DEFINITION of 'Dual-Class Ownership'

A type of share division in which companies issue shares that have differing rights. In a dual class ownership structure, the company can issue two classes of shares, Class A and Class B. These classes may have different voting rights, but they represent the same underlying ownership in the company.

BREAKING DOWN 'Dual-Class Ownership'

Often companies that are transitioning from being private to becoming a public companies may use a dual-class structure to maintain control over the company. For example, when Google went public, it issued Class B shares that had no voting rights to ensure that the founders and executives still had control of the company.

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