State Roundup

Monday, August 11, 2008 at 3:18am

Memphis

• The University of Memphis men's basketball program self-reported that FedEx president Dave Bronczek called a FedEx employee, the mother of a high school player from Washington State being recruited by the program, which is a potential violation of NCAA rules prohibiting boosters from contacting recruits or their parents. Penalties are unlikely.

• Weyerhaeuser Co. finalized the $6 billion sale of its containerboard packaging and recycling business to Memphis-based International Paper. The deal involves nine containerboard mills, 72 packaging locations, 10 specialty-packaging plants, four bag and sack locations and 19 recycling facilities. Overall, the deal impacts 14,000 employees.

• The Hyde Family Foundations announced a $20 million challenge grant to launch the master plan for the transformation of Shelby Farms, a 4,500-acre urban park site. The plan envisions 12 distinctive “landscape rooms,” an expanded Patriot Lake, large-scale tree plantings, and a natural resource plan to guide ecological management and conservation, among other items. The phase one cost of the project is estimated at $80-100 million.

Knoxville

• Louisville-based health care giant Humana announced plans to buy Cariten Healthcare for $245 million cash from Knoxville-based hospital system Covenant Health. Cariten serves commercial, Medicare and Medicaid members throughout eastern Tennessee. By buying the health benefits company, Humana boosts its commercial and Medicare Advantage medical membership by about 110,000 people. The acquisition is pending various regulatory approvals.

Chattanooga

• Brewer Media Group acquired The Pulse, Chattanooga’s alternative weekly newspaper and Web site. The sellers were Culture Systems’ co-owners, Michael Kull and Zack Cooper. Brewer Media Group, led by Jim Brewer II, owns a significant portfolio of local radio outlets including WJTT-FM, WMPZ-FM, WHJK-FM and WALV-FM and the Chattanooga Traffic Network.

• PlayCore Holdings, a designer, manufacturer and marketer of playground and recreation products, announced its acquisition of Minnesota-based Everlast Climbing Industries, the company’s third acquisition this year. Everlast focuses on the climbing wall industry. PlayCore operates under the GameTime, Play and Park Structures, and Ultra Play commercial brands, consumer brand Swing-N-Slide, surfacing brand Tot Turf, and now the fitness brand of Everlast Climbing Industries.

• Astec Industries entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Dillman Equipment, a maker of asphalt plant equipment headquartered in Prairie du Chien, Wisc. Astec manufactures aggregate processing and mining equipment, asphalt production equipment, mobile asphalt paving equipment and underground boring, directional drilling and trenching equipment.

State Roundup is compiled by the staff of BusinessTN, a sister publication of The City Paper. www.businesstn.com

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