From S to XXL: The story of CustomInk

Welcome to CapBiz A.M., your morning primer on business news with a focus on Washington.

Sizing up: Started in 2000, Fairfax-based CustomInk, which lets customers design shirts for everything from family reunions to fundraisers, now has more than a thousand employees, financial backing from two of the area’s most prominent investors, and expects to gross more than $200 million this year. For some, that has raised the question: Is the company growing too quickly? (CAPBIZ)

Acquisition achieved: Washington lobbying giant Patton Boggs has finalized a deal to merge with Squire Sanders, a large international law firm with roots in Cleveland. It’s a move that many in the industry have viewed as critical for Patton Boggs’ survival. (WP)

Acquisition aborted: Pfizer said Monday that it has abandoned its pursuit of British rival AstraZeneca, pulling the plug on what would have been the largest deal in the industry’s history – at least, for now. (AP)

Price check: Once an obscure specialty, expertise in pricing strategy for legal services is suddenly in high demand as law firms look for managers who can help them better determine how much to charge for services. (CAPBIZ)

Movie makers: CoStar Group was founded as a commercial real estate data firm, but after a recent acquisition, the company finds itself wading into the movie business. Of course, all the films are about apartments for rent. (CAPBIZ)

Movie makers II: D.C. economic development officials have successfully lured a budding animated film studio from Hollywood to Washington, from which the company hopes to expand its international reach. (CAPBIZ)

Short sales: Overall, the Washington area real estate market has cooled this spring. Still, there are several neighborhoods where bidding wars remain fierce and values continue to soar. Here’s a look at the 10 hottest developments in the region. (WP)

Still not quite right: Six months shy of the Obama administrations (twice revised) deadline to launch an online health insurance exchange for small businesses, the site seems to be on schedule for its November debut — with one glaring exception. (OSB)

Parts in question: An investigation into price-fixing and bid-rigging in the auto parts industry has mushroomed into the Justice Department’s largest criminal antitrust probe ever – and it’s not over yet. (AP)

On Wall Street

Stocks closed the week on a high note heading into the long weekend, with the S&P closing above 1,900 for the first time on Friday. (Get the latest updates here)

What’s on tap today

Durable goods orders (8:30 a.m.)

S&P/Case-Shiller home price index (9:00 a.m.)

Consumer Confidence report(10:00 a.m.)

D.C. Fashion Foundation’s Fashionably Business mixer (5:00 p.m.)

Appointments: A look at some of the area’s latest movers and shakers

Help: How to determine where your company should expand to next (OSB)

Follow: CustomInk

Extra: Slowly, quietly, the campaign to make D.C. the 51st state is gaining momentum. (WP)

J.D. Harrison covers startups, small business and entrepreneurship, with a focus on public policy, and he runs the On Small Business blog.
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Catherine Ho · May 23