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Who owns YouTube?

Who owns YouTube?
Nemanja Curcic

YouTube is a prevalent video-sharing social media platform that allows its vast community of users to upload, view, comment, and rank various videos. A household name across the globe, the platform provides billions of people with access to music, entertainment, education, and communication content. Today, we will explain who owns YouTube, how the platform rose to success, and the massive impact it has on the Internet. 

Who owns YouTube?

YouTube is the second most visited website after Google and the second-largest social network after Facebook, with almost 2.5 billion active monthly users. Shaping the Internet landscape and influencing cultural trends throughout our society, YouTube requires little introduction as, if you are reading this article, you are most likely already familiar with it.

However, do you know who owns YouTube?

Is YouTube 100% owned by Google?

YouTube is owned by Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG), which also owns various other online tools and products, like the Google search engine, Google Chrome web browser, the Android operating system, Gmail, and many more. 

The concept of YouTube began due to the difficulties its founders, Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim, had sharing videos of a dinner party. YouTube was founded in 2005, with the first video being uploaded on April 23, 2005. In May, the company launched its public beta, and by November of the same year, a Nike (NYSE: NKE) ad became the first video with one million views.

Recommended video: First ever video to be uploaded to YouTube

First ever video on YouTube. Source: jawed

In October 2006, Google publicly announced it would acquire YouTube for $1.65 billion (or $2.31 billion adjusted for inflation in 2023) in Google (now Alphabet) shares, and the deal was concluded on November 13, 2006. 

Fun fact: Hurley and Chen stated that YouTube’s initial purpose was to be a video online dating service. They even posted ads for women uploading videos in exchange for $100. After discovering there were not enough dating videos, they decided to accept all video uploads. 

About YouTube

Headquartered in San Bruno, California, YouTube is by far the most popular video-sharing platform, with users collectively watching more than a billion hours of videos per day. Since Google’s acquisition, the platform started generating revenue from sources like advertising, paid and exclusive content, and a paid subscription option, YouTube Premium, that removes ads from videos. In 2023, YouTube revenues constituted 10.25% of Google’s total revenues, or $31.33 billion

About Alphabet

Alphabet Inc. is a global technology conglomerate that was established through a restructuring of Google in 2015. It is the parent company of Google and its various subsidiaries, such as Calico, CapitalG, Intrinsic, Isomorphic Labs, and Verily. Through its ownership of Google, it also owns YouTube.

Forbes ranked Alphabet as the world’s largest technology company in its 2023 The Global 2000 list. It is considered one of the “Big Five” IT companies in the United States.

Google, itself a subsidiary of Alphabet, owns the most widely used search engine and the most visited website in the world. Founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, it offers a plethora of web services that have established market dominance in email, navigation, cloud computing, web browsing, data storage, machine learning, self-driving cars, etc.

Recommended video: Google restructures with new company Alphabet

Source: CBS Mornings YouTube

Alphabet stock is a component of the Nasdaq-100, S&P 100, and S&P 500 indices. It trades on the NASDAQ under the GOOG ticker for Class C stock and the GOOGL ticker for Class A stock.

Who is the real owner of YouTube?

Alphabet wholly owns Google and its subsidiary YouTube. However, as Alphabet is a public company, its ownership (therefore, YouTube’s ownership) is spread across various individual and institutional shareholders.

Alphabet Inc. has publicly traded Class A (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and Class C (NASDAQ: GOOG) shares. Their price is approximately the same, but Class A shares come with company voting rights, while Class C shares do not. However, there are also non-public Class B shares, which are owned by insiders and confer 10 times the voting power than a regular Class A stock. Most Class B shares are held by Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Eric Schmidt, and John Doerr.

Besides individual insider shareholders, there are dozens of institutional shareholders with stakes in Alphabet. However, the largest stakes in the tech giant are Vanguard Group, BlackRock (NYSE: BLK), State Street (NYSE: STT), and Fidelity Investments (formerly FMR).

Who are the largest shareholders in Alphabet?

Yahoo’s statistics report shows that institutional investors hold 62.13% of GOOG (Class C shares) and 80.58% of GOOGL (Class A shares). The four largest institutional shareholders of Alphabet are Vanguard Group, BlackRock, State Street, and Fidelity Investments.

Institutional shareholder GOOG shares held GOOGL shares held 
Vanguard Group 410,988,828 (or 6.97%) 493,810,251 (or 8.34%)
BlackRock 355,432,546 (or 6.03%) 414,988,271 (or 7.01%)
State Street 190,374,731 (or 3.23%) 222,759,661 (or 3.76%)
Fidelity Investments 117,131,107 (or 1.99%) 227,009,524 (or 3.84%)
Who owns YouTube: The company’s largest institutional shareholders as of April 3, 2024

Vanguard Group

According to an SEC report on December 30, 2023, Vanguard Group, Inc. owns 410,988,828 GOOG shares, which is 6.97% of the total GOOG shares, and 493,810,251 GOOGL shares, or 8.34% of all GOOGL shares.

Vanguard is one of the world’s leading investment companies and mutual fund and ETF managers, managing about $8.6 trillion in global assets as of 2024.


BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE: BLK) holds 355,432,546 shares, or 6.03% of all GOOG shares outstanding, and 414,988,271 shares, or 7.01% of total GOOGL stock, as mentioned in its Q4 2023 SEC filings.

BlackRock is the world’s largest investment company and asset manager, with $10 trillion in assets under management at the end of 2023. Based in New York City, it maintains offices around the world and operates in over 100 countries. Besides Vanguard and State Street, it is a member of the Big Three index fund managers.

State Street

State Street Corporation (NYSE: STT) owns 190,374,731 GOOG shares and 222,759,661 GOOGL shares, or 3.23% of GOOG and 3.76% of GOOGL shares outstanding, according to the latest SEC filings.

State Street is a global financial services company and the second-oldest bank in the United States. With $3.7 trillion in assets under management and $40.0 trillion under custody and administration, it remains one of the largest asset management companies in the world. 

Fidelity Investments

Fidelity Investments, renamed from Fidelity Management & Research (FMR), holds 117,131,107 shares, or 1.99% of total GOOG stock, and 227,009,524 shares, or 3.84% of total GOOGL shares in Alphabet, according to the most recent SEC report.

Fidelity Investments is a multinational financial services company headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. Its assets under management amount to $4.9 trillion, and it holds $12.6 trillion in assets under administration. Fidelity Investments operates a brokerage firm, manages mutual funds, and provides various business and investing services. 

Alphabet’s insider ownership

Individual shareholders are people, usually top-ranked company managers, with direct ownership of the company’s shares. Whenever such a person purchases or sells a significant amount of company stock, they need to fill out and submit an SEC Form 4.

In the case of  Alphabet, we must take into account the special case of Class B stock in order to determine the degree of company ownership and, therefore, who owns YouTube.

Class B shareholder Shares held % of total Class B shares
Larry Page 389,051,160 44.06%
Sergey Brin 363,474,028 41.77%
Eric Schmidt 54,115,182 6.22%
John Doerr 22,348,940 2.57%
Who owns YouTube: The company’s largest Class B shareholders as of April 3, 2024

Larry Page

Lawrence Edward Page is an internet entrepreneur, computer scientist, and one of Google’s two co-founders. He was the company’s Chief Executive Officer before stepping down from all executive positions at the end of 2019. However, he remains a board member.

According to the most recent SEC filings, he is a controlling shareholder with 389,051,160 Alphabet Class A and Class B shares. Furthermore, he owns 44.06% of the company’s Class B stock.

As of April 2024, he is ranked seventh richest on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, with an estimated net worth of $140 billion.

Sergey Brin

Sergey Mikhailovich Brin is the second co-founder of Google. He occupied the role of the president of the company until stepping down together with Larry Page. He also remains a board member and a controlling shareholder. 

As per his latest SEC filings, he owns 363,474,028 of Class A and Class B Alphabet stock, which represents 41.77% of total Class B shares.

As of April 2024, Forbes estimates his net worth at $122.5 billion. 

Eric Schmidt

Eric Emerson Schmidt is a software engineer and businessman who acted as the CEO, chairman, and technical advisor of Google (later Alphabet) until he stepped down in 2020. He played a vital role in turning Google from a tech startup to a leading global company.

According to the latest SEC filings, he holds 60,994,606 Class A shares and 54,115,182 Class B shares in Alphabet, or 6.22% of total insider Class B shares.

John Doerr

John Doerr is an investor, venture capitalist, and one of Google’s original backers. He is the chairman of Kleiner Perkins, a venture capital firm, and a board member at Google.

According to the company’s 2023 report, Doerr holds 2,911,880 Class A shares and 22,348,940 Class B shares of Alphabet, which is 2.57% of the company’s total Class B shares outstanding.

Alphabet stock performance

Since the beginning of 2024, Alphabet stock has been somewhat volatile but ultimately exhibited a positive trend. The ongoing race for advancements in artificial intelligence does not seem to be ceasing any time soon, and Google reportedly discussed with Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) about incorporating Google Gemini’s AI into iOS features. However, the competition is rock-solid, with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and OpenAI‘s ChatGPT remaining at the helm.

Alphabet stock price today

As of publication, Alphabet stock (Class C) price stands at $153.94, which represents a 10.27% year-to-date increase.

Who owns YouTube – the bottom line

Ever since Google (now Alphabet) acquired YouTube, the video-sharing platform has become an undisputed leader in online video content, setting new global media standards and signifying a transitional phase from conventional to digital media.

Since YouTube is owned by Google, and the company is itself a subsidiary of Alphabet. Therefore, we can conclude that the owners of Alphabet are consequently also owners of YouTube. As we listed above, these are Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Eric Schmidt, and John Doerr as individual shareholders and Vanguard, BlackRock, State Street, and Fidelity Investments as institutional shareholders. 

Also, whoever buys Alphabet stock becomes a partial owner of YouTube, It could be you, if you decide that such an investment would be a smart decision. Make sure to do your research before investing.

Disclaimer: The content on this site should not be considered investment advice. Investing is speculative. When investing, your capital is at risk.

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