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Oldsmar’s Spectrio buys Louisiana marketing firms

Spectrio, an in-store marketing company headquartered in Oldsmar, said it will increase its footprint with the acquisition of two Louisiana firms. Spectrio bought Profit On-Hold and Airwaves Scenting, in a deal designed to create efficiencies and add opportunities for customers, a news release said. The purchase price was not disclosed. Spectrio's technologies are all designed to drive consumer behavior and include digital signage, interactive kiosks and WiFi marketing, as well as in-store music and marketing, on-hold marketing and scent marketing. Spectrio serves more than 100,000 locations, ranging from individually owned businesses to Fortune 500 companies.

C-level Bloomin’ exec leaves with seven-figure severance

Donagh Herlihy, executive vice president and chief information officer at Bloomin’ Brands, will leave the company effective Jan. 26. Herlihy will receive a lump sum severance payment of $1.5 million and certain other benefits as part of a separation agreement with Bloomin (Nasdaq: BLMN), the Tampa-based restaurant company said in a regulatory filing. The separation agreement also includes a release of claims and certain other covenants. Herlihy joined Bloomin' in 2014, and was among the most highly compensated executives, with a 2018 pay package totaling $1.6 million. Bloomin', the parent company of Outback Steakhouse and other casual dining brands, did not say why he was leaving the company.

Malware disrupts systems at Tampa digital marketer

AutoWeb, a Tampa-based digital marketing firm for car dealers, said its network was impacted by malware that encrypted servers on most systems and disrupted consumer and customer access to many of its services. AutoWeb discovered the malware on Jan. 9, a regulatory filing said, and has hired experts to help restore and remediate systems and to investigate the incident. Most of the impacted systems are operational and work is ongoing to restore full system functionality. So far, there's no evidence of unauthorized access to or acquisition of any consumer personal information or customer confidential information. The company carries cyber insurance, it said, but doesn't yet know the full scope of the costs of the incident.


Mangrove Equity takes stake in New York airfield maintenance firm

Mangrove Equity Partners in Tampa has partnered with the management of Hi-Lite Airfield Services on a management buyout. Financial terms were not disclosed.  The deal will allow Hi-Lite, in Watertown, New York, to focus exclusively on its core business of airfield pavement maintenance services, a news release said. A former affiliate, Spec-Rite Systems, a data and software company, will spin off as a separately owned and operated entity. Mangrove raised $175 million for its third private equity fund in July. The company focuses on the lower middle market, with target companies typically earning between $2 million and $10 million of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Tampa International expands All Access program

Tampa International Airport's All Access program will be in place daily, beginning Jan. 18. The program allows members of the general public who are not flying to visit TIA and enjoy all the post-security dining and shopping amenities. Until now, it's been on Saturdays only. More than 1,700 visitors have taken advantage of the program since its launch in May, using passes for plane watching, spending a few extra minutes with loved ones at their gates, and enjoying the airport’s restaurants and bars, a news release said. Guests must sign up in advance at TPAallaccess.com and are subject to the same security screening regulations as passengers boarding a plane.

St. Pete-Clearwater airport sets record

St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport had its biggest year ever in 2019, as 2,288,692 passengers flew to or from 57 non-stop destinations. Passenger traffic for the year was up 2 percent over 2018. In December 2019, there was a 12 percent increase in passenger traffic, making last month the biggest December in the airport's history. St. Pete-Clearwater International is ranked No. 90 out of 519 commercial service airports in the United States, based on enplanements. It has one of the lowest average round-trip airfares, $127.85, compared to the U.S. average of $345.09, a news release said.    

Fast-food restaurant Jollibee opens first area site in Pinellas Park

Fast-food restaurant Jollibee will open a store at 4057 Park Blvd. N. in Pinellas Park on Friday. It's the company's first store in the  Tampa Bay area. The food is described as a "joyous mash-up of Western comfort food and Asian flavors," according to a news release. Jollibee is the flagship brand of Jollibee Foods Corp.,  one of the largest and fastest growing Asian restaurant companies in the world. The Pinellas Park store is part of the brand's plans to grow to 150 stores in the U.S. by 2023. Jollibee Pinellas Park is the 40th store to open in the U.S. 

New Catalina partnership offers insight on convenience store shoppers

Catalina, a St. Petersburg-based tech firm focused on collecting and analyzing shopping data, has partnered with Koupon, a suburban Dallas company that provides information to convenience store retailers and brands. The partnership signifies the growth and importance of the C-store channel and will provide C-store retailers and consumer packaged goods producers with a better understanding of consumer purchase behaviors, a news release said. That will help retailers and brands provide a more personalized shopping experience for C-store buyers, said Lori Buss Stillman, vice president of research of the National Association of Convenience Stores. Koupon is the latest in a series of strategic partnerships Catalina has formed to deepen its data insights, increase reach and help customers.

Tampa’s Cott plans rebrand after Primo Water deal

Cott Corp., a Tampa beverage company, will rebrand after buying Primo Water Corp., a Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based water company.  Cott (NYSE:COT) said it has definitive agreement pursuant to buy Primo for $14 a share, in a cash and stock deal that values Primo at about $775 million. After the deal closes, Cott will change its corporate name to Primo as it transitions to a pure-play water solutions provider, a news release said. Cott said last week that it is evaluating strategic alternatives for its coffee, tea and extract solutions segment. The company sold its carbonated soft drinks and juice businesses in 2018.

St. Pete named one of best cities to work from home

St. Petersburg ranks No. 7 on a new SmartAsset study, ranking the best cities to work from home. The financial technology company said 7.8 percent of St. Pete workers worked from home in 2018, up 3.2 percent over the past five years. From 2014 to 2018, the national percentage of workers working remotely increased by almost 1 percent, from 4.5 percent to 5.3 percent. The full study is here.

Bristol-Myers licenses potential leukemia therapy developed at Moffitt

ANP Technologies Inc.  and Fulgent Pharma LLC, through their partner Moffitt Cancer Center, have successfully licensed the rights to develop a novel targeted therapy in the area of leukemia to Celgene, recently acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY). Financial terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed. The partners will work together to develop a new cancer therapy for myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a news release said. 

CareerSource Center opens at SPC Clearwater

A new CareerSource Center opens Monday, Jan. 13 at the SPC EpiCenter in Clearwater. The center, a partnership between SPC Workforce Institute and CareerSource Pinellas, will assist individuals with their re-employment and training needs. Hours of operations will be 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The new center will provide career planning services for professional and entry-level candidates. Some of the resources offered at the center will include career orientation, job search assistance, interview techniques, professional networking opportunities and more. The SPC EpiCenter is located at 13805 58 St. N. in Clearwater.

The St. Pete Catalyst

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