Missouri Minute: Centene funds UK startup; Texas joins Sprint merger lawsuit

Good morning, MBA readers,

The alliance of states suing to stop Sprint and T-Mobile’s merger just got bigger after Texas announced it will join the court battle. In the St. Louis area, managed care giant Centene continues its investment streak, this time with a $50 million stake in a health care startup across the pond in the U.K. Meanwhile, plans to revive an abandoned mine in Madison County are underway, and that’s expected to create hundreds of jobs. Scroll down to catch up on these and other top business stories from around the state.

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From our newsroom

Patent pains: IP protection proves time-intensive, cost-prohibitive for some startups
Graham Dodge wanted to provide a sense of security for investors funding his health technology startup, but obtaining a patent proved more difficult than anticipated. The rigors of protecting intellectual property are a common frustration for many early-stage companies.

Speaking Startup: A move to back women-led companies in mid-Missouri
This week’s podcast includes a conversation with Mindy McCubbin, one of the founders of a new Columbia angel investing group that’s looking to address a lack of investment in companies run by women.

Hawley proposes regulation of social apps to curb internet addiction
U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, is continuing his crusade against big tech by introducing a bill to rein in addictive apps.

Stay alert

Missouri scores A for low taxes, D+ for exports
Ball State University’s annual Manufacturing Scorecard cites low taxes and a diverse manufacturing sector as an economic strength for Missouri. The report released Wednesday adds that the state lags behind in global reach due to fewer foreign exports as well as education achievement and health care costs. (Springfield News-Leader)

Texas joins Sprint, T-Mobile merger lawsuit
The Texas attorney general has joined 12 states and the District of Columbia in a legal battle to stop the $26.5 billion merger of Sprint and T-Mobile. The mobile carriers announced a $5 billion divestment plan last week, helping the deal clear a major regulatory hurdle. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Aegion posts Q2 loss
Chesterfield-based Aegion reported a second-quarter loss of $8.4 million. The infrastructure firm posted about $319 million in revenue for the same period. (Associated Press)

Mississippi Lime completes $135 million acquisition
St. Louis-based Mississippi Lime, a producer of lime-based products, has closed on its $135 million purchase of Calera, a lime business based in Alabama. The deal expands Mississippi Lime’s production to nine new facilities. (St. Louis Business Journal)

KC law firm announces merger, expansion to Texas market
Spencer Fane on Thursday closed on a merger with Zimmerman Axelrad Stern & Wise PC of Houston, giving the Kansas City law firm a foothold in the Houston legal services market. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Former Missouri mine to reopen for cobalt mining
Missouri Mining plans to reopen the Madison Mine in Madison County to extract cobalt, creating up to 700 jobs to clean up and operate the facility. (St. Louis Public Radio)

Centene invests $50 million in British startup
Clayton-based Centene is acquiring a $50 million stake in Babylon Healthcare, a British startup that developed a chat bot for doctors. (St. Louis Business Journal)

KC hires California startup to assess sewer lines
Kansas City has hired Electro Scan of Sacramento to assess 22 miles of sewer lines as part of its agreement with the federal government to fix the city’s sewer system. In 2010, the city entered an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to invest $4.5 billion in infrastructure. (Kansas City Business Journal)

KC startup launches car shipping platform
Super Dispatch, a software startup for auto transport firms, has launched a new platform that aims to increase transparency and efficiency in the car shipping process. (Startland News)

Say that again

“We are building early childhood on the backs of families and teachers. We need help.”

That’s Steve Zwolak, CEO of LUME Institute and executive director of University City Children’s Center. According to the Economic Policy Institute, infant child care in Missouri costs an average of $800 a month, St. Louis Public Radio reports. That cost, child care experts say, puts a significant strain on daycare centers and the families that foot the bill.

Go figure

That’s how much the Mid-America Business Conditions index dropped in July, suggesting slower economic growth in Midwestern and Great Plains states over the next three to six months, the Associated Press reports. The index declined to 52.0 in July from 55.4 in June. The survey of business supply managers finds that the regional economy grew at a slower pace than the rest of the nation in the first half of 2019 due to weak farm income. The survey covers nine states including Missouri.

Hello, my name is

Kennedy Capital ESG SMID Cap
Creve Coeur-based investment firm Kennedy Capital Management has launched a new mutual fund, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The Kennedy Capital ESG SMID Cap will fund small and mid-sized companies focused on environmental, social and governance issues. The fund, which began trading June 28, has a one-month return of 0.1%, according to Morningstar.

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


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