Google: Innovative Powerhouse

04/04/2014 8:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Gordon Pape

Editor and Publisher, The Income Investor and the Internet Wealth Builder

We've been watching a company whose innovative approach has taken it far beyond its origins as a search engine; it is exploring a wide range of technological frontiers from driverless cars to robots to high-tech glasses, explains Gordon Pape, editor of Internet Wealth Builder.

Google (GOOG) is a powerhouse. It would not surprise me to see it overtake Apple (AAPL) as the world's largest corporation within a couple of years.

Last year, it took in stand-alone revenue of $15.7 billion (not including Motorola Mobile. That was an increase of 22% over 2012.

The company reported net income of almost $3.4 billion ($9.90 per share, fully diluted), up 17% from $2.9 billion ($8.62 a share) in fiscal 2012.

The company ended the year with cash and marketable securities worth a mind-boggling $58.7 billion, compared to $48.1 billion at the end of 2012. By comparison, long-term debt is only $2.2 billion. Google is rolling in cash!

The company is using some of that cash to make strategic acquisitions. The most recent was the eyebrow-raising $3.2 billion purchase of Nest, announced in mid-January.

Nest is in the business of manufacturing thermostats and smoke detectors, which seems far removed from anything Google does. But the purchase offers an opening for the company to gain a foothold in the smart home sector.

It also brings iPod designer Tony Fadell (Nest's CEO) into the Google fold, which, as Wired magazine pointed out in a recent article, gives the company "near-instant—and much-needed—credibility in the world of hardware.”

Some of its projects will inevitably be written off. But the successful ones will translate into hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue, as happened with the Android operating system.

I know it's going out on a long limb but it's feasible that Google could be the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B) of the 21st century—a widely diversified and hugely successful company that everyone wants to emulate.

Whatever happens, I want to be a part of it, hence my small share purchase. I'm adding Google to my Recommended List as a primary core US holding.

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