Missouri Minute: St. Louis stadium deal introduced; ‘New T-Mobile’ debt could hit $71 billion

Good morning, MBA readers,

As the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint approaches a verdict of some sort, the two companies revealed that the combined business would start out with up to $71 billion in debt, down from an earlier estimate of $77 billion. In St. Louis, plans for a Major League Soccer stadium are inching closer to reality after a meeting Friday by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, but potential incentives remain to be determined. And the Chiefs’ Super Bowl win brought a big windfall for one Kansas City nonprofit, which celebrated over the weekend with a “paw-rade.” Scroll down for more on these and other business stories from around the state.

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‘New T-Mobile’ would have up to $71 billion in debt
If T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint is approved, the combined company would start out with about $71 billion in debt, according to a regulatory filing. That’s about $6 billion less than a previous estimate. The telecom merger remains on hold until later this month, when a federal judge is expected to decide whether it violates antitrust laws. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Krewson vetoes report claiming ‘satisfactory progress’ on McKee project
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson vetoed a city report that said a north St. Louis redevelopment project led by Paul McKee is “making satisfactory progress.” Krewson said that’s not an accurate characterization of the project’s progress, which has been limited to a grocery and gas station. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

St. Louis official close to UAW president pleads guilty to embezzlement
Vance Pearson, previously based in the St. Louis area as a regional director of the United Auto Workers, pleaded guilty to a corruption scheme that involved using union money for vacations, golf and cigars. Pearson worked closely with former UAW president Gary Jones. (Associated Press)

Soccer stadium deal introduced to St. Louis aldermen
The St. Louis Board of Aldermen started the authorization process for a downtown MLS stadium Friday. The project has key backing, including from Lewis Reed, president of the Board of Aldermen, but the team’s ownership group is still seeking incentives for the project. (St. Louis Public Radio)

KC-area engineering firm expands on the East Coast with acquisition
Olathe, Kansas-based Terracon will acquire Skelley and Loy, an environmental consulting firm based in Pennsylvania. The engineering firm, which acquired two other companies in June, plans to use its latest purchase to expand the reach of its environmental work to the Mid-Atlantic region. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Some St. Louis hospitals aren’t certifying medical marijuana patients
Although medical marijuana is legal in Missouri, some St. Louis hospital systems, such as Mercy, won’t let their physicians certify patients to use it. Other systems, such as BJC HealthCare, are still determining their policies. Many hospitals are avoiding patient certification, preferring inaction to potential legal missteps. (St. Louis Public Radio)

Waddell & Reed addresses Overland Park headquarters sale
The financial services company said during its fourth-quarter earnings call that it has been approved to receive nearly $100 million in state and local incentives for the $140 million headquarters it plans to build in downtown Kansas City. CFO Ben Clouse said the company is in the midst of selling its buildings in Overland Park, Kansas. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Missouri cattle inventory increases as US count dips for first time since 2014
The number of cattle in the U.S. declined in 2019 for the first time in five years, a development that has the potential to benefit ranchers in the state in the immediate future. (MBA)

After weathering dry spell, snow removal companies welcome busy season
This year’s winter storms are keeping snow removal businesses in the St. Louis area busy, but that hasn’t always been the case. Companies suffer during years when snowfall declines, and a dry stretch from 2014 to 2018 put some companies out of business. Since the 1970s, average snowfall in the St. Louis area has declined 31%. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

St. Louis mandates prevailing wage for large construction projects
Mayor Lyda Krewson signed legislation Friday requiring construction workers on large projects with $1 million design contracts to be paid a prevailing wage. Current prevailing wages in St. Louis vary from $34 per hour to $70 per hour, depending on the job. (St. Louis Business Journal)

St. Louis Fed adds two Missouri execs to advisory council
Joe Henderson, president and director of Central Bank of Boone County, and Bob McKay, president and CEO of Together Credit Union, are among six new members appointed by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis to its Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council. (MBA)

KC tech scene sees dramatic decline in annual ranking
Kansas City slipped 30 spots in SmartAsset’s 2020 ranking of the best tech hubs for women after ranking No. 2 for four years. In 2019, the city fell from second place to seventh, and this year it plummeted to 37th amid a widening gender pay gap and higher home prices in the city. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Say that again

“There’s no way you can tell which field it came from. It didn’t just come from one field.”

That’s Ford Baldwin, a professor emeritus of weed science at the University of Arkansas, who testified last week in a Missouri farmer’s lawsuit against Bayer and BASF, Investigate Midwest reports. Baldwin said so many farmers are spraying so much dicamba at once that it builds up in the air to a quantity that cannot dissipate on its own. Bill Bader, the largest peach farmer in Missouri, alleges in the lawsuit that Bayer and BASF released dicamba products in 2015 knowing that they would result in damage to farms. According to Baldwin, Bader will likely go out of business because of damage to his trees caused by dicamba that “drifted” from other farms. BASF and Bayer’s Monsanto deny that their new versions of dicamba have any chance of “adverse effects.”

Go figure

$1.2 billion

That’s how much the city of St. Louis expected it could net from privatizing its airport, the St.Louis Business Journal reports. Newly released documents, created with input from New York-based investment bank Moelis & Co., estimated that the city would gain between $468 million and $1.2 billion for “non-airport purposes” by leasing out St. Louis Lambert International Airport to a private operator. That figure is based on an assumed price tag between $1.5 billion and $2.25 billion for a potential lease of the airport. City leaders like local NAACP President Adolphus Pruitt criticized Mayor Lyda Krewson’s decision last month to end the privatization effort, saying the leftover proceeds from the lease could have addressed blight in north St. Louis.

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After the Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade, defensive lineman Derrick Nnadi got his own “paw-rade” this weekend, courtesy of the KC Pet Project. That celebration came after a big gift from Nnadi to the Kansas City pet shelter: When the Chiefs won the Super Bowl, the second-year player pledged to pay adoption fees for 100 shelter dogs. That’s an estimated $15,000 donation.

Hello, my name is

Amy Shaw

Shaw has been named permanent president and CEO of the Nine Network of Public Media after serving on an interim basis, becoming the first woman to lead the St. Louis-based TV station in its 65-year history, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. Shaw took the interim role after the death of Jack Galmiche, the station’s former president and CEO. She previously served as senior vice president and chief content officer. Her appointment follows “a rigorous and extensive nationwide search,” said Nine Network Chairman David Steward II. “She has done exceptional work as interim CEO and we are excited for her to lead the station.”

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


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