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Grapevine: Bausch & Lomb's back & forth

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    Northern and central New Jersey may be in store for more shuffling among its big-name office tenants, as Bausch & Lomb and Fiserv Inc. both reportedly seek new space.

    Industry sources said Bausch & Lomb, the eye care giant, is looking to move from its current global pharmaceutical headquarters in Madison. One potential landing spot is Warren, one source said, though another said multiple companies are chasing the firm. Teresa Panas, a company spokeswoman, declined to comment.

    Bausch & Lomb's arrival in the Morris County borough, at 7 Giralda Farms, was celebrated in 2009 by a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included then-Gov. Jon Corzine.

    A source said Fiserv, a Wisconsin-based financial technology provider that has offices in Morris Plains and Jersey City, has considered a building in Bernards Township, though it was not immediately clear which offices would be affected by a move. Jeffrey Zack, a spokesman for Fiserv, could not immediately comment when reached last week.

    Drumthwacket's Tiger beat

    Chris Christie follows the example of his mentor, Tom Kean Sr., on many things, and now one more has come to light. Christie is reportedly the first governor since Kean to attend Princeton University's board of trustees meetings.

    By longstanding tradition, New Jersey's governor is an ex-officio member of Princeton's board of trustees. “That goes back a very long time,” said an observer of the university and the governor's office. “Governor Christie takes that very seriously.”

    The source said Christie has attended multiple meetings since becoming governor. Christie, whose son Andrew is a freshman at Princeton, was described as an “active participant” who “takes his role as a board member seriously.”

    Christie also is on the advisory board of the Center for Economic Policy Studies at Princeton University, along with Brendan Byrne and such political and financial heavyweights as James Baker, John Bogle and Paul Volcker.

    “He is very interested in education, interested in colleges and universities. Princeton is one of the leading institutions in the world, and it's in New Jersey,” the source said about Christie.

    Checking pulse of merger

    A source confirmed the Atlantic Health acquisition of Chilton Hospital is right on track. In October, when the merger was announced, Atlantic's Joe Trunfio said he anticipated the regulatory approval process would take nine months, putting Chilton under the Atlantic brand by July 2013. The source said last week Chilton would be a full member by this summer or early fall.

    In the meantime, sources say, Atlantic will continue to pursue adding Hackettstown Regional Medical Center to its regional footstep. NJBIZ reported last July that Atlantic had responded to a request for proposal from the Warren hospital, and is focusing efforts to partner with one of the last remaining independent hospitals in the state. A source said last week the Hackettstown alignment was still looking possible for Atlantic.

    Whole new development area

    It's no secret that Whole Foods reportedly has been considering Newark for a supermarket. What was news to Grapevine recently is that the supermarket site would likely be outside the downtown area, according to a source.

    Growing for the Gold

    Gold Mobile, the Clark-based digital commerce company, is hoping to jump-start growth by acquiring a small startup, Grapevine has learned. Five-year-old Gold Mobile, whose 30 employees develop mobile ordering, payment and loyalty programs, is shopping for a startup in the e-commerce, mobile payments or loyalty/gift card space.

    “Rather than waiting to grow more organically, they want to swallow a smaller fish and get a little bit bigger that way,” a source told Grapevine. The target doesn't have to be a Jersey company: “They are looking far and wide.”

    Getting a rise out of regulators

    Health insurers are signaling that premiums will keep rising, and the Affordable Care Act is a major reason: provisions in the law like keeping kids on their policies until age 26, and the new taxes levied on health insurers, are all costs of doing business that will get built into the premiums that customers pay.

    But a Trenton source says insurers can expect regulatory pushback: “Premiums have to be within a range, and (regulators) will step in if there are any rates that are abusive.”

    Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Sharon Waters at sharonw@njbiz.com.

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