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Business news in brief

In the Region

Entercom-Lincoln radio deal

Entercom Communications Corp., of Bala Cynwyd, said it agreed to buy 15 radio stations in the Atlanta, Denver, Miami, and San Diego areas for $105 million from Lincoln Financial Group, the Radnor-based insurance and investment company. The deal will boost Entercom's network to more than 100 stations in 23 markets, including Boston and San Francisco, but not its home base in Philadelphia. Entercom will pay $77.5 million in cash and $27.5 million in preferred stock, and will borrow under its existing $50 million credit limit if needed, the company said. Lincoln acquired the stations in its 2006 purchase of the former Jefferson Pilot Corp. (Lincoln sold Jefferson's TV stations in 2008.) Unloading the stations allows Lincoln "to focus on its strategy to grow its core lines of business," said Lincoln chief executive Dennis R. Glass in the statement. - Joseph N. DiStefano

Wells Fargo shifts jobs to N.C.

Wells Fargo & Co. has told 120 workers at its Philadelphia legal order processing unit, in the Plaza office building at Fifth and Market Streets, that the company is moving their work to Charlotte, N.C., in 2015, according to people familiar with the move. The unit responds to requests for bank customer records from the IRS, state and federal governments, and lawyers. Spokesman Jim Baum confirmed that the unit will leave town. He said the workers can apply for other Wells Fargo jobs; some who leave will be given separation packages. Wells Fargo and its predecessors, Wachovia and First Union, have operated the Philadelphia region's dominant branch banking network since First Union bought the Philadelphia National Bank in 1998 and began shutting down many of its headquarters functions or moving them out of the region to save money. - Joseph N. DiStefano

Spark, Pfizer to collaborate

Philadelphia-based Spark Therapeutics signed a licensing deal with Pfizer Inc., to collaborate on a potential treatment for hemophilia B. Spark focuses on gene therapy and was spun out of years of research, development, and manufacturing at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Hemophilia B is a rare genetic blood disorder that affects about 4,000 males in the United States and 26,000 males worldwide. Spark gets $20 million up front and could get up to $260 million if development and commercial milestones are met. Sales could bring other royalty payments. Spark will handle early studies, with Pfizer taking later studies, regulatory work and global selling. - David Sell

Hudson River tolls rise

It's costing motorists more to cross the Hudson River. Tolls on the bridges and tunnels operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey increased Sunday. It's the fourth of five phased-in toll increases that began in 2011. Drivers will pay $14 in cash lanes, up from $13, and E-ZPass tag holders will pay an extra 75 cents. The American Automobile Associations of New York and North Jersey had sued to block the toll increase, saying it violated federal law. A federal judge last month refused to stop the increase. - Associated Press

Supreme Court hears rail case

U.S. Supreme Court justices questioned a federal law credited with improving Amtrak's on-time performance, hearing arguments from freight railroads that the measure subjects them to unlawful penalties. In an hour-long session, the court weighed whether the 2008 law unconstitutionally lets Amtrak help set performance standards that can trigger government investigations of freight carriers. The standards enforce a requirement that freight railroads, including Union Pacific Corp., give Amtrak priority on their tracks. An industry trade group says the railroads are being forced to substantially change their business operations, at times by delaying their own freight traffic. - Bloomberg News

Accounting firms merge

The accounting-consulting firm of McGladrey L.L.P. said it signed an agreement to acquire most of the assets of Fesnak L.L.P., with the deal likely to close on Jan. 1. With offices in Blue Bell and New York, Fesnak has eight partners and 90 other employees who will join McGladrey. Bob Fesnak and Lisa McLemore will join the combined leadership team. McGladrey has more than 250 employees in Philadelphia, Blue Bell, Harrisburg, and Moorestown. - Inquirer staff


Uber has troubles in Brazil

Uber Technologies Inc., the mobile car-booking company valued at $40 billion, is operating illegally in Rio de Janeiro and its drivers risk having their cars seized, according to the city's transport office. Rio's municipal transport department said it has filed a complaint with police against Uber and similar companies it says have not requested licenses for taxi services in the city, which will host the 2016 Olympics. The head of Rio police's cyber crime unit is investigating the allegations, the police said via e-mail. Uber said it had not received any notification from authorities in Rio and is looking forward to working with policy makers on "common sense" regulation. - Bloomberg News

Honda adds to air-bag list

Honda plans to replace the driver's air bag inflators on 2.6 million more vehicles as it expands repairs to the entire United States. The Japanese automaker is the only company to comply with a demand from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to do repairs nationwide. Honda says it's doing so to address customer concerns. Air bags made by Japanese supplier Takata Corp. can inflate with too much force, blowing apart a metal canister and spewing shrapnel. At least five people have died due to the problem. - AP