Market Volatility Shows on Annual Stockholders List

by Gwen Moritz and Jan Cottingham  on Monday, Sep. 5, 2011 12:00 am  

Arkansas Business' annual list of the state's top stockholders, ranked by the value of publicly disclosed shares in publicly traded companies, is always a snapshot in time. But this year, the snapshot was taken when its subject wasn't ready for its close-up.

(Click here for a PDF list of the top stockholders. A spreadsheet version is available for purchase here.)

The cutoff date was originally planned for Friday, Aug. 19, which turned out to be one of the worst trading days so far in 2011. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, in fact, closed at 10,817.65 that afternoon, the third-lowest close of the year and the capper to a week that saw the DJIA down by 4 percent.

So, just to put the best face on our annual list, we delayed the cutoff as long as we could - to Tuesday, Aug. 23, by which time the Dow had rebounded a bit over 3 percent. Still not pretty, but better.

In the week after the snapshot on Pages 15-17 was taken, the Dow recovered another 4 percent before closing down again on Thursday.  

The top spot on the list is never in question: The family of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton can be expected to hold that spot into perpetuity. On Aug. 23, the family's publicly disclosed holdings in Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville, First Solar Inc. of Tempe, Ariz., and Hyatt Hotels Corp. of Chicago had total value of $98.5 billion. The vast majority of that value - $94 billion on Aug. 23, up from $87 billion a year ago -  comes from the family's shares in Wal-Mart.

Here's a statistic that underscores just how incredibly wealthy the Walton family is: Its holdings in First Solar - mainly by Christy Walton, the widow of Sam Walton's son John - were worth almost $4 billion, which is more than the combined stock fortunes of the next 15 stock fortunes on our list, including the holdings of the Tyson, Murphy, Hunt and Dillard families.

The survivors of Don Tyson, the patriarch of Tyson Foods Inc. who died in January, can claim the only other Arkansas-related stock holdings valued in excess of $1 billion as of Aug. 23. The Tyson holdings in Tyson Foods were worth $1.28 billion, up $42 million from this time last year.

Five more fortunes on the list are measured in nine figures: those of the Charles Murphy, J.B. Hunt and William Dillard families; E. Wayne Garrison, who was chairman of the board of J.B. Hunt Transport Service Inc. until the end of 2010; and Bank of the Ozarks Chairman and CEO George G. Gleason and his wife, Linda.

The biggest leap in stock value during the past year was that of the Dillard family, which doubled from $150 million in August 2010 to $301 million as of Aug. 23. And consider: Dillard's stock, the source of most of the Dillard family wealth, closed at $42.95 on the snapshot date after briefly exceeding $60 a share just a month earlier. At that price, the Dillards were worth $120 million more - on paper, of course.

The List
The U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission requires public disclosure by officers, directors and any person or entity that owns at least 5 percent of the outstanding shares of any publicly traded company. The information included in Arkansas Business' annual list is gleaned from corporate proxy statements and Forms 3, 4 and 5 filed with the SEC. Unless otherwise noted, the shares are owned outright by the person or family listed; exercisable options and restricted shares are generally not included.

In the case of Bank of the Ozarks stock, stock disclosures that were filed with the SEC before the Little Rock bank holding company's stock split 2-for-1 on Aug. 16 were presumed to be doubled.



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