Google posted Q1 profit and revenue that was ahead of expectations last night, but the big news was a new share structure designed to keep control of the firm in the hands of co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
The so-called ‘stock split’ will create a new class of share and will see existing shareholders receive one new share that will not carry voting rights. The structure will allow Page and Brin to retain their influence even if stock has to be diluted to fund future large-scale acquisitions.
“After careful consideration with our board of directors, we have decided that maintaining this founder-led approach is in the best interests of Google, our shareholders and our users,” said the co-founders. “Having the flexibility to use stock without diluting our structure will help ensure we are set up for success for decades to come.”
They added Google success stories such as Android, Chrome and YouTube had been “long-term product investments [which] were made with a significant degree of independence.”
“Investors and others have always taken a big bet on us, the founders, and that bet will likely last longer as a result of these changes,” they added.
The firm reported a 61 percent year-on-year rise in Q1 net income to US$2.89 billion, while revenue was up 24 percent to US$10.65 billion.
According to Reuters, Google’s earnings of US$10.08 per share, excluding certain items, surpassed the US$9.65 that analysts had predicted – a source of relief to investors after a rare earnings shortfall in the previous quarter.
The number of ‘paid clicks’ on ads on Google and its partner sites grew 39 percent year-on-year, but the cost-per-click was down 12 percent.