When the company behind messaging app Snapchat holds its much-anticipated initial public stock offering in a few days, it will offer new shareholders exclusively nonvoting shares, something no company has tried before in a public debut.
That means those shareholders won't have a say on executive pay, who's on the company's board or whether to accept a potential acquisition.
“It's all about control,” said Kai Liekefett, a partner at law firm Vinson & Elkins who works with companies that are under pressure from investors. “There's no other reason. There’s no tax reason, no business reason.”
At the Venice Whaler Bar & Grill about a mile south of Snap's main offices, about 250 people had gathered by Thursday afternoon. A bartender said they had begun arriving by mid-morning.
Wearing Spectacles, T-shirts decorated with Snap's ghost logo and name badges with bitmojis, they filled the upper level of the bar. They looked out on the boardwalk and sunny beach while soccer and college basketball games — as well as CNBC, which broadcast Snap’s stock price throughout the trading day — played on TV sets.
Some of them snapped photos using Snapchat lenses as they downed beers, margaritas and shots, periodically erupting in cheers.
Snap Inc. set up two food trucks Thursday near its offices on Market Street offering free cheeseburgers and ice cream to all comers. A taco truck arrived in time for the lunch hour.
A steady stream of people, mostly skateboarders, lined up for food. A few shouted anti-Snap comments as they waited for their meals.
Mike Lindley, a protestor and organizer with Veterans for Peace, was trying to encourage people to stay away from the trucks, which he saw as simply a way for the company to garner good publicity. Lindley said he moved to Venice in 1968 after serving in the Navy and now stays on a friend's couch because he can't afford rent.