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Google Considering IPO Auction Online

Hemos posted about 11 years ago | from the raising-the-funds dept.

The Internet 271

HackerStickers writes "An article in the Financial Times states that Google could be considering doing their IPO online via an auction versus the standard methods of raising funds early next year. The article points out that auctioning it could bring in a larger chunk of cash for the company. Would you bid on a piece of Google?"

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Google (1, Interesting)

Luigi30 (656867) | about 11 years ago | (#7298753)

I'd buy the part with all the logos and make more.

Re:Google (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7299085)


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GAY-O! Gay-ay-ay-o! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)
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-- The WIPO Avenger

Analyst reccomends strong buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7298758)


seriously, if they float then invest everything including your grandma on this stock, price doesnt matter, get in early and watch that portfolio grow

AjS

Re:Analyst reccomends strong buy (3, Insightful)

KDan (90353) | about 11 years ago | (#7298778)

With all the trouble they're having with blog noise and all that? Google have alredy done their "grow". They may grow a lot during the IPO too, but after that they will go down, most likely, when people start realising that it's not really going anywhere that fast and it's been over-rated during the IPO. the shareprice will readjust to a strong value, but not a strong growth.

Daniel

Way too expensive... (2)

Manuzhai (712333) | about 11 years ago | (#7298759)

I think not. These shares are indoubtably going through the roof, so they'll be way too expensive for me. I mean, Google is supposed to be worth about 15 - 20 billion!

Re:Way too expensive... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7298774)

Hey, unless you're a brokerage house, you'll probably end up paying what you would have, or maybe even a little less, while google will get considerably more.

I don't see a down side to cutting out the old boy network. Hell, maybe it will be a trend, where merit as opposed to heredity or nepotism determine who can get ahead.

Re:Way too expensive... (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 11 years ago | (#7298807)

Yeah, but do we really want to see Frank Quattrone cry?
I'll buy if the shares are offered through ThinkGeek. Can we get a free T-Shirt for, say 50+ shares?

Re:Way too expensive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7298829)

Cry? No. Monkey's eating him alive while he goes through oxycotin withdrawl? Yes.

Re:Way too expensive... (3, Insightful)

swordboy (472941) | about 11 years ago | (#7298842)

Didn't we learn anything from the '90s?

I mean, there is no reason for google to go public other than greed. They are making plenty of money on their own right now and I doubt that they are in need of cash for business purposes.

There is so much legalized criminal activity involved with public companies. For example, Netgear just went public and the underwriter (Lehman Brothers) had the option of printing up an extra *million* shares to "cover additional costs".

Additional costs like a big party...

Re:Way too expensive... (3, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | about 11 years ago | (#7298929)

There is an SEC regulation [fool.com] that effectively forces Google to IPO (or to beg for an exemption), so it isn't "greed" but rather simply accommodating financial regulations.

Re:Way too expensive... (0)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | about 11 years ago | (#7299030)

You well heeled big wheel, you !

Re:Way too expensive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7299053)

there is no reason for google to go public other than greed ... that you can think of offhand.

Google on Ebay? (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | about 11 years ago | (#7298760)

100 million shares: 100 million auctions.

Would you bid on a piece of Google? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7298763)

Would you bid on a piece of Google?

Depends on which piece.

Uhm, yes, I would, but not immediately (3, Insightful)

heironymouscoward (683461) | about 11 years ago | (#7298769)

Auctions are an interesting way to do this but I expect that as usual with auctions the hype will cause the price to jump higher than it might otherwise. Then it will fall to a "normal" level (at which point I will buy some stock if I have any money left from selling my second Porsche), before gradually climbing up to dizzy heights (at which point I will sell my stock and buy three new Porsches).

Re:Uhm, yes, I would, but not immediately (5, Interesting)

letxa2000 (215841) | about 11 years ago | (#7298945)

As they said, an auction would net Google more money. That means the investor would pay more which lessens the urge to actually participate. Of course, it at least gives you the option to participate in the IPO whereas normally only good friends of important people get to participate.

It seems, though, that an auction will mean that everyone will pay the maximum amount for the shares rather than a tempting IPO amount. So instead of some people getting in at a $10 IPO value (for example) and riding it to $100, everyone will have to pay $100 each and there will be no IPO ride.

What this means to me that there is no pressing reason why I should participate in the IPO. Presumably the auction will set a price very close to what it will be trading at when shares become available through traditional channels, so why bother? Just wait a few days and see how the stock moves. IPOs in the past have been tempting for investors because there is an expectation it will rise quickly, so everyone wants in. If the IPO is at the "already risen" stock price then there's no rush to get in at the very beginning since a few days later will be essentially the same price on the open market.

This only makes sense for Google, and only the owners. As someone else has said, they already have good profit and I doubt they need more to grow the company. If the company doesn't have any plans on why it needs/wants $15 billion (other than to make a few owners rich) I'd be skeptical of giving it to them.

IPO=Death (5, Insightful)

Marxist Commentary (461279) | about 11 years ago | (#7298770)

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.

Re:IPO=Death (2, Interesting)

gfxguy (98788) | about 11 years ago | (#7298791)

I don't know if it equals death, but I am thinking along the same lines. Is google not the most popular search engine? Does it not make enough revenue?

If it doesn't make enough revenue, why would investors think this is a good deal?

If it does, why would the private owner(s) have an IPO? Sure they can make a ton of cash - but aren't they doing that now? Obviously they are tired of the business and want to get out and make a lot of cash while doing it.

Re:IPO=Death (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7298888)

Besides, has Google done something really innovative since Pagerank? I think Google is at its height of public brand awareness and usefulness. There isn't really anything which could replace Google yet, but the quality of Google's search results is on the decline. Google's charme has always been that it didn't sacrifice the main purpose in order to make a buck, but that's going to have to change if they need to keep growing -- unless they have something truly new up the sleeves, but I doubt that.

Me neither.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7298895)

But nothing wrong with looking at, ooooh, say this [google.com] .

Re:Me neither.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7298935)

Most normal Google results look like a Froogle excerpt these days, and Google didn't have to lift a finger to achieve that.

Re:IPO=Death (1, Interesting)

koh (124962) | about 11 years ago | (#7298808)

By becoming public, google loses the ability to continue with constant steady growth and innovative R&D.

"Growth" will be expected year after year - the innovative ideas that have made google so successful will give way.

So you say that if people obsessed with growth show up, google would magically lose the ability to grow ?

the innovative ideas that have made google so successful will give way

Of course you realize that google stands up as an example for many, and that doing the IPO online maybe would attract people that are in tune with google's ideals and previous strategies ?

No, I won't bid on a share.

By your own words, if you're not planning to be providing "constant steady growth and innovative R&D" the next few years, please do so.

Re:IPO=Death (5, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | about 11 years ago | (#7298847)

"would attract people that are in tune with google's ideals and previous strategies"

No, it will attract people who believe they can make money from buy/selling stock.

Re:IPO=Death (1)

BabyDave (575083) | about 11 years ago | (#7298990)

"Growth" will be expected year after year - the innovative ideas that have made google so successful will give way.

So you say that if people obsessed with growth show up, google would magically lose the ability to grow ?

'Growth' means two different things:

  1. Improvement of the services Google provides
  2. Profit[0]
The problem people are worried about is the push for the latter form of 'growth' getting in the way of the former - Google stagnates (or just plain starts to suck) because the big shareholders want more money out of it.

[0] Yes I know, it's a list with the word 'profit' in it, but not preceded by '???'.

Re:IPO=Death (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | about 11 years ago | (#7298837)

No, not death, but a fate far worse than death.

Google would end up being controlled by Microsoft.

Re:IPO=Death (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7298868)

If the company manages to retain strong leadership, and with evangelical masses this may be possible, and doesn't lose their sense of direction, this massive capital infusion could give them an ability to compete strongly with microsoft's capital advantage.

If they just stay the course, eventually, microsoft will be able to leverage their natural advantage and bury them. Yes, we all know they're ebil, blah blah blah. But if microsoft brings out the first natural language search engine, that has a good grasp of context, can do a half way decent job of grouping people, places and things together, you'll all be using it. You'll be bitching about it here, but you'll still be using it, monogomously too.

Re:IPO=Death (2, Interesting)

falconed (645790) | about 11 years ago | (#7298874)

Google would end up being controlled by Microsoft.

You're insinuating Microsoft would do a hostile takeover of Google. IIRC, Microsoft would have to own 51% of the company by buying shares of the IPO (or acquiring them later on, etc). This is only possible if Google releases 51% of their shares when they go public. The company [yahoo.com] I work for recently went public and did not want to have to worry about a hostile takeover (we're relatively small - our competitors would gobble us up if they had the chance) so they only released ~ 30% of their shares. And they haven't become obsessed with the stock price; we're just as committed to providing quality products to our customers.

Re:IPO=Death (2, Informative)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | about 11 years ago | (#7299050)

A company can be controlled without owning 51% of the shares. See board of directors.

Re:IPO=Death (2, Funny)

AlecC (512609) | about 11 years ago | (#7299011)

Google would end up being controlled by Microsoft.

How about the other way round? According to the article, if Google whip up enough hype among private investors, they could raise $100bn. Microsoft is worth a bit over $300bn, so they take that $100bn and make a 25% cash, 75% stock offer for Microsoft. And Microsoft end up being run by people with the understanding of real value and service that Google has.

No, I don't believe it either, but it is a nice thought.

Re:IPO=Death (5, Interesting)

seschmi (531566) | about 11 years ago | (#7298865)

It actually depends on the expectations of the shareholders, if an IPO leads to the death of a company. Normally a company is expected to be worth a certain multiple of its earnings (or better, the cashflow, because cashflow is difficult to forge). A normal multiple would be 10, which gives me a 10% return rate (I buy the company for 100 and get 10 out of it every year). If google has USD 100 Mio of earnings, it's worth would be USD 1000 Mio, if valued this way. This of course would be a fair value, because it enables them to pay their investors an annual dividend of 10% of the stock price, even without any growth. In this scenario, they could stay in their search-engine-business, something they can (obviously) handle successful. The problem is, google will not aim at a valuation of one billion, they will aim at a valuation that is about ten times higher. And that means, they will have to grow a lot in a short time, something that will propably kill them.

Re:IPO=Death (2, Interesting)

I8TheWorm (645702) | about 11 years ago | (#7299044)

Just a little bit of clarification. It's the P/E Ratio (Price to Earnings) that investors are concerned about. The average over the long haul for the S&P is about 16%. During the DotCom boom, the average P/E ratio of those companies was somewhere in the 40% range... WAY off the map. Anything bought below the norm is considered a value stock, anything above is considered a growth stock.

Either way you slice it, the typical investor is concerned with the P/E, as you mentioned. The problem with that is if the immediate P/E drops, they tend to dump the stock pretty quickly. So if said company reinvests capital for say a new server farm, investors don't tend to look at that as a profitable move for a company, and run form it. Private companies don't have that problem, as they get the opportunity to look much further down the road.

Re:IPO=Death (1)

leiprecht (718672) | about 11 years ago | (#7298879)

If Google appoints an equal number of techies on their board.... hmmm yeah, I would buy stocks. Otherwise, agreeing with the poster, they are doomed to fail. People with money and without technological knowledge are dangerous for a company like google. refering to the auction... good idea, they would save a lot of costs for their IPO if they auction the shares

Re:IPO=Death (4, Interesting)

Ab0rtRetryFail (549588) | about 11 years ago | (#7298884)

Quoth the Leftist Analysis:
"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."

I think that Google could still do this as a public company. There are a handful of companies now that do NOT issue quarterly guidance, focusing instead on the long-term (like they should, IMHO). These aren't small companies either -- I know Coca-cola does it. Google doesn't necesarily have to issue quarterly guidance if it doesnt want to. I think it has a commanding enough position (and certainly would have a top spot on the exchange if they went public) to not have to kowtow to the Street. I for one would LOVE a Google IPO -- the interest it would create would be tremendously beneficial to my portfolio. I don't think would signals the end of the Google we all know and love -- selling shares to the public is not the same as selling your soul. As long as Google has smart, talented people working for them, and as long as they gaze over their shoulder to see Yahoo and M$ breathing down their throat, I think they'll stay the same, IPO or not.

Re:IPO=Death (4, Insightful)

leerpm (570963) | about 11 years ago | (#7298906)

"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."

Actually, quite the opposite. By staying private they lose the ability to keep the talent on board by issuing those high-valued employees stock in the company. Sergey Brin himself has mentioned this several times in the past. While being private gives the company more freedom with its financial affairs, it needs an IPO to keep growing and move forward.

Re:IPO=Death (4, Insightful)

seschmi (531566) | about 11 years ago | (#7298986)

With an IPO, you simply get the ability to pay in promises instead of cash. If you promise to grow X per cent during the next y years, this will raise the share price and capital increase will exchange that share price for cash.

Same with the employees - instead of giving them more cash, you give them promises (called "stock options").

Sounds nice, the only question is wether people believe you or not. I've myself owned promises (stock options) worth several millions some time ago (worthless now, of course), so I prefer cash instead.

Furthermore: You don't need an IPO to give shares to your employees. Shares entitle their owners to get parts of the earnings, so if the company performs well, the employees will participate in this, even if the company is not public.

why exactly IPO=Death? (2, Insightful)

23 (68042) | about 11 years ago | (#7298957)

So what exactly would magically change, if their shares were publicly traded as opposed to being held privately by quite a bunch of VC's [google.com] ???

Personally, I don't buy all this hipocrisy outside money supposedly destroying the company. Google would probably be long overtaken by some other company had it not gotten outside capital [google.com] to fund growth and we would not have one of the coolest web-services around.

And although the dot.com-boom is over, the fundemental paradigm of web-services still exists: practically no barrier to entry. So if google dies (which I don't expect), another better search engine will take its place. That is the cherrished capitalism for you. :-)

OTOH, if they can use the money to expand their business (and reap some rewards for their cool work), I'm all for it. In the end it's and always has been a business decision.

cheers,
Roland

Re:IPO=Death (3, Insightful)

Safety Cap (253500) | about 11 years ago | (#7298975)

Google is punking out. The reason they are doing this is to sidestep underwriters and their fees.

If they go public, there will be greater pressure to avoid "controversial" stories about them that will affect their stock price. If Google had been a publicly traded company back in the day, then the scientology/operation clambake [xenu.net] thing might have gone down much differently (and worse for the public).

Re:IPO=Death (2, Interesting)

sdcharle (631718) | about 11 years ago | (#7299013)

Yeah, but...

A recent issue of Barron's points out Google has reached conditions that require it to make reports to the SEC, much like public companies are required to do. It's a 1934 law which takes affect once companies have 500 shareholders and $10 million in assets. There's a reference to it on Motley fool: Gunning for Google [fool.com]

So, while you're right, and realize unlike some others around here that IPOs are not pure good, for Google, if they have to open up their business like this and make these reports like a public company, why not reap the financial rewards of an IPO? This is part of what's motivating them.

Re:IPO=Death (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | about 11 years ago | (#7299027)


You couldn't be more right. There is a HUGE difference between a private and a public company. Private companies can still take a hickey on short term earnings during heavy R&D. If a public company were to do that these days, the entire board and C*O staff would be out the door... replaced by some suits that only care about the next earnings report.

When a private company does really well, an IPO can be a painful death. Of course, it could also mean the owner(s) want to cash in and move to the Bahamas.

Yeah, I would... (4, Funny)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | about 11 years ago | (#7298772)

I'd pay $20 a share for a stake. Uhh, I mean $22. No, wait, make that $24. Did I say $24? Darn, I meant $26. No, I take that back, what I really meant was...

I always feared the day they'd IPO! (4, Insightful)

John_Booty (149925) | about 11 years ago | (#7298775)

When you open up your company for outside investment, that's when a lot of companies go to shit. When you're privately-owned, you can be content to simply turn a nice profit every year.

When you have an IPO, though, your company is worthless to investors unless you continually grow and grow and grow.

Google could continue doing what they're doing right now and maintain a constant level of profit (assuming they're profitable right now, which they supposedly are). But if they hae an IPO they're going to have to try more and more ways to wring more and more money out of investors and users. Get ready for what may be the slow degradation of one of the last "pure" and amazing things on the web...

Re:I always feared the day they'd IPO! (1, Interesting)

millette (56354) | about 11 years ago | (#7298813)

I'm responding to this post [slashdot.org] as well, since they're a bit contradictory.
  • By becoming public, google loses the ability to continue with constant steady growth and innovative R&D
  • your company is worthless to investors unless you continually grow and grow and grow
So, which is it?

Re:I always feared the day they'd IPO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7298835)

Your parent post stated the second of your points, not the first.

Re:I always feared the day they'd IPO! (1)

millette (56354) | about 11 years ago | (#7298859)

My comment and quotes relate to these:

Re:I always feared the day they'd IPO! (0, Offtopic)

millette (56354) | about 11 years ago | (#7298894)

replying to myself - well, replying to the moderators actually. Guys, you've got to learn what overrated means before hitting that button. Help yourself to the faq if you need a refresher.

Re:I always feared the day they'd IPO! (1)

John_Booty (149925) | about 11 years ago | (#7298924)

I'm responding to this post [slashdot.org] as well, since they're a bit contradictory.
* By becoming public, google loses the ability to continue with constant steady growth and innovative R&D
* your company is worthless to investors unless you continually grow and grow and grow

So, which is it?


They're not quite contradictory- the thing is, with outside investment, there's a lot of pressure for QUICK growth. The investors have just poured X million dollars into your company, they want results, and you are under pressure to deliver those results quickly.

When you don't have outside investment, you can go the "slow and steady" route... concentrating on turning a profit... slow, sustainable growth. You have only yourself to please with your company's progres, not outside investors.

One's not necessarily better than the other. Often you *need* that outside investment to get to the "next level". But outside investment is often damning, as often companies put themselves out of business by trying to grow too quickly, too soon and falling on their faces (financially-speaking) instead.

Re:I always feared the day they'd IPO! (2, Insightful)

seschmi (531566) | about 11 years ago | (#7299022)

It's only contradictory on first sight. Actually, investors in publicly traded companies are quite nearsighted, because they can sell their shares every time they want. What they are looking for is an abrupt raise of the share price, no matter what comes after this, because they will sell their shares at the maximum price anyway.

Investors in private companies can't act this way. They know it will probably take years to sell their shares, or probably they will never sell their share but get their return from the earnings of the company. Therefore they have to be much more farsighted.

Re:I always feared the day they'd IPO! (1)

ndogg (158021) | about 11 years ago | (#7298898)

So let's change the situation. Companies always do what is in the interest of its shareholders, and if all its shareholders was geeks, then ____ . [fill in the blank]

Re:I always feared the day they'd IPO! (1)

axiom9 (718070) | about 11 years ago | (#7299017)

Geeks still have an interest in ensuring the long term future of their stuff though. I'll spend extra money just to make sure my Commodore is extra clean and shiny. Google may not be able to afford to do this even if geeks own the mofo.

Re:I always feared the day they'd IPO! (1)

kinnell (607819) | about 11 years ago | (#7298909)

In reality companies either grow or shrink, it's next to impossible to keep them at a steady profit. But that's beside the point - why wouldn't you want your company to grow?

A more interesting question is: why do they want to float? This is normally because the business needs massive capital investment in order to achieve it's objectives, but it seems that google already has sufficient infrastructure, market share and R&D capability. If it's making good profits, why share them with other people? Could it be that the owners aren't too optimistic about the future, and want to cash in while the going's good?

Re:I always feared the day they'd IPO! (1)

John_Booty (149925) | about 11 years ago | (#7299005)

In reality companies either grow or shrink, it's next to impossible to keep them at a steady profit. But that's beside the point - why wouldn't you want your company to grow?

Of course you want your company to grow, but growing too quickly can be a very bad thing- that's the only concern. It happens a lot, with or without outside investment. We had a local chain of pharmacies around here. They were around for years and years, so I assume they were in the black. At some point they got too ambitious and started expanding their stores in questionable ways and building a bunch of new ones in questionable locations. The result? They were out of business in a year.

Now it's certainly true that you can't get anywhere in business without taking some risks. Lots of companies have flourished after expansion or IPO's. But taking bad risks is one of the quickest ways to get OUT of business. :P

A more interesting question is: why do they want to float? This is normally because the business needs massive capital investment in order to achieve it's objectives, but it seems that google already has sufficient infrastructure, market share and R&D capability. If it's making good profits, why share them with other people? Could it be that the owners aren't too optimistic about the future, and want to cash in while the going's good?

Excellent point, and worrisome indeed.

But the pricetag... (1)

ben_of_copenhagen (649118) | about 11 years ago | (#7298780)

The Reg carries the story here [theregister.co.uk] . Says the company has an estimated value of 15-25 billion $.

I know they make money, but it still seems absurd in an e-world where companies rise and fall in just a few years.
I think i'll buy art instead. Its certainly more fun than shares...

Ben, er du Dansk? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7298912)

just wondered...

Cash is good but it's not everything (0)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | about 11 years ago | (#7298788)

"The article points out that auctioning it could bring in a larger chunk of cash for the company."

And what's in my opinion much more important than the cash for the company is a higher level of transparency to the public.

"Would you bid on a piece of Google?"

Of course I would. This is great news (even if not actually "new" to anyone already doing business with Google).

I'd buy, but not in an auction (5, Insightful)

merryprankster (591989) | about 11 years ago | (#7298790)


Every day punters are likely to want a piece of Google in a big way. The global reach of the brand and the sentimentality with which the everday web user regards it mean that folks are likely to think that it is worth investing in. But this is where where the auction model completely falls down.

The article states that the price could get pushed up as high as $100 billion in an auction - for a company that makes $150 million a year??! This is complete .con madness.

Google directors get to save a small percentage of the billions they are going to make by skipping on underwriting charges, but the potential for the price being pushed to an artificial high in a auction before a catastrophic crash are large.

Re:I'd buy, but not in an auction (1)

fbg111 (529550) | about 11 years ago | (#7299076)

The article states that the price could get pushed up as high as $100 billion in an auction - for a company that makes $150 million a year??! This is complete .con madness.

Yes, so maybe it will actually force investors to base their bids on an objective standard of value for Google. In fact, I don't see how it couldn't. Average Joe investors will want to bid, but investment banks and mutual funds will be able to out-bid them. But how high are the financial institutions willing to push the price, since they know that in this case their newly purchased shares won't be so easy to "flip" if they've pushed the price too high? The IPO value of Google shares may not go as high as everyone expects in a public auction, as there seems to be more incentive for the buyers to bid rationally.

who want's a piece? (2, Interesting)

millette (56354) | about 11 years ago | (#7298797)

First, some hype:
  • "They could get a $100bn" stock market value, said one person involved.
  • "It will be worth $15bn-$25bn," said one person who has been involved in the process. "This has never happened before."
Next, more hype:

Though the company does not disclose financial information, its profits are growing rapidly and are reckoned to be running at an annual rate of about $150m on revenues of $500m.

Anybody got a name??

Hell no. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7298806)

I love Google, but I fail to believe it will remain what it is if it goes public. Public companies are responsible to their shareholders, not the users of the Internet.

Re:Hell no. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7298823)

Not only are public companies responsible to their shareholders first and foremost but they can only work in quarterly increments because that's how shareholders will judge them. Yesterday Macromedia dropped 34% after announcing quarterly earnings. Do you think the execs at Macromedia are thinking long term plans at this point, or are they wasting all their time trying to organize a fire sale and save their asses so they can stay on the treadmill?

Maybe not... (1, Interesting)

seldolivaw (179178) | about 11 years ago | (#7298811)

Since Google is broken [google-watch.org] at the moment. I'll see if their search technology can continue to scale...

Re:Maybe not... (1)

rylin (688457) | about 11 years ago | (#7298892)

Maybe you should check google-watch-watch [google-watch-watch.org] as well?
Just a thought..

Sure I would (2, Funny)

MarsDude (74832) | about 11 years ago | (#7298815)

but only on the L or the E.
There are 2 of the G and O, so they'll be less valuable over time.

Unless those disappear one day. But then you ogle :-)

Re:Sure I would (1)

tommten (212387) | about 11 years ago | (#7298870)

You loose! Cause it all works because of the secret Goo (patent pending)

Re:Sure I would (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7298903)

The O is far worse because on any given search there are as many as ten of those, devaluing them even further.

Apropos? (1)

the uNF cola (657200) | about 11 years ago | (#7298818)

Strangely enough, google asking for money for an IPO reminds me of the south park episode, with the sucubus and chef's dad.

He says, "And you know what that Loch Ness Monster said? He said, 'I need about tree-fiddy.'"

Maybe that's how much I'd give 'em.. but then they may want another tree fiddy. :\

Interesting, But Not Innovative (5, Informative)

Bloodmoon1 (604793) | about 11 years ago | (#7298820)

While interesting, this isn't the first time [bizjournals.com] a company has done this. In April, 1999 a company called Ravenswood sold 1,150,000 shares online in an IPO auction. Several other companies since have, including Salon.com and Andover.net. Here's a summary of how they went [wrhambrecht.com] .

Re:Interesting, But Not Innovative (1)

millette (56354) | about 11 years ago | (#7298866)

Thanks for the info.

Mod parent up, please!

Re:Interesting, But Not Innovative (2, Informative)

EinarH (583836) | about 11 years ago | (#7298883)

Andover.net
(OpenIPO auction - completed 12/8/99)

Andover.Net is the leading Linux/Open Source destination on the Internet. Their network of Web sites provides an independent, unbiased source for content, community and commerce for the Linux and, more generally, the Open Source communities.

Results
-4,600,000 shares priced at $18.00 per share
-Filing range increased from $12-$15 to $15-$18
-First day closing price of $63.38


350% on the first day...
Ahh, those were the days.

Original Financial Times Story (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7298830)

Here [clickability.com] is the original FT story.

Well who will call the shots? (1)

Martigan80 (305400) | about 11 years ago | (#7298831)

I mean once they offer stock, they are going to have a board right? If that's the case lets hope they don't fall in line with Apple when Steve got fired by the board!

Just a though, they, the owners now, will lose alot of control over google, beside the comitition can buy some and if they get around 10%...oh well let us just wait and see.

morons opposing frauduleNT corepirate nazis? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7298832)

they should avoid calling it an 'ipo'. tell 'em robbIE?

selling your co. to the public without the hostage mandates of BearonStearno, GoldMineSacks, & the other felonious stock markup execrable, may prove difficult/meet resistance from the whoreabull gangsters of wall street of deceit, but could possibly change everything, again.

as we know, the daze of the phonIE ?pr? ?firm? scriptdead georgewellian fuddite payper liesense softwar gangster stock markup fraud execrable billyonerrors, is WANing into coolapps/the abyss, at the speed of right.

seems to us, that coughing up dough for a search engine co., would be like some loan that should be repaid with interest, as opposed to some pyramid payper 'stock' (yet another nearly ruined word, tell 'em robbIE?) scheme, that leaves the public betting against one another, causing even more hysterical 'momeNTdumb'.

the lights are coming up now.

consult with/trust in yOUR creator..... that's the spirit.

Re:morons opposing frauduleNT corepirate nazis? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7298855)

Fuckin A, man.

Microsoft (1)

twistedcubic (577194) | about 11 years ago | (#7298844)

Wow! I kinda laughed when I saw the claims about Microsoft's search engine overtaking Google. Now it looks like it will probably happen. Once Google goes public and scares everyone away with lame ads and lame pricing, Microsoft will rule. This is highly unfortunate. I really can't believe it.

Re:Microsoft (1)

teledyne (325332) | about 11 years ago | (#7298871)

An IPO can also give Microsoft a chance to outbid everyone and effectively purchase the majority of Google's shares. Microsoft will own Google, and hell will freeze over, this time not in Apple's favor.

Re:Microsoft (1)

leerpm (570963) | about 11 years ago | (#7298962)

If the company really is valued at $15-20 billion, I doubt Microsoft would be willing to part with that much of their cash hoard. Also, it would be considered a hostile takeover, which does not work very well for software companies unless they have reached maturity.

The price of Google... (3, Funny)

eforhan (631605) | about 11 years ago | (#7298857)

...would be a one with one hundred zeros following.

IPO only good for short term (5, Insightful)

optisonic (202402) | about 11 years ago | (#7298867)

Google is one of the few companies that regularly and consistently produces USEFUL functions for the world on a large scale. No one competing for the same market segment even comes close at this time.

Unfortunately when companies IPO, that means that they lose control over company direction and quality. As soon as people have a vested interest in the company, the race to profitability is on. This hurts the development cycle and the processes which control the quality of product. Investors are very demanding and GREEDY. Greed always rears its ugly head and forces companies to release more quickly and with lower costs to attain the extreme profitability that is required by the public.

Sure if you buy in then you can get a cash cow and end up sitting pretty for a while. Just know that over time people always want more money faster than it is currently being earned. This results in unrealistic schemes to achieve such goals.

Some would argue that more money means better product, but I know first hand that more money means more greed and investors would rather have money than good product. This means more regular changes internally to keep up with good profitability ratings.

Fortunately others are starting to compete for this space as well and even if Google looses it's cool due to investor demands, others will be ready to seize opportunity for improvement. Too bad it likely won't be the same Google that we (everyone I know) love today.

-BJ

Millennium Mercantile (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 11 years ago | (#7298890)

I'd like to see Google experiment with auctioning higher ranking slots in their search results. When it takes off, I'll wait for hedge funds to trade shares of NASDAQ, Inc. in the NASDAQ market. Rotating in board members more favorable to this week's Enron cryptosubsidiary issue will make us all rich.

Noooooo! (2, Insightful)

adrianbaugh (696007) | about 11 years ago | (#7298891)

Don't do it google! Sure, you'll get a bit of cash but you'll be selling your soul. Once you're in public ownership the only thing that is allowed to matter is shareholder returns, which will inevitably mean you turn into some sucky kind of portal with online shopping, instant messaging and all the crap I don't want from a search engine. This will happen regardless of whether the current people want it to or not - they'll just be voted out at an AGM, or sued for failing to maximise shareholder value.
So: google, consider this a plea. Remain smaller than you undoubtedly could become through an IPO, but retain your integrity and the essence that makes you great.

I seem to be missing something... (2, Insightful)

theGreater (596196) | about 11 years ago | (#7298899)

"However, all the shares would end up with Aunt Agatha in Des Moines and Uncle Milt in Pittsburgh and there would be no real public market at all."
I'm not too investment savvy, but isn't this EXACTLY what a public market means? Public, as in The Public; and Market, as in a place to buy and sell?

It -sounds- like he's saying that he's worried about the Public actually using their purchasing power. God forbid we take the future of something we value out of the hands of the people who brought us Enron, Worldcom, and other such unmitigated disasters.

-theGreater.

Start a petition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7298911)

We should really start a petition. You know, if we start now, there might just be a chance that Google will cancel its IPO, if we can convince them that this will do no good to their service.
So, anyone up to it?

Sure they'll get more money. . . (5, Funny)

Fritz Benwalla (539483) | about 11 years ago | (#7298928)


Of course they'll make more money with a Google-run auction:

"I bid twenty dollars per share"

Did you mean: thirty dollars per share?

Pushing opiates is good for Wall Street (-1, Troll)

Everyman (197621) | about 11 years ago | (#7298933)

Investing in Google is a good bet, because they have zero scruples when it comes to making money. Their Adwords program pushes illegal opiates [google-watch.org] . The FDA doesn't care, the big pharmaceutical companies only care that many of the prescription drugs are coming from outside the U.S., and it seems that only Britain cares -- advertising drugs to the public in Britain is not allowed, so Google screens them out for their UK engine.

Financials (1)

nuggz (69912) | about 11 years ago | (#7298943)

Of course not.
I haven't seen any financials.

Will the company change if it goes public?
If it isn't the google of today and becomes a crappy add loaded POS, it isn't the google cash machine I think it should be.

Assuming google is profitable now, just keep providing a class leading product, improve it so that there is no effective competition.
Should be capable of consistent profitability for the long term.

maybe... (1, Funny)

orion67 (591651) | about 11 years ago | (#7298947)


will they accept PayPal?

how about if I trade my mint Mickey Mantle rookie card for some shares?

Oh no... (1)

Universal Nerd (579391) | about 11 years ago | (#7298950)

Forseenable, but I don't like the idea so I'll go looking for alternatives as "cool" and "IPO" are two words that don't mix.

Are there any good search engines out there as Google is about to go down the drain in a bubble of hype?

Depends on Price (1)

Gavin Miller (702821) | about 11 years ago | (#7298977)

Depending on price, yes I would buy a piece of google as long as it wasnt too expensive.

M$ Google (1)

rootguy (617403) | about 11 years ago | (#7298984)

Hey, don't spread this news around, M$ might just buy it all... And in some year you'll be reading Google's EULA and paying for each one of your queries... I wonder what would be Google's performance running on Win2k3 :P

A Fool and His Money . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7298997)

I got Enron shares 4 U

. . . CHEAP !!! ;-P

Good way to get cash (1)

yaff (695800) | about 11 years ago | (#7299021)

Nice idea. Now that everyone's IPO wary they'll just label it an auction and drum up even more than the usual hype. From a moneymonger standpoint it's a great idea. It might even look like Y2K again, if only for a few days.

No, I wouldn't buy Google at auction. Its known by way too many excitable people with a credit card and a PayPal account. Or maybe Google will stiff PayPal and make you send them a cashier's check via Western Union.

morons score covetdead mynuts won: undefined (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7299029)

'selling' your co. to the public without the hostage mandates of BearonStearno, GoldMineSacks, the Rothchilds, the gates, & the other felonious stock markup execrable, may prove difficult/meet resistance from the whoreabull gangsters of wall street of deceit, but could possibly change everything, again.

as we know, the daze of the phonIE ?pr? ?firm? scriptdead georgewellian fuddite payper liesense softwar gangster stock markup fraud execrable billyonerrors, is WANing into coolapps/the abyss, at the speed of right.

seems to us, that coughing up dough for a search engine co., would be like some loan that should be repaid with interest, as opposed to some pyramid payper 'stock' (yet another nearly ruined word, tell 'em robbIE?) scheme, that leaves the public betting against one another, causing even more hysterical 'momeNTdumb'.

the lights are coming up now.

consult with/trust in yOUR creator..... that's the spirit.

don't forget to visit the foundation of fear, uncertainty, & doubt: http://www.trustworthycomputing.com

Re:morons score covetdead mynuts won: undefined (1)

Bertie (87778) | about 11 years ago | (#7299090)

Blimey. Stanley Unwin [demon.co.uk] isn't dead after all.

Great idea (1)

andih8u (639841) | about 11 years ago | (#7299042)

After all, going public did wonders for Yahoo, right? I'm fearing the day that the Google homepage will look like Yahoo's. Yahoo has 3,413 characters of text on the frontpage, quite a bit of which is ads, while Google has 199. I know that google is sensitive about this, but when you sell stock and have investors calling the shots on what you do, you lose your say in the matter.

No not initially (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7299066)

From a financial standpoint, purchasing google at auction would be only sane if one wanted the novelty of owning the stock.

The structure of the stock market is such that the best price to be offered will be offered. The value of the stock is contingent upon many factors, one of which is how much of the company does your one share actually entail you to have. For instance, if you purchased one share out of a possible 100, then that one share would be clearly worth the price. On the other hand, one share out of a googel, is clearly not worth it.

Google is hoping that the profits that are usually made by traders on an IPO openning will be made by Google itself.

Have Gone As Far As They Can Go (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7299067)

My guess is that they're considering an IPO because they've taken search technology about as far as they can. Others (such as Microsoft) will catch up to them soon, at which point their company will become worthless. People are mistakenly assuming that just because something is well-designed, visually-pleasing, accurate, intuitive, etc., etc., etc., that money can be made from it.

I want it NOW (4, Insightful)

wowbagger (69688) | about 11 years ago | (#7299078)

I want it NOW

This is not a reference to the Google stock, but rather to the pervasive attitude in today's society that is leading to our downfall as a civilization.

I want it NOW - as in, "I am unwilling to wait, and do the sensible thing, so I will do something completely stupid to get this right now."

Rather than waiting to earn and save enough money to buy (that plasma display|that new video card|that big SUV|...) people just charge it on the ol' credit card. Result - most of their income goes to servicing their debt.

Companies are like this, as well. Rather than borrowing money from a bank, or folding some profits back into R&D, they look for the immediate solution - "Let's sell off part of the company!" Unfortunately, unlike a bank debt which is designed to go away after a time (when you pay it off), selling off part of the company as stock is almost impossible to reverse. True, a company can try to buy back the outstanding shares, but as they do so, the cost of the outstanding shares will rise, and they are unlikely to ever be able to buy them back.

And I am sorry, but any employee who is swayed by stock options IS A TOTAL FSCKING MORON. The only way stock options are valuable is if the stock price of the company significantly increases from the time the options are granted to the time they are vested. As other posters have pointed out, this leads to a company trying to grow continuously, which is simply not possible. As a result, eventually you will get stock options that don't significantly appreciate in value.

There are better ways to "incentivize" an employee (that was the very term that was used by my boss as I was offered stock options - which were so far under water when the company was bought out that I was offered one whole dollar for the lot). A profit sharing plan, in which a percentage of the company's profits are credited to an account in the employee's name, with a vesting period, is FAR MORE effective at giving a key employee a reason to stay than stock options - the employee can SEE the value, can SEE the exact amounts of money he is walking away from, and that value DOES NOT FLUCTUATE as the market varies - hence the employee is unlikely to walk away at an uptick, as upticks and downturns simply don't happen.

Lastly, the whole purpose of playing the stock market has changed. It used to be a means by which you invested you money in a stock in return for dividends - converting cash into an annuity, thus attempting to guarantee youself an ongoing income, while still having the money available for use if needed. In that mode, the stock market is a non-zero sum game - you can gain value without somebody else losing value.

But now, the stock market is played like a trading card game - the idea of holding a stock for years is gone, buy it today and sell it tomorrow, lather rinse repeat. When it is played like that, the stock market becomes a zero-sum game - if I make money on the market somebody else had to lose - if I bought it low from you, then you lost your chance to make money, and if I sell high to you, you are losing money to me.

As a result, since in a zero-sum game everybody is in direct competition with everybody else with little motivation to co-operate, you get the "dog-eat-dog" mindset we see today.

No, I hope Google does NOT IPO. Yes, it would be nice to be able to buy a few shares of a well-run company who's management is planning for the long term. However, the odds of Google remaining such a company after IPO are vanishingly small. To paraphrase Marx (Groucho, not Karl) - "I wouldn't want to own stock in a company that would sell it to me."

Last Minute (1)

Tetsugaku-San (717792) | about 11 years ago | (#7299079)

Looks like another www.lastminute.com fiasco in the making to me . . . . Roll Up, Roll Up to looooose ur cash :)

IPO?!? (1)

Art_XIV (249990) | about 11 years ago | (#7299080)

IPO?!?!

Here come the MBA's... There goes Google. :/

I want to *BUY* my shares... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7299086)

... as it is I hate going to e-bay to buy anything. There's always some dumbass that creeps in at the last moment dropping a bogus bid on top of yours that either results in you paying a buttload more than you should have to, or the guy winning for like a buck more than your highest bid. For a buck more I would have always outbid that. Bottom line, you bid an amount, you should PAY that amount.

What is a reasonable price even going to be per share?

What kind of auction will it be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7299095)

Im hopping that it will be dutch, with the lowest bid being the price of the stock!
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