Facebook is establishing a dual-class stock structure, a move that could help pave the way to an initial public offering in the future. The company gave no time-line for such an offering and instead said it will help give current shareholders more power to guide the long-term vision of the company.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook is converting all current shareholders to Class B stock, which carries ten times the voting power of Class A stock. Those shares will remain Class B shares unless the owner sells them during an initial public offering, when they will turn into Class A shares. A dual-class structure could make the stock less attractive to investors because they have weaker voting powers. Google structured its offering in a similar way, with two classes of stock.
A Facebook spokesperson gave this comment:
“Facebook is a private company so we don’t typically share details on stock-related matters. But we did introduce a dual class stock structure 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. This revision to the stock structure should not be construed as a signal the company is planning to go public. Facebook has no plans to go public at this time.”