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The Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) stock split happens tomorrow (Wednesday, April 2), meaning Google shareholders of record as of March 27 will own two shares tomorrow for every share they own today.
Following the split, Google will have twice as many shares outstanding than it currently does. Google's "Class A" shares will trade under the ticker GOOGL, while the company's "Class C" shares will remain on the company's current ticker GOOG.
The main purpose of the stock split is for Google Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to maintain the control they have over Google...
In addition to Class A and Class C shares, there is a third class of shares, "Class B." Page and Brin own the Class B shares, and they do not trade publicly.
When it comes to voting rights, each share of Class A stock comes with one vote. Each share of Class B stock (owned exclusively by Page and Brin) comes with 10 votes.
Importantly, Class C shares do not come with any voting rights, meaning that Page and Brin are preventing any further dilution of their power in the company. The company is expected to only issue shares of Class C moving forward.
Currently, the two founders control 56% of Google's voting power. They will maintain the majority control by only issuing stocks without voting power moving forward.
When the split occurs, Page and Brin will be given an additional share for every Class B share they own, just like investors who own Class A shares. But like everyone else obtaining a Class C share, the ones Page and Brin obtain will have no voting rights.
It's clear that Page and Brin will maintain voting power among Google shareholders, but that's not the only part of the Google stock split that bears watching...
How the Google Stock Split Benefits GOOG
While BGC Analyst Colin Gills recently described the stock split to MarketWatch as a typical move by company founders looking to maintain control, it does have other impacts on GOOG stock. Specifically, Gills pointed out that the deal allows for more flexibility in M&A deals and allows the company to offer additional stock incentives.
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