The Politics of Googles IPO
The aftertaste of being taken for a ride is one reason politicians lump Silicon Valley with Enron when it comes to stock options, says eWEEK.com columnist Chris Nolan. And it's worth remembering that sentiment when it comes time to consider Google's stockTheres nothing like a little money to get Silicon Valley excited. Well, actually, theres nothing like a hot public offering. And Googles offering is hotter than hot. But as Californians know, intense heat can sometimes create brush fires. Unlike Netscape, which went public to almost as much fanfare and celebration nine years ago, Google isnt being brought to a stock market unfamiliar with the Internet or the valleys technological wizardry. Silicon Valley has a history with investors, now. And for all the goodin terms of innovation and jobsthat has been created in the valley, theres some bad feeling, too. That bad feelingthe slight aftertaste of being taken for a rideis one reason politicians lump the valley with Enron when it comes to stock options. And its worth remembering that sentiment when it comes time to consider Googles sale. Google has. The revised filing the company made with the Securities and Exchange Commission includes a section decrying the need to treat option grants as expenses.
So whats the most unusual thing about the Google offering? Unlike traditional stock offerings, Googles early shareholdersits backers, executives and other friends of the firmcan and are selling a great deal of stock. All told, those insiders are offering almost 10.5 million share of stock for sale at between $108 and $135 a share.