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Facebook pulls a Google, will split stock so Mark Zuckerberg can keep control

Facebook will soon implement a new class of non-voting shares.


When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he wanted to give away all of his Facebook shares, we wondered how he would do that and still control the company he founded.

Now we know!

Facebook is proposing a new three-for-one stock split in order to create a new class of non-voting shares, the company announced in a filing Wednesday. That would split the stock three ways, giving Facebook shareholders two additional, non-voting shares for each single share they already hold.

The move would essentially allow Mark Zuckerberg — who has a lot of Class B shares that carry 10 votes compared to the Class A shares which carry one — to sell the new Class C (non-voting) shares to fund his philanthropic projects without losing any voting control.

It would also allow future investors to buy these Class C shares on the public markets, minimizing the future dilution of voting power.

The proposal is just that at the moment — a proposal. But Zuckerberg controls most of the voting power at Facebook, so this will definitely pass at the company’s annual meeting in June, and then go into effect some time after that.

Google did something similar in 2014 and now trades under two different stock tickers. Facebook will eventually do the same.

One thing worth noting: This new voting structure will only stay in place as long as Zuckerberg retains an “active leadership role” at the company. So he’s likely not leaving anytime soon.

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