The big shareholder groups in The Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE:WMB) have power over the company. Institutions often own shares in more established companies, while it's not unusual to see insiders own a fair bit of smaller companies. Companies that used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.
With a market capitalization of US$31b, Williams Companies is rather large. We'd expect to see institutional investors on the register. Companies of this size are usually well known to retail investors, too. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it seems that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. Let's delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about Williams Companies.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Williams Companies?
Institutions typically measure themselves against a benchmark when reporting to their own investors, so they often become more enthusiastic about a stock once it's included in a major index. We would expect most companies to have some institutions on the register, especially if they are growing.
We can see that Williams Companies does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company's stock. This suggests some credibility amongst professional investors. But we can't rely on that fact alone since institutions make bad investments sometimes, just like everyone does. 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 Williams Companies, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.
Institutional investors own over 50% of the company, so together than can probably strongly influence board decisions. We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Williams Companies. The Vanguard Group, Inc. is currently the largest shareholder, with 8.9% of shares outstanding. Meanwhile, the second and third largest shareholders, hold 8.3% and 6.7%, of the shares outstanding, respectively.
Looking at the shareholder registry, we can see that 51% of the ownership is controlled by the top 19 shareholders, meaning that no single shareholder has a majority interest in the ownership.
Researching institutional ownership is a good way to gauge and filter a stock's expected performance. The same can be achieved by studying analyst sentiments. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.
Insider Ownership Of Williams Companies
While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. 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.
Our most recent data indicates that insiders own less than 1% of The Williams Companies, Inc.. Being so large, we would not expect insiders to own a large proportion of the stock. Collectively, they own US$65m of stock. It is good to see board members owning shares, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.
General Public Ownership
With a 14% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over Williams Companies. This size of ownership, while considerable, may not be enough to change company policy if the decision is not in sync with other large shareholders.
While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. For instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for Williams Companies 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.
This article by Simply Wall St 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. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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