The big shareholder groups in Spark Networks SE (NYSEMKT:LOV) have power over the company. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. 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$173m, Spark Networks 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 institutional investors have bought into the company. Let's delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about LOV.
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What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Spark Networks?
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 Spark Networks does have institutional investors; and they hold 5.8% 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. If multiple institutions change their view on a stock at the same time, you could see the share price drop fast. It's therefore worth looking at Spark Networks's earnings history, below. Of course, the future is what really matters.
It looks like hedge funds own 7.5% of Spark Networks shares. That's interesting, because hedge funds can be quite active and activist. Many look for medium term catalysts that will drive the share price higher. 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 Spark Networks
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.
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.
It seems insiders own a significant proportion of Spark Networks SE. It has a market capitalization of just US$173m, and insiders have US$18m 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 holds a 21% stake in LOV. While this group can't necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.
Private Equity Ownership
With a stake of 42%, private equity firms could influence the LOV board. Some investors might be encouraged by this, since private equity are sometimes able to encourage strategies that help the market see the value in the company. Alternatively, those holders might be exiting the investment after taking it public.
Private Company Ownership
Our data indicates that Private Companies hold 13%, of the company's shares. 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.
It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Spark Networks better, we need to consider many other factors.
I always like to check for a history of revenue growth. You can too, by accessing this free chart of historic revenue and earnings in this detailed graph.
Ultimately the future is most important. You can access this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.
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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