Sunday, April 18, 2004

Google May Have Triggered Requirements to Become 'Publicly Reporting' Company: "Rampant speculation about a possible public stock offering has turned Google into the most closely watched technology company in the world. Now the Mountain View Internet company may be forced to show its hand.

"Privately held Google appears to have triggered a provision of the 1934 Securities and Exchange Act that requires it to disclose closely guarded financial details by the end of the month. The filing, with the Securities and Exchange Commission, would reveal so much about the secretive firm that many experts believe Google might take the next logical step and file for an initial stock offering, reaping the financial rewards that go along with having to open its books."

"Companies must report financial results to the SEC once they have at least $10 million in assets and more than 500 shareholders of record, including employees who hold stock options. Google's profits are thought to be $100 million or more. And the assumption—reinforced by Google's Web site, which touts "pre-IPO stock options" to prospective employees—is that the company has granted stock options to most of its more than 1,000 employees.

"If those assumptions are true, then Google should have to start making quarterly filings to the SEC by April 30, which is 120 days after the close of its fiscal year."

"Most companies view this middle ground with disdain because they spend millions to comply with government regulations and get nothing in return."

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