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Public To Get A Piece Of Google

Internet search engine leader Google Inc. filed its long-awaited IPO plans Thursday, setting the stage for the company to make its stock market debut - a move that could be months away.

Without specifying a price per share, Google said it hopes to raise $2.7 billion with an initial public offering that's created the biggest high-tech buzz since the dot-com bubble burst four years ago.

As expected, Google said the price of its IPO will be determined through an auction designed to give the general public a better chance to buy its stock before the shares begin trading, most likely in late summer or early autumn. IPO shares traditionally have been restricted to an elite group picked by the investment bankers handling the deal.

Google picked two long-established investment bankers - Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse First Boston - to manage its unconventional IPO approach.

Although Google's stock won't be sold for several more months, the filing represents a significant milestone in the 5½-year-old company's evolution from a fun-loving startup to a corporate adolescent that will be held more accountable for how it manages its money.

The documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission gave the public its first peek at the privately held company's finances.

The Mountain View-based company earned $105.6 million, or 41 cents per share, on revenue of $962 million last year. Google got off to a fast start this year, with a first-quarter profit of $64 million, or 24 cents per share - more than doubling its earnings of $25.8 million, or 10 cents per share, at the same time last year.

By Michael Liedtke

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