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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville has regained the top spot on Fortune magazine's annual list of the country's largest corporations, released Monday. Meanwhile, Windstream Corp. of Little Rock joined the list for the first time, ranking No. 414.
Wal-Mart, which ranked No. 2 on the list behind Exxon Mobil last year, ranked No. 1 with $469.2 billion in fiscal 2012 revenue. Exxon ranked No. 2 with $449.9 billion. Chevron ranked No. 3 with $233.9 billion.
Windstream, at No. 414, reported revenue of $6.3 billion. The broadband and wireline telecommunications firm's inclusion on the list list comes about seven years after it formed as a spinoff of Alltel Corp.'s wireline assets. Windstream vaulted into the top 500 thanks to its $2.3 billion purchase of Peatec Holding Corp. in December of 2011.
Other Arkansas companies made the list.
- No. 93 - Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale, which reported $33.3 billion in revenue.
- No. 104 - Murphy Oil Corp. of El Dorado, at $28.8 billion.
- No. 378 - Dillard's Inc. of Little Rock, at $6.8 billion.
- No. 486 - J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. of Lowell, at $5.1 billion. J.B. Hunt was not on the list last year.
While Wal-Mart was ranked No. 1 by revenue, it was No. 7 in terms of net income, behind Exxon Mobil, Apple, Chevron, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo and Fannie Mae.
Wal-Mart’s profit of just under $17 billion represents a profit margin of 3.6 percent. By comparison, Apple’s margin was almost 46 percent and Wells Fargo’s was almost 21 percent.
The margins of other Arkansas companies among the top 500:
- Tyson: 1.75 percent (net income of $583 million on $33.3 billion in revenue).
- Murphy Oil: 3.4 percent ($970.9 million on $28.8 billion).
- Dillard’s: 4.9 percent ($336 million on $6.8 billion).
- J.B. Hunt: 6 percent ($310.4 million on $5.1 billion).
- Windstream: 2.7 percent ($168 million on $6.2 billion).
It was a big week for ribbon cuttings, company earnings, home sales and more. Here's a look back, via our Saturday THV 11 News "Arkansas Business Week in Review."
ESPN and the Southeastern Conference formally announced Thursday the creation of the SEC Network.
It will launch in 2014 and the two entities have extended their media rights agreement through 2034. Some highlights of the announcement, which was attended by 32 SEC coaches, including Arkansas' Mike Anderson (basketball), Bret Bielema (football) and track (Chris Bucknam).
•Content will include 1,000 live sporting events per year, divided between TV and digital platforms. Individual schools will also produce content for the network.
•For football the plan is to televise three football games per week over 13 weeks. Only two games per year will be televised on Thursday nights and the rest will be broadcast on Saturdays.
•ESPN and SEC reps declined to discuss financial details, but early reports estimate the network could generate $28 million annually for each SEC member schools. Currently the SEC distributes about $18 million to each school per year.
•CBS will continue to televise SEC football, but no longer has an “exclusive window,” meaning ESPN networks can also televise afternoon games. CBS does continue having the first choice of SEC football contests.
•AT&T U-verse has already signed on as a distributor. Officials at the announcement said they anticipate other distributors will sign on relatively quickly.
•This likely eliminates that single pay-per-view game each season. So instead of watching Arkansas-Missouri State on PPV, you’ll be able to find it on the SEC Network.
No word yet what this will mean for your cable bill.
More from the SEC Network launch press release with quotes from ESPN president John Skipper and SEC commissioner Mike Slive:
“The SEC Network will provide an unparalleled fan experience of top quality SEC content presented across the television network and its accompanying digital platforms,” stated Slive. “We will increase exposure of SEC athletics programs at all 14 member institutions, as we showcase the incredible student-athletes in our league. The agreement for a network streamlines and completes an overall media rights package that will continue the SEC’s leadership for the foreseeable future.”
Each weekend throughout the season, the new network will air multiple top-tier matchups from the strongest conference in college football. Since 2006, the SEC has claimed seven consecutive football national championships. In 2011-12, SEC teams won eight national championships: football (Alabama), men’s basketball (Kentucky), gymnastics (Alabama), men’s indoor track and field (Florida), women’s tennis (Florida), women’s golf (Alabama), men’s outdoor track and field (Florida), and softball (Alabama). Since 1990, the SEC has won 149 national team championships for an average of more than six per year.
Skipper said, “The SEC is unmatched in its success on the field and its popularity with fans nationwide. The new network’s top-quality SEC matchups across a range of sports will serve all sports enthusiasts including the most passionate, die-hard SEC fans. Also, it will serve the needs of our multichannel distributors and advertisers by providing extremely attractive programming options across all platforms.”
As part of the agreement, ESPN will now oversee the SEC’s official Corporate Sponsor Program. In addition, ESPN and the SEC also agreed to extend their existing media rights agreement through 2034. ESPN has televised the SEC since 1982. ESPN’s existing networks present more than 1,600 hours of SEC action each year. The new network will focus exclusively on the SEC and add another outlet to deliver sports fans more SEC content than ever.
AT&T U-verse® has been secured as the network’s first national distributor. AT&T U-verse is the fastest growing TV provider in the U.S. and their subscribers will have access to an unprecedented amount of SEC content across all platforms. Subscribers receiving the live linear network via a multichannel subscription will also have access to the network on PCs, tablets, smartphones and select gaming devices like Xbox. Additional games and coverage will be available through an authenticated digital offering. Fans looking to learn more about how to get the SEC Network can visit GetSECNetwork.com for more information.
“We are pleased to be involved with the SEC and ESPN at the very beginning of this great alliance,” said Jeff Weber, President of Content and Advertising Sales, AT&T. “As the fastest growing and most advanced pay TV service, we want to bring our customers the highest value and most compelling product that we possibly can. Access to the SEC Network, across multiple platforms, will only increase the demand for U-verse.”
ESPN’s Justin Connolly, formerly senior vice president, ESPN affiliate sales and marketing, will oversee the network’s day-to-day operations. The network will originate from ESPN’s Charlotte, N.C., offices with additional staff located at the company’s Bristol, Conn., headquarters. Staff announcements and additional details will be made in the coming months.
Politico, the daily political news website, is reporting that its owner, Allbritton Communications, is exploring a potential sale of its TV stations, which includes ABC affiliate KATV-TV, Channel 7, in Little Rock.
Multiple news outlets are reporting about the memo, sent to Allbritton employees by company Chairman and CEO Robert Allbritton, who said he wants to focus more "resources and expanded mindshare" on Politico, which the company launched in 2007.
From the memo, reprinted in full on Politico.com:
This spring, after careful deliberation and discussion with my family, I have decided to explore strategic options for our television station company, including a potential sale of WJLA / NewsChannel 8 here in Washington, as well as all of our owned and affiliated stations as a group. As part of this process, we have retained a financial advisor to evaluate what we expect will be robust interest from blue-chip media companies in our broadcast properties in seven markets around the nation.
My plan is to use the resources and expanded mindshare that such a move would make available to increase my commitment to POLITICO. Then we can plunge in further on a variety of other potential investments that intrigue me as I contemplate the next chapter for our business.
Calling this the "Golden Age of new media innovation," Allbritton also made clear that he sees Politico as the future of the company:
Let me be unmistakably clear to you and potential buyers: there is no chance, none, I will sell POLITICO as part of the deal. My future is POLITICO and companies like it. In fact, my plan is to invest even more in POLITICO and to place additional bets on media companies that meet my definition of successful journalistic and business enterprises. POLITICO continues to carry no debt, funds all investment with operating income and will still turn a profit, again, in 2013. That is the textbook definition of a thriving, sustainable new media company.
Still, he said contemplating a break from the company's television past was not easy:
As excited as I am about my future and the company’s, it is not an easy decision to contemplate a break from something that is such an important part of our history. I love the television business, and am deeply appreciative of the success I have had in it. I have treasured working with the media professionals at all of our stations, and in recent years, I have especially enjoyed watching the collaboration here in Washington between POLITICO and WJLA / NewsChannel 8. I have always respected the deep connections with communities that our stations have, and am always humbled by the responsibilities—to citizens, to our employees, and to the next generation—that come with ownership.
In addition to Little Rock, Allbritton owns television stations in six other markets: Washington, D.C.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Birmingham, Ala.; Tulsa, Okla.; Lynchburg, Va.; and Charleston, S.C.
KATV has long been a ratings leader in the Little Rock television market. In the most recent TV ratings published by Nielsen Media Research, local KATV newscasts scored the highest household rating and share numbers of the four stations in the Little Rock market.
In Little Rock, KATV news competes with CBS affiliate KTHV-TV, Channel 11, which is owned by publicly traded Gannett Co. Inc.; NBC affiliate KARK-TV, Channel 4, which is owned by publicly traded Nexstar Broadcasting Inc.; and Fox affiliate KLRT-TV, Channel 16, which is owned by Mission Broadcasting.
The market's station ownership picture changed dramatically in January when Mission took control of KLRT after buying it from Newport Television. Mission is now jointly operating KLRT with Nexstar under a shared services agreement. The result has been a virtual merger of some KARK and KLRT news and business operations. Nexstar and Mission have applied similar business models in markets throughout the country, and together they recently added 19 stations in 10 markets in three states.
(Arkansas Business has a news-sharing partnership with KTHV, and Lance Turner appears regularly on KTHV newscasts.)
The latest? The closure of the Phillips County Jail, a 30-year-old building that's falling apart and now deemed unsafe. The move leaves 18 employees out of work and 60 inmates transferred to other areas.
The county has hired consultants to look at the jail and find out what can be done; they will present their findings a quorum court meeting May 14. Those possibilities could include renovating the existing facility or building a new one.
Seigle has more reporting and video here.
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