A tainted plan
In April, the board of Facebook Inc. approved a plan that ensured Mark Zuckerberg’s control over the company. However, a recently filed lawsuit claims that every part of the process to pass the capital plan was tainted.
A conflict of interest
Last year, Zuckerberg proposed a plan to approve nonvoting shares, allowing him to retain control of Facebook and change its capital structure. Though the plan stifled the voice of the current shareholders, it was passed after a special committee claimed to have assessed it thoroughly. However, it was unknown at the time that committee member Marc Andreessen covertly communicated with Zuckerberg throughout the proceedings.
Andreessen continually texted Zuckerberg, providing him with updates and advice on how to sway the other members.
These recently revealed messages show Andreessen reassuring the Facebook founder, and even sending a text reading “Mission accomplished,” once he knew the plan would pass. In addition, Morgan Stanley pulled their own strings to influence any parts of the plan that were not in Zuckerberg’s favor.
The future of Facebook
According to the lawsuit, these overt conflicts of interest led to the acceptance of a plan that is “disloyal to shareholders.” The only comment from the other side was from a Facebook spokeswoman reassuring the company’s confidence in the special committee. She even claimed that the process was fair and “in the best interests of Facebook and its shareholders.”
So how will this affect the future of Facebook as we know it? As users, you may not notice or even pay attention to these shady, behind-the-scenes dealings. However, this new capital structure affects shareholders greatly. As of now, Zuckerberg maintains full control over the company, which includes the majority of the voting power. With the new lawsuit and Zuckerberg’s expressed interest in entering politics, his future at Facebook is unknown.