Missouri Minute: Sprint posts quarterly loss; Cerner signs deal with kidney care provider

Good morning, MBA readers,

With Sprint and T-Mobile’s proposed merger scheduled to head to court next month, Sprint continues to plod along on its own — but with a clear focus on its planned future together with T-Mobile. On Monday, the Overland Park, Kansas-based wireless provider posted a net loss for the fourth consecutive quarter, prompting Sprint CEO Michel Combes to call the T-Mobile tie-up “the best outcome for all consumers, employees, and shareholders.” Speaking of corporations teaming up, discount grocery chain Save-A-Lot is launching a new partnership with Amazon, and health care IT provider Cerner inked a new deal with an in-home health care provider. Read on to get the scoop on these stories and the day’s other big business news.

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Sprint posts loss despite key subscriber gains
Despite adding 273,000 “postpaid” subscribers, which is more than five times what analysts projected, the wireless carrier reported a loss of 7 cents per share for the quarter that ended Sept. 30. That’s down from earnings of 5 cents per share a year earlier and short of Wall Street estimates. A lawsuit filed by several states to block Sprint’s proposed merger with T-Mobile is set to go to trial on Dec. 9. (Barron’s)

Missouri tourism chief resigns amid whistleblower probe
Ward Franz resigned Friday as director of the Missouri Division of Tourism after a whistleblower complaint alleged that Franz took improper gifts from a state vendor. A spokeswoman for the Department of Economic Development said the agency launched its own internal investigation that found some of the accusations unfounded. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Cerner signs 5-year deal with kidney care provider
Cerner has partnered with Vively Health, a division of Denver-based kidney care provider DaVita. North Kansas City-based Cerner will provide its technology systems for Vively, which offers in-home care for the chronically ill. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Save-A-Lot to offer Amazon services in 400 stores
The St. Ann-based discount grocery chain announced Monday that it will allow customers to pick up, return and pay for Amazon purchases at over 400 stores nationwide by the end of 2020. Save-A-Lot will also offer Amazon lockers, where customers can retrieve and return orders instead of mailing them back. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Fitzpatrick launches 2020 run for full term
State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick launched his campaign for a full, four-year term Monday. He was appointed to the post earlier this year after then-Treasurer Eric Schmitt took U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley’s spot as attorney general. (Springfield News-Leader)

KC black chamber says KCI developer hires too few minorities, women
In a statement released Monday, the Black Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City said Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate needs to hire female contractors and people of color. Under the agreement Edgemoor signed with the city, 15% of the construction work must go to subcontractors owned by women and 20% to minority-owned firms. (Kansas City Star)

Lambert bidders include multinationals, local developer
Nearly 20 companies, many of them multinational firms based in Europe, have expressed interest in operating St. Louis Lambert International Airport. One local developer, Grid Realty, has submitted a bid not to run Lambert itself, but to develop about 1,000 acres of land surrounding the airport. (St. Louis Business Journal)

O’Reilly Hospitality plans another BigShots
The Springfield company announced Monday that it plans to break ground on two new BigShots Golf franchise developments in Springfield and Texas. (Springfield Business Journal)

Show me

Today’s graphic offers a look at Amtrak ridership in Missouri. Overall, passenger count in the state has declined over the past five years, with most of that decline seen among coach passengers. The number of business riders has stayed fairly steady, at about 15,000 per year over that time.

Say that again

“I think that it’s a little troubling that, if, say, an ice storm hit a co-op and they have to get federal disaster money, I don’t think it would be fair to cause them to lose their tax-exempt status.”

That’s Caleb Jones, CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, talking about a tax law change imposed as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, St. Louis Public Radio reports. To maintain tax-exempt status, nonprofit electric co-ops cannot generate more than 15% of their revenue from customers outside their base, but the tax law change makes federal grants count toward that 15%. That means something like a federal grant to repair storm or flooding damage could cause a co-op to exceed that 15% and no longer be exempt from taxes. Jones said that although members of Missouri’s congressional delegation support amending the tax code to address the issue, no legislation has been introduced.

Go figure

$400 million

That’s how much Ford plans to invest in its Kansas City Assembly as part of a tentative United Auto Workers labor deal, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. The four-year deal, which includes plans for a new F-150 truck, has been endorsed by union leaders. Union members will now vote on it. The deal, which follows after the monthlong General Motors worker strike, will result in around 8,500 new or secured jobs, the UAW said.

Hello, my name is

Divvy Homes

The Silicon Valley real estate startup that recently raised some $43 million in its latest round of financing will set up an office in St. Louis, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The startup aims to increase homeownership by connecting customers with local real estate agents and purchasing homes for customers in a rent-to-own arrangement. Divvy announced new locations in Dallas and Tampa, Florida, too, which the company said will make its platform available to more than 13 million additional people.

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


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