Google CEO On M&A: 'Inactive', 'Waiting For Prices To Get Better'

Beyond big deals like YouTube and DoubleClick, Google (GOOG) is known for buying up small startups, which it either turns into products (Google Docs) or yard waste (Dodgeball). How’s that going?

Google’s M&A is “pretty inactive right now,” CEO Eric Schmidt said today at Morgan Stanley’s technology conference. “We’ve largely been waiting for prices to get better.”

“The good news is we have lots of capital. The bad news is we’re still trying to get everybody into the model that we really want in terms of M&A,” Schmidt said, without explanation. “And I think it’ll start soon, but it’s pretty inactive right now.”

One way to read into this is that Google thinks startup prices will start dropping fast soon. Given the state of online advertising and venture capital, that wouldn’t be a surprise.

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