Who Owns Ford Motor Company? It’s Complicated

Mohit Oberoi, CFA - Author
By

Aug. 18 2022, Published 9:24 a.m. ET

Ford Motor (NYSE: F) is the second-largest U.S.-based automaker. It was founded in 1903 by Henry Ford. The company is credited with revolutionizing the automotive industry. Who owns Ford Motor Company now?

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When Ford was incorporated in 1903, it had 12 investors and 1,000 shares. The company had $28,000 in cash and spent all of the money before it sold its first Model A vehicle. However, the company turned profitable later in the year.

Ford has two classes of shares.

While it's almost customary for tech companies to have a dual share structure, Ford also has one. It has Class A and Class B shares whereas the latter have higher voting right. Companies keep a dual share structure to give higher voting rights to the founders, which in Ford’s case is the Ford family.

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According to Ford, it had over 3.9 billion outstanding Class A shares as of June 30, 2021. The outstanding Class B shares were just over 70 million. Class B shares account for only about 2 percent of Ford’s outstanding float but have a 40 percent voting power.

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Who owns Ford Motor Company?

Since Ford is a publicly traded company, it's owned by its stockholders. Like all other major U.S. companies, institutions own the most shares of Ford. The Vanguard Group is the biggest stockholder with about an 8.3 percent stake. BlackRock is second with a 6.8 percent stake, while State Street Global Advisors is third with a 4.5 percent stake. In most major U.S. companies, these three are typically the biggest owners, thanks to the ownership through index funds and ETFs.

Newport Trust, Geode Capital Management, Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley are the other leading stockholders of Ford in that order and own 3.7 percent, 1.8 percent, 1.7 percent, and 1.3 percent stake, respectively, in the company.

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Bill Ford is the largest individual owner of Ford.

Bill Ford, who is the great-grandson of Henry Ford, is the largest individual stockholder of Ford. Earlier this year, he purchased more Class A shares and increased the ownership to 2.3 million shares. He also owns 23 percent of the Class B shares, which gives him outsized voting powers. Bill is also Ford’s chairman. The company’s current CEO is Jim Farley, who took over the position in 2020 and has been trying to restructure the business.

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Ford has already separated the traditional ICE (internal combustion engine) business from the EV (electric vehicle) business. From 2023 onwards, the company will separately report the earnings of Ford Blue, which is the ICE business, and Ford Model e — the EV business.

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Many see it as a sign of an eventual spin-off of the EV business. Pure-play EV stocks attract premium valuations. For example, while Ford now sells more EVs than NIO, not to mention the stark difference in their total sales and profits (or the lack of it in NIO’s case), we don’t see a commensurate difference in their valuations.

Bill Ford controls Ford but doesn't own the company fully.

Coming back to Ford’s ownership, Bill controls the company through higher voting rights. However, in a strict sense, he and the Ford family don't own the company anymore, at least not fully.

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