AskDefine | Define shareholder

Dictionary Definition

shareholder n : someone who holds shares of stock in a corporation [syn: stockholder, shareowner]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. One who owns shares of stock.
    Shareholders are the real owners of a publicly traded business, but management runs it.


one who owns shares of stock
  • Croatian: dioničar
  • Czech: akcionář
  • French: actionnaire
  • German: Aktionär

Extensive Definition

A shareholder or stockholder is an individual or company (including a corporation) that legally owns one or more shares of stock in a joint stock company. A company's shareholders collectively own that company. Thus, such companies strive to enhance shareholder value. Stockholders are granted special privileges depending on the class of stock, including the right to vote (usually one vote per share owned, but sometimes this is not the case) on matters such as elections to the board of directors, the right to propose shareholder resolutions, the right to share in distributions of the company's income, the right to purchase new shares issued by the company, and the right to a company's assets during a liquidation of the company. However, stockholder's rights to a company's assets are subordinate to the rights of the company's creditors. This means that stockholders typically receive nothing if a company is liquidated after bankruptcy (if the company had had enough to pay its creditors, it would not have entered bankruptcy), although a stock may have value after a bankruptcy if there is the possibility that the debts of the company will be restructured.
Stockholders or shareholders are considered by some to be a partial subset of stakeholders, which may include anyone who has a direct or indirect equity interest in the business entity or someone with even a non-pecuniary interest in a non-profit organization. Thus it might be common to call volunteer contributors to an association stakeholders, even though they are not shareholders.
Although directors and officers of a company are bound by fiduciary duties to act in the best interest of the shareholders, the shareholders themselves normally do not have such duties towards each other.
However, in a few unusual cases, some courts have been willing to imply such a duty between shareholders. For example, in California, majority shareholders of closely held corporations have a duty to not destroy the value of the shares held by minority shareholders.
The largest shareholders (in terms of percentages of companies owned) are often mutual funds, especially passively managed exchange-traded funds.
Shareholders play an important role in raising finance of any organizations. So these figures pose a great opportunity for all those who are looking for a lucrative option to invest money. All good organization provides all necessary proofs to share holders that they are investing at a right place. Fair and reliable audit figures from income statement and balance sheet enhances chances to make shareholder believe in overall performance.


shareholder in Belarusian: Акцыянер
shareholder in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Акцыянэр
shareholder in Czech: Akcionář
shareholder in German: Aktionär
shareholder in Spanish: Accionista
shareholder in French: Actionnaire
shareholder in Korean: 주주
shareholder in Croatian: Dioničar
shareholder in Indonesian: Pemegang saham
shareholder in Lithuanian: Akcininkas
shareholder in Japanese: 株主
shareholder in Polish: Akcjonariusz
shareholder in Portuguese: Accionista
shareholder in Russian: Акционер
shareholder in Vietnamese: Cổ đông
shareholder in Ukrainian: Акціонер
shareholder in Chinese: 股东
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