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The big shareholder groups in Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX:ALL) have power over the company. Insiders often own a large chunk of younger, smaller, companies while huge companies tend to have institutions as shareholders. Companies that have been privatized tend to have low insider ownership.
Aristocrat Leisure has a market capitalization of AU$23b, so it's too big to fly under the radar. We'd expect to see both institutions and retail investors owning a portion of the company. In the chart below, we can see that institutions own shares in the company. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Aristocrat Leisure.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Aristocrat Leisure?
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.
Aristocrat Leisure already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. 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 Aristocrat Leisure's historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.
Hedge funds don't have many shares in Aristocrat Leisure. Our data shows that BlackRock, Inc. is the largest shareholder with 6.0% of shares outstanding. Meanwhile, the second and third largest shareholders, hold 5.1% and 5.1%, of the shares outstanding, respectively.
On studying our ownership data, we found that 25 of the top shareholders collectively own less than 50% of the share register, implying that no single individual has a majority interest.
While it makes sense to study institutional ownership data for a company, it also makes sense to study analyst sentiments to know which way the wind is blowing. 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 Aristocrat Leisure
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.
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 Aristocrat Leisure Limited in their own names. But they may have an indirect interest through a corporate structure that we haven't picked up on. Being so large, we would not expect insiders to own a large proportion of the stock. Collectively, they own AU$21m of stock. It is good to see board members owning shares, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.
General Public Ownership
The general public -- mostly retail investors -- own 55% of Aristocrat Leisure. With this size of ownership, retail investors can collectively play a role in decisions that affect shareholder returns, such as dividend policies and the appointment of directors. They can also exercise the power to decline an acquisition or merger that may not improve profitability.
Private Company Ownership
It seems that Private Companies own 11%, of the Aristocrat Leisure stock. Private companies may be related parties. Sometimes insiders have an interest in a public company through a holding in a private company, rather than in their own capacity as an individual. While it's hard to draw any broad stroke conclusions, it is worth noting as an area for further research.
While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with Aristocrat Leisure (at least 1 which is a bit concerning) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
If you are like me, you may want to think about whether this company will grow or shrink. Luckily, you can check this free report showing analyst forecasts for its 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.
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. 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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