Wednesday, November 28, 2012

FC USA Opens Office in Midtown

While most companies today rely on their websites to drum up business, FC USA has just opened a 10,000 square foot storefront on Madison Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. FC USA is part of a global Australian travel company that owns Liberty Travel.

This new Midtown travel center of FC USA will occupy a space at 269 Madison Avenue between 39th and 40th streets. The space used to be occupied by the National Bank of Commerce of New York and was, most recently, used by Dallek Office Furniture.

Now, this new storefront will house Liberty Travel and other Flight Centre brands. This new center will have 40 employees and the plan is to increase this number to 63 within the next six months. The agency has a total of 159 storefront locations across 14 states and 23 Liberty Travel storefronts in the five boroughs.

As Henry Harteveldt of the Atmosphere Research Group explained, FC USA is trying “not just to create an office, but a 3-D travel planning experience, with iPads, content, experts, nice design and layout.” He continued, “Liberty also is very much fighting for its life with this. This is Liberty making a branding statement to consumers, airlines, hotels, cruise lines, other travel suppliers and online travel agencies that they’re still in business, that Liberty matters as a business and that they intend to remain in business.”

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanking Employees in Extraordinary Times

In the wake of the hurricane that hit the New York and New Jersey area, many company owners showed their appreciation for the extra work that their team undertook during this difficult time. One such company owner was Daniel Straus CareOne, who took the time to write a letter to his 4000 employees in 29 healthcare centers throughout New Jersey.

In the letter to his staff, Daniel Straus wrote, "As Thanksgiving fast approaches, I wish to thank each and every one of you for your extraordinary efforts in recent weeks as you have dealt with the many adverse impacts of Hurricane Sandy on both your professional and personal lives."

As he continued, "Throughout these weeks you have time and again shown a steadfast dedication to meeting the highest standards of safety, care and services for CareOne residents. You have achieved this despite the fact that many of you faced serious obstacles – either at your homes or those of your loved ones – caused by the storm."

In conclusion, he added, "Please accept my deepest thanks to you and your families. Happy Thanksgiving."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Private Equity Firm KKR Buys Alliant Insurance Services Inc.

In recent New York business news, the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) has agreed to buy Alliant Insurance Services Inc. from Blackstone Group L.P. (BX). The transaction terms were not disclosed, but Alliant employees own approximately 45% of the company and they will roll over “a substantial portion” of that investment to the new company.

As Alliant’s chief executive Tom Corbett explained, "We are pleased to be partnering with KKR and appreciate the positive role that private capital can play in helping us manage our business and execute a growth strategy.”

This is not the first time that Alliant has partnered with private equity investors. In August 2007, Blackstone bought Alliant for $1.2 billion and took over the stake from Lindsay Goldberg & Co. LLC, which is based in New York.