It's official. Google is now the biggest media company in the world.

The number one internet search engine's stock price passed the $300 (€246; £164) per share barrier on Monday, sending its market value to $84.5 billion and surpassing hitherto leader, Time Warner.

Google was floated last August at an opening price of $85 and, says Richard Skaggs, investment expert at Loomis Sayles in Boston: "Looking out to 2006 and 2007, while there are a lot of uncertainties, the stock could possibly reach $400."

The California-headquartered company makes most of its money from online advertising, but the stock's gains have been propelled by a surge in profit and optimism that expansion beyond search-based advertising may fuel growth. Google said last week it was developing a payment service.

Not everyone, however, is convinced that it can maintain theses dizzy heights. Norm Conley, a fund manger at St Louis-based JAG Advisors, says the rally in Google shares is not justified because earnings growth may slow.

He points out that the company's market value exceeds the $72bn spent on TV and cable advertising last year, according to Nielsen Monitor Plus.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff