After the close of U.S. markets Wednesday April 2, Google (NasdaqGS: GOOG) will split its shares into two classes – Class A so that company insiders and founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin can retain voting control, and Class C.
In effect, the transaction amounts to a two-for-one stock split, but its impact on some popular broad market exchange traded funds, such as those tracking the S&P 500 and NASDAQ-100, is worth mentioning. In an interesting historical anecdote this will be the first time the S&P 500 and ETFs such as the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY) and the iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: IVV) trade with 501 stocks. [A Different Spin on S&P 500 ETFs]
The S&P 500 will include both classes of Google shares (Class A will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker “GOOGL”). Starting on Sept. 15, 2015, “companies in the 500 which have multiple share classes will have all their liquid classes included. The weight of each company will represent the total float available to shareholders, just as it does today,” writes David Blitzer of S&P Dow Jones Indices.
While the S&P 500 is accommodating an additional class of Google shares later this week, “the shift to multiple share classes for other companies in the S&P 500 (and the S&P 100, S&P 400, and S&P 600) will be done in September 2015,” according to Blitzer.
That move, although more than two years out, will affect large broad market ETFs such as the iShares S&P 100 ETF (NYSEArca: OEF). OEF will carry 101 stocks after the Google split. [Spotlight on S&P 100 ETF]
As for the PowerShares QQQ (NasdaqGM: QQQ), the NASDAQ-100 tracking ETF where Google is currently the third-largest holding at nearly 8% of the ETF’s weight, Google’s Class A shares will be held by the ETF and the index until prior to the market open on June 23 when QQQ will begin trading only with Google Class C shares, according to a statement from NASDAQ OMX.
Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of Google, QQQ and SPY.