Stories for May 2005

Tuesday, May 31

Oil Prices Near $52 Per Barrel

Crude oil futures rose for the sixth straight trading session Tuesday, settling near $52 a barrel, leading some brokers to conclude that high prices may stick around.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Consumer Confidence Up After Decline

Consumer confidence rebounded in May after a decline in April as worries about the economy and jobs eased, a private research group said Tuesday.

French 'No' Sinks Euro to New Lows

The euro dropped more than 1 percent Tuesday after France's rejection of the EU constitution sparked worries about the prospects for economic reform in Europe.

Business Briefs: Diodes, Cogent, Disney

Diodes names a new CEO, Cogent will produce fingerprint-ID systems for Haiti's elections, and Walt Disney's ABC TV network secures $2.1 billion in advance ad sales for its upcoming prime-time season.

Stocks Down on Manufacturing Data

Stocks ended lower on Tuesday after a weak reading on Midwest business activity raised concerns about economic growth and overshadowed a report of rising consumer confidence in May.

L.A Gas Prices Now Just 5 Cents Above Year-Ago Levels

L.A.-area gas prices kept slipping from the record levels, falling nearly 3 cents a gallon last week, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.

United Airlines' Mechanics Ratify Deal

United Airlines' mechanics union ratified a five-year contract Tuesday, removing one strike threat from the carrier as another labor group negotiated down to the deadline.

Court Overturns Arthur Andersen Conviction

The Supreme Court threw out the conviction of the accounting firm for destroying Enron-related documents, ruling Tuesday that the jury instructions were too broad.

Union Strategy Taking Its Toll on Hotels

An aggressive boycott campaign has cost hotels millions of dollars in lost business, resulting in the weakening of their stance in a year-long poker game with workers' unions.

Monday, May 30

Voip: New 'Killer App' Just a Phone Call Away

A growing number of businesses are switching to Voice Over Internet Protocol for their telephone service on the promise of cheaper monthly bills. But it can present pitfalls associated with any new technology.

Lobbying Gets Started as Cable Merger Nears

Time Warner's pending role as the behemoth on the local cable scene brings with it the commitment of improved service and broader programming, as well as a formidable political force on the L.A. landscape.

Grand Avenue: A Place to Celebrate

All great cities have a heart, a central place where people from all walks of life can go to celebrate and to share. Grand Avenue can be that place.

Grand Avenue Developer Seeks Quick Approvals, Plan Progress

The recent unveiling of the Grand Avenue plan has given ammunition to its critics, who believe architectural considerations are being placed behind commercial issues.

Newsmakers

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

Christian Broadcaster Runs Into Some Skepticism on Short Term

In its bid to build clusters of Christian radio stations around the country, Salem Communications Corp. is running into some resistance on Wall Street.

Know the Score

More and more film scoring work is migrating to Seattle because it's cheaper to make a soundtrack in the Emerald City.

L.A. Stories

Myron's Ballroom, a landmark on L.A.'s music and nightlife scene for more than half a century, has gone on the market for $20 million and will likely be torn down and rebuilt as a mixed-use, condos-over-retail project.

New Mayor to Face First Test on Housing

An early test of Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa on a business issue could come in the form of a revamped proposal mandating affordable housing set-asides that goes before the Los Angeles City Council.

Direct Response Ads Propel KFI to New Heights

KFI's talk format has proved particularly appealing for direct response advertisers and has propelled the station to significant sales growth.

King of the Castle

Countrywide Financial Corp. Chairman Angelo Mozilo was the highest paid executive in Los Angeles last year, earning $71.8 million courtesy of the refinance and home-buying boom.

Pomegranate Juice Uncorked in Major Marketing Success

POM Wonderful planted thousands of pomegranate trees in the San Joaquin Valley, and is now riding the crest of a new wave of juice in a market that barely existed a few years ago.

Remnant Sale

As an L.A.-based banker working on the Enron case, Rob Deutschman is trying to salvage whatever he can from one of the most extraordinary corporate collapses in U.S. history.

Santa Ana Freeway Widening May Move Into the Fast Lane

The unlocking of funds in both Washington and Sacramento means that longstanding plans to widen the Santa Ana Freeway are moving off the back burner.

Forget the Rusted-Out Weber Welcome to the $20,000 BBQ

It's time to fire up the grill, and true barbecue aficionados are searing their filet mignon on $20,000 outdoor spreads featuring the latest in technology: infrared heating elements that rival steak house ovens.

Musical Chairs Mean New Brokers for Grubb, Staubach

Six prominent downtown Los Angeles brokers are leaving CB Richard Ellis Inc. to build Staubach Co.'s L.A. operations. And seven senior brokers six from Newmark Pacific are joining Grubb & Ellis Co.

Wedding Planners Get Feeling of 'Til Death Do Us Part'

A dozen or so top wedding planners in L.A. command fees of $15,000 to $40,000 to stage ceremonies and celebrations that carry budgets running into six figures.

Union Strategy Taking Its Toll on Hotels

An aggressive boycott campaign has cost hotels millions of dollars in lost business, resulting in the weakening of their stance in a year-long poker game with workers' unions.

Case Study

Changing times require planning and marketing but also a judicious use of resources, since it's easy to waste money, according to Virginia Ginsburg, president and chief consultant of Swell Strategies.

Real Estate Boom Hits Second Homes

The nation's burgeoning ranks of millionaires and baby boomers on the brink of retirement are buying second homes for rental income, as a speculative investment or just for recreation.

Architectural Vision Should Come First

Grand Avenue: Absent is the urban design and architectural substance without which it is impossible to assess the merits of what is to be built or its larger significance for the future of the downtown.

Aerospace Struggles to Replace Generation

As has long been expected, the retirement of engineers who learned their skills during the Apollo era is creating a void that the aerospace industry is struggling to fill.

Planet Funk Takes Trendy Duds To Tykes Via New 'Play' Shops

Planet Funk, a retailer of contemporary clothing, is opening a new line of children's stores, starting with an outlet this summer at Westfield Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks.

Movie Future

DR Group started out selling surplus film stock to aspiring movie makers. Now the company offers digital editing services and training in the new technology.

Contractors Calmed by Villaraigosa's Focus on Airport

Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa promises swift action on the proposed overhaul of Los Angeles International Airport.

Schoos Views

Thomas Schoos started by selling his creations on the street in the Valley; now he's one of L.A.'s most sought-after interior designers.

Plodding Back From the Brink, Edison CEO Finds Vindication

John Bryson, chairman and chief executive of Edison International Inc., has emerged as the long-shot victor on Wall Street.

Friday, May 27

L.A.'s 'Rare' Burgers

Those who say that Los Angeles isn't even half the city of New York may have a point at least in terms of pricey burgers.

Stocks Rise Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend

Stocks eked out modest gains Friday ahead of the holiday weekend as investors eyed higher oil prices and a government report that showed rising personal incomes but declines in consumer spending.

Oil Prices Approach $52

Crude futures moved toward $52 a barrel Friday as traders were cautious ahead of the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the start of the U.S. summer driving season.

Burkle's Pathmark Bid Contested

Lampe Conway & Co. LLC will vote to reject a bid by Yucaipa Cos., led by Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle, for a 40 percent stake of the struggling supermarket chain Pathmark Stores Inc.

Consumer Spending Slows

U.S. consumer spending rose 0.6 percent in April, down from a big 0.9 percent jump in March, but inflation eased a bit, the Commerce Department said on Friday.

Stocks Inch Higher Ahead of Long Holiday

Stocks gained Friday ahead of the holiday weekend as investors weighed higher oil prices against a government report that showed rising personal incomes and a decline in consumer spending.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Mistrial in Mattel, LeapFrog Case

A mistrial was declared Friday in LeapFrog Enterprises Inc.'s lawsuit against Mattel's Fisher-Price unit after a jury couldn't decide whether Fisher-Price copied technology patented by LeapFrog.

L.A. Gas Prices Down for Sixth Week

Gas prices continued to fall from record levels just over a month ago, and motorists should see lower prices throughout Southern California for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Sunstone Paying $187 Million for Hotels

Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. has agreed to buy hotels in Cerritos and downtown Washington, D.C., for $187 million in cash and assumed debt.

Garcetti Drops Bid for Council Presidency

Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti has dropped his bid for the council presidency and will support incumbent council president Alex Padilla, a Garcetti aide said Friday.

Thursday, May 26

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Oil Settles Above $51 Per Barrel

Crude oil futures prices rose above $51 a barrel on Thursday after a drop in U.S. crude inventories ahead of the summer driving reason rattled markets.

Spitzer Files Suit Against AIG, Greenberg

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer on Thursday filed a civil suit against American International Group Inc., accusing it and its former CEO of using "deception" to boost the stock price.

Stocks Rally on GDP Growth

Stocks gained ground on Thursday as encouraging signs of economic growth eased Wall Street's fears of a business slowdown.

Pancake House Flips Its First New Menu

IHOP Corp. has rolled out its first major new menu since the Glendale-based company was founded in 1958 to broaden its appeal beyond breakfast and raise sagging sales and revenues.

Business Briefs

Peerless Systems Corp. releases first-quarter earnings, Northrop Grumman decides not to pursue the Los Alamos nuclear weapons lab contract, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Arianna's Post Not Hitching Ads Despite Rising Interest in Blogs

Arianna Huffington and her backers have made it clear that they are running her new Web site as a profit-making business and not a vanity project.

Stocks Rise on Signs of Growth

Stocks gained ground on Thursday as encouraging signs of economic growth eased Wall Street's fears of a business slowdown.

Dollar Rises to Seven-Month High Over Euro

The dollar reached a seven-month high against the euro on Thursday after a report showed the U.S. economy grew more vigorously in the first quarter than expected.

L.A. Rough Roads Costly to Drivers, Study Says

Los Angeles' bumpy, pothole-ridden roads are among the costliest in the nation for drivers, said a study released Thursday by a national transportation research organization.

GDP Up 3.5 Percent, Jobless Claims Rise

The country's economic performance in the opening quarter of 2005 logged a solid 3.5 percent annual growth rate while new claims for unemployment insurance rose to 323,000.

Hertzberg to Chair Big Villaraigosa Transition Team

L.A. Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa on Thursday announced an 81-member transition team chaired by attorney and former mayoral candiate Robert Hertzberg that will help him fill staff and commission appointments.

Wednesday, May 25

E! Signs Cell Phone Content Deal

SmartVideo Technologies, Inc. and E! Entertainment Television announced on Tuesday an agreement to provide entertainment content for cell phones.

First American Unit Selling for $570 Million

An affiliate of Santa Ana's First American Corp. said Wednesday it reached an agreement to buy the title company's credit information unit for $570 million in an all stock deal.

Activision Acquires Canadian Game Developer

Activision Inc. on Wednesday said it acquired Quebec-based Beenox Inc. to boost its presence in Canada. Terms of the deal were not released.

April New Home Sales Rise

Sales of new U.S. homes rose unexpectedly in April, climbing 0.2 percent to a fresh record, a government report showed on Wednesday.

L.A.'s Luxury-home Prices Up Nearly a Quarter Since Last Year

Average prices for luxury homes in the L.A. area topped $2 million for the first time as low interest rates helped drive purchases, according a report from First Republic Bank.

To the Victors Go the Pages to Tell Their Side of the Story

When renowned dealmakers tell their stories, it's because they have wisdom to share and maybe some scores to settle.

Ford to Take Over Visteon Plants

Ford Motor Co. will help struggling auto parts supplier Visteon Corp. by temporarily taking over 24 of its facilities in the U.S. and Mexico, the automaker said Wednesday.

Stocks Drop on Surging Oil Prices

Stocks fell on Wednesday as surging oil prices touched two-week highs, overshadowing a strong report on manufacturing orders.

Business Briefs

The family that owns U.S. licensing rights to Winnie the Pooh appeals a decision to dismiss a lawsuit against Disney, Earle M. Jorgensen Co. reports earnings, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Oil Prices Climb Above $51

Crude oil prices moved above $51 a barrel on Wednesday after U.S. crude inventories fell 1.6 million barrels, the second drop in 15 weeks.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

April Durable Goods Orders Jumped

Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods rose 1.9 percent in April, the government said Wednesday, reflecting strong demand for autos, appliances and aircraft.

Tuesday, May 24

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

L.A. County Home Prices Jump 14.7 Percent in April

The median home price in L.A. County reached $485,900 in April, a 4.2 percent increase from March and a 14.7 percent rise from the year earlier, according to a report issued Tuesday.

Interview: Joel Fox Fighting for Government Reform

Joel Fox started out as an aide to Howard Jarvis; now, he's heading an organization promoting a package of government reforms.

Chain Store Sales Up in Third Week of May

U.S. chain store sales rose in the third week of May as warmer weather helped lift sales of seasonal goods, a report said on Tuesday.

Home Sales Climb 4.5 Percent in April

Sales of existing homes rose 4.5 percent in April to the highest sales pace on record as low mortgage rates fueled a housing boom, a national trade group said Tuesday.

Buffett Buys PacifiCorp for $5.1 billion

A unit of billionaire investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. agreed to buy U.S. electricity firm PacifiCorp for $5.1 billion from British utility Scottish Power Plc.

Interest Rate Question Looms Over Stocks

Stocks finished mixed Tuesday after Federal Open Market Committee minutes gave no sign when the central bank would ease its interest-rate hikes.

Oil Prices Stay Near $49 Per Barrel

Crude oil futures hovered around $49 a barrel Tuesday as traders considered the approach of the U.S. driving season amid expectations of building crude supplies.

County Backs D.A., Assessor on Term Limits

L.A. County supervisors agree to fund legal challenge to term limits by District Attorney Steve Cooley and Assessor Rick Auerbach. County Sheriff Lee Baca already won removal of voter-imposed limits.

Late Filing Could Delist Nara Bank

Nara Bancorp Inc. said Tuesday that it received a Nasdaq violation notice for failing to file its first-quarter earnings report, which could potentially drop it from listing on the exchange.

Update: Grill Concepts Gets Listing Notice

Grill Concepts Inc. said Tuesday it received another notice of violation of Nasdaq listing requirements because it hasn't filed its first quarter results on time.

Business Briefs

Computer Sciences Corp. reports fourth quarter earnings, Walt Disney Co.'s debt is under review for a possible upgrade by Standard & Poor's, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Monday, May 23

Insiders' Views

Insiders share their viewpoints on the art of the deal.

New Feature: Case Study

The Business Journal is launching a new feature in the Small Business section that examines the challenges faced in running a small business.

Business Briefs

VCA Antech Inc. agrees to buy rival Pet's Choice Inc. for $60 million in cash, Fitch Ratings raises the debt ratings of Occidental Petroleum Corp., and other briefs about L.A. companies.

New Heights - Profiles, Part 1

The wealthiest Angelenos and their holdings.

L.A Gas Prices Down From Month-Ago Levels

L.A.-area gas prices continued falling from record levels set almost two months ago, slipping nearly 4 cents a gallon last week, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.

Top Floor Penthouses May Fetch Sky-High Prices

Sellers at 1100 Wilshire expect to break sales records with two penthouses near the Pico-Union district, one of downtown L.A.'s poorest neighborhoods.

Turning Points

Counting down the top 10 deals that turned Los Angeles from a pioneer town into a world-class megalopolis.

Prettied-Up Hotel Set to Fly Preferred Flag

The Huntley Hotel is wrapping up a redesign that's meant to show how the Santa Monica property has left its Radisson days behind and is now entering the luxury sector.

Judicial Security

Added security for federal judges is on the way thanks to emergency funding after shootings in Atlanta and Chicago.

Flavor Savers

Melding Asian and American tastes is the aim of Gardena-based Fusion Gourmet, which imports Indonesian food products.

Arianna's Post Not Hitching Ads Despite Rising Interest in Blogs

Arianna Huffington and her backers have made it clear that they are running her new Web site as a profit-making business and not a vanity project.

Few Rules Exist to Dictate Limits in Art of Negotiation

There are few rules when it comes to negotiating. But you always try to get the other side to state an opening price.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Coliseum Boosters Again Find Landing NFL a Contact Sport

NFL officials meet this week to narrow the list of sites for a new L.A. franchise.

HMO Loses Medi-Cal Contract Due to Error Filling Out Form

Molina Healthcare'a shares fell 15 percent over a two-day period after the company lost a lucrative Medicaid contract in Riverside and San Bernardino counties to Blue Cross of California.

New Heights - Profiles, Part 2

The wealthiest Angelenos and their holdings.

Grand Avenue Plan Moves Forward

Plans for a $1.2 billion facelift of Grand Avenue in downtown L.A. received a key approval on Monday, helping pave the way for one of the largest urban redevelopment projects in the nation.

AEG Ousted at Kodak Theatre

The Kodak Theatre's owners want longer-running shows, so they're replacing AEG with TheatreDreams for management of the venue.

'Premier Business Address' Retains Allure With Renewals

The busy corner of Wilshire and San Vicente boulevards has been especially active of late not only with traffic but leasing.

Not a Matter of Grave Concern

Independent funeral-home operators have relationships with their communities, so they're confident they won't get buried by competition from national chains.

A Memo From E3: It's All About The Games and the Marketing

Welcome to E3! Electronic Arts showed its new stuff on a spiffy circular display screen, while Vonage had to deal with a power outage.

Staples Architect Decides to Make More Marks on L.A.

Dan Meis is focusing on Los Angeles in his new role as president of Nadel Architects Inc.

PalmSource CEO Resigns

PalmSource Inc. said on Monday that David Nagel has stepped down as president, chief executive officer and director.

Mayoral Goals Call for Small Steps

Antonio Villaraigosa has a mountain of challenges that require the setting of realistic goals.

Business Paper Makes Big Bucks in Fending Off Class Action

Investor's Business Daily won about half a million dollars in attorneys' fees this month after successfully throwing out a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of its former sales agents.

Then, It Was Simple; Now It's Easier, but More Complex

In the old days, deals were simple, but time-consuming. Now e-mail and Internet research has changed all that.

Several Key Aspects of Business Plan Drafting

John Morris, managing director of GKM Ventures, offers entrepreneurs guidance in the art of drafting a plan that will address the interests and concerns of potential investors.

Padilla Facing Challenge From Garcetti for Council Presidency

With the mayor's race over, the jockeying begins in another contest for a top L.A. City Hall post: the presidency of the City Council.

Chips Are Down at Broadcom, Lifting Fortunes, Stock Upward

Judging by the past two weeks, you might think Scott McGregor has a touch of gold.

Council Votes for New Era of Financial Discipline

Since the City Council and mayor balance the budget every year, there is no reason to take any action on the deficit, right? That argument is overly simplistic.

Stocks Extend Rally on Upgrades

Stocks maintained last week's momentum Monday, as technology shares surged and the oil sector was up on a brokerage upgrade.

Trump to Launch Trump University

He has built buildings, written books, married models and starred in a reality TV show. On Monday, Donald Trump announced his latest venture: Trump University.

Tax Attacks

Joel Fox started out as an aide to Howard Jarvis; now he's heading an organization promoting a package of government reforms.

Dodgers to Revise New Seating Plan

After spending $20 million during last year's off-season to build 1,300 premium seats, Dodgers officials are making plans to tear some of them out.

Newsmakers

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

The Richest Deals

Success depends on seeing an opportunity and taking it even if it involves more risks than others would be willing to accept.

Workers at Coca-Cola Plants in L.A., Hartford on Strike

Nearly 2,000 workers at Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. went on strike Monday at bottling and distribution plants in the Los Angeles area and in Hartford, Conn.

Oil Prices Climb to $49 Per Barrel

Crude oil futures rose Monday, after drifting down earlier in the day, due to expectations of strong demand going into the Memorial Day weekend.

Reebok Selling Ralph Lauren Footwear

Reebok said on Monday it would sell Ralph Lauren Footwear Co. Inc. to Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. for $110 million, allowing Reebok to focus on its main athletic business.

California United Bank Open for Business

Encino-based California United Bank opened Monday after completing its $35 million initial stock offering last month.

Ups, Downs of L.A.'s High-Rollers Tied to Wider Economy

The 10-figure club dominates this year's list of the 50 richest Angelenos as stock-trading, dealmaking and inheriting the family jewels help fuel the big numbers.

Doing The Deal

Some of L.A.'s leading entrepreneurs look back on the "turning point" transactions that made them who they are today.

L.A. Stories

With Antonio Villaraigosa giving up his council seat to become L.A. mayor, there is already intense speculation about who might replace him on the City Council.

Some of Us Can Negotiate, Others Just Can't

Some of us are good at negotiating, others aren't. Consider the plight of the non-dealmaker.

To the Victors Go the Pages to Tell Their Side of the Story

When renowned dealmakers tell their stories, it's because they have wisdom to share and maybe some scores to settle.

Friday, May 20

L.A. Gas Prices Down for Fifth Week

For the fifth straight week, L.A. gas prices fell, a trend that should continue through the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the Automobile Club of Southern California said.

Top Floor Penthouses May Fetch Sky-High Prices

Sellers at 1100 Wilshire expect to break sales records with two penthouses near the Pico-Union district, one of downtown L.A.'s poorest neighborhoods.

Investors to Buy Maytag for $1.1 Billion

The struggling appliance maker agreed to be bought for $1.1 billion by a group of investors led by private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings LLC.

Struggling 99 Cents Only Stores Said to Be Buyout Target

Shares of 99 Cents Only Stores jumped 23 percent this week after analysts issued reports that a private equity firm was preparing a possible buyout bid of the discount retailer.

Tenet Sells Brotman Medical Center to Culver City Medical Management Company

An investor group lead by Prospect Medical Holdings Inc., a health care management company, will buy Culver City's Brotman Medical Center from Tenet Healthcare Corp.

Diagnostic Products Corp. Subsidiary Pleads Guilty in Bribery Case

The Chinese subsidiary of the medical device manufacturer agreed Friday to plead guilty to paying $1.6 million in bribes to employees of state-owned hospitals in China over more than a decade.

Tenet Sells Brotman Medical Center to Medical Management Company

An investor group lead by Prospect Medical Holdings Inc., a health care management company, will buy Culver City's Brotman Medical Center from Tenet Healthcare Corp.

Oil Prices Slip on Mixed OPEC Signals

Crude futures prices fell Friday amid conflicting signals from OPEC and an upbeat assessment of energy prices from Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

FAA Approves Hahn's LAX Plan Despite Villaraigosa Opposition

The Federal Aviation Administration approved outgoing Mayor James Hahn's $11 billion overhaul of Los Angeles International Airport, complicating Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa's intention to scrap major portions of the plan.

Stocks Dip on Modest Profit Taking

Stocks closed lower on Friday as investors took profits after Wall Street posted its best week since November.

Update: US Airways, America West Agree to Merge

The two struggling airlines that serve opposite sides of the U.S. said the proposed merger is a buffer against the era of low-cost rivals, high fuel costs and cheap fares.

Jobless Rate Holds Steady

L.A. County's unemployment rate was 5.7 percent in April, unchanged from the month before, but down from 6.7 from one year ago, said the state Employment Development Department.

Business Briefs: Calprop Corp, Standard Parking Corp.

Investors led by Calprop's CEO extend their offer to by all of the outstanding stock of the company and Dodger Stadium has a new parking services manager, care of Standard Parking.

Thursday, May 19

Controller Demands L.A. Renegotiate Cable Pacts

Los Angeles City Controller Laura Chick said the city's 14 franchise agreements with cable television operators are outdated and not providing enough revenue.

MetLife to Buy Aon Center Building From Transwestern

MetLife Inc. has reached an agreement with the owners of Aon Center to buy L.A.'s second tallest tower for about $220 million, according to sources close to the deal.

Occidental Buys Permian Basin Stake

Occidental Petroleum Corp. on Thursday said it agreed to purchase Exxon Mobil Corp.'s stake in three oil fields in Texas for $972 million.

Business Briefs: Impco, Maguire, STAAR Surgical, Reliance Steel & Aluminum, Raytheon, Canyon Capital

Impco Technologies Inc. reports first-quarter results, Maguire Properties Inc. agrees to sell a Phoenix office building for nearly $130 million, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Broadcom Sues Qualcomm Over Patents

Irvine-based Broadcom Corp. claims Qualcomm's devices infringe 10 of its patents related to wireless communications and multimedia chip technologies.

Gateway Founder Retiring After 20 Years

Ted Waitt, the founder of Gateway Inc., is retiring after 20 years as chairman of the Irvine-based personal-computer company.

Stocks Maintain Momentum

Stocks moved higher for a fourth straight session Thursday, as oil prices hovered near a three-month low and economic data was a mixed bag.

Inventor Says Web Ready for Big Leap

The World Wide Web is on the cusp of making its next big leap to become an open environment for collaboration, and its inventor said he has not been so optimistic in years.

Gateway Founder, Chairman to Retire

Ted Waitt, the founder of Irvine-based PC maker Gateway, is retiring after 20 years as chairman to focus on other business and philanthropic interests.

Netflix Takes Over Wal-Mart DVD Rentals

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is turning over its online DVD rental business to Netflix Inc., signaling that the world's largest retailer couldn't beat the Internet upstart at its own game.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Jobless Claims Fall Sharply

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment insurance fell 20,000 last week, the government said on Thursday, more than Wall Street economists had expected.

High Stakes Battle Waged Over Search Technology Patent

If Yahoo wins a patent battle, it could sue other search engines. If it loses, Yahoo and Google could find their market dominance challenged.

Wednesday, May 18

L.A. Gas Prices Flatten at $3.401

After nine weeks of sky-high prices at the pump, a weekly survey indicates that L.A. gasoline prices leveled off this week as more supply entered the market and consumer demand flattened.

Low Oil Prices, Benign Inflation Numbers Push Stocks Up

Stocks moved higher Wednesday, as tame inflation figures and oil prices at a three-month low helped energize investors.

Oil Prices Fall Below $48 on Data

Crude futures shed more than $1 to below $48 a barrel Wednesday after government data showed U.S. crude stocks rose a larger-than-expected 4.3 million barrels.

Attorney Gets 80 Months in Carson Extortion Case

Tarzana attorney Robert Dennis Pryce is sentenced to 80 months in federal prison for serving as bagman between Carson city officials and waste hauler, among other crimes.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Consumer Prices Up, Core Inflation Flat

Consumer prices climbed by 0.5 percent in April, reflecting the biggest rise in energy prices in two years, along with more expensive air fares and food costs.

Update: Villaraigosa Defeats Hahn

L.A. Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa defeated incumbent Mayor James Hahn by a lopsided margin to become the city's first Latino mayor in modern times.

Perelman Wins $1.4 Billion Against Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley must pay financier Ron Perelman $1.4 billion in damages after a jury said the investment firm acted fraudulently in the sale of Perelman's Coleman company to Sunbeam Corp.

Hahn's Loss Reflects Low-Energy Image, Damage From Probes

L.A. mayor's defeat makes him the first to lose a re-election bid since Sam Yorty, and the first one-term mayor to lose since 1933. It also ends a 50-year winning streak for the Hahn family political dynasty.

Business Briefs: Hot Topic, Hilton Hotels, THQ, Image Entertainment

Hot Topic matches estimates for quarterly earnings but comes up short with revenues, a subsidiary of THQ signs a publishing agreement for mobile phone games, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Attorney Sentenced to Prison in Carson Extortion Case

Tarzana attorney Robert Dennis Pryce is sentenced to 80 months in federal prison for serving as a bagman between Carson city officials and a waste hauler, among other crimes.

Counterfeits Appearing at Legitimate Retailers

Counterfeits at respected discounters are a growing problem for a Vernon-based premium jeans maker whose retail prices are in the hundreds of dollars.

Mortgage Applications Decrease as Rates Ease

Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week amid a sharp drop in purchasing and refinancing even as mortgage rates eased, an industry group said Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 17

Stocks Up on Snow's Remarks on China

Stocks rose on Tuesday as investors welcomed statements by Treasury Secretary John Snow for Beijing to take a step toward flexibility for its yuan currency.

April Producer Prices, Housing Starts Up

U.S. producer prices moved up 0.6 percent last month and housing starts soared 11 percent, according to government reports on Tuesday that showed expansion, but with inflation lurking.

Countrywide Restates Earnings

Countrywide Financial restated two quarters of 2003 earnings because of an accounting mistake in its recognition of gains from the sales of securitizations with embedded derivatives.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

The Games Begin at L.A.'s E3

The fantasy of gaming and the cutthroat world of business collide Tuesday as video-game publishers and technology firms show off their wares at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Staples Beats Quarterly Profit Estimates

Staples Inc. said Tuesday its first-quarter profit rose nearly 27 percent, boosted by strong growth in its delivery business and a smaller gain in North American retail operations.

United Airlines' Trial Gets Two-Day Recess

A federal judge called the recess Tuesday in United's bankruptcy court trial, giving the carrier and its machinists' union time to work out a new contract before ruling on imposing lower pay and benefits.

ConocoPhillips, Mitsubishi to Develop LNG Terminal

ConocoPhillips said Tuesday it has agreed to jointly develop a liquefied natural gas import terminal at the Port of Long Beach with Mitsubishi Corp.'s Sound Energy Solutions unit.

Oil Prices Near Three-Month Lows

Crude oil futures moved higher Tuesday after an OPEC report suggested world demand would fall even as the group shoulders an increased share of production.

Monday, May 16

UPS Inc. to Acquire Overnite for $1.3 Billion

Shipping carrier UPS Inc. is buying trucking company Overnite Corp. for about $1.3 billion in cash as it continues to expand its heavy freight delivery business.

L.A Gas Prices Keep Slipping

Gas prices kept up their slow descent in Los Angeles, slipping nearly 4 cents a gallon last week, according to data from the federal Energy Information Administration.

Earnings Roundup

AdStar Inc., Cytrx Corp., NuTech Digital Inc. and Prospect Medical Holdings Inc. reported quarterly results Monday.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Video Game Makers Find That Hollywood Can Be Tough Town

Three of the largest video game publishers are relying on blockbuster hits to drive sales. Analysts want them to roll out titles on a more regular basis.

Business Briefs: Univision, International Lease Finance, J2 Global Communications, VCA Antech

Univision forms a new division and launches its DVD label, International Lease Finance plans to sell $300 million of three-year notes, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Stocks Tick Upward

Stocks ended higher Monday as investors were encouraged by falling oil prices, which helped calm fears of a slowdown in consumer spending.

Developers Jockeying for Hollywood Park

Some of the largest real estate developers and investors in L.A. County are racing alongside national entrants to buy Hollywood Park from Churchill Downs Inc.

Oil Prices Continue Slide

Crude oil futures prices declined Monday as OPEC's president indicated the group was prepared to keep the market well supplied.

Penalty Box

When the National Hockey League season got canceled, Staples Center suite holders didn't get credit or compensation leaving some of them frosted.

NY Fed "Empire State" Index Slips in May

Growth at New York state factories turned negative in May as the New York Fed's "Empire State" index slipped to a two-year low for the second consecutive month.

CSC Disputes Contract Termination

Computer Sciences Corp. on Monday challenged Sears Holdings Corp.'s termination of its 10-year, $1.6 billion technology services contract.

Net Capital Inflows $45.7 Billion in March

Net inflows of capital into U.S. assets in March fell short of the amount needed to cover the U.S. trade deficit, a Treasury Department report showed on Monday.

High Stakes Battle Waged Over Search Technology Patent

If Yahoo wins a patent battle, it could sue other search engines. If it loses, Yahoo and Google could find their market dominance challenged.

Hotel Owners Make Contract Offer

The Los Angeles Hotel Employer's Council on Monday made its most generous offer yet to workers at its eight member hotels, in hopes of ending a 13-month labor dispute.

Sunday, May 15

Average L.A. Gas Price Flattens

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles area fell 2.4 cents to $3.404 for the week ended May 15, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Friday, May 13

Oil Prices Drop Below $48

Crude futures slipped below $48 a barrel Friday, weighed down by rising supplies in the U.S. and falling demand in China.

Business Inventories, Sales Climb in March

U.S. businesses increased inventories by 0.4 percent in March as total sales soared following a February setback, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

Tech Share Rise Offsets Other Weaknesses

Stocks ended mixed Friday as a lower-than-expected consumer confidence report sparked worry about the economy and oil prices rose, while an upbeat outlook from Dell lifted tech shares.

L.A. Gas Prices Slide for the Fourth Straight Week

Friday the 13th wasn't unlucky for drivers as gas prices fell in L.A. and throughout Southern California, declining for the fourth straight week, the Automobile Club of Southern California said.

U.S. Consumers Gloomier in Early May

U.S. consumers felt less upbeat in early May as high gasoline prices and worries about the job market took their toll on confidence, a report said on Friday.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Schwarzenegger Plans More Spending

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday unveiled a revised $116 billion 2005-06 state budget that restores $1.3 billion in transportation funds and adds $2 billion in education spending.

Geffen Makes Splash in Malibu With Hotel Purchase

Media mogul David Geffen entered Malibu's hospitality industry by shelling out $29 million to purchase the 47-room Malibu Beach Inn, with plans to remake it into a high-end hotel.

Eight Arrested in Huge Ponzi Scheme

The five people in Southern California and three others in Costa Rica were charged with fraud and money laundering in an $80 million offshore investment scheme.

Thursday, May 12

Oil Prices Slip Below $49 a Barrel Mark

Crude oil prices dipped below $49 following the release of new data that show crude supplies rising in the United States and demand growth slowing in China.

Dissidents Want to Break Up Morgan Stanley

A group of retired Morgan Stanley executives that lobbied for CEO Philip Purcell's ouster on Thursday disclosed plans to spin off the company's institutional securities division.

Aircraft Leasing Company Flying Into Rough Skies

The legal and financial woes engulfing AIG have trickled down to the insurance giant's International Lease Finance Corp. unit, a top player in aircraft leasing.

Stocks Drop on Wal-Mart Profit Warning

Stocks settled lower on Thursday as oil prices fell, while disappointing profits from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. outweighed strong retail sales.

Northrop Gets $3.2 Billion Contract

Northrop Grumman Corp. said on Thursday that Boeing Co. awarded it a $3.2 billion multi-year contract to continue production on the U.S. Navy's F/A-18 Super Hornet strike fighter.

Disney Board Defends Iger Choice

Non-management board members on Thursday defended their selection of Robert Iger as the successor to Michael Eisner, calling a lawsuit challenging the process "baseless and inaccurate."

McCourt Borrows Against Dodger Stadium

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said Thursday he has borrowed $250 million against Dodger Stadium and its surrounding real estate to repay loans used to buy the team from Fox Entertainment Group.

Wal-Mart Misses Forecast, Outlook Weak

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Thursday reported a weaker-than-expected first-quarter profit and warned that results for the current quarter would miss Wall Street forecasts.

Grill Concepts Inc. Delays Filing

Grill Concepts on Thursday filed for an extension to delay the filing of its Form 10-Q for the first quarter ended March 27 to continue working on changing its lease accounting methods.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Earnings Roundup

Arden Group, En Pointe Technologies, International Aluminum, HemaCare and LJ International reported quarterly results Thursday.

Retail Sales Strong, Jobless Claims Up

Retail sales jumped 1.4 percent in April, the strongest showing in six months, and jobless claims reached the highest level in a month, two government reports said Thursday.

Many Major California Military Bases Spared From Closure

The Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo and other major California military installations were spared from closure, according to a list released Friday by the Department of Defense.

Wednesday, May 11

Oil Prices Fall as Crude Inventories Rise

Crude futures dipped Wednesday following a U.S. government report that showed rising U.S. inventories of oil and gasoline.

Earnings Roundup

Napster Inc., Tarrant Apparel Group and Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. reported quarterly results Wednesday.

Crunch Fitness Clubs for Sale, Bally Says

Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp. on Wednesday put its Crunch Fitness chain up for sale as it tries to restructure and strengthen its finances.

U.S. trade deficit falls in March

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed unexpectedly to $55 billion in March, the largest drop in over three years, as exports hit a record and imports from China declined, a government report showed on Wednesday.

Napster, Online Music Providers Sink as Yahoo Launches Music Service

Shares of Napster Inc. and other online music providers plummeted Wednesday, as Yahoo Inc. launched its music subscription service, taking aim at leaders in the world of digital music downloads.

Disney May Sell Radio Unit

The New York Post reports the Burbank-based media conglomerate is weighing what to do with its ABC Radio division and that a sale for well over $1 billion is an option.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Stocks Rise on Falling Oil Prices

Stocks ended the day higher on Wednesday as Wall Street was calmed by lower oil prices and a government economic report showing the trade deficit narrowed.

Walt Disney's Second-Quarter Profit Jumps 27 Percent

The Burbank-based media conglomerate's profit was boosted by the results of its movie "The Pacifier" and home-video sales of its digital animation film "The Incredibles."

United to Dump Four Pension Plans

United Airlines gained a significant financial victory with court approval to dump its four pension plans, but faces a challenge to win back the support of angry employees.

Tuesday, May 10

IBM Acquires Software Firm Gluecode

El Segundo-based Gluecode Software was acquired by IBM on Tuesday as part of the computer giant's efforts to expand its open-source software offerings.

Jury Finds French Firm Guilty of Fraud in Executive Life Case

A federal jury on Tuesday found that a French company owned by billionaire Francois Pinault conspired to defraud California regulators as part of a scheme to take over failed insurer Executive Life.

Oil Prices Up on Refinery Outage News

Oil prices held firm over $52 a barrel on Tuesday after news of a U.S. refinery outage rekindled worries over gasoline supplies this summer driving season.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Bertelsmann to Acquire Columbia House

German media company Bertelsmann AG said Tuesday it is buying New York-based DVD and music club Columbia House.

Chain Store Sales Rise in Latest Week

Chain store retail sales rose for the second consecutive week, as Mother's Day sales helped get May off to a positive start, a report said Tuesday.

DreamWorks Animation Misses First-Quarter Profit Estimates

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. posted lower-than-expected first-quarter earnings as DVD and video sales of "Shrek 2" fell short of its expectations.

Earnings Roundup

WPT Enterprises, PC Mall, Aames Investment Corp., Kennedy Wilson, Diagnostic Products, Trio-Tech International, Southwest Water, American States Water and Reading International reported quarterly results Tuesday.

Occidental Sells 11 Million Lyondell Shares

Occidental Petroleum Corp. said late Monday that it sold 11 million shares of Lyondell Chemical Co. for about $300 million, a move that will boost its second-quarter earnings.

Stocks Fall on Hedge Fund Rumors

Stocks ended lower on Tuesday as surging oil prices prompted Delta to warn of possible bankruptcy and Wall Street ran wild with a rumor about large hedge-fund losses.

Mattel's Fisher-Price Recalls Pogo Sticks, Push Toys

Toymaker Fisher-Price Inc. is recalling defective Grow-to-Pro Pogo Sticks and Lil' Wagster Dragster push toys because they pose an injury risk to children, government regulators said Tuesday.

Fluor Corp. Moving from Orange County to Texas

Fluor Corp. said Tuesday it is moving its headquarters to Dallas/Ft. Worth to cut costs and bring the company closer to customers in the central and eastern U.S.

Monday, May 9

MGM Prepared to Settle Claims Over Widescreen DVDs

MGM is expected to receive final approval this month to settle claims by consumers who alleged they were misled into believing they purchased widescreen versions of DVDs.

Auctioneer to Bring Superior's Focus Back on Coin Sales

Paul Inho Song, the new vice president for auctions at Beverly Hills coin dealer Superior Galleries, said he "played around" with coins as a kid. He also collected bugs and tropical fish.

Santa Monica Puzzling Over Downtown Parking Upgrades

Santa Monica has launched a project that should result in the reconstruction of its downtown garages, complete with retail on the ground floors.

Investors Wait for Dust to Settle As Impco Hits Several Setbacks

After threats of being delisted from the Nasdaq, hefty losses, a change of auditors and the resignation of both its CEO and CFO, investors mostly are waiting for Impco's dust to settle.

Polish Up Jewelry District, but Keep It Intact

Los Angeles's historic jewelry district must change to meet the challenges that arise from new regulatory, technological and global market forces or it will perish.

Custom Viewing Could Grow Out Of Cable Merger

Time Warner's agreement last month to buy Adelphia means that subscribers in the San Fernando Valley, West Los Angeles and other communities could see greater access to on-demand programming.

Kerkorian Launches Offer for 28 Million GM Shares

Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian on Monday launched his previously announced offer of nearly $870 million to buy up to 28 million shares of General Motors common stock for $31 each.

United Kingdom Food Retailer in Talks to Buy Cherokee

Tesco PLC, the United Kingdom's largest food retailer, is considering purchasing casual apparel manufacturer Cherokee Inc. of Van Nuys.

OSI Awaiting Security Dollars For See-Through Technology

Investors bid up the stock of OSI Systems Inc. after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but the past year has been a rollercoaster.

Qwest Talks With MCI Shareholders

MCI could be facing shareholder dissent over its acceptance of an $8.5 billion sale to Verizon Communications, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Plan for a Trade Show, Then Consider Results

Exhibitors at trade shows will get better results if they ask themselves important questions beforehand, according to Martin Knott, vice president of Czarnowski Exhibit Services Specialists.

Duke to Buy Cinergy for Nearly $9 Billion

Duke Energy said Monday it has agreed to acquire Cinergy, a deal that will create an energy company with about 5.4 million customers and $70 billion in assets.

Geffen Neighbors Seek Legal Path to Halt Beach Access

Billionaire David Geffen may have settled his legal dispute with the California Coastal Commission, but his neighbors plan to keep fighting against the state's plans for public access to their Malibu beach.

L.A. Specialty Shops Becoming Attractive Buyout Targets

Large retail suppliers such as VF Corp. and Liz Claiborne Inc. are heading to Southern California to scoop up locally abundant "lifestyle" apparel brands.

Edison International First-Quarter Profit Surges, Beats Estimates

Edison's quarterly earnings more than doubled from a year ago due largely to higher revenue from the independent power business of its Mission Energy Holding Co. unit.

Business Agenda Becomes Governor's Collateral Damage

Gov. Schwarzenegger's free fall in the polls and renewed vigor among union, trial lawyer and Democratic Party opponents could claim another victim: the business agenda in Sacramento.

Montrose Agency Finds It Pays to Travel on the Internet

If the competition is winning, help them out and take a cut. That's the strategy employed by Joe McClure, chief executive of Montrose Travel, one of the biggest traditional travel agencies in L.A.

Disney Sued Over CEO Search

Shareholders Roy Disney and Stanley Gold on Monday sued the Walt Disney Co., claiming the board lied to shareholders about the company's search for a CEO to replace Michael Eisner.

Restaurateur May Be Forced to Provide Affordable Housing

Los Angeles city officials are challenging the plans of a Hollywood nightlife impresario who wants to convert downtown housing for the poor into a cushy boutique hotel.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Riding High

Thinkwell's founders were refugees from Universal; now they're moving beyond the world of theme park rides and staking claims to casinos.

Company Sues Over Business Practices in Battle of the Billboards

A small West Hollywood company is suing Regency Outdoor Advertising Inc. alleging the industry giant is using unfair business practices that prevent competition from penetrating or expanding in the Los Angeles market.

L.A. Stories

A collection of stories about culture and business in and around Los Angeles.

Power Play

Debra Fine brings her experience at Disney and in the world of venture capital to her latest role as CEO at Small World Kids

L.A Gas Prices Keep Sliding

Gas prices continued declining in L.A., slipping nearly 6 cents a gallon last week, according to data from the federal Energy Information Administration.

Hitting the Road

Among Hilton's brands, the two aimed at business travelers are expanding most rapidly: Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton Inn.

Newspaper Circulation Continues on Downward Slide

Newspaper circulation in Southern California continued its sharp decline in the six months ended March 31, dropping 4.4 percent, mirroring a national trend.

State Agency Resists Sale of Prime Property in Malibu

Plans to sell a state-owned beach house once used for MTV filming are in bureaucratic limbo amid struggles to unload surplus state property.

Aircraft Leasing Company Flying Into Rough Skies

The legal and financial woes engulfing AIG have trickled down to the insurance giant's International Lease Finance Corp. unit, a top player in aircraft leasing.

Downtown Office Market Shows Some Weakness

The amount of Class-A space coming available gives an indication that the boom in the area's office market could be entering its twilight.

Stocks Gain on Merger News

Stocks ended higher on Monday as merger news encouraged investors but rising oil prices kept the gains in check.

L.A. Commuters Spending Less Time Stuck in Traffic

Despite improvements, L.A.'s freeways are still far more congested than in major cities such as Atlanta, San Francisco and New York.

Crude Oil Prices Climb on Demand Worries

Oil prices surged more than a dollar Monday as concern over rising global demand offset swelling inventories and the highest output in 25 years from OPEC.

Doubts Raised on Kerkorian's Offer for GM Shares

In light of the offer to boost his stake in GM, it's worth remembering that high-profile investors such as Kirk Kerkorian sometimes do make mistakes.

Newsmakers

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

Retrieval Companies Round Up And Return Wayward Wagons

Shopping-cart retrieval in Southern California is dominated by one large player that the major grocery chains created: The firm, California Shopping Cart Retrieval, has about 70 percent of the market.

L.A. Hotel Occupancy, Room Rates Rise in March

L.A. County visitors paid an average of $128.15 to spend a night in a hotel room this March, a 6.1 percent jump from what they paid the same month last year, according to PKF Consulting.

Business Briefs: Digital Theatre Systems, eCost.com, North American Scientific, Fulcrum Microsystems

Digital Theatre Systems Inc. reports slightly higher first-quarter earnings, North American Scientific Inc. parts ways with the president of one of its subsidiaries, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Gemstar Shows Off Its New Media Side

As TV Guide magazine stumbles, its parent company is counting on its electronic side: interactive program guides and the TV Guide Channel.

Friday, May 6

Albertsons Reorganizes Key Operations

Grocery chain Albertsons Inc. said on Friday it was reorganizing its supply chain and food operations, as U.S. supermarkets face greater competition from discounters.

Update: Villaraigosa Leads in Fundraising

Antonio Villaraigosa has vastly outraised and outspent incumbent Mayor James Hahn.

Consumer Confidence Sinks Over Past Month

Consumer confidence fell over the past month as surging energy bills and higher borrowing costs led many to worry about inflation and the condition of the economy.

Jobs Growth Surprisingly Robust in April

U.S. employers created 274,000 new jobs in April and added more workers in each of the two prior months than first thought, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Oil Prices Spike Above $51

Crude oil prices rose above $51 a barrel Friday on worries that suppliers will struggle to match the demand for gasoline in the coming summer driving season in North America.

Fremont General Faces Lawsuit Over Failed Workers' Comp Unit

Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi has taken legal action against the Santa Monica sub-prime lender, seeking additional funding for its insolvent workers' compensation unit that the state took over two years ago.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Los Angeles Gas Prices Slip for the Third Straight Week

Gas prices continued making small declines in L.A. and throughout Southern California, dipping for the third straight week, the Automobile Club of Southern California said.

Stocks Mixed on Jobs Data

Stocks ended mixed on Friday after the Labor Department said employers created 274,000 new jobs in April and added more workers in each of the two prior months than first thought.

Earnings Roundup

Point.360, NetSol Technologies, LTC Properties, MannKind Corp. and Reinhold Industries reported quarterly results Friday.

Business Briefs: Computer Sciences Corp., Inamed, California United Bank, Magnetek

Computer Sciences Corp. is awarded a $58-million FBI contract, Inamed is approached by the FTC for more information about its merger with Medicis, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Record of Mistakes For Biggest Investors

In light of the offer to boost his stake in GM, it's worth remembering that high-profile investors such as Kirk Kerkorian sometimes do make mistakes.

Thursday, May 5

Oil Prices Climb Above $50

Oil prices rose on Thursday after speculators rushed in to defend a dip below $50 a barrel, even as stockpiles in the U.S. were at their highest level in nearly six years.

Unite HERE Settles With Beverly Hilton

Unite HERE has reached a settlement on a new two-year contract with the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

GM Shares Dip One Day After Kerkorian Offer

GM fell on Thursday, a day after billionaire Kirk Kerkorian sent a shock through the shares by offering to invest nearly $870 million in the ailing automaker.

Beach City Might Give Skechers Plan Boot Over Delays

Manhattan Beach officials are facing off with Skechers over delays and changes in the planned expansion of the company's headquarters building.

Business Briefs: Mattel, SeeBeyond, DaVita, Regal One, Northrop, Parsons

Mattel and Benetton agree to launch an apparel line for girls called "Barbie Loves Benetton," SeeBeyond announces a $10 million stock repurchase program, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Earnings Roundup

JAMDAT Mobile Inc., Activision Inc., On Assignment Inc., HomeStore Inc., Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc., Public Storage Inc., Learning Tree, 3-D Systems Corp. and Bell Industries Inc. reported quarterly results Thursday.

U.S. Retail Sales Modest, but Teen, Luxury Chains Up

U.S. luxury and teen-oriented retailers on Thursday reported better-than-expected April sales, while discount chains faltered as high gas prices and chilly weather cut consumer spending.

Productivity Climbs, Jobless Claims Up

Productivity rose at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the first three months of the year, the best showing in nine months, and jobless claims edged up for the second straight week, government reports showed.

Stocks Drop on on Junk Rating for GM, Ford

Stocks fell Thursday after Standard & Poor's cut the debt ratings of General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. to junk status, undermining the market's confidence and dealing a blow to major automakers.

Wednesday, May 4

Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp. Offers to Buy Big GM Stake

Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian's investment company on Wednesday offered to buy a large minority stake in General Motors Corp. at a premium to the automaker's depressed stock price.

Earnings Roundup

Univision, OSI Systems, CB Richard Ellis Group, Pacific Energy Partners LP, Broadway Financial Corp., THQ Inc., Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp. and Guess Inc. reported quarterly results Wednesday.

Economy's Expanding at Lower Rate

Business activity in the nonmanufacturing sector increased in April, although at a lower rate than in March, a private research organization said Wednesday.

Kerkorian's Tracinda Offers to Buy GM Stake

Kirk Kerkorian's investment company on Wednesday offered to buy a large minority stake in General Motors at a premium to the automaker's stock price.

Mattel Switches Advertising Agencies to MediaVest Los Angeles

The El Segundo-based toy manufacturer said Wednesday it was switching its $100 million contract to MediaVest's L.A. operation from MindShare, Los Angeles and The Media Edge, Irvine.

Stocks End Higher on Kirk Kerkorian's GM Offer

Stocks rose sharply Wednesday as investors were cheered by billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian's bid to more than double his stake in struggling automaker General Motors Corp.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Update: Magnetek Ordered to Pay Inventor $23.4 Million, Shares Dive

Shares of the L.A.-based maker of digital power products plunged more than 44 percent after it was ordered to pay $23.4 million to end an inventor's patent-infringement lawsuit.

FMC to buy Renal Care for $3.5 Billion, Overtake DaVita

Dialysis company Fresenius Medical Care unveiled a $3.5-billion buy of Renal Care Group Wednesday, helping it overtake DaVita in the U.S. market.

Crude Futures Rebound Above $50 a Barrel Mark on Supply Report

Oil prices rebounded above $50 Wednesday after the U.S. government released data that showed domestic supplies of crude oil and gasoline rose last week.

Santa Monica Web Company Acquired by Credit Agency

LowerMyBills.com, an online service allowing consumers to compare rates for credit cards, home loans and insurance, was acquired today for $330 million by Experian Information Solutions Inc.

Tuesday, May 3

U.S. Real Estate Booms Grow Two-Thirds

The number of areas across the U.S. with real estate booms grew nearly two-thirds last year to 55, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said, warning that these booms may be followed by busts.

Fed Hikes Rates One-Quarter Point

Federal Reserve policymakers, confronted with a sudden slowdown in the economy despite heightened inflation worries, raised interest rates a quarter-point on Tuesday.

Chain Store Sales Up in the Latest Week

U.S. chain store retail sales rose in the latest week, as consumer traffic increased, a retail report said on Tuesday.

Earnings Roundup

United Online, Maguire, SCPIE, Entravision, Health Net, Tekelec report first-quarter results

B-School Enrollment Keeps on Dropping

Enrollment at L.A.'s largest graduate business programs has fallen, reflecting a nationwide decline in college students and young workers pursuing MBAs.

Oil Prices Dip as Market Awaits Inventory Report

Crude oil futures fell Tuesday as investors anticipated that a key U.S. petroleum report would reveal further increases in crude, distillates and gasoline inventories.

Factory Orders Post Small March Increase

Orders to U.S. factories rose a slight 0.1 percent in March even though demand for big-ticket items took a big plunge, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

Stocks Stay Steady After Rate Hike

Market stays course after Fed continues gradual rise in interest charges

Business Briefs: Youbet, Activision

Youbet signs with CBS SportsLine; Activision buys Toys for Bob.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Monday, May 2

Stocks Close Higher Ahead of Fed Meeting

Stocks finished an up-and-down session higher Monday despite a rise in crude oil prices and unease over the Federal Reserve's upcoming meeting.

Replay of 2001? Villaraigosa Is Showing Signs of Vulnerability

Candidate Antonio Villaraigosa could find himself in a closer contest against incumbent James Hahn.

Hahn Side Protesting Chick's Timing of IT Audit Release

Perhaps it was inevitable that L.A. City Controller Laura Chick's latest audit would turn into a political football, especially with three weeks to go until the mayoral runoff.

DirecTV First-Quarter Loss Narrows

DirecTV said Monday its first-quarter loss narrowed from last year due to a sharp jump in subscriptions and higher revenue at DirecTV U.S., sending its shares surging 5 percent.

Oil Prices Slip Toward $49 Per Barrel

Oil prices futures prices dipped toward $49 a barrel Monday on rising U.S. supplies and slower economic growth.

It's Springtime for Greenberg Traurig With New Attorney

Veteran attorney Alan Schwartz brings both a thriving entertainment practice to Greenberg Traurig LLP and a lot of showbiz stories, especially about his client of 40 years Mel Brooks.

More Cargo to Cause Rerun of Local Port Logjams

If CAFTA passes, the Central American accord could deal another blow to the local apparel sector, already damaged by the recent lifting of limits on Chinese imports

L.A. Times Circulation Drops 6.5 Percent

The Times' weekday circulation fell 6.5 percent in the six months ending March 31 from the same period a year ago, according to data released Monday.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Doctor Billion

When Dr. Gary Michelson settled his lawsuit against Medtronic Inc. for $1.35 billion, it was the medical device-world equivalent of winning the lottery.

McDonald's Tries Gavi & #324;a Blend To Keep Coffee Lovers Coming

Vernon-based roaster Gavi & #324;a & Sons is providing 900 McDonald's restaurants with a new version of the breakfast beverage. And it might become a supplier for McDonald's 10,300 domestic restaurants.

Earnings Roundup: Mercury General, Macerich Co., Herbalife Ltd.

Insurer Mercury General, mall operator Macerich Co. and dietary supplements marketer Herbalife Ltd. were among the companies reporting earnings on Monday.

As High Salaries Draw Scrutiny, CEO Compensation Perks Up

As the salaries of chief executives come under increasing scrutiny, excesses have shifted to categories including bonuses, personal use of the company jet and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of tax assistance and financial planning.

Antik Denim Goes Public After Seeing True Religion's Success

Manufacturer Antik Denim LLC wants to capitalize on the celebrity-driven jeans craze by going public in a reverse merger.

Leeway Proposed on Workers' Meal Breaks

A proposal that would make the state's meal break rules more flexible for employers is close to becoming law.

Newsmakers

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

Intermix Shares Tumble Again As Spitzer Files 'Spyware' Suit

Shares of Internet marketer Intermix Media Inc. continued to plummet last week when New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer filed suit against the L.A.-based company for peddling alleged "spyware."

Rating the Supermarkets

One year after the strike and resulting lockout, the major supermarket chains are bouncing back.

Neiman Marcus Agrees to $5.1 Billion Buyout

Neiman Marcus Group Inc. on Monday said it has agreed to sell its chain of department stores to two private investment firms for nearly $5.1 billion in cash.

Clear Steer

William Rau has been doing deluxe customizing of car interiors and says he's ready for the mass market. The question is whether the mass market is ready for him.

Style File

Kenneth Wengrod learned how to do things and how not to do things at local apparel manufacturers. Now he's advising other shops.

Media Fawning Has Ended but CEOs Retain Their Fascination

The media portrayed imperial CEOs as the outsized personalities they were and the bigger they came, the harder they fell.

Beach City Might Give Skechers Plan Boot Over Delays

Manhattan Beach officials are facing off with Skechers over delays and changes in the planned expansion of the company's headquarters building.

Degrees of Change

Experts voice their opinions on the causes and effects of new attitudes toward chief executives.

Setting Up Shop With Required City Permits

Antoinette Christovale, director of finance for the City of Los Angeles, discusses some of the city's basic requirements when it comes to a setting up shop.

Teamwork Was Key to Recovery of Northrop Grumman

Kent Kresa attributed his success to listening to his staff and giving them the freedom to apply their ideas.

Manufacturing, Construction Spending Climb

The manufacturing sector expanded in April for the 23rd consecutive month, but at a slower pace than in March.

L.A. Stories

A collection of stories about culture and business in and around Los Angeles.

Tanning Firm Spies on Web Sites

Company officials would scour shops and flea markets in search of merchandise that got distributed to the wrong channels. These days they look for their misdirected products on Web sites.

Patent Rules Make Process Protection a Challenge

While business methods can now be patented, the patent office has other rules for determining whether inventions constitute "statutory subject matter."

Dairy Lands on Top of New USDA Food Chart

The big winners in the new food pyramid paradigm are dairy and produce providers, thanks to the upgrade of their position in recommended consumption.

Apparel Sector May Take Second Hit

The Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. projects that increased imports will cause backups at the ports again this year.

Liability Putting Brakes on Messengers

Bike messengers pedal in when a phone call or a fax simply won't suffice.

Kilroy Gets Boost From Changes in Property Position

The strengthening of L.A.'s office market and repositioning for higher profit has led to a brighter outlook for Kilroy Realty Corp.

Qwest Drops Out of Bidding War for MCI

Qwest dropped out of the bidding war for MCI Inc. on Monday after MCI agreed to another new deal with Verizon, rejecting a higher-priced bid from Qwest for the fourth time.

Alone at the Top: CEOs Under Siege

Between the exacting requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley regulations and increasingly impatient boards and shareholders, CEOs are being pulled apart in ways unheard of just a few years ago.

Promotion Shakes Up Clear Channel Management

The executive in charge of Clear Channel Communications Inc.'s eight Los Angeles radio stations has been promoted to a national position one month after another executive in the cluster was fired.

Montage Makes Progress, but Could Face More Hurdles

Developers of a proposed luxury hotel in Beverly Hills found success at the polls and last week won a court challenge. But the project still faces hurdles.

BlackBerry's Legal Deja Vu

Do not bother hitting the "reload" button. Tuesday's hauntingly familiar headlines about a patent-infringement lawsuit against BlackBerry maker Research in Motion are, in fact, new.

Tech Gear Distributor Shifts Approach as Industry Recovers

Gregory Spierkel soon takes over the top post at technology products distributor Ingram Micro Inc.

Stamps Concept May Be Sticking

Stamps.com gets the go-ahead to resume its design-your-own postage program, thanks to monitoring to ensure the Unabomber doesn't make it onto your envelopes.

When the Markets Melt Down, Regulations Soon Follow

Historically, whenever the markets melted, regulations were drafted to address the causes of the collapses.

A New Reality

"Fear Factor" comes to Universal Studios Hollywood, marking the first time a reality show has been turned into a theme park attraction.

Enrollment Continues Declining at B-Schools

Enrollment at business schools continues its decline, forced down by rising tuition and restrictions on visas for foreign students.

Sunday, May 1

Gas Prices Continue to Slide

The price of a gallon of self-serve regular drops to $2.57 in Los Angeles, though California remains the priciest state in the nation.