Their stake in the business is still extraordinarily large for a public company, but a spate of stock buybacks in recent years by the Bentonville, Arkansas, retailer has prompted them to sell shares to keep their ownership percentage stable. That in turn has flooded the family office and the Walton Family Foundation with cash and required ever more sophisticated investing machinery.
Members of the family have also increasingly shown more willingness to share information about their investments and philanthropic pursuits. Ben Walton owns Zoma Capital, which makes investments in areas such as energy and water.
Largely unnoticed until now
A representative for Walton Enterprises – the Waltons’ primary family office – confirmed that WIT is an affiliate that invests on behalf of the family.
Dele Butler, senior counsel of investments at Walton Enterprises, is listed on the filings as WIT’s primary contact. According to her LinkedIn profile she “advises and supports the family’s growing investment and transaction activity”. Others at the company include Rupal Poltack, president, who joined in 2019 from Fidelity Investments.
WIT’s disclosures have gone largely unnoticed until now. The company started up early last year, state records show, several months before the Waltons’ family office transferred $US48 billion to a separate trust established to divest the clan’s shares in the retail giant.
Walton Enterprises does not disclose its total assets, though tax records of private trusts showed that the family has held stakes in hedge funds run by Tiger Global Management and Viking Global Investors.
SEC rules require investors managing more than $US100 million in US equities to disclose their holdings, though family offices can appeal to keep these documents confidential. Walton Enterprises has never filed a so-called 13F quarterly report under that name. Other high-profile family offices, including one for Renaissance Technologies’ founder James Simons, have started filing reports.
Family office disclosures have become a flashpoint in Washington following the collapse of Archegos Capital Management, a personal investment vehicle for Bill Hwang that controlled billions of dollars in stocks that were never reported through quarterly filings.