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What Is The Ownership Structure Like For Upwork Inc. (NASDAQ:UPWK)?

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·4 min read
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A look at the shareholders of Upwork Inc. (NASDAQ:UPWK) can tell us which group is most powerful. 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.

With a market capitalization of US$3.8b, Upwork 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. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about Upwork.

Check out our latest analysis for Upwork

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Upwork?

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 Upwork. 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 Upwork'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. Hedge funds don't have many shares in Upwork. The company's largest shareholder is T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., with ownership of 10.0%. In comparison, the second and third largest shareholders hold about 8.5% and 6.3% of the stock. Furthermore, CEO Hayden Brown is the owner of 0.6% of the company's shares.

Looking at the shareholder registry, we can see that 50% of the ownership is controlled by the top 14 shareholders, meaning that no single shareholder has a majority interest in the ownership.

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

Insider Ownership Of Upwork

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.

Most consider insider ownership a positive because it can indicate the board is well aligned with other shareholders. However, on some occasions too much power is concentrated within this group.

Shareholders would probably be interested to learn that insiders own shares in Upwork Inc.. The insiders have a meaningful stake worth US$340m. Most would see this as a real positive. If you would like to explore the question of insider alignment, you can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public, who are usually individual investors, hold a 17% stake in Upwork. 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.

Next Steps:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Upwork better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 4 warning signs with Upwork , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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.

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.