Fully diluted shares are the total number of common shares of a company that will be outstanding and available to trade on the open market after all possible sources of conversion, such as convertible bonds and employee stock options, are exercised. Fully diluted shares include not only those which are currently issued but also those that could be claimed through conversion. This number of shares is needed for a company’s earnings per share (EPS) calculations because applying fully diluted shares increases the share basis in the calculation while reducing the dollars earned per share of common stock.
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