November 23, 2014

Around the State

| 2/1/1997
Fort Myers

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Clear Channel radio will buy three radio stations, two FM stations in Fort Myers and one AM station in Port Charlotte, from Connecticut-based Osborn Communications for approximately $11 million.

St. Petersburg

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Securities broker-dealer Raymond James Financial announced plans to nearly double its headquarters office space in early 1998 with an estimated $27 million, 290,000-square-foot expansion.

Republic Bancshares, the largest independent bank based in Tampa Bay, acquired Orlando-based Firstate Financial F.A. for $5.5 million in cash, subject to regulatory approval. The deal will push Republic's assets close to $1 billion and give it entry into one of the fastest-growing markets in the country.

Hunter Douglas Inc., the North American subsidiary of Hunter Douglas N.V. of the Netherlands, is negotiating to build an 80,000-square-foot blinds and shades factory in Pinellas County. The factory could create 220 mostly semi-skilled jobs.

Sarasota

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Professional Employee Management, one of the nation's largest employee leasing firms, moved its corporate headquarters and 80 corporate jobs from Bradenton to Sarasota. The company expects to hire an additional 50 employees early this year.

Tampa

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IMC Mortgage acquired its Michigan-based limited partner Mortgage America for approximately $26.6 million in stock. The deal will boost IMC's earnings per share by at least 5%, according to the company.

Resort development law practice Ingersoll and Bloch joined Holland & Knight, one of country's largest law firms. The merger gives Holland & Knight increased presence in Orlando, one of the nation's fastest growing markets for resort community law.

Information technology services company Sykes Enterprises agreed to acquire North Carolina-based Info Systems for approximately $23 million in stock.

TECO Energy purchased Tampa-based engineering and energy services company Bosek, Gibson and Associates for an undisclosed amount. The deal will allow TECO to provide energy management services for larger commercial and industrial customers.

Consumers Packaging Inc. of Toronto and Ohio-based Owens-Brockway Glass Container bought Tampa-based Anchor Glass for approximately $393 million. Anchor Glass had been operating since September under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

REAL ESTATE

Ben Hill Griffin III's Alico Inc ..

... is doing some big real estate transactions in southwest Florida. On the heels of a deal to sell 550 acres adjacent to the new Florida Gulf Coast University to a developer for $9.35 million, the agribusiness company announced it had sold 21,700 acres in Hendry County to the South Florida Water Management District for $11.5 million.

The property the water management district bought is in what's called the Okaloacoochee Slough area. The purchase of the relatively pristine wetlands acreage falls under the state's Save Our Rivers program. Bill Malone, director of the Construction and Land Management Dept. for the South Florida Water Management District, says the land is "good panther habitat" that provides drainage and "a lot of benefit to the adjacent lands." Bernie Lester, Alico's executive vice president and CEO, says his company has a policy of trying to sell land it can't develop for agribusiness.

The sale of the 550-acre parcel, which Lester says also met the same criterion, has a somewhat more commercial aspect. Alico, which donated 975 acres to the state for the university, owns some 10,000 acres around the university. Much of the acreage is under lease to mining companies, Lester says, but Lee County has designated about 2,300 acres - called "University Village" - where businesses serving the new university will be concentrated. Alico sold 550 acres to Miromar Development, a real estate company based in Montreal, so it has plenty left to sell. And if Alico gets at least the $17,000 an acre it got from Miromar, its generosity in donating the land for the university will appear shrewd as well as generous.

Tags: Florida Small Business, Politics & Law, Southwest, Business Florida

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