Last November Jesse Lerman, president and CEO of Princeton Server Group (PSG), went to a convention in Atlantic City to make a presentation, and he came home with a buy-out offer for $6.5 million, which closed on March 12. His three-year-old, 15-person firm helps move hometown cable channels from clumsy, tape-based programming to digital programming with video-on-demand and Internet-based control.
The buyer, Mount Laurel-based TelVue, markets to the same clients. It paves the way for local television stations to provide professional looking programming. The two companies had often been partners.
“They approached us at the New Jersey League of Municipalities Conference,” says Lerman in a telephone interview. “Both of us were presenting, and we had already done some partnerships and cross marketing. It is safe to say that PSG was not out looking to be acquired. But the more we thought of it, it made a lot of sense. TelVue’s content and production support helps to showcase the full potential of our equipment.”
PSG will become TelVue’s R&D operation, and Lerman will be executive vice president of engineering, second in command to TelVue’s CEO, Joseph Murphy. PSG will retain its quarters on the Forrestal Campus and its 15 staff members.
In some cases, such as in Hopewell, the two firms work side by side. One local access cable channel is powered by Princeton Server Group, and the other by TelVue. “We can take our side of the solution and sell it to TelVue customers, right out of the box,” says Lerman. PSG tends to be equipment centric, says Lerman. Once a station replaces its analog equipment with PSG’s digital equipment, they have the tools to “stack” up any number of “long form” (program length) videos, and they don’t need an engineer to be on duty while they are broadcasting. If local staffers do a regular program they can share that content with neighboring stations using download technology similar to MP3.
In comparison, says Lerman, TelVue licensed its equipment but focused on production. It can get a nice looking channel up and running even if the station has virtually no staff by producing professional looking bulletin board notices plus weather and traffic information. “They produce the look and feel,” he says. Together, PSG and TelVue will be like YouTube for the hometown channel, he says.
Both companies serve the same client base with complementary offerings, said Joseph Murphy, co-founder, president, and CEO of TelVue Corporation, in a prepared statement. “In the near-term, we have the opportunity to cross-sell into each other’s customer base. Long-term, our intention is to enhance our customer’s workflow, offer exciting new services like web streaming and video-on-demand, and make it less costly and difficult to add a professional touch to your hometown channel.”
Lerman grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, where his mother helped raise money for foster care for the department of social services, and his father was a professor and a visual and sound artist. After earning an electrical engineering degree from Princeton, Class of 1994, Lerman had worked at Sarnoff Real Time Corporation, a spinoff from the Sarnoff Corporation.
In 1995, when a company was formed to exploit Sarnoff’s Princeton Engine video processing computer, Lerman was director of software at that firm, DIVA Systems Corp. Jim Fredrickson, a computer engineer from Ohio State (Class of 1984), was a Sarnoff employee who became principal engineer at DIVA.
DIVA used its video server technology to provided video on demand (VOD) services to cable TV companies. It was the first to market with a complete VOD service, but its clients, the cable companies, considered the service too expensive. Though DIVA revamped its business model, it filed for bankruptcy in 2002, and its hopes for recovery were shattered when a potential buyer backed away later that year.
So Lerman and Frederickson were cautious. Princeton Server Group was formalized in July, 2003, with Lerman as president and CEO, Fredrickson as CTO, and Harini Subrahmanyam as principal engineer (Jim and Harini met at DIVA and are now married). They set out to build a less expensive solution for storing and delivering video streams.
Lerman believes his competitors, such as Tightrope Media Systems and Leightronix, have moved more slowly when it comes to tapping the power of the Internet.
To provide the equipment for multiple partners, Lerman says, “is less interesting than the combination of PSG and TelVue, which has the production capability to take our equipment and make the channel look good.” Five PSG sales people will join the TelVue sales staff of seven.
PSG was operating in the red, though it was doing well, says Lerman. “We were looking to be profitable on our own in 2007, and we were pursuing venture capital.” The buyout amounts to $6.1 million plus forgiveness of a $400,000 loan. PSG had received investments from the founding partners (Lerman, Fredrickson, Subrahmanyam, Steven Georges, and Paul Andrews), an angel investor from 2003, and contributors to a “friends and family” round in 2006. Rick Pinto of Stevens & Lee represented PSG in the merger.
“Instead of raising money to fill gaps in the company that have been filled immediately by the merge, we can focus on satisfying the needs of our company and dominating this market,” says Lerman.
“We could have taken the company and turned it into a lifestyle type business and done well enough to support a certain size staff,” says Lerman, “but we were a small company with a desire to grow fast.”
Princeton Server Group, 501 Forrestal Road, Suite 219, Princeton 08540; 609-258-8098; fax, 815-377-6093. Jesse Lerman, founder, president & CEO. www.PrincetonServerGroup.com
Intense-HPD, 1200-A Airport Road, North Brunswick 08902; 732-249-2228; fax, 732-249-8139. Tom Moritz, CEO. Home page: www.hpdinc.com
High Power Devices was bought in February by a firm in Glasgow, Scotland, named Intense. HPD makes semiconductor lasers for medical, pumping, lidar, and other military and commercial applications. It will retain the United States office.
Asama Division, TQM Enterprises LLC, 114 Straube Center Boulevard, Straube Center, Suite K-17, Pennington 08534-1498; 609-737-1308; fax, 609-737-2863. Winn Thompson, chairman. www.straube.com
Winn Thompson has bought the foreign trade business founded by Win Straube, the Asama division of the Straube Regional Center, formerly known as Pegasus International. Thompson retains the title Asama, which stands for a mountain in Japan.
Asama is an international distributor of aerosol products made by Sherwin Williams, and it has an office in Singapore. Win Straube retains ownership of the office park, the Straube Center.
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, 2 Central Avenue, Newark 07102; 973-624-3713; fax, 973-624-2115. Home page: www.njsymphony.com
The New Jersey Symphony has decided to sell its historical collection of stringed instruments — 30 violins, violas and cellos created by Stradivarius, Guarneri del Ges—, Amati, and others. The antiquities market has improved since the instruments were bought for $18 million four years ago.
“It is anticipated that proceeds will allow the NJSO to move into the future unencumbered by debt, and to lay the foundation for an endowment that will provide a steady source of income,” says a press release. “We fervently hope that whoever purchases the collection will permit us to continue playing them.”
Able Laboratories (ABRX), 1 Able Drive, Cranbury 08512-3609; 609-495-2800; fax, 609-495-2705. Home page: www.ablelabs.com
Four of five managers at the former Able Laboratories admitted on March 8 that they concocted a plan to falsify drug data over a seven year period. Able Laboratories, a generic drug maker, went out of business when the plan was discovered.
Shashikant Shah, vice president for quality control and regulatory affairs, also pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit securities fraud, selling company stop while being aware of illegal testing.
Three managers pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute misbranded and adulterated drugs were the laboratory manager Jyotin Parikh and group leaders Ashish Macwan, Jose Concepcion. The maximum sentence could be up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton will hand down the sentence on July 24.
The former CEO, Dhananjay G. Wadekar, has yet to be charged.
Clearbrook Financial LLC, 47 Hulfish Street, Suite 210, Princeton 08542; 609-921-8989; fax, 609-921-8941. John Morris, CEO. www.clearbrookfinancial.com
Shields Private Client, 47 Hulfish Street, Suite 210, Princeton 08542; 609-986-1001; fax, 609-921-1731. Christopher “Goose” Henderson, president. Home page: www.shieldsprivate.com
Clearbrook Financial, which provides financial solutions to the institutional investment community, recently moved from 34 Chambers Street to the Hulfish office of Shields Associates, an asset management consulting firm.
Mikulski & Mitchell LLC, 80 Lambert Lane, Suite 150, Lambertville 08530; 609-397-7667; fax, 609-397-0006. Roger S. Mitchell, managing partner. www.njbarristers.com
Ted Mikulski and Roger S. Mitchell moved their West Trenton office from Pennington Road to 925 Brunswick Avenue, Trenton 08638 (609-695-1377). They also have an office in Lambertville. Other attorneys in the office are S. Marc Flannery and Dominique K. Bogatz.
They focus on personal injury, professional malpractice, construction law, and employment law.
Career and Life Planning Center for Displaced Homemakers, 84 Park Avenue, Unit E-103, Flemington 08822; 908-788-1453; fax, 908-788-1485. Denise Brown Kahney, program director. www.dhnj.org
The Career and Life Planning Center for Displaced Homemakers, which assists unemployed and underemployed women, to a new location in flemington.
One of 14 centers funded by the Division on Women of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, it aims to empower women to achieve personal and financial self sufficiency. The term “displaced” could mean widowed, separated, divorced, having a spouse who is disabled, being in an unsupported relationship, or being victim of domestic violence.
“We help the unemployed or underemployed to prepare for the workforce,” says Denise Brown Kahney, program director. Among the services: career counseling, interest testing, computer classes, support groups, vouchers for business clothing from a consignment shop, and workshops on legal financial and life skills issues. Clients come from Hunterdon, Mercer, and Somerset counties.
“In a year we serve 150 women, and 80 percent of our clients sustain themselves, but that doesn’t mean they are reaching their full potential,” says Kahney. “There is a beginning to our program, but there is no end, because just because you are financially OK may not mean you are emotionally OK.” Orientations are on first Thursdays at 10 a.m.
Liberty Tax Service, 2025 Old Trenton Road, Princeton Arms Center, West Windsor 08550; 609-426-0100; fax, 609-632-1233. Michael Levine CPA, CEO. Home page: www.melcpa.com
Michael Levine has opened a four-person branch of Liberty Tax Service at Princeton Arms shopping center. The firm, based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, offers computerized income tax preparation, electronic filing, and refund loans, and it has 2,450 offices nationwide.
As far as advertising is concerned, Levine’s territory includes Hightstown, East Windsor, Cranbury, parts of West Windsor, and parts of Hamilton, but he can serve any potential client who walks in the door.
Levine grew up in Brooklyn, where his parents worked in the garment industry, and graduated in 1971 from Long Island University. He worked for Amper Politzner & Mattia and after seven years set up his own practice.
Liberty Tax Service was founded by John Hewitt, who had worked at H&R Block and founded Jackson Hewitt, the second largest tax business in the company.
The Fourth Estate, 183 Scotch Road, Ewing 08628; 609-406-0188; fax, 609-406-0199. Lesley Borges Carter, editor and publisher.
Lesley Borges Carter has launched a monthly newspaper for African-American community, titled the Fourth Estate. Circulation is in the 5,000 range.
Real Possibilities LLC, 5 Independence Way, Suite 120, Princeton 08540; 609-514-1300; fax, 609-514-2629. Rosemarie Fisher CPA, president. Home page: www.realposs.com
The accounting consulting firm moved from 130 square feet in shared space to 900 square feet in the same building, where it has a staff of six. The name, Real Possibilities, was chosen for its potential, says Ilonka Seamon, who founded the firm with Rosemary Fisher in 2002. “We liked the fact that we could do anything and wouldn’t be put into a box.”
After a earning a BS from Rutgers in 1978, Seamon worked in the accounting field for 20 years. Fisher is a CPA who went to Rider and has degrees in accounting and computer science.
The company provides outsourced accounting and business consulting services to small and medium-sized businesses, and it serves Burlington, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Somerset counties. Among its clients are retail stores, lawyers, and manufacturing businesses.
Supremia USA Inc., 11 Deer Park Drive, Princeton Corporate Plaza, Suite 200, Monmouth Junction 08852; 732-438-0888; fax, 732-438-1236. Robert Catalano, vice president. Home page: www.supremia.com
Supremia will more than double in size with an expansion from 2,000 feet to 4,500 square feet, moving from Deer Park Drive to 103 Morgan Lane. With 13 staff members, it is an international promotional sourcing specialist.
Redpoint Bio Corporation, 2005 Eastpark Boulevard, Eastpark at Exit 8, Cranbury 08512; 609-860-1500; fax, 609-860-5900. F. Raymond Salemme, CEO. www.redpointbio.com
Redpoint Bio Corporation is in the process of going public through a reverse merger. It has just been bought by a Florida corporation, Robcor Properties, Inc., which trades over the counter as RBCR.
Redpoint Bio is a development stage biotechnology company using advanced technology to discover and develop novel taste enhancers for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. It will retain its name, and it is scheduled to move to 19,000 square feet at 7 Graphics Drive in Ewing sometime this year.
Apicore, 49 Napoleon Court, Somerset 08873; 732-748-8882; fax, 732-748-8929. Sanjay Bharvav, vice president of operations. Home page: www.apicore.com
Apicore, which develops and manufactures active pharmaceutical ingredients for generic drugs, has closed its facility at 7 Deer Park Drive, Princeton Corporate Plaza, and consolidated operations in Somerset.
Ameriprise Financial Services Inc., 1105 Laurel Oak Road, Voorhees 08043; 856-784-7500. Kevin Colisimo, field vice president.
Ameriprise Financial Services closed its office at 100 Princeton Overlook and moved to Voorhees.
Bedard Kurowicki & Co., CPAs PC, 114 Broad Street, Flemington 08822. 908-782-7900; fax, 908-782-4328. John Bedard, president. Home page: www.bkc-cpa.com
The accounting firm consolidated its office at 1 Pennington-Washington Crossing Road and is now at an 18-person headquarters in Flemington.
Competency Assessment Solutions, 332 Wall Street, Princeton 08540, 609-921-8870, ext. 101; fax, 609-921-7951. Home page: www.competencyassessmentsolutions.com
Competency Assessments Solutions, a provider of software for reporting staff competency in the healthcare industry, was purchased last year by Lawson Software. Although Lawson kept some remote staff, it closed its office at 332 Wall Street in Princeton. Lawson Software provides an experience-based automation solution for healthcare competency measurement and reporting. It has clients in 40 countries and is based in Minnesota.
Odyssey International, 1915 North Cavaney Drive, Bismarck, ND 58501; 701-250-7355. Home page: www.odysseyresearch.org
A one-person office, which had been supervising clinical trials, closed on Whitehorse-Hamilton Square Road. The company’s headquarters is in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Time and Cross Inc., 420 Pelham Road, New Rochelle, NY 10805; 732-991-4645. Abraham Kim. Home page: www.timeandcross.com
The diagnostics division of an in-vitro test maker downsized by closing its lab at the Technology Center of New Jersey at 675 Route 1 South in North Brunswick. It retains its office in New Rochelle. It does R&D and manufacturing for tests for pregnancy, ovulation, cardiac markers, drugs of abuse, and HIV.
CompUSA, 101 Nassau Park Boulevard, Nassau Park, Princeton 08540; 609-243-3000. Home page: www.compusa.com
The retail software and hardware sales store is scheduled to close in 2007.
Lillian Baum Tenney MD, 85, on February 23. A clinical professor of psychiatry at Rutgers, she had a private practice on Franklin Corner Road. A memorial service will be Saturday, March 17, at 1 p.m. at the Princeton University Chapel.
Ted Stiles, 61, on March 6. A Rutgers biology professor and open space activist, he was director of the Hutcheson Memorial Forest.
William C. Baggitt, 74, on March 8. A Princeton-based attorney, he had represented the West Windsor-Plainsboro school board, the Hamilton Township planning board, and was a municipal court judge in Hamilton.