News in brief

Olive Ventures on track to go public

MDH Acquisition Corp., a private equity company owned by Franklin McLarty, announced a partnership Friday to take public PayLink Direct, an industry leading payment services provider that currently has the largest market share, and, a leading digital vehicle protection plan platform. The companies will become public as Olive Ventures Holdings Inc. known as, the name of the existing digital platform.

The new public company,, will be a combination of two platforms:'s current digital vehicle protection plan platform and PayLink Direct's payment services operation. PayLink Direct, founded in 2006 by Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Howard, has a 15-year track record of profitability and will become a division of

Upon completion of the merger, Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Howard will lead the new public company and MDH's Executive Chairman, Franklin McLarty, will become its chairman.

-- Andrew Moreau

Rock Dental adds 9 clinics in 3 states

Rock Dental Brands, a Little Rock-based practice manage group supporting a network of doctors who provide care in general dentistry, pediatric dentistry, orthodontics and oral surgery, has announced the acquisition of nine clinics in Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri.

"The acquisitions were completed jointly with Rock Dental Brands' doctor-owned affiliated professional dental practices in separate transactions over recent months," the company said in the announcement.

No price for the transactions was disclosed.

The Arkansas clinics announced in the acquisition include two locations of Jim Moore Orthodontics, in Pine Bluff and Monticello; two locations of Arkansas Oral Surgery, in Conway and Russellville; Dr. Michael Wharton-Palmer, DDS, Pediatric Dentist in Texarkana; and South Arkansas Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery in El Dorado.

The Missouri and Tennessee clinics announced in the acquisition include Arquitt Pediatric Dentistry in Springfield, Mo.; Sherrick Orthodontics in Rolla, Mo.; and Michelle Johnson Orthodontics in Bartlett, Tenn.

The latest acquisitions brings the total number of Rock Dental-supported clinics to 84 in three states, according to the news release.

-- Noel Oman

Index closes day up, led by ArcBest, Hunt

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Friday at 639.95, up 5.65.

Shares of Arkansas-based transportation and logistics companies led the index Friday. J.B. Hunt shares rose 2.2% while ArcBest Corp. shares jumped 2.5%. Dillard's Inc. shares fell 1.5%.

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