We’ve always wanted to say this: “Welcome to the 17-degree north latitude edition of The Closing Bell, coming to you live from the Lesser Antilles bureau of our global network. You never know where you’ll stumble on a story ….”
The point of 21st Century digital information delivery is to deliver, not to wait for a news release. Our mission is to tell you about big business developments as soon as we can. As we did recently, telling you last month Tenneco’s bringing 250 jobs to the River Ridge Commerce Park, and how General Electric may be selling its appliance business to Stockholm, Sweden-based Electrolux.
We have yet another scoop … and another name to add to the list of companies considering Louisville. But first, we spent the week trying to unravel what well-meaning sources told us – hesitantly — about big companies considering Louisville for operations. In their efforts not to give too much away these same sources also led us to conflate several separate interested parties into one, as no one would reveal everything they knew about these delicate discussions, including city officials.
Chris Poynter, spokesman for Mayor Greg Fischer, said no one in city economic development can discuss any ongoing business recruitment negotiations. “I can neither confirm nor deny what you’ve heard.”
But as we re-interviewed everyone we started to put the puzzle pieces together. Yielding this result: yes, chic eyeglass e-tailer Warby Parker is considering Louisville. Or at least they were, say several sources with direct knowledge of the negotiations. But it’s not considering Louisville for its HQ, as that will remain in New York. And the company won’t bring 1,400 jobs here, even if they do come. It’s still very much a startup.
Then we finally got the name of the company pondering a mega-operation in either Nashville or Louisville: Computershare. This is a large Australian company that handles financial transactions, including share transfers, for the largest corporations and employee share plans in the world. Essentially it’s a digitized hybrid of Fidelity and those Wall Street firms that reconcile billions of transactions every day.
The company currently operates in 20 countries including: Australia, the U.K., the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Hong Kong and Germany. We had a hell of a time making sense of their Australian reporting docs, but we think they had $7 billion in total revenue for 2013, about twice the size of Brown-Forman.
Here’s what we do know: Computershare is getting ready to install a new CEO, and he’s keen to have a major Louisville presence. Again, source after source stressed that if Computershare can find the talent here and chooses us over Nashville, they want to be players.