The big shareholder groups in China Finance Online Co. Limited (NASDAQ:JRJC) have power over the company. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. I quite like to see at least a little bit of insider ownership. As Charlie Munger said ‘Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome.
With a market capitalization of US$22m, China Finance Online 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 institutions are not really that prevalent on the share registry. Let’s take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholder can tell us about China Finance Online.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About China Finance Online?
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.
Institutions own less than 5% of China Finance Online. That indicates that the company is on the radar of some funds, but it isn’t particularly popular with professional investors at the moment. If the company is growing earnings, that may indicate that it is just beginning to catch the attention of these deep-pocketed investors. We sometimes see a rising share price when a few big institutions want to buy a certain stock at the same time. The history of earnings and revenue, which you can see below, could be helpful in considering if more institutional investors will want the stock. Of course, there are plenty of other factors to consider, too.
Hedge funds don’t have many shares in China Finance Online. With a 23% stake, CEO Zhiwei Zhao is the largest shareholder. Tongma Network Co. Ltd. is the second largest shareholder with 7.2% of common stock, followed by IDG Capital Partners, holding 5.5% of the stock.
Our studies suggest that the top 12 shareholders collectively control less than 50% of the company’s shares, meaning that the company’s shares are widely disseminated and there is no dominant shareholder.
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. Our information suggests that there isn’t any analyst coverage of the stock, so it is probably little known.
Insider Ownership Of China Finance Online
The definition of company insiders can be subjective, and does vary between jurisdictions. Our data reflects individual insiders, capturing board members at the very least. 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.
Insider ownership is positive when it signals leadership are thinking like the true owners of the company. However, high insider ownership can also give immense power to a small group within the company. This can be negative in some circumstances.
Our information suggests that insiders maintain a significant holding in China Finance Online Co. Limited. Insiders own US$5.6m worth of shares in the US$22m company. 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, mostly retail investors, hold a substantial 57% stake in JRJC, suggesting it is a fairly popular stock. With this size of ownership, retail investors can collectively play a role in decisions that affect shareholder returns, such as dividend policies and the appointment of directors. They can also exercise the power to decline an acquisition or merger that may not improve profitability.
Private Equity Ownership
With an ownership of 5.5%, private equity firms are in a position to play a role in shaping corporate strategy with a focus on value creation. 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.
Private Company Ownership
We can see that Private Companies own 9.1%, of the shares on issue. Private companies may be related parties. Sometimes insiders have an interest in a public company through a holding in a private company, rather than in their own capacity as an individual. While it’s hard to draw any broad stroke conclusions, it is worth noting as an area for further research.
It’s always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand China Finance Online better, we need to consider many other factors.
For example, we’ve discovered 4 warning signs for China Finance Online (of which 1 is major) which any shareholder or potential investor should be aware of.
Of course this may not be the best stock to buy. Therefore, you may wish to see our free collection of interesting prospects boasting favorable financials.
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 email@example.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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