Alphabet Is Sitting on About $11 Billion in Startup Investments
(Bloomberg) -- Google shared a result from its years of prodigious startup investing for the first time on Monday: The holdings are worth about $11 billion, based on company estimates.
A new accounting rule prompted Google parent Alphabet Inc. to disclose the fair value for its private stock holdings in earnings reports starting this year. The figure includes the company’s stake in some of Silicon Valley’s most highly valued private firms, such as Uber Technologies Inc., Airbnb Inc. and Stripe Inc.
Previously, Alphabet reported private stock holdings based on the price it paid for the shares. Last quarter, the company said those holdings were worth $7.81 billion. After the accounting change this quarter, Alphabet valued them at $11 billion. That contributed $3.40 to the company’s earnings per share.
Alphabet’s largest stake on paper is likely Uber. GV, the company’s venture capital arm, led a $258 million investment investment in the ride-hailing startup in 2013 when it was valued at less than $4 billion. A recent deal led by SoftBank Group Corp. pegged Uber’s valuation at about $54 billion. Alphabet sold some shares in that offering, and then added some more in a legal settlement in February over self-driving cars, a transaction that valued Uber at $72 billion.
If GV had held onto that original stake of $258 million, it would have been worth almost $5 billion based on the highest valuation. But estimating what Uber is worth has become something of a parlor game after last year’s turmoil, which led to the ouster of Travis Kalanick as chief executive officer. Alphabet didn’t say what valuation it uses for Uber, nor did it disclose the number of shares it owns.
Alphabet invests in privately held companies through a variety of entities, including GV and Google, as well as CapitalG, a private equity fund, and Gradient Ventures, a VC fund focused on artificial intelligence.
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.