A look at the shareholders of Groupon, Inc. (NASDAQ:GRPN) can tell us which group is most powerful. Insiders often own a large chunk of younger, smaller, companies while huge companies tend to have institutions as shareholders. 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.
Groupon is not a large company by global standards. It has a market capitalization of US$616m, which means it wouldn’t have the attention of many institutional investors. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it’s seems that institutional investors have bought into the company. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about Groupon.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Groupon?
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.
We can see that Groupon does have institutional investors; and they hold 53% of the 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. 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 Groupon’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. It would appear that 5.7% of Groupon 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. Our data suggests that Eric Lefkofsky, who is also the company’s Top Key Executive, holds the most number of shares at 13%. When an insider holds a sizeable amount of a company’s stock, investors consider it as a positive sign because it suggests that insiders are willing to have their wealth tied up in the future of the company. First Trust Advisors L.P. is the second largest shareholder with 11% of common stock, followed by BlackRock, Inc., holding 5.6% of the stock.
A deeper look at our ownership data shows that the top 25 shareholders collectively hold less than 50% of the register, suggesting a large group of small holders where 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 Groupon
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.
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.
Our most recent data indicates that insiders own a reasonable proportion of Groupon, Inc.. It has a market capitalization of just US$616m, and insiders have US$94m worth of shares in their own names. I 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, with a 20% stake in the company, will not easily be ignored. While this group can’t necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.
Private Equity Ownership
Private equity firms hold a 5.8% stake in GRPN. This suggests they can be influential in key policy decisions. 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.
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 Groupon is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about…
Ultimately the future is most important. You can access this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.
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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