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Snapchat's parent company is taking "founder control" to another level as it inches toward an IPO later this quarter. The company is planning to issue non-voting stock to investors in its IPO, as it did in its previous private funding round, according to the Wall Street Journal. In November, The Information spotted the move in a newly filed document in Delaware.

What this means: Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy will have more than 70% of the voting power and 45% of the stock.

In context: While a bit more extreme than past cases, dual-stock structures aimed at leaving founders in control are not unseen, especially in Silicon Valley. Facebook and Google are two well-known examples. The rationale is usually that the founders want to keep taking big bets or having flexibility without a board telling them what to do (too much).

The fine print: Snap's setup also includes some protections for public investors, according to the WSJ's sources. If the founders' stock falls below 30%, all shares will convert to common stock. And if either founder dies, his shares can't be transferred—a clear signal that Snap believes the founders have a unique vision for the company that can't be imitated.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden told CNN on Thursday that he plans to ask the American public to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his presidency.

The big picture: Biden also stated he has asked NIAID director Anthony Fauci to stay on in his current role, serve as a chief medical adviser and be part of his COVID-19 response team when he takes office early next year.

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