A shareholder is a person or entity that owns shares of stock in a company. When an individual or entity purchases shares of stock in a company, they become a shareholder and obtain ownership in the company proportional to the number of shares they own. Shareholders may also have voting rights, which allows them to participate in important company decisions, such as the election of the board of directors and major corporate actions like mergers and acquisitions. Shareholders may also receive dividends, which are payments made by the company to its shareholders out of its profits. Dividends may be paid on a regular basis, such as quarterly or annually, and are typically based on the number of shares owned by each shareholder. As owners of the company, shareholders also have a responsibility to protect their investment and ensure that the company is managed in a responsible and ethical manner. Shareholders may also have the right to sell their shares on the open market or through a private sale. Overall, shareholders play a critical role in the ownership structure of a company, providing capital and oversight in exchange for ownership and potential returns. Shareholders have rights and responsibilities as owners, and their decisions and actions can have a significant impact on the company's performance and future direction.