Who Owns Whiting Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:WLL)?

Today, I will be analyzing Whiting Petroleum Corporation’s (NYSE:WLL) recent ownership structure, an important but not-so-popular subject among individual investors. A company’s ownership structure is often linked to its share performance in both the long- and short-term. The effect of an active institutional investor with a similar ownership as a passive pension-fund can be vastly different on a company’s corporate governance and accountability to shareholders. While this may be more interesting for long-term investors, short-term investors can also benefit by paying attention to when these institutions trade in order to take advantage of the heightened volatility. Now I will analyze WLL’s shareholder registry in more detail.

Check out our latest analysis for Whiting Petroleum
NYSE:WLL Ownership_summary May 1st 18
NYSE:WLL Ownership_summary May 1st 18

Institutional Ownership

Institutions account for 95.74% of WLL’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. Hedge funds, considered active investors, hold a 6.00% stake in the company, which may be the cause of high short-term volatility in the stock price. We should dig deeper into the company’s ownership structure to find how the rest of its ownership structure can impact its investment case.

Insider Ownership

Another 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. Although individuals in WLL hold only a 2.28% stake, given WLL is a large-cap company, it is a relatively large amount. This is a good sign for shareholders as the company’s executives and directors have their incentives directly linked to the company’s performance. In addition to this, it may be interesting to look at insider buying and selling activities. Keep in mind that buying may be sign of upbeat future expectations, but selling doesn’t necessarily mean the opposite as the insiders might just be doing it out of their personal financial needs.

Next Steps:

With significant institutional ownership, including active hedge, existing investors should seek a margin of safety when investing in WLL. This may enable shareholders to comfortably invest in the company and 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 WLL. Rather, you should be looking at fundamental drivers such as Whiting Petroleum’s past track record and financial health. I urge you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for WLL’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for WLL’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has WLL 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 WLL’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.