Bankers Groups To Merge

The New Jersey Bankers Association and the New Jersey League of Community Bankers have announced plans to merge effective January 1.

The announcement was made during the September 23 Joint Senior Management Conference for the two trade groups, after the boards of both organizations approved the merger plan. The final deal is pending approval of the merger by the membership of both groups sometime in November. The joint venture will use the New Jersey Bankers Association, or NJBankers brand. The combined association will be based in the league’s Cranford office and consist of 118 member banks and 212 associate members.

“The banking industry in New Jersey will now finally be one voice, united and strong, in both Washington and Trenton,” said NJBankers chairman Norman Beatty, chairman, president, and CEO of First Hope Bank in Hope. New Jersey League chairman John H. Wessling, president and CEO of Haven Savings Bank in Hoboken said the two groups have long worked together on legislative issues and educational programs and called the merger “a logical conclusion to these cooperative efforts.”

All employees of both organizations will be offered positions in the combined organization. Each organization currently has a core staff of nine. The league also has four employees in its Thrift Institutions Community Investment Corporation of New Jersey (TICIC) subsidiary, which assists banks in funding community development projects, and seven employees in its Bankers Cooperative Group Inc., an affiliated company that provides medical and other insurance for member bank employees. It also operates the New Jersey Community Bankers Education Foundation, a charitable foundation.

The three units, along with the NJBankers’ NJBA Service Corporation, will become part of the combined organization. The Service Corporation, which endorses banking related companies as preferred service providers for NJBankers members, does not have a separate staff.

New Jersey Bankers Association, 4365 Route 1 South, Box 573, Princeton 08542-0573; 609-520-1221; fax, 609-520-2038. John E. McWeeney Jr., president. Home page: www.njbankers.com.

Buy Out

Pharmacopeia Drug Discovery Inc. (PCOP), 3000 Eastpark Boulevard, Box 5350, Cranbury 08512; 609-452-3600; fax, 609-452-3672. Joseph Mollica, chairman and CEO. Home page: www.pcop.com.

Pharmacopeia, a struggling biotechnology company, has agreed to be purchased by Ligand Pharmaceuticals in a stock deal valued up to $70 million.

Under the deal, Ligand, which is based in San Diego, will issue 0.58 share for each outstanding Pharmacopeia share and Ligand stockholders will own about 84 percent of the combined company, with remaining owned by Pharmacopeia stockholders. Pharmacopeia will take two seats on the Ligand board.

Pharmacopeia, with its stock near a 52-week low of $1, had been seeking a partnership. The company, founded in 1993, laid off 15 percent of its employees in May and another 40 percent in August.

Contract Awarded

Mikros Systems Corp. (MKRS), 707 Alexander Road, Building 2, Suite 208, Box 7189, Princeton 08543-; 609-987-1513; fax, 609-987-8114. Thomas J. Meaney, president. Home page: www.mikros.us.

Mikros Corporation has been awarded an $800,000 contract from the Naval Surface Weapons Center for its automated maintenance tools, which it calls ADEPT units, and for logistics development work.

ADEPT is designed to significantly reduce the man-hours required to align radar systems aboard U.S. Navy AEGIS cruisers and destroyers and also to boost system performance.

Crosstown Moves

Blue Beacon Capital, 136 Main Street, Suite 305, Princeton 08540; 609-514-8500; fax, 609-514-8595. Roger Valdovinos, founder and managing director. Home page: www.bluebeaconcapital.com.

Investment banking firm Blue Beacon Capital has moved its offices from 23 Orchard Road to Princeton Forrestal Village. The firm provides financial advisory services in connection with mergers, acquisitions, exclusive sales, divestitures, restructurings, and private placements for the telecommunications, media, and technology industry.

Richardson Commercial Realtors LLC, 52 Route 33, Lexington Square Commons, Hamilton 08690-1740; 609-586-1000; fax, 609-586-8732. Michael J. Pratico Sr., president. Home page: www.richardsoncommercial.com.

Richardson Commercial Realtors, which provides appraisal, property management, and consulting services, has moved from Lexington Square Commons to 52 Route 33 in Hamilton.

Backes & Hill LLP, 3131 Princeton Pike, Building 5, Suite 114, Lawrenceville 08648; 609-844-0300; fax, 609-396-8257. Harry R. Hill Jr., managing partner. Home page: www.backesandhill.com.

Backes & Hill, which deals with estate, business, personal injury, and worker’s compensation law, has relocated from Trenton.

Founded in 1913 and located at 15 West Front Street since 1991, Backes & Hill represented Maddock Pottery when it was acquired by American Standard, and the John A. Roebling & Sons Company when it was sold to Colorado Fuel & Iron in 1954.

State Offers Sun $2.38 Million Grant

Sun Pharmaceuticals, 1 Able Drive, Cranbury 08512; 609-495-2800; fax, 609-495-2705. J. Doshi, executive director.

The state’s Economic Development Authority says it has approved a $2.38 million grant incentive for Sun Pharmaceutical Industries in exchange for a promise to create 318 new jobs and invest $4 million at the company’s Cranbury facility. The EDA approved the 10-year grant under its Business Employment Incentive Program at its board meeting of September 9, according to published reports.

The company, which is based in Detroit and has 82 employees in Cranbury, has not decided whether to accept the offer.

Sun’s Cranbury facility is the former manufacturing plant of the now-defunct Able Labs, which it bought in 2005 for $23.15 million from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Able Labs, a maker of generic drugs, closed down in 2005 after the FDA raised concerns over quality control.

Out of Business

GMAC Mortgage (GM), 1 Rossmoor Drive, Jamesburg 08831; 609-655-1100.

GMAC Financial Services, in the automotive, real estate, insurance and commercial finance businesses, has closed all GMAC Mortgage retail shops in the chain. GMAC had two locations in the Princeton area — one on Wall Street and one in Jamesburg. The two offices employed 19 people.

The announcement came last month that all 200 GMAC Mortgage retail offices would close in what GMAC called “a streamlining measure.”

Death

Beverly Hamrick Beggs Youmans, 74, on September 22. She was the tour manager for the American Boychoir for 12 years, until 1997. A service will be Saturday, October 4, at 11 a.m. at Princeton United Methodist Church.

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