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WSJ: Lyft Founders To Control Company With Supervoting Shares In IPO

The founders of Lyft Inc. plan to take near-majority voting control of the ride-hailing company when it goes public this year, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Lyft's founders John Zimmer and Logan Green are working with underwriters and lawyers on a plan to create a class of shares with extra votes that they will hold, according to the WSJ report.

Zimmer serves as Lyft's president, while Green is the company's chief executive. Together, the founders own a stake of less than 10 percent in the company.

Supervoting shares are generally intended to give key company insiders greater control over the company's voting rights, and thus its board and corporate actions. The existence of super voting shares can also be an effective defense against hostile takeovers of the company.

The WSJ reported that through their supervoting shares, the two men would have significant influence over major decisions at Lyft, including the election of directors or whether to sell the company.

According to the WSJ report, Lyft is also expected to appoint one of its existing board members as non-executive chairman.

Other major technology companies, including Google parent Alphabet Inc. (GOOG, GOOGL), Facebook Inc. (FB), also have supervoting shares that give their founders control of these companies.

Both Lyft and rival Uber are aiming for their initial public offerings or IPOs this year. Lyft is said to be targeting March or April for a listing, while Uber is targeting an IPO in the second half of 2019.

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