GOOGLE has unveiled plans to split its stock in a move that will consolidate control into the hands of the company's founders.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin will retain a controlling interest in Google after they revealed a strategy that will see the firm introduce a new class of non-voting stock and grant the two men 10 votes for every one share they own in the company.
Under the 'two-for-one' split, each current shareholder will get an additional non-voting share for each share of Google stock he or she holds. That means the company can issue new shares without worrying about a reduction in control.
Google already had 'class A' stock with limited voting rights, a holdover from the original flotation of the company in 2004, and the new 'class C' will have none at all.
"This proposal will only have an effect on governance in the very long term," said Mr Brin, who is chief executive of the company. "We are honoured that so many of you have put your trust in us."
The plans for a stock split were revealed as Google brought out strong first-quarter results.
Pre-tax profits surged by more than 47pc to $3.5bn (€2.7bn) on revenue that climbed by nearly a quarter to $10.6m.
Shares in the company fell to their lowest level since January, however, as Google's advertising rates, or "cost per click", declined for the second quarter in a row and some investors expressed concern about the stock-split plans.
Cost per click fell 6pc quarter on quarter -- but 12pc year on year. It is considered a key metric for Google, which derives some 96pc of its revenue from advertising. The fall in ad rates follows an 8pc decline in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The company said advertising on mobile devices had not been "monetised" as greatly as desktop advertising, but they remained confident that could be done.
"Mobile is increasingly an area of concern. Google has roughly 90pc share of mobile search, but this revenue must be shared with handset manufacturers and carriers," said Clayton Moran, an analyst at Benchmark Capital.
By mid-afternoon in New York, Google was trading off 3pc at $631.23.