13.31 0.00 (0.00%)
After hours: 4:09PM EST
|Bid||13.09 x 3200|
|Ask||13.32 x 2200|
|Day's range||13.15 - 13.38|
|52-week range||10.85 - 15.01|
|Beta (3Y monthly)||1.50|
|PE ratio (TTM)||N/A|
|Forward dividend & yield||0.20 (1.51%)|
|1y target est||N/A|
(Bloomberg) -- State officials investigating Alphabet Inc.’s Google met Monday to dive into competition issues surrounding the search giant as they press forward with an investigation into whether the company is violating antitrust laws, according to people familiar with the matter.The officials met privately in Denver with outside experts with the goal of gaining a deeper understanding of Google’s businesses and the dynamics of the markets it operates in, including digital advertising, said one of the people.The gathering comes two months after all but two states opened an antitrust investigation into Google with an initial focus on its advertising practices, according to an investigative demand sent to the company. Publishers have long complained that Google’s dominance in the technology that delivers ads across the web harms competition.The meeting was similar to one held last month in New York where state officials met with experts about Facebook Inc. The social media giant is under investigation by 45 states, Guam and the District of Columbia.One of the aims of the Google meeting was to help state officials prepare for an investigation that will likely present challenging competition issues, said one of the people. The states were also planning to map out a strategy for dividing the workload of the investigation, said two of the people.Among those advising the states is Cristina Caffarra, an economist at Charles River Associates. Google has complained about Caffarra’s work for the state because of her past work for Google adversaries News Corp., Microsoft Corp., and Russia’s Yandex NV.The states are investigating Google in parallel to a Justice Department antitrust probe of the company. The House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel is also conducting an inquiry into Google and other large tech companies.(Updates from fifth paragraph with challenges of the antitrust investigation. A previous version of this story was corrected to clarify the number of states and attorneys general investigating.)To contact the reporters on this story: David McLaughlin in Washington at email@example.com;Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at firstname.lastname@example.org;Naomi Nix in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at firstname.lastname@example.org, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
As streaming has turned the television industry on its head, one media mogul went against the trend this year. He revealed the advice from News Corp. Founder Rupert Murdoch by way of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison that led him to do it.
Google (GOOGL) seems uncomfortable with experts and critics' involvement in the ongoing state-led antitrust problem of its business practices.
(Bloomberg) -- Google says its confidential business information is at risk in the nationwide antitrust probe of the company because the Texas attorney general’s office, which is leading the investigation, hired two consultants that have worked for Google adversaries.Parent company Alphabet Inc. went to court Thursday to restrict Texas’s ability to disclose sensitive information to consultants who have worked for competitors and other companies such as News Corp. and Microsoft Corp. that have complained about Google to regulators.Google specifically cited the hiring of Cristina Caffarra, an economist with consulting firm Charles River Associates who has worked for Google adversaries News Corp., Microsoft, and Russia’s Yandex NV, according to the court filing in Texas.Caffarra is providing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office with “expert examinations, observations, opinions, consultations, analyses, reports, testimony, and other services,” according to a contract released by the state. She is working for free, according to her contract.The arrangement, Google said in court papers, “creates a significant risk that Google’s confidential business information could be inappropriately disclosed to and used by its adversaries.”“We’ve provided millions of pages of documents in response to regulatory inquiries, and we’re committed to cooperating,” Google said in a statement. “But this is an extraordinarily irregular arrangement and it’s only fair to have assurances that our confidential business information won’t be shared with competitors or vocal complainants.”A spokesman for the attorney general said the office has been engaged in “good-faith” negotiations with Google to protect the company’s sensitive business information.“While these negotiations were ongoing, Google, without any notice, made a lengthy court filing challenging our right to employ many of the most knowledgeable in this complex field,” Marc Rylander, the Texas AG’s spokesman, said in an email. “Google is not entitled to choose the states’ expert or run the states’ investigation.”The fight over the consultants comes after Paxton’s office issued a civil investigative demand to Google in September seeking detailed information about the company’s advertising business.Google said in court papers it’s not seeking to bar disclosure of business information to any Texas consultant who has worked for a rival or complaining company, only those who are currently employed by them. Consultants who are likely to work for Google competitors should not be able to work for them during the states’ investigation and one year afterward, Google said.The company is also unhappy with Paxton’s hiring of Eugene Burrus, a former assistant general counsel at Microsoft who is now an adviser at McKinsey & Co. Microsoft was a longtime foe of Google and advocated in the U.S. and Europe for antitrust action against the company. Burrus also represented clients in antitrust cases against Google, the company said. His maximum fee is $75,000, according to his contract.“Absent appropriate limitations, Mr. Burrus likely will attempt to use his experience on this investigation, including his access to confidential Google information, to market himself to prospective clients with interests adverse to Google,” the company said.Caffarra, News Corp. and Microsoft declined to comment. Burrus didn’t immediately respond to a message sent to him on LinkedIn.Google is asking the Texas court for a protective order including advance notice of third parties accessing its confidential information and limits to Texas’s ability to disclose company information to competitors and consultants.The company was due to begin delivering documents to Texas in early November, according to a person familiar with the matter. The request, which will go to a judge, could delay that, said the person, who asked not to be named discussing sensitive matter.Google may offer to start handing over documents as long as Paxton’s office doesn’t share the material with third parties until the matter is resolved, the person added.(Updates with comments from Texas AG’s spokesman in the seventh paragraph.)\--With assistance from Gerry Smith.To contact the reporters on this story: David McLaughlin in Washington at email@example.com;Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at firstname.lastname@example.org;Mark Bergen in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at firstname.lastname@example.org, Mark Niquette, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. introduced a separate news section in its flagship app, offering users more control over articles they see and providing money to the publishers whose stories are featured.The section, called Facebook News, helps the social-media giant stem criticism on two fronts: It’s an effort to combat misinformation and could improve relationships with media companies, which have complained that Facebook profits from selling advertising alongside their articles.Facebook News debuts Friday to some users in the U.S. It will feature articles chosen partly by Facebook employees who “will be free from editorial intervention by anyone at the company.” The section also will be personalized based on news that users prefer and they can hide articles, topics or publishers they don’t want to see.The section will include stories from about 200 publishers, including national outlets like the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, NBC News and ABC News, and local outlets in big cities such as the Chicago Tribune and Dallas Morning News. It also will feature conservative-leaning sites, including Breitbart News.“We worked really hard to honor their business model and recognize the importance of original reporting,” Campbell Brown, who oversees news partnerships at Facebook, said in an interview.At an event hosted by Twitter on Thursday, New York Times Chief Operating Officer Meredith Kopit Levien said “it’s a welcome development for any platform to be compensating the publisher for use of the content in any form.”A Times spokeswoman confirmed the newspaper’s participation in Facebook’s news section early Friday by email. “Facebook News should make quality news easier to find in the Facebook environment and easier to distinguish from other forms of content,” said the spokeswoman, Danielle Rhoades Ha.Bloomberg also is participating in Facebook News.Facebook executives say they chose the publishers based on surveys that found users want more articles on entertainment, health, business and sports. It also picked outlets that adhere to Facebook’s guidelines, weeding out those that serve misinformation, hate speech or clickbait. News articles will still appear in Facebook’s main News Feed.Peace Offering?To some publishers, Facebook’s new initiative amounts to a goodwill gesture after years of tensions. In the past, Facebook has asked them to dedicate resources to produce work for a new initiative like Facebook Live, then left them frustrated when the social-media company shifted strategies.“This is the first time we’re going to be forming long-term, stable relationships with publishers,” Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said. “For the first time we’re making multi-year financial commitments.”Facebook is paying some publishers $1 million to $3 million a year to put their articles in the new section. In most cases, links in the new section will take readers back to publishers’ websites, which helps them attract advertising and subscriptions. That’s different from other Facebook initiatives, like Instant Articles, which kept readers on the main site.Zuckerberg spoke at an event in New York at the Paley Center for Media, where he was in friendly conversation with Robert Thomson, CEO of News Corp. Thomson and his boss, News Corp. Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch, have been among Facebook’s loudest critics, calling on the company to pay media companies for articles the way that a cable-TV company pays Walt Disney Co. to carry ESPN.Facebook users want to see their friends and family in their news feeds, Zuckerberg said, and that they don’t have a lot of room there for high-quality news content. That’s why it’s better to have a separate tab, which will definitely draw a smaller audience, maybe 10% to 20% of the main feed, but that will still be significant. Facebook is working on similar partnerships around the world.One challenge for Facebook will be getting people to visit the news tab, which will appear at the bottom of the app. It can be hard to change users’ habit of scrolling the News Feed, rather than clicking on a separate tab. Facebook’s streaming video tab, called Facebook Watch, has struggled to gain traction.The news team will have editorial independence when it comes to stories about the company, Brown said. That means they can feature news about Facebook if warranted.“There is a clear separation with regards to the editorial team,” she said. “They have independence and they can curate Facebook and would curate Facebook the way they would any other story.”(Updates with comments from Zuckerberg in 11th paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Gerry Smith in New York at email@example.com;Sarah Frier in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at email@example.com, John J. Edwards IIIFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The WSJ, which first reported about the deal, said news publications Washington Post, BuzzFeed News, and Business Insider have also reached a similar deal with Facebook. The news organizations will be paid a licensing fee to supply headlines, the WSJ reported.
According to an EU court ruling, Google (GOOGL) will not have to pay a $1.1 billion copyright fee that a German publishing group demanded.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- What’s the Business Roundtable up to? The Washington-based nonprofit organization’s members are nearly 200 of the country’s top chief executives. In August, it updated its statement on the purpose of a corporation. Gone was any mention of “shareholder primacy.” In its place was a list of “stakeholders” whom corporations exist to serve, with shareholders listed behind customers, employees, suppliers and “communities.”Left-wing columnist Katrina vanden Heuvel called the statement a “sudden burst of conscience” and “a concession that corporations have failed to serve the public good.” Critics on the right see the statement as a concession to the left, too -- and deplore it accordingly. The editorialists of the Wall Street Journal have taken several shots, writing that the statement panders to critics such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, and that the CEOs “are fooling themselves if they think this new rhetoric will buy off Ms. Warren and the socialist left.” The Journal’s response to the Business Roundtable included excerpting Milton Friedman’s classic essay, “The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits.”But the Roundtable’s statement isn’t so much a concession that corporations need to change their ways as it is a description of what they already do.That vanden Heuvel is guilty of ideological projection is obvious if one actually reads the statement. “Businesses play a vital role in the economy by creating jobs, fostering innovation and providing essential goods and services,” the group says. That sounds a lot like saying that corporations … serve the public good.Friedman’s argument, meanwhile, was more qualified than it is remembered for being. Shareholders own the company, he wrote. The CEOs’ “responsibility is to conduct the business in accordance with their desires, which generally will be to make as much money as possible while conforming to the basic rules of the society, both those embodied in law and those embodied in ethical custom.” Assume that shareholder desires and the unlegislated rules of society include that companies serve the public, and there’s nothing in that Friedman claim that’s incompatible with the Roundtable’s statement.It must also be said that, great man though Friedman was, the essay contained large doses of dogmatism. He suggests that any time a company aims to do good rather than increase its profit- such as when a company hires the “hardcore” unemployed over better-qualified people - it engages in charity that should be left to individuals or governments. In his own example, though, neither individuals nor governments can as easily attain the good that the company can: getting people into private-sector jobs. When businessmen say that in their work they recognize responsibilities other than profit, Friedman writes, they are “preaching pure and unadulterated socialism.” At best, that’s hyperbole.Companies are complex social institutions with many purposes. One could truthfully say that the Wall Street Journal’s purpose is to make money for owners of News Corp stock - and, indeed, that its management has a legal duty to seek that goal. But that description of its purpose is foolishly reductive. Not every decision made by its employees or even its managers is designed to increase profit. Its editorial page employees, I’d bet, believe that enlightening readers and exerting a positive influence on public debate are worthwhile and proper goals.The CEOs of other companies make comparable judgments about their own enterprises. That’s no doubt why nearly all of the roundtable’s members signed the new statement. (Of the seven non-signers, two don’t have shareholders and thus had no reason to comment on shareholder primacy.)Josh Bolten, the president of the organization, tells me that the members were most concerned about the misperception that they were obsessed with short-term share prices. Appeasing Senator Warren – or Katrina vanden Heuvel – doesn’t appear to have been on their minds. The executives want to defend free enterprise. But will that defense be more successful if it is done in the name of a conception of business that is both simplistic and not even believed by business leaders themselves? The country’s leading CEOs have given their answer, and it’s hard to disagree.To contact the author of this story: Ramesh Ponnuru at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Ramesh Ponnuru is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a senior editor at National Review, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and contributor to CBS News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Alphabet has been busy thwarting the Hong Kong influence campaign, opening up Waymo data for licensing, suggesting privacy standards, dealing with kids and outdoing other personal assistants.
It will draw from hundreds of news sources, including national outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, the Washington Post and NBC News, digital-native players, magazine publishers and local newspapers, the Journal said. News Corp, which owns Dow Jones Newswires, HarperCollins book publishing business and the Wall Street Journal, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The most recent earnings update News Corporation's (NASDAQ:NWSA) released in August 2019 showed that the company...
(Bloomberg) -- The Justice Department is scrutinizing Google’s digital advertising and search operations as authorities gear up a broad antitrust review of the market power of giant internet companies, according to people familiar with the matter.Antitrust officials have been actively meeting over the past month with third-party companies that could have grievances against Google, including publishers and consumer-facing websites, said two people familiar with the matter. Advertisers and ad-tech companies have also met with the officials, and more meetings are on the calendar, one of the people said.The focus on advertising and search operations signals where the department could be taking its inquiry, which is in its early stages and could drag on for months. The range of companies meeting with the antitrust officials goes beyond those that have previously voiced complaints, which include Oracle Corp., News Corp. and Yelp Inc., the person said.Bloomberg reported in June that the Justice Department was preparing to investigate Google, but this is the first indication of the status and scope of the review.The antitrust division, led by Makan Delrahim, is pouring resources into the inquiry, drawing in lawyers from other sections of the agency to study the issues, one of the people said. While the division is exploring the digital advertising and search markets in the review’s initial stages, it will continue to narrow down the ultimate focus, one of the people said.Google controls much of the technology that news publishers and marketers use to serve ads across the internet and nets most of its revenue from ads. The company reported $116.3 billion in advertising revenue last year, which represented 85% of overall sales. It doesn’t break out its revenue by channels. Publishers and rivals have complained that Google’s dominance hinders competition in that market. Earlier this year, the European Union fined Google $1.7 billion for violating competition law with its online practices.Google said its innovations have reduced prices and expanded choice for consumers and merchants, pointing to its testimony before a House antitrust panel in July. “We have created new competition in many sectors, and new competitive pressures often lead to concerns from rivals,” Google lawyer Adam Cohen said in prepared comments for the hearing. “We have consistently shown how our business is designed and operated to benefit our customers.”The Justice Department declined to comment. The people described the investigation under condition of anonymity due to the confidential nature of the inquiry.Attorney General William Barr has elevated a lawyer from the antitrust division to be his point person on the review, signaling his hands-on interest in the issue. Lauren Willard has been appointed to serve as his counselor and report to him on developments in the inquiry, according to a department official.The Justice Department last month announced its broad review of whether technology giants are hurting competition following mounting criticism across Washington that the companies have become too big and too powerful. The department hasn’t specified which firms it would scrutinize.Bloomberg reported in June that U.S. antitrust agencies carved up oversight of four tech giants, with the department taking Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc., and the Federal Trade Commission claiming Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.Read More: Far From Silicon Valley, Trustbusters Plotted Big Tech AssaultThe investigation is a sign of the escalating pressure on tech giants, from Capitol Hill to President Donald Trump, who accuses the companies of silencing conservative views.The giants of the industry are under fire over massive collection of user data, failing to police content on their platforms, and claims that they are harming competition and reducing choices for consumers.\--With assistance from Chris Strohm, Naomi Nix, Mark Bergen and Ben Brody.To contact the reporters on this story: Sara Forden in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;David McLaughlin in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at firstname.lastname@example.org, Mark NiquetteFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- A leading U.S. retail group, whose members include Walmart Inc., is eager to aid antitrust enforcers that are poised to investigate whether Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google are harming competition.The Retail Industry Leaders Association, which also represents Target Corp. and Best Buy Co. among others, said it’s prepared to present their concerns to the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, which have carved up antitrust oversight of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies.“It’s pretty clear to us that the FTC and different relevant regulators should be taking a much closer look at these platform companies,” said Nicholas Ahrens, vice president of innovation for RILA, in an interview. “We are here to help.”RILA joins a slew of companies, including Oracle Corp., Yelp Inc., Tripadvisor, Inc. and News Corp., that have raised concerns about competitive harm from dominant technology platforms. The retailers’ group has already laid out its views on competition issues to the House Judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee, which is investigating the technology industry, Ahrens said.The group wrote a letter to the FTC dated Sunday, arguing that the tech platforms create an “information bottleneck” that has the power to skew markets and circumvent the traditional power of price competition.RILA also raised concerns about how tech companies may compromise the brands of retailers, favor their own products over sellers on their platforms, accumulate data about competitors and allow for the proliferation of counterfeit goods.It should be “quite concerning to the commission that Amazon and Google control the majority of all internet product search, and can very easily affect whether and how price and product information actually reaches consumers,” the trade group said in a letter responding to a series of hearings the agency held on competition policy.Representatives for Amazon and Google didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.The FTC has claimed oversight of probes of Facebook Inc. and Amazon, while the Justice Department is set to scrutinize Google and Apple Inc., Bloomberg has reported. Separately, the House Judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee kicked off a broad antitrust investigation into the technology industry last month with a hearing on how Google and Facebook have affected the news industry.For More: House Panel Kicks Off Antitrust Probe With Focus on News MediaRILA said it agrees with sentiments echoed by Makan Delrahim, the head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, and more than 40 attorneys general, that prices shouldn’t be the sole measure of harm.It’s “the combination of information control and market power that should worry antitrust regulators the most,” the letter said. “That unhealthy combination exists at the level of the internet’s pipelines, at the level of product search, in webhosting, on social media platforms and elsewhere.”The group also pointed to Amazon’s perceived dominance of e-commerce, where it has nearly 50% of U.S. online sales. Since it’s both a retailer and a marketplace for third-party sellers, Amazon has drawn scrutiny over whether it uses its clout and huge amount of sales data to give itself a leg up over smaller vendors -- an issue the EU is already investigating and which prompted calls by 2020 presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren to break up the online retailer and other tech platforms.Amazon claims it actually only holds a small percentage of the total retail market in the U.S. and faces formidable competition from the likes of Walmart.“RILA does not file this comment to complain about competition from Facebook, Google, Amazon, Visa, or any other technology or payments platform,” the group said. “Indeed, retail leaders comment to ask for more competition, not less. But all competition must be on a fair and level playing field.”\--With assistance from Ben Brody and David McLaughlin.To contact the reporter on this story: Naomi Nix in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at firstname.lastname@example.org, Justin BlumFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.