LARRY Page and Sergey Brin, co-founders of the web giant Google, are to sell 10m of their shares in the company to raise around $5.5bn (£3.4bn).
The pair will lose majority control of the business they established while still students at Stanford University. Their 59 per cent voting rights will be diluted to 48 per cent once the share sale is completed.
Google, which was first incorporated as a private company in 1998 floated in 2004. The shares will be sold over a five year period in an attempt to mitigate the impact on the stock price, while the duo remain will remain fully involved in the company.
A Google spokesman told the BBC: “They are both as committed as ever to Google. They are integrally involved in our day-to-day management and product strategy. The majority of their net worth remains in Google.”
The fact that Page and Brin are ceding majority control is being regarded as more symbolic than practical for the business.
Google is already run by chief executive Eric Schmidt, who has a 10 per cent voting power thanks to his shareholding in the group.