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Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) is favoured by institutional owners who hold 76% of the company

Key Insights

  • Given the large stake in the stock by institutions, Delta Air Lines' stock price might be vulnerable to their trading decisions

  • The top 20 shareholders own 50% of the company

  • Insiders have sold recently

To get a sense of who is truly in control of Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL), it is important to understand the ownership structure of the business. With 76% stake, institutions possess the maximum shares in the company. 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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In the chart below, we zoom in on the different ownership groups of Delta Air Lines.

See our latest analysis for Delta Air Lines

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Delta Air Lines?

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.

Delta Air Lines already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. 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. 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 Delta Air Lines, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

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

Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. Hedge funds don't have many shares in Delta Air Lines. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is The Vanguard Group, Inc. with 11% of shares outstanding. BlackRock, Inc. is the second largest shareholder owning 6.7% of common stock, and Capital Research and Management Company holds about 5.7% of the company stock.

A closer look at our ownership figures suggests that the top 20 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. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of Delta Air Lines

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.

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.

Our data suggests that insiders own under 1% of Delta Air Lines, Inc. in their own names. As it is a large company, we'd only expect insiders to own a small percentage of it. But it's worth noting that they own US$127m worth of shares. 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 24% stake in the company, and hence can't easily be ignored. While this group can't necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.

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. Be aware that Delta Air Lines is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , 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.