The Wall Street Journal: Lyft founders plan to control company through supervoting shares ahead of IPO

The founders of Lyft Inc. are preparing to take near-majority voting control of the ride-hailing company when it goes public this year, despite together owning a stake of less than 10%, making them the latest Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to secure outsize influence over a hot startup as it enters the public markets.

The founders, John Zimmer and Logan Green, who serve as president and chief executive, respectively, are working with underwriters and lawyers on a plan to create a class of shares with extra votes that they will hold, people familiar with the matter said.

Exact details are unclear, but the men would have significant influence over major decisions at the company, ranging from the election of directors to whether to sell one day. In a move that appears to be aimed at shoring up its governance, Lyft is expected to appoint one of its existing board members as nonexecutive chairman, one of the people said.

The founders’ move to consolidate their control is the latest illustration of the nearly unchecked power held by the founders of many of the fastest-growing technology startups. Some of the biggest public tech companies that have made their debuts in recent years, including Facebook Inc. FB, -0.45%  , Google parent Alphabet Inc. GOOGL, +2.31% GOOG, +2.41%   and Snap Inc. SNAP, -2.11%  , have supervoting structures that give their founders control.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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