Google IPO Auction Opens Today; Pricing Expected Next Week

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Google closed the registration of potential bidders for its initial public offering yesterday, announcing it would begin the auction today at 9 a.m. ET with an eye toward wrapping it up next week.

Those who obtained bidder identifications from Google's IPO Web site will be eligible to enter bids for as few as five shares of the 25.7 million Google is offering in the stock sale. Google has estimated the price range for its shares at $108 to $135, making the IPO worth as much as $3.5 billion.

Google and its underwriters expect the auction to close next week with an IPO price. Under terms of the unusual stock auction, Google can stop the bidding anytime it is satisfied the pricing level is suitable to meet demand. Once the IPO is priced and the Securities and Exchange Commission approves the company's final prospectus, Google will begin trading on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol GOOG.

Despite a raft of negative reaction to its proposed pricing, unhappiness with its share auction and a down market for Internet stocks, Google will push ahead with its share offering. Earlier this week, Google removed a potential uncertainty by settling a long-running patent dispute with rival Overture Services. Overture sued Google in April 2002 alleging its keyword advertising system infringed on Overture's.

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