Stories for April 2007

Monday, April 30

Event Producer Keeps the Beat in Staging Celebrations

Don Kobayashi of Campos Creative Works

L.A.'s Seoul Takes Flight

A boom is coming to Koreatown: At least 2,000 luxury condominiums and several shopping and entertainment complexes are to be built there.

'Mozilo Clause' Drawing Blood

Countrywide Financial Corp.'s Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo now has a securities law named after him, at least by some.

Kiss the Sky

A joint venture is proposing a condominium high-rise that could become one of L.A.'s tallest buildings.

Hilton Profit Dips on Renovations

Hilton Hotels Corp. reported first-quarter net income of $95 million (23 cents a share), a 9 percent dip from $104 million (26 cents) from the same period a year earlier.

Beverly Hills Renames Industrial Zone to Attract Media Business

Beverly Hills officials have renamed the city's industrial zone the "entertainment business district."

Mozilo Nets $120 Million in 2006

Countrywide Financial Corp.'s Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo was paid more than $48 million in salary, bonuses and stock-based compensation in 2006, according to a regulatory filing Friday.

Doctors, Veterinarians Inject Profits into Equity Investment

Local veterinary clinics, doctors' group prove solid holdings.

Industry Groups Concerned by Greenhouse Gas Rules

The battle lines are already being drawn as the state takes the first steps to implement AB 32, the landmark greenhouse gas reduction bill signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Tribune Sale Involves Tax Dodge

Whenever you see a deal involving Los Angeles's Chandler family, you usually see a tax dodge.

DirecTV's CEO Paid $ 6.5 Million

DirecTV Group Inc. paid its Chief Executive Chase Carey $6.5 million in 2006, a regulatory filing revealed Friday.

Man With a Plan

J. Mario Molina's first job was on the faculty of USC; now he's running a health care company specializing in MediCal and Medicaid patients.

Summit Entertainment Piques the Interest of Merrill Lynch

Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. is going Hollywood, in a big way.

Ducommun Reports Strong 1Q

Shares in Ducommun Inc. dropped more than 3 percent Monday despite the company reporting strong profits and sales.

Focus on Core Locations Keeps Occidental Stock Steady

Occidental Petroleum Corp.'s first quarter earnings report last week showed only a slight dip from last year despite the company's recent challenges.

Ph.D.-Jays

Aspiring disc jockeys can learn the fine art of working a turntable.

Health Net Reports Lukewarm Earnings

Shares in Health Net Inc. dropped more than 3 percent Monday as the healthcare provider said profit and revenues were hurt by sluggish enrollment.

Why Aren't More Women Taking High-Level Business Classes?

Linda A. Livingstone of Pepperdine asks why more women aren't taking high-level business classes.

L.A. Execs Bullish, But ...

L.A.-area executives believe the city is not a good place to do business, according to an annual survey.

DaVita Reports Strong 1Q

DaVita Inc. reported double digit increases in profit and revenues thanks to strong demand for dialysis services.

Union Tries to Block Program

The Teamsters Union has filed a federal lawsuit in an effort to block a new pilot program allowing Mexican long-haul trucks unrestricted access to the United States.

Air Rights Law Gives Lift to Downtown Development

An ordinance that would allow downtown developers to buy "air rights" so they could increase the size of their projects is drawing intense interest.

Ski Channel to Launch in 2008

Steve Bellamy, founder of the Tennis Channel, plans to launch the Ski Channel in early 2008 thanks to a carriage agreement with Time Warner Cable and the support of four charter advertisers.

Newsmakers

Hirings, promotions and kudos.

L.A. Times Losing Readers

The Los Angeles Times saw declines in both daily as well as weekend readership, according to the latest data from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Dominant Role in Gay Media Isn't Paying Yet for PlanetOut

PlanetOut Inc.

Retailers Could Use Some Mood Elevators

Retailers are complaining about slower sales while the Beverly Center escalators are closed during a very long mall upgrade.

Sack Pack on Attack Over Plastic Bag Ban

As lawmakers consider a ban on plastic grocery bags in Los Angeles, local bag manufacturers prepare to fight back.

Seeing the Light

Pelican Products Inc. started out making scuba diving equipment and now makes a high-tech flashlight for the Los Angeles Police Department.

Excitement Over Downtown Leads to $117 Million Sale

Brickman, a New York real estate private equity firm, has purchased the office building at 915 Wilshire Blvd. from Lincoln Property Co. for $117 million.

American Reprographics Names CEO

American Reprographics Co. appointed current Chief Operating Officer and President K. "Suri" Suriyakumar as chief executive officer effective June 1.

Farmer Bros. Buys Coffee Bean

Farmer Bros. Co. said Monday that it has acquired privately held Coffee Bean International for $22 million in stock and cash.

Regional Report

Regional business news from Los Angeles County.

More Malls Benefit Everyone, While Litigation Is Wasteful

Developer Rick Caruso offers $5 million that otherwise would be spent on lawsuits over his plans for a mall at Santa Anita to create a community foundation instead.

Truck Firms Fume Over Cleanup Plan

Small trucking companies say they may go bankrupt under a proposal to scrap or retrofit 10,000 polluting trucks that service the ports.

High Volume Isn't Nearly Enough For Universal Detection

Universal Detection Technology Inc., L.A.'s smallest publicly traded company, had an active trading week, with more than 19 million of its half-cent shares changing hands.

Decisiveness Would Serve L.A.Times in Wired World

The announcement last week that the Los Angeles Times will reduce its newsroom staff by as many as 150 people came with Publisher David Hiller's grim acknowledgment that the cuts "reflect the fundamental and ongoing changes occurring" in the newspaper bus

Don't Put on Your Lawsuit

Charles Crumpley writes that litigation places a cost burden on the economy.

Grocery Union Enlisting Powerful Allies

In an attempt to provide added leverage to the grocery workers union in contract talks, Los Angeles' powerful labor movement and its allies among elected officials are exploring ways to use local government to pressure supermarket chains to boost pay and

Tummy Tuck Denim Line Expecting Continued Expansion

While dozens of Los Angeles denim designers were making money selling skinny jeans to women sized eight and under, Lisa Rudes Sandel quietly devised a way to dress the rest of the country.

Riordan Lewis Announcing Closure of Most Recent Fund

Riordan Lewis & Haden, a private equity firm co-founded by former mayor Richard Riordan, will announce this week that it has closed its most recent fund, RLH Investors II, with $265 million in committed capital.

Sunday, April 29

High-speed Train Plan May be Derailed

For more than a decade, policymakers have debated, studied and scoped out a high-speed rail line that would whisk travelers between downtown Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2 1/2 hours.

Friday, April 27

K-Swiss Profit, Sales Tumble

Shares in K-Swiss Inc. tumbled more than 5 percent Friday after the company reported double-digit drops in profits and sales.

Barbie Gets Hi-Tech Makeover

Mattel Inc. said it would introduce a Barbie digital-music player and Web site to try to boost sales of the iconic fashion doll.

MySpace Debuts in China

News Corp.'s popular social networking site MySpace.com launched its test version in China Friday.

Live Nation Acquires Trunk

Live Nation said Friday that it has bought the remaining stake of licensing company Trunk Ltd. from that firm's founder, Brad Beckerman.

L.A. On-Location Filming Down 22%

On-location feature film production in Los Angeles declined 22 percent in the first quarter of 2007 compared to the same period last year, marking the second largest year-to-year decline on record, according to data released by FilmL.A. Inc.

South L.A.'s Growing Pain

Fifteen years after the 1992 riots, South Los Angeles has seen dramatic population shifts , but frustratingly little economic progress.

'Mileage Maniacs' Hack Hybrids in Japan

Toyota Motor Corp. says its Prius gasoline-electric hybrid car gets about 55 miles to the gallon, making it one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the road. That's not good enough for Takashi Toya.

Movers and Losers

Solid earnings propelled Teledyne while analysts' upgrades fended off poor earnings for Stamps.com and Cheesecake Factory. Wilshire Bancorp and Skechers were bit by poor earnings while Enova dropped from a 52-week high.

Thursday, April 26

New Queen Mary Plan on Deck

A Santa Monica-based development team has bid $41 million to purchase the lease to the Queen Mary and its surrounding property, signalling a strong start to what could become a bidding war for the oceanfront acreage as early as this summer.

Korn/Ferry Appoints New CEO

Korn/Ferry International named a new chief executive and will separate the roles of chairman and chief executive in a move to further grow its business, the Los Angeles executive recruitment firm said Friday.

Jakks Hits High After Earnings

Toymaker Jakks Pacific Inc. hit a 52-week high during trading Thursday after the company reported impressive first quarter earnings boosted by strong sales.

CSC Acquires IT Company

Computer Sciences Corp. is buying information technology service provider Covansys Corp. in a $1.3 billion cash deal.

Fremont Sued, Hires Auditor

Fremont General Corp. employees have filed a federal lawsuit against the company, claiming they lost millions of dollars on company stock in their retirement plan while executives sold off millions of shares to stave off big losses.

Gov. Threatens EPA With Lawsuit

In a rebuke of the Bush administration's environmental policy, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger threatened Wednesday to sue the federal government if it does not decide by October whether to allow California to regulate greenhouse gas emissions on new vehicles.

Hilton to Sell European Hotels

Hilton Hotels Corp. has agreed to sell as many as 10 hotels to Morgan Stanley for $770 million, the Beverly Hills-based hotel owner and operator said Thursday.

Countrywide Profit Plummets

Earnings at Countrywide Financial Corp. plummeted in the first quarter amid the meltdown of the subprime lending sector.

Indymac Surprises with Earnings

Indymac Bancorp posted better-than-expected first quarter earnings amid a frigid mortgage market further chilled by slumping home sales.

FBI Cancels Westwood Plans

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has scrapped controversial plans to build a new Los Angeles headquarters office at the site of the Federal Building in Westwood, the Business Journal has learned.

Wednesday, April 25

L.A. Ranks Low in Business Legal Climate

California is once again in the bottom tier of states for its business legal climate and Los Angeles was again named the least fair litigation environment of any metropolitan area.

Teledyne Soars On Strong First Quarter

Shares in Teledyne Technologies Inc. soared nearly 13 percent Wednesday after the company announced double-digit increases in profit and sales thanks to higher operating margins.

Cheesecake Factory Surges On Upgrade

Shares in casual dining chain Cheesecake Factory Inc. soared more than 10 percent Wednesday after analysts upgraded its stock despite mediocre first quarter numbers.

Tribune Buyback Begins

The Tribune Co. began buying back $4.3 billion in stock Wednesday as the media conglomerate starts the process for going private.

Skechers Shares Fall After Earnings

Shares in Skechers USA Inc. fell sharply in after-market trading Wednesday when the shoemaker reported record first quarter sales that failed to meet Wall Street expectations and lowered its second quarter forecast.

Web-Only Airline To Fly to Burbank

The extreme low-fare airline (with $10 tickets) already well established in Europe, will try for a comeback in the United States on May 22 with a well-financed start-up, Skybus Airlines.

FirstFed Reports Strong 1Q Earnings

FirstFed Financial Corp. reported first-quarter net income of $32 million, a 5 percent jump from $31 million for the same period a year earlier.

Disney Eliminating Buena Vista Name

Walt Disney Co. said it will change the name of its Buena Vista film division to one incorporating the name "Disney" within the next few weeks, Bloomberg News reports.

IHOP's Sales Up, Profit Hurt By Fees

Casual dinning chain operator IHOP Corp. reported a 10 percent dip in first quarter profit as financing costs lowered its bottom line.

Council OKs Disney Housing Project

Over the strong objections of Disney and dozens of tourist officials, the Anaheim City Council voted 3-2 early this morning to approve a controversial residential project in the city's resort district.

State Homes Sales Fall 20.8% in March

Home sales in California plunged an annual 20.8 percent during March in response to rising mortgage rates and tighter lending-standards, a trade association said Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 24

How an Email Rant Jolted Kaiser

On a Friday morning last November, Justen Deal, a 22-year-old Kaiser Permanente employee, sent an email throughout the giant health maintenance organization blasting the company's leadership.

Jacobs Reports Solid Earnings

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., bolstered by strong order activity, reported earnings Tuesday that exceeded Wall Street expectations.

East West Buys Victorville Bank

East West Bancorp Inc. of Pasadena has agreed to acquire Desert Community Bank for approximately $142 million in stock and cash.

Occidental Reports Weaker Sales

Slumping crude prices and chemical sales pushed down Occidental Petroleum Corp.'s first quarter earnings.

Northrop Shares Fall on Earnings

Shares in Northrop Grumman Corp. dipped nearly 2 percent as the defense contractor reported meek earnings that missed analysts' expectations.

Producers Prepare for Possible Strike

Gary Scott Thompson, writer and executive producer of the NBC show "Las Vegas," won't be taking a summer hiatus. Instead, he'll be working out scripts for next season's episodes as a hedge against a potential Hollywood writers' strike.

Bertelsmann Reaches Napster Settlement

Bertelsmann AG paid rival music labels EMI and Warner Music Group $110 million to settle lawsuits over its backing of online music service Napster.

Avery Reports Jump in Sales, Profits

Strong European sales helped Avery Dennison Corp. post a strong first quarter, beating analysts' predictions.

L.A. Times Plans Job Cuts

The Los Angeles Times announced Monday that it would offer voluntary buyouts in hopes of cutting its staff of 2,775 by as many as 150 employees , seven months after two of the paper's top executives spoke out against such cuts.

Monday, April 23

SANTA CLARITA VALLEY: Developers Head North for Industrial Projects

Sales and leasing activity in the Santa Clarita Valley in the first quarter.

INLAND EMPIRE: Strong Job Growth Boosts Market Despite Housing Woes

Sales and leasing activity in the Inland Empire in the first quarter.

Avian Flu Pandemic Would Not Be a Typical Emergency

If the avian flu hits the L.A. area, business leaders will have to think in ways they've never thought before, according to George Abercrombie.

WILSHIRE CORRIDOR: Low Vacancy Rates, Economy Push Rents Higher

Sales and leasing activity in L.A.'s Wilshire Corridor in the first quarter.

Beverly Hills Sale Could Drive Up Prices Across Market

The Los Angeles real estate community is still abuzz over the $500 million sale of 9900 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills the planned site of an ultra-luxurious condominium project designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Meier.

High Court Ruling on Wage Case Seen as Anti-Business

As part of the California Supreme Court's unanimous decision in Murphy vs. Kenneth Cole Productions, the court ruled that employees can sue their companies for up to three years of lost wages.

Playa Office Projects Turn the Marina Tide

Marina del Rey, Playa Vista and the surrounding environs are experiencing an office boom, partly due to price as rents rise nearby.

Amgen Shares Recover Slightly After Spate of Bad News

What normally would have been considered disappointing results from a study of Amleading anemia drug was perceived as good news last week, sending share prices upward.

Edison Plan Would Put Heat on Business

Southern California Edison Co. this summer will start installing high-tech meters that eventually will allow the utility to charge its customers higher rates during summer peak usage.

Speed Demon Puts Pedal to Metal on Alternative Fuel

Land-speed racer Gale Banks is placing a new emphasis on alternative fuels at his Azusa engineering company.

Amgen Cautious About 2007

Amgen Inc. reported higher first-quarter profit, lead by increased sales of its anemia and infection drugs, but forecast that full-year profit for 2007 would be at the low end of expectations.

SOUTH BAY: Pricey Westside Rents Boost Area's Cheaper Office Market

Sales and leasing activity in L.A.'s South Bay area in the first quarter.

Business.com Strategy Makes It an Advertising Powerhouse

Since morphing from a business news site into a business ad network in 2002, Business.com has built itself into a powerhouse.

Stylist Is Star After Edwards Elects to Coif Up Big Bucks

Presidential candidate John Edwards may have hurt himself with his $400 haircut. But he helped Torrenueva Hair Designs on Wilshire Boulevard, where he got his costly coiffure.

TRI-CITIES: Falling Vacancy Rates May Signal Glendale's Comeback

Sales and leasing activity in the Tri-Cities area in the first quarter.

Napster Launches New Service

Online music retailer Napster Inc. announced that it will go to Japan for the first launch of its wireless music subscription service.

Palladium Sold to OC Firm

After several stalled deals, the Hollywood Palladium has been sold to Newport Capital Advisors for about $68 million, the Los Angeles Business Journal has learned.

MID CITIES: Market Tightens Amid Port Traffic, Demand for Warehouses

Sales and leasing activity in L.A.'s Mid Cities area in the first quarter.

DOWNTOWN: Activity Increases as Prices Rise and Concessions Vanish

Sales and leasing activity in Downtown area in the first quarter.

SAN FERNANDO VALLEY: Office and Commercial Rents Are Climbing

Sales and leasing activity in the San Fernando Valley in the first quarter.

'You Can't Get Good Retailers to Come Unless There Is Density'

Steve Soboroff has overseen the rapid growth of the Playa Vista project since October 2001 after a failed bid for mayor.

FDA Was Aware of Food Dangers

The Food and Drug Administration has known for years about contamination problems at a Georgia peanut butter plant and on California spinach farms that forced one of the biggest product recalls in U.S. history, documents and interviews show.

State's New Insurance Czar Had to Hit the Ground Running

Since taking office, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has participated in fraud raids and directed aid to farmers hit by the freeze.

Using Music to Build Deeper Customer Relationships

Lynne Leger

Nielsen to Expand TV Measurement

Nielsen plans to roll out a new service to measure TV viewers outside of the home. Coverage will start in September in six major U.S. cities, including Los Angeles.

Playa Vista Comes to Life in Fulfillment of 'Urban Model'

The community is coming to life on a model of new urbanism.

L.A. COUNTY: Commercial Rents Climb Upward Despite New Space

Sales and leasing activity in L.A. County in the first quarter.

Staar Previews Q1

Eye implant maker Staar Surgical Co. said it expects to report first-quarter revenue of $14.8 million to $14.9 million, up 11 percent from a year ago. That's slightly below Wall Street expectations.

Misses' Macabre

Women now comprise more than half of the audience at the most successful scary films.

A Legacy Filled With Contradictions

Boris Yeltsin will go down in history a good bit better remembered than he is today.

Who Will Succeed the Oracle of Omaha?

When investors gather in two weeks for the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, a nagging question will be who might someday replace Warren E. Buffett in each of the two roles he plays.

The Cost of Being Costly

After hearing about presidential candidate John Edwards' $400 haircut, Charles Crumpley wonders about the psychology of exorbitant pricing.

VENTURA: Expecting Rent Hikes, Tenants Opting to Become Owners

Sales and leasing activity in Ventura in the first quarter.

Company Ventures to Odder Edge of Television Content

TVN Entertainment Corp. is on the odder edge of programming: the Karaoke Channel, for example.

Credit Check

Darren Williams, CEO of Wescom credit union, says his sector offers better financial services than banks.

Talk Show Selling Lawyers Platform for Self-Promotion

Steve Murphy's "Insider Exclusive" is a TV show blending the talk format with infomercials for lawyers.

Venture Grows in SoCal

The Southern California region is now second only to Silicon Valley in venture capital investments, according to a first quarter report by Ernst & Young LLP and Dow Jones VentureOne.

Spa Lady She Delivers

Randi Ragan decided women would appreciate facials and pedicures at home: hence Green Bliss Eco Spa.

Gear Up, Girls

Mattel Inc.'s Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars have long been big sellers to little boys. Now the El Segundo toy manufacturer is marketing to girls with pink and purple cars.

WESTSIDE: Rents Hit Unprecedented Levels Amid Intense Demand

Sales and leasing activity in L.A.'s Westside in the first quarter.

Regional Report

Regional business news from around L.A. County.

Area's New Role as Office Hub Boosted by Marina Makeover

The area is in the midst of a $1.5 billion makeover that aims to transform it into an upscale resort, complete with luxury apartments, hotels and shops.

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY: Market Can't Meet Industrial Space Demand

Sales and leasing activity in The San Gabriel Valley in the first quarter.

L.A. Firms Lured by Foreign Exchanges

More local companies are choosing to go public but they're doing it overseas, where the fees are lower and the regulations less onerous.

Former L.A. Accountant Courts Local Firms for Arabian Emirate

Shadi Sanbar, who lived and worked in Los Angeles most of his life, is a director of the Dubai International Financial Market.

HOLLYWOOD: Market Awaiting Construction of New Office Projects

Sales and leasing activity in Hollywood in the first quarter.

Congestion Relief?

The Playa Vista developers are spending $100 million on roads, signals and other traffic improvements.

Newsmakers/Kudos/Donations

Hirings, promotions and kudos.

How Can Small Business Cope With Health Insurance Costs?

Michael Shaw lists what California's small businesses need in order to offer their employees health coverage.

Cannes-Do Attitude Gaining Momentum in Hollywood

TV5Monde USA, America's only French language channel, will be the sole channel in the U.S. to air live coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies at the 60th annual Cannes Film Festival.

Insider Trading Alleged

The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed charges against the husband of a top Amgen Inc. executive, accusing the man of insider trading in the stock of a company that Amgen was about to acquire.

Wilshire Offering Individuals Same Services as Institutions

At first glance, it may seem puzzling that an investment house with $12.5 trillion in assets worldwide which has historically served only institutional clients would go down market to court individuals with as little as $500,000 to invest.

Friday, April 20

Film Venture Is Formed

Former Paramount Motion Picture Group Chairman Robert Friedman and former chief of the foreign film sales for Summit Entertainment, Patrick Wachsberger, joined a group of investors led by Merrill Lynch to acquire Summit and make it part of a new movie pro

Doctors, Hospitals Join Blue Cross Suit

The largest organizations representing California physicians and hospitals joined a lawsuit against Blue Cross of California on Thursday.

Big Movers

A merger boosted Point.360 while some good news, and some good earnings, helped Fremont and East West Bancorp, respectively. On the other hand, profit taking took a bite out of Grill Concepts while poor earnings and a gloomy outlook stunned Stamps.com and

IndyMac Tightens Standards, Sees Losses

The subprime lending unit of IndyMac Bancorp Inc. has raised its minimum borrowing standards and cut back on loans to borrowers who can not document income, the Pasadena-based bank said Friday.

National Veterinary Sold for $128 Million

Privately held National Veterinary Associates has been sold to venture firm Summit Partners for about $128 million, the Westlake Village-based chain said.

Note to Readers

Because of technical problems with the Business Journal's Web server, many subscribers received their Daily E-Newsletters late on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Hanmi Shares Fall on Loan Losses

Hanmi Financial Corp. saw its shares drop by 14 percent Friday after it warned that loan losses would lead to lower first quarter earnings.

L.A.'s Job Picture Mixed in March

While employers in L.A. County added a robust 17,000 non-farm payroll jobs in March, the number of Angelenos saying they have jobs dropped by 13,000, according to the state's monthly jobs report.

Stamps.Com Stung by Earning, Forecast

Shares in Stamps.com Inc. plummeted more than 15 percent Friday to a two-year low after the company reported meager earnings and dropped its 2007 forecast.

Space Center Gunman Identified

A gunman who killed a hostage and then himself inside the Johnson Space Center in Houston on Friday afternoon was an employee of Pasadena-based Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.

Thursday, April 19

AT & T; to Offer Internet TV in L.A.

AT & T; Inc. said Wednesday that viewers in the Los Angeles area will soon have the option of ordering the company's new U-verse digital fiber optic video and high-speed Internet services.

Reliance Shares Surge on Record Quarter

Shares in Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. surged nearly 9 percent Thursday after the company reported record breaking first quarter profit and hit an all-time high for share price.

Gores Acquires Imaging Centers

Los Angeles private equity firm the Gores Group LLC is buying Healthsouth Corp.'s diagnostic division for $47.5 million, the troubled Birmingham healthcare company said.

Amgen Gets a Boost

Shares in Amgen Inc. shot up Thursday after the Thousand Oaks biotech gave the market its first shot of good news in more than a week.

Justice Dept. Probes Deepwater

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the Coast Guard's $24 billion Deepwater modernization contract.

Rents Rise But Growth Stays Slow

The high cost of renting in Southern California keeps getting higher, but prices have lately been rising at a slightly more leisurely pace.

City National Shares Up On Earnings Dip

Shares in City National Corp. gained more than 2 percent early Thursday after the bank reported a dip in first-quarter profit and net interest but still met Wall Street's expectations.

More Aid Planned for Sinking Borrowers

Two big lenders stepped up Wednesday with plans to help some strapped mortgage borrowers, while a Capitol Hill summit on rising foreclosures put pressure on other industry players to work with troubled homeowners.

Ticketmaster Sues StubHub

Ticketmaster sued eBay Inc. and its subsidiary StubHub, alleging that the companies interfered with Ticketmaster's contractual rights to be an exclusive vendor of certain shows.

L.A. Mayor Tightens Budget

Faced with declining real estate-related revenues, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa proposes a $6.8 billion budget for 2007-08 that boosts gang prevention and public safety funding but holds the line on most other city programs.

Tribune Posts Big Loss

Shares in Tribune Co. slid slightly Thursday after the company reported a big first quarter loss amid declining ad sales.

Fremont Execs Sold Shares Before Crash

Regulatory filings have revealed that Fremont General Corp. executives sold nearly $9 million worth of stock in early January, more than a month before the company announced its subprime mortgage business was in danger of going bankrupt.

Tentative OK for Abraxis Drug

Abraxis BioScience Inc. said its generic version of Pfizer Inc.'s anticonvulsant Cerebyx has received tentative approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

MySpace to Offer News Feed

MySpace.com said Thursday that it is going to add a news feature to its popular networking site that will allow its users to decide what news is most important and should be displayed.

Wednesday, April 18

Hollywood Tower Sold for $34 Million

The faux French-Normandy style Hollywood Tower apartment building in Hollywood, a familiar sight to drivers on the Hollywood Freeway, has been sold for $34.5 million to a Phoenix landlord that plans to build more units next to it.

Fremont Exits Subprimes for Condos

Former subprime lender Fremont General Corp. is banking on condos. The company recently sold its entire residential mortgage business and now is turning to what seems like the relative safety of its commercial lending business.

CytRx Holds Private Placement

CytRx Corp. said Wednesday that it is holding a private placement where it will be offering 8.6 million shares at $4.30 to a group of institutional investors in the hopes of netting about $34 million.

Caruso Gets Approval for Santa Anita Mall

The Arcadia City Council unanimously approved plans for a high-end shopping center at an unused Santa Anita Race Track parking lot, clearing the way for the Rick Caruso-lead project to break ground.

Mayor's School Power Rejected

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa suffered a political setback Tuesday when an appellate court ruled that a state law giving him power over schools in his city is unconstitutional.

Tuesday, April 17

Esperanza Still Hopeful for LNG Terminal

Recent decisions by the Port of Long Beach and two powerful state commissions to kill competing LNG terminals appear to have temporarily halted proposals to import the fuel from overseas.

Point.360 Merges With Texas Firm

Shares in digital media firm Point.360 soared nearly 50 percent Tuesday after DG FastChannel Inc. agreed to acquire the Burbank firm's advertising distribution operations for about $34 million.

Study Critical of Epogen Overuse

For-profit dialysis centers tend to administer Amgen Inc.'s anemia drugs at higher than recommended levels, potentially raising the risk for deadly side effects, according to a study funded by the U.S. government.

Foreclosure Pace Nears Decade High

Nearly 900 Californians a week are losing their homes because they can't afford to pay the mortgage , up from about 100 a week a year ago.

Northrop, Lockheed Lose Lead on Project

The Coast Guard is removing Northrop Grumman Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp. from management roles on its $24 billion Deepwater modernization project.

Tetra Tech Buys Green Power Firm

In a bid to increase its wind energy project services, L.A. engineering consulting firm Tetra Tech Inc. has acquired Delaney Group. Terms of the buyout were not disclosed.

Realtors Launch PR Push

The California Association of Realtors launched a new $2.3 million ad campaign entitled "California Realtors -- We Get It."

Edison Defends Compensation Policy

Edison International on Monday stepped up efforts to defeat a shareholder's proposal that would limit executive compensation, arguing in a letter to potential voters that current policies are sufficient.

Monday, April 16

... And Now as You All Go Forth Into the World ...

Business stars speaking at local commencement ceremonies include Eli Broad and Charlie Munger.

AEG Lands Hotel Partner

Anschutz Entertainment Group Inc. has found a new partner for its Convention Center hotel project at L.A. Live after going it alone for several months.

Builders Cut Prices to Sell New Homes as Market Softens

March 2007 Home & Condo Sales in L.A. County

Flight Pattern

Aerovironment Inc. is getting the kind of investor and analyst attention that young public companies would envy. It's on the cutting edge of designing unmanned aircraft and quick-charge systems for electric vehicle batteries.

Regional Report

Business news from around the L.A. area.

Timing the Market

Los Angeles won't see a real estate crash because the region's economy is strong, says Mark Cohen.

Taking a Different Road

L.A.'s monumental problem with traffic has a solution that might even seem too obvious, writes Charles Crumpley: build more roads.

MySpace, State Talk Partnership

New legislation could team California and MySpace, the nation's largest state and the popular Internet portal, in an innovative but controversial way to fight sex offenders who prowl chat rooms for child victims.

CBRE Remains Top Brokerage

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. has been named nation's largest brokerage by the National Real Estate Investor. This is the fourth consecutive year that the firm has finished at the top of the list.

Shop for Smaller Guys Moves Into the Big Time

Jimmy Au has opened a Beverly Hills location where he sells high fashion brands to men 5-feet-8-inches and under.

Cingular Executive Recalls When 'Send' Button Was New

Andy Shibley

NoHo Media Center Changes Hands in $19.7 Million Deal

Media Center, a multi-tenant office building in North Hollywood, has changed hands.

Hire Anxiety

Indian engineers with degrees from American universities are heading back home to avoid the hassle of H-1B visas. Meanwhile, American companies are setting up shop in India to hire local talent.

Mayor 90210

Jimmy Delshad is facing major development and traffic issues in his high-profile role as mayor of Beverly Hills.

Five Key Affiliates Unplug TV Azteca

Five key affiliate stations say they will stop carrying Azteca America's signal, dealing a significant blow to the L.A.-based Spanish-language network's bid to crack the U.S. market.

Maguire Unloads O.C. Properties

Los Angeles-based Maguire Properties Inc. has agreed to sell 11 Orange County buildings to Bixby Land Co. for $345 million.

Gaining From Loss

Richard Burke is hoping for big returns from Diet Classics' discount versions of weight-control pills.

Trans-Exec Flies Higher With Investment in New Luxury Jets

Trans-Exec Air Service, which has a high-end fleet of executive jets based at Van Nuys Airport, is buying two Gulfstream G550s a total investment of more than $100 million.

Little Red Feather Gets Off to a Running Start With Ponies

Numbers of celebrity investors have dwindled as it has become clear just how tough it is to make money and to avoid losing money owning a racehorse.

Mattel Beats Estimates, Shares Up

Mattel Inc. reported better than expected first quarter earnings Monday.

Newsmakers

Hirings, promotions and kudos.

Fremont in $2.9 Billion Sell-Off

Fremont General Corp. said Monday that it would sell its residential real estate business and about $2.9 billion in subprime residential mortgages.

Contrarian Ads for Casino Urge Visitors to Avoid Gambling

Saatchi sells Pala resort with emphasis on other amenities.

Racing in Place

Filming for Fox's cross-country drama "Drive" doesn't have to leave Santa Clarita, thanks to effects shop Zoic Studios, which is creating the backgrounds of swamps, gas stations and open roads.

Cathay Shares Trend Lower Despite Expansion, Earnings

Cathay General Bancorp Inc. (Nasdaq: CATY)

Network Net

Marley Majcher, who owns Pasadena-based Party Goddess Inc., recently decided to hold monthly networking get-togethers.

One-Way, Right Way For Boulevards

Converting Olympic and Pico boulevards into one-way streets from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica could increase capacity on the roads by up to 20%.

L.A. Developing Double Vision For Summer Festivals

Los Angeles is about to become the nation's capital of television festivals.

More Drug Troubles for Amgen

New research reveals that the off-label use of Amgen Inc.'s best-selling drug Aranesp could increase the risk of death for some cancer patients.

Wells Opens Manhattan Beach Hub for Wealth Management

Wells Fargo & Co. opened a 30,000-square-foot banking complex in Manhattan Beach.

Paris Hilton's New Clothing Line Is Welcomed to Dollhouse

Paris Hilton's brand makes its debut at California Market Center.

Union Bank Places Major Asia Wager

Union Bank of California's Los Angeles foreign exchange desk is gearing up to handle an explosion of growth in trading Asian currencies.

Epileptic Develops Software to Link Seizures, Possible Triggers

Epilepsy patient, Eric Schumacher, developed software for tracking activities and seizures.

Saturday, April 14

L.A. Loses 2016 Olympics to Chicago

Los Angeles will not host the Summer Games in 2016, it was announced Saturday, as the U.S. Olympic Committee picked Chicago as the city to submit for international competition.

Friday, April 13

Latino Buying Nears $1 Trillion

Latinos work hard, have money and spend it, and their vast buying power - close to $900 billion nationally this year - will shape the future of American society.

Decision a Blow to Unions

Ending a five-year legal battle, the state Supreme Count awarded a major victory to private engineering firms Thursday by affirming California's right to outsource potentially billions of dollars in public works projects.

Profits Up Big For Grocery Operators

Profits are climbing for the nation's top three supermarket operators, three years after the chains wrestled key wage and benefit concessions from Southern California workers during a strike and lockout.

House of Taylor Names New CFO

Shares in House of Taylor Jewelry surged more than 9 percent Friday after the company announced that it hired Bob Rankin as the company's new chief financial officer.

Edison Ups Green Power With Deal

Southern California Edison said it has reached an agreement with renewable energy generator Calpine to purchase 225 megawatt of geothermal energy.

Thursday, April 12

Effort to Repeal Reforms Under Way

A trial-lawyer-backed initiative to roll back workers' compensation reforms enacted three years ago has qualified to begin collecting signatures, Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced Thursday.

LAX Continues to Lose Global Traffic

A leading aviation consulting firm delivered a sobering message Thursday to Los Angeles airport officials: the well-publicized continuing decline in international travelers may be a harbinger of things to come.

$22 Million For Northrop's Top Exec

Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Chief Executive Ron Sugar was the highest-paid chief of a U.S.-based defense contractor in 2006 banking $21.7 million.

Expo's a Worldwide Soundstage

Los Angeles may be the film capital of the world, but that isn't stopping more than 260 exhibitors from more than three dozen countries and 30 U.S. states from coming to town to try to lure film production to their areas.

Countrywide Lending Up, Subprime Dips

Countrywide Financial Corp. said its subprime loan funding fell sharply last month as the housing market continued to tighten.

Tax Evasion Adds to Francis' Legal Woes

The founder of the risque "Girls Gone Wild" empire was indicted Wednesday on two counts of tax evasion by a federal grand jury, the latest in a series of legal woes for the Santa Monica entrepreneur

Live Nation Lands Palladium

Live Nation Inc. has singed a 20-year lease to manage and restore the landmark Hollywood Palladium.

Wednesday, April 11

United Adds $10 For LAX Passengers

United Airlines on Wednesday began charging passengers flying out of Los Angeles International Airport an additional $10, a fee the airline said is necessary to offset a $10 million increase in the rent charged by the airport.

UPDATE: Amgen Delays Earnings

Amgen Inc. will delay reporting first-quarter earnings until April 23, four days later than planned, so that it can discuss a clinical trial that could bolster or further erode the biotech's beleaguered stock.

MGM Adds Films to iTunes

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. has begun offering its feature films on Apple Inc.'s iTunes Music Store.

Apollo Buys 24 Apartment Buildings

Apollo Real Estate Advisors has purchased 24 rental properties in the Silverlake, Westlake, Koreatown, Hollywood, West Hollywood and Los Feliz areas for about $83 million.

Northrop Embraces Small-Satellite Plan

Northrop Grumman Corp. is taking the contrarian step of forging a partnership with Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. to propose lighter, more-flexible spy satellites to the U.S. military and intelligence agencies.

Comcast To Acquire Fandango

Comcast Corp. said Wednesday it would acquire online movie vendor Fandango Inc. for an undisclosed sum.

In Beverly Hills, High End Indeed

It may be the ultimate Beverly Hills teardown. British developers paid $500 million Tuesday for the once-grand Robinsons-May department store in one of the priciest property sales ever in Southern California.

Tuesday, April 10

Amgen CFO Resigns

Amgen Inc. said it has promoted Robert Bradway to chief financial officer. He replaces Richard Nanula, who the company said is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities.

Maguire Sells San Diego Properties

Maguire Properties Inc. said Tuesday that it has agreed to sell two San Diego-based properties for $300 million to an undisclosed buyer.

Universal Travel Buys Chinese Firm

Universal Travel Group has completed the acquisition of Shenzhen Speedy Dragon Enterprise Ltd.

Oxnard LNG Facility Lease Denied

The State Lands Commission decided late Monday not to award a lease essential to a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal off the Southern California coast, citing environmental concerns.

Amgen Fades Amid Safety Questions

As the year began, Amgen Inc.'s Chief Executive Kevin Sharer boasted his biotechnology company had just finished "one of our very, very best years ever," the Wall Street Journal reports.

Pixar Backdating Broader Than Thought

Walt Disney Co. said Monday that the backdating of stock options at Pixar Animation Studios was broader than previous reports suggested.

99 Cents Only Shares Surge on Sales

Shares of 99 Cents Only Stores rose nearly 7 percent Tuesday after the discount retailer posted fourth-quarter sales numbers that beat analysts' estimates.

Grocery Workers Bracing for a Strike

As the picket signs were being packed away three years ago, Georgene Haubenreisser urged the relatives she had helped steer into supermarket careers to get out of the business.

KB Having More Options Troubles

KB Home Inc. said Monday afternoon in a regulatory filing that a lawsuit was filed against the company alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act related to the company's illegal backdating of stock options.

Monday, April 9

Volleyball Legend Inks Herbalife Deal

Herbalife Ltd. has signed a sponsorship deal with beach volleyball legend Karch Kiraly to become Kiraly's official nutrition and energy drink, the Century City-based company said Monday afternoon.

Union Pacific Unveils $300 Million Port Modernization Plan

The biggest railroad in North America doesn't usually do things small and that's the case with its latest proposal for its Los Angeles and Long Beach cargo complex.

Herbalife Rejects Whitney Again

Shares in Herbalife Ltd. dipped nearly 5 percent Monday on news that discussions on its possible acquisition by Whitney & Co. had collapsed once again.

Trojans, Bruins on Same Transfer Team

L.A.'s three heavyweight university research arms have joined forces to speed the transfer of technological discoveries made by their faculty and students to the marketplace.

It's Already Been Quite a Journey For Travel Guru

Even though he's only 27 years old, Sam Rogoway has drawn on his past experiences frequently to help him run his company.

International Rectifier Misstated Sales

Shares in International Rectifier Corp. lost nearly 8 percent Monday after the company disclosed that an internal audit committee had found that one of its foreign units misstated sales, forcing the company to restate past results.

He Started a Magazine for People Who Are Getting Started

Michael Ritter started publishing a little entertainment and lifestyle magazine for 20-somethings, called Saturday Night Magazine, in his fraternity room in 2003 while an undergrad at the University of Southern California.

Warner Music Inks Deal With Joost

Warner Music Group Corp. has agreed to put videos from its artists on Joost.com for free in an ad-revenue sharing agreement.

Union Pacific Unveils Port Upgrade Plan

Union Pacific Corp. has unveiled a $300 million modernization plan for its Los Angeles port facility with the intention of making it less polluting while also moving more cargo more quickly.

Fremont Can Count on Accounting Problems

It must find its third accounting firm in less than 12 months, get it to attest to management's financial assertions and file a delayed 10K with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Federal Building Would Be Razed

The federal government has nearly settled on a plan for a new Los Angeles FBI headquarters in Westwood that would demolish the landmark 1970 Federal Building and construct two office towers in its place.

Health Sciences Group Loses CEO

Health Sciences Group Inc. said in a regulatory filing that its bid to acquire specialty tea maker Kalahari Limited had fallen through and its chief executive officer of less than a year had resigned.

Hearing Today on LNG Project

California regulators today will begin considering a proposal by the world's largest mining company to moor a liquefied natural gas processing plant off the Southern California coast, setting the stage for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to approve or reject t

Hidden Gems in Oxy's Proxy Filing

Many of the most interesting nuggets on executive pay are buried so deep in the new corporate filings that it helps to bring along a calculator and a shovel -- like Occidental Petroleum CEO's $416 million salary, the New York Times reports.

Trade Rift Could Hurt U.S. Imports

A growing U.S.-China trade rift over coated paper exports to America has direct implications for Southern California seaports, where much of the paper is shipped.

Saturday, April 7

Lower Q2 for Overhill Farms

Overhill Farms Inc., a Vernon-based frozen foods maker, reported lower-than-expected second quarter earnings, sending its shares down sharply on Monday.

Friday, April 6

Viacom Renews Nickelodeon Lease

Viacom International Inc. has renewed the lease of the Nickelodeon animation headquarters in Burbank.

Jobless Rate Falls, 180,000 Jobs Added

If you were looking for a job as a teacher last month, you were in luck. Same goes for health workers, retail clerks and building contractors.

New Biz Dean at USC

James G. Ellis, vice provost for globalization at the USC Marshall School of Business, has been appointed dean of the business school, effective immediately.

Decron Buys Orange County Building

Los Angeles-based Decron Properties Corp. has purchased the Plaza in Huntington Beach from 3D Investments LLC of Beverly Hills in the largest O.C. office transaction of the year.

Consumers Borrowing Less Freely

Consumers increased their borrowing in February at the slowest pace in four months.

Ryland Expects Q1 Loss

A slowing housing market has led Calabasas homebuilder Ryland Group Inc to warn that it expects to report a loss of 50 cents to 60 cents per share for the first quarter.

Deal would give Zell broad powers

Real estate mogul Sam Zell will control a minority of Tribune Co.'s board if shareholders approve his bid for the company, but would have the power to veto major transactions, according to a regulatory filing.

Thursday, April 5

SC Official Held Stock in Student Lender

The directors of financial aid at Columbia University, the University of Texas and the University of Southern California held shares in a student loan company that each of the universities recommends to student borrowers, and in at least two cases profite

Herbalife Talks Resume

Herbalife Ltd. is back in play, with Whitney V LP saying in a regulatory filing that it has resumed talks with management that may lead to a higher offer to take the nutritional supplement company private.

Four Firms Settle State Gas Suit

In a case left over from the California energy crisis, four companies have agreed to pay ratepayers a combined $67.4 million over allegations of manipulating natural gas prices.

Disney Veteran Joins Cruise at UA

Veteran movie marketer and publicist Dennis Rice is leaving Walt Disney Co. to join United Artists, the historic film label being revived by actor Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner, his longtime producing partner.

KB Names Hilton Chief to Board

KB Home named Hilton Hotel Corp.'s Chief Executive Stephen Bollenbach to the company's board Thursday, marking the first time the company has named an independent non-executive as a chairman.

Offices Go Up as Space Glut Ends

The early 1990s were dark days for commercial real estate developers in Southern California. "Stay alive until '95," they used to say.

Oxy Looking at UAE for Natural Gas

Occidental Petroleum Corp. is submitting a proposal to develop natural-gas fields in the United Arab Emirates, the Los Angeles oil company said Thursday.

Kerkorian Makes Chrysler Bid

Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp. made a $4.5-billion cash offer for DaimlerChrysler AG's troubled U.S.-based Chrysler unit Thursday, Los Angeles-based billionaire's company said.

Baseball, Cable Into 'Extra Innings'

Cable television companies reached an agreement with Major League Baseball Wednesday evening to continue carrying out-of-market baseball and broadcast the new Baseball Channel starting in 2009.

Wednesday, April 4

Geffen May Still Try to Buy the Times

Will the next chapter in the Los Angeles Times ownership saga involve David Geffen?

Keystone Buys Tulsa Company

Pomona-based Keystone Automotive Industries Inc. said that it has acquired the assets of. Auto Panels Plus in Tulsa, Okla.

Sea Launch Aims for Fall Launch

A Long Beach-based venture that launches rockets at sea said Tuesday that it could begin launching again in October, about eight months after an explosion destroyed a commercial satellite and grounded operations.

Faculty, State Reach Tentative Agreement

Administrators and faculty at California State University announced a tentative contract agreement with the state Tuesday, eliminating faculty strikes that could have started next week.

Northrop Shipyard Workers Vote on Strike

Union leaders are urging workers at the Northrop Grumman Corp. shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. to end a month-long walkout by approving the company's latest contract proposal, which will be voted on today.

Time Warner Cable, Disney Ink Deal

Time Warner Cable said it has reached an agreement with Walt Disney Co. to distribute a handful of the media company's major cable channels including ABC Family, Disney Channel, ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN2, and ESPN Classic.

Apartment Rents Up, Availability Shrinks

Apartment rents jumped across Southern California last year and vacancy rates continued tightening, in part because of the housing market slump, according to a report that will be released today by the Lusk Center for Real Estate at USC.

Northrop Shipyard Workers Vote to End Strike

National union leaders are urging workers at the Northrop Grumman Corp. shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. to end a month-long walkout by approving Northrop's latest contract proposal, which will be voted on Wednesday.

L.A. Workers Feeling Subprime Pinch

Workers in Los Angeles grew more jittery in March as the subprime mortgage lending crisis made headlines and threatened to spill over into the larger housing market, according to a new survey.

Electro Rental Reports Mixed 3Q

Shares in Electro Rent Corp. were flat Wednesday after the company reported strong sales along with a double digit dip in profits.

Mayor Gets Say in Sale of Air Rights

In a compromise designed to appease Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the City Council on Tuesday took the first step toward revising a law giving downtown developers a way to increase the size of their buildings.

Supermarket Chains Sign Lockout Pact

Three major Southern California grocery chains that are in contract talks with thousands of employees have agreed to lock out all their workers if employees target one chain with a strike.

Tuesday, April 3

A Green Port May Cost Drivers

A new study on the economic well-being of port truckers seems to re-affirm what most everybody already knows: Hauling containers to and from the waterfront isn't very lucrative.

Bell Shares Slip On Loss

Shares in Bell Industries dipped 2 percent after the company reported its fifth straight quarterly loss.

Amgen Postpones Irish Plant

Amgen Inc. will delay development of its $1.1 billion manufacturing plant in Cork, Ireland, by two years, according to a Tuesday report in the Irish Examiner.

Napster Shares Gain on Strong Sales

Shares in Napster Inc. gained more than 3 percent Tuesday as large subscriber growth driven by an acquisition helped the on-line music retailer beat expected quarterly sales.

To Chandlers, Times is Just a Business

After more than 120 years, the Chandlers are getting out of the newspaper business.

Bump in MTA Fares Proposed

On Friday, March 23, county transit officials announced plans for the first fare hike for bus and rail lines in 13 years. The across-the-board bump would hit commuters particularly hard - a $52 monthly pass would cost as much as $120 by 2009.

Will LAX be Left Holding Bag?

An unresolved dispute with the federal government has left Los Angeles airports staring at potentially hundreds of millions of dollars of unexpected costs, congressional investigators indicated in a report issued Monday.

DirecTV Stock Swap Approved

News Corp. shareholders have approved the $11 billion asset swap between media moguls Rupert Murdoch and John Malone involving DirecTV Group Inc., the New York media company announced Tuesday.

Monday, April 2

Online Auto Parts Retailer Grinding Wall Street Gears

In less than two months since going public, Carson-based U.S. Auto Parts Network Inc. has seen its stock chopped in half due to troubles that have led to lawsuits and concern among some analysts.

IndyMac Execs Buy Shares, Release Data To Soothe Investors

IndyMac Bancorp Inc. called concerns about subprime defaults spilling into Alt-A home loans "overblown," and its share price jumped.

Getting Beyond Nowhere

Charles Crumpley is impressed by a proposal for an L.A. leadership coalition that would set priorities and act on solutions to the area's problems.

Obagi Sets Sights on Broadening Profile in Cosmeceuticals

Dr. Zein Obagi won success with rejuvenation products. Now, the Beverly Hills dermatologist is hoping his pharmaceutical-grade products will draw new customers.

Countrywide Down on Board Exits

Investors jittery over the slumping housing market sent shares in Countrywide Financial Corp. down more than 3 percent Monday after the company said that two directors will leave the mortgage lender's board.

White Memorial Raises $30 Million for Quake-Proofing

Supporters of White Memorial Medical Center have leveraged connections to raise $30 million a year ahead of schedule to help pay for a new earthquake-resistant hospital building.

Steps to Solve L.A.'s Problems With Traffic and Pollution

Chris Wolfe writes that Los Angeles has major problems with traffic and pollution, and he lists steps that can be taken to address them.

Council Has Taken Its Time Enforcing Newsrack Cleanup

More than two years ago, CLEAN, as the activist group is known, successfully lobbied the L.A. City Council for an ordinance to combat what it called "the blight that resulted from dozens if not hundreds of newsracks slapped haphazardly on the city sidewal

Zell Wins $8.2 Billion Tribune Bid

Tribune Co. said it accepted Sam Zell's buyout offer valued at about $8.2 billion, despite an 11th-hour bid by Los Angeles billionaires Eli Broad and Ron Burkle that reports said was valued higher.

Hoop Scenes

Actua Systems Inc.'s Positionit, allows cameras better views of NBA games.

Sputtering Generator Firm Losing Its Juice

Capstone Turbine Corp. could have benefited from Hurricane Katrina's aftermath. Instead, it has sputtered and chugged.

Main Street Makeover

Take a walk on Main Street between Fourth and Seventh and the most remarkable thing is what's no longer there: Mostly gone are the loitering crowds, the drug dealers and the addicts looking to buy.

Downtown Luxury Condominiums Feature Patios for Puffers

Koreatown's first luxury high rise condo tower has plenty of local flavor, including smoking porches.

Where in Downtown Should We Have Higher Densities?

Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris urges elected officials to proceed cautiously with regulations related to the sale of the convention center's air rights.

Eats L.A.

Downtown's new condo dwellers have been hungry for more eateries, and the market is beginning to serve them up.

Fremont General's Auditor Quits

Grant Thornton LLP has quit as auditor for Fremont General Corp., citing resistance from the industrial bank to providing information for an expanded audit in the wake of the company's problems in the subprime lending market.

Businesses Object to Putting Taxes in Affordable Housing

Businesses are raising concerns about City Council President Eric Garcetti's proposal to shift business taxes to an affordable housing fund rather than make tax cuts.

Another Legal Battle Erupting Over Movie Download Rights

The uncharted legal waters created by the emerging distribution platforms broadband, wireless and video-on-demand are creating a flood of copyright conflicts.

Publishers Take New Alternative Routes

Is print dying? Two icons of the local alternative press don't think so. They are launching two publications this month.

Seeking 100-Mile-Per-Gallon Car

The race is on to develop a commercially viable car that can travel 100 miles on a gallon of gasoline.

Fashion Week Looking Better Thanks to New Emphasis

The tweaks and tightening undertaken by organizers of L.A. Fashion Week to counter its flagging industry profile appear to have done the trick.

Publishing Magnate's Timing Was Impeccable

Robert E. Petersen, the founder of what was once the largest special-interest publishing company in the country, is remembered for his brilliant sense of timing.

Marketing Los Angeles as Ideal Site for Conventions

Dan Mishell

Regional Report

Regional business news from the L.A. area.

Union Pacific Proposes Prot Upgrade

Union Pacific Railroad has submitted a $300 million proposal to upgrade its massive intermodal container yard near West Long Beach.

Shopping Shuffle

Deep-pocket interests have been flocking to L.A.'s trendy retail neighborhoods, sometimes buying out the leases of mom and pop operators for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

State Measure Would Regulate Payday Loans to Military Staff

Controversial payday loans targeting soldiers returning from Iraq are now in the crosshairs of politicians.

Obagi: Company Aiming for High Profile in Cosmeceuticals

Dr. Zein Obagi won success with rejuvenation products. Now, the Beverly Hills dermatologist is hoping his pharmaceutical-grade products will draw new customers.

Santa Monica Studios Changes Hands in $27 Million Deal

NMS Properties Inc. has purchased Santa Monica Studios for $27 million and plans to build a mixed-use development there.

Shipping News

The Los Angeles and Long Beach ports will again witness big growth this summer, but it looks like they can handle it at least this year.

Volleyball Tour Teams Up With Baseball for Hits on the Internet

Major League Baseball's newest client is the pro beach volleyball tour operated by Los Angeles-based AVP Inc

L.A. Merger Activity Continues at Healthy Pace

Local mergers and acquisitions held steady in February with 64 deals totaling $7.1 billion, up slightly from the previous month and the same number as a year ago.

Coordinate Efforts by L.A. Business, Government, Non-Profits

Anthony J. Buzzelli writes that L.A. leaders should create a coalition in order to coordinate their problem-solving efforts.

Company Seeks 'Fan' Input With E-Focus Groups

Passenger Inc. has updated the focus group with the concept of "customer collaboration" for example, TV show fans gather online to view previews in exchange for their input.

The Man, the Brand

Wolfgang Puck is continuing to build on his food empire with renewed attention to his cafes and frozen pizzas. He's also launching a baby food line.

No One Could Argue Density Doesn't Belong in Heart of L.A.

Carol E. Schatz favors higher density in the downtown area and supports the sale of convention center air rights.

Big Movers

Late-week announcements for Image and Grill Concepts boosted stock Friday while a nixed merger, poor earnings and an underwhelming housing market stung, respectively, Electronic Clearing House, UTI and KB Home.

Newsmakers/Kudos

Hirings, promotions and kudos.

Has Middle Class Made a Comeback?

Defying a trend, Los Angeles has added middle-income jobs recently, according to a study to be released today by the UCLA Anderson Forecast.