December 12, 2019

Wednesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 11/13/2019

Private equity giant to buy Tech Data for $5.4 billion

Clearwater-based Tech Data announced Wednesday morning that it has agreed to sell itself to funds controlled by Apollo Global Management of New York for $5.4 billion. Tech Data is No. 88 on the Fortune 500 list of largest publicly traded companies and has more than 14,000 employees worldwide, 2,000 of them at its headquarters near St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport. More from the Tampa Bay Times and Reuters.

Florida Trend Exclusive
11 Florida women in leadership roles

Yesterday we featured a profile of AutoNation CEO Cheryl Miller. Today, 11 more profiles of women leaders in Florida, including Kathryn Marinello at Hertz, Kay Stephenson at DataMaxx, and Michéle Alexandre at Stetson University's College of Law. [Source: Florida Trend]

Florida sales tax 'holiday' measures start rolling in Senate

Tax breaks on hurricane and back-to-school supplies, expected to be in the mix for any tax package lawmakers cook up during the 2020 legislative session, drew initial support Tuesday in the Florida Senate. The Commerce and Tourism Committee unanimously backed separate measures that would offer a 10-day sales tax “holiday” on school supplies (SB 542) and an 18-day “disaster preparedness” holiday for items ranging from battery packages and weather-band radios to impact-resistant windows and food storage coolers (SB 524). [Source: Pensacola News Journal]

Brightline will be called Virgin Trains USA. So when will you see the new name on trains?

They may be married, but it’s taking the Brightline high-speed rail line longer than advertised to fully convert its brand name to Virgin Trains USA. Last April, Virgin Group founder and billionaire Sir Richard Branson and Goddard rechristened the line’s downtown Miami station as Virgin MiamiCentral. A year ago in November 2018, the company announced it would rename itself Virgin Trains USA and transition to the new branding on its trains, stations, website and signage in 2019. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Related Florida Trend Content
» Brightline Passenger Train: Floridian of the Year

Tupperware CEO Tricia Stitzel resigns; Christopher O’Leary named interim CEO

Tupperware Brands Chairman and CEO Tricia Stitzel has stepped down after less than two years at the helm, the Kissimmee-based company said Tuesday. The company’s stock has fallen nearly 73% since the start of 2019. An Oct. 30 earnings report showed that third-quarter sales at $418.1 million were down 14% versus last year and local currency sales were down 11%. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Tampa insurance firm defies Wall Street's struggles with $229 million IPO
Tampa insurance holding company Baldwin Risk Partners started the year with a big win — acquiring one of the most established and respected insurance firms in Florida, Lykes Insurance, in March. Founded in 1925, Lykes handles some $125 million a year in premiums. With 2019 winding down, Baldwin Risk Partners, now BRP Group, recently scored another large victory: It completed an initial public offering and raised $229.6 million when it debuted on the Nasdaq on Oct. 24.

› L3Harris launches company-wide volunteer initiative, continuing legacy of giving
One of Brevard County's largest employers — Melbourne-based L3Harris Technologies Inc. — this week launched a new company-wide volunteer initiative. L3Harris Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Brown said the "L3Harris Investing For Tomorrow" initiative — also known as LIFT — integrates volunteer initiatives from the former Harris Corp. and L3 Technologies. Those companies completed their merger on June 29.

› DPI to build new dispensing technology in Frostproof
A Lakeland company is shooting for the stars, hoping that a new, more sanitary dispensing technology it developed will lead to more than $100 million of annual sales in a decade, a 50-fold increase in its current performance. Dispenser Packaging Inc. will manufacture the new technology beginning in January from the shuttered 12,000-square-foot Ben Hill Griffin Inc. citrus packinghouse in Frostproof.

› Report ranks Gainesville as highest municipal utility rates in Florida
Gainesville ranked highest in municipal utility rates in Florida according to a recent report by the Florida Municipal Electric Association. In the September 2019 report FMEA compiled the residential utility rates from across the state which ranked Gainesville the highest for any municipality at approximately $154 per 1200 kilowatt hours.

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