When Google distributed its first-quarter earnings report, many people were struck by one particular fact: the search giant had $26.5 billion in "cash, cash equivalents, and short-term marketable securities" as of March 31st. But Google’s going out of its way to make sure that money doesn’t just collect dust in a vault.
Google’s aiming to earn a proper return on its money, and is forming a team with its own special space to this end. Douglas MacMillan explained in a feature article, "Google’s trading room opened in January. . . . The investment team has grown to more than 30 people, up from six three years ago. Many of the new arrivals are former Wall Streeters who left lucrative careers at Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and other banks."
Don’t take this to mean that Google will be tying everything up in long-term investments or chasing hot stock tips like an ordinary investor, of course – two key concerns are keeping a lot of the money accessible in case a good acquisition opportunity appears, and, as you might expect, not losing it.
Still, MacMillan wrote, "[A]nalyst Aaron Kessler of ThinkEquity estimates the company’s 2010 return (including interest income and realized and unrealized gains before tax) at around 2.5 percent. That’s a higher return than some other large Internet outfits, such as Yahoo! and Amazon . . ."
And if you’re curious, 2.5 percent of $26.5 billion amounts to $662.5 million.