In the Region
Coventry finishes buying N.C. HMO with 130,000 patients
Coventry Health Care Inc., the HMO operator that has its headquarters in Bethesda, said yesterday that it had completed the $20.7 million acquisition of WellPath Community Health Plans, an HMO operated by Duke University Health System.
The acquisition, the third and largest for Coventry in the past year, adds about 130,000 HMO members in North Carolina, giving Coventry about 167,000 members in the state - up from 21,000 a year and a half ago.
Coventry has been selling some small HMOs but buying others, particularly in North Carolina, where it already has a presence in the market.
Avenir discusses what to do with Micros shares
Micros Systems Inc. shareholder Avenir Corp. has reported talks with a third party about a possible sale or other change in control of Micros Systems.
Washington-based Avenir said it spent $17.1 million to acquire a 5.2 percent stake in Micros Systems, a computer-systems maker based in Columbia, according to the 13D filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The filing did not identify the third party or elaborate on the possible discussions. Avenir President Peter Keefe was unavailable to comment. A Micros Systems spokesman also could not be reached for comment.
Marriott International to open 400 more hotels
Marriott International Inc. plans to open at least 400 more hotels over the next three years, creating more than 20,000 jobs, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer J. W. Marriott Jr. said yesterday.
"With employment rates holding at record-high levels, recruiting and retaining employees is the greatest challenge facing American business today," Marriott said in a speech at the Detroit Executive Club. He noted that the company has one of the lowest turnover rates in the hospitality industry, but still spends $100 million a year on training as part of its retention strategy.
Marriott has about 150,000 employees and 2,000 hotels in the United States and 58 other countries.
RewardsPlus acquires Pa. software developer
RewardsPlus, an online benefits-management firm, said yesterday that it had acquired Ohana Systems Inc., a software development firm in Kennett Square, Pa. Terms were not disclosed.
Ohana, which had already done work for RewardsPlus, will increase the Baltimore company's software-development capabilities, the companies said.
Ohana, which employs 32 people, will keep its offices in Pennsylvania and Hawaii. Like RewardsPlus, it is also a privately held firm.
Big airlines raise fares as much as $30, but not Southwest
U.S. airlines, led by Delta Air Lines Inc., have increased business fares, those requiring little or no advance purchase, by up to $30 each way in the fifth fare increase this year.
Two factors contributing to airlines' fare increases this year have been high demand and high fuel prices. Oil prices, however, have fallen somewhat since the last increase, a $10 each way fuel surcharge introduced last month.
Delta increased fares late last week and by yesterday all major airlines, except for low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines Co., had substantially matched them, fare experts said. Southwest generally does not go along with fare increases by the other large carriers.
FleetBoston purchase to make it No. 1 N.J. bank
FleetBoston Financial Corp. is buying Summit Bancorp for about $7 billion, replacing it as New Jersey's largest bank in a bid to market lucrative Internet banking and brokerage services to the state's wealthy residents.
FleetBoston plans to close 85 bank branches after the merger - 75 in New Jersey and 10 in Connecticut - but said it doesn't know how many employees will be affected. FleetBoston currently is the nation's eighth-largest bank, with $181 billion in assets and 1,200 branches throughout New England.
Fleet is now the No. 1 bank in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Connecticut, three of the nation's wealthiest states.
No. 1 pork, beef producer being sold for $2.4 billion
IBP Inc., the world's largest producer of fresh beef, pork and related products, has agreed to a $2.4 billion buyout by an investment fund affiliated with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, giving it access to capital as it tries to expand its business.
The deal, announced yesterday, calls for all shares of the South Dakota company to be purchased for $22.25 each in cash. The investment fund, Rawhide Holdings Corp., an affiliate of private equity fund DLJ Merchant Banking Partners III LP, will also assume about $1.4 billion in debt.
Rival processor Smithfield Foods owns a 6.3 percent stake in IBP, and analysts suggested that the Smithfield, Va., company would team with other shareholders to make a higher offer. A Smithfield spokesman said the company was "studying the situation."
Equifax to spin off credit-card division