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Jeff Bezos Missed 20,000% Gains after $250K Google Stake in 1998

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:30 PM
Mark Emem
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:30 PM
  • Google becomes a $1 trillion company 16 years after IPOing. It took Apple and Microsoft more than three decades to achieve that feat.
  • Jeff Bezos was one of Google’s earliest backers, personally investing in the online search company just four years after Amazon’s founding.
  • Now Google and Amazon have increasingly become fierce competitors in advertising, the cloud and in smart home products.

Google’s parent company has entered the $1 trillion market cap club for the first time joining fellow tech giants Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). Last year Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) was for several weeks worth over $1 trillion too. As an early Google investor and this makes Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos one of the few people to have held, in one case still hold, significant stakes in two, current or previously, trillion-dollar companies.

In 1998, Bezos invested $250,000 in Google months after the firm’s founding. Six years later when Google IPOed, the stake was the equivalent of 3.3 million GOOG shares. Bezos no longer holds the stake , according to All Things D. Alphabet’s shares closed Thursday at $1451.70. Bezos’ stake would be worth $4.8 billion today, a gain of nearly 20,000% in a little over two decades.

Thank you Jeff Bezos, but we still want to crush Amazon

When Jeff Bezos invested in Google in 1998, he attributed his decision to the fact that he “just fell in love with Larry and Sergey”, the two co-founders of the online search giant. That may not be the same anymore considering Google’s ambitions.

The online search giant reportedly wants to take unseat Amazon Web Services in the cloud market. Amazon is currently the leader with cloud offerings and the unit has remained one of its fastest growing businesses.

Source: Twitter 

Now, Google wants to cut the gap or even overtake the leaders. Late last year it was reported that Google’s top management had set an ultimatum for Google’s cloud unit – beat Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services or both by 2023 or risk funding drawdowns . Google’s top management had also considered exiting the cloud market over its small market share relative to the leaders.

Overreliance on ads

Per Gartner, Google Cloud Platform had a 4% global market share  in 2018. Amazon led with a 47.8% market share while Azure had 15.5%.

Jeff Bezos
Source: Gartner 

If analyst ratings are anything to go by, GOOG still has more upside potential. Out of 46 analysts covering the stock, about 80% have issued a BUY rating . None has issued a SELL rating on the stock.

Source: WSJ 

With GOOG’s average stock price target being $1,505, there is still more upside potential for the stock if the prediction materializes.

What risks should Google investors search for?

Still, there are risks for Google. This includes a regulatory backlash in Europe that has seen the tech giant slapped with fines totaling over $8.9 billion  on several occasions over anti-competitive behavior. European countries led by France are also on the verge of imposing a digital revenue tax on tech heavyweights  including Google.

Last year in its third-quarter earnings report, Google missed earnings-per-share estimates. Profits slowed too. Q4 financial results  will be released on February 3rd. Only then will it become clear whether Alphabet Inc is worth the $1 trillion-plus market cap it currently boasts of.