Not every company would coyly spurn billions of dollars and front-page attention. Yet Google seems intent on staying private as long as possible despite the clamoring of investors to own a piece of a company that has become synonymous with instant information on the Web.
There are many good reasons to avoid a public stock offering and the close scrutiny it brings. Indeed, this week the scrutiny will intensify as the company approaches a deadline to file financial disclosures.
But in Google's case, its hesitancy up to this point has been a symptom of a long-running battle for control between its two brainy, headstrong founders and the powerful, strong-willed financiers who gave them the money to turn their graduate school project into one of the world's leading brands, according to several people in and outside Google.
The two founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who own perhaps 40 percent of the company, could become billionaires several times over if they take it public.
But according to people who have dealt with them, they are less interested in cashing out than in maintaining their ability to direct Google's ambitious strategy and idiosyncratic style.
A lawyer who has worked for Google remarked, "There are a lot of quirky demands that are made over there that are not made by traditional financial market considerations but are more about control of the founders."
For the two venture capitalists -- John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital Partners -- the motives are more clearly financial.
They have benefited by agreeing to Page and Brin's request to delay a stock offering while the company and its perceived market value grew rapidly.
But now, with competition from Microsoft on the distant horizon, it may be an ideal time to cash in on the investment.
Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia invested US$25 million in June 1999, buying about 25 percent of the company, according to people involved in the transaction.
If a publicly traded Google became worth, say, US$20 billion, that would give the investors an 800-fold return on their money, making it one of the best investments in history.
And since many of their other investments made at the peak of the Internet boom have collapsed, the two venture capitalists need a big return from Google all the more.
Attention is being focused this week on Google because Thursday is the deadline for it to file financial disclosures under US Securities and Exchange Commission rules.
It could meet those requirements by filing papers for a public stock offering -- what the venture capitalists are said to favor.
Or it could simply file the disclosure papers, perhaps along with a statement that it will begin eventually to move toward a public offering.
A person close to the company said last week that it would proceed with this slower course.
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did
The military last week sent “no small number” of Marine Corps officers to the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Island, 東沙群島) following reports of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drill targeting the islands scheduled for this month. In an interview with Hong Kong’s Bauhinia Magazine published on Saturday last week, PLA National Defense University professor Li Daguang (李大光) confirmed that the Chinese army was planning to stage a simulated invasion of the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea this month. The islands comprise three atolls, with Pratas Island, at 1.74km2, being the largest. They lie southwest of Taiwan proper in the South