Missouri Minute: Great Plains to acquire Westar, Centene becomes biggest Medicaid provider

Here are today’s top business headlines from across Missouri:

Great Plains agrees to purchase utility Westar for $8.6 billion

Great Plains Energy Inc. agreed to buy Westar Energy Inc., the biggest utility in Kansas, for $8.6 billion as power companies across the U.S., facing weak demand and rising operational costs, look to consolidate. Read more

Centene becomes biggest Medicaid provider after ‘banner’ year

A strong performance in the past year by Clayton-based Centene Corp. allowed the company to take the top spot among local publicly traded companies for the third straight year, according to a Post-Dispatch analysis. Read more

Sinquefield makes millions in new contributions to three political groups

Billionaire St. Louis investor Rex Sinquefield is donating millions to political causes ahead of Missouri’s August primaries and November general election. Read more

Following legislative session, MoDOT to restart cost-share program, educate lawmakers

Missouri’s transportation system appears to have taken one step forward and one step back in the aftermath of this year’s legislative session. It didn’t get any increase in the fuel tax, but a cost-sharing program was revived. Read more

Barge traffic makes a resurgence on the Missouri River

The Missouri River is slowly resuming its role as a transportation corridor for commodities such as grain, scrap metal and fertilizer, but proponents of the barge industry acknowledge they’re still swimming upstream against a perception that the river is not reliable enough to be profitable. Read more

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