Missouri Minute: H&R Block to buy Canadian firm, Boeing at a standstill

Good morning, MBA readers,

What happens when your payment processor drops you out of the blue? That’s the dilemma some cannabis and CBD businesses in Missouri are facing, despite the legalization of medical marijuana. In other news, Gov. Mike Parson signed a bill aimed at ending Missouri’s economic development fight with Kansas. Plus, Sprint’s proposed merger with T-Mobile faces a new lawsuit, and H&R Block made a $405 million acquisition. Let’s get you caught up on these and other top business headlines from across the state.

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From our newsroom

Parson signs economic ‘border war’ truce
The bill would stop Missouri from offering tax incentives to Kansas companies that jump the border. The deal requires Kansas officials to approve a similar measure before it takes effect.

Mid-Missouri electric cooperatives to receive funds to boost rural broadband
The Federal Communications Commission is granting two Missouri electric cooperatives a total of $24.1 million over 10 years to expand internet access in rural areas.

As consumers focus on ethics, corporate social responsibility helps brands give back, stand out
While consumers grow more discerning, brands’ motivations are under scrutiny. A new University of Missouri study looks at how companies use corporate philanthropy to emerge from a homogeneous pool of brands.

Springfield entrepreneurship hub eyes growth
The efactory, a business incubator and entrepreneurial space affiliated with Missouri State University, is exploring expansion opportunities.

Stay alert

H&R Block to acquire Canadian software firm for $405 million
The Kansas City-based tax preparation company will use existing cash to acquire Wave Financial, which provides accounting, payroll and payments services to small businesses. Block’s shares jumped 3.3 percent soon after it announced the deal Tuesday. (The Wall Street Journal)

States sue to stop T-Mobile, Sprint deal
A team of state attorneys general, led by New York and California, says the merger of the two telecom companies could cause “irreparable harm to mobile subscribers nationwide by cutting access to affordable, reliable wireless service.” (NBC News)

USDA may allow farmers to collect trade aid on un-plantable acres
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is exploring ways to allow farmers who file insurance claims on “prevented planting” policies to remain eligible for partial payment under a $16 billion aid package. But the farmers will need to plant an eligible cover crop. (Reuters)

Boeing reports no orders for second straight month
The standstill is due to a suspension of Boeing’s defective 737 Max jets and a backorder of about 5,000 aircraft. (CNN)

Ascension names new CEO
Joseph Impicciche, who has served as president and COO since January, will replace outgoing CEO Anthony Tersigni effective July 1. Tersigni will serve as chairman of Ascension’s health care investment fund and as a consultant to the board of directors. (St. Louis Business Journal)

University City approves $70 million in tax incentives for retail development
City officials say the agreement, which will help fund a $190 million development anchored by Costco, will drive about $15 million in new tax revenue for exclusive use on programs in the city’s poorer Third Ward. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Feds award $28.8 million grant for MacArthur Bridge rehab
The Federal Railroad Administration grant will help pay for over half of the project, which includes replacing steel girders built on the bridge in 1912. Work is expected to begin in 2021 and take two years to complete. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

KC law firm expands to Atlanta
Shook Hardy & Bacon has hired three local attorneys to staff the new office in Atlanta, which comes just two months after the firm opened an office in Los Angeles. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Say that again

“Everyone had to scramble. Most people were trying to either (conduct financials) overseas or go back underground like they were before, and hope they don’t get shut down.”

That’s Kyle Steppe, who operates KC Hemp Co. with his wife Heather, Startland News reports. According to Steppe, Elavon, a payment processor that once serviced CBD businesses, suddenly dropped all of its CBD business clients just three months after Steppe started his company. Elavon only gave a vague explanation for its decision, Steppe said, highlighting the uncertainty that cannabis firms face when seeking financial services from traditional payment and banking institutions.

Go figure

That is the percent of licensed Missouri physicians who practiced in rural areas in 2014, the Columbia Missourian reports. The number represents a substantial discrepancy: About 37% of the state’s residents live in rural areas and the number of rural physicians has declined in recent years. The limited health care options mean farm accidents in rural areas are especially dangerous.

Hello, my name is

Angela Middleton
The former vice president of information services at DST Systems was named the first chief technology officer for the National Insurance Producer Registry, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. Middleton’s hire comes as the legacy technology firm in Kansas City seeks to adapt to an ever-evolving insurance industry.

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


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