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After losing 40% in the past year, Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLK) institutional owners must be relieved by the recent gain

If you want to know who really controls Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLK), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. And the group that holds the biggest piece of the pie are institutions with 81% ownership. That is, the group stands to benefit the most if the stock rises (or lose the most if there is a downturn).

Last week's US$1.6b market cap gain would probably be appreciated by institutional investors, especially after a year of 40% losses.

Let's delve deeper into each type of owner of Splunk, beginning with the chart below.

View our latest analysis for Splunk

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Splunk?

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.

As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Splunk. 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 Splunk, (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. Splunk is not owned by hedge funds. The Vanguard Group, Inc. is currently the largest shareholder, with 9.4% of shares outstanding. For context, the second largest shareholder holds about 7.9% of the shares outstanding, followed by an ownership of 6.1% by the third-largest shareholder.

Looking at the shareholder registry, we can see that 51% of the ownership is controlled by the top 15 shareholders, meaning that no single shareholder has a majority interest in the ownership.

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 plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of Splunk

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. Management ultimately answers to the board. However, it is not uncommon for managers to be executive board members, especially if they are a founder or the CEO.

I generally consider insider ownership to be a good thing. However, on some occasions it makes it more difficult for other shareholders to hold the board accountable for decisions.

Our most recent data indicates that insiders own less than 1% of Splunk Inc.. 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$71m 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 11% 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.

Private Equity Ownership

With a stake of 7.9%, private equity firms could influence the Splunk board. Some might like this, because private equity are sometimes activists who hold management accountable. But other times, private equity is selling out, having taking the company public.

Next Steps:

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 Splunk , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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.

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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