If you want to know who really controls Fortinet, Inc. (NASDAQ:FTNT), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. Insiders often own a large chunk of younger, smaller, companies while huge companies tend to have institutions as shareholders. I quite like to see at least a little bit of insider ownership. As Charlie Munger said 'Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome.
With a market capitalization of US$42b, Fortinet 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. In the chart below, we can see that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about Fortinet.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Fortinet?
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.
Fortinet 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. It is not uncommon to see a big share price drop if two large institutional investors try to sell out of a stock at the same time. So it is worth checking the past earnings trajectory of Fortinet, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.
Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Fortinet. The company's largest shareholder is The Vanguard Group, Inc., with ownership of 8.5%. For context, the second largest shareholder holds about 8.0% of the shares outstanding, followed by an ownership of 7.2% by the third-largest shareholder. Note that the second and third-largest shareholders are also Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board of Directors, respectively, meaning that the company's top shareholders are insiders.
A closer look at our ownership figures suggests that the top 12 shareholders have a combined ownership of 50% implying that no single shareholder has a majority.
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. 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 Fortinet
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.
It seems insiders own a significant proportion of Fortinet, Inc.. It is very interesting to see that insiders have a meaningful US$6.4b stake in this US$42b business. It is good to see this level of investment. You can check here to see if those insiders have been buying recently.
General Public Ownership
The general public-- including retail investors -- own 18% stake in the company, and hence can't easily be ignored. 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.
It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Fortinet better, we need to consider many other factors. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Fortinet (of which 1 is a bit unpleasant!) you should know about.
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.
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.
Join A Paid User Research Session
You’ll receive a US$30 Amazon Gift card for 1 hour of your time while helping us build better investing tools for the individual investors like yourself. Sign up here