Welcome to Stifel Morgan Keegan

I ran into a Morgan Keegan & Co. Inc. source tonight who said the rumored sale of the Memphis firm to St. Louis-based Stifel Financial Corp. is so serious that a name change is already being discussed – something like Stifel Morgan Keegan.

I’ve also been told that Stifel representatives were in town last week, and that Stifel was negotiating exclusively over Morgan Keegan for a period of time that expired Wednesday night.

If you’ve followed the national press, the most recent Bloomberg report put it like this: “Stifel remains days or weeks away from agreeing to an acquisition and may not reach a deal.”

A top official at a Memphis-based investment firm that’s a competitor of Morgan Keegan’s – and which has Morgan Keegan alums throughout its operation – told me today he’s expecting a deal as soon as Friday, Nov. 18. Others are looking for an announcement between now and Thanksgiving.

Tennessee Jobless Rate Dropped Slightly Last Month

Tennessee’s unemployment rate for October ticked down two-tenths of a percentage points from September. That’s according to an announcement today from the state commissioner of labor and workforce development.

Tennessee’s unemployment rate for October was 9.6 percent, down from September’s revised rate of 9.8 percent.

The national unemployment rate for October was 9 percent.

GE Opens New Renewable Energy Services Center in Mississippi

GE Energy unveiled its new, LEED Silver-Certified central logistics center for renewable energy components in Olive Branch during a ribbon cutting Thursday, Nov. 17.

GE’s 212,880-square-foot space in Crossroads Distribution Center, 9124 Polk Lane, suite 105, distributes replacement parts for wind turbines and solar technology, keeping GE’s fleet of turbines running smoothly and helping to ensure that communities throughout North and South America receive a reliable supply of clean energy.

The center – which includes sustainable features such as skylights and upgraded insulation – supports GE’s goals to reduce the environmental impacts of its facilities worldwide. Fairfield, Conn.-based GE Energy is comprised of GE Power & Water, GE Energy Management and GE Oil & Gas.

Built by Industrial Developments International in 2008, the 452,743-square-foot industrial distribution warehouse that GE now occupies also houses Smiths Medical ASD Inc.

GE’s logistics operation was previously located in ProLogis DeSoto Park at 8725 Nail Road, also in Olive Branch, a space that was about one-third of its new size.

This expansion supports GE’s commitment to renewables, building on recent breakthroughs in wind and solar efficiency levels and an announcement to build the largest solar manufacturing facility in the U.S.

Tigers Notebook: First game provides insight on 2011-2012 team

A few quick impressions from the Tigers’ season-opening 97-81 victory over Belmont on at FedExForum:

Words such as fast, athletic and quick hardly do justice to this University of Memphis team. It’s impossible to imagine any team having an advantage over the Tigers should that team dare to try and run with them. Most likely, those teams will be running to their own death. As forward Tarik Black said, “If a team wants to run with us, we’re open arms – `c’mon, let’s run.”

The Tigers’ No. 10 ranking in the AP poll is legit. They have top-10 talent, which by definition means they have Final Four potential. An injury to Black, their largest inside presence, might be impossible to overcome long-term, but there is so much depth everywhere else. Antonio Barton is a starting point guard on most Top 25 teams and he played all of 13 minutes because Joe Jackson was simply playing too well to remove from the court.

As for Jackson, I’m inclined to believe the player that scored 20 points with seven assists and just two turnovers against Belmont is the player we will see most of this season. He progressed greatly at the end of last season and he seems to be growing more comfortable by the day in being a point guard first and a scorer second.

Senior Wesley Witherspoon might be a different story. Give him props for a great debut game this season – 22 points on 8-for-8 shooting, 3-for-3 from 3-point range – and hustle that went beyond his five rebounds and two steals. I don’t think we’ll see a lot of the lost Witherspoon who wondered through last season, but I also don’t think he will consistently play with this level of efficiency or grit. Reality lies somewhere in the middle, which is fine.

Freshman Adonis Thomas is the real X factor. Coach Josh Pastner has said many times that the X factors are Jackson and Witherspoon, that if they don’t try to be supermen and just play their games, the Tigers will have a special year. I disagree, in part, because I think Jackson will have a breakout year and Witherspoon will still have his off nights. When those off nights come, Thomas can make up for them. When there’s foul trouble, as there was in the first game, Thomas can play down low and allow the Tigers to go small. If Thomas has a great year as the Super Sixth Man, so will the Tigers.

The NBA Calls Time Out, but Life Goes On

A man’s got to know his limitations. So, too, does a league.

The NBA collective apparently looked in the mirror and saw the NFL with slightly shorter pants. This staggering lack of understanding will prove costly to all.

David Stern, NBA commissioner, has said that the NBA Players Association’s move to disband the union is an act of “self-destruction” and declared that the NBA is entering a “nuclear winter.”

I don’t disagree. The odds have greatly increased that there will not be a season.

But there’s a lot of “self-destruction” to go around here.

Stern consistently miscalculates where his league ranks in the American sports pecking order. Union executive director Billy Hunter also has an inflated opinion of the NBA’s relevance. Nothing compares to the NFL and where college football is a distinctly different animal from the NFL, college basketball more easily assumes the role of surrogate for the NBA.

“More TV time for us,” said Memphis Tiger Wesley Witherspoon. “That’s how we’re looking at it.”

Major League Baseball has overcome its tendencies for self-destruction because it’s the summer game and its generational DNA is older and stronger. Tell me where there’s an NBA equivalent of Wrigley Field, home of a franchise that can make a brand out of its players being “lovable losers?”

No, fans expect NBA teams to deliver playoff teams and superstars. People don’t fill Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena – and yes, that’s the real name – for the sun, beer and hot dogs.

The American economy, if not in a nuclear winter, seems to be forever waiting on spring, and so there is no sympathy for Wall Street types (owners); nor is there any sympathy for even nice-guy superstars like Kevin Durant, who when in town for Rudy Gay’s charity game parroted the union’s party line by saying players don’t want to be “bullied” into a bad deal.

Well, guess what? Teachers, nurses and firefighters – otherwise known as ticket-buyers – don’t want to be bullied, either.

The difference is NBA fans know their limits. And they will quickly reach theirs, not losing sleep, saving money, and perhaps forgetting why they cared in the first place.

Dansette

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