What Kind Of Shareholders Hold The Majority In ASOS Plc's (LON:ASC) Shares?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
December 27, 2020

Every investor in ASOS Plc (LON:ASC) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. Institutions will often hold stock in bigger companies, and we expect to see insiders owning a noticeable percentage of the smaller ones. Companies that used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.

ASOS has a market capitalization of UK£4.8b, 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. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it seems that institutional investors have bought into the company. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about ASOS.

Check out our latest analysis for ASOS

AIM:ASC Ownership Breakdown December 28th 2020

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About ASOS?

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.

We can see that ASOS does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company's stock. 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. It is not uncommon to see a big share price drop if two large institutional investors try to sell out of a stock at the same time. So it is worth checking the past earnings trajectory of ASOS, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

AIM:ASC Earnings and Revenue Growth December 28th 2020

Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. It would appear that 5.2% of ASOS 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. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is Bestseller United A/S with 25% of shares outstanding. With 11% and 10.0% of the shares outstanding respectively, T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. and Capital Research and Management Company are the second and third largest shareholders.

Our research also brought to light the fact that roughly 51% of the company is controlled by the top 4 shareholders suggesting that these owners wield significant influence on the business.

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. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of ASOS

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. 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.

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.

Shareholders would probably be interested to learn that insiders own shares in ASOS Plc. It is a pretty big company, so it is generally a positive to see some potentially meaningful alignment. In this case, they own around UK£172m worth of shares (at current prices). It is good to see this level of investment by insiders. You can check here to see if those insiders have been buying recently.

General Public Ownership

The general public, with a 10% 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 Company Ownership

It seems that Private Companies own 25%, of the ASOS 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.

Next Steps:

I find it very interesting to look at who exactly owns a company. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. For instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for ASOS 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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