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Should You Be Concerned About Achieve Life Sciences Inc’s (NASDAQ:ACHV) Shareholders?

Gabriel Boyd

In this article, I will take a quick look at Achieve Life Sciences Inc’s (NASDAQ:ACHV) recent ownership structure – an unconventional investing subject, but an important one. Ownership structure of a company has been found to affect share performance over time. Since the same amount of capital coming from an activist institution and a passive mutual fund has different implications on corporate governance, it is a useful exercise to deconstruct ACHV’s shareholder registry.

View our latest analysis for Achieve Life Sciences

NasdaqCM:ACHV Ownership_summary May 25th 18

Institutional Ownership

Institutions account for 46.37% of ACHV’s outstanding shares, a significant enough holding to move stock prices if they start buying and selling in large quantities, especially when there are relatively small amounts of shares available on the market to trade. These moves, at least in the short-term, are generally observed in an institutional ownership mix comprising of active stock pickers, in particular levered hedge funds, which can cause large price swings. For ACHV shareholders, the potential of this type of share price volatility shouldn’t be as concerning as hedge fund ownership is is not significant,indicating few chances of such sudden price moves. While that hardly seems concerning, I will explore further into ACHV’s ownership type to find out how it can affect the company’s investment profile.

Insider Ownership

I find insiders are another important group of stakeholders, who are directly involved in making key decisions related to the use of capital. In essence, insider ownership is more about the alignment of shareholders’ interests with the management. ACHV insiders hold a significant stake of 45.88% in the company. This level of insider ownership has been found to have a negative impact on companies with consistently low PE ratios (underperformers), while it has been positive in the case of high PE ratio firms (outperformers). It’s also interesting to learn what ACHV insiders have been doing with their shareholdings lately. Insider buying may be a sign of upbeat future expectations, however, selling doesn’t necessarily mean the opposite as insiders may be motivated by their personal financial needs.

General Public Ownership

A big stake of 894.12% in ACHV is held by the general public. This size of ownership gives retail investors collective power in deciding on major policy decisions such as executive compensation, appointment of directors and acquisitions of businesses. This level of ownership gives retail investors the power to sway key policy decisions such as board composition, executive compensation, and potential acquisitions. This is a positive sign for an investor who wants to be involved in key decision-making of the company.

Private Company Ownership

Potential investors in ACHV should also look at another important group of investors: private companies, with a stake of 1.24%, who are primarily invested because of strategic and capital gain interests. However, an ownership of this size may be relatively insignificant, meaning that these shareholders may not have the potential to influence ACHV’s business strategy. Thus, investors not need worry too much about the consequences of these holdings.

Next Steps:

The company’s high institutional ownership makes margin of safety a very important consideration to existing investors since long bull and bear trends often emerge when these big-ticket investors see a change in long-term potential of the company. This is to avoid getting trapped in a sustained sell-off that is often observed in stocks with this level of institutional participation. However, ownership structure should not be the only determining factor when you’re building an investment thesis for ACHV. Rather, you should be examining fundamental factors such as Achieve Life Sciences’s past track record and financial health. I urge you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Financial Health: Is ACHV’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
  2. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

NB: Figures in this article are calculated using data from the last twelve months, which refer to the 12-month period ending on the last date of the month the financial statement is dated. This may not be consistent with full year annual report figures.
To help readers see pass the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned.