Google founders slash IPO price range

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Google's stock market float suffered another blow yesterday when its co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page were forced to slash the price range for their offer, cutting the maximum value of the company by one-third.

Google's stock market float suffered another blow yesterday when its co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page were forced to slash the price range for their offer, cutting the maximum value of the company by one-third.

The internet search engine's initial public offering - one of the most keenly awaited stock market issues of recent times - has been beset by problems. However, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved the registration of Google's listing as a public company on the Nasdaq last night, setting the stage for trading to begin as early as today. The approval, one of the last hurdles in the way of the IPO, had been set for Tuesday but was delayed for a day. No reason for the hold-up was offered.

The regulator has asked for more information about the events surrounding a recent interview the co-founders gave to Playboy magazine. During a flotation companies and their executives generally do not make public statements because of the dangers of breaching strict listing rules.

Apathy among institutions for the company's shares was blamed for the decision to cut the price range yesterday from $108-$135 per share to $85-$95 per share.

The move was also seen as a way of stimulating more demand from retail investors. The issue has also attracted criticism for failing to address overseas investors. At the top of the price range, the value of the company fell from $36.6bn to $25.8bn.

The company still intends to sell 14.1 million shares, raising about $1.2bn, although the number being sold by other existing Google shareholders was cut yesterday to 5.5 million from about 11.6 million.

The maximum amount raised from the float will fall from $3.5bn to $1.9bn.

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