State Roundup

 New York

Third Point says it bought stake in Dow Chemical 
NEW YORK (AP) — Hedge fund Third Point LLC said Tuesday that it has acquired a significant stake in Dow Chemical and wants the company to spin off its petrochemicals division.
Dow Chemical Co. shares jumped $2.25, or 5.2 percent, to $45.32 in morning trading after rising as high as $46.70 earlier. The stock has been trading around six-year highs.
Third Point says Dow is now its biggest investment but didn’t specify how many shares it had acquired other than to say it was a significant position. CNBC reported that Third Point paid $1.3 billion for the stake.
The hedge fund said Dow stock has performed poorly compared to other chemical stocks and the S&P 500 and said a spinoff of the petrochemicals business would deliver more value for shareholders. The fund took a more positive view of Dow’s agricultural science and electronics and functional materials businesses, as well as Dow Corning, a joint venture with Corning Inc. that makes silicone-based adhesives, sealants and other products.
Dow Chemical spokeswoman Rebecca Brantley said the company is aware of Third Point’s position. Brantley said Dow welcomes constructive input and wants to continue a dialogue with shareholders, and that the company constantly reviews its strategy. She said Dow’s investments have yielded value for shareholders and will continue to do so.
Dow sold its polypropylene licensing and catalysts business in October, bringing in $500 million, and said it wanted to raise $3 billion to $4 billion by divesting other businesses. In December Dow said it wanted to spin off or sell about 40 manufacturing plants in the next one to two years as it moves away from cyclical commodity products. Dow also said it reduced its debt by more than $2 billion in 2013.
The Midland, Mich., company had $13.73 billion in revenue in the quarter that ended Sept. 30.
Third Point disclosed its investment and its views in a quarterly letter to investors that it posted on the Internet.

Birmingham
Pair of businesses getting $250,000 in Chase grants 
BIRMINGHAM, Mich. (AP) — Two Detroit-area small businesses are among 12 nationwide selected to receive $250,000 grants from Chase through the Mission Main Street program.
In addition to the grants, Google will host each business for a marketing workshop at its California headquarters.
Nearly 35,000 small businesses from all 50 states submitted applications.
The winners from Michigan are Edibles Rex in Detroit and The Robot Garage from Birmingham.
Edibles Rex provides freshly cooked meals to children in area daycare and K-12 schools. The Robot Garage offers hands-on classes, events, products and experiences for robot and Lego enthusiasts.
The two Michigan businesses and the 10 other winners were chosen by a panel of experts for demonstrating a solid business plan and their likelihood of succeeding within a 2-year time frame.
 
Grandville
Agema says ‘God, family, country’  his core issues 
GRANDVILLE, Mich. (AP) — Embattled Michigan Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema is hitting back at critics of his anti-gay and anti-Muslim Web postings, saying he stands on the same issues he always has — “God, family and country.”
The committee meets Wednesday in Washington.
Gov. Rick Snyder has indirectly criticized Agema, calling for an end to derogatory and negative comments. Other Republican leaders, among them ex-Republican National Committeewoman Betsy DeVos, have said Agema is hurting their party.
“I appreciate Betsy DeVos speaking up,” Snyder told reporters after a Martin Luther King Day luncheon in Lansing. “I’m not going to get into specific individuals. I’m sticking with my call across the board for civility and respect towards others.”
Michigan Democratic Chairman Lon Johnson criticized Snyder for not being more forthcoming, repeated his call for Agema’s removal from the committee and urged Michigan Republicans “to finally embrace calls for common sense equal rights protections for everyone in our state.”
In a Facebook posting reported by the Detroit Free Press, Agema said “people are feeding half-truths to the news within the GOP, stirring up divisiveness.”
“I stand on the same issues I always have — God, family and country,” said Agema, a 64-year-old ex-state representative from Grandville. 
 
Detroit
Building he­ir announces bl­ig­ht clearance plan 
DETROIT (AP) — An heir to one of the nation’s leading construction companies has come forward with a plan to help Detroit destroy and clear abandoned buildings in one of its most forsaken neighborhoods.
The nonprofit Detroit Blight Authority announced plans Monday to clear 35 blocks in the city’s far-west Brightmoor neighborhood as a step toward reviving the area.
The group’s headed by Bill Pulte, grandson of PulteGroup Inc. founder William Pulte.
U.S. Sen. Carl Levin joined Bill Pulte on Monday at the Brightmoor Community Center to unveil the plan. Levin says it doesn’t work to “tear down a house here, a house there.”

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