Google overhaul 'shareholder friendly' but details scarce

Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:26am EDT
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By Lehar Maan

(Reuters) - Google Inc's overhaul of its operating structure is an acknowledgement of the lack of transparency surrounding its disparate businesses and projects, analysts said, but it remains to be seen how much more the company will actually disclose.

Analysts and investors have long sought more granular detail on Google's capital spending and cash flow, as well as the financial performance of YouTube and Android.

Google said on Monday it would split into two reporting companies under a new holding company called Alphabet.

One will hold its core search and Web advertising business, and the other its newer ventures such as driverless cars and Internet-connected thermostats made by its Nest business.

Google shares were up 5.4 percent at $698.74 in early trading on Tuesday as investors anticipated - as MKM Partners analyst Rob Sanderson put it - "a new era of shareholder friendliness".

Still, Google did not say what details it would disclose.

"Should Google move to 'segment reporting' as referenced in its filing, we would expect to get revenues and expenses for the core and non-core businesses, which should help bring clarity to any profitability drag caused by its non-core assets and their trajectory," said Goldman Sachs analyst Heather Bellini.

J.P. Morgan analysts said fuller disclosure could make the market more accepting of Google's heavy non-core investments.   Continued...

A Google search page is seen through a magnifying glass in this photo illustration taken in Berlin, August 11, 2015.  REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski