Facebook Changes Stock Structure; Is An IPO Next?

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook has said it is in no rush to file for an IPO, but the company continues to take small steps towards one. The latest: It’s creating a new class of stock which carries additional voting power; the stock will be given to all existing shareholders, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

A Facebook spokesman tells us the company is making the change “because existing shareholders wanted to maintain control over voting on certain issues to help ensure the company can continue to focus on the long-term to build a great business.” He adds that it is not a signal that the company is planning to go public.

But, as the WSJ, which first reported the development notes, the change in stock structure will likely ensure that Zuckerberg can maintain voting control when the company does go public. The paper also notes that Google (NSDQ: GOOG) created a second class of stock before its own IPO five years ago.

Zuckerberg said in June that an IPO was not on the “immediate horizon.” However, Facebook has made it clear that it is setting its sights on an eventual public offering. For instance, when the company said it was searching for a new CFO this spring, it explicitly said it was looking for an executive with public-company experience and eventually chose the former CFO of publicly traded biotech giant Genentech.

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