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Dealwatch: December 2010

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Articles - December 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Big deals, mergers and transactions of the month:

1. Intel announced that it would invest approximately $8 billion to build a new fabrication plant and retrofit two plants in Hillsboro, and renovate two plants in Arizona. The factories will employ 800 to 1,000 people to engineer 22-nanometer chips. Intel, based in Santa Clara, Calif., estimates about 6,000 to 8,000 construction jobs will be created during the building. The new factory will open in 2013.

2. Beaverton-based Digimarc, a digital media and technology company, signed a $36 million licensing deal with Intellectual Ventures Management (IV) from Bellevue, Wash. Digimarc made the deal to diversify its market for proprietary technologies and increase its number of patents. Digimarc will also receive 20% of IV’s profits resulting from new licenses.

3. Hillsboro-based Lattice Semiconductor, a manufacturer of programmable logic chips announced it will reclaim $20 million in common stock next year. Lattice made the repurchase decision after hiring new CEO Darin Billerbeck. The new CEO has held executive positions at Intel, and recently was CEO of Zilog, a dealer of embedded system-on-chip products.    

4. The nonprofit Macdonald Center in Portland announced that it would demolish the West Hotel to build a $10 million 42-unit low-income apartment complex, along with facilities to provide services for the poor. The new center is partly funded by $6.3 million in federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, as well as grants and a Meyer Memorial Trust pledge.

5. Giftango, the Portland online greeting card company, ended its Series B financing with more than $5 million from Taylor Corporation, a privately held U.S. graphics communications company, and other Series A investors.

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Editor's Letter: Power Play

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014

There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


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