Arvest Bank, the Walton banking enterprise, is acquiring Bear State Financial, led by Richard Massey, for $391 million, all cash. Bear State, based in Arkansas, is a holding company for a bank with 42 branches and other operations in Arkansas,
Minor point: I mentioned Bear State recently on account of its support (and that of a major stockholder, Scott Ford, who owns more than $8 million worth of Bear State stock) in various ways of Fitz Hill, the former president of Arkansas Baptist College who’s rumored to have some Little Rock political aspirations. Don’t know if the tie-in will continue under Arvest, but I kind of like the chances. As a member of the state Board of Education, Hill has been a reliable supporter of Walton Family Foundation-backed charter schools and not so friendly toward the Little Rock School District, which the Walton education effort has worked for years to disrupt.