Saturday, July 18, 2015

Google's New CFO Says Return Money to Shareholders, Maybe?

On June 7th, in the context of the sometimes great hubris of the corporate engineering class, we wrote that Google should consider paying a dividend.

In her first conference call, Google's new CFO thought out loud about buying back shares or paying a dividend.

Peter Lynch, the portfolio manager of Fidelity Magellan during its heyday, warned about public company CEOs succumbing to the siren song of "diworsification," in which they took excess capital beyond that needed to sustain their core businesses and instead burned it up into the next great thing, which, of course, only they were able to identify.

Paradoxically, even as Google's stock reached an all-time high, it is absolutely the right time to begin the process of thinking about diversifying the way in which shareholders earn their required rate of return into some cash and some capital gain.  Nothing wrong with cash and letting the shareholder diversity their portfolios in they way they prefer.

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