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What is the difference between a warrant and an option on a stock?

Apparently both represent the same right to receive a share of stock at the strike.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

A warrant represents the option to receive a share of stock, newly issued by the company, which in general causes dilution.

An option is usually the right to receive an already outstanding share of stock, purchased from a third party.

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in addition to the answer above:

If the option is settled on an exchange, the terms will be standardised and a secondary market will exist making it a liquid instrument (with dedicated counterparties offering to match each side of the trade). A warrant will be more thinly traded and will trade over the counter (OTC), and will have terms that are specific to that warrant when it was issued. Warrants are usually longer dated than options and have likely been issued as a sweetener on a low yielding bond or equity.

A warrant is issued by the company whose equity is reflected in the warrant, whereas an option can be issued (written) by anyone even if they do not own the stock to sell (although this can be very risky).

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