Missouri Minute: FCC approves Sprint merger; UAW, GM reach tentative deal

Good morning, MBA readers,

Today’s Morning Minutes brings news of breakthroughs on deals with implications for thousands of workers in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas. Negotiators for the United Auto Workers and General Motors — which has plants in Kansas City, Kansas, and Wentzville — reached a tentative deal to end the union’s strike, although additional rounds of approval await. The Federal Communications Commission gave the green light to the merger of wireless carriers T-Mobile and Sprint. Although, once again, hurdles remain: State attorneys general have sued to stop the $26 billion tie-up. Read on for details about these and the day’s other top stories.

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Bayer expects surge in number of US Monsanto cases
Monsanto’s parent company, Bayer, believes the number of legal claims related to its Roundup herbicides have surged in the third quarter of 2019. The German drugmaker said earlier this year that the number of people suing the company had risen to 18,400 in July. (Reuters)

Negotiators reach tentative deal in GM strike
General Motors and the United Auto Workers announced a tentative deal Wednesday afternoon to end a 31-day strike by 49,000 workers nationwide. The deal still requires the approval of union leadership as well as the rank-and-file members, who remain on strike. (CNN Business)

FCC blesses Sprint, T-Mobile union, but deal still faces court challenge
The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 along party lines Wednesday to approve the $26 billion merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. Despite federal backing, the deal still faces a legal challenge from dozens of state attorneys general who are suing the company on antitrust grounds. (CNBC)

Core & Main makes two acquisitions
Core & Main, a St. Louis-based distributor of water, sewer and fire protection gear, said Wednesday it will purchase J&J Municipal Supply and Erosion Resources & Supply of Boonville, Indiana.These mark the eighth and ninth acquisition for the company, which has expressed interest in going public at some point. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Kansas City saves $10 million after Supreme Court ruling
The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that Kansas City no longer owes $10 million in fines for ending its trash rebate program for non-single-family homes. The decision caps a decades-long legal feud between the city and condo associations, which filed their first lawsuit in the 1970s. (Kansas City Business Journal)

St. Louis’ largest mechanical contractor plans Denver expansion
Olivette-based Murphy Co. has acquired a 90,000-square-foot fabrication facility and 40,000 square feet of office space near Denver. Murphy President and CEO Patrick Murphy Jr. said the new facility will “more than double” the company’s manufacturing capacity. (St. Louis Business Journal)

State board wants funding finalized before backing Hazelwood sports campus
Hazelwood officials will need to provide more information on how they will fund a proposed $71 million youth sports complex before it can get $5.6 million from the state. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

St. Louis Fed backs effort to boost local nonprofit funding
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is hosting an event Thursday at which local nonprofit groups will get five minutes to pitch bankers and other benefactors to fund their projects. The groups, which help low-to-moderate-income communities, have raised $1.2 million in grants, loans and investments from the event since it launched in 2017. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Anheuser-Busch company to launch CBD drink later this year
Fluent Beverage Company, a joint venture owned by St. Louis-based A-B InBev and cannabis research firm Tilray, has announced a new CBD-infused beverage that will launch in Canada this December. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Say that again

“Once you acclimate a professor to a research partnership it’s going to alter their perceptions and what they say about those companies.”

That’s former University of Missouri agriculture professor John Ikerd on how industries can influence scientific research at public universities, the Columbia Missourian reports. The university’s plant sciences department receives about 13.8% of its external funding from corporations such as Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences and Syngenta, while MU’s medical sciences department receives around 22% from industry sources. Although industries have long contributed funding to research, Ikerd said the corporate influence can steer what’s studied — and what isn’t.

Go figure


Given only two days notice, that’s how many workers were laid off from Union Pacific in Kansas City, WDAF reports. Ty Dragoo, a Kansas City transportation union representative, blames the discharges on precision scheduled railroading, or PSR, a term coined by Wall Street that he says really means cutting staff to increase shareholder profits. “Railroads are historically making more money than they have at any point in time. This just boils down to insatiable corporate greed,” he said. In a statement, the company cited a desire to improve “operating efficiencies” and said certain employees will be given opportunities at new yards.

Hello, my name is


St. Louis-based Stifel Financial will partner with the Israeli crowdfunding platform, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. Stifel will have access to OurCrowd’s early-stage offerings, many of which would typically be restricted to traditional venture capital firms and home offices, Stifel Chairman and CEO Ron Kruszewski said. OurCrowd has already had 35 exits, including Beyond Meat’s IPO and JUMP Bikes’ sale to Uber.

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


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