Google eyeing up to $30 billion in foreign buyouts

May 21, 2014 by Michael Liedtke

Google is amassing cash overseas to help finance a foreign shopping spree that could cost the Internet company up to $30 billion.

The potential price tag for Google's expansion plans outside the U.S. surfaced Tuesday in documents disclosing the company's response to recent questions raised by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Pressed to provide more details about its plans for its overseas cash, Google revealed that $20 billion to $30 billion is earmarked for the acquisition of and technology rights held outside the U.S. The Mountain View, California, company didn't specify a timetable for completing the deals or mention any acquisition candidates.

Google nearly pulled off a major acquisition late last year, according to the letter to the SEC. The company said it was in talks to buy a foreign company before abandoning the negotiations shortly before writing the Dec. 20, 2013, letter. Although the letter is five months old, the SEC didn't release it until Tuesday.

Google Inc. declined to comment on the letter.

Had the potential deal mentioned in the SEC letter been completed, it would have eclipsed Google's largest foreign acquisition so far—last year's $1 billion purchase of Waze, a digital mapping service based in Israel.

Google has spent about $27 billion buying other companies, primarily in the U.S., during the past decade. Its biggest acquisition so far has been Motorola Mobility, a cellphone maker snapped up for $12.4 billion two years ago. Google is now in the process of selling Motorola's phone business to Lenovo Group for $2.9 billion in a deal that still requires regulatory approval.

Besides buying foreign companies, Google also may spend about $4 billion buying offices and data centers outside the U.S, according to its explanation to the SEC.

Google's overseas cash totaled $34.5 billion through March. Another $25 billion is held in the U.S.

Like many other large technology companies, Google has been criticized for keeping money overseas to avoid paying U.S. taxes. Lawmakers in Britain and France also have lashed out at Google for avoiding taxes in their countries by booking revenue in Ireland, where tax rates are lower.

Google has steadfastly maintained that all of its financial reporting complies with tax laws around the world.

Most of Google's revenue comes from outside the U.S.

A proposal urging Google to pay its "fair share" of taxes around the world was rejected by more than 90 percent of the 's shareholders at a meeting last week.

Explore further: Google gets more guarded about acquisition numbers (Update)

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

'French to make 1 bn euro tax claim against Google'

Feb 04, 2014

French authorities have decided to make a tax claim of 1 billion euros against Google following a probe into the tax strategies by the US Internet giant, Le Point magazine reported Tuesday.

Google paid $151M for Zagat in flurry of 3Q deals

Oct 27, 2011

Google spent more than $500 million to acquire another 27 companies during the third quarter, ensuring this year will be busiest shopping spree in the Internet search leader's history.

Recommended for you

Android grabs 85% of smartphone market: survey

11 hours ago

Smartphones powered by the Android operating system captured 85 percent of the worldwide market in the second quarter, threatening to marginalize rival platforms, a new survey shows.

Chinese man brings gay conversion therapy lawsuit

16 hours ago

(AP)—A gay Chinese man said Thursday he was suing a psychological clinic for carrying out electric shocks intended to turn him straight, as well as the search engine giant Baidu for advertising the center.

Alcatel loss narrows in 2Q but revenue stagnates

17 hours ago

(AP)—Telecommunications equipment company Alcatel-Lucent SA says its net loss narrowed in the second quarter thanks to lower accounting charges, while revenue stagnated and restructuring charges mounted.

User comments : 0