Missouri Minute: Google mulls KC data center; Peak Resorts sells

Good morning, MBA readers,

Buckle in for another busy news day. A week after Bayer promised new jobs in the St. Louis area, some experts think Monsanto’s parent company is looking to leverage its status as a local employer to tip the scales in an upcoming trial. Elsewhere in the St. Louis area, Wildwood’s Peak Resorts announced a nine-digit sale. Across the state, Google is considering a new data center in Kansas City. Read on to learn more about these and the state’s other top business stories.

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From our newsroom

Missouri ag director addresses rural broadband efforts, effect on farms
Amidst the spectacle of a ham auction over the weekend, Missouri’s top agriculture official offered an update about efforts to address an issue she called “one of our greatest challenges in bringing that next generation back to the farm.”

State OKs $500,000 in tax credits to help business incubators
The Missouri Department of Economic Development this month announced tax credits totaling $500,000 for seven business incubators in the state. The program allows donors to receive tax credits for up to 50% of contributions to certified incubators or accelerators.

Debt, rising overhead blamed as Ingredient restaurant closes
Missouri’s last Ingredient True Eatery officially shut its doors last week. In an email obtained by Missouri Business Alert, restaurant management blamed “the rising costs of overhead” and “prior debts from other Ingredient stores” for the closure.

Stay alert

Google mulls $600 million KC investment
The Port Authority of Kansas City on Monday approved up to $25 billion in bonds over 35 years for Google to build a data center in Kansas City. If Google follows through and picks Kansas City for the project, it would bring $600 million in initial investment. (Kansas City Star)

Peak Resorts sells for $264 million
Peak Resorts, the Wildwood-based ski resort owner, will sell to Colorado’s Vail Resorts for $11 a share. Peak shares surged nearly 113% to $10.85 a share following the news Monday. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Bayer turns to Missouri professors in Roundup trial
Bayer has recruited four expert witnesses from Missouri universities as it prepares for a glyphosate trial set for Aug. 19 in St. Louis. Some legal experts say the pharmaceutical giant is angling for its first courtroom win in a series of related cases by emphasizing its reputation as a major local employer. (Reuters)

Ratings agencies cast negative outlooks on Boeing
Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service may cut Boeing’s credit rating if the worldwide 737 Max groundings continue into 2020, the agencies said Monday. Fitch cut its outlook on Boeing to “negative” because the company could end up paying more concessions to airlines as the 737 Max remains out of service. (CNBC)

Missouri wins $81 million grant to replace Rocheport bridge
The Missouri Department of Transportation will get an $81 million federal grant to help finance a $200 million project to replace the Interstate 70 bridge over the Missouri River near Rocheport. (Associated Press)

Arkansas developer buys St. Louis Shell Building
Reimagine Hospitality has closed on the historic Shell Building in downtown St. Louis and plans to convert the structure into a dual-branded Hilton hotel. The $43.2 million project will add 203 new hotel rooms. (St. Louis Business Journal)

St. Louis chocolate maker sells to local rival
After more than 90 years in business, Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier has been acquired by the Abel family, which owns the Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Co. in St. Louis. The Abels will operate Bissinger’s as a separate entity from their existing brands. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Say that again

“A lot of startup companies can bring innovation to the front. Big companies like ours, sometimes we’re so busy that we lose track of that activity. We really rely on startup companies to provide that innovation. We look for investment opportunities and work with these companies to see where we can come together.”

That’s Henry Kim, director of smart home solutions at LG Electronics. Addressing the crowd at the Startland News Innovation Exchange last week, Kim offered his thoughts on how corporations and startups can work together to improve home automation. LG, which has a working partnership with Kansas City startup Homebase, relies on such collaborations to find new verticals for its existing products, Kim said. He noted that Kansas City in particular has excelled at creating new business opportunities compared to other U.S. cities.

Go figure

That’s roughly the number of children who were dropped from Missouri’s Medicaid program in the past year, the Associated Press reports. The drop in enrollment figures prompted House Minority Leader Crystal Quade to release a letter on Sunday calling on House Speaker Elijah Haahr to investigate the matter. Quade expressed concerns about unexpected medical bills and children going without vaccinations due to a drop in health care coverage.

Word to the wise

Blind scorer
A third-party company that would vet marijuana business applications without access to names and identifying details of applicant firms. State officials are considering bids from seven companies to serve as Missouri’s blind scorers on thousands of applications for medical marijuana dispensaries and other facilities, the Springfield News-Leader reports. The Missouri Office of Administration says the content of the bids will not be released until the contract is awarded. Under Amendment 2, which passed last November, officials must begin accepting license applications from prospective businesses no later than Aug. 3.

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


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