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Here is the cause of my question about the meaning of "float". I was reading this post on the Agilent board.


The number of shares outstanding and the ratios that pertain to them will remain unchanged until A's board does someting to effect the number of shares that currently exist. From a ratio point of view, it matters not if HWP owns the shares or they are in the float. The only thing that will change after the dividend payout is the float. Remember too that institutions will be able to take down larger blocks as the float increases.
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