The Walton family is still the richest in Arkansas, with publicly disclosed stockholdings worth $132.76 billion as of Nov. 8 — an increase of just $2.36 billion in a bit over a year.
But below the top spot, which isn’t likely to change for a very long time, Arkansas Business’ annual list of the state’s top stockholders — those with publicly disclosed holdings valued in excess of $1 million — has seen some changes and a lot of new and/or returning names.
Thanks to a dramatic — 75 percent — improvement in its stock price since the last list was compiled in October 2012, the Don Tyson family of Springdale has overtaken the J.B. Hunt family of Lowell for the No. 2 position. Tyson Foods Inc. stock closed at an even $28 on Nov. 8, the closing date arbitrarily chosen for this ranking. That pushed holdings by John Tyson and Barbara Tyson to $2.07 billion.
J.B. Hunt’s family — his widow, Johnelle, and their son Bryan — also had a good year. While the Hunts have continued to divest some of their stock in J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., the value of their remaining shares increased to $1.42 billion from $1.15 billion 13 months ago. That’s because J.B. Hunt stock closed at $73.4 a share on Nov. 8, a more-than-respectable increase of 25 percent, a fact that shows itself throughout the list.
El Dorado’s Murphy family held on at No. 4, although its holdings are now more diverse since the spinoff of Murphy USA Inc. from Murphy Oil Corp. at the end of August. Many Murphy stockholders have not filed new personal disclosures with the Securities & Exchange Commission since, so they were presumed to have received one share of Murphy USA for every share of Murphy Oil stock declared before the spinoff.
No. 5 on the list again this year is the family of William Dillard, late founder of the Dillard’s Inc. department store chain. After a dramatic rebound that peaked at $94.54 in May, the family’s fortune was still above $600 million by Nov. 8, when Dillard’s stock closed at $82.46.
(It’s a shame the list wasn’t based on last Thursday’s price, when Dillard’s closed just a hair below $92 after a solid earnings announcement and positive signals from other department stores. That would add almost $70 million to the family’s total.)
A total of 129 names are on this year’s list, a handful of them representing combined family holdings like the Waltons, Murphys and Dillards. That’s up from 102 in 2012 and just 93 in 2011.
Improved stock prices that pushed the value of stock holdings above the list’s $1 million threshold are responsible for many of the additional entries, and other new entries are recent hires. But the biggest source of new $1 million-plus stockholders was the acquisition last month of privately held Liberty Bancshares Inc. of Jonesboro by publicly traded Home Bancshares Inc. of Conway, the holding company of Centennial Bank.
That lone deal added 15 names to the list, including that of Liberty founder Wallace Fowler and his family, coming in at No. 15. Using public disclosures on Liberty stockholdings and the number of shares of Home Bancshares stock swapped under the terms of the deal, the Fowler holdings were calculated to be worth almost $62.1 million on Nov. 8. That was an improvement of more than 7 percent since the deal closed on Oct. 23.
In June, Home Bancshares also split its stock 2-for-1. Stock holdings disclosed before that date were presumed to be doubled for purposes of this list.
Another publicly traded company, Inuvo Inc., relocated its headquarters from New York to Conway earlier this year, adding another company to the list research. Only one Inuvo investor had more than $1 million worth of publicly disclosed stock, and that is Charles D. Morgan Jr. Morgan, ranked No. 106, makes his return to the list for the first time since 2008, shortly after he retired as CEO of Acxiom Corp.
The U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission requires public disclosure by officers, directors and any person or entity that owns at least 5 percent of the outstanding shares of any publicly traded company. The information included in Arkansas Business’ annual list is gleaned from corporate proxy statements and Forms 3, 4 and 5 filed with the SEC. Unless otherwise noted, the shares are owned outright by the person or family listed; exercisable options and restricted shares are generally not included.
The stockholders on the list can be presumed to have other investments, even in publicly traded companies, that aren’t made public and therefore aren’t included in the totals.