On August 19, 2004, Google went public in a highly anticipated initial public offering that valued the six-year old company at what seemed to be an astronomical $23 billion, with a price-earnings ratio of 80, a mere six years after its founding.
The company was already generating annualized revenue of $2.7 billion and profits of $286 million. Today, Google’s market cap is $390 billion, with annualized revenue of $64 billion and profits of $13 billion. Google’s market cap is the third highest of any U.S. company, with only Apple and Exxon Mobil being bigger. Public market buy-and-hold investors have scored a “ten-bagger”, earning a return of more than 1,000% over the decade. I didn’t buy at the IPO, but I have bought GOOG since then, and continue to hold shares today.