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How Much Of Leaf Group Ltd. (NYSE:LEAF) Do Institutions Own?

Simply Wall St

If you want to know who really controls Leaf Group Ltd. (NYSE:LEAF), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. Insiders often own a large chunk of younger, smaller, companies while huge companies tend to have institutions as shareholders. Companies that used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.

Leaf Group is a smaller company with a market capitalization of US$116m, so it may still be flying under the radar of many institutional investors. In the chart below below, we can see that institutions own shares in the company. Let's delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about LEAF.

Check out our latest analysis for Leaf Group

NYSE:LEAF Ownership Summary, September 9th 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Leaf Group?

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.

Leaf Group already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own 45% of the company. 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. 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 Leaf Group's historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

NYSE:LEAF Income Statement, September 9th 2019

It looks like hedge funds own 9.0% of Leaf Group shares. That worth noting, since hedge funds are often quite active investors, who may try to influence management. Many want to see value creation (and a higher share price) in the short term or medium term. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of Leaf Group

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.

Shareholders would probably be interested to learn that insiders own shares in Leaf Group Ltd.. As individuals, the insiders collectively own US$4.2m worth of the US$116m company. This shows at least some alignment, but I usually like to see larger insider holdings. You can click here to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public holds a 14% stake in LEAF. 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 an ownership of 28%, private equity firms are in a position to play a role in shaping corporate strategy with a focus on value creation. Sometimes we see private equity stick around for the long term, but generally speaking they have a shorter investment horizon and -- as the name suggests -- don't invest in public companies much. After some time they may look to sell and redeploy capital elsewhere.

Next Steps:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Leaf Group better, we need to consider many other factors.

I like to dive deeper into how a company has performed in the past. You can find 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.