Google is planning its first ever stock split for April following tensions and legal issues with shareholders that delayed the process by years. Plans for the split were announced during the company's fourth quarter earnings call earlier today, with chief financial officer Patrick Pichette saying it had finally been approved by Google's board.
A new class
The split creates separate classes of stock for the split: one with voting power and another without. Those stocks will then get separate ticker symbols, says the Associated Press, something that could lead to different prices based on the company's performance. Those two classes are also separate from a third class of shares owned by Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, worth 10 votes apiece on any official company business.
Google shareholders originally approved plans for a stock split back in June 2012, though the plan hit a snag when a subgroup of shareholders sued the company. That complaint claimed that the split would have diluted the power of the company's shareholders, while shoring up control for Brin and Page. The two sides settled last June, with part of that agreement requiring Google to compensate shareholders if the price of the non-voting shares diminishes beyond a certain threshold within its first year.
News of the split comes as Google's stock continues its gains. Shares topped $1,000 for the first time last October, and have since gone past $1,100. That's up nearly $400 from this same time last year, and well beyond the $85 Google priced shares at for its IPO back in 2004.