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Antitrust questions force LP, Ainsworth to extend deal deadline

The leaders of Louisiana-Pacific and Ainsworth Lumber have agreed to extend to June 2 today's deadline to obtain regulatory approval of their planned $1.1 billion combination. The companies say their extension is the result of "continued discussions" with the Canadian Competition Bureau and the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Either company can add another 45 days to the deal's timeline if needed.

Shares of LP (Ticker: LPX) are down about 1 percent this afternoon to $15.25. Investors appear to be expecting not-so-good news about the Ainsworth acquisition and have pushed the stock down nearly 20 percent since the beginning of March.

Apr 18, 2014 1:35 PM

Employment litigation reforms on their way to Haslam

Amid their late-session surge in activity, state lawmakers this week passed a bill reforming several aspects of workplace-related litigation. Among other things, the changes cap compensatory damages that can be awarded — aligning state statutes with their federal counterparts — and streamlines the path for whistleblower claims. Baker Donelson attorneys Ben Bodzy and Larry Eastwood, who drafted most of the legislation, have a summary here.

Under the new legislation, an employee may only proceed under the statutory claim, which requires the employee to prove that the alleged whistleblowing was the "sole cause" of the termination.  This effectuates the legislature's "sole cause" standard already incorporated into the TPPA, and it prevents employees from invoking the common law's lower causation standard.  The effect of this legislation will be to facilitate the defense of questionable whistleblower claims.

SEE ALSO: The bill summary from The General Assembly's website

Apr 18, 2014 12:27 PM

Chem-Dry inks India deal

Chem-Dry executives have signed a master franchise agreement with an Indian entrepreneur based in the southeastern city of Chennai as it looks to gain a foothold in the world's second-most populous country. The company also is working to hook up with regional franchisees across the country.

Apr 18, 2014 11:11 AM

Five area Michaels stores affected by data breach

Arts and crafts retailer Michaels said Thursday that about 3 million customer credit cards have been affected by breaches of some of its payment processing systems that started last May. To see the five Nashville-area stores affected, go to page 37 of this document.

Apr 18, 2014 9:57 AM

Noranda to get summer answer on push to cut Missouri power costs

Noranda Aluminum's request to lower the electricity prices it pays at its massive Southeast Missouri plant will "move forward on an expedited schedule," writes American Metal Market. The Missouri Public Service Commission will start its hearing June 23 and is expected to issue a ruling by the end of July.

SEE ALSO: Noranda looks to lower Missouri electric rates

Apr 18, 2014 8:42 AM

Cincy steakhouse owner plans Nashville spot

Cincinnati-based restaurant entrepreneur Jeff Ruby is scouting the central Nashville area for a spot to open a high-end steakhouse. Matt Rogers at Eater Nashville has plenty more info here, including the three neighborhoods being considered. No big prizes for guessing what they are...

Apr 18, 2014 7:12 AM

Ex-Louisiana-Pacific accountant named MP&F controller

McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations has named Chad Raphael its controller.

Raphael (pictured) is a former corporate accountant for Louisiana-Pacific Corp. From 2007 to 2013, he worked as a budget analyst and administrative officer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Before that, Raphael was a staff accountant with Nashville public accounting firm Faulkner, Mackie & Cochran.

“Chad is a hardworking, conscientious problem-solver,” MP&F senior partner Mark McNeely said in a release. “He offers a wealth of corporate financial experience, and we are proud to have him on our team.”

Raphael, a New Orleans native, graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in communications. He earned a Master of Accountancy degree from Belmont University in 2006.

Apr 18, 2014 7:00 AM

$60M apartment project eyed for Franklin

A Houston-based company is hoping to develop a $60 million 406-unit apartment complex on six acres in Franklin, The Tennessean reports.

Meeks + Partners has the Nichol Mill Lane site under contract, according to the morning daily. The four-story building would include a 674-space parking deck and units renting in a range from about $900 to $2,500 a month, the paper reports.

City of Franklin approval will be needed.

Of note, Meeks + Partners owns Rutledge Hill property that has been linked to a proposed project called City Lights. The company, led by Don Meeks (pictured), was the architect for The Manning luxury condo mid-rise, which was planned for Woodmont Boulevard in the mid-2000s but failed to materialize.

Meeks + Partners also was to have served as the architect for what is now 909 Flats, which Lincoln Property Co. and MetLife Inc. are co-developing on a Hope Gardens site fronting Rosa Parks Boulevard in North Nashville. Niles Bolton Associates replaced Meeks as the architect for the project.

Apr 18, 2014 6:43 AM

State unemployment rate drops to 6.7%

Tennessee’s preliminary unemployment rate for March was 6.7 percent, a drop from the 6.9 percent February revised rate, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced today.

In comparison, the national unemployment rate for March also was 6.7 percent, which remained unchanged from its February mark.

During the past 12 months, Tennessee's unemployment figure decreased to 6.7 percent from 8.3 percent, while the national rate declined to 6.7 percent from 7.5 percent.

The number of unemployed persons (203,800) in March in the state is the lowest mark since the July 2008 figure and is 5,900 lower than the firgure from February.

Apr 17, 2014 2:41 PM

Invest Tennessee conference to return in September

The team at Mozaic Investor Relations is bringing back to Nashville its biennial Invest Tennessee Equity Conference on Sept. 18. The day-long event will take place at the Music City Center and will include both formal presentations and opportunities for one-on-one meetings between company leaders and investors of all stripes. Already scheduled to take part are executives from Tractor Supply and FedEx. Click here to find out more about the conference.

Apr 17, 2014 1:46 PM