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Authorized Stock

Authorized Stock

What is Authorized Stock?

Authorized stock, or authorized shares, alludes to the maximum number of shares that a corporation is legally permitted to issue, as determined in its articles of incorporation in the U.S., or in the company's charter in different parts of the world. It is additionally normally listed in the capital accounts section of the balance sheet. Authorized shares ought not be mistaken for outstanding shares, which are the number of shares the corporation has really issued that are held by the public.

Authorized stock is otherwise called authorized shares or authorized capital stock.

Grasping Authorized Stock

At the point when a company is shaped, it settles on the maximum number of shares it might want to offer. These shares are alluded to as authorized stock. The shares that are issued to the public to trade on the open markets involve all or a portion of a company's authorized stock. The number of shares really accessible to trade is known as float. Moreover, restricted shares, which are reserved for employee compensation and incentives, are likewise part of authorized shares. The total number of a company's outstanding shares as found yet to be determined sheet is the sum of float and restricted shares. Assuming that outstanding shares are not exactly authorized shares, the difference (unissued stock) is what the company holds in its treasury. A company that issues its authorized stock will have its all outstanding shares equivalent to authorized shares. Outstanding shares can never surpass the authorized number, since the authorized shares total is the maximum number of shares that a company can issue.

Why a Company Might Not Issue All of Its Authorized Shares

The number of authorized shares is ordinarily higher than those really issued, which permits the company to offer and sell more shares from now on assuming it needs to raise extra funds. For instance, in the event that a company has 1 million authorized shares, it could sell 500,000 of the shares during its initial public offering (IPO). The company could reserve 50,000 of authorized stock as stock options to draw in and hold employees. It could sell 150,000 more in a secondary offering to collect more money later on. The unissued stock that will be retained in the company's treasury account will be 1 million - 500,000 - 50,000 - 150,000 = 300,000.

Another explanation a company might not have any desire to issue its authorized shares is all to keep a controlling interest in the company and forestall the possibility of a hostile takeover.

Illustration of Authorized Stock

Amazon's corporate charter, for instance, states that the company's total authorized stock will incorporate 5 billion shares of common stock and 500 million shares of preferred stock. The charter permits Amazon to increase its authorized stock in the event that there isn't enough unissued common stock to consider the conversion of preferred stock. Corporate charters frequently require shareholder endorsement to increase the number of shares of authorized stock.

An investor should know the number of authorized shares a company that has to investigate the potential for stock dilution. Dilution diminishes a stockholder's share of ownership and voting power in a company and lessens a stock's earnings for every share (EPS) following the issue of new stock. The bigger the difference between the number of authorized shares and the number of outstanding shares, the greater the potential for dilution.


  • Authorized stock alludes to the maximum number of shares a publicly-traded company can issue, as determined in its articles of incorporation or charter.
  • Those shares which have previously been issued to the public, known as outstanding shares, make up some portion of a company's authorized stock.
  • The difference between a company's authorized shares and its outstanding shares is what the company holds in its treasury.