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If you want to know who really controls Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIR), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. Warren Buffett said that he likes "a business with enduring competitive advantages that is run by able and owner-oriented people." So it's nice to see some insider ownership, because it may suggest that management is owner-oriented.
Vir Biotechnology has a market capitalization of US$3.3b, so it's too big to fly under the radar. We'd expect to see both institutions and retail investors owning a portion of the company. In the chart below, we can see 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 Vir Biotechnology.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Vir Biotechnology?
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.
We can see that Vir Biotechnology does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company's stock. 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. It is not uncommon to see a big share price drop if two large institutional investors try to sell out of a stock at the same time. So it is worth checking the past earnings trajectory of Vir Biotechnology, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.
We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Vir Biotechnology. Our data shows that SoftBank Investment Advisers (UK) Limited is the largest shareholder with 17% of shares outstanding. Meanwhile, the second and third largest shareholders, hold 14% and 6.5%, of the shares outstanding, respectively. Furthermore, CEO George Scangos is the owner of 4.2% of the company's shares.
We also observed that the top 6 shareholders account for more than half of the share register, with a few smaller shareholders to balance the interests of the larger ones to a certain extent.
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 plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.
Insider Ownership Of Vir Biotechnology
While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. 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.
We can report that insiders do own shares in Vir Biotechnology, Inc.. It is a pretty big company, so it is generally a positive to see some potentially meaningful alignment. In this case, they own around US$212m worth of shares (at current prices). It is good to see this level of investment by insiders. You can check here to see if those insiders have been buying recently.
General Public Ownership
The general public-- including retail investors -- own 11% stake in the company, and hence can't easily be ignored. 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 a stake of 31%, private equity firms could influence the Vir Biotechnology board. Some investors might be encouraged by this, since private equity are sometimes able to encourage strategies that help the market see the value in the company. Alternatively, those holders might be exiting the investment after taking it public.
Public Company Ownership
It appears to us that public companies own 6.5% of Vir Biotechnology. It's hard to say for sure but this suggests they have entwined business interests. This might be a strategic stake, so it's worth watching this space for changes in ownership.
It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Vir Biotechnology better, we need to consider many other factors. For example, we've discovered 2 warning signs for Vir Biotechnology (1 is a bit unpleasant!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
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.
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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.