Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Google's S-1 is online. (Warning. Big file.)

via CNET


This is from Reuters:

"But the founders cautioned that the company would not issue the quarterly profit targets shareholders and Wall Street have come to expect. 'A management team distracted by a series of short-term targets is as pointless as a dieter stepping on a scale every half hour,' Page wrote to prospective investors."

I think it's interesting how Larry Page looks at Google the same way Warren Buffett looks at his company, Berkshire Hathaway, with a long-term versus short-term focus.

Buffett makes his point by pricing his stocks extravagantly high, to prevent volatile trading due to short-term earnings fluctuations. Maybe we'd see the same from Google, a $30,000 price tag on its stocks?

In general, the company can't control its own share price. The share price is set by market. However, they can influence the price, by issuing new shares, or by buying shares back. That's what 'publicly traded' means in practice.

That said, Google do have some options to dampen down the volatility of the stock, if that is what they want to do. One option is not to issue forecasts.

However, not issuing forecasts will have consequences of its own. It will mean that the market won't know Google's strategy, and may be even more rattled by a poor quarterly performance than they would have been if there had been a forecast.

Another option they might have is to list on NYSE rather than on NASDAQ. NYSE has market-makers who absorb some of the short-term market volatility.

Another thing that the volatility will depend on is how realistically the stock is valued when it is first floated. Finding the 'right' value is going to be fraught with difficulty, whatever way they try to do it.

I should emphasise that I'm just speculating and don't have any inside view on what they are doing.

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