In surprise moves, Bentonville-based Arvest Bank and Pine Bluff-based Simmons First National Corp. submitted bids to acquire Little Rock-based Metropolitan National Bank, whose parent company, Rogers Bancshares Inc., is embroiled in a bankruptcy proceeding. Arvest’s bid was announced in a legal notice in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for an undisclosed figure, while Simmons First disclosed a $16.9 million bid in a SEC filing.
Metropolitan officials announced in early July that the bank would be acquired by Ford Financial Fund II, a private equity fund led by Dallas investor Gerald J. Ford. Ford Financial Fund II said at the time it was aiming to purchase all of Metropolitan National Bank’s stock for $16 million and recapitalize the bank.
Clinton touts health insurance positives, calls for bipartisan fixes
Former President Bill Clinton used his presidential library as a forum to advocate for the Affordable Care Act, which hits a major milestone on Oct. 1 when health insurance exchanges open a new online marketplace. Clinton spent his speech at the Clinton Center chronicling the positives and negatives of the current federal law. He also promoted Arkansas’ “private option” plan and, in prepared remarks, recited the mechanics of how citizens can access the forthcoming options in Arkansas.
August state revenues climb higher
Arkansas finance officials said that one-time sales tax audit payments and higher corporate income tax collections boosted August state revenues. Sales tax collections also showed signs of life despite a sluggish year overall. The Department of Finance and Administration reported that August net available general revenues topped $387.8 million, $18.7 million or 5.1 percent above last year and $5.7 million or 1.5 percent above forecast.
Home Bancshares receives state, fed approvals for liberty deal
Home BancShares Inc., parent company of Centennial Bank, said it has received approval from the Federal Reserve Board and the Arkansas State Bank Board to move forward on its merger with Jonesboro-based Liberty Bancshares. The Securities and Exchange Commission has also received the appropriate registration statement to allow the deal to progress. In late June, Conway-based Home Bancshares triggered a summer of banking headlines with its $280 million acquisition of Liberty Bancshares.
Murphy Oil spin-off starts trading
Arkansas has a new public company: Murphy USA. The spin-off of the El Dorado-based oil and gas parent company, Murphy Oil Corp., opened for trading on Tuesday, Sept. 3, on the New York Stock Exchange under the trading symbol “MUSA.” The stock began at $37.30 per share. The standalone company represents Murphy Oil’s retail and refinery business segments. Murphy Oil shareholders received one share of MUSA common stock for every four shares of Murphy Oil common stock held at the close of business on the record date of Aug. 21, 2013.
State says Nordex will repay $2.5 million in grants
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission said Nordex USA will repay the state and city of Jonesboro more than $2.5 million in grants it received when it opened its North American wind turbine manufacturing facilities in Craighead County. Nordex announced in July that it would close the Jonesboro facility, which made parts for large, industrial wind turbine units, because of uncertainty in the North American wind energy market. The company announced its location in Arkansas in 2009.
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Roby Brock, a freelance journalist based in Little Rock, writes weekly for the Arkansas News Bureau. His weekly television program airs at 10 p.m. Sundays in Central and Northwest Arkansas. His email address is email@example.com; his website address is