NEW YORK – Google Inc. (GOOG) appeared set to start trading on Nasdaq Wednesday, after the Web's No. 1 search engine asked regulators on Monday for final approval to price its closely watched initial public offering.
The Web search company said it has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (search) to declare its registration statementaid that most companies usually price their shares within an hour of having their registration stait notifies bidders that the IPO document has been become effective.
Google began accepting bids from prospective investors on Friday. It has estimated its shares will price in the range of $108 to $135 each.
Investors said that the shares could be sold below or near the lower end of that range, given the recent downturn in Internet stocks and the negative sentiment surrounding Google over the past two weeks
"Because of what tech stocks have been doing recently, it is possible that the price will be at the low end of the range," said Connor Browne, associate portfolio manager for the Thornburg Core Growth Fund (search), which invests $80 million.
"There is a lot of uncertainty and lots of negative sentiment. Management has made a number of missteps ranging from the lack of guidance to the interview that may have violated U.S. securities rules that came out just as the bidding began."
Nearly a dozen investors and analysts who are disclosing their pricing expectations are predicting that Google's shares will be priced between $70 and $115 per share.
A steady stream of negative publicity, most recently triggered by an interview in Playboy magazine with Google's founders that may have violated securities laws, has also added to worries over investing in Google.
In late July, Google issued financial results for the quarter ended in June showing that quarterly revenue growth had slowed to 7 percent, a sharp contrast to the double-digit gains in all previous quarters since 2002.
Later the company disclosed that it may have issued more than 23 million shares and 5.6 million stock options illegally, triggering an investigation by California regulators.