Google parent Alphabet announces first-ever dividend, shares soar

By Greg Bensinger and Akash Sriram, Reuters

Alphabet announced its first-ever dividend on Thursday and a US$70 billion (NZ$119b) stock buybuck, cheering investors who sent the stock surging nearly 16 percent after the bell.

The Google parent is returning capital while spending billions of dollars on data centers to catch up with rivals on generative artificial intelligence. The dividend will be 20 cents per share.

Just three months ago, Alphabet’s Big Tech rival, Meta Platforms, announced its own first-ever dividend, a move that lifted the social media company’s stock market value by US$196 billion the following day. remains the lone holdout among Big Tech firms not offering a dividend.

Alphabet beat expectations for the quarter in sales, profit and advertising – metrics that are all closely watched.

“Alphabet’s announced dividend payouts and buybacks on top of the solid earnings beat are not only a breath of fresh air for the tech market as a whole, but also a very intelligent strategy for the search engine giant going into a tough time of the year,” said Thomas Monteiro, senior analyst at

Alphabet’s after-hours share surge of nearly 16 percent following the report increased its stock market value by about US$300 billion to over US$2 trillion.

In a call to discuss results, CEO Sundar Pichai touted Google’s AI offerings as a boon to its core search results. “We are encouraged that we are seeing an increase in search usage among people who are using the AI overviews,” he said.

Revenue was US$80.54 billion for the quarter ended 31 March, compared with estimates of US$78.59 billion, according to LSEG data.

The search firm’s beat on first-quarter revenue was powered by rising demand for its cloud services on the back of increasing adoption of artificial intelligence and steady advertising spending.

Google reported advertising rose 13 percent in the quarter to US$61.7 billion. That compares with the average estimate of US$60.2 billion, according to LSEG data.

Alphabet is coming off a fourth quarter in which ad sales missed the mark, sending shares tumbling, amid rising competition from, Facebook and new entrants like TikTok. The latter faces an uncertain future after President Joe Biden signed a bill that would ban the popular app if it is not sold within the next nine to 12 months.

Meanwhile, Google Cloud revenue grew 28 percent in the first quarter, boosted by a boom in generative AI tools that rely on cloud services to deliver the technology to customers.

Google’s cloud services are attractive for venture-capital backed startups developing generative AI technologies due to its pricing and ease of integration with other tools, investors and experts have previously said.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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