The legal truce will require Google Inc. to compensate owners of the new class of if stock if it's worth less than the existing class of stock after one year of trading. If the Class C stock is one percent to five percent below the price of the Class A shares, investors will receive a fraction of the difference in cash or additional Google stock. The maximum payments will be made if Class C stock lags the Class A price by five percent or more.
Google's Class A shares rose $11.21 Monday to close at $886.25. Based on that price, the Class C stock would have to be trading at $841.94 or lower to receive the maximum payment outlined in the settlement. In this scenario, the Class C stockholders would receive $44.31 per share.
If the split takes place, the trading price of Google's stock will probably fall dramatically to reflect a nearly doubling in outstanding shares. Google is expected to issue more than 271 million C shares, based on how many Class A shares were outstanding as of April 18.
Google, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., is betting there won't be a substantial gap between the trading prices of the Class A and Class C shares because investors backing the company have always known Page and Brin had the power to trump all other shareholders. That arrangement seems to have worked out well, given that Google's A shares have risen 10-fold from their initial public offering price of $85.
Another provision of the settlement requires Google's board to do a special review assessing how Class A shareholders will be affected if a future company acquisition is financed with more than 10 million shares of Class C stock.