Tuesday, April 28, 2015

POSTED: Tuesday, April 14, 2015, 10:11 AM

DuPont Co. CEO Ellen Kullman sent this letter Monday to DuPont Co. employees near the company's Wilmington, Del. headquarters as staff prepares to relocate to the company's suburban Chestnut Run complex, in the face of a contested board election. Some highlights (NOTES and emphases added)

Dear Colleagues: The next few weeks will be very active as we advance the move to Chestnut Run, approach the official launch of Chemours and enter the final phase of the proxy contest with Trian Fund Management (Nelson Peltz's hedge fund group. Trian says here that DuPont under Kullman underperformed, while she reaped millions in stock payouts; and that DuPont should speed expense cuts so shareholders get more cash.)...

With the move to Chestnut Run, our changes in location undoubtedly make more real the impending division of DuPont and Chemours (DuPont's plan spin-off, which will separate titanium dioxide plants generating 20% of the company's $35 billion in yearly revenues into a new company, and pay $4 billion to DuPont shareholders. More here.I believe deeply that the best times are ahead for both organizations. The separation will create two strong companies...

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 10:11 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, April 10, 2015, 2:38 PM

David J. Adelman's West Philadelphia-based Campus Apartments has been joined by New York-based Clarion Partners to raise $402.9 million, mostly from U.S. and foreign institutional investors, for Campus-Clarion Student Housing Partners LP, a closed-end fund to buy U.S. student housing. 

"We had a longstanding relationship with Clarion," Adelman told me. CORRECTED: Campus considered doing a fund with Clarion in 2006, but ended up working instead with the Government of Singapore in that earlier effort. "They heard we were going out to raise this fund, and they offered to be the back-office support," Adelman added. Campus will find the deals and operate the buildings. Clarion will oversee investor reporting.

The partners say they will be able to leverage their equity, plus loans, to buy $1.2 billion worth of projects across the U.S., with up to 20,000 beds, making this "the largest student housing fund by a vertically-integrated manager," Adelman says.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 2:38 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, April 10, 2015, 9:54 AM

Superfit Inc., a jewelry "invisibile hinge" manufacturer based in Philadelphia since 1993, says the company is expanding with a new Canadian facility in Toronto Jan. 1. The Canada center will be run by contract manufacturer Platinum Unlimited Inc., a partnership of jewelers Chris Knight, Richard Lowe and Rachel Tucker and manager Larry Hall.

Superfit's products help rings fit different-sized users. Superfit employs 16 fulltime and 3 parttime at its headquarters near 13th and Race, marketing chief Erin G. Crew told me. The company opened a European distribution center in Sweden in 2012, and is scouting locations in Asia and Australia..  

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 9:54 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, April 10, 2015, 9:45 AM

Flush with new investor cash, clinical-trials payment-technology provider Greenphire says it has moved to an 18,000 sq. ft. office at 630 Allendale Road, King of Prussia, from a smaller location nearby. The company employs 65, and plans to have over 100 by the end of 2015, a spokeswoman told me, expanding on a statement by Jennifer Peters, Greephire's "Chief Experience Officer."

The company said in January it has raised an undisclosed amount from investor Loren Schlachet's New York-based Riverside Capital. Greenphire raised $5.8 million from investors in 2011 and 2012, according to SEC Form D filings, see them here.  The 2011 investors included FirstMark Capital, whose founder Gerald Poch joined the board. Greenphire's payment-systems partners include Citibank and Wilmington-based The Bancorp, among others, 

Greenphire was backed earlier by Pennsylvania's state-funded Ben Franklin Technology Partners. More on Greenphire's bosses Sam Whitaker, John Samar and Dr. Neil Rotheham at Tom Paine's Philly Tech News here.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 9:45 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, April 9, 2015, 3:36 PM

If you have a good story to tell and tell it long enough, you can end up like Vanguard Group founder John C. “Jack” Bogle, once a radical in his business, and now its 85-year-old Establishment figure, one of the few true investment celebrities in America.

And if you can make a career of being consistently contrary, you can aspire to be like Jim Grant, publisher of the Grant's Interest Rate Observer newsletter of stock-picking and monetary policy, who hosted Bogle, amid a conference of Grant fans, in an ornate ballroom at New York's Plaza last week, for a “Great Debate” over how best to manage other people's money.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 3:36 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, April 9, 2015, 11:53 AM

As chief executive of Tyco International from 2002-12, Bucks County resident Edward Breen broke the conglomerate into five successor companies: which did well, enriching himself and other shareholders.

But as a new director of the DuPont Co., Breen opposes an accelerated break-up of the bio/chemical giant and its research arm, as envisioned by billionaire activist investor Nelson Peltz, whose Trian Fund Management is trying to unseat four of Breen's allies in a contested board election. In this letter today, Trian says DuPont is overpaying CEO Ellen Kullman and other managers, even as DuPont shares and most of its businesses fail to meet targets.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 11:53 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 12:27 PM

RES Software is looking for new office space around Philadelphia, after the 250-person company hired 15-year Citrix Systems Inc. executive Al Monserrat as its new CEO. The Dutch-owned firm, which offers corporate clients VMware and Citrix platforms to build service and app delivery, employs 30 at its North American headquarters in Radnor, and is looking to expand here.

But Monserrat doesn't plan to move North from his Florida home, he told me. He shouldn't have to: "I'll live out of a virtual office, demonstrating the poewr of the product." At the same time, "we'll need a West Coast presence as well, to grow," he added. 

Monserrat joined Citrix when it bought his IT consultancy in 2000. Citrix was a $350 million (yearly sales) company looking to diversify. He was put in charge of professional services, then North American sales, which he says he doubled in five years, to $500MM by 2008. He next headed worldwide sales and services, which have tripled to $3 billion, though growth has slowed in recent years -- as with most of IT, Monserrat says.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 12:27 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 11:22 AM

Point.io, a University City-based firm whose Digital Engagement Platform helps corporate customers build new cloud-based mobile applications compatible with older and desktop systems, has raised $4 million from "prominent companies and individuals" in New York and Philadelphia, bringing total capital raised to date to $4.5 million, chief executive Ron Rock tells me.

Rock and his fellow managers reorganized and renamed the firm after acquiring Andrew Schwabe's CloudPointe in 2013. Previous Form D filings here. Rock says clients include healthcare, telco and financial service companies, served by a mix team of "brilliant kids" and veteran engineers -- about 30 people in all, including sites in Boston and London. 

Point.io will use the money to "increase sales staff and add technical resources." Rock sold his previous firm, Knowledge Rules, a business-process management consultancy, to Accenture in 2010. 

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 11:22 AM  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 JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

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