The big shareholder groups in Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE:BABA) have power over the company. Institutions often own shares in more established companies, while it's not unusual to see insiders own a fair bit of smaller companies. Warren Buffett said that he likes 'a business with enduring competitive advantages that is run by able and owner-oriented people'. So it's nice to see some insider ownership, because it may suggest that management is owner-oriented.
With a market capitalization of US$443b, Alibaba Group Holding is rather large. We'd expect to see institutional investors on the register. Companies of this size are usually well known to retail investors, too. In the chart below below, we can see that institutions own shares in the company. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about BABA.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Alibaba Group Holding?
Many institutions measure their performance against an index that approximates the local market. So they usually pay more attention to companies that are included in major indices.
We can see that Alibaba Group Holding does have institutional investors; and they hold 51% of the stock. This can indicate that the company has a certain degree of credibility in the investment community. However, it is best to be wary of relying on the supposed validation that comes with institutional investors. They too, get it wrong sometimes. When multiple institutions own a stock, there's always a risk that they are in a 'crowded trade'. When such a trade goes wrong, multiple parties may compete to sell stock fast. This risk is higher in a company without a history of growth. You can see Alibaba Group Holding's historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.
Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. Alibaba Group Holding is not owned by hedge funds. There are a reasonable number of analysts covering the stock, so it might be useful to find out their aggregate view on the future.
Insider Ownership Of Alibaba Group Holding
While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. The company management answer to the board; and the latter should represent the interests of shareholders. Notably, sometimes top-level managers are on the board, themselves.
Most consider insider ownership a positive because it can indicate the board is well aligned with other shareholders. However, on some occasions too much power is concentrated within this group.
We can see that insiders own shares in Alibaba Group Holding Limited. The insiders have a meaningful stake worth US$24b. I sometimes take an interest in whether they have been buying or selling.
General Public Ownership
With a 16% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over BABA. This size of ownership, while considerable, may not be enough to change company policy if the decision is not in sync with other large shareholders.
Public Company Ownership
It appears to us that public companies own 26% of BABA. We can't be certain, but this is quite possible this is a strategic stake. The businesses may be similar, or work together.
It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Alibaba Group Holding better, we need to consider many other factors.
I like to dive deeper into how a company has performed in the past. You can access this interactive graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow, for free.
But ultimately it is the future, not the past, that will determine how well the owners of this business will do. Therefore we think it advisable to take a look at this free report showing whether analysts are predicting a brighter future.
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.
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