Google is now on track to acquire a new company every two weeks this year. It’s on quite the shopping spree, but for a company that made $24 billion last year alone, it might be exactly what the doctor ordered to keep up with significant competition in the smartphone and search markets.
Google has so far announced 19 acquisitions in 2010, well past the seven deals it closed last year and accounting for 28 percent of all of Google’s acquisitions to date, according to Reuters data.
Google has typically leaned toward acquiring smaller companies for either their personnel or technology. Aside from a few high-profile acquisitions — namely AdMob and travel software company ITA Software — Google has had a number of sub-$100 million purchases in the form of companies like GrandCentral (which later became Google Voice). And that strategy is unlikely to change, said Google vice president of corporate development David Lawee, who took over Google’s Mergers and Acquisitions group in 2008, according to Reuters.
Google has plenty of cash to continue its shopping spree. The search giant had around $11 billion in cash at the end of its most recent quarter, according to a 10-Q financial statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Acquisitions like the $750 million AdMob exit in 2009 might seem like a pretty significant fraction of Google’s cash reserves, but Google has consistently recorded net income of between $1 billion and $2 billion in all but one quarter since 2007, and generated more than $9 billion in cash flow from operating activities last year.