Early Briefing: Moving Forward In A Downturn
* The economy may be slogging through a credit crisis, housing prices may be falling, but some folks are still making plans for the future. Catholic University has chosen a developer to turn nearly nine acres across from its Northeast Washington campus into a dense mix of restaurants, shops and housing, all centered around a new clock tower.
The university's agreement with Jim Abdo, if approved by the District, would create a destination across from the Brookland/CUA Metro station in a low-slung neighborhood that developers largely ignored during the real estate boom of recent years.
Abdo's project would rise on university-owned land occupied by three dormitories, which the school would demolish and rebuild on the main campus, north of Michigan Avenue. The university plans to announce the deal Wednesday.
* Five months ago, Dan Hesse took a job many people didn't want.
He was charged with rebuilding Sprint Nextel, the nation's third-largest wireless carrier, which lost 1.2 million subscribers last year. Its stock lost more than half its value in that time, and Sprint was saddled with more than $30 billion in losses because of its merger with Nextel Communications -- a deal studied by MBA students as one of the worst mergers ever.
Hesse, a former chief executive of AT&T's wireless unit, took the top job at Sprint knowing the wind was in front of him. To prepare his employees for the fight ahead, he passed out 800 copies of a documentary about Sir Ernest Shackleton's journey to the South Pole and compared it with Sprint's road to recovery. Hesse particularly liked Shackleton's advertisement for recruits: "Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness . . . Honour and recognition in case of success."
Staff writer Cecilia Kang talks to Hesse in this Q&A.
* A Fairfax County technology company has agreed to pay a rival $4.5 million to settle a lawsuit accusing it of stealing computer software.
Razorsight also agreed to stop using the intellectual property from Teoco, a Fairfax County company that had developed software to process and audit billing among telecommunications carriers.
Teoco filed suit last September, claiming that Razorsight had stolen source code for software that loads and processes telecom invoices. Razorsight founder Sundeep Sanghavi worked for Teoco before launching the company.
* Carlyle Group announced its second investment this year in infrastructure, acquiring a majority interest in ITS Technologies & Logistics. ITS, which helps move goods and containers through the rail and truck systems, operates across the United States and Mexico. Terms were not disclosed.
* Clearspring Technologies, an online content distribution company backed by several Washington area Internet pioneers, has won $18 million in additional funding from New Enterprise Associates and Novak Biddle Venture Partners, two local venture capital firms. The money will be used to extend Clearspring's reach into international markets and further develop its rapidly growing advertising network. The McLean company also has offices in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles.
* LCC International founder Rajendra Singh is stepping down as director after 25 years with the McLean wireless-services firm. Singh started the company with his wife, Neera, after they created an algorithm to help wireless operators decide where to place cellphone towers. Singh manages Telcom Ventures, an investment firm specializing in wireless service providers and emerging technologies
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