Google Cofounders to Sell 10 Million Shares

You can hardly blame Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Google (GOOG) was founded more than ten years ago, and at the current price of $545, the company's shares trade near a two-year high. The world's largest search engine company just announced its revenue rose 17% in the last quarter, to $6.67 billion, the fastest pace of expansion in a year. Google has moved into the world of mobile operating systems and the move has been highly successful in its early stage.Each of Google's cofounders will sell five million shares over the next five years. Page and Brin would pocket $5.5 billion at the current share price.

In a document filed with the SEC, the company described the action, "Using these plans, they can gradually diversify their investment portfolios and can spread stock trades out over an extended period of time to reduce market impact. " The shares will be sold under Rule 10b5-1, which means that the stock can be sold even while the two have inside knowledge of the company's activities because the sales are automatic and irrevocable.

Page and Brin currently hold 18% of Google's Class B shares. That gives them 59% of the voting power over Google's outstanding stock. At the end of the sales period, that control will have dropped to 48%. They will have lost absolute control of the company, but for practical purposes it will still be nearly impossible to "outvote" them.

Very few people will probably ever know exactly why the pair are selling the shares. But, it hardly matters. Google is all grown up now and Page and Brin might as well take financial advantage of the fact that they have built one of the world's greatest companies over a period of just a decade.

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