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If the economy tanks could Google still get bought?

I know Google is generating wads and wads of cash. But this money comes from advertising spend diverted to the Web. Its not a rising tide either. Google and Yahoo are winning by hoovering up bucks that might otherwise go elsewhere. Everyone else is hurting, from what i have read.  

Increasingly in my back mind base assumptions place, Google is some kind of wild force of nature, that will swallow things up but can’t really be stopped. Its a Great Wave. But in the event of a severe market downturn what will happen to its market value? I mean, a P/E Ratio of 95 is pretty optimistic about future growth prospects. 

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See that mountain in the background that looks so small? Well if the economy suffers a really bad shock, hedge fund collapse, $70 a barrel, or whatever it is, then suddenly the mountain comes to the fore, and the perspective shifts. Could another firm buy Google outright? Lets say the bottom falls out of the advertising market, taking Goog revenues down to $3bn a year (currently doing 1.25 a quarter). Combine that with a major fall out on share price- say take P/E to a more realistic, yet still outrageous, 15. Who could afford $45bn?

Why not buy all the cool technology and brand and fire those expensive PHDs with their 20% own time who don’t seem to be generating any cash yet? Why am i thinking about Google in this way? Partly because i have a post on the way about IBM’s decision to give Google enterprise props. I am not a financial analyst, as you can doubtless tell from the proceeding commentary. But i just wanted to check myself and think whether Google is buyable/rideable.

What do you think? Please excuse the multidimensional speculation, but i am hoping someone that runs numbers will explain why i am so off the mark.

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2 Responses

  1. Should the stock-market poop the bed, if Google has enough cash at the time, maybe they’d take the chance to buy themselves back and go private. They never seemed to want to go public except as a sort of “well, the founders & employees need a chance to cash out sometime” gesutre.

    It seems like Google really, really, really, really x 1,000 wants to be private.

  2. Remember that Larry, Eric and Sergey have a different class of stock than what’s available on the market.

    They control google irrespective of the rest of the stock. So any buyout would have to involve all 3 of them.



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