Search engine giant takes Intel’s crown as the largest buyer and supporter of tech firms over the last three years
New data has shown that Google has overtaken Intel as the world’s most acquisitive company, buying or investing in 127 other companies in the last three years.
Research gathered by Bloomberg over the recent period found that the search engine giant overtook advertising firm WPP and previous leader Intel to take the top spot, with the others taking second and third place respectively.
Google’s 127 deals included both acquisitions and investments, and resulted in a total value of $17.6 billion over the past three years. This was more than double the number of deals recorded by the company over the previous measurement period. Intel, which was the top dealmaker in the previous three-year period, was only involved in 121 deals as the company looked to lessen costs elsewhere.
Google has ramped up its acquisition processes since the appointment of Larry Page as CEO in 2011. Under his leadership, the company has used its vast cash resources, which totalled $58.7 billion (£35.4 billion) in the company’s most recent financial results, to expand and diversify its business interests.
The company has a separate investment arm, Google Ventures, which has become a major supporter of start-up businesses, notably leading a $361.2 million investment in app maker Uber Technologies last August, and a new group called Google Capital which backs later-stage companies, recently helping online questionnaire company SurveyMonkey raise about $444 million last year.
The company’s mergers and acquisitions group, led by Don Harrison since December 2012, has expanded by at least 50 percent in the past two years, a person with knowledge of the unit said.
The company has enjoyed a rather busy first month and a half of 2014, recently completing the purchase of digital-thermostat maker Nest Labs for $3.2bn (£2bn), and London-based artificial intelligence developer DeepMind Technologies for $400m (£242m).
Last month, Google also announced the sale of the Motorola handset business to Lenovo for $2.91 billion (£1.76bn), having only acquired the company in 2012. However, under the deal, it did acquire the option to buy shares equivalent to nearly six percent of the Chinese manufacturer.
In its most recent financial results, Google posted a net profit of $3.4 billion (£2bn) for its Q4 2013 compared with $2.9 billion (£1.7bn) in Q4 2012. Revenues were also up at $16.9 billion (£10.2bn) – or $9.90 (£6) per share – compared to the $14.4 billion (£8.7bn) it posted in the same year-ago quarter.
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