Google co-founders to sell £3.4bn worth of shares by 2014

Google co-founders

Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have signalled their intention to offload 10 million shares worth 3.4 billion and cede majority control over the internet giant.

The sale will reduce the pair's current 59 per cent majority to 48 per cent, meaning they will no longer have majority voting rights.

The pair, who met in 1995 and launched Google as a privately held company together in 1998, have filed trading plans with the SEC to offload five million shares each, with the sale taking place incrementally over five years to minimise the impact on Google's share price.

In a statement, Google reported the move as being part of the pair's "long-term strategies for individual asset diversification and liquidity".

"They are both as committed as ever to Google," the statement read. "They are integrally involved in our day-to-day management and product strategy."

Indeed, with so close to a majority stakeholding even after the sell-off, the pair will still remain by far the most influential stakeholders in Google, along with chief executive Eric Schmidt, who holds a 10 per cent stake.

The three have committed to work together until 2024, so Brin and Page would more than likely be able to count on Schmidt's support on key voting issues if it was needed for a majority decision.

While the overall quantity of physical Google stock owned by Brin and Page 57.7 million shares only actually represents 18 per cent of the total share volume (a figure that will fall to 15 per cent after the sale), the stock is of a different class to the publicly held shares, with each share worth 10 times as much in terms of voting power.