Every investor in Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. Insiders often own a large chunk of younger, smaller, companies while huge companies tend to have institutions as shareholders. Companies that have been privatized tend to have low insider ownership.
Marathon Oil has a market capitalization of US$3.1b, so it’s too big to fly under the radar. We’d expect to see both institutions and retail investors owning a portion of the company. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it seems that institutions own shares in the company. Let’s delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about Marathon Oil.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Marathon Oil?
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.
We can see that Marathon Oil does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company’s stock. 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. 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 Marathon Oil’s earnings history below. Of course, the future is what really matters.
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 Marathon Oil. The company’s largest shareholder is The Vanguard Group, Inc., with ownership of 11%. Meanwhile, the second and third largest shareholders, hold 7.4% and 6.6%, of the shares outstanding, respectively.
A closer look at our ownership figures suggests that the top 16 shareholders have a combined ownership of 50% implying that no single shareholder has a majority.
Researching institutional ownership is a good way to gauge and filter a stock’s expected performance. The same can be achieved by studying analyst sentiments. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.
Insider Ownership Of Marathon Oil
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.
Our most recent data indicates that insiders own less than 1% of Marathon Oil Corporation. It’s a big company, so even a small proportional interest can create alignment between the board and shareholders. In this case insiders own US$8.3m 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
With a 25% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over Marathon Oil. 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.
While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. For example, we’ve discovered 3 warning signs for Marathon Oil (1 is a bit unpleasant!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
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.
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. 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.