A look at the shareholders of China Online Education Group (NYSE:COE) can tell us which group is most powerful. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. 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.'
China Online Education Group is not a large company by global standards. It has a market capitalization of US$118m, which means it wouldn't have the attention of many institutional investors. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutions own shares in the company. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about COE.
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What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About China Online Education Group?
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.
China Online Education Group already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own 7.2% of 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. If multiple institutions change their view on a stock at the same time, you could see the share price drop fast. It's therefore worth looking at China Online Education Group's earnings history, below. Of course, the future is what really matters.
We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in China Online Education Group. Our information suggests that there isn't any analyst coverage of the stock, so it is probably little known.
Insider Ownership Of China Online Education Group
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.
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.
It seems insiders own a significant proportion of China Online Education Group. Insiders have a US$23m stake in this US$118m business. I would say this shows alignment with shareholders, but it is worth noting that the company is still quite small; some insiders may have founded the business. You can click here to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.
General Public Ownership
The general public holds a 13% stake in COE. While this group can't necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.
Private Equity Ownership
With an ownership of 52%, private equity firms are in a position to play a role in shaping corporate strategy with a focus on value creation. Some might like this, because private equity are sometimes activists who hold management accountable. But other times, private equity is selling out, having taking the company public.
Public Company Ownership
It appears to us that public companies own 8.3% of COE. This may be a strategic interest and the two companies may have related business interests. It could be that they have de-merged. This holding is probably worth investigating further.
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 .
Of course this may not be the best stock to buy. Therefore, you may wish to see our free collection of interesting prospects boasting favorable financials.
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.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.