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What Happened to My Stock: Delisting Demystified ❌

Have you ever heard of a company getting kicked off the stock market? Well, that's known as share delisting.


When a stock is delisted, investors can no longer buy and sell its shares on the stock exchange.


When Does It Happen?

Involuntary:

  • If a company's shares consistently perform poorly, the stock exchange may decide to delist them

  • It is often an indication of the company's poor financial health or poor corporate governance

  • In other words, it is like getting expelled from the "cool kids club" of the stock market


Voluntary:

  • The removal of a company's shares from the stock exchange by the company itself

  • This decision can be due to a variety of reasons, such as a merger with another company or a shift in business strategy.

  • It's like a celebrity breaking up with the paparazzi - they want to keep their personal life private


How Does It Happen?

If it is involuntary

  • In this scenario, the company repurchases its shareholders' shares at a price determined by an independent evaluator

  • Even though your share ownership will remain unchanged in the event of an involuntary delisting, the value of the company's stock will likely decrease after the delisting


If it is voluntary

  • First, the acquirer will use a process called reverse book building to purchase shares directly from the shareholders

  • The company sends an official letter to all shareholders informing them of the buyback. In addition to the official letter, the shareholders receive a bid form

  • The shareholders are presented with an offer by the acquirer, and they can choose to exit by accepting the offer. The shareholder may also reject the offer and retain their shares

  • When the required number of shares are repurchased by the acquirer, the delisting is deemed successful

  • If shareholders are unable to sell their shares to promoters or acquirers within the allotted time frame, they must sell them on the over-the-counter market


What Does It Mean For Shareholders?

An involuntary delisting or a compulsory one can lead to major losses if the company doesn’t provide an appropriate exit

  • One such case was Winsome Yarns, a company that was under fire from SEBI for allegedly issuing Global Depository Receipts (GDRs) that violated market regulations. They had fines worth Rs. 12 crore levied on them and they were eventually delisted by 2020 when their share reached lows of Rs. 0.8 from highs of Rs. 35 in their hay days (-97%)!

On the other hand, a voluntary delisting can be a great outcome for investors, with a fair price and often due to positive reasons (Acquisition, Take Private, etc). This means shareholders can continue to hold the stock and receive a premium over the market price.

  • Just take Polaris Consulting, for example. They were taken over by the Virtusa Group and announced their delisting in October 2017. If you had invested in Polaris’ stock in that month and waited it out till their final departure from the exchange in August 2018, you would’ve made a 71% profit!

Therefore, if you’re lucky, you can opt for companies like Polaris or be dealt a bad hand like Winsome Yarns - the proof rests in the pudding, but the pudding here is research!

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