A shareholder or stockholder is an individual or institution (including a corporation) that legally owns one or more shares of stock in a public or private corporation. Shareholders own the stock, but not the corporation itself.
Stockholders are granted special privileges depending on the class of stock. These rights may include:
- The right to sell their shares,
- The right to vote on the directors nominated by the board,
- The right to nominate directors (although this is very difficult in practice because of minority protections) and propose shareholder resolutions,
- The right to dividends if they are declared,
- The right to purchase new shares issued by the company