We’ve noted already that Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) are defying today’s sell-off trend and that the search giant got an upgrade to ‘overweight’ with a $775 price target from Morgan Stanley. Google also announced today that it is buying the Frommer brand from John Wiley & Sons (NYSE: JWB) for an undisclosed amount to go along with its acquisition of Zagat last September.
Google also said this morning that it would fire about 4,000 people from its newly-acquired Motorola division.
Facebook Inc’s (NASDAQ: FB) ad revenue shortcomings, particularly in mobile advertising, have lifted some of the concerns that investors might have about Google shares. Morgan Stanley’s research note is cited at Barron’s:
We see a reasonably high likelihood that at least one social networking firm may seek to launch an advertising network in the near- to medium-term. While we assume the market perceives this to be a substantial threat to Google, we believe that a new entrant will likely have a small impact on Google’s consolidated financial results. … A social networking firm generating around $2.5B in gross contextual network advertising in 2015E may displace around 1% of Google’s net advertising revenue.
Morgan Stanley also notes that Google is trying to shed Motorola’s set-top box business and other non-cellular products, which the analysts believe indicates that Google was primarily interested in Motorola’s patents and smartphone technology. Certainly today’s firing of former Motorola employees backs up that belief.
Google’s shares are up 2.4% today at $657.48 in a 52-week range of $480.60-$670.25.