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Top News Links: Thursday, July 27

Rep. Mo Brooks offers to drop out of Alabama Senate race for Sessions

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, who is in danger of missing a GOP primary runoff in Alabama's Senate race, has offered to drop out of the contest to make way for under-fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reclaim his old seat in Congress' upper chamber. — Politico

Former contract workers key in Mississippi Nissan union vote

A bid by workers at Mississippi's Nissan Motor Co. plant for United Auto Workers representation could turn on a key voting bloc — 1,500 workers who are Nissan employees today, but were initially hired through contract labor agencies. — Times Free Press

Time Inc. Explores Sale of Sunset, Golf Magazines

Time Inc. is exploring a sale of Coastal Living, Sunset and Golf magazines as the struggling publisher concentrates on larger titles in its turnaround strategy, Chief Executive Officer Rich Battista said in an interview Tuesday. — Bloomberg

Alabama auto sector primed for growth with $1 billion in new investment

Last year, there were at least 68 auto projects, for an estimated total of 3,848 jobs and $907.1 million in new capital investment, according to an analysis of the 2016 New & Expanding Industry Report. New projects announced this year push that total past $1 billion and add hundreds of more jobs. — Made in Alabama

Merchants Plaza project announced for downtown Mobile

Merchants Plaza, formerly known as Merchants National Bank, will hold an unveiling Thursday, July 27, at 10 a.m. in the bank lobby of the tower to share details of the 225,000-square-foot, mixed-use redevelopment in downtown Mobile, utilizing state-provided historic tax credits, according to a news release. — Lagniappe

Revitalization of Downtown Montgomery Continues On Lower Dexter Avenue

It won’t be long before  many of the “Coming Soon” signs outside of store fronts on Dexter Avenue will be replaced with open signs. Officials are calling the developing area “Low-Dex”, and an extension of the revitalization of other parts of downtown Montgomery. — AlabamaNewsNet

Valley National to acquire USAB for $816M, enhance Florida, Alabama markets

Wayne-based Valley National Bancorp announced Wednesday that it is expanding in Florida and Alabama with its most recent acquisition of USAmeriBancorp Inc. — NJBiz

University of Mobile names Todd Greer as Dean of UM School of Business

Business entrepreneur Todd Greer, chief catalyst and CEO of Exchange202, a shared workspace community in the heart of downtown Mobile, has been named dean of the School of Business at University of Mobile. — WPMI

USAmeriBank sold in $816M deal

In the biggest sale of a local bank this year, USAmeriBancorp Inc. has agreed to sell itself to Valley National Bancorp in a stock deal valued at $816 million. The deal will give Valley its first offices in Alabama, where USAmeriBank has 15 offices. — Tampa Bay Business Journal

Superintendent Sentance receives low scores

Alabama State School Board members are moving forward with an "early" evaluation of State School Board Superintendent Michael Sentance. — WPMI

McClarin Plastics plant in Elmore to close

McClarin Plastics LLC has announced plans to cease all production activities and close its plant in Elmore effective in August. The company started operations in Elmore in January of 2013, and had about 230 employees at the plant. — Montgomery Advertiser

Hibbett Sports slumps after warning of 'challenging' sales

Shares of Hibbett Sports Inc dropped 32 percent on Monday after the U.S. sports apparel retailer warned it would be affected by "very challenging" sales trends. — Reuters

Arista Aviation wins $111 million State Department contract

Arista Aviation Services LLC, in Enterprise, has been awarded a five year IDIQ contract with a value of over $111,000,000 to perform UH-1 Programmed Depot Maintenance (PDM) by the U.S. Department of State, Office of Aviation. This is a follow on contract, and Arista Aviation is the current incumbent. — Press Release

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