Early Briefing: What Separates Legg Mason and T. Rowe Price

* The headquarters of two leading asset management firms, Legg Mason and T. Rowe Price, stand a block apart on Baltimore's Inner Harbor, but more than a city street divides them.

In the most recent quarter, T. Rowe's earnings rose 6 percent as investors, undeterred by falling markets and the credit crisis, poured a record $9.7 billion into the hands of the firm's money managers. Legg Mason, on the other hand, posted its first quarterly loss since going public in 1983 after investors pulled $19.2 billion from the firm's stock and bond funds.

*Russian space hardware manufacturer Khrunichev is now the majority owner of McLean-based International Launch Services, a company formed 15 years ago to help market and manage commercial rocket launches for the Russian firm.

Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, run by the Russian government, now owns 83 percent of ILS after purchasing shares from Space Transport, based in the British Virgin Islands. Space Transport had bought its 51 percent stake in ILS from Lockheed Martin in 2006. The transaction puts all of ILS in Russian hands, with Moscow-based S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corp. Energia, a semi-autonomous company, owning a 17 percent stake.

*Maryland power companies, businesses and labor groups are banding together to push for new electricity supplies to prevent rolling brownouts. They said they hope to put pressure on policymakers to approve new transmission lines, speed up approvals for power plants and renewable-energy projects and encourage conservation.

The founders of Marylanders for Reliable Power say few consumers are aware that the region's soaring demand for power, coupled with limited supply, will continue to make the state vulnerable to power shortages that could lead to brownouts in three years.

*In a moment of celebration yesterday, Greater Southeast Community Hospital ceased to exist and United Medical Center was announced as the new identity and hope of a facility that less than a year ago seemed on the verge of collapse.

The name change, by owner Specialty Hospitals of America, accompanies more than $12 million in publicly funded capital renovations and technology upgrades. They include a new roof and generators, major improvements in the emergency department and replacement of nearly all radiology equipment.

*A high-rise building proposed for property atop the Bethesda Metro station has won support from the staff of the Montgomery County planning department and is scheduled for review June 12 by the Planning Board.

The 16-story office tower proposed by Meridian Group would be one of the tallest in downtown Bethesda and one of the few that has embraced "smart growth" both by locating next to Metro and by not building a parking garage for the building's occupants.

Opposing the project are Clark Enterprises, Chevy Chase Bank and Chevy Chase Land Co., all major players in the Washington real estate market with large offices nearby. The companies said Meridian's proposal is counter to long-standing plans for downtown Bethesda, which they say do not envision more buildings on the site.

By Terri Rupar  |  May 30, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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