Originally created 08/19/04

SEC gives final nod to Google's initial public offering



SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The Securities and Exchange Commission granted final approval Wednesday to the paperwork required for Google Inc.'s initial public offering, paving the way for the Internet search giant to set a price for its shares and begin selling them after several stumbles and a last-minute downward revision on the size of the offering.

Despite reducing the number of shares to be sold to 19.6 million from 25.7 million and cutting its estimated price range by nearly a third, the offering is one of the biggest and highly anticipated for an Internet company, surpassing the hot issues of the dot-com boom.

Before trading begins, the company and its underwriters must close the unusual auction that's being used to set the share price of the initial sale. After that, winning bidders will be notified and shares will be allocated.

Google anticipates its shares will be priced between $85 and $95 each, down from an earlier estimate of between $108 and $135. It could raise $1.86 billion. If the stock trades at the high end of Google's range, it would have a market capitalization of about $25.8 billion, down from the earlier figures as high as $36 billion.

Google By the Numbers

Founded: In 1998 by Stanford University students Larry Page and Sergey Brin

Employees: 2,292

Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.

Financials: Earned $105.6 million, or 41 cents per share, on revenue of $962 million in 2003.

Primary revenue source: Advertising linked to online searches.

Daily searches performed: More than 200 million

Number of Web documents searched: More than 4 billion

Unique users per month: 81.9 million

Competitors: Microsoft Corp., Yahoo Inc., Ask Jeeves, AltaVista, America Online.

Origin of company name: A play on the mathematical term, "googol," which refers to the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros. It reflects the company's mission to organize a seemingly infinite amount of information on the Web.