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Tech Firm IPOs Are Growing

SEARCHING FOR DOLLARS

Google may be the best known to go public since the bust, but others are on the way.

April 30, 2004|Alex Pham | Times Staff Writer

Atheros, which went public at $14 a share, closed at $13.26 on Thursday. Orbitz, issued at $26, closed at $24.51. Provide Commerce's shares closed at $21.92, up from their opening price of $15. All trade on Nasdaq.

"The aftermarket performance is not breathtaking, but it is outstripping the Nasdaq," Fitzgibbon said.

Another sign that the market may be more balanced is the mix of companies going public, analysts said. Technology companies made up 86% of all IPOs in the last three months of 1999. Tech companies constituted 23% of all IPOs in the fourth quarter of 2003.

But that doesn't make the current IPO market risk-free.

"We're starting to see some underwriters push the envelope," Taulli said.

A review of recent IPO filings with the SEC shows, for example, that Nanosys Inc., reported a $9.2-million loss for 2003 on $3 million in sales. The Palo Alto company declined to comment, citing the so-called quiet period before its IPO.

Some investors are also throwing caution to the wind. Taulli said he received more than 100 e-mails a day from investors asking how they could buy shares of Google.

"They don't even know what Google's financials are, and yet so many people say they want shares," he said. "The attitude is starting to change. Fear is going away, and greed is starting to take over again."

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

From Google's IPO filing

Included in the company's filing for an initial public stock offering was a letter from founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to prospective shareholders. Here are some excerpts.

Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one.... As a private company, we have concentrated on the long term, and this has served us well. As a public company, we will do the same.

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If opportunities arise that might cause us to sacrifice short-term results but are in the best long-term interest of our shareholders, we will take those opportunities. We will have the fortitude to do this. We would request that our shareholders take the long-term view.

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We will not shy away from high-risk, high-reward projects because of short-term earnings pressure.... For example, we would fund projects that have a 10% chance of earning a billion dollars over the long term. Do not be surprised if we place smaller bets in areas that seem very speculative or even strange.

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When Sergey and I founded Google, we hoped, but did not expect, it would reach its current size and influence. Our intense and enduring interest was to objectively help people find information efficiently. We also believed that searching and organizing all the world's information was an unusually important task that should be carried out by a company that is trustworthy and interested in the public good. We believe a well functioning society should have abundant, free and unbiased access to high quality information. Google therefore has a responsibility to the world.

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Our employees, who have named themselves Googlers, are everything.... We provide many unusual benefits for our employees, including meals free of charge, doctors and washing machines. We are careful to consider the long-term advantages to the company of these benefits. Expect us to add benefits rather than pare them down over time. We believe it is easy to be penny-wise and pound-foolish with respect to benefits that can save employees considerable time and improve their health and productivity.

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Our main benefit is a workplace with important projects, where employees can contribute and grow. We are focused on providing an environment where talented, hard-working people are rewarded for their contributions to Google and for making the world a better place.

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Don't be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served -- as shareholders and in all other ways -- by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short-term gains. This is an important aspect of our culture and is broadly shared within the company.

* Eric [Schmidt, chief executive], Sergey and I intend to operate Google differently, applying the values it has developed as a private company to its future as a public company.

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Larry Page

Sergey Brin

Source: SEC filings

Los Angeles Times

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