If you want to know who really controls Sprout Social, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPT), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. Large companies usually have institutions as shareholders, and we usually see insiders owning shares in smaller companies. I generally like to see some degree of insider ownership, even if only a little. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb said, 'Don’t tell me what you think, tell me what you have in your portfolio.
With a market capitalization of US$7.2b, Sprout Social is rather large. We'd expect to see institutional investors on the register. Companies of this size are usually well known to retail investors, too. 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 Sprout Social.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Sprout Social?
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.
As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Sprout Social. 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. 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 Sprout Social's historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.
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 Sprout Social. The company's largest shareholder is BlackRock, Inc., with ownership of 6.8%. In comparison, the second and third largest shareholders hold about 6.5% and 6.1% of the stock. Aaron Rankin, who is the third-largest shareholder, also happens to hold the title of Member of the Board of Directors. Additionally, the company's CEO Justyn Howard directly holds 1.5% of the total shares outstanding.
After doing some more digging, we found that the top 17 have the combined ownership of 51% in the company, suggesting that no single shareholder has significant control over the company.
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 Sprout Social
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.
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 most recent data indicates that insiders own some shares in Sprout Social, Inc.. It is a pretty big company, so it is generally a positive to see some potentially meaningful alignment. In this case, they own around US$643m 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
The general public, who are usually individual investors, hold a 10% stake in Sprout Social. While this group can't necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.
Private Company Ownership
It seems that Private Companies own 5.6%, of the Sprout Social stock. Private companies may be related parties. Sometimes insiders have an interest in a public company through a holding in a private company, rather than in their own capacity as an individual. While it's hard to draw any broad stroke conclusions, it is worth noting as an area for further research.
It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Sprout Social better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 4 warning signs with Sprout Social (at least 1 which doesn't sit too well with us) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
If you would prefer discover what analysts are predicting in terms of future growth, do not miss this free report on analyst forecasts.
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. 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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