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Private Investment Offerings Plunge in 2023

2 min read

The number of private placements offered by Arkansas companies plummeted in 2023 compared with 2022, but both new and established businesses sought out investors.

This week’s lists rank offerings reported to the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission during the calendar year by the dollar amount invested, which can be very different from the amount offered. The main list, found here, ranks new offerings first reported to the SEC in 2023.

The second list in this week’s print edition reflects updated reports filed on offerings that started in previous years. These are typically open-ended offerings by investment funds rather than companies looking for operating capital. All are reported on SEC Form D.

Arkansas companies filed for 75 new offerings in 2023, down from 122 in 2022. The total number of Form D filings, including amendments to earlier forms, similarly dropped from 176 in 2022 to 102 in 2023.

The largest new private offering last year — $118.8 million — was by Westrock Coffee Co. of Little Rock, whose common stock is publicly traded. The private offering of equity was sold to just six investors. The related Westrock Alpha Fund LP, Westrock Absolute Return Fund LP and Westrock Arch Fund LP also reported offerings that raised a total of $126 million.

Other familiar names on the list include Cooks Venture Poultry Inc., the producer of pasture-raised “superchickens” on the old site of Peterson Farms in Decatur, and five LLCs associated with Tempus Realty Partners of Little Rock.

Of the 75 new offerings in 2023, 13 were filed by subsidiaries of Acretrader Inc. of Fayetteville, and they reported total investments of more than $34 million. That was a fraction of the 41 offerings that sold more than $125 million filed by the farmland investment fund in 2022.

Encore Bancshares Inc. of Little Rock led the 2022 list with a $200 million offering that raised almost $172 million. The holding company of Encore Bank filed another $75 million offering in September but, as of last week, had not reported selling any of the equity and is therefore missing from this week’s list.

Encore wasn’t alone in reporting offerings that had not raised any money at the time of filing. An offering of $52.8 million was filed in April by Pine State Infrastructure Fund IV LP, an individual investment fund created by the Pine State Regional Center, a subsidiary of Arkansas Capital Corp. Group of Little Rock. While none of the equity had been sold at the time of filing and no update had been filed as of last week, Pine State has a number of funds and a record of finding investors.

The most ambitious offering last year came from Ridgecrest Capital Group Fund C LLC, a commercial real estate fund associated with Ridgecrest Capital Group LLC of Little Rock, led by Billy Miller. As Ridgecrest Capital Group did in 2022, the year it was formed, Ridgecrest Fund C filed a $50 million offering in June. But neither Ridgecrest Capital Group nor Ridgecrest Fund C has told the SEC that any of their equity offerings had been sold.

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