Eric Schmidt, the chairman and chief executive, has grown wary about the timing of a float because market conditions are not right.
Dr Schmidt attended a series of closed-door meetings in London this week, at which he was repeatedly asked about the company’s intentions to float.
He told business leaders gathered at the private meetings that Google had no urgent need to tap the stock market for capital because the company’s cash position was extremely strong. However, in a surprise move, the Google chief added: “An IPO is not on my agenda right now.”
The statement jars with persistent market speculation, which appeared to set the scene for a flotation of the business in the spring or early summer of this year.
When questioned about the statement, Dr Schmidt declined to comment. However, a source close to Google confirmed that the statement reflected the chief executive’s views. The source added that investment banks, jockeying to be appointed as lead underwriters and advisers to an IPO, have told Google to delay a flotation because the high-tech market is expected to continue its recent rise.