Midwest Memo, June 3, 2011

Five must-read stories about the Midwest economy

1) Obama Celebrates With Chrysler: President Obama is at a Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio, today. He’s visiting on the heels of Fiat’s purchase of the government’s remaining stake in Chrysler.

The Chrysler headquarters in Michigan. Photo by fiatontheweb via flickr.

The move, once finalized, will give the Italian automaker a majority ownership in the Auburn Hills, Mich., company. Fiat has had management control of Chrysler since the No. 3 U.S. automaker emerged from a government-sponsored bankruptcy in 2009. Apparently, the government drove a hard bargain for the remaining 6 percent, according to David Shepardson’s story in the Detroit News. Fiat paid about $100 million more than the $400 million that Fiat originally offered.


2) Who’ll Get Rich on Groupon? As we told you yesterday, Chicago-based Groupon announced plans to go public. Now, there’s speculation about who’ll get even richer from the deal. Crain’s Chicago Business says co-founders Andrew Mason, Eric Lefkovsky and Brad Keywell own stakes in the company that will be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, once Groupon stock goes on sale to the public.

3) A New Man in the Art World: The Grand Rapids Art Museum has a new leader and he’s coming north from Austin, Texas.

Grand Rapids Art Museum, by Micki Maynard

The museum named Dana Fris-Hansen as its new director and chief executive. He’ll start in July. In recent years, the museum has opened a new building and staged attention getting exhibits like the wedding dress of Princess Diana, which drew nearly 100,000 people. The museum is part of a burgeoning art scene in Grand Rapids, which will see the third annual Art Prize competition this fall.


4) Borders Stores Going, Going… The sale of the stores that Ann Arbor-based Borders Group is shedding could be complete in the next two to four weeks, attorneys say. The company, which is in bankruptcy protection, has been given more time to prepare a recovery plan. The new owner of the Detroit Pistons may bid for 200 of Borders’ 405 remaining stores, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Information Technology a Future Job Source? Ideas are flowing at the annual Mackinac Policy Conference and one of them centers on whether information and communication technology could be a source of jobs for Michigan. The University Research Corridor, in a report, says the state’s universities are acting as incubators for such jobs.

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