Here's What J Sainsbury plc's (LON:SBRY) Shareholder Ownership Structure Looks Like

By
Simply Wall St
Published
September 22, 2020
LSE:SBRY

The big shareholder groups in J Sainsbury plc (LON:SBRY) have power over the company. 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.

With a market capitalization of UK£4.4b, J Sainsbury is rather large. We'd expect to see institutional investors on the register. Companies of this size are usually well known to retail investors, too. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows 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 J Sainsbury.

See our latest analysis for J Sainsbury

ownership-breakdown
LSE:SBRY Ownership Breakdown September 22nd 2020

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About J Sainsbury?

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.

J Sainsbury already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. 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 J Sainsbury's historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

earnings-and-revenue-growth
LSE:SBRY Earnings and Revenue Growth September 22nd 2020

Institutional investors own over 50% of the company, so together than can probably strongly influence board decisions. We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in J Sainsbury. Our data shows that Qatar Holding LLC is the largest shareholder with 22% of shares outstanding. With 5.0% and 3.9% of the shares outstanding respectively, Pzena Investment Management, Inc and BlackRock, Inc. are the second and third largest shareholders.

After doing some more digging, we found that the top 11 have the combined ownership of 52% in the company, suggesting that no single shareholder has significant control over the company.

While studying institutional ownership for a company can add value to your research, it is also a good practice to research analyst recommendations to get a deeper understand of a stock's expected performance. There are a reasonable number of analysts covering the stock, so it might be useful to find out their aggregate view on the future.

Insider Ownership Of J Sainsbury

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.

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 J Sainsbury plc. 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 UK£5.5m worth of shares (at current prices). 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 14% 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 22%, private equity firms could influence the J Sainsbury 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 J Sainsbury better, we need to consider many other factors. For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for J Sainsbury that you should be aware of before investing here.

But ultimately it is the future, not the past, that will determine how well the owners of this business will do. Therefore we think it advisable to take a look at this free report showing whether analysts are predicting a brighter 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.

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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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