If you want to know who really controls The Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. Institutions will often hold stock in bigger companies, and we expect to see insiders owning a noticeable percentage of the smaller ones. Companies that used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.
Hershey has a market capitalization of US$36b, so it's too big to fly under the radar. We'd expect to see both institutions and retail investors owning a portion of the company. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it seems that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Hershey.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Hershey?
Many institutions measure their performance against an index that approximates the local market. So they usually pay more attention to companies that are included in major indices.
As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Hershey. This can indicate that the company has a certain degree of credibility in the investment community. However, it is best to be wary of relying on the supposed validation that comes with institutional investors. They too, get it wrong sometimes. 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 Hershey, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.
Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. Hershey is not owned by hedge funds. The company's largest shareholder is Milton Hershey School Trust, with ownership of 29%. With 7.3% and 6.4% of the shares outstanding respectively, BlackRock, Inc. and The Vanguard Group, Inc. are the second and third largest shareholders.
We also observed that the top 7 shareholders account for more than half of the share register, with a few smaller shareholders to balance the interests of the larger ones to a certain extent.
While studying institutional ownership for a company can add value to your research, it is also a good practice to research analyst recommendations to get a deeper understand of a stock's expected performance. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.
Insider Ownership Of Hershey
While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.
Most consider insider ownership a positive because it can indicate the board is well aligned with other shareholders. However, on some occasions too much power is concentrated within this group.
Our most recent data indicates that insiders own less than 1% of The Hershey Company. It is a very large company, so it would be surprising to see insiders own a large proportion of the company. Though their holding amounts to less than 1%, we can see that board members collectively own US$81m worth of shares (at current prices). It is always good to see at least some insider ownership, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.
General Public Ownership
With a 17% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over Hershey. 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.
While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 1 warning sign with Hershey , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
But ultimately it is the future, not the past, that will determine how well the owners of this business will do. Therefore we think it advisable to take a look at this free report showing whether analysts are predicting a brighter future.
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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