Google launches site to register IPO bidders

In a sign that Google is moving closer to launching its much-anticipated initial public offering (IPO), the search giant opened a Web site on Friday where investors can register to bid for the company's shares.

Investors interested in getting a piece of what is being considered the hottest Internet property since the burst of the dot-com bubble can visit the site at www.ipo.google.com.

The launch of the site comes as the Mountain View, California, company closes in on launching its unusual IPO, which is being done by auction in an effort to make the process more accessible for the average buyer. Google is preparing to list its shares on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the ticker symbol "GOOG," and last week set an IPO target price of between US$108 and US$135 a share, which would value the company at as high as US$36 billion.

Only "U.S. persons" -- defined as U.S. residents, trusts, corporations or partnerships, among other technical, legal definitions -- are allowed to register for a bidder ID through the site. After entering zip code and state information, potential investors are instructed to access the company's prospectus and request a bidder ID. Bids can only be submitted through one of Google's underwriters.

Despite all the ballyhoo surrounding the IPO, Google appears to be taking a more measured approach on the site, warning that its Class A common stock may not be an appropriate investment for everyone. The company reiterates statements made in its prospectus that "an investment in Google involves a high degree of risk."

That warning may do little do dampen investors' excitement as the eagerly-awaited event approaches, however. When that will be was not immediately clear on Monday. A Google representative in London declined to comment on the matter, saying that the company is in a quiet period leading up to the IPO.

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Scarlet Pruitt

IDG News Service
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