Nearly 75% of all Twitter stock is owned not by individuals but by institutional investors who buy large stakes in companies for their clients. The names below shuffle places on the list from time to time, but the latest figures available, for mid-June 2019, place The Vanguard Group, Inc. at the top of the heap of Twitter shareowners.
Twitter Inc. (TWTR), which operates the global messaging platform, was founded in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass. Twitter developer Glass had previously created a venture called Odeo, a failed pioneer in podcasting. He teamed up with the other three to build Twitter from the ashes of that venture.
Twitter was, and is, distinguished from its competitors by the extreme succinctness in messaging it enforces. Its mini-posts are currently limited to 280 characters per tweet.
Its messaging platform has about 152 million daily active users as of the end of 2019. The company generated $1.3 billion in net income on revenue of $3.5 billion in the trailing 12-month period to June 1, 2020. Twitter has a market cap of about $25.0 billion.
The company generates revenue primarily through advertising, with a second revenue stream from data licensing and other services. Co-founder Jack Dorsey has served as CEO of Twitter since 2015.
Below, we'll look at the top five shareholders of Twitter based on the number of shares owned. Notably, Dorsey is not on this list, although he owns a 13.5% stake in mobile payments company Square Inc. (SQ), which he also founded and now leads as CEO.
The Vanguard Group, Inc.
Investment management company Vanguard Group holds the largest stake in Twitter. One of the biggest investment managers globally, Vanguard offers hundreds of mutual funds, ETFs, and retirement products. The company holds about $6.2 trillion in global assets under management (AUM) as of Jan. 31, 2020.
Vanguard's stake in Twitter represents nearly 79 million shares. This constitutes just under 10% of all outstanding Twitter shares. Vanguard customers can invest in Twitter stock through the company's Vanguard Communications Services Index Fund ETF (VOX), the Vanguard Growth Index Fund ETF (VUG), and other funds.
Multinational financial services and investment company Morgan Stanley (MS) holds the second-largest stake in Twitter. Morgan Stanley acts as a wealth management company for roughly $2 trillion in customer assets. The firm also has capital markets, sales and trading, research, and investment banking branches. Morgan Stanley's stake in Twitter amounts to roughly 46 million shares, representing 5.8% of outstanding shares.
BlackRock Fund Advisors Inc.
The second-largest shareholder of Twitter is the global investment manager BlackRock Inc. (BLK). BlackRock held $6.8 trillion AUM as of June 30, 2019. It currently owns 37.2 million shares of Twitter. This stake accounts for roughly 4.7% of all outstanding shares. BlackRock is the issuer of the popular iShares ETF line, and customers can own Twitter through several of these funds. The company's iShares Evolved U.S. Media and Entertainment ETF (IEME) is one fund that holds Twitter.
SSgA Funds Management, Inc.
Better known as State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), this firm offers a broad array of investment management services to individual and institutional clients. State Street held $3.1 trillion AUM as of Dec. 31, 2019. It owns about 35.7 million shares of Twitter stock with a value of about $876 million. That is about 4.5% of all outstanding shares. State Street is known for its SPDR line of ETFs, including the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY), which owns Twitter shares.
ClearBridge Investments LLC
Asset manager ClearBridge Investments focuses on long-term investment strategies, managing about $121.0 billion as of March 31, 2020. This firm rounds out the list of the top five shareholders of Twitter. This firm owns more than 24 million shares of Twitter, for a stake of about 3.07%.