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Mark Zuckerberg will no longer try to reclassify Facebook stock to fund his philanthropy

He still plans to sell up to 75 million shares over the next year and a half — worth $13 billion at today’s price.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg speaks behind a podium and microphone at Harvard’s commencement. Paul Marotta / Getty

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will no longer try to reclassify the company’s stock, settling a major class-action lawsuit with shareholders.

Zuckerberg wanted to reclassify Facebook’s stock so he could sell shares — to fund the ambitious philanthropic projects he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are leading — while retaining control of the company.

This did not sit well with investors, and Zuckerberg was set to take the stand in a trial in Delaware.

But he has now pulled his request to reclassify the company’s shares, writing on his Facebook page today that “Facebook’s business has performed well and the value of our stock has grown to the point that I can fully fund our philanthropy and retain voting control of Facebook for 20 years or more.”

Now Zuckerberg plans to accelerate his share sales, noting he anticipates “selling 35-75 million Facebook shares in the next 18 months to fund our work in education, science, and advocacy.” At today’s price of around $170, that represents roughly $6 billion to $13 billion.

Shares fell about 0.3 percent today and are down about 0.3 percent in after-hours trading.

Here’s Zuckerberg’s complete Facebook post:

I want to share some important news about Facebook and how Priscilla and I are funding our philanthropy.

I've often said Facebook was not originally founded to be a company, but to accomplish a social mission. To help us focus on our mission and make decisions that don't always pay off right away, Facebook has always been structured as a controlled company. This has helped us serve our community best.

At the same time, Priscilla and I also feel a responsibility to do our part to address global challenges -- like curing all diseases in our children's lifetime and personalizing education for every student.

That's why, last year, I shared a proposal announced by Facebook's board of directors to create a new class of Facebook stock. The idea was that it would allow me to keep voting control of Facebook so we can continue to build for the long term, but also allow Priscilla and me to fund the work we're doing through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

At the time, I felt that this reclassification was the best way to do both of these things. In fact, I thought it was the only way. But I also knew it was going to be complicated and it wasn't a perfect solution.

Today I think we have a better one. Over the past year and a half, Facebook's business has performed well and the value of our stock has grown to the point that I can fully fund our philanthropy and retain voting control of Facebook for 20 years or more. As a result, I've asked our board to withdraw the proposal to reclassify our stock -- and the board has agreed.

I want to be clear: this doesn't change Priscilla and my plans to give away 99% of our Facebook shares during our lives. In fact, we now plan to accelerate our work and sell more of those shares sooner. I anticipate selling 35-75 million Facebook shares in the next 18 months to fund our work in education, science, and advocacy.

We have a lot of work ahead at Facebook to help build community and bring the world closer together. We also have a lot of work at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative working with amazing scientists, educators, and doctors around the world who need support today, not decades from now. This path offers a way to do all of this, and I'm looking forward to making more progress together.


This article originally appeared on Recode.net.