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Alphabet buries another math joke in share buyback

Friday, October 28, 2016 - 08:18

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Alphabet Inc is getting serious about reining in spending, but the math whizzes who run the company are still playing games when it comes to some big financial decisions.

[SAN FRANCISCO] Alphabet Inc is getting serious about reining in spending, but the math whizzes who run the company are still playing games when it comes to some big financial decisions.

The internet search giant buried a math game in its share buyback announcement on Thursday.

Google's parent company said it will repurchase US$7,019,340,976.83 worth of its Class C stock. That amount comes from the number of letters in the alphabet (Alphabet Inc., get it?) and "e," an important mathematical constant that equals 2.71828.  Here's the calculation, courtesy of Google's search engine: 26 to the power of "e" equals 7019.34097683. Multiple that by US$1 million and you get the new repurchase number.

This is just the latest math joke from the company. Last year, Alphabet said it would buy back as many as US$5,099,019,513.59 of its Class C shares. To get that number, it took the square root of 26, then multiplied that by US$1 billion.

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Market voices on:

The name Google is a play on googol, which is the number one followed by a hundred zeros. When it first filed to go public, it said it planned to raise US$2,718,281,828, a billion times the value of "e."

Nearly a year later, it said it was going to sell 14,159,265 shares of stock. Those are the numbers that follow the decimal in pi.

And when the company tried to buy Nortel Network patents, one of its bids was actually "pi" - around US$3.14 billion. Its other bids were plays on numbers, too. Google lost the bid.

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