Who Owns Monsanto?

The answer in 1939 turns out to be about the same as in 2010: minority shares by its own executives, and the majority by, well:
Last week’s survey of stockholders—lavish to the point of including pictures of “typical” Monsanto stockholders in the “typical” city of Cincinnati—was frankly designed to prove that Monsanto is not owned or run by any of “America’s 60 Families.”

Outstanding as of June 1, 1938, were 1,241,816 common shares held by 4,300 men, 4,084 women, 2,708 trusts, groups, institutions. Mr. Queeny holds only 3.4% has beneficial interest in about 4.5% more through relatives and trusts. One officer of the company owns 1.47%, no others own more than .25%.

The magazine named as “stockholders, once removed,” students in 42 universities which together own 1% of Monsanto and the 25,000,000 policyholders in 72 insurance companies which together own 3%. Tucked away in a graph was the fact that 81% of the company’s shares is owned in blocks of 101 or more shares ($102-to-$104 a share last week).

So, mostly funds in 1939. And 71 years later, it’s even more so.
…like an unruly mob, where the individual is swept up in the anonymity of the numbers, responsibility and conscience is muted when it comes to investments and pension funds. The system of shareholder capitalism, where massive powerful corporations have huge numbers of shareholders, including all kinds of mutual fund holders, capital managers, insurance companies, etc., makes it easy to be anonymous and check ones ethics at the door. Monsanto insiders own less than 10 % of the corporation, the remainder is controlled by money managers and mutual funds.
Specifically, according to Yahoo finance:
% of Shares Held by All Insider and 5% Owners: 0%
% of Shares Held by Institutional & Mutual Fund Owners: 81%
% of Float Held by Institutional & Mutual Fund Owners: 82%
Number of Institutions Holding Shares: 947
Insiders don’t own even a hundredth of a percent of Monsanto stock. The tiny percentages they own amount to sizeable personal wealth, $31 million total for CEO Hugh Grant, and $16.11 million per year.
The 48 year old executive ranks 1 within Chemicals
But Monsanto’s executives are not the recipients of most of the appreciation in Monsanto’s stock price. Who is?

Top institutional holders include Barclays, Morgan Stanley, and Janus Capital. Well, you’d expect that, right? Big capitalists of course want a chunk of Forbes’ Company of the Year, even if it is the least ethical company in the world according to a Covalence survey.

Top mutual fund holders include Growth Fund of America, Ivy Asset Strategy Fund, and College Retirement Equities Fund. Hm, the sorts of funds anybody might own, from college students to retirees. And in even mutual fund with the most Monsanto, you have to dig deep to find it; it’s not in the top 10 of holdings, it accounts for 0.63% of holdings. And while that is almost a billion dollars worth of stock, it’s still a small percentage of the fund. Less than the same fund owns of McDonalds and way less than it owns of Microsoft.

This isn’t like big media, which is largely controled by five families. This is more like big tobacco or apartheid South Africa. Lots of funds and institutions hold shares, and a divestiture movement might be quite interesting.

Hm, TIAA-CREF recently sold 10% of the Monsanto shares it owned. And Fidelity Management and Research sold 36% of what it owned. People can vote when they buy food, by not buying food that has pesticides or growth hormones or antibiotics in it. They can also vote when they invest, by not investing in funds that hold companies that do such things.

2 thoughts on “Who Owns Monsanto?

  1. Heidi Greene

    My husband has pointed out what a hoax this is. The more corrupt and greedy a company is, the more that they want to keep their stocks private. There probably really are five evil families that own 90% of Monsanto, but they will tell us that the stocks are bought up in thousands of mutual funds. That way it is impossible to track the investors and once again the rich stay rich while the poor stay poor (and sick, if they are eating Monsanto).

  2. alma Alva

    What an eye opener this is. I have heard about genetically engineered food, but what I have seen and read about monsanto is not joke. Unethical?, I would call it diabolic, and in some way, monsanto is the “antichrist,” if this people owns all the food in the world, what is left for everyone else?
    I will never buy any of their products, and I wish every human being would do the same. Let them eat all of their trash. I bet you that will all those billions, they are eating organic foods most likely imported from other countries.
    What a reality check, I thought I had a culture shock when I came to U.S. A. but this is the most shock ever.
    I will watch all those Y-Tube videos with my children, and I think it is time to start thinking to go back home, where fruit and vegetables are all organic.

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