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What Kind Of Shareholder Owns Most WPP plc (LON:WPP) Stock?

Simply Wall St

The big shareholder groups in WPP plc (LON:WPP) have power over the company. Institutions will often hold stock in bigger companies, and we expect to see insiders owning a noticeable percentage of the smaller ones. Companies that used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.

WPP is a pretty big company. It has a market capitalization of UK£12b. Normally institutions would own a significant portion of a company this size. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutions own shares in the company. Let's delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about WPP.

Check out our latest analysis for WPP

LSE:WPP Ownership Summary, August 12th 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About WPP?

Institutional investors commonly compare their own returns to the returns of a commonly followed index. So they generally do consider buying larger companies that are included in the relevant benchmark index.

As you can see, institutional investors own 50% of WPP. 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 WPP, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

LSE:WPP Income Statement, August 12th 2019

Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. Hedge funds don't have many shares in WPP. 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 WPP

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 data suggests that insiders own under 1% of WPP plc in their own names. Being so large, we would not expect insiders to own a large proportion of the stock. Collectively, they own UK£18m of stock. 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 holds a 50% stake in WPP. 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.

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 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.

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.

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.