Missouri Minute: Panera sold in $7.5 billion deal; prescription monitoring program likely

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

Panera sold to JAB Holding in $7.5 billion deal

JAB Holding Co., the owner of Caribou Coffee and Peet’s Coffee & Tea, said on Wednesday it would buy Sunset Hills-based Panera Bread Co. in a deal valued at about $7.5 billion, including debt, as it expands its coffee and breakfast empire. Luxembourg-based JAB offered $315 in cash per Panera share, representing a 20.3 percent premium to the stock’s closing price on March 31, the last trading day before media reports of a potential deal. Read more

GOP senator says he’ll support bipartisan-backed bill creating prescription drug monitoring program

In an unexpected move, state Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, said Tuesday night that he now backs the House version of a prescription drug monitoring program, putting Missouri on track to become the last state in the nation to establish such a program. Schaaf, who had opposed the House bill due to privacy concerns, said at a news conference that he changed his mind due to overwhelming support from medical professionals and from Gov. Eric Greitens. Read more

Missouri mulling pension payouts for some former state workers

As many as 19,000 former state workers could cash in their future pension payments as part of a proposal designed to shore up Missouri’s employee retirement system. Under the proposed change in law, former state government employees who will qualify for a pension but are not currently collecting a monthly benefit could be offered a lump sum payment from the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System. State Treasurer Eric Schmitt, a member of the MOSERS board of directors, said the plan would help a system that is operating at about 65 percent of full funding. Read more

Audit: Missouri struggles to oversee federal funds to health care, child care providers

During a dire budget year in which the state has little money to spare, an audit released Tuesday raises concerns over how Missouri monitors which health care and child care providers are eligible for federal dollars. In her review of how Missouri spent $8.4 billion in federal funding during fiscal year 2016, Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway said the state should do more to ensure tax dollars aren’t going toward ineligible recipients, especially as lawmakers struggle to plug a $500 million budget shortfall. Read more

‘Subtler form of redlining’ confronts Missouri buyers of car insurance, report says

People in Missouri’s minority neighborhoods face excessive prices for basic auto coverage because of insurance company practices that Consumer Reports and ProPublica say suggest a form of redlining. A report Wednesday by the two publications cited their own research using data from four states — Missouri, Texas, Illinois and California. The authors said the data showed that insurance premiums in those four states are higher in ZIP codes with largely minority populations even when adjusting for the insurance risks in those neighborhoods. Read more

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