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Google Sets Registration Deadline For Shares Auction

Google Inc. has set a Thursday deadline for would-be investors to pre-qualify for the online-search company's auction-style stock offering, which Google said would take place "soon thereafter."

Potential investors in the much-anticipated initial public offering have until 5 p.m. EDT on Thursday to register and obtain a bidder ID from Google's IPO site, The Mountain View, Calif., company has estimated that shares will be priced between $108 and $135 apiece, making the offering the biggest in the high-tech industry in five years.

The company posted the registration deadline on its IPO site, adding, "The auction for shares for Google's Class A common stock will commence soon thereafter."

From a practical standpoint, however, it would be very difficult for a would-be bidder to get in on the $3 billion auction at this stage, unless they have an account with one of Google's 28 underwriters. Most of the firms take several days to open an account.

Google hasn't set a firm date for its market debut, which has been plagued by recent negative publicity. Nevertheless, the registration closing indicates that the deal could price next week. Google, however, could still delay it to after Labor Day.

On Monday, Google said it had agreed to give rival Yahoo Inc. shares worth more than $300 million to settle a long-running dispute.

Yahoo had accused Google of infringing on an advertising patent, and the settlement was in exchange for a perpetual license. The deal also settled a disagreement over a services contract.

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