10 Biggest Business Deals of 2015

Philadelphia businesses made plenty of big moves in 2015. Everybody’s favorite coffee roaster got a new owner, two big universities announced a merger, and virtually every hospital seems interested in joining forces with one another.

Still, one of the biggest deals of the year — Comcast’s $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable — stalled after federal regulators recommended blocking it.

But there were still plenty of monster deals in 2015. Here are the top 10:

1. Jefferson Merges with Abington. And Aria. And Philly U.

Jefferson-Hospital-University-JEFF-FUSCO-940X540

For Jefferson, 2015 was a year of huge changes. After fundamentally restructuring how the organization is managed in 2014, Jefferson ended its financial partnership with Main Line Health and began pursuing new arrangements. Read more »

Why Urban Outfitters’ Stock Just Surged

Urban-Outfitters

Although retailers have been having a tough time in the stock market lately, Urban Outfitters‘ stock soared yesterday, ending the trading session at $22.29, up 5.69 percent.

The Philly-based hipster chic retailer that owns Anthropologie, Free People and Terrain filed a 10Q report after trading ended on Tuesday — and it showed that the company is poised to have a good fourth quarter. (Typically, the fourth quarter and Christmas season is where retailers make or break their year.) Read more »

Was Urban Outfitters-Vetri Deal in Part About Loneliness?

Urban Vetri

There was a lot of head-scratching this week when Urban Outfitters, struggling in sales, purchased the Vetri Family restaurant group. I understand the concern over a beloved local figure and craftsman “selling out” to a corporation famous for flannel and failed attempts at irony. But Urban and the Vetri people have worked together for years, and two big Philly power players are a match made in business heaven. (For those still bummed: The crown jewel Vetri-name restaurant wasn’t sold. Marc Vetri and co. also pledge to oversee all their Philly restaurants as usual — we’ll certainly notice if they don’t.)

The most interesting thing about this deal isn’t the people involved. It’s one of the reasons Urban’s chief development officer, Dave Ziel, gave for the purchase: filling a social void. As Ziel told Philly.com, “We think retailing needs to become more experiential … I think there’s a craving for real socializing beyond social media.” Read more »

Your Guide to Pizzeria Vetri

The Melanzana at Pizzeria Vetri | Photo by Courtney Apple

The Melanzana at Pizzeria Vetri | Photo by Courtney Apple

Pizzeria Vetri has made national news over the past couple of days because of Urban Outfitters announcement that it was purchasing Marc Vetri’s pizza chain and the rest of his restaurants (minus the eponymous Vetri). Headlines have blared “Why Urban Outfitters Made Its Controversial Pizza Purchase,” “Urban Drops After Saying It Will Buy Pizza Chain” and “It Will Take More Than a Pizza Party to Sure Up Urban Outfitters.” The business end of the deal has been covered excellently by our business reporter Jared Shelly, but we’re the food guys, and we want to talk pizza.

So for all the Wall Street analysts, URBN stockholders, University of Texas Seniors and everyone else who has been meaning to try Marc Vetri’s jump into casual dining, here is your guide to getting the most out of Pizzeria Vetri.

Read more »

Urban Outfitters Bought Vetri for Under $20 Million

Marc Vetri

Marc Vetri

One of the biggest questions looming about the Urban OutfittersVetri Family of restaurants deal was a simple one: How much did Urban pay to acquire the company?

Urban’s chief financial officer told Bloomberg Business that it paid less than $20 million for the restaurant group. (Both sides announced the deal Monday without disclosing financial terms. I asked Marc Vetri in a wide-ranging interview yesterday, but he declined to answer.) Read more »

Marc Vetri: Why I Sold to Urban Outfitters

Marc Vetri

Marc Vetri

Marc Vetri treated Tuesday like any other day. He spent his morning at Amis Trattoria on 13th Street, talking about the menu with the chef. Then he rolled over to Osteria on North Broad Street to do the same. Tonight, he’ll “roam around his restaurants” to make sure the vibe and the food are just right. Just like always.

But there’s little doubt that Tuesday is more than just another day. A day earlier, Vetri agreed to sell his family of restaurants to Urban Outfitters for an undisclosed price. In an interview Tuesday morning, Vetri said “we were never for sale” but that the synergy between the two companies was too strong to let the deal pass. Apart from the restaurant Vetri on Spruce Street, Urban now owns 100 percent of the business. Read more »

Urban Outfitters Stock Plummets After Vetri Deal

Urban-OutfittersIn the wake of Urban Outfittersstunning deal to purchase the Vetri Family of restaurants, many experts are asking the same question: Why did Urban just jump head first into the restaurant business?

Does it want to use gourmet food to attract customers to its physical stores? Does it want to ensure that newly planned Urban locations are surrounded by high-quality restaurants? Does it just think that Vetri is a solid side business? Read more »

Urban Outfitters to Buy Vetri Restaurants

Urban Vetri

Two of Philadelphia’s best-known brands are set to become united. Urban Outfitters has agreed to buy the Vetri Family of restaurants. No sale price has been disclosed.

“Having known Marc for almost a decade and partnered with him through his charitable foundation, we are honored to have him, Jeff and the Vetri family join the URBN team,” said Richard A. Hayne, CEO of Urban Outfitters in a statement. “Spending on casual dining is expanding rapidly, and thus, we believe there is tremendous opportunity to expand the Pizzeria Vetri concept.” Read more »

Urban Outfitters: Workers No Longer On-Call on Off Days

Urban-Outfitters

Urban Outfitters has become the latest retailer to end its controversial on-call scheduling policy in North America. Previously, Urban workers would have to be on-call during some days off — making it difficult to schedule activities in their free time and forcing some to find child care or elder care with very little notice.

“We are always looking for ways to improve, and as such we have decided to end on-call scheduling for all URBN brand associates throughout North America,” a company statement reads. It goes on to say: “Our continued growth requires that we consistently foster a creative, flexible and friendly work environment.” Read more »

Hey Urban Outfitters, Stop Treating Employees Like They Won the Cool-Job Lottery

Urban-Outfitters

Urban Outfitters — known for its hipster-chic clothes and dorm-room-esque decor — made news for all the wrong reasons last week.

Urban sent a message to salaried employees asking for “weekend volunteers” to work at its fulfillment center in Gap, Pa. to help deal with the center’s busiest month to date. But rather than offering employees extra cash to trek out to rural Pennsylvania and pack boxes, the company framed the outing as a “team building activity.” The entire letter was published in this Gawker story.
Read more »

« Older Posts