Stories for April 2006

Friday, April 28

Earnings Outlook Lowers Stocks

Stocks finished mostly lower Friday as rising oil prices and a tepid outlook from Microsoft Corp. dampened Wall Street's reaction to a rebound in first-quarter economic growth.

Economy Rebounds Smartly in Q1

Casting off an end-of-year lethargy, the U.S. economy bounded ahead in the opening quarter of this year at a 4.8 percent pace, the strongest growth spurt in 2 1/2 years.

Televisa Board Approves Univision Bid

Mexican entertainment conglomerate Grupo Televisa announced it would look at joining with other investors to bid for Univision Communications.

Commodities Hold Key to Power

Raw material resources will determine country rankings in the world economic pecking order in years to come as strong demand and limited supplies ensure commodity prices hold their upward trajectory, hedge funds say.

Headlines: Universal, Pellicano, Piracy

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Earnings Roundup

Abraxis BioScience, Inc. reported first-quarter net income of $27.5 million and net sales up 19 percent to $143.8 million, including $30.1 million for the company's cancer drug, Abraxane, which launched one year ago.

L.A. Gas Hits Record $3.197 Average

Los Angeles motorists endured double digit increases at the gas pump for the second week in a row as prices reached new record highs every day this week, according to a weekly regional survey.

Thursday, April 27

Stocks Gain on Fed Comments

Stocks climbed higher Thursday, as Wall Street brushed aside concerns about a Chinese interest rate hike to focus on comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that a pause in U.S. rate increases may be ahead.

Oil Prices Fall Below $72

Oil prices fell Thursday after China sought to cool its economic growth by raising a key interest rate and after the World Bank resolved a dispute with Chad, which had threatened to shut off an oil pipeline.

Firms Hold Steady for May Day Protest

A majority of California companies plan for business as usual on May 1 despite a scheduled workers' boycott protesting the immigration bill now in Congress, according to a new survey.

Fresh Fed Warning on Inflation

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress Thursday that while another interest rate increase may be needed to keep inflation in check, the central bank may soon relax its nearly 2-year credit-tightening campaign.

Headlines: Univision, MediaNews, Warner

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Cherokee to End Mossimo Bid

Persisting in its intention to acquire Mossimo Inc., Iconix Brand Group Inc. said it has agreed to pay rival Cherokee Inc. $33 million to buy out Cherokee's finders agreement with Mossimo.

Siemens to Acquire Diagnostic Products

Siemens AG, Europe's largest engineering company, has agreed to buy Los Angeles-based Diagnostic Products Corp. for about $1.86 billion in cash.

Wednesday, April 26

Port Numbers Show More Growth

Container traffic at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in March showed double-digit growth in both imports and exports, according to port authorities.

Dow Climbs to Finish at 6-Year High

Upbeat earnings and a broker's upgrade of General Motors Corp. drove stocks higher Wednesday as the latest round of data assured investors that the economy remains in good shape.

OSHA Comes Up Short

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration rarely performs inspections at federal workplaces and has not conducted any agency-wide evaluations of federal safety programs in six years, a study says.

Headlines: MTA, ABC, Blue Cross

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

New Home Sales Rebound

Sales of new homes soared in March by the largest amount in 13 years, but the median price of the homes sold actually declined, the U.S. Commerce Department said on Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 25

Imperial Capital Makes Acquisition

Imperial Capital LLC said it has acquired the San Francisco operations of Giuliani Capital Advisors LLC, and has hired seven Giuliani executives as part of an expansion in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Tough Time for Oil in D.C.

The country's three largest oil and gas companies this week are expected to report a 19 percent surge in profits, which is sure to rile elected officials scrambling for ways to assuage angry consumers and businesses.

Consumer Confidence Climbs

Consumers shrugged off higher gasoline prices in April and sent a widely watched barometer of consumer confidence to its highest level in almost four years, the Conference Board said Tuesday.

Company Gets FDA Clearance

Shares of North American Scientific, Inc. said that its low-dose rate radiation treatment for breast cancer has received U.S. regulatory clearance. The company hopes to launch the product in November.

Headlines: Oil Tax, Grand, LAX

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Report Calls for Hotel Wage Hikes

After finding wages and benefits for LAX hotel workers around below industry standards, a union-sponsored report recommends Los Angeles extend its living wage and worker retention ordinances.

Stocks Fall on Rate Fears

Interest rate worries sent share prices lower Tuesday after reports signaled that the economy is holding up better than expected and suggested that the Federal Reserve has room for more rate increases.

Monday, April 24

Large V.C. Deal Boosts L.A.'s Q1

Venture capitalists nearly doubled their investment in young Los Angeles County companies in the first quarter, the area's best quarter in five years, according Dow Jones VentureOne and Ernst & Young LLP.

L.A. Gas Rises for Fifth Week

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles area jumped for the fifth consecutive week, rising 6 cents to $2.776 for the week ended April 3.

Sweepstakes Site Latest Acquisition For United Online

United Online Inc. is shifting its business away from dialup with recent acquisitions of an online sweepstakes company and a social networking site.

Show to Business

Bill Allen followed his parents Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows into television. Now he's leading the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

Electronic Eye

Card Scanning Solutions has developed optical equipment to help retailers process checks and allow security staff to check for fake documents.

AK Comics Launching Titles With Middle East Superheroes

Superheroes do it routinely, but can a comic book publisher save the world? That's the question behind AK Comics, a company dedicated to producing titles to reflect the "themes and values of the Middle East."

The Wrong Approach

Cities, counties, states and parishes from sea to shining sea, are in a great race to be considered among the most business-friendly places on Earth. And then we have Los Angeles, where the City Council seems to be trotting in the opposite direction.

STUFF

Inventive, new products from Los Angeles-area companies.

Battle Looms on Enterprise Zones

Enterprise zone tax credits the state's primary economic development tool are under attack in Sacramento as a drive to reform the program gathers steam.

Academy Awards Back To February Next Year

The Academy Awards show moves back to February in 2007.

Employment Strong in L.A., Survey Shows

Online job recruitment edged up slightly in the Los Angeles area during March, indicating the market for job seekers was continuing to strengthen.

Morris May Expand in Beverly Hills

William Morris Agency Inc. may get a new Beverly Hills headquarters, even as competing talent firms are pulling up stakes and leaving the city.

Newsmakers & Kudos

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

Wanting to Clean Up His Act After a Career Creating Trash

Richard Feldman hopes his Clear Creek Compostables can catch the rising demand for environmentally sound packaging products.

It's Time for Policymakers to Learn That Taxation Leads to Mass Migration

Tax Day has come and gone and the Tax Foundation has just released its annual Tax Freedom Day Report. The results should come as little surprise to Californians: our state has the ninth-highest total tax burden in the nation.

Taking It To the Top

Rod Wolterman is proposing a set of two very tall towers one 60 stories, the other 49 stories that would contain 320 residences at Grand Avenue and Olympic Boulevard.

Crown Cancels Plans for Sale, Shifts View to Problem Solving

Like a Southland homeowner who's concluded his chance to cash in at the height of the real estate boom has passed, Crown Media Holdings Inc. last week decided to take down its "For Sale" sign and instead focus on building equity.

Governor Orders Probe as Gas Prices Soar

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered the California Energy Commission to investigate the recent spike in gasoline prices. Average L.A. prices jumped 16 cents to $3.081 in the past week.

Headlines: Neighborhoods, Jobs, Seacrest

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Perelman Snaps Up Panavision Shares

Shares of Panavision Inc. more than doubled Monday on news that its chairman, billionaire Ronald Perelman wants to buy all the publicly traded stock of the movie-camera maker that he doesn't already own.

TBG Financial and Mullin Join Forces

MullinTBG was created in a merger of Los Angeles-based Mullin Consulting Inc. and TBG Financial.

Tussle Doesn't Shake Faith of True Religion's Investors

True Religion Apparel Inc. found itself in a bind last week one that was perhaps even tighter than the pricey denim maker's suffocating skinny-leg jeans.

Businesses Face Double Whammy From Edison, AQMD

If it's not enough that gasoline and basic materials costs are going through the roof, government regulators are either about to impose or approve a series of fee and rate hikes that will hit local businesses hard.

Regulators Approve Plan for Cleaning Up Local and State Ports

State air regulators last week approved an ambitious plan to clean up the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as others around the state.

Stocks Drift on Earnings, Weaker Dollar

Stocks declined modestly Monday as a weakening U.S. dollar and a mixed batch of earnings reports led cautious investors to cash in on last week's gains.

War of Words

USC has developed a video game to teach players cultural cues in the Arab world.

Radio Redial

Everybody knows Howard Stern has moved to satellite radio, but industry observers aren't sure where his young male listeners have gone.

Heard the One About The JibJab Guys and Their Wacky Joke Site?

The L.A.-based Spiridellis brothers, JibJab's co-founders and the creators of popular animated spoofs of the 2004 presidential race and big-box retailers, have launched a comedy Web site called JokeBox.

OPEC Says Market is Setting Price

OPEC ministers conceded on Monday there was nothing they could do to halt surging oil prices that threaten consumer nations' economies and could trigger a collapse in demand disastrous to producer states.

Army Puts Property at Wilshire and Federal Up for Auction

The Army is auctioning off a prime 10-acre parcel of land at the southeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Federal Avenue, an area that could see a momentous amount of development activity.

General Strike Call May Be Disruptive or Not

A general work strike called for May 1 has business leaders making contingency plans on one hand while sizing up whether the protest will actually disrupt commerce.

He Keeps the Real Estate Agency Running

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

Emak Recasting Itself Amid Growing Pains, Internal Strife

Emak Worldwide Inc. launched a mission to expand its client base. But its efforts may have made its identity problems worse.

City Waives Filming Fees At 4 Airports

The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners approved the waiver of daily film permit fees at four L.A.-area airports

Rags for Richest: Young Presidents Don Versace Duds

Sabrina Kay, chief executive of Fashion Umbrella LLC, kicked off a Young President's Organization event last week with a private fashion show at Versace in Beverly Hills.

Environmental Regulations Protect L.A.'s Economic Future

Since Gov. Schwarzenegger announced his bold targets to reduce greenhouse gases, and followed it up with a plan to achieve them, a familiar debate has been reignited in California.

Grand Avenue Plans Unveiled

Famed architect Frank Gehry has designed two skyscrapers as part of a huge downtown Los Angeles redevelopment project meant to bring night life to the area.

Attorney Finds Satisfaction Honoring Capote's Legacy

The past few years have been very good for entertainment lawyer Alan U. Schwartz of Greenberg Traurig LLP, and he's sharing the wealth.

From Selling Power Tools to Leading a Power Company

She once sold power tools, drills and saws. Now, Lynda Ziegler is senior vice president at a power company: She's in charge of Southern California Edison's customer service unit.

Viacom, Other Deals Help Build Momentum on Merger Scene

Driven by a few major deals, an uptick in technology transactions and an outbreak of bidding wars, acquisition fever took hold in L.A. in March.

Program Offers Model for Employment of Guest Workers

Personnel managers facing the possibility of a national guest-worker program could look at the H2-B program.

Power Pacts

The creators of "Hell Boy" and "Sin City" are cutting better deals than past comic artists.

Villaraigosa's Proposed Budget Includes Fee and Tax Hikes

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa proposed a $4.3 billion budget last week that includes increases in water rates and residential trash collection fees to fund the hiring of 650 new police officers, new traffic control measures and infrastructure upg

Friday, April 21

Records Bill Seen as Favor to Burkle

A bill to restrict public access to California divorce records has been revised to allow couples to keep much financial information secret even without a judicial finding.

William Morris May Expand Here

The William Morris Agency Inc. may get a new Beverly Hills headquarters, even as competing talent firms are pulling up stakes and leaving the city.

Earnings Lift Stocks for Week

Wall Street gave up early gains and closed mostly lower Friday after oil prices topped $75 a barrel for the first time, but stocks overall managed a gain for the week on strong earnings reports.

Cost of Options Jolts Investors

Thanks to new accounting rules, many investors are getting their first look at how heavily options can cut into earnings -- a lot.

Headlines: Boeing, Warner Bros., CBS

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

L.A. Gas Prices Break Record

New record prices for regular self serve gasoline were set this week in Los Angeles as prices surged, according to the latest survey from the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Manufacturing Slows in State

Manufacturing continued to expand in California during the first quarter, but at a slower pace than last year, according to a new survey.

Oil Reaches New High

Crude-oil prices reached a new record of $75 a barrel Friday amid concern about Iran's nuclear ambitions and declining U.S. gasoline stocks.

Google, 3M Earnings Lift Stocks

Stocks pressed higher Friday as upbeat earnings reports from Google Inc. and 3M Co. overshadowed concerns about yet another record for oil prices.

L.A. Employment Picture Improves

Los Angeles County's unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 percent in March from 5.3 percent in February as more people who were looking for work found jobs.

Vitesse Cancels Earnings Call

Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. has cancelled its Monday second-quarter earnings call and placed on leave three top executives due to an internal probe into stock options accounting.

Thursday, April 20

Stocks End Mixed on Earnings, Oil

Stocks were mixed Thursday after earnings reports from General Motors Corp. and Merck Co. Inc. pushed the Dow Jones industrial average up to a six-year high while the Nasdaq composite sagged along with eBay Inc.

City National Shares Fall

City National Corp. was punished by Wall Street the day after reporting first-quarter financials that failed to meet investor expectations.

Mayor Unveils 2006-07 Budget

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has proposed a $4.3 billion budget that includes increases in water rates and residential trash collection fees to fund the hiring of new police officers and other measures.

THQ Warns of 13-Cent Loss

UPDATED: THQ Inc. expects to report a fourth-quarter loss next month due to a change in development strategy for its wresting games and the poor performance of a major title.

Leading Indicators Slip, Jobs Stay Solid

A measure of U.S. economic activity slipped for a second straight month in March, hinting at slower growth through the summer, but separate figures point to continued strength in the labor market.

Bank Merger Gets Approval

The board of First Community Bancorp in Rancho Santa Fe approved the acquisition of Foothill Independent Bancorp in Glendora, in a stock and cash transaction valued at $238 million.

Mutiny Over The Bounty

Congress in 1988 authorized the SEC to begin offering rewards for insider trading tips. But before you send over a hot lead to the feds, know this: Few would-be tipsters have ever seen a dime.

Stocks Mixed on Earnings, Oil

Stocks were mixed Thursday after earnings reports from General Motors Corp. and Merck Co. Inc. pushed the Dow Jones industrial average higher while the Nasdaq composite sagged along with eBay Inc.

Headlines: CalPERS, Payola, Adelphia

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Earnings Roundup

Ryland, Jakks, Ixia and Smart & Final were among the companies that reported earnings on Thursday.

Wednesday, April 19

Abraxis BioScience Merger Completed

American Pharmaceutical Partners Inc. and American BioScience Inc. said that their merger has been completed to create a new Los Angeles-based company, Abraxis BioScience Inc.

MannKind Reports Positive Trial Results

MannKind Corp. had reported promising results from a mid-stage clinical study of its main product, an insulin delivery system that would allow diabetics to inhale insulin rather than inject it.

New Division Targets Small Labels

Image Entertainment, Inc. has formed a division to provide exclusive distribution services for smaller independent audio and video labels with annual revenues in the $10 million to $50 million range.

First Consulting Restates Earnings

First Consulting Group Inc. said it has restated and reduced its tax expense for fiscal years 2002 through 2004, citing material weakness in internal controls related to its tax accounting.

Panel to Urge Sarbanes-Oxley Exceptions

An influential S.E.C. advisory committee is about to propose that smaller companies be exempted from significant parts of the four-year-old law that imposed significant new auditing rules on corporate America.

Upbeat Earnings Lift Stocks

Stocks made a modest advance Wednesday as strong earnings from Yahoo Inc. and United Technologies Corp. encouraged investors to set aside worries over inflation and rising oil prices.

Consumer Prices Climb 0.4 Percent

Clothing and shelter costs in March spurred the biggest rise in core U.S. inflation in a year, the government said in a report that cast doubt on a quick end to Federal Reserve interest-rate rises.

Morning Headlines

An overview of stories from today's newspapers.

Tuesday, April 18

Stocks Surge As Fed Sees Hikes Ending

News that Federal Reserve policymakers believed their string of interest rate hikes was likely nearing an end sent stocks soaring Tuesday, carrying the Dow Jones industrials up more than 140 points. The news helped offset the effects of oil prices that pa

Cherokee Makes Bid for Mossimo

Apparel maker Mossimo Inc. said Tuesday it will evaluate Cherokee Inc.'s offer to acquire it for $135 million, several million more than a previous offer.

Commission Approves Filming Incentive

The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners has approved the waiver of daily film permit fees at Los Angeles International Airport and the three other airports the city owns.

Mayor Lays Out Plan for Schools

In his first State of the City speech, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called on the city's business community to support his plan for reforming the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Mattel Gets Tax Boost in Q1

Mattel Inc. reported reported an operating loss for the first quarter but said net income more than quadrupled because of a tax benefit.

Gas Prices Continue to Climb

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles area climbed for the seventh consecutive week, rising nine cents to $2.921 for the week ended April 17.

Stocks Soar on Fed Outlook

Stocks jumped Tuesday on news that Federal Reserve policymakers believed their run of interest rate hikes is likely nearing an end, propelling the Dow Jones industrials up nearly 200 points.

Oscars Return to February Slot

After being delayed a week this year for the Winter Olympics, the Academy Awards are returning to last Sunday in February in 2007, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced.

Goldman Sachs Backs Off Hostile Bids

Goldman Sachs' chief reportedly has ordered pullback on the firm's financing of hostile takeovers, a move that suggests the investment bank is not immune to the kinds of conflicts of interest that have snagged its peers.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Amgen Profit Up on Strong Sales

Amgen Inc. reported that first-quarter earnings rose 17 percent on double-digit sales growth of its drugs to treat anemia and arthritis.

Gas Prices Push Up Wholesale Inflation

The Labor Department reported that wholesale prices rose by 0.5 percent in March following a 1.4 percent decline in February, which had been the largest drop in nearly three years.

Stocks Rise on Encouraging Inflation Data

Stocks rose moderately Tuesday as investors welcomed a tame inflation report but still worried about the potential consequences of a surge in oil prices to a new intraday high.

Monday, April 17

L.A. Office Overflow Spurs South Bay Revival

The South Bay is attracting a wave of investment and giving the area's landlords far better returns than projected.

Latest Conversion Plans Take More Space Off Submarket

Downtown's office vacancy remained historically low in the first quarter, putting added pressure on asking rates that were already on the rise.

Kilroy Downgraded on Concerns Over Rising Interest Rates

Analysts have downgraded Kilroy Realty Corp.

Rebels With A Cause

Hollywood routinely depicts business people as evil and regularly calls for more regulation, but Hollywood types recently found themselves on the receiving end of a proposed regulation to clean up business. And they didn't like the turned tables one teeny

Vivendi Video Games Using MySpace.com To Strike Up the Band

L.A.-based Vivendi Universal Games, the video game arm of French media conglomerate Vivendi Universal S.A., is trolling social networking Web site MySpace.com.

Blank-Check Spending on Defense Will Come to an End

Defense industry consultant Philip Finnegan says the defense funding that has boosted Los Angeles contractors and the South Bay should continue for several more years.

Former Emak CEO Ends Proxy Fight, Presses Changes

A former chief executive and major shareholder of Emak Worldwide Inc. has halted an effort to shake up its board of directors, but has vowed to continue to press for change.

Night Bites

Los Angeles is starting to get some late-night eateries, thanks to the influx of residents to urban areas of the city.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Region Takes Leasing Breather With Building Boom Over

Activity in the San Gabriel Valley's tightening industrial market slowed significantly during the first quarter of 2006, with most of last year's construction already absorbed.

L.A. Firms Hatching Disaster Plans for Bird Flu

Some Los Angeles companies are putting disaster plans in place to prepare for the potential devastation of the avian flu.

Health Insurers Build Up Market Clout

A study released Monday is expected to raise concerns that health insurer consolidation is creating near-monopolies in virtually all reaches of the U.S.

Modern or Vintage, L.A.'s Live Theater Venues Are Thriving

Los Angeles venues are in the midst of a renaissance.

Crown Media Drops Sale Plans

Crown Media Holdings Inc. which owns the Studio City-based Hallmark Channel, said it has pulled itself off the sales block.

Desire for Upscale Addresses Keeps Squeeze on Vacancies

Vacancy rates on the Westside continue to slide as tenants eager for a ritzy postmark or proximity to other creative companies snapped up available space.

Stila Cosmetics Looks for Something New Under Sun

Wowed by its celebrity make-up artist founder, sleek packaging and quirky image, Estee Lauder Cos. Inc. squeezed out other bidders to snatch up Los Angeles company Stila Cosmetics Inc. for around $25 million in 1999.

Stocks Slip as Oil, Gold Rise

Surging gold and energy prices dragged stocks lower Monday as inflation fears curbed Wall Street's enthusiasm over solid first-quarter earnings from financial services firm Citigroup Inc.

Alllll-viiiiinnn!

Alvin and the Chipmunks are on the comeback trail.

Office Market Struggling While Industrial Space Booms

The South Bay's office market has lagged, but the area's proximity to thriving ports is fueling demand for warehouses and manufacturing facilities.

Foreign Asset Inflows Pick Up

Foreign investors poured a net $86.9 billion into U.S. financial assets in February compared with an upwardly revised $69.1 billion in January, according to a report from the Treasury Department.

Shareholders Shocked After Stock Does the Splits

Mission Valley Bancorp stock jumped, but it was only because a market maker hadn't adjusted for a recent split.

STUFF

Inventive, new products from Los Angeles-area companies

Rates Expected to Climb Higher Even With Expanding Inventory

More than 400,000 square feet of office space is springing up in Ventura County with another 1.2 million on the way.

Once Aerospace Dominated, Now the Economy Is Diverse

When it comes to the rise and fall of big manufacturing, few areas in Southern California tell the story as well as the South Bay.

Industrial Space Nears Capacity Thanks to the Boom in Shipping

Burgeoning business at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports is pushing Mid Cities industrial space rentals to near capacity and shifting the area from a manufacturing to a distribution center.

Crude Oil Futures Briefly Hit $70

Crude oil futures touched $70 a barrel on Monday for the first time in seven-and-a-half months, pushed higher by concerns about supply disruptions in Nigeria and tension over Iran's nuclear program.

Considerations Include Aesthetics and Costs

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

Stocks Slide As Oil, Gold Rise

Surging gold and energy prices dragged stocks lower Monday as inflation fears curbed Wall Street's enthusiasm over solid first-quarter earnings from financial services firm Citigroup Inc.

High Rents and Low Vacancies Favoring Institutional Investors

San Fernando Valley office users were squeezed ever more tightly in the first quarter of 2006. A lack of quality rentals, coupled with rising construction costs, helped to sustain a market dominated by owners seeking record returns on both the sales and l

Rents on Rise as Space Crunch Persists Across the Submarket

The office space squeeze play is still on in the Wilshire Corridor, and the rents are on the rise.

Local Biotech Company Goes Public With Reverse Merger

Cougar Biotechnology Inc. announced last week it had gone public through a reverse merger and also completed a $47.5 million private placement.

Wasserman Shows Bit of Class With His $6 Million Gift

As a graduate of Beverly Hills High and UCLA, Casey Wasserman knows and appreciates the value of a first-rate public education.

For the Kids?

At a time when California has many other pressing needs, like fixing K-12 schools, should we institute a massive new preschool bureaucracy at a cost of $2.4 billion annually, in order to increase preschool enrollment by a mere 4 or 5 percent?

Asking Rents Break Records Even as Vacancies Level Off

The Inland Empire's booming office market kept growing last quarter as asking rents for office space reached their highest levels in recent memory, even as vacancy rates leveled off.

Newsmakers & Kudos

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

Santa Clarita Valley Construction Attracts Firms From Los Angeles

The North County office market saw marginal absorption and static vacancy rates in the first quarter, but don't blame it on a soft rental market rather, it's because big chunks of space came online in the growing region.

Radiation Therapy Company Hopes for Reversal of Fortune

Radiation therapy product maker North American Scientific Inc. is hoping that a breakthrough breast cancer treatment not only will revitalize the company's fortunes, but also stave off delisting from the Nasdaq National Market.

Benefits Would Be Much Greater Than the $2 Billion Cost

Given the documented benefits of early education, Proposition 82 could not have come at a better time for California's children.

Media Giants Oppose Demands For Disclosure of Compensation

It's media conglomerates vs. the world. That's how it seems to be breaking down in the fight over whether to disclose executive compensation at publicly traded corporations.

Earl Scheib Pleased With Wage-and-Hour Settlement

Earl Scheib Inc. last week settled a class action case involving 450 employees over a seven-year period for $750,000 only a fraction of what the plaintiffs were seeking.

Raising Curtains

Rancho Dominguez-based Sew What Inc. makes the curtains for the massive stages that tour with rock, pop and country acts.

Office and Industrial Markets Fueled by Ports' Boom Times

The South Bay's booming ports and lack of land continued to fuel a run-up in industrial rents and property prices in the first quarter, with the region's hot office market also making it economical to convert industrial space to office uses.

Demand Increasing in Some of the Weaker Submarkets

For several years, a strengthening economy has raised the ceiling of the Los Angeles County real estate market. Now the floor has started to rise as well.

County Payroll Boost Proposed

Bolstered by an 8.5 percent jump in property taxes from the booming real estate market, Los Angeles County officials have unveiled a $19.4 billion budget that adds nearly 3,000 positions and spends nearly $800 million on capital projects.

Councilmen Push For Guard Unions

To the chagrin of some businesses, two L.A. councilmen want to force big landlords to boost training and pay for security guards.

Queen of the Closet Scene

Meet Kimberly Kardashian a stylist to the stars who has developed a revenue stream by selling their castaway clothes on eBay.

Sale of Hollywood Property Leads to $18 Million Profit

ScanlanKemperBard Cos. is humming "Hooray for Hollywood" all the way to the bank.

Banker to Assist Image's Review

Image Entertainment Inc., a licensee, producer and distributor of DVDs and CDs, has hired investment bank Lazard Freres & Co. as its financial adviser while it explores business options.

Market Magic

David Booth prefers academic research to Wall Street analysis, and points to the success of his Dimensional Funds Advisors Inc. as evidence.

Playing the Parts

Big car makers used to shun aftermarket auto parts makers. Now the big automakers cater to them.

Pasadena and Burbank Soar; Glendale Continues to Drag

Pasadena and Burbank are running out of office space but, for the first time in memory, Glendale no longer appears to be the beneficiary of the overflow from its Tri-Cities neighbors.

Business Journal Columns Honored

The Business Journal won an award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for former Editor Mark Lacter's columns.

Local Real Estate Company Switches Into Development Mode

Short takes on companies in and around Los Angeles.

Gemstar Appoints Financial Chief

Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. said on Monday it hired Bedi Singh, formerly of Novartis Pharma AG, as its new chief financial officer. He replaces Brian Urban, who was fired earlier this year.

Rents, Property Values High as Condo Development Continues

Office-to-residential conversions and mixed-use projects ate into available office space in Hollywood in the first quarter, keeping rents and land values high.

Abrupt Shifts in Manufacturer's Shares Catch Eye of NYSE

Ameron International Corp.'s stock has been on such a wild ride that the New York Stock Exchange has requested an explanation for it.

L.A. Firms Hatching Plans for Bird Flu

So far the avian flu strain that is raising fears of a deadly pandemic has been confined to Asia and the Middle East but it's now worrying executives in Los Angeles enough that many firms are putting disaster plans in place.

Office Overflow Spurs South Bay Revival

The South Bay is attracting a wave of investment and giving the area's landlords far better returns than projected.

DirecTV and TiVo Extend Support Pact

TiVo Inc. and DirecTV Group Inc. have extended their contract for three years.

Friday, April 14

Industrial Production Rises

The nation's industrial sector was humming in March, with production at factories, mines and utilities rising by 0.6 percent.

Samsung Profit Slumps

Samsung Electronics posted a 25 percent slump in quarterly operating profit on Friday, hit by sliding margins in mobile phones and memory chips.

Fox, Affiliates to Share Money From VOD

Fox has reached a deal with its affiliated TV stations to share revenues from video-on-demand, the Web and other non-traditional ways of distributing hit Fox shows like "American Idol."

Supply Worries Boost L.A. Gas Prices

Gas prices in L.A. rose for the sixth straight week, with all factors indicating a $3-per-gallon average could be reached within a couple of weeks, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Delta, Pilots Union Reach Tentative Agreement

Delta Air Lines Inc. and the union representing its pilots said they reached a tentative agreement, potentially averting a strike that could have been fatal to the airline.

Thursday, April 13

New York Times Earnings Drop

New York Times Co. said first-quarter profit fell 69 percent from a year earlier, as higher newsprint costs and weak results from the Boston Globe outweighed strong Internet revenue.

Mattel Cut CEO's Pay in 2005

Mattel Inc. cut Chief Executive Robert Eckert's compensation by 45 percent last year after the world's largest toy maker reported its worst profit decline in five years.

Tribune Quarterly Profit Drops

The Tribune Co., parent of the L.A. Times and KTLA-TV, said Thursday that quarterly profit fell 28 percent as revenue slipped and it absorbed charges related to severance costs and stock compensation expense.

Stocks Up on Economic Data

Stocks inched higher Thursday after indications of a moderating economy raised investors' hopes that the Federal Reserve might halt its streak of interest rate hikes.

GE Sees Rise in First-Quarter Profit

General Electric Co.'s first-quarter profit rose 9 percent as the industrial products, financial services and media conglomerate reported strong orders across the company.

Retail Sales Rebound in March

Shoppers got back in the buying groove in March, sending sales at the nation's retailers up by 0.6 percent.

Cherokee Seeks New Licensing Partners

Cherokee Inc. said in a regulatory filing that it has begun to market its HouseBeautiful brand to other potential licensees after completing a buyout of its licensing agreement with May Department Stores Co.

CNN Tower Sells for $52 Million

After owning the CNN tower on Sunset Boulevard for less than two years, Portland, Ore.-based ScanlanKemperBard Cos. is pocketing $18 million in profit on the building.

Consumer Sentiment Improves in April

U.S. consumer sentiment edged higher in April, helped by a stronger labor market and rising equity prices, a report showed on Friday.

Wednesday, April 12

Stocks Up on Earnings, Economic News

Stocks ended a quiet session Wednesday with a moderate gain on strong earnings news and a decline in the trade deficit.

Trade Deficit Drops in February

America's trade deficit showed improvement in February as the politically sensitive imbalance with China dropped to the lowest level in nearly a year.

Danaher Bids for Sybron Dental

Industrial tool maker Danaher Corp. has agreed to make a cash tender offer for Sybron Dental Specialties Inc. for $47 per share, or about $2 billion.

International Rectifier May Sell Units

International Rectifier Corp. said Wednesday that it is exploring the possible sale of product lines not aligned with its core power management technology business.

L.A. Street Repair Bond Proposed

Los Angeles Councilmembers Tony Cardenas and Greig Smith unveiled a proposal Wednesday to put a $1.5 billion bond before city voters this November to improve the condition of city streets.

DirecTV, TiVo Extend Relationship

DirecTV Group Inc. and TiVo Inc. said on Wednesday that they are extending their service agreement for three more years. The relationship was set to expire next year as DirecTV switches to a different DVR device.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Circuit City Earnings Up 65 Percent

Circuit City Stores Inc. finished 2006 with a flourish, reporting profit and sales growth and internal improvements for the fourth quarter and its fiscal year.

Nasdaq May Buy More of LSE

Nasdaq hasn't ruled out buying more of the London Stock Exchange in the coming weeks to add to the near 15 percent stake it now holds, sources said Wednesday.

Business Briefs: Univision, Earl Scheib, KB Home

Mexico's Grupo Televisa SA will soon join a group of private equity firms bidding for L.A.-based Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications Inc., and other briefs about L.A. businesses.

Tuesday, April 11

Bausch & Lomb Hit by Fungus Outbreak

Shares of Bausch & Lomb Inc. plunged after the company stopped shipments of a contact lens solution linked by federal health officials to a fungal eye infection that can cause temporary blindness.

Vioxx Plaintiff Gets $9 Million

A jury awarded $9 million in punitive damages to a man who blamed his heart attack on Vioxx, finding that Merck & Co. failed to warn about the risks of its drug and misrepresented risks to physicians.

Business Briefs: Mattel, Napster, Yucaipa

Mattel Inc. and Universal Studios agreed to market and distribute feature-length DVDs starring Mattel's Barbie and Polly Pocket characters to revive doll sales.

L.A. Institutions Receive First Prop 71 Stem Cell Funding

In all, 16 California non-profit institutions received $12.1 million in grants for stem cell researchers from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. At least three are in the L.A.-area.

Maguire Agrees to Guards Union

Developer Robert Maguire, the largest commercial building owner in Downtown L.A., said Tuesday that he has agreed to let security guards in his buildings form a union.

Tarrant Sues Simpson Over Jeans

A lawsuit filed by Tarrant Apparel Group in New York accuses pop star Jessica Simpson of sapping millions in sales by refusing to promote clothing lines distributed by the company and even proclaiming her favorite jeans were those of a rival denim maker.

SEC Unveils Charges in Insider Trading Ring

The SEC announced charges in an international insider trading ring that involved employees at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Merrill Lynch and Co. Inc.

Countrywide Loan Volume Rises

Countrywide Financial Corp. said Tuesday that its mortgage volume climbed 10 percent in March to $40 billion from a year earlier despite continued worries of a downturn in the housing market.

Stocks Dip on Higher Energy Prices

Stocks fell Tuesday as traders became anxious that higher energy and commodities prices would cut into corporate profits and push up material costs.

UBS Buying Piper Jaffray Network

UBS AG agreed to buy the U.S. private client branch network of Piper Jaffray Cos. for $500 million in cash, expanding its wealth management business.

Monday, April 10

Tarrant Steps Out of Spotlight After Hollywood Hiccups

The old Hollywood adage is that when you are up, you're way up, and when you are down, you're way down. That's certainly true for Tarrant Apparel Group.

Wireless Firm 5G Building Bases From Irvine to Africa

5G Wireless has been making a name for itself by selling its base stations and networks to university campuses and mid-sized cities.

Groupe Casino Plans Could Lead to Sale of Smart & Final

Discount chain Smart & Final Inc. is reviewing "strategic alternatives," a phrase often synonymous with a sale.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

La Opinion Gets on Bus Under Deal With Transit TV Network

L.A. Metro transit commuters who have been able to catch up on national news via special TV monitors on buses now also will get a slice of local news in Spanish.

Wall Street Could Be Done Gushing Over Occidental

After a stellar run-up, some industry experts believe the party might be quieting down for Occidental Petroleum Corp. due to moderating crude prices and a dispute with Ecuador.

Disney Offers Shows Free Online

Walt Disney Co. on Monday said its TV group plans to offer four ABC prime-time shows including "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" online for free beginning in May.

Playing the Spread

Morehouse Foods and its special blue mustard are a part of the Dodgers now that the team has stepped up its interest in having local sponsors.

Mercado Mode

Dearden's Home Furnishing stores have based some key decisions including stock, lighting and advertising on how to best cater to Hispanic customers.

Cathay General Takes a Stake in First Sino Bank

Cathay General Bancorp has purchased a 20 percent stake in Shanghai-based First Sino Bank.

Image Exploring Options

Image Entertainment Inc. on Monday said it hired investment bank Lazard Freres & Co. as a financial advisor to help it explore "strategic and financial opportunities to maximize long-term value."

Air Board Plan to Clean Up Ports Could Cost $10 Billion

State environmental officials have released an expanded plan to reduce air emissions at the state's ports and truck and train emissions from goods movement.

Renewable Fuels Firm Receives $50 Million in VC Funds

Short takes on companies in and around Los Angeles.

Real Estate Mogul Making a Big Deal of Small Business

Real estate mogul Fred Sands doesn't seem to fit the profile of your typical small business loan recipient, but he's pulled it off sort of.

Bilingual Attorney Helps Foster Families With Adoptions

Breach of contract and real estate cases are the specialty of Elizabeth Camacho, an associate at Irell & Manella LLP. She's doing some of her best work of late in a different arena.

Computer Sciences Corporation Finally Sets Sale, Restructuring

Analysts believe Computer Science Corp.'s management has come to terms with the idea of splitting the company in two as it puts itself up for sale.

L.A. County Is Nation's Mecca for Millionaires

Los Angeles County is home to more millionaires than any other county in the United States.

Same Rules for Everyone

California's quest to become the first state to impose limits on greenhouse gas emissions could be called bold and pioneering. But it also could be called stupid.

Home Values Still Climbing Despite Fears of Slowdown

Despite fears of a downturn in L.A.'s housing market, the median price of existing homes broke a record last month, hitting $536,000.

Hyping Pipe

Shane Rodgers and Arnie Klein at Signal Capital Management, have started raising money for a hedge fund that will specialize in private investments in public equity.

Stocks Close Narrowly Mixed on Energy Concerns

Stocks closed narrowly mixed Monday as investors looked past rising oil prices and awaited one of the first major company earning reports for the first quarter.

Utilizing New Wrinkles to Save Boomers' Skin

Companies are hawking products to help buyers mostly Baby Boomer women look younger by erasing wrinkles and years of sun damage.

International Rectifier Makes Its Case for Energy Efficiency

International Rectifier Corp. is trying to capitalize on what it sees as a surge in energy consciousness gripping the appliance-buying public.

The United States Holds Blame for the Root Cause of Illegal Immigration

The best way to avoid the immigration problem is to help countries in development to improve their economy and provide proportional opportunities to their citizens.

Keystone Revs Up Engine as High Court Clears Way

With the reversal of an award that was dampening the collision repair aftermarket, Keystone Automotive Inc. has been on the rebound.

Huge Heist Won't Cramp Diamond Dealers' Style

Diamond merchants face several challenges, including fraud, theft, bad checks and consignment deals sealed only by handshakes.

Newsmakers

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

Business Briefs: CurtCo Publishing, DreamWorks, Salem Communications

Malibu-based CurtCo Publishing agrees to acquire Art & Antiques magazine from Trans World Publishing Inc., and other briefs about L.A. businesses.

Jury Will Be 'In' at Gathering of Bar Association

It may seem astounding to some, but the theme of an American Bar Association conference in Los Angeles is "Restoring the Jury Trial."

Alcoa Forms Joint Venture in China

Alcoa Inc. formed a joint venture with a Chinese company to make aluminum brazing sheet used by automakers at a site near Shanghai, China.

Stuff

Inventive, new products from Los Angeles-area companies.

William Lyon Homes CEO Raises Offer

William Lyon said he had increased his tender offer for all the outstanding shares of William Lyon Homes Inc. to $100 per share from $93 per share.

Acting Schools Aren't Always Reaching for the Stars

Hollywood's top dramatic training schools are filled with students who may have downsized their Hollywood dreams but remain devoted to their craft.

On the Border

The business community is as conflicted as are our elected officials in Washington over this immigrant issue.

MannKind Shares Rebounding on Outlook for Insulin Inhaler

Valencia-based MannKind Corp. has seen its stock rollercoaster recently on Wall Street speculation.

Product Placement Gets New Emphasis With 'Messengers'

Original Productions is selling product placements in its own shows and offering positions on other companies' programs, too.

Spanish-Language Ad-Spending Spike Benefits Broadcasters

Spanish language ad spending grew 6.1 percent in 2005, more than double the rate of English-language ad spending.

Sony Shuffle May Leave Smaller Landlords Scrambling

Opal Capital Partners is keeping a long-running streak alive in Culver City, where Sony Pictures Entertainment has agreed to renew a lease for the firm's office building.

Bases Loaded

Mark Rosenthal negotiates players' salaries on behalf of teams including the Dodgers and the Angels.

Accountant Making It Count in Real Estate

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

Wal-Mart Won't Open Bank Branches

Wal-Mart has no plans to open bank branches and its proposal to start limited financial operations poses no threat to community banks, the retailer said.

Internet Matchmaker Finds Tough Going to Find a Matching CEO

Online matchmaking site eHarmony is having trouble finding a match at the top: Chief Executive Jaynie Studenmund resigned just weeks after assuming the role Feb. 1.

Crime Byters

Interthinx provides lenders with software that could help combat mortgage fraud.

Cougar Biotechnology Goes Public

L.A.-based biotech company Cougar Biotechnology, Inc. announced Monday it had gone public through a reverse merger and also completed a $47.5 million private placement.

Friday, April 7

BAE Confirms Talks to Exit Airbus

BAE Systems Plc wants to sell its 20-percent stake in top airliner maker Airbus to EADS, which could give it at least $5 billion for acquisitions in the U.S.

L.A. Gas Prices Jump on Supply Worries

L.A. gas prices rose for the fifth straight week on Friday, and the combination of seasonal increases and uncertainties about gas supply could push the average price near $3 per gallon by the end of April.

Brentwood Selling Oriental Trading

Los Angeles-based private equity group Brentwood Associates is selling Oriental Trading Company Inc., a crafts and jewelry retailer that is expected to fetch nearly $1 billion, Reuters reported on Friday.

Padilla Steps Down as Ford President

Ford CEO Bill Ford tightened his leadership of the nation's No. 2 automaker with the departure of its president and chief operating officer, Jim Padilla.

Inflation Worries Drop Stocks

Solid employment data renewed Wall Street's inflation worries and sent stocks skidding Friday, with a bond sell-off overshadowing a fresh drop in oil prices.

Employers Boost March Payrolls

Employers boosted payrolls by a sizable 211,000 in March in a springtime hiring burst that pushed the unemployment rate down to 4.7 percent.

L.A. County Is Nation's Mecca for Millionaires

Los Angeles County, the nation's most populous, is home to more millionaires than any other county in the United States and it's a figure that's growing.

Burger King CFO to Become CEO

Burger King named President and Chief Financial Officer John Chidsey as chief executive as the fast-food chain prepares to sell shares to the public.

Thursday, April 6

Ordinance Aims to Improve Building Security

Two L.A. city council members said Thursday they plan to introduce legislation to require building owners and security contractors to boost training and benefits for security guards at major office buildings.

Business Briefs: Guess, CKE Restaurants, Shoe Pavilion

Guess Inc. and Shoe Pavilion Inc. report their same-store sales and net sales figures and CKE Restaurants Inc. posts fourth-quarter earnings.

Napster Raises Revenue Outlook

Shares of Napster Inc. surged more than 20 percent Thursday after the L.A.-based digital music subscription service raised its fourth-quarter outlook and said its loss will be narrower than expected.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Unemployment Claims Fall

The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits fell for a third straight week, providing further evidence of a strong job market.

Media General to Buy NBC Stations

Media General Inc. will buy four NBC-owned and operated TV stations for $600 million to strengthen its position in the Southeast and other large markets.

Bill Could Strip Cities of Cable Powers

State legislative leaders on Thursday unveiled a proposal to allow phone companies to get statewide franchises for broadband service and remove the power of local governments to grant cable TV franchises.

Stocks End Mixed on Inflation Concerns

Inflation concerns sent stocks mostly lower as crude prices marched toward $68 and jobless claims fell.

Retailers See Tepid Sales

A moderating economy and cool weather gave consumers little incentive to shop last month and left retailers with tepid sales for the second straight month.

Punitive Phase of Vioxx Trial Begins

The punitive phase of a trial involving the Merck & Co. painkiller Vioxx was set to start on Thursday after a jury found ordered the drugmaker to pay a plaintiff at least $4.5 million in damages.

Wednesday, April 5

Nasdaq, S & P; Hit Five-Year Highs

The Nasdaq and S & P; 500 closed at five-year highs after a positive report on the service sector sent stocks surging. A jump in oil prices minimized gains.

Business Briefs: In-N-Out Burgers, IRIS International, CKE Restaurants, Hot Topic, Disney

An L.A. Superior Court judge rules in favor of ousted In-N-Out Burgers Inc. executive Richard Boyd, throwing out charges of breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Couric Leaving 'Today' for CBS

Katie Couric told viewers she's leaving NBC to join CBS, where she will become the first woman appointed to anchor a network evening newscast alone.

Monsanto Reports Record Sales

Monsanto Co. said its quarterly profit jumped on record sales propelled by strength in its corn seeds business and vegetable and fruit seed operation.

L.A. Workers Lose Confidence in Job Market

Concern with their personal finances left Los Angeles workers feeling less confident about the job market in March than their colleagues nationwide, according to a new survey.

Apple Software to Run Windows XP

Apple Computer Inc. rolled out a first-ever software patch to run Microsoft's Windows operating system on its PCs, a move that could draw millions of new buyers.

Services Sector Expands in March

The services sector of the nation's economy expanded in March at a faster rate than in the previous month, outpacing analysts' forecasts.

Yuen's Lawyer Attacks SEC Fine

An attorney for Henry Yuen, the former CEO of Gemstar TV-Guide International, called a decision by the SEC to seek a $15.7 million fine against her client for accounting fraud "grossly disproportionate."

Tuesday, April 4

Business Briefs: Pacific Energy Partners, IRIS International, Jacobs Engineering

Pacific Energy Partners LP says its subsidiary has signed an agreement with Frontier Oil Corp. to construct a new crude oil pipeline system in Wyoming, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.

International Paper to Sell Land

International Paper Co. announced an agreement Tuesday to sell about 5.1 million acres of forest land for $6.1 billion to two investor groups.

Water Workers Threatening Strike

About 1,600 workers for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California engaged in a contract dispute have rejected the latest offer from a mediator and are threatening to go on strike.

Citigroup Can Pursue Big Acquisitions

The Fed gave Citigroup Inc. the green light to pursue future acquisitions, lifting a year-long restriction that was imposed following a string of scandals.

Computer Sciences Exploring Sale

Computer Sciences Corp. said it has decided to "explore strategic alternatives," including a sale of the company, and that it is implementing a restructuring program that will cut 5,000 jobs over two years.

Stocks Rise on Merger Activity

Stocks moved higher Tuesday on increased merger activity despite a lack of other news that kept trading volume light.

Southern California Loses Manufacturing Plants, Gains Jobs

Southern California is losing manufacturing plants despite a gain in total jobs across the state, said a study released Tuesday by Manufacturers' News Inc.

Emergency Funds for C17 OK'd

A Senate panel approved $227 million in funding to keep Boeing's C17 cargo plane plant in Long Beach operational.

Chain Store Sales Slow

Constrained shopping ahead of a later Easter holiday this year led to flat to lower sales at chain stores in the last week of March, reports said Tuesday.

Monday, April 3

Donation Sets an Example for Women Entrepreneurs

Patty L. DeDominic set out to set an example.

Winning Big

Jeff Valle saw an opportunity in taking contingency cases for firms that would normally not sign on for them.

Earnings Roundup

IMPCO Technologies Inc., Global ePoint Inc. and Enova Systems Inc. were among the companies that reported earnings Monday.

Found in Translation

A wave of overtime cases has inspired many L.A. lawyers to take up Spanish, due to the increasing number of Latino plaintiffs.

Stuff

Inventive, new products from Los Angeles-area companies.

Mossimo to Be Acquired by Iconix

Iconix Brand Group Inc. said Monday it has agreed to acquire Mossimo Inc. for $119 million, sending the Santa Monica-based apparel company's shares surging more than 43 percent.

Marvelous Night for Superheroes of L.A. Business

When Spider-Man and a spaceman make the scene, you know you're at a high-flying soiree.

Production Company Seeks to Liven Up Dead Zone at the Local Multiplex

Jonathan Dern and Paul Sabella specialize in niche films that can fill seats in cinemas during slow times, such as matinees and late-night showings.

State Board Backs Onshore Electric Sources for Ships

The California Air Resources Board believes that running docked ships with electricity instead of their onboard engines would be an effective form of pollution control.

New Guy at Sexy Hair Plans Major Fluffing Up of Sales

Jim Morrison has a vision: sexy hair across the world.

Sea of Red to Join Blue Whale at Pacific Design Center

Continuing its evolution, the Pacific Design Center will add a red building to the complex.

Jamison Properties Bets Big on Long Beach Office Buildings

Jamison Properties Inc. continued its investment in South Bay office buildings last week with a $34.2 million purchase of a Long Beach portfolio.

Ophthalmologist's Vision Realized in Implantable Contacts

Staar Surgical is counting on the "wow factor" to market its long-awaited implantable contact lens.

GM to Sell 51 Percent of GMAC

General Motors Corp. said it agreed to sell a 51 percent stake in General Motors Acceptance Corp. to a consortium led by Cerberus Capital Management LP for a total of $14 billion.

Business Strategically Silent on Immigration

Even as hundreds of thousands take to the streets, the local business community has been conspicuously silent about the plans for cracking down on illegal immigration.

Waiting for Takeoff

With a regional aviation approach and more investment in environmental mitigations, Southern California's economy will continue to fly.

Riding the Boom From Malibu to Downtown

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

Stradling Moves Into Santa Monica, Newmeyer Moves Out

Newport Beach-based Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth has opened a Santa Monica office and staffed it with three attorneys poached from rival Newmeyer & Dillion.

Hot Spots

MRB is making its name by creating jazzy promos for sports shows, such as ESPN's NFL draft coverage.

Ready to Join the Protests?

It would be gratifying to see some business owners protest next time.

Construction Spending Hits Record

Construction spending rose to a record level in February as home building hit an all-time high despite a weakening in home sales.

Movie Move

Hollywood glitz still attracts the money people: Comerica, which financed "Crash," is setting its sights on L.A

Tortilla Flats

After nearly four years of tinkering with Baja Fresh, Wendy's International Inc. is ready to unload the struggling Thousand Oaks-based Mexican food chain.

Manufacturing Activity Expands

The manufacturing sector expanded again in March but at a slower rate, a private research group reported Monday, evidence of a still-strong economy.

Plans Take Flight for Adding Passengers and Cargo at Ontario

Plans are moving forward to add passenger traffic and cargo volume to Ontario in order to alleviate the strain at LAX.

GameFly Building Buzz With Its Video Game Rentals

Internet clearinghouse Overstock.com Inc. has begun offering online rentals on the Netflix model, presenting a new challenge for GameFly Inc., the L.A.-based market leader.

Selling the Sizzle

Ken Cole talked to investment bankers before taking the top job at Sizzler. "You've got to fix it without breaking it," one told him.

City National Acquires Another Money Management Firm

Short takes on companies in and around Los Angeles.

Newsmakers

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

Equipment Maker Scores Big With Fiber Optic Triple Play

Ethernet switches, LambdaDrivers and triplexers are a sweet spot for MRV Communications Inc., which sells them to providers such as Tellabs and Verizon.

Northrop Grumman Becomes Big Gun in Info Technology

Northrop Grumman's information technology contracts with the government are poised for growth.

Vic's Would Be Traded Away for High-End Condo Project

Beverly Hilton landmarks such as Trader Vic's could be bulldozed to make way for high-end condos.

Business Briefs: Movielink, CinemaNow, Amgen, Health Net, Universal Care

Movielink LLC and CinemaNow Inc. sign deals with Hollywood studios to offer movie downloads for purchase on the same day that the DVDs are available in stores, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.

Infomercial Company Views Expanded Horizons on Internet

Santa Monica-based Mercury Media will be able to handle radio and Internet media buys, thanks to a recent capital infusion from a private equity firm.

Citadel Gets Approval to Buy Disney's ABC Radio

Citadel Broadcasting Corp. has received antitrust approval to acquire industry rival ABC Radio from Walt Disney Co., U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced on Monday.

Stocks End Mixed on Sell-Off

Stocks finished Monday's session mixed as investors put aside enthusiasm over acquisitions and evidence of a moderating economy to cash in profits.

For Wall Street, Homes Are Still Where Heart Is

Despite falling orders for new homes, institutional investors aren't losing their appetite for KB Home and Ryland Group Inc. with several analysts still advocating buying more shares.

Insider Pages Moving Into Venture Funding and Out of Pasadena

Insider Pages, a "local search" engine based in Idealab's Pasadena offices, has obtained $8.5 million in venture funding and is moving to Northern California.

Verizon to Sell Latin America Units

Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim will buy three Latin American operations from U.S. carrier Verizon Communications for roughly $3.7 billion.

Another Three L.A. Firms Report 'Material Weakness'

Firms are still reporting "material weaknesses" in their internal controls buzzwords that can send a stock plummeting and legal fees soaring.

First a Fan of Dogeared Jewelry, Now Its Sales Director

Not long ago, Dogeared was simply one of Robin Kramer's favorite brands of jewelry. Now, as the company's new director of sales, it's her career.

Turnaround Appears on Horizon for L.A. Biotech Funding

After a period of miserable prospects that hit L.A. start-ups particularly hard, venture capital funding may be on the way.

Study Debunks Some Myths of L.A. Economy

There are many myths about the L.A. scene and some of them are even true. A UCLA report debunks some of the others.

Rolling Back Workers' Comp Reform Would Be Wrong Move

The reforms created two years ago are far too important for taxpayers, businesses and injured workers to be abandoned now.