Missouri Minute: Marches, demonstrations continue across state; AMC Theatres has ‘substantial doubt’ about survival

Good morning, MBA readers,

With its movie theaters closed across the globe and financial losses continuing to mount amid the coronavirus shutdown, AMC Theatres is growing increasingly concerned about its future. In a regulatory filing Wednesday, the Kansas City-area cinema chain said that “substantial doubt exists” about the company’s survival. Some businesses in the St. Louis region are expressing similar sentiments, although for different reasons. More than 70 businesses in the region were struck by vandalism and looting late Monday and early Tuesday, and some that had just reopened after COVID-19 shutdowns aren’t sure when they will open again. On the subject of reopening, the University of Missouri said it is mulling a plan to adjust the schedule for its fall semester in an effort to reduce the risk of the coronavirus spreading on campus.


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Marches, demonstrations continue across state
Protests against police violence toward African Americans were held in places including Columbia, Kansas City, Springfield and several parts of the St. Louis area on Wednesday, and they largely remained peaceful. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Kansas City Star, Columbia Missourian)

AMC Theatres has ‘substantial doubt’ about survival due to coronavirus impact
The Leawood, Kansas-based cinema chain has concerns about its ability to make it through the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Wednesday regulatory filing. The company has closed all of its nearly 1,000 theaters due to COVID-19 and expects to post a first-quarter loss of up to $2.4 billion when it reports quarterly results next week. (MBA)

Court blocks Bayer from selling dicamba in US
An appeals court has rejected the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of dicamba-based weed killers. The herbicides have led to lawsuits against Creve Coeur-based Monsanto, and now its parent company, Bayer, alleging damage to crops that aren’t dicamba-resistant. (Reuters)

Missouri gas tax revenue buoyed by strong March
April highway gallons declined 8.4% amid stay-at-home orders in Missouri, but that was offset by a strong March, which saw a 9.8% increase in gas consumption. The state’s year-to-date gas tax receipts of $171.7 million are up 4% from this time last year. (St. Louis Business Journal)

COVID-19 outbreak infects 200 at KC paper products company
Nearly a quarter of the employees at Aspen Paper Products, a manufacturer of disposable paper products, have tested positive for COVID-19. The company, which is considered an essential manufacturer under federal guidelines, is adhering to safety guidelines provided by the city’s health department. (MBA)

Mayor pulls St. Louis airport privatization application
Mayor Lyda Krewson nixed a plan to privatize St. Louis Lambert International Airport in January but has finally withdrawn a federal application for it. Privatization proponents said they will continue collecting signatures in hopes of forcing a public vote on the matter. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Cerner selling RevWorks business to Chicago company
The North Kansas City-based health care IT firm is selling RevWorks, its revenue-cycle management services business, to R1 RCM for an undisclosed price. RevWorks employees will be offered positions at R1, Cerner said. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Bayer argues for dismissal of $289 million Roundup verdict
In another lawsuit Bayer inherited with its acquisition of Monsanto, the company was in court Tuesday to appeal a ruling in favor of a man who said he got cancer after years of using the weedkiller Roundup. Bayer is pushing to have the verdict overturned or have a new trial ordered, which could help in its effort to settle out of court (Reuters)

Court rules Chiefs don’t owe nearly $1 million in taxes 
The Missouri Supreme Court overruled a panel decision that would have required the team to pay $930,000 in taxes on renovations to Arrowhead Stadium that were done more than a decade ago. (KCUR)

Appeals court upholds criminal conviction of KC payday lending tycoon
Scott Tucker and his attorney, Tim Muir, were convicted in 2017 on 14 counts related to their loan company that prosecutors said exploited millions of borrowers through illegal interest rates and deceptive loan terms. A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the ruling. (Kansas City Star)

Southwest adding new flights at St. Louis airport
Southwest Airlines, which is the largest carrier at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, announced that it will be adding two daily nonstop flights from St. Louis to Indianapolis. (St. Louis Business Journal)

KC racetrack up for sale as plans to reopen vanish 
Casino mogul Phil Ruffin bought the Woodlands racetrack in the Kansas City area in 2015 with hopes to reopen the racetrack and build a casino if the Kansas legislature lowered the tax rate on electronic gaming revenue. The latter did not happen, and the property is now up for sale. (Kansas City Star)

Southwest Baptist announces layoffs as part of $3 million savings plan
Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar announced that it will eliminate 24 positions in an effort to deal with “historic budgetary issues” and an enrollment decline. (Springfield Business Journal)

United Way distributes community support grants worth $235,000 
The United Way of Central Missouri gave checks to 28 charitable agencies in the region. The organization also announced that it will not be increasing its fundraising goals for 2020, due to the pandemic. (Jefferson City News Tribune)


Say that again

“When I looked at my shop, the tears dropped.”

That’s Hong Nguyen, owner of Kelly & Ly Nails in St. Louis, after her business was looted and vandalized this week, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Nguyen said she had just reopened a day earlier after shutting down for the previous three months due to COVID-19. Nguyen said the latest setback left her unsure about when her business would open again. In total, more than 70 businesses in the St. Louis area were damaged late Monday or early Tuesday after a day of peaceful protests over police treatment of African Americans following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.


Go figure

$100 million 

That is how much money SoftBank is committing to an opportunity fund established to invest in minority-owned businesses, CNBC reports. SoftBank, the Japanese conglomerate whose previous startup investments include C2FO, a financial technology startup based in the Kansas City area, will start the investment fund with its own capital. SoftBank Group International CEO Marcelo Claure, the former CEO of telecom company Sprint, said “each one of us needs to contribute to make change in America,” CNBC reports.


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The University of Missouri announced Wednesday that it is considering a plan to move up the start date for its fall semester to Aug. 12 from Aug. 24, in accordance with health guidelines. The university would still hold in-person classes under the plan, but it would start the semester earlier and end classes before Thanksgiving. That would eliminate students traveling home and then back to campus over the holiday, and it would also reduce the campus population before winter illnesses tend to spike, university officials said. Other schools across the state and country have adopted similar plans.


Hello, my name is

Pax Momentum

A new startup accelerator focused on investing in companies outside of Silicon Valley has set its sights on Kansas City, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. The national accelerator will host a pair of eight-week cohorts per year with 10 startups participating. Startups will receive a $50,000 investment, mentoring and access to special programming. The accelerator is seeking companies in sectors including fintech, cyber security, climate technology and insurance technology. The application deadline is June 15.


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


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