If you want to know who really controls GlaxoSmithKline plc (LON:GSK), then you’ll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. Companies that have been privatized tend to have low insider ownership.
GlaxoSmithKline has a market capitalization of UK£71b, 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 institutions are noticeable on the share registry. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about GlaxoSmithKline.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About GlaxoSmithKline?
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.
GlaxoSmithKline already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in 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. 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 GlaxoSmithKline, (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. We note that hedge funds don’t have a meaningful investment in GlaxoSmithKline. BlackRock, Inc. is currently the largest shareholder, with 7.1% of shares outstanding. Capital Research and Management Company is the second largest shareholder owning 6.1% of common stock, and The Vanguard Group, Inc. holds about 3.8% 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 GlaxoSmithKline
The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. 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 GlaxoSmithKline plc insiders own under 1% of the company. Being so large, we would not expect insiders to own a large proportion of the stock. Collectively, they own UK£42m of stock. 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
The general public, with a 17% 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.
While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. Be aware that GlaxoSmithKline is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about…
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.
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.