What Is Stock Split – Meaning, Features, Types and Limitations (2024)

Last Updated on May 24, 2022 by Anjali Chourasiya

A company decides to share split or reverse stock split when its share prices are either too high or too low. A share split lowers the price of an individual share of a corporation by dividing each existing share into many shares. A lower share price is naturally more attractive, through which a company expands its investor base. As the new share price correlates to the new number of shares, it does not change the value of the shareholder’s stock and the company’s market capitalization.

In contrast, a reverse stock split raises the share price and ensures a company’s listing on the stock market.

Table of Contents

What is stock split?

Stock split takes place when a company splits one share of its stock into more shares. When a stock is split, the shareholder gets two shares of the same value, that are equally divided in face value.

Depending upon the company, the split in stock generally takes the form of:

  • 2 for 1 or
  • 3 for 1 or
  • 5 for 1

With a share split, a company issues more shares of its stock to its current shareholders without reducing the value of its stakes. Therefore, a stock split increases the number of outstanding shares and lowers the individual value of each share.

While the number of outstanding shares changes, the overall company’s valuation as also the value of each shareholder’s stake remains the same.

For instance, ABC company takes one share and announces a 2-for-1 stock split—each share is then split into two shares. Now, if the original share price was Rs. 20 for one share, the new shares would each be priced at Rs. 10.

The total combined value of the two new shares is still equivalent to the price of the previous one share. Thus, stock split does not affect market capitalization or the total value of shares held.

What is a reverse stock split?

In case of a reverse stock split, you get fewer shares than you previously had and at a higher per-share price. When a company realizes that its per-share price is depressing or is dropping so low that the stock might even get delisted on the exchange, then in such a scenario, it may carry out a reverse stock split.

For example, consider Mr X owns 1000 shares of ABC Ltd at Rs. 200 per share. Now if a reverse stock split is announced of a ratio 5-1, then Mr X would become the owner of 200 shares at a revised Rs. 1,000. Note that the total corpus owed, i.e., Rs. 2 lakh has remained the same post-split as well.

Types of stock split

The most common stock splits are further categorized as:

2-for-1: In a 2-for-1 stock split, you as a shareholder receive two shares after the split for every share you owned before the split.
3-for-1: In a 3-for-1 split, you receive three shares for every share.
3-for-2: In a 3-for-2 split, you receive three shares for every two.

However, there are also examples of 5-for-1 or 7-for-1.

On 31 August 2020, the electric car company—Tesla split its stock 5-for-1. Before the split, the price of a Tesla share was about $2,213. At closing on 28 August 2020, after the split, shares were about $ 442 each.

How does stock split affect investors?

The underlying value of your investment is not affected by stock split. As a result, no substantial changes occur in your investment account other than the number of shares.

If you already have shares, there is no particular advantage in store for you as nothing about the ownership changes. If one is not a shareholder, a stock split may motivate them to buy the particular share.

Companies that have high share price look to stock split to call in more investors and increase liquidity.

Merits of stock split

Improves liquidity

When the number of outstanding shares increases at a lower price per share, it adds liquidity. This increased liquidity further also narrows the spread between the bid and ask prices. As a result, investors get better prices when they trade.

Simplifies portfolio rebalancing

It is easier for the portfolio managers to sell shares to buy new ones when each share price is lower.

Doubles the number of shares

A 2 for 1 stock split doubles the number of shares instantly. It grants you two shares for every one share you own. Say, you have 100 shares of a company that splits its stock, you’d end up with 200 shares after the split. The value of your holding does not increase, but it makes your trading transactions easier. A 2 for 1 stock split is especially beneficial for retail investors; they can acquire a large number of blue-chip company shares which are otherwise expensive.

Increases share prices

When a stock is split it boosts share prices, this is one of the most compelling reasons for a company to take the decision in the first place. Based on a Nasdaq study, only the announcement of a stock split may increase the share price by an average of 2.5%.

Demerits of stock split

Increase volatility

The new share price could increase volatility in the market after split. More investors may come to the decision to buy the stock because of its affordability. Typically, this could increase the volatility of the stock.

Novice investors tend to believe stock splits are good because they do not differentiate between correlation and causation.

Not all stock splits result in increased share price – in some cases, stock splits occur when a company faces the danger of its stocks being delisted — a common example of reverse stock split. Although the per-share price may increase after the reverse split, the stock may not grow in worth. Novice investors may thus stand to lose money.

Capital loss

If the investor has invested in unstable stocks that might later go for a split, it may end up eroding their entire capital.

Affects financial ratios

During a split or reverse split, if the share price happens to fall, it may badly reflect in the financial ratios of the company. Many important ratios like P/E and EPS are directly impacted by the current share price. Investors who keenly follow such numbers and ratios may then refrain from investing in such stocks.

How does stock split affect taxation?

The value of your overall holding does not change before and after the stock split. Therefore, you do not get increased liability or a reduction in your tax.

You should, however, seek financial counsel before investing in shares as such investments are subject to market risk.


Companies listed on exchanges carry out the process of splitting their shares for numerous reasons. While shareholders are technically not impacted, it is still important to understand why a particular company is undergoing a stock split, what will be the major changes in face value and other ratios and so on and so forth. Neither should every split worry the investor nor should the investor take any split casually.

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As a Content Writer at Tickertape, my writing style is both engaging and captivating. I take pride in my ability to craft compelling stories and informative content on recent developments in the financial world, which has earned me a dedicated following of readers. Beyond my professional pursuits, I am an avid reader and a true antiquarian, devoting my free time to exploring the world of literature.

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As an enthusiast with a deep understanding of financial markets and stock-related concepts, let's delve into the key concepts covered in the provided article.

Stock Split: A stock split occurs when a company decides to divide its existing shares into multiple shares. This is usually done to adjust the share price, making it more appealing to a broader range of investors. The article mentions common ratios for stock splits, such as 2-for-1, 3-for-1, or 5-for-1, where existing shareholders receive two, three, or five shares for every share they originally owned. The primary aim of a stock split is to increase the number of outstanding shares without affecting the overall value of the company or the shareholders' stake.

Reverse Stock Split: Conversely, a reverse stock split involves consolidating existing shares into fewer shares, often at a higher per-share price. This is typically done when a company's share price is too low and there is a risk of being delisted from the stock exchange. The article provides an example where, after a 5-for-1 reverse stock split, an investor who originally had 1000 shares at Rs. 200 per share would now own 200 shares at Rs. 1000 each.

Types of Stock Splits: The article categorizes stock splits based on common ratios, such as 2-for-1, 3-for-1, and 3-for-2. Additionally, it mentions examples like Tesla's 5-for-1 stock split in August 2020, which resulted in a lower per-share price.

Impact on Investors: The article emphasizes that the underlying value of an investment is not affected by a stock split. While existing shareholders receive more shares, the overall value remains the same. Stock splits may attract new investors, especially when share prices are high, as a lower per-share price becomes more affordable.

Merits of Stock Split:

  • Improves Liquidity: An increased number of outstanding shares at a lower price per share can enhance liquidity in the market.
  • Simplifies Portfolio Rebalancing: Lower share prices make it easier for portfolio managers to sell and buy shares for rebalancing.
  • Doubles the Number of Shares: A 2-for-1 stock split instantly doubles the number of shares, making trading transactions easier.
  • Increases Share Prices: Stock splits can boost share prices, attracting more investors.

Demerits of Stock Split:

  • Increase Volatility: A stock split may lead to increased market volatility as more investors may be attracted to the stock.
  • Capital Loss: Investors in volatile stocks may face capital loss if the stock undergoes a split.
  • Affects Financial Ratios: Changes in share price during a split can impact financial ratios like P/E and EPS, potentially affecting investor decisions.

Taxation: The article mentions that the value of the overall holding does not change due to a stock split, so there is no immediate impact on taxation. However, it advises seeking financial counsel before making investment decisions, as market risks are inherent.

Conclusion: The conclusion stresses the importance of understanding why a company undergoes a stock split and highlights that not every split should be a cause for concern or taken lightly. It encourages investors to stay informed about the changes in face value and other ratios resulting from a stock split.

In summary, the article provides a comprehensive overview of stock splits, reverse stock splits, their types, impact on investors, merits, demerits, and the potential effects on taxation.

What Is Stock Split – Meaning, Features, Types and Limitations (2024)
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