Company / Analytics

Analytics, 02 February 2022

What Google-Alphabet Stock Split Means

Google parent company Alphabet Inc. announced on Feb. 1 that it will enact a 20-for-1 stock split, giving shareholders 19 more shares for every one they own. While stock splits may have fallen out of over in the past two decades since the pandemic Apple and Tesla and now Alphabet has revived the practice to make their shares more affordable for individual investors.

The split was announced on Tuesday with Alphabets latest quarterly earnings and will cover all three classes of Alphabet stock. Shares gained more than 9% in after-hours trading, with each trading class-topping $3,000 and putting a $2 trillion market capitalization within sight.

But if the split was to happen as of Tuesday’s close, Class A and Class C shares would trade at roughly $137 a piece, down from about $2,750 as of Tuesday’s close. Class B shares aren’t publicly traded.

Splits don’t affect the value of an investor’s holdings since a lower per-share price is matched by a higher number of shares. Alphabet last split its stock in 2014, giving investors one additional share for every one they owned.

What does this mean for investors?

Splits don’t affect the value of an investor’s holdings. A lower per-share price is matched by a higher number of shares. Moreover, stock splits don’t tend to have a significant impact on share prices over time, and they don’t tend to have much effect on the broader market either.

Alphabet shareholders as of July 1 will receive 19 additional shares on July 15 for every share they hold. Trading will begin on a split-adjusted basis on July 18.

The split will cover all three classes of Alphabet stock. Were the split to happen as of Tuesday’s close, Class A and Class C shares would trade at roughly $137 a piece, down from about $2,750 as of Tuesday’s close. Class B shares aren’t publicly traded.

Alphabet’s shares rose 65% last year, a third straight double-digit annual gain. On Feb. 1, Alphabet said it nearly doubled profit over 2021. But expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates as soon as next month led to a January market retreat that marked the worst month for stocks since the first month of the pandemic. Alphabet has held up better than many, but shares are still down 5% following four rough weeks of trading.

The stock split could result in Alphabet joining the Dow Index

For years, Alphabet’s high price made it impossible for the stock to be eligible in the price-weighted Dow Industrials. After the stock split though, Alphabet theoretically could be a candidate for the Dow in the index next reshuffle.

Alphabet’s path to a stock split is more difficult than it was for Apple Inc. AAPL, which has split its stock multiple times in the iPhone era to keep its share price low, is a requirement of being in the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average. The difficulty stems from the only other stock split in the history of the company largely known as and comprising Google.

Google’s previous split in 2014 was much different, as it was a vehicle to create a new class of stock that did not convey voting rights, an obvious ploy to maintain the control of co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who own class B supervoting shares. Class A shares trade under GOOGL, and are the original voting shares, while class C shares trade under GOOG, a change that happened at the same time that Google became a unit of a holding company known as Alphabet.

For Dow admission purposes, the index committee would have to decide if Alphabet’s share class situation complicates its eligibility. However, it’s worth noting that while many investors think of Alphabet as a tech stock, for indexing purposes, S&P Dow Jones categorizes it in the Communications Services category.

Meanwhile, the stock split, if approved by Alphabet investors, would leave only Amazon.com Inc. with a four-digit stock price in the Big Tech club. Amazon has oddly avoided splitting its stock, despite not facing Google’s stock-structure issues, which has led to conjecture that the company was instead pondering spinning out its cloud-computing business, Amazon Web Services.

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