Thursday, May 28, 2015

Archive: May, 2012

POSTED: Thursday, May 24, 2012, 4:20 PM

Comonwealth Court Judge Bonnie Leadbetter today approved Air Force Gen. William B. Lynch as Gov. Tom Corbett's new receiver for cash-strapped Harrisburg. “He impressed me with the personal qualities that we need to handle this very, very difficult situation,” said the judge, according to this Bloomberg report.

Unkovic told the court he'd been “put in a box” by creditors who convinced another state court judge to appoint a rival receiver to take control of the infamous incinerator whose multiple refinancings have left Harrisburg broke. That receiver "will be a tool of creditors, including Dauphin County and Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp.," according to Bloomberg.

"Unkovic quit March 30, two days after publicly calling for state and federal probes of more than $300 million worth of bond deals that is at the heart of Harrisburg’s insolvency."

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 4:20 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, May 24, 2012, 3:59 PM

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) says it's invested ,pre tjam $800 milllion for a majority stake of Berwyn-based property developer LCOR, a succcessor to the former Linpro and its national portfolio of more than 7,000 apartments and 7 million sq ft of commercial real estate, mostly in the New York-Washington corridor. CalSTRS replaces Lehman Bros., the highly-leveraged Wall Street investment bank that was mortally wounded in the 2008 credit crisis, as LCOR's major financial partner.

“LCOR has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with CalSTRS in an existing multifamily partnership," said LCOR boss Peter DiLullo in this statement. 

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 3:59 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 2:04 PM

EPAM Systems, Inc., the Newtown, Bucks County software engineering-IT outsourcing company that specializes in replacing engineers in the U.S. and other Western markets with lower-paid work in the former Soviet Union and Soviet-bloc countries, says it's agreed to pay $17.4 million in cash, stock and assumed debt for Toronto-based Thoughtcorp, an "IT consultancy and software solution provider" for telecom, finance and retail companies.

The deal spreads EPAM into Canada and adds capacity in "Agile Development, Enterprise Mobility and Business Intelligence," EPAM chief executive Arkadiy Dobkin said in a statement.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 2:04 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 1:45 PM

Vanguard Group, the Malvern-based company that's become the largest and fastest-growing mutual fund distributor since stock market returns fell in the early 2000s and investors became more concerned about reducing investment fees, has stopped charging fees of up to 2% that it had used to punish investors who bought funds and sold them too soon.

Vanguard founder John Bogle discouraged mutual-fund "market timing", preferring to attract "long-term" investors.

"Because we have other measures in place to protect the interests of long-term investors and to discourage frequent trading, we determined that we no longer needed this fee," Vanguard said in this statement, which also lists the former fees and trading time limits.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 1:45 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 1:05 PM

Cash-strapped Harrisburg's former court-appointed financial receiver, lawyer David Unkovic, was expected in Commonwealth Court Thursday for a hearing on the future of the reorganization plan he once led.

It was unclear if the would-be financial czar will be telling details of the political interference he claimed led to his departure to Judge Bonnie Leadbetter, who's asked only for testimony that directly impacts the state's plan to sell city assets.

Before resigning, Unkovic had called for a federal investigation into the bond deals that drove the city to default on its debt.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 1:05 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 12:30 PM

Sweet Ovations, Philadelphia-based purveyor of fruit syrups and other dessert flavorings to yogurt makers, snackmakers and food service companies, said today it's purchaesd Golden West Fruit Co., Commerce, Calif., boosting the company's sales in 11 Western states. Sweet Ovations, headed by Kevin Daugherty, won't say what it paid.

Sweet Ovations has about 200 employees at its facility near Tomlinson and Roosevelt Boulevard in Northeast Philadelphia, and another 200 at a second plant in Gardenia, Calif. The Commerce facility will be "consolidated into" the Gardenia facility, Sweet Ovations marketing chief Beth Agnew told me.

Both firms were founded in the early years of the refrigerated-trucking business; Sweet Ovations traces its roots to Theresa Friedman Jam and Jelly Co., founded in 1931, and has grown through a string of acquisitions. Brief statement here.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 12:30 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, May 22, 2012, 11:59 AM

"Last week, Bryan Berg, the CTO of San Francisco startup Mixed Media Labs, wrote a detailed post that showed how Comcast appears to be favoring the Xfinity traffic" over rival video services, Ars Technica's Cyrus Farivar writes here.

"Berg concluded that this constitutes 'reasonable evidence of the prioritization of traffic in violation of the terms of the Comcast/NBCU Consent Decree.'

"Comcast acknowledges it is applying different quality of service value (known in the industry as Differentiated Services Code Point, DiffServ, or DSCP value) that normally denotes priority levels for traffic. But the company states 'that is not their only application—and that is not what they are being used for here.'"

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 11:59 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, May 22, 2012, 10:25 AM

Verizon, at the Cable Show in Boston this morning, "is breaking news about a new wireless media platform that will help consumers find content" and watch it on mobile phones, "initially partnering with Comcast," writes Tony Wible, analyst at Janney Capital Markets, this morning, in a note to clients.

Combined with yesterday's "hotspot alliance" linking the big cable providers into one wireless network, this will help Comcast and TimeWarner "push content out to mobile devices," Wible adds, while boosting Verizon's "wholesale video delivery" business. 

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 10:25 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at,, 215.854.5194 or 302.652.2004.

Reach Joseph N. at or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano