Google float details to be announced next week

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The Independent Online

Google, The search engine giant, is expected to announce plans next week for a flotation on the US market, which could value the company at as much as $25bn (£14.1bn).

Google, The search engine giant, is expected to announce plans next week for a flotation on the US market, which could value the company at as much as $25bn (£14.1bn).

The float could raise as much as $4bn for the company, which founded only six years ago by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, shortly after they graduated from Stanford University. They are expected to make as much as $1bn each from the flotation.

Disclosure of the group's plans is believed to have been forced by a US Securities and Exchange Commission rule which says that privately owned companies with more than 500 shareholders and $10m of assets must report in public additional details about their firm. US corporate lawyers said such disclosures can often be accompanied by the announcement of flotation plans.

Google declined to comment on its plans, with further details of the initial public offering (IPO) - such as the extent to which individual investors will be able to participate - yet to be revealed. However, it is believed Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have already been hired to advise Google on the IPO. It is also thought Google may consider a Dutch auction, where the number of shares to be sold is fixed, but not the price. Typically, this sees the price start unrealistically high, and is lowered until the entire issue is sold.

Mr Brin hinted last August that any cash raised from a flotation would be used to fund acquisitions.

The IPO would allow the company's venture capital investors to recoup some of their investment in the firm. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Sequoia Capital, put up $25m five years ago for stakes in the company of an undisclosed size.

Google's IPO has been anticipated widely this year, providing another quoted rival for the likes of Yahoo! - the world's second most popular search engine, valued at around $38bn - and Microsoft. Other internet-based quoted giants include Amazon, at about $20bn, and ebay, about $54bn.

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