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Tampa engineering firm sells for $10.7M

Albeck Gerken Inc., a professional transportation engineering firm with offices in Tampa, Orlando, Virginia and Pennsylvania, agreed to sell to Iteris, a Santa Ana, California-based data analytics company focused on transportation and agriculture. Iteris will pay $10.7 million for Albeck Gerken, including $6.2 million in cash and $4.5 million in stock, a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said. The deal is expected to close next month. Albeck Gerken helps cities maximize the effectiveness of their existing transportation networks.

Tampa companies face suit alleging fraud

Two law firms have filed a class action complaint against Health Insurance Innovations Inc. and its subsidiary, Health Plan Intermediaries Holdings LLC. The lawsuit alleges the firms defrauded customers out of millions of dollars by misrepresenting the benefits of their insurance policies, according to Their complaints underscore problems with some types of cheaper health insurance alternatives that were expanded under the Trump administration, the New York Times reported. Health Insurance Innovations (Nasadaq: HIIQ), based in Tampa, is among the larger publicly traded companies in the Tampa Bay area.

Disston Plaza has new owner

Preferred Apartment Communities Inc. has bought Disston Plaza, a 129,150 square foot, Publix-anchored shopping center at 49th Street and 38th Avenue North in St. Petersburg. More than 134,000 people live within three miles of Disston Plaza and the intersection has traffic counts of 40,000 vehicles a day, a news release said. The purchase price was not disclosed. Preferred Apartment Communities (NYSE: APTS), based in Atlanta, made the purchase through its subsidiary, New Market Properties and now owns 25 Publix-anchored centers in Florida.

BB&T, SunTrust unveil new name

BB&T Corp. (NYSE: BBT) and SunTrust Banks Inc., (NYSE: STI) announced Truist as the name for the combined company to be created through their merger of equals. Truist will be the sixth-largest U.S. bank holding company serving more than 10 million households in the U.S. Combined, the two banks will be No. 2 among retail banks in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area, behind Bank of America (NYSE: BAC).

Tampa software firm raises $20.05 million

Actio Analytics Inc. has completed a $20.05 million equity raise. The Tampa software firm got backing from 25 investors, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. ACTIO is a modular based, Software-as-a-Service analytics platform that leverages mobile technology to deliver alerts and actionable insights in real time, the company said on its website. It was designed and built by restaurant industry operators for restaurant industry operators, the website said. A call to the company for comment was not immediately returned.

WellCare-Centene deal gets key backing

Institutional Shareholder Services, an influential proxy advisory firm, recommended shareholders approve the planned $17 billion acquisition of WellCare Health Plans by Centene Corp. ISS said the deal “appears sound strategically and financially” and the terms provide a meaningful premium, according to Forbes. Both companies are scheduled to vote on the deal on June 24.

GoZone WiFi sets launch date for EDGE District project

GoZone WiFi will hold a wire cutting ceremony on Thursday, June 20 — World WiFi Day — to officially launch its free-to-the-public WiFI network throughout the EDGE District. The initiative gives visitors to the district easy access to WiFi while allowing businesses to learn more about their customers, as the St. Pete Catalyst first reported.  The project helps bridge the digital divide, a key focus for Todd Myers, GoZone CEO, and for St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. "Bringing free WiFi to the heart of our city is a creative, innovative way to help everyone connect in new and exciting ways," Kriseman said in a news release, which has more details about the project.

Looper ridership grows

About eight months after Looper 2.0 took to the streets, riders are flocking to the revised transportation option. In May 2019, there was a 175 percent increase in ridership, compared to May 2018, according to St. Petersburg economic development officials. They credit the free fare and a more consistent and frequent route for the ridership increase.

Tropicana Field makes holiday plans

Enchant Christmas, a large-scale, immersive holiday light experience, will be at Tropicana Field Nov. 22-Dec. 29. The outfield will feature a Christmas Market stocked with over 60 local food and artisan merchant vendors. The infield will house an ice-skating trail. The RaysClub and other premium areas will become available for VIP and private holiday party experiences. More here.

PSTA fast tracks bus safety barriers

Leaders of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, with the support of the Service Employee International Union, have agreed upon safety barriers for all PSTA buses. The new barriers, with extended tempered glass to cover a larger area, will cost about $4,000 to $5,000 each, or about $840,000 to $1.05 million for all 210 buses, a news release said. Under an expedited approval process, the PSTA finance committee will consider the purchase on June 19th with the full PSTA Board approval scheduled for June 26. Installation is expected to begin in August and be completed by the end of October.

Raymond James branch manager killed in Memphis

Glenn Cofield, financial advisor and branch manager in Memphis for Raymond James, was shot and killed leaving a charity event Friday night, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported. Cofield was a well-known community volunteer, and no suspects were arrested as of Sunday morning and a motive in the killing remains unclear, the report said. Cofield had been employed by St. Petersburg-based Raymond James (NYSE: RJF) since 1993, according to regulatory records.

Tampa tech company raises $1.25 million

Venuetize Inc., a mobile technology company in Tampa, raised $1.25 million in an equity offering, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company is seeking a total of $4.5 million, the filing said. Venuetize has a mobile platform that integrates with existing venue infrastructure to deliver mobile wallets, contextual advertising and information to improve and innovate the guest experience.

The St. Pete Catalyst

The Catalyst honors its name by aggregating & curating the sparks that propel the St Pete engine.  It is a modern news platform, powered by community sourced content and augmented with directed coverage.  Bring your news, your perspective and your spark to the St Pete Catalyst and take your seat at the table.

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