Good morning, MBA readers,
With Missouri’s count of confirmed COVID-19 cases approaching 10,000 as of Monday, the state’s top health official announced a measure of relief for some: Missouri is set to receive enough remdesivir to treat 600 COVID-19 patients. The anti-viral drug is being used as an experimental treatment for people with COVID-19. And, as businesses in Kansas City set to reopen later this week, Mayor Quinton Lucas laid out new guidelines for dine-in restaurants. Among the requirements: face coverings for employees in public areas and sanitization of high-touch surfaces every 90 minutes. Plus, the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals could play ball by early July, if Major League Baseball owners get their way. Owners reportedly have approved plans for a truncated season starting in July that they are set to pitch to the players’ union.
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Missouri to receive potential coronavirus treatment
The state will receive 4,000 bottles of remdesivir donated by California-based Gilead Sciences, Missouri’s top health official said Monday. The medication, which has shown promise treating COVID-19, will be used to treat 600 people infected with the illness. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
KC region passes 3,000 COVID-19 cases as Missouri nears 10,000
As businesses have started reopening, the Kansas City area has logged over 3,000 overall COVID-19 cases, with 71 reported Monday. (Kansas City Star)
Lawmakers scramble to pass Medicaid work requirements
Republicans in the Missouri Legislature are trying to get a measure on the November ballot asking voters whether people who receive Medicaid should be required to work. The Missouri legislative session ends Friday. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Lucas outlines rules for restaurants reopening this week
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas outlined rules for the reopening of restaurants when the local stay-at-home order expires Friday. Employees will be required to wear masks and frequently sanitize surfaces, and parties must maintain six feet of separation. Buffets and bars are prohibited for the time being. (Kansas City Business Journal)
MLB owners reportedly approve starting season in July
A new plan would start the Major League Baseball season around July Fourth in stadiums without fans, with spring training starting in mid-June. The proposal from MLB owners has yet to be approved by the players’ union, which could prove difficult. (Associated Press)
Edward Jones tempers 2020 outlook; top exec to retire
The financial services company expects to see decreased profits in the second quarter as a result of the coronavirus. Chief Administrative Officer Vincent Ferrari, one of the highest-paid executives in St. Louis, will retire in December after 17 years at the company. (St. Louis Business Journal)
Car auctioneer to furlough over 300 in KC, St. Louis
Wholesale auto auction firm Manheim will furlough about 170 employees in Kansas City and approximately 140 in St. Louis for up to 16 weeks. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Desperate for rentals, Enterprise launches car cleaning campaign
After months of little demand for car rentals and rounds of furloughs and layoffs, Clayton-based rental car company Enterprise Holdings is promoting a new vehicle cleanliness pledge that will expand the company’s existing cleaning procedures. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
CoxHealth plans $10 million expansion
At its south Springfield hospital, CoxHealth is planning a $10 million project to add 36 private recovery rooms. Construction is scheduled to be completed in November. (Springfield Business Journal)
KC’s chief marketer steps down
Martin Mini, the Kansas City Area Development Council’s chief marketing officer, will retire June 1 after 26 years with the organization. (Kansas City Business Journal)
Say that again
“At least half a dozen companies that we’ve been trying to persuade that they should go after grants are suddenly much more avidly interested.”
That’s Harry Arader, director of the Grants to Business program at BioGenerator in St. Louis, who said grants may become a more reliable source of funding for some startups as an economic downturn looms, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. Arader explained that the pandemic has sent more venture capital firms in the St. Louis area to the sidelines, protecting existing holdings rather than making new investments. On the other hand, federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health are expected to keep awarding millions of dollars in grants to researchers and startups — without taking equity, unlike an investor. For companies like VaxNewMo, a St. Louis startup that develops vaccines, funding from the NIH has been essential to maintaining payroll, co-founder and CEO Christian Harding said. Harding added that such grants will be “an important hedge against the upcoming recession.”
That’s how much shares for Leawood, Kansas-based AMC Entertainment spiked Monday, to a closing price of $5.32, following a report that the beleaguered cinema chain is in talks about possibly being acquired by Amazon, MarketWatch reports. Speculation began to circulate Sunday, when British tabloid The Daily Mail cited an anonymous source who claimed the two companies discussed the possibility of Amazon absorbing AMC, but did not clarify whether the talks were ongoing. Analysts and commentators were quick to note that Amazon has both the means and the motivation — as a company with a film studio and streaming service — to buy AMC. Further fueling acquisition speculation: All of AMC’s theaters are shuttered due to COVID-19, and the company faces potential liquidity issues. Even if the deal is not with Amazon, Mittleman Brothers, an investment firm that has a 6% stake in AMC, believes there could be value in a sale to a movie studio, for as much as $20 a share or more.
After starting almost 300 tech careers and teaching more than 1,100 to code for free in Florida, economic conditions created by #COVID19 are forcing @launchcode to wind down our work there. We are proud of the lives we’ve changed there. https://t.co/IZhj2w8qcd
— jmallz are reopening (@jmaz) May 11, 2020
That’s LaunchCode Executive Director Jeffrey Mazur, who announced Monday that the St. Louis-based nonprofit will no longer offer its coding classes in at least two markets in Florida. LaunchCode provides training and apprenticeships to aspiring computer programmers and helps them with job placement. The decision to exit the markets comes as LaunchCode grapples with the pandemic, which has essentially frozen all hiring there, Mazur told the St. Louis Business Journal. “We operated at a pretty thin margin there previously, and in a world where employers have really frozen hiring … that really cuts into how we generate revenue and our sustainability in those places,” he said.
Hello, my name is
Connected KC 2050
That’s the name of the Mid-America Regional Council’s new transportation plan for the Kansas City metro area, which is currently open for public viewing and feedback through June 2, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. The 30-year plan outlines a number of regional transportation goals — from securing over $7 billion in new investments to boosting the number of bus routes available. It takes into account factors such as employment and population trajectories and new innovations in transportation. In all, Connected KC received 425 submissions for road and infrastructure projects totaling more than $14 billion.
It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.