Missouri Minute: Blues bring cup to St. Louis; Centene deal gets key endorsement

Good morning, MBA readers,

Something tells us “Gloria” — the ’80s ballad that became the St. Louis Blues’ anthem this year — is a popular song on morning commutes today in St. Louis. After all, the Blues, who had the worst record in the NHL in January, are now Stanley Cup champions for the first time in their 52-year history. Who’s excited to see a Cup under an Arch? Away from the ice rink, Centene has secured a major endorsement for its proposed acquisition of WellCare, and startups in both St. Louis and Kansas City have raised funds to expand. Let’s get you up to speed on the day’s top business news.

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Centene’s WellCare acquisition earns key endorsement
Institutional Shareholder Services recommends that Centene shareholders vote in favor of the deal in a scheduled June 24 vote, which would position Clayton-based Centene as a stronger national Medicaid powerhouse. (Forbes)

Metro Business College to close 3 Missouri campuses
The St. Louis-based private college will close campuses in Cape Girardeau, Jefferson City and Rolla by the end of the year due to declining enrollment and increased costs. (Southeast Missourian)

$120 million senior living project breaks ground in Clayton
The 13-story Clarendale Clayton is expected to wrap up construction in spring 2021. (St. Louis Business Journal)

KC mall development on hold
Sunflower Development Group has put the 220,000-square-foot indoor mall project on hold and declined to provide additional details. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Mayor, comptroller clash again over St. Louis airport bonds
Mayor Lyda Krewson has expressed concern over conflicting details of a bond refinancing plan passed May 31. The plan would refinance about $93 million in debt at lower interest rates, potentially saving the St. Louis Lambert International Airport about $23 million. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Aratana wins fifth FDA approval in three years
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a smaller 10-millimeter vial of Aratana Therapeutics’ pet anesthetic Nocita. Meanwhile, the Kansas City-area firm awaits its $245 million sale to Elanco Animal Health to close. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Solar power firm plans to hire 100 in St. Charles
North Carolina’s Powerhome Solar, which has offices in seven other states, is opening a new office in St. Charles and plans to hold open interviews for sales positions next week. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Sale of Lebanon park to Bass Pro angers residents
The Lebanon City Council approved the $2.5 million sale of a 50-year-old, 30-acre park to White River Marine Group, the boat-making subsidiary for Bass Pro Shops and the city’s largest employer. (Springfield News-Leader)

Bellwethr raises $2.5 million in seed funding
The Kansas City startup’s latest funding round was led by Royal Street Ventures, a venture capital firm in Utah, and included investment from KCRise Fund, Techstars and a number of angel investors. (Startland News)

Springfield tables payday loan regulations
Springfield City Council members said they hope to discuss the best way to use proposed permit fees on payday lenders to help those seeking loans. (Springfield News-Leader)

Say that again

“You’re telling me over the course of one year, my house went up by $50,000 in market value? I didn’t do anything to it. It seems so arbitrary.”

That was the response from Jackson County homeowner Brian Crilly to the market value of his home jumping 70%, KCUR reports. He’s not alone. Jackson County Assessor Gail McCann Beatty said home values as a whole have increased 18%. Many of the homes had been undervalued, McCann Beatty said. But the spike in valuations is causing sticker shock for homeowners when it’s time to pay property tax.

Go figure

No. 43
That is where Missouri’s health care system ranks out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia in the Commonwealth Fund’s 2019 Scoreboard on State Health System Performance. The Show-Me State’s rank has fallen two places since last year. The report cites 11 key indicators, such as adult dental care and deaths in hospitals, for the state’s new position.

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Pam from “The Office”: She’s just like the people from your office! Jenna Fischer, a St. Louis native and star of the former NBC sitcom, was among a flood of jubilant Blues fans celebrating on social media Wednesday night, and she even managed a pretty good dig at her erstwhile on-screen coworker-turned-husband.

Hello, my name is

The St. Louis-based biotechnology startup has raised $98,000 using the crowdsourcing platform Nvsted, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Pluton, which initially hoped to sell $75,000 in convertible notes in the offering that closed last week, works with microbes that may have environmental or agricultural benefits. This isn’t the first time a company raised funds using Nvsted, which was launched by the St. Louis Economic Development Partner last year. At launch, Wellbeing Brewing, a local nonalcoholic brewer, raised nearly $200,000 on the platform.

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


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