Shopify plans a 10-for-1 stock split, eyes ‘founder share’ to protect CEO’s voting power

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The logo of Shopify is seen outside its headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, September 28, 2018.
Chris Wattie | Reuters

Ecommerce start-up Shopify said Monday it is planning a 10-for-1 stock split, while seeking shareholder approval for a “founder share” for its CEO Tobi Lutke to increase his voting power.

Upon shareholders’ approval, Shopify will authorize and issue the new class of share to Lutke, giving the executive a total voting power of 40% when combined with his existing Class B shares.

“Tobi is key to supporting and executing Shopify’s strategic vision and this proposal ensures his interests are aligned with long-term shareholder value creation,” Robert Ashe, Shopify’s lead independent director, said in a statement.

Shopify shares rose more than 1.5% in the premarket Monday.

The Ottawa-based company got a big boost over the last two years, as the firm helped small businesses quickly move operations online during the pandemic’s forced shutdowns. The stock soared about 185% in 2020 and another 21% in 2021. However, shares have fallen more than 50% year to date as the pandemic boost started to fade.

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