Cloud Stocks: Google’s Acquisition Of Mandiant Fuels Its Cloud Strategy

Google sign

Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

Google’s (GOOG) recently reported first-quarter results failed to impress the market’s expectations. The company is stepping up focus on its cloud offerings as it tries to expand its share in the market. But its disappointing results sent the stock tumbling 18% in the after-hours trading session.

Alphabet’s Financials

Alphabet’s first-quarter net revenues grew 23% to $68.01 billion, falling short of the market’s forecast of $68.11 billion. Net income fell 45% to $24.62 per share, below the market’s forecast of $25.91 for the quarter.

By segment, revenues from Google Services, including Search, advertising, Android, Chrome, hardware, Google Maps, Google Play, and YouTube, grew from $51.2 billion a year ago to $61.5 billion. Google Cloud revenues grew 44% to $5.8 billion, in line with analyst predictions. Revenues from other bets grew to $440 million.

Google Services operating income grew 15% to $22.9 billion. Google Cloud and its Other Bets are loss-making divisions. Loss for Cloud was $931 million and for Other Bets was $1.16 billion.          

Among other key metrics, overall search revenues grew from $31.9 billion to $39.6 billion. YouTube revenues grew from $6.005 billion to $6.9 billion.

Google attributed its disappointing performance to tough competition. The biggest disappointment was YouTube ad revenue of $6.87 billion, compared with the market’s forecast of $7.51 billion. YouTube had gained significant viewership at the start of the pandemic, which has clearly slowed down now. It is also facing tougher competition from TikTok. Google has tried to counter TikTok’s growth through YouTube’s Shorts which now has 30 billion daily views.

Google did not provide an outlook for the current quarter. The market is looking for an EPS of $27.62 on revenues of $59.52 billion for the second quarter and an EPS of $117.06 on revenues of $248.97 billion for the current fiscal year.

Alphabet’s Cloud Focus

During the quarter, Google announced its acquisition of Virginia-based cyber defense services provider, Mandiant, for an estimated $5.4 billion. Founded in 2004, Mandiant provides scalable security solutions to organizations through its Mandiant Advantage SaaS platform. It provides organizations with access to real-time and in-depth threat intelligence. Mandiant’s global expertise helps customers mitigate threats and reduce business risk before, during, and after an incident. Its experience in detecting and responding to advanced adversaries provides customers with actionable insights into the threats that are most important.

The acquisition will enhance Google Cloud’s offerings by providing an end-to-end security operations suite with greater capabilities to support customers across their cloud and on-premise environments. Security operations tools within Google Cloud’s Chronical, Siemplify solutions, and Mandiant’s Automated Defense will assist customers with analyzing, prioritizing, and streamlining threat response in addition to leveraging Mandiant’s expertise as a virtual extension of their teams. Customers will be able to continuously validate and measure the effectiveness of cybersecurity controls across cloud and on-premise environments with Mandiant Security Validation, in addition to complementing Google Cloud’s Security Command Center, ensuring strong risk management. Prior to the acquisition, Mandiant raised $70 million in two rounds of funding led by JP Morgan Chase, One Equity Partners, Kleiner Perkins, and Jim Ellsworth. Its most recent round was held in July 2011 where it raised $70 million.

Analysts see the acquisition as part of Google’s plan to expand its presence within the Cloud segment. Mandiant’s acquisition is one of the biggest cyber security deals for Google. Right now, Google’s cloud accounts for a comparatively modest 7% of the global market share, compared with Amazon’s 32% share, and Microsoft’s 17% share. With the rising importance of cyber security, Google is probably banking on using security offerings as a selling point to differentiate its Cloud from its competition.

Google continues to improve its cloud capabilities through four key focus areas. First, in cyber security, besides the acquisition of Mandiant, it has also introduced new offerings including assured workloads to address digital sovereignty in the European Union; virtual machine threat detection, an agentless malware detection capability; and an advanced intrusion detection system for network threat detection. Second, it is evolving a leading data cloud with serverless Spark to run batch Spark workloads; BigLake, a new storage engine that unifies data warehouses and lakes; and Dataplex, which provides unified management and governance of data across data warehouses and lakes. Third, it’s open secure infrastructure continues to enable customers to run their workloads and apps where they need them. And, finally, it continues to advance Google Workspace to support hybrid work by adding new collaboration features, including bringing Google Meet directly into Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

Overall, I like the focus on Cloud, especially the Cyber Security focus.

Google’s stock is trading at $2,388.23 with a market capitalization of $1.51 trillion. It had climbed to a 52-week high of $3,042 in November last year. The stock had fallen to a 52-week low of $2,230.05 earlier this month.

Disclosure: All investors should make their own assessments based on their own research, informed interpretations, and risk appetite. This article expresses my own opinions based on my own research ...

How did you like this article? Let us know so we can better customize your reading experience.


Leave a comment to automatically be entered into our contest to win a free Echo Show.