Sunday, February 14, 2016

Archive: April, 2012

POSTED: Monday, April 30, 2012, 2:59 PM

From my column in Sunday's Inquirer:

Plaintiffs’ lawyers famously chase society’s “deep pockets,” suing not the worst among us, but rich, slow-moving companies, people and institutions, on any convenient pretext, in hopes of grabbing enough dollars to get them to go away.

Government does the reverse. Too often, agencies walk carefully around powerful potential malefactors and instead target people with relatively shallow pockets — brave, or just careless — who challenge the powerful.

POSTED: Monday, April 30, 2012, 2:52 PM

Flowers Foods, the Georgia company that bought Tastykake last year and plans to add a bread-baking line at Tasty's Oxford, Chester County plant, has started shipping its Nature's Own brand breads to Giant, Wal-Mart, Redner's and Weis markets in Pennsylvania, Tasty president Dan Scott said in a statement.

Nature's Own, already available in Delaware and Maryland, is now being trucked farther north from Flowers' Norfolk, Va., bakery, in anticipation of the Oxford plant's opening next year. Flowers says Nature's Own soft breads contains "no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors," and "no high fructose corn syrup."


POSTED: Monday, April 30, 2012, 7:22 AM

Energy Transfer Partners LP, Dallas, says it has agreed to pay $5.3 billion, or $50.14 a share, in cash and stock, for Sunoco, the century-old Philadelphia oil company that has been selling and shutting its refineries to concentrate on logistics and retail sales. Inquirer's Andrew Maykuth writes more here. Announcement here.

Energy Transfer boss Kelcy Warren called the deal "the next step in Energy Transfer Partners’ transformation into a more diversified enterprise with an integrated and expanded footprint." 

The sale makes Sunoco's remaining businesses "an important part of a diversified leader in the energy industry,” said Brian P. MacDonald, Sunoco’s chief executive.

POSTED: Monday, April 30, 2012, 4:20 PM

Delaware gets it, says KR Sridhar, space-engineering professor-turned-Silicon Valley energy missionary, and boss of Bloom Energy (formerly Ion America), which is building its second U.S. factory, to produce what he says are cost-effective electricity-generating fuel cells - a Holy Grail of energy engineering - in Newark, Del., atop the rubble of an old Chrysler auto plant.

With state support, of course: $16 million in grants, a new energy law that allows Delmarva Power to use fuel cells instead of solar or wind power for green-energy credits, and a consumer surcharge that will boost the cost of electricity to Delaware homeowners by more than $1 a month, for up to 21 years, with the money going to Bloom. 

"Gov. (Jack) Markell, really, he's a political entrepreneur," Sridhar told me. "He had a can-do attitude about the whole process." And not just Markell: the state's (all-Democratic) Congressional delegation and leaders of its (Democratic-led) General Assembly rushed to show Sridhar its support for Markell, also a Democrat, after state environment secretary Collin O'Mara scouted Bloom on a visit to the San Jose, Calif., city government, where he used to work. Markell's team even invited Delaware's last Republican governor, Mike Castle, to meet the leaders of Bloom, cofounded by Sridhar in 2001 with backing from Silicon Valley investor John Doerr and free rent from NASA. 

POSTED: Friday, April 27, 2012, 12:47 PM

Rich man's hardworking hobby, or a back-to-the-future sample of where our meat supply will come from?

The new weekend market at former Susquehanna International Group convertible-bonds chief Dean Carlson's half-square-mile "sustainable" beef, pork and chicken farm opens near Honey Brook, Chester County, 9 a.m. Saturday.

Read more in my column from last Sunday's Inquirer here, and at

POSTED: Friday, April 27, 2012, 12:16 PM

"A number of things are happening to drive up manufacturing costs in China," says Marshall Meyer, veteran Wharton School management professor and regular visitor to what we keep hearing will be the largest world economy. Notes from our conversation:

China faces an "incipient labor shortage." The economy advanced rapidly as its birth rate fell, enjoying a "Lewis turning point" (first identified by Caribbean-born Nobel Prize economist Arthur Lewis) when the number of non-working children and old people was low compared to the number of productive workers. That drives up, first rural wages - in 2003-05 -- then urban wages -- a 20% increase from 2007, without adjusting for currency fluctuations.

"In 2008 the world economy fell off a cliff, but wages continued to go up. The labor-contract law came in at the start of 2008. It will give workers in China rights like tenured professors here at Wharton, if they start to enforce it. Though this is China. It varies.

POSTED: Thursday, April 26, 2012, 3:43 PM

Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia today indicted loan broker Matthew McManus, of Glenside, and his business partner Andrew Bogdanoff, of Arizona, and charged them with fraud, conspiracy and money laundering for having "defrauded more than 800 victims out of more than $10,000,000" (amount corrected) according to a statement from US Attorney Zane David Memeger, FBI special agent-in-charge George Venizelos, and IRS Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Akeia Conner. Four of their out-of-state brokers were also charged with fraud. Bogdanoff also faces federal tax fraud charges. More on the indictment here.

ogdanoff was founder and chairman of Philadelphia-based Remington Capital Group and related companies, and McManus was his partner in the business until he left in 2008. Bogdanoff's lawyer did not immediately return phone calls.

Updated: Says McManus' lawyer, Lisa Mathewson: "The charges appear to relate to Mr. McManus's relationship with a former business associate in Arizona. They do not reflect on Mr. McManus's own Philadelphia-based business, nor on his excellent reputation for closing successful business deals with integrity. He intends to fight them."

McManus has in recent years said he raised money through another firm he controlled, NAI Bluestone Real Estate Capital, for well-known Philadelphia projects, including Bart Blatstein's recent Erbe Apartments complex and other Blatstein projects, from lenders including Greystone Capital, Beneficial Bank, and Firstrust Bank, among others.

POSTED: Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 11:38 AM

Conshohocken-based Kynetic's ShopRunner unit has bought three-year-old, Boston-based retail pickup service PickupZone for an undisclosed price. 

ShopRunner boss Mike Golden says in this statement: "ShopRunner will soon launch PickupPoints, a convenient nationwide network of retail store locations where consumers can chose to pick up packages that have been ordered online."

That helps ShopRunner's store clients compete with, which has lately ramped up its own "Amazon Locker Box" delivery boxes, as AllThingsD's Tracee Duryea notes here

About this blog

PhillyDeals posts interviews, drafts and updates that Joseph N. DiStefano writes alongside his Sunday and Monday columns and ongoing articles about Philadelphia-area business.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn. He taught writing and research at St. Joe’s. He has written for the Inquirer since 1989, except when he left a few times to work at Bloomberg and elsewhere. He wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six kids with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at, 215.854.5194, @PhillyJoeD. Read his blog posts at and his Inquirer columns at Bloomberg posts his items at NH BLG_PHILLYDEAL.

Reach Joseph N. at or 215 854 5194.

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