Need to know: Llamasoft sold, record COVID cases, and more business news from the week – Crain’s Detroit Business


The news: Another Ann Arbor technology company has found itself an exit with a larger Silicon Valley company. San Mateo, Calif.-based Coupa Software Inc. (NASDAQ: COUP) announced Monday that it has acquired LLamasoft Inc., an AI business for supply chain management for approximately $1.5 billion in a mixture of cash and stock.

Why it matters: Monday’s announcement of the deal to acquire LLamasoft is not the only high-profile exit for an Ann Arbor startup in recent years. Duo Security Inc., an Ann Arbor-based cybersecurity company, was acquired by Cisco Inc. for $2.35 billion in October 2018.

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The news: Michigan set several new single-day highs in new COVID-19 cases as the virus continued to spread more rapidly in the state. As of Thursday, the seven-day rolling average of new cases reached a new high of 3,798. Hospitalizations stood at about half of the peak reached in mid-April, but were disproportionately higher outstate.

Why it matters: Health care leaders said they are concerned that unless residents take precautionary measures seriously, deaths will spike as well.

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The news: Western Michigan University and the Thomas M. Cooley Law School will end their affiliation effective November 2023, the schools announced Thursday. WMU’s board of trustees voted unanimously to terminate the agreements made with the law school in 2013, setting forth a three-year process of severing ties.

Why it matters: Cooley is facing major headwinds as demand for legal education drops. Cooley moved classes fully online this fall due to COVID-19, and the pandemic disruption happened as the school was downsizing. It closed its Auburn Hills campus and announced in August it would merge its Grand Rapids campus to its base in Lansing, where its administrative offices are located.

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The news: Steve Gray, the director of Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency, resigned Thursday. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that Liza Estlund Olson will serve as acting director effective immediately until a replacement for Gray is found.

Why it matters: Gray was appointed head of the UIA in July 2019, after the agency struggled to recover from the wreckage wrought by an internal computer program that incorrectly accused 40,000 unemployment benefits recipients of fraud between 2013 and 2015. The agency has since been stung by criticism over slow processing of unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The news: Claude Molinari, general manager for TCF Center in downtown Detroit, will succeed Larry Alexander as head of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. In the new role, Molinari will also oversee the direction of the Detroit Sports Commission — a DMCVB subsidiary — which is responsible for securing amateur sports for the region.

Why it matters: Alexander plans to retire at the end of 2020 after 22 years with the tourism and event organization. He will continue as chair of the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority, created to operate TCF Center, through 2022.

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