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VOL. 130 | NO. 120 | Monday, June 22, 2015

Daily Digest

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Wright, Tornier Shareholders Approve Merger Proposals

Wright Medical Group Inc.’s planned merger with Tornier N.V. is one step closer to completion.

Memphis-based Wright and Tornier announced Thursday, June 18, that both companies’ shareholders approved all proposals related to the merger. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter, subject to clearance by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Wright, a specialty orthopedics company, and Tornier, a Netherlands-based medical device company that makes and markets joint replacement and soft tissue repair devices, announced plans for the merger last October.

Among Wright shareholders, the proposal to adopt the agreement and approve the merger was approved by shareholders owning 97.7 percent of the shares voted at the meeting and 84.4 percent of the company’s outstanding shares.

Among Tornier shareholders, it was approved by 99.4 percent of the shares voted at the meeting and 80.1 percent of its outstanding shares. The proposals to appoint the combined company’s board of directors and change the company name to Wright Medical Group N.V. were also approved by Tornier’s shareholders.

Tornier is continuing to pursue the divestiture of certain U.S. lower extremity product lines related to the deal. In January, the FTC requested more information on lower-extremity products that accounted for global revenue of about $21 million and U.S. revenue of about $14.9 million in the 12 months ended Sept. 30.

The combined company, if approved, will be based in Wright’s current Memphis headquarters, 1023 Cherry Road.

Robert Palmisano, president and CEO of Wright, said in a statement that the shareholder approval marks an important milestone.

“We are convinced this combination will create the premier, high-growth Extremities-Biologics company with a broad global reach,” the statement reads.

– Daily News staff

Tennessee Unemployment Rate Drops in May

The Tennessee unemployment rate inched in the right direction in May but remained slightly above the national unemployment rate, according to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The Tennessee preliminary unemployment rate for May was 5.8 percent, two-tenths of one percentage point lower than the April revised rate of 6.0 percent, Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced Thursday, May 18. The U.S. preliminary rate for May was 5.5 percent, one-tenth of one percentage point higher than the prior month.

May’s dip in unemployment marked the fourth consecutive monthly decline in the rate. Over the past year, Tennessee’s unemployment rate decreased from 6.5 percent to 5.8 percent while the national rate declined from 6.3 percent to 5.5 percent.

According to the department, 181,100 Tennesseans were unemployed in May, the lowest amount since March 2008.

Over the year, total nonfarm employment increased by 53,800 jobs. The largest increases came in trade/transportation/utilities, leisure/hospitality and professional/business services.

– Amos Maki

Redbirds Begin 11-Game Homestand Tuesday

The Memphis Redbirds return to AutoZone Park on Tuesday, June 23, to open an 11-game homestand.

A variety of special incentives and activities are planned for fans during that stretch.

Hot dogs are just $1 at AutoZone Park for every Tuesday home game, courtesy of King Cotton. Thursdays are college nights and bluff tickets are just $5 with a valid college ID. On Fridays, the block party features $2 domestic drafts.

The Saturday, June 27, game, starting at 6:05 p.m., includes postgame fireworks with music from the 1980s. Sunday, June 28, the game also starts at 6:05 p.m. It is Faith and Family Night and kids can run the bases following the game.

The Friday, July 3, game at 6:05 p.m. also will have special postgame fireworks.

During the 11-game span, the Redbirds will play the Nashville Sounds (Triple-A Athletics), Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Triple-A Brewers), and Oklahoma City Dodgers (Triple-A Dodgers).

Single-game tickets, including the new All-Inclusive Redbird Club and all of the newly-renovated areas at AutoZone Park, are currently on sale. Visit www.memphisredbirds.com for more information.

– Don Wade

Jason Eagle to Lead MIFA’s Advancement Department

Jason Eagle has been appointed vice president of advancement for MIFA. Eagle will oversee the vision and execution of engaging the Memphis community to advance the nonprofit organization’s mission. He will lead a team to increase and enrich public awareness, volunteerism, outreach and stewardship to meet annual and long-term fundraising goals.

Eagle comes to MIFA from the Sacred Heart League, where he served as manager of the department of gift planning.

His previous experience includes fundraising positions at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. An attorney, he also has held positions in trust administration at Union Planters National Bank, Bank of America and SunTrust Bank.

– Don Wade

Drug Trafficking Indictment Targets Gang Members

One of the leaders of a street gang banned last year from the Legends Park area has violated the “no-gang zone” court order and is now charged with drug trafficking.

Steve Nelson, an alleged leader of the Dixie Homes Murda Gang, directed the gang’s drug dealing activities from the Shelby County Jail. When he wasn’t in jail, he was arrested twice in the Legends Park area for violating the court order that bans gang activity as well as gang members from congregating in the area.

That’s just part of the case against Nelson and other purported gang members alleged in a drug trafficking indictment made public last week by Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich.

It’s a follow-up to the October declaration of a no-gang zone in the area bounded by Interstate 240 on the east, Jackson Avenue on the north, Danny Thomas Boulevard on the west and Poplar Avenue to the south. The area includes the Legends Park development, which was once the site of the Dixie Homes public housing development.

The court order was one result of an investigation by the Multi-Agency Gang Unit that began in February 2014. But the investigation continued even after the no-gang zone declaration the following October.

The indictments made public Thursday, June 18, charge Nelson as well as David Freeman, James Hall and Anthony Jackson with drug trafficking. Prosecutors also identified Jackson, Freeman and Hall as gang members or leaders.

The four are accused of conspiracy to distribute drugs, 13 pounds of marijuana, within 1,000 feet of Carnes Elementary School, which is inside the no-gang zone.

The area is one of four in Memphis where a court order specifically bans gang members from congregating and being on the street except to go to work or to worship. Gang members are named in the court orders and served with them. The orders also apply in general to unnamed gang members.

– Bill Dries

UTHSC Gets Independent University Accreditation

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges board of trustees has approved the accreditation of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center as a separate university, according to an announcement from the school.

UTHSC is now independent from the conglomerate that had previously included UTHSC and still consists of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, the University of Tennessee Space Institute and the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service. As an independent university, UTHSC will be required to complete its first reaccreditation compliance certification in five years, after which the university’s accreditation will be evaluated and reaffirmed every 10 years.

The university has been working toward independent accreditation as a standalone university for several years. The SACSCOC leadership determined that UTHSC should be accredited separately within the UT system after examining “its governance structure, resources available, annual budget, geographic location, and relative autonomy from UTK.”

– Andy Meek

PROPERTY SALES 23 23 1,365
MORTGAGES 21 21 1,068
BUILDING PERMITS 117 117 3,173