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Business news in brief

In the Region

J.G. Wentworth raises $84 million

Specialty-finance company

J.G. Wentworth Inc.

, Bryn Mawr, raised $84 million from institutional investors during the fourth quarter, the company said. Chief investment officer Stefano Sola said the funds would be used to purchase structured-settlement payments. The company pays people discounted lump sums for settlements - such as personal-injury awards - that would otherwise be paid out over a number of years. J.G. Wentworth made a quick trip through bankruptcy reorganization earlier this year with a prearranged Chapter 11 filing.

- Reid Kanaley

N.J. jobless rate stable; total jobs fall

New Jersey's unemployment rate held steady in November at 9.7 percent, but the number of jobs in the state fell by an additional 9,400, the

Department of Labor and Workforce Development

reported. Over the last year, New Jersey has lost 103,000 jobs. The biggest job losses last month from October were in the trade/

transportation/utilities category (down 9,700 jobs), construction (down 2,800), professional/business services (down 1,900), and financial-services fields (down 1,200). "The usual retail-hiring increases at this time of year did not reach the levels recorded in prior years," state Labor Commissioner David J. Socolow said. However, employment gains were posted last month in manufacturing (up 2,500 jobs), leisure/hospitality (up 2,100), and government (up 1,500). - Paul Schweizer

Lourdes to pay $8M in Medicare case

Our Lady of Lourdes Health Care Services Inc.

, Camden, has agreed to pay $7.95 million to settle civil Medicare fraud allegations involving two of its hospitals, the

U.S. Department of Justice

said. The hospitals are Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden and Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County in Willingboro. The case stemmed from a whistle-blower lawsuit brought in 2005 by Tony Kite, a private health-care consultant, and alleging inflated hospital charges for Medicare patients to obtain enhanced government reimbursements. Under the settlement, which resolves the lawsuit, Kite will receive $356,000 plus interest. Lourdes Health Care is part of the Catholic Health East system, Newtown Square.

- Paul Schweizer

Merck names Tufts dean to new post

Merck & Co. Inc.

created the post of chief medical officer and named the former dean of the Tufts University School of Medicine to the job. Michael Rosenblatt, a Harvard Medical School graduate, will be the company's "primary voice to the global medical community and will speak to critical issues such as patient safety," Merck said in a statement. Rosenblatt will also have the title of executive vice president. He will report directly to chairman, president, and chief executive officer Richard T. Clark, the company said. Merck, Whitehouse Station, N.J., employs several thousand people in the Philadelphia region.

- Reid Kanaley

Glaxo licenses cold-sore treatment

Drug company

GlaxoSmithKline P.L.C.

said it would pay an Ann Arbor, Mich., company an initial $14.5 million to license a new over-the-counter compound for cold-sore treatment. The agreement with

NanoBio Corp.

provides for added milestone payments of up to $40 million, plus royalties on future sales. NanoBio's treatment, NB-001, has shown efficacy and safety in two Phase 2 clinical trials, the companies said. Glaxo's existing over-the-counter cold-sore medication, Abreva, has a 50 percent market share, according to Glaxo. London-based GlaxoSmithKline has large operations in Philadelphia.

- Reid Kanaley

Pure Earth wins N.Y.-area contracts

Pure Earth Inc.

said it won several recycling contracts that will be worth $6.1 million to $6.7 million. The Trevose environmental-services company will recycle about 275,000 tons of soil and rock. The final value of the contract depends on the classification of the material. The projects are in the New York metropolitan area, and the company said it believed they represented an emergence of new construction activity there. The contracts for Pure Earth are in addition to a $14 million project, announced last month, involving the new arena in Brooklyn for the Nets basketball team, which will relocate from New Jersey.

- Paul Schweizer


UAW nominates new chief

United Auto Workers

union leaders nominated top

Ford Motor Co.

negotiator Bob King to be the union's next president. UAW president Ron Gettelfinger announced King's nomination yesterday at a meeting of union leaders near Detroit. Gettelfinger says King, 63, is "relentless and tenacious" and a great negotiator. King said he was humbled by the nomination. UAW members will elect a new president in June. Gettelfinger is stepping down because of a long-standing union policy of retiring at age 65.

- AP

SEC approves pay disclosures

Federal regulators voted to require companies to reveal more information about how they pay their top executives amid a public outcry over compensation. The

Securities and Exchange Commission

voted, 4-1, to expand the disclosure requirements for public companies. The SEC also changed a formula that critics say allowed companies to understate how much their senior executives are paid. At issue is how public companies report stock options and stock awards.

- AP

Lobster price-fixing alleged

Maine's attorney general

is investigating allegations of price-fixing among some lobster dealers in the state. A spokeswoman for state prosecutors says the investigation is in the early stages and is expected to last several months. It was begun after the office received a letter signed by more than 50 lobstermen seeking an investigation of dealers. Investigators are focusing on whether the dealers violated the state's commerce and trade laws. Lobstermen continue to suffer from low prices brought on by the recession.

- AP

Yields unchanged on money funds

The average seven-day yield on taxable money market funds was 0.03 percent this week, unchanged from last week, according to

iMoneyNet Inc.

A seven-day yield is an annual yield that is based on the preceding seven days' level of income by the fund. The average yield on tax-free funds also was 0.03 percent this week, unchanged from last week.

- Rhonda Dickey