What Kind Of Shareholders Own Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:SNSS)?

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A look at the shareholders of Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:SNSS) can tell us which group is most powerful. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. We also tend to see lower insider ownership in companies that were previously publicly owned.

With a market capitalization of US$44m, Sunesis Pharmaceuticals is a small cap stock, so it might not be well known by 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. Let’s take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholder can tell us about SNSS.

Check out our latest analysis for Sunesis Pharmaceuticals

NasdaqCM:SNSS Ownership Summary, June 12th 2019
NasdaqCM:SNSS Ownership Summary, June 12th 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Sunesis Pharmaceuticals?

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 Sunesis Pharmaceuticals does have institutional investors; and they hold 34% of the stock. 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. 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 Sunesis Pharmaceuticals’s earnings history, below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

NasdaqCM:SNSS Income Statement, June 12th 2019
NasdaqCM:SNSS Income Statement, June 12th 2019

It would appear that 6.8% of Sunesis Pharmaceuticals 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. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of Sunesis Pharmaceuticals

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.

Our information suggests that Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. insiders own under 1% of the company. It seems the board members have no more than US$106k worth of shares in the US$44m company. Many investors in smaller companies prefer to see the board more heavily invested. You can click here to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public, with a 43% 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

With a stake of 16%, private equity firms could influence the SNSS board. 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.

Next Steps:

It’s always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Sunesis Pharmaceuticals better, we need to consider many other factors.

Many find it useful to take an in depth look at how a company has performed in the past. You can access this detailed graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow .

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.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

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. Thank you for reading.