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Stockholders Equity

In this section we will review:

The nature of Stockholders Equity The characteristics of the corporate form of organization The types of stock a company can have (common and preferred) The difference between issuing Equity vs. Debt
The accounting for elements of Stockholders

Issuance and repurchases of shares of stock Dividends
1999 by Robert F. Halsey

Corporate Form of Organization limited liability of shareholders

Unlike other forms of business organization, like sole proprietorships and partnerships, a corporation is a legal entity that is separate and distinct from its owners. That means that shareholders of the corporation have limited liability - they can only lose what they have invested in the business. If the debts of the business are greater than its assets, creditors lose; they cannot sue shareholders for the deficit.

1999 by Robert F. Halsey

Double taxation
The fact that a corporation is a separate legal entity also means that the IRS taxes it like any other taxpayer. It is taxed on the income it earned, regardless whether that income is paid out to shareholders as dividends

So, after having earned a profit and paying tax on that profit, should a company decide to pay out a portion of that profit to its shareholders as a dividend, the IRS taxes the individual shareholders on the dividends they receive.
This is the concept of double taxation.

1999 by Robert F. Halsey

Nature of Stockholders Equity

Stockholders equity is a residual concept - it is what is left over to the shareholders after the claims of other parties (creditors, preferred shareholders) have been satisfied. Stockholders equity also represents the resources that have been provided by the companys owners in the form of capital contributions (purchases of stock) and earnings retained from operations.

1999 by Robert F. Halsey

Equity versus Debt

Assume that a company wants to raise $10,000. It can either sell,
Bonds -- 10 Bonds, $1000 par value, 8% coupon

payable annually rate sold at 100, mature in 10 years (interest paid per year = 10 * $1,000 * 8% = $800), or Common Stock -- 100 shares, $1 par value, market value = $100 per share (assume total dividends paid = 8% or $800).

Lets issue these securities -- What is the result?

1999 by Robert F. Halsey

Equity Vs. Debt Issue (contd)

Although the amount of the payment ($800 per year) to the sources of funds (debt holders or stockholders) is the same in both cases, there are important differences:
interest payments are a fixed contractual obligation that

must be paid even if the business is not earning profits, and creditors can force the company into bankruptcy if interest payments are not paid when due. Dividends, on the other hand, are not required to be paid and can be discontinued in a business downturn.

1999 by Robert F. Halsey

There is another important difference between the two

forms of raising capital: shareholders have a vote in the election of the companys board of directors and, through the board of directors, indirectly control the corporation. Debt holders do not have that right and exercise their share of corporate governance through bond agreements that limit the activities of the company. In sum, shareholders bear more of the risk and receive more of the benefits of financial outcomes (downside and upside), but at the same time equity-holders can exercise control (votes) with limited liability.

1999 by Robert F. Halsey

Accounting for the Issuance of Common Stock

Lets look at an example to understand the accounting

for the issuance of common stock:

(Click here to view an example of the accounting for the issuance of common stock)

1999 by Robert F. Halsey

This is an example of the stockholders equity section from Wal-Marts balance sheet:

Wal-Mart has issued 4.448 million shares of $.10 par common for total proceeds of $880 million ($445 + $435). Wal-Marts board of directors has authorized its management to issue up to 5.5 million shares, so not all of the authorized shares have been issued. No preferred stock has been sold.
1999 by Robert F. Halsey

Treasury Stock

Stock repurchase programs have become quite common among companies. Many of these programs are highlighted in annual reports as a mechanism to increase shareholder value. Why do companies repurchase their own stock?
To increase the number of shares available for the

exercise of stock options by employees or for acquisitions Increase earning per share (the denominator is reduced) To signal the market that management believes the companys stock is under-valued.
1999 by Robert F. Halsey


Accounting for the repurchase of common stock

Lets take a look at an example of the accounting for the repurchase of common stock:

(Click here to view an example of the accounting for stock repurchases)

1999 by Robert F. Halsey


Here is an example of the reporting of treasury stock from Colgate-Palmolives annual report.

Colgate-Palmolive has repurchased treasury stock with a cumulative cost of $2.3 billion. Its stockholders equity has been reduced by this amount.
1999 by Robert F. Halsey


Preferred Stock
What makes preferred stock preferred? Preferred shares have certain preferences with respect to common stock. The shares have a preference as to dividends. This means that preferred shareholders receive all of the dividends to which they are entitled before common shareholders are paid. The shares have a preference as to assets in liquidation. If the company becomes insolvent and the assets are liquidated, preferred shareholders will be paid before common shareholders.
1999 by Robert F. Halsey


Preferred stock is a contract

It is important to understand that preferred shares are sold pursuant to a contract between the company and the purchasers of the shares. Any terms that are agreeable to both parties can be inserted into that contract. For example,
The shares may be callable at the option of the company to force

conversion of the shares into common stock or the shareholders may be able to convert the preferred shares into common at their option. The preferred share may have a cumulative dividends preference, meaning if the required dividends are not paid in any year, these dividends in arrears must be paid, plus current preferred dividends, before common shareholders are paid The preferred share may have a redemption provision that required the company to repurchase a portion of the shares each year.

1999 by Robert F. Halsey


Preferred Stock Vs. Debt

Preferred stock has features of both debt and equity:

Preferred shareholders receive a yield similar to the interest in debt

(the yield is fixed, however, and preferred shareholders do not receive additional dividends if the company performs well). Like debt, it is not completely residual (similar to interest paid to bondholders, its dividends are paid before commons) However, the payments to preferred are avoidable in the event of a business downturn and there is no maturity for repayment of principle (other than for redeemable preferred). The preferred dividends, like common, are not tax deductible by the company as opposed to interest payments on debt.

Preferred stock is generally accounted for and reported as part of stockholders equity (redeemable preferred is reported between liabilities and stockholders equity to reflect its debt -like character - click here to see an example ).

1999 by Robert F. Halsey

Here is an example of the reporting of preferred stock from DuPonts annual report:

DuPont has sold 1.673 million shares of no par cumulative preferred stock for $100 per share. Each share pays $4.50 in dividends per year, or a 4.5% yield. Cumulative means that if the company does not pay dividends on the stock in a year, it must make up the amount due before common shareholders are paid a dividend.
1999 by Robert F. Halsey


Dividends are declared by the board of directors (who are elected by the shareholders). Note that the company does not have to pay dividends. No liability is, therefore, reflected in the companys balance sheet for the payment of dividends until the board of directors declares that a dividends should be paid. The two most common types of dividends are cash dividends, dividends paid in cash, and stock dividends, dividends paid by issuing additional shares of stock to the shareholder.
1999 by Robert F. Halsey


From a legal standpoint, most states permit the payment of dividends as long as the company is solvent, that is, able to pay its debts. From an accounting standpoint dividends are paid out of the retained profits of the corporation. As a result, the basic accounting entry to records the payment of dividends debits retained earnings. For example, assume a company pays out $50,000 in cash to its shareholders as a dividend. The required journal entry is as follows: Retained earnings 50,000 Cash
1999 by Robert F. Halsey


Stock Dividends

With a stock dividend -- no assets are distributed; rather a reclassification takes place within owners equity -- from retained earnings to contributed capital.

Proportional ownership interest does not change. More share are outstanding but each share is worth less.

1999 by Robert F. Halsey


Accounting for Stock Dividends

Lets take a look at the accounting for stock dividends:

(Click here to view an example of the accounting for stock dividends)

1999 by Robert F. Halsey


Stock Splits

Companies frequently declare stock splits and distribute additional shares to shareholders in proportion to the number of shares previously held. For example, if a company declares a 2 for 1 stock split, each shareholder receives 1 additional share for each share held. The percentage of the company that they own, both before and after the stock split, is the same since each shareholder receives the same proportionate increase in the number of shares owned. From an accounting standpoint, no journal entries are required since a transaction has not taken place. The number of shares outstanding is increased and the par value adjusted to reflect the additional shares issued.

1999 by Robert F. Halsey

In recent years, stock splits are more commonly accomplished in the form of a stock dividend. For example, in 1996, Sun Microsystems declared a 2 for 1 stock split in the form of a 100% stock dividend. The notes to its annual report describe this transaction:

1999 by Robert F. Halsey


This is how the stock dividend affected stockholders equity. Notice that the par value of the shares issues was transferred form retained earnings to common stock. Additional paid-incapital was not effected since the par value was used.

1999 by Robert F. Halsey


The End
1999 by Robert F. Halsey


Here is an example of redeemable preferred stock from VF Corps annual report:

1999 by Robert F. Halsey