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With 70% ownership of the shares, McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) is heavily dominated by institutional owners

Key Insights

  • Given the large stake in the stock by institutions, McDonald's' stock price might be vulnerable to their trading decisions

  • A total of 25 investors have a majority stake in the company with 42% ownership

  • Analyst forecasts along with ownership data serve to give a strong idea about prospects for a business

A look at the shareholders of McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) can tell us which group is most powerful. And the group that holds the biggest piece of the pie are institutions with 70% ownership. That is, the group stands to benefit the most if the stock rises (or lose the most if there is a downturn).

Since institutional have access to huge amounts of capital, their market moves tend to receive a lot of scrutiny by retail or individual investors. Therefore, a good portion of institutional money invested in the company is usually a huge vote of confidence on its future.

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In the chart below, we zoom in on the different ownership groups of McDonald's.

View our latest analysis for McDonald's

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About McDonald's?

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.

As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in McDonald's. 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 McDonald'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. McDonald's is not owned by hedge funds. The Vanguard Group, Inc. is currently the company's largest shareholder with 9.3% of shares outstanding. BlackRock, Inc. is the second largest shareholder owning 7.0% of common stock, and State Street Global Advisors, Inc. holds about 4.7% of the company stock.

Our studies suggest that the top 25 shareholders collectively control less than half of the company's shares, meaning that the company's shares are widely disseminated and there is no dominant shareholder.

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. 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 McDonald's

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

I generally consider insider ownership to be a good thing. However, on some occasions it makes it more difficult for other shareholders to hold the board accountable for decisions.

Our data suggests that insiders own under 1% of McDonald's Corporation in their own names. Being so large, we would not expect insiders to own a large proportion of the stock. Collectively, they own US$86m of stock. It is good to see board members owning shares, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.

General Public Ownership

The general public-- including retail investors -- own 30% 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.

Next Steps:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand McDonald's better, we need to consider many other factors. For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for McDonald's that you should be aware of before investing here.

Ultimately the future is most important. You can access this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

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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