Stories for March 2006
Friday, March 31
New orders at U.S. factories rose 0.2 percent in February, as aircraft and defense capital goods orders outweighed demand for primary and fabricated metals, machinery and electrical equipment.
Freddie Mac on Friday said an estimate of the capital it held at year-end implied 2005 net income of $2.5 billion, down nearly 11 percent from 2004.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Friday nominated local attorney Cecilia Estolano as the chief executive for the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency.
Ronald Sugar, chief executive of Northrop Grumman Corp., received a 24 percent pay hike in 2005, receiving $8.5 million in salary, bonuses and stock, according to an SEC filing Friday.
Consumer spending slowed sharply in February while Americans' incomes grew by the smallest amount in three months.
Delphi Corp. will ask a federal bankruptcy court to void its labor contracts as part of a restructuring that calls for layoffs and the sale or closure of some of its plants.
Gas prices in L.A. moved higher for the fourth straight week on Friday, and prices are expected to continue their upward trek well into next month, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.
As part of the movement to gain a slice of China's banking market, Cathay General Bancorp said Friday it agreed to buy a 20 percent stake in Shanghai-based First Sino Bank for roughly $52.2 million.
A federal court in Delaware ruled that Mattel Inc. and its Fisher-Price subsidiary did not infringe on a patent held by LeapFrog Enterprises Inc., and that the claim in question was found to be invalid.
Stocks declined despite lower oil prices and a round of temperate economic data that mitigated concerns about inflation and higher interest rates.
Business Briefs: Global ePoint, Computer Sciences, Beverly Hills Bancorp, Earle M. Jorgensen, Reliance Steel
Global ePoint Inc. is adding casino video surveillance to its portfolio by acquiring Ontario-based Tops Digital Security for $2.5 million in stock, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.
Thursday, March 30
Renewed inflation fears left stocks mixed as new data on the nation's GDP bolstered the Federal Reserve's view that the economy remains strong.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. forms a new division to expand the company's upcoming efforts on the Internet and in wireless services, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.
The economy grew at an annual rate of 1.7 percent, the worst performance in three years but still better than the 1.6 percent growth rate a month ago.
Bank of New York Co. is close to selling about 300 branch offices to J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. in a deal that could be worth $4 billion, CNBC reported.
Stuart Wolff, former chief executive of Homestore Inc., went on trial on Thursday in federal court in Los Angeles for allegedly inflating sales at the Westlake Village-based company by $67 million in 2001.
Nasdaq Stock Market Inc. abruptly dropped its 2.4 billion pound ($4.2 billion) bid for London Stock Exchange PLC without explanation on Thursday.
Mattel Inc.'s debt rating was cut to the lowest level of investment grade by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services as sales of Barbie products continue to decline.
Best Buy Co. Inc. reported higher fourth-quarter profits, driven by demand for flat-panel TVs and MP3 players, and forecast full-year earnings above targets.
Mercury General Corp. said Thursday it will take a $15 million charge in the first quarter after California tax officials ruled the company didn't properly account for certain expenses during a four-year period.
Wednesday, March 29
A joint venture led by Northrop Grumman Corp. on Wednesday was awarded a 5-year, $2.5 billion contract to manage and operate the U.S. Department of Energy's Nevada Test Site.
Lear Corp. said it secured $800 million in new loans, cheering investors who had worried about a liquidity crunch at the troubled auto parts maker.
Bowing to political pressure, actor/director Rob Reiner resigned on Wednesday as chair of the commission he established to administer funds from his 1998 cigarette tax initiative.
California's job growth will slow later this year and into next year as the real estate market cools and related job sectors take employment hits, said the UCLA Anderson Economic Forecast on Wednesday.
Owner Beny Alagem would bulldoze parts of the famed hotel to make way for about 200 for-sale residences as part of a $200 million redevelopment project.
GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Colgate-Palmolive Co. are among companies expected to submit offers for Pfizer Inc.'s consumer products in first-round bidding.
General Motors Corp. is offering an even starker picture of its numerous financial perils as it tries to restore investor confidence.
A report released Wednesday paints a mixed picture of Southern California's manufacturing sector in 2005, noting it is still the nation's leader despite jobs losses and the scarcity of industrial land.
Stock rose as investors scared off by the Fed's assessment of the economy in the previous session regained their confidence and bid stocks higher.
Royal Ahold NV said its quarterly profit plunged 86 percent and that it was abandoning its financial targets for this year because of competition and weak performances in its U.S. supermarket chains.
Tuesday, March 28
J2 Global Communications Inc. files its annual report nearly two weeks after saying it would delay the filing due to a likely "material weakness" in its internal controls, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.
The Fed boosted a key interest rate to the highest level in five years as Chairman Ben Bernanke followed the Alan Greenspan inflation-fighting formula.
General Motors Corp. said it is laying off hundreds of U.S. salaried workers as part of a plan to bring its North American operations back to profitability.
The SEC wants Henry C. Yuen to pay nearly $61 million in penalties for his role in leading the accounting fraud at Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc., according to a court filing Monday.
Citigroup is favorite to win a bid for Turkish financial group Finansbank, which has a market value of $5 billion, sources familiar with the matter said.
Stocks fell Tuesday after the Federal Reserve disappointed investors by suggesting that more interest rate hikes were on the way.
An arbitrator ruled that cigarette-makers lost market share as a result of a settlement they reached, boosting their chances of reducing the $6.5 billion payment they owe next month.
Americans' optimism in the economy rebounded in March, sending consumer sentiment to a near four-year high, a private research group said Tuesday.
Actors who perform voice-overs for animated programs on basic cable scored a big win Tuesday, when the Screen Actors Guild negotiated a 20 percent increase in residual payments.
Monday, March 27
German media group Bertelsmann plans to sell its 50 percent stake in music company Sony BMG and its wholly owned music publishing arm to avoid a stock market listing.
The ultra-rich demand that investment houses and trust companies be "brand agnostic."
Walgreen Co. on Monday reported a 7 percent jump in earnings for the second quarter as sales increased despite a milder flu season than a year earlier.
Major business expansions were off sharply in L.A. County last year amid economic uncertainty and lack of expansion space
It isn't everyday that a near-death experience forces an executive to reassess his life.
To serve its audience of the super-rich, CurtCo is amassing a wide list of titles.
Marina del Rey-based Orion Data Analysis Corp. is banking that avid sports fans will pay to have high-tech sports predictions easily accessible on their cell phones.
It's easy to miss the stretch of green northeast of Wilshire and San Vicente boulevards. The Veterans Park Conservancy intends to change all that.
Entertainment guilds are trying harder to get a piece of the telenovela action.
It's been a monster of a quarter for Hansen Natural Corp. The stock has jumped five-fold in the past year. And it shows few signs of slowing.
A consortium including Goldman Sachs is considering bidding for Associated British Ports Plc, joining other offshore predators buying UK port operators.
Viking River Cruises Inc. and Uniworld River Cruises Inc. are sailing the upturn in worldwide travel.
CompuMed Inc.'s latest product takes a digital X-ray of a hand to screen for osteoporosis.
Only one mega-deal was announced last month: the $2.7 billion spinoff/merger of Walt Disney Co.'s radio stations to Citadel Broadcasting Corp.
The appointments and promotions of the movers and shakers of L.A.'s business community.
Business Briefs: Mentor, Aames Investment, Reliance Steel & Aluminum, Sony Pictures Entertainment, LJ International,
Santa Barbara-based Mentor Corp. says it received a $463 million offer from Denmark's Coloplast A/S to buy its surgical urology, clinical and consumer units, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.
The number of companies able to manage the wealth of high net worth individuals has grown dramatically.
NewEgg.com managed to thrive even amid the wreckage of the dot-com days thanks to its hold on the do-it-yourself computer market.
If voters decide in June to tax the wealthy to pay for preschools, California likely will have fewer wealthy people.
Short takes on companies in and around Los Angeles.
Sue Wong has become known as an L.A. fashion institution for her elaborately detailed evening wear.
People across L.A. tell us how they do what they do.
The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles area rose for the fourth consecutive week, climbing 5.4 cents to $2.716 for the week ended March 27.
Allergan Inc. on Monday forecast 2006 total sales of between $2.81 billion and $2.95 billion, ahead of Wall Street's expectations.
It takes $2 million to $10 million to enter the world of wealth management, where L.A.'s top experts try to win clients in high-powered pitch sessions.
Animal health care chain VCA Antech Inc. has a business model that many of its struggling human hospital counterparts would envy.
Sony's delay of PlayStation 3 wasn't as long as expected, so Activision, THQ and Electronic Arts Inc. stock rose.
A shopping center at the gateway to the Sunset Strip has fetched one of the highest prices ever paid for a large L.A. retail property.
Truth is, LNG has been safely transported around the world for more than four decades with an outstanding safety record.
For families worth $100 million or more, managing money gets so complex that it can take as many as 30 advisors, tax specialists and attorneys just to handle the paperwork.
Investors put off major decisions Monday, leaving stocks mixed as Wall Street awaited the results of the first Fed rate-setting meeting chaired by Ben Bernanke.
The collapse of a proposed state infrastructure bond package is unwelcome news for shipping companies.
Industry and policy makers are putting California's economy and safety at risk in their rush to commit us to a future of dependence on foreign liquefied natural gas.
Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has displayed a willingness to correct his mistakes.
MusicIP doesn't want you to name that tune it will do it for you.
Joe Escalante left his job as a CBS Television lawyer to tour with his punk band. Now he's got a radio show offering legal advice and he fights bulls for fun.
With proposals from both Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic leaders in the Legislature, a hike in the state's $6.75-an-hour minimum wage seems almost inevitable.
Zamboni is capitalizing on its famous name with nearly two dozen licensing agreements.
International law firm McGuireWoods LLP expanded its foothold in the L.A. market last week by acquiring Van Etten Suzumoto & Becket LLP, a mid-sized regional player.
As office rents continue to rise on the Westside, more developers are pulling the trigger on large speculative office buildings.
Two seasoned veterans of the industry joined forces this month with Hub International Ltd. to expand its Los Angeles presence.
David Hou, one of the top wealth managers in Los Angeles, leads a team that oversees more than $5 billion in assets.
A 2004 heist lingered long for CVB Financial Corp. but it appears to have finally closed the books on the case.
Ryan Kugler's Distribution Video & Audio specializes in getting surplus DVDs and videos from studios to stores for sale at discount.
Friday, March 24
Sales of new homes fell by the largest amount in nearly nine years in February while the median price of a new home dropped for the fourth straight month.
Los Angeles County's unemployment rate rose slightly to 5.3 percent in February from a revised 5.1 percent in January as more people jumped into the job market.
Alcatel is in merger talks with U.S. rival Lucent Technologies to create the world's biggest telecoms equipment company, with sales of $25.33 billion.
Trading on Friday was erratic as signs of a cooling housing market conflicted with signals of economic strength, leaving no real clue as to the Fed's next move on interest rates.
City National Corp. said Friday it agreed to acquire Independence Investment LLC, a Boston-based investment firm, from John Hancock Life Insurance Co. for an undisclosed sum.
Bayer AG's $19.6 billion offer for Schering AG was embraced by its target Friday as German rival Merck abandoned its own takeover offer.
Empresa Nacional de Telecommunications is selling its controlling stake in Americatel Corp. to Platinum Equity and Buena Vista Games Inc. plans to release a video game based on "Desperate Housewives."
Gas prices in the L.A. area rose for the third consecutive week on Friday, and price increases are expected to continue for the next few weeks, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.
It has been a monster of a quarter for Hansen Natural Corp. The stock has jumped five-fold in the past year. And it shows few signs of slowing.
Britain's biggest insurer Aviva Plc dropped its $29.5 billion all-share bid for Prudential Plc and said prospects of a deal in future were "very low."
Thursday, March 23
Allergan Inc. completed its $3.2 billion acquisition of Santa Barbara-based Inamed Corp., the Irvine-based drug maker said Thursday.
Interest rate anxiety sent stocks falling on Thursday despite strong economic news. A jump in oil prices heightened worries about inflation.
Shares of Adobe Systems Inc. fell after the software maker said its quarterly profit fell 31 percent, a drop it blamed on expenses from an acquisition.
The median price of an existing home in the L.A. region jumped from the year-earlier period in February and rose slightly from January as homes sales continued to decline across Southern California.
General Motors Corp. said it is selling a majority interest in its commercial mortgage division for $1.5 billion in cash to a private investment group.
Three investment firms have formed a group to explore a bid for Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications Inc., Reuters reported on Thursday.
The pace of home resales picked up by 5.2 percent in February, defying forecasts for a slowdown, as warm weather boosted single-family and condo sales.
True Religion Apparel Inc. reaches a settlement with a former consultant, Hilton Hotels Corp. forms a joint venture to build the Hilton Orlando Convention Center hotel, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.
New claims for jobless benefits fell by 11,000 last week, a government report showed, suggesting a healthy labor market and more job growth in March.
Wednesday, March 22
The cost of providing health care is the top concern of small businesses in California, according to a survey released Wednesday by business advocacy group Small Business California.
Bertelsmann AG reported a dip in full-year profit and said a decision on whether to take the company public could come as soon as May.
Morgan Stanley said profit rose 17 percent, as merger activity and trading income lifted revenue to an all-time high, offset by weakness in its brokerage and money management businesses.
L.A. County foreclosures decreased 6 percent in February from the previous month, ending three consecutive months of rising foreclosures, according to a RealtyTrac market report.
KB Home on Wednesday said its first-quarter profit climbed 42 percent, with revenue soaring amid sales of higher-priced homes. The company also maintained its outlook for the year.
NBC Universal said Wednesday that it is considering redeveloping a large portion of its backlot into a mix of residences and shops. The film studio hired Thomas Properties Group Inc. and Rios Clementi Hale Studios to assist in the effort.
General Motors Corp. said it reached a deal with the United Auto Workers union and Delphi Corp. that would offer early retirement incentives to more than 125,000 factory workers.
Yucaipa Cos. hired Robert Hall, the former publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer, as an adviser to support its efforts to buy Knight Ridder and McClatchy newspapers, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.
Stocks rose Wednesday on upbeat company news, including a patent settlement by Bristol-Myers Squibb and earnings from Morgan Stanley.
Kevin Sharer, chairman and chief executive of Amgen Inc., received total compensation valued at $6.6 million in 2005, according to a regulatory filing on Wednesday.
Crude futures rose slightly after U.S. government data showed domestic supplies shrank last week.
Tuesday, March 21
Jones Apparel Group Inc., which owns Nine West and Barneys clothing stores, is exploring strategic options including selling the company to private equity firms.
Stocks finished lower, with a conflicting report on wholesale inflation and questions about the Fed's interest rate policy creating uncertainty for investors.
Colgate-Palmolive Co. agreed to purchase control of the privately held Tom's of Maine, which makes "natural" toothpaste, for $100 million in cash.
Union organizers stepped up their battle against the Four Points Sheraton LAX by announcing on Tuesday federal charges of unfair labor practices.
L.A. billionaire Ron Burkle's Yucaipa Cos. buys Garrard, the U.K.'s Crown jeweler for more than 150 years, for about $20 million to $30 million, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.
Billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Group is mulling buying Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp. to expand the Virgin fitness club business in the U.S.
Inflation at the wholesale level plunged by the largest amount in three years in February as the price of food and energy products including gas fell sharply.
Monday, March 20
A closely watched gauge of future economic activity declined slightly in February following a sharp rise in January, a private research group said Monday.
When Tom Gilmore bought four buildings for around $5.5 million in a historic section of Los Angeles in the late 1990s, the downtown enclave had neither.
Jim Ballew founded Green Growth Technologies to serve as part clearinghouse, part incubator and part venture capital provider for eco-friendly startups.
Computer Sciences Corp. on Monday said it won a contract worth up to $1.5 billion over 10 years to provide the U.S. Army with engineering, logistics and other services.
The Renaissance Montura Hotel has a new owner, a new name and shortly it will have a new look.
When mixed-use beckoned in L.A., Forest City Enterprises Inc. would be one of the first national players on the scene here and in a major way.
Westfield of America Inc.'s plans to raze two Century City office buildings adjacent to its mall to make way for condos and more shops and restaurants could reshape the office submarket.
Decades ago, when most people either walked or used street cars, buildings with mixed residential and retail uses were common it's just that no one labeled them so.
Pasadena is already the region's undisputed leader in mixed-use projects.
Stocks ended little changed as investors showed no desire to extend last week's strong gains ahead of a speech by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Liner Yankelevitz Sunshine & Regenstrief LLP will keep its college scholarship going as long as it can financially and emotionally handle it.
Fremont Investment & Loan has carved out a niche in mixed-use development.
A U.S. federal appeals court on Monday threw out the 2004 obstruction and witness tampering conviction of former star investment banker Frank Quattrone and granted him a new trial.
A growing number of producers are returning to Hollywood, with mid-sized independent studios leading a mini-revival of the sector.
Michaels Stores Inc., an arts and crafts retail chain, put itself up for sale Monday and said its longtime president and chief executive is retiring.
Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. on Monday said it recently surpassed 4 million subscribers to its nationwide pay radio service.
Steven Manning, head of Manning & Marder Kass Ellrod Ramirez LLP believes in the value of near-death experiences.
A campaign launched by the Nevada Development Authority to invite California businesses to that state included mailers to economic development officials, who are trying to keep businesses here.
Animator Aaron Simpson has been nominated for an Emmy thanks to his work as producer of "Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island," a flash-animation series on Kids' WB.
The new offshore LNG terminal has the potential of being a breakthrough solution to a big problem. But environmentalists treated the announcement as more problem than solution.
Howard Burns, editor of the Hollywood Reporter, has been promoted to editorial director as part of a reorganization of the brand's content operations by its parent.
Con Howe held an unconventional view that Los Angeles wasn't dissimilar to New York, where he had been a city planner for nearly 20 years.
Mixed use may be all the rage in L.A., but putting together a successful project can be far trickier than erecting traditional residential, commercial and office structures.
Contrary to perception, there are fewer than 300 green technology companies in Los Angeles County, with the region lagging activity compared to state and national numbers.
Universal Music Group is forming a label with Geffen Records head Jordan Schur.
Antonio Cu & #233; is building a bilingual marketing phenomenon designed to popularize the Mexican soccer tradition through his team, Chivas USA.
Facial recognition software, part of the hotly discussed field of "biometrics" technology, is moving from airports and police cars into mobile phones.
Capitol Records' iconic Hollywood tower is for sale.
Former chief executive of Gemstar-TV Guide Internatioanl Inc. Henry C. Yuen was found liable for securities fraud, according to a federal ruling unsealed Monday in Federal District Court in L.A.
Stu Tobisman and Leah Bishop, partners at the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers LLP, are leaving to head up the estate planning department at Loeb & Loeb LLP.
When the L.A. City Coucil passed an adaptive reuse ordinance, it ended up making Killefer Flammang Architects a downtown player in mixed-use.
Reading International Inc. has cleared the highest hurdle for a major project on one of Australia's largest urban tracts of land
The city has adjusted its zoning laws and regulations, and allowed conversion of office buildings into residences. The result has been an explosion of mixed-use projects in L.A.
People across L.A. tell us how they do what they do.
Allen Matkins Leck Gamble & Mallory LLP has become the city's go-to firm for mixed-use projects.
Even though Avi Brosh's Palisades Development Group may be a small-scale developer, the firm has built itself into a brand name in mixed-use development.
Lions Gate is trying to force Image's entire board to stand for re-election.
Brad Korzen is a driving force in L.A.'s own mixed-use development transformation.
Two things will be in the spotlight with the opening of L.A.'s Fashion Week: jeans and skin.
The Enron debacle is Exhibit A for an issue still roiling Corporate America: excessive, unwarranted executive compensation.
While Salem Communications Corp. reported fourth quarter results in line with expectations, its executives provided only modest guidance for the coming year.
In-house counsel at nearly 100 major corporations have a strong message to outside law firms: diversify your legal team or lose our business.
Home furnishing retailer Williams-Sonoma Inc. said Monday its fourth-quarter profit rose 6 percent and initiated its first quarterly cash dividend.
Be it financing for a sword-and-sandals blockbuster or a run at the White House, it's always hip to hit up Hollywood for money.
L.A. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo's office has filed criminal charges over spyware against three officers of San Fernando Valley-based Enternet Media Inc.
A federal technology subsidy that was supposed to ensure affordable telephone service for every American has instead facilitated criminal exploitation of the public trust.
Hollywood Community Housing Corp. has made believers out of developers that low-income housing can pencil into the project.
The recent focus on foreign ownership of port terminals has the head of OSI Systems Inc. hoping all the talk will lead to awareness of his company's security products.
The Saban building is being renamed for its wireless telecommunication tenant Helio.
Nabih Youssef & Associates' work rehabilitating L.A. structures naturally led to work involving the adaptive reuse of older office buildings into mixed-use structures.
Resort and casino operator Kerzner International Ltd. agreed to be acquired and taken private by an investor group including Colony Capital LLC for nearly $3 billion, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.
The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles area rose for the third consecutive week, climbing 6.7 cents to $2.662 for the week ended March 20.
The Valley Industry and Commerce Association on Monday named Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Brendan Huffman as its next president and chief executive.
Friday, March 17
Shares of J2 Global Communications Inc. plunged more than 10 percent on Friday after it said it will likely delay filing its annual report due to a "material weakness" in its internal controls.
Gas prices in the Los Angeles area rose for the second consecutive week on Friday after three weeks of declines, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has upheld approvals for a massive Sunset Strip mixed-use project, which will straddle the intersection of Sunset and La Cienega boulevards.
Softbank agreed to buy Vodafone's Japan business for $15.5 billion, realizing its dream to become a communications powerhouse with a foothold in Japan.
General Motors Corp. shares fell after the automaker increased its 2005 loss by $2 billion due to accounting errors, raising questions about the company's management and doubts about its long-term survival.
Shares of Zurich Financial Services rose sharply following a report that St. Paul Travelers Cos. was in the early stages of negotiating a takeover bid.
Lower oil prices and a rebound in manufacturing activity helped stocks extend their rally Friday, lifting the Dow and the S & P; 500 to a fresh five-year high.
California consumer sentiment has risen to its highest level in nearly a year as the job market has improved, according to a survey released Friday by Chapman University.
Paramount Pictures on Friday said it agreed to sell its DreamWorks film library to billionaire financier George Soros' investment fund and an affiliate of Dune Capital Management LP for $900 million.
Industrial production grew by 0.7 percent in February, with all of the strength coming from a big pickup in output at utilities. Factory production was flat.
Thursday, March 16
Universal Pictures promotes Marc Shmuger to chairman to replace Stacey Snider, who resigned last month to join rival DreamWorks SKG, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.
Bear Stearns Cos. has been fined $250 million by the NYSE and the SEC for fraudulent market timing and late trading of mutual funds.
Inflation was tame last month and the pace of housing construction slowed, according to government reports on Thursday.
Southwest Water Co., Hythiam Inc. and Clearant Inc. were among the companies that reported earnings Thursday.
ConAgra Foods Inc. said it would cut its dividend by 34 percent, shed its seafood and cheese businesses and record charges over the rest of the year as part of a sweeping restructuring plan.
Lions Gate Films Entertainment Corp. is once again trying to crash the gates at Chatsworth-based Image Entertainment Inc., this time with a lawsuit to force Image's entire board to stand for re-election.
Del Monte Foods Co. said its Del Monte Corp. unit would buy some of Kraft Foods Global Inc.'s products, including the Milk-Bone brand, for $580 million.
Positive data on inflation and the housing market sent stocks mostly higher, with the Dow and S & P; 500 posting nearly five-year highs for the third session.
Wednesday, March 15
Computer Sciences Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp. and CACI International Inc. were among companies that won a 10-year U.S. Army contract for communications, valued at about $19.25 billion.
Import prices eased in February for the first time in three months, while declining costs boosted New York factory activity to the strongest level in two years.
Capitol Records Inc. has informed city officials that parent company EMI Group PLC could sell its historic Hollywood building and surrounding campus.
Hot Topic Inc. said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter profit plunged more than 39 percent from the year-earlier period, but it still managed to beat estimates.
The economy headed into spring with solid momentum, helping to generate more employment opportunities and keep factories humming, the Fed reported.
Upbeat reports from the Fed and DuPont Co. lifted stocks for a second day Wednesday, pushing the S & P; 500 past 1,300 for the first time since May 2001.
Sears Holdings Corp. posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, as it slashed costs and eliminated profit-crunching markdowns at its Sears stores.
Business Briefs: Disney, BentleyForbes, MGM, Computer Sciences, True Religion, Reading International
Walt Disney Co.'s debt rating is raised by Moody's Investors Service, BentleyForbes Holdings LLC offers about $465 million for Chicago's Prudential Plaza, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.
Chemicals maker DuPont Co. said it plans to cut 1,500 jobs and close four facilities in Europe as it restructures its performance coatings business.
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. first-quarter earnings climbed 25 percent, setting a company record for profits and revenues on strong results from its investment banking and equities trading businesses.
Tuesday, March 14
Strong revenue in investment banking, fixed income trading and asset management helped Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s first-quarter profit rise 62 percent.
February home sales in Los Angeles dropped 9.2 percent from a year earlier and 5.3 percent from January, providing further evidence that hot real estate market is continuing to slow down.
Comcast Corp. is in talks to buy Walt Disney Co.'s 40 percent stake in E! Entertainment Television, giving it complete ownership of the cable network it manages, according to reports on Tuesday.
A plunge in Treasury bond yields pushed stocks higher as investors grew optimistic that the Fed's streak of interest rate hikes will soon end. A jump in profits at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. also boosted the market.
The three major consumer credit reporting agencies have created a new credit scoring system aimed at simplifying the loan process for lenders and borrowers.
The Business Journal has launched a new feature. "Kudos" lists awards and honors given to L.A. businesspeople, companies and organizations. E-mail entries to
Retail sales fell 1.3 percent in February as auto sales plunged, and the U.S. current account deficit widened in the fourth quarter to a record $224.9 billion.
Hilton Hotels Corp. and casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. agree to build two hotels in the Cotai strip Las Vegas Sands is developing on the Chinese island of Macau, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.
Federated Department Stores Inc. agreed to pay $725,000 to resolve an investigation into misleading advertising practices and sales promotions.
The Los Angeles Business Journal welcomes responses from readers. Send letters to
Monday, March 13
Although Glendale has one of the weakest office markets north of the Santa Monica (10) Freeway, ING Clarion Partners is making a $140 million wager the city will bounce back.
Few of us would choose to spend our time between warring relatives, but the Los Angeles law firm Greines Martin Stein & Richland LLP is getting rich doing just that.
Short takes on companies in and around Los Angeles.
After early growing pains, back support specialist Relax the Back Corp. has been straightened out and is on course to ramp up store openings.
Following a stellar 2005, Los Angeles County hotels kicked off the new year with strong increases in occupancy rates and room prices in January.
DreamWorks SKG has tapped the largest youth soccer organization in the country to promote "She's the Man."
All James E. Haney Jr. wanted out of his first securities brokering job was a little money to put him through business school. But it turned into the perfect career.
We've learned from other cities that in order for us to succeed, the mayor alone should not drive the debate.
Intellectual property specialists Urquhart Oliver and Hedges LLP had almost $2 million in profits per partner last year, leading all L.A. law firms once again.
USC's tech-transfer office lured Krisztina Holly away from MIT, where she was executive director of MIT's Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation.
The owners of the Long Beach Grand Prix and the local group that stages it want to focus on the Latino audience.
Radio star Rick Dees is back with a Latino-focused version of his longtime "Weekly Top 40 Countdown" show.
Grupo Televisa SA says it is not part of a consortium seeking to purchase Univision Communications Inc. and that it is mulling whether to make an offer, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.
A host of recently introduced bills would place significant financial or regulatory burdens on employers.
NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann, who is running for governor of Pennsylvania, didn't take long to tap his ties to the University of Southern California.
United Teachers Los Angeles believes that the mayor would be making a mistake on many levels to attempt to take over the district.
Morgan Chu was wet behind the ears when he got involved in his first IP case, which involved Mattel and hand-held computers.
Russell Frackman earned an honorary gold record from the music industry thanks to his landmark case against Napster.
John Lawrence was planning to move his breadmaking machine company to Arizona, but a "Red Team" effort convinced him to stay in El Monte.
Adrian Pruetz has been involved in lawsuits over bovine growth hormone, Adidas stripes and HIV diagnostics.
People across L.A. tell us how they do what they do.
Shares of Superior Industries International Inc. slumped on Monday after the supplier of aluminum wheels said it would be late in filing its financial results due to a deficiency in its internal controls.
Before shareholders of Public Storage celebrate the purchase last week of Shurgard Storage Centers, they may want to wait to read the fine print.
A Pink Sheet stock is as far from the New York Stock Exchange as a company can get. But that may be changing fast.
Greenberg Traurig is making movie piracy a major battleground.
Median home prices have bounced back to December levels but the number of homes sold has fallen off sharply from year-ago numbers.
We all have a major stake in reform, and we all have a responsibility to join this campaign for change.
KB Home's first Martha Stewart-branded community was unveiled in North Carolina to a strong response.
A business delegation from Los Angeles encountered some surprises in lobbying for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's infrastructure bill.
Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. agreed to buy Andrx Corp. for $1.9 billion, bulking up its generic drug business to keep pace with larger rivals.
January figures show imports were up 16 percent in Long Beach and 8 percent in L.A. from the same period last year.
Johnson & Johnson is seeking to be added as a co-plaintiff in Amgen Inc.'s patent infringement lawsuit against drugmaker Roche Holding AG concerning anemia drugs that both U.S. companies market.
The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in L.A. rose for the second consecutive week after three weeks of declines gaining 6.7 cents to $2.579 for the week ended March 13.
Remember pogs, popular more than a decade ago? Funrise Toy Corp. hopes the disc-flipping game is poised for a comeback.
The argument that tends to get overlooked is how the minimum wage tamps down on entrepreneurship. Many jobs just don't get created because of it.
Maguire Properties Inc. has renewed and expanded its lease with law firm Sidley Austin LLP at the Gas Company Tower.
Working in intellectual property means that attorneys are constantly exploring uncharted territory, as technology always outpaces the law.
Image Entertainment Inc., is starting CD and DVD deals with Vibe and Relix magazines, and re-energizing its deal with The Source magazine.
Surging oil prices left stocks little changed as interest rate worries diluted enthusiasm over major acquisitions in the banking and newspaper sectors.
Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. said it would buy Aztar Corp. for $1.45 billion, extending its reach into gambling markets such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
Credit-card issuer Capital One Financial Corp. has agreed to buy North Fork Bancorp. Inc. in a stock and cash deal worth about $14.6 billion.
Paul Colichman started out selling popcorn at a Westwood theater. Now he heads a company producing gay-themed film and TV projects
Cogent Inc.'s crystal ball for forecasting revenue from anticipated government contracts appears to have cracked.
Following a stellar 2005, Los Angeles County hotels kicked off the new year with strong increases in occupancy rates and room prices in January.
House Gadget set out to combine its electronics expertise with home design and installation. But the company does more than just hide wires and hang screens.
The McClatchy Co. agreed to buy Knight Ridder Inc. for about $4.5 billion in cash and stock. McClatchy will also assume about $2 billion in Knight Ridder's debt.
Sonic Automotive Inc., parent of Honda of Santa Monica, has been ordered to send notices to about 1,500 customers who may have overpaid for their vehicles.
Oil prices fell under $60 a barrel as strong inventories counterbalanced concerns about unrest in Nigeria and potential U.N. sanctions against Iran.
Friday, March 10
Consumer confidence dropped in early March as people fretted about the economy's performance and their own financial fate in the months ahead.
Walt Disney Co. shareholders on Friday reelected the 13 directors of the entertainment giant's board, including Chairman George Mitchell, who had been facing a challenge by a proxy advisory firm.
Amazon.com Inc. is holding talks with Hollywood studios to start a service that allows consumers to download movies and TV shows and copy them onto DVDs, the New York Times said Friday.
Nortel Networks Corp. reported a $2.21 billion fourth-quarter loss and said it will restate more past financial statements because of accounting mistakes.
Knight Ridder is weighing bids of at least $4.7 billion, in an auction of its properties that also serves as a proxy on investors' outlook toward the newspaper industry.
Walt Disney Co. plans to create a Russian subsidiary to produce animated films in Moscow, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.
Gains in employment sent stocks higher Friday, with the Dow gaining more than 104 points as investors regained some confidence in the economy.
Los Angeles money manager TCW Group Inc. took profits in high-flier Pixar Animation Studios, selling $520 million of Pixar stock and reducing its stake to 8 percent, from 15 percent in December.
U.S. employers added a stronger-than-forecast 243,000 jobs in February but the unemployment rate edged up, the Labor Department said on Friday.
Gas prices in the L.A. region ended three weeks of declines on Friday, with many areas throughout southern California seeing significant price jumps, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.
Thursday, March 9
Countrywide Financial Corp. said Thursday that its mortgage volume rose 15 percent in February to $31 billion from a year earlier despite repeated concerns of a downturn in the housing market.
A consortium of U.S. and Mexican investors may team to launch a bid for Spanish-language media giant Univision Communications Inc., according to reports on Thursday.
3D Systems Corp. files a patent infringement lawsuit against three companies, Diodes Inc. raises its first-quarter revenue and gross profit outlook, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.
The United Auto Workers union said it was not close to a cost-cutting agreement with auto parts maker Delphi Corp. and General Motors Corp.
DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. on Thursday said fourth-quarter earnings plunged more than two-thirds from a year ago as "Wallace & Gromit" underperformed at the box office.
The U.S. trade deficit surged to another record as the country's foreign oil bill climbed sharply, auto imports rose and Americans' taste for imported wines increased the deficit in food products.
Arden Group Inc., Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp., North American Scientific Inc., SCPIE Holdings Inc. and Fremont General Corp. were among the companies that reported earnings Thursday.
Stocks closed lower Thursday as a higher trade deficit and questions about the labor market quashed enthusiasm over a Bank of Japan policy change.
The Bank of Japan abandoned its super-easy monetary policy, saying it will gradually raise interest rates and cut the excess cash in the banking system amid signs of economic recovery.
Wednesday, March 8
Allergan Inc. gets FTC approval for its $3.2 billion acquisition of Santa Barbara-based Inamed Corp., the S & P; places Public Storage Inc. on CreditWatch with negative implications, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.
Italian power company Enel plans to go ahead with a nearly 40 billion euro ($48 billion) bid for French utility Suez, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Stocks closed barely mixed on Wednesday as oil prices dropped sharply and interest rate worries limited the market's gains.
OPEC's president confirmed the group will not change its production level amid the political instability and terrorism unnerving global markets.
Exxon Mobil Corp. expects capital spending to rise this year as it pumps more money into projects in areas like Qatar, Russia and the Caspian region.
Dutch publisher VNU NV on Wednesday said it agreed to be acquired by a group of six private equity firms for about $8.94 billion in cash, but two shareholders have rejected the offer and are holding out for a higher price.
Thomas W. Gilligan has been appointed dean of the USC's Marshall School of Business just weeks after being named interim dean to succeed Yash Gupta, who resigned abruptly in February.
Ocean freight and logistics company UTi Worldwide Inc. on Wednesday said it acquired privately held Market Industries for $197.1 million in cash.
The NYSE began life as a publicly traded company, with officials of the new NYSE Group Inc. ringing their own opening bell to start the trading session.
Tuesday, March 7
Enron Corp.'s former finance chief said he ran financial partnerships designed to help the company mask hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.
Edison International, Korn/Ferry International and Blue Holdings Inc. were among the companies that reported earnings Tuesday.
OPEC oil producers said they were ready to keep output close to the limit to fill supply gaps in Nigeria and Iraq and steer prices away from a $70 danger zone that could hurt the world economy.
Best Buy Co. Inc. completes its acquisition of privately held Pacific Sales Kitchen and Bath Centers Inc. for $410 million, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.
Public Storage Inc. on Tuesday agreed to purchase Shurgard Storage Centers Inc. for $3.2 billion, ending a seven-month process that evolved from a takeover bid to a negotiated merger.
The efficiency of U.S. workers declined in the last three months of 2005, the first time that happened in over four years, while wage pressures accelerated.
Investors sold as bond yields remained high, data showed wages rising and a Federal Reserve official warned more interest rate hikes may be needed.
Monday, March 6
Blackstone Group has agreed to buy CarrAmerica Realty Corp. for $5.6 billion to give it a platform for future investments in the office sector.
It's annual report season and that means the presses at Lithographix Inc. are humming 24 hours a day but some companies are cutting back.
About half of all very small businesses in L.A. County do not provide health insurance for their employees.
For the pay that it provides to executives, the University of California is not getting good administration at the top.
The fallout from the consolidation of Federated Department Stores and May Department Store continued Monday as Federated announced 367 jobs would be cut at Robinsons-May locations in L.A.
AT & T; Inc. said it would buy BellSouth Corpfor $67 billion to acquire the rest of Cingular Wireless it doesn't already own, and expand into the Southeast to battle competition from cable TV and Internet companies.
Kroger Co. and Albertsons Inc. on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter results, with Kroger swinging to a profit from a year-ago loss and Albertsons' earnings declining 17 percent, weighed down by hefty charges.
Richard Riordan, the Business Journal's honoree as business person of the year, has enjoyed success as an investor, a turnaround specialist and a political leader.
Northrop Grumman Corp. said it will shutter its computer reseller business, cutting 365 jobs, THQ Inc. acquires British developer Juice Games Ltd., and other briefs about L.A. businesses.
Orders to U.S. factories plunged by the largest amount in 5 1/2 years in January, reflecting a big drop in demand for airplanes.
With figurines based on characters from shows such as "Get Smart," "The Twilight Zone" and "The Outer Limits," Sideshow is tapping into a retro renaissance.
Activision Inc. and Electronic Arts Inc. announced large layoffs in the past few weeks, but elsewhere in L.A, other companies in the sector are hiring.
If eminent domain were chopped back, it would force developers to negotiate directly with landowners, and politicians would be cut out of the bargaining.
Three of the seven major commercial terminals in both Long Beach and L.A. are run by foreign companies with little if any controversy.
The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the L.A. area rose more than half a cent after three consecutive weeks of declines, gaining 5.6 cents to $2.512 for the week ended March 6.
ImaginAsian Entertainment Inc. hopes to develop a downtown venue for movie and music festivals, live productions and other cultural events.
When is an accounting firm not an accounting firm? If the company is Jefferson Wells International Inc., the question seems to boil down to semantics.
Jean Prewitt is leading the International Film & Television Marketing Association into a new era as a more valuable resource for independent producers.
General Motors Corp. will sell a 17.4 percent stake in Suzuki Motor Corp. for $2 billion, scaling down its share in an effort to gain much-needed cash.
Custom home builders have formed Meridian Development LLC, which is building luxury housing in Mammoth Lakes and Lake Tahoe.
About 500 people attended the Business Journal's luncheon in honor of Richard Riordan and other L.A. business leaders.
The Loews Beverly Hills, a long-troubled hotel actually located just over the border in Los Angeles, has traded hands for close to $34 million.
One Los Angeles law firm has raised its first-year associate pay to $145,000.
Some fear that the L.A. Times' Chatsworth printing plant site will be sold to a residential developer rather than be replaced by light industry.
Locally produced and Americanized versions of steamy telenovelas are coming to KCOP Channel 13 this fall.
Rising bond yields triggered a selloff on Wall Street Monday as nervousness about the economy and interest rates motivated investors to take profits.
Many local eateries are embracing curbside service, allowing customers to ring from their cell phones to have food delivered straight to their cars.
Creditors can place them on property in order to secure payment in case of a sale, or to begin legal proceedings.
People across L.A. tell us how they do what they do.
Wine and cheese, sure, but what about wine and french fries? It's happening at BOA Steakhouse in Santa Monica.
Lodging giant Accor said it agreed to sell Los Angeles' Sofitel Hotel as part of a deal to divest itself of a portfolio of six Sofitel hotels in the U.S. for $370 million.
Paul Aronzon never took a bankruptcy class in law school. But now his resume features some of the largest corporate reorganizations in recent years.
To put it bluntly, business-as-usual is a recipe for failure for L.A.'s future economic growth.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell faced some criticism at one of his lucrative speaking engagements.
Despite announcements of big rate cuts, many small businesses have not seen any reduction in their workers' compensation premiums.
University entrepreneurs have 120 million new reasons to pursue their tech dreams.
Live Ad Inc. is about to move into malls with interactive kiosks that gather consumer information from shoppers.
NBC Universal said it would acquire iVillage Inc., operator of a network of Web sites for women, for $600 million to bolster its Internet strategy.
After three consecutive losing quarters, water utility and operations firm Southwest Water Co. is back on a solid earnings footing.
Given the extent to which many older Americans were rattled by Medicare's drug coverage this year, SCAN Health Plan Inc.'s messages falls on receptive ears.
Credit Jessica M. Weisel, a senior L.A. partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer Feld LLP, with a major assist on the silver medal won by a U.S. ice dancing team.
The James Hotel soon will be a member of a very exclusive club: Sunset Strip hotels.
Short takes on companies in and around Los Angeles.
Friday, March 3
Gas prices in the Los Angeles area slipped for the third consecutive week on Friday, but in many cities throughout Southern California, prices began recovering from the brief downturn.
Stocks closed lower after a Federal Reserve governor's upbeat comments on inflation helped ease worries about a bleak forecast from Intel Corp.
The nation's service economy expanded at a faster pace in February than in the previous month and more rapidly than analysts had expected.
Maria Elena Durazo, widow of labor chief Miguel Conteras, was named Friday as interim executive secretary and treasurer of the L.A. County Federation of Labor, a post held for nearly a decade by her late husband.
Intel Corp. cut its first-quarter revenue forecast, citing weaker-than-expected demand and a dip in market share, sending its stock to a 17-month low.
The U.S. Department of Justice said late Thursday it has opened an investigation into possible anti-competitive pricing of online music by the world's major music labels.
Dana Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection for its U.S. operations, joining a growing list of suppliers forced to make major restructuring moves because of the slumping U.S. auto industry.
L.A. County's unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 percent in January as fewer people were looking for work. But the county lost 60,000 non-farm payroll jobs in January compared to December.
U.S. Steel Corp. is in talks to acquire AK Steel Corp. in a stock transaction that would potentially create the world's sixth-largest steel producer.
Oil prices rose slightly Friday as tensions in Nigeria, Iran and Saudi Arabia supported supply fears.
Thursday, March 2
STAAR Surgical Co., Homestore Inc., PC Mall Inc., IRIS International Inc., 3D Systems Corp. and HemaCare Corp. were among the companies that reported earnings Thursday.
Talks continued between Northwest Airlines and its pilots union, past a court-imposed deadline, as both sides worked to head off a ruling that could void the workers' contract and trigger a strike.
L.A.'s economy will continue to grow in 2006 but at a slower pace than in 2005, due to the declining volume of real estate transactions, said a forecast released Thursday by City Controller Laura Chick.
A former executive at Westlake Village-based Homestore Inc. pleaded guilty Thursday to his role in a 2001 accounting scandal, averting a lengthy criminal trial, prosecutors said.
Anxious investors bid stocks lower as retail sales reports prompted concerns about a slowdown in the economy and sliding corporate revenues.
Los Angeles-based Univision Communications Inc. on Thursday reported a sharply lower fourth-quarter profit on charges but still beat analyst estimates.
Crude futures rose despite government data that showed growing oil inventories, while traders focused on Nigeria and other geopolitical threats.
Retail sales slowed last month as the reappearance of winter weather after a warm January chilled consumers' interest in spring apparel.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week but still remained at a level indicating a healthy labor market.
Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co.'s joint venture company completes its acquisition of Everest Metals (Suzhou) Co. Ltd., Innovo Group Inc. explores strategic options, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.
Wednesday, March 1
Pilgrim's Pride Corp. withdrew its late-January profit forecast as bird flu worries overseas hurt exports and drove down prices for chicken leg quarters.
Consumers spent at a rapid clip that outpaced their incomes. And, construction activity slowed to the slowest gain in seven months, indicating the housing boom is easing.
The pace of growth in the manufacturing sector in February ran at its strongest since November as new orders rebounded and inflation subsided.
Average home prices leaped nearly 13 percent from the fourth quarter of 2004 to the same period last year, showing no signs of a slowdown during the period.