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A shareholder (also known as a stakeholder or stockholder) is a person or organization (including a corporation) legally holding one or more shares of a public or private corporation's share capital. Shareholders may be referred to as members of a corporation or business. An individual is not a shareholder of a company by law unless their name and other information are entered in the shareholder or member registry of the corporation.
The shareholder's impact on the corporation is determined by the shareholding percentage maintained. A company's shareholders are legally distinct from the corporation itself. They are generally not liable for the debts of the corporation and the shareholders' liability for company debts are said to be limited to the unpaid share price unless if a shareholder has offered guarantees. The company, as reported on the ledger, is not required to record the beneficial ownership of a shareholding, only the proprietor. The first one on the record is taken to have ownership of the shareholding when more than one person is on the record as a shareholder. All correspondence and contact by the company will be with that person. By subscribing to the IPOs and thereby supplying capital to the company, shareholders may have purchased their shares in the primary market. However, the majority of shareholders purchase stock in the secondary market and do not directly provide the company with any capital.
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