Google shareholders approve unorthodox stock split

The split, which leaves voting power in the hands of co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, isn't expected to go into effect until a lawsuit over the unconventional arrangement is resolved.

Google shareholders approved today the company's first-ever stock split, an unconventional arrangement that would leave co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in undisputed control of Google .

The Associated Press reports that Google didn't announce the exact tally for the vote, which took place at the company's annual shareholders meeting. The company said merely that the stock-split plan had won majority support. The plan probably won't go into effect before October, though, because Google first wants to resolve a lawsuit involving the split.

Google announced the split in March. The company plans to issue a new class of stock that won't carry voting rights. Current Google stockholders will receive one share of this new Class C stock for each company share they already hold. But future stock grants to employees and new acquisitions will be of the nonvoting variety. The overall effect will be to ensure that Google's existing shareholders -- especially its founders -- retain their current voting power.

At the end of April, shareholder Brockton Retirement Board sued Google in Delaware, where Google is incorporated, alleging that Page and Brin "wish to retain this power, while selling off large amounts of their stockholdings, and reaping billions of dollars in proceeds." Google said at the time, in response to the suit, "The board analyzed the proposed stock split with great care over a long period and remains confident that it is in the best interests of Google and its shareholders."

The AP also reported that Page didn't attend the shareholders meeting because he's lost his voice. The same ailment will keep him from speaking in San Francisco next week, at the Google I/O developers conference, where the company is expected to tout changes to its Android OS. Page is also expected to sit out next month's conference call about Google's second-quarter financial results.

 

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