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Google will hold onto its cash, it says

SAN FRANCISCO — The chief financial officer at Google Inc. said it plans to cling to its growing stash of cash to pay for potential acquisitions and other investments that could boost the Internet search leader’s profits.

Patrick Pichette explained Google’s rationale for holding on to its $48 billion in cash in response to a question posed Thursday at a Morgan Stanley technology conference.

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The money-management policies of publicly traded companies are getting more more attention as more of them hoard huge amounts of cash instead of introducing or increasing dividends to reward stockholders.

Apple Inc., the world’s most valuable company, is currently under the most scrutiny because it holds about $137 billion in cash.

Pichette said that Google wants to have plenty of cash so it can ‘‘pounce’’ on acquisition opportunities.

He did not identify any potential targets.

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