SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Google's (NASDAQ:GOOGL) chief financial officer says the company plans to cling to its steadily 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.

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

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), the world's most valuable company, is currently under the most scrutiny because it holds $137 billion in cash.

Pichette says Google wants to have plenty of cash so it can "pounce" on acquisition opportunities. He didn't identify potential targets.

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