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Markets > IPOs
Google-goo at the Nasdaq
Sure, IPOs can be awkward, but this one was harder than usual. Thanks Nasdaq.
August 19, 2004: 6:25 PM EDT
by Carrie Lee, CNN Headline News Correspondent

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - It was a strange morning at the Nasdaq market site. Then again, that figured ... Google has been a strange IPO.

Everyone knew Thursday was likely to be the first trading day for Google. So all morning we (the CNN market reporter crew) had been repeatedly asking Nasdaq officials if Google was opening. The Nasdaq folks kept saying they could not tell us anything, that they would let us know as soon as they were able to. Said they were "telling us what they can."

Normally, you see, we get a heads up from Nasdaq well in advance ... hours, even days in advance. It helps them promote things and helps us be prepared. But on this day tradition seemed to have gone by the wayside.

Of course, there were signs hanging in the Nasdaq lobby since early morning stating "Nasdaq welcomes Google." The same was also on the on the electronic Nasdaq tower which looks out over Times Square. And security was beefed up, more guards milling around than usual all morning

Around 8:20 our producer went upstairs, saw more activity than usual at the surrounding corporate offices. Nasdaq employees were told to take the freight elevator, not the glass elevator which has higher visibility.

Finally, forty-five minutes before the market open, we got the news from Nasdaq: "Please be advised that Google will open The NASDAQ Stock Market today. We realize there will be significant media interest and we will work to accommodate your requests however, we would like to share with you that both Google and NASDAQ will observe quiet period restrictions and will not be granting media interview requests."

Shortly after I ran into a stranger in the elevator. I didn't know exactly who he was, but I could guess. "Are you from Google?" I asked. He said he didn't know what I was talking about with a big smile on his face. I told him who I was.

"I'm trying to see if the no interview 'quiet period' means no interview for the rest of the day or just until after the market open," I pursued. He said he would make sure someone got back to me to let me know. Never did.

Our producer ran into a Nasdaq employee in an elevator who was carrying M&Ms -- one bowl of blue and one a bowl of green (Google colors). She asked who they were for. The employee said "they were sitting on my desk ... not sure what they are for ... I'm supposed to bring them down." Shortly thereafter, the same employee was on the marketplace floor. No M&Ms in sight.

Shortly after the market open, the execs got in their cars and sped off.

Nasdaq will not comment on whether Google asked them to keep things quiet

Nasdaq will not comment on the why they downplayed their most important stock issue in years, or the criticism that they shot themselves in the foot by not giving the event more play.

Of course later there would be more misfires. Two Google trades would occur before official trading in the stock was supposed to begin, sending off a flurry of false reports.

Yes. Strange IPO. Strange day.  Top of page

Carrie Lee covers markets for CNN, CNN Headline News, and CNNfn.

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