Acorn Capital Management L.L.C., the Kennett Square investment firm whose assets were frozen by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, had a peculiar investment portfolio, according to its last quarterly SEC filing.
Acorn told the SEC it had invested $58 million in client funds in 82 stocks, from Abbott Labs to Zoll Medical. Not an unusual profile for a smallish firm.
Except that more than half the money was in a single stock - $31 million in Campbell Soup.
For Acorn, Campbell was kind of a neighborhood company. It's based in Camden, across the river. And its polo-playing principal, Donald Anthony Walker Young, is a neighbor of one of Campbell's directors, investor and famous horseman George Strawbridge.
Besides Campbell, Acorn reported putting an additional $11 million on Merck, another big company with lots of local connections.
Most of Acorn's remaining investments were for less than $25,000 each.
Maybe a lot less. Young reported "phony information" to his own accountants, the SEC says, adding that he used client funds "to purchase a vacation home in Palm Beach, Fla., and pay personal expenses related to horse ownership and racing, construction, boats, limousines, chartered aircraft, and other luxuries."
In all, the SEC says Young "misappropriated more than $23 million of clients' money," as my colleague Harold Brubaker reported yesterday.
Young didn't return calls to his home. The Washington lawyer who initially represented him, ex-SEC official Paul Huey-Burns, of Dechert L.L.P., told me he and his firm are no longer on the case.
BlackRock Inc., the New York investment giant, was close to moving more than 1,000 New Jersey jobs to Brandywine Realty Trust's proposed Cira II tower in West Philadelphia last year, after Gov. Rendell and Mayor Nutter won tax breaks to attract it.
Then the bottom dropped out of the investment markets, Bank of America Corp. (which has scads of surplus office space) replaced Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. as BlackRock's major owner, and New Jersey counterattacked with tax breaks of its own, stalling BlackRock's decision to move.
Now BlackRock chief executive officer Laurence Fink says he's looking at another way to expand - by buying U.S. mutual fund firms at depressed prices.
The slowdown will "force huge amounts of consolidation in our business," Fink told investors Tuesday. "Our strategy team is overwhelmed with the amount of institutions that are approaching us. We are looking at many institutions."
EUSA Pharma Inc. is combining its Princeton and Doylestown offices into a larger new headquarters at BPG Properties' One Summit Square in Langhorne.
EUSA Pharma, the American arm of U.K.-based specialty-drug acquirer EUSA, opened in Doylestown in 2006, then bought Princeton-based cancer drug developer Cytogen Corp. last May.
"We've been operating out of both offices," said the newly appointed president, Jim Mitchum. "Our staff lives all over the region. We looked at how [to] combine the facilities. What made the most sense? Fortunately we were able to find some property between the two sites, in Langhorne, that was managed by BGP," Cytogen's old landlord at Princeton Forrestal Center.
Nothing personal. "I'm brand new to this area," said Mitchum. "I was running a business in Kansas City that got sold to Cardinal Healthcare. So I'm indifferent [regarding preferred locales.]" EUSA Pharma employs about 70, mostly Cytogen veterans.
Did Pennsylvania sweeten the deal? "They welcomed us with a small grant, less than $100,000," Mitchum said. "A nice little incentive."
While Philadelphia investors dicker over planned slot-machine halls in Philadelphia and Valley Forge, cash-rich Penn National Gaming Inc., the casino operator based in suburban Reading, is bargain-hunting among the capital-strapped operators of Las Vegas' big casinos, reports Bloomberg L.P.