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Every investor in Surface Oncology, Inc. (NASDAQ:SURF) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. Insiders often own a large chunk of younger, smaller, companies while huge companies tend to have institutions as shareholders. Companies that have been privatized tend to have low insider ownership.
With a market capitalization of US$245m, Surface Oncology is a small cap stock, so it might not be well known by many institutional investors. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows 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 Surface Oncology.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Surface Oncology?
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.
We can see that Surface Oncology does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company's stock. 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. If multiple institutions change their view on a stock at the same time, you could see the share price drop fast. It's therefore worth looking at Surface Oncology's earnings history below. Of course, the future is what really matters.
It would appear that 18% of Surface Oncology shares are controlled by hedge funds. That's interesting, because hedge funds can be quite active and activist. Many look for medium term catalysts that will drive the share price higher. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is EcoR1 Capital, LLC with 13% of shares outstanding. With 9.9% and 3.7% of the shares outstanding respectively, Novartis AG and Avidity Partners Management LP are the second and third largest shareholders.
On studying our ownership data, we found that 25 of the top shareholders collectively own less than 50% of the share register, implying that no single individual has a majority interest.
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. There is some analyst coverage of the stock, but it could still become more well known, with time.
Insider Ownership Of Surface Oncology
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.
Our information suggests that Surface Oncology, Inc. insiders own under 1% of the company. It seems the board members have no more than US$1.3m worth of shares in the US$245m company. I generally like to see a board more invested. However it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.
General Public Ownership
With a 25% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over Surface Oncology. 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 30%, private equity firms could influence the Surface Oncology 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 9.9% of Surface Oncology. This may be a strategic interest and the two companies may have related business interests. It could be that they have de-merged. This holding is probably worth investigating further.
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. Be aware that Surface Oncology is showing 4 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those makes us a bit uncomfortable...
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.
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