Private Equity Glossary

Liquidation Preference

The amount per share that a holder of a given series of Preferred Stock will receive prior to distribution of amounts to holders of other series of Preferred Stock of Common Stock. This is usually designated as a multiple of the Issue Price, for example 2X or 3X, and there may be multiple layers of Liquidation Preferences as different groups of investors buy shares in different series. For example, holders of Series B Preferred Stock may be entitled to receive 3X their Issue Price, and then if any money is left, holders of Series A Preferred Stock may be entitled to receive 2X their Issue Price and then holders of Common Stock receive whatever is left. The trigger for the payment of the Liquidation Preference is a sale or liquidation of the company, such as a merger or other transaction where the company stockholders end up with less than half of the ownership of the new entity or a liquidation of the company.

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