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What are Fully Diluted Shares?

Understanding Fully Diluted Shares: A Key Metric for Investors

In the world of finance, fully diluted shares are a crucial concept that investors need to grasp in order to assess a company's value and profitability. This calculation reveals the total number of common shares that would be outstanding and available for trading on the open market if all potential sources of conversion, such as convertible bonds and employee stock options, were exercised. By considering fully diluted shares, investors gain insight into the potential dilution risk and its impact on shareholder equity.

Defining Fully Diluted Shares

Fully diluted shares represent the comprehensive count of common shares that would be outstanding after all possible sources of conversion are exercised. These sources include convertible securities, warrants, employee stock options, and other instruments that grant holders the right to convert into common shares. While a finite number of shares were initially issued by the company, the supply and demand dynamics in the market can lead to fluctuations in share prices. However, the total number of shares remains constant unless additional shares are issued or convertible instruments are exercised.

The Significance of Fully Diluted Shares

Understanding fully diluted shares is vital for investors, as it provides an assessment of the potential dilution risk associated with a company's common stock. Dilution occurs when the supply of shares increases, leading to a reduction in the ownership stake and equity value for existing shareholders. By analyzing fully diluted shares, investors can gauge the degree of dilution risk and make informed decisions based on their risk tolerance and investment objectives.

Impact on Earnings per Share (EPS)

Fully diluted shares have a direct impact on a company's earnings per share (EPS), a fundamental metric used to assess value and profitability. EPS represents the net income minus preferred dividends, divided by the weighted average of common shares outstanding. The weighted average of common shares outstanding is calculated by taking the sum of the beginning period balance and ending period balance and dividing it by two.

When a company can increase its earnings per common share, it is generally viewed as more valuable, potentially leading to an increase in the publicly traded share price. However, the number of outstanding shares affects EPS. When the number of shares increases due to dilution, it reduces the EPS figure, as the earnings are spread across a larger number of shares.

While fully diluted shares provide valuable insights, it's essential to recognize that full dilution may not occur instantaneously. The calculation merely indicates the potential number of shares that might be outstanding in the future, based on the company's current policies regarding conversions. It's also important to note that earnings paid to preferred shareholders as cash dividends are subtracted from net income in the EPS calculation, as EPS applies specifically to common shareholders.

Investors should keep in mind that company policies regarding conversions can change over time, potentially impacting expectations about the future number of fully diluted shares. It is crucial to stay informed about any updates or announcements from the company that could affect the dilution risk and overall investment outlook.

Fully diluted shares play a significant role in evaluating a company's value and profitability. By considering the total number of common shares that could potentially be outstanding after conversion, investors can gauge the potential dilution risk and its impact on shareholder equity. Understanding fully diluted shares is crucial for making informed investment decisions and assessing a company's earnings per share, a key metric in determining relative value and profitability. As with any investment analysis, staying informed and keeping track of any changes in company policies is essential to accurately assess the future number of fully diluted shares.


Fully Diluted Shares are a calculation used to show how much the existing shares of common stock could potentially be diluted if all the convertible securities and employee stock options, were exercised.

Fully Diluted Shares is a calculation used to show the potential number of shares that could hypothetically be called into existence instantaneously by the holders of convertible securities, warrants, employee stock options and so forth.

A finite amount of shares were issued by the company to begin with, and the price of outstanding shares depends on supply and demand; they can be traded, and fluctuate in value, but there are always the same number of shares unless another block is issued, or if convertible shares, employee stock options, warrants, and so forth, are exercised.

If the supply of shares were suddenly flooded, the shareholder’s equity would be diluted among more shareholders, to the dismay of the pre-existing owners of common stock shares. Taking a look at Fully Diluted Shares will give investors an idea of the degree of dilution risk which is present.

What is Dilution?
What is Diluted Earnings Per Share?

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