Is Walmart a Publicly Traded Company?

Earlier in August, a report of an increase of 6% in its second quarter e-commerce sales for the United States only, and an overall growth of 103% calculated over the past two years, was released by Walmart. By the time 2021 gets to an end, the company expects to reach a global e-commerce sales of about $75 billion. This report has since gathered quite an amount of attention, as individuals seek to own percentages of the company’s stock and shares. This includes you and that is why you are here. You want to know if Walmart allows for the public to own stocks of their company, in other words, if Walmart is a publicly traded company?

Is Walmart a Publicly Traded Company?

Originally, Walmart is a business, that is majorly controlled by the Walton family, who own a huge chunk (over fifty percent) of the company. However, Walmart happens to be one of the most popular publicly traded companies.

Keep reading to find out more about this.

Walmart as a Publicly Traded Company

Established by Sam Walton, Walmart is a global discount retailing company, which is also regarded as the largest company in the world, from a revenue generation perspective. In terms of number of employee, it is seen as the biggest private employer in the world.

In October 1970 (this is the same year the company officially became known as Walmart Stores),  Walmart went public – it became publicly. 300,000 shares were offered over the counter by the founder. It is reported that the first stock had a price tag of $16.50 per share.

Prior to offering its shares to the public, Sam Walton, alongside his family, solely ran Walmart. Many believe that this decision to go public, was influenced by the need to raise capital for the expansion of their business. Others believe that the Waltons needed some liquidity to hold onto. As such, they decided to make Walmart publicly traded. 

However, whatever reason(s) pushed Sam Walton to declare Walmart publicly, turned out to be positively effective. One of such effects came became two years after. The company got listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1972. On the Stock Exchange, Walmart is represented by WMT.

Over the years, Walmart has steadily grown, expanding to different regions. Presently, the company has a reach of over 250 million customers from 28 countries, visiting their over 11,500 stores per week. 

With a number of major shareholders such as The Vanguard Group Inc, State Street Corporation, BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, etc, owning percentages in the company, Walmart has turned out to be arguably the largest public corporation, with respect to revenue generation. Their stock is traded in several international stock exchanges. Their current price per share is $129.60.

What Does it Mean for Walmart to be Publicly Traded?

By going public, Walmart’s ownership is determined by percentage of shares (stocks). Note that these shares must be freely traded in a stock exchange or an over-the-counter market.

Secondly, by becoming publicly traded, the company provides liquidity for its shareholders. As Walmart grows, its major shareholders may wish to cash in on the wealth they have tied up in the company. This offer of publicly traded shares, develops a market for Walmart’s shares, giving its investors the ability to sell their percentages.

Also, by being added on New York Stock Exchange in 1972, Walmart became a listed publicly traded company.

Benefits of Walmart Operating as a Publicly Traded Company

As earlier stated, Walmart is currently arguably the most prominent publicly traded company worldwide. Their going and staying public, came with some benefits, such as becoming stable and  growing unique brand name. What does this entail? This means that with Walmart, as an investor, you can already know what you are going to receive, from an operational point of view. This stability creates a view of the company as a worthy investment for a long term.

Other benefits that come with being a publicly traded company, are dividends and reinvesting power. Through the years, Walmart has done remarkably well in the aspect of profit management. This has been achieved by adopting the strategy of reinvestment, and dividends.

Furthermore, going public by the retail giant, ensured (and still does) continuous innovation and focused effort in creating new strides for profit maximization.


Almost fifty years have passed since Sam Walton founded Walmart. Today, Walmart is rated as one of the most successful retail companies worldwide. This success can be heavily accredited to the single move of making Walmart become publicly traded in 1970. 

Frequently  Asked Questions

  1. Who took Walmart public?

Sam Walton, in 1970, took Walmart public, offering over 300,000 shares over-the-counter.

  1. When did Walmart become publicly traded?

Walmart became a company that is publicly traded in 1970.

  1. What is Walmart represented as on New York’s Stock Exchange?

On the New York Stock Exchange, WMT is used to represent Walmart.

Is Walmart a Publicly Traded Company?

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