Generally Improved Prices Show on List of Top Stockholders

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Sep. 13, 2010 12:00 am  

And last year's No. 3, the heirs of trucking magnate J.B. Hunt, slipped to No. 4 despite the improved stock price because Hunt's widow, Johnelle, has sold more than 9 million shares over the past year. The Hunt holdings are still above $700 million.

J.B. Hunt Chairman Earl Wayne Garrison maintained his place at No. 5 on the list, but his fortune grew with the stock price: from $139.5 million last year to $160.4 million last month.

The Dillard family that controls the Dillard's Inc. department store chain moved to sixth place on the strength of a per-share price ($21.57) that was double its August 2009 level. The family fortune, which includes CEO William Dillard II's holdings as a director of Barnes & Noble and Acxiom Corp., tops $150 million. It was above $200 million in late April, when Dillard's stock price briefly reached the $30 mark.

Another fortune aided by improved stock price is that of George G. Gleason, founder of Bank of the Ozarks Inc., and his wife, Linda. Despite selling off about a half-million shares, the Gleason fortune grew from $82.2 million in August 2009 to $107.9 million last month, good enough for No. 7 on the list. BOZ's stock price was $24.77 on last year's list and $37.26 as of Aug. 27, and has ranged a bit higher over the past year.

No. 8, Warren A. Stephens of Little Rock, owner of Stephens Inc., took a hit from the slumping stock price of his largest publicly traded investment: Conn's Inc., the Beaumont, Texas, electronics retailer that the Stephens family has controlled since 1998 and took public in 2003. After trading above $40 a share in early 2006, Conn's was trading in the $13 range last year and closed at $4.60 on the list cutoff date.

His holdings have also been reduced from last year's list because half of the shares of Vascular Solutions Inc. disclosed by SF Holding Corp. should have been credited to his cousins Witt Stephens Jr. and Elizabeth Stephens Campbell.

Witt Stephens Jr. and Elizabeth Campbell were No. 8 last year, but the addition of the Vascular Solutions shares couldn't offset the drop in Conn's share price combined with dispensing of their holdings in another Stephens family project, Power-One Inc. of Camarillo, Calif. The siblings, listed as the W.R. "Witt" Stephens Sr. family, drop to No. 14 with $40 million in disclosed stock holdings.

John Allison, chairman of Home BancShares Inc. of Conway, moved to No. 9 on the list with $56.5 million in HBI stock. He was paid $170,250 for the 68,100 shares of Lodgian Inc. he owned as a director when the Atlanta hotel operator was sold to a private group earlier this year. (Alex Lieblong of Conway, No. 26, was also a Lodgian director. His direct and indirect holdings netted $7.56 million from the sale.)



Please read our comments policy before commenting.