Missouri Minute: Charter to hire 500 at new KC facility; hedge fund bids for Post-Dispatch parent

Hello, MBA readers,

A Missouri newspaper that traces its roots to Joseph Pulitzer could soon find itself under a new owner: Alden Global Capital. The New York hedge fund offered about $141 million to buy out Lee Enterprises, parent company of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and dozens of other newspapers across the U.S. Alden, now the second-largest newspaper owner in the country, has a reputation for cutting staff and selling off real estate holdings at the newspapers it buys. In the Kansas City area, telecommunications company Charter Communications is planning to invest $18.9 opening a new facility. The company said it expects to add more than 500 jobs by the end of next year at the call center. And, with Thanksgiving days away, a recent survey says consumers are paying about 16% more for turkeys than they did last year. The increase is due partly to pandemic-induced uncertainty farmers faced last year when they began forecasting demand and sizing their flocks. Overall, Thanksgiving meals are expected to cost about 14% more this year than they did in 2020.


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Charter Communications to add $18.9 million KC-area call centerThe Connecticut-based telecommunications company expects to create 510 jobs by the end of next year at the Overland Park, Kansas, facility. (Kansas City Business Journal) Centene reduces planned Chicago footprint, cites shifting real estate needs The Clayton-based health insurer is working to buy out its lease of 90,000 square feet in the Chicago suburbs following the success of virtual work during the pandemic. (St. Louis Business Journal)   Exodus Reentry Villages wins $44 million contract for St. Louis halfway houseThe O’Fallon-based operator of re-entry facilities for formerly incarcerated people secured a federal contract to operate the regional halfway house, replacing Dismas House. (St. Louis Business Journal)Brush Creek Partners acquiredThe Kansas City-based provider of commercial insurance has been acquired by BRP Group of Tampa, Florida, for an undisclosed amount. (Kansas City Business Journal) St. Louis to invest in emergency response systemThe city plans to support emergency responders with $5.5 million that it owes to the state as part of a legal settlement. The state attorney general said St. Louis could keep the funds if it spends them on police personnel. (St. Louis Public Radio Mac Properties modifies development plan along KC streetcar expansionThe Chicago developer’s new plans for the $100 million mixed-use project in Kansas City’s Hyde Park neighborhood decrease the number of apartments by about 10%. (Kansas City Business Journal) St. Louis board approves tax abatement for Delmar projectsThe city’s Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority approved incentives for an $8.6 million mixed-use project and a $62.7 million apartment along Delmar Boulevard, historically a racial and economic dividing line. (St. Louis Business Journal)


Say that again

“It’s kind of like the tide. The tidal wave came and the waves are still really high — it takes a long time for things to slow down.”

That’s Jodi Mathews, director of marketing and development at Reconciliation Services in Kansas City. The Kansas City Beacon reports that, with winter looming, Kansas City shelters are worried they lack the capacity to aid all of the people experiencing homelessness in the area. The city will try multiple options, creating overflow centers, funding projects designed to create long-term housing, and trying to improve communication and resource coordination. There is also an emergency winter plan activated when temperatures drop below 32 degrees during the day or 20 degrees at night. Still, some say city planning isn’t keeping pace with the increased number of people shelters are already seeing.


Go figure

15.6%

Farmers were worried a second pandemic Thanksgiving would reduce demand for turkeys. As a result, production decreased. Reuters reports that has contributed to a 15.6% price increase compared to last year for frozen, uncooked turkeys. Farmers started sizing their flocks over a year ago, when there was uncertainty over the timeline for vaccines and the price of feed for turkeys was increasing. A Farm Bureau survey puts the average price of Thanksgiving dinner rising 14%, the biggest increase in 31 years.


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Hedge fund Alden Global Capital, already the second-largest newspaper owner in the country, offered about $141 million to acquire newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises and take it private, the Associated Press reports. Alden offered $24 per share, a premium of about 30% over Lee’s closing price Friday of $18.45. Alden already has a stake in Lee, which owns 81 daily newspapers, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The hedge fund has developed a reputation for slashing staff and liquidating real estate at publications it acquires, following that playbook with papers like the Baltimore Sun and Chicago Tribune. Struggles within the newspaper industry have led to consolidation under ownership groups like Alden in recent years. Lee said it will carefully review the bid, while labor unions at affected newspapers have spoken out against the deal.


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