FORTUNE — Google
is keeping over half of its cash horde overseas so it can use as much as $30 billion to fund potential acquisitions, the company said in letters to regulators.
“We expect a significant portion of our future expansion will continue to be drive by foreign operations outside the U.S.,” the company said in a Dec. 2o letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Google forecast that it needs between $20 and $30 billion “to fund potential acquisitions of foreign targets and foreign technology rights for U.S. targets.”
The California-based internet giant has received a lot of flack for keeping its earnings outside the U.S., which helps the company from paying corporate income tax. Google noted in its 2012 annual earnings that it had not “provided U.S. income taxes and foreign withholding taxes on the undistributed earnings of foreign subsidiaries.”
About half of the company’s revenues came from beyond American borders, bringing the total funds escaping U.S. taxation to $33 billion at the end of 2012.
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Companies are allowed to keep money earned outside of the U.S. away from federal taxes as long as the cash is permanently reinvested, either through acquisitions, capital purchases or innovation expenses.
The SEC prodded Google on the statement in their annual review, asking for more details on how it intended to reinvest such earnings, and the company responded with clear direction on how it intends to use its massive war chest.
As global competition heats up for Google, the company expects a significant portion of its future expansion to come from overseas, and it sees foreign acquisitions as part of its overall growth strategy. Last year, Google spent about $1.4 billion on more than 20 strategic deals, including paying $1.4 billion for Israeli traffic-tracking app Waze — all of which was paid for by money held outside the U.S.
“In the past few years we have completed significant acquisitions with the individual deal size increasing in more recent years,” the company said. “And this trend is likely to continue in future years.”
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Google said it would also invest up to $4 billion to increase its datacenter presence globally, especially as its business evolves to include more cloud and content-based services. It also mentioned its preference to buy property rather than lease. Over the past three years, the global Internet company has bought real estate in Dublin, France and London.
In the letters, which were part on an exchange between the SEC and Google last year, the company included details its revenue, mobile operations and advertising reports after the federal regulator pressed for more information.