Good News in Bad Economic Times

1209046184There is a lot of unsettling economic news out there these days. The worldwide food shortage is starting to affect Americans, with Sam’s Club and Costco limiting the amount of rice their customers can buy. High-end condo complexes on the fringes of Boston have been forced to auction off vacant units due to the housing slowdown.

But it isn’t all bad. There have been several huge financial deals in Massachusetts in recent days that have us feeling a little better about the local business scene.

On Tuesday, Sirtris Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced that it had been purchased by GlaxoSmithKline for $720 million. The British company was interested in the Cambridge biotech company because of its promising research in battling age-related illnesses. Sirtris will have an easier time funding its work now that it has access to GlaxoSmithKline’s bank account.

The Globe reports today that Boston-based insurance giant Liberty Mutual will buy Seattle’s Safeco Corp. for $6.2 billion. Experts say the deal will help protect the company as mergers become more common in the insurance market.

In a report on the lack of corporate headquarters in Boston, Harvard professor Edward Glaeser explains why big companies like to buy up smaller local businesses.

“Places like Boston are very good at helping companies grow, but they’re not really good places for mature businesses. We do innovation[.]”

And on the non mergers-and-acquisitions side, there is the Jimmy Fund’s auction of the David Ortiz jersey that was unearthed from the concrete at the new Yankee Stadium. WBZ reports that the bid is now above $87,000.