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2. A liability on a parent company's balance sheet indicating the amount of a subsidiary that the parent company does not own. For example, if a parent company owns 95% of a subsidiary and the remaining percentage is publicly traded, the dollar amount of that 5% is recorded as a liability on the balance sheet.
All shareholders whose combined shares represent less than half of the total outstanding shares issued by a corporation have a minority interest in that corporation.
In fact, in many cases, the combined holdings of the minority shareholders are considerably less than half of the total shares.
In another example, in a partnership, any partner who has a smaller percentage than another partner is said to have a minority interest. Under normal circumstances, it is difficult for those with a minority interest to have any real influence on corporate policy.