Shares in Google Inc. were to be traded for the first time on the Nasdaq Stock Market Thursday after completion of an initial purchase offer marked by controversy and confusion. The popular Internet search engine finally received the go-ahead for the IPO from the Securities and Exchange Commission late Wednesday. At a final price of $85 a share, the sale realized $1.67 billion. Google's original expectation was for a share price as high as $135 and a sale that would have raised up to $3.6 billion. Despite the bumpy road, one analyst said, "It's still a phenomenal success story" for a company that grew out of an idea hatched by two college students in a garage six years ago.
Delta Airlines and US Airways were making separate efforts to save millions of dollars and secure brighter futures - the former by avoiding bankruptcy and the latter by maintaining the progress made in emerging from bankruptcy last year:
• Delta chief Gerald Grinstein told employees in a memo Wednesday that more job cuts are in store on top of the more than 16,000 since the 2001 terrorist attacks. Executives of the carrier were to meet with its pilots' union, whose members want a stake in the airline. Grinstein has presented Delta's board with an employee-reward plan that includes a combination of equity, profit-sharing, and incentive payouts tied to performance and productivity.
• US Airways chairman David Bronner said Wednesday that its 28,000 employees must agree to $800 million in new wage and benefits cuts within 30 days or the carrier may have to be liquidated. Bronner also heads Alabama's public employees pension fund, the controlling shareholder in US Airways, and said that without such concessions the fund will invest no more money in it.
Another deep round of layoffs was announced by Nortel Networks, a leading maker of telecommunications equipment, amid indications that financial targets for 2004 weren't being met, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported. The Brampton, Ontario, company said 3,500 jobs would be cut and that seven more employees involved in an investigation of its accounting practices had been fired "for cause." Nortel said it will seek repayment of bonuses awarded to them last year as well as to its former chief executive, chief financial officer, and controller, who were dismissed in April. Over the past three years, Nortel has eliminated about 60,000 jobs.