Last week's headlines

FTI to sell minority interest in technology division

August 10, 2008

Boscov's files for Chapter 11

Regional department store chain Boscov's Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and said it will close 10 stores including anchors at White Marsh, Owings Mills and Marley Station malls in the Baltimore area. Officials from the 49-store chain said in court filings and interviews that the collapse in the housing market, skyrocketing energy prices and higher food costs cut the discretionary spending of its customers and put pressure on the company's finances. About 400 employees in Baltimore will lose their jobs.

FTI to sell unit through IPO

FTI Consulting said it plans to spin off its fast-growing technology division, potentially bringing the Baltimore company hundreds of millions of dollars to position itself for another round of acquisitions. FTI, a business advisory firm best known for helping struggling companies reorganize, said that it expects to sell a minority interest in the technology segment through an initial public offering. It valued the minority stake at $600 million to $700 million. Within a year of the IPO it intends to distribute the rest of its ownership stake to FTI shareholders.

Vapotherm gets FDA approval

Vapotherm Inc., a Stevensville-based maker of respiratory devices that struggled for more than a year without revenue after voluntarily recalling the machines, announced that the Food and Drug Administration has approved an upgraded version of the machine. The machines heat and moisten air to help patients breathe. FDA approval of the Precision Flow will allow the company to fill a growing demand by hospitals for noninvasive oxygen therapy.

Home sale prices drop

Average home sales prices in the Baltimore metro area continued to drop as the number of houses changing hands plummeted. The average price in the area - Baltimore City and the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard - was just under $320,000. That's down 3 percent from a year earlier, according to numbers released Friday by Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc. It's also below the average two years earlier. Sales fell 32 percent compared with a year earlier.

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