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Private equity company to get majority stake in Andover firm

Alku chief executive Mark Eldridge.Alku


Private equity company to get majority stake in Andover firm

Private equity firm New Mountain Capital has reached a deal to acquire a majority stake in Alku, a specialty staffing firm based in Andover, for an undisclosed amount. The existing investors — a group that includes FFL Partners, WestView Capital Partners, and Alku chief executive Mark Eldridge — will remain invested in the firm though their equity will be diluted by the arrival of New Mountain Capital. Eldridge, who founded the firm in 2008, said New Mountain’s financial backing will help fuel the company’s growth: About 550 people work for the company now, and it generates about $700 million in annual revenue, but that revenue number will likely exceed $1 billion in 2025. By the time the firm reaches $1.3 billion in revenue, as projected for 2026, Alku’s workforce will likely exceed 1,000 employees, Eldridge said. Aside from the headquarters at Brickstone Square in Andover, Alku has offices in Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. The company, Eldridge said, is also expanding the size of its headquarters location this year, by moving into a 100,000-square-foot spot at Brickstone and holding on to about 30,000 square feet of its current 76,000-square-foot lease. Each year, the company makes nearly 4,000 placements, primarily in specialized fields, with an average assignment length of just under a year. — JON CHESTO



Boston Scientific reportedly interested in California company

Shockwave Medical Inc. is attracting takeover interest from Boston Scientific as health care dealmaking starts to rebound, people with knowledge of the matter said. Boston Scientific has been exploring a potential deal for Shockwave to boost its portfolio of cardiovascular devices, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. Shares of Shockwave have gained 29 percent this year, giving the company a market value of about $9.6 billion. A deal could rank as one of Boston Scientific’s largest-ever acquisitions, potentially trailing only its 2006 purchase of Guidant Corp. for more than $27 billion. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company has a device that uses sound waves to break up calcium deposits in arteries and expand vessels, a method the company says is safer than some currently used procedures. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



First Republic plans layoffs as deposits plummet

First Republic Bank said it’s weighing strategic options and seeking to shrink its balance sheet after deposits plummeted more than expected in the first three months of the year. Deposits sank to $104.5 billion as of March 31, down 41 percent from the end of 2022, even after the country’s largest lenders parked $30 billion of their own cash with the San Francisco-based bank in an effort to shore up its finances. In response to the “unprecedented” outflows of deposits, the company said it plans to cut its workforce by as much as 25 percent and that it’s weighing strategic options as it works to reinforce its capital position. The results are the first fulsome update from First Republic since investors pulled back from the stock amid a crisis that engulfed regional lenders nationwide last month. At the height of the crisis in March, 11 of the country’s largest banks banded together to deposit $30 billion of their own cash into First Republic to shore up confidence in the beleaguered lender. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

This March 19, 2018 file photo shows Apple's App Store app in Baltimore. Patrick Semansky/Associated Press


Apple wins court case over App Store policies

Apple won an appeals court ruling upholding its App Store’s policies in an antitrust challenge brought by Epic Games. Monday’s ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower-court judge’s 2021 decision largely rejecting claims by Epic, the maker of Fortnite, that Apple’s online marketplace policies violated federal law because they ban third-party app marketplaces on its operating system. The ruling comes as Apple has been making changes to the way the App Store operates to address developer concerns since Epic sued the company in 2020. The dispute began after Apple expelled the Fortnite game from the App Store because Epic created a workaround to paying a 30 percent fee on customers’ in-app purchases. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Blue check marks return on Twitter, but celebs say they didn’t pay for them

Celebrities and other high-profile Twitter users are once again being verified by the social media platform and they don’t know why the blue check marks reappeared — nor do they seem too happy about it. Twitter removed the blue marks last week from accounts that don’t pay a monthly fee. But the check marks mysteriously returned for many highly followed accounts over the weekend, leading some prominent users to disavow what’s become a divisive symbol of Twitter owner Elon Musk’s erratic changes to the platform. Accounts belonging to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Bette Midler, gymnast Simone Biles Owens, writer Neil Gaiman, and rapper Lil Nas X were among the users — all with more than 1 million followers — who took to Twitter to make clear they didn’t pay to get their blue check back. “On my soul i didn’t pay for twitter blue, u will feel my wrath tesla man!” wrote the rapper who has 8 million followers. Added Gaiman, who has 3 million followers: “What a sad, muddled place this has become.” — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Philips sets aside more than $600 million to settle sleep-apnea device suits

Philips surged as stronger-than-expected earnings outweighed the $630 million costs of a planned settlement of litigation over the company’s sleep apnea devices. The shares rose as much as 11 percent in Amsterdam, the most since March 2020, as supply chain constraints cleared up, boosting the medical equipment supplier’s results. That eased concerns over the sleep apnea device recall, which has dogged Philips for months. Users have alleged that the sound-abatement foam in the machines can degrade and be ingested or inhaled, potentially having toxic or carcinogenic effects. The company is a defendant in several class-action lawsuits and individual personal injury claims in the United States. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

A Louis Vuitton store on the ground floor of the building housing the LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE headquarters in Paris, France, on March 5, 2023. Benjamin Girette/Bloomberg


LVMH reaches a milestone

LVMH’s market value surpassed $500 billion, becoming the first European company to reach that milestone, thanks to booming sales of luxury goods in China and a strengthening euro. The achievement comes less than two weeks after LVMH joined the ranks of the world’s 10 biggest companies, powered by a surge in first-quarter sales. Rival Hermes International subsequently published its own strong numbers, reinforcing the view that China’s reopening from pandemic lockdowns is fueling growth across the industry. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Disney lays off thousands

Walt Disney Co. began letting go of thousands of employees on Monday in the entertainment giant’s ongoing push to cut about 7,000 jobs this year. This is the second of what’s expected to be three rounds of cuts, Disney said in a statement. The first reductions to Disney’s 220,000-person workforce came in March. This round, which will last through Thursday, should bring the total positions eliminated to around 4,000, the company said. Cuts are coming to all of the company’s divisions, stretching from the company headquarters in Burbank, Calif., to Connecticut, where its ESPN sports networks are based. Hourly workers at the theme parks will not be affected, the company said. The third round should come before the beginning of summer. — BLOOMBERG NEWS