(WisBusiness) FRI News Summary — 6 June 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Walgreens has agreed to pay nearly $1.9 million to the Wisconsin Medicaid Program to settle allegations of improper billing, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced.

The payment, part of a $35 million settlement with the United States, 42 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, resolves claims that Walgreens violated various state and federal laws by switching dosage forms of three medications commonly prescribed for Medicaid patients.

That caused Medicaid programs nationwide to pay substantially more for these drugs than they otherwise would have, Van Hollen’s office said.

See the story:

— West Allis-based Merge Technologies, the troubled medical software company, says it is reorganizing and will shake up its management team while cutting 60 of its 300 employees.

Company officials said four officers have resigned: CEO Kenneth Rardin, CFO Steven Norton, Merge President Gary Bowers and Cedara/Merge President Loris Sartor.

The company has posted nine straight quarterly losses and may be in danger of bankruptcy. In its 10-K regulatory filing earlier this year, Merge warned that financial restatements, a formal SEC investigation and class action and other lawsuits have had adverse effects on employee morale, its relationships with customers and have diverted management attention from running the company.

See the release:

— SABMiller plc and Molson Coors Brewing Company announced that the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has completed its antitrust review of their joint venture and closed its investigation.

The DOJ’s Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust review clears the way fo the two companies to proceed with the merger of their respective U.S. and Puerto Rico operations to form a new company called MillerCoors.

SABMiller and Molson Coors expect the transaction to generate approximately $500 million in annual cost synergies to be delivered in full by the third full financial year of combined operations.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/6/5/#miller-coors-merger-clears-antitrust-hurdle

— The UW Board of Regents has approved the appointment of Biddy Martin as chancellor of UW-Madison.

Martin, the provost at Cornell University, said in a statement she was honored by her confirmation and “thrilled to have this opportunity to return to a place where I have such significant academic and emotional connections.” Martin earned her doctorate at UW-Madison.

She also said she was aware of her responsibility to the citizens of the state as the Madison chancellor.

“I am enthusiastic about doing our share — and more — to improve the quality of life for people throughout the state and beyond,” she said in a statement.

She will receive an annual salary of $437,000, which is $200 above what regents deemed to be the midpoint salary of chancellors at comparable universities.

About $100,000 of her salary will be supported through an endowment named in honor of current Chancellor John D. Wiley that was established by the UW Foundation and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. She will be the first chancellor in state history to be paid more than the UW-System president; she’ll also make $100,000 more than Wiley currently earns.

Regents also approved the appointment of Robert Felner as chancellor of UW-Parkside with a salary of $205,000 and Richard Telfer as UW-Whitewater chancellor with a salary of $199,559. Both are below what Regents pegged as a $227,000 median salary for peer institutions.

Telfer will also receive a $1,737 monthly housing allowance, while Felner and Biddy will receive university supplied housing.

Regents also approved a pay boost for UW System President Kevin Reilly. He will earn $414,593 beginning July 1, which will increase to $421,500 June 1, 2009. He currently receives $341, 864. Reilly said today he will donate $70,000 of his raise to the Reilly Family Scholarship Fund, so that his raise will be in line with what other non-represented employees will receive.

*Read the release:
*Read Martin’s statement:

— Regents voted to raise undergraduate tuition by 5.5 percent at all of its four-year campuses for the 2008-2009 school year after some complained about how a charge to cover a veterans tuition program was being handled.

The increase amounts to a $348 per year increase for UW-Madison, $340 for UW-Milwaukee and $265 for UW comprehensive campuses.

Tuition at two-year colleges remains frozen, as well as tuition for out-of-state graduate students, who typically work as teaching assistants and receive free tuition.

While the operating budget, along with the tuition increase, passed on a voice vote, there were concerns raised by several regents about how the increase was being packaged as a 2.5 percent increase for general revenue needs and 3 percent “one-time” increase to cover an $18 million shortfall in state funding for the veterans tuition remission program.

Regents Tom Loftus and Michael Falbo raised concern that the 3 percent increase would not go away after this year because there is no guarantee that the state or federal governments would pick up more of the bill for veterans’ tuition.

System President Kevin Reilly acknowledged that it was a “hoped for” one-time increase.

Loftus moved to take up the increases as separate issues, but it was shot down after some regents raised concern that doing so would pit non-veteran students against veterans.

Regent David Walsh was most vocal in his opposition to how the veterans remission cost was being highlighted as a separate item, saying the distinction could divide students.

“I think we’re making a huge mistake,” Walsh said. “Maybe it’s in the perception, but we’re tying some things together that shouldn’t tie together.”

“What you really are saying to the students is that we are forcing you to pay for the veterans,” Walsh added.

While Regent Libby Burmaster was opposed to the split, she said it was important to send a message that the state was not picking up its share and that the people know the reasons they are raising tuition so high.

Following the vote, Reilly told reporters he did not want the issue to be divisive between the system and the Legislature, which he noted had provided some funding, nor between veteran and non-veteran students. While acknowledging that all of the different uses for the increase were not highlighted as separate items, Reilly said Regents want to be able to explain the reasons behind the hike.

— The full Board of Regents will vote today on several proposals approved yesterday in committee.

The Business, Finance and Audit Committee approved differential tuition for the UW-Madison School of Engineering that, if approved, would result in engineering students paying an additional $700 per semester starting in 2011. The committee also approved a $57 annual increase in differential tuition at UW-Superior.

The Board of Regents’ Education Committee endorsed two new schools at the meeting’s host campus, approving a School of Public Health and a School of Freshwater Sciences at UW-Milwaukee.

See the agenda:

— Home Depot officials have officially told the state Department of Workforce Development it will lay off 227 employees when it closes three Wisconsin stores in Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, and Beaver Dam on Aug. 5.

The Fond du Lac store, which has been open five years, has 79 workers, the company said. The Beaver Dam Home Depot, open two years, has 73 employees and the Milwaukee store, open since 2003, has 75 workers, they said. Around the nation, Home Depot is closing what it says are 15 underperforming stores and terminating about 1,300 employees.

The DWD has already formed a Rapid Response team, including local partners, that contacted the company when the closing was first announced on May 1. The agency said it is currently in the process of holding orientation sessions for all affected employees.

WisBusiness.com-Edgewood College MBA Speaker Series:

Corey Chambas, President and CEO of First Business Financial Services Inc.

Monday, June 16, 5:45 pm
Sonderegger Science Center, Rm. 108, Edgewood College

–Part of the WisBusiness.com Speaker Series presented by Xcel Energy–

WisBusiness.com and Edgewood College present the MBA Executive Speaker Series on Monday, June 16, with special guest Corey Chambas, President and CEO of First Business Financial Services, Inc.

First Business is consistently ranked as one of the fastest growing companies in Dane County, with company holdings in Madison, Milwaukee and Appleton and nearly $1 billion in assets. Mr. Chambas will discuss building and maintaining corporate culture in a public company and the state of the Wisconsin economy.

This event is open to the public. There is no charge to attend, but for food planning purposes please RSVP to [email protected]




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Press Releases
‘Live Sustainably’: Miller Brewing Company Releases 2008 Sustainable Development Report
Amy Coulter Joins Coldwell Banker HomeSale Realty Waukesha Office
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Recovers $1,883,363.86
Centro Legal Expands Legal Services with Family Law Outreach Project
Community Members to Confront DNR over Outdated Cooling System
Dairyland Power’s 67th Annual Meeting Highlights
Governor Doyle Breaks Ground on Cambridge Major Laboratories Expansion
Jockey finds that the majority of men in America own un-wearable underwear
L&M Healthcare Communications LLC Expands With Hiring of New Executive Staff & Opening of Midwest Office
LoanSifter Teams With OriginationPro to Deliver Highly Effective Email Campaigns
MADD Launches Petition to Strengthen Wisconsin’s Drunk Driving Laws
Merge Healthcare Announces Corporate Reorganization
Mithridion and Cognitive Pharmaceuticals Join Forces
Nation’s First Littoral Combat Ship Lights Off Gas Turbine Engines in Preparation for Sea Trials
Record set for lowest number of May traffic deaths
Regents confirm Dr. Richard Telfer as UW-Whitewater chancellor
RMT Becomes Founding Reporter of The Climate Registry
Save Dad From His Drawers: National Survey Reveals the True Age of Men’s Underwear
Scientific Information Largely Ignored When Forming Opinions About Stem Cell Research
Sonic Foundry Event Services Hosts Live Learning Lab at ASTD International Conference and EXPO
Study: Organic Milk From Pasture-Fed Cows is Higher in Beneficial Nutrients
The Hanover Names Andrew Knipfer Regional Vice President, Wisconsin

For these and more releases visit http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Content=82


Federal regulators end investigation of Miller, Coors deal: The U.S. Department of Justice closed its investigation of a proposed joint venture between Molson Coors Brewing Co. and Miller Brewing Co. on Thursday, clearing the way for the brewers to combine their U.S. operations. The eight-month investigation concluded that the joint venture would not reduce competition in the market, the department’s antitrust division said in a statement. Miller, based in Milwaukee, and Molson Coors, based in Golden, Colo., announced in October they would form a joint venture called MillerCoors that would market and distribute their beers in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The deal was aimed at helping them compete against Anheuser-Busch Cos., which has about half the U.S. market.

Madison biotech Mithridion merges with Cognitive Pharmaceuticals: Mithridion, a Madison biotech company that has been viewed as one of the area’s promising startups, is getting a new lease on life. The company at 505 Science Drive has merged with Cognitive Pharmaceuticals, of Toledo, Ohio. Terms were not announced this week, but the merged firm will be called Mithridion and will keep its headquarters in Madison. Both companies were working on drug compounds to combat the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on the brain. Cognitive’s prospective drug appears to work, in preclinical studies. Mithridion’s doesn’t do what was hoped, the company realized late last year. “It’s obviously disappointing, but it’s something that happens in drug research,” said Trevor Twose, who will continue as Mithridion’s chief executive officer.

NewPage mill in Niagara to close in July: The NewPage paper mill in Niagara, which employs 319 people, will close earlier than anticipated due to changing market conditions, the company announced Thursday. NewPage announced in January the mill would close in April, then said in March that it would continue running the Niagara paper machines until the fall of 2008 because of unusually high market demand earlier this year. However, based on changing market conditions, a company press release said, the Niagara facility will stop production on July 12. NewPage also stopped production of one of its paper machines at its plant in Kimberly at the end of May.

Walgreens will pay Medicaid $1.8 million: The Wisconsin Medicaid program will get over $1.8 million to settle allegations of improper billing by Walgreen Co., part of a $35 million settlement by the retail pharmacy chain to resolve claims it switched dosage forms for three commonly prescribed medications, a move that resulted in Medicaid programs paying more for the drugs. Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced the settlement today. “Companies must provide state Medicaid programs with the best price for their product,” Van Hollen said. “In the interest of enforcing the law and protecting taxpayer dollars my office will take action to ensure that state taxpayers are only paying what they should.”

County businesses anticipate adjustments in wake of GM announcement: It might be fewer dinners out, passing on that new refrigerator or perhaps missing a loan payment. Rock County businesses will measure the economic impact of the loss of the General Motors plant in Janesville in many ways. That’s because, in a few years, a massive void will reduce the county’s annual personal income. GM alone paid out $229 million in wages in 2006. Throw in the automaker’s two largest local suppliers, and the figure approaches $270 million. “There’s no question that there will be an impact on the local economy in the short term,” said Doug Venable, Janesville’s economic development director. Venable and others say it will take time for Janesville to rebound from the economic fallout created by GM’s decision to end local production by the end of 2010 at the latest.

Radford Co. to close, 52 employees out of work: The Radford Co. will close its Oshkosh operation and lay off its 52 employees in response to a sluggish housing market that shows no signs of easing. The privately-owned company, founded in 1871, distributes doors, windows, moldings, stair parts and posts and columns throughout the Midwest. The operations affected by the closure include the company’s plant at 1871 Stillman Drive and its Oshkosh Prefinish Inc. operation at 1870 Stillman Drive, according to a letter company President Michael Walsh sent to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Monday. All operations are expected to cease by Aug. 29, which would bring Radford’s millwork distribution business to an end, Walsh said. The company’s other distribution center, in Duluth, closed last year.

GREGG HOFFMANN: Contributor, WisBusiness.com

TOM STILL: President, Wisconsin Technology Council

JENNIFER SERENO: Senior manager, Wood Communications Group

STEVE JAGLER: Executive editor, Small Business Times

TOM BURZINSKI: IT executive and consultant

TECHNOLOGY (back to top)
– Milwaukee market most unprepared for digital TV switch, group says

– UW-Madison engineering majors likely will pay $1,400 more than other students

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Looking forward to Wisconsin Farm Technology Days

– Farm Technology Days showcase tools, practices of farming

ECONOMY (back to top)
– What’s next for MillerCoors?

– Quad changes plan to expand

– Middleton Doll’s future bleak

– Many in Madison, other places see stimulus checks as chance for charity

– Verizon to buy Alltel for $5.9 billion

– J&B Construction Co. relocating to Germantown

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– State’s economy grows 1%

– Ingersoll-Rand finishes Trane acquisition

LABOR (back to top)
– Niagara paper mill to close in July

– NewPage cutting back on production

– Nekoosa can’t accommodate beef plant

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Stoughton businessman is working to outfit a kayak for disabled recreation enthusiasts

– Business start-up workshop June 19

– State entrepreneurs honored

INVESTING (back to top)
– Dow ends day up more than 200 points

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Apex Group proposes 14-story mixed-use development for Downtown Madison

– Home foreclosures, late payments set records in first three months of 2008

– Dane County home sales stay flat

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– State Cheese Production Rose During April

– Big Jumps on NASS Cheese Survey on Friday

– WDPA to Hold Dairy Symposium in July

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– City: College Avenue bridge closure will be ‘tough’

RETAIL (back to top)
– Grain costs lead to falling profits for Smithfield

– New commercial center going up this summer

– Discounters boost retail sales

– Kohl’s same-store sales sink in May

REGULATION (back to top)
– Towns get new land-use authority

– Congress sends farm bill to Bush

– Do-not-call registry expands to cell phones

– Muskego group plans recalls over Wal-Mart

TOURISM (back to top)
– Northwoods League makes pitch for Waukesha’s Frame Park

– Potawatomi places $240 million bet

– Museum plans expansion

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Algoma water utility asks for rate increase

– Dairyland Power to buy electricity from Cassville plant

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Wis. attempting to cut health-care disparities

– Audience at local AARP town hall wants access, affordable health care

– Delta Dental investment aims to wipe out cavities

– $10 million awarded in hospital injury case

– 4 top executives resign from Merge Healthcare

– Senkerik joins Pulaski Pharmacy

– Fitch downgrades MGIC on poor mortgage sector outlook

– Financial firms banking in Grafton

– Bank’s anti-recruiting motion denied

– Lenders to stop loans to technical, 2-year college students

– UW approves 5.5% tuition increase

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– UW-Madison chancellor will earn more than UW System president

– UWM picks Tosa for new campus

– Janesville efficiency rises

– A race to obtain ‘green’ building credentials

– SynergyHealth’s former CEO Banaszynski to join Aurora

– Retired Deere exec joins Snap-on board

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Mike Ivey: For the love of books

Media Partners
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Madison Magazine

National Business Roundups ( back to top)
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–ABC BUSINESS NEWS: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/business/
–GOOGLE NEWS: http://news.google.com/news/en/us/business.html

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