Missouri Minute: States up ante against robocalls; SLU expects record enrollment

Good morning, MBA readers,

A bit of good news on this Friday: Every single state, including Missouri, has allied with major telecom firms to fight those pesky robocalls. Meanwhile, in Kansas City, Beauty Brands continues to engineer a comeback after bankruptcy. Plus, a court has unsealed a whistleblower lawsuit alleging CoxHealth and its associates conspired to defraud Medicare Advantage and other public health care programs. Take a minute to peruse these stories and other top business news from around the state.

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States, companies join forces against robocalls
Large telecom companies and attorneys general from every state announced a new pact Thursday for combating robocalls. Companies have vowed to prevent illegal robocalls on their networks and to work with state law enforcement agencies to track the callers. (Wall Street Journal)

CoxHealth, partners accused of Medicare fraud
A Branson physician claims CoxHealth and two other Missouri companies conspired to make certain Medicare patient files look more dire to boost payments from the government. (Springfield News-Leader)

SLU expects record enrollment this fall
Saint Louis University expects a record 1,900 first-year students this fall, a 25% boost from fall 2018. The incoming freshman class brings a record $54 million in financial assistance. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Earth City packaging company sells headquarters
Legacy Pharmaceutical Packaging has sold its St. Louis County headquarters to New York-based Royal Oaks Realty Trust for $12.2 million. The deal allows Legacy to lease back the space at $4.30 per square foot for 15 years. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Kansas City CID requests city assistance amid revenue shortfall, debt struggle
Developers behind The Shops on Blue Parkway have requested another $650,000 that would eliminate the community improvement district’s payments toward debt, allowing the funds to be used for their original purpose. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Wash U gets $15 million grant for leukemia study
The National Cancer Institute has awarded $15 million to investigators at Washington University’s school of medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s cancer center to study the genetic changes that drive acute myeloid leukemia. (St. Louis Business Journal)

St. Louis Symphony hopes to attract younger patrons with lower prices, new policies
The St. Louis Symphony has lowered its base ticket price to $15 and will allow patrons to bring drinks into the concert hall starting September. The changes reflect a wide trend among orchestras nationwide that are trying to grow their audiences. (St. Louis Public Radio)

Say that again

“We’re laser-focused here on the marketplace.”

That’s Travis Liebig, president and CEO of St. Louis Bank. Just a year after investors acquired the formerly single-branch community bank, St. Louis Bank is plotting more expansions in the area, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The bank, which has added a loan production venture in Arizona since the acquisition last summer, plans to create two new branches in the St. Louis area. With roughly $464 million in assets, St. Louis Bank aspires to grow in the St. Louis region. Liebig said he hopes to establish a presence at the Cortex Innovation Community in the future.

Go figure

That’s the share of firms in parts of Missouri and much of the Midwest that expect negative impacts from the latest U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, according to economist Chad Wilkerson at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. On Thursday, the Kansas City Fed said the regional manufacturing index fell to -6 in August, the lowest level since March 2016, Reuters reports. The numbers show broad declines in durable and nondurable plants, particularly primary metal, electrical equipment, appliances, paper, printing and chemical manufacturing.

Hello, my name is

Beauty Brands
Under new ownership, this Kansas City-based beauty retailer appears to be rebounding from bankruptcy. Beauty Brands was acquired in February by Bob Bernstein — who founded the company in 1995 and sold it in 2014 — and his son, David Bernstein. The retailer is holding a soft-reopening of one of its shuttered stores in Indianapolis today, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. As part of its bankruptcy proceedings, the company closed 35 stores this year. The Bernsteins bought 23 stores, including all of the Kansas City locations. Now, the father-and-son entrepreneur duo is re-opening a store that was not included in the original bid.

It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning. Here’s to an outstanding weekend.


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