Business Briefs: Pittsburgh cost-friendly for business, says study

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Pittsburgh cost-friendly for business, says study

Pittsburgh has cracked the top ten of the nation's most cost-friendly business locations, according to the 2014 Competitive Alternatives Study by Amsterdam, North Holland-based audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG. Pittsburgh ranks eighth among the nation's 31 metro areas with populations of 2 million or greater. With a ranking of 96.4 percent, Pittsburgh's business costs are 4.6 percent lower than the national baseline, largely due to low salary and wage costs, as well as low property taxes. With a cost index of 94.7 percent, Atlanta was the most cost-friendly location. 

South Side manufacturer realigning management

South Side-based medical and educational communications device manufacturer DynaVox is realigning is management and board of directors at the behest of its new owners. The company announced Wednesday that Randolph, Mass.-based private equity firm JEC Capital Partners LLC and Houston-based Fondren Management acquired the remainder of the company's senior debt and replaced the company's entire board of directors. The new board, which was not named in a company press release, appointed former Comcast executive Derek Harrar as interim CEO to replace Michelle Heying-Wilver.

In May, DynaVox's Class A common stock was removed from the Nasdaq Globe Select Market due to noncompliance with a minimum $1 bid price. A November annual report showed the company owed approximately $14 million in short-term debt under a 2008 credit facility. All senior debt is now being held under the joint entity JEC-BR Parnters, LLC.

Microsoft releases Office apps for iPad

In a significant break from a longstanding Microsoft Corp. tradition of creating services primarily for its own platforms first, the company on Thursday announced Office for iPad, its suite of productivity apps that have been optimized for touch and for use on Apple Inc.’s market-dominating tablet. The apps are free if users only want to view and present documents, spreadsheets and slides.

Glaxo recalls diet drug Alli on tampering concern

GlaxoSmithKline Plc is recalling its weight-loss drug Alli in the U.S. and Puerto Rico after receiving complaints from consumers in seven states that bottles contained tablets and capsules of various shapes and colors, rather than the usual turquoise blue capsule. London-based Glaxo said in a statement that some packages were tampered with and some bottles had missing labels and seals that weren’t authentic.

Signed contracts to buy homes down

The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes fell for the eighth straight month in February, a sign that real estate sales will likely slow over the next few months. The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index dropped 0.8 percent to 93.9. The index has fallen 10.5 percent over the past 12 months.

Economy grew at 2.6 percent rate in Q4

The U.S. economy grew at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter, slightly more than previously estimated, as consumer spending rose at the fastest pace in three years, the Commerce Department reported. 

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