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Archive: May, 2010

POSTED: Wednesday, May 26, 2010, 10:09 AM

Pitcairn, the Jenkintown firm (formerly Pitcairn Trust Co.) that manages money for heirs of PPG founder and Bryn Athyn patron John Pitcairn and other clients, wants to expand into New York following its December purchase of the John M. Huber family's Shelterwood Financial Services group, reports Institutional Investor's Private Asset Management newsletter here.

They're looking for people worth $50 million+, willing to pay annual fees starting at $150,000.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 10:09 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, May 26, 2010, 9:06 AM

"On Dec. 23, (Wells Fargo & Co.) returned to the Treasury the $25 billion it had borrowed under the U.S. government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.

"That freed the bank from the Treasury’s (limits) on executive pay.

"The next day, the board made John Stumpf the best-paid chief executive officer of the 50 biggest financial companies by awarding him shares of Wells Fargo stock valued at about $10 million," reports Bloomberg here.

Stumpf's total pay, including salary and stock, hit $21.3 million, making him #1 among the top 50 financial companies CEOs in Bloomberg Markets' yearly list.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 9:06 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, May 26, 2010, 8:39 PM

"Apple Inc., the computer maker turned mobile gadgeteer, overtook Microsoft Corp. to become the most valuable technology company on optimism it can keep adding customers for its iPhone, Macintosh computer and iPad," writes Bloomberg here.

At the close of Nasdaq stock trading today, "Apple’s market value was at $222.1 billion, higher than Microsoft’s $219.2 billion," making Apple "the second-largest U.S. stock by market value, behind oil company Exxon Mobil Corp., valued at $278.6 billion on the New York Stock Exchange."

Does that mean Apple's highly-proprietary, high-margin business model beats Microsoft's high-volume, market-domination approach?

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 8:39 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, May 26, 2010, 5:57 PM

For 30+ years, Joseph Cutrufello operated Pierre & Carlo hair salon at The Bellevue on South Broad. Last Oct. 23, "The Bellevue ousted Pierre & Carlo from the Premises" and brought in Canada-based hairstyling chain Premier Salons Inc., writes US District Court Judge Anita Brody in this memorandum.

Premier and Bellevue "had been scheming about the takeover for months," and the new operator kept Pierre & Carlo's equipment, including "hydraulic tables for massages and facials,"  and signed up most of its employees, who included "18 stylists, 4 assistants, 4 massage therapists, 4 aestheticians, 2 nail technicians," among others, Brody noted.

Premier told Cutrufello he could still work there, then fired him when he showed up. His salon had been "in debt," - Premier says his salon was "significantly" behind in its rent -but his salon also "increasing sales and reducing overhead," and had identified a potential investor, Brody wrote. Cutrufello's lawsuit demanded Premier give back his people, stuff and customer lists, and he asked Brody for a preliminary injunction giving it all back while the case proceeded.

Brody ordered Premier not to use the Pierre & Carlo name, to give up Pierre & Carlo's furniture, fixtures and equipment, and to tell customers the salon is no longer affiliated with Pierre & Carlo, pending the posting of a bond, to be set at June 2 hearing.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 5:57 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, May 25, 2010, 2:46 PM

Insight Venture Partners, Jeff Horing's New York investment firm, and Citrix Systems, a publicly-traded, Fort Lauderdale-based software service company, have made new investment agreements with Philadelphia-based PHD Virtual Technologies, a backup provider for virtual-machine software systems, according to a joint statement.

Insight and Citrix won't say how much they're investing. "We do several deals a quarter," Citrix spokesman Eduardo Fleites told me. "PHD Virtual Technologies (is) a strong partner and attractive investment opportunity," said Andy Cohen, Citrix' senior director of strategic development. PHD recently rolled out Backup for Citrix XenServer, the latest version of the Philadelphia firm's esXpress backup service.

PHD boss Thomas Charlton told me the firm employed 20 when he joined last winter, and plans to hire "at least" 20 more, mostly salespeople, this year. PHD competitors include Veeam Software, of Columbus, Ohio, and VMWare, Palo Alto.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 2:46 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, May 25, 2010, 1:47 PM

New Jersey is "careening our way toward becoming Greece," Gov. Chris Christie told members of the conservative Manhattan Institute today, according to Bloomberg. Story here. Excerpts:

"New Jersey’s tax revenue will fall $767 million short of targets over the next 13 months, the state Legislature’s chief budget analyst told lawmakers today." That's after $10 billion of proposed spending cuts left the budget at $29 billion.

"Greece agreed this month to cut wages for government workers, raise sales, fuel and alcohol taxes and overhaul the state-run pension system in return for 110 billion euros ($136 billion) in emergency loans from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

"New Jersey, like Greece, has a high proportion of public workers who have been entitled to benefits such as free health insurance that outstrip taxpayers’ ability to pay for them, Christie said. In the past decade the state added 11,000 public- sector jobs as it lost more than 120,000 private positions, he said."

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 1:47 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, May 25, 2010, 10:47 AM

Google TV, designed to make "the TV viewing experience more akin to web browsing" by offering "Internet, IPTV, and multi channel operator content on the TV," is supposed to go on sale at Best Buys this fall; the service looks like serious competition to Comcast and other cable operators, and a challenge, at least in the short run, to TV producers that make their money selling to cable, writes Janney Capital Markets analyst Tony Wible in a short report to clients today. Excerpts:

"Google's push into the living room is likely to be met with resistance by most multi channel operators, which would likely view the product as a threat to their existing business... Google's willingness to aggregate Internet content could accelerate cord cutting or cord shaving that would impair multi channel operations and the massive fees content producers collect from these operators...

"We estimate cable operators alone spend over $18 billion a year on content, while spending $15 billion a year on capital expenditures. These massive cash flows will likely keep interests of operators and content producers aligned for the foreseeable future...

"Even Google will face hurdles from political alliances and hardware limitations.... A rollout will take years to implement... It is difficult to add new devices in the living room." For example, Microsoft's Ultimate TV and Apple TV "have struggled." Though if it works for Google, Microsoft will be there, too, Wible adds. And cable companies could still get there first.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 10:47 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, May 25, 2010, 4:22 PM

"Fear and volatility are back. There'll be a lot of triple-digit days," with stock prices jumping and falling, says Rex Macey, chief investment officer at Wilmington Trust Investment Management.

"It's not just the stock market. Look at spreads on junk bonds. Look at credit-default swaps. A lot of data points show this."

Macey's been preaching a "slow, fragile" recovery since last year. Investors got more excited when first-quarter corporate earnings came in strong. "But we weren't out of the woods. There's still a lot of foreclosures, there's still severe delinquencies in housing."

Then came the Greek crisis, the weaker euro, and "China and Australia putting on the breaks." Last month Wilmington Trust reduced its foreign-stock investments, and "our clients sounded like a chiropractic, they said, 'That felt good!'

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 4:22 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at or 215 854 5194.

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