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Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page plan to sell 5 million shares of Google stock each in a pre-arranged stock selling program that will drop their voting rights to less than 50% for the first time.
Announced Friday in an SEC filing, the stock sales -- over a five-year period -- would amount to about $2.75 billion each based on Friday's closing stock price of $550. Google stock traded as high as $629 before the announcement. After selling the total of 10 million shares, Brin and Page would hold a combined 47.7 million shares in the search colossus.
"These pre-arranged stock trading plans were adopted in order to allow Larry and Sergey to sell a portion of their Google stock over time as part of their respective long-term strategies for individual asset diversification and liquidity," Google stated in the SEC filing. "Because these plans were established well in advance of a trade, they also help avoid concerns about whether these officers had material, non-public information when they made a decision to sell their stock."
The two founders currently hold about 18% of Google stock. That percentage would be trimmed to about 15% after they sell the 10 million shares. According to their stockholder voting plans, however, they will have 48% voting control over Google. While that number drops their voting power below the 50% market, the firm's chief executive Eric Schmidt holds 10% so the top managing triumvirate would still control the firm well into the future.
All three executives have said they will remain at the company to 2014.