Google Inc. co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are relinquishing some of their control over the Internet search leader with the sale of 10 million shares worth $5.5 billion at current prices.

Under a plan disclosed Friday, the longtime business partners will each sell 5 million Google shares during a five-year period that will commence with the first trade.

The sales will occur periodically to lessen the chances of hurting Google‘s stock price.

Page and Brin, both 36, will remain Google’s most influential shareholders, although they will be losing some of their clout.

The two iconoclasts own a special class of Google stock that gives them combined voting power of about 59 percent — enough to override the wishes of all other shareholders if they wanted. The duo secured this veto power to ensure Google remained true to their values, which are summed up in the company motto, “Don’t Be Evil.”

After the sales, the founders’ holdings will be whittled to a combined 47.7 million shares with 48 percent voting power.

Falling below the 50 percent threshold might not matter because they run Google as a ruling triumvirate with the company’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, whose shares hold 10 percent voting power.

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