Hello, MBA readers,
With the close of the Missouri General Assembly’s annual session looming at week’s end, multiple issues of big interest to business groups in the state remain unsettled. Among those high-profile measures are a proposal to generate infrastructure funding by boosting the state’s gas tax by 12.5 cents over five years, and a resurrected plan that would limit business liability in cases of COVID-19 exposure. Also in Jefferson City, Gov. Mike Parson’s administration has taken steps toward expanding Medicaid access in Missouri — despite lawmakers refusing to include funds for that voter-approved expansion in the state’s budget. The Missouri Department of Social Services has proposed a rule change that would broaden access to the health care program, but the move may not prevent the issue from being decided in court. Plus, the spread of SPACs continues in St. Louis. Agriculture technology startup Benson Hill has announced that it is going public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. The deal values Benson Hill at $2 billion.
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Parson administration looks to expand Medicaid despite lack of funds
Although state lawmakers approved a budget without funding for the state’s voter-approved expansion of Medicaid, the Missouri Department of Social Services is seeking a rule change that would expand the health care program for low-income Missourians to adults between ages 19 and 64. (Kansas City Star)
Key issues linger as legislative session nears end
Prominent business bills still working their way through the Missouri Legislature include a measure that would increase the state’s gas tax and another with a provision that would limit business liability related to COVID-19. (St. Louis Public Radio)
Private equity firm buys Maryland Heights plastics company
The Jordan Company announced its purchase of Spartech on Monday. The purchase is the latest in a series of private equity deals since Spartech was acquired by Cleveland-based plastics company PolyOne in 2013. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Quaker Windows to expand Eldon campus
The mid-Missouri expansion includes a new 250,000-square-foot commercial window and door facility. Company officials say the expansion will create more than 150 jobs. (Jefferson City News Tribune)
Florida door maker closing Springfield plant
Tampa-based Masonite International’s plant closure will result in 63 layoffs by year’s end. (Springfield Business Journal)
Energizer reports second-quarter loss
The St. Louis-area battery maker reported losses of $14.3 million, or $0.21 per share, for the period ended March 31. That was less than in recent years and beat Wall Street expectations. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
St. Louis distiller relocates corporate office
Luxco is moving from an 8,300-square-foot space downtown to west St. Louis County, a blow to the downtown business district as it faces increasing vacancy. (St. Louis Business Journal)
St. Louis-area distribution center to undergo $7 million expansion
Creve Coeur-based TriStar Properties said the work will add 60,000 square feet to its Gateway Commerce Center near Edwardsville, Illinois. (St. Louis Business Journal)
Construction begins on new KCI Intermodal buildings
Trammell Crow and Clarion Partners have broken ground on two warehouse and distribution facilities totaling 676,000 square feet at the logistics park near Kansas City International Airport. (Kansas City Business Journal)
Say that again
“The model has to be different because the world has changed. The concepts of brands, brand loyalty and consumer choice are very different.”
That’s Tom Pirko, managing director of beverage industry consultancy Bevmark, discussing the need for a different sort of leadership at Anheuser-Busch InBev during a new era in the brewing industry, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Carlos Brito, the beer giant’s current chief executive, will step down in July and be replaced by Michel Doukeris, currently the president of the company’s St. Louis-based North American division. The world’s largest brewer is saddled with $83 billion debt and faces changing alcohol consumption habits. Brito has led the brewery by focusing on dealmaking and cost-cutting. Colleagues of Doukeris, who has been with A-B InBev for 25 years, have praised his adeptness in regards to innovation, brand building and consumer insight, which some say are exactly the qualities the company needs in its new leader.
Hello, my name is
That will be the ticker symbol on the New York Stock Exchange for St. Louis-based agriculture technology firm Benson Hill after it goes public through a merger with a publicly traded special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. Benson Hill uses machine learning and artificial intelligence in an effort to more efficiently develop crops optimized for certain traits. It is merging with Illinois-based Star Peak Corp II in a deal that values Benson Hill at $2 billion. The move makes Benson Hill the latest in a growing number of startups to access public markets through SPACs, also known as blank-check companies.
Good morning, Kansas City! We are here together as journalists of the @KCStar, proudly carrying on a newspaper tradition that has served the Kansas City community for more than 140 years. To protect and preserve that tradition, we have united to form the @KCNewsGuild. pic.twitter.com/EFWe9UjZIw
— Kansas City News Guild (@KCNewsGuild) May 10, 2021
Demanding a voice in the future direction of The Kansas City Star, 40 journalists at the publication have formed a union called the Kansas City News Guild. The guild announced its formation with a press release and a tweet calling people to #ProtectTheStar and “support local journalism.” The local group will be a part of The NewsGuild-CWA, the country’s largest union for journalists, which includes employees from publications such as The Washington Post and Chicago Tribune. Among the local guild’s stated priorities are ensuring fair wages, fostering newsroom diversity and creating a workplace that encourages growth. The Star’s parent company, McClatchy, filed for bankruptcy last year and was sold to its largest creditor, Chatham Asset Management. Since then, the newspaper’s printing press has shuttered and more than 100 employees have been laid off.