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Mergers & Acquisitions

Safeco weighs downtown exit; owners of insurer's building market space

Insurance giant Safeco Corp. is expected to either vacate or scale back its downtown operation next year--a move that could deal a major blow to the office market. At stake are about 700 downtown jobs, some or all of which could be eliminated or shifted to the suburbs. A final decision about the fate of Safeco's five-building downtown office complex likely will come after Boston-based Liberty Mutual completes its $6.2 billion acquisition of Seattle-based Safeco.



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Car makers turn up pressure for bigger, but fewer, stores

Domestic automakers were already scheming about new ways to chop dealers--cutting costs to service them--as their market share drained to Toyota and other foreign competitors. Now, an economy standing on the brakes could drive another round of dealer consolidations that might not be a good deal for family-owned peddlers of metal.
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First Indiana sells bank

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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eGix buyout sets up Bell battle

The fiercely competitive local telecommunications landscape should get even more heated, following Cincinnati Bell Inc.'s $18 million acquisition of Carmel-based eGix Inc. eGix provides bundled voice and data services, as well as high-speed Internet access and messaging products, to about 17,000 commercial customers.
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First Indiana Bank's sale timing paid off

First Indiana Corp.'s announcement that it would be sold to Milwaukee-based Marshall & Ilsley Corp. for $529 million in cash came just 17 days after sale discussions began. Banking observers have speculated for weeks that First Indiana acted fast to cut a deal before it would have to report second-quarter results.
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CEOs' friendship helped pave M&I's way for First Indiana buyout

If First Indiana Corp. was looking to pull off a sale quickly, Milwaukee-based Marshall & Ilsley Corp. was a natural place to turn. First Indiana CEO Robert B. Warrington had been doing deals with the bank since he took the helm from Marni McKinney in 2006. Warrington also is a friend and golfing buddy of M&I CEO Mark Furlong.
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Finish Line's buy praised, panned

Athletic retailer The Finish Line Inc. had cultivated a reputation for conservative play calling, keeping clean books with minimal debt. Then on June 18, the Indianapolis-based retailer called a surprise audible. The $1.3 billion company agreed to acquire Nashville, Tenn.-based Genesco Inc. for $1.5 billion.
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Brightpoint's buy turns the tables

On Feb. 20, Plainfield-based cell phone distributor Brightpoint Inc. announced a blockbuster deal to buy Dangaard, its largest European rival, for $308 million, a reversal of fortunes from five years ago between the competitors.
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