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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.

Raymond James CEO sees pay bump in FY 2019

Paul Reilly, chairman and CEO of Raymond James Financial Inc., had a $13.1 million total pay package in fiscal year 2019. That was up from $11.1 million in the prior fiscal year, according to a proxy statement filed by the St. Petersburg-based financial services firm. Reilly's total compensation for the 12 months ended Sept. 30 included a $500,000 salary, a nearly $5.9 million cash bonus and stock awards valued at $6.4 million at the time they were granted. Raymond James (NYSE: RJF) said Reilly provided strong leadership that resulted in record revenue of $7.74 billion and pre-tax income of $1.03 billion. Reilly's total compensation was 138 times that of the median Raymond James' employee, who made $94,864, according to the proxy. Shareholders will cast advisory say on pay votes at the company's annual meeting Feb. 20 at its St. Petersburg headquarters.

Cott buys Hungarian firm

Cott Corp., a Tampa-based beverage company, has acquired  ClearWater Kereskedelmi és Szolgáltató Korlátolt Felelősségű Társaság, a Hungarian water provider. The deal gives Cott subsidiary Eden Springs an entree into the Hungarian market, a news release said. The transaction also includes intellectual property for a carbonation technology patent that will provide customers with carbonated water through water filtration dispensers and bottled water coolers. Eden Springs plans to introduce ClearWater's carbonation technology to other markets. Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal comes as Cott considers a move to become a pure-play water solutions provider.

Former Bloomin’ Brands CEO re-appointed to leadership role at Atlanta Fed

Elizabeth Smith, executive chairman of Bloomin' Brands Inc., was renamed deputy chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta for 2020. Smith will serve a one-year term. She was initially appointed deputy chair a year ago, at the same time Myron Gray, the retired president for U.S. operations for United Parcel Service, was named chair. Smith  stepped down last year as CEO at Bloomin' (Nasdaq: BLMN), the Tampa-based casual dining company whose brands include Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is one of 12 Federal Reserve Banks and serves the Sixth Federal Reserve District, which encompasses Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and sections of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Tampa private equity firm buys Austin healthcare consultant

Osceola Capital, private equity firm in Tampa,  has acquired Healthcents Inc., an Austin, Texas-based healthcare consulting company. Financial terms were not disclosed in a news release announcing the deal. Healthcents also has a new CEO, Armando Cardoso, who previously led a national team at Ascension, one of the largest health systems in the country. Healthcents represents the fifth platform within the current fund at Osceola Capital, which invests in lower middle-market services companies. Acorn Street Capital provided senior debt financing for the Healthcents deal, and DLA Piper acted as legal counsel to Osceola Capital.

Dynasty Financial Partners sells minority stake to Envestnet

Envestnet (NYSE: ENV), a Chicago company that provides technology for wealth managers, has taken a minority stake in Dynasty Financial Partners, a St. Petersburg firm that provides wealth management and technology platforms for independent financial advisory firms. A spokeswoman for Dynasty confirmed that it’s the first outside investment in the company, which moved its headquarters to St. Petersburg last year. The size of the stake was not disclosed. The two companies announced the investment in a news release. They also said they would launch the Advisor Services Exchange later this year. The Exchange will provide Envestnet clients with the ability to leverage value-added services currently available to Dynasty network firms, such as access to growth capital, business management tools, marketing services and outsourced CFO services.

Jabil issues $500 million in notes to refinance debt

Jabil is issuing $500 million in senior notes, a debt security that takes precedence over other types of debt. The new notes won’t come due until 2030. Jabil (NYSE: JBL), a manufacturing solutions business and the largest company headquartered in St. Petersburg, said in a news release it would use the proceeds to repay term loan debt. Moody’s Investor Service assigned an investment grade Baa3 rating to the new notes and said the move is a credit positive if Jabil pays off terms loans due in 2020 or 2022. Moody’s also assigned a stable outlook to the new notes, reflecting the credit agency’s expectation that revenue at Jabil will grow in the low single digit percentage range and that operating margins and free cash flow will remain steady. S&P Global Ratings rated the new notes BBB-, also an investment grade rating.

Cott considers getting out of the coffee business

Cott Corp. said it is evaluating strategic alternatives for S&D Coffee and Tea, including a potential sale of the business unit. S&D is Cott's coffee, tea and extract solutions segment. A sale would transition Tampa-based Cott (NYSE: COT) into a pure-play water solutions provider, a news release said. Cott said it has hired a financial advisor as part of its strategic planning process but there's no assurance that any particular alternative will be pursued. It would be another major transition for Cott, which sold its carbonated soft drinks and juice businesses in 2018.

PSTA fights human trafficking

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is training its drivers to recognize passengers who may be victims of human trafficking. Florida ranks third in the United States in human trafficking cases, and many abusers use public transportation to move their victims, PSTA said in a news release. The PSTA program, a partnership with the Department of Transportation, Truckers Against Human Trafficking, and the Department of Homeland Security, trains bus operators what to do when faced with an emergency. Since the program began in May, 78 staff members have been trained, the news release said.

USFSP researcher gets grant to address HIV stigma

A $70,000 grant for a post-doctoral fellow at University of South Florida St. Petersburg will be used to target the multiple stigmas surrounding HIV in Tampa Bay. The goal is to increase health screenings and diminish the spread of the disease. The grant went to Kemesha Gabbidon, a post-doctoral fellow at USFSP, who will  use it to implement a community program that works with individuals and communities most affected by the epidemic. This program seeks to generate greater awareness about the disease and its treatments, reduce the negative stigma around those who have it and improve the overall health and well-being of populations, a news release said. Florida ranks third in the nation for the number of new HIV cases.

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