Stock Warrant – All you need to know

This article will cover all you need to know about stock warrants and why they are important, even if you do not plan on purchasing them.

Most of you reading this may have heard about stock warrants and the different types. While this type of security is lesser known on the market, it’s still a powerful financing tool for companies in today’s business world. If you’re still unsure of what Stock warrants are all about this article is for you.

Stock Warrant

With an increasing presence in a company’s security portfolio, warrants are quickly becoming an integral part of stock ownership among founders, investors, and even advisors. But how do they differ from options and what are the different types? Before we can dive deep into the minute details of a stock warrants, let’s first cover what they are.

What is a Stock Warrant?

You can find a variety of explanations and definitions about stock warrants online. While most of them manage to convey the gist of what stocks warrants are all about, it never hurts to take another look and understand stock warrants.

To make things really simple, stock warrants are financial contracts used as an incentive by private companies for investors and founders. This contract gives them the option to buy an organization’s stock at specified dates and prices.

What’s more, stock warrants also let holders obtain newly issued stock from the very organization that gave them the warrant. These warrants expire after a particular date, but founders and investors can still make stock warrant purchases through common stocks later on, if they choose to.

As mentioned earlier, stock warrants act as sweeteners for investors with deep pockets. Because of this, the company may get improved terms on the stock offering or bond. For instance, when shares trade at $50 each, with the warrants valued at $10, there will be an increased number of investors exercising their warrant despite not having sufficient capital to purchase stocks.

It would be fair to say that the warrant is essentially a potential source of obtaining funding later on when the company is looking to raise more capital without giving out stocks or convertible notes.

Types of Stock Warrant

Once you really start looking into stock warrants, you will learn that there are different types. While there are different types in the public vs private markets, it’s good to know about each one. We will discuss the stock warrants most commonly used by people these days.

Call Warrant

Call warrants are financial instruments that offer holders the opportunity to purchase underlying stock shares on specified dates and at specific prices. Furthermore, you will mostly find call warrants included in debt offerings or new equities of a company.

The main purpose of a call warrant is to provide investors with an extra incentive for their job well done. In most cases, call warrants are detachable from bond or stock certificates. In addition, people trade them separately on renowned stock exchanges. Also, most people refer to call warrants by simply calling them “warrants”.

Put Warrant

Put Warrants are a security type that give holders the chance (it’s a right, not an obligation) to sell a particular amount of an underlying asset before a specific date, and at a specified price. It is also worth noting that put warrants are company issued, and you can sell them back to issuers for a particular amount of shares of the organization’s common stock in the future.

There are quite a lot of advantages associated with put warrants. However, they are a bit different than put options. One of the biggest benefits of put warrants is that investors can significantly minimize their potential losses.

For those who do not know, keeping losses to a minimum is essential, especially when a company has illiquid shares. This means that investors may not get to sell security like this very quickly if an unfavorable situation arises.

Key Terms in Stock Warrant

Stock warrants have several terms you need to familiarize yourself with. Each of these terms can have a significant impact on how the warrants are set and how much profit you can get later on. Let us discuss some of the commonly used terms in the stock warrant world.

  • Warrant price/Exercise Price/Strike Price– Just like the names suggest, the warrant price is your warrant’s current market price. It is the rate you can sell your stock warrant at. Other terms used to describe warrant price are exercise price and strike price. All of these terms have the same meaning and you can use them interchangeably.
  • Number of Stock Warrants – Number of stock warrants is a relatively straightforward term, and it refers to the total numbers of stocks you have. As you would expect, some investors possess numerous stock warrants, and it greatly improves their chances of receiving more profits.
  • Issue Date – People use the term “issue date” to refer to the date in which the organization provided the stock warrant agreement. Simply put, the “issue date” is the initial date that shows when a particular recipient received their warrant.
  • Expiration Date – The expiration date refers to the final day you can utilize your stock warrant. You cannot exercise your warrant once the expiration day has passed.

How Stock Warrants Work

Stock warrants are handy for a particular period, but they become worthless as soon as they expire. In most cases, people use warrants in conjunction with bonds. Private companies issue bonds along with a warrant to make it more enticing for investors.

Once the stock of an issuing company increases above the stated price of the warrant, investors will be well within their right to redeem said warrant, and purchase the shares for lower prices. Also, it is worth noting that other investors do not purchase the warrants. Instead, the company provides it directly.

For instance, the agreed upon strike price of a warrant is $20 per share and the stock’s market price rises to $25, investors will be able to redeem their warrant certificate and purchase the shares for $20 (per share). This will net an instant $5 per share gain.

Also, if the stock expires or does not rise over the strike price, it will become worthless. It is also worth noting that warrants do not come with voting rights, which means that they do not receive dividends.

Benefits of Stock Warrants

Stock warrants offer numerous benefits to the issuer as well as the investors. These range from added capital for the company to potential huge gains for investors. Let us look at some of the benefits both parties can receive from stock warrants.

For Issuer

In most cases, the underlying stock present in the stock warrant is the issuer’s common stock. So when a holder decides to exercise their option, the shares they get will be freshly issued. Therefore, it helps increase the overall capital of the company. It is a big reason why many startups issue stock warrants, as it makes their shares and bonds more attractive.

What’s more, stock warrants can also be a tremendous capitalization option if a company is close to bankruptcy. The company can issue warrants and secure a source of capital for the future. Convincing an investor to purchase a warrant is significantly easier than purchasing a huge amount of shares.

For Investors

Stock warrants are also an impressive option for investors. Why? Because it gives them an incentive to invest in an organization. Usually, a holder tends to exercise the warrant whenever the stock price of an issuer goes over the warrant price. It also allows investors to purchase shares at lower prices when they exercise the warrant.

For instance, Company A issues bonds attached with warrants. The holder receives those bonds with a face value of $500 and the right to purchase 50 shares for $10 inside of five years. In a situation like this, a holder can purchase the shares at $10 even when the market value is over that.

That said, if the investor doesn’t use that warrant after the five years are over, it will become worthless. Investors also have the freedom of trading a warrant. A warrant’s value is the difference between the underlying stock’s current value and the strike price.

The difference will essentially be the profit a holder will receive if they exercise the warrant right away. Furthermore, investors can also trade warrants for a premium if the traders think that the underlying security’s price will increase in the future. That said, the premium tends to reduce as the expiry date comes closer.

Despite these benefits, trading warrants can be immensely time consuming and difficult, as they mostly aren’t listed on exchanges.

How to Exercise Stock Warrants & Warrant Taxation

Warrant holders could decide to exercise their warrant when the current stock prices are well above the warrant’s strike price. Conversely, the warrant holder may decide to sell their warrants, as you can trade warrants, just like options.

If the present stock price happens to be lower than the strike price, exercising the option does not make much sense. This is especially true with buying stock from the stock market. For instance, if the warrant’s strike is $40, and the stock is trading at $30, exercising the right to purchase the stock would not be prudent, especially when you can purchase it for $30.

However, if the stock trades at $50, exercising the warrant would be a wise choice. It is also worth keeping in mind that you don’t necessarily have to exercise the warrant if the stock price is higher than the strike price.

If your warrant still has time left before it expires, consider holding it as it could prove to be even more profitable down the line. For example, if the stock increases to $80 over the next year, the warrant will become even more valuable.

Stock Warrants vs Stock Options – The Main Differences

Stock warrants are quite similar to stock options at first glance. Their features and benefits are quite similar, but they have several differences as well. First off, stock options are financial contracts, and they allow holders to buy a particular company’s stock at a set time and price. They also allow investors to make profits off their investments. However, it is not a guarantee. Now, let us discuss the elements that make warrants and stock options vastly different from each other.

Tax Differences

Stock options and warrants have different rules when it comes to taxes. In stock warrants, taxes depend upon how you exercise the warrant. Also, it is worth noting that holders usually get taxed after they exercise the warrant.

Different Timetables

The window of investment is quite wide in stock warrants, and can last up to fifteen years. In contrast, options tend to expire within months, weeks, and sometimes, days. It is a major reason why market makers prefer stock options as a short term portfolio. However, they prefer stock warrants as the better option for long term investments.


Stock warrants can play a massive role in one’s portfolio. An investor may use it to control more stock with less capital. In addition, they can also utilize it for hedging. At the end of the day, the way you utilize the warrants and exercise them makes all the difference, which is why it is important to familiarize yourself with its fundamentals, all of which you can read in this article.

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