Missouri’s Top Business Stories Of 2013: Nos. 6-10

Top Stories 2013 - Business

Before closing the book on 2013, Missouri Business Alert is taking a look back at the year’s most important stories in Missouri business, focusing on the top 10 stories overall and the top five in several key industries:

Read coverage of the top five Missouri business stories of 2013

6. Cerner opens one campus, announces another

In early August, the North Kansas City-based health care information technology company announced plans for an office park in south Kansas City that could ultimately house more than 15,000 additional employees and will cost an estimated $4.3 billion. The campus, covering the site of the old Bannister Mall, is scheduled to be built in phases and completed by 2024. It will receive $1.63 billion in incentives from the city.

That announcement came less than three weeks before Cerner celebrated the opening of another Kansas City-area complex that’s expected to eventually accommodate 4,000 new employees. And projections suggest the growth of Cerner’s market share will grow along with the company’s facilities. Cerner, recognized this year by the Kansas City Star as the top-performing public company in Kansas City, is beginning to “squeeze out” smaller companies competing for large-hospital contracts.

7. A-B InBev merger with modelo survives DOJ scrutiny

Photos courtesy of Creative Commons
A-B InBev and Grupo Modelo cleared regulatory hurdles to finalize their $20.1 billion merger. | Photos courtesy of Creative Commons

The $20.1 billion merger between Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo and the Anheuser-Busch InBev, the Belgian parent company of St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch, was first announced in June 2012 but had to clear regulatory hurdles this year from the Department of Justice, which sued to block the merger because of antitrust concerns. A-B InBev eventually appeased regulators by agreeing to divest Modelo’s entire U.S. business to Constellation Brands and sell a Modelo brewery. The deal closed in June, and A-B InBev saw profits spike in the second and third quarters. By year’s end, with A-B InBev’s debt ratios back to normal, analysts were predicting the company would move for a $100 million merger with SABMiller sometime in 2014.

8. Business groups watch closely as vetoes, overrides pile up

Veto-proof Republican majorities in the Missouri House and Senate and a second-term Democratic governor combined to create a rocky road for a record number of would-be bills, including several identified as important by statewide business groups. First, Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed 29 bills that had passed the General Assembly, a personal high. Then, the Republican-led Legislature overturned a record 10 of those vetoes. Legislation initially nixed by the governor that wound up becoming law included bills that: allow payday loan companies to raise fees on consumer loans; limit awards against insured drivers in certain accidents; cap punitive damages against the Doe Run Co.; and regulate foreign ownership of Missouri farms.

9. Boeing cuts Missouri jobs but could bring thousands more

After slashing its defense budget in 2012 in anticipation of government spending cuts in 2013, the Chicago-based aviation giant in 2013 announced plans to cease production of its C-17 cargo plane. That led to the elimination of 300 jobs in the St. Louis area, where Boeing Defense, Space & Security has its headquarters. The company later announced it would hire 400 workers for new research and development centers in the St. Louis area.

But what could be the biggest story of the year for Boeing, and Missouri business, will carry into 2014. Following a November announcement that Boeing planned to pick a new location for production of its 777X airliner, Missouri and St. Louis lawmakers scrambled to put together incentives packages that could be worth up to $3.5 billion over 23 years for the factory, which would create up to 8,000 jobs. Boeing will chose a site in January.

10. McKelvey plants seeds for future of St. Louis tech scene

McKelvey is not only a co-founder of Square, a mobile payments company, but sits on the boards of major St. Louis startups such as Lockerdome and organizations such as Cultivation Capital | Photo by Austin Huguelet
Jim McKelvey believes LaunchCode can help a wide array of St. Louis businesses. | Photo by Austin Huguelet

Several tech companies and organizations flourished in St. Louis, with Answers acquiring three companies and angling towards an IPO, LockerDome raising $6 million to fuel its aggressive growth, and the downtown T-REx incubator expanding to another building. But no individual did as much high-profile to boost the city’s startup scene as Jim McKelvey, a St. Louis native and the co-founder of San Francisco-based mobile payments company Square.

McKelvey is also a general partner in Cultivation Capital, a venture capital firm that opened a $30 million fund in June; managing director of SixThirty, an accelerator for financial tech startups that was announced in August, and founder of LaunchCode, an apprenticeship program he started this year to pair aspiring coders with companies that need tech talent. Said McKelvey in an October interview with Missouri Business Alert: “LaunchCode is going to help not just the startups but throughout the ecosystem.”

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