Friday, 14 October 2011 00:54

Our Uber Growth Thesis For Google Is Intact and Performing Well Featured

Subscribers can expect fresh banking research to be released this weekend. In the meantime, CNBC reports that our (lone) bullish outlook on Google is on point: Google Earnings Blow Past Expectations; Shares Surge 13 Oct 2011

Google earnings and revenue blew past expectations, sending its shares sharply higher in after-hours trading.

Google shares finished the day at $558.99 and jumped more than 5 percent after-hours. 

"Christmas came early for Google shareholders," said Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Partners. "It was a great beat on the bottom line. It's not necessarily because they are controlling expenses. It's because they are driving more revenue," he said.

This driving of revenue is not inclusive of several multi-billion dollar start-up ventures that Google appears to be successfully nursing to the point of generating earnings. We are very, very optimistic about the Android initiative, which in three short years has become the dominant mobile OS in the world, up from virtually nothing (see below). Their expanding cloud services now offer a credible challenge in the enterprise SaaS space, actually winning large municipal and corporate accounts from Microsoft's Exchange Server. Display ad revenues are expanding rapidly as is their core bread and butter search ads (which they are wisely, aggressively and relatively rapidly diversifying away from).

The technology company reported earnings excluding items of $9.72 a share, up from from $7.64 per share a year ago. Net income rose to $2.73 billion from $2.17 billion. Net revenue, which excludes fees that Google shares with partner websites, increased 37 percent to $7.51 billion from $5.48 billion last year.

Analysts had expected Google to post earnings of $8.74 per share on net revenue of $7.22 billion.

Again, a total misunderstanding of how this company operates and the massive value embedded within in the form of a series of implicit, premium free call options.

"A lot of people were expecting spending to be out of control, but they had good control," said Herman Leung, an analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group.

That's because they couldn't differentiate between spending and investing. The investments are paying off quite handsomely, both in a vaccuum and in comparison to historical results, and the company has kicked investment into overdrive. If a similar ROI can be achieved over the next year or two, this company will be minting value and owning even more spaces in the Web, the Cloud, social media, advertising and mobile computing.

Google said they're getting a good  response to their Google Plus social-networking site, which just passed the 40-million user mark.

By far and large, the only credible extant threat to Facebook (see Did Goldman Just Rip Its HNW and Institutional Clients Once Again? Facebook Growth Slows Pre-IPO, Just As We Warned!).

Aggregate paid clicks, which come from ads on Google sites and its AdSense partners, rose 28 percent from a year earlier and the average cost-per-click increased 5 percent from a year earlier. Though, cost-per-click was down sequentially by 5 percent from the second quarter.

"The digital economy is still strong. Google is capturing all the economics from this and we are moving into the sweet spot when investors want to own Google," Gillis said.

And to think, this is the core revenue driver that the skeptics feared Google would lose control of, and be subject to excessive competition.

As excerpted from my diatriabe illustrating Google's performance from the 2nd quarter: Did A Blog Best Wall Street's Best of the Best In Guaging The True Value of Google? We Have To Think More Like An Entrepeneur & Less Like A Wall Street Analyst July 19th, 2011

First of all, congratulations to all BoomBustBlog subscribers that have recieved windfall profits on their researched Google positions for the second time in less than a calendar year. Google traded down to a 4 handle as recently as a couple of weeks ago and the January 880 calls (which I kept in inventory) were trading as cheap as 5 cents each. As I type this, those same options last traded at $1.40 each (now down to 1.05)- that's a 21x-26x return! 

Google's latest quarterly results should lead many - if not most - to believe Reggie Middleton and his team at the BoomBust bests ALL of Wall Street's sell side research. For previous examples (a lot of them), reference Did Reggie Middleton, a Blogger at BoomBustBlog, Best Wall Streets Best of the Best?

It is now well known that Google has once again knocked the ball out of park with their performance. Those who follow my blog know that I have been bullish on Google since the spring/summer of last year, with signfiicant profits being taken along the way. Many on the Street have turned rather negative on Google despite some of the most positive results and promising actions of its history, and in the industry! Why is that? How did I see so much value in Google while the Street was remiss, only to be taken totally and utterly by surprise? Let's take a historical traipse of my take on Google, but first we peruse the "short term-ities", looking forward only three months at at time mentality of Wall Street to ascertain why only Reggie Middleton's BoomBustBlog screamed on the The Gross Misvaluation of Google. [Subscribers, please follow along with the subscription documents - Google Q1 2011 earnings review - Google’s Q1 2011 Review: Part 2 Of My Comments On The Gross Misvaluation of Google and the subscriber forensic analysis (63 pg Google Forensic Valuation, to plug in your own assumptions see Google Valuation Model (pro and institutional).]


Has Google given investors a reason to believe in Page's diatribe?

Reference the BoomBustBlog post, A Realistic Look At The Success Of Google's Investment History

As promised, I am presenting historical justification of the logic behind my call of absurdity in the drastic drop in share price after Google announces a redoubled effort in investment and marketing of its nascent businesses. I went into the logic in detail via our Google Q1 2011 earnings review - Google’s Q1 2011 Review: Part 2 Of My Comments On The Gross Misvaluation of Google. The following pages are excerpted the subscriber forensic analysis (63 pg Google Forensic Valuation, to plug in your own assumptions see Google Valuation Model (pro and institutional).

To begin with, Google apparently realized early on that it could better realize returns by investing shareholder capital through acquisitions. It has actually been quite acquisitive, making 88 purchases over the last 13 year. Last year was Google's most acquisitive year, ever!

While many of the referenced acquisitions have been to bolster existing products, several have literally become home runs - rising to the top of their respective categories and even threatening to go farther in that hey have the distinct potential to creatively destroy the status quo of several multi-billion dollar industries. Let's walk through a sampling.

Doubleclick + Youtube + Google TV (organically grown)

This combination is probably the closest thing to a direct replacement for TV as we know it. Even if Google TV does not succeed, YouTube is currently the most watched video site, by far and Doubleclick (for monetization, along with adsense style ads) is the 2nd largest display ad entity. Again, the potential to reconfigure the TV industry. Google is already seed funding original content and cutting licensing (streaming rental) deals with the large established studios. The ability to threaten TV as we know it was purchased for just over $1 billion. A pretty good investment, no? Would the NY Times parent co., Fox, Disney, NBC/Universal have considered this a wise purchase?

Admob and Android

For a mere $250 million (plus ongoing support and development costs and investments), Google now commands the largest global footprint of mobile phone OS, the fastest global mobile phone OS growth rate, the largest (by a very, very wide margin) mobile ad presence, and inarguably the most disruptive force in mobile computing. What tech, media, telecomm or strategic investment company would NOT by the Android/Admob combo now for 10xor eve 15x what Google paid for it? Microsoft, Nokia, Apple, Samsung, LG, RIM, Oracle, IBM, HP, anyone???

The list of strategic acquisitions that have paid off in spades goes on, as well as the requisite flops that go along with a high volume strategy.

So, assuming that Google has done a good job at spending its shareholder's money and sprouting several billion dollar businesses to assist in the diversification away from pure web search advertising - and realizing that last year was Google's most acquisitive to date, and realizing that Google is dumping more money into research, marketing, headcount and acquisitions now than in any time in its existence (including last year), should you be bullish on the stock? Three or four more Androids, YouTubes, Admobs and Doubleclicks to disruptively take over 5 or six more multi-billion dollar industries is a reason to lop 15% off of this stocks price (which currently barely accounts for just the search engine potential)???

As excerpted from Google’s Q1 2011 Review: Part 2 Of My Comments On The Gross Misvaluation of Google:

For the quarter ended March 31, 2011 Google reported gross revenues (before traffic acquisition costs) of $8.58bn, an YoY increase of 26.6% and QoQ increase of 1.6% while net revenues (after traffic acquisition costs) increased 29.1% YoY and by 2.6% sequentially to $6.54bn. The YoY growth in gross and net revenues was the highest at least since 2008 demonstrating a increasingly momentum in the growth of Google’s digital ecosystem. The increase in net revenues (after TAC) was actually stronger than the increase in gross revenues, indicating that Google has not only packed in growth but lowered aggregate top line expenses.

 However, despite a strong set of results the stock took a severe beating and was down c8% as the results were short of analyst expectations. The market’s reaction to Google’s numbers clearly reflects the very myopic view of US public markets wherein a stock is dumped if it fails to beat consensus – even when this view clearly overlooks the broader picture.

Google’s adjusted earnings came in at $8.08 a share below the $8.17 expected by the markets. However, a closer look at the results reveals that the perceived shortcoming was not a result of a revenue miss or margin compression but on account of Google’s entrepreneurial (and quite applaudable – at least from this investor’s perspective) endeavor to invest heavily in future projects. The miss was principally due to higher research and development expenses as the company continues to invest in new emerging businesses like Display, Mobile and Enterprise. Research and development expenses (including stock based compensation expenses) grew 50% YoY to $1.2bn and was 14.3% of gross revenues in Q1 2011 vs. 12.5% in Q4 and 12.1% in Q1 2O10. Had research and development expenses at 12.5% of gross revenues, the earnings would have been $8.51 per share, a clear beat to consensus and stock would have seen a roller coaster ride – despite the fact that future prospects would have been a fraction of that they are now due to lower investment in the future. Google has proven that their investments yield superior returns to that of cash holdings, ex. Youtube, Android, Admob, Google Voice, Teracent, etc. Instead, the stock was pushed down 8% as the shorter term players in the market reacted. Players such as sell side analysts whose employers benefit from the shorter horizon churning of stocks vs. a longer horizon and outlook, and traders who act on price movement and not value, were(are) clearly tangled between web of OPEX (ongoing cost for running a product, business, or system) and CAPEX (expenditures creating future benefits).

You see, the Street has become so accustomed to playing the earnings management game with their favored companies that most of them have actually lost the ability to ascetain true value outside of quarterly accounting earnings!

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