Banking & Finance

Angels invest where others fear to tread: Wealthy entrepreneurs join forces to create HALO Capital GroupRestricted Content

May 5, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Some high-tech companies are so risky that even venture capitalists quiver. That's when they turn to angels, who aren't afraid to fly to the rescue of cash-strapped innovators with chancy yet possibly lucrative ideas. Last year, two dozen of central Indiana's most successful business veterans decided to intercede on behalf of Hoosier entrepreneurs. They formed HALO Capital Group, a network of angel investors who seek to speculate on promising Indiana startups. Every other month, the HALO group meets at a...
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Turnaround specialists in demand: Economy creating opportunities for Periculum Capital, other firmsRestricted Content

May 5, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Even storm clouds have silver linings, if you know where to look. Likewise, even a slowing economy has market opportunities, for those who can adjust. Economists haven't agreed yet about whether the U.S. economy has slipped into recession. But Indianapolisbased investment banking firm Periculum Capital Co. LLC isn't waiting for the official call. Known since 1998 for its expertise in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions, Periculum is beefing up its expertise in business restructuring. "Most people who build businesses...
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Equicor playing it 'cautious': Small projects fueling firm's steady growthRestricted Content

April 28, 2008
Scott Olson
As one of a few local developers that pursues both commercial and residential projects, Equicor Cos. quietly has built a portfolio of properties totaling more than $150 million. Among those under development is its most ambitious to date, Promenade of Noblesville, at State Road 32 and Little Chicago Road. The 153-acre mixeduse development features retail and office lots, as well as 280 homes. Yet, the 16-year-old north-side company has been absorbing its share of "bumps and bruises" as of late,...
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Defaults also hit business property: Experts expecting bump in commercial loan woesRestricted Content

April 28, 2008
Scott Olson
In the few short months since Gordon Hendry began leading the Property Management Division for the local office of CB Richard Ellis, the firm has become involved in a growing number of commercial loan defaults. Locally, CB Richard Ellis is the courtappointed receiver for Plainfield Crossing, a 92,000-square-foot West Washington Street strip center anchored by Value City, and for Crooked Creek Center, a 52,000-square-foot center at 79th Street and Michigan Road. Hendry expects the local office will be assigned to...
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BEHIND THE NEWS: Plans in beaten-down state test HHGregg's strategyRestricted Content

April 21, 2008
Greg Andrews
HHGregg Inc.'s audacious expansion strategy is about to get its biggest test. Since 1999, the Indianapolis-based electronics and appliance retailer has charged into eight new metro areas, adding 78 stores in such markets as Atlanta; Knoxville, Tenn.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Charlotte, N.C. The company doesn't tiptoe in. It starts with multiple stores to justify the cost of building distribution infrastructure and launching an advertising blitz. The strategy has allowed it to swiftly build major market shares everywhere it's gone. Now,...
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Carmel firm to determine Vonnegut's worthRestricted Content

April 7, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Many readers would call the Indiana literary legend Kurt Vonnegut's legacy priceless. Not Mike Pellegrino. His job is to estimate future sales of Vonnegut's work so his estate can be fairly divided today. That means Pellegrino will have to determine whether the author's popularity is more likely to wax or to wane in the years to come.
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Mortgage blues haven't hit all: Some firms are holding their own despite housing, credit slumpRestricted Content

March 24, 2008
Scott Olson
The local office of Cleveland-based KeyBank has hired a banking veteran to lead a revamped mortgage department that will boast a larger sales force. And locally based mortgage firm Signature Group recently completed construction of its new headquarters and added three brokers. In this climate of ballooning foreclosures and rising interest rates, one might wonder whether executives of the aforementioned institutions are reading the wrong spreadsheets. To the contrary, despite the gloomy picture monthly housing statistics paint, they are among...
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Local bankers surprised by Bear bailout: Observers hope firm's sudden sale signals peak of financial turmoilRestricted Content

March 24, 2008
Cory Schouten
The local president of Milwaukee-based M&I Bank, Reagan Rick, got the shocking news while waiting for a plane at Boston Logan International Airport. It came in a text message from Robert Warrington, the former CEO of First Indiana Bank, the Indianapolis bank M&I acquired last year for $529 million. Warrington told him 85-year-old New York-based investment bank Bear Stearns Cos. had been sold to JP Morgan Chase Co.-with backing from the Federal Reserve-for a mere $2 per share. "The degree...
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ICVA calls in headhunter to help fill top post: Experts say job should draw wide interestRestricted Content

March 17, 2008
Jennifer Whitson
A nationally renowned headhunter is tracking down candidates to fill the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association's top job in hopes of having a new president in place by June 1. Industry observers expect plenty of applicants given an upcoming hospitality building spree. "This is potentially the chance of a lifetime for someone to come in and make a huge difference," said Amanda Cecil, an assistant professor in IUPUI's Convention and Event Management Department. She called the Indianapolis market a "gold...
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Hoosier Heartland Highway pumps up hope on prairie: Expressway construction starting two years earlyRestricted Content

March 17, 2008
Chris O\'malley
LAFAYETTE-For years, they've driven on little more than paved-over wagon trails pioneers carved into the hills nestling the Wabash River. Motorists on State Road 25 between Logansport and Lafayette have grown desperate for a replacement: the final, 33-mile western leg of the "Hoosier Heartland Highway." Today, the Hoosier Heartland expressway ends in Logansport-the western terminus of a newly improved, four-lane U.S. 24 that runs east, to Fort Wayne. But last month Gov. Mitch Daniels surprised highway proponents with word that...
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BEHIND THE NEWS: With benefit of hindsight, some sales look savvyRestricted Content

March 10, 2008
Greg Andrews
S o m e t i m e s , being a good businessperson means knowing when to get out of the business. That truism comes to mind because of the recent carnage in banking. Shareholders in First Indiana Corp., it turns out, cashed in at the right time, as did investors in privately held Union Federal Bank and its parent, Waterfield Mortgage Corp. Last July, just before the subprime mortgage crisis threw credit markets into disarray, the board of...
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Commentary: When is the right time to sell?Restricted Content

March 10, 2008
Mickey Maurer
Like the song says, "You gotta know when to fold 'em." But how do you know when it is the proper time to sell a business? Age and health issues aside, I suggest the "trigger" moment is when there is a looming fundamental adverse change in the industry. One should not sell needlessly. The government imposes a harsh penalty for those transactions. It's called a longterm capital gains tax. I would not fault anyone, however, for a premature exit that...
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Office tower bounces back: Renovated National City Center recovering from loss of SimonRestricted Content

February 25, 2008
Scott Olson
Once reeling from the loss of its largest tenant, National City Center now has a rising occupancy rate amid a major renovation that is resuscitating the aging office building. Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc. vacated 182,000 square feet in National City Center by moving to its new headquarters a block away in the fall of 2006. The departure left the 16-story tower at the southwest corner of Washington and Illinois streets 28-percent unoccupied after years of being nearly full. Owner...
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BEHIND THE NEWS: How a smart businessman invested his way into prisonRestricted Content

February 25, 2008
Greg Andrews
In 1994, Indianapolis real estate entrepreneur Mark Ristow read some investment advice that changed his life. In the book "Beating the Street," Peter Lynch, the former star mutual fund manager, described a "can't lose proposition (almost)" called bank-conversion investing. The game: Buying stock in mutual, depositor-owned banks when they convert into public companies. Depositors get in at the initial-public-offering price, often a discount. So "the next time you pass a mutual savings bank or an S&L that's still cooperatively owned,"...
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Financial crisis offers opening for banks' market-share reshufflingRestricted Content

February 4, 2008
Cory Schouten
Market observers rank today's credit crisis on par with some of the ugliest moments in U.S. banking history. News service Bloomberg predicted fourth-quarter lending losses could make it "the worst earnings period for the financial industry since the Great Depression." Yet amid the carnage, financial institutions are sniffing around for opportunities.
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Busy year, no whoppers: Deals were numerous in 2007, but lack of blockbuster holds overall price tag downRestricted Content

January 28, 2008
Scott Olson
The Indianapolis area didn't experience a monster-size business transaction in 2007 like it has in recent years, but that doesn't mean the deal-makers weren't busy. IBJ's annual list of Big Deals tracked more large business transactions involving Indianapolis-area companies than ever before in 2007, even though the total dollar amount of the deals was dramatically lower than the previous year's. Deals compiled by the Indianapolis Business Journal that closed in 2007 totaled $23.4 billion, well below the $38.5 billion posted...
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BEHIND THE NEWS: Pending IPOs bode well for tech startups of tomorrowRestricted Content

January 28, 2008
Greg Andrews
Initial public offerings often are bonanzas for company management and other insiders. In the case of Aprimo Inc. and ExactTarget Inc. -two Indianapolis software firms on deck to go public-a throng of local business and technology leaders who provided early financial backing would see a rich payoff as well. Filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show the companies snared as investors a who's who of Indianapolis business, from former venture capitalist Bob Compton to financial adviser David Knall and...
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Few stocks avoid effect of housing, banking woes: Wall Street pessimism spreading across industriesRestricted Content

January 14, 2008
Tracy Donhardt
Nineteen central Indiana companies have seen their stock prices fall more than one-quarter from the 52-week highs-a plunge that largely reflects pessimism over the strength of the economy. The pullback has hammered some of the top-performing Hoosier companies in recent years, including shopping mall owner Simon Property Group Inc. (off $46 a share, or 38 percent) and school operator ITT Educational Services Inc. (off $52, or 39 percent). Former highfliers often take the biggest tumble when investor sentiment turns bearish....
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Rash of deals saves Gazelle venture-capital fundRestricted Content

January 7, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Back in 1999, investors in Gazelle TechVentures expected a sprint to spectacular profits. Instead, they got a marathon slog. According to Gazelle Chairman and largest investor Scott Jones, it was like training for a race on a sunny day, then running it through a blizzard.
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Financial Planning Titles: A list of acronyms after an adviser's name might look impressive, but those seeking credible advice need to sort through designationsRestricted Content

January 7, 2008
Scott Olson
inancial F Planning Titles A list of acronyms after an adviser's name might look impressive, but those seeking credible advice need to sort through designations Investing your money is overwhelming enough already-especially with all the available options-without having to fret over whether a financial adviser has the credentials to keep your retirement account afloat. Sure, there are a litany of fancy titles financial planners can earn that may help ease your concerns. But what do they really mean? With more...
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First Indiana sells bankRestricted Content

December 31, 2007
Cory Schouten
Indiana's largest locally based bank, First Indiana Corp., decided to end 92 years of independence in 2007, agreeing in July to sell itself to Milwaukee-based Marshall & Ilsley Corp. for $529 million in cash, or $32 a share.
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Buyout firm lands $202M infusionRestricted Content

December 24, 2007
Peter Schnitzler
Locally based Hammond Kennedy Whitney & Co. closed on $202 million in new capital this month, doubling its size. Its resources have increased, but HKW's investment philosophy is unchanged. It continues to buy small and midsize specialty manufacturing companies, infuse them with cash and management expertise, then patiently wait for them to grow.
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Knall accepts suspension in unusual SEC case

December 10, 2007
Greg Andrews
Newly public records suggest that securities investigators had far from an airtight insider-trading case against David Knall, the star Indianapolis investment broker who nonetheless agreed to settle the 3-year-old inquiry by agreeing to a one-year suspension. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the pact Dec. 4. In addition to consenting to the suspension, Knall, a managing partner of Stifel Nicolaus & Co., agreed to pay $123,865.
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Credit unions resist conversion temptation: Nationwide, some institutions are opting to become banks to spur growth, but Indiana hasn't joined the packRestricted Content

October 29, 2007
Cory Schouten
None of Indiana's 210 credit unions has flipped its charter yet, but analysts expect that will change in the coming years. "Credit unions were formed because there weren't enough convenient banking resources for certain consumers," said Mike Renninger, principal of Carmelbased Renninger & Associates LLC, a banking consulting firm that specializes in mergers and acquisitions. "Today, it's a very different mission. There is a tremendous availability of financial services." Credit unions that convert lose tax advantages that come with mutual...
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Clinton's 401(k) proposal receiving mixed reviews: Experts disagree on whether plan can spur savingsRestricted Content

October 29, 2007
Scott Olson
Republican presidential candidate Herbert Hoover promised a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage, leading everyone to believe they would be prosperous under his administration. Fast-forward 80 years and a candidate from the other side of the aisle, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., is offering an incentive more fitting for the new millennium: a match on workers' 401(k) contributions. Time will tell whether Clinton becomes president and ultimately fulfills the pledge, but what prompted it is Americans' reluctance...
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