Dillard's Spends More for Stephens' Company Ads

Dillard’s Inc. of Little Rock paid companies associated with Warren Stephens about $3.5 million for advertising in the fiscal year that ended Jan. 28, according to Dillard’s annual proxy statement.

Because Stephens is on the Dillard’s board of directors, the publicly traded company is required to disclose its dealings with his companies. And there was more to disclose this year than in the past.

Dillard’s paid Stephens Media LLC of Las Vegas $2.3 million in advertising fees, up from $2.2 million in 2010. Warren Stephens owns half of Stephens Media.

Dillard’s also spent about $687,000 on advertising with Halifax LLC of Daytona Beach, Fla., a relatively new newspaper chain in which Stephens owns a controlling interest. Dillard’s did not report paying Halifax for any services in 2010, the year Stephens began buying newspapers through Halifax.

In fiscal 2011, Dillard’s also paid $525,000 in advertising fees to Northwest Arkansas Newspapers LLC, the joint venture formed when Stephens Media and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette called a truce in 2009. Warren Stephens “owns an indirect 25% interest” in that company — his half of Stephens Media’s half. Dillard’s did not report paying Northwest Arkansas Newspapers for any advertising in 2010.

In addition to the media spending, Dillard’s reported that third parties paid about $1.43 million, up from $1.32 million in 2010, to Stephens Insurance LLC for voluntary insurance benefits sold to Dillard’s employees. Stephens Insurance is a division of Stephens Inc., which Warren Stephens owns.