Issued shares is a term of law and finance for the number of shares of a corporation which have been allocated (allotted) and are subsequently held by shareholders. The act of creating new issued shares is called issuance, allocation or allotment. Allotment is simply the creation of shares and their transfer to a subscriber. After allotment, a subscriber becomes a shareholder, though usually that also requires formal entry in the share registry.
The number of shares that can be issued is limited to the total authorized shares. Issued shares are those shares which the board of directors and/or shareholders have agreed to allocate. Issued shares are the sum of outstanding shares held by shareholders; and treasury shares are shares which had been issued but have been repurchased by the corporation, and which generally have no voting rights or rights to dividends.
The issued shares of a corporation form the equity capital of the corporation, and some corporations are required by law to have a minimum value of equity capital, while others may not need any or just a nominal number. The value of the issued shares are determined at the time they are issued and the value does not change, in relation to the issuing corporation after that time.
Shares are most commonly issued fully paid, in which case the liability of the shareholders is limited to the amount paid on the shares; but they may also be issued partly paid, with unlimited liability, subject to guarantee, or some other form.
- Shares authorized = Shares issued + Shares unissued
- Shares issued = Shares outstanding + Treasury shares