Google May Go Public Next Week

Rhett Pardon
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Rumors of Google Inc.’s initial public offering are getting closer to the truth.

Within days the search-engine pioneer is expected to go public, according to Wall Street analysts.

The pending announcement is connected to the fact that the Mountain View, Calif.-based company will soon be required to disclose publicly more information about its business under a Securities and Exchange Commission rule triggered after privately held companies have more than 500 shareholders and $10 million in assets.

Google meets the requirement, because most of its 1,000 employees hold stock options. The rule requires companies to file disclosures about their finances within 120 days after the end of their fiscal year. For companies whose fiscal year ends Dec. 31, the requirement will be triggered next week.

The No. 1 search-engine company has been extremely secretive about an initial offering, limiting data to analysts and shutting off information to journalists.

While Google would not confirm or deny any possible details to XBiz, the company had an estimated $900 million in revenue for 2003, and is expected to be valued at nearly $25 billion if an IPO were to held next week.

Other Internet giants have similar values: Yahoo of Sunnyvale, Calif., is valued at $38 billion; eBay Inc. of San Jose at $54 billion; and Inc. of Seattle at $20 billion.

Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, both Stanford graduates, are said to own about one-third of the company, while venture firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital had $25 million at stake in 1999. Yahoo and Time America Online also have shares in the company.