Arkansas Business: Week in review

    4:55 AM, Sep 7, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- It's been another busy week in the Natural State. Lance Turner has your Arkansas Business Week in Review.

    It was a week in which Acxiom Corp. of Little Rock shed light on the type of data it collects on American consumers. On Wednesday, the publicly traded data mining company launched AboutTheData dot com, which allows people to see what kinds of information Acxiom has collected on them.

    Acxiom makes its money by compiling reams of demographic, economic and household data on everyday consumers, then providing that information to businesses that want to market to those consumers. The company, and others like it, have been under increasing scrutiny from the Congress about its practices.

    In addition to showing people what information Acxiom has collected about them, AboutTheData gives users the chance to correct inaccurate data or opt out of Acxiom's marketing efforts entirely.

    Also this week,more progress in a pair of high-profile banking deals.

    First, on Tuesday, Home BancShares Inc. of Conway and Liberty Bancshares Inc. of Jonesboro received approval for their planned $280 million merger from Federal Reserve Board and the Arkansas State Bank Board.

    The companies said their respective shareholders will vote on the deal at separate shareholders meetings on Oct. 23. The deal is set to create the second-largest bank company headquartered in Arkansas. Arvest of Bentonville will remain the biggest in the state.

    And on Thursday, two bidders emerged in an auction to buy Metropolitan National Bank of Little Rock.

    Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff said it submitted a $16.9 million bid to acquire the under capitalized bank; that, according to an SEC document filed Wednesday. And Arvest Bank of Fayetteville, the state's largest bank, also said it would make a bid.

    Metropolitan is being offered for sale through the bankruptcy of its holding company, Rogers Bancshares Inc.

    A Dallas investment fund, Ford Financial, has already submitted its own bid and will have the right to match Simmons' or any other bidder's proposal to buy the bank. It's unclear if any other companies have submitted bids. The historic auction for the bank, the first of its kind in Arkansas banking history, takes place Sept. 9.

    And speaking of making history,  this week was also marked the first day of trading for Arkansas' newest public company.
    Murphy USA Inc. of El Dorado, a spinoff of Murphy Oil Corp., also of El Dorado, ending its first trading day on Monday up about 1.5 percent.

    Murphy USA, which operates a chain of gas stations, mainly near Wal-Mart stores across the country, now trading under M-U-S-A symbol on the New York Stock Exchange. The original Murphy Oil Corp. spun off the gas station unit in an effort to unlock more value to its shareholders. Both Murphy USA and the Murphy Oil will continue to be headquartered out of the same offices in El Dorado.

    The Doyle Rogers Co. and Moses Tucker Real Estate on Thursday marking the opening of their $22 million Mann on Main Building project downtown.

    And finally, another milestone for Main Street Little Rock redevelopment. The project includes the Mann Building, a 90-thousand-square-foot office building at the corner of 4th and Main; the Mann Lofts, a 30-thousand-square-foot multi-family residential complex; even restaurant space on the ground floor: Bruno's Little Italy plans to open there before the end of the month.

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