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Preferred shares

The so-called preferred shares are a class of shares which, unlike ordinary shares, usually carry additional rights above and beyond those afforded to ordinary shares.

Such rights may include:

The above list, while listing several customary rights, is far from comprehensive. Preferred shares may, in the nature of a contract, specify nearly any right conceivable to holders.

Preferred shares are more common in private companies where it is more common to distinguish between the control of, and the economic interest in, a company. Also, government regulations and the rules of stock exchanges discourage the issuance of publicly traded preferred shares.

Preferred shares are often named in classes. For example, a company may undergo several rounds of financing, with each round receiving separate rights and having a separate class of preferred stock; such a company might have "Series A Preferred", "Series B Preferred", "Series C Preferred" and common stock.