September 15, 2005 2:52 PM PDT

Secondary Google offering good for investors

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Google plans big new stock sale

August 18, 2005
Buyers of the 14.18 million shares that Google sold in its secondary stock offering made money on their investment in the first day of trade after the sale.

Google priced the shares at $295 each on Wednesday night, and the company's shares closed Thursday at $303 a share, after reaching a high of $306.75 earlier in the session.

Google said it would raise $4.18 billion when it announced the offering last month. Underwriters have the option to buy another 600,000 shares, bringing the amount that could be raised to $4.35 billion.

"They raised what they wanted to raise," said David Edwards, an analyst at American Technology Research. "It's common for companies to take advantage of the public markets to raise capital. This happens to be a particularly large raise."

Like many analysts, Edwards could only speculate on what Google plans to do with the money. Expansion in China and making acquisitions to expand the company's existing offerings are what most observers guess. The offering leaves the company with about $7 billion in cash.

"They are obviously competing with a variety of companies that have large balance sheets, so it's a smart move for them to raise capital when they can, in order to be able to participate in the large (merger and acquisition) transactions that seem to be happening more frequently," Edwards said.

However, Google "may just be having (the offering) because, like a lot of companies, they like having a large war chest," he added.

Google is involved in intense competition over search services with Yahoo over and desktop and other services with Microsoft.

The raise shows how far the company has come in just one year. When Google went public in August 2004, it priced its shares at $85 and raised $1.67 billion. Shares have more than tripled in price since then.

 

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