As Alphabet Inc., the parent of tech giant Google, holds its annual shareholder meeting at its Mountain View, California, headquarters Wednesday morning, one item not on the agenda may get significant attention: the future of smart thermostat Nest — a business Google acquired in January 2014.
Nest founder and former CEO Tony Fadell announced Friday on the Nest blog he had “decided that the time is right to ‘leave the Nest.’” He added that he will “remain involved in my new capacity as an advisor to Alphabet” and that the “transition has been in progress since late last year.”
Google, before a corporate restructuring made Alphabet its parent, had bought Nest for $3.2 billion two-and-a-half years ago. With money from the cash-rich Google, the smart thermostat-building company went on a hiring and acquisitions spree, increasing its employee headcount from 280 to 1,200 and buying webcam maker Dropcam for $555 million. For all the money pumped into it, Nest has had very little to show, especially since under the Alphabet umbrella, it competes with Google and its products like Google Home.
Shareholders may pose difficult questions to Alphabet management about the future of Nest. But Alphabet owns many companies that do various things, and not all companies and businesses succeed. How Nest will turn out remains to be seen.
On the official agenda for the annual meeting, there are four management proposals up for vote, which include election of eleven directors, the appointment of Ernst & Young as its accounting firm and amendments to the company’s stock plan, which will add 11.5 million class C shares and cap annual compensation payable to non-employee members of the board of directors at $1.5 million.
There are also six proposals from shareholders, all of which the management board recommends voting against. These proposals include equal shareholder voting, reports on lobbying, political contributions and gender pay gap, and the functioning of the board of directors.
The annual meeting of Alphabet’s stockholders will start at 9:00 a.m. local time in Mountain View (12 noon EDT) and registrations will open at 7:30 a.m. local time. The event will also be webcast live on YouTube.
Class A shares of Alphabet closed 0.14 percent higher on NASDAQ Tuesday, while the class C shares — they come without voting rights in shareholder meetings — were only 0.01 percent higher at close.