The world’s wealthiest family moved $48 billion of Walmart Inc. stock to a different holding company in an action that may signal future share sales and bolster their philanthropy.
Walton Enterprises LLC, the main investment entity of the retailer’s founding clan, transferred about 15 percent of Walmart’s outstanding shares to the Walton Family Holdings Trust, according to regulatory filings last week.
The shift of 415 million shares represented about 29 percent of the shares held by Walton Enterprise. This entity now owns about 1 billion shares.
The family owns about half of the retailer’s outstanding shares and last week’s transaction doesn’t change their overall stake. But if previous selling patterns by the trust are any guide, disposals may occur. The trust has sold 98 percent of the 194 million shares that were distributed to it in April 2015.
A statement from that time said that the Waltons expected to sell the shares to help fund charitable contributions and offset increases in its ownership percentage as a result of the company’s stock buyback programs.
“There is no set timetable for the sale of shares from the trust,” according to a March 6 statement announcing the latest transfer. Kiki McLean, a spokeswoman for the family, declined to comment.
The Waltons have a combined fortune of $185 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.