Mr Brin and Mr Page control Google through a special class of shares that gives them 54.6 percent of the voting rights, even though their economic interest is only 13.1 percent. After the latest sales, their voting control will fall to only 52 percent, Google said.
The company issued a new class of non-voting C shares last year in a move to protect the founders’ control over the long term. The new shares are expected to be used to fund acquisitions and employee stock plans without diluting the founders’ control.
Google also at first proposed that Mr Brin and Mr Page – who hold half their stake in the form of the C shares – should be free to sell this class of stock to raise cash if they wanted. However, an investor lawsuit forced a settlement in which the founders agreed to sell their super-voting shares in equal proportion to the C stock, leaving them facing dilution to their control if they continue to make big disposals.