STATEWIDE Triangle Region
RALEIGH — N.C. State University received $25 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to lead a consortium of universities and labs that will develop methods to detect foreign nuclear materials and activities. It beat 22 competing proposals for the grant, its third since N.C. State was selected in August 2013 to create a $60 million lab to study solutions for big-data problems and in January to lead a $140 million manufacturing-innovation institute (Statewide, February).
CARY — Novozymes will invest more than $36 million and create 100 jobs over three years in a research and development center. The Danish biotech company, which employs 545 at its North American headquarters in Franklinton, will develop methods to improve yield, fertility and pest control for crops. Average annual salary will be $70,000, 41% higher than Wake County’s average of $49,410.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Novartis International AG will purchase London-based GlaxoSmithKline’s cancer-drug business for up to $16 billion. GSK employs about 4,000 here and at other Triangle locations. GSK will buy the Basel, Switzerland-based pharmaceutical company’s vaccine business, excluding its influenza franchise, for $7.1 billion.
RALEIGH — Concord Hospitality Enterprises sold 13 hotels — 11 Marriotts and two Hiltons — for $240 million to an unnamed global investment fund. The hospitality company, which is based here, owns or manages more than 90 hotels in 19 states, the District of Columbia and Canada and has 10 under construction. None of its six North Carolina properties were included in the sale. Concord will continue to manage the hotels.
FOUR OAKS — Four Oaks Bank & Trust and its holding company, Four Oaks Fincorp, will pay $1.2 million to settle a federal case regarding its involvement in the ZeekRewards.com pyramid scheme. The lawsuit alleges the bank profited from contracts with third-party payment processors including Rex Venture Group, the Lexington-based company that ran the ZeekRewards program, which processed $60 million in payments through the bank. The bank did not admit to any wrongdoing.
SOUTHERN PINES — Trident Marketing laid off half of its 400 employees at its call center after losing a major client, DirecTV. The local direct-marketing company’s clients include ADT, Hughes Net and Travel Resorts of America.