Data center construction and operations are some of the largest operating costs Google has. As the company has grown, so has the amount of money it has spent on its infrastructure.
The most recent increases in Google data center costs have led the largest mutual fund investor in its stock to reduce its stake in the Internet giant. Fidelity Contrafund, a $110 billion giant, has sold off some of its roughly $7 billion worth of Google stock, Reuters reported citing the fund’s recent update for investors.
“We trimmed the position based on our view that the stock's short-term performance could remain choppy as investors digest the company's increased investment in data centers, as well as other initiatives not directly tied to its core search business,” Contrafund’s statement read.
Contrafund holds an “overweight” position in Google, but the Mountain View, California-based giant’s sporadic stock performance over the course of 2014 have hurt it. Google’s share price today is about 10 percent lower than it was last April, according to Bloomberg.
Google’s Data Center Billions
Google went from slightly north of 100 servers 15 years ago to spending about $5 billion per quarter on building and operating its data center infrastructure. The company’s data center costs have grown continuously, and its leadership expects them to continue on the same trajectory.
News of the most recent Google data center investment came in December, when a Taiwanese government body announced the company would spend $66 million to expand its data center in the country.
In the third quarter of 2014, for example, Google’s cost of revenue increased by about $1.29 billion, more than half of which was an increase in data center costs, according to its SEC filing.
Its total cost of revenue for the quarter was about $6.69 billion. About $3.35 billion of that was traffic acquisition costs. The rest went to data center operation expenses, hardware costs, and other expenses, such as transaction processing and content acquisition costs.
Those are operating expenses. They do not include the money Google spends on buying real estate, building data centers, and buying the IT gear to put inside them.
Contrafund is a Key Tech Investor
Contrafund is managed by well-known portfolio manager Will Danoff, who specializes in technology stocks.
The fund has not disclosed how much it has reduced its stake in Google, but said the stock was still one of its biggest positions and remained an overweight holding. The fund’s other top holdings include Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Disney.