Hewlett-Packard is laying off about 500 workers in Conway as it streamlines its operations at its three-year-old $28 million customer support facility and abroad. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer firm opened its Conway service center in 2010 amid tremendous fanfare.
Metropolitan National Bank to be acquired, recapitalized
Metropolitan National Bank is expected to be acquired by a limited liability company tied to Dallas billionaire banker Gerald J. Ford. The privately held Little Rock bank will change ownership after a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding of its current shareholder group, Rogers Bancshares, which was the holding company for the bank under the leadership of businessman Doyle Rogers, who died in February at the age of 94.
Ford Financial Fund II, a private equity fund led by Ford and his business partner, Carl Webb, has created Little Rock Acquisition LLC. That entity will purchase all of Rogers Bancshares’ stock in Metropolitan National Bank for $16 million and recapitalize the financial institution. The capital reinvestment amount is not known at this time, according to bank officials, and will be determined after the bankruptcy court evaluates assets and liabilities of the holding company. The bankruptcy will dispose as much as $25 million in Troubled Asset Relief Program funds once borrowed by the bank holding company to stabilize the bank’s capital.
Carter to oversee Liberty Bank acquisition
Home Bancshares subsidiary Centennial Bank announced that Davy Carter will serve as regional president. Carter, the current state House speaker, left the bank earlier this year but returned after the session. Centennial says Carter’s duties and responsibilities will include oversight of its recent $280 million Liberty Bank acquisition.
AEDC chief touts repeal of gay marriage restriction
Arkansas Economic Development Commission Director Grant Tennille says the state should undo its constitutional restriction on gay marriage. Speaking at a press conference Monday to unveil new state poll results from the Human Rights Campaign — a civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans – Tennille said Arkansas should treat all of its citizens “equally under the law.”
Griffin: Delay of employer mandate ‘a political move’
Congressman Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock, says the Obama administration’s delay of an employer reporting mandate related to federal health care is a “welcome relief” for business, but he views the move as a political delay.
“I think it’s a recognition that there are problems with this law. I think also this is a political move,” Griffin said. “They wanted to take the implementation of the employer mandate and the penalties that go with it — they wanted to take that and kick it past the 2014 election. It’s pretty clear that’s what they’re doing.”
Shoffner trial moved to March
A federal judge Tuesday rescheduled the trial of former state Treasurer Martha Shoffner, who faces bribery and extortion charges. U.S. District Judge J. Leon Holmes rescheduled the trial, which had been set for July 29, to March 3, 2014. In a one-page order, Holmes said he granted Shoffner attorney Chuck Banks’ request for more time to prepare her case.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org; his website address is www.talkbusiness.net