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Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden. Photo by Bloomberg.

SPAC Boom Helps Tech Founders Cement Control

Photo: Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden. Photo by Bloomberg.

When scooter-rental startup Bird goes public later this year, CEO Travis VanderZanden won’t have to worry about the firm’s uncertain prospects emboldening activist shareholders. As part of the merger with a special purpose acquisition company that is taking Bird public, VanderZanden negotiated the right to maintain control through a special class of shares that give him 20 votes per share while everyone else has one vote per share.

The Bird founder will have three-quarters of its votes until he steps down or sells most of his shares, even though he will only own about 13% of the company, a previously unreported filing shows. He is one of a growing number of tech founders who are winning the right to majority control as their companies go public.

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