Retirement Fund Sues Google Over StockBy: Mike Fossum - May 1, 2012
Google CEO Larry Page has been mentioned in various lawsuits of late, recently taking the stand in the search giant’s copyright infringement trial with Oracle, where his demeanor was described as being evasive – and now Bloomberg reports that Page has been listed again in a court proceeding, as a Massachusetts pension fund called The Brockton Retirement Board sued Google over the company’s plan to split up stocks in a way that would create more non-voting shares.
Google is in the process of creating a new class of stock which would allow large shareholders to maintain voting power indefinitely, and the Brockton fund contends that Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are “dominant shareholders of Google by creating a non-voting class of Google stock in order to preserve their voting power into perpetuity.” Brockton also calls Google’s reclassification of the shares a “thinly veiled attempt to entrench.” At present, regular shareholders all have Class A common shares, which allow for one vote each. Founders like Page have Class B shares, and seek to reclassify common shares to a new Class C, non-voting shares.
The Brockton fund seeks unspecified damages, and made their complaint public yesterday in a Delaware Chancery Court in Wilmington – Brockton Retirement Board v. Page, CA7469, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington). Google has yet to comment on the matter.
In related news, the aforementioned Java / Android patent infringement trial is winding down, with a verdict concerning the the first phase of the proceedings expected within the next couple of days. There is a chance that Page and Co. might soon be tacking on more shareholder retributions to possible Java licensing fines.