Yesterday, 7:39 PM
- Alphabet (GOOG +0.3%, GOOGL +0.2%) -- considered by many observers to be the best strategic prospect for buying Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) -- has hired Lazard to evaluate such a deal, Bloomberg reports.
- Twitter is up 5.4% after hours.
- Adviser hiring never means anything definite, but it does suggest the search giant is taking seriously the news and speculation that Twitter could be sold to any number of other companies, including Salesforce.com, Walt Disney or even AT&T.
- Twitter had hired Goldman Sachs and Allen & Co. to go over potential bids after getting interest from Salesforce. Meanwhile, Lazard served as adviser for Google as it agreed to acquire Apigee for $625M this month.
Yesterday, 3:05 PM
- Target to $1,025, up from $1,000 (current price $807.43 [Class A], $780 [Class C]).
- Analyst Mark Mahaney: "We see Street H2:16 Google growth deceleration concerns as excessive, with ongoing Search innovations, rising Mobile CPCs, and the growing impact of YouTube, Play & Cloud making ‘16-exit growth rates of up to 20% more likely than the Street’s mid-teens outlook. Our YouTube analysis suggests $10B revenue run rate w/30%-40% growth."
- A negative report out of Wedbush Securities sent shares of Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) lower earlier in the week, though both classes of the company's stock remain up moderately (2%) on the month.
Yesterday, 12:50 PM
- A previously restricted trial program is now confirmed to be gradually extending to Waze Rider users in the San Francisco area.
- Though differences between Alphabet's (GOOG, GOOGL) service and offerings by Uber (Private:UBER), Lyft (Private:LYFT) and others are notable (using Waze to determine riders traveling in a similar direction vs. fully on-demand service), Alphabet's focus on ride-sharing and automobile initiatives appears to be heightening despite recently claimed shortcomings involving some of its autonomous ambitions.
- Waze Rider (iOS, Android)
Wed, Sep. 28, 7:36 PM
- YouTube (GOOG, GOOGL) has tapped former Warner Music Group chief Lyor Cohen as its global head of music.
- Cohen's currently co-founder and CEO at 300 Entertainment, a record label featuring hip-hop artists including Fetty Wap and Young Thug in which Google has previously invested. He'll keep serving in that role until Dec. 5.
- Among other things, the move could amount to a peace offering with artists who feel they've been underpaid by streaming music services. In a letter to employees, Cohen says he wants to help the community "embrace the technological shifts we're seeing in music today so we can help take the confusion and distrust out of the equation."
Wed, Sep. 28, 6:28 PM
- Now officially linked in to wide-ranging speculation about who might buy Twitter (TWTR -3.2%): AT&T (T -1.5%).
- A purchase by AT&T could make sense, Mizuho's Neil Doshi writes, but he thinks Twitter's valuation is such that an acquisition doesn't really add up for anybody. He's downgraded TWTR to Underperform, with a price target of $15 (Twitter shares closed today at $22.96).
- If not great fits, the best fits for a Twitter purchase are Salesforce (NYSE:CRM), Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) and AT&T, "but that is about it" and "only Alphabet makes sense from a strategic perspective."
- Fundamentals at Twitter have "deteriorated significantly" over the past year, Doshi says. Verizon's paying about six times EV/EBITDA for the core of Yahoo (growing almost as fast as Twitter in many respects), while Twitter trades near a multiple of 16. Microsoft is buying LinkedIn for 20 times, though LinkedIn is growing much faster than Twitter.
- Meanwhile, Nomura reiterated a Neutral rating on Twitter and price target of $13, while Loop Capital downgraded to Sell from Hold, with a price target of $18.
Wed, Sep. 28, 7:39 AM
- "Paid search monetizes better than other digital media because its traffic is a good proxy for 'self-identified consumers,'" says Wedbush. "Google's (GOOG, GOOGL) recent mobile search ad changes push the traffic mix to paid from organic which has decelerated sharply."
- This creates "potential disequilibrium" in monetizing these consumers, says the team, as advertisers weigh the cost of search ads against return on investment.
- Wedbush cuts Google to Underperform and trims the price target to $700 versus yesterday's close of $783.
- Shares -0.5% premarket
Tue, Sep. 27, 4:54 PM
Tue, Sep. 27, 2:59 PM
- Labeled the Google Neural Machine Translation system (aka GNMT).
- Google (GOOG, GOOGL) notes that while speech and image recognition capabilities have progressed substantially by way of machine intelligence, translation has proven more demanding.
- GNMT is launched into production for Chinese to English translation on Google Translate's mobile and web apps as of today. Google notes 100% of machine translations between the languages will use the system with more of Translate's 10K supported language pairs to make use of GNMT in coming months.
- While advancement in the technology is notable, errors and mistranslations are nonetheless still to be expected.
- Full technical paper
Tue, Sep. 27, 4:41 AM
- Google (GOOG, GOOGL) has announced a new public Wi-Fi initiative called Google Station.
- The platform is an extension of work done in India providing Wi-Fi to millions of users at train stations, and the tech giant is now looking to make similar arrangements at universities, malls and other public areas around the world.
- Google will be able to monetize its hotspots in various ways, including access fees and ads, or they can make them free.
Mon, Sep. 26, 3:32 PM
- With Salesforce (reportedly working with Bank of America) (CRM -0.2%), Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) and The Walt Disney Co. (DIS -1.3%) rumored to be in the mix, Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) is said to be gearing up to present itself to potential acquirers.
- While a bid by Salesforce is seen as unlikely and unfavorable by some (Citi, Morgan Stanley), last Friday it appeared firmly in the mx. Alphabet, meanwhile, is considered a favorite by others, with the available cash, advertising expertise and social network tie-in possibilities to make Twitter work under a new parent organization. Now that Disney is the latest to reportedly join the group, sports, distribution and video prospects are being weighed.
- Trading up more mildly than Friday's run on this development, it appears analysts, investors and Twitter itself are unsure of what direction the company will take next. The negative reaction of Salesforce shares on Friday and Disney shares today, though, may signal difficulty in attaining favorable terms for all parties involved in a deal should one come closer to materialization.
- Update (3:41 PM ET): CNBC's David Faber adds Microsoft (MSFT -0.8%) in as a potential bidder.
Mon, Sep. 26, 12:37 PM
- "Andromeda" is a presumed hybrid operating system merging certain Android and Chrome capabilities. Further details are speculated to be touched on at Google's (GOOG, GOOGL) October 4 event.
- Reports suggest the company's first laptop hardware running this OS could come in Q3 2017, while noting specifications and evolutions of the project are subject to change. Presently, a 12.3-inch display, tablet functionality, 32GB/128GB storage and 8GB/16B RAM options, fingerprint scanners, USB-C ports, 3.5mm jack, stylus support, stereo speakers, quad microphones, 10-hour battery life, backlit keyboard, glass trackpad (haptic, force detection) and 10mm thickness are cited.
- The project is said to be referred to internally as "Bison".
- While nothing is confirmed, a move deeper into laptop/tablet innovation could signal an effort to compete more broadly with hardware offered by Apple, Microsoft and others.
Fri, Sep. 23, 12:34 PM
- An ordinance that would benefit Google Fiber's (GOOG, GOOGL) build-out in the city was passed on its third and final reading earlier this week. AT&T and Comcast had each contested the "One Touch Make Ready" regulation, however, with the former now filing a lawsuit against the city on its passing.
- Google on Tuesday's win: "This will allow new entrants like Google Fiber to bring broadband to more Nashvillians efficiently, safely and quickly. We look forward to continuing our work with NES and the local community."
- Comcast post-vote: "We thank the council members who were willing to take a deep look at the risks associated with, and inaccuracies of ‘One Touch’ and stand up for a better solution that is beneficial for all consumers."
- AT&T maintains a similar stance on the policy and has officially filed its lawsuit against Nashville regarding it today.
Fri, Sep. 23, 9:47 AM
- Cited features (voice-activated home functions, appliance control) similar to Amazon's (AMZN +0.3%) Alexa-powered Echo.
- Facial recognition capabilities also claimed. Apple (AAPL -0.3%) has previously acquired facial-expression technology companies Emotient (January 2016) and Faceshift (November 2015).
- Nothing is confirmed or finalized, however, with the project reportedly having just moved on from the research and development lab to prototype testing.
- Nonetheless, a development this way would signal entry into an entirely new hardware category for the company and bring it in line to compete with products already offered by Amazon (Echo) and those in the works at Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) [Google Home].
Fri, Sep. 23, 9:06 AM| Fri, Sep. 23, 9:06 AM | 100 Comments
Thu, Sep. 22, 3:32 PM
- Total funding now estimated to be around $4B with $295M of further capital possibly coming subsequent this close.
- Google Capital (GOOG, GOOGL) and Technology Crossover Ventures are said to have co-led the round.
- Airbnb (Private:AIRB) employees with the company for over four years were reportedly granted the ability to sell common stock through the deal ($200M employee-sold stock cited).
- Official SEC filing on the funding expected later today.
Wed, Sep. 21, 6:21 AM
- Google (GOOG, GOOGL) is launching its latest attempt to catch up in mobile messaging, targeting a market that is quickly expanding to become one of the most important platforms in the industry.
- On its official blog, Google wrote that its Allo app for Android an iOS "can help you make plans, find information, and express yourself more easily in chat" and "the more you use it, the more it improves over time."