August 19, 2005
When Being "Overweight" is Good
Posted by Gordon Smith

I was just catching up on the news news about Google's proposed stock offering, which Vic mentioned yesterday. We are all intrigued by the "Use of Proceeds" language in the prospectus:

We intend to use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes, including working capital and capital expenditures, and possible acquisitions of complementary businesses, technologies or other assets.

With the exception of the italicized words, this is exactly the same disclosure Google made in its IPO. So, what new capital expenditures would require an additional $3 billion of cash? Most people are having a hard time imagining internal expenditures of that size, unless Google is declaring itself a sovereign state, so the so-called smart money is on acquisitions. You can see the analysts' guesses over at the W$J.

While you are there, notice that two of the analysts give Google a rating of "overweight." This is a transitive verb, a recommendation to fund managers: you should overweight this stock. More technically, analysts use this term to describe companies whose total return is expected to exceed the average total return of the analyst's industry over the next 12-18 months. In short, "overweight" is a good thing.

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