Do Institutions Own United Natural Foods, Inc. (NYSE:UNFI) Shares?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
September 10, 2020
NYSE:UNFI

The big shareholder groups in United Natural Foods, Inc. (NYSE:UNFI) have power over the company. Institutions will often hold stock in bigger companies, and we expect to see insiders owning a noticeable percentage of the smaller ones. We also tend to see lower insider ownership in companies that were previously publicly owned.

With a market capitalization of US$992m, United Natural Foods is a decent size, so it is probably on the radar of institutional investors. In the chart below, we can see that institutions own shares in the company. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about United Natural Foods.

See our latest analysis for United Natural Foods

ownership-breakdown
NYSE:UNFI Ownership Breakdown September 10th 2020

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About United Natural Foods?

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.

As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in United Natural Foods. 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 United Natural Foods' earnings history below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

earnings-and-revenue-growth
NYSE:UNFI Earnings and Revenue Growth September 10th 2020

Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. Our data indicates that hedge funds own 6.3% of United Natural Foods. 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. BlackRock, Inc. is currently the company's largest shareholder with 15% of shares outstanding. For context, the second largest shareholder holds about 11% of the shares outstanding, followed by an ownership of 7.7% by the third-largest shareholder.

We did some more digging and found that 9 of the top shareholders account for roughly 51% of the register, implying that along with larger shareholders, there are a few smaller shareholders, thereby balancing out each others interests somewhat.

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. 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 United Natural Foods

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.

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.

Shareholders would probably be interested to learn that insiders own shares in United Natural Foods, Inc.. In their own names, insiders own US$12m worth of stock in the US$992m company. It is good to see some investment by insiders, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.

General Public Ownership

The general public holds a 16% stake in United Natural Foods. 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:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for United Natural Foods (of which 1 can't be ignored!) you should know about.

If you would prefer discover what analysts are predicting in terms of future growth, do not miss this free report on analyst forecasts.

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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