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AKIPRESS.COM - Google eyed buying a mystery foreign company with a $4 billion to $5 billion valuation but eventually dropped the deal, the Forbes said May 21.
The search giant, which has some of the biggest offshore cash holdings among U.S. companies, has no plans to bring that money back home any time soon, it explained in the letter, which was a response to an SEC inquiry. In fact, it plans to spend $20 billion to $30 billion on foreign deals — big news that suggests it will ramp up its acquisition activity.
But buried inside the letter is a tantalizing nugget about a major potential deal that fizzled into nothing.
“Further, we recently pursued but discontinued a potential buyout of a foreign company, with a valuation estimated in the range of $4 to $5 billion,” the company wrote.
That deal would have been huge — Google’s second-biggest acquisition ever and a major spend of its foreign cash, which can’t be used for U.S. acquisitions. Google paid $12.4 billion in 2012 for Motorola Mobility and $3.2 billion in January for Nest.
Google did not name the company or give any other details about it, and a Google spokesperson declined to comment. Analysts could only guess.
“It’s just so murky,” said Needham and Co. analyst Kerry Rice. “We don’t even know what vertical — it could be search, e-commerce, alternative energy.”
Whatever it was, it could have been a key part in more foreign acquisitions, which Google called “a part of our overall growth strategy.” The original SEC letter asked Google for more details about what it planned to do with the $33 billion it has parked overseas. Google responded that it “continues to expect substantial use of our offshore earnings for acquisitions,” especially as it expands into industries where its competitors are globally based.
Google spent $1.4 billion in 2013 on more than 20 deals, and pointed to its $1 billion purchase of Israeli traffic and mapping startup Waze as a purchase made with its foreign cash.