The Google IPO

I was dumbfounded to read yesterday that the Google founders actually granted Playboy a full-length interview a few months ago, when they knew their IPO announcement was imminent. This is a huge no-no, and their PR person should be fired right away. The interview has appeared in the latest issue, sent out to subscribers at the time when Google isn’t supposed to be saying a word. Not a single syllable.

“Quiet periods,” the time before announcing an IPO or major financial news, are sacred — you say nothing at all that might influence investor opinion. And they broke this cardinal rule. This should scare smart investors away — Google has no in-house IR (investor relations) )counsel and their PR people are true amateurs (and I promise, I know). Amazing, but true; you’d think at this late date they’d have the sharpest people in the industry handling all their PR. Instead, they’re stumbling like a bunch of amateurs.

My friend Jeremy has posted on his company blog about other reasons to fear the Google IPO. Jeremy and I have both been in high-tech PR for ages, and worked together in Silicon Valley in the late 90’s, when we were all going to become multi-millionaires. (Hah.) His points are well-taken.

When it comes to publicly traded Google stock, my mantra, at least for now, is simple: steer clear.

The Discussion: 4 Comments

Google: dot bomb waiting to happen?

Warnings are coming from many quarters regarding the Google IPO, and this latest PR no-no, granting an interview to Playboy magazine during their IPO’s “Quiet Period” is just another alarm bell going off. Jeremy Pepper, friend of The Peking Duck,

August 13, 2004 @ 11:09 pm | Comment

Google’s outside counsel, Wilson Sonsini, handling the underwriting, should have made certain that this didn’t happen. It’s standard practice to prepare a memo for the client spelling out what can and can’t be done and to require that any public statements be cleared with the lawyers.

August 15, 2004 @ 9:53 pm | Comment

Richard, I think there are even more reasons for steering clear besides this one. And like you, I have uttered this mantra in counsel with friends and family.

August 15, 2004 @ 10:36 pm | Comment

Yeah, sounds dumb. Their only possible excuse is that they couldn’t control when the printing of the interview would be, but then if they really did know the announcement was imminent, they should have clammed up then.

I wasn’t going to buy on the come anyway, but I’d better go read Jeremy’s piece now.

August 16, 2004 @ 3:54 am | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.