WILMINGTON, Del. -

A Delaware judge has approved a settlement in a shareholder lawsuit challenging Google Inc.'s plans for a stock split that includes issuing a new class of nonvoting shares.
   
Monday's ruling clears the way for the Internet search leader to issue a new class of nonvoting stock for each share of existing voting stock.
   
The stock split is designed to ensure that co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin retain control of Mountain View, Calif.-based Google. The two own about 15 percent of Google's outstanding stock, but they hold 56 percent of shareholder voting power.
   
Google argued that by creating a new class of nonvoting shares, the company can continue to reward employees with stock and finance potential acquisitions without undermining the voting power of Page and Brin.