I received a Voluntary Warrant Exercise offer to convert 15 warrants to common shares at $11.50 per share for a total cost of $173.

The warrants held were trading at $18 each with a cost basis of $32 for a total cost of $480. Taking the offer appeared to offer some relief on the current loss. Not fully understanding the accounting and/or the rationale of the process, I agreed to act on the offer.

Merrill's agent advised me that I would have to pay an additional $173 plus a $30 fee for a total of $203. Thinking that the funds would be reversed at the completion of the conversion, I agreed and provided the additional funds. Today's Gain/Loss statement shows my cost basis per share is $43 per share for a total cost of $649.

In retrospect, I could have sold the warrants at market at $18 each and taken my loss. Then I could have purchased the common at $30 for a cost basis of $30 each. Can you help and explain the accounting and was the conversion handled properly.

1 Answer 1


It has been a really long time since I've dealt with warrants. I did a lot of IPO's in the late 90's that were a combination of common and one or more warrants - so take this with a grain of salt.

There are some rounding errors in your calculations. And the $32 and $30 cost per share of the common is confusing - it throws the comparison off. I'm going to use $32 throughout.

Your cost warrant basis is $172.50 (15 x $11.50).

Your purchase price of the common is $32 for a total of $480.

Therefore, the cost basis per share is $43.50 (compared to $43) and the total cost basis is $652.50 (compared to $649).

The one glaring issue that I see is that your warrants were trading below intrinsic value. Therefore, selling them at that price would not have been a good idea since you would have had to pay more for the exercise. At $32 they should have been worth $20.50 apiece (compared to $18):

(15 * $18) - (15 * $32) = $210 (compared to $172.50).

To make the comparison simpler, I ignored the $30 commission.

Call your broker and ask for a better explanation and post some feedback if you get one.

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