Missouri Minute: Emerson agrees to Aspen Technology merger; Ameren names new CEO

Hello, MBA readers,

Emerson Electric has agreed to merge assets with Aspen Technology in a deal worth about $11 billion. The Ferguson-based engineering and automation conglomerate will own 55% of the combined company after the cash-and-stock deal with its smaller rival. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022. Another St. Louis-area company experiencing a major shakeup in 2022 will be Ameren. The state’s largest utility announced that current CEO Warner Baxter will step down, allowing Marty Lyons to assume the position as of Jan. 1. Baxter will remain as executive chairman. Ameren found someone to fill a major job vacancy, but another Missouri employer has many more hires to fill its own open positions. Springfield-based outdoor sports retailer Bass Pro Shops is looking to hire 7,000 workers nationwide, including 350 in Branson and Springfield.


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Emerson Electric agrees to Aspen Technology merger
The Ferguson-based industrial-automation systems maker will combine its software units with Aspen Technology in a deal worth about $11 billion. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Behavioral health providers mulling merger
Springfield-based Burrell Behavioral Health and Independence-based Comprehensive Mental Health Services have signed a letter of intent to explore a merger. (Springfield Business Journal)

Bass Pro Shops to hire thousands nationally
The Springfield-based outdoor sports retailer plans to hire 350 workers in Springfield and Branson as part of a larger initiative to hire 7,000 people across the country. (Springfield Business Journal)

Square to add employees in St. Louis
The payments technology company plans to hire 300 people across four offices, including its St. Louis location, as it revamps its customer service portal. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

David Steward retires from Centene board
The founder and chairman of World Wide Technology has served on the board of the Clayton-based managed care provider for 18 years. (St. Louis Business Journal)

DST Systems to repay employees
The Kansas City-based data processing company has been ordered to pay $36 million in lawyer fees and awards to employees after investing a disproportionately large amount of their 401(k) funds into a single company. (KCUR)


Say that again

“There’s been a real change in the thinking about ‘what do we want downtown?’ The general consensus is that we don’t want it to become an entertainment district; that we’re looking for it to become more residential.”

That is Amy Gill, CEO of Restoration St. Louis, which owns Hotel St. Louis. Gill is one of several prominent business owners who believe that revitalizing downtown St. Louis hinges on attracting permanent residents to the area, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. From 2010 to 2020, the number of people living downtown increased 38%, to about 10,600. A continuation of that trend could drive up demand for downtown businesses that are reliant on foot traffic. To accommodate continued downtown population growth, the city must now look at developing more housing. Downtown housing growth has relied largely on the renovation of old buildings, but the area is now running out of structures to repurpose. Ultimately, downtown backers say, the area must offer housing at different price points to attract a wider range of people.


Go figure

85%

That’s about how much of Garmin’s revenue comes from products made in Taiwan, according to an analyst with Longbow Research. That could be a growing point of concern for the Olathe, Kansas-based technology company. Rising tensions between China and Taiwan could interfere with Garmin’s four manufacturing facilities in Taiwan and a fifth factory that is set to open soon, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. Garmin’s products are divided into five categories: fitness, outdoor, marine, aviation and automotive. Taiwan facilities are in charge of producing all fitness, outdoor and marine products and half of the automotive products. China recently flew a record number of military aircraft near Taiwan and has practiced beach landings in provinces near the island.


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Southwest Airlines, the largest carrier at Missouri’s two biggest airports, had to cancel 365 flights nationwide on Monday in the third day of major disruption across the country for the airline, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The Federal Aviation Administration pushed back on the company’s claims that the service issues were a result of air traffic control problems and bad weather, saying that Southwest was the only airline to experience major cancellations and delays. Others pointed toward a potential walkout from pilots in response to Southwest’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, but the pilots’ union denied having authorized any such action. The union blamed the airline for the issue, citing airline struggles this summer as evidence that Southwest has become “brittle and subject to massive failures under the slightest pressure.”


Hello, my name is

Marty Lyons

Lyons will become Ameren’s new chief executive officer after Warner Baxter, the company’s current chairman, president and CEO, announced he will step down at the end of the year. Lyons will continue to report to Baxter, who will remain as executive chairman, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Baxter has been with Ameren since 1995 and took over his current role in 2014. For Lyons, this will be a bump up from his current role as president of Ameren Missouri, which he worked up to after joining the company in 2001. The move comes as the St. Louis-based utility works to transition away from coal to more renewable forms of energy.


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