If you want to know who really controls REA Group Limited (ASX:REA), 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. Companies that have been privatized tend to have low insider ownership.
REA Group is a pretty big company. It has a market capitalization of AU$15b. Normally institutions would own a significant portion of a company this size. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it seems that institutions own shares in the company. Let's delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about REA Group.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About REA Group?
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.
We can see that REA Group does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company's stock. 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 REA Group, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.
Hedge funds don't have many shares in REA Group. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is News Corporation with 61% of shares outstanding. This implies that they have majority interest control of the future of the company. Meanwhile, the second and third largest shareholders, hold 1.8% and 1.2%, of the shares outstanding, respectively.
Researching institutional ownership is a good way to gauge and filter a stock's expected performance. The same can be achieved by studying analyst sentiments. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.
Insider Ownership Of REA Group
While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. Management ultimately answers to the board. However, it is not uncommon for managers to be executive board members, especially if they are a founder or the CEO.
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 most recent data indicates that insiders own less than 1% of REA Group Limited. Being so large, we would not expect insiders to own a large proportion of the stock. Collectively, they own AU$63m 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
With a 29% ownership, the general public, mostly comprising of individual investors, have some degree of sway over REA Group. 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.
Public Company Ownership
Public companies currently own 61% of REA Group 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. To that end, you should be aware of the 1 warning sign we've spotted with REA Group .
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. 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.