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AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV) is favoured by institutional owners who hold 71% of the company

Key Insights

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

  • The top 25 shareholders own 45% of the company

  • Insiders have been selling lately

A look at the shareholders of AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV) can tell us which group is most powerful. And the group that holds the biggest piece of the pie are institutions with 71% ownership. In other words, the group stands to gain the most (or lose the most) from their investment into the company.

Since institutional have access to huge amounts of capital, their market moves tend to receive a lot of scrutiny by retail or 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 AbbVie.

See our latest analysis for AbbVie

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About AbbVie?

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.

AbbVie already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. This can indicate that the company has a certain degree of credibility in the investment community. However, it is best to be wary of relying on the supposed validation that comes with institutional investors. They too, get it wrong sometimes. If multiple institutions change their view on a stock at the same time, you could see the share price drop fast. It's therefore worth looking at AbbVie's earnings history below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

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

Institutional investors own over 50% of the company, so together than can probably strongly influence board decisions. We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in AbbVie. Our data shows that The Vanguard Group, Inc. is the largest shareholder with 9.0% of shares outstanding. BlackRock, Inc. is the second largest shareholder owning 7.9% of common stock, and Capital Research and Management Company holds about 4.9% of the company stock.

On studying our ownership data, we found that 25 of the top shareholders collectively own less than 50% of the share register, implying that no single individual has a majority interest.

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 AbbVie

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 AbbVie Inc. in their own names. It is a very large company, so it would be surprising to see insiders own a large proportion of the company. Though their holding amounts to less than 1%, we can see that board members collectively own US$279m worth of shares (at current prices). 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

With a 29% ownership, the general public, mostly comprising of individual investors, have some degree of sway over AbbVie. This size of ownership, while considerable, may not be enough to change company policy if the decision is not in sync with other large shareholders.

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 for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 5 warning signs with AbbVie , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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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