If you want to know who really controls Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. 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 have been privatized tend to have low insider ownership.
Apple is a pretty big company. It has a market capitalization of US$2.0t. Normally institutions would own a significant portion of a company this size. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows 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 Apple.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Apple?
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.
Apple 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. 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 Apple, (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. Hedge funds don't have many shares in Apple. The Vanguard Group, Inc. is currently the largest shareholder, with 7.5% of shares outstanding. BlackRock, Inc. is the second largest shareholder owning 6.3% of common stock, and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. holds about 5.3% of the company stock.
Our studies suggest that the top 25 shareholders collectively control less than half of the company's shares, meaning that the company's shares are widely disseminated and there is no dominant shareholder.
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 Apple
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 data suggests that insiders own under 1% of Apple Inc. in their own names. As it is a large company, we'd only expect insiders to own a small percentage of it. But it's worth noting that they own US$1.2b worth of shares. In this sort of situation, it can be more interesting to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.
General Public Ownership
The general public, with a 41% stake in the company, will not easily be ignored. 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.
Public Company Ownership
We can see that public companies hold 5.3% of the Apple shares on issue. It's hard to say for sure but this suggests they have entwined business interests. This might be a strategic stake, so it's worth watching this space for changes in ownership.
It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Apple better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 1 warning sign with Apple , 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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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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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