Jan 22, 2010

Google Co-Founders Plan To Sell Up To 10 Million Shares Over Next Five Years




Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin plan to steadily sell off up to 10 million shares of stock over the next five years, according to an SEC filing. At today's closing price of $550, those shares would be worth $5.5 billion if sold immediately. Although the two co-founders hold Class B shares with super-voting rights, if they sell all 5 million shares, their voting control will drop from 59 percent today to 48 percent. From the filing:


Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin plan to steadily sell off up to 10 million shares of stock over the next five years, according to an SEC filing. At today’s closing price of $550, those shares would be worth $5.5 billion if sold immediately. Although the two co-founders hold Class B shares with super-voting rights, if they sell all 5 million shares, their voting control will drop from 59 percent today to 48 percent. From the filing:


Larry and Sergey currently hold approximately 57.7 million shares of Class B common stock, which represents approximately 18% of Google’s outstanding capital stock and approximately 59% of the voting power of Google’s outstanding capital stock. Under the terms of these Rule 10b5-1 trading plans, and as a part of a five year diversification plan, Larry and Sergey each intend to sell approximately 5 million shares. If Larry and Sergey complete all the planned sales under these Rule 10b5-1 trading plans, they would continue to collectively own approximately 47.7 million shares, which would represent approximately 15% of Google’s outstanding capital stock and approximately 48% of the voting power of Google’s outstanding capital stock (assuming no other sales and conversions of Google capital stock occur).


They would continue to be the largest shareholders, but would not be able to control the outcome of any shareholder vote as they do today. They, of course, could decide to stop selling just short of losing control. They also could probably find the other 2 percent of votes if they ever need it from CEO Eric Schmidt or a collection of other Google employees and loyal investors.


The two have not yet started selling shares under the plan, but it is common for tech founders to diversify their holdings in this manner. Bill Gates and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, for instance, sold stock of the companies they founded under similar plans. By selling at regular intervals, they get to cash out and diversify their holdings without spooking investors with sudden sales.










Twitter Looks To Help Bring Hope To Haiti With Hope140.org


Since the crisis in Haiti began, Twitter has played a big part in helping raise awareness of the tragedy. It's also helped charities and celebrities reach out to the community to encourage donations toward the Red Cross and the other organizations working hard to help the situation. Today, Twitter is launching a portal at Hope140.org for people looking to help Haiti, but who don't necessarily know where to start.

The site features a collection of recommended tweeters and Lists, including charities and people who are actually reporting from the field. A stream of recent tweets about the crisis is scrolling by in real time. And a large part of the page is dedicated to helping non-profits connect with the Twitter community, as a sort of best practices guide. It also calls out tonight's Hope For Haiti Now Telethon, which begins at 8 PM EST and is being hosted by George Clooney, Wyclef Jean, and Anderson Cooper.



Since the crisis in Haiti began, Twitter has played a big part in helping raise awareness of the tragedy. It’s also helped charities and celebrities reach out to the community to encourage donations toward the Red Cross and the other organizations working hard to help the situation. Today, Twitter is launching a portal at Hope140.org for people looking to help Haiti, but who don’t necessarily know where to start.


The site features a collection of recommended tweeters and Lists, including charities and people who are actually reporting from the field. A stream of recent tweets about the crisis is scrolling by in real time. And a large part of the page is dedicated to helping non-profits connect with the Twitter community, as a sort of best practices guide. It also calls out tonight’s Hope For Haiti Now Telethon, which begins at 8 PM EST and is being hosted by George Clooney, Wyclef Jean, and Anderson Cooper.


Twitter’s Biz Stone has also written a blog post about the efforts being made to help alleviate the crisis.


Here’s a list of different ways to text to help Haiti. You can also do it through the iTunes Store.



Text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross

Text QUAKE to 20222 to donate $10 to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund

Text HABITAT to 25383 to donate $10 to Habitat For Humanity

Text OXFAM to 25383 to donate $10 to Oxfam A

Text HAITI to 25383 to donate $5 to International Rescue Committee

Text HAITI to 45678 to donate $5 to the Salvation Army in Canada

Text YELE to 501501 to donation $5 to Yele

Text RELIEF to 30644 to get automatically connected to Catholic Relief Services and donate money with your credit card

Text HAITI to 864833 to donate $5 to The United Way

Text CERF to 90999 to donate $5 to The United Nations Foundation

Text DISASTER to 90999 to donate $10 to Compassion International











Mobile Tech Developer Motricity Files For $250 Million IPO


Motricity, a Washington-based company that develops a software platform for mobile phones, has filed for an IPO of up to $250 million.

Motricity's core product is the 'mCore Platform', which offers a mobile search engine, storefront, and channels that allow carriers to deliver content to their customers. The company often acts as "the brand behind the brand" as it builds mobile software. Motricity's carrier clients include AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Virgin Mobile. Enterprise clients include TBS, Showtime, Vogue, and Yahoo.

Motricity, a Washington-based company that develops a software platform for mobile phones, has filed for an IPO of up to $250 million.


Motricity’s core product is the ‘mCore Platform’, which offers a mobile search engine, storefront, and channels that allow carriers to deliver content to their customers. The company often acts as “the brand behind the brand” as it builds mobile software. Motricity’s carrier clients include AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Virgin Mobile. Enterprise clients include TBS, Showtime, Vogue, and Yahoo.


The company generated $88M in revenue in the first 9 months of 2009, but has not reached profitability. On its S-1 filed today, the company says its growth strategies include:




  • Focus our efforts on expanding the breadth of our solutions with industry leading participants, leveraging our strong relationships with the top five wireless carriers in the U.S.;

  • Expand our business into developed and emerging international markets, such as those in Southeast Asia, India and Latin America, by applying our expertise gained from the U.S. market and fully leveraging the capabilities and scale of the mCore platform;

  • Advance our technological leadership through the enhancement of the mCore platform, and the introduction of new solutions that increase the total value we provide to our carrier and enterprise customers;

  • Leverage our core competencies, technologies, and existing market position to broaden our offerings and customer base and advance into new market segments;

  • Gain additional scale and technology through opportunistic acquisitions that expand our total market opportunity, provide complementary technologies and solutions, and aid our international expansion efforts; and

  • Enhance our smartphone solutions to fully capitalize on the extensive capabilities of these devices and their significant market adoption.












The Apple Tablet Rumors The Other Blogs Are Afraid To Publish


CrunchGear is, as you know, the internet's primary nexus for trade secrets, corporation-breaking revelations, and the latest salacious home videos of tech CEOs (yes, Jen-Hsun Hwang, we have that one). Our power to elevate or crush giants in the industry is kept in check only by our unerring discretion — and by a set of laws, carved into amber slabs and venerated constantly in a hidden shrine deep beneath Mountain View.

But now and then our vast intelligence network brings in news of such inestimable importance that we must share it with our readers regardless what empires it may topple. Apple's event on the 27th is whipping the internet into a foaming frenzy, but I think you'll agree that the rumors so far have been pretty tame. 3G? Front-facing camera? Aluminum casing? You people underestimate Apple's dedication to bucking expectations. We've heard things that will curl your toes, and now, after much deliberation (and fortification of the shrine against the agents of Apple) we've decided to share some — not all — of these mind-blowing rumor-nuggets.

For instance, did you know that the Apple Tablet will not be constructed from aluminum, but from ostrich ivory?








Twitter’s Revamped SUL Has Greatly Crippled The SUL Advantage


As you probably heard, yesterday, Twitter rolled out its revamped suggested users list (SUL). The list was a source of much controversy because those on it (including the @TechCrunch account) were assured to gain thousands of followers a day. And many of the accounts on it long enough had over a million followers. Obviously, many users not on it didn't consider this to be fair — while plenty of those on it also thought it was kind of BS. After all, if you're on it, and followed by a million people, any link you send out is likely to get many, many more clicks then by someone followed by a few hundred people. Even Twitter co-founder Evan Williams didn't like it. So Twitter made a change. And guess what? It worked.

While the numbers coming in are still very early (only based on one day), it appears that across the board, those who were on the SUL before and after the change are seeing dramatic drops in the numbers of users following them each day. In some cases, SUL users are even losing Twitter followers now following the change.

Screen shot 2010-01-22 at 1.33.49 PMAs you probably heard, yesterday, Twitter rolled out its revamped suggested users list (SUL). The list was a source of much controversy because those on it (including the @TechCrunch account) were assured to gain thousands of followers a day. And many of the accounts on it long enough had over a million followers. Obviously, many users not on it didn’t consider this to be fair — while plenty of those on it also thought it was kind of BS. After all, if you’re on it, and followed by a million people, any link you send out is likely to get many, many more clicks then by someone followed by a few hundred people. Even Twitter co-founder Evan Williams didn’t like it. So Twitter made a change. And guess what? It worked.


While the numbers coming in are still very early (only based on one day), it appears that across the board, those who were on the SUL before and after the change are seeing dramatic drops in the numbers of users following them each day. In some cases, SUL users are even losing Twitter followers now following the change.


While plenty were quick to note that the new SUL is more or less the same as the old SUL, just broken into categories, there is one vital difference: there is no way to add all the users on the lists with one click. This means that you now have to go through each user on the list one-by-one to add them, which most people apparently don’t feel the need to do.


I pulled these interesting new numbers are pulled from the site TwitterCounter. For example, the TechCrunch account (which again was on the SUL before and also is currently) went from gaining 2,979 followers a day on average, all the way down to gaining just 286 yesterday (and it’s actually a bigger drop because the 286 number pulled down the 3,112 average that stood yesterday when I checked expecting there to be a huge drop). Another SUL mainstay, Twitter creator Jack Dorsey, went from gaining 2,184 followers a day to losing 162 yesterday. Same with Twitter angel investor Chris Sacca who went from gaining 2,892 a day to losing 68 yesterday. The main Google Twitter account went from gaining 4,908 followers a day on average to 893 yesterday. I could go on, but you get the point.


To be clear, the new SUL is still helping those that weren’t on it previously gain more followers. For example, Scott Beale’s LaughingSquid account wasn’t on the old SUL but is on the new one, and went from gaining about 51 users a day to gaining 151 users a day. But that’s a far cry from gaining 2,000 – 3,000 new followers every day.


Everyone will probably agree this new method is a much more fair and balanced way to help users find interesting people on Twitter. That said, those who were on the SUL before are now likely out of reach of anyone not on it previously. Well, unless you’re @billgates, who apparently doesn’t need the SUL to attract the masses.


Update: Twitter’s Doug Bowman has responded to this post in a tweet saying, “Exactly, and it was completely intentional.”


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[photo: flickr/hape gera]