The Whispers Blog

Arkansas' breaking business news blog, with news and commentary from the Arkansas Business staff.
Send us tips.

Bloomberg: Tyson Nearing Deal To Buy McDonald's Chicken Nugget Supplier

Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale is nearing a deal expected to top $3 billion to acquire Keystone Foods LLC of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Bloomberg reported Friday.

Keystone supplies chicken nuggets to McDonald's Corp. and is owned by Marfrig Global Foods SA of Brazil.

Marfrig announced in May that it had narrowed the bidders for Keystone to five. Citing "two people familiar with the matter," Bloomberg reported that the company wants to gain more than $3 billion from the sale.

Cargill Inc. of Wayzata, Minnesota; Cofco Ltd. of China; an unnamed Japanese company; and George's Inc. of Springdale have also submitted bids for Keystone, according to Bloomberg.

Tyson CEO Tom Hayes told TheStreet in June that the company wasn't done looking for acquisitions.

"We are going to be acquisitive," Hayes said in the interview. "It doesn't mean that it will be another year and a half [until another deal] or this fiscal or calendar year, but it may."

The Keystone deal would likely be the company's biggest since last year's $4.2 billion purchase of AdvancePierre Foods Holdings Inc. of Cincinnati, but it's done other deals in the interim: the $850 million purchase of the poultry rendering and blending assets of American Proteins Inc. of Cumming, Georgia, and its subsidiary, AMPRO Products Inc.; and the purchase of an organic chicken producer, Tecumseh Poultry LLC of Waverly, Nebraska, for an undisclosed price.

Watch Video of the Arkansas Marijuana Commission Meeting Here

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission is scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. today.

The meeting is the commission's first after the state Supreme Court cleared the way last month for the state to launch its medical marijuana program, reversing and dismissing Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen ruling that prevented officials from issuing the first cultivator licenses.

A meeting agenda says the group will discuss "dispensary application scoring."

The meeting will be held in Suite 503 at 1515 W. Seventh St. in Little Rock. But you can also watch the meeting via livestream below, which is scheduled to begin broadcasting at 3:55 p.m. local time.

Update: Members of the commission took the first step toward hiring an independent consultant to review about 230 applications for dispensary licenses.

Video

Reuters: Acxiom Near Deal to Sell Marketing Solutions Unit for $2.2B

UPDATE: Acxiom is selling the unit to Interpublic for $2.3 billion.

On CNBC this morning, Reuters reports that Acxiom Corp. of Conway is nearing a deal to sell its Acxiom Marketing Solutions unit for $2.2 billion to Interpublic Group of Companies Inc. of New York.

The pending deal comes after Thursday's deadline for companies to submit bids for the business. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Interpublic and another advertising giant, Dentsu Inc. of Tokyo, were expected to be among the bidders.

In its report, the Journal, citing sources, said the division could sell for between $1.5 billion and $1.8 billion. During a conference call on fourth-quarter and year-end results in May, Acxiom CFO Warren Jenson said AMS had revenue of about $700 million in fiscal 2018; total company revenue was $917 million. 

The sale would leave Acxiom with its LiveRamp business. Reuters, citing unnamed sources, says the company "will eventually explore a potential sale of its remaining business, though its board may choose to give the Acxiom some time to trade in the public markets before they run a sale process ..."

Reuters says the deal to sell AMS could be announced "as soon as next week."

We've got more on the marketing solutions and LiveRamp businesses here.

Update: Shares of Acxiom (Nasdaq: ACXM) are up about 11 percent on the news.

Here's What Arkansas' Redesigned Driver's Licenses Look Like

The new design will be available at some revenue offices beginning July 9.

The state Department of Finance and Administration today unveiled a newly redesigned Arkansas driver's license and ID card. The state will begin issuing them July 9 at certain revenue offices, with the rest issuing them by Aug. 28.

"The new card features distinctive Arkansas images," the department said in a news release. "These include the gold front doors of the State Capitol along with diamonds. The back of the card features a full image of the State Capitol."

The new card also incorporates new security features, including a "ghost image" in the lower right hand corner.

Existing cards will remain valid of course. But if you want a new one, you can order a duplicate starting July 9 at a revenue office or online at mydmv.arkansas.gov. The cost is $10.

"Over the last three years DFA has prioritized the use of new technology to improve and simplify the services we provide to Arkansans," Director Larry Walther said. "The new license is a great example of this effort. We incorporated new security features that protect citizens from fraud through duplication."

The department says there were 2.15 million active Arkansas driver's licenses, along with more than 353,000 ID cards, in 2017.

Records: Bret Bielema's Fayetteville Home Sells for $1.8M

The listing for 4903 E. Maywood Road, Fayetteville, on Trulia.com.

Former Arkansas Razorbacks football coach Bret Bielema has sold his Fayetteville home, according to Washington County records. 

A warranty deed filed June 1 put the sale of the estate at 4903 E. Maywood Road at $1.82 million. Bielema, ousted as coach at the end of last year, paid $1.5 million for the property in May 2013.

The 5,700-SF home is in the Bridgewater Estates neighborhood. Built in 2011, the home has five garages, two fireplaces, four bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms, a gourmet kitchen, a wet bar, an exercise room, a heated saltwater pool and an outdoor kitchen, according to a listing on the real estate website Trulia.

Public records show it was purchased by Richard and Antoinette Reagan.

Neighbors include Razorbacks basketball coach Mike Anderson and baseball coach Dave Van Horn.

Previously: Northwest Arkansas' most expensive home sales of 2017.