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Long awaited IPO goes ahead

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Google has finally set its IPO share price at $85 and will debut on the Nasdaq today as GOOG. The news follows the Securities and Exchange Commission's decision, yesterday afternoon, to greenlight the IPO.

The share price, determined by Dutch auction, is at the bottom end of the revised price range Google said it would accept, and values the company at around $23bn. It will raise $1.67bn for the company, $473m of which will go to the selling shareholders, a group composed of Google executives and investors.

Earlier, Google has slashed the value of its IPO by resetting the bidding range at $85-$95, down from $108-$135. It also re-applied for SEC approval of the IPO, which was granted a short while later and clear the way for trading to begin.

But market expectations are not high. Although the Boston Globe suggests the company may be positioned for "a modest gain", when trading begins, CNN reports analyst predictions of a slight drop in value.

Brian Bolan, an analyst with Marquis Investment Research said that the last few days of positive trading in tech stocks do not make an upward trend. "I would not be stunned if Google closes down. Internet search companies have been through the wringer for the past few weeks," he said.

Instead of the dream IPO it should have been, getting to this point has been more complicated than anyone expected back in April this year, when Google first said that it would float.

The company has fallen foul of regulatory issues regarding share options given to staff, given interviews when it should have stayed quiet, and has upset many of those within the investment community by taking a non-traditional approach to its float.

As well as levelling criticism at the company for its Dutch auction process, other market watchers suggest the search engine/advertising broker would have done better to have split its stock before the IPO. This would have brought the price down to a level accessible to more investors.

The IPO is underwritten by a syndicate led by Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated and Credit Suisse First Boston LLC. ®

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