What Does Verastem Inc’s (NASDAQ:VSTM) Ownership Structure Look Like?

A look at the shareholders of Verastem Inc (NASDAQ:VSTM) 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.

Verastem is not a large company by global standards. It has a market capitalization of US$416m, which means it wouldn’t have the attention of many institutional investors. In the chart below below, we can see that institutions own shares in the company. Let’s take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholder can tell us about VSTM.

See our latest analysis for Verastem

NasdaqGM:VSTM Ownership Summary October 15th 18
NasdaqGM:VSTM Ownership Summary October 15th 18

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Verastem?

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.

Verastem already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own 37% of the company. 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. When multiple institutions own a stock, there’s always a risk that they are in a ‘crowded trade’. When such a trade goes wrong, multiple parties may compete to sell stock fast. This risk is higher in a company without a history of growth. You can see Verastem’s historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there’s always more to the story.

NasdaqGM:VSTM Income Statement Export October 15th 18
NasdaqGM:VSTM Income Statement Export October 15th 18

Our data indicates that hedge funds own 9.7% of Verastem. That catches my attention because hedge funds sometimes try to influence management, or bring about changes that will create near term value for shareholders. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of Verastem

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.

I generally consider insider ownership to be a good thing. However, on some occasions it makes it more difficult for other shareholders to hold the board accountable for decisions.

I can report that insiders do own shares in Verastem Inc. In their own names, insiders own US$14m worth of stock in the US$416m company. It is good to see some investment by insiders, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.

General Public Ownership

The general public, with a 48% stake in the company, will not easily be ignored. 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.

Next Steps:

It’s always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Verastem better, we need to consider many other factors.

Many find it useful to take an in depth look at how a company has performed in the past. You can access this detailed graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow .

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.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.