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Institutional investors have a lot riding on Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE:BTU) with 64% ownership

To get a sense of who is truly in control of Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE:BTU), it is important to understand the ownership structure of the business. The group holding the most number of shares in the company, around 64% to be precise, is institutions. That is, the group stands to benefit the most if the stock rises (or lose the most if there is a downturn).

And last week, institutional investors ended up benefitting the most after the company hit US$3.8b in market cap. The one-year return on investment is currently 142% and last week's gain would have been more than welcomed.

In the chart below, we zoom in on the different ownership groups of Peabody Energy.

Check out our latest analysis for Peabody Energy

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Peabody Energy?

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 Peabody Energy 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. 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 Peabody Energy'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. It looks like hedge funds own 18% of Peabody Energy shares. That catches my attention because hedge funds sometimes try to influence management, or bring about changes that will create near term value for shareholders. Elliott Management Corporation is currently the largest shareholder, with 18% of shares outstanding. Meanwhile, the second and third largest shareholders, hold 11% and 7.6%, of the shares outstanding, respectively.

On further inspection, we found that more than half the company's shares are owned by the top 6 shareholders, suggesting that the interests of the larger shareholders are balanced out to an extent by the smaller ones.

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 Peabody Energy

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. 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.

Most consider insider ownership a positive because it can indicate the board is well aligned with other shareholders. However, on some occasions too much power is concentrated within this group.

Our most recent data indicates that insiders own some shares in Peabody Energy Corporation. This is a big company, so it is good to see this level of alignment. Insiders own US$50m worth of shares (at current prices). If you would like to explore the question of insider alignment, you can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public-- including retail investors -- own 17% stake in the company, and hence can't easily be ignored. While this group can't necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.

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. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Peabody Energy (of which 1 is potentially serious!) you should know about.

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.

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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