Could The Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ:BIDU) Ownership Structure Tell Us Something Useful?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 08, 2021
NasdaqGS:BIDU
Source: Shutterstock

If you want to know who really controls Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ:BIDU), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. Insiders often own a large chunk of younger, smaller, companies while huge companies tend to have institutions as shareholders. I generally like to see some degree of insider ownership, even if only a little. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb said, 'Don’t tell me what you think, tell me what you have in your portfolio.

Baidu has a market capitalization of US$55b, 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. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutional investors have bought into the company. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Baidu.

See our latest analysis for Baidu

ownership-breakdown
NasdaqGS:BIDU Ownership Breakdown November 8th 2021

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Baidu?

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.

Baidu already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. 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. If multiple institutions change their view on a stock at the same time, you could see the share price drop fast. It's therefore worth looking at Baidu's earnings history below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

earnings-and-revenue-growth
NasdaqGS:BIDU Earnings and Revenue Growth November 8th 2021

We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Baidu. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is the CEO Yanhong Li with 20% of shares outstanding. In comparison, the second and third largest shareholders hold about 4.3% and 2.9% of the stock.

A deeper look at our ownership data shows that the top 25 shareholders collectively hold less than half of the register, suggesting a large group of small holders where no single shareholder has a majority.

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. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of Baidu

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 information suggests that insiders maintain a significant holding in Baidu, Inc.. It has a market capitalization of just US$55b, and insiders have US$11b worth of shares in their own names. That's quite significant. Most would say this shows a good degree of alignment with shareholders, especially in a company of this size. You can click here to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public holds a 31% stake in Baidu. While this group can't necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.

Next Steps:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. Case in point: We've spotted 3 warning signs for Baidu you should be aware of, and 2 of them make us uncomfortable.

If you are like me, you may want to think about whether this company will grow or shrink. Luckily, you can check this free report showing analyst forecasts for its 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.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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Simply Wall St is focused on providing unbiased, high-quality research coverage on every listed company in the world. Our research team consists of data scientists and multiple equity analysts with over two decades worth of financial markets experience between them.