Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Variations on the publicly traded company: two class ownership

James Fallows tells us what the New York Times and Google have in common: two tier corporate ownership (class A and B shares). I've passed through several variations of the modern corporation, and like most veterans I know the limits of both the private and public company. Private companies are capital limited and, eventually, channel limited. Public companies survive by brute force, but have all the grace and maneuverability of a steamroller.

Lately we've seen "private equity" variations, which seem to be largely a variation on the leveraged buyouts of the 80s. I hadn't recognized, however, that Google had implemented a private/public model previously known primarily in the news industry.


I love blogs.

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