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Still More Google IPO Speculation 128

KaffeineKitty writes " is reporting that Google will be required to begin filing financial reports with the SEC beginning April 30th. According to the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 companies that have $10 million or more in assets and 500 or more shareholders must file quarterly reports with the SEC just as a publicly traded company does. Since this is generally an undesirable position for companies to be in most observers feel that Google will now file an IPO. Google officials are of course not commenting. Whether or not the Google IPO, if and when it finally happens, will make anyone money still remains to be seen. For more information on the possible Google IPO see Google IPO Central."
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Still More Google IPO Speculation

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  • by jrj102 ( 87650 ) * on Sunday April 18, 2004 @03:10PM (#8898609) Homepage
    I think it was a major strategic blunder not to do the IPO last time around. I like Google as much as the next guy, but even the most loyal Google supporters have to admit that their search results pages (SERPS) are now filled with spam. Half the pages found with high-profit keywords are total fluff and pages crafted by Search Engine Optimizers to grab as much Google traffic as possible without providing any real content. Google's algorithm, (and its reliance on inbound links) has been reverse engineered to a point where it is no longer valuable for the most coveted (and high-competition) keywords.

    So they need to do their IPO as soon as possible, as there's more competition coming down the pike... and Google's place in the universe is far from secure. To draw a gambling analogy, it's time for these guys to cash in their chips. I'm not saying that they are going to go away (or even that they will lose the war) but there will very likely never be another time where their company's name is on the tip of the tongue of every American, and where their company is held in such high regard (which provides a perfect environment for a successful IPO.)

    I'm rooting for them, but if their SERPS don't get cleaned up soon I'll be taking a serious look at their competition. I doubt I'm alone.

    --- JRJ []
    • by BlueCup ( 753410 ) on Sunday April 18, 2004 @03:12PM (#8898627) Homepage Journal
      I'd have to disagree with you. I think that their new gmail service will place them on the tongues of even more people, probably more than Yahoo. Any company runs the risk of being a one hit wonder so to speak, but, I think so far Google has made the right decisions to avoid this, and I see no reason for them to fail now.
      • by ron_ivi ( 607351 ) <sdotno@cheapcomp ... minus poet> on Sunday April 18, 2004 @03:23PM (#8898709)
        They have tons of cash, so why can't they just to a cash stock-buyback from all but 499 of their shareholders?
        • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Sunday April 18, 2004 @03:34PM (#8898790)
          They have tons of cash, so why can't they just to a cash stock-buyback from all but 499 of their shareholders?

          A company usually nearly-depletes its cash reserve before going IPO... So the fact that they still have cash indicates they're not so likely to IPO any time soon.
        • by -tji ( 139690 ) on Sunday April 18, 2004 @04:32PM (#8899121) Journal
          Because noone with an equity stake in Google is going to sell their shares before it goes IPO. They are all expecting it to go through the roof when it goes public, so the last thing they would want to do is sell it now.

          Also, it's not as simple as just buying it back. The majority of those shareholders are probably employees who get stock options that vest monthly or quarterly.. so they are always getting more shares. This is part of their employment contract, so Google can't just revoke the shares.
          • If I were a Google employee and had stock options, why the heck would I exercise them today when I can do it _after_ they IPO? I'd bet that very few have actually exercised their options, they can't readily sell them on the open market (though that doesn't mean they'd have a hard time finding a buyer). If they had 1000 employees over their history with stock options, I'd doubt more than 10% actually exercised any options. The solution for google, if it does have cash, would be to buy out shareholders and
            • I think anyone with a clue would hold onto Google stock. The main reason they have to file is because they have too much money coming in, and too many assets. They don't need to go IPO, but would probably be well-advised to.
            • One of several reasons people would exercise before an IPO is for tax reasons. The value of a company's stock before an IPO is usually much less than after an IPO. If that's the case, then the tax to be paid on exercise would be less.
        • Google has 1000+ employees, most (maybe all) of whom have stock options. This is why the media knows they have to start filing.

          If 10% of the company is in the hands of non-Larry & Sergei employees, it means they would have to pay $2B in cash to those employees (assuming a $20B post-IPO company value that everyone could agree on).

          It is estimated that Google made $250M in profit in 2003, combine this with 50M in venture funding and you are still about 1.7B short of being able to buy out your employees.
        • A point being left out that is extremely important and illustrates why the low level people didn't get rich during the dotcom boom. When your company IPOs even if you have vested shares that you have purchased you aren't allowed to sell them for 6 months after the IPO. So your shares which are $144 on the opening day blitz may only be worth a few dollars more than your execution price by the time your sell dates come around. Now at 3k shares that you purchased for $1 a piece that are now only worth 3 bucks
    • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Sunday April 18, 2004 @03:16PM (#8898661)
      I'm not sure if cash is a motivator for Google's present owners. Afterall, most of the ownership of Google right now still lies in its original founders, who are rich enough to afford to live well no matter what may happen now.

      Sure, an IPO would make them all insanely dot-com rich... but some people would actually turn down that money to keep their company as-is.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        VC's have to account to their investors. Google has good revenue, but given the state of the dot-crunch, it's a good bet the investors won't want to wait for ever.
  • Recursive Google (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Yonkeltron ( 720465 ) on Sunday April 18, 2004 @03:10PM (#8898614) Homepage
    Just try to google "google IPO" and see what a mass of results you get. Wierd isn't it?
  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Sunday April 18, 2004 @03:11PM (#8898616)
    It's true that once you hit the "reporting triggers", you effectively have to comply with all of the regulations an exchange-traded company has to... but that doesn't exactly connect to a public IPO. Sure, it's annoying to have to do all of those reports, but with the shares in the company as tightly-held as they are in the moment, do the current shareholders want to part with control of the company right now?

    In order to want to do an IPO, the company has to want the cash that the IPO would generate. Basically, the current shareholders would be diluting their current percentage control of the company in order to raise money that can be used to expand the company in some way. Unless Google has a major project that requires new investments, there isn't much motivation for them to want to issue new shares for an IPO.

    Now, maybe GMail is that project. But maybe it's not... anybody have some insight on that?
    • by Johnathon_Dough ( 719310 ) on Sunday April 18, 2004 @03:19PM (#8898681)
      Well, the other traditional reason to have an IPO is to make all the current share holders bloody rich and to let the Venture Capatal guys earn their "just rewards" for investing in this "long shot". So, even if you are trading your percentage of stock in for a smaller percentage, you can now go out and buy a new house and a car and a fancy watch. In many ways this is more important to the people working their ass of for the last 6 years(and don't forget the VC guys watching them work their ass off) than more money coming in to the company for some other project. The project they are concerned about right now is very likely their bank balance.
      • You make it sound like the poor google emplyees are getting screwed by the rich VC guys. Those VC guys were taking a big risk with a little company giving away something with revenue from advertisement only. Google employees get pretty good benifits [], and the average salary at google is over $100 according to a wired article from this year.
        • I'd hope the average salary is over $100... ;-)
        • by Anonymous Coward
          I assume you meant $100,000 as the average salary.

          That's not a bad salary.. But, Google is in the heart of Silicon Valley, where even a shitty two bedroom house is $500,000. A nicer four bedroom place is over $1,000,000. The most affordable $300-$400,000 places are small apartments being sold as condiminiums.

          At least the rents have dropped. At the peak of the bubble, I was paying $2,200/month for a one bedroom apartment in Mountain View - not far from the Google office. Now, it's around $1,300/mo
    • And you're correct if we are talking about Google's best interest. However, with the current 'sharedholders' all standing to make a ton of cash when/if they sell their shares, there's lots of PERSONAL reasons why the employees would want to do an IPO. This is assuming that current employee's have been promised RSUs/Options for future compensation.
  • Easter? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wmspringer ( 569211 )
    I was talking to someone about Google the other day and she commented on them not doing a special logo for Easter. Are they becoming more like a "normal" company in advance of a possible IPO?
  • I love the 'google adsense - ads relevent to your content' on this one!!
    • Targeted ads are much better than the broadcast (spam) ads seen everywhere else (even on Slashdot). They are, at least, relevant to the subject that you are searching. That is, unless you are looking for pron, then all bets are off.

      • Curiously you aren't allowed to carry adsense ads on adult pages

        Which is a great shame as moneterizing your content is important. giving away content and relying on adsense is a good business model. I have a photographer friend who has bucketloads of pictures he would like to profit from but finding the best method is difficult. All it takes is one person posting your stuff to usenet and your exclusivity is pretty much shattered. And it's not like you can't get free porn, even without free passes & use
        • Please let me know what your friend finds out about the "bucketloads of pictures he would like to profit from". I'm in the same position. I have tonnes of images that I would like to do something with.
          e-mail is (structure reversed).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    hopefully, google will realize that going with an end-buyer ebay type shares auction will result in much higher prices as well as much more capital in the hands of google's owneres/working capital.

    This wiould keep the money from ending up in the hands of smith barnery, merril lynch, etc...
  • by Tiberius_Fel ( 770739 ) <fel AT empirereborn DOT net> on Sunday April 18, 2004 @03:15PM (#8898653)
    If google does go ahead with the IPO I suspect there will be a lot of interested people who pick up shares. A good number are probably slashdotters :P

    What if, though, some large company (i.e. M$) buys a huge chunk of google. Can you imagine what would happen if they became the majority owners?
    • Microsoft could scoop the company up right now if they could get enough present shareholders to part with their shares in a non-exchange transaction. I don't think an IPO adds to that risk too greatly.
    • Would the originators of a company allow any one particular investor to become a majority owner as a result of an IPO?
      Would they not reserve a significat number of shares to preclude this from happening?
    • by KingOfBLASH ( 620432 ) on Sunday April 18, 2004 @03:42PM (#8898843) Journal
      If you are going to IPO your company, traditionally you only IPO less than 51%, so the current owner(s) keep their control. Microsoft can buy up 25%, so long as 51% is not on the market, and in the hands of individuals, it won't matter what they want -- they will just be investors who have to put up with google wants to do or remove their money. Then again, if nobody owns 51% of the company, Microsoft could be a player, and gain some control. But the point is that microsoft could only get that option if the google owners give up control with the IPO.
  • Divide and rule? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MrIrwin ( 761231 ) on Sunday April 18, 2004 @03:24PM (#8898725) Journal
    If they did not want to do an IPO, couldn't they split up the activities? (Google ads, google servers etc.)?
    • Re:Divide and rule? (Score:5, Informative)

      by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Sunday April 18, 2004 @03:26PM (#8898745)
      If they did not want to do an IPO, couldn't they split up the activities? (Google ads, google servers etc.)?

      That could turn ugly, as the departments would have to start charging each other for services... and there could be in-fighting that doesn't exist in the present setup.

      It'd be easier to just report and not issue an IPO.
      • A company the size of google that dosn't have internal cost centers? I didn't know such things still existed!

        I yearn for the days of old when if your chair broke somebody in the joinery shop would fix it....with no forms!

  • Day Trading (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erick99 ( 743982 ) * <> on Sunday April 18, 2004 @03:25PM (#8898734)
    I think Day Traders (I do some) will have a ball with a Google stock. Like a lot of IPO's it will most likely skyrocket making it an almost ideal "short play" as it will either have to correct or it will simply come back down because it overshoots what most people will be willing to pay. Then, you can buy it and hold it for a few minutes or an hour while it corrects slightly back up.

    This is a stock that will not only have some intrinsinc value, it will have huge psychological value and will be a very "sexy" stock initially. A ton of money will be made and lost the first week that this stock goes on the market (if it does, of course). The day traders will probably have a blast playing the see-saw movements. People who buy the first day and hold for the long term are likely, *in my opinion*, lose money.

    All in all, it will be fun if it happens.

    Happy Trails!


    • The day traders will probably have a blast playing the see-saw movements. People who buy the first day and hold for the long term are likely, *in my opinion*, lose money.

      Yes. I'd agree that a buy-and-hold investor is best keeping away from Google during its early days on the market. It's going to be the most hyped IPO in a long time... and a lot of fortunes were made and blown during the dot-com era of high-flying IPOs. Day trader's paradise, average investor's nightmare...
    • Re:Day Trading (Score:3, Informative)

      by Fulg0re- ( 119573 )
      Two problems with this at the moment.

      1. If Google goes strictly bookbuilding, day traders will certainly not get an allocation so that they can flip the stocks after the initial raise in price due to underpricing. Google will also prefer to avoid people who add much volatility to their stock.

      2. If they go with the Dutch Auction, again, day-traders may not get an allocation if they underbid. Moreover, the market clearing price will be determined, and chances are, there will not be much, if any underpri
  • by broothal ( 186066 ) <> on Sunday April 18, 2004 @03:27PM (#8898750) Homepage Journal
    Let me start by saying that I don't know what I'm talking about - I'm just speculating.

    Anyway, we've read a lot about how Microsoft regrets that they didn't go into the search engine market sooner, and that now Google is so far ahead it will be hard to beat. "If you can't beat them...." Does this IPO mean that anyone can buy the stocks? As many as they like? So what prevents Microsoft (with their million of dollars) to just buy the stock majority of Google and call it a day?
    • Either the current controlling people can keep 51% of the stock, which they probably will, or the company could adopt a poison pill strategy, that says that something undesirable will happen if someone gets more than 51% of the shares.
    • Surely the speculation about how much the Google share price will soar is enough to warn a Monopolys commission about the possible players in what might become Google's takeover battle. Would Microsoft even get a stab at buying up 51%?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Because google aren't offering all their stock up, I think it was 30% that will be buyable through the stocks. Anyway, I think the people at Google would be mad to offer too much up, they want strict control but the money that comes with losing a little control. So they'll settle for slightly less control and much more money so the money from 30% of stocks + 70% control, win-win.
    • It is rumored that Google is only going to offer 1/3rd of the company for the IPO. Another issue is Google's choice between bookbuilding and the Dutch Auction for pricing their shares. If they choose the former, Microsoft may not even be able to get an allocation of shares in the first place.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      What the hell are you guys talking about? 30% offered in the IPO? Whose ass did you pull that number out of?

      Even at the height of the boom most IPOs were on the order of 10%.

      Also, you're not selling existing shares, you're creating new shares. An IPO does not transfer ownership of existing shares, it dilutes everyone's ownership.

      Any attempt to corner the market on the "float" (i.e. shares being traded) by buying shares on the open market would do nothing but drive the price to insane heights. MS (or
  • by heff ( 24452 ) on Sunday April 18, 2004 @03:32PM (#8898775)
    It's interesting to watch everyone salivate over google stock when there has been virtually no financial data published by the company (it is private after all).

    Sure google is the most popular search engine and employs smart people but there's no telling what's happening on the business side of things.

    They could be losing money for all we know.

    • It's interesting to watch everyone salivate over google stock when there has been virtually no financial data published by the company (it is private after all). Sure google is the most popular search engine and employs smart people but there's no telling what's happening on the business side of things. They could be losing money for all we know. But that wall is about to become transparent soon, IPO or not as Google slips past the line into having to comply with reporting rules even without an IPO. This
    • by cebarro ( 596789 ) on Sunday April 18, 2004 @04:06PM (#8898967)
      Of course they're making money. They've gotta be raking it in. How else do you think they're going to pay for the moon base?


      THINK, people!

    • I really doubt they are losing money.

      They pay me an average of over $60 a day for serving ads, and that's on just 7500 impressions. Multiply that up to 18 million searches a day and it should come to nice tidy sum.
    • Have you seen the CEO's past buisness track record? It's not too shabby if I recall correctly.

      That said, won't it be virtually impossible for the average joe to buy stock? From what I heard (which may be way off base), first the employees will have a crack at it, then a few select companies and finacial institutions. By the time it reaches "street level", you won't be picking it up for a song and a dance...
    • They got an estimated $900m in revenue last year (2003), up from an estimated $200m in 2002, which would certainly put them over $1b in 2004. I don't know the breakdown between ad sales and their other products (e.g., the "yellow box" enterprise search engines), but I would wager this is nearly all ad revenue. The total sponsored-link business is estimated at around $2.1b per year, to give a sense of Google's share.

      In a company of ~1000 employees in an industry with fairly low capital intensity, this al

  • by tcgwebs ( 737923 ) on Sunday April 18, 2004 @03:35PM (#8898800) Homepage
    You do realize that once Google goes IPO (you know it will happen, sooner or later), the focus of the developers will be less on providing useful content, and more on turning it into another Yahoo or MSN, and satisfying the shareholders. Profit is everything in a situation like this. Right now, Google is in a great position, and I'd hate to see a great search engine system crumble due to the whims of these shareholders.
    • by Jordy ( 440 ) *
      You do of course realize that shareholders in Google own a significant percentage of the company as it is right?

      Just because a company is private doesn't mean it doesn't have shareholders to answer to.
  • Google IPO (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) <> on Sunday April 18, 2004 @03:38PM (#8898815) Homepage Journal
    While I'd love to get a hold of a bunch of Google stock when they're first offered, and then sell to all the suckers still clammering for the stocks a week later, they may have another option, which would keep them out of IPO land.

    I've seen other companies do something similiar to this, to make themselves look smaller than they really are, and to protect themselves from lawsuits, even if it's in CEO's mind.

    Split up the company.

    Google could make google::adsense google::adwords google::froogle google::india google::news , and even split off their IT departments into seperate companies (google::it::newyork google::it::california google::it::atlanta), and then have buy and sell services between these companies. So, the google::it companies would turn a smaller profit from, but would show an expense.

    Google's income divisions could be split, so no one division would make over $10mil/yr . They could even subdivide the company down even more. Google::Adsense::US-East Google::Adsense::US-West Google::Adsense::Europe (etc, etc, etc)

    Most of the companies I've known that did this with the idea that if one company gets sued and goes bankrupt, the others are uneffected. If that would really work in the legal system is another story (and IANAL).

    I suspect some Google lawyer has already started drawing up the paperwork for this, unless they really want to go for the IPO, and are just playing like they don't.

    • Re:Google IPO (Score:3, Interesting)

      by whovian ( 107062 )
      In their splitting up the company, I'm not sure whether to be concerned about managerial overhead. Maybe it's not a problem, as I cannot think of any company off-hand that has crumbled under the weight of its own burocracy. Arguably having many divisions could enable a company to adapt to the marketplace.

      There is a number of food products companies, for example Kraft, that own a ton of different name brands.
      • for example Kraft, that own a ton of different name brands
        Yeah, brands like Marlboro, Virginia Slims, Benson & Hedges, Merit, Parliament, Alpine, Basic, Cambridge, Bristol, Bucks, Chesterfield, Collector's Choice, Commander, English Ovals, Lark, L&M, Players and Saratoga.
    • Re:Google IPO (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 18, 2004 @04:16PM (#8899013)
      Hi Point firearms does this. They make the shittiest, crappiest, ugliest, cheapest guns in the U.S. While they market their products responsibly and do everything they possibly can to ensure their products don't go to criminals, their status as seller of the cheapest guns available makes criminal use inevitable. Seeing itself as a prime target for predatory lawsuits, Hi Point has broken their company up in just the manner you describe. Each individual model of firearm is manufactured by a different by a different sub-company.
  • by SoSueMe ( 263478 ) on Sunday April 18, 2004 @03:40PM (#8898827)
    ..all the hype surrounding the RedHat IPO [] in 1999?

    It really sounds like "The Market" and "The Press"is still reacting the same way.
  • IPO Share Allocation (Score:2, Informative)

    by Fulg0re- ( 119573 )
    Google has a choice of going either with bookbuilding, the Dutch Auction, or a combination of both. It is clear that the former will result in arbitrary pricing and preferential allocation, often resulting in underpricing and significant initial returns.

    On the other hand, one of the implications of the Internet is bringing transparency to the marketplace. In consequence, going with the Dutch Auction will result in non-preferential allocation and equal access to all investors. It should also find the market
  • by ofool ( 772393 ) on Sunday April 18, 2004 @03:59PM (#8898926)
    Hi, I guess I'm a novice in the finance arena but I don't understand why Google's having to disclose its financial information would "force" it to issue an IPO. Could somebody explain?
    • by Mr Very Angry ( 758914 ) on Sunday April 18, 2004 @05:38PM (#8899445) Journal
      Mr Novice OFool,
      You are right, and maybe not so much a fool as you like to make out. The story is a complete fake. Possibly written by someone who WANTS Google to IPO so is trying to coax the company into doing so.

      A Google IPO would make more money for the army of service professions like bankers, lawyers and journalists; professions which some ungenerous persons might call leeches.

      The argument for an IPO is independent of disclosure.

      You would IPO if you had a plan to build a large project but could not finance that through your own efforts (assets or banks). The cost of the IPO, apart from the transaction costs are the loss of control of the company to finance houses, which in the case of an innovator like Google, could in fact kill the company - you can call it throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
    • by batkiwi ( 137781 ) on Sunday April 18, 2004 @06:55PM (#8899882)
      Look into the cost of quarterly SEC filings. It's usually several million $ paid to an auditing and accounting firm, quite an expense for NO benefit period. This also means that your data is now PUBLIC, eliminating any advantage to staying privatly held.

      So, you go public with a small (10-30%) amount of newly issued stock. This gets your company a LOT of money, and gives your employees some reward as well.

      Now you're filling quarterly, and your details are disclosed to the public, but at least you got some benefit out of it.

      It's all about "if we have to anyways, we might as well benefit while doing it."
    • Just makes it a lot easier. See if they reach this milestone, they have to follow ALL the rules with out any of the benefit. So might as well IPO and get some cash.
  • Going private (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday April 18, 2004 @04:04PM (#8898962) Homepage
    Another option is to go private, with the company taking on debt to buy out the VCs. For a profitable company, that's an option. For Google, it makes sense, because they don't need to raise money for expansion. Arguably, Google is a mature company, not a growth stock - most of their growth is behind them.

    The end result of going private would be a company owned by the founders, paying off some large bonds out of profits. With interest rates so low, that's a good option right now.

    • Going private [] would make sense, but I doubt that with employee benefits such as options, they can effectively reduce the number of shareholders to fewer than 300 to make going private viable.

      You say "they don't need to raise money for expansion". How do you know?! Have you seen their financials or have you spoken to their strategic planning team while having them on a polygraph?

      Raising cash via corporate bonds as you describe might be a very good alternative. I think that most likely, if they decide to n

  • Under Both an IPO and the ruel syou describe above a company in both cricummstances submits reports to the SEC..

  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Sunday April 18, 2004 @04:46PM (#8899187) Homepage
    > Whether or not the Google IPO, if and when it
    > finally happens, will make anyone money still
    > remains to be seen.

    It is absolutely guaranteed to make money for all of the accountants, lawyers, bankers, and brokers involved.
  • Could somone explain how you get in at the initial IPO price offering?

    • Basically if you want to invest in the initial price offering you must find a broker that can get you in on it. Most IPO shares are purchased by large institutional investors, but individual investors can get in on it with a little luck. I know E*Trade lets some investors get in on IPOs, but I'm not sure about the other online brokerages. For some of the basics of getting in on an IPO see these articles on IPOs on []. You may need to contact several brokers before you find one that can help you,
    • Re:IPO's in Genreal (Score:3, Informative)

      by gregwbrooks ( 512319 ) *
      Initial price (i.e., the price the first shares sell at) is set by the underwriting bank in conjunction with the company going public.

      The price-setting is a bit of a black art (think: complicated regex work) based on both company valuation and market appeal. It's not unheard of for the initial valuation to be changed the day before the IPO based on huge market anticipation and the feeling that people will pay more.

  • Is there any way for Google to IPO but when they do the shares only can be sold to people and not companies? Or a way to limit the number of shares sold to any one entity? If Google IPO'ed but each person or company could get at most 100 shares then it might do better. Or at least 1 company or person couldn't control it. They could just release less that 50% but is that the only way?
    • I was going ot moderate this thread, but I guess not. ;-)
      I don't think there is any way to limit the PUBLIC offerings of a comapany. The whole basis of a hostile take over is to gain a significunt portion of the company where you can inflence not only the direction of the company but who sits on the board, and who the CEO is.
      Which is a worry I have about Googles IPO. There is nothing keeping Billy from insuing a hostile take over of Google once they go public, (though some would say anti-trust litigatio
  • by Awptimus Prime ( 695459 ) on Sunday April 18, 2004 @06:18PM (#8899642)
    This IPO speculation is the only reason the media is giving Google so much attention over Gmail and every other little move they make.

    I give it 6 months before /. people quit looking up to Google as some really leet organization. As soon as the IPO is launched, the people who made sure it got the media coverage will get richer and Google will, in effect, lose it's soul.

    I'm not sure what the facsination is with companies and their going public. Sure, we would all like to have a little chunk of something cool, but you have to remember there are going to be much more powerful people who will cut corners and make Google the most efficient, productive company they can. The result: an uncaring attitude towards the technologies and efforts that previously went into building the company.

    It happens every time. Just give it a while. For instance, the ISP I used to work for employed a number of really good, well known people in the Open Source movement. They were weeded out in an effort to move towards efficiency; or in other words: they were replaced by people fresh out of school that would write so-so code for $50k/year.

  • by cookiepus ( 154655 ) on Sunday April 18, 2004 @06:43PM (#8899798) Homepage
    ... that google has more than 500 shareholders currently. Who are they?

    The Google page advertising positions says that employees get stock options. I guess that means that every Google employee is a (potential) shareholder.

    If this is the case, then Google corporate knew what they were getting into. They did not have to give stock options, and if it's stock options* that pushed Google over the 500 shareholders threshold (if not that, then why are there over half a thousand owners?) there's no doubt they were prepared to find themselves in this situation. Whether this is because they're ready for an IPO or not, hard to say. But either way they were not blindsided by this.

    * I work for a private company which avoids stock options (and therefore having to file SEC statements) while giving employees a sense of ownership by giving bonuses directly proportional to company performance.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    According to the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 companies that have $10 million or more in assets and 500 or more shareholders must file quarterly reports with the SEC just as a publicly traded company does

    I don't see why the US government has the right to forcibly break-up, investigate, jail, etc. a private business for not disclosing facts of its operation no matter how big it is.

    What if Google decided to move its operations to a country with fewer laws, or offshore, instead of IPOing? Or is ther

A bug in the code is worth two in the documentation.