Family-owned Pohlad Companies, owner of the Minnesota Twins, saw its banking-industry batting average slip in recent years.
The late Carl Pohlad became a billionaire over 50 years, assembling and selling the Marquette Bank chain. He sold some of Marquette for $230 million in 1992 to what is now U.S. Bancorp. And Pohlad, who retained the Marquette Bank name, some banks and added others, sold Marquette II to Wells Fargo for about $1 billion in 2002.
The most recent innings weren't as good.
Pohlad Companies is selling its Meridian Bank of Texas and Arizona to publicly held UMB Financial for $182.5 million in stock. That's far less than the $300 million the family had to put into the Arizona franchise after the Great Recession to pump up loss-absorbing equity, under federal regulatory scrutiny, in the wake of the real estate collapse.
"We had to recapitalize the bank and then some," said Jim Pohlad, the oldest of three Pohlad sons. "Our goal is to make up that huge deficit."
The family also spent unspecified millions to build its Meridian Bank franchise.
Kansas City-based UMB, a public company, is paying in stock for the last of the Pohlad banks. Jim Pohlad said the bank board concluded that Pohlad Companies had a better chance of recouping its loss by being an equity investor with the larger UMB than trying to grow Meridian profitably on its own.
The Pohlad Companies in recent years has diversified into commercial real estate, auto sales, specialty retail and broadcasting. The family also made several hundreds of millions building and selling two major Pepsi bottling operations over 40-plus years under the direction of Carl Pohlad and another son, Robert Pohlad.
Mille Lacs Band Invests in Online Gaming
Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures, the non-casino arm of the Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa, has invested $2 million in FourCubed, the online-poker marketing outfit based in northeast Minneapolis that I wrote about last March at www.startribune.com/business/250409661.html.
"The Mille Lacs relationship with tribes across the country will foster customer relationships for FourCubed in regulated markets like New Jersey and soon to be regulated states like California," said FourCubed CEO Chris Carlson in an e-mail comment. "Our customers are changing from software providers like "Partypoker" to brick and mortar casino operators. FourCubed will utilize Mille Lacs [casino] expertise and our online expertise to enhance our existing products and develop new products that help Mille Lacs and our other customers attract, reward, and retain users in both physical and virtual environments."
Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures (MLCV) has diversified somewhat from Grand Casino Mille Lacs through investments in hospitality, banking, marketing and various economic development projects. Joseph Nayquonabe, chief operating officer of MLCV, will join the FourCubed board.
FourCubed, which has revenue around $3 million and employs a dozen people, will invest in engineering and marketing and software.
Nayquonabe, through a spokeswoman, said the FourCubed investment lets the casino operator get into the growing online marketing of poker. FourCubed software drives players to online-poker operators and helps poker operators attract, manage and retain players.
"We've watched the trends of the gaming industry and the global movement toward online formats and broadened our knowledge of the online marketing business model over the past few years," Nayquonabe said in a statement.
Carlson, a one-time New York securities analyst, moved the business to Minneapolis in 2005.
Twin Cities Public Television Renovates and Expands in St. Paul
U.S. Bank and Sunrise Banks closed on $3.1 million in tax credit equity financing, part of a $20 million project to renovate and expand Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) that is part of the St. Paul-based nonprofit company's $29 million capital-and-endowment campaign.
The renovation of the 25-year-old building will create a state-of-the-art facility for the public broadcaster and create additional space to work with nonprofits, schools and governments on short videos, web clips and programs.
"More than 1 million people depend on TPT for news, entertainment and education every month and this renovation will allow TPT to continue serving high quality content," said Phillip Trier, Twin Cities market president for U.S. Bank. "It will also provide … an exciting space for lectures, events and community [meetings]."
drew moves to bush foundation
The Bush Foundation has tapped Duchesne Drew, managing editor for operations at the Star Tribune, as its community network vice president. The foundation invests about $40 million annually in Upper Midwest community organizations and 23 American Indian reservations in Minnesota and the Dakotas. Drew, 47, will be responsible for teams that run the foundation's leadership programs, its community-building initiatives and its communications.
Drew, a New York native, joined the Star Tribune in 1993 as an intern and served in a number of leadership positions before being named managing editor in 2009.