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With 74% ownership of the shares, The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) is heavily dominated by institutional owners

Key Insights

  • Institutions' substantial holdings in Kroger implies that they have significant influence over the company's share price

  • The top 20 shareholders own 50% of the company

  • Insiders have sold recently

If you want to know who really controls The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. We can see that institutions own the lion's share in the company with 74% ownership. That is, the group stands to benefit the most if the stock rises (or lose the most if there is a downturn).

Because institutional owners have a huge pool of resources and liquidity, their investing decisions tend to carry a great deal of weight, especially with individual investors. Hence, having a considerable amount of institutional money invested in a company is often regarded as a desirable trait.

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Let's delve deeper into each type of owner of Kroger, beginning with the chart below.

Check out our latest analysis for Kroger

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Kroger?

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 Kroger does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company's stock. 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 Kroger, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. Hedge funds don't have many shares in Kroger. The Vanguard Group, Inc. is currently the largest shareholder, with 11% of shares outstanding. With 9.2% and 7.0% of the shares outstanding respectively, BlackRock, Inc. and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. are the second and third largest shareholders. In addition, we found that William McMullen, the CEO has 0.5% of the shares allocated to their name.

A closer look at our ownership figures suggests that the top 20 shareholders have a combined ownership of 50% implying that no single shareholder has a majority.

While studying institutional ownership for a company can add value to your research, it is also a good practice to research analyst recommendations to get a deeper understand of a stock's expected performance. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of Kroger

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.

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 The Kroger Co.. 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$284m worth of shares. 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-- including retail investors -- own 18% stake in the company, and hence can't 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

Public companies currently own 7.0% of Kroger stock. We can't be certain but it is quite possible this is a strategic stake. The businesses may be similar, or work together.

Next Steps:

I find it very interesting to look at who exactly owns a company. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Kroger you should know about.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.

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