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Finance Glossary

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All Or None

Definition:

Let's say you want to buy some stocks, and you decide to buy 100 shares at $15. You tell your broker you want an All or None (AON). If your broker can't find 100 shares of whatever stock you want at $15, she buys nothing. You've basically told her to go whole hog or abandon ship.

Example

Imagine if Warren Buffett decided to buy up 10% of Netflix (yes, it would mean the world was ending... but that's a separate story). NFLX stock would almost certainly shoot up a ton. So let's say his brokers were told that it was an all or none order. If his brokers are able to grab the 10% before anyone gets a wind of the deal, Sir Warren ends up with a big chunk of a company stock that's about to go sky-high in price. Thanks for the easy money. But if he gets about 2.3% and then his brokers start hemming and hawing very politely, he's stuck. He either has to pay more for the 7.7% (he wanted to get to 10%—and now that everyone's onto him, those stocks are going to be more expensive) or he can turn around and sell the 2.3% so that he has no part of Netflix. Then he'd better hope for another Miley Cyrus scandal to get the heat off his own story.