What Kind Of Shareholders Own Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC (LON:MRW)?

Every investor in Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC (LON:MRW) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. Companies that have been privatized tend to have low insider ownership.

Wm Morrison Supermarkets has a market capitalization of UK£4.5b, so it’s too big to fly under the radar. We’d expect to see both institutions and retail investors owning a portion of the company. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutional investors have bought into the company. Let’s delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about Wm Morrison Supermarkets.

See our latest analysis for Wm Morrison Supermarkets

LSE:MRW Ownership Summary, January 21st 2020
LSE:MRW Ownership Summary, January 21st 2020

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Wm Morrison Supermarkets?

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 Wm Morrison Supermarkets does have institutional investors; and they hold 88% 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 Wm Morrison Supermarkets’s earnings history, below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

LSE:MRW Income Statement, January 21st 2020
LSE:MRW Income Statement, January 21st 2020

Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. Hedge funds don’t have many shares in Wm Morrison Supermarkets. Silchester International Investors LLP is currently the company’s largest shareholder with 12% of shares outstanding. The second and third largest shareholders are Schroder Investment Management Limited and Columbia Management Investment Advisers, LLC, holding 11% and 8.4%, respectively.

On studying the facts and figures more closely, we found that 8 of the top shareholders account for 52% of the register, implying that along with larger shareholders, there are a few smaller shareholders, thereby balancing out each others interests somewhat.

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 Wm Morrison Supermarkets

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.

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 data suggests that insiders own under 1% of Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC in their own names. Keep in mind that it’s a big company, and the insiders own UK£5.8m worth of shares. The absolute value might be more important than the proportional share. It is always good to see at least some insider ownership, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public, with a 11% stake in the company, will not easily be ignored. While this size of ownership may not be enough to sway a policy decision in their favour, they can still make a collective impact on company policies.

Next Steps:

It’s always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Wm Morrison Supermarkets better, we need to consider many other factors. For example, we’ve discovered 1 warning sign for Wm Morrison Supermarkets that you should be aware of before investing here.

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.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.