Utah's Top 15 Noteworthy Business "News Nuggets" from the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Full Weeks of October 2023

Utah's Top 15 Noteworthy Business "News Nuggets" from the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Full Weeks of October 2023
Gold nugget held between finger and thumb, by 1796904_1920, via Pixabay; photo downloaded 25 September 2023.

The weeks in question are 8—14 October 2023, 15—21 October 2023, and 22—28 October 2023.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Sometimes, regardless of what you do, deep desires collide head-on with the demands of daily life.

That's been my life for the past several weeks as a variety of personal and professional matters have absorbed significant portions of my daily calendars. As a result, I am seriously backlogged with where I want, and expect, to be when it comes to Utah Money Watch.

That being the case, my apologies to our Subscribers, Followers, and Fans. And thank you for your continued support.

Enclosed below you will find what I believe qualify as Utah's Top 15 Business "News Nuggets" from the past three weeks: October 8th to 28th of 2023, noteworthy news items that may not have hit your radar yet, specifically:

  • Rome, Italy-based Enel S.p.A. has agreed to sell its Cove Fort, Utah-based geothermal plant (along with two other renewable energy operations) to Reno, Nevada-based Ormat Technologies (NYSE:ORA) for a combined $271 million. According to Enel, the Cove Fort facility is "... the world’s first hybrid geothermal-hydroelectric plant ... (one) that uses innovative binary cycle technology ..., (has an) installed capacity (of) 25MW and can generate up to 160GWh of energy output each year." Additionally, the Ormat news release explains that the Cove Fort operation utilizes "... (an) Ormat-designed binary geothermal power plant (that) sells its clean electricity generation to the Salt River Project under a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)." Further, Ormat plans to expand the Cove Fort power plant by 20MW in the next 5 years.

  • Layton, Utah-based Community Preservation Partners (CPP) has partnered with San Diego, California-based The Hampstead Companies to acquire Skyline View Apartments in Layton. According to the news release, CPP expects to spend $39.5 million in total for the acquisition and rennovation of the eight buildings that contain 112 total "affordable" two-bedroom apartments for low-income tenants. Since its founding in 2004, CPP "... has successfully acquired, developed, and rehabilitated more than 11,000 affordable multifamily and senior housing units nationwide."

  • Salt Lake City-based Noodle Cat Games has raised $12 million in a Series A round of funding led by Hiro Capital, with additional participation from Makers Fund, KRAFTON, and Sony Innovation Fund. Noodle Cat is developing an innovative multiplayer, action RPG (role-player game) and is led by CEO, David Hunt; Chief Technology Officer, Michael Noland; and Chief Art Officer, Adam Ford — gaming industry veterans from such renowned studios as Epic Games, Electronic Arts, and BioWare. According to the company news release, Noodle Cat's leadership held significant roles on such legendary titles as Fortnite, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Infinity Blade. Noodle Cat has disclosed little about its inaugural title, but expects to do so in 2024.

  • Salt Lake City-based Voze has closed a $3 million Round of Seed funding. According to the company release, the funding round was led by Lehi, Utah-based Album VC, which was joined in the funding by Pipeline Capital Partners, which has offices in Salt Lake City, Anchorage, Alaska, and Las Vegas, Nevada. Voze has developed a SaaS-based sales acceleration platform for field-based sales professionals.

  • Carrollton, Texas-based Seawall Capital is moving one of its portfolio companies — Kent Outdoors - to Summit County, Utah. Formed in 1959, Kent was acquired by Seawall in December 2019 back when it was known as Kent Water Sports. According to the Seawall news release, Kent expects to spend over $500,000 in Utah over the next five years as it plans to add 84 new Utah-based jobs at its new headquarters. Kent is the parent company of 17 separate outdoor brands, and it writes that its intent is that each brand will have employees located in Utah. Those 17 brands are:

  1. Aquaglide;
  2. Arbor;
  3. Arctic Shield;
  4. Barefool International;
  5. BOTE;
  6. Connelly;
  7. FatSac;
  8. Freedom Foilboards;
  9. Full Throttle Powersports {NOTE: Full Throttle is currently based in Lindon, Utah};
  10. HO Sports;
  11. Hyperlite Wake Co.;
  12. Kent Outdoors;
  13. Kona Bicycles;
  14. Liquid Force;
  15. Margaritaville;
  16. Obrien; and
  17. Onyx.
  • The National Science Foundation has awarded $1.7 million to Orem, Utah-based Utah Valley University for use in funding ~140 scholarships over the next six years for students pursuing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (aka, STEM). According to the UVU news release, six UVU professors — Sean Tolman, Matthew Jensen, Ben Willardson, Amanda Bordelon, and Israd Jaafar - jointly received the NSF grant which is called the the Civil and Mechanical Engineering Scholarship Program. {The news release also noted that UVU currently has over $9.0 million in NSF funding at the university.}

  • Salt Lake City-based Clarus (NASDAQ:CLAR) has acquired Australia-based TRED Outdoors from Brisbane, Australia-based Venlo Investments. Although the company news release does not disclose a purchase price for the acquisition of TRED, Clarus' Form 8-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shows that Clarus paid Venlo 178,939 common shares of Clarus stock to acquire TRED. The acquisition closed on Monday, 9 October 2023, with Clarus' stock closing on that day at $6.28/share (US$). This places the TRED purchase price at slightly over $1.12 million. FYI: TRED's products are designed to help off-road enthusiasts get their vehicles "unstuck" when they are navigating the outdoors.

  • Some 13 months after it landed a $23 million round of Series A funding (led by the Larry H. Miller Company), Sandy, Utah-based Aqua-Yield has morphed into Nano-Yield, a "nanoliquid" technology firm focused on the agricultural field with four separate entities:

    • Nano-Yield, the parent company and international brand;
    • Turf NanoTech, focused on products used primarily on professional turf (golf courses, sports fields and landscape management); and
    • NanoCote, focused on granular input coatings.

In addition, the Nano-Yield news release announced that the company has promoted Mark Slavens, Ph.D. to become its new president and Chief Operations Officer. Dr. Slavens has been Aqua-Yield's Chief Innovation Officer since January 2022. Prior to joining Aqua-Yield, Dr. Slavens was with The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company for over 11 years, most recently as Vice President of Research and Development.

  • In separate Nano-Yield news, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this month that it has awarded a $1.26 million award to Aqua-Yield under the USDA's Fertilizer Production Expansion Program. With the grant monies, the company says it "... plans to purchase urgently needed equipment to begin a new technology production process, bringing the benefits of Nanoliquid technology to dry granular fertilizer."

  • London, England-based ieDigital has acquired Sandy-based Connect FSS. Unfortunately, financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. According to the ieDigital news release, "ieDigital is a major player in the U.K. fintech market, providing digital software solutions for over 50 financial services businesses (including 4 of the 5 largest banks in the United Kingdom)." Conversely, "Connect FSS ... currently serves credit unions in the United States."

  • Salt Lake City-based Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ:ZION) has hired Margaret Mayer as its Chief Technology Officer. According to the release, Mayer comes to Zions from Discover Financial Services where she was its vice president and CTO for the Consumer Banking Technology teams.

  • Park City, Utah-based Sentient has added two C-Level executives to its team: Brian Kirk as Chief Marketing Officer and Jennifer Redmond as Chief Revenue Officer. According to the Sentient news release, Kirk joins Sentient from American Fork, Utah-based Built Brands where he helped attract over 250,000 new customers and drove over $100 million in eCommerce revenue. Conversely, Redmond joins Sentient from Endo Aesthetics where she "she built and led a highly talented and tenured team of more than 85 aesthetic sales professionals." Sentient is a "leading full-service provider in the aesthetic medical device industry."

  • Lake Oswego, Oregon-based Columbia Banking System (NASDAQ:COLB) has opened its first retail banking location in Utah for Umpqua Bank. According to the company news release, although the company launched a Utah-based commercial lending team in July 2022, the now open South Jordan-based branch of Umpqua Bank is located at 10757 So. River Front Pkwy. Ste. 275. Columbia Banking System is one of the largest regional bank holding companies in the western U.S., with operations in eight states and over $50 billion in assets.

  • Eden, Utah-based Powder Mountain Resort has engaged Meriwether Companies as its new resort development partner, while also stopping all sales of "... remaining lots in the Overlook development ... pending the future rollout of a new master plan for the resort." According to the company news release, "The 10-year development partnership will see Meriwether take Powder Mountain into its next phase, one that stays true to the untracked and uncrowded experience that sets Powder apart from other resorts in the mountain west while building out the infrastructure and amenities befitting a modern world-class destination."

AUTHOR'S NOTE: If there is a Utah-based/related company, product, service, person, program, policy, and/or event you believe we should look into, please let us know at David.Politis@UtahMoneyWatch.com. Thank you.