Monday Business Briefing

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Monday Biz Briefing: JPMorgan Chase moving a number of operations to Louisville from Charlotte, N.C.

by Staff

Welcome to the January 30 top secret, always confidential Monday Business Briefing.

And what a momenteous day it is, with news of the first economic-development coup of 2012.

These are tips staff and contributors have collected during the past few days, tips that are NOT double-verified like Insider Louisville’s daily reporting.

That said, these items are inside dope from sources with direct knowledge of the deals:

• Insiders tell Insider Louisville that Wall Street banking giant JPMorgan Chase is moving a number of transaction-processing operations to Louisville this summer from Charlotte, N.C.

The transaction processing centers are so large, they’ll actually increase postal volume enough to give the JPMorgan Chase operation its own ZIP code, our sources say.

Just how big a deal – and how many people and jobs –  this entails is not entirely clear. But we’ve heard from reliable sources that JPMorgan Chase officials make no bones this is a coup for Louisville, though it may be sensitive because the U.S. Government is the client.

Those operations include JPMorgan Chase’s Government Tax Processing operation, as well as processing for charge cards the company operates for the U.S. government General Services Agency and departments.

The GSA SmartPay program provides charge cards to U.S. government agencies/departments through contracts with major national banks including Chase and Bank of America. There are about 350 entities in the program, with a total transaction volume of about  $30 billion annually through 100 million transactions on over three million cards, according to GSA documents.

Sources say J.P. Morgan Chase will lease at least one large facility in Commerce Crossings off Preston Highway on the Jefferson County/Bullitt County line.

We have calls into Capstone Realty, which owns Commerce Crossings. But chances are you’re reading this way before anyone is at their desk. And that’s where we are with this. But we will update this post, or post an expanded story, depending on what we track down.

Business First has ridden the “Omnicare trying to swallow up PharMerica” story long and hard.

But when the big news came this weekend that federal regulators are killing the deal, they were out of the office. Unlucky them.

But lucky you insiders were still working their sources, who tipped us off  Bloomberg is reporting the Federal Trade Commission is suing Covington, Ky.-based Omnicare to keep it from acquiring Louisville-based PharMerica.

Despite the back and forth, the deal was shaky from the start because the acquisition would have given Omnicare, the nation’s largest supplier of meds to nursing homes and long-term care facilities, control of its top competitor, and the No. 2 institutional pharmacy business in the nation. A red flag for the feds, who don’t like to see de facto monopolies.

Bloomberg reporter Sarah Frier references FTC documents that state Omnicare’s acquisition of PharMerica “would give it the bargaining leverage to raise medicine prices for those covered by Medicare prescription drug plans, passing those costs on to U.S. taxpayers.”

Truth is, the 2007 deal itself that allowed  AmerisourceBergen to acquire Kindred Healthcare‘s pharmacy business and form PharMerica probably wouldn’t happen in 2012. Yet Omnicare spent millions pursuing the deal, and PharMerica probably spent millions fending off the hostile takeover, charging that Omnicare wasn’t even close on its tender offer for shares.

One interesting bit … Omnicare CEO Joel Gemunder has become a target of activist investors because of Gemunder’s total remuneration package of $98 million. For some perspective, that’s three times what David Novak gets at Yum! Brands.

• Insiders say look for recession survivor Vimarc Group to move closer to the central business district from its digs far out in eastern Jefferson County. Vimarc executives are looking at several spaces in and around downtown, sources say. Unlike a lot of advertising firms overly reliant on one or two clients, Vimarc has a broad client base that includes health insurers, auto sales and retailers.

• In case you’re not a top GLI “investor,” and there are likely to be fewer all the time including Metro Louisville government,  here’s the list the GLI insiders got last week listing companies receiving KEDFA incentives:

At today‘s Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority meeting, five
companies were approved for economic development incentives. The
projects would create 169 new jobs, $9.6 million in new annual payroll
and $4.4 million in new investment. 

Appriss Inc., <http://www.appriss.com/> a Louisville-based provider of
information services that helps thousands of local, state, and federal
government agencies keep citizens safe and informed, is considering an
expansion of its Louisville headquarters to accommodate the anticipated
growth from new products and services it is developing. The expansion
would be an investment of $1.7 million in building materials and capital
equipment, and create 38 jobs.

Jefferson National Financial <http://www.jeffnat.com/> is a leading
innovator of products and services for registered investment advisors
(RIAs) and other fee-based advisors. It utilizes a flexible technology
platform, highly efficient operations, a centralized sales desk of
highly-trained personnel and an award-winning direct marketing approach
centered on a powerful website. The company is considering an
investment of $900,000 in building materials and equipment to expand its
Louisville headquarters. The expansion would create 70 new jobs.

National Fastpitch Coaches Association <http://www.nfca.org/> is the
professional organization for fastpitch softball coaches at all
competitive levels of play. The non-profit association was founded in
the early 1980′s by collegiate softball coaches, but today, it also
includes high school coaches, travel ball/club coaches, and interested
individuals, with numbers totaling about 4,500 nationwide and 40
internationally. The organization would like to consolidate its
employees in one location and they are considering Louisville as a
location. The project would be an investment of $525,000 and would
bring 10 new jobs to the area.

Norgren, Inc. <http://www.norgren.com/> is a leading supplier of
pneumatic motion and fluid control technology, as well as a provider of
engineering advantage solutions. The company currently works with a
third-party logistics provider in Laredo, Texas, but they are
considering in-sourcing, and moving this operation to a more strategic
location that will improve serviceability to their U.S. customer base.
Norgren would invest more than $350,000 in building materials and
capital equipment and add 15 jobs as part of the relocation.

Southern Water Treatment Services Co., Inc. has developed proprietary
technologies for cleaning hard deposits from metal surfaces. The
company’s refurbishing and cleaning operation serves heat exchangers,
cooling towers and concrete forms, faster and better than any methods
currently on the market. The company is considering an expansion of its
operation in Louisville to ramp up their processing capacity. The
expansion would be an investment of $950,000 in building materials and
capital equipment and would create 36 new jobs.

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