and/or moderating investment levels.”
- Prior Google earnings coverage
Thu, Jan. 29, 7:53 PM
- With the Senate weighing a bipartisan effort to let companies repatriate offshore cash for five years at a 6.5% rate, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) CFO Patrick Pichette states on the Q4 CC the passage of such a bill would change how his company spends. He adds ~60% of Google's cash is offshore, and ~40% domestic. (CC live blogs: WSJ, BI)
- Google ended Q4 with $64.4B in cash/marketable securities, and $5.2B in debt. Speculation that dividends and/or buybacks might finally happen has grown a bit lately. Pichette says Google has nothing to announce regarding capital returns, but also insists Google does care about its stock price and reviews the matter with its board.
- Chief business officer Omid Kordestani states YouTube's mobile revenue more than doubled Y/Y. YouTube, which is trying hard to grab brand ad dollars from TV advertisers, has already disclosed mobile now accounts for ~40% of its global viewing time.
- Other CC highlights: 1) Google saw $150M worth of forex hedging gains in Q4. If not for them, forex's revenue impact would've been above $600M. 2) Pichette suggests Google would be hiring even more employees if it could find enough qualified personnel. 3) Over $900M of Google's capex went into real estate purchases.
- GOOG now +1.4% AH. Q4 results, details.
Thu, Jan. 15, 9:38 AM
- Lending Club (NYSE:LC) is partnering with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) to "facilitate low-interest financing" for the Google for Work (cloud business app) platform's 10K+ reseller, system integrator, and consulting partners.
- Lending Club will service the loans, and Google will buy them, thereby "investing its own capital in its partner network to drive business growth." A pilot program is currently available to eligible Google for Work resellers; they can receive "two-year loans of up to $600,000 to invest in growth initiatives."
- Lending Club is up sharply a day after posting steep losses.
Thu, Jan. 8, 9:59 AM
- Believing "the best days for shares may be behind it," Stifel's Scott Devitt has downgraded Google (GOOG -1.4%) to Hold. "Google is in the early to mid stages of a core business maturation. The company continues to find growth outside of search, but in structurally lower-margin business [segments] such as Google Play and YouTube."
- Devitt adds Google will face stiff competition as it further expands into vertical search categories such as travel, local, and e-commerce - some of those efforts have been faring well - and echoes other analysts in arguing Facebook's growing share of digital ad spend poses a threat.
- Devitt has also downgraded Priceline (PCLN -1.3%) to Hold, citing concerns about forex - the impact of a weak euro is already well-known - high marketing spend, and growing competition. "The online travel market continues to benefit from secular tailwinds such as mobile adoption, but we believe that shifts in the competitive landscape and macro headwinds warrant a moderate 2015 outlook."
- TripAdvisor (TRIP +0.4%) has been cut to Hold due to worries about delayed booking service launches and higher marketing spend, as well as growth concerns about TripAdvisor's core metasearch service (previous).
- Google, Priceline and TripAdvisor were already fairly close to their 52-week lows going into today. Google and Priceline both now trade for 17x 2015E EPS. Their 2015 revenue growth consensus estimates are respectively at 19% and 17%.
Dec. 16, 2014, 2:54 PM
- Though reiterating an Overweight rating, JPMorgan's Doug Anmuth has slashed his Google (GOOG -2.2%) target by $70 to $600, and also cut his estimates.
- Among other things, Anmuth cites "the transition from desktop to mobile search, continued margin compression, and increasing competition from Facebook."
- The indirect challenge posed by Facebook to Google's ad dollars was raised by some following Google's Q3 miss. Meanwhile, Facebook's Atlas (display ad-buying/measuring) and Audience Network (mobile ad network) platforms directly compete against Google's DoubleClick and AdMob units.
- The ability of Google search to deliver ads directly tied to user intent (i.e. what a user is looking to buy at a particular moment) still acts as a key selling point when battling for ad dollars. Facebook's ad targeting, by contrast, is often driven by previously-obtained user data.
- Shares have made new 52-week lows. Google now goes for 14x 2015E EPS exc. net cash/investments. The 2015 revenue growth consensus is at 17.7%.
Dec. 12, 2014, 11:33 AM
- In response to a new law requiring Internet companies to store their users' personal data within Russia (seen by critics as an attempt at censorship), Google (GOOG -1%) is shutting down its Russian engineering office.
- Nonetheless, Google insists it will increase its business investment in Russia next year, and says it still has "a dedicated team in Russia" to support local users.
- Yandex (YNDX +4.2%) has rallied following the news. LiveInternet.ru estimates Yandex had 60% of the Russian search market in Q3, and Google 31%.
- Google shut down its Chinese search engine (Google.cn) in 2010 rather than continue censoring its results. This week, the company announced it's shutting down Spain's version of Google news in response to a law requiring it to pay publishers for excerpting content.
Dec. 5, 2014, 8:19 AM
- Noting search maturity, lack of product catalysts, and margin pressure to investments in competitive and long-duration businesses like cloud computing and retail delivery, analyst Justin Post says his team's estimates for Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) are lower than the Street's.
- Post also cites increased regulatory risk, particularly in the EU, strong Apple product cycle and search contract renewal uncertainty, and competition and reversal in U.S. online ad market gains due to social media.
- Post and team lower their 2016 EPS estimate to $33.81 on revenues of $73.72B vs. the Street at $35.77 and $73.4B.
- Shares -1% premarket
Dec. 2, 2014, 1:46 PM
- In the latest sign that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) remains committed to Glass in spite of recent pessimism about its future, the Web giant has been awarded a patent for a more streamlined Glass design featuring a much smaller casing.
- The patent grant comes in the wake of a Sunday evening WSJ report stating a new version of Glass (the delayed commercial launch model?) sporting an Intel CPU will arrive next year, and that (Segway comparisons aside) Google still primarily views the display glasses "as a consumer device."
- Himax (NASDAQ:HIMX), which has asserted its LCoS microdisplay unit maintains a strong relationship with Google, is rallying on a day the Nasdaq is up 0.5%. Shares fell moderately yesterday amid a tech selloff.
Oct. 15, 2014, 4:45 PM
- Internet stocks are selling off in AH trading as Netflix craters in response to its light Q3 subscriber adds and disappointing Q4 guidance, and eBay slumps after providing weak Q4 guidance and reporting only 6% Y/Y Q3 Marketplaces growth.
- Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) -1.6% AH. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) -1.5%. Amazon (AMZN - taking share from eBay) -2.8%. Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) -1.9%. LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) -4.2%. YELP -1.4%.
- Internet ETFs: FDN, PNQI, SOCL
Sep. 12, 2014, 11:55 AM
Alphabet Inc through its subsidiary Google Inc is engaged in improving the ways people connect with information & products including Search, Android, YouTube, Apps, Maps & Ads. It also produces internet-connected home devices & provides internet services.
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