Google slammed for corporate sleaze

SEC to investigate as space cadets return to earth


Google's eleventh hour price adjustment might have saved it some red-faces when it finally floated last week, but it's back to earth with a bump this week. The Securities and Exchange commission has confirmed that it will investigate Google's chaotic allocation of buddy shares in the year preceding the flotation. Google had issued 23.2 million shares and options without declaring them. It had announced its intention to buy them back, but in some cases was offering only cents for stock now worth $108 a piece.

More worryingly for the famously secretive company is the fresh glare of public scrutiny. An independent shareholder advisor, ISS, has ranked the newly-public Google Inc in last place for corporate governance out of 500 companies on the Standard and Poors Index.

The Corporate Governance Quotient lists factors such as accountability and executive compensation levels. ISS found 21 bad practices at Google, earning it a CGQ of only 0.2, and so placing it last in the S&P 500. The watchdog criticized the two-tier share structure, not enough external directors, insider loans, and stock repricing options.

"I'd say those numbers sound pretty darn evil," ISS senior veep Patrick McGurn told the FT.

All a little unfair, we think, as it places too little emphasis on what shareholders really want, which is apparently an abundance of pictures of pretty colored balls on the corporate web site, and a rating that evaluates the general cuteness of the founders. We will be writing to the ISS researchers demanding why these important criteria have been excluded. ®

Related stories

Should Google blame Foot in Mouth disease, or Evil Bankers?
Google goes GOOG at $85 a share
Google slashes IPO value
SEC to examine Playboy for boobs
Google! Licenses! Yahoo's! Secret! Sauce!
Google IPO 'hangs in the balance'
Google must buy back buddy stock
Google goes gimpy from MyDoom infection
Google sued by Planet Goo
Google demotes Coca Cola jingle
Google's Ethics Committee revealed
Google decides banner ads, skyscrapers are not evil
Google files Coca Cola jingle with SEC


Other stories you might like

  • US weather forecasters power up latest supercomputers to keep you out of the rain
    NOAA makes it rain for HPE, AMD

    Predicting the weather is a notoriously tricky enterprise, but that’s never held back America's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). After more than two years of development, the agency brought a pair of supercomputers online this week that it says will enable more accurate forecast models.

    Developed and maintained by General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) under an eight-year contract, the Cactus and Dogwood supers — named after the fauna native to the machines' homes in Phoenix, Arizona, and Manassas, Virginia, respectively — will support larger, higher-resolution models than previously possible.

    The cost to build, house, and support and operate these machines, now operational, will be at least $150 million, we understand; the contract can run to an estimated total of $505 million.

    Continue reading
  • Google said to be taking steps to keep political campaign emails out of Gmail spam bin
    Just after Big Tech comes under fire for left and right-leaning message filters

    Google has reportedly asked the US Federal Election Commission for its blessing to exempt political campaign solicitations from spam filtering.

    The elections watchdog declined to confirm receiving the supposed Google filing, obtained by Axios, though a spokesperson said the FEC can be expected to publish an advisory opinion upon review if Google made such a submission.

    Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. If the web giant's alleged plan gets approved, political campaign emails that aren't deemed malicious or illegal will arrive in Gmail users' inboxes with a notice asking recipients to approve continued delivery.

    Continue reading
  • China is trolling rare-earth miners online and the Pentagon isn't happy
    Beijing-linked Dragonbridge flames biz building Texas plant for Uncle Sam

    The US Department of Defense said it's investigating Chinese disinformation campaigns against rare earth mining and processing companies — including one targeting Lynas Rare Earths, which has a $30 million contract with the Pentagon to build a plant in Texas.

    Earlier today, Mandiant published research that analyzed a Beijing-linked influence operation, dubbed Dragonbridge, that used thousands of fake accounts across dozens of social media platforms, including Facebook, TikTok and Twitter, to spread misinformation about rare earth companies seeking to expand production in the US to the detriment of China, which wants to maintain its global dominance in that industry. 

    "The Department of Defense is aware of the recent disinformation campaign, first reported by Mandiant, against Lynas Rare Earth Ltd., a rare earth element firm seeking to establish production capacity in the United States and partner nations, as well as other rare earth mining companies," according to a statement by Uncle Sam. "The department has engaged the relevant interagency stakeholders and partner nations to assist in reviewing the matter.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022