Its Official: Google Files for IPO

Google opts for an auction-based stock offering in one of the most highly anticapted public offerings this year while revealing revenues nearing $1 billion last year.

Search giant Google Inc. finally made it official Thursday. It filed the paperwork for its much-anticipated initial public offering that could raise as much as $2.7 billion and is expected to be a bellwether for the technology industry.

Google, of Mountain View, Calif., plans to offer shares of stock through an auction-based process on either the NASDAQ or the New York Stock Exchange, according to its S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Google did not provide a planned stock symbol or a target date for its public listing.

Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. and Credit Suisse First Boston LLC were named as the underwriters for the IPO.

Along with marking Googles official intent to go public, the filing also provides financial and strategic insight into the company that will be closely analyzed by its competitors such as Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp.s MSN division. As a private company, Google has not had to report sensitive financial data or risks to its business since co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin launched it in 1998.

Google revealed that it has been profitable since 2001 and took in revenue nearing $1 billion last year alone. For 2003, Google earned a profit of $105.6 million on revenue of $961.9 million.

Already for calendar year 2004, Google has more than doubled its earnings compared with the same period a year ago. It had earned a net income of $64 million through March 31 on revenues of $389.6 million.

In a joint letter as part of the filing, Page and Brin wrote that while they had always considered taking Google public if it succeeded, the companys rapid growth more recently made a public offering necessary. Google will maintain its three-way leadership structure of Page and Brin as co-presidents and Eric Schmidt as CEO.

"Our growth has reduced some of the advantages of private ownership," the founders wrote. "By law, certain private companies must report as if they were public companies. The deadline imposed by this requirement accelerated our decision."

Next Page: Founders say going public wont dissolve Googles unconventional culture.