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Last Updated: Friday, 19 August 2005, 05:19 GMT 06:19 UK
Google $4bn share sale hits stock
Google headquarters
Google's shares were first floated on the market a year ago
Shares in Google have dropped after the internet search engine announced plans to sell another 14 million shares to raise $4bn (2.2bn; 3.3bn euros).

The stock sale, which comes as Google celebrates its first anniversary as a listed company, will partly be used to help fund possible acquisitions.

Google stressed that it had no current deals in the offing, and it also would use the money to fund running costs.

Shares in Google lost $5.09, or 1.79%, to close at $279.75 on Thursday.

China beckons

We believe the company is building a war chest for future acquisitions
Mark Rowen, Prudential analyst

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

The company said that until suitable buying opportunities arose, it would invest the proceeds of the offering in "highly liquid, investment grade securities".

"We believe the company is building a war chest for future acquisitions," said Prudential analyst Mark Rowen in a note to clients.

Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney said he expected Google to "use the proceeds for an acquisition, most likely in international markets."

Commentators have suggested that 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

Merrill Lynch analyst Lauren Rich said Google could have Chinese internet search engine in its sights. Baidu's shares soared 350% on their first day of trading on the US Nasdaq stock exchange earlier this month.

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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