Missouri Minute: Bayer animal health deal advances; DOD touts ‘smoother’ Cerner launch

Good morning, MBA readers,

The Kansas City metro area is expected to see some of the nation’s strongest growth of home sales in 2020. The region’s projected 3.4% increase in home sales puts Kansas City seventh among the 100 largest metro areas in the U.S., according to Realtor.com.

Small towns in the metro area are feeling the effects of that growth. Take De Soto, Kansas, for example. The town experienced the Kansas City area’s largest jump in home prices from 2018 to 2019 — more than 22%. As interest in De Soto increases, local officials and residents are grappling with the challenges of a swelling population and a desire for the community to maintain its character.

Scroll down to read more about that story, new developments in the debate over St. Louis’ airport and a lesson in inventory management courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs.


Stay alert

Elanco secures Chinese approval for $7.6 billion Bayer deal in KC area
Iowa-based Elanco Animal Health has received unconditional antitrust clearance from Chinese authorities to buy Bayer’s animal health business, which is headquartered in Shawnee, Kansas, and employs 550 people in the area. Elanco CEO Jeff Simmons said Friday that the proposed $7.6 billion acquisition is going “even better than originally expected,” despite skepticism from U.S. regulators. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Defense Department touts ‘much smoother’ launch of Cerner records system
The Department of Defense said its second rollout of Cerner’s electronic health records system went “much, much smoother” than its initial deployment in 2017, which caused widespread frustration among hospital staff. Cerner, the North Kansas City-based health care IT firm, is also developing an EHR system for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which is set to launch in March. (NextGov)

Planned Parenthood again challenges Missouri’s cutoff of Medicaid payments
Planned Parenthood is looking to overturn an earlier court ruling that allowed Missouri to cut off the organization’s Medicaid funding for fiscal year 2020. Over the past two fiscal years, the state has withheld roughly $1 million from Planned Parenthood. About 7,000 Missouri Medicaid patients use Planned Parenthood for a range of health services from birth control to cancer screenings. (KCUR)

Waddell & Reed to break ground on its ‘iconic’ new KC office tower
The Overland Park, Kansas-based financial services firm plans to break ground on its new downtown Kansas City office tower in the first quarter of 2020. The company released renderings for the 18-story building, which it calls an “iconic, state-of-the-art design.” (Kansas City Star)

St. Louis Opportunity Zones boost some of area’s biggest projects
The federal Opportunity Zones program is allowing some St. Louis developments to raise more money, including a new $52 million headquarters for Benson Hill Biosystems and the 136-room Fairfield Inn and Suites being developed near the site of a new Major League Soccer stadium. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

St. Louis aldermen bar employers from asking job seekers about criminal record
The St. Louis Board of Aldermen voted unanimously Friday to pass a measure that would prohibit companies with 10 or more employees from asking about a person’s criminal history on an initial application. As part of the national “ban-the-box” movement, the bill is aimed at barring employers from basing their hiring and promotion decisions on an applicant’s criminal history. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Local NAACP seeks records on Lambert privatization effort
The St. Louis chapter of the NAACP has filed an open records request for all communications from St. Louis County employees regarding the potential privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport. The organization, which vocally supported the privatization effort, had previously called on companies to submit their bids to lease Lambert, even though Mayor Lyda Krewson halted the process last month. (St. Louis Business Journal)

St. Louis County tables study on regional Lambert governance
In a move that signals intensifying discussions among regional leaders, the St. Louis County Port Authority said it will hold off on a study about regional governance of Lambert Airport. (St. Louis Public Radio)

Faultless Brands launches dry shampoo for clothes
The Kansas City-based company launched ReWear Dry Wash Spray, a new product designed to eliminate odor and wrinkles from clothing without putting it in the washer. The 130-year-old firm said the new product fits its new focus on consumer-driven innovation to fuel revenue growth. (Kansas City Business Journal)


Say that again

“I’m kind of afraid we’re going to start becoming the big city.”

That’s Wanda Riedhart, a 66-year-old resident of De Soto, Kansas. Residents like Riedhart do not want their small town, located about 30 miles from downtown Kansas City, Missouri, to become another suburb. But one thing is clear: De Soto is growing. The town saw the largest increase in home prices of any community in the Kansas City area from 2018 to 2019, up 22.39%, The Kansas City Star reports. “There is charm to our smaller community,” Mayor Rick Walker said. “The challenge will be to maintain that small-town feel while attracting more growth.” Now the town is at a crossroads, and city officials have to figure out how to adapt with the growth as a suburb.


Go figure

$763

That’s the median weekly earning of Missouri women in 2018, about 80.7% of men’s median salary of $973, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. Missouri’s pay disparity between men and women has varied over the years, but this is the second time the ratio has climbed above 80% since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking the figure in the late 1990s. The highest wage gap in the U.S. was found in Wyoming, where women made 67.8% of what men earned. The lowest wage gap was in California, where women earned 88% of what men made.


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Today’s lesson in inventory management comes courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs, who scored so many points Sunday in their 51-31 comeback win over the Houston Texans that the team announced it ran out of the pyrotechnics typically used to celebrate scoring plays. The Chiefs will host their second consecutive AFC Championship game next Sunday. They may want to order a few more fireworks.


Hello, my name is

Steven Baumer

That’s the new co-chairman of the international law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. Baumer, a partner in the St. Louis office, is replacing Therese Pritchard, who has led the firm since 2014 out of the Washington D.C. office. Baumer used to be part of Bryan Cave’s global transactions practice and advised clients on business transactions and specialized in mergers and acquisitions. The firms of Bryan Cave and Berwin Leighton Paisner merged in 2018.


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