M & A Law Prof Blog

Editor: Brian JM Quinn
Boston College Law School

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Google Way to Get Your Start-up Funded

I was doing some research yesterday on Google's new private trading market for its employee stock options -- it has gone fully live -- when I stumbled across this Google 8-K filed yesterday:

In May 2007, Google Inc. invested approximately $3.9 million in the Series A preferred stock financing of 23andMe, Inc., an early stage biotech company focused on helping consumers understand and browse their genome. . . . Anne Wojcicki, who is a co-founder of 23andMe and who is also a shareholder and member of the board of directors, is married to Sergey Brin, Google’s President, Technology and one of its founders.  . . . .Prior to Google’s investment in 23andMe, Sergey provided approximately $2.6 million in interim debt financing to 23andMe, which was repaid as part of this financing transaction.

The disclosure continues with a description of the process by which Google's audit committee approved the transaction and received an arms' length valuation in connection with this approval.  Google's audit committee is headed by former Pixar CFO Ann Mather who herself has been caught-up in the options back-dating scandal.  23andMe also issued a statement with respect to the investment stating "[w]e are thrilled and honored to have attracted the backing of such a diverse, proven and innovative group of investors.”  No doubt.

Google could have waited to disclose this information in its year-end filings, so they do receive some credit here for transparency. 


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