Posted by u/BartiTheGreat
EDIT 2:
Moved the edits to the top and added a heading.
EDIT 1:
Guys, I would like to highlight that those numbers of shares in circulation are based only on the data from Bloomberg Terminal, and the number of at least 115 million shares is based on the filings from April 2021. Since then, lots of things have changed eg. including my GME portfolio which quadrupled. We will probably never know what is the real number of shares, but those 115 million, in my opinion, is a bare minimum.
Analysis
Hey guys,
Last time, when the new Bloomberg Terminal screenshot came out with Gamestop data, it got me thinking if the data there is reliable and can be used to prove the manipulation in the stock. So in order to do that, I analyzed every monthly Bloomberg post dating back to March 2021.
The findings are fascinating and they show that the data might have been manipulated after April 2021, or the method of calculating the Institutional ownership has completely changed. I lean more towards the former. Moreover, based on the data from Bloomberg, I can say with confidence that the number of shares on the market back in April 2021 varied between 115 million to 125 million.
I am gonna shortly present the whole process but first, you may ask why I analyzed the data up to only March 2021. Well…the answer to that is quite simple, I couldn’t find any more posts with Bloomberg data with older dates. Secondly, these last few Bloomberg posts depict that shares held by institutions were above the total number of outstanding shares, more precisely it was 121.74% of the outstanding share and 137.46% of float based on the filing from 25.04.2021. And the most recent one from 17.04.2022, which was available here on Superstonk, shows that institutions hold only 45.81% of total shares, and 40.17% of the float, so something happened between April 2021 and now, and I will try to analyze that.
Hypothesis and the data
My hypothesis is that the data is completely invalid and with the methodology described below I will try to prove it. Since there is no guidance provided by Bloomberg on how the ownership is calculated etc., I need to assume some stuff based on the general knowledge and the findings from the Internet.
I decided to write down the percentage of shares held by institutions and the top ownership type in an Excel spreadsheet, and I started calculating the number of shares based on the numbers provided by Bloomberg.
So here is the data already in the Excel spreadsheet.
Data between 12.12.2021 and 17.04.2022
Data between 30.05.2021 and 28.11.2021
Data between 14.03.2021 and 25.04.2021
As you can see it is quite a lot.
CALCULATION MODEL 1
Let’s start by calculating the number of the top ownership shares. Here in this method, I assume that there is no fuckery and the maximum number of shares existing is the number of shares outstanding, right? I mean it has to be correct. There is no stock manipulation market according to the media. <insert Cramer meme>
For all those calculations I took the number of shares outstanding in a specific period and multiplied it by the percentage of the ownership. For demonstration let’s take the filing from the 17th of April 2021. According to it, brokerages own 2.72% and that means that the number of shares held by brokerages is:
2.72% x 75,900,00 (shares outstanding) = 2 064 480.00
The data from the 17th of April 2022
Isn’t it simple?
The same methodology applies to other types of ownership. It is worth noticing that the screenshot of the filing from 17.04.2022 was cut, so I was unable to obtain the data for other types of ownership.
Okay, let’s move on. We have already numbers of shares sorted by top ownership, so let’s try to calculate the total number of shares, based on those ownership numbers and the percentage of the shares held by institutions.
How to specify which types of ownership are included in the institutional holdings. Well, it is quite obvious, we have to google it.
Boom, first google search, straight from Investopedia.
Institutional Ownership from Investopedia
Based on that I decided to include in Institutional Ownership those groups:

Investment

Pension

Insurance

Trust

Bank

Other

and, Private Equity
I didn’t include brokerages, Venture Capitals (VCs), and hedge fund managers (HFMs), because brokerages can hold our shares, VCs, in the Gamestop case, may hold shares of our beloved Ryan Cohen, and the HFMs may love our stock so much that they hold it in their own personal portfolios.
Another reason for that was to give some margin error, just in case, there is something wrong in the assumptions or calculations. If we would include shares of these ownership types in the final calculation the total number of shares would be even higher, so yeah, treat it guys as a safety factor.
The results for the data from the 17th of April 2022
In the red cells are the types of ownership included in the calculations and the number in red is the number of shares held by institutions.
You may already notice that something is wrong. Based on Investopedia, the number of shares held by institutions should be more or less equal to the number of shares held by institutional ownership types, but it is not.
Let’s omit that for now and go further with the analysis.
To calculate the total number of existing shares (Z), we need to divide the number of shares held by institutions from the top ownership table (Y) by the percentage of shares held by institutions (X).
Z = Y/X
Z = 44,196,570.00/45.81% = 96,477,996.07
so around 97mln shares. If we would include the Venture Capitals into that the number of total shares on the market would be around 135mln shares, a lot right?
I applied the same method to other dates and here are the results:
Results from 12.12.2021 to 17.04.2022
Results from 30.05.2021 to 28.11.2021
Here, before posting the last picture, I would like to go back to that point in which I discussed that ownership type percentage/number is not similar to the percentage of shares held by institutions. In a perfect world, where there is no stock manipulation, the percentage of the shares held by the institutions should be equal to the sum of percentages of Investment advisors, Pensions Funds, Insurance Companies, etc., but it is not. Well, obviously there is something fishy happening with the data, and the last table, in which the institutional ownership was higher than 100%, will show you that.
Results from 14.03.2021 to 25.04.2021
As you can see, based on the first calculation model the number of shares on the market is lower than the number of shares outstanding, and it makes sense. If you divide the number of the institutional shares by the number bigger than 1. It’s always gonna give you the smaller value.
Here is an example for smooth brains:
Simple representation of how the fraction work
Thus, it proves that something is wrong with the data, and the calculation method I wanted to use from the beginning is not working for all of the time periods. It confirms that way of the data representation in Bloomberg Terminal has changed and it happened between April and May 2021. Please keep that in the back of your head. I will try to explain that a bit later.
CALCULATION MODEL 2
So after proving that the nofuckery method does not work, it makes now only sense to assume that the percentage of ownership is based on the total number of shares on the market, not on the outstanding ones – that was my previous assumption.
Let’s get to it. Back in April 2021, Bloomberg Terminal showed that the percentage of shares held by institutions was equal to 121.74%, which gives 79,496,220.00 shares held only by institutions. Quite a lot right? and it is after the January sneeze when supposedly shorts had closed their positions…hehehe.
2nd calculation method for the data from March/April 2021
So this time I assumed that the number of total shares is unknown and I can’t use shares outstanding to estimate the number of shares based on the top ownership. That was the flaw of the previous method in which I assume that the number of outstanding shares is the number of total shares on the market.
Following that logic, it gives us 79,496,220.00 held by institutions. Now, the top ownership percentage has to be used to calculate the total number of shares on the market. It is gonna be done similarly to the previous method, so we take only the numbers from the VCs, Insurance Companies, Trusts, Banks, Others, and Private Equities, and by a sum of those numbers, we will divide the number of shares held by institutions. The result should represent the total number of shares in circulation (real and phantom shares).
Results of the 2nd calculation method for the data from March/April 2021
Here is an explanation based on the 25th of April 2021 data:
X – is the number of shares held by institutions, thus:
X = 79 496 220.00
Y – is the number of total shares on the market and it is our unknown.
Let’s calculate Y:
X = 0,5929Y + 0.0170Y + 0.0273Y + 0.0486Y + 0.0134Y, so
Y = X/(0,5929+0.0170+0.0273+0.0486+0.0134)
Y = 79 496 220.00/0.6372
Y = 124 758 662.90
It means that back in April 2021 number of shares in circulation was around 125mln.
I applied the same method to other filings after April 2021 and once again the total number of shares is smaller than the number of shares outstanding.
Results of the 2nd calculation method for the data from December 2021 to April 2022.
Results of the 2nd calculation method for the data from May to October 2021
The only logical explanation for that is that the percentage of institutional ownership is completely manipulated by Bloomberg, and it all happened after April 2021, when the Institutional Ownership went suddenly from 121.74% to the level of 56%.
Here is the graph, which shows that nicely:
Percentage of outstanding shares and float held by institutions
Look at the crossover of the red line and blue one. The red line should always stay above the blue one. To support that, please look at the % of shares held by institutions and % of float held by institutions and how it changed after April 2021.
The ratio of the shares held by institutions to the float held by institutions
We can clearly see that after April 2021, the percentage of float held by institutions became bigger than the % of shares held by the same body. It should be always lower, which means that the blue line in the graph should be below 1.
Here is a simple explanation of that issue:
The apples represent outstanding shares. Let’s assume that there is a number of 200 outstanding apples, these ones everyone can trade. In that story, there is Ryan, who is an institution and he buys 100 apples out of 200. Thus, the float (remaining apples left on the market) is 100 apples, so these are the apples that can be traded by other people.
So if the Ryan is the institutional investor and he holds 100 of those amazing apples it means that the ratio of the apples he holds to the outstanding apples is 100/200 = 0.5 = 50%, but the ratio of Ryan’s apples to the float is 100/100 = 1 = 100% because he holds 100 apples and the float is 100. Right? So it doesn’t matter how many apples Ryan holds, the percentage of his apples to the outstanding apples should be always lower than the percentage of his apples to the float. ALWAYS.
In the case of Gamestop, it is completely opposite, that’s why I think that the data by Bloomberg is rigged and not reliable…at least the part in which the % of shares held by institutions and % of float held by institutions are displayed.
I do believe, based on those findings, that the Top Ownership always relates to the total shares on the market and we can use those numbers to estimate for example, how many shares are held by individual investors by compiling filings from Gamestop and the data presented in Bloomberg.
If you noticed some errors in my reasonings, calculations or you just simply have questions regarding that DD please let me know. I’ll do my best to answer everyone. Moreover, if there is anyone who has Bloomberg Terminal from before the January sneeze or the data of other companies, I would be really grateful to get those just to check whether my methodology can be applied to other stocks or not.
TLDR:
To summarize, the calculations show that there are at least 115 million shares available on the market and a sudden drop, which happened after April 2021, in the % of shares held by institutional investors was a simple manipulation of the data to hide the real numbers. It proves that we were and we are right about the HFs not closing their short positions, and the only way to end this blatant manipulation happening across the markets is just to buy, register and hold our shares.