GOOGLE has unveiled plans for a new class of shares – in a move that will allow its billionaire founders to retain long-term control of the company.
The internet search giant will give existing shareholders one new share for each one they own.
But the additional stock will not carry voting rights, so Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are set to retain their influence.
The company had feared that the position of senior managers would be diluted as a result of stock options for staff and in the event of acquisitions.
Google, whose co-founders own about 30% of the company, said the move would preserve its corporate structure and allow it to remain focused on the long term.
Google’s corporate structure, which gives the founders majority voting control of the company, has been emulated by other web-based businesses, including Zynga Inc and Facebook.
But the stock split goes even further by ensuring that the founders’ voting powers will not be diluted over the long term.
The news came just as Mr Page completed his second year as chief executive – during which he spearheaded the planned multi-billion dollar acquisition of Motorola Mobility and launched a social network to take on Facebook.
Many analysts are speculating how Google’s business will be affected by the increase in competition in the internet market and the development of gadgets such as smartphones and tablet personal computers.
Proposals for the new “Class C” shares – which are still subject to shareholder approval – were unveiled as the company reported a strong quarter of trading, with revenues up by 24% to £6.7m and profits ahead by 61% to £1.8bn.
Mr Page said the company saw “tremendous momentum” from its investment in products such as Android, Chrome and YouTube.
He said: “We are still at the very early stages of what technology can do to improve people’s lives and we have enormous opportunities ahead.”
Google’s paid clicks, which reflect how often users visit adverts, increased by 39% on a year ago in the three months to March 31.
The latest figures follow a 6% rise in earnings to £1.75bn for the final quarter of 2011 when Google’s revenues passed £6.5bn for the first time in any three-month period in its 13-year history.