Wal-Mart Big for Stephens, Bigger for Arkansas

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Jul. 2, 2012 12:00 am  

Warren Stephens

“I think we’ve finally found some limit to the management’s ability to continue to grow the firm at a 20 percent growth rate,” Stephen said. “You know, at one time they thought it was going to be a billion dollars, and then they thought it would be $10 billion and then $100 billion. And now it’s about half a trillion: That’s where they can’t quite generate the growth that they want anymore.”

The last work Stephens Inc. did for the Walton family was some estate planning in the 1990s, “which we were pleased to do,” Stephens said. “But Wal-Mart doesn’t really need any equity offerings; they don’t need any financing to speak of. They issue commercial paper, which we don’t really do. They really don’t need any investment bank to speak of; they can do just about anything.”

In other words, Wal-Mart outgrew Stephens Inc. years ago.

“We hope a lot of our clients outgrow us,” he said. “That’s what we want — and to get to be associated with great growth companies. And Wal-Mart is arguably the greatest growth company in our lifetime and sustained over time.”



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