If you want to know who really controls The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO), then you’ll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. Large companies usually have institutions as shareholders, and we usually see insiders owning shares in smaller companies. We also tend to see lower insider ownership in companies that were previously publicly owned.
With a market capitalization of US$230b, Coca-Cola 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. Let’s take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Coca-Cola.
Check out our latest analysis for Coca-Cola
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Coca-Cola?
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.
As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Coca-Cola. 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 Coca-Cola, (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. Coca-Cola is not owned by hedge funds. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is currently the largest shareholder, with 9.3% of shares outstanding. Meanwhile, the second and third largest shareholders, hold 7.3% and 7.0%, of the shares outstanding, respectively.
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. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.
Insider Ownership Of Coca-Cola
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 The Coca-Cola Company insiders own under 1% of the company. 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$1.5b worth of shares. Arguably recent buying and selling is just as important to consider. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.
General Public Ownership
The general public holds a 31% stake in Coca-Cola. While this group can’t necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.
Public Company Ownership
Public companies currently own 9.3% of Coca-Cola stock. This may be a strategic interest and the two companies may have related business interests. It could be that they have de-merged. This holding is probably worth investigating further.
While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. For instance, we’ve identified 2 warning signs for Coca-Cola (1 is a bit unpleasant) that you should be aware of.
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.
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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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