Do Directors Own Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO) Shares?

The big shareholder groups in Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO) have power over the company. Large companies usually have institutions as shareholders, and we usually see insiders owning shares in smaller companies. We also tend to see lower insider ownership in companies that were previously publicly owned.

With a market capitalization of US$2.9b, Marathon Oil is a decent size, so it is probably on the radar of institutional investors. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. Let’s delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about Marathon Oil.

Check out our latest analysis for Marathon Oil

NYSE:MRO Ownership Summary April 8th 2020
NYSE:MRO Ownership Summary April 8th 2020

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Marathon Oil?

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 Marathon Oil does have institutional investors; and they hold 86% of the 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. 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 Marathon Oil’s historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there’s always more to the story.

NYSE:MRO Income Statement April 8th 2020
NYSE:MRO Income Statement April 8th 2020

Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. Marathon Oil is not owned by hedge funds. The Vanguard Group, Inc. is currently the company’s largest shareholder with 12% of shares outstanding. Next, we have BlackRock, Inc. and Macquarie Investment Management Business Trust as the second and third largest shareholders, holding 11% and 8.3%, of the shares outstanding, respectively.

On further inspection, we found that 50% of the share register is owned by the top 8 shareholders, suggesting that the interests of the larger shareholders are balanced out to an extent by the smaller ones.

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. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of Marathon Oil

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.

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 most recent data indicates that insiders own less than 1% of Marathon Oil Corporation. It is a pretty big company, so it would be possible for board members to own a meaningful interest in the company, without owning much of a proportional interest. In this case, they own around US$7.5m worth of shares (at current prices). Arguably, recent buying and selling is just as important to consider. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public holds a 13% stake in MRO. This size of ownership, while considerable, may not be enough to change company policy if the decision is not in sync with other large shareholders.

Next Steps:

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. Take risks, for example – Marathon Oil has 5 warning signs (and 2 which are potentially serious) we think you should know about.

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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

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