What Google’s Stock Split Really Means For Shareholders

Google's stock split does nothing more than cement control at the top while diluting shareholder voting rights.

Google recently instituted a 2-for-1 share split that saw the company offer existing shareholders two shares for each share owned. This is something Google employees and shareholders have been clamoring for ever since the company shares reached the high $600’s and moved the shares well beyond the reach of anyone who would want to buy them.

This effectively meant that existing shareholders could not sell their shares owing to the fact that they were beyond the reach of any prospective buyers. In fact, Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page is quoted as calling a stock split “stupid” because it made no sense when whatever share value a share holder held would remain the same even after the stock has been split.But he seems to have reversed his views as he was noted as being one of the those pushing for the share split.

Something has, however, changed between then and now and that seems to have convinced the top brass at Google to push for the share split. Here are a few details about the share split. The share split will see a new class of shares created that have no voting rights. What this means is that whereas the number of shares will increase and voting rights diluted by virtue of this, the top management, who already collectively control 66% of the company through special Class B shares, will not see their voting rights diluted.

This clever plan comes at a time when the top management, including co-founders Larry Page and Serge Brin and Google chairman Eric E. Schmidt are scheduled to start selling a portion of their shares according to a deal brokered in 2009 and that kicks in soon. This therefore makes it possible for the core team to retain an iron grip on the company regardless of the shares they have to sell. The eventual outcome of this share split is a less than subtle move by the tree top executives to remain in control in light of changing company dynamics.

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