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Business news briefs — March 11


Akron firm wins funding

Adjuvant Polymers, a startup company that originated at the University of Akron, was awarded $100,000 from the Innovation Fund, a “pre-seed” program that gets money through Ohio’s Third Frontier effort.

Adjuvant Polymers is working to commercialize an antimicrobial “platform” that binds chlorine to a polymer backbone. Polymer-bound chlorine creates a strong antimicrobial coating that can last up to several months.

Adjuvant Polymers was one of seven Northeast Ohio startups to get a total of $400,000 in funding from the Innovation Fund, which is overseen by the Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise. The Innovation Fund received 32 applications for this round of funding.


Clothing stores combine

Men’s Wearhouse is buying Jos. A. Bank for $1.8 billion. Men’s Wearhouse Inc. will pay $65 per share, a 5 percent premium to Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc.’s closing price Monday of $61.83.

The agreement ends a months-long negotiation that began in October when Jos. A. Bank offered to buy its larger rival for $2.3 billion. Men’s Wearhouse scoffed at that offer, and turned the tables, offering to buy its rival for $1.54 billion. By early March, Men’s Wearhouse had an offer of $63.50 per share on the table but said it may raise the bid to $65 per share if some conditions were met.

The combined company will be the fourth-biggest U.S. men’s clothing retailer with more than 1,700 U.S. stores and about $3.5 billion in sales.


Cablevision directors sued

Cablevision Systems Corp. directors were sued by an investor for wrongfully approving “grossly excessive” compensation for Chairman Charles Dolan and members of his family who serve as executives of the U.S. cable company.

The board of Cablevision, which includes Dolan’s three daughters, approved more than $80 million in compensation for the firm’s founder and his son over a three-year period starting in 2010 while the company racked up losses, according to a Delaware lawsuit.


Neil Young launches service

Musician Neil Young announced a Kickstarter-funded music service, PonoMusic, and player to deliver what he said would be high-quality digital music.

The Kickstarter campaign will start on March 15 and contributors will be able to reserve a device, called the PonoPlayer, it was announced.

iTunes demands exclusivity

Apple Inc. has begun pressuring the major record companies to offer new releases exclusively through its iTunes store — a move that would initially block availability on streaming services such as Spotify or Beats Music. Apple executives contend that on-demand music services have begun to cannibalize download sales, and its representatives are demanding the labels create a period reserved for digital purchasing.

Music industry insiders said Apple’s push for a new release window — similar to the one that some Hollywood studios impose for films newly released for home viewing — shows the tech giant is scrambling to retain its competitive advantage in an evolving digital music market.

Apple’s iTunes online store accounts for about 80 percent of all download sales in the U.S. But after a decade of uninterrupted growth domestically, digital song and album sales began to slump in 2013 and continued to slide this year.


Dow Jones falls 67 points

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.5 percent to 1,867.63 in Tuesday trading. The benchmark index closed at an all-time high of 1,878.04 on March 7. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 67.43 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,351.25.

Commodity shares slumped with copper and oil prices amid concern over China’s economy. General Motors fell 5.2 percent, the most in two years, to $35.18. The U.S. Justice Department has started a preliminary investigation into how the carmaker handled the recall of 1.6 million vehicles with faulty ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths.

McDonald’s increased 3.8 percent to $98.78, for the largest gain in the S&P 500 and the company’s biggest advance since August 2011.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.


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