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What Kind Of Shareholders Hold The Majority In The Hershey Company's (NYSE:HSY) Shares?

·4 min read

Every investor in The Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. Institutions often own shares in more established companies, while it's not unusual to see insiders own a fair bit of smaller companies. We also tend to see lower insider ownership in companies that were previously publicly owned.

With a market capitalization of US$32b, Hershey is rather large. We'd expect to see institutional investors on the register. Companies of this size are usually well known to retail investors, too. In the chart below, we can see that institutions own shares in the company. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about Hershey.

Check out our latest analysis for Hershey

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Hershey?

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.

As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Hershey. 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 Hershey'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

Institutional investors own over 50% of the company, so together than can probably strongly influence board decisions. Hedge funds don't have many shares in Hershey. Milton Hershey School Trust is currently the largest shareholder, with 29% of shares outstanding. For context, the second largest shareholder holds about 7.8% of the shares outstanding, followed by an ownership of 6.4% by the third-largest shareholder.

We did some more digging and found that 6 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.

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. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of Hershey

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. The company management answer to the board and the latter should represent the interests of shareholders. Notably, sometimes top-level managers are on the board themselves.

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 information suggests that The Hershey Company insiders own under 1% of the company. 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$64m worth of shares. 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, with a 17% stake in the company, will not 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:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Hershey better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for Hershey you should know about.

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.

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.

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