When The Investment Waters Get Cloudy

In 2011, I noticed Google (GOOG) at $250 per share. It was actually $500 at the time, but has had a stock split since then. I thought the stock was cheap. There was innuendo on many Google stock message boards indicating that a change in the ownership structure was being deliberated internally and would affect the voting rights of shareholders. I did nothing.

Sure enough, shortly thereafter, Google announced that it would be doing an unusual 2-for-1 stock split. Not only was the stock splitting, but a change in ownership structure was attached to the terms of the deal. Google was creating separate class GOOG and GOOGL shares so that the founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin could retain 55% voting power over the company even as their actual ownership of the overall company dwindled to a portion of that.

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