The Baltimore Sun

City software firm won't pursue offering

Metastorm Inc., a privately held Baltimore software provider, has pulled its public stock offering application. The 12-year-old company said it decided not to pursue the initial public offering due to "market conditions," according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week. Weak economic conditions have blocked access to capital and credit. Metastorm, which provides software and other products that help businesses improve human and back-end processes and efficiency, had filed a registration statement in May to raise as much as $86 million through the offering. Last year, the company reported $59.7 million in sales, compared with $42.1 million in 2006. It had a profit of $586,000 last year, compared with a loss of $660,000 in 2006, according to the SEC filing.

T. Rowe Price opens two stock funds

T. Rowe Price Group Inc., the Baltimore-based money manager of $345 billion, opened two worldwide stock funds for U.S. investors. Global Large-Cap Fund and Global Real Estate Fund each will invest at least 40 percent of their money outside the U.S., T. Rowe Price said in a statement yesterday. Global Large-Cap will be managed by Scott Berg and Global Real Estate by David Lee. The funds represent T. Rowe's first new global funds since its $103 million Global Technology Fund opened in September 2000. The MSCI EAFE Index of developed markets outside the U.S. has fallen 53 percent this year.

Bloomberg News

Subway sandwich chain signs Olympian Phelps

Sandwich chain Subway said yesterday that it has signed gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps as a spokesman for the company. The swimmer from Towson, who won eight gold medals in the Summer Olympics in Beijing, will join other athletes who have represented the restaurant chain, including Michael Strahan, Ryan Howard, Kimmie Meissner, Tony Parker, Laila Ali and Reggie Bush. Subway plans to unveil its first commercial featuring Phelps early next year.

Sallie Mae plans credit center in Del.

STANTON, Del. : Gov. Ruth Ann Minner says student lender Sallie Mae plans to open a credit operations center in a building it purchased recently near Stanton. Delaware Economic Development Office spokeswoman Nikki Boone says the Reston, Va.-based company will hire 750 workers by the end of 2010 and another 350 workers the following year. Boone says the center will add $173 million to the state's economy in the first year. Sallie Mae recently purchased a 22-acre office campus near Interstate 95 from Nationwide Life Insurance Co. of America. The purchase price was $20.75 million. Boone says Sallie Mae will lease part of the building to Nationwide.

Associated Press

U.S. mortgage rates drop for third week

WASHINGTON : Mortgage rates dropped for a third straight week, reflecting the impact the weakening economy is having on financial markets. Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giant, reported yesterday that rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.04 percent this week, down from 6.14 percent last week. It marked a sharp decline since rates hit a recent high of 6.46 percent during the week of Oct. 16.

Associated Press

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