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Goldman Increases Stock Offering's Price
By Jack Reerink  Reuters
NEW YORK — Investment bank Goldman Sachs & Co. Monday raised the price of its planned stock offering to a maximum of $3.8 billion, hoping to cash in on the recent rise in shares of publicly traded financial services firms.

Goldman, which is Wall Street's last remaining big investment banking partnership, will sell its shares for $45 to $55 a piece, up from the range of $40 to $50 a share, the firm said in an amended filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. As expected, Goldman also said it would wrap up the stock offering next month.

The price change means that Goldman's 60 million-share stock offering in May will be worth a maximum of $3.8 billion, including an extra 9 million shares the firm hopes to sell if investor demand is strong enough. The stock offering, which equals an 11 percent stake in the firm, values Goldman at $24 billion-$30 billion, including counting the 73.3 million shares the firm has set aside for employee stock awards.

Goldman raised the price of the offering because of the recent rise in shares of its publicly traded rivals such as Merrill Lynch and Co. Inc. and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. Thanks to a rebound of key securities businesses from the global turmoil last fall, Morgan Stanley's shares recently hit a record high and Merrill's stock is close to its all-time high of $109.13 last year.

In the filing, Goldman also for the first time detailed how many shares its top executives hold and disclosed their salary this fiscal year: $600,000 each.

The firm's chief executive, former investment banker Henry Paulson, holds about 4.1 million shares, with an estimated value of $185 million to $225 million. Other executives, such as Vice Chairman Robert Hurst and Co-Chief Operating Officers John Thain and John Thornton, own more than 3 million shares each, the filing showed. None of them will sell shares in the stock offering, the filing showed.

The firm did not disclose how many shares are held by its former chief executive and the main architect of the plan to take the 130-year old partnership public, Jon Corzine. Corzine, a former bond trader, earlier this year said he would quit the firm after the stock offering.

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