In a press release posted today on the official Google IPO Web site, the company stated that they would be filing an amendment to their prospectus in order to drop the expected share price of the stock for this week's IPO. The previous target range of $108-$135 has been abandoned in favor of a new range of $85-$95 per share. Google still plans to sell over 14 million shares of Class A stock in the offering, but now expects shareholders to sell an estimated 5.5 million shares, a drop from the previous estimation of almost 12 million.

With fewer shares on the market and a lowered share price, Google's valuation has now dropped from a high of more than $36 billion down to just under $26 billion. The lower price has also prompted several top Google executives, including co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, to cut the number of shares they plan to sell in half. The IPO is now expected to raise around $1.8 billion, just over half of the originally targeted $3.5 billion.

After the SEC denied Google's request to make their registration statement effective yesterday afternoon, Google has filed an new request that the statement be reviewed and declared effective as of 1 p.m. PDT on Wednesday. That move would allow Google to begin trading shares as early as Thursday. CBS MarketWatch reports that insiders have implied that the SEC is expected to provide a formal OK this afternoon for Google to begin selling shares.

The drop in share price does not come unexpectedly. News stories and discussion forums have been full of naysayers and critics of the high price since it was first announced. With a dutch style auction being used to determine the initial offering price, many suspected that Google would be forced to lower their expectations before taking the company public. A recent downturn in the tech market served only to solidify opinions that Google was simply asking too much.

Google is still under review by the SEC and the California Department of Corporations for failing to register several million shares and options in their IPO application. The company is also being investigated by the SEC for an interview that co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin conducted with Playboy magazine. Combined with a variety of trademark issues, including the failure to register the Gmail trademark with the USPTO before several other companies, Google’s legal issues have served to create a somewhat hostile public environment for the company that was once viewed as a media and industry darling.

With shares expected to start trading on the NASDAQ by the end of the week, both Google and the public may have finally reached the point of being able to get beyond IPO-induced madness and back to work.
August 18, 2004

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

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