Stories for August 2007

Wednesday, August 29

Sen. Schumer Chides Countrywide

Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that Countrywide Financial Corp. should stop paying brokers higher commissions for steering borrowers to adjustable rate subprime home loans.

Monday, August 27

Dream Teams That Shape L.A.'s Skyline

Los Angeles was long considered an architectural wasteland. But the city's reputation has changed thanks to a series of major projects.

Manhattan Project?

It's demand that drives the increasing need to build more condos and offices in Los Angeles, writes Harold Katz.

Silence Has Been Golden for Fremont

The stock of Fremont General Corp. gained nearly twice as much as the second-biggest gainer on the LABJ Stock Index of 200 local companies. Why was there so much interest in the Santa Monica-based lender?

The Century

The architects, builders, contractors and landscapers who brought L.A.'s newest landmarks from drawing board to reality.

Caltrans District 7 Headquarters

The architects, builders, contractors and landscapers who brought L.A.'s newest landmarks from drawing board to reality.

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

The architects, builders, contractors and landscapers who brought L.A.'s newest landmarks from drawing board to reality.

Convention Center Revs Green Machine

Los Angeles businesses have been taking their products organic, their meat free-range and their buildings "green" for years now. The trick has been making sure that the money keeps rolling in.

WPT Ups Ante With Launch Of Chinese Poker Tournament

WPT Enterprises Inc., producer of the televised World Poker Tour, is making headway in a huge gaming frontier: It is heading to China this fall.

Red Building

The architects, builders, contractors and landscapers who brought L.A.'s newest landmarks from drawing board to reality.

Firms Find Ways Around Visa Rules

Janet Reardon wants to hire a senior engineer for her company's Los Angeles office -- but first she has to send him to Canada.

Santa Monica Office Project Planned

A new office complex is being planned in Santa Monica, where international developer Hines just purchased a shuttered industrial plant on Olympic Boulevard.

Dodgers en Espanol Makes Move to KHJ

After 20 years, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Spanish-language radio broadcast will switch stations to Burbank-based Liberman Broadcasting Inc.'s KHJ-AM (930) next season.

Housing Report Stings Local Companies

Shares in local companies touched by the housing and real estate markets fell Monday after the National Association of Realtors reported that home sales fell in July for the fifth-straight month, leaving the U.S. housing market with its biggest glut of un

Regional Report

Business news from around L.A. County.

Innovo Names New CFO

Innovo Group Inc. said Monday that it has named Hamish Sandhu as the company's new chief financial officer.

Daily Briefs

VCA Antech's CEO sells $4.3 million in stock.

BP Grand Entrance, Broad Contemporary Art Museum

The architects, builders, contractors and landscapers who brought L.A.'s newest landmarks from drawing board to reality.

2000 Avenue of the Stars

The architects, builders, contractors and landscapers who brought L.A.'s newest landmarks from drawing board to reality.

Next Hits?

With members of the Writers Guild of America possibly heading

Walt Disney Concert Hall

The architects, builders, contractors and landscapers who brought L.A.'s newest landmarks from drawing board to reality.

Aerovironment Founder Retires Due to Health Problems

Aerovironment Inc. announced last week that its renowned founder, Paul MacCready, is retiring due to a serious health problem.

Growth Plan Lifts L.A.'s Ceiling

A Los Angeles city plan that would make it easier for residential developers to put up bigger buildings is being decried by a county supervisor as a trigger for a "demolition derby" that would reshape the face of the South Valley and Westside.

Think Inside The Big Box

Charles Crumpley tries to understand L.A.'s resistance to big box stores, but he can't. If you can, tell him.

Some Law Firms Opening Micro-Outposts in Los Angeles

A rash of national firms have opened micro-outposts in downtown and Century City, under the theory that a small office in L.A. is better than none at all.

Toyota Revs Longo But Galpin Skidding

Longo Toyota continues to thrive amid the popularity of Camrys, Corollas and Priuses. Meanwhile Galpin Ford's sales have slipped.

L.A. Wants More Big Box Retailers

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is pushing for more big box stores in Los Angeles in order to boost the city's sales tax revenue. But he faces significant hurdles.

Newsmakers/Kudos/Donations

Promotions, hirirngs and kudos.

Rand Corp. Headquarters

The architects, builders, contractors and landscapers who brought L.A.'s newest landmarks from drawing board to reality.

Ballard Spahr Continues Stretch West With Office in L.A.

Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll LLP of Philadelphia set up shop downtown last week with two attorneys from the local office of Baker & Hostetler LLP.

First Federal Bank Signs Lease Near Playa Vista Office Project

The forthcoming Playa Vista office and retail project is attracting tenants to the Marina del Rey area.

Microphone Maker Captures High Notes at Lower End

Blue Microphones in Westlake Village is making low-cost microphones to capture not just low notes, but the low-end of the market.

Swap Street

As the buildings above Broadway's mercados turn into luxury condos, residents may want national chain coffee chops and book stores.

Inside Countrywide's Lending Spree

On its way to becoming the nation's largest mortgage lender, Countrywide Financial Corp. encouraged its sales force to court customers over the telephone with a seductive pitch, often misleading customers, former employees said.

Three-Wheeler Gets Rolling With $6 Million in Funding

The three-wheel gasoline-and-electric hybrid car looks like something the Jetsons might have in their garage.

Getty Center

The architects, builders,

Slots Suited Her

When Vani Kumar won a jackpot at a Vegas slot machine, she knew immediately what she would do with the cash: open a discount women's suit store.

Wreck Trek

Looney Bins/Downtown Diversion is building on regulations designed to reduce landfill tonnage.

Silence Is Golden for Rumor-Fueled Fremont General

What explains last week's 78 percent gain for Santa Monica-based lender Fremont General Corp. shares, which had been beaten down dramatically in the subprime meltdown?

Topps Postpones Shareholder Vote

Topps Co. said Monday that it has postponed a shareholder vote on a proposed $385 million buyout from a group led by former Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Michael Eisner.

Show Businessman

Robert Pisano did stints at Paramount and the Screen Actors Guild. He's now in a leadership role at the Motion Picture Association of America.

Friday, August 24

Big Movers

While phrases like "credit concerns" and "subprime mess" are still chief concerns on Wall Street, the Business Journal's index of 200 local companies still managed to gain 1.8 percent for the week.

BofA was Poised for Countrywide Deal

As a glut of global capital gave way this year to a financing drought, Bank of America Chairman Kenneth Lewis was on the watch for deals.

Port of L.A. to Lose 3 Cargo Lines

A terminal operator at the Port of Los Angeles will lose three customers that move about $40 million in cargo each year when those shipping lines shift their business to the neighboring Port of Long Beach in November, officials said Thursday.

Local Lenders Slip Despite Positive News

Shares in local mortgage lenders dipped Friday as credit concerns and tight lending standards outweighed a surprising up-tick in national home sales for the month of July.

Daily Briefs

Maguire sells Irvine tower; Farmer Brothers names new CEO; Herbalife expands buyback.

Michael Eisner 2.0

Can a 65-year-old former Old Media lion recast himself as an online power player? He can if he's got 40 years of entertainment contacts, more than $1 billion from cashed-in Disney options, and, most important, the hunger to prove wrong the critics who hou

Thursday, August 23

Daily Briefs

Aecom acquires Canadian consulting firm.

SpaceX to Expand Work Force

Space Exploration Technologies, the El Segundo-based developer of experimental low-cost rockets, says it plans to add another 150-250 people to its work force by December 2008 as part of an expansion plan that parallels the company's strong revenue pictur

Hot Topic Nearly Doubles Q2 Loss

Teen Goth apparel retailer Hot Topic Inc. reported lower second-quarter earnings late Wednesday, sending shares tumbling nearly 9 percent Thursday.

Budget Revision Panel Urged

One day after putting to bed another budget, California's political leaders began mulling ways to fix a "fatally broken" spending schedule that tends to keep them up late at night -- sometimes until the crack of dawn.

Ticketmaster Halts Talks With Live Nation

The relationship between Live Nation and Ticketmaster seems to be over; opening the door for the world's largest concert venue operator and promoter to launch its own ticketing operation.

Ticktmaster Might Lose Live Nation

The relationship between Live Nation and Ticketmaster seems to be over; apparently opening the door for the world's largest concert venue operator and promoter to launch its own ticketing operation.

Still No Improvement, Mozilo Frets

Angelo Mozilo, chief executive of Countrywide Financial Corp., said Thursday that the housing market is showing no signs of improving and that could lead to a recession.

Wednesday, August 22

After 51-Day Stall, Budget OKd

California's 51-day budget impasse ended Tuesday when Senate Republicans who had been blocking a spending plan gave up their fight, accepting largely symbolic concessions on a few pet issues.

Real-Estate Brokers Take a Pounding

Brokerage firms have prospered along with commercial-real-estate markets in the past few years, reaping record profits.

IndyMac Back to Jumbo Loans

IndyMac Bancorp said Wednesday that it will resume issuing "jumbo" home loans after temporarily halting their sales amid turmoil in the mortgage market.

Ports Teeming With Counterfeit Goods

Seizures of counterfeit imports at the nation's trade gateways rose by 22% in number -- and by 141% in value -- during the first half of fiscal year 2007, federal officials said Tuesday.

Upper Deck Withdraws Topps Bid

The Upper Deck Co. withdrew its offer to buy rival baseball card maker Topps Co. Tuesday afternoon, apparently clearing the way for Michael Eisner's investment firm to try to take it over.

Tuesday, August 21

Firm Advises Topps to Nix Eisner Deal

Advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services recommended that shareholders of Topps Co. vote against the takeover bid proposed by former Walt Disney Co. chief Michael Eisner's investment firm.

Budget Deal Misfires

An emerging deal on the overdue state budget stalled in the back rooms of the Capitol on Monday night, apparently over a handful of unresolved issues, including a proposal to give more money to suburban school districts.

Daily Briefs

Reliance initiates stock buyback; ESPN buys rugby Web site.

Tribune Deal Okd, Debt Concers Linger

Tribune Co. shareholders approved an $8.2 billion deal Tuesday to take the media company private, but deep concerns remain about the debt-laden deal as credit markets continue to be jittery.

2 Studios Bet HD DVD Will be a Hit

The format war over next-generation DVDs appeared to have a clear winner, but the picture just got fuzzier.

Countrywide Investment Eyed by Buffett

Word that billionaire investor Warren Buffett may try to acquire a piece of beleaguered mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp. sent the company's sharers up more than 10 percent Tuesday, marking the first increase in the stock in two weeks.

Monday, August 20

Keystone Fights Federal Ruling on Importing Auto Parts

A recent import ban has stalled some aftermarket auto parts manufacturers, but at least one is fighting back.

Regional Report

Business nws from around L.A. County.

Green Screen

Low Impact Living LLC has a Web site with a list of green retailers and services so homeowners can more easily achieve environmental friendliness.

Better Than Japanese

Charles Crumpley used to be impressed with the Japanese practice of ongoing improvement, but he's decided that American entrepreneurship is superior.

Beach Volleyball Tour Ready to Conquer Colder Climes

AVP Inc.'s beach volleyball tour is taking its bikini-clad stars to the nation's Snowbelt.

Special Effects Veteran Moves On to Life After 'Heroes'

This week's Featured Newsmaker: Mark Kolpack

High School Musical: Disney's New Giant

When "High School Musical 2," the sequel to the hit 2006 made-for-television movie, made its debut on the Disney Channel on Friday night, it was a highly anticipated moment for millions of children across the nation.

PC Mall Acquires IT Firm SARCOM

PC Mall Inc. said Monday that it will acquire information technology firm SARCOM Inc. for about $55 million in cash and stock.

East West Completes Purchase of Bank

East West Bancorp Inc. said Friday that it has completed the acquisition of Victorville-based Desert Community Bank for $143 million in cash and stock. The deal was announced at the end of April.

Internet Company Sends Classmates To Public Offering

Dial-up dinosaur United Online Inc. is spinning off its revenue-generating media Web sites into a separate public company.

Refinery Operators Challenge Air Board's Ethanol Mandate

California's oil industry is challenging the state Air Resources Board's aggressive mandate requiring all gasoline sold in the state to contain at least 10 percent ethanol by 2010.

Employers and Workers Are Victims of New Immigration Policy

The Bush administration has reversed course on its pledge to fix the country's broken policy on immigration laws, writes Shikha Dalmia.

Judging the Lawyers- Government Affairs

Robert Hertzberg, Dario Frommer, Phil Recht, Darry Sragow & Pete Wilson

Judging the Lawyers- Litigation

John Quinn, Seth Aronson, Joseph Coyne, Tom Girardi, Marshall Grossman, Stuart Liner, Andy Lundberg, Louis (Skip) Miller, Miles Ruthberg, Jeff Scott, Robb Scoular & Maurice Suh

Judging the Lawyers- White Collar

Richard Marmaro, Tom Holliday, Mark Holscher, Janet Levine, David Schindler, Brian Sun & Debra Wong Yang

Some Not Betting on Tribune Buyout

As Tribune Co. shareholders prepare to convene in Chicago on Tuesday to vote on an $8.4-billion buyout led by investor Sam Zell, the noise in the background is Wall Street traders chirping that the deal might never get done -- at least as proposed.

Broad Jumps In While Everyone Else Jumps Out

Eli Broad was one of the investors who put money into a flagging Goldman Sachs'fund.

Korean Company Seeks Carrier for Internet Phone Service

A $300,000 patented technology was rolled out in South Korea this spring by TICS Inc., a decade-old software producer for the telecom industry.

Game Controllerf

Brian Farrell heads video game maker THQ Inc., a company with more than $1 billion in revenues thanks to titles such as "Destroy All Humans."

Foot Feat

Local shoe designer Shannon Hanna scored a multi-year licensing deal with NASCAR to make a high-end line of race-car themed footwear for women.

Judging the Lawyers- Labor and Employment

Alan Brunswick, William Cole, Robert Millman, Richard Simmons & Fram Virjee

Judging the Lawyers- Real Estate

Jesse Sharf, Linda Bozung, Lewis Feldman, Michael Meyer, George Mihlsten, James Rishwain & Doug Snyder

Mixed-Use Project Planned on Santa Monica Boulevard

Combined Properties Inc. has mixed-use plans for Santa Monica Boulevard.

Judging the Lawyers- Intellectual Property

Morgan Chu, Wayne Barsky, Mark Flagel, Russ Frackman, Ron Johnston & Bob Krupka

Koreatown Banks Taking a Hard Hit

The stock prices of Korean banks are plummeting as a wave of nonperforming loans surprised investors; Hanmi Financial Corp. has quadrupled the amount of money set aside for bad loans.

Realistic Bipartisan Strategy Needed for Infrastructure

Although disasters such as the Minneapolis bridge collapse are rare, complacency is dangerous, according to Richard G. Little.

Big Boy Pumps Up Nationally Syndicated Morning Show

Billboard ads have made the difference for Big Boy, the L.A. radio personality who just signed with ABC for a nationally syndicated morning program

Countrywide Cuts Jobs, Gets Downgraded

Shares in Countrywide Financial Corp. dropped more than 6 percent Monday after the troubled firm was downgraded by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods after announcing it was laying off some of its sales force.

Shareholder to Vote Against Buyout

Keystone Automotive Industries Inc. said Monday in a regulatory filling that Rockhampton Management UK LLP will vote against the proposed takeover of the company by Chicago-based LKQ Corp. because it undervalues the company.

Toy Makers Brace for Backlash From Mattel's Disaster

Some L.A. toy companies wouldn't be surprised by a consumer backlash due to last week's Mattel recall.

Newsmakers/Kudos

Kudos, hirirngs and promotions.

Buyout Activity is Facing Crunch, Too

The spreading credit crunch is moving out of the housing sector and is making it more difficult and more expensive for Angelenos to buy and sell businesses.

Production Company to Cover News of the Virtual World

Traditional media may be shrinking, but there's good news for information junkies who participate in virtual, or simulated, online communities.

Judging the Lawyers- Family Law

Stacy Phillips, Patricia Phillips & Sorrell Trope,

Who's Who in L.A. Law

Check out the Business Journal's profiles of the 81-most prominent attorneys in the Los Angeles area.

DirecTV Tries for 'Triple Play'

DirecTV Group Inc. is putting its marketing muscle behind a deal to make broadband Internet available through electrical outlets.

Sizzler Cooks Up Strategy to Serve Customers in Mexico

Franchise: Chain to open four restaurants in Acapulco and Mexico City.

Borba Gets Anheuser-Busch Deal

Anheuser-Busch Cos Inc. said Monday that it has reached an agreement to distribute and market Borba LLC beverages internationally, the St. Louis beer company said. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Judging the Lawyers- Trusts and Estates

Burton Mitchell, Leah Bishop, Paul Frimmer & Stuart Tobisman

Rag Trade Tearing Away From China

In order to avoid embargos expected on imports of Chinese clothing, L.A.'s apparel companies are moving production elsewhere.

Report: Countrywide Begins Layoffs

Countrywide Financial Corp., the nation's largest mortgage lender, has begun laying off staff as part of its effort to ride out the credit crunch that has rocked the home loan industry, according to a report published today.

Judging the Lawyers- Transactions/Corporate

Larry Braun, Gordon Bava, Bob Cooper, Henry Fields, Joshua Grode, John Hartigan, Bill Gould, Robbin Itkin, Jonathan Layne, Jennifer Bellah Maguire, Alison Ressler & Paul Tosetti

Judging the Lawyers- Media and Entertainment

Kenneth Ziffren, Theodore Boutrous, Jay Cooper, Bonnie Eskenazi, Bert Fields, John Frankenheimer, Marty Katz, Dale Kinsella, Mickey Mayerson, L. Lee Phillips, Kelli Sager, Alan Schwartz, Larry Stein, Lawrence Ulman & Howard Weitzman

Friday, August 17

Strong Sales Boosts Grill Concepts

Investors gave a jolt to shares of Grill Concepts Inc. Friday after the company reported robust sales but a quarterly loss.

Concerned Customers Rush Countrywide

Anxious customers jammed the phone lines and website of Countrywide Bank and crowded its branch offices to pull out their savings because of concerns about the financial problems of the mortgage lender that owns the bank.

Rate Cut Boosts Local Firms in All Sectors

The Federal Reserve's early morning cut of a key interest rate put a charge in shares of local lenders and real estate investment firms. Many of the firms had been sustaining stock losses because of a suffocating credit crunch.

Unemployment Down, But Concern Lingers

L.A. County's unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 4.8 percent in July from 4.9 percent in June, though it was slightly above the 4.6 percent recorded in July 2006, according to figures released Friday by the California Employment Development D

Lower Rents Equals More Businesses

As office space rates climb in the business centers of West Los Angeles, a number of companies are looking at El Segundo as a new home.

Big Movers

The Business Journal's index of the 200 largest public companies was virtually unchanged this week quite a different story from the national markets. The Dow Jones industrial average, which Thursday was down 400 points, closed the week down 157 points

Thursday, August 16

$17 Million Port Tank Farm Deal OK'd

A deal to move a hazardous tank farm off San Pedro's waterfront cleared the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday, all but assuring its final approval.

Columbia's Old Headquarters Sale Done

The $200-million sale of one of Hollywood's most famous film lots, the former Columbia Pictures headquarters, has closed and is now in the hands of a new Los Angeles investment company.

United Artists Secures Financing

United Artists Entertainment LLC said Thursday that it has secured $500 million in financing through Merrill Lynch to cover production for 15 to 18 films over the next five years.

Countrywide Shares Plummet 15%

Countrywide Financial Corp. borrowed $11.5 billion from a coalition of 40 banks in order to be able to fund more loans, a move many see as a sign the nation's largest lender is in financial trouble.

Recall Has Little Effect on Mattel, So Far

Despite a recall that included more than 20 million toys, the effect on Mattel Inc.'s ratings or outlook has been minimal, according to a Standard & Poor's Ratings Services report that was released Thursday.

Anworth Shares Drop Amid Credit Scare

Shares in Anworth Mortgage Asset Corp. dropped nearly 20 percent Thursday after concerns of meltdowns in the mortgage and credit markets made investors uneasy.

Recall Shakes Up Toy Industry

In the wake of Mattel's recall of millions of toys, local companies are scrambling to revise tests used to ensure the playthings they make are safe.

Wednesday, August 15

Amgen Announces Big Cuts

Amgen Inc. said Wednesday that it plans to reduce staff worldwide by 12 to 14 percent and close some production facilities in response to lower sales of its flagship anemia drugs, which have been hit by safety concerns.

Mattel Speaks Up, Hints at More Recalls

With its reputation bruised by the second major recall of Chinese-made toys tainted with lead paint in a matter of two weeks, Mattel Inc. on Tuesday defended the measures it has taken to ensure the safety of its toys.

Queen Mary sold for $43 Million

Save the Queen LLC has acquired for $43 million Queen's Seaport Development Inc., owner of the famed ship Queen Mary, in an auction Tuesday afternoon.

City Mulling Homeowner Bailout Fund

With a growing number of homeowners facing potential foreclosure in a slowing housing market, Los Angeles officials agreed Tuesday to study creating a special emergency loan fund.

DirecTV to Offer Internet via Power Lines

DirecTV Group Inc. said Wednesday that it has entered into an agreement with Current Group LLC to provide high-speed Internet service through electric-power lines.

Bankruptcy Fears Sink Countrywide's Shares

Shares in Countrywide Financial Corp. dropped more than 6 percent Wednesday after Merrill Lynch & Co. downgraded the stock to a "sell," raising concern that the lending giant might need to seek bankruptcy protection.

Zell Says Tribune Still a Go

Chicago real estate tycoon Sam Zell remains committed to taking Tribune Co. private, a source close to the transaction said on Tuesday, countering.

Daily Briefs

Guidance Software Inc. narrows second-quarter loss while AdStar Inc.'s loss nearly tripled.

Tuesday, August 14

Grill Concepts Posts Revised Earnings

Grill Concepts Inc. said Tuesday that it has finished its review of its accounting regarding its $2.8 million purchase last fall of Hotel Restaurant Properties Inc., and it made several changes as a result.

Queen Mary Sold for $43 Million

Save the Queen LLC has acquired Queen's Seaport Development Inc., owner of the famed ship the Queen Mary's, in an auction Tuesday afternoon for $43 million.

Mattel Could Announce Second Recall

Less than two weeks after Mattel Inc. recalled 1.5 million Chinese-made toys because of lead paint, the toy industry is bracing for another blow that could give parents more reason to rethink their purchases just before the critical holiday shopping seaso

Academy Award Winner Sues Studio

A month after winning an Academy Award for scientific achievement this year, the longtime president of Pacific Title & Art Studio, a Hollywood post-production house, was fired from his job.

Local Firms Feeling Sting of Downgrades

Shares in several local real estate firms and investment trusts dropped Tuesday after the world's largest real estate broker was downgraded by Standard & Poor's because of concerns over rate increases for commercial real estate financing.

Countrywide Lending, Foreclosures Up

Countrywide Financial Corp. said Tuesday that it made far fewer loans in July than the month before, although its lending was up 6 percent from a year earlier. At the same time, delinquencies and foreclosures increased in July.

Classmates.com Going Public

United Online is planning an Initial Public Offering for its Classmates Media unit, according to a Security Exchange Commission filing.

CSC Drops on Earnings Delay

Computer Sciences Corp. said Tuesday that it will not file its first-quarter results on time because it has not finished an accounting review.

Mattel Recalls Nearly 9 Million Toys

Mattel Inc. issued recalls Tuesday for nearly 9 million more Chinese-made toys that contain dangerously small magnets and lead paint.

Second Glitch Snarls LAX Traffic

A second glitch in as many days with the U.S. Customs' screening system stalled international passengers headed in and out of Los Angeles International Airport early Monday morning, according to federal and city officials.

Daily Briefs

The Daily Journal Co. reports third-quarter results.

Monday, August 13

Delays Follow LAX System Crash

Airlines struggled to clean and refuel planes where passengers had been trapped for hours because of a computer crash, leading to additional delays Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport.

Chief Concerns

Former LAPD Chief Daryl Gates is now CEO of a struggling surveillance technology company.

Former LAPD head Daryl Gates is back in a full-time role as chief but as chief executive of a struggling City of Industry surveillance technology company.

Culver City Dealing

The Culver City Redevelopment Agency is negotiating privately with developers of a mixed-use project rejected by the Planning Commission earlier this year.

BioPharmetics of Sun Valley Sold

Denver-based Summus Works Inc. said on Monday that it has acquired substantially all the assets and business operations of Sun Valley-based BioPharmetics Inc. for an undisclosed amount.

Companies Eyeing Surge in Contracts

The collapse of a Minneapolis bridge this month is proving to be a boost to several local engineering and construction companies.

Media Temple Finds a Way to Keep Web Traffic Flowing

Media Temple is a Culver City-based Web hosting company that has developed technology that can handle traffic spikes when servers get overwhelmed with responses.

What's Black and White and Ready to Get Fancy?

Panda Restaurant Group Inc., well known for its Panda Express quick-serve restaurants, is going back to its roots in fine dining with the opening of its first sit-down restaurant in 15 years.

Plane Problem

A ban on older executive jets would hurt charter and service companies at the Van Nuys Airport.

Pfizer's Problems Hurting MannKind

Pfizer Inc.'s problems with its insulin inhaler are making investors in MannKind Inc.'s similar product more than a little nervous.

It's a Horror Show at Lions Gate as Flops Frighten Investors

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. had high hopes for two horror movies, but they scared up next to nothing at the box office. The studio also reported a net loss.

Mouse House Internet Leader's Passion for New Media

Jordan McCollum

Flower Power

Carol Poon was a civil engineer, then she ran a flower shop. Now she's the publisher of Bride & Bloom, which has built circulation to 50,000 copies in its first year.

Paradise Found

Scavenger's Paradise, an antique reliquary in North Hollywood, anticipates a downturn with the housing market. So it's offering itself as a film and party location.

Chinese Toy Factory Owner Takes Life

An owner of a Chinese toy factory at the center of a major recall of lead-tainted toys by Mattel Inc. earlier this month apparently committed suicide just days after the American toy giant identified his company as the toys' manufacturer.

Median Price Bounces Back as Mortgage Crisis Widens

Amid the sales swoon, home prices in Los Angeles County went up in July and matched the all-time peak.

Merv Griffin Leaves Behind an Empire

Who was Merv Griffin? Surely the affable Hollywood tycoon would have considered this too easy for Jeopardy!, a show he created along with Wheel of Fortune, which he proudly called "America's games."

Economic Migration Makes the 'Bottom Rung' Homeless

One cause of homelessness in L.A. is a social policy that has led economic migrants to the smallest and cheapest housing stock, according to Wayne Lusvardi.

Napster Terminates Executive Despite Company's Progress

Napster showed higher revenue, lower losses per share.

Bank of Manhattan Opens to Serve Small Businesses in South Bay

The Bank of Manhattan has opened in El Segundo executives say the back half of the bank is in Manhattan Beach to serve small businesses in the South Bay.

Many Moguls

IndieVest Corp. offers investors a choice of film projects they can finance.

Staar Surgical Places Focus on Change of Marketing Strategies

Starr Surgical Co.

Computer Sciences Still Going Strong

Shares in Computer Sciences Corp. jumped about 10 percent Monday even though cold water was tossed on a long-running rumor that the company would go private.

ValuClick Gains Despite Lowered Outlook

ValueClick Inc. got a boost Monday after a JPMorgan analyst upgraded the stock following a recent decline in stock price.

Ducommun Shares Soar on Upgrade

Two weeks after reporting double-digit increases in profits and sales, shares in Ducommun Inc. got a 12 percent boost Monday after the 158-year old company was upgraded.

Bank Finds Marketplace Entry Through WNBA

Broadway Federal announces sponsorship of L.A. Sparks.

Northrop Grumman Picks Up a Handful of Defense Contracts

Northrop Grumman Corp. secured five separate deals to begin the month that could be worth close to $2 billion combined.

Newsmakers

Promotions, hirings and kudos

Mattel May Face Class-Action Suit

Another parent has sued Mattel Inc and its Fisher-Price Inc unit after the company recalled some 1.5 million units this month due to their lead paint content, according to a court filing.

Toy Maker May Be at the End of Its Small World

Educational toy maker Small World Toys has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Loeb & Loeb Puts On New Suit With Its Fashion Group

The law firm Loeb & Loeb LLP announced last week the formation of a practice group focused specifically on the apparel and luxury goods industries.

Where Every Day Is Free Lunch Day

Free lunches for employees take a $150,000 bite out of Laserfiche's bottom line, but executives say serving them is a great recruiting tool.

Daily Briefs

IHOP Corp. appointed Greggory Kalvin its new controller; Electro Rent Corp. reports fourth quarter earnings.

Clique Art

If MySpace is for carefree teens, then TheWhole9 is home to the creative class of metropolitans who collect art, dine out and buy season tickets to the Hollywood Bowl.

Hollywood Labor Unions Setting Stage for All-Out War

Tentative pact covering craft workers appears to be an exception.

228 Bridges Top State Repair List

Although Caltrans insists that the thousands of bridges it maintains are safe, the agency has identified 228 spans that officials say should be at the top of the list for repairs.

Truckers Want Clean Air, but They Also Want a Plan That's Fair

Harbor Truckers for a Sustainable Future supports clean air, but wants a solution that won't hurt truckers and trucking companies, writes Roger Ramirez.

Friday, August 10

U.S. Import Prices Soar in July

The era of imported disinflation may have come to an end for the U.S. as U.S. import prices swelled for a fifth-straight month in July on higher energy prices and another record increase in the prices of products from China

Shares in Hi-Shear Surge on Eanrings

Shares of Hi-Shear Technology Corp. surged Friday after the company reported a 49 percent increase in net income for the fiscal year ended May 31.

Big Movers

Los Angeles-area stocks that moved the most during the week ending August 10.

Countrywide Sees Trouble Ahead

Countrywide Financial Corp. and Washington Mutual Inc. warned Thursday that turbulent mortgage market conditions were likely to hurt operations in the near term.

Abraxis Shares Dip After Big Gains

Shares in Abraxis BioScience Inc. hit the bottom of a rollercoaster ride, dropping nearly 13 percent Friday after gaining 24 percent earlier in the week.

Univision's Record Label For Sale

Spanish-language media giant Univision is preparing to sell its record label and publishing operations, according to the New York Post.

CPK Hit on Dim Outlook, Expenses

Shares in California Pizza Kitchen Inc. lost 5 percent Friday after the company reported an increase in second-quarter earnings but warned that results for the rest of the year would fall short of expectations because of inflated costs.

99 Cents Misses Estimates, Shares Drop

Shares in 99 Cents Only Stores dropped more than 5 percent Friday after the discount retailer reported earnings that missed estimates, even though the earnings were up big.

Ticket Sales Boost Live Nation's Q2

Shares in Live Nation Inc. shot up nearly 10 percent Friday after the company reported strong earnings on robust ticket sales.

Local Lenders Getting Hammered

Shares in four area lenders dropped significantly Friday in the wake of a global mortgage crisis that has spooked the financial world over the past week.

Thursday, August 9

Stater Bros. Profit Surges on Cost Cutting

Profits at Stater Bros. Holdings Inc. nearly tripled last quarter on record sales, with the company also citing a program aimed at reducing theft and product loss as a key component of its success.

Beverly Hills Bancorp Q2, Mulls Sale

Beverly Hills Bancorp Inc. reported a drop in both profits and net interest income and announced that its board is reviewing strategic alternatives which could include a possible sale of the company.

Mattel Hit With Lead Paint Lawsuit

The first lawsuit against Mattel Inc. resulting from a batch of Fisher-Price toys that were manufactured in China and potentially contaminated with lead paint has been filed in Los Angeles federal court.

Edison Profit Slumps on Debt Costs

Edison International, parent of Southern California Edison, reported a drop in profit Thursday as debt retirement costs stung earnings.

Daily Briefs

Superior Industries, Southwest Water report second-quarter earnings.

Hometown Feeling Amgen's Pain

In Thousand Oaks, Amgen Inc. rules. It's the biggest private employer in town. Its 8,300 local employees, known as "Amgenites," make an estimated average annual salary of $162,000.

Crown Media Narrows Loss

Crown Media Holdings Inc. narrowed its second-quarter loss thanks to increased advertising sales and a bump in subscriber fees.

Abraxis Posts Profit on Strong Sales

Abraxis BioScience Inc. said Thursday that it had swung back to a profit thanks to strong sales of its breast cancer drug Abraxane during the quarter.

DirecTV Sales Rise, Profit Falls

DirecTV Group Inc. beat analysts profit estimates in the second quarter on a healthy jump in revenue, despite higher-than-expected operating costs.

2nd Lawsuit Lays Bribery on Univision

A Los Angeles-based Latino record label has sued Univision Music for more than $10 million, claiming the Spanish-language company tried to financially crush the music firm.

Wednesday, August 8

Daily Briefs

Shares soar as PeopleSupport gets upgraded; Live Nation upgraded ahead of earnings; Overhill Farms stung by lower profit; Abraxis gets FDA approval; Disney revamps ESPN.360 site; Tetra Tech lands FAA contract; Aecom posts solid Q3.

Lenders Curtail or Halt Funding

The near collapse of the market for securities backed by sub-prime loans has sent aftershocks into the broader mortgage market, pressuring some companies to curtail their lending or stop making loans altogether.

Afternoon Briefs

Capstone posts deeper quarterly loss; Hot Topic same-store sales slip; Hallmark Movie Channel HD on the way.

Grill Concepts to Restate Past Earnings

Grill Concepts Inc. said Wednesday that it is restating some financial results to fix accounting regarding its $2.8 million purchase of Hotel Restaurant Properties Inc. last fall.

Warner Music Rebounds on Upgrade

Warner Music Group Corp. shares got an 8 percent boost Wednesday after a Citi Investment Research analyst upgraded the stock a day after the music label reported a smaller loss than he expected.

Report: Warner Investors Mulling Buyout

Shares in Warner Music Group Corp. dropped in after-market trading after gaining more than 20 percent Wednesday when the New York Post reported that the business may be bought by its majority owners and taken private.

Hansen Posts Strong Q2, Cleared by SEC

Hansen Natural Corp. reported double-digit jumps in profit and sales for its third-quarter and also said that the Securities and Exchange Commission ended its informal stock options probe and will take no further action. The company's stock surged after t

Chinese Factory Identified in Recall

Mattel Inc. late yesterday identified the Chinese factory involved in the company's big toy recall last week, ending nearly a week in which critics complained that Mattel's unwillingness to do so highlighted a regulatory failure.

Tuesday, August 7

IndyMac Gets Some Good News

IndyMac Bancorp Inc. got some welcome news Tuesday when shares of the beleaguered lender surged more than 17 percent after it was upgraded by a Roth Capital Partners analyst.

CPSC Investigates Mattel Recall

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is looking into whether Fisher-Price let the agency know as quickly as it should have about lead paint found in 1.5 million Chinese-made toys that were recalled worldwide last week.

PeopleSupport Shares Gain on Q2 Report

Shares in PeopleSupport Inc. gained more than 7 percent Tuesday after the company announced strong earnings, a stock buyback and better-than-expected full-year guidance.

Countrywide Buys Retail Banks

HomeBanc Mortgage said Tuesday that it is selling five of its retail branches plus a "significant" portion of its loan origination business to Countrywide Financial Corp.

Guitar Centers Hurt By Costs, Poor Sales

Poor sales and expenses related to a proposed merger hurt Guitar Center Inc., sending shares down in after-hours trading.

Daily Briefs

Iris International names new CFO; port clerks begin ratifying new labor contract .

Warner Music Group Widens Q3 Loss

Soft domestic as well as overseas CD sales hurt Warner Music Group Corp.'s third-quarter earnings, sending shares down nearly 9 percent.

Afternoon Briefs

WPT Enterprises Inc. reports second-qaurert loss; United Online posts solid second quarter.

Passengers Gripe, But LAX is Doing OK

This summer is officially turning out to be the worst for U.S. air travel as nearly a third of all domestic flights in June were late, and passenger complaints shot up 43%.

Allen Sells DreamWorks Stake

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. said Tuesday that Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen plans to sell up to 12 million shares of the company's stock.

Countrywide Tries to Reassure Investors

Countrywide Financial Corp. said Monday it has access to $46.2 billion in cash, credit lines and other investments, a move aimed at reassuring nervous investors the nation's biggest mortgage lender can weather a market downturn.

Monday, August 6

Teen Music Fans Driving Explosive Growth at Buzznet

Buzznet.com is definitely creating a buzz in the increasingly crowded world of online social networking.

Cashing In on Opting Out

Kelly Watson's Career Partners aims to create time and flexibility for executives who want a different work-life balance.

Glittering Again

Serial entrepreneur Kymberly Gold-Lubell, co-founder of True Religion Apparel Inc. has launched an upscale jewelry venture.

Ronco Assets Go To Marlin Equity For $6.5 Million

Ronco on Aug. 1 sold its assets for $6.5 million in a bankruptcy auction. Just two years ago, Ronco sold for eight times that amount.

THQ Taking Some Risks With New Strategy of Diversification

THQ Inc.

Amgen Executive Angered Over Coverage Restrictions

Amgen Inc.'s Roger Perlmutter's blood was boiling last week.

Performing Transplants

Television shows and movies should be careful in their depictions of

TiVO Tracking Device Gives Advertisers a Fresh Gauge

Advertisers who worry that consumers will TiVO through their spots can now resolve or confirm their angst.

Culver Studios Latest L.A. Movie Site to Go on Market

Culver Studios the landmark production facility where "Gone with the Wind" and "Citizen Kane" were filmed has been put on the market.

Daily Briefs

MannKind Corp., Occidental Petroleum Corp. downgraded, shares slip.

Anti-Harassment Training Regulations Win Final Approval

State officials have approved final regulations for the landmark sexual harassment training law and the biggest clarification: the law now applies to larger firms that hire contract workers.

Strong Sales Help Obagi Double Profit

Strong domestic sales boosted Obagi Medical Products Inc.'s second quarter earnings, sending shares up more than 7 percent Monday.

Cinema Electric Sends Shows to 50 Million Mobile Viewers

Cinema Electric has become a network that reaches 50 million viewers of mobile phone content.

J2 Stands By '07 Guidance, Posts Solid Q2

J2 Global Communications Inc. posted a strong second quarter and held to its full-year guidance, sending shares up 7 percent.

Affordable Housing Doesn't Necessarily Lead to Less Traffic

There are better ways to encourage affordable housing than by making dubious connections to traffic reduction, according to Benjamin M. Reznik.

Newsmakers/Kudos

Promotions, hirings and kudos.

Toxic Loans Begin to Ooze

There are frightening implications to the spread of the subprime meltdown into the Alt-A sector, writes Charles Crumpley.

AEG Vice President In Drive to Go Global

Mega-promoter AEG is expecting big things from newly christened exec VP Andrew Messick.

Napster Lets COO Go, Signs HP Deal

Internet music company Napster Inc. terminated its chief operating officer, Laura Goldberg, on Friday and announced that it had formed a partnership with Hewlett Packard Co.

ValueClick Facing Lead-Generation Gap

ValueClick Inc., the nation's No. 1 independent online advertising network, stumbled last week after the company reported disappointing earnings.

East L.A.'s Golden Boy Lands Big One

Boxing's golden boy Oscar De La Hoya is purchasing the iconic Sears warehouse and store site in Boyle Heights that he frequented with his mother while growing up in the area.

Critical Vote Approaches on Ports' Clean Truck Program

The ongoing feud between truckers and environmentalists in San Pedro Bay is heating up as a critical vote by port harbor commissioners nears.

Regional Report

Regional business news from the L.A. area.

Passion for Online Publishing Draws Frenchman to L.A.

Antoine Boulin, the new chief executive of TG Publishing LLC.

Hot Topic Taking Some Heat From Street

Hot Topic shares dropped to a 52-week low following a "sell" rating by an

China Boosts Herbalife's Q2

Herbalife Ltd.'s expansion into China helped the company post a record quarter but shares remained stagnant.

Mortgage Meltdown Goes Mainstream

Shares of local mortgage lending giants were hit hard last week as the mortgage loan crisis spread to mainstream borrowers.

Attention Industry eNewsletter Readers

Changes to the weekly Industry eNewsletters.

Ark Advisors Guides Clients Through Advertising Reviews

Russel Wohlwerth's Ark Advisors conducts "reviews" of advertising agencies for companies considering whether to renew or change their contracts.

Good News Comes to L.A. Times in Form of Filming

The L.A. Times may be having trouble with circulation and revenue, but it's doing great as a filming location.

China Exports Could Start to Slow

China's export juggernaut is likely to show signs of slowing, but the shift is likely to come from a change in tax policy rather than from mounting concerns about the safety of Chinese goods, economists say.

Eastern View

Dominic Ng came to East West Bank when it was a struggling savings and loan and turned it into an international financial powerhouse.

Prime Time For Buying

If fans want those spiked heels that Wilhelmina wore on "Ugly Betty" or the under-wire bras worn by the Pussycat Dolls, they can get it all thanks to a new Web site.

In Anaheim, the Mouse Finally Roars

It's a tale worthy of a Disney classic: wicked plotters, oppressed workers, an uphill battle that leads, one hopes, to a happy ending. But this time the bad guy is in the mouse suit.

One Wilshire Building Sold

An office building in downtown Los Angeles that is the distribution hub for most electronic communications between Asia and the United States has been bought by a Texas investment company.

Investments Help Mercury General's Q2

Mercury General Corp. beat Wall Street's expectations Monday when it reported a surge in profit helped by net investment income.

Guess Making an International Play With Jewelry Line

As part of Guess Inc.'s plans to further globalize the brand, the company has rolled out a line of jewelry in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Friday, August 3

Shares Rise in Disaster's Wake

Shares in local infrastructure and construction stocks continued to rise in the wake of the collapse of a 40-year-old Minneapolis bridge.

Backpedaling on the Earthquake Fund

California hasn't suffered major earthquake damage since 1994 when the Northridge temblor's $44 billion in damages prompted a statewide insurance crisis.

Lenders Clampdown on Subprime

Jittery home-mortgage lenders are cutting off credit or raising interest rates for a growing portion of Americans, extending well beyond the market for subprime loans for people with the weakest credit records.

Big Movers

The slide continued for a second week as 132 of the 200 companies on the LABJ Stock Index lost ground during the week. Stocks on the index lost 2.4 percent of their value for the week and 7.8 percent over the past two weeks.

'Guitar Hero 2' Lifts Activision

Shares in Activision Inc. gained more than 3 percent Friday after the videogame developer bucked an industry trend and posted a quarterly profit.

DaVita Doubles Its Profit

DaVita Inc. shares gained nearly 8 percent Friday after the company reported profit had doubled on stronger revenue.

Ladd, Kanter Get $3.2 Million

A Los Angeles jury Thursday awarded producers Alan Ladd Jr. and Jay Kanter precisely the $3.2 million in damages on their allocation claim against Warner Bros. that attorney John Gatti asked for in closing arguments Monday.

MannKind Delays 2Q Earnings

Shares in MannKind Corp. lost nearly 17 percent and hit a 52-week low Friday, after the company postponed its earnings report and said its supply of cash has fallen more than a third this year.

Thursday, August 2

UCLA Thrown Into Student Loan Probe

Forty college athletics departments, from Georgetown to Auburn to Kansas to UCLA, were ensnared Wednesday in a New York state investigation of irregularities in the college loan industry.

Mattel Recalls Nearly 1 Million Toys

Mattel Inc. said Thursday that it is recalling nearly one million toys in the U.S. due to the presence of lead paint.

Napster Narrows Loss

Shares in Napster Inc. gained nearly 8 percent Thursday after the Internet music service announced it had cut its first quarter loss due to a big jump in paid subscribers.

Studios, Craft Unions Reach Deal

Hollywood's film studios and television producers have reached a tentative accord with Hollywood's five basic crafts unions.

IndyMac to Tighten Lending

IndyMac Bancorp Inc. will be making "very major changes" to its lending requirements and may raise interest rates it offers on home loans because of a slump in mortgage securities, according to an e-mail to employees.

Daily Briefs

IndyMac to Tighten Lending; Cogent Gains on Earnings Report; Napster Narrows Loss.

Tesco's Reputation Precedes Itself

In California, giant British retailer Tesco is carefully cultivating an image as a socially responsible grocer with good-paying jobs, fresh organic foods and the latest in environmentally friendly technology.

Cogent Gains on Earnings Report

Cogent Inc. shares rose 8 percent after the company reported that second quarter profit nearly tripled.

Disaster Puts Shine on Local Company

Shares in Material Technologies Inc. gained more than 30 percent early Thursday after Wall Street took notice of the company in the wake of the deadly bridge collapse in Minneapolis.

Foreclosure Aid May be on Way

Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarc & #243;n sought $5million in foreclosure assistance Wednesday for residents in danger of losing their homes as the housing market continues to unwind.

Wednesday, August 1

'Shrek' Boosts DreamWorks 2Q

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. on Wednesday reported strong second-quarter earnings thanks to the success of its "Shrek the Third" release in May.

Credit Union Buys Check Cashing Frim

Manhattan Beach-based Kinecta Federal Credit Union has acquired Carson-based Navicert Financial Inc. for $45 million.

Amp'd Mobile to Liquidate

After holding an emergency auction, bankrupt wireless carrier Amp'd Mobile Inc. is seeking approval for 'very discrete asset sales' in a Wednesday, Aug. 1, hearing, according to a court schedule.

Daily Briefs

21st Century reports second quarter earnings; Abraxis acquires Phoenix manufacturing facility; Red Rocket acquires Indian business.

THQ 1Q Earnings Disappoint

Shares in THQ Inc. dropped 5 percent Wednesday after the video game developer missed expectations on its first-quarter sales.

Maguire Shares Dip on 5th Straight Loss

Shares in Maguire Properties Inc. dropped nearly 10 percent Wednesday after the company reported its fifth-straight quarterly loss.

Chinese Theatre For Sale, Sort of

One of the world's premier spots for movie premieres is about to change hands. Final bids are in for the purchase of the property beneath Grauman's Chinese Theatre in the heart of Hollywood.

Amgen Set to Challenge New Policy

Amgen Inc. said late Tuesday that it will challenge a portion of the new coverage policy issued by the agency that runs Medicare.

United's LAX/China Plans Delayed

Seeking to exert control over flights at LAX, the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday again delayed a decision on whether to back United Airlines' efforts to begin nonstop service to Shanghai, China.

Disney Post Gains in Third Quarter

Walt Disney Co. reported gains in revenues and profits on Wednesday as well as the purchase of a children-focused Web site.