In a busy financial day for Google, the company purchased Sprinks, the former paid listings division of PRIMEDIA's About.com, while it was also revealed that an initial public offering is planned for early next year.
Google IPO In March?
The Financial Times broke the story that Google plans an IPO perhaps as soon as March. The company is reported to have met with investment bankers about an IPO last week. It's also apparently considering an online auction, allowing investors to bid for shares directly. Investment bankers are estimating that the IPO might value the company at between US $15 and $25 billion.
Reuters reports that only 53 public offerings in history have exceeded $1 billion and that for comparison purposes, Yahoo and Amazon are valued at $26 billion and $22 billion respectively.
Earlier this month, Barron's Online reported that Google may have to go public simply because it has too many employees. If I recall correctly, this is one of the main reasons that Microsoft was eventually forced to go public. Latest rumors are that Google makes more than $100 million in profit off up to $1 billion in revenue.
Google Buys Sprinks
Meanwhile, Google has acquired Sprinks, a paid listings service that was owned by PRIMEDIA. As part of the deal, Google will provide paid search and contextual listings to PRIMEDIA. The main distribution point for Sprinks listings has been on PRIMEDIA-owned About.com. Inktomi and LookSmart will continue to power web-wide non-paid or paid inclusion results there. The Inktomi deal runs through February 2004.