clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Alphabet could bring home $47 billion in cash if Trump passes his tax plan

Added to its domestic cash, it would have $81 billion to spend on acquisitions.

2016 Wired Business Conference
Diane Greene, who heads Google’s cloud business
Brian Ach/Getty Images for Wired

Google parent company Alphabet could bring home $47 billion in cash if President Donald Trump’s tax plan goes through. That’s money the company could be tempted to spend on acquisitions, especially in the cloud space.

This assumes the tax plan actually passes both the House and the Senate, which, for now, seems unlikely given how hyper-partisan Capitol Hill has become.

But you can be sure every major company in the U.S. that has profits held overseas (ahem, Apple) will be calculating the possibilities.

Trump’s blueprint for the tax plan still doesn’t have a lot of details, but it does say the plan would include a one-time tax break on any offshore profits. Currently, companies are taxed at 35 percent when they bring money back, but under the proposed blueprint they could be taxed as little as 10 percent.

The bulk of Alphabet’s cash, about $52.2 billion out of a total of $86.3 billion, was held overseas as of the end of 2016. If the company brought all of the money back home under a 10 percent tax rate, it would reap about $47 billion. Added to its domestic holdings, Alphabet would sit with more than $81 billion in cash.

Alphabet declined to comment.

The company could use that money in several ways. It could use it to buy back stock from investors or to pay dividends, which the company has never done and has stated it is unlikely to do in the future.

What’s more likely is that it would spend that money on acquisitions, especially cloud companies.

Google executive and board member Diane Greene, who heads up its cloud division, said this week that she thinks Google cloud can overtake market leader Amazon Web Services by 2022. Enterprise is seen as a key opportunity for future revenue growth.

Google cloud revenue is estimated at less than one-tenth that of Amazon; catching up would basically require a miracle. The quickest way to overtake Amazon would be to acquire customers by acquiring companies already serving them. Google’s enterprise arm has already shown an appetite for acquisitions.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.