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What Are Diluted Shares?

Charlie Brooks

Jul 28, 2022 12:02

A firm dilutes its existing stock by introducing new shares to the market, and the dilution of shares raises the company's capital. Commonly, diluted shares are used to calculate a company's earnings per share (EPS).

What Are Diluted Shares

A diluted share describes the status of a share after a firm has added more shares to its stock pool, i.e., after it has issued more common stock.

If additional shares are issued, the proportion of ownership reduced by your shares will decrease; your shares will be "diluted."

The increase in outstanding shares may occur from a primary market offering, such as an IPO (initial public offering), firm employees' exercise of stock options, or the conversion of bonds, preference shares, or warrants into common stock. The primary market is where newly issued shares are traded.

Experts contend that each diluted share is still worth $100. $100 is equivalent to 1/20 of $2000 and 1/30 of $3000.

If your shares are diluted, they may have an impact on:

  • Income per share

  • Voting control

  • Share value

  • Ownership proportion

  • Compared to Non-diluted Shares

Diluted Shares vs. Undiluted Shares

Diluted shares are those shares or share stock that will be available to the company after all sources of conversions, such as Employee Stock Option Plans and Convertible bond conversions, have been exercised, whereas Undiluted shares are those shares or share stock that will be available even before the other sources of conversions have been exercised.

Earnings from dilutive shares are computed as:

Dilutive EPS = (Net income - Preferred dividend + Paid out dilutive securities)/ (Weighted average number of common shares outstanding after conversion of dilutive securities), whereas undiluted shares profits are computed as Undiluted EPS = Net Earnings/Number of shares.

Calculating dilutive EPS is more complicated than calculating dilutive EPS for undiluted shares; we simply need to calculate net income and the number of shares.

Example of A Diluted Share

If you possess one share of a firm with 1,000 outstanding shares that trade for $50 apiece, you own 0.1% of the company.

If the corporation issued 1,000 additional shares, your share would be "diluted" by the addition of those shares. Similar to how intense syrup gets diluted when water is added.

If the firm has done nothing to increase its value, your share may be worth less - 1/1000 of the company's total value was worth more than what it is currently worth, or 1/2000. This implies that your $50 share is likely to lose value.

After issuing new shares, the firm has a bigger asset value. Thus the value of each share is likely to remain the same, according to several experts. However, ownership percentage, profits per share, and voting rights are clearly diluted.

When a corporation declares its profits on a "fully diluted per share basis," it takes into account the number of common shares that may exist if convertible bonds and stock options were converted.

Before considering whether to purchase a company's stock, investors must carefully analyze the fully diluted share count. There is a possibility that the share price might plummet significantly if a large number of option holders or convertible bond holders elect to redeem their stock.

What Are Fully Diluted Shares?

Fully diluted shares are the entire number of outstanding and marketable common shares of a corporation after all potential sources of conversion, such as convertible bonds and employee stock options, have been exercised. In addition to already issued shares, fully diluted shares also include those that might be acquired through conversion. This number of shares is required for calculating a company's profits per share (EPS) since using fully diluted shares raises the shared basis while decreasing the dollars generated per share of common stock.

Basic Shares vs. Fully Diluted Shares

In 1997, the Financial Accounting Standards Board mandated that corporations report per-share results using either basic or diluted shares. This is essential because per-share earnings are the core of all financial activity.

These shares represent the investors' share of the company's profits. Basic and fully diluted shares are used to measure the number of shares investors have in a corporation. Basic shares consist of the stock held by all shareholders, whereas fully diluted shares represent the entire number of shares if a company's convertible instruments were exercised. These securities include, among others, stock options, stock warrants, and convertible bonds.

MVE, or market value of equity, must always be calculated using diluted shares since the market values firm shares using diluted stocks. Important metrics, such as a company's EPS or earnings per share, can be affected by the number of diluted shares; the diluted EPS can impact the basic EPS.

Authorized vs. Outstanding vs. Fully Diluted Shares

The shares of a firm might be classed as authorized, outstanding, and fully diluted outstanding shares.

Authorized shares

Authorized shares are the entire number of shares a corporation is permitted to issue by its articles of incorporation. There is no minimum or maximum number of shares that a company's articles of formation can approve; it might be ten shares or 10 million shares.

Outstanding shares

When a portion of approved shares is issued to an investor, they become outstanding. Due to the fact that outstanding shares must be approved and issued, the number of outstanding shares can never exceed the number of permitted shares.

Fully diluted shares

In addition to equity shares, a firm can issue convertible instruments. When converted, these instruments will increase the number of outstanding shares, diluting the position of present holders. Investors want to know the number of fully diluted shares, which equals the number of outstanding shares plus the number of equity shares that convertible securities can be converted into at the current market price.

What Causes Stock Dilution?

Why would a firm seek to dilute its shares when no investor desires a decrease in the value of its shares? There are several causes, and not all of them are negative.

If a firm needs funds to expand, pay off debt, or just operate, it will occasionally issue extra shares that investors might then purchase. Although stock dilution appears negative at first glance, it can be positive if the firm uses the additional capital to generate larger profits. Alternatively, if the firm fails to properly utilize the generated cash, the return may not be sufficient to offset the fall in value caused by the dilution of shares. Stock dilution may also occur when a firm distributes stock options as a form of remuneration to new workers, as is common in the startup world. Stock dilution occurs when workers elect to utilize their stock options.

A frequent misconception is that stock dilution happens when a business splits its stock. A stock split occurs when a corporation divides its existing shares into several new shares without affecting the firm's overall worth. If you hold one share for $20 and the firm decides to offer a 2-for-1 stock split, your share ownership would increase to two shares, but each share would be worth just $10. Consequently, a stock split does not dilute the value of each share, as the total market value stays unchanged.

Impact of Diluted Shares on EPS

Companies with a public offering must disclose both Basic and Diluted Shares, which are used to calculate Earnings Per Share (EPS). Below is a comparison and explanation of Basic EPS and Diluted EPS.

Basic EPS

The basic earnings per share are determined by dividing the total net income for the period by the weighted average number of outstanding shares for the period.

Diluted EPS

The diluted earnings per share are calculated by dividing the quarter's net income by the average number of fully diluted shares outstanding during the period. The diluted shares are computed by considering the impact of employee stock grants, options, convertible securities, etc.

When Earnings Per Share Are Negative (a Loss)

When corporations incur a loss or negative EPS, they do not include dilutive securities in the computation of EPS since their effect would be anti-dilutive.

How Are Shares Diluted?

If the board of directors approves, a firm may dilute its shares. However, the corporation must take certain measures before it may issue fresh shares.

It must submit the required documentation to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Then, it must inform the current shareholders of the new stock offering. Typically, this is done through a press release.

Once the board of directors approves the issuing of new shares, the firm can sell more shares on the market or swap shares for toxic funding.

Companies can also increase outstanding shares through various means.

Stock splits and stock dividends are additional methods of producing new shares of stock. Instead of selling the new shares to the market, the corporation distributes them to its current shareholders. This does not dilute stock ownership, but it does dilute the share price.

These actions do not produce additional cash for the organization. Splits and dividends are regarded as good since they provide current investors with value.

What Happens When Shares Are Dilutive?

The dilution of shares raises the company's capital. Suppose we held a particular proportion of a company's capital prior to dilution. As a result of share dilution, the company's capital increases, but our number of shares remains unchanged. Additionally, the demand for the shares remains unchanged. As the company's capital increases, our proportion of ownership of the company's shares decreases. The issue of new shares as a consequence of the dilution of shares reduces the company's ownership percentage. Not only do shareholders risk a decline in their percentage holdings, but also in the value of their shares. Due to dilution, the value of each individual share drops. Before dilution, the shareholder's earnings were higher than they are now. The firm can profit from share dilution if it wants to begin a new operation and demonstrate higher capital in the future.

Impact of Stock Dilution on Investors

Investors should pay close attention to stock dilution since it can have an impact on the value of their holdings. As previously stated, the introduction of new shares diminishes the value and, consequently, the proportion of ownership of a share. In many instances, share ownership confers the power to vote on significant corporate decisions, such as the composition of the board of directors. Consequently, a decline in share value results in a reduction in voting power.

Additionally, investors should be aware that stock dilution can affect a company's EPS or earnings per share. Calculated by dividing net income by the number of outstanding shares, EPS reflects a company's capacity to make profits. Since stock dilution entails an increase in outstanding shares, it might have a negative impact on a company's EPS. However, if the additional money acquired through secondary share offerings is utilized properly, a net income increase may follow, leaving EPS unchanged.

The possibility of stock dilution might impact an investor's choice to purchase or sell a company's stock. If a corporation needs extra funds to expand or acquire new companies, it may be a hint that more shares may be issued. Based on these indicators, an investor should evaluate the value of keeping involved in a firm that may undergo share dilution in the near future.

Advantages And Disadvantages of Share Dilution

With the dilution of shares, although the value of the original shareholders' stock remains the same (assuming the share price keeps the same), each shareholder's proportion of ownership in the firm is diminished.


Can fund expansion opportunities: A corporation may issue new shares to finance projects or an acquisition that will increase its revenue.

Even if more shareholders receive dividends, dividend distributions may increase as a consequence of greater sales, resulting in better profitability per share.

Might contribute to a long-term increase in share price: A corporation that employs cash created by the issuance of more shares has the potential to achieve long-term growth, which might lead to an increase in share price.


Reduced ownership stake: The issuance of more shares will lower the ownership stakes of current shareholders.

Because there are more shareholders to whom dividends must be paid, dividend payments may decrease if profits per share do not increase to make up the difference.

Potentially decreases profits per share: Because there are more shares, the corporation will need to increase sales, or its EPS will fall.

Reduced shareholder voting rights Existing shareholders whose ownership percentages decrease will also see a reduction in their voting rights.

How to Determine Diluted Shares?

Determine the number of diluted shares using the formula:

Download the company's annual report from approved websites.

Refer to the balance sheet in the company's annual report.

Open the balance sheet's section on stockholders' equity to determine the number of outstanding common shares.

Find the amount of employee stock options, the strike price, and the exercise price according to the footnote in the company's balance statement. Subtract the company's exercise price from the current stock price. The result is then divided by the current stock price. Multiply this value by the number of outstanding options.

In the case of warrants, multiply the total number of warrants by the number of shares into which each warrant may be converted.

In the event of convertible bonds, multiply it by the bond's conversion ratio to determine its diluted proportion.

To calculate the number of diluted shares, combine the results of steps 4, 5, and 6 with the number of outstanding shares.

What Is The Distinction Between Stock Dilution And Stock Splits?

You may be familiar with a practice known as a stock split, which also increases the number of outstanding shares. However, a stock split is distinct from stock dilution.

Existing shareholders often keep the same ownership proportion following a stock split, and the share price declines without dilution. During a stock split, a single share of $100 may be divided into two shares for $50 each. The investor who holds the first share would receive two shares as a result of the stock split, and their ownership percentage would remain unchanged.

Stock splits occur when a firm desires to reduce its stock price for a specific reason, such as to make the stock more accessible or alluring to a wider variety of investors. These should in no way be confused with stock dilution.


From the perspective of the firm, dilution of shares is advantageous since it improves the capital presentation to investors. Individually, it is not as advantageous because it diminishes the value of the shareholder's shares relative to the company's total capital. However, suppose the shareholder has long-term investment intentions in the firm. In that case, dilution of shares can also be advantageous for the shareholder since it enables the company to expand its operations, which is eventually advantageous for the shareholder.