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Institutional investors are adidas AG's (ETR:ADS) biggest bettors and were rewarded after last week's €1.8b market cap gain

Key Insights

  • Significantly high institutional ownership implies adidas' stock price is sensitive to their trading actions

  • A total of 25 investors have a majority stake in the company with 47% ownership

  • Analyst forecasts along with ownership data serve to give a strong idea about prospects for a business

A look at the shareholders of adidas AG (ETR:ADS) can tell us which group is most powerful. With 50% stake, institutions possess the maximum shares in the company. That is, the group stands to benefit the most if the stock rises (or lose the most if there is a downturn).

And last week, institutional investors ended up benefitting the most after the company hit €41b in market cap. The one-year return on investment is currently 46% and last week's gain would have been more than welcomed.

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In the chart below, we zoom in on the different ownership groups of adidas.

View our latest analysis for adidas

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About adidas?

Institutions typically measure themselves against a benchmark when reporting to their own investors, so they often become more enthusiastic about a stock once it's included in a major index. We would expect most companies to have some institutions on the register, especially if they are growing.

We can see that adidas does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company's stock. 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 adidas, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

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

We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in adidas. Our data shows that Groupe Bruxelles Lambert SA is the largest shareholder with 7.7% of shares outstanding. BlackRock, Inc. is the second largest shareholder owning 6.1% of common stock, and Capital Research and Management Company holds about 5.2% of the company stock.

A deeper look at our ownership data shows that the top 25 shareholders collectively hold less than half of the register, suggesting a large group of small holders where 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 adidas

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.

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 cannot confirm that board members are holding shares personally. It is unusual not to have at least some personal holdings by board members, so our data might be flawed. A good next step would be to check how much the CEO is paid.

General Public Ownership

The general public-- including retail investors -- own 43% stake in the company, and hence can't easily be ignored. While this size of ownership may not be enough to sway a policy decision in their favour, they can still make a collective impact on company policies.

Public Company Ownership

It appears to us that public companies own 7.7% of adidas. We can't be certain but it is quite possible this is a strategic stake. The businesses may be similar, or work together.

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.

I like to dive deeper into how a company has performed in the past. You can access this interactive graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow, for free.

But ultimately it is the future, not the past, that will determine how well the owners of this business will do. Therefore we think it advisable to take a look at this free report showing whether analysts are predicting a brighter 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.