Controlling Interest

DEFINITION of 'Controlling Interest'

When one shareholder or a group acting in kind holds a high enough percentage of ownership in a company to enact changes at the highest level. By definition, this figure is 50% of the outstanding shares or voting shares, plus one. However, controlling interest can be achieved with less than 50% ownership of the stock if that person/group owns a significant proportion of the voting shares, because in many cases, not every share carries a vote in shareholder meetings.

BREAKING DOWN 'Controlling Interest'

For the majority of large public companies (such as those that belong to the S&P 500), a shareholder with much less than 50% of the outstanding shares can still cause a lot of shake-up at the company. Single shareholders with as little as 5-10% ownership can push for their own seats on the board, or enact changes at shareholder meetings by publicly lobbying for them.

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