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J D Wetherspoon plc (LON:JDW) is favoured by institutional owners who hold 57% of the company

Key Insights

A look at the shareholders of J D Wetherspoon plc (LON:JDW) can tell us which group is most powerful. And the group that holds the biggest piece of the pie are institutions with 57% ownership. Put another way, the group faces the maximum upside potential (or downside risk).

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 take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about J D Wetherspoon.

Check out our latest analysis for J D Wetherspoon

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About J D Wetherspoon?

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.

J D Wetherspoon already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. 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 J D Wetherspoon'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

Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. Hedge funds don't have many shares in J D Wetherspoon. Because actions speak louder than words, we consider it a good sign when insiders own a significant stake in a company. In J D Wetherspoon's case, its Top Key Executive, Timothy Martin, is the largest shareholder, holding 25% of shares outstanding. Meanwhile, the second and third largest shareholders, hold 8.1% and 5.9%, 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.

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. There are a reasonable number of analysts covering the stock, so it might be useful to find out their aggregate view on the future.

Insider Ownership Of J D Wetherspoon

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.

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 information suggests that insiders maintain a significant holding in J D Wetherspoon plc. Insiders own UK£246m worth of shares in the UK£955m company. That's quite meaningful. Most would say this shows a good degree of alignment with shareholders, especially in a company of this size. You can click here to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

With a 12% ownership, the general public, mostly comprising of individual investors, have some degree of sway over J D Wetherspoon. 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.

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. To that end, you should learn about the 3 warning signs we've spotted with J D Wetherspoon (including 1 which is a bit unpleasant) .

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.