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What Is The Ownership Structure Like For Renren Inc. (NYSE:RENN)?

·4 min read

The big shareholder groups in Renren Inc. (NYSE:RENN) 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. I generally like to see some degree of insider ownership, even if only a little. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb said, 'Don’t tell me what you think, tell me what you have in your portfolio.

Renren is a smaller company with a market capitalization of US$518m, so it may still be flying under the radar of many institutional investors. In the chart below, we can see that institutions own shares in the company. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Renren.

Check out our latest analysis for Renren

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Renren?

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 have a fair amount of stake in Renren. 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 Renren'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

It looks like hedge funds own 12% of Renren shares. That catches my attention because hedge funds sometimes try to influence management, or bring about changes that will create near term value for shareholders. The company's largest shareholder is Softbank Group Capital Limited, with ownership of 37%. Joseph Chen is the second largest shareholder owning 25% of common stock, and Oasis Management Company Ltd. holds about 12% of the company stock. Joseph Chen, who is the second-largest shareholder, also happens to hold the title of Chief Executive Officer.

A more detailed study of the shareholder registry showed us that 2 of the top shareholders have a considerable amount of ownership in the company, via their 63% stake.

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. Our information suggests that there isn't any analyst coverage of the stock, so it is probably little known.

Insider Ownership Of Renren

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. 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 insiders maintain a significant holding in Renren Inc.. It has a market capitalization of just US$518m, and insiders have US$150m worth of shares in their own names. We would say this shows alignment with shareholders, but it is worth noting that the company is still quite small; some insiders may have founded the business. You can click here to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public, who are usually individual investors, hold a 12% stake in Renren. While this size of ownership may not be enough to sway a policy decision in their favour, they can still make a collective impact on company policies.

Private Equity Ownership

With an ownership of 37%, 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:

I find it very interesting to look at who exactly owns a company. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Take risks for example - Renren has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.

If you would prefer check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, backed by strong financial data.

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.