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Facebook creates dual-class stock structure to maintain control

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NEW YORK -- Facebook has created a dual-class stock structure designed to give founder Mark Zuckerberg and other existing shareholders control over the company.

The social network said Tuesday it had no plans to go public "at this time."

But the move may well be seen as laying the groundwork for it.

The dual-class structure is what Google Inc.'s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, created to keep voting control over that company before it went public in 2004. Google's Class B shares, owned by Page, Brin, CEO Eric Schmidt and some directors, hold 10 times the voting power as its regular, Class A stock.

In a statement, Facebook said the company introduced the stock structure because its existing shareholders wanted to keep control when voting on issues it faces.

Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, hails from Google and was at that company when it went public. Facebook, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif., has lured in other former Google employees as well.

Facebook has raised more than $600 million from investors since it was founded more than five years ago. Its most recent infusion came this spring from Russian Internet investor Digital Sky Technologies, which invested $200 million in exchange for a 2 percent stake in the company, valuing Facebook at $10 billion.


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