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German Press Review: Chances for Google and Olympians

Google's initial public offering, gold chances for athletes in Athens and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's new family member all made it onto Germany's editorial pages Thursday.


The Financial Times Deutschland quipped that Google has shrunk down to normal size. The popular search engine company’s shares were supposed to make the stock market more attractive for private investors. A new thrill for Internet stock was supposed to evolve, the paper said. The auctioning process was expected to revolutionize investment banking and make IPOs more democratic. The biggest problem back then was all the excitement could lead to a massive overvaluation of the shares. Now, things are different. Google has to offer its shares for a much cheaper price: between $85 and $95 (€68 and €77). The company hasn’t said why, but it’s blatantly obvious, in the paper's opinion. The stampede for shares hasn’t unleashed itself, and the order books have remained empty. Google, the paper wrote, has been uppity towards the investment sector. Rather than going to the bank and letting it handle the process, Google tried an Internet auction -- and failed. No one is going to try an IPO again so quickly without accepting the rules of the trade, and that's a real pity, the paper reflected.

There's nothing an Internet action can do to lower the price of shares that are already too high, the Braunschweiger Zeitung criticized. Over the long term, Google shares are over-rated. It just can’t be right that the shares of a relatively straightforward newcomer on the block would have the same value as one of the largest companies in the world, the paper analyzed.

It's not the Internet, but Germany's performance at the Athens Olympics that got the attention of the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. Despite Wednesday’s medals, the paper judged the results to be sobering. Franziska van Almsick finished far behind her goal of gold in swimming on Tuesday, and cyclist Jan Ullrich has been dubbed a free-rider by the press. But the paper thought the poor results have less to do with physical ability and more to do with mental block. Something has to be done, the paper commanded. It would be smart to take failure in stride. Success is sweet, but not at any price, it concluded.

The Munich-based Abendzeitung took German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder under its wing and opined that those who have written him off based on surveys concerning his SPD party should think again. It's when things get tough that Schröder always gets going, the paper noted. Whether his optimism and confidence can ride the waves of public opinion in the storm of protest against his reforms remains to be seen. But one shouldn’t underestimate the chancellor, the paper assessed. His steadfast approach and his stamina, combined with his new image as a family man in light of his and his wife’s adoption of a three-year-old Russian daughter could be the right mix to make his political opponents clench their teeth.

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