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Why do companies use reverse/forward stock splits?

Companies will use reverse/forward stock splits mainly in an attempt to save future administrative costs. A reverse/forward stock split involves two corporate actions: first, the company will perform a reverse stock split, and will immediately follow with a forward stock split. The purpose of doing this is to cash out any investors who have a small amount of shares. If the reverse split was done at one for 100, then any shareholders with less than 100 shares would be cashed out by the company. After cashing out the smaller shareholders, the company performs the forward stock split to bring the shares back to their original position.

The administrative cost savings come mainly in the form of mailings. In particular, money is saved by not having to print and mail proxies and other documents to smaller shareholders. For smaller companies, this can be a cost-effective strategy that can help trim expenses. The downside of doing this type of split is the message the company is projecting to small shareholders - that they don't matter. This can sometimes be detrimental to brand loyalty and result in negative public relations.

Another major area of potential cost savings from doing a reverse/forward stock split split comes from reduced regulation requirements, should the company have less than 300 shareholders. Sarbanes-Oxley regulations require companies with over 300 shareholders to comply with the increased regulations under the act. If the company is small enough, a reverse/forward stock split could reduce the number of shareholders enough to save the company a significant amount of money. (For additional reading, check out Understanding Stock Splits.)

This question was answered by Joseph Nguyen

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