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News in brief

This article was published August 1, 2014 at 1:51 a.m.

Bank of the Ozarks

signs Florida deal

Bank of the Ozarks announced Thursday that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase the New York-based Intervest Bank in an all-stock transaction valued at $228.5 million.

If approved, it would be the 12th bank bought by the Little Rock-based bank since 2010.

George Gleason, chairman and chief executive of Bank of the Ozarks, said in a release that Intervest's six branches in Pinellas County, Fla., will fit nicely with Bank of the Ozarks branches in nearby Manatee County.

Intervest had assets of $1.6 billion as of June 30. Gleason said the acquisition is "our largest to date."

Bank of the Ozarks has $6.3 billion in assets and 164 branches in Arkansas and eight other states.

Bank of the Ozarks stock closed Thursday on the Nasdaq market at $30.77, down $1.16. The bank deal was announced after the market closed.

-- Jack Weatherly

USDA to adopt rule

on poultry scrutiny

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday that it will go through with its plan to overhaul poultry inspection for the first time in 50 years.

The USDA said the new rule will allow inspectors to concentrate on testing for unseen threats, such as salmonella, which the agency says could prevent up to 5,000 food-borne illnesses a year. Under the current rule, USDA inspectors focus on visual inspection of carcasses, looking for bumps and feathers, and sort the carcasses.

Critics said the new rule gives industry too much power in the inspection process. Industry personnel would sort carcasses instead of inspectors, though a USDA carcass inspector would still give final approval. The Associated Press reported that the new rule would reduce the total number of inspectors by about 25 percent.

Much of the criticism focused on the USDA's plan to increase the maximum line speed from 140 to 175 birds per minute. In the final rule, the USDA kept the line speed capped at 140 birds per minute.

-- Brian Fanney

State index plunges

12.05; 13 lose value

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, lost 12.05 to 344.74 Thursday.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.9 percent, the largest one-day retreat since February. The Arkansas Index dropped 3.4 percent as four stocks advanced and 13 declined.

ArcBest Corp. fell almost 25 percent to $31.73 after its second-quarter earnings showed surging profits but fell short of analysts' estimates.

Bear State Financial gained 3.8 percent to $8.67.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

Business on 08/01/2014

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