The amount of a company's authorized common shares is the number of shares of common stock that the company is legally allowed to sell to investors. The amount of a company's issued shares is the number of authorized shares the company has sold to investors. Issued shares include shares that investors still own, and shares that the company has repurchased from investors. You can calculate the percentage of authorized common stock that a company has issued to investors.
1. Find the "Common Stock" line item in the "Stockholders' Equity" section of a company's most recent balance sheet. You can find a company's balance sheet in its 10-Q quarterly reports or in its 10-K annual reports. You can obtain these reports from the investor relations section of its website or from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's EDGAR online database.
2. Identify the number of shares authorized and the number of shares issued in the common stock line item's description. The number of shares authorized is typically much greater than the number of shares issued, which gives a company flexibility to issue additional shares. For example, assume the company's balance sheet shows 10 million shares authorized and 100,000 shares issued.
3. Continuing with the example from the previous step, divide the number of shares issued by the number of shares authorized. In this example, divide 100,000 by 10 million to get 0.01.
4. Multiply your result by 100 to convert it to a percentage. In this example, multiply 0.01 by 100 to get 1 percent. This means the company has issued 1 percent of its authorized shares to investors and has 99 percent of its authorized shares still available to issue to investors.
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