Briefcase – September 2019

BRIEFS

The former owners of Lake Loveland Dermatology argued they had no fiduciary obligations when they sold the practice at the center of an ongoing series of bankruptcy cases. Skin PC and its owner, Kevin Mott, bought Lake Loveland Dermatology in 2016 and filed for bankruptcy in March. Mott has previously accused former owner Patrick Lillis and his wife, Tracy Amick, of inflating the practice’s value and using Lake Loveland Dermatology revenues to pay themselves instead of other vendors while Lillis and Amick worked there.

The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority partnered with the ROC USA Capital and Impact Development Fund to turn ownership of a mobile-home park in Longmont over to the residents of the park. The Longmont Mobile Home Community park was converted to a resident-owned cooperative, which eliminates the risk of displacement that occurs when the land under mobile-home parks changes hands on the free market.

A citizen group called The Larimer Alliance for Health Safety and Environment formed to have a voice in the creation of local rules regulating the oil and gas industry. The organization formed because its members felt that the appointed membership of a county advisory board tipped too far toward the industry and was not balanced.

Miragen Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: MGEN) will lay off 26 employees as part of a restructuring plan. The Boulder-based chemotherapy company announced those layoffs in its quarterly filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company said it will now focus on its blood cancer and fibrosis therapies and reduce investment in producing new drug candidates. The company also reported that French pharmaceutical company Servier is ending its joint research agreement with Miragen on an RNA-targeting therapy for heart disease. That deal, which was inked in 2011, will officially close next February, and Miragen is expected to pay the transition costs. It’s unclear in what departments those laid off employees work or how much the company plans to save from the restructuring.

Sandoz Inc. will lay off 37 more employees as the Novartis-affiliated pharmaceutical company winds down operations at its Broomfield manufacturing plant. The latest employee separations — part of a rolling series of layoffs in advance of the facility closure that will result in the loss of about 450 jobs — are expected to occur between October and December, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice submitted to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. These upcoming layoffs will affect employees in a variety of job types, including analysts, associate directors, chemists, production managers and scientists.

A Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District grant program begun last year is funding 12 projects that will bring additional water-efficient landscapes to the region and also create new educational opportunities for the public. About $130,000 was awarded this spring through Northern Water’s Collaborative Water-Efficient Landscape Grant Program. The projects consist of irrigation-system upgrades, incorporating Colorado climate-friendly plants into the landscapes, and turf-to-native-grass conversions. Northern Water also will provide signage and other materials at the sites in an effort to help educate the public. Recipients are Champion Greens Homeowners Association and Prospect Homeowners Association in Longmont; Oakridge Village VII Homeowners Association in Fort Collins; Mariana Cove Homeowners Association, Kendall Brook Master Homeowners Association, Seven Lakes Master Association and Fairway Ridge Homeowners Association in Loveland; CSU Extension in Larimer County; the city of Boulder and the towns of Berthoud, Eaton and Windsor.

CLOSING

Brewmented Homebrew Supplies in Longmont, which included a brewery and taproom, closed in late August.

Florio’s Shoes, opened by Lee Florio in 1922, will close its downtown Greeley store at 820 Ninth St. by the end of the year. Mark and Brian Florio, the store’s current owners and Leo Florio’s great-nephews, will retire when the store closes.

Dungeons & Drafts closed permanently despite an outpouring of support of fans. The gaming-themed bar was seized by state revenue officials last month after accruing more than $50,000 in taxes. A GoFundMe effort brought in more than $35,000, but the bar’s owners said on their Facebook page that they will not try to reopen the bar.

CONTRACTS

Maxar Technologies (NYSE:MAXR) (TSX:MAXR) was awarded a $44 million, four-year contract from the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to provide on-demand access to satellite imagery. The contract supports the NGA’s Global Enhanced GEOINT Delivery program. The contract starts this month and can be renewed for an additional four years in 2023.

Broomfield-based SCL Health Inc. signed an agreement with health insurer Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) to provide in-network coverage for its locations in Brighton and nearby cities. The deal includes the 98-bed Platte Valley Medical Center in Brighton and Platte Valley Medical Group clinics in Fort Lupton and Commerce City. The pact was effective June 30.

Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Louisville-based space division is partnering with Centennial’s United Launch Alliance LLC to provide launch vehicles for the NASA Dream Chaser spacecraft’s six upcoming missions to the International Space Station. Owned and operated by SNC, the Dream Chaser spacecraft is a reusable, multi-mission space utility vehicle. Its mission involves delivery of more than 12,000 pounds of cargo to the space station. It will return carrying space trash and scientific data. Dream Chaser will launch aboard ULA’s Vulcan Centaur rocket system.

Universal Hemp LLC agreed to a licensing deal with Canadian drug company Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (OTCQX: LXRP) (CSE: LXX) for its water-soluble drug-delivery system. The companies agreed to a five-year deal for Lexaria’s technology, which allows CBD and other drugs to enter the bloodstream more effectively when eaten. Universal Hemp will pay at least $3.75 million over the life of the deal, but that number could increase over time. Boulder-based Universal Hemp produces bulk hemp byproducts for food and nutraceutical companies.

Advanced Space Inc. of Boulder and Colorado Power Electronics Inc. of Fort Collins are among companies recently selected by NASA to partner with the agency on projects to advance the commercial space sector and support future NASA missions.

Advanced Energy Partners Inc. (Nasdaq: AEIS) is giving the University of Colorado a research grant to improve the power control systems Advanced Energy makes. The partnership, which will focus on new ways to process electricity through thin films and improving existing power processing techniques, is supported by a three-year grant from Advanced Energy. The project is led by Dragan Maksimovic, a CU engineering professor, and John Dorrenbacher, a senior technical staffer at Advanced Energy.

Zoetis Inc., an animal-health company that develops and markets animal medicines, signed an agreement with Colorado State University to establish a research lab at CSU that will explore the livestock immune system and target new immunotherapies. Its goal is to develop new alternatives to antibiotics in food-producing animals. The new 3,000-square-foot Zoetis Incubator Research Lab will operate at the Research Innovation Center on CSU’s Foothills Campus starting in early 2020.

EARNINGS

a2 Milk Co., an Australian milk producer with a U.S. headquarters in Boulder, posted total sales of more than $830 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30. That revenue figure, which is up 41.4 percent compared with the prior year, is a record for a2, which made expanding into the United States market a priority in 2019. Domestic sales for the firm, which specializes in easier-to-digest milk products made with A2 protein, were $23.2 million in 2019, up 160 percent from 2018. a2 recorded earnings of 39 cents per share for the most recent fiscal year.

Advanced Energy Industries Inc. (Nasdaq: AEIS) posted lower revenues in the second quarter of fiscal year 2019 compared with the previous period and the second quarter of 2018. Sales were $134.8 million in the second quarter of 2019, compared with $140.7 million in the first quarter of 2019 and $196 million in the second quarter of 2018. Earnings were $17.2 million or 45 cents per diluted share in the second quarter of 2019, down from $49.4 million or $1.25 per diluted share in the same period last year. The company anticipates sales of about $128 million in the third quarter of this fiscal year.

Ball Corp. (NYSE: BLL), a Broomfield-based metal-packaging manufacturer with a major aerospace division, reported adjusted earnings of $0.64 per share for the second quarter of fiscal year 2019. While those earnings just barely missed Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.65 per share, they were up significantly over the $0.58 per share earnings posted in the same period during the 2018 fiscal year. Ball’s North American beverage packing division’s operating earnings for the second quarter 2019 were $141 million on sales of $1.3 billion compared with $157 million on sales of $1.2 billion in the second quarter 2018.  European beverage packing had earnings of $87 million on sales of $715 million, compared with $75 million on sales of $703 million in the second quarter 2018. South American beverage packing had $65 million in earnings on sales of $377 million, compared with $66 million on sales of $379 million during the same period in 2018. Earnings for Ball’s aerospace division for the second quarter 2019 were $38 million on sales of $379 million, compared with $24 million on sales of $290 million in the second quarter 2018.

Charlotte’s Web Holdings Inc., (OTCMKTS: CWBHF), a Boulder-based CBD product maker, posted higher quarterly revenues. The company recorded revenues of $25 million for the second quarter of fiscal year 2019, up from $17.2 million during the same period of 2018. Despite the revenue increases, Charlotte’s Web’s net income for the most recent quarter was down slightly. The company posted income of $2.2 million in the second quarter, down from $3.7 million last year. Second-quarter operating expenses increased 98 percent year-over-year to $16.2 million to support expansion, including senior management additions to the leadership team.

Clovis Oncology Inc. (Nasdaq: CLVS) lost 15.92 percent of its stock price upon missing analyst earnings targets in its quarterly earnings report. The Boulder-based cancer therapy company posted revenues of $32.98 million, a year-over-year increase of 38.8 percent, driven by sales of its ovarian cancer treatment Rubraca, but missed analyst consensus estimates by $1.94 million. Its loss-per-share figure was $2.27, far greater than analyst estimates of $1.71 per share. The company posted an overall net loss of $120.9 million for the quarter.

Quarterly income for Crocs Inc. (Nasdaq: CROX), the Niwot-based casual footwear maker, was $39.2 million, or 55 cents per share, up from $30.4 million, or 35 cents per share, in the same period last year. Revenues were $358.9 million, up 9.4 percent over the second quarter in 2018. The company now expects full-year revenue growth of 9 to 11 percent over last year’s sales of $1.09 billion. Crocs, which is planning to move its headquarters to Broomfield in 2020, was previously anticipating 5 percent to 7 percent growth.

DMC Global Inc. (Nasdaq: BOOM) posted a record $110 million in consolidated sales during the second quarter of fiscal year 2019. DMC’s 37 percent year-over-year revenue growth was driven by stronger than forecasted sales at both DynaEnergetics, DMC’s oilfield products business, and NobelClad, the company’s composite metals business. Net income totaled $17.2 million, or $1.15 per diluted share for the most recent quarter, up from $6.4 million, or 43 cents per diluted share, in last year’s second quarter.

Encision Inc. (PK: ECIA) is laying off staff in a $1 million cost-cutting plan after the company posted a 19.7 percent drop in sales. The Boulder-based medical device maker had net revenues of $1,929,000 in its most recent quarter compared to $2,404,000 in the same quarter last year, according to its Q1 2020 earnings report. It’s not clear how many employees will lose their jobs. The company did not disclose that figure in its report, but did say the savings will reach more than $1 million annually. The company now has exactly as many assets as it does liabilities and shareholder equity, at $4,345,000 in each category.

Gaia Inc. (Nasdaq: GAIA), a Louisville-based company that streams video with a focus on yoga, added subscribers, boosted revenues and cut its net losses in the second quarter of fiscal year 2019. The company posted a net loss of $4.5 million, or $0.25 per share. During the same period last year, it had losses of $6.4 million, or $0.36 per share. Revenues for the second quarter of this fiscal year were $13.2 million, up from $10 million in the same quarter of 2018.

Heska Corp. (Nasdaq: HSKA), a Loveland-based veterinary diagnostic product maker, posted losses of $0.03 per share on revenues of $28.1 million for the second quarter of fiscal year 2019. That’s down from a profit of $0.26 per share on revenues of $29.7 million during the same quarter last year. Total operating expenses in the second quarter of 2019 were $13 million, compared with $10.9 million in the prior year.

Maxar Technologies Inc. (NYSE: MAXR)(TSX: MAXR) posted a 15.4 percent drop in revenue from last quarter to the second quarter of 2018 on falling space systems and imaging sales. The Westminster-based aerospace company posted a Q2 2019 revenue of $490 million, missing Wall Street estimates by $29.36 million. Its earnings per share figure for the quarter was $2.45, missing analyst estimates by 5 cents. Maxar’s space systems business lost $73 million year-over-year in the second quarter, while its imagery business lost $11 million over the quarters.

Miragen Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: MGEN)  reported $2,514,000 in second-quarter revenue, beating Wall Street estimates by $2.32 million, and lost 29 cents per share, beating analyst estimates of a 37 cent-per-share loss. The company posted a net loss of $8,896,000 for the quarter. It has $48,782,000 in total assets.

After trimming losses in recent quarters, Noodles & Co. (Nasdaq: NDLS) posted positive earnings in the second quarter of fiscal year 2019. The company had a quarterly net income of $438,000, or $0.01 per share, in the most recent period. That’s up from a net loss of $1.9 million in the first quarter of 2019 and up from a loss of $5.9 million in the second quarter of last fiscal year. Total revenue increased 2.4 percent to $120.2 million in the second quarter of 2019 from $117.4 million in the same period last year. Comparable restaurant sales increased 4.6 percent system-wide. As of the end of the quarter, Noodles operated a total of 457 locations, 395 of which are company-owned restaurants and 62 are franchise restaurants.

Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. (Nasdaq: PPC) shares rose just north of 8 percent after quarterly earnings showed that chicken  popularity benefitted from U.S.-Mexico trade tensions. The Greeley-based chicken producer posted $2.84 billion in revenue, $170.1 million in net income and $0.68 in earnings per share. Those beat analyst consensus revenue estimates by $1.43 million by 8 cents per share. Pilgrim’s reported $68 million in earnings before interest and taxes in Mexico during Q2, compared with $10 million last quarter and $62 million in Q2 2018.

Surna Inc. (OTC: SRNA), a manufacturer of environmental-control and air-sanitation systems for indoor cannabis-cultivation, is exploring the possibility of listing its stock on the Nasdaq exchange. It posted a quarterly profit for the first time in company history after facing questions about its cash flow and ability to continue operations as recently as 2017. It generated net income of $140,000 in the second quarter of 2019, up from a loss of more than $1.4 million during the same period last year. Surna’s revenues in the second quarter of this year were a record $4.2 million, surpassing a previous quarterly high of $3.6 million. Surna set an annual revenue target of $20 million to $40 million in order to achieve long-term financial sustainability.

Urban–Gro Inc., a cultivation systems integrator and agricultural-technology firm for commercial cannabis cultivators, posted slightly lower revenues in the second quarter of fiscal year 2019, leading to a higher loss than was recorded during the same period last year. Quarterly revenues were $5.64 million, compared with nearly $5.9 million in the second quarter. Losses in the most recent period that ended June 30 were $1.43 million, or 6 cents per share, up from a loss of just under $500,000, or 2 cents per share in the same quarter last year. While quarterly results are down compared with the second quarter of 2018, revenues are actually up about 23 percent when the first six months of this year are compared to the first six of 2018.

Woodward Inc. (Nasdaq: WWD) beat analyst estimates in its fiscal year third quarter of 2019 as its aerospace sales took flight. The Fort Collins-based designer and manufacturer of aerospace and industrial controller systems reported an earnings per share figure of $1.30, beating the highest analyst estimate of $1.23, and $752 million revenue, beating Wall Street’s consensus estimate by just more than $52 million. The company reported aerospace sales of $499 million for the quarter, compared with $405 million in the same quarter last year, a 23 percent increase, while industrial sales increased 37.5 percent to $253 million for the quarter compared with the same quarter last year.

Zayo Group Holdings Inc. (NYSE: ZAYO) posted sales of $650.6 million last quarter as it continues to close a deal to sell itself to two investment groups. The Boulder-based telecom infrastructure company’s revenue figures in its fiscal-year Q4 grew by 2 percent compared with the previous quarter, according to the earnings report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. However, the most recent earnings are down 1 percent compared with the same quarter last year. Those figures beat analyst estimates by $7.74 million, while the company’s earnings-per-share figure of 26 cents beat expectations by 11 cents.

EVENTS

In its 14th year, First Bite: Boulder County Restaurant Week has a new owner, a nonprofit partnership program, two restaurant tour days featuring First Bite restaurants, and two price levels for its signature nine-day-long restaurant “week.” This year’s First Bite will take place Nov. 8-16. Jessica Benjamin, a local events producer, bought the rights to First Bite in March. First Bite is partnering with boutique food tour operator Local Table Tours to bring people a behind-the-scenes preview of select First Bite participating restaurants. There will be two tours: one late in September in Boulder, and one in early October in Longmont. Benjamin also is launching Two on Tuesday, a fundraiser in which participants will donate $2 or more on Nov. 12 to their choice of five area nonprofits while dining at restaurants that evening. Corporate and private donors will match contributions to the nonprofits.

Thirteen biotechnology companies from Northern Colorado and the Boulder Valley were confirmed to present to investors Sept. 4-5 at the 2019 Rocky Mountain Life Science Investor and Partnering Conference in Vail. They include Boulder-based Accure Acne, Aktivax, Aspero Medical, Biodesix, Brava Diagnostics, MFB Fertility, OnKure Therapeutics, Orbit Genomics, Sinfonia Biotherapeutics and Solo-Dex; Fort Collins-based PhotonPharma; Louisville-based Neuraptive Therapeutics; and Longmont-based KromaTiD.

KUDOS

Four hospitals in Northern Colorado and the Boulder Valley received recognition in the American College of Cardiology’s NCDR Chest Pain MI Registry. Two were platinum-level performers, and two were silver level. Recognized at the platinum level was North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley and UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland. McKee Medical Center in Loveland and Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette received silver-level recognition.

Rex Burns, a professor of American literature at the University of Colorado Boulder, was among 21 authors who have published books in or about Colorado — from pioneers and politicians to educators and entrepreneurs — to be the first inductees into the Colorado Authors’ Hall of Fame on Sept. 14 in Denver.

Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. (Nasdaq: PPC), a Greeley-based poultry production giant, took strides in the last year toward achieving certain sustainability targets in 2020. The company achieved a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emission intensity, compared with the goal of 14 percent; a 13 percent reduction in electricity use intensity, compared with the goal of 12 percent; and an 11 percent reduction in natural gas use intensity, compared with the goal of 14 percent, according to the newly released Pilgrim’s Pride 2018 Sustainability Report. Pilgrim’s Pride reported less success with water use reduction efforts. Rather than moving toward its goal of a 10-percent reduction by 2020, the company reported a water use increase of 13 percent.

Inc. magazine’s rankings of the 5000 fastest-growing companies in the United States includes, 35 from Northern Colorado and the Boulder Valley. Some companies, such as Datavail Corp. of Broomfield, have been on the list for several years — 10 in Datavail’s case. Others, such as Hayden Outdoors LLC, are making their debut appearance.

Two Northern Colorado and Boulder Valley companies made the Channel Futures MSP 501 rankings.  Connecting Point Greeley, trade name for RTH Inc., was named as one of the world’s premier managed service providers. Also listed was Greystone Technology Group Inc., with locations in Boulder and Fort Collins.

The Joint Commission, a national hospital accreditor, named UCHealth Longs Peak Hospital a primary stroke center. The designation is granted to hospitals that go beyond the Commission and the American Stroke Association’s standards for treating stroke victims during the initial attack and in post-care treatment. The Joint Commission previously granted primary stroke center certification to Avista Adventist Hospital in Louisville, Boulder Community Health, UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Longmont United Hospital and UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland within the past two years.

Elevations Credit Union was presented with the Global Women’s Leadership Network’s Athena Leadership Award on July 27. Nancy Herbert, Elevations’ immediate past board chair, accepted the award during the World Credit Union Conference in the Bahamas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked several hospitals in the region as some of the best in Colorado. In its annual listings, the magazine listed UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland as seventh-best in the state, tying with UCHealth Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs. The hospital was cited for its lung surgery and heart procedure programs, along with its abdominal aortic aneurysm procedures. UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins came in 11th place and was cited for its performance with colon cancer surgery and hip and knee replacements. Banner Fort Collins Medical Center and Boulder Community Health did not place in the statewide rankings, but both were rated as high performers in hip replacement procedures. The magazine also gave BCH a high performer ranking in knee replacements.

The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce received multiple awards from industry associations for its work in the region. The chamber’s Bringing Business Home campaign to spotlight businesses in the community won the 2019 Colorado Chamber of Commerce Executives best communications campaign award, and an award for communication excellence from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. The website WorkInNorthernColorado.com won the 2019 dotCOMM platinum award, and Jessica Verderame, the chamber’s development and retention coordinator, was a 40 Under 40 award winner from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS

Nutrition bar maker One Brands LLC, which has administrative offices in Boulder, agreed to be acquired by The Hershey Co. (NYSE:HSY) for $397 million. The deal helps the candy giant expand its “better-for-you brand portfolio,” which currently includes the Oatmega product line.

Denver-based oil companies PDC Energy Inc. (Nasdaq: PDCE) and SRC Energy Inc. (NYSEAMERICAN: SRCI) are merging in a deal estimated at about $1.7 billion. The two companies plan to merge in an all-stock deal, creating a company that controls about 182,000 acres in Weld County, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Monday. The merger would create the second-largest producer of oil and gas in the Denver-Julesberg Basin at approximately 166 million barrels of oil and gas equivalents daily, but would still be dwarfed by Occidental Oil Corp., (NYSE: OXY) which produces 301 million barrels per day, according to Q2 2019 figures from the two companies.

Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. (Nasdaq: PPC) agreed to buy one of the largest pork producers in Britain for $354 million. The Greeley-based chicken producer plans to buy 12 processing plants run by Tulip Limited, a subsidiary of Danish Crown AmbA, in an all-cash deal for £290 million using the 1.22 exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the British pound sterling as of market close.

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge seems poised to approve the sale of “substantially all” of the assets of Gillette, Wyoming-based Cloud Peak Energy Inc., which maintains administrative offices in Broomfield. Cloud Peak Energy Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware in May, listing $928.66 million in assets and debts of $634.99 million. The company filed a proposed order to sell its assets to Farmington, New Mexico-based Navajo Transitional Energy Co. LLC, the winning bidder in an auction conducted Aug. 15-16.

Sphero Inc. purchased New York City-based startup littleBits Electronics Inc. as it continues to shift away from toys and into education. Boulder-based Sphero said the acquisition makes it the largest company in its segment of the education technology industry, with more than 140 patents. Sphero did not disclose the sale price.

Boulder organic hemp and CBD product maker RE Botanicals Inc. joined forces with South Carolina-based Palmetto Harmony Inc. The newly merged company will continue to operate as RE Botanicals, and current CEO John Roulac will remain in that position. Palmetto Harmony’s Janel Ralph will serve as chief operating officer and oversee production operations in South Carolina. No jobs are expected to be shed as a result of the merger. In fact, the combined firm anticipates adding about 20 total positions in Colorado and South Carolina.

Front Range Biosciences Inc., an agricultural biotech company focused on high-value crops such as cannabis, acquired the research and development team of Steep Hill Inc., a California-based cannabis genetics testing and analysis firm.

Renovations Brands LLC, a Boulder-based umbrella company that includes home-improvement product lines such as RTA Cabinet Store, Mantels Direct and Electric Fireplaces Direct, acquired New York-based DecorPlanet Inc., a digital retail platform for home and bathroom products. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Fidelity Investments Inc. increased its stake in Advanced Energy Industries Inc. (Nasdaq: AEIS) to now hold just more than 10 percent of the company.

Stifel Financial Corp. (NYSE: SF), headquartered in St. Louis, will buy George K. Baum & Co., a 91-year old privately held investment banking firm based in Kansas City, Missouri, to create the nation’s largest public finance platform. Both companies have operations in Denver, and Stifel operates a location in Greeley.

Uplight, an energy technology firm formed by the recent merger of Tendril Inc. and Simple Energy Inc., acquired Canadian energy data software-as-a-service firm Ecotagious Inc.

Utility Sales & Service Inc., a Longmont-based utility infrastructure services provider, was acquired by SiteWise LLC, a subsidiary of Arvada-based Peak Utility Services Group.  Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Gannett Inc. (NYSE: GCI), the parent company of the Fort Collins Coloradoan and Windsor Beacon, agreed to be acquired by newspaper competitor New Media Investment Group Inc. (NYSE: NEWM) in a deal that would create by far the largest local news conglomerate in the country. In a joint statement, the companies said they plan to merge the properties owned by Gannett and GateHouse Media, New Media’s newspaper operating division, under Gannett’s USA Today Network brand. If the deal is completed, the combined company would operate 265 daily newspapers and thousands of weeklies across the United States and have a print circulation of 8.7 million. The next largest newspaper company is Media News Group/Digital First, which includes the Denver Post, Boulder Daily Camera, Longmont Times-Call, Loveland Reporter-Herald and other newspapers in Colorado.

Danish alternative power company Danfoss A/S closed its $100 million acquisition of UQM Technologies Inc. (NYSE American: UQM). The Longmont-based electric motor company first announced the deal in January as a strategic move to compete with larger companies producing motors, and give Danfoss a North American plant to operate out of in the electric segment.

Congruex LLC, a Boulder-based telecom construction and engineering service firm, acquired HHS Construction LLC and HHS Communications LLC, California telecom infrastructure services providers known collectively HHS Construction. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Banner Health agreed to pay $328.4 million to buy out Weld County and the North Colorado Medical Center’s holding company’s interests in the Greeley-based hospital.

Peak Media Properties LLC, a subsidiary of New York-based investor Terry O’Toole, took over a group of art and crafts magazines based in Fort Collins formerly held by F+W Media. The new company said it closed the acquisition of more than 20 magazine titles based out of Fort Collins including Interweave, a title founded in Loveland in 1975.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) completed its $11 billion acquisition of Boulder-based oncology company Array BioPharma when approximately 77 percent of Array shares were tendered to Pfizer by the deadline.

A managed affiliate of Denver-based OmniTrax Inc. signed a definitive agreement to pay $105 million to acquire the Winchester & Western Railroad, which operates in Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and West Virginia. The 101-year-old railroad will be purchased from Covia Holdings Corp. (NYSE: CVIA). The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of 2019, pending customary closing conditions, including approval by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board. OmniTrax operates the Great Western Railway of Colorado LLC, which operates throughout Northern Colorado. Its parent owns the Great Western Industrial Park in Windsor.

Zayo Group Holdings Inc. (NYSE: ZAYO) is closer to coming off the public markets after shareholders approved the company selling  itself to private investors for $14.3 billion. Zayo agreed to be acquired by affiliates of Digital Colony Partners and the EQT Infrastructure IV Fund in May, which would take the company off public markets once the deal is closed in the first half of 2020.

Broomfield-based Ball Corp. (NYSE: BLL) will sell off its aerosol packaging facilities in Garin and San Luis, Argentina to Argentinian metal packaging maker Envases del Plata S.A.

MOVES

The CU Center for Midwifery is centralizing its operations into Longmont United Hospital to meet demand for midwife-supported births. The center closed its offices in Firestone and its former location in Longmont and will base itself out of LUH’s The BirthPlace wing.

Boulder-based small-satellite manufacturer Blue Canyon Technologies moved its headquarters from a three-office complex in Boulder to a new 80,132-square-foot flex space in Lafayette.

Exxel Outdoors LLC, a manufacturer of sleeping bags, tents and other outdoor products, will soon relocate its headquarters from Boulder to Broomfield’s Interlocken business park. In order to accommodate a growing workforce, the firm recently bought a 39,000-square-foot building at 1 International Court for $6 million, roughly one-third larger than its current space in Gunbarrel.

Downtown Loveland restaurant staple Mo’ Betta Gumbo, moved Aug. 14 from Fourth Street and Cleveland Avenue to a ground-floor location in The Foundry, about one block away. The popular restaurant has signed the first commercial space lease in the new development.

Quicksilver Scientific Inc. is moving from Lafayette to a 60,000-square-foot building in Louisville’s Colorado Technology Center. The maker of hemp extract and other nutrition products intends to start moving from its current 23,000-square-foot building to 1960 Cherry St. in the CTC later this year and fully move in by next January.

Stateless Inc. moved to a 17,000-square-foot office in Boulder as it prepares to hire up to 80 new employees in the next 18 months. The infrastructure company will hire software engineers, technical support, sales and administrative staff to fill out its new headquarters at 5710 Flatiron Parkway and meet expected future demand. The company currently has 50 employees.

OPENING

Kelly and Eric Hess will open a Camp Bow Wow in Loveland, the latest franchise location for this fast-growing dog day care and boarding company. The business will be located at 1227 Des Moines Ave. in Loveland, previously occupied by Tharp Cabinets.

Fort Collins-based Jax Inc. plans to open its first store in Wyoming in a closed Sears store in Cheyenne’s Frontier Mall. Jax operates seven stores — two each in Fort Collins and Lafayette, and one each in Loveland, Broomfield and Ames, Iowa. Jax operates either Jax Outdoor Gear or Jax Farm & Ranch stores, or sometimes a combination.

DGS Wood Restoration and Cabinetry LLC, based in Superior, opened a Kitchen Tune-Up franchise known for its signature one-day wood restoration service. The company joins franchises in Fort Collins, Denver and Aurora.

Colorado Coffee Co. will take a 2,000-square-foot spot in The Foundry’s plaza area in Loveland, joining its current location at 1450 N Boyd Lake Ave. The Foundry officially opened Aug. 16, along with several occupants including the project’s seven-screen, 625-seat MetroLux Dine-In Theatre. Other portions of the project — including a public parking garage, Patina Flats Apartments and TownePlace Suites by Marriott — were already in operation. The Foundry is a $76 million public-private partnership led by the city, local developer Brinkman Construction LLC and investors Baukol Capital Partners and Colmena Group.

AveXis Inc. plans to start producing gene-therapy drugs at the former AstraZeneca plant in Longmont at the end of the year, as regulators continue to scrutinize a data-manipulation scandal over its flagship drug. The Swiss drug company is currently preparing a six-building, 692,000-square-foot manufacturing campus in Longmont that was inactive for three months as its latest drug-production plant. It bought the property in March for $30 million and received $1.9 million in economic incentives from the Longmont City Council in June.

Snarf’s Sandwiches, a local restaurant chain founded in Boulder, will open a new Boulder location at 2660 Pearl St., the former home of Jersey Mike’s Subs. Snarf’s LLC operates three existing Boulder sandwich shops and more than a dozen others along the Front Range.

Conga, tradename for AppExtremes LLC, a company engaged in end-to-end digital document transformation, opened a new headquarters in an 88,000-square-foot facility at 13699 Via Varra in Broomfield. The headquarters will be home to about 650 employees, who will have access to 32 conference rooms, seven scrum areas and hallways that reflect local mountain trails.

A brewery for creative people opened in Boulder. The new brewery at 2907 55th St. wants to brew beer, of course, but also serve as a place for artists and others to gather and have great conversation. It will be called the Unnamed Beer Co.

Pueblo Bank & Trust, which operates locations in Pueblo, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs, Leadville, Denver, Salida and Cañon City, on Aug. 26 opened a new loan-production office at 315 Coffman St. in Longmont.

Gateway First Bank, an Oklahoma-based institution, was approved to open two Northern Colorado loan production offices, according to data from the Colorado Division of Banking. Those locations are 340 Mountain Ave. in Berthoud and 3400 W. 16th St. in Greeley. An opening date for those offices has not yet been determined.

Denver-headquartered Sunflower Bank opened a new Broomfield branch location at 665 Flatiron Marketplace Drive.  The 10,000-square-foot branch was built on the site of the former Bahama Breeze restaurant in FlatIron Marketplace.

Brynne Gant, an attorney specializing in estate law, criminal defense and family law, opened a law firm, Gant Law LLC, at 1140 38th Ave. in Greeley.

Lake Loveland Dermatology P.C. joined Associates in Family Medicine’s clinic at 1683 Main St. in Windsor.

Charlotte’s Web Holdings Inc., a CBD product manufacturer, leased a nearly 137,000-square-foot flex office space in Louisville’s Colorado Technology Center business park from Etkin Johnson Real Estate Partners LLC. Charlotte’s Web, which currently occupies a roughly 40,000-square-foot Boulder production facility, has been in growth mode of late, expanding its hemp production capabilities, retail distribution network and executive team in recent months. The new CTC space, which will be built out to fit the company’s needs over the next two years, will house distribution, manufacturing and research and development operations.

Odell Brewing Co. is getting into the craft wine business. The Fort Collins brewery will build a wine cellar this year and go to market with a set of wines by next summer. Odell plans to build the cellar and a tasting room in a property next to its headquarters at 800 E. Lincoln Ave. this year, and will distribute cans of wines throughout the state.

When Front Range Community College students start classes, some will be doing so in a brand-new facility at 1351 S. Sunset St. in Longmont. That’s the address of FRCC’s new Center for Integrated Manufacturing, a 27,000-square-foot facility with classrooms and laboratory spaces to give students hands-on experience in a variety of types of manufacturing disciplines.

A British financial company trying to modernize the gold standard set up its U.S. operations in Boulder. Glint Pay Inc. was formed in 2015 and launched its app in Europe last year.

JumpCloud Inc., a directory-as-a-service technology platform, expanded into three Boulder offices and will soon move into an additional Denver space. The company also plans to add 200 employees over the next year.

Fort Collins will bring on its first customers for the Connexion municipal broadband service later this fall. City staff told the Fort Collins City Council that they plan to release pricing information for Connexion this month and slowly begin adding customers through the fall, but still intend to reach their goal of having every resident get access to the broadband service by 2022 at the latest.

PRODUCT UPDATE

Digipath Inc. (OTCQB: DIGP), laboratory testing and analytics firm for the cannabis industry, initiated beta testing for the company’s Tru-Hemp ID Kit. The kit uses DNA testing to provide a more effective way for hemp cultivators to distinguish cannabis from hemp, which by law must contain less than .03 percent THC content.

Neptune Mountaineering, the iconic Boulder outdoor shop, launched an initiative to introduce the store’s customers to new brands that have funded recent product launches through crowdsourcing platforms such as Kickstarter and Indigogo. Neptune Lab, a curated selection of crowdfunded products, occupies a dedicated, roughly 100-square-foot space within the store and will feature an interactive kiosk to allow customers to learn more about the brands and their respective fundraising campaigns.

Left Hand Brewing Co. and Berthoud-based hemp producer WAAYB Organics launched a line of canned CBD-infused sparkling waters. The waters, called Present, are available in natural, lemon-lime and blood orange flavors and include 20mg of CBD distillate.

After announcing in February that it would no longer accept Epic Passes next ski season, Arapahoe Basin joined forces with Ikon Pass. Ikon Pass holders will have seven-day access to A-Basin on the Ikon Pass with no blackout dates, and five-day access on the Ikon Base Pass, with selected blackout dates, according to an Ikon news release. Ikon pass holders now have access to 40 resorts, six of which are in Colorado. A-Basin ended its partnership with Broomfield-based Vail Resorts (NYSE: MTN) because of concerns of overcrowding.

The Kroger Co., the country’s largest supermarket chain, will carry Charlotte’s Web Holdings Inc. CBD products in 1,350 stores across 22 states.

Geocann LLC, a Fort Collins-based cannabis firm, launched a line of edible and beverage products that make use of patented Vesisorb drug-delivery technology.

SERVICES

Allegiant Air will establish new nonstop flights between Northern Colorado Regional Airport at Loveland and the Phoenix and Las Vegas areas. The routes are part of an expansion of air service by Allegiant Travel Co. (Nasdaq: ALGT), which previously had flights from Northern Colorado when the airport was known as the Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport. Nonstop flights from the airport to Las Vegas begin Nov. 21 and run on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. Flights from Colorado to Phoenix start Nov. 22 and run Mondays and Fridays. All flights will use Airbus A319 jets equipped to carry 154 passengers. One-way flights from Loveland to Las Vegas are currently $49 on Allegiant’s website.

UCHealth has begun building a second cardiac catheterization lab at the Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins and will open it to patients in late fall.

Digital Workshop Center, headquartered in Fort Collins, will add the Ignite Income Share Agreement Program to enable more students to be trained despite financial barriers. Income share programs permit students to take classes and pay for them from future earnings.

Premier Members Credit Union, a Boulder-based not-for-profit financial institution, has expanded the geographic scope of its membership field to include El Paso, Pueblo and Elbert counties. The expansion, approved by the Colorado Financial Services Board, adds those areas to the credit union’s existing membership field of Boulder, Larimer, Weld, Jefferson, Broomfield, Arapahoe, Denver, Adams and Douglas counties.