It’s the day after Election Day around the state and the country. It’s an off-year, so there’s less national drama, but certain local and state-wide elections still mattered significantly, including for the business community.
Two cases in point: mayoral races in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Rank voting in Minneapolis means that we may have have a clear winner until Wednesday or Thursday, but the leader so far is Ward 3 Council Member Jacob Frey, not incumbent Mayor Betsy Hodges. Here is where you can learn more about Jacob Frey: .https://jacobfrey.org/about/. Frey’s Ward 3 covers the downtown core, St. Anthony and parts of Northeast Minneapolis. It’s fair to call this the business heart of the city. And if Frey is leading the race, it is likely with substantial support from local business operations and headquarters that have, at times, been frustrated with policies and projects Hodges has overseen. Ordinances hiking the minimum wage alienated small businesses, while a long-delayed, seemingly endless effort to re-design the Nicollet Mall has irked small and large businesses located there. For much of 2016 and 2017, trying to enter the US Bank Headquarters facing onto the Nicollet Mall required darts and dashes through construction barriers, potholes, and concrete blocks. If Frey turns out to be the next Minneapolis mayor then he’ll face business development challenges from the start. The Dayton’s-Macy’s building renovation –facing that Nicollet Mall still under re-construction– is yet another try at mixed business, retail and food court that draws downtown workers during the day and residents from around the Twin Cities throughout the week. Here’s where you can get the latest news on that project: http://kstp.com/business/developers-unveil-daytons-project-design-plans-downtown-minneapolis/4643948/. Will it become a destination venue to energize a revamped city center or will it be another City Center. Jacob Frey’s leadership along with some cheer-leadership might matter significantly.
Over in St. Paul, the new mayor will be Melvin Carter, who will become the first mayor of color in the Capital City’s history. Here is where you can learn more about Mayor-Elect Carter: http://www.melvincarter.org/bio/. Carter steps in to the position Chris Coleman is leaving to run for governor. With a substantially smaller business community in St. Paul it might be tempting to overlook business development issues he will need to address. But St. Paul has some pretty big businesses surrounding it: 3M next door in Maplewood; Medtronic next door in Moundsview. CHS next door in Inver Grove Heights. The “business” issue for St. Paul given this geography is transportation. Good transit to and through St. Paul to these business destinations. Mayor-Elect Carter knows this, which is why he is pushing for “East Metro” transit policies. He’ll likely find support for those policies from the East Metro business community.
Merger mania continues in the US fueled by sky-high stock prices and (still) cheap corporate credit. The latest appears to be merger talk pairing Disney with 21st Century Fox, the holding company of 20th Century Fox studios, Fox Television, and Fox News, just to name a few of the marquee businesses. This would be massive, perhaps too massive for antitrust regulators. Disney had 2016 revenues of $55 billion, income of $2-3 billion. They are on a roll in the movies with five of the 10 most successful films in 2016. Here is where you can learn more about the rumored deal: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/11/the-chilling-implications-of-a-disney-fox-merger/545135/. Disney would be the acquirer in this deal, which hasn’t yet been valued. 21st did “only” $27 billion in revenue in 2016. It’s a publicly-listed company but the Murdoch family controls it through their News Corporation parent. The basic idea is for Disney to acquire most of the assets except Fox News. That means Disney with ESPN would acquire Fox Sports with its hammerlock on NFC programming. It also means Disney Studios would get 20th Century Studios. That might be too much concentration in specific markets for antitrust regulators in Washington. 21st shares bumped up from $24 to $28 on the possibility of this deal. We know Tinker Bell can fly. Let’s see if this deal does, too.
Tomorrow, we have our next Business by Carlson Quarterly Report, this time on the Business of Weather. Everyone talks about the weather, but few understand the scale and scope of a multi-billion dollar weather business that touches agriculture, transportation, insurance and financial services, the media, and high technology. Investors, entrepreneurs, even government agencies are turning forecasts of rain and shine into dollars and cents here in Minnesota and around the globe. Join us live or on the radio to learn more about the business of weather at the next Business by Carlson Quarterly Report co-hosted by Dave Lee and me tomorrow from 11am-12noon. We’ll be broadcasting live from the Land O’Lakes Collaboration Center in Borlaug Hall located at the St. Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota off Buford Street. Join Dave, Paul, WCCO Radio Personality and Meterologist Paul Douglas and Aeris Weather technologies CEO Craig Mataczynski as they break down the issues, tell us where business of weather is heading, and how that direction matters for you and yours.
It’s Veterans Day this Saturday with the official federal holiday on Monday. This weekend gives us all a chance to thank those who have served and our serving our country in uniform. Happy Veterans Day and thanks to my brothers, Lt Colonel John Vaaler (USMC Ret) in Federicksburg, Virginia; and Lt. Cmdr Andrew Vaaler (USN Ret) here in Minneapolis. Our words of thanks matter. So do our deeds. On any night in our country, it is estimated that more than 39,000 vets are homeless. Here is where you can learn more about that menace and how you can help: http://nchv.org/index.php/news/media/background_and_statistics/. Make a difference in the lives of those who sacrificed for us.