The big shareholder groups in Square, Inc. (NYSE:SQ) have power over the company. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. I quite like to see at least a little bit of insider ownership. As Charlie Munger said 'Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome.
With a market capitalization of US$50b, Square 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. In the chart below, we can see that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholder can tell us about Square.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Square?
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.
As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Square. This implies the analysts working for those institutions have looked at the stock and they like it. But just like anyone else, they could be wrong. 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 Square's historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.
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 Square. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is the CEO Jack Dorsey with 13% of shares outstanding. With 6.4% and 4.5% of the shares outstanding respectively, The Vanguard Group, Inc. and BlackRock, Inc. are the second and third largest shareholders.
A closer look at our ownership figures suggests that the top 17 shareholders have a combined ownership of 50% implying that no one share holder has a majority.
While studying institutional ownership for a company can add value to your research, it is also a good practice to research analyst recommendations to get a deeper understand of a stock's expected performance. There are a reasonable number of analysts covering the stock, so it might be useful to find out their aggregate view on the future.
Insider Ownership Of Square
The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.
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.
Our information suggests that insiders maintain a significant holding in Square, Inc.. It has a market capitalization of just US$50b, and insiders have US$8.5b worth of shares in their own names. That's quite significant. It is good to see this level of investment. You can check here to see if those insiders have been buying recently.
General Public Ownership
With a 19% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over SQ. While this group can't necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.
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. Case in point: We've spotted 4 warning signs for Square you should be aware of.
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.
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.
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