A free link in the Journal. The guts of the piece:
In recent months, the top Googlers have sold off nearly $3 billion of their own holdings. These insider sales all have been on the up and up, conducted under a so-called 10b5-1 plan that allows them to sell a predetermined number of shares over a given period. Diversifying their riches in this way would be a wise strategy for the Google boys under any circumstances. But it is particularly wise if you suspect your stock has a touch of hot air.
They also have been changing their compensation plans, moving away from reliance on stock options, which become worthless if the stock drops. Instead, they have started using Google stock units, or GSUs. That is Googlespeak for restricted stock that takes four years to vest, but will continue to hold value even if the share price swoons. The company issued 61 million GSUs in its second quarter.
If that isn’t evidence enough that Google is preparing for the bubble to burst — or at least deflate a bit — then the new stock offering should be. The company says it has no specific plans for the cash. “The principal purpose of this offering is to obtain additional capital,” Google lawyers wrote in their registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “We have no current agreements or commitments with respect to any material acquisitions.”
Like George Mallory and Mount Everest, they are taking the money “because it’s there.”