Technology

Google Throws Massive Curveball in New Structure: Alphabet vs. Google

Here is where this gets to another “trust me” area for shareholders. The financial reporting’s new legal and operating structure will be introduced in phases over the coming months and, when finalized, Google anticipates that it will result in two reportable segments for financial reporting purposes, with the Google business presented separately from other Alphabet businesses taken as a whole. Accordingly, Alphabet will report its results under this new structure commencing with its fourth-quarter earnings release and its annual report on form 10-K for the period ending December 31, 2015.

Google also noted even more changes here. Concurrently upon completion of the Alphabet merger, Omid Kordestani will transition from his role as Google’s chief business officer to become an advisor to Alphabet and Google.

Google’s official blog post said:

What is Alphabet? Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main internet products contained in Alphabet instead. What do we mean by far afield? Good examples are our health efforts: Life Sciences (that works on the glucose sensing contact lens), and Calico (focused on longevity). Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t very related. Alphabet is about businesses prospering through strong leaders and independence. In general, our model is to have a strong CEO who runs each business, with Sergey and me in service to them as needed. We will rigorously handle capital allocation and work to make sure each business is executing well. We’ll also make sure we have a great CEO for each business, and we’ll determine their compensation. In addition, with this new structure we plan to implement segment reporting for our Q4 results, where Google financials will be provided separately than those for the rest of Alphabet businesses as a whole.

This new structure will allow us to keep tremendous focus on the extraordinary opportunities we have inside of Google. A key part of this is Sundar Pichai. Sundar has been saying the things I would have said (and sometimes better!) for quite some time now, and I’ve been tremendously enjoying our work together. He has really stepped up since October of last year, when he took on product and engineering responsibility for our Internet businesses. Sergey and I have been super excited about his progress and dedication to the company. And it is clear to us and our board that it is time for Sundar to be CEO of Google. I feel very fortunate to have someone as talented as him to run the slightly slimmed down Google and this frees up time for me to continue to scale our aspirations. I have been spending quite a bit of time with Sundar, helping him and the company in any way I can, and I will of course continue to do that. Google itself is also making all sorts of new products, and I know Sundar will always be focused on innovation — continuing to stretch boundaries. I know he deeply cares that we can continue to make big strides on our core mission to organize the world’s information. Recent launches like Google Photos and Google Now using machine learning are amazing progress. Google also has some services that are run with their own identity, like YouTube. Susan is doing a great job as CEO, running a strong brand and driving incredible growth.

Sergey and I are seriously in the business of starting new things. Alphabet will also include our X lab, which incubates new efforts like Wing, our drone delivery effort. We are also stoked about growing our investment arms, Ventures and Capital, as part of this new structure.

Alphabet Inc. will replace Google Inc. as the publicly-traded entity and all shares of Google will automatically convert into the same number of shares of Alphabet, with all of the same rights. Google will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet. Our two classes of shares will continue to trade on NASDAQ as GOOGL and GOOG.

The long and short of the matter is that investors are going to have to play a game of wait and see before they really understand how this works out. 24/7 Wall St. said when Google conducted its stock split that it was really an issue of taking more control by creating the two public classes of shares.

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Google’s shareholders already had to accept that they had no real vote that matters in how the company is run. Now they get that plus being confused over what the real structure will be ahead.