Mayor Slay fighting to keep corporations in St. Louis

Mayor Slay fighting to keep corporations in St. Louis

Credit: WhisperToMe

ConAgra Foods Headquarters


by Larry Conners / News 4

Posted on November 28, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 29 at 12:04 PM

ST. LOUIS ( – Following the announcement that Conagra would acquire St. Louis-based Ralcorp,  Mayor Francis Slay is vowing to fight for Ralcorp employees’ jobs.

The $5 billion deal is expected to close by March 21. Neither Con Agra nor Ralcorp will say if there will be layoffs as a result of the takeover.

The mayor told News 4 he has already spoken to the head of Ralcorp and is prepared to lobby to ConAgra.

But at the end of the day, the mayor says this is another business taking over a good product St. Louis has to offer.

Ralcorp joins McDonnell Douglas, May and InBev on the list of major St. Louis companies bought out by outside corporations.

Mayor Slay says the battle for local jobs is a tough one, but it’s one that is constantly going on.

“This is a fluid game,” said Mayor Slay. “Some businesses stay, the challenge is to stay ahead of the game.”

Washington University professor Glenn Macdonald agrees, and says this is all about good business.

“Companies get purchased all the time,” he said. “Some go through consolidations so the fact that companies are being purchased it not really notable.”

Not all acquisitions are negative. There are corporations headquartered in St. Louis that recently acquired smaller companies and grew the job market.

“Stiffel bought businesses and they’re expanding. They’re bringing jobs here,” said Macdonald. “We saw when AG Edwards was bought by Wachovia then they’re expanding and bringing jobs here as well. “

However all these corporations were already in St. Louis. Many are wondering how the city is trying to lure major corporations to set up headquarters here.

“St. Louis is a great place to live to work, to raise a family, we have some great amenities,” said Mayor Slay. “We have a lot of large city qualities but at the same time we have a lot of qualities of a smaller city with not so much congestion. “

While many St. Louisans may know this, Dr. Macdonald says in order for a company to set up shop, there needs to be some major changes.

“St. Louis is regarded as a dying city, dangerous, socially conservative, not too friendly to outsiders,” he said. “Now all that stuff could be false. But for purposes of bringing people here that is not all that attractive. “

Mayor Slay says his office, along with several partners, are always working to attract companies to St. Louis; and while for privacy reasons he couldn’t say exactly who, he says talks are active.