Jump start: News of the business week to come

FIFTH THIRD IS GETTING BIGGER.R-G Crown Bank's branches are scheduled to convert to Fifth Third branches as soon as today.

By Times Staff
Published November 5, 2007

FIFTH THIRD IS GETTING BIGGER. R-G Crown Bank's branches are scheduled to convert to Fifth Third branches as soon as today. Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp says its $338-million acquisition gives it the fifth-largest share of deposits in the Tampa Bay market and seventh largest in the state.

Going Private in an Unsettled Market is the theme of a Tuesday breakfast speech from Dick Buell, chairman and CEO of Catalina Marketing. Though reservations were sought, walk-ins will be accepted for the event at the University Club, One Tampa City Center in downtown Tampa. Networking begins at 7:30 a.m., with the presentation at 8. The cost: $20 for ACG members; $40 for non-members ... oh, and it's $10 more for walk-ins.

IKEA LOVERS WILL HAVE TO WAIT another week - until Nov. 14, to be exact - for the popular Swedish furniture retailer to hold its Orlando opening and they'll be pining away until 2009 for its entry into Tampa. But there will be a sneak media preview Wednesday for the Orlando store.

WANT TO GO GLOBAL? A nationwide conference for exporters will be in Tampa Wednesday through Friday. Commerce Department officers will talk about business opportunities in South America, the Middle East and beyond. For more information on the National District Export Council Conference, visit www.decconference.com.

A NEW NAME AND UNIFORMS for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' 2008 season will be unveiledThursday during a celebration in downtown St. Petersburg's Straub Park. It will be a family event with guest Kevin Costner and his band Modern West performing. More information under "News" at www.tampabay.devilrays.mlb.com.

FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN BEN BERNANKE is slated to testify Thursdaybefore Congress' Joint Economic Committee. Committee members are expected to quiz Bernanke about the economic future and current economic conditions. The hearing, chaired by Sen. Charles Schumer, D.-N.Y., is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Schumer's office listed the subprime mortgage market, housing issues, the trade deficit and strength of the U.S. dollar as likely topics.

TECH GOES TONY when the Tampa Bay Technology Forum is holding its fourth annual awards gala on Thursday. Last year, more than 400 techies - including Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales - attended the black-tie event. Peter Marcotullio, a director at SRI International, will be the speaker this year. For more information, including a list of the finalists in all five categories, visit www.tbtf.org.