We know that

#issued shares = #outstanding shares + #treasury shares.

So the number of issued shares must be greater than treasury shares by definition. However, Starbucks' fiscal 2014 From 10-K reports

"Common stock ($0.001 par value) — authorized, 1,200.0 shares; issued and outstanding, 749.5 and 753.2 shares, respectively,"

which clearly contradicts with the concept. What is happening here? The same thing, number of outstanding shares is greater than issued, shows up in a number of other company's balance sheet, such as Apple, Google, etc.

3 Answers 3


The formulae #issued shares = #outstanding shares + #treasury shares looks right.

However it looks like the Treasury Shares are treated as -ve in accounting books and thus the outstanding shares are more than issued shares to the extent of Treasury shares. Further info at "Accounting for treasury stock" on wiki

  • 1
    The formula here is right, but the explain is not: The balance sheet shows two columns, 2014 and 2013. "749.5 and 753.2 shares, respectively" means 749.5 in 2014, and 753.2 in 2013. There are no treasury shares, so issued = outstanding + 0, in this instance. Although the balance sheet shows no treasury stock, the company does repurchase its own shares. You can see a line labelled "Repurchase of common stock" on the consolidated statements of equity. It appears that the repurchased shares are cancelled rather than held in treasury.
    Commented Dec 23, 2020 at 4:47

The language in the starbucks accounts is highly ambiguous. But Starbucks has no treasury shares which helps work out what is going on.

Where it says "respectively" it is referring to the years 2014 and 2013 rather than "issued and outstanding"...even though it doesn't read that way. Not easy to work out. The figures are:

Authorised 1200

2014 Issued 749.5

2014 Outstanding 749.5

2013 Issued 753.2

2013 Outstanding 753.2


I have been asking myself a similar question about the financial statements of Weyerhaeuser.

In response to Dheer's comment, whilst treasury shares are treated as a negative, it is issued shares less treasury shares (the negative) which gives the outstanding shares. So the original query remains unanswered.

I've searched several sources and all state that outstanding shares will never be greater than issued shares.

I've realized that the shares referred to are those authorized followed by those issued and outstanding (current year and prior year respectively) i.e. the shares that are both issued and outstanding as they must be issued in order to be outstanding

This is supported in the example of Weyerhaeuser as there was a large increase in shares during Q1 2016 as a result of their merger with Plum Creek. Shares issued and outstanding are 510 million and 759 million respectively.

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