There are mixed feelings about Google and its impending initial public offering (IPO) on Wall Street. Just about any investment bank licks its chops at the prospect of an IPO, as it means money. But Google's is far from the norm, as it will be conducted via a "Dutch auction" format, explained nicely by Bill Mann in a recent article.
To back up a mite, when a company goes public, it typically works with one or more investment banks, which help it figure out what it's worth and what it can raise via an IPO. Shares are priced and sold, with the underwriting investment banks typically helping some of their big and wealthy customers get in on the ground floor, where they can often make big bucks. For this trouble, the banks take a piece of the action for themselves, traditionally around 7% of the money raised.
A few years ago, United Parcel Service
But that's not how it's going to work. Instead, the 30-some investment banks that have signed up to underwrite will have to do some extra work, which costs extra money. And for their trouble, they'll be taking home less money than they usually get. They're responsible for setting up computer systems to process the Dutch auction IPO -- which means programming, installing, testing, etc. Making matters worse, the auction system will not offer the usual opportunity for underwriters to offer soon-to-surge shares to favored clients.
The scenario is so unattractive for the underwriters that one of them, Merrill Lynch
The Google story was already a fascinating one, but its IPO promises great excitement, too. Learn more about the company's prospects in this article by Tom Taulli -- who has written a book on IPOs. Meanwhile, see what Fools are saying about Google and its IPO on our Google discussion board -- you can try our entire board community for free for 30 days right now.
L ongtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Amazon.com.