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Following a 88% decline over last year, recent gains may please Agora, Inc. (NASDAQ:API) institutional owners

A look at the shareholders of Agora, Inc. (NASDAQ:API) can tell us which group is most powerful. And the group that holds the biggest piece of the pie are institutions with 51% ownership. Put another way, the group faces the maximum upside potential (or downside risk).

Last week's US$39m market cap gain would probably be appreciated by institutional investors, especially after a year of 88% losses.

Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Agora.

See our latest analysis for Agora

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Agora?

Institutions typically measure themselves against a benchmark when reporting to their own investors, so they often become more enthusiastic about a stock once it's included in a major index. We would expect most companies to have some institutions on the register, especially if they are growing.

We can see that Agora does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company's stock. This suggests some credibility amongst professional investors. But we can't rely on that fact alone since institutions make bad investments sometimes, just like everyone does. 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 Agora's historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Agora. The company's CEO Bin Zhao is the largest shareholder with 18% of shares outstanding. Meanwhile, the second and third largest shareholders, hold 10% and 7.1%, of the shares outstanding, respectively.

We did some more digging and found that 7 of the top shareholders account for roughly 50% of the register, implying that along with larger shareholders, there are a few smaller shareholders, thereby balancing out each others interests somewhat.

Researching institutional ownership is a good way to gauge and filter a stock's expected performance. The same can be achieved by studying analyst sentiments. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of Agora

The definition of company insiders can be subjective and does vary between jurisdictions. Our data reflects individual insiders, capturing board members at the very least. Management ultimately answers to the board. However, it is not uncommon for managers to be executive board members, especially if they are a founder or the CEO.

I generally consider insider ownership to be a good thing. However, on some occasions it makes it more difficult for other shareholders to hold the board accountable for decisions.

Our most recent data indicates that insiders own a reasonable proportion of Agora, Inc.. It has a market capitalization of just US$366m, and insiders have US$79m worth of shares in their own names. We 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-- including retail investors -- own 17% stake in the company, and hence can't easily be ignored. 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.

Private Equity Ownership

With an ownership of 10%, private equity firms are in a position to play a role in shaping corporate strategy with a focus on value creation. Some might like this, because private equity are sometimes activists who hold management accountable. But other times, private equity is selling out, having taking the company public.

Next Steps:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Agora better, we need to consider many other factors. Take risks for example - Agora has 2 warning signs we think you should be aware of.

If you would prefer discover what analysts are predicting in terms of future growth, do not miss this free report on analyst forecasts.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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