Business news briefs for 01/07/11

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Web apnea monitoring in Philips deal for medSage

Royal Philips Electronics, parent company of sleep and respiratory firm Respironics, of Murrysville, has acquired medSage Technologies LLC in Wilkinsburg, which produces patient interaction and management applications. Financial details weren't disclosed. Philips officials say the acquisition will allow home care providers to monitor care for people with sleep apnea via the Internet. MedSage Technologies is a privately held company with about 40 employees.

Mortgage interest rates drop from last week

Rates on fixed mortgages dipped this week after rising steadily over the last two months. Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on the 30-year mortgage dropped to 4.77 percent from 4.86 percent the previous week. It hit a 40-year low of 4.17 percent in November. The average rate on the 15-year loan slipped to 4.13 percent from 4.20 percent. It reached 3.57 percent in November, the lowest level on records starting in 1991.

Reed Smith ends merger talks with Texas law firm

Pittsburgh-based Reed Smith and Dallas-based Thompson & Knight have called off merger talks. In a joint statement, the firms said they halted a potential merger before partners at either firm voted on it. When news of a possible merger surfaced in October, Reed Smith said it was interested in gaining a foothold in the Texas energy sector. Thompson & Knight has about 400 attorneys; Reed Smith has about 1,600 worldwide.

WPAHS gets kudos from bariatric surgery group

The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery has designated West Penn Allegheny Health System's bariatric surgery program a center of excellence based on its record of successful outcomes. The program, under director Daniel J. Gagne, has also been rated Pennsylvania's top bariatric surgery program for four consecutive years by HealthGrades. Previously based at West Penn Hospital in Bloomfield, the program is moving to Allegheny General Hospital this month as part of the health system's ongoing consolidation.

Mylan to delist senior convertible notes

Mylan Inc. said it would voluntarily delist its 1.25 percent senior convertible notes due in 2012 from trading on the Nasdaq capital market, effective at the opening of trading of Jan. 28. On Wednesday, the Nasdaq notified the generic drug company that the notes did not have the number of market makers required by Nasdaq's listing standards. The notes will move to trading over-the-counter, the company said.

IRS annual tax deadline delayed until April 18

Because the traditional April 15 deadline falls on a legal holiday in the nation's Capitol, the IRS deadline has been extended to Monday, April 18. This year, the traditional April 15 tax filing deadline falls on Emancipation Day, which is a Washington, D.C., city holiday commemorating Abraham Lincoln's freeing of slaves in the District of Columbia.

Starbucks' sea nymph logo gets another update

Starbucks Corp. is giving its siren a face-lift. The world's largest coffee company unveiled a new logo Wednesday that drops the words encircling its iconic sea nymph and gives her a few subtle updates. Starbucks plans to bring the new logo to stores in March to coincide with its 40th anniversary. This is the fourth version of Starbucks' logo since the company's beginnings in Seattle in 1971.

Also in business...

Saks Inc. said it planned to close its Saks Fifth Avenue store in Denver's Cherry Creek Mall in March, bringing to seven the number of its stores closed since July. ... AT&T Inc. will sell the previous-generation iPhone -- the iPhone 3GS -- for $49 starting today to customers who buy the smart phone with a two-year service contract and data plan. The iPhone 3GS had been sold for $99.



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