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(Reuters)

Facebook investors OK new share class to keep Zuckerberg at helm

Markets Reuters

Facebook Inc shareholders approved a proposal to create a new class of non-voting shares, a move aimed at letting Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg give away his wealth without relinquishing control of the social media company he founded.

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The company's plan to issue two "Class C" shares for each Class A and Class B share held by shareholders, in what is effectively a 3-for-1 stock split, was approved by Facebook shareholders at the company's annual general meeting on Monday.

The Class C shares will be publicly traded under a new symbol.

Zuckerberg said in December that he intended to put 99 percent of his Facebook shares into a new philanthropy project focusing on human potential and equality.

The creation of the Class C shares would allow Zuckerberg to sell the non-voting stock, but keep the voting Class A and Class B shares that would let him retain control of Facebook.

Zuckerberg plans on running Facebook "for a very long time," the 32 year-old CEO told shareholders at a Q&A session at the AGM.

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Shareholders also approved the continued tenure of all the eight board members, including billionaire investor Peter Thiel, who were up for re-election.

Facebook announced the plan to create the new class of non-voting shares on April 27. The approval of the plan was virtually certain since Zuckerberg controls the company. (Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)