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Business briefs: St. Pete tech company confirms SoftBank investment, M&A deals in banking and HR, and more

Margie Manning



Photo by Jared Brashier on Unsplash

Two trade publications are confirming that Japanese technology giant SoftBank was the investor that pumped $4.4 million into 5×5 Technologies Inc. in St. Petersburg in August.

“SoftBank is our ideal partner,” Anne Zink, founder and CEO of 5×5 Technologies, told Inside Towers and Above Ground Level Media Group.

Zink had declined comment about the deal shortly after 5×5 Technologies disclosed the investment in an Aug. 13 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. She did not immediately respond to a call from the St. Pete Catalyst asking for more information.

5×5 Technologies focuses on improving the accuracy and usability of data collected by commercial drones. It’s not a drone operator but works with the owners of cell towers and similar infrastructure to analyze data using a Software-as-a-Service application.

In the partnership with SoftBank, 5×5 Technologies will launch a drone-powered asset inspection service in Japan in the spring.

SoftBank “has a long-term vision for drone powered asset inspections that will allow 5×5 to accelerate development and deployment of innovation to ensure the long-term conservation of critical infrastructure,” Zink said in the two trade reports.

CenterState buys National Commerce

CenterState Bank Corp. is poised to expand further in the Tampa Bay area, with the planned acquisition of National Commerce Corp.

The $850 million stock deal is the most recent in a series of expansions by CenterState (NASDAQ: CSFL), a Winter Haven-based bank that’s grown to one of the largest banks headquartered in Florida, with $12 billion in assets.

National Commerce (NASDAQ: NCOM), a $4.1 billion bank headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama and with branches in three states, entered the local market in 2017 when it bought Patriot Bank and picked up offices in Palm Harbor, New Port Richey and Trinity. National Commerce added to its local presence earlier this year, when it bought Premier Community Bank of Florida in Bradenton.

Patriot and Premier kept their names after the earlier deals, but they are likely to be re-branded under CenterState’s ownership. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.

Paychex expands

Two major personnel firms with offices in the Tampa Bay area are joining forces.

Paychex Inc. has an agreement to acquire Oasis Outsourcing Acquisition Corp. for $1.2 billion in cash.

Paychex (NASDAQ: PAYX) based in Rochester, N.Y. and with an office in the Carillon Office Park in St. Petersburg, provides payroll, benefits, human resources and insurance services for small and medium-sized businesses. Oasis, headquartered in West Palm Beach, is a professional employer organization, serving more than 8,400 clients nationwide. Oasis bought Tampa-based A1HR in 2015, and has an office in Tampa.

Paychex  will serve more than 1.4 million worksite employees through its HR outsourcing services after the deal closes.

Safe toys

USF Federal Credit Union donated $10,000 to Tampa General Hospital to buy three, high-tech UV lights to disinfect toys in the play area of TGH’s Children’s Medical Center.

Richard Skaggs is president and CEO of USF Federal Credit Union.

“We are pleased to be able to make this donation to the hospital and are glad this will help the children stay safe,” said Richard Skaggs, the credit union’s president and CEO.

The lights, known as toy sterilizers, quickly kill viruses and bacteria, making the toys safe for children to play with, a press release said.

The toys need to be cleaned after each child plays with them, said Kelly Shelor, nurse manager of the Children’s Medical Center. The lights typically kill germs in about one minute, she said.

Tampa General Hospital is a select employee group for the credit union and TGH employees and their families are eligible to join USF Federal Credit Union, a Tampa-based credit union with about $660 million in assets and nearly 61,000 members.




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