Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the two billionaire co-founders of Google, will each sell 5 million of their Google shares over the next five years, according to an SEC filing.
Since Page and Brin are significant shareholders and executives for the technology giant, they are required to report their transaction plans for their piece of the company they founded over a decade ago.
Currently the two men own approximately 57.7 million shares of Google() – about 18% of Google’s market value and 59% of the voting power. After the five year plan is complete, they will own around 47.7 million shares, dropping their interest in Google to around 15% of its capital stock and 48% of its voting power. This equates to a transaction of $2.25 billion, based on the current value of a share of Google, $550.01.
Yes, this technically means that the two co-founders are surrendering their absolute voting control of the company, but it’s incredibly hard to see a situation where every other investor and shareholder in the company would vote against their wishes. In other words, the drop in their voting power is not a big deal.
Why would the founders sell their shares of Google, especially as the stock has risen dramatically in recent years? The answer is diversification, one of the most prudent and practical moves in investing. It’s the same thing that Bill Gates has done for years in order to diversify his profile and give him the flexibility to invest in other endeavors, such as his foundation. In fact, the founders have done something similar before, back in 2004.
Larry and Sergey aren’t leaving anytime soon, nor are they going to be outvoted by anybody in the foreseeable future. They just wanted more flexibility with their money. $2.25 billion can buy a lot of things, you know.