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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: February, 2011

POSTED: Monday, February 28, 2011, 11:59 AM

Small-business owners with a yen for technology can start their Monday learning about attracting investment and end it by seeing how some local entrepreneurs are employing their capital.

The Ben Franklin Technology Center of Southeastern Pennsylvania will hold a free briefing on its programs that provide financing and help commercialize ideas at its Navy Yard offices at 4801 S. Broad St., Suite 200, between 9 and 10:30 a.m.

The nonprofit organization, which is largely funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, will hold other briefings in Blue Bell on March 10, at its Navy Yard office March 17, in Warrington on March 22, and in Doylestown on April 5.

POSTED: Thursday, February 24, 2011, 2:14 PM

Osage Partners, of Bala Cynwyd, has raised $100 million for a venture capital fund that has teamed up with eight universities and is focused on investing in start-ups that emerge from work being done on campus.

Called Osage University Partners I, the fund will invest in both early- and late-stage companies involved in a wide range of industries, such as therapeutics, medical diagnostics, advanced materials, cleantech and software.

Managing partner Marc Singer said the fund enables the universities to participate in venture-capital rounds they'd previously were unable to fund. Osage has signed contracts with the University of Pennsylvania and seven other institutions:

  • California Institute of Technology;
  • Columbia University;
  • Duke University;
  • University of California at Berkeley;
  • University of Florida;
  • University of Michigan;
  • Yale University.
POSTED: Thursday, February 24, 2011, 12:00 PM
Filed Under: Energy, Utilities

Oil experts this week seem to be tripping over themselves to offer dire predictions of where the price of a barrel of oil is headed.

Nomura Holdings Inc. analysts said they expect $220 a barrel if production is disrupted further in Libya and Algeria. Someone else burped up $300 to $400 a barrel.

Prediction is a fool’s game for reporters, so don’t look for one here. But recognize that such high estimates represent Armageddon-style planning. (How many Americans still have duct tape and bottled water in their basement?)

POSTED: Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 6:22 PM

Even if they're not binding on boards of directors, the "say on pay" proposals that many shareholders will see for the first time this spring on proxy ballots promise to enliven the stodgy process of corporate governance.

It's not that shareholders have suddenly gained the power to replace the often-complex pay schemes for the chief executive and other senior managers with straight-time paychecks at $15 an hour.

But the exercise could begin to send some not-so-subtle messages to boards about how they pay corporate leaders and how often shareholders want the chance to vote publicly on those compensation practices.

POSTED: Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 1:25 PM

Comcast Corp. CEO Brian L. Roberts and DuPont Co. CEO Ellen Kullman were added Wednesday to a business/labor group that the White House wants to focus on American jobs and competitivness.

Called the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, the panel emerged out of ideas President Obama discussed in his State of the Union speech last month.

The White House released a list of 22 men and women from industry and labor to serve on the council, which is being chairman by General Electric Co. CEO Jeffrey Immelt.

POSTED: Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 12:24 PM
Filed Under: Small Business | Technology

It’s been a long time since Unisys Corp. could say that it had more cash on its books than it owed.

But that was the case as 2010 ended. The Blue Bell information-services provider had cash of $828 million and debt of $824 million. The previous year, Unisys had cash of $648 million and debt of $912 million.

That factoid had escaped my attention when Unisys announced its 2010 financial results Feb. 1. Chief executive J. Edward Coleman made sure to highlight it during a conference call with financial analysts.

POSTED: Tuesday, February 22, 2011, 11:24 AM
Filed Under: Pharma, Biotech

A ruling released Tuesday by the U.S. Supreme Court gives a victory to Wyeth and other vaccine makers in a lawsuit that sought to determine whether patients could sue over side effects.

The decision, by a 6-2 vote, answered that by saying that a 1986 federal law that limited patient lawsuits against vaccine makers prohibits suits over side effects.

Here's a link to a PDF of the decision on the Supreme Court website.

POSTED: Monday, February 21, 2011, 11:47 AM
Filed Under: Small Business

To put a face on new statistics about the number of black-owned businesses in the Philadelphia area, I called accountant John Milligan.

First of all, I knew he’d be good with numbers. But also, over the last 25 years, he’s built Milligan & Co. L.L.C. from its base in Center City into an accounting and consulting firm with 52 employees in four offices. So he’s lived these numbers, too.

The U.S. Census Bureau earlier this month released data from its 2007 Survey of Business Owners. On the face of it, the headline numbers reflect well for the state of black enterprise here and across the country.

About this blog
Mike Armstrong blogs about Philadelphia corporations and business-related topics. Contact him at 215-854-2980. Reach Mike at marmstrong@phillynews.com.

Mike Armstrong Inquirer Columnist
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