Google has generated a large amount of cash due to the profitability of their business. It currently has $26.5 billion 3rd only to Microsoft and Intel of short term holdings of technology companies (though Apple likely should be considered as having higher cash holdings). Google’s Latest Launch: Its Own Trading Floor:
After a couple years of cautious cash management at Google, Callinicos says he’s beginning to build a higher-risk, higher-return portfolio. Since last year he has pulled away from U.S. government notes and moved into corporate debt securities ($4.9 billion as of Mar. 31, up from $695 million the year before), agency residential mortgage-backed securities ($3.3 billion, up from $60 million), and foreign government bonds ($332 million, up from zero).
The largest Google holdings are: cash 35%, corporate debt 18%, US agency debt 13%, residential mortgage backed US agency securities 13%, municipal securities 8%, US government notes 8%. For all the debt problems with government, consumers and corporations that followed advice of mortgage bankers to overly leverage themselves there are many companies that have much larger cash holding than every before. Google is one but many other companies have built up large cash positions as well.
I have been a long term investor in Google and think it is a great buy now. I don’t see myself selling it anytime soon (maybe anytime at all). I do worry a bit about Google wasting the cash on buyouts they are tempted into due to huge amounts of cash on hand. Hopefully they will avoid such mistakes. I think they may well be better off paying a dividend but they seem apposed to that idea.