Google Open for Bids
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The Mountain View, Calif.-based search leader said it chose to auction shares in its initial public offering to make them available to all interested investors. Many analysts believe the process also will maximize Google's initial take, while limiting the ability of investors to profit by flipping the shares.
In a long "letter from the founders" that is part of the SEC filing, co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page said they wanted to make sure that would-be investors knew and understood the company. However, it's possible to bypass the online prospectus and streaming video road show presentation and get a bidder ID in about 20 seconds.
But wannabe investors can't actually bid through the Web site. Instead, they have to open an account with the mostly old-school investment banks that are handling the offering. Do-it-yourself-on-the-Internet types can bid through E-Trade or Ameritrade, two online brokerages.
According to the revised prospectus, the site will dole out bidder IDs for about a week. After that, the underwriters will begin taking bids and no more IDs will be issued. Google said nothing more about when bidding would close, only reiterating, "We can close the auction at any time.
On Monday, Google priced its shares at $108 to $130 each; it will trade on the NASDAQ as GOOG. The IPO was originally expected to be worth about $2.7 million; that figure has ballooned to $3.3 billion after the bankers get their share.