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VOL. 125 | NO. 154 | Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Daily Digest

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Mississippi LLC Buys Acreage West of Hwy. 61

Ensley Bottoms Farm LLC has bought seven parcels west of the intersection of Highway 61 from Belz Investco GP for $6.1 million. The purchase was financed with a $4.5 million loan through First Tennessee Bank NA.

The property includes seven parcels near the Tennessee/Mississippi state line, according to the sales deed.

Those parcels include four in Tennessee only, one in Mississippi only, one that spans Mississippi and Tennessee, and one that spans Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas. The trust deed is a little more specific, saying the purchase includes about 10,000 acres.

The buying entity is a Mississippi limited liability company. It shares an address with Kalb Equipment on Old Summer Road. A representative of Kalb Equipment declined comment; Belz Investco reps did not return a phone by press time.

Belz Investco is an affiliate of Belz Enterprises Inc. , a longtime Memphis commercial, office and industrial development company

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Kate Simone

Leonard’s BBQ Closes After Eight Years Downtown

A sign posted to the door of Leonard’s BBQ on the ground floor of the Claridge House building announces the end of an eight-year run for the Downtown Memphis eatery.

“Leonard’s Barbecue Downtown will be closed Monday, 9 August, and will not reopen,” it reads. “Thanks for your past support.”

Underneath that announcement is a simple reminder of the restaurant’s history at the location: “6 December, 2002 to 6 August, 2010.”

Restaurateur Bill Shanle said the buffet-style barbecue eatery adorned inside with photos of Memphis history saw business recently drop off considerably.

The recession took its toll, despite the restaurant’s key location – south of City Hall, fronting an often busy stretch of Main Street and a stone’s throw away from the office of Downtown’s Center City Commission.

“The volume dropped, and I just didn’t make it,” Shanle said, adding that he’s going to be looking for another job soon.

Andy Meek

SurgiVision Lowers IPO Price Offering to $5 a Share

Memphis-based SurgiVision Inc. has changed the terms of its initial public offering.

The company, which has received regulatory approval to sell medical imaging technology that allows physicians to perform minimally invasive procedures on the brain in an MRI suite, lowered its offer to $5 a share.

The company now plans to offer 4,226,250 shares on the NASDAQ, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Surgivision originally expected to offer the stock at $13 to $15 a share, but withdrew that offer and rescheduled its IPO.

The stock symbol for Surgivision is SRGV.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration grated 510(k) clearance on June 16 for the ClearPoint system. SurgiVision is also developing two other medical imaging devices for surgical procedures.

Tom Wilemon

Ford & Harrison’s Britt Elected Fellow of Lawyers Group

Louis Britt III, a partner in the Memphis office of Ford & Harrison LLP, has been elected a Fellow of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

The fifteenth installation of Fellows will be held Nov. 6 in Chicago.

Britt concentrates his practice on employment litigation and advice and represents private and public employers in a variety of employment matters. Among them, he handles employment discrimination and harassment cases, wage/hour matters, employment-related torts, and more.

– Andy Meek

20 Glankler Brown Attorneys in Best Lawyers in America ‘11

Twenty attorneys from Glankler Brown PLLC have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2011.

They are Louis F. Allen, James F. Arthur III, Stewart G. Austin Jr., Saul C. Belz, John David Blaylock, William L. Bomar, R. Grattan Brown Jr., Oscar C. Carr III, Lee J. Chase III, B. Douglas Earthman, Lynn A. Gardner, Charles W. Hill, John I. Houseal Jr., R. Hunter Humphreys, Robert L. Hutton, William T. Mays Jr., George J. Nassar Jr., J. William Pierce Jr., Douglas P. Quay, and Randall B. Womack.

Lawyers are selected for inclusion in “Best Lawyers” based on a peer-review survey. The current edition is based on 3.1 million confidential evaluations. Glankler Brown is a full-service firm with more than 50 attorneys.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Analyst Downgrades Medtronic Stock to ‘Neutral’

A J.P. Morgan analyst has downgraded Medtronic’s stock, predicting a difficult outlook for earnings growth.

Analyst Michael Weinstein lowered the company’s rating from “Overweight” to “Neutral” on challenges to the company’s spine franchise, its second-largest business.

Medtronic’s Spinal and Biologics Business is based in Memphis.

Minneapolis-based Medtronic is the world’s largest medical device maker, specializing in heart-pacing implants and spinal repair devices. The company is due to report its fiscal first-quarter earnings on Aug. 24.

Weinstein expects the company to report earnings below Wall Street estimates, based on a summer downturn in hospital visits and medical treatment.

Looking ahead, Weinstein predicts headwinds for the company’s spinal business, which had $3.5 billion in sales this fiscal year. Weinstein expects those sales to be squeezed by tighter hospital budgets and increasing physician skepticism about the benefits of spinal surgery.

Medtronic’s Kyphon unit will also face new competition from Johnson & Johnson, Stryker and Carefusion. Kyphon, acquired by Medtronic for $3.9 billion in 2007, specializes in devices to repair fractured spinal vertebrae.

Weinstein expects flat growth for Medtronic’s spinal business in fiscal 2011, compared with company guidance for growth between 4 and 7 percent. Overall, Weinstein predicts Medtronic earnings growth of 4 percent next fiscal year, compared with company guidance between 5 and 8 percent.

“While the stock’s valuation is attractive, we see relative multiple expansion as unlikely,” Weinstein said.

– The Associated Press

Scripps Announces Earnings, Loss in Newspaper Division

The E.W. Scripps Co. reported operating results for the second quarter of 2010 that showed a continuing trend of significantly improved year-over-year revenue performance in the television division – up 22 percent from last year – and moderating year-over-year declines in newspaper revenue.

Scripps owns the Commercial Appeal in Memphis and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

On April 27, Scripps announced that it had signed an agreement to sell its character licensing business, United Media Licensing, to Iconix Brand Group for $175 million in cash. The sale closed on June 3. Operating results and the after-tax gain on the sale of the licensing business now are reported as discontinued.

Income from continuing operations in the second quarter of 2010, net of tax, was $1.8 million, or 3 cents per share, compared with net income from continuing operations in the year-ago quarter of $2.3 million, or 4 cents per share.

Including the results of discontinued operations and the gain on the sale of the licensing business, Scripps reported net income of $99.5 million, or $1.56 per share, compared with $2.3 million, or 4 cents per share, in the second quarter of 2009.

Revenue from the national broadcast networks was less than a quarter of a million dollars, compared with $1.9 million in the second quarter of 2009.

Year-over-year revenue from Scripps newspapers fell 4.0 percent to $108 million. Advertising revenue was down 7.7 percent to $73.3 million. The figures reflect an improvement in the rate of decline from the first quarter of 2010, when total revenues declined 7.6 percent and ad revenues were down 12 percent.

– The Associated Press

MAAR’s Commercial Council Election Set for Thursday

The Memphis Area Association of Realtors’ Commercial Council will meet Thursday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at The Tower Room (33rd floor of the Clark Tower) to elect its 2011 board members.

The event is free and open to all commercial council members.

Eric Smith

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 57 280 1,209
MORTGAGES 55 244 916
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 8 52 151
BUILDING PERMITS 158 699 2,751
BANKRUPTCIES 37 157 618
BUSINESS LICENSES 12 77 276
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0