Stories for December 2005

Friday, December 30

Oil Prices Settle Above $61

Oil futures settled above $61 a barrel Friday and finished 40 percent higher than they started in 2005 as prices soared amid strong demand and tight supplies.

Retailers Pin Hopes on Gift Cards

Retailers are hoping an earlier launch of full-price spring apparel will attract shoppers with gift cards in hand and break the industry's recent reliance on discounting.

Schwarzenegger to Propose Minimum Wage Hike

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is set to propose a $1 hike in the state's minimum wage, to $7.75 an hour, over the next 18 months.

L.A. Gas Prices Falling at Slower Pace

L.A. gas prices continued their downward trend for the 13th consecutive week, but at a continued slower pace, indicating that the decreases may soon end, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Learning Tree Expecting Lower Revenue

Shares of Learning Tree International Inc. slid Friday after announcing its fourth-quarter and full-year revenue will come in lower than a year earlier and that it expects a loss from operations for those periods.

Stocks Fall on Last Trading Day

Investors marked the last trading day of 2005 with the same conundrum they faced all year - trying to find a good reason to buy stocks and coming up short.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's business stories.

Levine to Acquire Fox & Hound

Fox & Hound Restaurant Group said Friday it agreed to be acquired by Los Angeles-based private equity firm Levine Leichtman Capital Partners Inc. for $15.50 per share, rejecting an offer by rival bidders.

U.S. Set for Firm 2006 Grow0

U.S. growth is seen easing next year as higher interest rates cool consumer spending, but a recovery in the German economy should support euro expansion.

Citigroup Bids $3 Billion for Bank Stake

A consortium led by Citigroup Inc. has bid $3 billion for a stake in China's Guangdong Development Bank, a Chinese magazine reported Friday.

Thursday, December 29

Hilton Buys UK Hilton's Hotels

Hilton Hotels Corp. said on Thursday that it agreed to buy the hotel division of UK-based Hilton Group Plc for $5.7 billion in cash, creating the largest lodging company in the world.

Existing Home Sales Slip

Sales of previously owned homes fell by 1.7 percent in November, a fresh sign that the high-flying housing market is losing altitude.

AT & T; Kicks Off Massive Ad Campaign

AT & T; Inc., formed by SBC's purchase of AT & T; Corp, is planning the biggest ad campaign in the history of either company in a bid to convince customers to stay as competition heats up from cable TV rivals.

Stocks Fall in Light Trade

Stocks ended lower on Thursday, as investors ignored generally benign economic data and looked ahead to 2006 with a mix of optimism and concern.

SEC Clashes With Justice Department Over Yuen Plea Deal

The SEC said the Justice Department may have been too lenient in its plea agreement with Henry Yuen, the former chief executive of Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc., Bloomberg News reported.

Midwest Business Activity Stays Strong

Business activity in the U.S. Midwest expanded in December at a faster rate than expected, while hiring picked up a bit to reflect rising levels of new orders.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

L.A. Salaries to Rise in 2006, Survey Says

In the new year, L.A. companies plan to raise compensation levels for employees, increase initial salary offers and provide more flexible work arrangements, said a survey released Thursday.

Oil Steadies as Supplies Increase

Oil prices were steady on Thursday after the U.S. government released data showing a slight increase in domestic crude inventories.

Wednesday, December 28

Ambassadors to Acquire Cruise Company

Ambassadors International Inc. said Wednesday that it plans to buy American West Steamboat Company LLC from Oregon Rail Holdings LLC.

Ex-Mattel Executive Gets Major Payment

Mattel Inc. said Wednesday it will pay former executive Matthew C. Bousquette about $5.4 million in cash severance and hire him as a paid consultant, as part of a separation agreement.

Home Loan Applications Fall

Mortgage applications fell to a more than 3-1/2-year low last week amid a sharp drop in demand for loan refinancing even as interest rates held steady.

Consumer Confidence Rises

Consumer confidence surged in December as declining gasoline prices and improving job opportunities buoyed spirits, boding well for spending in the new year.

Holiday Shoppers Boost Sales

Sales at chain stores rose in the week before Christmas, with last-minute shoppers and the late Hanukkah holiday boosting the bottom line.

East West to Buy Standard Bank

East West Bancorp Inc. said Wednesday it agreed to buy rival Standard Bank for about $204 million, creating a combined bank with $8.8 billion in assets and expanding its Chinese-American customer base.

Ex-Enron Accountant Pleads Guilty

Former top Enron Corp. accountant Richard Causey pleaded guilty to securities fraud and agreed to help pursue convictions against Enron founder Kenneth Lay and former CEO Jeffrey Skilling.

Oil Prices Firm but Remain Low

Crude futures firmed Wednesday after Iran's oil minister said OPEC should consider cutting production next month, but oil prices remained well below record levels.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Oil Price Rise Stalls Stock Advance

Rising oil prices and the return of a bond market anomaly cut into Wall Street's early gains Wednesday, leaving stocks with only a modest advance.

Tuesday, December 27

Post-Christmas Sales Lure Shoppers

Shoppers armed with gift cards and poorly greeted presents returned to malls in search of returns, post-Christmas discounts and fresh merchandise.

Stocks Fall on Recession Worries

Stocks tumbled Tuesday as the bond market gave signals that in the past have preceded economic slowdowns. The Dow lost more than 100 points.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

PacifiCare Working With Retailers to Market Drug Plans

PacifiCare Health Systems Inc. said Tuesday that it will work with six major supermarkets and drugstores to market its new Medicare prescription drug plans.

Spitzer Subpoenas Music Companies

State investigators have subpoenaed several major music companies as part of a preliminary inquiry into whether their digital music services have engaged in any illegal price-fixing activity.

Oil Prices Drop on Weather Forecasts

Crude futures fell Tuesday after forecasts of milder weather in the week ahead raised traders' expectations of lower demand for heating fuels.

Bally Evokes Takeover Defense

Shares of Bally Total Fitness teeter-tottered Tuesday after it said it was considering a poison-pill defense because two of its largest shareholders, including L.A.-based Liberation Investments LP, may be conspiring on a takeover.

Guidant Gets FDA Warning Letter

Guidant Corp. said the FDA sent the company a warning letter about unresolved problems it found during an inspection earlier this year at the medical device maker's St. Paul, Minn., facility.

L.A. Gas Price-Drop Bottoming Out

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles area inched lower for the twelfth consecutive week, falling 2.2 cents to $2.257 for the week ended Dec. 26.

Regulators May Liquidate Refco Unit

Regulators told Refco Securities LLC they may take action against the broker-dealer if it doesn't provide customers immediate access to accounts and property.

Investor Optimism Rises in December

Investor optimism surged in December to its highest level in 10 months, as lower gas prices boosted optimism about economic growth, a monthly survey said.

Friday, December 23

New Home Sales Fall in November

Sales of new homes plunged in November by the largest amount in nearly 12 years, providing evidence yet the hot housing market is starting to cool down.

Tommy Hilfiger to Be Sold to Apax

Clothing seller and designer Tommy Hilfiger Corp. said it had accepted a $1.6 billion cash takeover bid from private equity firm Apax Partners.

Business Briefs: Amgen, En Pointe Technologies, Platinum Equity, BentleyForbes

Amgen Inc. and Abgenix Inc. are hit by a shareholder class-action lawsuit that claims Amgen's $2.2 billion buyout offer for its rival is "inadequate," and other briefs about L.A. companies.

NBC Buys Majority Stake in MSNBC

NBC Universal bought a controlling interest in MSNBC under a restructuring of the struggling cable news channel, the companies announced Friday.

L.A. Gas Prices Bottoming Out

L.A. gasoline prices continued slipping, but the 12-week-long trend of lower gasoline prices may be ending for Southern California motorists, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Albertson's Down After Talks End

Shares of Albertson's Inc. plunged Friday after the supermarket chain said it is no longer considering a sale of the entire company.

Consumer Sentiment Improves

Consumer sentiment ended stronger in December and better than analysts' expectations, bolstered by falling energy prices, a report showed on Friday.

Stocks Stall in Light Trading

Stocks barely moved before the Christmas weekend on Friday, even though durable goods orders jumped by the largest amount in six months.

Ford Injects $2.1 Billion Into Jaguar

Ford Motor Co has injected another $2.1 billion into Jaguar Cars to cover heavy losses and investment writedowns at its British luxury car subsidiary.

Staar's Lens Approved by FDA

Shares of Staar Surgical Co. soared more than 47 percent Friday after the surgical products maker said U.S. health regulators approved its implantable lens for use in the correction of nearsightedness.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Thursday, December 22

Pacific Sales Acquired by Best Buy

Best Buy Co. Inc. said on Thursday that it agreed to acquire privately held Pacific Sales Kitchen and Bath Centers Inc. for $410 million.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Microsoft to Contest EU Move

Microsoft said it would contest a European Commission decision to impose backdated daily fines if it fails to comply with EU antitrust sanctions.

L.A. County Home Prices Up, Sales Down

The November median price of an existing home in Los Angeles County rose slightly from a month earlier as sales declined across Southern California, the California Association of Realtors reported Thursday.

CVS in Talks for Albertson's Stores

CVS Corp. said Thursday it has been in discussions with Albertson's Inc. regarding the purchase of the supermarket chain's Sav-on and Osco drugstores.

Consumer Spending Up Moderately, Jobless Claims Fall

Consumers increased spending moderately in November even though the growth in their incomes slowed, and the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell.

Garamendi Wants Change in Car Insurance Rates

State Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi said Thursday he will introduce regulations next week to require insurers to base auto insurance rates on a driver's record and not on where they live.

Stocks Up for Second Straight Session

Stocks rose for a second session Thursday as unemployment claims fell and consumer spending grew, if somewhat tepidly, without triggering inflation.

Oil Gains After Distillate Report

Crude futures gained Thursday following the release of a government report showing a larger-than-expected drop in distillate stocks.

Leading Economic Indicators Rise

The Conference Board said its Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose in November, helped by fewer people filing for jobless benefits.

GE to Acquire Arden Realty

General Electric Co.'s real-estate unit has agreed to buy Los Angeles-based Arden Realty Inc. for about $3.2 billion in cash plus the assumption of $1.6 billion of debt, the companies announced Thursday.

Wednesday, December 21

Stocks Gain on Acquisitions, Lower GDP

Wall Street overcame its recent caution Wednesday, with acquisitions propping up stocks and lower-than-expected GDP growth easing inflation fears.

UC Wins Los Alamos Lab Contract

The University of California has been awarded the contract to continue managing the Los Alamos laboratory that built the atom bomb.

Calpine Corp. Files for Bankruptcy

Calpine Corp. filed for bankruptcy late on Tuesday, weighed down by $17 billion in debt and court battles with creditors over how to use its cash.

Council OKs Grocery Workers' Protection

The L.A. City Council on Wednesday passed an ordinance requiring buyers of grocery stores in the city to retain workers at the stores for 90 days. The council rejected the opposition of grocery executives.

Oil Prices Up Ahead of Key Data

Oil prices rose Wednesday ahead of the government's weekly snapshot of its petroleum supply, which was expected to show dips in stocks of heating fuel.

Business Briefs: THQ, Electro Rent, Platinum Equity, Levine Leichtman

THQ Inc. reaffirmed its third-quarter earnings and revenue forecast, saying holiday sales of its video games are meeting expectations, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Bewkes Becomes COO of Time Warner

Jeff Bewkes will become the sole COO of Time Warner Inc. when Don Logan, with whom he had shared the title of co-chief operating officer, retires.

Economy Grows at Fast Pace

The U.S. economy turned in a strong performance in the summer despite surging energy prices and the Gulf Coast hurricanes, although business growth was slightly lower than the government had estimated.

Home Loan Applications Fall

Mortgage applications fell to an 11-month low last week, dragged down by a decline in home purchasing even as interest rates dipped.

Update: UnitedHealth's Takeover of PacifiCare Completed

UnitedHealth Group Inc. said Wednesday that it has completed its $9 billion purchase of Cypress-based PacifiCare Health Systems Inc.

LAX Holiday Traffic Expected to Rise

Airport officials expect nearly 2.9 million travelers to pass through Los Angeles International Airport during this year's busy 17-day holiday travel period, slightly exceeding last year's total.

Kerkorian Reduces GM Stake

Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp. said on Tuesday that it sold 12 million shares of General Motors Corp. in December for federal and state tax purposes.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Tuesday, December 20

Business Briefs: Computer Sciences, Diodes, Occidental, News Corp.

Computer Sciences Corp. is in negotiations with Britain's BAE Systems Plc. to expand a technology-outsourcing contract worth about $1.9 billion over five years, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Morgan Stanley Profit Up on Revenues

Morgan Stanley saw its fourth-quarter earnings climb 49 percent, due to strong investment banking revenues and a surge in fixed-income trading.

Stocks Fall on GM Decline

Stocks fell Tuesday, with a sharp decline in General Motors Corp. dragging down the Dow, while broader indexes fell slightly in an end-of-year malaise.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Sprint to Buy Rest of Nextel Partners

Sprint Nextel Corp. plans to buy its biggest affiliate Nextel Partners Inc. for $6.5 billion, or $28.50 a share, the companies said on Tuesday.

Wal-Mart Is Target of Criminal Probe

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said federal prosecutors were investigating whether it improperly transported returned goods, ranging from hair spray to charcoal.

Oil Prices Up Before Inventory Report

Oil prices rose Tuesday, the first upward move in four days, ahead of a Department of Energy report likely to show a dip in petroleum inventories.

Housing Starts Rise, PPI Declines

Housing starts rose 5.3 percent in November, defying expectations for a slowdown, and producer prices posted their biggest drop in nearly three years.

L.A.'s Foreclosures Rise 38 Percent

L.A. foreclosures jumped 38 percent in November but the city's foreclosure rate was lowest among the nation's five largest metropolitan areas, according to RealtyTrac's Monthly Foreclosure Market Report.

First Consulting Restructuring Operations

First Consulting Group Inc. said Tuesday it is cutting jobs, including management positions, and closing offices as part of a restructuring and cost-reduction program to improve profits in 2006.

Monday, December 19

Cathay Clears Last Hurdle to Acquire Great Eastern

Cathay General Bancorp scaled the last hurdle Monday in acquiring New York-based Great Eastern Bank after winning approval from state regulators to buy 100 percent of the bank's stock.

Venture Capital Fund Eyes Latino, Asian Media Properties

Newspapers may be taking a hit, but two local venture capital firms are prowling for acquisitions, particularly in the emerging Hispanic and Asian media markets.

L.A. Gas Prices Drop for 11th Week

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles area dipped for the eleventh consecutive week, slipping 3.1 cents to $2.279 for the week ended Dec. 19.

Getting Out

The company that publishes the Advocate was bought for $24 million in cash and $7.1 million in debt

Downtown Boom in Hotel Building Is About to Begin

Several hotel projects are about to begin construction that will add more than 2,200 rooms roughly half the current inventory within the next three years

The 'R' Word Resilience

The challenge from China, a summer of $3 gas, insane housing prices: The L.A. economy takes a licking but keeps on ticking.

Judge Tentatively Rejects Ex-Gemstar CEO's Plea Deal

Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. won a victory Monday after a judge tentatively rejected a proposed plea deal between former CEO Henry Yuen and prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's office in L.A.

A Show of Strength

A new study illustrates the different aspects of L.A's economy in an area-by-area analysis.

In-N-Out Burned by Exec's Lawsuit

A vice president and board member at In-N-Out Burgers Inc., who is in litigation with the chain, claimed that executives conspired to oust him as part of a plan to take control of the company.

Glendale Galleria Owner Halts Opposition To Caruso Project

General Growth Properties Inc. has dropped further legal appeals seeking to halt Caruso Affiliated Holding's development of a mixed-use project across from the mall.

The Future of the Beverly Hilton Includes Residential Component

The Beverly Hilton is pushing forward with a plan to develop hotel-condo units.

Business Briefs: Amp'd Mobile, Northrop, Electro Rent

Amp'd Mobile makes agreements with various producers of reality and scripted television to provide original content for its wireless subscribers, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

GE Capital Nearing Deal for Arden

GE Capital appears to be the winning bidder for Arden Realty Inc. in a deal valued at $5 billion, including the assumption of $1.5 billion in debt, according to a source who worked on an opposing bid.

Ride the Wave

What's hot and what's not for 2006.

Pro Bono Lawyers Do Well by Doing Good

Attorneys find that pro bono cases can raise their profiles and build new relationships.

Buyers Sought for CNN Tower as Channel May Stay or Go

The owner of the CNN tower in Hollywood has put the building back on the market, despite the cable channel's indecision over whether to stay.

Year in Review

Looking back at some key events of 2005.

Malls Full but Sales Not Spectacular

Retailers were anxious Sunday, after the last full weekend of shopping before Christmas appeared robust but not spectacular, despite bargains for many goods.

Pushing Forward, Slower

Is L.A. losing a step as the innovation capital?

Pfizer Shares Up on Lipitor Patent Win

Pfizer Inc. shares climbed Monday morning after last week's ruling that upheld the patent on the company's cholesterol-lowering agent Lipitor.

FPL to Buy Constellation Energy

FPL Group Inc. on Monday said it had agreed to buy Constellation Energy Group Inc. for about $11.07 billion in stock, giving FPL a major foothold in the unregulated power supply business.

L.A. Fire and Police Pension Fund Gets Into REITS, Looks at Hedges

The $13.2 billion Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension System is jumping into real estate investment trusts a sector that some believe has topped out.

Circuit City Posts Profit, Names CEO

Circuit City Stores Inc. reported a quarterly profit on Monday, reversing a year-earlier loss, and raised its expectations for fiscal 2006 sales growth.

With These Prices, Forget About a Hangover

Cocktail prices have soared, not only because bar owners and restaurateurs are faced with rising costs but because they know their patrons will keep drinking anyway.

American Pharmaceutical Deal Boosts November Value

Private equity investors and corporate buyers, flush with cash, continued to pay exorbitant prices to buy other businesses.

Kobe Still a Player in the Jersey Game

Kobe Bryant ranks fifth among NBA players in jersey sales down from third place when the Lakers were a championship team, but up from last year's seventh place.

Oil Prices Increase

Oil futures prices rose Monday, recouping some of a nearly $2 a barrel loss in the previous session partly based on expectations of declining winter fuel demand.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Style to Substance

Antonio Villaraigosa may be best known for his photo ops, but he's also racked some major accomplishments. The next few months will be decisive.

Stocks Fall on Technology Decline

Wall Street's hopes of prolonging its year-end rally were dashed Monday as traders sold off stocks and the technology sector posted a steep decline.

Acquisition of Jamdat Ups the Ante in Electronic Arts' Play for Mobile Games

Electronic Arts' purchase of the L.A.-based video game maker shows the industry giant is upping the ante in the mobile delivery sector.

The Bounce Is Back

Outlooks for L.A. industries, from aerospace to trade.

Heard in L.A.

Selected snippets from some of L.A.'s most prominent names in business and government.

Routine, or ...

Computer Sciences Corp. updated its severance packages for upper management. A routine move or a hint that merger talks may be revived?

Fundraiser Launched for Preservation of Land at Veterans Administration Site

The new Veterans National Park is the result of work by Susan Young, executive director of the Veterans Park Conservancy, which has been trying to preserve land at the Veterans Administration.

Innovation Park Puts Cal Poly Pomona on Biotech Map

Cal Poly Pomona's Innovation Village is a surprising success story for Los Angeles, where higher profile efforts to get a biotech complex off the ground have foundered.

Teledyne Settles Airplane Crash Suit

Teledyne Technologies Inc. will pay $20 million of a $26 million settlement related to the crash of a private plane equipped with an engine manufactured by the L.A.-based company, Bloomberg News said.

Century City Hospital May Need Added Investor Funds

Two months after its opening, Century City Doctors Hospital may seek additional funding from its physicians and other investors to make up a financial shortfall.

Friday, December 16

AOL Nears Major Deal With Google

Time Warner is negotiating exclusively with Google to broaden a lucrative advertising partnership with Time Warner's America Online unit, ending negotiations early Friday with Microsoft Corp.

Spirits High, Gas Prices Low in L.A.

L.A. gas prices fell for the eleventh week, stretching the budgets of Southern Californians entering the final stretch of the holiday shopping season, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Oil Prices Slip on Warmer Weather

Oil prices fell Friday as traders took note of warmer weather in the Northeast and locked in profits ahead of the weekend.

Guitar Center Settles Employee Lawsuits

Guitar Center Inc. has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle two class-action lawsuits claiming its California employees were denied meal and rest breaks.

Local Jobless Rate Increases

L.A. County's unemployment rate jumped to 5.1 percent in November from 4.5 percent in October as more people entered into the job market.

Johnson & Johnson to Acquire Animas

Johnson & Johnson said Friday it has agreed to acquire Animas Corp. for about $518 million to capitalize on the growing demand for diabetes treatment.

Cerberus Group Set to Win Albertson's

Albertson's Inc. is set to be sold to an investment group comprised of Cerberus Capital, Kimco Realty and grocer Supervalu for about $9.6 billion, or $26 a share, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Stocks Slip on Energy Share Decline

Stocks closed lower Friday as markets followed what has become a pattern at the sputtering end of this fourth-quarter rally: Early gains narrow through the day's trading and occasionally turn to losses.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

SEC Investigates Poker Tour Bid

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Friday that it has launched an investigation into the $700 million bid made in July for WPT Enterprises Inc. by professional poker player Doyle Brunson.

Long Beach Port Traffic Up, L.A. Struggles

The good times continue to roll at the Port of Long Beach while the Port of Los Angeles is still struggling to recover from last year's record tie-ups, port figures released this week show.

Southern Union to Buy Sid Richardson

Southern Union Co. said it would buy Sid Richardson Energy Services Co. for $1.6 billion in cash, adding 5,000 miles of natural gas pipeline to its network.

Deficit in Current Account Narrows

America's deficit in the broadest measure of international trade showed a slight improvement in the July-September quarter although it was still at the third highest level in history.

Thursday, December 15

Inamed's Board Approves Allergan Offer

Inamed Corp. said Thursday its board unanimously approved the company's planned $3.2 billion buyout offer by Allergan Inc.

KB Reports Profits Through the Roof

KB Home on Thursday said its fourth-quarter profit soared 66 percent, beating analysts' estimates, as it sold more homes with higher selling prices.

Stocks Fall Amid Consumer Prices Drop

Stocks ended the session lower on Thursday as investors consolidated their holdings despite solid corporate earnings and a large drop in consumer prices.

Jobless Claims Edge Up

The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless aid rose 1,000 last week, bucking expectations for a small decline in applications.

Consumer Prices Fall

Consumer prices fell 0.6 percent in November, the largest decline in 56 years, as energy prices posted an 8 percent drop, the government said Thursday.

Foothill Independent Bancorp Bought by First Community

Foothill Independent Bancorp on Thursday agreed to be acquired by First Community Bancorp for $238 million in stock and options.

Business Briefs: Bell Industries, NBC Universal, Hilton, Northrop

Bell Industries raises its offer to buy Coast Distribution System, NBC Universal promotes Jeff Zucker to head the company's expanded television group, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Ralphs Indicted by Grand Jury

Ralphs Grocery Co. was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on 53 criminal counts that alleged identity theft and claimed the grocer created false Social Security numbers to rehire locked-out employees during the 2002-2003 grocery strike.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Bear Stearns Profit Up 15 Percent

Bear Stearns Cos. said its fourth-quarter profit rose 15 percent on strong proprietary stock trading revenues and an increase in its global clearing business.

Court Tosses Suit Vs. Philip Morris

The Illinois Supreme Court threw out a $10 billion class-action lawsuit against Philip Morris USA, ruling it didn't defraud customers in its marketing for "light" cigarettes.

Wednesday, December 14

PriceGrabber.com Bought for $485 Million

Britain's GUS PLC said Wednesday its Experian unit has bought L.A.-based online shopping service PriceGrabber.com for $485 million, beefing up its business services arm.

Six Flags Ends Sale, Appoints CEO

Six Flags Inc., a regional theme park company that had put itself up for sale, said it had ended the process after the deadline for bids passed without any offers.

Activision Warns of Lower Earnings

Activision Inc. on Wednesday warned that its third-quarter, fourth-quarter and full-year earnings will be "significantly lower" than its most recent outlook due to slower sales of its most profitable titles.

Report Details L.A.'s Economic Health

The report from the Milken Institute reveals wide variations in the economic health of city neighborhoods, with the Westside and San Fernando Valley leading the way and Central, Eastern and South L.A. lagging behind.

General Dynamics to Buy Anteo

General Dynamics Corp. agreed to buy Anteon International Corp. for about $2.1 billion in cash, in a move to expand its technology, training and engineering services to the U.S. government and military.

Oil Prices Hold Above $61

Oil prices fell but held above $61 a barrel ahead of a petroleum inventory report expected to show declines, as new forecasts raised global demand levels and warned of a looming price spike.

Amgen to Acquire Abgenix

Amgen Inc. said on Wednesday that it plans to acquire drug development partner Abgenix Inc. for about $2.2 billion in cash, or $22.50 per share.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Stocks Mixed on Oil, Downgrades

Stocks closed mixed Wednesday as sagging energy prices and a strong advance by Honeywell International Inc. sent the Dow higher, but downgrades of Apple Computer Inc. dragged the Nasdaq lower.

Cathay General Gets Approval to Acquire Great Eastern Bank

Cathay General Bancorp said Tuesday that the Federal Reserve Board approved its offer to acquire 100 percent of Great Eastern Bank's stock.

Business Briefs: Safeway, Disney, Amp'd Mobile, Northrop

Safeway Inc. says it expects next year's earnings to be between $1.55 to $1.65 per share, Walt Disney Co. names a new president of its film division, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Tuesday, December 13

Fed Set to Raise Rates

Federal Reserve officials gathered on Tuesday for a meeting that should end with a 13th straight interest-rate hike and possibly a signal that a 1-1/2 year rate-rise campaign was winding down.

Retail Sales, Business Inventories Climb

Retail sales posted a moderate increase in November, and American businesses increased their inventories by 0.3 percent in October.

Lehman Annual Profit Rises

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. reported a second straight year of record income and revenues Tuesday on strong investment banking and transaction fees.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

DirecTV Settles FTC Charges

DirecTV Group Inc. will pay $5.4 million to settle charges that its telemarketers called households listed on the Do Not Call registry to pitch programming, the Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday.

L.A. Apartments Less Affordable

Households need to earn $22.87 per hour to be able to rent a decent two-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles County, up from $21.62 per hour a year earlier, said the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

SAG Names New Executive Director

Ilyanne Kichaven has been named Hollywood executive director for the Screen Actors Guild, the union announced Tuesday. She will take over her post in January.

Business Briefs: Inamed, Diodes, ViewSonic, National Technical Systems

Inamed Corp. says its planned acquisition by Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. is canceled, Diodes Inc. raises fourth-quarter outlook due to better-than-expected sales, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Stocks Rise on Fed Action

Stocks made a moderate advance Tuesday as investors welcomed signs that the Federal Reserve may be close to ending its string of interest-rate hikes.

Natural Gas Reaches All-Time High

Natural-gas prices surged to an all-time high as cold weather and ongoing disrupted production worried traders that supplies of home-heating fuels will be tight this winter.

Fed Delivers Quarter-Point Rate Hike

The Federal Reserve on Tuesday pushed a key interest rate to the highest level in 4 1/2 years while signaling that the campaign to raise interest rates to fight inflation was drawing to an end.

Monday, December 12

Stem Cell Plans Put on Ice as Lawsuits Hold Up Grant Funds

It's been 13 months since California voters approved an initiative to channel $3 billion to stem cell research, but no money has flowed to local universities.

How to Be a Banker

Starting a bank may be easier than you think, so long as you've got a ton of capital and even more patience to deal with multiple regulators.

Down and Out in Beverly Hills? Not This Holiday Season

The big news so far this holiday season is that consumers are looking for deals from major discounters. But don't count out Beverly Hills' luxury retailers.

Tuft Enough

Carpet maker Bentley Prince Street was in danger of unraveling a few years ago. Now, managers believe they're on the path to prosperity.

Attack Plan

A City Council vote on a just-proposed Beverly Hills condominium project could be two or three years off if the proposal is contested.

Business Briefs: CKE Restaurants, Amp'd Mobile, Kilroy Realty, Sage Capital

CKE Restaurants Inc. reports higher third-quarter profit and nearly flat same-store sales at its Carl's Jr. and Hardee's restaurants for the period ended Dec. 5, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Proposals Sought for Discounts on L.A. Prescriptions

The Los Angeles City Council is considering letting residents and businesses buy prescription drugs at a discount. Will businesses go along?

Stuff

Inventive, new products from Los Angeles-area companies.

In This Game, Raising Money Is Easy, Regulation Is Hard

Most of the new bank start-ups in the past year have been well-capitalized so much so that certain banks have been over-subscribed.

Oil Prices Climb Above $61

Oil prices climbed by almost $2 a barrel Monday after OPEC agreed to keep its production level steady and cold weather raised concerns about rising demand for home-heating fuels.

Stocks Mixed on Rate Worries, Merck

Stocks barely budged Monday, finishing mixed as interest rate worries and a legal setback for Merck & Co. countered momentum from a possible multibillion-dollar acquisition by ConocoPhillips.

Southerners Try to Pull Video Game Makers From L.A.

Two southern states are offering tax incentives to lure California's video game industry. But will the gamers go?

In the Iger Age, Disney Finds New Platforms for Content

Walt Disney Co. is moving into the mobile telephone, PC game and online worlds.

Reimagining Retail

In a retailing world where most shops have the same efficient but humdrum layout, Giorgio Borruso is known for high-concept visuals.

Dueling Agendas Stall LAX Plans

Community opposition led to the demise of 10 years worth of plans for an extensive overhaul of LAX.

City Views

Lisa Padilla played a role in the redesign of Santa Monica Boulevard and is now planning parkways and stations for the proposed Expo line extension.

Revenge of the Geeks

Video game reviewers, who used to be dismissed as geeks, are now "drunk with power" over their impact on the industry.

Newsmakers

The appointments and promotions of the movers and shakers of L.A.'s business community.

Iranian Concerns Push Translation Company to Add Persian to Mix

Due to increasing attention on Iran, a Marina del Rey company whose main customer is the federal government has added Persian to its language-translation software.

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over DVD Claims of Closed Captions

Two lawsuits were filed on behalf of California residents who purchased DVDs advertised as having closed captioning but lacking that element on the movie's special features.

Broker Leaves the Family Firm to Set Up His Own Shop

Michael Dunn started working at a real estate brokerage as an obligation, but it became his profession of choice.

ConocoPhillips Eyes Burlington

ConocoPhillips is in talks to buy natural gas producer Burlington Resources Inc. for more than $30 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Williams Denied Clemency

Gov. Schwarzenegger denied clemency to Stanley "Tookie" Williams, the former gang leader whose case stirred debate over capital punishment and the possibility of redemption on death row.

Viacom to Buy Back Billions in Stock

Viacom Inc. said Monday its board approved a stock buyback program of up to $3 billion once Viacom splits itself into two publicly traded companies.

Big Banks Have to Think Small To Give Best Customer Service

Big banks seem to have every advantage, but some copy the practices of the small institutions.

Judge Declares Mistrial in Vioxx Suit

A judge declared a mistrial Monday in the first federal lawsuit over the once-popular painkiller Vioxx.

These Institutions Have Found Their Way Off the Beaten Path

There's a bank that makes loans according to Islamic codes, and another one that specializes in flawed real estate deals just some of L.A.'s more unusual financial institutions.

L.A. Gas Prices Down for Tenth Week

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles area fell for the tenth consecutive week, slipping 5 cents to $2.310 for the week ended Dec. 12.

Four Oaks Property Put Up for Sale by Longtime Owner

Jack Allen came to L.A. to settle down with his family and attend law school. Instead, he bought the Four Oaks restaurant on a whim, and the eatery eventually became a Westside destination.

Magnetek Could Survive Judgment

Only seven months after facing possible bankruptcy, Magnetek Inc. may have engineered a rebound.

The Club

In L.A.'s clubby scene, bankers sometimes seek advice from competitors, who may be friends and ex-colleagues.

Illuminations

Joe Tawil's GAMProducts develops equipment for unusual needs in the stage lighting field.

Goodbye Pica Pole, Hello New World of Media

The transition between old and new media is scary and exciting. For all the yammering, no one has the first clue about where things will finally land.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Law Firm Makes Its Name by Breaking the Mold Cases

Toxic mold claims that have been the bane of the housing industry have meant a boom for the L.A. law firm Wood Smith Henning & Berman.

War's Toll on U.S. Image Is Factor for Time Warner Exec

It's not everyday that an executive at a major media conglomerate comments on the war in Iraq.

Small Banks Adopt Technology Allowing 24/7 Online Services

How can a small bank offer online services? By relying on outside companies.

DirecTV to Pay $5 Million to Settle Probe

DirecTV Group Inc. agreed to pay a total of $5 million to 21 states to settle an investigation into its marketing and advertising practices, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said Monday.

Major Media Companies Greet Hallmark Channel in New Bids

Crown Media Holdings Inc. is expected to entertain a second round of bids for its Studio City-based Hallmark Channel later this month.

Paramount to Buy DreamWorks

Viacom Inc. unit Paramount Pictures has reached a $1.6 billion deal to buy live-action film studio DreamWorks SKG, after DreamWorks ended negotiations with NBC Universal, the studio confirmed Sunday.

Amgen Continues Protecting Its Hold on Biotech Products

Amgen Inc. is no longer just a two-drug company, but that doesn't mean the biotechnology giant won't go to the mat to protect the market for Epogen.

Mixed Signals in Data Point to Plateau for Home Prices

L.A.'s hot housing market continues to show signs of cooling.

What the Wow Factor Does for Times Square

People across L.A. tell us how they do what they do.

Forget Those Starving Actors, Hollywood's Back Lot Pays Big

No wonder other states want to lure filmmakers a new study says the average wage of a film and television production worker is $105,000.

Word's Worth

A former Los Angeles Times researcher and ousted columnist Robert Scheer have teamed up to launch the online magazine Truthdig.

More Channels, More TV Pilots, More Media Employment

Thanks to a surge in TV pilots for network and cable channels, entertainment jobs took off in the first half of the year.

Friday, December 9

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Data Points to Plateau for Home Prices

L.A.'s coal-hot housing market continued to show signs of cooling in November, with an ongoing decline in the number of homes sold even as home prices recovered from a fall the prior month.

Paramount to Buy DreamWorks

Viacom Inc. unit Paramount Pictures reached a deal to buy DreamWorks SKG, after DreamWorks ended negotiations with rival bidder, General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday evening.

Stocks Rise as Oil Falls

Falling energy prices gave stocks a modest lift Friday as Wall Street set aside worries about interest rates and a weak forecast from Intel Corp.

Lilly Sees Profit Topping Forecasts

Eli Lilly and Co. on Friday said 2006 earnings should top forecasts on growing demand for its new drugs and stabilizing U.S. sales of Zyprexa.

L.A. Gas Prices Slip on Lower Demand

L.A. gasoline prices slumped for the tenth straight week, and conditions appear bright for the trend to continue through the New Year's holiday, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Consumer Sentiment Improves

U.S. consumer sentiment improved in early December more than economists had expected, helped by falling gasoline prices and continuing job growth.

Oil Slides on OPEC News

Oil prices fell on Friday as producer group OPEC appeared poised to keep supplies flowing near full-tilt through the rest of the winter.

Alltel to Spin Off Wireless Business

Alltel Corp. plans to spin off its wireline business, merging those operations with Valor Communications Group Inc. in a deal worth about $4.9 billion.

Business Briefs: Crown Media Holdings, Northrop, Amgen

Crown Media Holdings Inc. rejected bids of as much as $1.8 billion for its Hallmark Channel because they were too low on a per-subscriber basis, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

No Agreement on Seat for Kerkorian, GM

GM and billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp. on Friday said they failed to agree on the terms under which a seat on GM's board would be made available to Kerkorian adviser Jerome York.

Thursday, December 8

Business Briefs: Korn/Ferry, Digital Insight, Earl Scheib, Telepictures Productions

Korn/Ferry International reports higher second-quarter profit, Digital Insight Corp. signs a strategic partnership with PSCU Financial Services, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Countrywide Loan Volume Rises

Countrywide Financial Corp. said Thursday that its mortgage volume rose 35 percent last month to $42 million, evidence that homebuyers are still in the market for loans.

GM Talking to Tracinda About Board Seat

General Motors Corp. confirmed for the first time that it is holding talks with billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian's investment firm Tracinda Corp. about a "possible" seat on the GM board.

L.A. Businesses Upbeat About Economy

L.A.-area businesses are upbeat on the local and national economy and on their ability to continue hiring next year, according to a survey released Thursday by Wells Fargo Economics.

Toll Brothers Cuts Profit Forecast

Toll Brothers Inc. cut its profit outlook and put its 2007 forecast in doubt, citing the slowing housing market and difficulty in obtaining regulatory approval to build.

Stocks Fall on Oil Prices, Toll Brothers

Stocks extended their losses Thursday after a cautious outlook from homebuilder Toll Brothers Inc. and a surge in energy prices rattled investors.

Co-Chief Executive Leaves Maguire

Richard I. Gilchrist announced Thursday he is stepping down as president and co-chief executive of Maguire Properties Inc. No replacement is expected.

L.A. Home Affordability Dips in October

The number of people who could afford to purchase median-priced homes in the L.A. region dropped sharply in October from the year-earlier period and fell one percentage point from September.

Jamdat Being Acquired by Electronic Arts

L.A.-based mobile game maker Jamdat Mobile Inc. is being acquired by video game giant Electronic Arts Inc. for $680 million, or $27 per share a 21 percent premium over Wednesday's closing price.

Oil Prices Rise on Cold Weather

Cold weather across the Northeast and Midwest raised concerns about increased demand for home-heating fuels, pushing oil and natural gas prices higher.

Storm-Related Jobless Claims Increase

The number of Americans who lost jobs from hurricanes rose to 599,700 last week as the effects of Katrina and Rita continued to be felt months later.

Longtime L.A. City Councilman Marvin Braude Dies

Marvin Braude, who served the Westside and the Valley from 1965 to 1997, died Wednesday of complications following surgery. He was 85.

Costco First-Quarter Profit Rises

Costco Wholesale Corp. on Thursday reported a 12 percent increase in quarterly profit, helped by demand for gasoline and food.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Wednesday, December 7

Oil Falls on Build in Supplies

Oil prices fell Wednesday as government data showed supplies of oil, gas and heating oil rose last week.

Avery Dennison Expects Higher Restructuring Costs

Avery Dennison Corp. said Wednesday that it plans to eliminate between 700 and 900 jobs, increase restructuring costs and divest itself of some low-margin businesses.

3M Names New CEO

3M Co. said Wednesday it named George W. Buckley, the chairman and chief executive of Brunswick Corp., as its new chairman, president and CEO.

Villaraigosa Taps Long Beach Port Exec to Head Port of L.A.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Wednesday named Geraldine Knatz, the managing director of the Port of Long Beach, as the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Tribune Cutting Staff 4 Percent This Year

Tribune Co. executives said Wednesday that by the end of the year it will have cut 4 percent of the workforce as part of cost cutbacks.

ABC, ESPN Join NASCAR TV Package

NASCAR agreed to an eight-year, $4.48 billion television deal Wednesday that will split its 36-race schedule among Walt Disney Co.'s ABC/ESPN, Fox and TNT beginning in 2007.

Nissan to Get Major Incentives for Move

Nissan Motor Co. will receive nearly $197 million in tax breaks and other benefits to move its North American headquarters to Tennessee from Gardena, Bloomberg News reported.

Business Briefs: Technicolor Digital Cinema, Twentieth Century Fox, Gemstar, Amgen, Learning Tree

Technicolor Digital Cinema, the L.A.-based division of Thomson S.A., signed a long-term digital cinema equipment usage agreement with Twentieth Century Fox, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

November Layoff Plans Rise, Survey Says

Planned U.S. layoffs in November were the highest since July as the automotive sector led all industries in job cuts, a report said on Wednesday.

Stocks Slip on Rate Worries

Stocks fell on Wednesday as financial and homebuilding shares declined amid worries about rising interest rates.

California's Economy to Decline in 2006

California's economy will slow next year, led by a downturn in real estate and construction jobs, but there is little chance of a recession, said the forecast released by UCLA's Anderson School of Management.

Ford Cuts Deeper Than Expected

The restructuring plan Ford Motor Co. will announce next month as it moves to restore its North American operations to profitability will be very aggressive.

Tuesday, December 6

L.A. Lawyer Named Chief SEC Counsel

Brian Cartwright, head of Latham & Watkins' U.S. public company practice, is expected to replace Giovanni Prezioso, who announced on Nov. 30 he would leave the agency by the end of the year.

NBC Shows Downloadable on iTunes

NBC Universal and Apple Computer Inc. on Tuesday said they would make certain NBC television shows available for download on the iTunes music store.

Factory Orders Rebound in October

Orders to factories posted a solid increase in October, providing evidence the economy is rebounding from the hurricanes and a spike in energy prices.

Local Business Execs Upbeat About 2006

Economists may be talking about an economic slowdown next year, but a survey released Tuesday shows local chief executives are very bullish about their companies' fortunes over the next 12 months.

Business Briefs: Inamed, LJ International, Diodes, Ducommun

Inamed Corp. says a $3.2 billion takeover bid from Allergan Inc. is superior to an earlier $2.5 billion merger pact with Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Stocks Rise on Productivity Surge

A jump in productivity, the biggest surge in two years, lifted stocks Tuesday, but early gains sputtered, leaving the market up only slightly at the close.

Hollywood Reporter Publisher Leaving to Form Consulting Firm

Robert Dowling, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Hollywood Reporter, will be leaving at the end of the year to open his own consulting firm after a 17-year tenure with the publication.

J & J; Keeps Bid for Guidant

Johnson & Johnson, facing a higher rival bid for Guidant Corp., on Tuesday said it remains committed to acquiring the medical device maker but did not raise the bid price it had already negotiated with Guidant.

Reality Show Creators Swap Barbs in Copyright Lawsuit

The producers of "Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy" are asking a U.S. District Court judge to throw out a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by the makers of "Wife Swap."

Oil Prices Settle Just Below $60

Crude futures edged higher Tuesday to settle just below $60 a barrel amid worries that colder weather in the Northeast could boost demand for heating fuels.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Sears Holdings Profit Down

Sears Holdings Corp., on Tuesday posted lower quarterly profit on sluggish sales, but its shares rose as much as 7 percent as earnings beat expectations.

Update: Dodgers Name Little as Manager

The Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday named former Red Sox manager Grady Little as manager of the Dodgers. Little, 55, becomes the seventh manager in Dodgers history and the fifth in the last eight years.

Monday, December 5

LAEDC Leader Plans Outreach

William Allen, the new head of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., said he wants to work more closely with other business advocacy groups.

Oil Prices Up on Snowstorm Forecast

Oil prices spiked to settle near $60 a barrel Monday amid reports that a snowstorm would hit the Northeast and boost demand for crude oil and natural gas.

Dallas Firm Plans Renovation of Westwood's Doubletree

A Dallas firm has the Doubletree hotel in Westwood under contract and plans a major renovation of the property.

Uncertainty Over Anchor Clouds Future of Santa Monica Place

The owner of Santa Monica Place has shelved redevelopment plans until the fate of one of the mall's anchor stores is determined.

Judge Shuts Down Enternet Media

The Federal Trade Commission has shut down a Canoga Park company for allegedly installing illicit software code onto computers through pop-up windows and ads.

Businesses Will Pay Higher Fees to Fund More Meter Inspectors

Businesses will pay higher fees to cover the cost of additional weights and measures inspectors throughout the county.

Package Deal

AVC started out as a video duplicator, and is now designing environmentally friendly and technologically advanced packaging.

Business Briefs: AECOM, eCOST.com, True Religion Apparel

AECOM merges with San Francisco-based landscape architecture firm EDAW Inc. to give it a foothold in the global market for project master planning, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Arden's Auction Splash Leaves Ripples Across the REIT Pond

Arden Realty Inc. is on the auction block, although some analysts are hedging their bets, saying that a deal could ultimately fall through based on price.

Newspaper Web Sites Grow in Popularity as Circulation Drops

Newspaper circulation is on the decline, but a new study by Nielsen//NetRatings suggests a bright spot for large papers, and especially the Los Angeles Times: Web sites.

Reality Show Creators Swap Barbs in Copyright Lawsuit

Are "Wife Swap" and "Trading Spouses" more similar than different? A lawsuit may have the answer.

Facing the Music

A new round of payola investigations may change the way record companies promote artists.

Newsmakers

The appointments and promotions of the movers and shakers of L.A.'s business community.

It's Vegas, Baby, and It's Eating L.A.'s Lunch

In a world loaded with competitors, L.A. is having a tough time keeping its customer base. And once they're gone, it's tough to bring them back.

Restaurateurs Exporting L.A. Hip to Urban Mass Market

The owners of the trendy Geisha House and Dolce Enoteca are exporting their brand of hip L.A. restaurants to other cities.

Biotech Merger Could Bring Jitters to Some Shareholders

The merger of American BioScience and American Pharmaceutical Partners enables Patrick Soon-Shiong to consolidate control of the companies he created. Shareholders seemed wary, however.

90210 Outpost

When office space in Beverly Hills needs to serve as a consulate, a flag goes up on the wall and suddenly, it's Norway.

Gemstar Sells SkyMall Business

Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. said Monday that it sold its SkyMall in-flight retail catalog business for $52 million to a private equity group led by Spire Capital Partners.

Big-Box Builder Plans Mixed-Use at Downtown Site

Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital is negotiating to sell a large downtown property to a developer known for building shopping centers anchored by Wal-Marts.

Business Journal Names New Editor

Charles Crumpley will become editor of the Business Journal in January.

Businesses Get Squeezed by Cost Pressures

Many small and mid-sized businesses throughout Southern California are struggling with inflationary pressures as companies draw up next year's budgets.

College President Finds Passion Is Academic

People across L.A. tell us how they do what they do.

Boston Scientific Offers to Buy Guidant

Boston Scientific Corp. said on Monday it offered to buy Guidant Corp. for about $25 billion in cash and stock, topping an offer from Johnson & Johnson.

Financial Veteran Plans for Future of Covington Capital

Frank Ulf, chairman and chief executive of Covington Capital Management, is taking his own advice. At 74, he's finally doing some succession planning.

Implant Business Slows as Patients Await FDA Decision

Some prospective breast implant patients are holding off while they wait for the FDA to approve silicone implants for wide cosmetic use again.

KB Home Forms Joint Venture

KB Home is forming a joint venture to build homes in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina and has already acquired an option on land near New Orleans, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Hallmark Channel May Get More Bids

Crown Media Holdings Inc. may receive a second round of bids for its Hallmark cable network before the holiday break, the New York Post reported.

L.A. Times Shutters Facility, Cuts Jobs

The Los Angeles Times will close its Chatsworth printing facility and will consolidate production at its other plants, resulting in 110 job cuts, the Tribune Co.-owned newspaper announced Monday.

Fast Company

Gillian Zucker is the president of the California Speedway in Fontana, making it the only track in the nation under female leadership.

L.A. Gas Prices Keep Falling

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles area fell for the ninth consecutive week, slipping 7.7 cents to $2.360 for the week ended Dec. 5.

Rodeo Drive Thrives With 12 Stores Set to Open Doors

Rodeo Drive is on the move, with 12 new stores opening their doors over the next few months, adding 50,000 square feet of retail space.

Service Sector Grows at Slower Pace

The nation's service sector grew in November but at a slower pace than in October and slightly slower than analysts expected.

Stocks Fall on Oil's Rise

Higher oil prices and news of slowing growth in the service sector pulled stocks lower Monday despite some optimism over a $25 billion bid for Guidant Corp.

Online, On Time

The pressure seems to be easing in the world of online shopping delivery, as retailers and shippers have learned from past glitches and improved logistics.

Chevron Corp. Seeks Dismissal of Consumer Class Action Suit

Chevron Corp. has filed a motion to throw out a class action complaint filed on behalf of California consumers who allegedly were overcharged for reformulated or low-emission gas.

'What We Do Is Find the Real Problems Facing L.A.'

Soon after joining the board of United Way of Greater Los Angeles in 1998, David Fuhrman wondered if he would be successful in raising funds for the umbrella charity.

Verizon Weighs Sale of Directories Unit

Verizon Communications said it would look at selling f its domestic directories publishing unit as it focuses on its wireless, high-speed data and corporate customers.

Chinese Parents Blame Video Game Maker for Deadly Plunge of Teen

Blizzard Entertainment is being dogged by allegations from a father and mother in China who blame the company for the 2004 death of their 13-year old son.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Stuff

Inventive, new products from Los Angeles-area companies.

Can't Get Enough of Christmas? These Stations Are for You

KZLA and KOST have adopted an all-holiday music program through Dec. 25 and advertisers seem pleased.

Former Internet Company CFO Sentenced

The former CFO of Internet advertising firm L90 Inc. was sentenced Monday to 18 months in federal prison for his role in overstating company revenues by at least $4.3 million in 2000-2001.

Lions Gate Lowers Earnings Outlook

Shares of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. plunged as much as 13 percent on Monday after it lowered its fiscal 2006 earnings outlook, citing "disappointing" performance of one of its films.

Southern Strategy

L.A. companies are heading to the Southeastern U.S. in a notable shift from previous relocation patterns that limited departures mostly to Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Colorado.

Biatta Builds Brand Awareness Amid the Major Players in World of Lingerie

The company behind the racy Biatta lingerie ads tries to increase brand awareness in a crowded fashion field.

Friday, December 2

Stocks Mixed on Interest Rate Concerns

Solid employment data failed to extend Wall Street's rally Friday as renewed interest rate concerns spurred profit-taking and left stocks mixed.

Greenspan Renews Warning on Deficits

Good short-term prospects for the U.S. economy should not distract from huge looming fiscal strains that pose "significant" economic risks, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Friday.

Burkle, Others Bidding for Albertson's

Three groups of bidders, one of which includes billionaire Ron Burkle's Yucaipa Cos., are putting the final touches on offers to take over supermarket chain Albertson's Inc., the Financial Times reported.

Uncertainty Clouds Future of Santa Monica Place

The owner of Santa Monica Place has shelved its controversial redevelopment plans until Federated Department Stores Inc. determines whether it will shutter one of the mall's two anchor stores.

Disney Elects New Board Members

The Walt Disney Co. announced the election of two new independent board members Friday: former Starbucks Corp. CEO Orin C. Smith and former Procter & Gamble CEO John E. Pepper Jr.

Payrolls Grow; Jobless Rate Steady

America's payrolls snapped out of a two-month hurricane-induced funk in November and grew by 215,000, the most since July. The unemployment rate held steady at 5 percent.

L.A. Times Drags on Tribune Revenue

Tribune Co.'s November newspaper ad revenue fell 2.4 percent, the company said Friday, reflecting a 6 percent national advertising drop that was blamed on weak ad sales at the Los Angeles Times.

Oil Prices Up on Nearing Cold Weather

Oil prices rose above $59 a barrel Friday, buoyed by natural gas futures surging on forecasts of colder weather.

L.A. Gas Prices Down for Ninth Week

L.A. gasoline prices fell for the ninth straight week, and the downward price trend is likely to continue through the end of the holiday season, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Icahn Vies for Control of Fairmont

Icahn Partners LP and Icahn Partners Master Fund LP said they will make a tender offer to raise their stake to 51 percent of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Inc.'s shares.

Thursday, December 1

Fandango, TiVo Team on Ticketing

Fandango has partnered with TiVo Inc. to create a service that allows TiVo subscribers to buy tickets to movies directly over their televisions.

Retailer Bargains Drive November Sales

Holiday bargains drew shoppers out in droves in November, but mall-based stores that held back on the discounts had quieter cash registers.

U.S. Home Prices Jump

Average U.S. home prices jumped 12.02 percent from a year earlier, a slowing from the record pace of the previous quarter yet still a strong increase.

Villaraigosa Announces LAX Settlement

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Thursday announced a settlement with three cities, the county and a neighborhood group that had sued to stop a massive overhaul of LAX.

Manufacturing Sector Growth Slows

The manufacturing sector of the nation's economy grew at a slower pace in November than in the previous month, according to a private group's survey.

Consumer Spending Up, Jobless Claims Fall

Consumer spending rose 0.2 percent in October, driving the personal saving rate into negative territory for the fifth month, while jobless claims fell last week.

Business Briefs: Youbet.com, Guess, Computer Sciences, Savacor, Warner Music, Peerless Systems

Youbet.com Inc. agrees to buy privately held United Tote Co. for $34.2 million, Guess Inc. says its November same-store sales rose 15.8 percent, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Stocks Surge on Positive Data

Stocks soared on Thursday as investors welcomed inflation-friendly economic data and hoped the November rally would continue through year-end.

Oil Climbs on Drops in Inventories

Oil prices rose Thursday after a government report showed declines in crude and gas inventories last week.

Warning Released on Amgen Drugs

Anemia drugs made by Thousand Oaks-based Amgen Inc. may have a risk of triggering a rare condition called aplasia, which damages red blood cells, the FDA said Thursday.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.