Participating Preferred Stock

DEFINITION of 'Participating Preferred Stock'

A type of preferred stock that gives the holder the right to receive dividends equal to the normally specified rate that preferred dividends receive as well as an additional dividend based on some predetermined condition.

The additional dividend paid to preferred shareholders is commonly structured to be paid only if the amount of dividends that common shareholders receive exceeds a specified per-share amount.

Furthermore, in the event of liquidation, participating preferred shareholders can also have the right to receive the stock's purchasing price back as well as a pro-rata share of any remaining proceeds that the common shareholders receive.

BREAKING DOWN 'Participating Preferred Stock'

For example, suppose Company A issues participating preferred shares with a dividend rate of $1 per share. The preferred shares also carry a clause on extra dividends for participating preferred stock, which is triggered whenever the dividend for common shares exceeds that of the preferred shares.

If, during its current quarter, Company A announces that it will release a dividend of $1.05 per share for its common shares, the participating preferred shareholders will receive a total dividend of $1.05 per share ($1.00 + 0.05) as well.

Participating preferred stock is rarely issued, but one way in which it is used is as a poison pill. In this case, current shareholders are issued stock that gives them the right to new common shares at a bargain price in the event of an unwanted takeover bid.

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