Velcro: Not your father’s fastener
Visit Fraser Cameron in his Boston office and you'll notice at least two things: the toy dinosaur on his table, and the corporate financial data scrawled on his whiteboard.
As he maps out his budget for 2016, the Velcro chief executive might want to start adding up some of those dinosaurs. We've all used Velcro's hook-and-loop fastener system on clothes or shoes. But Cameron sees a world of opportunity ahead as his team looks to expand its consumer business.
The new "Blocks" line of toy dinosaurs and vehicles – think Legos, but with bigger pieces for a younger audience – is just one example. There's a push to promote Press-Lok bags – think Ziploc, but more durable – and to land more packaging clients. Then there's the deal-making: Cameron and his team are on the lookout for smaller manufacturers in countries that make similar products, to complement recent acquisitions in Belgium and Brazil.
It's all part of Cameron's grand plan to double Velcro's revenue within three years, roughly reaching $1 billion in sales. Velcro has long had a major New Hampshire presence, but this Boston office is relatively new. It opened about three years ago, Cameron says, in the Financial District. Aside from Cameron, several other top execs have desks in Boston, such as CFO Steve Ouellette, general counsel Gemma Dreher, and Americas president Scott Filion. Nearly 40 people work there today, compared with about 800 in New Hampshire. (In total, the company employs about 2,500.)
Because Velcro wants to be more of a consumer-facing company, Cameron expects part of his job in 2016 will be to make sure Velcro's story gets told. He'll emphasize the company's innovation, and its research efforts. "People talk about the return of manufacturing to the United States," Cameron says. "We never left."
Edelman benched from charity event
Just how serious was the New England Patriots' loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday?
Even local charities are feeling the aftershocks.
Wide receiver Julian Edelman, who has been benched since mid-November due to a broken foot and is unlikely to play for weeks, had to cancel a charity appearance he had scheduled for Tuesday.
Instead, Edelman will have to hobble into a last-minute, mandatory team meeting called by Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
Edelman had been on tap to headline a bed-building project for the nonprofit Boston Cares, but had to cancel late Monday afternoon, said Laura DiLello, a spokeswoman for Capital One Financial Corp., the organizer of the event. The Sunday game marked the Patriots' first loss this season, but also ended with tight end Rob Gronkowski, one of the team's most vital players, injured.
Even without Edelman, the bed-building project at the New England Carpenters Training Center in Boston will go on.
Volunteers are expected to build about 40 toddler beds, bringing the total count to 1,000 beds for underprivileged children, DiLello said. The children may miss out on a Edelman-crafted bed, but they'll still get an autographed football from the player, DiLello said.
David Boies and the mommy bloggers . . .
When David Boies strolled into the rundown satellite county courthouse in Manhattan last week, it was a little like LeBron James showing up at the local YMCA for a free-throw contest — "what is he doing here?"
Boies, a legal superstar known for repping former Vice President Al Gore in the contested 2000 presidential election and for overturning California's gay marriage ban, was in the sweltering, overcrowded court to argue on behalf of embattled Boston-based daily fantasy sports company DraftKings Inc. (New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has said DraftKings' contests for cash are a form of illegal gambling and wants a judge to suspend them as the sides battle in court.)
While the high-stakes case was befitting of Boies' talent, his presence in such humble circumstances was a source of profound amusement for a gaggle of law school students who came to observe the case. Here was legal royalty, a man who helped change the course of American history, quite literally rubbing shoulders with a crowd of mommy bloggers protesting mandatory flu vaccinations (the subject of a case heard earlier that day).
Other rockstar attorneys were present, too, including the flamboyant Randy Mastro of Gibson Dunn, famous for getting a $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron tossed in a long-running pollution case.
The small second-floor courtroom, formerly used for little-attended housing hearings, could only hold about 50 of the several hundred attorneys, journalists, and observers who showed up, leading to a crush of people at its entrance. When the lone court officer at the door called at first for "only the attorneys making arguments" to enter, dozens of junior lawyers stampeded in after Boies and the others actually working the case, as anxious members of the media cried out in protest and futilely waved their credentials.
Boston investment bank being sold to Spanish firm
Paul Colone has spent the past two decades at Boston investment bank C.W. Downer & Co. helping clients through mergers and acquisitions. But there was something different about Colone's latest deal: This time, it's his firm that is being sold, not someone else's. C.W. Downer just agreed to be acquired by rival, Madrid-based N+1 Group, in a cash-and-stock deal valued at nearly $30 million. The Spanish company wants to use C.W. Downer's office on State Street as a springboard to expand in the United States.
The Boston firm works in the realm of middle-market deals.
Yes, it's a bit of a blow to Boston pride to see one of the city's last major independent investment banks sold off to a foreign firm. But Colone, one of the firm's managing directors, says N+1's investment will lead to more employees here, not fewer.