We think a phenomenon some investors refer to as “pattern recognition” is responsible for the strong performance of the shares of Google, Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG)(up 17%) in the third quarter. The company announced a change in the corporate structure and the creation of a “holdco,” appropriately named Alphabet, which would hold Google’s core search engine business and separate out its newer, less mature endeavors such as Google Fiber, Artificial Intelligence, Calico (Google’s foray into longevity), and others. Google veteran Sundar Pichai will become the CEO of Google, Inc., a subsidiary of Alphabet, allowing Google’s co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to spend more time on Alphabet’s other businesses. We continue to believe that Google is one of the most innovative companies on Earth, with a powerful business model that benefits from the network effect, and the greatest collection of human talent in any one place in the world. Data is becoming increasingly more important and they own more data than any other company we know. We think the value of that data and its monetization opportunities will become more apparent over time.
From Baron Funds' Fifth Avenue Growth Fund 3rd quarter 2015 commentary. Continue Reading »