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Google co-founders to unload stock in company

Page and Brill will shed 10 million shares, cutting joint stake from 59% to 48%

January 25, 2010 03:24 PM ET

Computerworld - The co-founders of Google Inc. are each looking sell 5 million shares of the company as part of "pre-arranged stock trading plans," according to a company filing with the federal Security and Exchange Commission.

Once the sale is completed, the share of outstanding Google stock owned by co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will shrink from 59% to 48%. Thus the pair will no longer own a controlling stake in the company.

However, some observers note that Page and Brin generally work closely with Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who owns just under 10% of the company, so the trio retain the power they need to steer Google's future.

"On Friday, we disclosed that Larry and Sergey have entered into plans to sell 5 million Google shares each over the next five years," Google spokesperson Jane Penner said in a statement e-mailed to Computerworld. "These shares represent about 17% of their overall Google holdings. They are both as committed as ever to Google and are integrally involved in our day-to-day management and product strategy. The majority of their net worth remains with Google."

This isn't the first time that Page and Brin have made this type of stock sale. In 2004, they sold about 14 million shares.

"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," Penner added.

The regulatory filing noted that Page and Brin now own about 57.7 million shares of Google.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at Twitter@sgaudin, send e-mail to sgaudin@computerworld.com or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed Gaudin RSS.

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