Missouri Minute: Canadian Pacific to acquire Kansas City Southern; Hallmark to cut eCards

Hello, MBA readers,

Kansas City is at the heart of planned railroad merger that would create the first freight railway network bridging the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Railroad operator Kansas City Southern has agreed to be acquired by Canadian Pacific Railway for $25 billion in cash and stock. The deal, which will face extensive regulatory scrutiny, is viewed as a bet on the future of trade between the three countries. In other news involving a big Kansas City-based company, Hallmark Cards is exiting the online greeting card market. After 15 years, the company will cease offering eCards next month, eliminating one of the largest players in that market. And, as state lawmakers return to Jefferson City this week after their spring break, they are expected to revisit bills proposing the adoption of online sales taxes paired with new tax cuts.


Stay alert

Canadian Pacific to acquire Kansas City Southern for $25 billion 
The cash-and-stock deal for the Kansas City-based railroad operator would create the first railway connecting the U.S., Mexico and Canada, betting on long-term trade between the countries. By transaction value, it would be the largest merger of North American railways in history. (Reuters)

Tax cut bills viewed as unlikely to trigger stimulus penalties
Bills that would pair new tax cuts with the introduction of a sales tax for online retailers have gained traction in the Missouri General Assembly. It is not expected that their passage would trigger penalties designed to prevent federal COVID-19 stimulus from being used to offset state tax cuts. (Missouri Independent)

KC homeless encampments bring visibility to cause
Encampments at one of Kansas City’s busiest intersections and in front of City Hall have emerged amid calls from unhoused people and their advocates for the city to offer more help. (Kansas City Star)

$47 million Clayton hotel to break ground this spring 
Developer Midas Hospitality plans a 2022 opening for the Residence Inn, which will be Clayton’s first new hotel in years. (St. Louis Business Journal)

AMC says 99% of theaters to be open this week 
One year removed from shuttering all its U.S. locations because of COVID-19, the Leawood, Kansas-based cinema chain announced that 99% of its domestic theaters will be operating as of Friday. (KMBC)


Say that again

“This is a treat. When you get older, to catch up on bills is a treat.”

That’s 61-year-old Annette Harris, a St. Louis resident, who said her $1,400 stimulus check will go toward paying for groceries and helping her children save for some new items. Many Missourians view the latest round of federal stimulus as an opportunity to catch up on bills and save money, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Most said they don’t plan to go on major spending sprees unless it would improve their quality of life.


Go figure

9.3%

Online greeting card sales in the U.S. grew an average of 9.3% from 2014 to 2019, but Hallmark Cards has decided to step away from that market. The Kansas City-based greeting card company said it will end its eCard business April 30. Hallmark and American Greetings have the largest shares of the $714 million online greeting card market, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. Hallmark’s decision to divest will not affect jobs, the company said.


Hello, my name is

Vrity

The St. Louis startup, founded this year, has developed a new tool designed to track a company’s “values equity,” or the way the values a company espouses affect its bottom line. The company said more than 80% of customers today would pay extra to support a company that shares their values. Vrity is looking to help businesses navigate that value-driven consumer landscape, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The company’s Values Return Index uses artificial intelligence to score brands in 20 categories, including sustainability, equality and innovation. The idea of the tool is to quantify the value of a company based on what it stands for, rather than purely on what it makes.


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