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Buying and selling

   More from Business Today:

- Carubba is among commercial property buyers - Jonathan D. Epstein/The Buffalo News
   Sam Carubba [right], owner of Carubba Collision, paid $485,000 through Carubba & Sons LLC to buy 9180 Transit Road Carubba East Amherst, next door to his facility. ...
   The property currently has a small 1,500-square-foot stand-alone brick block building that is home to Becker’s Towing & Recovery, which Carubba also owns. That building will be demolished to make room for a 12,000-square-foot automotive retail plaza, enabling three businesses to add 10 to 15 jobs....
   Besides towing and mechanical repairs, Becker’s will help the state Department of Transportation and local law enforcement to investigate accidents involving deaths or heavy damage. For example, the company would assist in testing brakes and other systems on the vehicle to see if they were working properly.

- Dormant Springville TV station purchased - Jonathan D. Epstein/The Buffalo News
   Two veterans of Western New York television broadcasting are buying a dormant Springville television station from a national religious broadcaster with plans to bring it to life.
   Philip A. Arno and Donald M. Angelo, through ITV of Buffalo LLC, agreed to pay more than $2.75 million to acquire WNGS-TV from Texas-based Daystar Television Network. The deal is subject to Federal Communications Commission approval.
   WNGS, founded in 1996 and formerly found on Channel 67, has been “dark” since last June 12, when all U. S. television stations were mandated to switch from analog to digital signals.

GM profits. Capital returns.

   From today's Business Today:

- GM reports profit, moves closer to repaying U.S. aid - AP/Buffalo News
   General Motors Co. rode expense cuts from its bankruptcy and strong sales of redesigned models to itsGMsign first quarterly profit in nearly three years, drawing the company closer to a stock offering that would repay at least part of its government aid. ...
CEO Ed Whitacre has predicted a full-year profit as U.S. auto sales continue their slow recovery. That could lead to a public sale of GM's stock and full repayment of the $50 billion in U.S. government aid that stopped GM from going under last year.
   The U.S. government now owns 61 percent of the company. The automaker has repaid a total of $6.7 million to the government.
The Obama administration hopes to get back the remaining $43 billion by selling its stake.
- G.M. Posts Profit as Sales Rise 40 Percent - New York Times
   In April, G.M. repaid the balance of its $6.7 billion loan from the federal government, along with smaller loans from the Canadian and Ontario governments. G.M. aired commercials featuring its chief executive, Edward E. Whitacre Jr., highlighting the loan repayment, but critics [see video below], including some members of Congress, accused the company of misleading consumers into thinking all $50 billion given to the company by the United States Treasury had been repaid.

- China hikes holdings of U.S. debt as euro drops - Martin Crutsinger/AP/Buffalo News
   China boosted its holdings of U.S. Treasury debt for the first time in six months. That development could ease concerns that lagging foreign demand will force the U.S. government to pay higher interest rates to finance its debt.
   The Treasury Department
reported Monday that China’s holdings of U.S. Treasury securities rose 2 percent in March to $895.2 billion, the first increase since September. Total foreign holdings of Treasury securities rose 3.5 percent to $3.88 trillion. ...
   The big increase was influenced by two factors: a flight to safety by investors increasingly worried about the
debt crisis in Europe and a rebounding U.S. economy that has sparked greater interest by foreigners in purchasing U.S. corporate debt.
- Chinese Stocks Retreat Abruptly From 2009 Gains - New York Times
- German business sees Europe bailout stifling growth - Reuters
- Risk Of Waning Official Support Scratches Euro Nerves  - Dow Jones Newswires 

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News 

Boom Boom Room

   An episode explaining how the British and Americans are separated by a common language, from Alistair Cooke's "America:"CookesAmerica

  I remember once, during a strike in New York when the salmon wasn't coming in, there seemed to be a glut of bagels in the Jewish bakeries. In a whimsical moment I sent a cable to my editor [in England] warning him that I was about to put a piece on the wire entitled, "Lox Lag Brings Bagel Boom." He cabled right back: "Your message hopelessly garbled, it reads lox lag brings bagel boom."

   Which is a clever story that has something to do with:
- Oil spill may cause boom in boom business - George Pyle/The Buffalo News
   All that oil gushing from the broken BP well in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to lead to a boom in the Afti boom business.
   But, so far, the folks at Orchard Park’s Applied Fabric Technologies Inc., which makes a variety of oil-spill cleanup equipment, have received nothing more than a lot of phone calls.
   And, no, they don’t need your hair to make absorbent booms.
   “There’s still a lot of negotiation going on,” John O’Brien, AFTI’s marketing director, said Friday. “Until that’s finished, it’s mostly tire-kicking.” ...
    The idea that cast-off hair could tame the spill is the brainchild of a San Francisco environmental organization called Matter of Trust. Among its supporters is Fantastic Sams, which is collecting hair clippings to be turned into oil-absorbing care packages that will be sent to gulf beaches. Even if it isn’t used to make ocean-going booms, the hair could be laid out on gulf beaches to absorb up to 10 times its own weight in oil.

   And another boom story, also from The Buffalo News Business Today:
- Seaway heralds upswing - Matt Glynn/The Buffalo News
   Shipping on the St. Lawrence Seaway [en Francais] took a dramatic hit in 2009 last year during the recession. But the Seaway is showing signs of recovery this year, Seaway officials said.
   The amount of cargo transported through the Seaway, which includes the Welland Canal, from the start of the season through April increased 18 percent from the same period last year, officials said.

   A little Boom Boom Pow:

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News
[boom chagga lagga]

Rating the raters. Pulling the plug?

   More from Business Today:

- Cuomo probes banks, credit raters - Karen Freifeld/Bloomberg News/Buffalo News [Video below]Cuomo
   New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo subpoenaed Goldman Sachs Group, Morgan Stanley, UBS AG and five other banks to see whether they misled credit-rating services about mortgage-backed securities, according to a person familiar with the investigation.
   [Does that story have any link to this one?]
- Cuomo and the Broad Power of the Martin Act - New York Times
   Mr. Cuomo seems certain to invoke New York State’s Martin Act in his investigation if he finds enough evidence of wrongdoing to bring a case. That 1921 act makes it easier for Mr. Cuomo to prosecute a case than the standards that federal regulators follow in their investigations. At stake could be tens of millions of dollars in profits, as well as fines that could cut sharply into the banks’ future earnings.
Wall Street inquiry expands beyond Goldman Sachs - Los Angeles Times
- Does Cuomo's Case Against Wall Street Have a Shot? - Daniel Indiviglio /The Atlantic
- Still searching for a Wall Street scalp - Reuters
   The American public wants to see bankers' heads on spikes for triggering a global financial crisis, but so far prosecutors and regulators have come up empty. ...
   Criminal charges are contemplated. But winning these cases won't be easy, in part because it will be difficult to prove criminal intent to defraud or deceive.
   A financial meltdown is not a crime," said David Siegal, a former federal prosecutor in New York.
   Nor is being stupid or greedy.


- Power program set to expire - Tom Precious/The Buffalo News
   A state program that provides low-cost electricity to hundreds of businesses and nonresidential users will expire Saturday night, and the Paterson administration warns that companies could see sharply higher energy bills as a result.

That video about Cuomo and the banks:

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

Now there's something you don't see every day...

   Mark this edition of Business Today.
   A business opens in downtown Buffalo. A business closes in the suburbs.

- From warehouse to apartment house - Jonathan D. Epstein/The Buffalo News 
[With cool audio slide show by Sharon Cantillon] Termini
   A long vacant set of former department store warehouse buildings has a new lease on life, as the AM&A's Warehouse Lofts project opens today with residential tenants and a collections agency moving in immediately.
   Rocco Termini will unveil his mixed-use conversion of the deteriorated warehouses at 369 Washington St. into 48 apartments and 15,000 square feet of commercial space
. [Google Map Streetview still shows the deteriorated warehouses.]

- After 35 years, Fanny’s to soon bid adieu - Samantha Maziarz Christmann/The Buffalo News
   A well-known Amherst restaurant will close its doors after more than 35 years in business.
Fanny’s, a popular restaurant and banquet facility on Sheridan Drive, will go dark next month. Fanny
   Owner Michael J. Delmont said that he takes with him many happy memories of serving Western New York’s social and business community but that it was simply “time to move on.”
   “I’m 62 years old. I’ve had it,” he said. “Regular dinner business is too tough to do anymore.”
   Delmont sold the building to
Buffalo Rheumatology, which will convert it into a medical facility.
   [Maybe he's just unhappy that Barack Obama didn't drop in.]

- George Pyle/The Buffalo News 

Landing grants. Landing planes.

   More from Business Today:

- 11 projects locally vie for $24 million in stimulus - David Robinson/Buffalo News
   There’s plenty of competition among local companies for the $24 million pot of tax-exempt financing available through the federal economic-stimulus program.
   Eleven projects in Erie County from 10 developers have applied for the lower-cost financing. Those projects are seeking a total of $113 million in financing, which is more than four times the amount of funding that is available through Erie County and the City of Buffalo, said Grant Loomis, a spokesman for County Executive Chris Collins.

- Airport traffic moves up a notch - George Pyle/Buffalo News
   Slightly fewer passengers flew into or out of Buffalo Niagara International Airport in 2009 compared with the year before.
   But the 3.6 percent decline was small enough, in a year when air travel was down across the board, that the airport actually moved up one notch in the passenger traffic rankings kept by the North American division of Airports Council International.

-  Computer Task Group sees profits in U.S. move to e-medical records - David Robinson/Buffalo News
   The push to build a nationwide network for electronic medical records could be really big for Computer Task Group.
   At least that’s what James R. Boldt, CTG’s chairman and chief executive officer, thinks
- Rand Capital investments slip 3% -  David Robinson/Buffalo News
   The value of Rand Capital Corp.’s investments slipped by 3 percent as the Buffalo venture capital company reduced the value of its stake in one of the companies in its portfolio. ...
   All of the decline was due to a lower valuation that Rand officials placed on the company’s stake in Innov-X Systems, a suburban Boston company that makes hand-held equipment that can analyze the composition of materials.


Innovation. Health care. Discuss.

   Two high-powered discussions -- one about keeping your business ahead of the curve, the other about catching up with health care reform -- get covered in Business Today.
   Maybe we should get these folks together. If health care reform is going to work, somebody better be doing some innovating.

- The lowdown on innovative leadership - Matt Glynn/Buffalo NewsForum
   “If you’re not focusing on growth, you’re shrinking, whether you realize it or not,” said [Dennis] Brown, chief executive officer of Logistic Dynamics in Amherst....
   Brown was joined on a panel by Sam Heleba of Graphic Controls, Peter Hunt of Hunt Real Estate Corp. and Rick Posa of SAMCO Technologies. They reflected on how their companies have overcome obstacles and acted on growth opportunities.

- Health law puts insurers under the gun - Henry L. Davis and Jonathan D. Epstein/The Buffalo News
   With health reform now the law, insurers must take an active role in negotiating the finer details of new rules and implementing them in a way that works for all parties, the CEO of the BlueCross BlueShield Association said Wednesday.
-  New enforcement tools help fight health care fraud - AP
   The government says it recovered $2.5 billion in overpayments for the Medicare trust fund last year as the Obama administration focused attention on fraud enforcement efforts in the health care industry.
   [Live webcast at 4 p.m. today.]  [Thanks, Blueblood.]
- US files first defense of health care law in court - AP

   Here's an innovative doctor, what?

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News
[Waiting for the health care innovation that will make pecan pie a certified health food.]

Mark Yellen

Mark Yellen, the Buffalo-born entrepreneur who co-founded and died in a plane crash in Alabama this week, appeared in The Buffalo News a number of times over the years.

In 2000, he was profiled as one of six "pioneers of the new dotcom economy" in The News' First Sunday magazine. He was 30 at the time, and the piece mentioned he had bought his Colonial-style house in Williamsville in a foreclosure auction for what he estimated was $50,000 less than its worth. He used the database of his own company to search for troubled properties, owned by a bank or mortgage company.

In a different story, his company was mentioned for having offbeat office perks such as Popsicles and an indoor putting green.

In a 2003 story, Yellen told The News he had turned down several offers in the previous year to sell, some in the $10 million range. Communities in other states tried to lure the business away from Western New York.'s employment fluctuated over the years, and it moved from Lancaster to Main Street in the Theatre District in 2004.

Yellen resigned as chairman of in 2007. As the business faded, a Canada-based company acquired's assets in 2008.

-- Matt Glynn

Upon further review ...

   Leading the Business Today section of The Buffalo News:
- Euphoria over euro rescue fades amid debt load - AP/Buffalo News
   The German government backed a $1 trillion rescue package for Europe’s troubled currency union as European Union officials readied tougher oversight over budgets and economies of most member Eurosculpture countries in an effort to contain the region’s debt crisis.
- Gold prices set record amid worry on Europe - Pham-Duy Nguyen/Bloomberg/Buffalo News
   Gold futures hit a record Tuesday in New York as government debt in Europe spurred demand for the precious metal as an alternative to currencies.

- Stocks rise modestly at open - AP/Buffalo News
   Stocks are rising in early trading as investors return their focus to the improving health of the domestic economy.
   A new Commerce Department report Wednesday shows exports jumped in March to their highest levels since 2008. That bodes well for the manufacturing sector, which has shown consistent improvement in recent months.

- Bailout Spurs Debate on Cinching Europe's Fiscal Ties  - Charles Forrell/Wall Street Journal
   One reason for the market caution: The open question over whether the bailout will give fresh impetus to long-dormant notions that the European Union should have a greater hand in members' budgetary affairs.
- Paris seen as trumping Berlin at the EU table - Quentin Peel/Financial Times
   Behind the fraught domestic debate lies another deep suspicion: that France, Germany's closest ally and greatest rival in the EU, has finally got its way on the creation of an "economic government" and subordination of the independence of the European Central Bank to politicians.
'We are once again the schmucks of Europe!' German media's verdict as anger at Greek bailout swells - Allan Hall/The Daily Mail [U.K.]
- Greek debt bailout makes no sense in any language - Jon Markman/MarketWatch
   This European package of paper and promises is likely to end up on the scrap heap of history faster than you can say, ''auf wiedersehen, adieu, arrivederci, bye-bye," because it has little credibility with those who count the most -- potential buyers of the new mountain of debt.

- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

Honored. Honored. Bankrupt.

   Local news from Business Today:

- 3 firms cited on fastest-growing list - Jonathan D. Epstein/Buffalo News
   AEP Books and Media, Allied Mechanical and Schutte-Buffalo Hammermill made the 2010 Inner 100 ranking of companies by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) and Bloomberg Business Week magazine.

-  3 UB spinoffs honored by coalition - George Pyle/Buffalo News
   Ideas hatched at the University at Buffalo have turned into three businesses that are among the 100 examples of how federally funded research becomes job-creating business. ...
   The UB-related companies that made the “Sparking Economic Growth” honor roll are:
   - Buffalo Bioblower Technologies...
   - Kinex Pharmaceuticals ...
   - ONY Inc.

- Grand Island Holiday Inn files for bankruptcy - Matt Glynn/Buffalo NewsHotel
   The company that owns the Holiday Inn Resort and Conference Center on Grand Island has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
   American Hospitality LLC bought the Holiday Inn in 2004. The property continues its regular day-to-day operations.

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News 

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