An unorthodox stock split designed to ensure Google CEO Larry Page and fellow co-founder Sergey Brin retain control of the Internet's most profitable company could cost Google more than half a billion dollars.
Page, 42, and Brin, 41, have maintained control over Google since they started the company in a rented Silicon Valley garage in 1998. Their ideas and leadership have spawned one of the world's best known and most powerful companies with a market value of $375 billion and a payroll of about 54,000 employees.
Yet many investors have become frustrated with Page's unwavering belief that Google should be spending billions on far-flung projects ranging from driverless cars to diabetes-controlling contact lenses that may take years to pay off and have little to do with the company's main business of search and digital advertising. The big spending is one reason Google's stock price is about 2 percent below where it stood at the end of 2013, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has climbed 11 percent.