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What Kind Of Shareholders Own Auto Trader Group plc (LON:AUTO)?

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Simply Wall St
·4-min read
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A look at the shareholders of Auto Trader Group plc (LON:AUTO) can tell us which group is most powerful. 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.

Auto Trader Group has a market capitalization of UK£5.5b, 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 own shares in the company. Let's delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about Auto Trader Group.

Check out our latest analysis for Auto Trader Group

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Auto Trader Group?

Institutional investors commonly compare their own returns to the returns of a commonly followed index. So they generally do consider buying larger companies that are included in the relevant benchmark index.

Auto Trader Group already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. 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. When multiple institutions own a stock, there's always a risk that they are in a 'crowded trade'. When such a trade goes wrong, multiple parties may compete to sell stock fast. This risk is higher in a company without a history of growth. You can see Auto Trader Group's historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

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. We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Auto Trader Group. BlackRock, Inc. is currently the company's largest shareholder with 10% of shares outstanding. For context, the second largest shareholder holds about 8.8% of the shares outstanding, followed by an ownership of 8.3% by the third-largest shareholder.

A closer look at our ownership figures suggests that the top 12 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 Auto Trader Group

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.

Shareholders would probably be interested to learn that insiders own shares in Auto Trader Group plc. This is a big company, so it is good to see this level of alignment. Insiders own UK£56m worth of shares (at current prices). It is good to see this level of investment by insiders. You can check here to see if those insiders have been buying recently.

General Public Ownership

With a 15% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over Auto Trader Group. While this group can't necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.

Next Steps:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Auto Trader Group better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for Auto Trader Group 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.

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.

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