IPO is now fully in sight.
Lifting a veil from its much-discussed plans, the Mountain View, Calif., Internet search-engine company said late Thursday that it expects its hotly anticipated initial public offering will be priced next week.
The announcement, made on Google's
IPO Web site, came as the 5 p.m. EDT registration deadline for participating in the deal arrived. The company said it would start the auction tomorrow that will determine the price of its shares.
The development comes as Wall Street increasingly has turned its attention to two subjects: the ongoing tech meltdown spurred by weak outlooks at companies like
, and the pathbreaking Google deal. Some observers have wondered if the summer's tech-stock squeeze would delay Google's offering.
But despite all the talk, Google has remained mum and its plans have continued to unfold at a measured pace. The company stirred up Wall Street on Tuesday by saying that
registration would end at the close of business today. That news came on the heels of Google's $300 million-plus settlement of a pair of nagging disagreements with big rival and longtime investor
Google has shown remarkable growth in recent years based on the success of its pay-per-click search-engine advertising business. But investors have increasingly grumbled over the last month about Google's stinginess in public discussions of its business prospects, a capital structure giving its co-founders unassailable voting control, and the richness of the proposed price range for the company's stock.
Whether this commentary will lead to an offering price below the proposed $108 to $135 price range, or whether it is simply trash talk that will be obliterated by big-spending bidders, remains to be seen. Injecting uncertainty into the whole affair is the expected bigger-than-usual participation, as far as IPOs are concerned, of retail investors in Google's auction.
The deal is expected to raise north of $3 billion and value the company at some $36 billion, putting it in rarefied air indeed.
To participate in Google's Dutch auction of its shares, investors will need a bidder ID, obtained in the registration process. They'll also need an account at one of the brokerages that is underwriting the IPO, and will have to meet that firm's particular qualifications for bidding on Google shares.
By permitting investors to submit bids for as few as five shares in its offering, Google has lowered a usual investment hurdle; on the other hand, the company has raised that hurdle with a share count that puts the expected per-share price at more than five times the usual figure for an IPO.