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Institutional owners may consider drastic measures as The Walt Disney Company's (NYSE:DIS) recent US$21b drop adds to long-term losses

Every investor in The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. With 63% stake, institutions possess the maximum shares in the company. That is, the group stands to benefit the most if the stock rises (or lose the most if there is a downturn).

And institutional investors saw their holdings value drop by 11% last week. The recent loss, which adds to a one-year loss of 45% for stockholders, may not sit well with this group of investors. Often called “market makers”, institutions wield significant power in influencing the price dynamics of any stock. As a result, if the downtrend continues, institutions may face pressures to sell Walt Disney, which might have negative implications on individual investors.

In the chart below, we zoom in on the different ownership groups of Walt Disney.

View our latest analysis for Walt Disney

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Walt Disney?

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 Walt Disney 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. It is not uncommon to see a big share price drop if two large institutional investors try to sell out of a stock at the same time. So it is worth checking the past earnings trajectory of Walt Disney, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

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

Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Walt Disney. The company's largest shareholder is The Vanguard Group, Inc., with ownership of 7.8%. In comparison, the second and third largest shareholders hold about 6.4% and 3.9% of the stock.

Our studies suggest that the top 25 shareholders collectively control less than half of the company's shares, meaning that the company's shares are widely disseminated and there is no dominant shareholder.

While studying institutional ownership for a company can add value to your research, it is also a good practice to research analyst recommendations to get a deeper understand of a stock's expected performance. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of Walt Disney

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.

Insider ownership is positive when it signals leadership are thinking like the true owners of the company. However, high insider ownership can also give immense power to a small group within the company. This can be negative in some circumstances.

Our data suggests that insiders own under 1% of The Walt Disney Company in their own names. As it is a large company, we'd only expect insiders to own a small percentage of it. But it's worth noting that they own US$139m worth of shares. Arguably recent buying and selling is just as important to consider. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public-- including retail investors -- own 37% stake in the company, and hence can't easily be ignored. While this group can't necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.

Next Steps:

I find it very interesting to look at who exactly owns a company. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too.

Many find it useful to take an in depth look at how a company has performed in the past. You can access this detailed graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

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.

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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