Former USA Drug Head Steve LaFrance Sr. Dies

Stephen LaFrance Sr., who built the USA Drug pharmacy chain and then sold it last year to Walgreen Co. of Deerfield, Ill., for $438 million, has died at his home in Pine Bluff, Jefferson County Coroner Chad Kelley confirmed to Arkansas Business. He was 71.

Kelley said LaFrance's body had been released to Ralph Robinson & Son Funeral Home in Pine Bluff.

No additional details were immediately available.

Arkansas Business will update this story.

Stephen LaFrance Pharmacy Inc., the parent company of USA Drug, was among the state's largest private companies before it sold to USA Drug in September 2012. According to Walgreen, the company's revenue was about $825 million per year.

After the sale, the LaFrance family had been working to assemble a larger block of stock in Delta Trust Banking Corp. of Little Rock, a $441.8 million-asset lender. Talks stalled when shareholders couldn't agree on a price.

At last count, the LaFrance family held a combined 8.15 percent stake in Delta Trust. Additional shares are divided among Stephen LaFrance Jr., 0.81 percent; Jason LaFrance, 0.67 percent; and their LAF Brothers LLC, 0.86 percent. 

Delta Trust ranked No. 20 among the best performing Arkansas banks during 2012 in terms of return on equity. Net income topped $4.3 million, and stockholders shared in the biggest dividend payout to date: $1.05 million.