January 21, 2014

SC business notebook, Jan 22

Orthopaedics firms merging; Panama Canal deal may be close; Did tobacco industry lie about smoking dangers?; Buffett bracket worth a billion

Orthopaedics firms merging

Columbia’s Midlands Orthopaedics and Charleston’s Lowcountry Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine announced today that they have merged to form Arcis Healthcare, LLC. The move is designed to help the companies pool their resources to meet increasing regulatory demands and compete in a rapidly evolving health care marketplace, the companies said in a release. The merger also allows the new entity to position itself as a provider of choice as new networks, care delivery and payment models develop. Each company will continue to serve patients under the same practice names with the same doctors. Billing will be done under the Arcis name.

Panama Canal deal may be close

The head of the Panama Canal said Tuesday that there may be a solution in sight to the $1.6 billion dispute that has threatened to halt work on the canal’s expansion. Administrator Jorge Luis Quijano said that the consortium expanding the canal has proposed a resolution “with some potential” to resolve the dispute. He offered no details and the consortium, United for the Canal, made no immediate comment. The two sides and the authority’s insurer met Tuesday to negotiate who will pay for cost overruns that led the Spanish-led consortium to threaten to halt work on a third set of locks that would allow far larger ships to pass through the canal. In a statement Monday, the consortium said co-financing of the extra costs with the authority would allow it “to continue the work, which directly employs nearly 10,000 people, and it would achieve the completion of the project by 2015.” U.S. ports, including Charleston’s, have invested billions in work to accommodate the larger ships that could pass through the expanded canal.

Did tobacco industry lie about smoking dangers?

Black media outlets want the nation’s tobacco companies to run court-ordered advertisements in their publications as part of a lawsuit charging that the industry lied about the dangers of smoking. In a brief in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., ahead of a Wednesday hearing in the case, the National Newspaper Publishers Association and National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters argued that the ads should be disseminated through their outlets because the black community has been disproportionally targeted by tobacco companies and harmed by smoking.

Buffett bracket worth a billion

Even billionaires like Warren Buffett think watching sports is more fun with a little money on the line. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is insuring a Quicken Loans contest that will award $1 billion to anyone who can correctly guess the winners of all 67 games in this spring’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Buffett said the idea for the contest was his. The contest will be free and will be open to the first 10 million people who sign up online.

The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times contributed.

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