Report: Google IPO Auction in Works

Web search powerhouse Google has contacted investment banks about an
initial public offering (IPO) that could value the company in the range of
$15 billion and $25 billion, according to separate reports in the
Financial Times and Wall Street Journal.

Many observers believe a Google IPO, which has been the subject of rampant speculation in recent
months, would be the most valuable public offering since the heady days of
the dot-com era.

One report said the company was considering an open online auction to
“acknowledge the millions of users who have turned the closely held concern
into a cultural icon.” However, final decisions on a number of matters have
not yet been made.

Google has reportedly whittled down the list of investment banks it has
considered to underwrite the IPO but there is no word on the timing of the
filing or how many shares will be offered.

The news comes a few months after Google’s co-founder and president of
technology Sergey Brin insisted there were no plans for an
IPO
. “”The distraction, I think, is a problem…Having to deal with
numbers on a quarterly basis,” Brin said in March this year.

An IPO filing would give the public its first glimpse into the finances
of the search technology darling. Google’s success in the paid search
sector has heightened interest in that red-hot sector and industry watchers
are salivating at the chance to peek at the company’s balance sheet.

The privately held Google is believed to be profitable.

Google officials could not be reached for comment. Both publications
said spokespersons declined to discuss the IPO plans.

Google conducts about 200 million searches daily. In addition to paid
search ads that appear alongside search results, the company generates
revenue from licensing its search technology to enterprise clients,
including big-name firms like Yahoo and Time Warner’s
America Online unit.

Google’s early stage backers in include California-based Stanford
University and VC firms Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital.

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