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Company Information: Ownership data

Introductory guide to find international and national company information.

Ownership data

Corporate ownership is one of three broad categories of legal ownership of a business, the other two being sole proprietorship and partnership. 
In a sole proprietorship, the owner is personally liable for his or her business's debts and losses and there is no distinction made between personal and business income.
A partnership is merely joint ownership, and hence, in terms of personal liability, it is similar in every way to a sole proprietorship. 
Corporate ownership, on the other hand, is much more complex, because it involves the creation of a legal identity separate from those of its owners. While an individual may own all the shares of a corporation, he or she is not personally responsible for it. That is because a corporation is, strictly defined, a legal entity. 

Ownership data


Orbis contains a lot of ownership data on public and private companies – both current and historic data. In addition, you can export data on more companies at a time. The data is organized in an find an Ownership Database, which is a database of links. A link establishes an ownership relationship between two entities, a shareholder and a subsidiary:

  • A shareholder might be a corporation, a private individual, a government or a collectively described entity (such as the "public" for listed companies)
  • The subsidiary, however, is always a corporation.

Each ownership link contains the following information:

  • ID of the shareholder;
  • ID of the subsidiary;
  • Direct or Total (or both) percentages of ownership of the shareholder
    in the subsidiary (percentages relate to voting shares);
  • Information source (such as: Information Provider, Annual Report, Private
    Communication, News, Web Sites of the concerned companies, stock exchanges, etc.);
  • Date of the information;
  • Date of latest modification of the link;
  • Direct or Ultimate Owner (UO) link;
  • Active or archived link

Content: Orbis keeps archived data in its Ownership database since January 2003. 

Search hint: click through the following path to find the corresponding information for a preselected company: display a specific section > Ownership data > Shareholders
You can find historical information related to shareholders

User Guide: Home > Guide menu > Ownership > Introduction
In Orbis you can find a comprehensive user guide on the ownership section of the database with a description of the content and definitions of data variables.

Requesting data: 

to get Ownership data you need to go through three steps:

  1. make a population of companies by using the search criteria (country, industry, listed/unlisted etc.) or by importing a list of companies from another database
  2. when you have your list of companies you can get information on the selected companies such as the Global Ultimate Owner (GUO), shareholders, direct- and total ownership, private equity ownership data etc. (Add/remove Columns)
  3. now you can export your data to Excel

Eikon contains a lot of ownership information and historical ownership data as well.

You can find ownership data in two ways:

  • in Eikon: find the category  "Ownership"  (first enter the company name in the search box). In the "Ownership Summary"  the top ten investors are displayed and also detailed information relating to investor type, geographical provenience and buying/selling behavior
  • in Eikon Excel: to find Ownership data click on "Build Formula" on the left of the Excel menu bar. In the window that opens you select the category "Ownership" , where you find the desired information

Data of a single company:

Here a search for Alcoa Corp:

You can make the following choices under the ownership tab:

  • Ownership Summary.
  • Shareholder Report.
  • Shareholder History Report.
  • Fund Ownership Summary.
  • Get started with financial data (EDSC) 2
  • Fund Shareholder Report.
  • Fund Shareholder History Report.
  • Ownership Peers Analysis.
  • Insider Report.
  • Smart Holdings Model.
  • Equity Holdings.
  • Private Equity Holdings.

Defines the data via Custom Dates: 


Data of a list of companies (Eikon Excel Add-In)

Thomson Reuters (Eikon) > Build Formula
choose equities (companies) by identifier, search equities by search criteria or by a list of companies
Data items: choose Ownership and get access to more than 500 data variables

Thomson One Banker  
CBS Library license to Thomson One only gives access to ownership information on individual company level. That means you can only extract data from one company at a time
Export of data: you can download data to Excel and PDF
Main focus: public listed companies


Bloomberg has more datasets with different functions.
The function Security Ownership <HDS> gives you Ownership data for an individual company.
Export: here only the current data can be exported to Excel Output via the tab 25 Export

See also other Ownership fundtions for individual companies

Via the tab Historical you can go back to 1997 for ownership data.
Export: here you can only copy-paste the data from the screen in Excel


Ownerships summary.
Ownership summaryis another neat function in Bloomberg. It will show four quadrants with summary on top-, insider-, geographical- and institutional ownerships.


Insider-, and institutional ownership.
For insiders- and institutional ownership it is possible to retrieve historic data directly via Excel. Use the spreadsheet builder:

  • Upload your list of companies or re-use a portfolio.
  • Next select your variables (like number of institutional owners or percentage change in insider holdings)
  • Choose a date range and frequency and your preferred output.

Via WRDS there are several databases that contain ownership data. For the moment there are no access to these databases via CBS subcription to WRDS