MIKE ARMSTRONG: Coming up: Cheers! A local vodka company is looking to do a big deal in . And the writing on the wall is clear: A South Jersey medical transcription firm is getting a new owner. We’ll tell you who’s involved. A local university plans to expand, all the way to California. Who is it, and why are they heading west? Philadelphia Business Today starts now.

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MIKE ARMSTRONG:    Never heard of Central European Distribution Corporation? It’s a Bala Cynwyd company that’s quietly become the largest vodka producer in . Now the company has struck a new deal with a Russian vodka maker. It plans to invest about $157 million in Russian Alcohol Group. Central European’s net sales were more than $1.2 billion last year, and the company employs more than 3,000 people in Europe. The Russian Alcohol deal would give Central European a 40% stake in that business, which is expected to have $500 million in net sales this year.

MedQuist, a Mount Laurel medical transcription company, is getting a new majority owner. MedQuist employs over 7,500 people and has been controlled by Royal Philips Electronics since 2000. Today, Royal Philips found a buyer for MedQuist. CBaySystems Holdings will pay about $285 million for that stake. CBaySystems is another medical transcription company. It’s headquarters are in Annapolis, Maryland, but it has extensive operations in .

Drexel University is heading west. The university is making good on its ambition to open a campus in California. It says it will begin offering five masters degree programs there starting in January. The Board of Trustees of the West Philadelphia university approved the plan yesterday. The actual campus for Drexel California is still in the planning stages. Drexel says it plans to build a campus to handle 6,000 students on land being donated by a developer. In the meantime, classes will be held at a location in downtown Sacramento.

That’s it for today. At the Inquirer, I’m Mike Armstrong for Philadelphia Business Today.

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