Stephens Business Split Shows on Private Company List

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, May. 21, 2007 12:00 am  

(Click here for page 1 of the list of the largest private companies. Click here for page 2, here for page 3, here for page 4 and here for page 5. And click here to buy a downloadable spreadsheet version of the list.)

The split of the Stephens family business empire reverberates through the annual list of the 75 largest private companies owned and headquartered in Arkansas.

The companies are surveyed and ranked based on revenue during fiscal 2006. Private companies have no obligation to make revenue figures public, but most of the companies on the list provide information.

However, the revenue numbers associated with the two separate Stephens entities -- Stephens Inc., headed by Warren Stephens, and SF Holding Corp., the holding company for shared interests of Warren Stephens and his cousins Witt Stephens Jr. and Elizabeth Stephens Campbell -- are anything but concrete. The $1.8 billion revenue estimate for Stephens Inc. comes from Thomson Gale Competitive Intelligence, while the $274 million figure used to rank SF Holding is the most recent Advertising Age estimate of revenue for only one asset: Stephens Media Inc. of Las Vegas.

Witt and Elizabeth Stephens' Stephens Group LLC is not included in the list because no estimate of its revenue was available.

Stephens Inc. ranks No. 2 behind Truman Arnold Cos. of Texarkana, Texas. The fuel wholesaler chalked up $1.9 billion in sales during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

Arkansas Business has traditionally treated all of Texarkana as part of Arkansas for the purposes of this list, benefiting both Truman Arnold and No. 10 E-Z Mart Inc. E-Z Mart, a chain of convenience stories, reached nearly $700 million in sales last year, thanks to high gasoline prices most of the year.

The 75 companies on the list had total reported or estimated revenue of $26.4 billion last year, an increase of almost 8 percent from last year's list, and they employ nearly 75,000 people (not all of them in Arkansas). The minimum price of entry this year was the $97 million in sales reported by Ozarks Electric Cooperative Corp. of Fayetteville, which entered the list at No. 75 after barely missing the cutoff last year.

Other newcomers to the list are:

-- Hickingbotham Investments Inc. of Little Rock, the holding company for many of the business interests of the Frank Hickingbotham family. Hickingbotham Investments, a company that has been quietly growing its businesses outside Arkansas, enters the list at No. 21 with $405 million in sales.

-- Central States Manufacturing Inc. of Lowell, No. 57 with $139 million in sales.

-- Saline Memorial Hospital in Benton, No. 63 with net revenue of $122.9 million.

-- Vestcom Retail Solutions Group Inc. of Little Rock, which is majority owned by Arkansans thanks to an investment by Stephens Group LLC.



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