Google offers new stock at $295

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Google says it will price its latest stock sale at $295 (£162.55) a
share, more than three times the price of its initial public offering
last year.
The sale of more than 14 million shares, expected on Thursday, is set
to raise $4.18bn (£2.3bn).

The proceeds will partly be used to help fund possible acquisitions.

Google went public in August 2004 with shares priced at $85. They
closed at $303 on Wednesday, down 2.8%, before the new stock sale was

"The principal purpose of this offering is to obtain additional
capital," Google said in a filing last month with the US Securities
and Exchange Commission.

However, it has given no firm details of how it plans to use the
money, leading to widespread speculation in the technology industry.

China beckons

Commentators have suggested that California-based Google may use the
cash to gain a stronger foothold in China, following a move by
internet rival Yahoo to take a 40% stake in Chinese auction website

Google is the number two search engine in China with 23% of the
market, trailing local rival, which has 37%.

Google courted controversy when it hired former Microsoft executive
Kai-Fu Lee to head its Chinese research and development facility.

Microsoft went to court in the US to try to block the move, but a
judge in Seattle allowed Kai-Fu Lee to join Google with some

In other moves, Google has been steadily expanding its operations
beyond its core internet search sites, to include free e-mail, web
logs and online comparison shopping.

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