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Could The Eton Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ETON) Ownership Structure Tell Us Something Useful?

Simply Wall St

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A look at the shareholders of Eton Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ETON) can tell us which group is most powerful. Institutions will often hold stock in bigger companies, and we expect to see insiders owning a noticeable percentage of the smaller ones. I quite like to see at least a little bit of insider ownership. As Charlie Munger said 'Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome.'

With a market capitalization of US$125m, Eton Pharmaceuticals is a small cap stock, so it might not be well known by many institutional investors. In the chart below below, we can see that institutions don't own many shares in the company. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about ETON.

Check out our latest analysis for Eton Pharmaceuticals

NasdaqGM:ETON Ownership Summary, June 25th 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Eton Pharmaceuticals?

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.

Since institutions own under 5% of Eton Pharmaceuticals, many may not have spent much time considering the stock. But it's clear that some have; and they liked it enough to buy in. If the business gets stronger from here, we could see a situation where more institutions are keen to buy. It is not uncommon to see a big share price rise if multiple institutional investors are trying to buy into a stock at the same time. So check out the historic earnings trajectory, below, but keep in mind it's the future that counts most.

NasdaqGM:ETON Income Statement, June 25th 2019

Our data indicates that hedge funds own 5.0% of Eton Pharmaceuticals. That catches my attention because hedge funds sometimes try to influence management, or bring about changes that will create near term value for shareholders. There is a little analyst coverage of the stock, but not much. So there is room for it to gain more coverage.

Insider Ownership Of Eton Pharmaceuticals

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.

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.

Our most recent data indicates that insiders own a reasonable proportion of Eton Pharmaceuticals, Inc.. It has a market capitalization of just US$125m, and insiders have US$22m worth of shares in their own names. I would say this shows alignment with shareholders, but it is worth noting that the company is still quite small; some insiders may have founded the business. You can click here to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public -- mostly retail investors -- own 53% of Eton Pharmaceuticals . This size of ownership gives retail investors collective power. They can and probably do influence decisions on executive compensation, dividend policies and proposed business acquisitions.

Public Company Ownership

It appears to us that public companies own 20% of ETON. It's hard to say for sure, but this suggests they have entwined business interests. This might be a strategic stake, so it's worth watching this space for changes in ownership.

Next Steps:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important.

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.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.