Yesterday, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) shook up the entire financial world when it announced that they would be making changes to its corporate structure as well as releasing a new class of shares that will be used for employee stock incentives, acquisitions, etc. This move will allow the founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page to have a tighter control over the company.
The firm will now have three different types of shares. The Class B shares or the “super-voting shares” which carry the weight of 10 votes per share, will be dominated by the founders and executives. The Class A shares are the shares that are available to everyone, just the basic shares. The newest class, Class C, will trade similar to the Class As and will receive dividends but they carry no vote value.
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Before you assume this is a power grab, consider that most of Google’s peers already have certain measures that give executives voting power. Google’s Brin and Page control 50% of the votes which is significant however, at Zynga CEO Mark Pincus has a provision that gives him 70 votes per share. In addition, Groupon, LinkedIn and Facebook all have similar provisions.
The founders defend the move by saying that the dual class shares will help the company be able to focus on the long term rather than just giving shareholders value over the short term. In addition, there will be a 2-for-1 stock split which is great for all the retail investors out there. It’s hard to buy stocks such as Google and Apple when you are a small investor because these companies are great companies but the price of one share just sucks up a lot of capital that can be used more wisely in other areas.
These announcements come after Google beats earnings estimates. The company reported EPS of $8.75 on revenue of $10.65 billion compared to the forecasted $8.51 EPS on $8.15 billion in revenue. Those are some solid numbers that did the trick. Luckily, Google is showing signs of life again after taking criticism a few years ago for not giving shareholders value and being too conservative.
Google does have some exciting news coming up. In a fully fledged effort to destroy Apple, Google has announced that they will be making a tablet similar to the iPad but the cost will be a little less than that of an Amazon Kindle Fire. This is some exciting news and I can’t wait to hear more information about it as it comes available.