A look at the shareholders of Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX:ALL) can tell us which group is most powerful. Institutions often own shares in more established companies, while it’s not unusual to see insiders own a fair bit of smaller companies. Companies that used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.
Aristocrat Leisure is a pretty big company. It has a market capitalization of AU$19b. Normally institutions would own a significant portion of a company this size. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it seems that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. Let’s take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Aristocrat Leisure.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Aristocrat Leisure?
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.
As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Aristocrat Leisure. 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 Aristocrat Leisure’s historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there’s always more to the story.
We note that hedge funds don’t have a meaningful investment in Aristocrat Leisure. BlackRock, Inc. is currently the company’s largest shareholder with 6.0% of shares outstanding. With 5.1% and 5.1% of the shares outstanding respectively, The Vanguard Group, Inc. and AustralianSuper Pty. Ltd. 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.
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. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.
Insider Ownership Of Aristocrat Leisure
While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. The company management answer to the board and the latter should represent the interests of shareholders. Notably, sometimes top-level managers are on the board themselves.
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 data suggests that insiders own under 1% of Aristocrat Leisure Limited in their own names. But they may have an indirect interest through a corporate structure that we haven’t picked up on. It is a very large company, so it would be surprising to see insiders own a large proportion of the company. Though their holding amounts to less than 1%, we can see that board members collectively own AU$17m worth of shares (at current prices). It is good to see board members owning shares, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.
General Public Ownership
The general public — mostly retail investors — own 58% of Aristocrat Leisure. 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 Company Ownership
It seems that Private Companies own 11%, of the Aristocrat Leisure stock. It might be worth looking deeper into this. If related parties, such as insiders, have an interest in one of these private companies, that should be disclosed in the annual report. Private companies may also have a strategic interest in the company.
While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. For instance, we’ve identified 2 warning signs for Aristocrat Leisure (1 is a bit concerning) that you should be aware of.
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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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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