Minority Interest

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DEFINITION of 'Minority Interest'

1. A significant but non-controlling ownership of less than 50% of a company's voting shares by either an investor or another company.

2. A non-current liability that can be found on a parent company's balance sheet that represents the proportion of its subsidiaries owned by minority shareholders.

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BREAKING DOWN 'Minority Interest'

1. In accounting terms, if a company owns a minority interest in another company but only has a minority passive position (i.e. it is unable to exert influence), then all that is recorded from this investment are the dividends received from the minority interest. If the company has a minority active position (i.e. it is able to exert influence), then both dividends and a percent of income are recorded on the company's books.

2. If ABC Corp. owns 90% of XYZ inc, which is a $100 million company, on ABC Corp.'s balance sheet, there would be a $10 million liability in minority interest account to represent the 10% of XYZ Inc. that ABC Corp does not own.

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