Googlemania is finally upon us in earnest.
Today, Google registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a $2.7 billion public offering. Investors also got their first look at Google's books. The company took in $961.9 million in revenue in 2003 with profits of $106.5 million. Sales were up 177% over 2002, but it's noteworthy that earnings increased just 6%.
And therein lies part of the problem with IPOs. While more information will be forthcoming, Google -- for all its hype -- doesn't have a track record we can easily follow. And while any successful dot-com is a liberating prospect for investors burned by the crash of so many dot-bombs a couple of years ago, caution is always the best recourse when you're considering IPOs. Take it from Steven Mallas, who on Tuesday confessed a litany of IPOs he'd lost money on, particularly on brand names like Fox Entertainment
Google may very well be a great long-term investment. But that doesn't mean you have to jump in as soon as the bell rings. One thing is very likely: When this Internet darling finally holds its coming-out party, speculators are going to jump in. The stock may rocket. But how high it will go and, more importantly, how long it will stay up there, no one knows. Don't forget, Yahoo!
We're all in search of the next Microsoft
Bob Bobala does not own any of the companies mentioned in this article.