Proxy Watch: Google: $1 Million Stake In Comsenz; $20 Million For Peakstream; Salaries; Human Rights

Joseph Weisenthal
Tuesday, March 25, 2008; 6:53 PM

In its preliminary proxy filing this evening, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) confirmed a past rumor, while adding a dollar figure to a past merger. It also address the usual matters of executive pay and stockholder proposals:

-- Comsenz: This had been rumored about, but not confirmed: Last July, Google invested $1 million in the second funding of Comsenz, a Chinese provider of Bulletin Board and social networking systems. Previous rumors had put the investment at $5 million. The company is disclosing this in the proxy because the company has a connection as a portfolio company of Sequoia Capital.

-- Peakstream: Google bought this provider of chip programming tools last June, but hadn't disclosed a $20.3 million price tag until now.

-- $1 Salaries: As has beena la modeamong some tech executives, Messrs. Page, Brin and Schmidt will continue to receive base salaries of $1, despite the company having offered the more. The three did, however, collect an annual holiday bonus check working out to about $1,000 after tax. Also, Schmidt got an extra $175 after a peer nominated him for outstanding contributions to the company (sort of wondering if whoever did this meant it in jest).

-- Other salaries: Outside of that triumvirate, the highest paid executives, outgoing CFO George Reyes, Senior Vice President, Product Management Jonathan Rosenberg, Senior Vice President Global Sales & Business Development Kordestani, and Senior Vice President Engineering & Research Alan Eustace, all took home more than $5 million in salary and various forms of bonuses.

-- Censorship and human rights proposals: As we see pop up from time to time, shareholders have submitted two proposals to vote on relating to censorship and human rights. The first basically demands that the company take certain steps to avoid complying with political regimes that suppress free speech, such as China, Cuba and Iran. Specifically it asks Google not to store individually identifying data in these countries and to resist any legal obligations to censor (e.g filtered Google Image search in China). The other proposal would establish the creation of a new board committee on human rights to examine the human rights implications of the company's actions. Without any explanation, the company is urging a 'no' vote on both of these. Given the voting power of insiders, neither has any chance of passing.


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