I am going to take a deep dive into Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s (NYSE:BRK.A) most recent ownership structure, not a frequent subject of discussion among individual investors. A company’s ownership structure is often linked to its share performance in both the long- and short-term. 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. Now I will analyze BRK.A’s shareholder registry in more detail.
Institutional OwnershipWith an institutional ownership of 46.77%, BRK.A can face volatile stock price movements if institutions execute block trades on the open market, more so, 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. In the case of BRK.A, investors need not worry about such volatility considering active hedge funds don’t have a significant stake. However, we should dig deeper into BRK.A’s ownership structure and find out how other key ownership classes can affect its investment profile.
Insider OwnershipAn important group of shareholders are company insiders. Insider ownership has to do more with how the company is managed and less to do with the direct impact of the magnitude of shares trading on the market. 18.10% ownership of BRK.A 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). It may be interesting to take a look at what company insiders have been doing with their holdings lately. 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.
General Public OwnershipA substantial ownership of 35.13% in BRK.A is held by the general public. With this size of ownership, retail investors can collectively play a role in major company policies that affect shareholders returns, including executive remuneration and the appointment of directors. They can also exercise the power to decline an acquisition or merger that may not improve profitability.
Private Company OwnershipPotential investors in BRK.A should also look at another important group of investors: private companies, with a stake of 0.00049%, who are primarily invested because of strategic and capital gain interests. However, an ownership of this size may be relatively insignificant, meaning that these shareholders may not have the potential to influence BRK.A’s business strategy. Thus, investors not need worry too much about the consequences of these holdings.
The company’s high institutional ownership makes margin of safety a very important consideration to existing investors since long bull and bear trends often emerge when these big-ticket investors see a change in long-term potential of the company. This will enable shareholders to comfortably invest in the company while avoid getting trapped in a sustained sell-off that is often observed in stocks with this level of institutional participation. However, if you are building an investment case for BRK.A, ownership structure alone should not dictate your decision to buy or sell the stock. Instead, you should be evaluating company-specific factors such as Berkshire Hathaway’s past track record and financial health. I highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for BRK.A’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for BRK.A’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has BRK.A 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 BRK.A’s historicals for more clarity.
- 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.
To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.
The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at email@example.com.