Stock Analysis

Who Are The Major Shareholders In Graham Holdings Company (NYSE:GHC)?

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NYSE:GHC
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Today, I will be analyzing Graham Holdings Company’s (NYSE:GHC) recent ownership structure, an important but not-so-popular subject among individual investors. The impact of a company's ownership structure affects both its short- and long-term performance. Differences in ownership structure of companies can have a profound effect on how management's incentives are aligned with shareholder returns, and whether they adhere to corporate governance best practices. Although this is an important factor for long-term investors, many investors can also be impacted by institutional presence and their high-volume trading. Therefore, I will take a look at GHC's shareholders in more detail.

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NYSE:GHC Ownership_summary Apr 14th 18
NYSE:GHC Ownership_summary Apr 14th 18

Institutional Ownership

Institutions account for 101.90% of GHC's outstanding shares, a significant enough holding to move stock prices if they start buying and selling in large quantities, especially when there are relatively small amounts of shares available on the market to trade. However, as not all institutions are alike, such high volatility events, especially in the short-term, have been more frequently linked to active market participants like hedge funds. For shareholders in GHC, sharp price movements may not be a major concern as active hedge funds hold a relatively small stake in the company. Although this doesn't necessarily lead to high short-term volatility, we should dig deeper into GHC's ownership structure to find how the remaining owner types can affect its investment profile.

Insider Ownership

I find insiders are another important group of stakeholders, who are directly involved in making key decisions related to the use of capital. In essence, insider ownership is more about the alignment of shareholders' interests with the management. 20.35% ownership of GHC insiders is large enough to make an impact on shareholder returns. In general, this level of insider ownership has negatively affected underperforming (consistently low PE ratio) companies and positively affected the companies that outperform (consistently high PE ratio). Another aspect of insider ownership is to learn about their recent transactions. Insider buying may be a sign of upbeat future expectations, however, selling doesn't necessarily mean the opposite as insiders may be motivated by their personal financial needs.

Public Company Ownership

Another important group of owners for potential investors in GHC are other public companies that hold a stake of 1.96% in GHC. These are the companies that are mainly invested due to their strategic interests or incentivized by reaping capital gains on investments. However, an ownership of this size may be relatively insignificant, meaning that these shareholders may not have the potential to influence GHC's business strategy. Thus, investors not need worry too much about the consequences of these holdings.

Next Steps:

GHC's considerably high level of institutional ownership calls for further analysis into its margin of safety. This is to avoid getting trapped in a sustained sell-off that is often observed in stocks with this level of institutional participation. However, ownership structure should not be the only focus of your research when constructing an investment thesis around GHC. Rather, you should be looking at fundamental drivers such as the intrinsic valuation, which is a key driver of Graham Holdings’s share price. I highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

  • 1. Financial Health: Is GHC’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
  • 2. Past Track Record: Has GHC been consistently performing well irrespective of the ups and downs in the market? Go into more detail in the past performance analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of GHC's historicals for more clarity.
  • 3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.
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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Simply Wall St analyst Simply Wall St and Simply Wall St have no position in any of the companies mentioned. This article is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.