10 Largest Apple Shareholders: Who Owns AAPL Stock in 2024?

For shareholders of Apple Inc., a technology and consumer electronic giant, this year is truly the season to be jolly. The AAPL share price has soared nearly 50% year-to-date (YTD).

The Cupertino, California-based firm has an incredibly strong brand that sells itself and stellar financial performance, which has secured the firm with a $3 trillion market capitalization, keeping it as the world’s most valuable corporation.

In the final quarter of the 2023 financial statement that ended September 30, Apple reported an all-time revenue record in services at $22.3 billion despite a drop in product sales, such as Mac computers, iPads, and wearables. The services business covers Cloud Services and digital content such as books, music, and videos.

In this article, we take a close look at Apple’s major stakeholders and how many shares they own.

Key Facts

  • Institutional investors account for roughly 60% of Apple’s total outstanding stock.
  • Insider investors, including Chair of the Board Art Levinson and CEO Tim Cook, control less than 1% of the company.
  • Three of Apple’s biggest shareholders are Vanguard, Blackrock, and Berkshire Hathaway.
  • Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway didn’t buy Apple stock until late 2016.
  • Among its consumer electronic peers, Apple has the second-highest percentage of institutional investors, trailing Sonos.

Who Owns the Most Shares of Apple in 2023?

Apple has become the world’s most valuable company based on market capitalization, drawing a diverse range of investors, both individual and institutional.

According to its 2023 Annual Report, Apple had 23,763 shareholders of record as of October 20.

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Top 5 Largest Individual Shareholders

Despite several executives being major shareholders, their collective holdings in Apple are less than 1% of the total outstanding stock. As of January 2023, 13 Apple executives and directors together owned only 0.6% of the company’s stock.

This is markedly lower compared to other tech giants. For instance, as of March 31, 2023, Tesla’s 11 executive officers and directors, including Elon Musk, held 20.9% of its stock. Similarly, Amazon’s 16 directors and executive officers, including Jeff Bezos, owned 12.3% of the company’s stock as of February 22, 2023.

Let’s look into who the stakeholders of Apple are today.

1. Arthur D. Levinson

Contrary to common belief, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, is not the company’s largest individual shareholder. Arthur Levinson is Apple’s largest individual shareholder, owning 4.53 million shares worth around $882 million as of the closing share price on December 12. His stake accounts for only 0.0029% of Apple’s total outstanding stock.

Levinson chairs Apple’s board and is also the co-founder and CEO of Calico, an Alphabet Inc. subsidiary. He previously served as a director at Google and as CEO of Genentech.

2. Tim Cook

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, is the company’s second-largest individual shareholder, with 3.53 million shares, representing 0.0021% of the total stock.

Cook, who became CEO in August 2011, shortly before Steve Jobs’ death, was Jobs’ recommended successor. He had been acting CEO since January 2011, during Jobs’ illness.

Before becoming CEO, Cook was Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, managing global sales and operations.

3. Jeffrey Williams

Jeff Williams, who joined Apple in 1998, is the company’s Chief Operating Officer. He oversees global operations, customer service, and support.

As of October 6, 2023, Williams owns 489,817 Apple shares.

4. Albert A. Gore Jr.

Al Gore, the former Vice President of the United States, is a noted shareholder of Apple, owning 467,143 shares as of February 1, 2023.

He joined Apple’s Board of Directors on March 19, 2003, and presently serves on Apple’s People and Compensation Committee as well as the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.

5. Deirdre O’Brien

Deirdre O’Brien, a veteran at Apple with over 30 years of experience, potentially ranks as the company’s fifth-largest individual shareholder with 136,445 shares.

She serves as Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail, overseeing both the online and physical retail store teams.

Top 5 Largest Institutional Shareholders

1. Vanguard Group

Vanguard Group, the world’s second-largest asset manager, is Apple’s largest shareholder among institutional investors. It holds 1.299 billion Apple shares, which is 8.36% of Apple’s total common stock outstanding. Apple is Vanguard’s top holding, comprising 5.5% of its entire investment portfolio as of Q3.

Vanguard’s shareholder structure is unique, being owned by the investors in its funds rather than by public shareholders. In April 2023, Vanguard had $8.3 trillion in assets under management (AUM).

2. Blackrock

Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, ranks as the tech company’s second-largest institutional shareholder. It owns 1.031 billion AAPL shares, representing 6.3% of the company’s total common stock outstanding.

Over the past decade, Blackrock, based in New York City, has significantly increased its investment in the tech giant. In Q4 2013, Apple wasn’t even among Blackrock’s top 10 holdings, with just 2.3 million shares valued at $1.29 million. At that time, Bank of America (BAC) was Blackrock’s largest holding.

However, by the third quarter of 2023, Apple has become Blackrock’s top investment, making up 5.1% of its total investment portfolio.

3. Berkshire Hathaway

Apple has become a favored investment for Warren Buffet, renowned for his strategic financial moves. Since Berkshire Hathaway first acquired a stake in Apple in Q1 2016 with 9.81 million shares, it has significantly increased its holdings. As of Q3 2023, Berkshire Hathaway owns 915.56 million Apple shares.

Remarkably, the tech giant now constitutes half of Berkshire Hathaway’s total investment portfolio in terms of value. Among Apple’s major shareholders, Berkshire Hathaway holds a substantial 5.8% of the company’s total outstanding stock.

4. State Street Corporation

State Street Corporation, based in Massachusetts, is the fourth-largest shareholder in Apple, owning 569.29 million shares. Valued at $111 billion based on the most recent December 12 closing price, this stake represents 3.66% of Apple’s outstanding stock.

State Street is the parent entity of State Street Global Advisor, ranked as the world’s fourth-largest asset manager. As of June 30, 2023, State Street Global Advisor manages assets worth $3.8 trillion.

5. FMR

Fidelity Investment, known as FMR, stands as the fifth-largest shareholder in Apple, holding 298.32 million shares. This makes Apple FMR’s third-largest investment, following Microsoft and Nvidia Corp. in terms of value.

Based in Boston, Fidelity Investment, formerly Fidelity Management & Research, is the world’s third-largest asset manager. As of September 30, 2023, the company manages assets totaling $4.47 trillion.

Learn More About Apple’s Ownership

Apple’s ownership structure has undergone significant changes in the 37 years since its inception.

Who Funded Apple in Its Early Days?

Mike Markkula’s contribution to Apple’s early success is often overshadowed by the more famous names of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Yet, without this American businessman’s involvement, Apple’s iconic computer might never have launched.

In 1977, Markkula, a former Intel employee who had become a millionaire, invested $250,000 in Apple, acquiring a 30% stake in the company. His role extended beyond financial support; he played a crucial part in managing Apple during its formative years. This included developing a business plan and recruiting the first CEO for Apple.

Markkula’s tenure at Apple lasted until 1997, during which he witnessed Steve Jobs’ departure in 1985 and his notable return in 1997.

The Role of Institutional Investors

Apple’s initial institutional shareholders are not clearly documented, but by delving into the company’s proxy filings from 1994, we can gain some insight. As of November 30, 1994, the only institutional shareholder listed was the Capital Group.

This company, known as one of the oldest and largest investment management organizations globally, held a significant stake in Apple at that time. Their holdings amounted to 11.84 million shares, which constituted 9.8% of Apple’s total outstanding stock.

By 2010, Blackrock and Fidelity Investment had become key Apple shareholders, with Blackrock holding 5.50% (50.65 million shares) and Fidelity 5.04% (46.41 million shares) of the total stock. However, by late 2015, Vanguard Group emerged as Apple’s largest shareholder, owning nearly 6% of the company with 332.24 million shares.

Berkshire Hathaway became one of Apple’s biggest shareholders in 2020, a significant endorsement given Warren Buffett’s reputation for shrewd investments and his traditional avoidance of technology stocks.

This shift coincided with Tim Cook’s impactful leadership at Apple, which saw the company’s market capitalization soar from $358 billion in August 2011 to $1 trillion in 2018, and then to an unprecedented $3 trillion by 2022.

Buffett’s investment in Apple, beginning in 2016, highlighted the company’s profitability and aligns with his investment criteria: a strong brand, low debt, and solid management.

In May 2023, during Berkshire Hathaway’s Annual Shareholders Meeting, Buffett even praised Apple as a “better business than ours,” reflecting his confidence in Apple’s investment value.

Buffett noted that Berkshire Hathaway was “very, very, very happy to have 5.6 (%) or whatever it may be percent of Apple.”

Apple’s Ownership Structure

When retail investors consider buying company stock, they often take into account the proportion of institutional shareholders, like pension funds and insurance companies, who tend to make more cautious investment decisions.

For Apple, nearly 60% of its stock is held by institutional investors, while insiders own less than 1%.

This contrasts with other companies: Sonos leads in institutional ownership with 76.8%, Vizio has 23.09% institutional ownership with a majority held by retail investors, and Sony is predominantly owned by retail investors (93%), with only 7.17% held by institutions.

The Bottom Line

Understanding a company’s ownership structure and identifying its primary shareholders are crucial for retail investors to assess its growth potential. This knowledge not only helps in evaluating the company’s future prospects but also in determining whether its management is capable of guiding it in the right direction.

For a company like Apple, having a substantial proportion of reputable institutional shareholders has been instrumental in maintaining its growth trajectory.

Read More: Apple Stock Forecast 2023, 2024, 2025, 2030

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Fitri Wulandari

Fitri began her journalism career in 2001 as a business reporter for the English-language daily The Jakarta Post, focusing on macroeconomics and energy. When she joined Dow Jones Newswires in 2004, she began covering commodities.