Sunday, December 28, 2014

Archive: June, 2012

POSTED: Friday, June 29, 2012, 12:00 PM

NEW: If the change in control at Motorola Mobility's Horsham-based Motorola Home, following Mobility's sale to Google, means the new owner is looking to sell Home's video equipment business so it can concentrate on Mobility's larger phone business, here are some likely buyers, writes Bryn Mawr-based Light Reading Cable editor Jeff Baumgartner (corrected) (full item here): 

   - Ed Breen, the New Hope resident who ran Motorola Home predecessor General Instruments before his current gig running Tyco, could put a group together for his former colleagues, newly departed Home bosses Dan Moloney and Geoff Roman, if they can find backers with an interest in keeping rival Cisco from taking over the cable set-top box business
   - CommScope - Cable veteran Frank Drendel's equipment maker is backed by Carlyle Group, the same giant buyout house that's taking over Sunoco's South Philly refinery, by the way.
   - 
Juniper Networks -- also in the cable equipment business
   - Pace Plc -- already in the set-top box business
   - 
Huawei Technologies -- Cable TV in China is much cheaper than in the US

I asked Motorola if the business was for sale. Reply: "We don't comment on rumor and speculation." Adds spokeswoman Jeanne Russo: "Motorola Home has a vibrant business with a strong product portfolio, leadership team, and customer relationships. We will continue to operate as the preferred and innovative partner to cable operators and service providers worldwide."

POSTED: Friday, June 29, 2012, 10:14 AM

Conservatives fought hard against the weekend, Social Security and Medicare when they were proposed. But once enacted, both Republican and Democratic Presidents and Congresses have embraced all three as they became part of American life.

So we can expect Obama's complex, compromised health care reforms -- which transfer responsibility for paying for uninsured people's health care, from hospitals and doctors, who passed costs to the public through higher fees, to taxpayers, who will pay for expanded health insurance -- will continue, even if Republican Mitt Romney is elected President.

Veteran Philadelphia investor James M. Meyer, of TowerBridge Advisors, wrote a thoughtful account of the costs, purpose and likely durability of "Obamacare," in a note sent this morning to clients of West Conshohocken-based investment brokerage Boenning & Scattergood. Highlights:

POSTED: Thursday, June 28, 2012, 1:40 PM

Onetime prosecutor Arlen Specter, turned out of the U.S. Senate by Pennsylvania voters in 2010, is making a new career defending financiers.

"Banned-from-banking Dunmore businessman Louis DeNaples enlisted a big name in the political and legal community in his fight with regulators: former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter," reports David Falchek of the Scranton Times-Tribune, read his story via Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice here.

"The Philadelphia Republican-turned-Democrat has joined forces with a team of Washington, D.C. banking attorneys in the bid to overturn regulators' lifetime ban from banking imposed on DeNaples, a key shareholder and former president of the board of directors of Dunmore-based First National Community Bank." Here's a 2010 Philadelphia federal appeals court decision affirming the ban against DeNaples.

POSTED: Thursday, June 28, 2012, 1:25 PM

UPDATED: Galman Group, Jenkintown, earlier this year bought the 120-unit Red Lion Manor apartment complex in Somerton, Northeast Philadelphia, and 111-apartment Cheswick Square in Roxborough, Northwest Philadelphia, for a combined $16.15 million, using $13.5 million in Fannie Mae-backed conventional loans from Bethesda, MD-based Beech Street Capital, via broker Meridian Capital, plus equity for the balance.

Galman paid $7.7 million for Red Lion, $8.45 million for Keswick, according to the firm's Christopher Albright. The group, owned by Arnold Galman, plans $2 million in renovations.

"We've bought two portfolios, total 634 apartments, in the last two years," Albright told me. That includes two properties bought from the former L&S Property Group, in Roxborough and Lansdowne, which had been taken over by Fannie Mae and needed substantial renovations. Those buildings are near completion and will be leased soon, the Galman firm says.

POSTED: Thursday, June 28, 2012, 12:53 PM

(UPDATE with company comment) Banks and pension funds aren't the only ones who suffer when interest rates are low.

At Radnor-based Lincoln National Corp., the life insurance and annuity sales giant that pays $7 million a year to stick its name on the NFL Eagles' South Philly stadium, "returns on new business may currently be below" the company's capital costs, warns analyst Steven D. Schwartz, in a report to clients of broker Raymond James & Associates.

How can Lincoln keep selling policies that don't cover their financial costs? Lincoln insurance-and-retirement boss Mark Konen told investors that Lincoln "is in the life insurance business for the long haul;" it can reduce sales, but "leaving businesses or raising prices to uncompetitive levels" in order to boost financial ratios "will hurt shareholders in the long run by destroying the company's strong franchise," Schwartz reports. 

POSTED: Thursday, June 28, 2012, 11:26 AM

Kennett Square-based Regional Rail LLC, which owns the Kennett-based, 100+-mile East Penn Railroad, Bucks County-based Tyburn Railroad, and the Middletown (NY) & New Jersey Railroad, has taken title to Conshohocken Recycling & Rail Transfer LLC, a 14-acre, Schuylkill River-side complex in the industrial zone south of Norristown that handles up to 2,000 tons of construction debris a day, by truck and rail.

"We plan to grow the business" by working with construction companies that seek LEED recycling certification for buildings, Regional Rail president Bob Parker said in a statement.

The deal closed two and a half years after Regional Rail owner FirstCity Crestone, a Chicago buyout firm, bought the defaulted loan that financed  the dump's previous owners from Bank of America.

POSTED: Thursday, June 28, 2012, 8:28 AM

"The best hope for Sunoco's idled Marcus Hook refinery site is for it to be reborn as a multipurpose energy-processing facility, fueled by the growing output of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale drilling boom," according to a $100,000 Delaware County Industrial Development Authority-funded report by consultant IHS Global insight, writes my colleague Andrew Maykuth here.

Read the full 122-page report by IHS's Brendan O'Neil, Joseph Waldo and colleagues here. IHS is a Massachusetts-based economic forecasting company whose Essington, Delaware County office is negotiating a move to Center City Philadelphia.

UPDATE: IDA says the report was funded by "cash reserves" financed by agency fees, and not by taxes, as reported in an earlier edition of this item.

POSTED: Thursday, June 28, 2012, 8:28 AM

A four-month investigation in which NY-based China Labor Watch interviewed 620 workers at Apple Inc. suppliers Toyo Precision, BYD Electronic, Quanta Computer, Wintek and Jabil Circuit, among others, "showed workers work up to 180 hours of overtime a month during peak periods, exceeding the legal limit of 36 hours per month ... Some factories also omit medical insurance as required by the law... Workers are exposed to hazardous conditions," Bloomberg reports here.


Summary and link to China Labor Watch's 132-page report here.

"Apple and its suppliers such as Taiwanese tycoon Terry Gou's Foxconn Technology Group have been the target of labor rights groups, which say the world's most valuable technology company are making iPhones and iPads in massive sweat shops.

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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