## What is dilution?

Dilution is the reduction in the ownership percentage in a certain company as an effect of the issuance of shares.

There is a number of calculations to make before getting your final percentage of dilution. Let’s work them out with an example.

Let’s say you are the only owner of a company and you own 1000 shares. What happens if you issue 100 more shares?

The new total number of shares is 1000+100 = 1100 shares. You own 91% (1000 / 1100) and the buyer of the newly issued shares owns 9%.

**But what is the formula behind the dilution calculation?**

Continuing the example from above, you now own 91% of the company. What’s the dilution? It is 9%.

To calculate this, you first need to calculate the dilution coefficient.

The number of shares you give away in the example is 9%. So this is what the calculation would look like

In the previous case, there is only one owner of the company. But what happens if there were two initial owners of the company and new shares are issued?

Let’s take the case when only one of the owners buys the shares. As above, we have 1000 shares in total. Each owner has 50% of the shares, which is 500 shares respectively.

100 more shares are issued, which brings the total amount of shares to 1100. Post issuance, one of the owners has 600 shares and the other has 500 shares, so 54,54% and 45,45% respectively.

In this case the formula for the dilution coefficient is slightly adjusted and it goes this way

Following the formula, the calculation looks like this:

This is the dilution calculation for the person who buys the additional shares, assuming that he buys them all.

If we talk about the shareholder that doesn’t buy any of the new shares, his situation doesn’t change.

Keep track of your funding rounds and ownership percentage on Equidam! Get started with it now!

## Why would you be subject to dilution?

There are three occasions when you issue shares:

**1| Raising capital**

When you are raising capital, you give away equity. This is the typical case and it is identical to the example above.

**2| Stock options or warrants**

These two cases are usually quite similar. Stock options and warrants are the type securities that do not trigger the issuance of shares right away – at the time the contract is signed. These two securities only imply that a person will be able to enter your capital structure in the future.

In this case, debt holders will convert to shareholders at a trigger event, usually a funding round or an exit. Hence, this causes dilution for the initial shareholders.

There are other situations when a company issues shares and is subject to dilution, but these are the main three.

The last two types of securities signal to investors that dilution will happen at a future event. However, they are interested in finding out what exactly the dilution is prior to committing to invest. This is why some contracts ask for the shares on a fully diluted basis.

## What’s a “fully diluted basis”?

Let’s say that you own 50% of the shares of a company and the other 50% belongs to another shareholder. There is also a person who is holding a stock option.

Stock options usually refer to a specific number of shares, which means that at the time that the option is exercised, a certain amount of shares will be issued.

“On fully diluted basis” means that you need to calculate how much you are going to own at the time the options is exercised. You can do that by subtracting the dilution you are going to get at the issuance of shares from the amount of shares you own today.

What usually happens when you are raising capital from a VC firm is that you are issuing shares for them, but you will also issue some additional equity. That ranges between 5-10%. You will allocate these shares in a separate entity – for instance, foundation or an escrow. These shares will be reserved for securities such as employee stock options or convertible debt.

The reason why you do that is that makes it easier to discuss equity stakes on a fully diluted basis. This amount of shares might never be used entirely. But on the plus side, even though they are shares with voting rights, they are controlled by the company. So they don’t impact the voting process.

Calculating the dilution for stock options is relatively easy, because you know the exact amount of shares that are going to be issued. However, calculating dilution for convertible debt is a bit more difficult. In this case the number of shares at conversion will be determined by the valuation at the trigger event.

To make the dilution calculations you take the worst case scenario – you assume that the debt holders will convert at the cap. Since the cap is the maximum, so you can already calculate the maximum number of shares that will be issued.

What about you? What is your experience with dilution? Did you have any difficulties or were you prepared to talk about it during investment negotiations? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks, the article is great! what’s the next step? do you have a easy-to-use calculator for me to try?

Hi! Thanks, happy that you find it useful!

We are still working on a easy-to-use calculator. In the meantime, we can provide you with one-to-one assistance with it if you wish, feel free to contact us directly to discuss it further – we look forward to getting in touch!

Good and simple, post more articles on share trading

I was reading this short article and there is a confusing paragraph ” If we talk about the shareholder that doesn’t buy any of the new shares, his situation doesn’t change”. The shareholder that does not buy new shares dilutes proportionaly, so his situation does change.

Hi Gustavo,

Thank you for your reply! In this case, when stating ‘situation’ doesn’t change, we are referring to the number of shares don’t actually change, but the the overall percentage of the company does.

I hope this helps in clearing up your doubts. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Kind regards,

Giulio

Hi!

IF there’s a company with 1 Million issued shares with 5 shareholders: A-5% B-10% C-12% D-36.5% E-36.5%, and F wants to join with 15% stake. How do I know how many shares to give F, and what the new shareholding % are for the other 5 holders?

Hi Vinny,

Normally F would buy newly issued shares, in that case, you’ll have to issue enough to give him/her 15% on the new total. You can get that by a proportion, the 1m shares indeed will be only 85% of the new total, so 15% : 85% = X : 1m. X, the number of shares of F, is going to be 176.471, and the new total is going to be 1.176.471, which would mean 176.471/1.176.471 = 15% of the new total of shares.

Regarding the % of ownership of previous shareholders, they are each diluted by 15%, so you can just multiply their current %, say the 36.5% of D, by (1-15%), and his resulting percentage will be 31,025%

Hope this helps!!

Hello,

Shareholder A owns 25% in a company (509 shares of 2035) and I need to issue new shares to increase A’s shareholding to 30%…how do I do that bearing in mind the mechanical dilution of his original 25%…

Merci

Hi Georges,

Thanks for your message. You need to issue and assign to shareholder A 145 additional shares, that’s going to make the total of Shareholder A of 654 shares, over a total number of shares of 2180, so 30% ownership.

Hope this helps, and I remain available for any further questions,

Have a nice day,

Giulia

Hi Giulia, I’m just wondering how you went about the calculation for this? Thanks!

Hi Harith,

It’s a proportionate calculation, because you need to calculate at the same time how many shares to give him and the new total. The equation is as follows:

(509 + x)/(2035 + x) = 30%

which means

509 = 30%*(2035+x) – x

So ‘x’ (which is the new shares to be issued and given to Shareholder A) is

509 – 30%*2035 = -0.7*x and from there

x = (30%*2035 – 509)/0.7

= 145 new shares to be assigned to shareholder A

I hope this equation helps to understand how the shares are computed. If you have any further questions about this, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

All the best,

Giulio

Hello, confused regarding how I would go about this calculation about equity dilution.

Two equal partners pitch Kevin O’Leary a $100,000 investment for 10%.

Kevin counters with an offer of $250,000 for 30%. Jim Treliving offers $200,000 for 15% Which deal is likely to happen? How much will each cofounder own if a deal gets done.

Hi Jill,

According to the formula above, the partners will own 70% after Kevin’s offer, so 35% each, and 85% after Jim’s offer, so 42.5% each.

The question over which deal to accept would go the following way, they were asking for 100k, so both amounts are more than what they need. Having checked that box, and excluding other factors (Kevin is always the best angel to have 😉 ), they should pick the deal with the highest pre-money valuation.

In the case of Kevin, the pre-money is (250k/30%)*70% =583k and in the case of Jim, (200k/15%)*85% = 1.133m, Jim is valuing the company about twice as much as Kevin (who would have thought 🙂 ), so they should probably go for Jim’s offer.

Hey Daniel,

Thanks so much that helped loads. Just one more question. If the founders were to accept another investment of $2,000,000 for 50% in the future, on top of kevins investments, what % would each founder have now and how much is that equity now worth? Just want to ensure my calculations aren’t wrong. Thank you!!!

Hi Jill,

So after Kevin’s they’d be left with 70%, if they further dilute with another investment issuing shares for 50% of they company, all previous shareholders will have the remaining 50%. Then the founders will have 70% * 50% = 35%

Hope this answers! Thank you for asking!

If I have 3 partners 25%, 37% and 38%. We spinoff the 37% owner. What percent do the 2 remaining partners have? What is the math?

Thanks,

Hi Bill,

Thank you for your question, a spinoff to my understanding means that he’s not part of the shareholders anymore either because those shares are cancelled or the company is divided in 2, but the same calculation apply also if the remaining shareholders purchase the 37% of shares pro rata. Basically those shares will not be there anymore, and the two partners will be left with their respective shares. The sum of the two percentages (25% + 38%) will be the “new” 100%. The partner with 25% will have 25% of (25%+38%=63%) so 39.7% while the partner that has 38%, per the same formula is going to have 60.3%. Hope this is what you meant and that it helps!