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With 67% institutional ownership, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) is a favorite amongst the big guns

Key Insights

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

  • A total of 25 investors have a majority stake in the company with 39% ownership

  • Insiders have sold recently

A look at the shareholders of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) can tell us which group is most powerful. And the group that holds the biggest piece of the pie are institutions with 67% ownership. In other words, the group stands to gain the most (or lose the most) from their investment into the company.

Given the vast amount of money and research capacities at their disposal, institutional ownership tends to carry a lot 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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In the chart below, we zoom in on the different ownership groups of Walt Disney.

See our latest analysis for Walt Disney

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Walt Disney?

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.

Walt Disney 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. 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 Walt Disney, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

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. Walt Disney is not owned by hedge funds. The Vanguard Group, Inc. is currently the largest shareholder, with 8.3% of shares outstanding. With 6.6% and 4.1% of the shares outstanding respectively, BlackRock, Inc. and State Street Global Advisors, Inc. are the second and third largest shareholders.

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. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of Walt Disney

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.

Insider ownership is positive when it signals leadership are thinking like the true owners of the company. However, high insider ownership can also give immense power to a small group within the company. This can be negative in some circumstances.

Our data suggests that insiders own under 1% of The Walt Disney Company in their own names. Being so large, we would not expect insiders to own a large proportion of the stock. Collectively, they own US$59m 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 32% 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.

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 1 warning sign with Walt Disney , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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.