Missouri Minute: Emerson said to face hedge fund pressure; VA delays Cerner rollout

Good morning, MBA readers,

The start of a new week brings news of pushback against proposed downtown development projects in Missouri’s biggest cities. In Kansas City, the developers of the $133 million Strata tower have been given 30 days to reduce the financial risk of the city’s involvement in the project. Across the state, the redeveloper of the historic Jefferson Arms in St. Louis is defending itself against local critics that include labor unions and lawmakers. Learn more about these and other business stories from across the state down below.


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GM reinstates health insurance for striking workers
General Motors has reinstated health care benefits for 48,000 workers who are on strike amid contract talks with the United Auto Workers. The company said it reinstated coverage after realizing the temporary shift to a more expensive plan caused “significant confusion” among employees. (CNBC)

Hedge fund reportedly pushing to break up Emerson
Sources say New York hedge fund D.E. Shaw & Co. is building a stake in Ferguson-based Emerson with plans to push for a breakup of the industrial giant. Shares of Emerson, which has been viewed by investors and analysts as a candidate to be split up, jumped 3.4% to $64.40 on the news. (Reuters)

VA delays rollout of Cerner tools
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs informed Congress on Thursday that it will deploy Cerner’s patient scheduling tool by 2025 instead of 2023. The news comes a week after the VA delayed implementation of the North Kansas City IT company’s electronic health records system from March 2020 until October 2020. (Kansas City Business Journal)

KCI officials seek federal loan to offset $1.5 billion cost of single terminal
Kansas City officials are lobbying the federal government for a loan that would reduce the interest rate on nearly $888 million in bonds the city issued in June to finance the $1.5 million single terminal project at Kansas City International Airport (Kansas City Star)

KC’s $133 million Strata project gets 30 days to address financial risk to city
The Kansas City Council has granted a 30-day hold on the proposed Strata office tower so that its developers can address concerns from the council about the city’s financial liability. (Kansas City Business Journal)

St. Louis drivers’ union complains of Metro Transit tactics in contract talks
Metro Transit’s main employee union has accused management of trying to intimidate the workforce by holding misleading meetings about a proposed contract offer ahead of a vote on Tuesday. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

St. Charles County may require stores to disclose special sales taxes
St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann has proposed a charter amendment that would require retailers to disclose that shoppers are paying higher sales taxes in special taxing districts. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Mercy receives $3.2 million grant for mental health program
St. Louis County’s Children’s Service Fund has awarded a 30-month, $3.2 million grant to Mercy Hospital’s adolescent mental health program. The grant will allow families without insurance to attend the program at no charge and help families with insurance handle copays and deductibles. (St. Louis Business Journal)


Go figure

$6.8 billion
That’s how much outdoor recreation contributed to Missouri’s economy in 2017, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The outdoor recreation economy, which includes activities like fishing, boating, hunting and RV travel, accounted for 2.2% of the state’s current-dollar gross domestic product and 3.1% of total jobs.


Say that again

“We think we bet right.”

That’s Mike Sarimsakci, president of Dallas-based developer Alterra Worldwide, which has drawn widespread criticism over its redevelopment of the Jefferson Arms building in St. Louis. At a recent gathering of Alterra’s Jefferson Arms partners, however, Sarimsakci remained steadfast about his approach and dismissed critics, which include labor unions and city aldermen, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. Sarimsakci said he still envisions a mixed-use redevelopment of the vacant historic building, which would include apartments, a hotel, a commercial space and an incubator space.


Hello, my name is

Aware Vehicles
This Kansas City startup is working to make drones completely autonomous, Startland News reports. Aware, which focuses on non-human interaction for drone operation, was the only local firm among seven startups selected for the IgniteX Accelerator, a new program for startups working with “clean” technology. As part of the program, Aware will participate in a 75-day accelerator program and receive equity investment from Black & Veatch, the Overland Park, Kansas-based engineering firm that sponsored IgniteX.


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


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