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Missouri Minute: States launch Google probe; Mallinckrodt sells unit amid lawsuits



Good morning, MBA readers,
Mallinckrodt has announced the sale of its manufacturing unit, giving the company a little breathing room as it faces numerous opioid-related lawsuits. Meanwhile, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has joined a coalition of states investigating Google for alleged antitrust practices. Plus, WOW Air is plotting a comeback, but those plans may be complicated by a six-figure bill owed to St. Louis Lambert Airport. Scroll down for more on these stories and other top business news from around the state.


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Mallinckrodt sells manufacturing unit amid opioid litigation
Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, which has a principal office in St. Louis, has agreed to sell its contract manufacturing unit to H.I.G. Capital for up to $250 million. The company, which faces numerous lawsuits over its role in the nationwide opioid crisis, will primarily use the proceeds to pay off over $5 billion in debt. (Reuters)

St. Louis County approves 1,000-foot buffer zone for marijuana vendors
The St. Louis County Council on Tuesday approved 1,000-foot buffer zones to separate medical marijuana dispensaries from schools, day care centers and churches in unincorporated parts of the county. Critics say the decision is too restrictive, as the planning commission recommended a 500-foot buffer. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

St. Louis software firm merges with California company
Hatchbuck, a St. Louis company that provides sales and marketing software, is merging with Los Angeles-based Benchmark Email. Hatchbuck CEO and co-founder Jonathan Herrick will serve as CEO of the combined company, which will operate as Benchmark. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Missouri boat dealers lobby lawmakers for special tax break
Boat dealers from around the state want lawmakers to reverse a Missouri Supreme Court decision barring people from combining the trade-in credit of multiple vehicles to buy a new vehicle. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Cass acquires niche banking subsidiary
St. Louis-based Cass Information Systems has acquired the Gyve On-Line Generosity Platform from Gateway Giving for an undisclosed sum. The platform facilitates donations to religious and nonprofit organizations. (St. Louis Business Journal)

PayIt named finalist for Fast Company design award
Kansas City startup PayIt’s iKan app, which facilitates payments for license renewals in Kansas, was named a finalist in the apps and games category of Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Awards. (Startland News)


Show me

With the recent announcement of the planned sale of the Kansas City Royals, today’s graphic looks at the value of Major League Baseball teams. At the start of this season, the Royals were worth just over $1 billion, according to an annual report published by Forbes. That ranked 28th out of the 30 teams in MLB. Across the state, the St. Louis Cardinals were valued at about $2.1 billion.


Say that again

“(L)et the facts lead us where they’re going to lead us and not to prejudge them, but to get as much information as we can about what’s behind the curtain here.”

That’s Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt talking about his participation in a national investigation into whether Google is breaking antitrust laws, St. Louis Public Radio reports. Schmitt, along with 49 other state attorneys general, will probe whether Google is prioritizing search results for companies that pay to advertise with the search engine, which Schmitt says threatens small businesses and the free market. Schmitt is following in the footsteps of U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, his predecessor as Missouri attorney general, who opened an investigation against Google two years ago and has been outspoken against the potentially manipulative data use of companies like Google and Facebook.


Go figure

$361,187
That’s how much St. Louis Lambert Airport could be in the hole after Icelandic budget airline WOW Air shut down in March, prematurely ending its two-year contract with the airport, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The airline has since been purchased by a new owner, which plans to reboot the carrier. It’s still unclear whether St. Louis, which WOW Air’s previous management called a “disappointment,” will be reimbursed.


Hello, my name is

Jeff Townsend
The executive vice president and chief of innovation at Cerner announced his retirement from the North Kansas City-based company, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. After departing at the end of the year, Townsend will take an advisory role at the health care IT company, which laid off 255 employees last week and expanded a “disruptive” partnership with Amazon in July.


It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.

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