Citi Analyst Sees Better Quarter for Google

Google's shares "tanked" the last time the Internet search giant reported earnings but "I don't think that's likely to happen this time," Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney told CNBC Wednesday.

Google Search
Source: Google
Google Search

Google , scheduled to report after the market close Thursday, will have earnings "straight down the fairway, in line with the Street," he told Power Lunch.

According to Thomson Reuters, analysts expect the company to report fiscal first quarter earnings of $9.65 a share on revenue of $8.15 billion. Maheney, with an $850 price target, thinks Google will report $8.16 billion in net revenue on $9.63 a share in non-GAAP earnings.

The "market was spooked" and overreacted to the last quarter's declines in search revenue, he said, but Google's revenue remains strong.

One thing that does concern him is the impact of buying handset maker Motorola Mobilityon Google earnings.

"This is an odd, major bet that Google is making," he said. "The company needed the patent protection, but does it really need the hard manufacturing assets? I think this will be a bit of an overhang."

There will be relief when the deal finally closes, he said, which is expected soon.

"They are hedging themselves" and "chasing the Apple bandwagon" with the acquisition, he said. "They don’t need to be in the handset business but they need the patent protection for Android," Google's operating system for smartphones.

"We think they got that. Once this deal closes they can shed some of these manufacturing assets," he said.

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Mark Mahaney does not own Google shares but Citigroup has an investment banking relationship and has managed or co-managed a recent Google securities offering.