Highlights last week on Philly Tech News (11/12/2012 to 11/18/2012)

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Hamilton, NJ-based billing system vendor Billtrust received a $25 million investment
from Bain Capital Ventures

Avantor, the Center Valley, PA specialty chemical manufacturer run by former Rohm & Haas CEO Raj Gupta and owned by New Mountain Capital, filed suit in the US District Court for the District of New Jersey against IBM, claiming it botched a SAP ERP implementation at Avantor and used what it asserts was inappropriate off-the shelf IBM software. Avantor claims "tens of millions" of damages resulted. SAP was not named in the suit.

American City Buiness Journals, publisher of the Philadelphia Business Journal and similar titles in other cities, announced it had acquired Streetwise Media, which publishes online websites covering tech and other local news in Boston and DC. Radnor-based TL Ventures was an investor in Streetwise.

In news from other sources, reports persist that Arris is a possible buyer of Horsham-based Motorola Home, and one unverified analyst report suggested that Arris technology would be used in a new Apple TV product, and that Comcast might be testing the potential impact of an Apple TV offering on its internet network. The Inquirer's Bob Fernandez noted how rising sports broadcasting rights fees are increasingly driving the price of cable TV subscriptions. And Comcast's NBCU was reported to be cutting about 450 jobs across its different units.

Michael Dell discussed the important role Dell Boomi plays in Dell's emerging software strategy. SAP is adding features to its HANA in-memory platform that will bring it closer to its goal of hosting ERP applications on HANA.


Retirement plan administrators Ascensus (Dresher) & ExpertPlan (East Windsor) to merge

Ascensus emphasizes ExpertPlan's technology platform

Tom Paine

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Ascensus, a Dresher-based retirement plan solutions provider, announced late yesterday it had entered into an agreement to merge with ExpertPlan, which is headquartered in East Windsor, New Jersey. Ascensus describes ExpertPlan in its press release as a "leading provider of micro and small plan recordkeeping and administrative services for approximately 16,000 plans with a particular focus on providing web-enabled technology services." Terms were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close by the end of this year.

Ascensus had been placed on the auction block by its PE owner, J.C. Flowers & Co., earlier this year, but the company failed to attract strategic buyers and Flowers backed off from a deal with one PE firm and decided to hold on to the company, PE Hub
reported last month
. The publication estimated that Ascensus produces $25 million to $35 million EBITDA, and was expected to fetch over $300 million.

Founded in 1999, ExpertPlan has grown its revenue from $12.6 million 2008 to $26.3 million in 2011, according to its entry in the 2012 Inc. 5000, which also said the company had 133 employees. It has grown through acquisitions as well as organic growth. Funding has come numerous sources including Bridge Partners, Mel Mel Baiada's BaseCamp Ventures, Seacap Ventures, Gamma Investors, Meridian Venture Partners, Paddington Venture Capital, Liberty Ventures, and Milestone Ventures.

ExpertPlan CEO Julian N. Onorato is a Drexel engineering graduate who joined the company from ADP. Robert Guillocheau is Ascenscus' President & CEO.


Daily Links 11/21/2012: NBC wins November Sweeps; News Corp takes 49% stake in YES Network

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NBC Wins November Sweeps for First Time in Nine Years (Bloomberg)

News Corporation Completes Deal for 49% Stake in YES Network (New York Times: Media Decoder)

Microsoft Reportedly Plans Stripped Down Xbox Set-Top Box To Compete With Apple TV, Roku (TechCrunch)

FCC chairman backs Dish Network plan to compete with wireless giants (Washington Post)
With caveats.

Salesforce CEO on SAP, Oracle: We're the 'customer company' (ZDNet)

Autonomy Founder Says HP Accounting Claim Doesn’t Add Up (Bloomberg)

In Hewlett’s Claims About Autonomy, Legal Costs Could Pile Up (New York Times: Dealbook)

SAP maintenance revenues: another turn of the screw? (Dennis Howlett/Enterprise Irregulars via ZDNet)

Mastering SAP HANA data modeling for maximum performance (SearchSAP)