A shareholder (also known as stockholder) is an individual or institution (including a corporation) that legally owns one or more shares of stock in a public or private corporation. Shareholders may be referred to as members of a corporation. By law, a person is not a shareholder in a corporation until their name and other details are entered in the corporation's register of shareholders or members.
The influence of a shareholder on the business is determined by the shareholding percentage owned. Shareholders of a corporation are legally separate from the corporation itself. They are generally not liable for the debts of the corporation and the shareholders' liability for company debts are said to be limited to the unpaid share price unless if a shareholder has offered guarantees. The corporation is not required to record the beneficial ownership of a shareholding, only the owner as recorded on the register. When more than one person are on the record as owners of a shareholding, the first one on the record is taken to have control of the shareholding, and all correspondence and communication by the company will be with that person.
Shareholders may have acquired their shares in the primary market by subscribing to the IPOs and thus provided capital to the corporation. However, most shareholders acquire shares in the secondary market and provided no capital directly to the corporation. Shareholders may be granted special privileges depending on a share class. The board of directors of a corporation generally governs a corporation for the benefit of shareholders.
Shareholders are considered by some to be a subset of stakeholders, which may include anyone who has a direct or indirect interest in the business entity. For example, employees, suppliers, customers, the community, etc., are typically considered stakeholders because they contribute value and/or are impacted by the corporation.
A beneficial shareholder is the person that has the economic benefit of ownership of the shares, while a nominee shareholder is the person who is on the corporation's register as the owner while being in fact acting for the benefit and at the direction of the beneficiary, whether disclosed or not.
Primarily, there are two types of shareholders.
An individual or an institution can be a common shareholder who owns common shares within a company. This type of shareholding is more common. Common shareholders have the right to influence decisions concerning the company and can file class action lawsuits in case any wrongdoing happens.
A preferred shareholder is rare. In this, the shareholder is paid a fixed sum of dividend even before the common shareholders and they have no voting rights within the company.
Subject to the applicable laws, the rules of the corporation and any shareholders' agreement, shareholders may have the right:
The above-mentioned rights can be generally classified into (1) cash-flow rights and (2) voting rights. While the value of shares is mainly driven by the cash-flow rights that they carry ("cash is king"), voting rights can also be valuable. The value of shareholders' cash-flow rights can be computed by discounting future free cash flows. The value of shareholders' voting rights can be computed by four methods:
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A dividend is a payment made by a corporation to its shareholders, usually as a distribution of profits. When a corporation earns a profit or surplus, the corporation is able to re-invest the profit in the business and pay a proportion of the profit as a dividend to shareholders. Distribution to shareholders may be in cash or, if the corporation has a dividend reinvestment plan, the amount can be paid by the issue of further shares or share repurchase. When dividends are paid, shareholders typically must pay income taxes, and the corporation does not receive a corporate income tax deduction for the dividend payments.
In finance, equity is ownership of assets that may have debts or other liabilities attached to them. Equity is measured by subtracting liabilities from the value of an asset. For example, if someone owns a car worth $15,000 and owes $5,000 on the loan used to buy the car, then the difference of $10,000 is equity. Equity can apply to a single asset, such as a car or house, or to an entire business entity. Selling equity in a business is an essential method for acquiring cash needed to start up and expand operations.
In finance, an equity derivative is a class of derivatives whose value is at least partly derived from one or more underlying equity securities. Options and futures are by far the most common equity derivatives, however there are many other types of equity derivatives that are actively traded.
In accounting, book value is the value of an asset according to its balance sheet account balance. For assets, the value is based on the original cost of the asset less any depreciation, amortization or impairment costs made against the asset. Traditionally, a company's book value is its total assets minus intangible assets and liabilities. However, in practice, depending on the source of the calculation, book value may variably include goodwill, intangible assets, or both. The value inherent in its workforce, part of the intellectual capital of a company, is always ignored. When intangible assets and goodwill are explicitly excluded, the metric is often specified to be "tangible book value".
A corporate action is an event initiated by a public company that will bring an actual change to the securities—equity or debt—issued by the company. Corporate actions are typically agreed upon by a company's board of directors and authorized by the shareholders. Examples of corporate actions include stock splits, dividends, mergers and acquisitions, rights issues, and spin-offs.
A joint-stock company is a business entity in which shares of the company's stock can be bought and sold by shareholders. Each shareholder owns company stock in proportion, evidenced by their shares. Shareholders are able to transfer their shares to others without any effects to the continued existence of the company.
A treasury stock or reacquired stock is stock which is bought back by the issuing company, reducing the amount of outstanding stock on the open market.
Preferred stock is a form of stock which may have any combination of features not possessed by common stock including properties of both an equity and a debt instrument, and is generally considered a hybrid instrument. Preferred stocks are senior to common stock, but subordinate to bonds in terms of claim and may have priority over common stock in the payment of dividends and upon liquidation. Terms of the preferred stock are described in the issuing company's articles of association or articles of incorporation.
Common stock is a form of corporate equity ownership, a type of security. The terms voting share and ordinary share are also used frequently in other parts of the world; "common stock" being primarily used in the United States. They are known as equity shares or ordinary shares in the UK and other Commonwealth realms. This type of share gives the stockholder the right to share in the profits of the company, and to vote on matters of corporate policy and the composition of the members of the board of directors.
The retained earnings of a corporation is the accumulated net income of the corporation that is retained by the corporation at a particular point of time, such as at the end of the reporting period. At the end of that period, the net income at that point is transferred from the Profit and Loss Account to the retained earnings account. If the balance of the retained earnings account is negative it may be called accumulated losses, retained losses or accumulated deficit, or similar terminology.
Corporate law is the body of law governing the rights, relations, and conduct of persons, companies, organizations and businesses. The term refers to the legal practice of law relating to corporations, or to the theory of corporations. Corporate law often describes the law relating to matters which derive directly from the life-cycle of a corporation. It thus encompasses the formation, funding, governance, and death of a corporation.
Shareholder value is a business term, sometimes phrased as shareholder value maximization or as the shareholder value model, which implies that the ultimate measure of a company's success is the extent to which it enriches shareholders. It became popular during the 1980s, and is particularly associated with former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch.
The phrase street name securities or "nominee name securities" is used in the United States to refer to securities of companies which are held electronically in the account of a stockbroker or bank or custodian, similar to a bank account. The entity whose name is recorded as the legal owner of the securities is known as the "nominee owner," and that entity has ownership rights in the security. The nominee owner holds those ownership rights on behalf of the true economic owner who is referred to as the beneficial owner. In the US, Cede & Co., a nominee of Depository Trust Company, is typically the largest stockholder of a company. In the US where Cede & Co. is the street name holder, therefore, all beneficial rights such as voting rights and dividends flow first to the nominee holder Cede, and then are passed onward, and ultimately to the beneficial owners. In the United Kingdom this is known as holding shares in a nominee account.
A rights issue or rights offer is a dividend of subscription rights to buy additional securities in a company made to the company's existing security holders. When the rights are for equity securities, such as shares, in a public company, it is a non-dilutive(can be dilutive) pro rata way to raise capital. Rights issues are typically sold via a prospectus or prospectus supplement. With the issued rights, existing security-holders have the privilege to buy a specified number of new securities from the issuer at a specified price within a subscription period. In a public company, a rights issue is a form of public offering. Sometimes Right issue can give privileges to people like director, employees those are having some ownership in company to buy the issues.
In corporate law, a stock certificate is a legal document that certifies ownership of a specific number of shares or stock in a corporation. Historically, certificates may have been required to evidence entitlement to dividends, with a receipt for the payment being endorsed on the back; and the original certificate may have been required to be provided to effect the transfer of the shareholding. Over time, these functions have been rendered redundant by statutory schemes to streamline the administrative burden on corporations, and to facilitate and streamline trading on a stock exchange. For example, most jurisdictions now impose an obligation on corporations to pay dividends to shareholders registered at a relevant point of time without the need to produce the share certificate as proof of entitlement and the certificate is no longer required to be produced with a transfer of a shareholding. In some jurisdictions today, the issue of paper stock certificates may be dispensed with, at least in some circumstances, and many corporations now provide a holding statement in lieu of a share certificate for each parcel of shares owned.
Share repurchase is the re-acquisition by a company of its own stock. It represents a more flexible way of returning money to shareholders.
A corporation's share capital or capital stock is the portion of a corporation's equity that has been obtained by the issue of shares in the corporation to a shareholder, usually for cash. "Share capital" may also denote the number and types of shares that compose a corporation's share structure.
The United Kingdom company law regulates corporations formed under the Companies Act 2006. Also governed by the Insolvency Act 1986, the UK Corporate Governance Code, European Union Directives and court cases, the company is the primary legal vehicle to organise and run business. Tracing their modern history to the late Industrial Revolution, public companies now employ more people and generate more of wealth in the United Kingdom economy than any other form of organisation. The United Kingdom was the first country to draft modern corporation statutes, where through a simple registration procedure any investors could incorporate, limit liability to their commercial creditors in the event of business insolvency, and where management was delegated to a centralised board of directors. An influential model within Europe, the Commonwealth and as an international standard setter, UK law has always given people broad freedom to design the internal company rules, so long as the mandatory minimum rights of investors under its legislation are complied with.
Stock of a corporation, is all of the shares into which ownership of the corporation is divided. In American English, the shares are collectively known as "stock". A single share of the stock represents fractional ownership of the corporation in proportion to the total number of shares. This typically entitles the stockholder to that fraction of the company's earnings, proceeds from liquidation of assets, or voting power, often dividing these up in proportion to the amount of money each stockholder has invested. Not all stock is necessarily equal, as certain classes of stock may be issued for example without voting rights, with enhanced voting rights, or with a certain priority to receive profits or liquidation proceeds before or after other classes of shareholders.
Corporate finance is an area of finance that deals with sources of funding, the capital structure of corporations, the actions that managers take to increase the value of the firm to the shareholders, and the tools and analysis used to allocate financial resources. The primary goal of corporate finance is to maximize or increase shareholder value.