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Wall Street will have to wait another day for the




Securities and Exchange Commission

made no decision on the search engine giant's registration statement Tuesday. That means that the debut of the company's stock, which investors had been hoping to see Wednesday, likely will be pushed back at least until Thursday.

Google and its underwriters had asked regulators to declare the $3 billion initial public offering effective Tuesday so that pricing could take place as soon as Tuesday evening. The company has said it expects the deal to be priced this week, but it hasn't offered any further detail.

But regulators made it clear they weren't moving the IPO along Tuesday. "As of the close of business today, the registration statement had not been declared effective," an SEC spokesman told


The delay seems likely to cause a ripple among Google-obsessed investors, particularly during August's news slowdown. After all, the road to the Mountain View, Calif., company's


listing has had a few bumps on it. But a lawyer who's familiar with the stock market says Wall Street shouldn't read anything into this latest setback.

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"At this time, nothing can be inferred from the SEC's action or inaction," says Ron Geffner, a partner at the New York-based law firm Sadis & Goldberg and a former SEC enforcement attorney. "In the event the SEC were to notify the officers of Google of a problem, the burden would be on those officers to determine the materiality of such information, and whether such information needs to be disclosed to its investors."

A Google representative wasn't immediately reachable late Tuesday.

The news comes as the IPO process enters its final phase. Late last week, Google opened bidding under an unusual Dutch auction system that will have investor demand setting the price of the deal. The company then surprised observers by reissuing its IPO documents to include a


magazine interview that its founders had done in April. The deal hung in the balance briefly before news reports made it clear that regulators wouldn't delay the deal as a result of that article.

The company also revealed Monday that the SEC and state regulators are probing some $26 million in stock and stock options paid to employees.

Google has been the top tech story of the year, what with its household name and strong growth in the hot paid-search business. Still, some investors have questioned whether Google shares are worth the company's estimated price tag of $108 to $135.

The company shrugged off worries of a weak market or possible delay Monday, asking regulators to make the offering effective Tuesday. But with the SEC taking no action Tuesday, the Google watch may be a bit more anxious Wednesday.

At the time of publication, Mannes had no positions in stocks mentioned, but he has placed a bid in the Google IPO for the purpose of reporting on the auction process.

has waived the provision of its Investment Policy with respect to Mannes' ownership of the stock solely for the purpose of writing stories on Google's IPO. If Mannes' bid is accepted, he has agreed to sell his shares as soon as possible following his brokerage firm's 30-day "no-flipping" window for initial public offerings. As the situation warrants, he will be reimbursed by

for any losses, or donate any gains to a charity to be named later.