Wayne Pratt

Reporter / Newscaster

Wayne Pratt is a veteran journalist who has made stops at radio stations, wire services and websites throughout North America. He comes to St. Louis Public Radio from Indianapolis, where he was Assistant Managing Editor at www.insideindianabusiness.com. Wayne also launched a local news operation at NPR member station WBAA in West Lafayette, Indiana and spent time as a correspondent for a network of more than 800 stations. His career has included positions in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Toronto, Ontario and Phoenix, Arizona. Wayne grew up near Ottawa, Ontario and moved to the United States in the mid-90s on a dare. Soon after, he met his wife and has been in the U.S. ever since.

Centene announced plans for this new claims center shortly after the death of Michael Brown
Centene Corporation

The head of St. Louis-based Centene is shooting down speculation it will bid on any units being unloaded by larger companies that are considering a merger. There have been reports the St. Louis-based health insurer is interested in trying to acquire units that would have to be divested by the potential combinations of  Aetna  and Humana or Anthem and Cigna.

Anheuser-Busch interior
File Photo | Tom Nagel | Beacon

Updated 7:55 a.m., July 26 with details of revised offer - Anheuser-Busch InBev has made what the brewing giant calls a “final offer” for rival SABMiller. The revised $103 billion proposal works out to an increase of roughly $1.30 per share, compared to the previous offer. SABMiller shareholders have been concerned about the overall value of the deal after the British Pound declined more than 10 percent in recent weeks.

Monsanto says it will not comment further on Bayer's bid, which is being reviewed by the board of directors.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 11:38 a.m., July  19 with Monsanto rejection - Monsanto has rejected the most-recent takeover offer from Bayer. The St. Louis-based company says the $125 per share bid is "financially inadequate." Germany-based Bayer upped its offer last week after an initial proposal of $122 per share.

Dotson Precautions Tweet
Provided by Twitter

The deadly ambush of police in Dallas is prompting law enforcement in the St. Louis area to take precautions to better protect officers.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson says he is taking steps to “maximize the safety of officers” throughout his department.

They include:

Anheuser-Busch complex
File Photo | Tom Nagel | Beacon

Shareholders of brewer SABMiller might want more out of the proposed takeover by Anheuser-Busch InBev because of England's vote to leave the European Union. Edward Jones' equity research analyst Brittany Weissman says that is a remote possibility as the acquisition closes in on regulatory approval in the U.S. and a few other countries.

MISO control room
Provided by MISO

A battle over power is shaping up in Illinois. It involves lawmakers, but unlike with the state budget crisis they are not playing a central role. This fight involves electricity plants, regulated and unregulated energy companies and the nonprofits that act as air traffic controllers for the electric grid.

SixThirty Cyber Logo
SixThirty

A new St. Louis-based initiative might produce the next big advancement in the war against hackers and data thieves. SixThirty Cyber is an offshoot of financial technology venture fund and business accelerator SixThirty, which is housed in the T-Rex co-working space downtown.

SunEdison Solar Energy farm
SunEdision

Updated 12:12 p.m., June. 9 with operational loan approval - A St. Louis-based renewable-energy company has been approved for a loan that will help it operate through the bankruptcy process. A judge has cleared the way for SunEdison to access $1.3 billion. Bloomberg reports some of the money will fund a probe by creditors into the company's financial activities.

Wayne Pratt, St. Louis Public Radio

Nine St. Louis area companies remain on the Fortune 500 list and they are the same employers who made the rankings last year. But there have been some changes in where the companies now stand in the publication’s annual tally based on fiscal year revenue.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Next winter will serve as a curtain call for the head coach of the St. Louis Blues.

Ken Hitchcock has agreed to another one-year contract with the National Hockey League team and he says it will be his final year as a coach.

“I want one-year deals because it allows me to do the things I need to do,” Hitchcock told reporters gathered Tuesday at Scottrade Center for the Blues' end-of-season news conference.

“But I'm telling you right now, this is my last one-year deal. I'm not coaching after this year. This is it.”

Flickr | Chris Dlugosz

St. Louis is not unscathed by the leaked documents known as the Panama Papers. But some local legal experts say being included in the documents is not a clear indication of wrongdoing.

Wikipedia

Updated 10:25 a.m., May. 25 with winning proposal: A developer has been selected to reopen the landmark Bevo Mill in south St. Louis. The city's Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority says Pat and Carol Schuchard have been chosen for the project. They already own two event venues: the Boo Cat Club and the Majorette.

Monsanto says it will not comment further on Bayer's bid, which is being reviewed by the board of directors.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Tuesday, May 24, 3 p.m., to include Monsanto's rejection of Bayer offer - St. Louis-based crops and seeds specialist Monsanto has rejected a $62 billion offer from German drugs and chemicals company Bayer AG.

In a statement Tuesday, Monsanto called the takeover bid "incomplete and financially inadequate." However, the seed company is suggesting that a higher bid might be accepted, saying that it remains open to talks.

Monsanto Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant also said that the initial offer failed to address potential financing and regulatory risks. Bayer made an all-cash bid that valued Monsanto's stock at $122 each.

Our original story:

Bayer is making its case for buying St. Louis-based Monsanto. The German company is offering to acquire the seeds and agricultural chemical business for $62 billion. The deal could create the world’s leading company for crop protection and seeds and traits.

The original Monsanto was founded in St. Louis in 1901.
Monsanto

A German company is making a play for St. Louis-based Monsanto. Bayer has made an unsolicited, non-binding offer for the global agricultural company.

Ameren worker installs LED streetlight
Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

The cost of electricity in the St. Louis area could be going up. Ameren Missouri is planning to ask state regulators this summer for a rate increase.

The utility cites a lack of regulatory reform, the shutdown of the utility’s largest customer along with increased investments and operating costs.

Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge
Provided by Lambert International Airport

Lambert Airport could end up with a plan to bring in more money and another to fund capital improvements by the end of the week. Officials are waiting for final approval from the St. Louis Board of Aldermen on an agreement with the airlines that use the airport. The airlines have already approved a five-year, capital improvement plan.

WSIE Logo
WSIE

Money problems are forcing a St. Louis-area jazz radio station to expand its format.

“We've not been able to monetize the jazz format so we've chosen to expand that a little bit by adding blues,” says Doug McIlhagga, the executive director of marketing and communications for Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville. The university runs WSIE, which started broadcasting in 1970.

A view of the outside of the United Steelworkers office in Granite City, Ill.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 12:30 p.m., April 27,  with CEO comments — There is still no firm timeline for production to resume at the U.S. Steel plant in Granite City.  The company continues to describe the shutdown as temporary and operations will not start again until demand picks up. 

Express Scripts headquarters
Express Scripts

A large St. Louis-area employer is preparing for a leadership change as it battles one of its biggest clients in court. Pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts is being sued by Anthem. The health insurance company claims it should have a bigger piece of the savings Express Scripts negotiates with drug makers.

Loop Trolley construction in Feb. 2016
LoopTrolley.com

Another busy intersection in the Delmar Loop will be shut down starting Monday for Loop Trolley construction. More than 85 percent of the track for the project has been installed, but traffic won’t be allowed at Skinker and Delmar boulevards for at least the next 12 days.

The Sugar Camp Energy complex in southern Illinois
Foresight Energy

A St. Louis-based coal company has struck a deal with bondholders of most of its $600-million debt. Foresight Energy's agreement follows months of negotiations after it was partially acquired last year by Ohio-based Murray Energy Corporation. Here's what you should know about Foresight Energy as it strives to avoid following  St. Louis-based Peabody Energy and Arch Coal, which have filed for bankruptcy protection.

Centene announced plans for this new claims center shortly after the death of Michael Brown
Centene Corporation

Updated Friday, April 15, 3 p.m. to included comments from grand opening: The opening of Centene's $25 million center in Ferguson Friday is the completion of a goal set by the company's chief executive officer shortly after violence broke out in the city in 2014.

Michael Neidorff said the investment by the Clayton-based managed care company should send a message to some employers who left Ferguson in the aftermath of Michael Brown's death.

A view of the outside of the Peabody Energy building in St. Louis.
St. Louis Public Radio

Peabody Energy says all mines and offices will continue to operate even though the St.Louis-based company has filed for bankruptcy. Chief Executive Officer Glenn Kellow says the move allows Peabody to seek an in-court solution to its debt problems.

LED fixture beside a basic light bulb that has been used in streetlights for decades.s
Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

Ameren Missouri says many of its customers could soon be noticing lower bills. The electric utility is upgrading streetlights throughout its system with LED technology.

An aerial view of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at 3200 South 2nd Street.
NGA

The likely winner of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency's new facility will be made public this week. A report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Friday will include the preferred location for the NGA's new west headquarters.

(Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

Home ownership rates across the country continue to decline and an economist at the St. Louis Federal Reserve says there are two potential factors at play. Bill Emmons points to a potential new-normal scenario and the possibility that housing ownership remains in downward cycle that has lasted for roughly two-decades.

Grant's Farm bridge with sign thanking attendees for visiting
William K. Busch Brewing Company

Updated 1:00 p.m. March 4 with Zoo's offer withdrawn:

The St. Louis Zoo’s plan to buy Grant’s Farm from a Busch family trust has fallen through. In a statement the Zoo says it’s withdrawn its conditional offer of about $30 million citing a legal dispute among the six heirs of the late beer baron Gussie Busch. Four of the six siblings have wanted to release the land from the trust, but Billy Busch is fighting to keep it in the family.  Earlier this week, he unveiled a five-year plan to acquire and develop the family-attraction with a small theater, and brewery.  A St. Louis Circuit Court hearing regarding the sale is scheduled for March 28.

Original article March 2:

A prominent member of the Busch family is providing more details about his plans for Grant's Farm. Billy Busch is trying to acquire the St. Louis County attraction and has unveiled a five-year business plan that calls for a small theater, brewery and continued free admission.

United Steelworkers Local 50 President Jason Chism says a recent trip to D.C. was a learning experience, especially when it comes to how the federal government deals with trade cases.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

A United Steelworkers local president is trying to remain as upbeat as possible, even though there is no indication when U.S. Steel might resume production in Granite City.

"I'm an optimistic person so my glass always runs half-full, even though it's been running close to empty here lately," USW Local 50 President Jason Chism told St. Louis Public Radio Friday.

Eric Johnson, St. Louis Fashion Incubator
St. Louis Fashion Incubator

The once-bustling St. Louis fashion industry could be poised for a rebound and a native with some big-time economic development experience is playing a key role.

Eric Johnson is the first executive director of the St. Louis Fashion Incubator. He is back home after spending several years as an economic development official in New York City, including serving as head of the city’s fashion and arts initiative.

futureatlas.com | Flickr

A federal mandate and a record supply are leading to the low gas prices in the St. Louis area. The monitoring site GasBuddy.com says the average price at the pump is $1.56 a gallon (as of Feb. 12), roughly 60 cents cheaper than a year ago.

And even with a recent spike in the past couple of days, at least one expert says prices are still poised to go even lower.

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