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Investments List Includes Banks, Tech, Farming

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With $30.1 million raised, Tempus USF LLC of Little Rock tops Arkansas Business’ list of the largest private investment offerings ranked by total investment amount sold.

Tempus Realty Partners, a real estate investment firm in Little Rock, manages the investment, and is focused on acquiring and developing commercial real estate in the South, Southeast and Midwest. It has five other entries on the list that total $82.31 million in total investment amount sold. (See Tempus Realty: Its Time Is Now.)

To compile the list of private investment offerings, Arkansas Business used notices of exempt offering of securities that Arkansas companies filed with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission in 2021. These filings, known as Form Ds, are also reviewed by the Arkansas Securities Department. The issuer could be disqualified from filing if a felon is involved in the offering, but such an action would depend on when the felony happened and what it was for.

The list features a range of industries, from agriculture to technology. The list is ranked by the amount of securities sold as of the most recent filing, and it also shows the total offering amount and the number of investors. But the documents don’t provide complete transparency.

SFRAN Investments LLC of Little Rock was No. 2 on the list at $26.95 million. It also is No. 20 on the list with $7 million raised in a different offering.

Alex Gray, a Little Rock attorney, is listed on the filing as SFRAN’s authorized representative. Other companies with SFRAN’s same address appeared on the list, including Good Day Farm Louisiana LLC and Wellcana Plus LLC, which were both tied for No. 6.

“SFRAN Investments, LLC is an owner of Wellcana Plus, LLC which is an owner of Good Day Farm Louisiana, LLC,” Gray said via email. “Through funding received by its owners, Good Day Farm Louisiana, LLC owns GB Sciences Louisiana, LLC which operates a medical cannabis cultivation facility in Louisiana.”

Good Day Farm Arkansas LLC is also on the list at No. 15, and has the same address as SFRAN. Good Day Farm Arkansas owns and operates a medical cannabis cultivation facility in Pine Bluff. Gray said the company is not involved in the activities of SFRAN Investments, Wellcana Plus, Good Day Farm Louisiana and Good Day Farm Missouri Holdings LLC.

Gray said the funds raised for the entities “are being used for the operation of cannabis cultivation facilities.”

Other Investments

Also on the list are nine LLCs related to Scenic Hill Solar of Little Rock. CEO Bill Halter said that the money the LLCs raised went to the construction of solar power plants. Each LLC was a different project. Halter declined to comment further about the fundraising.

“It’s a very competitive business,” he said. “We’re certainly delighted with the progress of our business. And we’ve got a very strong pipeline of projects underway and look forward to more.”

First Paragould Bankshares made the list at No. 13 with its investment amount of $11.52 million last year. The money went to buy Citizens Bank of Hartsville, Tennessee. First Paragould Bankshares is the holding company for First National Bank of Paragould. The purchase raised First Paragould’s total assets to about $2.1 billion.

First National Bank Chairman Bill Brewer told Arkansas Business that it didn’t really have many challenges raising the money. “There’s a lot of money available,” he said. “There’s a lot of investors who are looking for someplace to put the money and get a return.”

Of the 134 offerings on this year’s list, 36 belong to LLCs related to AcreTrader, the Fayetteville company that allows investors to buy a fraction of a farm instead of the entire property.

Of the 90 offerings on last year’s inaugural list, 25 belong to AcreTrader-related LLCs.

Earlier Offerings

Arkansas Business also is publishing a list of offerings that were originally registered before 2021 and updated with new investment totals last year. That list of earlier private investment offerings is ranked by total investment amount revealed in the most recent Form D filings. The date of first sale is listed in each entry.

Topping that list is the hedge fund Forest Hill Strategic Value Fund LP, with $246.57 million raised as of its most recent filing. Its first sale was in November 2013.

No. 9 on the list of earlier private investment offerings is Southern Bancorp Inc. of Little Rock. CEO Darrin Williams told Arkansas Business that it started raising common equity in 2017 and had a $40 million target.

The money was used for growth capital, he said. “And so, we’ve been raising capital over that period of time,” Williams said.

Some of the money went to acquire DeWitt First Bankshares Corp. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Arkansas County Bank, in January 2021.

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