Arkansas Business' 25 Great Whispers (25th Anniversary)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Mar. 23, 2009 12:00 am  

Nov. 6, 1995
All in the Family
Maybe you've heard talk about a pending ownership change at the Arkansas Writers' Project, which by the way is the parent company of Arkansas Business and Arkansas Times.

The focus of change is the disposition of overlapping ownership in various publications by longtime partners Alan Leveritt and Olivia Farrell.

In simple terms, the two are talking about divvying up the various publications to separate their interests.

You know, tearing the sheets.

That has led to some, how shall we say, spirited and impassioned negotiations that to our knowledge have not been finalized.

We're told the exact details are still being hashed out but to expect something in concrete by Thanksgiving, or maybe in time for Christmas.

In the meantime, some moving within our home offices in the Heritage West building – which was in the works because of company growth long before talk of a split – will begin this week.

Dec. 30, 1996
Fowler Follow-up
You've heard by now about First Commercial Corp.'s agreement to acquire Jonesboro-based Southwest Bancshares Inc., led by Wallace Fowler.

Now here's some information you may not have heard:

• Did you know that when Fowler acquired the banks in Jonesboro, Searcy, Russellville and Wynne during the '90s their combined assets were just $123 million? His unconventional brand of retail banking grew those assets to $812 million – that's six-fold.

• Southwest Bancshares is selling for about 2.25 times book value, depending on the First Commercial stock price at the close of the sale. That's one of the highest multiples paid for an Arkansas operation, and it's being paid by one of the most conservative bank acquirers.

• Finally, a few Jonesboro businessmen have been approached about – you guessed it – investing in a new locally owned bank.



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