A look at the shareholders of Medifast, Inc. (NYSE:MED) can tell us which group is most powerful. 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.
With a market capitalization of US$3.4b, Medifast 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. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about Medifast.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Medifast?
Institutional investors commonly compare their own returns to the returns of a commonly followed index. So they generally do consider buying larger companies that are included in the relevant benchmark index.
As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Medifast. This implies the analysts working for those institutions have looked at the stock and they like it. But just like anyone else, they could be wrong. 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 Medifast, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.
Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. Our data indicates that hedge funds own 7.6% of Medifast. That catches my attention because hedge funds sometimes try to influence management, or bring about changes that will create near term value for shareholders. BlackRock, Inc. is currently the company's largest shareholder with 15% of shares outstanding. With 12% and 7.6% of the shares outstanding respectively, The Vanguard Group, Inc. and Renaissance Technologies Corp. are the second and third largest shareholders. Additionally, the company's CEO Daniel Chard directly holds 1.1% of the total shares outstanding.
We also observed that the top 9 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 it makes sense to study institutional ownership data for a company, it also makes sense to study analyst sentiments to know which way the wind is blowing. There are a reasonable number of analysts covering the stock, so it might be useful to find out their aggregate view on the future.
Insider Ownership Of Medifast
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.
I can report that insiders do own shares in Medifast, Inc.. The insiders have a meaningful stake worth US$140m. Most would see this as a real positive. If you would like to explore the question of insider alignment, you can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.
General Public Ownership
The general public holds a 11% stake in Medifast. 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.
I find it very interesting to look at who exactly owns a company. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 3 warning signs with Medifast , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
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.
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