Business Notes: Maryland Rises on Forbes Best States for Business List

Plus: State economic development director hoping for Christmas present from Amazon; Discovery invests again in Thrillist parent company


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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has used the "open for business" slogan throughout the state to promote his efforts to create new jobs and lure new businesses to the state

Larry Hogan campaign website

Maryland rises on Forbes best states for business list

Maryland rose four spots to come in at number 26 on the business publication’s annual “Best States for Business” list this year. Forbes ranks states based on six factors—business costs, labor supply, economic climate, regulatory environment, growth prospects and quality of life. Maryland ranked seventh overall in labor supply, but was outside the top 25 in four other categories and 16th in growth prospects.

The state’s southern neighbor, Virginia, came in at number 5 on the list. Washington, D.C., was not included.

North Carolina was ranked number 1 in 2017, followed by Texas, Utah and Nebraska. Alaska and West Virginia came in at 49th and 50th, respectively.

State economic development director hopes for “Christmas present” from Amazon

Maryland Economic Development Director Mike Gill doesn’t just want packages from Amazon this Christmas. He wants the state to be on the retail giant’s short list of choices for its second headquarters, according to the Baltimore Business Journal.

Gill told the paper he does not know when Amazon will whittle down the 238 states, counties and cities in U.S. and Canada that applied to be considered for the tech giant’s new headquarters. However, he said, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if (Amazon CEO) Jeff Bezos delivered a Christmas present and put Maryland on the short list? It would be a big deal.”

Montgomery County, along with Prince George’s County, Baltimore city, Howard County and Charles County, submitted bids for the new headquarters in October. Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia are also vying to host Amazon.

It’s not clear when Amazon plans to notify jurisdictions if they’ve made the short list before the company makes a final decision next year. The Charlotte Observer reported this week that the North Carolina city’s economic development partnership doesn’t expect to be informed about whether the city is on the short list until early 2018 after initially expecting to be informed by Friday.

Discovery leads $40 million funding round for Thrillist parent company

Silver Spring-based Discovery Communications is continuing to invest in the digital media company behind the men’s lifestyle website Thrillist and animal news website The Dodo. Discovery led a $40 million funding round for Group Nine Media, the millennial-focused media company, according to Bloomberg.

German media company Axel Springer SE and the investment firm Lerer Hippeau Ventures also invested in the latest funding round along with Discovery. The cash infusion is the latest investment by Discovery, which last year provided $100 million to Group Nine.

Discovery CEO David Zaslav noted last month that Group Nine is unprofitable, but Discovery hopes to be part of the company’s growth as more media consumers turn to online outlets from TV, Bloomberg reported.

Discovery’s stock price has dropped 38 percent over the past year as the company’s TV channels lose viewers as more cable subscribers continue cord-cutting. Over the last three years, the stock has lost about half its value, according to the investment website Zacks.

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