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BUSINESS IN BRIEF

Boston expects dozens to vie for WiFi contract

THE REGION
Officials running Boston's wireless Internet program are expecting dozens of vendors, systems integrators, and service providers to respond by Friday to a request for information on how they could contribute to a citywide WiFi network, said Pam Reeve , chief executive of OpenAirBoston, the nonprofit corporation running the program. A pilot wireless program covering 1.1 square miles in the Grove Hall neighborhood is planned by the end of this month, Reeve told the MuniWireless07 conference in Newton. She said Boston plans to deploy its citywide network by the end of 2008 at an estimated cost of $12 million to $15 million. (Robert Weisman)

Harvard endowment plans to invest in Middle East
Harvard University's endowment fund is raising $1 billion for its first foray into the Middle East, according to a published report. The $29 billion endowment fund plans to team with Cairo-based investment bank, EFG-Hermes Holding SAE, the Financial Times reported on its website. EFG plans to contribute $25 million to the fund. Mohamed El-Erian, head of the endowment , would not comment but said the institution was looking at parts of the Middle East. The Harvard fund has struck similar deals with investment firms in Latin America and Asia as it seeks to diversify its portfolio.

Starent Networks IPO raises $126.4m total
Starent Networks Corp., a Tewksbury provider of hardware and software for mobile telephony, raised $126.4 million in an initial public offering, above a forecast range. The offering of 10.5 million shares sold for $12 per share, compared with a forecast range of $9 to $11, according to an underwriter. The offer price gives the company an initial market capitalization of $749 million. The company is offering 9 million shares while selling stockholders, including chief executive Ashraf M. Dahod, are selling a further 1.5 million shares. (Reuters)

Tudor Investment unit garners $262m for fund
The private equity arm of Tudor Investment Corp., the investment firm run by Paul Tudor Jones, raised $262 million for a new venture capital fund to invest in technology and media companies. Tudor Venture Group has garnered $700 million in equity commitments since it was founded in 1996. Its managers typically invest between $7 million and $20 million in privately held, growing companies in North America, the Boston firm said. Tudor Ventures III LP will invest in "rapidly growing technology companies that have proven products in attractive markets," Bob Forlenza, Tudor Venture's founding partner, said. (Bloomberg)

3d-quarter earnings drop 57% as revenue increases
CMGI Inc. reported fiscal third-quarter net earnings of $9.4 million, or 2 cents a share, down 57 percent from $21.7 million, or 4 cents a share, in the year-ago period, when the company realized gains of $22.6 million related to liquidity events in the @Ventures business. Excluding charges related to depreciation, amortization of intangibles, stock-based compensation, and restructuring, CMGI reported operating income of $7.5 million, up from $7 million last year. The Waltham provider of supply chain management products and services said revenue rose 6.5 percent to $282.1 million from $264.7 million a year earlier. (Dow Jones)

THE NATION

IBM settles with SEC over stock options allegations
International Business Machines Corp. settled with regulators over allegations that the company misled analysts about costs for employee stock options. As part of the agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, IBM promised not to violate the reporting provisions of federal securities laws. The agency didn't impose a fine. IBM didn't admit or deny wrongdoing. IBM posted a chart during an April 2005 call with analysts that led them to overestimate options expenses. When IBM reported results a week later, the company didn't miss expectations by as much because analysts had lowered their estimates to account for the cost, according to the SEC. (Bloomberg)

Time Warner picks Nelson as CEO of HBO subsidiary
Time Warner Inc. named Bill Nelson chief executive of the Home Box Office cable television channel, replacing Chris Albrecht, who was fired last month. Nelson, 58, was promoted from chief operating officer of HBO, Time Warner said. Albrecht was dismissed following his arrest in Las Vegas over a fight with his girlfriend. (Bloomberg)

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