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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 June, 2005, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
$80bn Google takes top media spot
Google headquarters
Google's shares have shot up since it was first listed last August
Internet search phenomenon Google has overtaken a swathe of venerable rivals to become the world's biggest media company by stock market value.

After its shares hit an all-time high on the New York markets on Tuesday, Google is now worth $80bn (44bn).

This takes it ahead of media leviathan Time Warner, which is valued at $78bn.

The valuation comes in spite of the fact that Google's annual sales total just $3.2bn, a fraction of Time Warner's $42bn.

Good value?

Some analysts believe Google's shares are now overpriced, a rerun of the heady valuations seen during the internet boom of the late 1990s.

Google's share price

Others maintain that Google's high stock value reflects its future earning potential and that its shares could go as high as $325-350.

Google has become the world's most highly-valued media company after only 10 months of trading as a public company.

It now dwarfs more traditional media companies such as Viacom and Walt Disney, which have stock market capitalisations of between $54bn and $55bn.

When it first floated in August last year, its shares debuted at $85.

Google makes most of its money from the sale of advertising that sits alongside its search results.

Modest founders

Google was founded in September 1998 by former Stanford University computer science students Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Global media giants by market value

They initially launched the business from a friend's garage after pulling together $1m from family, friends and other investors.

Now still in their early 30s and both multi-millionaires, Mr Page and Mr Brin are said to continue to live modest lifestyles.

Initially, Google got 10,000 queries per day compared with 200 million today.

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