In the Region

Supremes hear Aereo case

U.S. Supreme Court justices appeared skeptical Tuesday over online TV start-up Aereo Inc.'s position in a copyright fight with major media companies, but several raised concerns about how a ruling in favor of broadcasters could affect increasingly popular cloud-computing services. Aereo could be forced to shut down if the court rules for the companies challenging the start-up. A win for Aereo could spur innovation in the television industry by paving the way to cheaper ways for consumers to watch shows. A decision is due by the end of June. Aereo charges users a low monthly fee to watch live or recorded broadcast TV channels on computers or mobile devices. Aereo does not pay the broadcasters. Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal, Walt Disney Co.'s ABC network, CBS Broadcasting Inc., and Twenty First Century Fox Inc. appealed a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit last April that denied their request to shut Aereo down while litigation moved forward. - Reuters

City sells $65.2M in bonds

The City of Philadelphia sold $65.2 million in bonds to build a new Police Headquarters facility at 4601 Market St. The sale comprised a $61.1 million tax-exempt series sold to Bank of America, with bonds maturing into 2044, and a $4.1 million taxable series maturing into 2020 that was bought by Ramirez & Co. It was the city's first competitive bond sale since 2006, when its bond rating from Standard & Poor's was BBB. A December rating upgrade by S&P to A-plus will help save the city more than $7 million over the life of the new bonds, officials said. A second sale is planned for late 2015 to complete financing for the police building, called the Public Safety Services Campus. - Reid Kanaley

Republic First raises $45M

Republic First Bancorp Inc., of Philadelphia, said it sold $45 million worth of common stock in a private placement for $3.80 per share. Republic, which has 14 offices, said it would use the money from the sale of stock to add branches in South Jersey. Eight new branches are planned, in Marlton, Moorestown, Mount Holly, Medford, Glassboro, Washington Township, Berlin, and Cherry Hill, the bank said. On Dec. 31, Republic First had $869.5 million in deposits and $667.0 million in net loans, according to its annual report. Republic's shares closed at $4.23, up 6 cents, on Nasdaq. - Harold Brubaker

Two Forman Mills stores close

Forman Mills stores on Route 130 in Pennsauken and in the Cardiff Shopping Center in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., closed Monday, store personnel said. The Pennsauken-based company's website said the discounter operated 28 stores - including the two that closed - in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and the District of Columbia. Locally, there are three stores in Northeast Philadelphia along with stores in West Philadelphia, Glenolden, Vineland, N.J., and Wilmington. No company official was available to comment on how many people lost jobs at the stores. - Jane M. Von Bergen

PUC hearing on efficient power

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission will hold a hearing May 5 at Drexel University on the use of combined heat and power (CHP), a high-efficiency method of generating electricity and thermal energy from a single fuel source. CHP systems, which are used by businesses like hotels, universities, and hospitals, generate about 2,638 megawatts, or 7.2 percent, of Pennsylvania's total electricity. The PUC says the technical potential for additional systems could quadruple that production. The hearing is from 1 to 4 p.m. at the A.J. Drexel Picture Gallery, in the university's Main Building at 3141 Chestnut St. - Andrew Maykuth


Airfares up modestly

The average price of an airline ticket for travel within the United States rose just $1 last year, although prices are still modestly higher than they were five years ago. The U.S. Department of Transportation said the average domestic airfare rose to $381 in the fourth quarter of 2013, a 0.3 percent increase from a year earlier. The figures include taxes, but not fees airlines frequently charge for bags, extra leg room, and other items. - AP

Airbnb: New York is 'fishing'

Airbnb urged a New York judge to reject a subpoena for information about those using the global website to offer apartment rentals in New York City, with its attorney, Roberta Kaplan, calling that "a fishing expedition." Executive Deputy Attorney General Karla Sanchez said many listings on the Airbnb website were for entire apartments, apparently unoccupied, for less than 30 days that violate the state law against illegal and unregulated hotels. She said they were not investigating the website, "we're investigating the hosts." - AP

KFC recovering in China

Yum Brands Inc. reported a higher-than-expected profit for its first quarter as sales recovered at its KFC chain in China. The company also owns Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. KFC has been working to bounce back from a controversy over its chicken supply in China. For the quarter, Yum earned $399 million, or 87 cents per share, topping the 84 cents per share analysts expected. A year ago, it earned $337 million, or 72 cents per share. Revenue rose to $2.72 billion, short of the $2.81 billion expected. - AP