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Charlotte’s Glatfelter acquires Jacob Holm

Charlotte-based Glatfelter, which supplies engineering materials, is acquiring Switzerland-based Jacob Holm, which manufactures nonwoven fabric, for about $308 million. Through the acquisition, which is expected to be completed later this year, Glatfelter adds four additional manufacturing facilities and six sales offices located in the Americas, Europe, and Asia, as well as approximately 800 employees worldwide.

Elon University names education school for one of its “chief architects” following $10M donation

The school will now be called the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education following a $10 million donation from a foundation connected to Williams’ family. The university says it’s the largest gift ever received. Williams, a longtime faculty member, served as Elon’s first vice president of development for 16 years, landing the university’s first million-dollar gift and increasing its endowment size by about a factor of eight.

Ardagh Group expanding into new, 610,000-square-foot warehouse in Winston-Salem

Luxembourg-based Ardagh Group’s recent $195.5 million equipment expansion of its beverage can manufacturing plant created the need for additional space to warehouse a higher volume of product prior to shipping. A new warehouse and distribution facility is now being built about eight miles away from the current plant. Greater Winston-Salem Inc. estimates the warehouse will create about 40 jobs and will be open in the second quarter of 2022.

LendingTree Foundation launches $3.75 million philanthropic program for Charlotte nonprofits

LendingTree Foundation’s new program is called the LendaHand Alliance Cohort and awards 10 local organizations with $125,000 each for three consecutive years. The foundation, which opened its new headquarters office in Charlotte’s South End neighborhood earlier this year, is shifting its philanthropic strategy, approaching the new program from an angel fund perspective.

Stein, other AGs sign $26B settlement over opioid drugs

A coalition of state attorneys general disclosed a $26 billion settlement with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and three companies that distributed opioid painkillers even as overdose deaths soared. North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein was one of the lead negotiators. Under the plan, the three drug distributors will pay $21 billion over 18 years. Johnson & Johnson will contribute $5 billion over nine years. West Virginia’s attorney general says it isn’t getting enough from the deal and won’t take part.

Phononic secures $50M investment from Goldman

Phononic, a Durham-based cooling and heating technology company, secured a $50 million investment from a Goldman Sachs fund. Phononic has raised $230 million overall and says the funding will allow it to expand sales and marketing,  global manufacturing and product portfolio. The company’s products use thermoelectric chips to help control temperatures and reduce energy use.

Fayetteville DA West elected to national post

Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West was elected president of the National District Attorneys Association. NDAA is the largest organization of its kind with more than 5,000 members. West graduated from N.C. State University before earning his law degree from Campbell University. He served 10 years as an assistant district attorney for former Cumberland County District Attorney Ed Grannis before being elected district attorney in 2010.

California startup creates quantum computer, adds HQ in Cary

Quantum computing startup Atom Computing of Berkeley, California  will open an executive office in Cary and hire former Lenovo executive Rob Hays to lead the company as CEO after closing a $15 million Series A fundraising round. Additionally, Atom Computing has completed Phoenix, the company’s first-generation quantum computer. The technology utilizes quantum bits (qubits) from an alkaline earth metal, which increase a computer’s processing power exponentially.

Northeast Raleigh apartment complex sells for $244,000 per unit

A Washington, D.C.-developer purchased an upscale apartment community that was completed last year in Northeast Raleigh. The Piedmont Raleigh Apartments were acquired by Aldon in early July for $93.2 million, or $243,717 per unit. The 382-unit property sits on 12 acres across from the Triangle Town Center mall. The seller is a a New York limited liability corporation linked to SR Real Estate Partners, which developed the property.

Bitcon miner with N.C. operations goes public in $4.3B deal

Cryptocurrency mining operator Core Scientific is listing on the Nasdaq through a merger with Power & Digital Infrastructure Acquisition Corp that values the company at $4.3 billion. One of the largest bitcoin mining companies in the U.S., Core generated $60 million in revenue in 2020 and anticipates $493 million this year. The four-year-old company is based in Washington with facilities in North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky and North Dakota. It is 100% net carbon-neutral despite the energy-intensive cryptocurrency mining process.

A&W plans three restaurants near Charlotte

An iconic burger chain is planning to open three restaurants in suburban Charlotte. Lexington, Kentucky-based A&W Restaurants will open nine franchised locations, including three in the Charlotte area, five in Las Vegas and one in St. Louis. Ronald and Nadyne Jennings plans restaurants in Gastonia, Kings Mountain and Rock Hill, S.C.

Piedmont Lithium shares sink after Gaston county criticism

Since agreeing to supply electric automaker Tesla with lithium, startup Piedmont Lithium has not applied for Gaston  County approval of its mining operations. The Belmont-based company has raised significant financing for the project, but hasn’t satisfied local officials’ concerns. Five of the seven members of the county’s board say they may block the project due to a lack of information. Piedmont shares declined 20% yesterday after Reuters reported the local commissioners’ concerns.


Opendoor bought 500 Wake County homes over 15 months, flipping most of them

California-based Opendoor bought about 500 single-family homes in Wake County between January 2020 and March 2021, then sold about 400 at an average gain of about $14,000,  The News & Observer reports. The company paid about $250,000 per home on average. It was four times as many purchases as Zillow, another national real estate company that has a similar business model.

Garland shirt factory to hire back 100 workers

Sampson County’s Garland shirt factory is set to reopen this fall after closing during the pandemic. About 150 employees were laid off when Brooks Brothers closed the plant, a big blow for the town which has a population of about 600. The factory was established in 1950. Garland Apparel hopes to bring back 100 workers by the end of the year.

Charlotte’s Nucor makes $370M acquisition

Nucor, the largest U.S. steelmaker, is buying warehouse steel racking services provider Hannibal Industries for $370 million. The news comes after Nucor announced in June that it would acquire the metal panels business  of Cary-based Cornerstone Building Brands for $1 billion. The Charlotte-based steel manufacturing company recently reported record quarterly earnings.

UNC Chapel Hill gets $12.5M for traumatic brain injury program

UNC Chapel Hill received $12.5 million in funding from a foundation started by actor Gary Sinise to create a clinical treatment program for veterans and first responders who have suffered traumatic brain injuries. Known as THRIVE (Transforming Health and Resilience in Veterans), the program will provide therapy at locations across the state. Participating veterans will undergo an evaluation before a team of doctors and other medical experts who will create a care plan.

Wilmington company finishes USS North Carolina repairs

After four years and $11 million, repairs on the USS North Carolina battleship are officially complete. A Wilmington-based company replaced steel on the bow and repainted affected areas of the hull after the Cape Fear River flooded the temporary barrier surrounding the ship, corroding the exterior. The battleship arrived in Wilmington in 1961 after serving in World War II.

Large portion of Kannapolis’ research campus listed for sale

Billionaire David Murdock is selling a key chunk of his North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, including 27 acres of lab space, land, parking space and infrastructure. A pioneer activist investor in the ’80s, Murdock founded the 350-acre N.C. Research Campus on former Cannon Mills headquarters land in hopes of creating a major biotech center. Commercial real estate firm CBRE is listing the property on behalf of Murdock’s Castle & Cooke development firm. The property was valued at $270 million in 2020.

Large tower considered in midtown Charlotte

Developer Tribek Properties is considering a potential 28-story apartment building in midtown Charlotte near the Cherry neighborhood and Metropolitan mixed-use complex. The Charlotte-based developer is seeking a rezoning for the property and is mulling other options including an office building. City officials pressed the developers to include more public space.

Bandwidth presses ahead on $100M Raleigh headquarters

While many tech companies are embracing remote work, Raleigh-based Bandwidth begun construction Monday on a new headquarters on Reedy Creek Road. Bandwidth is enforcing a complete return to in-person work, hoping to preserve a vibrant company culture as it hires an estimated 1,000 employees over the next few years. Plans call for two five-stories buildings totaling 450,000 square feet,  an Olympic-sized soccer field, 2 miles of walking trails and a Montessori school for children age 5 and under. Bandwidth makes software for voice and text communications.

Raleigh-based Red Hat fuels IBM growth

IBM shares surged more than 4% after the tech giant reported financial results for the second quarter, its strongest revenue growth in three years. Red Hat, acquired by IBM in 2019 for $34 billion, delivered 20% year-over-year revenue growth. The news comes after former IBM President Jim Whitehurst, who led Red Hat from 2007 through 2019, stepped down.

North Carolina’s oldest newspaper to sell HQ

The Fayetteville Observer, the oldest newspaper in North Carolina, plans to sell its headquarters as part of a consolidation effort. The Observer, which began publishing in 1816, intends to lease back the $11 million property for its news, advertising, business and distribution operations. Many other U.S. newspapers have sold their offices to cut costs.

Activist shareholder targets Duke leadership in new letter

Elliott Management sent Duke Energy an 11-page letter criticizing the Charlotte-based utility giant’s operations. The New York hedge fund sent a previous letter in May calling for the addition of new directors and to consider separating the company’s utilities into separate entities in the Carolinas, Florida and the Midwest. The new letter states that these concerns remain unaddressed. Duke called Elliott’s plan a “short-term solution” with “no support.”

N.C. companies face increased ransomware attacks

Cyberattacks are on the rise in North Carolina, likely due to the increase in remote work. The N.C. Department of Justice has received reports of 1,125 data breaches in 2021 alone, compared to 1,644 data breaches in 2020. Ransomware – the act of holding a company’s systems and data hostage in exchange for a “ransom” as happened recently with the Colonial Pipeline – is especially proliferating. Of the breaches reported in North Carolina in 2021 so far, 276 were classified as ransomware.

Charlotte hopes to provide more down payment help

Charlotte officials are considering bolstering the city’s House Charlotte program by raising the maximum home purchase price and the amount of money available for down payments. The program provides forgivable loans that can be used toward a down payment and closing costs for low- and moderate-income families. The average home sales price for loan recipients increased from nearly $170,000 in 2019 to about $190,000 in 2020, reflecting rising prices in Charlotte housing.

Durham’s Kriya Therapeutics raises $100M

Biotech startup Kriya Therapeutics raised $100 million in capital. The company, which is headquartered in Durham and Palo Alto, Calif., raised $80.5 million last year. It plans to use the funds to “develop Kriya’s core technology platforms, expand its therapeutic pipeline and advance its current programs in metabolic disease, ophthalmology and oncology.”

Texas Pete maker finalizes plans to buy 31 acres near Smith Reynolds Airport

Winston-Salem-based TW Garner Food is completing plans to purchase an undeveloped 31-acre site north of Smith Reynolds Airport from Forsyth County. The property is the current maintenance headquarters of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. TW Garner, which has corporate offices in downtown Winston-Salem, wants to build a new campus to combine and expand operations.

Charlotte-based Driven Brands plans to use $750 million IPO to accelerate gains

The country’s largest auto-service company is now approaching 4,300 stores in 49 states and 14 foreign countries. Staked by an aggressive equity partner and some high-profile acquisitions within the aftermarket universe, the company went public in January with an IPO that raised $751 million. The company’s twin growth engines offer complementary growth and a solid financial foundation for fast growth.

Planned Amazon site in Johnston County gains key designation

The Seattle e-commerce giant’s planned Smithfield site has taken the next step toward becoming a foreign trade zone, or FTZ, a designation local leaders believe will drive local economic activity. An FTZ is an area of land deemed outside the territory of U.S. Customs and Border Protection where domestic and international goods are not subject to U.S. duty or excise tax. Amazon also has a massive distribution site in Garner and last year announced another delivery station in Cary.

UNCSA partners with The Posse Foundation on new initiative

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem is the first conservatory to join Posse Arts, an expansion of the nationwide Posse Scholars program. The new initiative to recruit, train and support talented students who might be missed through traditional avenues was conceived in collaboration with renowned songwriter, actor, producer and director Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote and starred in musicals Hamilton and In the Heights.

High-speed bullet train bridging Charlotte and Atlanta may be in route

The Georgia Department of Transportation has completed its environmental study of constructing an infrastructure to run a 200-mph train between Charlotte and Atlanta and is now headed on to the next phase of the project. The 274-mile route, which could be covered in about two hours, would begin at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, cut through South Carolina and arrive at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. There may be plans to extend the line up to Washington, D.C.

U.S. News & World Report ranks the Raleigh/Durham area as country’s second-best place to live

The Raleigh and Durham metro area catapulted up from its No. 11 ranking last year, largely thanks to a successful job market and high desirability ratings. Other North Carolina cities on the list include Charlotte (No. 20), Winston-Salem (No. 46), Asheville (No. 48) and Greensboro (No. 94). Hickory ranked No. 4 in U.S. News’ Most Affordable Places to Live list and No. 52 on the overall Best Places to Live list.

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