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Dilution in finance refers to the reduction in the ownership percentage in a certain company as a result of the issuance of new shares. This can result in a decrease in earnings per share and voting power. The value of an individual’s shares also becomes less when dilution occurs.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Dilution” is: dahy-loo-shuhn

Key Takeaways

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  1. Dilution is the process of reducing the concentration of a solute in solution, usually simply by mixing with more solvent.
  2. The act of diluting can also mean to reduce the strength, force or intensity of a solution or idea.
  3. In finance, dilution is the reduction in the proportion of a company’s earnings, net assets and voting power held by each shareholder, usually as a result of issuing new shares.



Dilution is a crucial term in business and finance because it refers to the reduction of a company’s earnings per share, voting power or ownership percentage resulting from the issue of additional shares. When a company decides to raise additional capital by issuing more shares, existing investors may face the risk of having their stake diluted. Dilution can also lower a firm’s stock price, which is not favorable for shareholders. Therefore, understanding dilution is vital for investors as it directly impacts their investment value and their control over the company’s strategic decisions.


In the realm of finance and business, dilution refers to a reduction in the ownership proportion, earnings per share, or voting power of existing shareholders when a company issues more shares. The purpose of dilution is often to raise capital for the firm. This can occur due to various corporate activities such as acquisitions, equity compensation to employees, or stock issuances to raise cash. For instance, if a company needs to generate more funds for expansion, research and development, paying off debt, or other operational needs, it can decide to issue additional shares. In doing so, it dilutes the equity ownership of existing shareholders, but potentially enhances the company’s financial position and overall market value.However, dilution can be a double-edged sword. While on one hand it serves as a critical financing tool for a company’s growth, it can reduce the value of existing shareholders’ investment on the other hand. This is because the increase in the total number of outstanding shares disperses earnings over a larger share base, thereby reducing the earnings per share. Furthermore, with a higher number of shares outstanding, existing shareholders’ voting power within the company can decrease. Therefore, it’s crucial for companies to manage dilution effectively and take into account the preferences of existing shareholders.


1. Startup Investment: Let’s say an entrepreneur starts a company and owns 100% of the shares. They then seek out investors and venture capitalists for additional funding to help grow the business. They decide to sell 40% equity stake in exchange for a significant investment. This process is dilution, as the entrepreneur’s original 100% ownership is diluted down to 60%. 2. Issuance of Additional Shares: Consider a publicly-traded company that decides to issue additional shares in order to raise more capital. Originally, the company had 1 million shares outstanding, but they have decided to issue another 500,000 shares. As a result, the value of each existing share is diluted because the earnings have to be shared among a larger number of shares.3. Employee Stock Options: A tech company might give their employees stock options as part of the compensation package. As employees exercise their options and buy shares, more shares are added to the total count, diluting the ownership stake of other shareholders. While this is a tool to retain employees, it does result in dilution of existing stock value.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is dilution in business finance?

Dilution in business finance refers to a reduction in earnings per share (EPS) or ownership percentage that occurs when a company issues new shares or when holders of stock options, convertible securities, or warrants exercise their options to buy shares.

What situations can cause dilution?

Dilution often occurs when a company issues additional shares to raise more capital, or when employees exercise stock options or other equity-based compensation. Also, it can occur in convertible securities’ cases when securities such as convertible bonds or preferred stocks are converted into common stock.

How does dilution impact existing shareholders?

For existing shareholders, dilution can decrease their proportional ownership in the company, their earnings per share, and potential voting control. It may also lead to a decrease in the stock’s price due to the increased supply of shares.

Can dilution be beneficial for a company?

Yes, dilution can be beneficial if the funds obtained from issuing new shares are reinvested into the business to generate higher returns. This can lead to business growth, potentially counteracting the dilution’s negative effects.

What is ‘dilution protection’?

Dilution protection, also known as anti-dilution provision, is a clause within many investment contracts that protects an investor’s ownership from decreasing if a company issues more shares at a price lower than what the investor initially paid.

How is dilution calculated?

Dilution can be calculated using the following formula: (New Shares Issued / Total Shares Outstanding After Issuance) x 100. The resultant percentage indicates how much the existing shares have been diluted or reduced in value.

What is the difference between dilution and stock splits?

While both dilution and stock splits result in an increased number of shares, they have different implications. A stock split doesn’t affect an investor’s proportion of ownership or company control; it simply divides the existing shares into a greater number. On the other hand, dilution involves issuing new shares, reducing each existing shareholder’s relative ownership stake in the company.

Related Finance Terms

  • Equity Dilution
  • Anti-dilution Provisions
  • Stock Dilution
  • Ownership Dilution
  • Diluted Earnings per share

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