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But they also suggest G may do so and still not sell shares publicly.
Google may turn out to be the rare company that willingly files public financial reports but doesn't publicly trade its stock.
Levi Strauss is one company that does this. Its stock is privately held -- mostly by descendants of the Strauss family -- but the company files quarterly reports with the SEC.
Another option is for Google to dodge the public reporting requirement. In 2001, the SEC detailed how companies can do so: by disclosing their financial information only to shareholders.
I'm not sure what non-disclosure benefit there would be in this situation as shareholders are not going to keep quiet.
In some circumstances, employees or investor shareholders can start selling their shares on the over-the-counter bulletin board.
Sounds like the inspiration for a whole new round of phony stock scams. "My brother-in-law works for Google, and he asked me to help sell some of his stock now that SEC rules say he can. It's all hush-hush, though, so don't tell anyone..."
I ran into a broker/investment banker acquaintance who thought that one reason for Google's delay was the need to get their books in order for the rigors of SEC scrutiny. That's about a fifth-hand rumor, though.