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The Almighty Buck

Google Files for IPO 408

Posted by michael
from the tech-bubble-is-here-again dept.
bobwyman manages to be the first to submit this story, apparently by using his own web service: "Well, the PubSub.com SEC Edgar notification system just sent a message a few minutes ago saying that Google has finally filed their S-1 to go public. See: Google's S-1 which was accepted by the SEC at 2004-04-29T13:53:49-04:00. If you had had a PubSub.com SEC Edgar subscription, you would have been one of the first to see this filing."
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Google Files for IPO

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  • More information (Score:5, Informative)

    by tiltowait (306189) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @02:56PM (#9010330) Homepage Journal

    "In the filing, Google said that it generated revenues of $961.9 million in 2003 and reported a net profit of $106.5 million. Sales rose 177 percent from a year ago although earnings increased by just 6 percent." - LISnews.com [lisnews.com].

    More stories are available from CNN [cnn.com] and The Associated Press [nwsource.com].

    • Re:More information (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rude Turnip (49495)
      I almost fell out of my chair when I read how large they are in terms of revenues and earnings! Did anyone else think Google was maybe a $10 million dollar-revenue company or what?
      • Re:More information (Score:5, Informative)

        by dgmartin98 (576409) <{slashdotusername} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:48PM (#9012207)
        No, of course not.

        They have over 1900 employees [google.com]. Assuming a typical high-tech business cost of $100-200k per employee (salary + rent + computer + etc...), that's at least $190-380 million in revenue. Then you throw in their big-ass computer farms, their funky colorful office spheres [google.com], and their Grateful Dead chef [google.com]... then $980 million sounds reasonable.

        Dave

    • by Anonymous Coward
      DDoSing the SEC is always a fun thing to do on a Thursday afternoon.

      Who said "Don't be evil" ?
      • "Who said "Don't be evil" ?"

        Google did.

        Let's hope they can convince shareholders to adopt that idea.
        • Re:More information (Score:3, Informative)

          by TopShelf (92521)
          They won't have to - apparently they are setting up a preferred class of stock to be held largely by the founders, which greater voting privileges so they can maintain control.

          Investors will be able to get a slice of the profits (assuming Google ever pays a dividend), but they won't run the show.
    • Re:More information (Score:5, Interesting)

      by strictnein (318940) * <strictfoo-slashdot@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:01PM (#9010471) Homepage Journal
      Google's doing things the right way?

      From the yahoo.com link:
      The Mountain View-based company earned $105.6 million, or 41 cents per share, on revenue of $962 million last year. Google got off to a fast start this year, with a first-quarter profit of $64 million, or 24 cents per share -- more than doubling its earnings of $25.8 million, or 10 cents per share, at the same time last year.

      It's refreshing to see an internet company actually pulling a good profit. Hopefully google will be able to use the money it raises to actually grow their business, and not do as so many other companies have done and just go out and spend their new cash on worthless crap (*cough*mp3.com*cough*). It'll also be very interesting to see how an auction-based IPO works for a company with as much interest as google. Interesting quotes from the SEC form:
      We will not shy away from high-risk, high-reward projects because of short term earnings pressure.
      It is important to us to have a fair process for our IPO that is inclusive of both small and large investors.
      • Re:More information (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Skim123 (3322)
        It'll also be very interesting to see how an auction-based IPO works for a company with as much interest as google

        I have a sinking feeling that this auction business might lead to IPOs prices reminiscent of the dot com days. The average investor spends money on emotion and greed, not on business sense, so I could see a bunch of arm chair investors, who are longing for the 1998-2000 days, to drive this sucker up to insane proportions, at which time all the institutional investors will pull out, making the

        • Re:More information (Score:3, Informative)

          by _Ludwig (86077)
          It's not a regular auction. It's similar to a Dutch auction, [ebay.com] precisely in order to avoid a few spendthrift investors with insane offering prices having too much of an effect on the actual price. From the S-1: "The clearing price is the highest price at which all of the shares offered (including shares subject to the underwriters' over-allotment option) may be sold to potential investors..." Say there are ten shares available. Bob bids $50 for 5 shares. Carol bids $80 for four shares, Ted bids $497 for
      • Re:More information (Score:5, Informative)

        by _Sharp'r_ (649297) <sharper AT booksunderreview DOT com> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @05:35PM (#9012762) Homepage Journal
        According to the prospectus:

        1. The stock class they are selling to the public will not have voting rights. The founders will keep those so that they keep control.

        2. They explicitly state that they don't plan to ever pay any dividends.

        So what exactly do you get for buying their stock again, besides knowing you own part of the company and hoping someone else wants to know that for themselves in the future?

        I mean, I love Google and all (and they make me a lot of money every day through Adsense and free search traffic), but where's the incentive to purchase their stock?

        Got to say that this is an awesome racket for the founders to bring in a ton of cash for themselves and their business without giving anything up in exchange, since all the profits just go right back into the company or anywhere else they decide them want the cash to go to.
        • by dillon_rinker (17944) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @06:38PM (#9013430) Homepage
          where's the incentive to purchase their stock?

          It's the "Greater Fool" investment strategy:

          No matter how much I pay for this stock, a greater fool than I will pay even more.

          The parent poster makes the most important point that I've seen in this discussion.
        • Re:More information (Score:3, Interesting)

          by odin53 (207172)
          The stock class they are selling to the public will not have voting rights. The founders will keep those so that they keep control.

          This is not true; there's a 10:1 ratio (10 votes per share of class B stock and 1 vote per share of class A stock, which is the class being offered). What's true is that the B holders will retain control.

          They explicitly state that they don't plan to ever pay any dividends.

          This policy is typical of public technology companies. It's also typical disclosure in their filings
    • Re:from the WSJ (Score:5, Interesting)

      by abhisarda (638576) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:25PM (#9010820) Journal
      Here's the wsj article [wsj.com](for subscribers).

      An interesting paragraph-
      "According to the filing, Chief Executive Eric Schmidt made $ 250,000 in salarly and got a $301,556 bonus last year, plus other compensation of $2,894. Co-founders Mr. Brin, now president of technology and Mr. Page, now president of products, both got salaries of $150,000 and bonuses of 206,556.".

      And you can compare the pay with other US companies [aflcio.org]. Other companies can learn from google here.

      For those worried that Google will become a wall street pawn, here's what the founders are doing about it-
      "The offering documents were filed with a lengthy letter, called the "Owner's Manual" for the company. In it, co-founder Larry Page said he and co-founder Sergey Brin have worried that the "standard structure of public ownership may jeopardize the independence and focused objectivity that have been most important in Google's past success and that we consider most fundamental for its future."

      As a result, the founders "have designed a corporate structure that will protect Google's ability to innovate and retain its most distinctive characteristics."
      Part of that will be a dual-class structure, in which the founders will hold a higher-vote class of stock that will allow them to control much of the company's fate."
      .

      Bottom line? Once you go public, wall street makes you ride to its tunes. Preventing that at google will establish it not only as the intelligent company but a financially astute one too.

      Side note-Berkshire hathaway is planning to soak up as many shares are available.
      Any ideas what Google will do with the money it raises?
      • Re:from the WSJ (Score:3, Insightful)

        by marauder404 (553310)

        An interesting paragraph- "According to the filing, Chief Executive Eric Schmidt made $ 250,000 in salarly and got a $301,556 bonus last year, plus other compensation of $2,894. Co-founders Mr. Brin, now president of technology and Mr. Page, now president of products, both got salaries of $150,000 and bonuses of 206,556.".

        And you can compare the pay with other US companies [aflcio.org]. Other companies can learn from google here.

        The figures on CEO Watch include stock options exercised, which typically

    • Google's Release? (Score:5, Informative)

      by SeinJunkie (751833) <seinjunkie@gmail.com> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:57PM (#9011347) Homepage
      Just FYI... I didn't see anyone post a link to Google's Press Release [google.com] about their registration. Maybe I missed it, but there it is.
  • If you... (Score:5, Funny)

    by gleepskip (647848) * on Thursday April 29, 2004 @02:56PM (#9010337)
    If you had had a Slashdot subscription, you would have been one of the first to see bobwyman's advertisement.
  • by eschasi (252157) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @02:56PM (#9010344)
    Google stock will go up, then down, then up, then become unpredictable. There, that ought to be vague enough.
  • Any day now (Score:5, Funny)

    by DeputySpade (458056) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @02:56PM (#9010355) Homepage Journal
    w0000t! Does this mean they'll have the money for the moon base?
  • Too much hype (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Neil Watson (60859) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @02:56PM (#9010356) Homepage
    The Google IPO has been so hyped that I think the shares will be priced so high at the beginning that they will have no place to go but down.
  • by bl1st3r (464353) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @02:57PM (#9010369) Homepage Journal
    Now, off to mortgage my house and buy some stock. I just hope they maintain quality of service that they have been providing for so long.
    • by wookyhoo (700289)
      Hopefully a Google that has to start making decisions to "maximise shareholder value" won't be a Google that becomes less than what we have today.

      Hardly a safe bet though. I wonder how high it will open (and then what it will drop to when the hype is over).
    • by Adam9 (93947)
      You'll have to wait a few months [yahoo.com] before you can buy any stock.
    • by Donny Smith (567043) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:28PM (#9010861)
      After you mortgage your house and before you buy Google shares, put some money on the side for a small tent.

      I plan to buy short. Not much, perhaps 1K, just in order to put my money where my mouth is.

      Quality of Google search engine results is getting worse, the email thing hasn't really taken off (although bad publicity has) and most of their money in near term is expected to come from these two. They already have a huge market share in Web searches (not much more space to grow), so the Gmail must take off if they're go maintain fast growth in 2004.

      There's nothing magical in Google technology and services. True, it's been a revolutionary product/service so far, but its technology is already mature. Due to ever increasing CPU, networking, clustering and storage technologies, in two-three year time, a smart startup will be able to catch up with their search engine size within 2-3 month time. It will take couple of talented guys like the Googlers (there are smart people out there who don't work for Google yet), a better search algorithm (reasonable expectation) and some money for storage and bandwidth (who wouldn't invest couple of millions in a company that wants to beat Gogle).

  • Is it legal to... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PurifyTheMind (774679)
    ...promote their IPO on their main website? So far, they don't appear to be doing this... but wouldn't that pump up the price quickly? (IANA stock broker)
  • by nacturation (646836) <nacturation @ g m ail.com> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @02:58PM (#9010392) Journal
    ...try this one [com.com] from the good old boys at .com.com.com.com.
  • Yet even more info (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dspisak (257340)
    Bloomberg has info about IPO share auction:

    http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=1000000 6& sid=aLjRy1totEDQ&refer=home
  • By becoming public, google loses the ability to continue with constant steady growth and innovative R&D. These things will invariably lead to short sighted planning by the management to "make the numbers" for the next quarter, 6 months, or year. "Growth" will be expected year after year - the innovative ideas that have made google so successful will give way.

    No, I won't bid on a share. I would hope that the IPO never happens, as google is still a quality company. I would hate to see that all change.
    • by TheFlyingGoat (161967) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:04PM (#9010523) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, because every company that has gone public has stopped innovative R&D and constant steady growth. Look at some of the major public companies out there (3M and General Electric) to see what R&D can really accomplish. Add in the fact that Google will gain at least $2 billion that they can use towards more services, current research, and increasing infrastructure. Your comment is baseless.
      • by Woogiemonger (628172) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:18PM (#9010722)

        Yeah, because every company that has gone public has stopped innovative R&D and constant steady growth. Look at some of the major public companies out there (3M and General Electric) to see what R&D can really accomplish. Add in the fact that Google will gain at least $2 billion that they can use towards more services, current research, and increasing infrastructure. Your comment is baseless

        What I'm going to say I think is not much new, but here's a good place to say it. You're right, but I think what the original poster really had in mind was not necessarily innovation in terms of doing research. It was more along the lines of innovation in terms of risky undertakings paying off. Once a company goes public, you can't throw the basket of eggs at the wall and see what sticks anymore. You have to choose more dependable undertakings to convince your investors not to sell. While risky undertakings can lead to wildly successful innovations, there are plenty of less risky undertakings which I'm sure Google can handle. Google's future will look more dependable, which is good, because yes, they're a quality company.

      • by Sean80 (567340) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:40PM (#9011027)
        Yeah, there are companies that are truly innovative like 3M and GE and then there are companies that, er, aren't. You're selectively choosing your companies to support your argument.

        On the other hand, the IT industry is filled with companies sending jobs overseas, holding back costly initiatives, and downsizing their R&D departments, because they cost money and impact the bottom line. Further, companies absolutely make decisions on a yearly timescale when they have to report to the public. A 5-year project which will take $100 million off the bottom line each year before yielding dividends? Good luck selling that proposal.

    • Not to worry, as the filing states:

      "As a private company, we have concentrated on the long term, and this has served us well. As a public company, we will do the same," the letter states.

      "In our opinion, outside pressures too often tempt companies to sacrifice long-term opportunities to meet quarterly market expectations. Sometimes this pressure has caused companies to manipulate financial results in order to 'make their quarter.' In Warren Buffett's words, 'We won't smooth quarterly or annual results: I
  • For the minions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mix_master_mike (540678) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @02:59PM (#9010431) Homepage
    How long after the stock goes public will the general population be able to purchase some? What's the game plan for these people - is Google worth the buy?
    • Re:For the minions (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MichiganDan (720608) * on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:29PM (#9010873)
      Anybody can purchase it as soon as it goes public. Of course, the value is going to jump many thousands of percent in the first minute of trading, and if you're trading with a discount broker your odds of getting some before it peaks are very slim. You could put in a market order and get bled dry, or you could put in a limit order at a reasonable price that will never be filled.

      The rich are going to get richer on this one, and the rest of us will just have to sit patiently. Because everyone assumes buying Google is a good idea, by the time your typical person has the opportunity to do so, it's not.

      IMHO.
      • Re:For the minions (Score:3, Informative)

        by akuzi (583164)
        > Anybody can purchase it as soon as it goes public.
        > Of course, the value is going to jump many
        > thousands of percent in the first minute of
        > trading,

        No it's not, the whole idea of a Dutch auction IPO is to avoid that.

    • See other posts... Google's IPO is going to be Dutch Auction style, not "buddies of the investment bank" style. This will be done on the internet, and anyone can particpate.

      More details are here [investors.com]

      -Zipwow
  • COMMERCIALS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Roadmaster (96317) <roadmr@tomechang o s u b a n a n a.com> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @02:59PM (#9010433) Homepage Journal
    "If you had had a PubSub.com SEC Edgar subscription, you would have been one of the first to see this filing." - was this advertisement strictly necessary?
  • Rollercoaster Time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by superpulpsicle (533373) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:00PM (#9010441)
    This stock is going to fly straight up for the first few months.

    Then it's going to tank.

    Then everyone will buy it at $1 a share.

    It'll repeat this cycle for a while before stabilizing. In the meantime expect Ads to start flooding google.com as they try to meet their new quarter numbers as expected by share holders.

    • by MindStalker (22827)
      Wrong, to quote: ZackSchil (560462)

      News.com.com reports [com.com] that you are wrong. To quote:

      In an unusual provision for a technology company, Google will create two classes of shares with different voting rights, a move that aims to guarantee founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will maintain decision-making authority...

      "In our opinion, outside pressures too often tempt companies to sacrifice long-term opportunities to meet quarterly market expectations. Sometimes this pressure has caused companies t
    • by santos_douglas (633335) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:26PM (#9011872) Journal
      except:
      Although we may discuss long term trends in our business, we do not plan to give earnings guidance in the traditional sense. We are not able to predict our business within a narrow range for each quarter. We recognize that our duty is to advance our shareholders' interests, and we believe that artificially creating short term target numbers serves our shareholders poorly. We would prefer not to be asked to make such predictions, and if asked we will respectfully decline. A management team distracted by a series of short term targets is as pointless as a dieter stepping on a scale every half hour.
  • by conner_bw (120497) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:00PM (#9010456) Homepage Journal
    Coming soon to an apocalypse near you...

    * DOT COM 2 *

    More vapor, more idiots, more market speak, same ending.

  • The Most Info (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheFlyingGoat (161967) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:00PM (#9010457) Homepage Journal
    Right from the horse's mouth [google.com]. There's already a crapload of articles. Of note, they're doing a Dutch Auction IPO and want to earn $2.7B, although speculation puts this closer to $20B. The underwriters are Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse First Boston.
  • Text of the Filing (Score:2, Informative)

    by pumpknhd (575415)
    Here's the actual text [sec.gov] of Google's filing to the Security Exchange Commission
  • Nice introduction. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Faust7 (314817) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:01PM (#9010475) Homepage
    From the Introduction to the Letter from the Founders:

    Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one.
  • by eltoyoboyo (750015) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:01PM (#9010476) Journal
    Employees will soon see some big cash:

    The initial option grants to many of our senior management and key employees are fully vested. Therefore, these employees may not have sufficient financial incentive to stay with us.

    Many of our senior management personnel and other key employees have become, or will soon become, substantially vested in their initial stock option grants. While we often grant additional stock options to management personnel and other key employees after their hire dates to provide additional incentives to remain employed by us, their initial grants are usually much larger than follow-on grants. Employees may be more likely to leave us after their initial option grant fully vests, especially if the shares underlying the options have significantly appreciated in value relative to the option exercise price. We have not given any additional grants to Eric, Larry or Sergey. Larry and Sergey are fully vested, and only a small portion of Eric's stock is subject to future vesting.

  • by sampowers (54424) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:02PM (#9010484)
    ... As if a million investors cried out in simultaneous orgasm,
  • by JakiChan (141719) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:02PM (#9010489)
    1) An IPO is a huge distraction. I doubt, given the hype, they'll be able to stay focused on their competitors.

    2) Their competitors are coming on strong. Y! is making gains in the space.

    3) They could suffer from a huge brain drain. If the IPO is uber successful then a lot of folks will get very rich and leave.

    That being said, I wouldn't mind having some $.25 fully-vested google options right about now...
  • Risks (Score:5, Informative)

    by cwis42 (563232) <.rf.eerf. .ta. .siwc.> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:03PM (#9010494)

    Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

    [...]

    We face significant competition from Microsoft and Yahoo.

    We face competition from other Internet companies, including web search providers, Internet advertising companies and destination web sites that may also bundle their services with Internet access.

  • After all the false starts, it's good to see Google going balls up for the IPO. Good luck, guys, hope it does you well.
  • Brilliant (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:03PM (#9010504)
    bobwyman manages to be the first to submit this story, apparently by using his own web service: ... "Well, the PubSub.com SEC Edgar notification system just sent a message ... If you had had a PubSub.com SEC Edgar subscription, you would have been one of the first to see this filing."

    Bobwyman, you are are true genius: you managed to graft your shameless plug to promote your site on an important-ish, but totally unrelated, piece of news, make it into one of the most blatant piece of advertisement article submission, and on top ot it manage to get the story accepted by the Slashdot crew. Brilliant! You are my all-time favorite astroturfer.

    Note to Slashdot crew: nobody cares about PubSub. Do you guys own stock or something?
  • Any information on a Friends and Family offering?

    --D
  • by djcreamy (729099)
    Google, once an independent company with nobody to answer to but themselves, must now face the money-grubbers of Wall Street and their indifference for technology in the face of profits. I'm not trying to troll....this is just MHO.
  • Auction (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dpille (547949) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:04PM (#9010514)
    Looks like they're going with the share auction plan. Seems like the SEC filing [sec.gov] is buried, but the key details seem to be:

    1) Underwriters manage the auction
    2) You pre-qualify, etc.
    3)You bid (and can multiple bid - ie, one bid for 9K shares at $20, another bid for 1K shares at $40, you'll get 10K shares if the price is $15)
    4)The reject "manipulative" or "speculative" bids
    5)They calculate a clearance price that'd sell all the shares offered according to the bids, and accept bids accordingly
    6)They determine whether to hand out all the shares bid, give everyone 80% of what they asked for, give the bid/little guys everything they asked for, or let original bid price determine who gets everything they asked for.

    I'd be really interested in what some professional equity people think of this process, it seems really interesting to me.
    • Re:Auction (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:56PM (#9011322)
      This is almost exactly the same method that the US Treasury uses to sell government bonds. It is viewed by many academics as the most stable price discovery process.

      Check out this link for more info:
      http://www.googleinvestor.com/auction.asp
    • Re:Auction (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jmorse (90107) <joe_w_morse@nos3.14pYAHOoam.com minus pi> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @05:53PM (#9012962) Homepage Journal
      I used to work for the company [wrhambrecht.com] that pioneered this process for IPOs. Remember Andover.net? That's how they went public (but don't take that outcome as an omen). It's a great pricing model, and still leaves a bit of a first-day pop for the investors.

      The gist of the process is that it prices the IPO so that the proceeds to the company are not diverted to institutional investors. In traditional IPOs the investment banker typically underprices the shares and allocates most of them to large institutional investors as a reward for holding large portfolios in-house. The first-day pop you saw in other IPOs is a sign of that underpricing (in addition to some irrational exuberance). If company X offers 100 shares at $10 per share, then the price shoots up in the aftermarket to $100, that means the company likely could have gone public at $100, raising 10x the revenue. The auction would price it closer to $100.
  • by caluml (551744) <slashdot AT spam ... OT calum DOT org> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:04PM (#9010515) Homepage
    I hope Google keep to their game-plan that's made them the best, and richest search engine in the world. I hope shareholders don't start voting for popups on the main page, and lots of links to cheap holiday deals.
  • From the SEC form:


    Eric Schmidt Employment Agreement

    We have entered into an employment agreement with Eric Schmidt, our chief executive officer. The agreement provides that Eric will receive a base salary of $250,000. Eric was also granted an option to purchase 14,331,708 shares of Class B common stock at an exercise price of $0.30 per share pursuant to this agreement and was permitted to purchase 426,892 shares of Series C preferred stock at a purchase price of $2.3425 per share.


    How long does he have to wait until he can sell? I'm sure he's got the date circled on his calendar.
    • Immediately: (from page 13) (re post from above) The initial option grants to many of our senior management and key employees are fully vested. Therefore, these employees may not have sufficient financial incentive to stay with us. Many of our senior management personnel and other key employees have become, or will soon become, substantially vested in their initial stock option grants. While we often grant additional stock options to management personnel and other key employees after their hire dates to
  • Evil (Score:3, Interesting)

    by timealterer (772638) <{moc.emitgniretla} {ta} {todhsals}> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:05PM (#9010548) Homepage

    Although of course this was inevitable, it is somewhat disheartening. Google will become a company that is steered by stockholders. As everybody knows, most stockholders don't care about being not evil, or really anything other than profit.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the guys who own Google currently like profit, but public companies are different. A stockholder wouldn't normally feel bad if the company they owned some fraction of used terabytes of user information for slightly shady practices. The only publicly held company I truly trust is Apple, and of course there's no logical reason for that.

    • Re:Evil (Score:5, Funny)

      by dpille (547949) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:34PM (#9010965)
      I'd mod this funny, myself, given this section from the SEC filing:

      LETTER FROM THE FOUNDERS "AN OWNER'S MANUAL" FOR GOOGLE'S SHAREHOLDERS

      DON'T BE EVIL
      Don't be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served--as shareholders and in all other ways--by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains. This is an important aspect of our culture and is broadly shared within the company.


      I mean, if they're promising not to be evil, isn't that good enough? If we had only thought to extract non-evil promises out of companies like Enron....
  • Dutch Auction (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:06PM (#9010550)
    from what I've heard (on CNBC and elsewhere), Google [google.com] is also considering making (at least a small portion) of it's shares available through an Internet based "Dutch Auction".

    This, of course, has some Underwriters worried, given that a fee in the range of 5% could yeild over 100 million dollars for an IPO such as google.

    Many believe, however, that this will not indicate a trend due to the fact that this may be easy for google, because they are allready a household name. In most other cases, an auction will not be so easy.

    • by Kevin Stevens (227724) <kevstevNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:06PM (#9011506)
      This article makes some HUGE assumptions, the biggest being that search is going to be commoditized. The thing that made google so great is that they were able to differentiate their searches as markedly better and drove customers to their site away from competitors... which allows them to charge more for their ads- considering that they are indeed making a ton of money off of this, I think their customers are quite happy. Really, I would say that half of the entries on the list are related to the fact they think search is easy and anyone can get into the business and excel at it.
      The outsourcing item made me wonder how much the writer really understands the difficulty of implementing a search engine. You can outsource typical day to day applications, the easy stuff. Google is doing cutting edge work! This is not a case of putting 1000 monkeys in a room and youll be a leader at search, and if youre still not w/ 1000 monkeys, then just add 1000 more. Or popping out JSP pages.

      Google does have a strategy to lock in customers-Gmail. #9, about profit extension is not completely baseless, but they are not extending so much as optimizing their core strength to new applications. If a car engine company makes specialized engines for airplanes or boats, thats not really "extending" to me. If they tried to make cars, then that is a different story.

      #6 about pay per click advertising is off base, considering the nature of google's ads. They are non intrusive, and embedded in the dynamically generated html. it would be very difficult for these adds to be removed, and they are so unobtrusive most users are not bothered in the slightest by them.

      Overall, I found the article quite lame. Competition is definitely a concern, but if youre buying google, youre really buying the idea that Google can do things better than its competitors- people still buy Ford and GM stock regardless of the competitive nature of the auto business.
  • I'm hearing numbers like $20 billion being tossed around as the starting point for Google's valuation. I have to wonder, though, where this is coming from. Does Google really have the ability to grow fast enough to justify that kind of price? Based purely on current earnings, one might expect a couple of billion; allowing for significant growth, perhaps 4 or 5 billion. But 20? Are we just getting nostalgic?
  • by cybrthng (22291) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:09PM (#9010605) Journal
    http://www.mozdex.com :)

    Search engine built on Open Source technologies and will never have to worry about coming too corporate.

    Goal is to use an open api, open algorithm and disclose everything there is about search and search technologies. Will even be launching a blog shortly.

    Well, this isn't about the Google IPO, but it is about an open source project with ambitions to play the game google does without all the corporate mumbo jumbo and no need to IPO.

    Index is about 50 million pages during beta but we are about to roll out our 250 million page corpus.

    Let us know what you think :)
    • by bigHairyDog (686475) * on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:24PM (#9010814)

      I'm not trolling, I'm just a pessimist...

      I'm sorry, but it's not going to beat Google.

      You see, the open source community is capable of some amazing feats, but half of the most skilled search engineers in the world work for Google. They have an obscene collection of fantastically talented people working on theory that few others understand.

      As others realise the money in search try and compete with Google the premium on employing search experts will go up so high that there won't be many with the principles to work on open source.

      It's sad but true.
  • Wonderful. (Score:4, Funny)

    by timealterer (772638) <{moc.emitgniretla} {ta} {todhsals}> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:09PM (#9010606) Homepage
    In other news, Microsoft has put aside half its cash reserves to purchase 51% of these new shares. Mass suicides and hysteria begin.
  • Goo (Score:5, Funny)

    by MagicM (85041) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:13PM (#9010662)
    I hope they get a "GOO" ticker symbol.

    Sweet precious GOO.
  • Two stock classes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:16PM (#9010706) Homepage
    So that's the plan - two stock classes, one with voting rights. The insiders remain in control. Ford Motor is set up that way.

    Traditionally, the NYSE won't list a company with more than one class of stock. But they've softened that criterion in recent years.

  • Buyer Beware (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ironwill96 (736883) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:19PM (#9010738) Homepage Journal
    I think those preaching "run out and spend all your money to buy Google stock because you'll get rich" need to sit back and think realistically for a few minutes.

    The main thing to remember is: the 1990's are over. That was last decade, this is now. Over-inflated stock prices with P/E (Price to Earning) ratios that are ridiculous are mostly gone now. Sure, Google's stock will probably do ridiculously well for the first few months. However, if everyone thinks this, it will just be artificial inflation waiting to fall out as long-term investors realize that the stock price is way higher than it should be for their earnings. No matter how much some of us dislike Microsoft, would it make any sense for Google, whose earnings are only an inkling of Microsofts to have a stock price that soars far beyond Microsofts and through the roof to match the likes of what Intel and Amazon used to trade at (hundreds of dollars per share)?

    Those are just a few of my thoughts. I plan on investing in Google but only as a long-term option, because I believe that they will do well in the long run, but that their stock price will be overly affected by "announcements" of new features etc. Their business model is fairly narrow (e-mail, search services / advertisements, price-searching etc...) and does not have many sources of revenue. Who knows, maybe they can get rich off the search boxes they sell to companies to use to search data on company networks?
  • by zatz (37585) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:22PM (#9010788) Homepage
    Proposed Maximum Aggregate Offering Price: $2,718,281,828
    I wonder what inspired the choice of e billion dollars.
  • by B1LL_GAT3Z (253695) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:23PM (#9010796) Homepage
    Did anyone else find it interesting that Google's Proposed Maximum Aggregate Offering Price is equivalent to e*(10^9)? ($2,718,281,828) I think this is Google's way of telling us geeks that everything is going to be 'ok'.
  • by scovetta (632629) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:27PM (#9010854) Homepage
    Don't be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served--as shareholders and in all other ways--by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains. This is an important aspect of our culture and is broadly shared within the company.

    If Google were a woman, I would ask her to marry me.
  • Google IPO links (Score:4, Informative)

    by phazei (559785) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:30PM (#9010896)
    http://google-ipo.com/

    That site has been around for a while, a unofficial google ipo watch.

    Useful.
  • by Pranjal (624521) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:33PM (#9010942)


    This will stop your worries

    In an unusual provision for a technology company, Google will create two classes of shares with different voting rights, a move that aims to guarantee founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will maintain decision-making authority. Such structures have proven beneficial in media companies, such as The New York Times, the filing states.

    So this mean Larry and Sergey will still drive Google and everyone knows how they work. I don't think they will just react how wall street wants them to react.
  • by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:37PM (#9010995)
    NASDAQ is already in a declining pattern, breaking most of its moving averages in a downward position. Google will have the privilege of IPO'ing into a general market selloff.
  • Google IPO (Score:3, Funny)

    by pipingguy (566974) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:13PM (#9011627) Homepage
    Let the evil begin!
  • Yahoogle (Score:3, Funny)

    by gvr (143813) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:24PM (#9011829)
    Microsoft will own the search market and yahoo and google will merge and form Yahoogle.
  • A couple of things. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blair1q (305137) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @05:25PM (#9012648) Journal
    First off, let's get something straight. Buying common stock on the open market is not investing. It's speculating. The investing occurred when money was given directly to the company for use in its operations by the VC's and by the Syndicates that bought the common stock and sold it into the open market. Those were investors. They drove the company and created its stable value. You and I buy a tiny chit representing something we have no effective control over which will probably never pay off in hard compensation but may, if we're very lucky, pay a few shekels in dividends and get traded in for the speculative paper of some company that wants to actually own this one.

    On the other hand, get a load of the Summary Consolidated Financial Data. Not only is Google booming, it never even skipped a stitch through the "downturn". This is the strongest book I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of these things (because I'm a savvy speculator, see).

    So, what's going to happen? I'll tell you: you'll never see the stock hit the street.

    Prior art: BajaFresh Mexican Cantina filed for an IPO a couple of years ago. We all love BFMC, and I'd even called their headquarters a couple of years before begging them to take my money and give me a piece of the action. Between the time they filed with the SEC and the putative issue date, they were bought lock, stock, and tortillas by Wendy's.

    That's how things work. If the company is profitable enough, it's foolish to allow it to be publicly traded. Better to own it privately and pocket the profits in your personal account, or to own it as a subsidiary and use its profitability to cover for your flagging businesses.

    So y'all can forget about buying that one share of everyone's favorite search engine and pinning it to your cork-board. This will be inhaled by IBM or Sun or someone with a bottom line to shore up.
  • Go Google! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CaptainTux (658655) <papillion@gmail.com> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @05:29PM (#9012704) Homepage Journal
    Regardless of how we think Google might change as a result of going public, I think we should at the very least all celebrate the facts that 1) A good tech company can survive, thrive, and even get investor funding in the post dot com bomb world and 2)the creators and employees of Google are finally getting their just rewards. Yeah, they're going to make a boatload of money and that, of itself, is a very cool thing.

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