Some companies apparently have their shares listed in multiple exchanges. For example, I think that a company can be listed simultaneously in New York, London, and maybe even some Asian markets - is this correct?

What happens, hypothetically, if I want to buy all of the company's stock - can I do it in one exchange only, or would I need to be acting in each of the exchanges separately, first buying all the stock in New York, then moving to the London exchange to buy everything there, etc.?

Finally, how is the market capitalization of a share calculated in these cases? Is the market cap reported separately for each of the shares in different exchanges, or do they sum all of these up, and report the same number for all the exchanges? That is, let's say that in New York the company has listed 1000 shares, and in London only 10 shares, each worth $10 USD, would it be correct to say that the market capitalization is $100 USD for the London stock? Or is it $100 USD for the London listed stock, and $10,000 USD for the NY listed stock?

4 Answers 4


If a company's shares trade in multiple exchanges, the prices in every exchange are very near to each other, otherwise you could earn money by doing arbitrage deals (buying in one, selling in the other) - and people do that once it becomes worth it.

Which stock exchange you use is more a convenience for the buyer/seller - many investment banks offer only something local/near, and you have to go to specific investment banks to use other exchanges. For example, in Germany, it is easy to deal in Frankfurt, but if you want to trade at the the NASDAQ, you have to run around and find a bank that offers it, and you probably have to pay extra for it. In the USA, most investment banks offer NASDAQ, but if you want to trade in Frankfurt, you will have run around for an international company that offers that.

As a stock owner/buyer, you can sell/buy your shares on any stock exchange where the company is listed (again, assuming your investment broker supports it). So you can buy in Frankfurt and sell in Tokyo seconds later, as nothing needs to be physically moved.

Companies that are listed in multiple stock exchangs are typically large, and offer this to make trading their shares easier for a larger part of the world.

Considering your 'theoretical buy all shares' - the shares are not located in the exchanges, they are in the hands of the owners, and not all are for sale, for various reasons. The owners decide if and when they want them offered for sale, and they also decide which stock exchange they offer them on; so you would need to go to all exchanges to buy them all. However, if you raise your offer price in one exchange only slightly, someone will see the arbitrage and buy them in the other locations and offer them to you in your stock exchange; in other words, for a small fee the shares will come to you.

But again, most shares are typically not for sale. It's the same as trying to buy all Chevy Tahoes - even if you had the money, most owners wouldn't know or care about you. You would have to go around and contact every single one and convince them to sell.


It doesn't matter which exchange a share was purchased through (or if it was even purchased on an exchange at all--physical share certificates can be bought and sold outside of any exchange). A share is a share, and any share available for purchase in New York is available to be purchased in London.

Buying all of a company's stock is not something that can generally be done through the stock market. The practical way to accomplish buying a company out is to purchase a controlling interest, or enough shares to have enough votes to bind the board to a specific course of action. Then vote to sell all outstanding shares to another company at a particular fixed price per share.

Market capitalization is an inaccurate measure of the size of a company in the first place, but if you want to quantify it, you can take the number of outstanding shares (anywhere and everywhere) and multiply them by the price on any of the exchanges that sell it. That will give you the market capitalization in the currency that is used by whatever exchange you chose.


Keep in mind that the exchanges do not hold, buy, or sell the stock - people (or funds) do. All the exchange does is facilitate the sale of stock from one entity to another.

So the shares outstanding (and market cap) for a company are set regardless of how many exchanges the stock is listed on. The company typically indicates the number of shares outstanding in its financial statements. I do not know if the exchange itself keeps track of shares outstanding; it may just report whatever the company publishes.

So theoretically, if you wanted to buy all of the stock of a company, you could do it all in one exchange, provided that all the existing holders of the stock were willing to sell you their shares. There are many issues with that, though, which I don't think are germane to your question.


listed simultaneously in New York, London, and maybe even some Asian markets - is this correct?

If the exchanges are not connected, then in primary market the shares are listed. On other exchanges, the "Depository Receipts" are listed. i.e. the Company will keep say 100,000 shares with the primary stock exchange / depository. Based on this it would create new instruments "Depository Receipts". They can be 1:1 or whatever ratio.

hypothetically, if I want to buy all of the company's stock

Even if it is on one exchange, buying all stocks would trigger various regulatory aspects of Companies Act, or Stock Exchange rules. This is not simple or easy like clicking some buttons and buying everything.

That is, let's say that in New York the company has listed 1000 shares, and in London only 10 shares, each worth 10 USD

Market capitalization is sum of all outstanding shares into value.

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