Google's parent company Alphabet hits trillion dollar valuation

Margi Murphy
Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai - AP

Google's parent company Alphabet has reached a valuation of one trillion dollars for the first time, making it only the fourth US-listed company to hit the milestone.

Alphabet's shares rose by 0.76pc on Thursday, enough to tip it past the trillion-dollar mark 22 years after the company was founded and 16 after it floated on the stock market.

It joins Apple and Amazon, which first hit the mark in 2018, and Microsoft, which followed last year. Apple and Microsoft have increased their valuations since, while Amazon's has declined.

Alphabet's shares have risen in recent days on strong forecasts for advertising revenues at Google, which makes up almost all of the company's sales despite being just one among several Alphabet divisions.

The umbrella corporation was created in 2015 as a way to give other divisions more independence. They include driverless car company Waymo and digital health units Calico and Verily.

The gains indicate that the markets are taking little heed of what has been a difficult year politically for Google, with President Donald Trump accusing the company of censorship and bias and increased regulatory scrutiny regarding alleged monopoly abuse and privacy concerns.

Despite increasing costs to ensure Google services appear on Apple products along with its risky “other bets” ventures and billions in fines from the European Union in recent years, Alphabet has continued to reap revenue from the core Google business, the biggest advertiser in the world.

Both the Department of Justice and a group of US states are examining Google on anti-competitive grounds, while the UK's Competition and Markets Authority has raised the prospect of its own action against the company, saying it may force it to open up about its advertising business. 

The company will be the subject of a Congressional competition hearing in Colorado on Friday where the chief executive of Sonos, the smart speaker company that recently sued Google, is due to testify. Alphabet is due to update investors on its latest revenues on February 3.  

Google's co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin last month stepped down from day-to-day duties running Alphabet, replaced by Google chief executive Sundar Pichai.

On Thursday, Mr Page and Mr Brin were worth $69bn (£53bn) and $67bn respectively.