Early Briefing: Backing Local Entrepreneurs

Motley Fool founders Tom Gardner (pictured) and his brother David are part of the team of high-powered advisers joining Launchbox. The Gardners started The Motley Fool, a financial media company, in 1993. But what happened to those ubiquitous Fool's hats they used to wear?

*Area notables including AOL's Ted Leonsis, ObjectVideo's Raul Fernandez, Motley Fool's Tom and David Gardner, and the FCC's Reed Hundt and Michael Powell have signed on to advise a new investment firm that will target local start-ups. LaunchBox Digital will give Web and wireless start-ups up to $30,000 and offer advice and guidance. More-mature companies could receive investments of up to $1 million. See story

*VeriSign, an Internet infrastructure company in Mountain View, Calif., said it will sell 10 of its 15 units and beef up one that is run primarily out of Dulles. See story.

*The D.C. Council is to hold a hearing today on the donation of land worth $6 million over the Shaw Metro stop and $16 million in public financing for a development that would include a new HQ for Radio One, which is now based in Lanham. See story.

*McCormick of Sparks, Md., agreed to buy Unilever's Lawry's seasonings for $605 million, adding marinades and meat-tenderizer products and prompting Moody's to review McCormick debt for a possible rating cut. See press release.

*General Dynamics, of Falls Church, said it acquired privately held Mediaware International, a Australian developer of video-processing software for military and intelligence use. Terms were not disclosed. See press release.

*Relational Investors, the activist investment firm run by Ralph Whitworth, increased by more than half its stake in Sprint Nextel of Reston. Relational now has 51.3 million shares, or 1.9 percent of the company, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, up from the 32.1 million it held as of June 30.

By Terri Rupar  |  November 15, 2007; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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