How did Google become one of the largest companies in the world?
Google held its IPO on August 19, 2004, but at the time, the company was a relative unknown. The internet – let alone the concept of a search engine – was still in its relative infancy. At the time of its IPO, Google shares were worth $85 a piece.
Now, 19 years and 256 acquisitions later, Google is not only the world’s largest search engine but it’s synonymous with search engine itself. Nobody looks something up on the internet, they Google it. But the company is also far more than its internet empire. These acquisitions have taken Google into industries such as advertising, hardware and many more. To account for its growing areas of interest, in 2015, Google changed its name to Alphabet.
Under the new parent company, Google became a subsidiary, usually referred to as the search-and-services segment of earnings. This ‘core bets’ part of the business is comprised of Google, Android, YouTube and Google Cloud. The rest of Alphabet’s business is called ‘other bets’ and spans industries such as Fiber broadband (Access), artificial intelligence (DeepMind), startup investments (Google Ventures), smart homes (Nest) and ‘moon shot’ projects under the Google X wing, such as self-driving cars (Waymo), delivery drones (Wing) and robots (Boston Dynamics).
Despite a rough 2020 with Covid impacting businesses across the world, shares of GOOG trade for roughly ($106.70 as of April 10, 2023. Had you invested $1000 in Google’s IPO – buying 11 shares – your investment would now be worth over $47,000 thanks to a 2-4-1 stock split in 2014 and a second stock split of 20-1 in July 2022.
What companies does Google own?
Google owns approximately 256 companies for a total cost of about $20.89 billion. A lot of the businesses Google has acquired were all for their tech. What Google can’t do internally, it buys and incorporates into its own operations. The companies Google has acquired span industries such as social platforms, advertising, and cybersecurity.
Google's biggest acquisitions
Google’s biggest acquisition to date is Motorola Mobility, which it bought for $12.5 billion but was later sold to Lenovo for just a quarter of the price ($2.9 billion). Of Google’s current holdings, the largest acquisition deal was Nest for $3.2 billion.
Here are Google’s ten biggest acquisitions.
- Motorola Mobility, 2012, Telecommunications, $12.5 billion
- Nest, 2014, Home automation, $3.2 billion
- DoubleClick, 2007, Online advertising, $3.1 billion
- Looker, 2019, Data analytics, $2.6 billion
- Fitbit, 2007, Consumer electronics, $2.1 billion
- YouTube, 2005, Online video platform, $1.65 billion
- Waze, 2007, GPS navigation software, $1.3 billion
- HTC, 2017, Telecommunications, $1.1 billion
- AdMob, 2006, Mobile advertising, $750 million
- ITA Software, 2011, Software and travel, $700 million
Google’s acquisition history
Google’s acquisition history has seen it buy a lot of big names and build on an already impressive empire. And it doesn’t look like there’s any sign of its M&As slowing down either. However, a lot of Google’s most recent acquisitions remain fairly private – most recently, Google has acquired data and analytics company BrightBytes and the air quality monitoring company BreezoMeter but both deal amounts remain undisclosed.