CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, the region's largest health insurer, decided not to appeal Maryland Insurance Commissioner Steven B. Larsen's rejection of its proposal to convert to for-profit status and merge with WellPoint Health Networks.

CareFirst General Counsel John A. Picciotto told the Maryland Senate Finance Committee that the company wants to "move forward by discussing how our company should look and operate in the future."

The company is seeking to head off portions of a Senate bill that would mandate changes to how it is governed, particularly measures that would increase government control over the makeup of its board of directors.

Larsen rejected the CareFirst/WellPoint plan earlier this month, calling elements of the privatization plan illegal.


ServerVault founder, president and chief executive Patrick J. Sweeney II stepped down Friday and will be replaced by Mike O'Brien, former president and chief operating officer at ZoomTown, the wholly owned Internet broadband subsidiary of Cincinnati-based communications provider Broadwing Inc. Sweeney cited a desire to spend more time with his family, and will provide consulting services to the company and remain on its board of directors. The privately owned Dulles company provides network and Web site security services.

Primus Telecommunications Group shares switched to the Nasdaq National Market from the Nasdaq SmallCap Market Friday. The McLean company had been trading on the SmallCap since May. Officials said the move to the national market would broaden its investor base.

Ntelos, a Waynesboro wireless company that is operating in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, is seeking to sell for $6.9 million its Portsmouth building that housed a customer service call center. The telecommunications company plans to sell the property to Tri-City Developers, according to a motion filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond. Ntelos bought the property in early 2001 to operate a customer service call center for its wireless business and to house a small sales staff and retail outlet, the court papers said.

SLM, the Reston education loan company commonly known as Sallie Mae, plans a 3-for-1 split of the its common stock, pending shareholder approval. Shareholders plan to vote May 15 on the split, which would distribute two new shares as a stock dividend. SLM stock closed Friday at $112.86 a share.

Sunrise Senior Living said it will expand its McLean-based corporate headquarters on Westpark Drive and add more than 140 jobs to the facility. The additional space will allow for the relocation of off-site corporate employees, in addition to the new space requirement resulting from Sunrise Assisted Living's planned acquisition of Marriott Senior Living Services Inc.


Magellan Health Services asked a bankruptcy court to authorize the company to pay up to $3 million in fees to potential equity investors. The Columbia firm, which manages mental health programs, said in a motion filed with the court that it wants to pay a $1 million breakup fee, $1.5 million commitment fee and up to $250,000 in expense reimbursement on an equity financing deal for up to $50 million from Amalgamated Gadget and Pequot Capital Management. Magellan has agreements with 52 percent of its senior note holders, 35 percent of subordinated note holders and 45 percent of senior debt holders to support its reorganization plan, contingent on the company selling at least $50 million in new equity.

Black & Decker agreed to sell its European security hardware business to Assa Abloy for $108 million. The business, which includes the brand names DOM, Nemef and Corbin, had net sales in 2002 of approximately $102 million. The sale is subject to regulatory approval and is not expected to have a material effect on the Towson toolmaker's 2003 results, the company said.

Maple Lawn, a new housing and business community at Routes 216 and 29 near Columbia, has received county approval for its first phase of development by Greenebaum and Rose Associates. Development of the 507-acre property is expected to begin this spring, with the first business and residential lots available early next year. Maple Lawn will be built in several phases during the next decade. When completed in 2012, it is to include more than 1 million square feet of offices and 1,116 new single-family homes, townhouses and condominiums.