Beck’s CEO Looks to SAIC’s Buyout, San Diego’s Venture Funding Improves, Korean Watchdog Slaps Qualcomm With $208M Fine, & And More San Diego BizTech News

7/27/09Follow @bvbigelow

Venture capital investments are viewed as one indicator of economic health, and a couple of reports last week suggest that San Diego’s VC actvity is recuperating—or at least stabilizing. Catch up on that and other developments in local biztech news below.  (Meanwhile, we’re keeping the lights on at Xconomy San Diego, but I’m going to recharge my personal batteries this week. See you back here on Aug. 3)  

Russ Stepp, the CEO of Seattle engineering firm R.W. Beck, talked with Greg about San Diego-based SAIC’s imminent acquisition, at a reported purchase price of $155 million. Stepp had no comment on the size of the deal, but says most of R.W. Beck’s 550 employees will be joining SAIC’s Energy, Environment, and Infrastructure business. Beck’s Disaster Recovery unit, however, will be consolidated with SAIC’s Homeland Protection and Preparedness unit.

—The question lingering after two surveys showed a rebound in VC funding from April through May is whether VC activity is bounding off the bottom or bouncing along the bottom. The second-quarter reports—one from Dow Jones VentureSource and the other from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association—show venture investments were down more than 40 percent in San Diego compared with the same quarter last year. But that was still an improvement over the first three months of 2009.

The Knight & Carver Wind Group, a National City, CA, company that specializes in repairing wind turbines and designing and manufacturing innovative wind turbine blades, is moving to commercialize its new STAR blade. Also known as a Sweep Twist Adaptive Rotor, the 89-foot blades are designed to enable wind turbines to operate in low wind speeds of 10 to 15 mph. The 250-employee company, which was spun out from the Knight & Carver shipyard, developed the STAR blade under a $3 million collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy.

—South Korea’s antitrust watchdog, the Korean Fair Trade Commission, slapped a $208 million fine on Qualcomm last week, and ordered the San Diego wireless chipmaker to end its unfair business practicesQualcomm, which anticipated the fine was coming, says it disagrees with the ruling and plans to appeal. Korean press reports say it is the largest fine the agency has ever imposed on a single company.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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