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What Is The Ownership Structure Like For RELX PLC (LON:REL)?

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Simply Wall St
·4 min read
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Every investor in RELX PLC (LON:REL) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. Companies that used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.

RELX is a pretty big company. It has a market capitalization of UK£35b. Normally institutions would own a significant portion of a company this size. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it seems that institutional investors have bought into the company. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about RELX.

View our latest analysis for RELX

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About RELX?

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.

RELX already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in 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 RELX'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

Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. RELX is not owned by hedge funds. Our data shows that BlackRock, Inc. is the largest shareholder with 10% of shares outstanding. For context, the second largest shareholder holds about 3.5% of the shares outstanding, followed by an ownership of 2.7% by the third-largest shareholder.

A deeper look at our ownership data shows that the top 25 shareholders collectively hold less than half of the register, suggesting a large group of small holders where no single shareholder has a majority.

Researching institutional ownership is a good way to gauge and filter a stock's expected performance. The same can be achieved by studying analyst sentiments. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of RELX

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. 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 data suggests that insiders own under 1% of RELX PLC in their own names. It is a very large company, so it would be surprising to see insiders own a large proportion of the company. Though their holding amounts to less than 1%, we can see that board members collectively own UK£34m worth of shares (at current prices). 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 29% stake in the company, will not easily be ignored. 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:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand RELX better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 1 warning sign with RELX , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

But ultimately it is the future, not the past, that will determine how well the owners of this business will do. Therefore we think it advisable to take a look at this free report showing whether analysts are predicting a brighter 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.

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 (at) simplywallst.com.