Page and Brin to begin selling off stake in Google

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Page and Brin to begin selling off stake in Google

Google founders to offload shares.

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are planning to loosen their grip on the company they founded, selling off a total of ten million shares in Google, in a move which could generate over US$5 billion ($5.55bn) at current share prices.

In a filing with US Security and Exchanges Commission (SEC), Page and Brin stated their intent to embark on a “five year diversification plan” which will involve offloading five million shares each – representing approximately three per cent of Google’s outstanding capital stock.

“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,” read the filing.

“Using these plans, they can gradually diversify their investment portfolios and can spread stock trades out over an extended period of time to reduce market impact.”

According to the SEC filing, the sale will see Page and Brin’s footprint in the company drop from 57.7 million shares of Class B common stock to 47.7 million.

This will mean their stake in the firm drops from 18 percent of outstanding capital stock to 15 percent, or more importantly, 59 percent of the voting power to just 48 percent.

The move comes as Google announced strong growth in the fourth quarter of 2009 – revenue up 17 per cent from the same period the year previous. Chief executive Eric Schmidt, who also holds a stake in the company, said the growth was particularly impressive given that “the global economy is still in the early days of recovery”.

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