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Tampa’s Jaco Display sells to Georgia firm

Video Display Corp. (OTC: VIDE) acquired the assets and business operations of Jaco Display Solutions LLC. Jaco, based in Tampa, provides LCD displays and similar products. The purchase price was not disclosed. Jaco will be integrated with he operations of Video Display Corp. of Cocoa, Florida for financial reporting purposes, with the intent of also consolidating manufacturing at a future unspecified date for economies of scale, a news release said.  Video Display Corp. (OTC: VIDE), based in Tucker, Georgia, supplies medical, defense and industrial display solutions.

First Citrus doubles business banking staff

First Citrus Bancorporation (OTC: FCIT), the parent company of First Citrus Bank, posted net income of $3.96 million, or $1.95 a share, for 2019. Net earnings grew 2 percent and earnings per share grew 1 percent compared to 2018, the bank said in a news release. Total assets were up 4 percent year-over-year to $419 million, loans grew 6 percent to $332 million and deposits increased 7 percent to $348 million, the news release said. “In 2019, we doubled our business banking corps, opened a new office in downtown St. Petersburg, and continued to expand our branch banking team. We will build on that momentum in 2020,” John Barrett, president and CEO of First Citrus Bank, said in the release.

WellCare general counsel leaves Tampa for Eli Lilly

Anat Hakim, general counsel at WellCare Health Plans Inc., was named senior vice president and general council for Eli Lilly & Co., an Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical company, effective Feb. 3. Hakim's move was announced Friday, one day after WellCare, a Tampa-based managed healthcare company, was acquired by Centene Corp. for $17.3 billion. Hakim was recently recognized as General Counsel of the Year in 2019 by Corporate Counsel, a news release from Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY) said. "Lilly's focus on innovation, its promising pipeline of new medicines, and its desire to make medicines more affordable for patients make it the ideal place for me," Hakim said in the release.

Cott continues its buying spree

Cott Corp. (NYSE: COT) in Tampa has bought substantially all of the assets of Roaring Spring Water, a water delivery company serving homes and offices in PennsylvaniaMaryland and West Virginia. Financial terms were not disclosed in a news release. The deal comes on the heels of the Jan. 13 announcement that Cott would buy Primo Water Corp., a Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based water company, and change its name to Primo as it transitions to a pure-play water solutions provider. 

CenterState Bank, South State merge in $6 billion deal

CenterState Bank Corp. and South State Corp. announced Monday morning that have agreed to combine in an all-stock deal valued at about $6 billion. CenterState (Nasdaq: CSFL) is one of the largest banks in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. CenterState shareholders will receive 0.3001 shares of South State (Nasdaq: SSB) common stock for each share of CenterState common stock they own, a news release said. CenterState shareholders will own approximately 53 percent and South State shareholders will own about 47 percent of the combined company. The combined company, with $34 billion in assets and $26 billion in deposits, will operate under the South State Bank name and will trade under the South State ticker symbol SSB on the Nasdaq stock market.  The company will be headquartered in Winter Haven, Florida, where CenterState is based.

Lucky’s Market files layoff notice

Fifty workers will lose their jobs when Lucky's Market shuts down its St. Petersburg store. The layoffs could begin as soon as today, the grocery chain said in a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification sent to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The company also gave notice to the City of St. Petersburg government. The largest groups of workers losing their jobs are 13 front-end courtesy team members and 12 front-end cashiers. The layoffs will occur in phases until the store, at 6765 22nd Ave. N. in Tyrone Square, closes permanently, the WARN said. Operations will cease no sooner than March 24 and no later than April 7. "We regret the economic circumstances that have required us to make this painful decision. We will work with you, the employees and the appropriate government agencies to minimize the economic disruption," the WARN said. 

Tampa-St. Pete unemployment continues to drop

The unemployment rate in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area in December was 2.6 percent, down 0.6 percentage point from a year ago. The metro area added 30,700 new private-sector jobs in the last year, creating the second-highest number of jobs among all Florida metro areas, a news release from Gov. Ron DeSantis said. The professional and business services sector had the highest growth, with 7,500 new jobs. Florida’s unemployment rate dropped to 3 percent in December, down 0.1 percentage point from November and down 0.3 percentage point from a year ago. It's the first time  since 1976 Florida recorded an unemployment rate below 3 percent.The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in December. 

Tampa tech firm builds a communications network for drones

Syniverse and AiRXOS are working together to protect the skies by providing a communications infrastructure that manages drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles operating at low altitudes. Critical data, notifications, photos and HD video will be transmitted over the network with protection from cyberattacks, a news release said. The Syniverse network runs completely separate from the public internet, so the information is invisible to hackers, said Mike O’Brien, group vice president at Syniverse, said. The Syniverse and AiRXOS partnership is also part of the Syniverse Innovation Lab, a  demonstration, development and testing center at Syniverse's Tampa headquarters.

Centene closes WellCare deal, commits to strong operations in Tampa

Centene Corp. (NYSE: CNC) has finalized its $17.3 billion acquisition of WellCare Health Plans Inc., a Tampa-based managed healthcare company focused on government-sponsored healthcare programs. With the WellCare deal done, St. Louis-based Centene now serves more than 24 million members across all 50 states, or 1 in 15 individuals across the nation."Centene remains committed and expects to maintain strong operations in Tampa," a statement from the company said. "As of the close of our acquisition, our combined workforce will have 5,400 jobs in the Tampa area. Over the next few years, we will migrate select duplicative corporate roles to other sites. At this time, it is our plan to have Tampa as our headquarters for our Medicare and Pharmacy operations." 

Synapse Summit agenda finalized

Organizers of the Synapse Summit have released the hour-by-hour breakdown of talks, workshops and activities planned for the two-day event next month at Tampa’s Amalie Arena. Agenda highlights include lunchtime keynote presentations by USF President Steve Currall and entrepreneur Jeff Hoffman on Tuesday, Feb. 11; a lunchtime keynote by Spanx founder and CEO Sara Blakely on Wednesday, Feb. 12; and a late afternoon session on Wednesday that features an “intimate discussion” with Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik. The Pitch Madness contest will return. Companies in Tampa Bay Wave, Tampa Bay Innovation Center, USF Connect and the Florida-Israel Business Accelerator will make presentations over the course of the two days. The full agenda is here.

Embarc Collective company acquired

Yaro, a digital health company that is a member of downtown Tampa startup hub Embarc Collective, has been acquired by Virgin Pulse. Financial terms were not disclosed. Virgin Pulse provides enterprise Software-as-a-Service solutions that simplify health and wellbeing. The company is using technology acquired from Yaro for a new benefits navigation solution called Virgin Pulse Navigate. It will  help consumers better understand, find and pay for healthcare services according to their specific needs and preferences, a news release said. “Startup acquisitions are exciting no matter where they happen. It's a signal that the team has built a solution of tremendous value. In the case of Yaro, it only took 18 months for them to get from idea to exit, which demonstrates the strength of the team, the business and the execution,” according to a post on the Embarc Collective website.

TAO Connect adds services

TAO Connect has added training programs in alcohol literacy and sexual education to its online platform. The Alcohol Literacy Challenge and the Dimensions Learning sexual education program are both evidence-based and available to both new and existing TAO customers, a news release said. TAO Connect, based in St. Petersburg, is a digital platform designed to make behavioral therapy more accessible and effective.

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