Google Co-Founders Hold 16 Pct. Stakes: “SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google Inc. co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin each own nearly 16 percent of the Internet search engine leader that they launched nearly six years ago – stakes expected be worth at least $3 billion apiece after the company’s initial public offering of stock.”
Well, it’s finally been revealed, according to AP business writer Michael Liedtke. The exact amounts of their ownership break down as follows, with Google President, Products, Larry Page holding a 15.7% stake and Google President, Technology, Sergey Brin holding a 15.6% stake.
As far as the overall Google IPO goes, I will say that I won’t be buying any shares. The public flotation of shares is already massively over-hyped and, most likely, is already causing many average investors to plan on bidding up shares in the Dutch style auction without doing any research or using their heads. We’ve seen it before. When a hot technology company IPO is heavily promoted and too many people buy in without thinking, everyone gets burned.
Moreover, the plan for a dual class of stock, with ordinary investors owning Class A stock that has one vote per common share and management holding non-publicly traded Class B stock weighted with 10 votes per share creates serious corporate governance concerns. It also raises the prospect of entrenched management and the potential for “fuzzy math accounting,” as George W. Bush frequently accused then-Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore of using during speeches on the stump and in debates during the 2000 campaign. I do sympathize with Google’s managerial desire to maintain control over decisions to go ahead with new products that may not be profitable and keep their warm, fun loving employee atmosphere with lots of perks and an in-house physician, I don’t feel dual class ownership is the right way to go about maintaining control. Amending the company by-laws to create provisions for managerial solidarity over the corporation is one (better) avenue Google could take, in my opinion.