Business Briefs: Driller acquiring Shell land in $120M cash deal

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Driller acquiring Shell land in $120M cash deal

Rex Energy is expanding in Pennsylvania and Ohio with the acquisition of about 208,000 acres from Royal Dutch Shell for $120 million in cash in a deal that stands to increase the company’s footprint in the Appalachian Basin by 200 percent, the State College-based driller said Tuesday. The divestment is not entirely a surprise for Shell, whose CEO Ben van Beurden said in March that the company would be cutting spending and staff in its dry gas operations in the U.S. by about 30 percent.

360fly raises $17.8 million amid fall release plans

360fly, a Green Tree-based company that creates 360-degree panoramic video cameras and accessories, has closed a $17.8 million Series B round of funding led by San Diego-based Qualcomm Ventures. The round adds Qualcomm to a list of lead investors that includes Greenwich, Conn.-based Catterton Partners, Hauppauge, N.Y.-based Voxx International and Steve Altman, former Qualcomm Inc. president and vice chairman. The company is planning to release products for retail sale this fall.

Area’s median home price down in 1st half of 2014

For only the second time in 15 years, metropolitan Pittsburgh’s median home price fell in the first half of this year, according to RealSTATs, a South Side-based real estate information service. The region’s median home price stood at $131,370 based on sales from January through June, down 1.23 percent from $133,000 last year. Since 2009, median home price has increased on average, 2.1 percent annually.

URA gets ready to vote on sale of land to SEA

A contract could be awarded next month to begin the construction of roads, sidewalks, street lights and other infrastructure at the former Civic Arena site. The city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority board is expected to vote Thursday on whether to sell the part of the site to the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority for $1. The transfer of the URA-owned land would clear the way for a contract to be awarded for roads and related work. The SEA board, meanwhile, is expected to vote today on whether to award a $1.1 million contract to HDR Engineering to do the preliminary design to build a park over Crosstown Boulevard to connect the arena site to Downtown.

Recommendation may not be in time for terminal talk

A recommendation for redeveloping the Strip District produce terminal could be delayed. Fourth Economy Consulting is still reviewing comments resulting from a public meeting last week and likely won’t have a recommendation to the city Urban Redevelopment Authority in time for its board meeting Thursday, vice president Jerry Paytas said. Kevin Acklin, URA board chairman, said no final decision has been made as to whether the issue will be addressed at Thursday’s meeting.

Though sales have fallen, Heinz reports Q2 profit

The H.J. Heinz Co. reported a profit of $126.7 million in the second quarter, compared to a net loss of $123.9 million during the comparable period a year earlier, in a regulatory filing. The Pittsburgh food company, which was acquired in June 2013 by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, said total sales of $2.73 billion for the three months ended June 29 were off from $2.85 billion during the comparable period year earlier.

Canada-based Nova has disappointing quarter

Nova Chemicals Corp. said profit in the second quarter fell 17 percent because of lower margins in its Canadian operations that make plastics used in consumer and industrial packaging. Profit was $167 million, down from $201 million in the second quarter a year ago. Sales for the quarter dropped by nearly 6 percent, to $1.29 billion from $1.37 billion last year.

Nova, based in Calgary, Canada, has about 200 employees at its executive offices in Moon and 200 employees at a plant in Monaca, Beaver County. The company said that in June, its Alberta, Canada, plant began using ethane from natural gas produced in the Bakken Shale region in North Dakota.

Schneider Downs names co-managing shareholders

Downtown-based accounting firm Schneider Downs on Tuesday named Timothy Hammer and Steven Thompson co-managing shareholders. Raymond Buehler Jr. was named chairman.

Job openings in June hit 13-year-plus high

Employers posted 4.67 million jobs in June, up 2.1 percent from May’s total of 4.58 million, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. The number of advertised openings was the highest since February 2001.

Atlantic City’s Revel Casino to close in September

Revel Casino is shutting down, unable to find a buyer for even pennies on the dollar. Revel Entertainment said the casino and its 1,399 hotel rooms will close Sept. 10, never having turned a

profit. Revel’s most recent Chapter 11 filing listed assets of $486.9 million and liabilities of $476.1 million.

Apple’s jobs held mostly by white, Asian men

Apple primarily relies on white and Asian men for its top-paying technology jobs, feeding the perception that the tech boom is largely excluding women, blacks and Hispanics. A breakdown released Tuesday by Apple showed 54 percent of the company’s technology jobs in the U.S. are filled by whites and another 23 percent by Asians. Men make up 80 percent of Apple’s technology workforce.

Lyft accuses Uber of foul play

Lyft, a San Francisco-based ride-sharing startup, says employees of rival Uber have ordered and backed out of more than 5,000 rides nationwide since October. Lyft also announced it was re-introducing a 20 percent commission that it charges drivers. Uber said Lyft’s claims are “baseless and simply untrue,” and that Lyft’s drivers and employees have canceled 12,900 Uber trips over an unspecified period.

Saab owner faces bankruptcy petition

The company that lifted Swedish automaker Saab out of bankruptcy is now facing financial difficulties of its own. On Tuesday, Labo Test, which supplies test equipment for car parts, petitioned a Swedish court to declare National Electric Vehicle of Sweden bankrupt.

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