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What is Minority Interest?

A minority interest, sometimes referred to as a non-controlling interest, is a stake in a business that is held by parties other than the parent firm. This indicates that the parent business owns a majority of the subsidiary while external shareholders own the remaining shares. In mergers and acquisitions, where a parent firm buys a controlling interest in a subsidiary, the idea of a minority interest is most frequently used.

Minority interest is accounted for as a liability on a company's balance sheet. This is so that the minority shareholders, who are entitled to a cut of the subsidiary's income, can get dividends from the parent company, which is responsible for doing so. However, the minority shareholders do not have control over the subsidiary's operations or decision-making processes, as this is the domain of the parent company.

When a parent company acquires a controlling interest in a subsidiary, it is required to account for the minority interest separately on its financial statements. This involves deducting the minority interest's share of the subsidiary's net assets from the consolidated balance sheet and recording it as a liability.

The amount of minority interest recorded on a company's financial statements is typically determined by the percentage of shares owned by external shareholders. For example, if a parent company owns 80% of a subsidiary's shares, then the remaining 20% would be recorded as a minority interest. The minority interest would be entitled to 20% of the subsidiary's profits, and the parent company would be responsible for paying dividends to the minority shareholders based on their ownership percentage.

From an investor's perspective, minority interest can be seen as a potential risk factor. This is because the parent company may prioritize its own interests over those of the minority shareholders, and may make decisions that are not in the best interests of the minority interest. However, in practice, the parent company is generally required to act in the best interests of all shareholders, including the minority interest.

In some cases, minority interests may also have a say in the subsidiary's decision-making processes. This is particularly true if the minority shareholders own a significant percentage of the subsidiary's shares, or if they have a contractual agreement with the parent company that gives them a say in key business decisions. However, this is the exception rather than the rule, and minority interest is generally considered to be a passive form of ownership.

One of the key benefits of minority interest is that it allows a parent company to expand its operations without having to finance the entire acquisition through its own resources. This can be particularly beneficial in situations where the parent company is looking to diversify its operations or expand into new markets. By acquiring a controlling interest in a subsidiary and allowing external shareholders to hold the remaining portion of the equity, the parent company can access new sources of capital while retaining control over the subsidiary's operations.

Minority interest is a concept that is commonly seen in the context of mergers and acquisitions and refers to a portion of a subsidiary's equity that is owned by entities other than the parent company. While the minority shareholders do not have control over the subsidiary's operations or decision-making processes, they are entitled to a portion of the profits and dividends. While minority interest can be seen as a potential risk factor from an investor's perspective, it can also provide a way for a parent company to expand its operations without having to finance the entire acquisition through its own resources.

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