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Company ownership data

There have been several recent articles in the financial press on the impact of the Qatari stake in Xstrata on the outcome of the proposed merger of Glencore and Xstrata.

Bloomberg ownership example

Top 3 current holders for Xstrata from Bloomberg (click to expand)

The main sources are: Bloomberg Professional, Thomson One Banker – ownership, Orbis, FAME (UK cos) and WRDS – Thomson Reuters (US cos).

While some shareholder information is publicly available, since large shareholders and directors have to declare dealings to the markets it is not easily available in a research-friendly format.

The commercial providers of ownership data tend to provide data for users who are interested in the current ownership of a single company or a small portfolio. They also collect data from as many sources as possible: large shareholders who have to report their holdings, institutional owners who report the largest holdings in their funds, and director dealings that can be large or small. (The exception if the Thomson Reuters database in WRDS (Wharton Research Data Services) – this is more research-friendly but only covers US companies.)

With ownership data researchers need to carefully check what is available and how easily it can be collected.

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  1. markgreenwood
    31 August 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Proving that with effort ownership data can lead to first-rate research: the following paper was 2012 Black Rock/Brennan Best Paper – Runner Up Award for outstanding paper in the Review of Financial Studies.
    Faccio, M., Marchica, M.-T., and Mura, R. (2011) “Large Shareholder Diversification and Corporate Risk-Taking”, Review of Financial Studies, 24(11) pp. 3601-3614.
    Abstract – http://rfs.oxfordjournals.org/content/24/11/3601.abstract
    eScholar – https://www.escholar.manchester.ac.uk/uk-ac-man-scw:126156
    (Note the appendix on ownership data quality – the paper uses ownership data from Amadeus to which we subscribed before changing to Orbis.)

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