Stories for December 2007

Monday, December 31

Sales Rally Home Builders

Shares of local home builders recovered slightly on Monday after the National Association of Realtors said sales of existing U.S. homes inched up in November.

Awkward Encounters in the Trenches

Uncomfortable scenes play out daily in the giant high school cafeteria that is Hollywood, contributing discomfort unlike any other to the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike.

Tracinda Buys Oil Interest

Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp. plans to take a 35 percent, $684 million stake in Delta Petroleum Corp., a Denver oil exploration company.

Gores Buys Power Systems Unit

Los Angeles private equity firm Gores Group has completed its acquisition of the power systems business of Tyco Electronics Ltd. for $100 million in cash.

How a Bank Fell Victim to Fraud

Officials allege a scam used phony appraisals and paperwork to wring millions from deals in the Beverly Hills area.

Friday, December 28

Local Boeing Plant Receives Major Lift

Boeing Co.'s satellite-making complex in El Segundo got a much-needed boost last week when it won a U.S. government contract potentially worth $1.2 billion.

CSC Gets Another Big Contract

Computer Sciences Corp. on announced a $613 million contract to manage voice services for a Pentagon agency.

Hedge Fund Ups CPK Stake

Share of California Pizza Kitchen Inc. rose on news that a San Francisco hedge fund had increased its stake in the Los Angeles restaurant chain.

DGA Eyes Date for Studio Talks

Though it hasn't been officially announced, Jan. 7 has emerged as a likely start date for negotiations between the DGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.

More Bad News on Housing

Shares of Los Angeles-area homebuilders slid Friday on news that U.S. new home sales had dropped last month to their lowest level in more than 12 years.

More Capital, Please

U.S. investment banks have been burning through capital as they write down subprime mortgage bonds and other debt.

Thursday, December 27

Post-Holiday Blues

Retail shares retreat as investors continue to bet against chain stores' holiday-quarter performance, while Wal-Mart admits to gift-card glitch.

Daily Journal Posts Earnings Gain

Legal newspaper publisher Daily Journal Corp. reported strong fourth quarter income Thursday on increased public-notice advertising revenues.

Gold Line Work Upsets Merchants

MTA officials say the Gold Line extension into East Los Angeles will bring prosperity to businesspeople. But some business owners wonder whether they will be around to see the train whiz by.

Assassination Worries Markets

Oil prices surged and American stock markets dipped on Thursday as investors worried about economic fallout from the assassination of the Pakistani political leader, Benazir Bhutto.

'Living Wage' for LAX Hotels Reinstated

A state appeals court has reinstated a city ordinance requiring hotels near LAX to pay workers a "living wage."

CSC Receives NASA Contract

Computer Sciences Corp. said Thursday it has been awarded a $113 million supercomputer integration support contract by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Wednesday, December 26

Source Photonics Plans IPO

The telecommunications component maker and subsidiary of Chatsworth-based MRV Communications Inc. would be listed on the Nasdaq.

A Record Drop

Prices of existing U.S. single-family homes recorded their biggest annual drop in October, suggesting the housing slump is far from over, a study released Wednesday showed.

Teledyne Buys Pennsylvania Company

Teledyne Scientific & Imaging subsidiary reaches agreement to buy assets of Judson Technologies, a maker of infrared detectors.

Retailers Look for Post-Holiday Bump

Retailers opened earlier than ever on the day after Christmas on Wednesday and slashed prices with hopes of salvaging a holiday season that is falling short of already modest expectations.

OSI Wins X-Ray Contract

OSI Systems Inc. has won a small but promising order for its X-ray baggage screening technology.

Budget Bill Preserves L.A. VA Site

The formal end of a plan to develop the Veterans Administration property in West L.A. came Wednesday as President George Bush signed a budget bill banning development of the site.

Fewer Happy Returns This Year

Liberal rules that allowed customers to return just about anything just about anytime are no more at many retail chains across the country.

New Salons for Downtown

Two new salons opened recently to pretty up the downtown crowd, joining only a few that already exist.

The Ink Fades on a Profession

In India, the world's fastest-growing market for cellphones, calling the village or sending a text message has all but cut out the profession of the professional letter writer.

Monday, December 24

Newsmakers/Kudos

Hirings, promotions and kudos.

Warning Signals

3n National Notification Network creates warning systems capable of rapidly sending alerts to large populations

Companies Begin to Write Layoff Scripts

Fancifull Gift Baskets and Classic Car Supplier are among local businesses feeling an increasingly painful pinch as the writer's strike lingers.

SECOND ACT

In between tours, Kiss singer-guitarist Paul Stanley has found success in his new gig as a painter, selling over $2 million in artwork.

OSI's Baggage Screening System on International Trip

OSI Systems Inc., which makes a variety of electronic products for the security and health care industries, said it has won a small but promising order for its X-ray passenger screening technology.

EIRs Abused in Opponents' Attempts to Block Development

Benjamin M. Reznik believes many people who cry out for environmental impact reports are using them to stall and eventually kill building projects

IHOP Flip-Flops

Glendale-based IHOP Corp. asked 15 states to change their Feb. 5 presidential primaries, because the pancake chain was planning its National Pancake Day.

New Salons Liking the Looks of Downtown Customers

Two salons opened recently to pretty up the downtown crowd, joining only a few that exist. Their goal is to bring the upscale salon environment that's readily available on the Westside to the young professional crowd moving into downtown lofts.

King Cash Rules Fading M & A; World

2007's mergers and acquisitions scene is notable for the number of large deals that have yet to close.

2008: Minimum Wage Sparks Maximum Rage

A bump in the state minimum wage, to $8 an hour, is chief among laws kicking in Jan. 1 that will impact small business owners in Los Angeles.

Kennedy Wilson Ditches Bid to Buy 'L.A. Law' Tower

Kennedy Wilson Inc. of Beverly Hills has called off its plan to buy the Citigroup Center, better known to television viewers as the "L.A. Law" office tower.

Jones Lang LaSalle Managing Director Runs Down Day

Chris Strickfaden of Jones Lang LaSalle

Truckers Spared From Clean Port Plan Costs

In the nearly $2 billion effort to replace the fleet of short-haul trucks at the San Pedro Bay port complex, it will be cargo owners who will subsidize the majority of the cost of the new rigs, port officials decided last week.

Atiz Page Scanner Launches Books Into Cyberspace

Atiz Innovation's book scanner is helping write a new, online chapter for literature

Planting Flags

Manatt Phelps & Phillips recently expanded beyond its core Los Angeles-Washington axis by acquiring two firms in the San Francisco Bay Area.

MWW Group Puts Spotlight on Homebuilder's Green Practices

The Los Angeles office of MWW Group has won the public relations account for Olson Co., an urban homebuilder that has begun specializing in environmentally friendly housing. Olson's biggest project in L.A. County is the 133 Promenade Walk in Long Beach.

Shrinking L.A.'s Carbon Footprint With Holiday Lights

Switching to LED lights and cutting down the time holiday displays are left on will reduce energy bills and waste, according to Denny Freidenrich

Tough Year For Comments

With the benefit of hindsight, Charles Crumpley looks back at some of his 2007 hits and misses

Dead of Night

With more residents in the city's core, some businesses are trying longer hours. But many outlets still close in the early evening

2007: Biggest Companies Took Biggest Hits

Public markets went from basking in banner returns to weathering steep drops as the subprime fallout spread.

Investors Order From the Menu at Cheesecake Factory, CPK

The ability to hook into a core customer base has kept California Pizza Kitchen and Cheesecake Factory from sustaining stock declines that have hit casual dining rivals like IHOP

Friday, December 21

Big Movers

Bouncing back from a tough week last week when 150 of the companies on the Los Angeles Business journal's index of 200 largest public companies lost ground, shares gained 1.8 percent this week.

Cheesecake CEO Asked to Step Down

Unhappy over Cheesecake Factory Inc.'s stock performance and "profitless prosperity," Robert Olstein, chairman of Olstein Capital Management LP, and an investor in the restaurant chain, called for the company's founder and chief executive to step down.

Fremont Gets OK for New Management

Fremont General Corp. said Friday that it has received federal and state approval for its new executive management team at its banking subsidiary, Fremont Investment & Loan.

Unemployment Up for Second Month

Los Angeles County's unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in November, up slightly from 5.1 percent in October.

Televisa Wins Ruling Against Univision

Grupo Televisa has won a court ruling that could allow the Mexican broadcasting giant to move closer to ending its tumultuous relationship with Univision Communications Inc., the largest Spanish-language media company in the United States.

Thursday, December 20

Writers Initiate Separate Talks

With no talks scheduled with Hollywood's major studios, the Writers Guild of America has begun negotiating with several small independent television and movie production companies on new employment agreements.

Port of L.A. OKs Truck Fee

The Port of Los Angeles today approved a cargo fee that will help generate $1.6 billion to subsidize the replacement of more than 16,000 short-haul trucks.

Live Nation Signs German Deal

Live Nation Inc. said Thursday that will contract with a German company to sell tickets to its shows when its relationship with Ticketmaster ends next year.

Daily Briefs

Newport Beach bank plans to open West Hollywood branch.

Electronic Clearing House Soars on Deal

Shares in payment processing provider Electronic Clearing House Inc. more than doubled Thursday morning after Intuit Inc. agreed to buy the Camarillo-based company for about $131 million in stock.

Tribune Prepares to Enter Zell Era

A new era at Tribune Co. began taking shape Wednesday with the departure of Chairman and Chief Executive Dennis FitzSimons and the expected arrival of new leadership under Chicago billionaire Sam Zell.

Wednesday, December 19

FitzSimons to Resign as Tribune CEO

Tribune Co. said today that Chairman and Chief Executive Dennis J. FitzSimons would step down at the end of the year, immediately after the company completes a deal to go private. The resignation would be the first departure of a top Tribune executive as

Moody's Slashes Ryland to 'Junk' Status

Moody's Investors Service said on Wednesday that it has lowered its ratings on home builder Ryland Group Inc. into "junk" status.

Guild Mulling Golden Globes Picket

Is Hollywood ready for black-tie picketing? How about A-list writers such as J.J. Abrams and Judd Apatow in Armani tuxedos standing near the intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards, where the limos enter the Beverly Hilton Hotel for the Golde

Ihop Shares Tumble on Investor Concern

Shares in Ihop Corp. dipped more than 10 percent Wednesday after a poor second-quarter earnings report from Darden Restaurants Inc. led Wall Street analysts to sour on the casual dinning sector.

National Lampoon Teams with Capazoo

National Lampoon Inc. said Wednesday that it has entered into a partnership with social networking and online entertainment Web site Capazoo.com. to produce branded content for the site.

Iris Seeks Approval for New Device

Iris International Inc. said Wednesday it asked the Food and Drug Administration to approve its urine chemistry analyzer, which would give the company a access to a $350-milion per year market.

Investment Boosts Cheesecake Factory

Shares in Cheesecake Factory Inc. surged nearly 9 percent Wednesday after activist investor Nelson Peltz acquired a 10 percent stake in the Calabasas-based casual dinning chain.

Activision Ups Third Quarter Outlook

Shares in videogame developer Activision Inc. gained more than 3 percent Wednesday afternoon after the company raised its forecast for the third quarter, citing strong sales of its slate of videogame titles for the holiday season.

E3 Returning to Convention Center

Vidgame industry trade group the Entertainment Software Assn. said Tuesday that it will be moving its annual confab back to the Los Angeles Convention Center in July. Last summer, after 12 years at the Convention Center, E3 moved to a group of hotels in S

Tuesday, December 18

Ticketmaster, NFL to Form Resale Site

Ticketmaster said Tuesday that it plans to partner with the National Football League to launch a Web site next year that will allow people to resell their NFL game tickets.

Cherokee Mulling Sale

Cherokee Inc. said Tuesday that it is reviewing financial alternatives for the company, including a possible sale.

USC Gives Ground on Coliseum

USC has backed off its proposal to run the Coliseum, provided the stadium's landlord takes responsibility for making significant improvements to the venue.

Assembly Passes Landmark Bill

Legislation that would extend health insurance to millions of California's uninsured residents was approved by the Assembly late Monday.

Rayovac to Sell Disney-Branded Batteries

Walt Disney Inc. and battery maker Rayovac have teamed up to make branded batteries sporting Disney characters, the New York Times reports.

Hollywood Writers Reject Award Shows

Two of Hollywood's most glamorous events are now caught up in the entertainment industry's ugliest labor dispute in two decades. The Writers Guild of America, West, will not allow its members to write for the Golden Globes on Jan. 13 nor the Academy Award

Airport Shelves Baggage Proposal

Despite five years of study and $25 million in design costs, airport commissioners on Monday scrapped most of the plans for a massive LAX baggage-handling system as projected construction costs have soared.

Daily Briefs

DreamWorks to buy back $150 million in stock.

Monday, December 17

Clean Air Tariff Approved for Port

The Long Beach harbor commission on Monday unanimously approved a fee system, expected to generate $1.6 billion, which will fund a long-delayed clean air program backed by the local ports.

Suited for Space

Rick Tumlinson has founded several commercial space companies.

Signing Out

Entravision's planned sale of its billboard division will allow the company to focus on its broadcast business.

Former Nissan Campus in South Bay Finds Tenants

A little more than a year after Nissan left its South Bay campus, most of the space at the 42-acre site has been sold.

CalAmp, EchoStar Reach Agreement

CalAmp Corp. said Monday that it has reached a settlement with satellite TV provider EchoStar Technologies Corp. following the failure of some of CalAmp's satellite dish components.

Investors Give Static To Sale of Gemstar

Why has Macrovision's bid for Gemstar-TV Guide sent both companies' shares tumbling?

Bank Loan, Membership Drive Delivers Sherwood Country Club

The members of Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks didn't need Robin Hood to steal from the rich in order to buy their club from billionaire David Murdock.

En Vogue

The SLS Beverly Hills Hotel is ratcheting up the chic factor for its 2008 opening with staff uniforms styled by a well-known French designer.

Branching Strategy Spreads to Non-Profit Credit Unions

California Credit Union had a busy year. The non-profit institution, which serves workers in the field of education, moved a branch from Cahuenga to North Hollywood and opened a branch in Woodland Hills.

Primafuel Quickly Assumes Spotlight in Energy Sector

Primafuel is making huge waves in the biofuels industry.

Governor Should Heed Friedman, Not Bush, on Mortgage Relief

DataQuick Information Systems reports that over 52,000 homes in California have gone into foreclosure this year and at least 172,000 California borrowers defaulted on mortgage loans in the first three quarters of 2007.

'Cashtration' Cutting

A widely circulated chain e-mail includes a list of humorous made-up words from something called the "Washington Post Mensa Invitational."

Branching Out

It turns out, reports of the demise of retail branch banking have been greatly exaggerated.

Gemstar Bid A Double Dip

In what may be one of the most intriguing reactions to a local merger announcement in a while, investors last week turned thumbs down, way down, on Macrovision's proposed acquisition of Gemstar-TV Guide.

Mortgage-Relief Plan Divides Neighbors

A mortgage-relief plan being pushed by the government is supposed to help debt-laden homeowners across America. But it's creating dashed hopes and fresh tensions in this city that mushroomed during the subprime-lending boom.

Amgen Data Fails to Impress

Amgen shares hit a five-year low on Monday, despite the company having released solid data over the weekend on a potential blockbuster osteoporosis treatment.

SPECIAL REPORT: Branching Out

It turns out, reports of the demise of retail branch banking have been greatly exaggerated.

Inked Out

The Great Pen Exchange at UCLA's health sciences campus puts a point on the message about the influence of drug company promotions.

Oxy Buys Western Oil Fields

Occidental Petroleum Corp. said Monday that it has agreed to buy $1.55 billion in oil assets from Houston oil company Plains Exploration & Production Co.

Local Port Workers Begin Enrollment in Security Program

Local port workers last week began enrolling in a comprehensive new federal security program that some experts fear could upset the flow of cargo.

Will THQ Be Playing Merger Game Next?

Vivendi's pickup of Activision makes THQ an even more attractive acquisition target for a big media company.

Newsmakers

Kudos, hirings and promotions.

Bronze Mettle

Katianna Nightingale was inspired to create her colorless, odorless Aqua Tanspray after a skin cancer scare.

Maguire Plans to Take Company Private

Any time a film pans over this city's downtown skyline, it is like watching a home movie of the last 40 years of Robert Maguire III's life. His towers span its breadth, the iconic U.S. Bank Tower, the tallest building west of the Mississippi, at its cente

Simulations Plus To Change Exchanges

Simulations Plus Inc. said late Monday that its board of directors decided to switch its listing of common stock from the American Stock Exchange to The Nasdaq Stock Market effective Dec. 31.

PR Provides a Powerful Pull for Hallmark Executive

Nancy Carr was preparing for a business career when she was a student at USC. When she took some public relations classes, she found the path she wanted to take.

High Speed Rail Could Be Good for State Transportation

Some of the points Adam B. Summers made in his op-ed of Nov. 26 ("It's Time to Stop California's Plans for High-Speed Rail") deserve rebuttal.

Building a Branch Means Business for Lots of Firms

When Bank of America opens its branch in Adelanto this week, it will rank among the most environmentally advanced locations built by the San Francisco institution.

Striking Writers Venturing Out

Dozens of striking film and TV writers are negotiating with venture capitalists to set up companies that would bypass the Hollywood studio system and reach consumers with video entertainment on the Web.

Abviva on Stronger Footing With Mad Cow Disease Test

Genesis Bioventures Inc., has changed its name to Abviva Inc. The company, which is developing novel breast cancer diagnostics and therapies, now may have revenue-producing products on the way.

The Bit-by-Byte Approach Has Online Banking Taking Off

The tech boom of the late 1990s was supposed to spell the end of branching as consumers flocked to online banking. The former never happened.

It Takes Some Tricks to Do De Novo

With all the new bank branches opening in Los Angeles County it would seem that establishing one would hardly pose a challenge to any professionally run financial institution.

Miracle Mile Improvements Lead to a Leasing Trifecta

Three lease deals have been completed at Wilshire Courtyard in the Miracle Mile area.

Aggressive Ad Targeting Gets Chilly Reception on Social Sites

Social networking titan Facebook stumbled in its early attempt to target ads at members, while MySpace has succeeded with a more low-key approach.

Quinn Emanuel Goes International With Office in Japan

In the L.A. firm's first international foray, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges LLP has opened an office in Tokyo.

Friday, December 14

Carpoolers' Free Ride May be Over

A proposal to convert the carpool lanes on three Los Angeles County freeways into toll roads could be a boon to frustrated solo commuters willing to pay for a quicker drive to work.

Oxy CFO Extends Role

Occidental Petroleum Corp. Chief Financial Officer Stephen Chazen will take on the additional role of president for the Los Angeles-based oil company.

FTC Closes Probe into Classmates.com

Shares of United Online Inc. rose nearly 8 percent Friday after the company announced the closure of a federal probe into its Classmates.com Web site.

Writers File Charge Against Studios

Hollywood's bitter labor dispute intensified Thursday when striking writers filed a charge against the studios, alleging they had not bargained in good faith.

With Writers Out, Directors Offer Talks

Movie and television directors said Thursday that they were prepared to begin bargaining toward a new contract with production companies after the New Year holiday, a move that could realign Hollywood's troubled labor front.

Big Movers

In a week where the Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest public companies dropped 3. 8 percent, with 150 companies losing ground, and with the Dow Jones industrial average losing more than 200 points, it was tough to find companies on t

Thursday, December 13

DirecTV Buys DVR Maker

DirecTV Group Inc. said Wednesday that it agreed to buy most of the assets of ReplayTV from D & M; Holdings Inc. to gain patents for manufacturing digital video recorders.

Countrywide Lending Dips, Shares Follow

Shares in Countrywide Financial Corp. dropped nearly 6 percent Thursday after it said foreclosures doubled in November and late payments continued to rise.

Countrywide Subpoenaed by Illinois

The Illinois attorney general is investigating the home loan unit of Countrywide Financial as part of the state's expanding inquiry into dubious lending practices that have trapped borrowers in high-cost mortgages they can no longer afford.

The Writers Guild Is Losing Ground

As the writers' strike heads toward its seventh week with no end in sight, you know there won't be a quick, easy, or quiet end to the walkout called by the 8,000-member Writers Guild of America.

PeopleSupport Rejects Unsolicited Offer

PeopleSupport Inc. said late Wednesday that its board rejected the unsolicited $15-per-share acquisition offer from IPVG Corp. and AO Capital Partners.

Bill Clinton Cutting Ties With Burkle

Former president Bill Clinton says he is preparing to reduce or curtail his business relationship with Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle's investment firm if his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, wins the Democratic presidential nomination.

Endeavor Closes American Apparel Deal

The chief executive of Endeavor Acquisition, the special-purpose acquisition company that agreed to buy American Apparel earlier this year, no doubt breathed a sigh of relief Wednesday as the company closed on the deal just three days before its drop-dead

J2 Acquires RapidFax

J2 Global Communications Inc. said Thursday it has acquired the RapidFax business of Easylink Services International, a Norcross, GA-based business-to-business e-commerce services provider.

Aecom Inks Housing Deal With Libya

Aecom Technology Corp. said Thursday that it signed a contract worth up to $574 million with a Libyan government housing agency.

Wednesday, December 12

Classmates IPO Canceled

Citing poor market conditions, United Online Inc. announced Wednesday that it had decided to cancel its initial public offering for its popular Web site Classmates.com.

Maguire Again Mulls Sale

Shares in Maguire Properties Inc. soared nearly 10 percent Wednesday after the company said it has formed a special committee of independent directors to look into strategic options for the company, including a sale.

Executives: China Put Ban on U.S. Films

China has stopped granting permission for American films to be shown in its theaters in an apparent trade dispute with the United States, according to several Hollywood executives and United States government officials.

Tribune Revenue Falls 3.3 Percent

Despite a boost from this year's early Thanksgiving, Tribune Co., parent of the Los Angeles Times, saw revenue for the four-week period ended Nov. 25 sink 3.3 %, with classified advertising especially hard-hit by the real-estate slump.

Writers Union Feeling the Heat

The Writers Guild of America is under new and mounting pressure from its ranks to get back to the bargaining table.

Diodes Shares Surge on Outlook

Shares in Diodes Inc. rose nearly 9 percent Wednesday after the company raised its fourth quarter revenue guidance citing increased manufacturing efficiencies and a better product mix.

Maguire Explores a Sale, Again

Maguire Properties Inc., a Los Angeles real-estate investment trust that is fighting hedge funds for control of the company, indicated it is up for sale for the second time in 13 months.

China Eases Travel to U.S.

Southern California is expected to reap a bulk of the economic benefits of an agreement reached Tuesday allowing Chinese tourists to visit the United States on leisure travel visas beginning next spring.

Tuesday, December 11

Audit Lashes State Fund

California's largest workers' compensation insurance carrier operated so secretively that the board appointed by the governor to oversee it was often kept out of the loop on major purchases and charitable contributions, according to a sweeping audit being

IndyMac Downgraded to 'Junk' Status

Shares in IndyMac Bancorp Inc. dropped more than 5 percent Tuesday after the Pasadena-based lender's credit rating was cut to "junk" status by a bond rating service.

Amgen Mulling Sale of Japan Unit

Amgen Inc., the world's biggest biotechnology company, may sell its unit in Japan as part of global cost cuts to offset a slump in sales and a lower earnings forecast, people familiar with the plan said.

Long Beach Port Proposes New Truck Fee

The Port of Long Beach plans to vote next week on a fee structure to help fund the controversial program to clean up port trucking, officials announced today.

Daily Briefs

Cherokee reoprts third-quarter results.

Napster Backs Q3 Guidance, CFO Resigns

Online music retailer Napster Inc. reaffirmed Tuesday its third-quarter guidance and said its chief financial officer is resigning.

Classmates IPO Pricing Planned

Shares in Woodland Hills-based Internet company United Online Inc. gained more than 4 percent Tuesday after the company said it is expecting to price the initial public offering for its popular Web site Classmates.com this week.

Monday, December 10

High Prices, High Stakes for Law Grads

Helping aspiring attorneys pass the state bar is big business in Los Angeles, with some companies offering deluxe instructional packages that can cost as much as $12,000.

Amgen Stung By Downgrades

Shares in Thousand Oaks-based biotech firm Amgen Inc. fell Monday after shares were downgraded by two firms.

Univision's KMEX Extends Sweeps Winning Streak to 15

Once again, Univision's KMEX (Channel 34) had the highest ratings for the November sweeps among advertiser-friendly demographics.

Anemia Drugs Show Leukemia Risk

Amgen Inc. and Johnson & Johnson's anemia drugs may raise the risk that patients with a bone marrow disease will later develop leukemia, according to an analysis of 30 years of patient records.

Left Out in Cold By Rate Freeze

Charles Crumpley regrets not taking advantage of low teaser rates for home mortgages now that the government is poised to bail out people from their bad decisions.

Writers, Studios Break off Talks

Talks between Hollywood writers and studios collapsed Friday, dashing hopes of an imminent resolution to a 5-week-old strike that has upended the entertainment industry.

Mother Hilton Mulls Move Into Fashion

Sisters Paris Hilton and Nicky Hilton have careers in fashion. And no, their jobs aren't merely to wear clothes. They have their own lines.

Microturbine Company Gets Healthy Boost From Big Apple

Chatsworth-based Capstone Turbine received a big boost when New York City took steps that will encourage the implementation of its microturbine energy generating systems.

Santa Monica Businesses Question Smoking Crackdown

A proposed Santa Monica city ordinance to make businesses liable for patrons who smoke on their outdoor premises is meeting some resistance from the business community.

Qantas Airways' Upscale Lounge Takes Wing at LAX

In conjunction with Cathay Pacific and British Airways, Qantas Airways Ltd. has completed an upscale lounge in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport.

Newsmakers/Kudos/Donations

Hirings, promotions and kudos.

Shoe Firms Step on Each Other's Toes

Shoemakers Skechers USA and Vans are in a tussle over the use of a checkerboard pattern that's synonymous with the local surf and skateboard culture.

Nuts and Boats

Carson-based snack-food maker Mrs. May's Naturals ships its nuts and fruits to China for processing, and then back to the United States for distribution.

Tuned Up

Acquiring "Guitar Hero" maker Red Octane was a major move that put Activision in line for a $19 billion merger with Vivendi's Blizzard Entertainment.

Daily Briefs

Gemstar stung by downgrade.

Talon International Will Exit American Stock Exchange

Talon International Inc., an apparel supply company, is voluntarily removing itself from the American Stock Exchange.

Legislative Gridlock Shapes Up for '08

California faces a $10 billion budget deficit, turf battles have broken out in the Legislature and lawmakers are on edge while waiting for voters to decide if they can serve longer in their houses.

Innovative Card Product Protects From Online Poachers

Electronic device provides pass codes to track Web transactions.

Contest Winner Milks Laugh for Commercial Spots

Steve Josefson's contest-winning laugh put him in Spanish-language commercials and scored him $1,000 and 100 gallons of milk.

Partnerships Needed to Develop 'Smart Growth' Policy

Adopting a Smart Growth plan in Los Angeles will ensure that the area's workforce will have the housing it sorely needs, writes Mary Leslie.

Burn Centers Get Funding Boost for Workers Comp Cases

Grossman facility led legislative fight to up reimbursement rates.

Regency Reborn

The four-decade-old Hyatt Regency Century Plaza is launching the

Swiss Ringer

Richard Schaefer was bred for a life in banking, but meeting boxer Oscar De La Hoya at a Palm Springs golf course pointed his life in a new direction.

L.A. County Home Sales Drop to New Low in November

The number of homes that traded hands in Los Angeles County in November was the lowest yet in the current housing slump.

UCLA Spinoff Could Go for $500 Million

The county's largest privately held biotech firm, Agensys, has agreed to be acquired by a subsidiary of Japan's second-largest pharmaceutical company.

Outer Reaches

Alliance Spacesystems in Pasadena is at work on robotic arms that can be used to repair satellites in space, possibly saving billions of dollars.

Lenders, Homebuilders Gain on Forecast

Local lenders and homebuilders got a boost Monday after a national trade group for real-estate agents said the battered housing market is on the verge of stabilizing.

Teledyne Buys San Diego Firm

Teledyne Technologies Inc. said Monday that it has agreed to acquire San Diego-based Impulse Enterprise Inc. for an undisclosed sum.

IndyMac Downgraded to 'Junk' by S

Shares in IndyMac Bancorp Inc. dropped 2.7 percent in after-market trading Monday after the Pasadena-based lender had its credit rating cut to "junk" status.

Regional Report

Business news from around the L.A. County region.

ID Media Will Serve Up Round Table Pizza Campaign

Direct-response agency ID Media has won the Round Table Pizza account. Although based in New York, ID Media will handle its pizza client through the Los Angeles office.

When It Comes to Children, There Are Programs That Work

Some after-school programs are vital to improving the social and scholastic lives of many children, according to Michael Tennenbaum.

Friday, December 7

Big Movers

While the Dow Jones industrial average gained 250 points for the week, the Los Angeles Business Journal's index of 200 largest public companies in L.A. County added 1.4 percent, marking the second-straight week of gains.

Commission OKs L.A. Port Expansion

The Los Angeles Harbor Commission on Thursday approved a controversial proposal to increase ship calls by 30% at one of the West Coast's largest shipping terminals and add 1,800 daily truck trips to an area already struggling to cope with some of Southern

Amgen Reconsiders Aranesp Warning

Amgen Inc. is considering revising the safety information on its best-selling drug Aranesp after a new study showed the anemia treatment may increase the likelihood of death in women with cancer.

Gemstar Acquired for $2.8 Billion

Shares in Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. plunged nearly 18 percent Friday as investors showed discontent with a $2.8 billion acquisition of the media company by Macrovision Corp.

Rate Freeze as a Slap in the Face to Some

When Casey Johnson and his wife moved to San Diego County three years ago, they couldn't find a home in their price range. So they did what they thought was the sensible thing.

Daily Briefs

Cheesecake Factory ups buyback; Guidance Software names new CEO.

Thursday, December 6

Hot Topic Shares Slip on Lower Sales

Shares in teen retailer Hot Topic Inc. dropped more than 8 percent Thursday after the company reported a dip in same-store sales for November.

IndyMac CEO Says 'No Buyback'

IndyMac Bancorp Inc. said Thursday that it expected further losses until at least the second half of next year and rejected a shareholder proposal to buy back stock, sending shares down.

Group Give Poor Marks to Region

Southern California provides substandard service to residents in several economic, social and health-related categories, according to the Southern California Association of Governments, a regional planning organization covering Los Angeles and several nei

Coliseum Ready to Give USC an Offer

After a week-long war of words that led Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to jump into the tiff between USC and the Coliseum Commission over a long-term lease agreement, a d tente of sorts was reached Wednesday.

Rate Freeze Talk Lifts Local Shares

As talk of the government's proposal to freeze the low introductory interest rates on recently made home loans intensified Thursday, shares in local lenders and homebuilders surged.

Studios Bring in Spin Doctors

Seeking to shore up its flagging public image, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers has retained a consulting firm known for creating controversies in media and politics on behalf of well-heeled clients.

Lost Wal-Mart Deal Stings UTi Shares

Despite reporting double-digit growth in third-quarter profit and revenues, shares in UTi Worldwide Inc. plummeted nearly 19 percent when the company said it expected to lose a contract with retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Daily Briefs

DirecTV to build satellite.

Wednesday, December 5

AeroVironment Shares up on Earnings

Shares in AeroVironment Inc. leapt nearly 6 percent Wednesday after the unmanned aircraft maker reported jumps in second-quarter profit and sales and reaffirmed its annual guidance.

Daily Briefs

Southwest Water names COO.

Chill Spreads to Commercial Real Estate

The global credit crunch that took hold of financial markets in the summer is now taking the steam out of commercial real estate.

Guess Shares Surge on Earnings

Shares in Guess Inc. climbed 5 percent early Wednesday after the clothing retailer topped Wall Street expectations with its third quarter results.

Capstone Surges on Announcement

Shares of Capstone Turbine Corp. got a boost Wednesday after the mayor of New York City said the city is going to pursue installation of technology in its buildings similar to what Capstone develops.

Study: No Recession in 2008

Real estate crash or not, the U.S. economy and California will escape recession in 2008, a UCLA study released today predicts.

Writer, Studio Talks Inch Forward

Negotiators for writers and studios returned to the bargaining table Tuesday, but they remained far from reaching a new deal that would end a strike now in its fifth week.

Tuesday, December 4

Countrywide, IndyMac Hurt by Reports

Reports from two investment firms saying that the Treasury Department's plan to extend low interest rates will have little effect on the sub-prime mortgage market have put downward pressure on two local lenders.

Gemstar Signs Deal for Chinese Guides

Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. said on Tuesday that it has signed a multiyear deal to provide interactive program guides to a Chinese cable operator.

Activision Winning Wall Street Game

Activision's stock continued to surge on Tuesday following the announcement that the video game maker will merge with Vivendi.

Hanmi Hires CFO

L.A.-based Hanmi Financial Corp. announced the hiring of Brian Cho as chief financial officer.

Monday, December 3

Gores Group Adds to Holdings

Los Angeles-based private equity firm Gores Group LLC has purchased United Road Services Inc., a Michigan-based logistics company.

Vivendi to Acquire Activision

Vivendi plans to acquire a controlling stake in Santa Monica-based Activision in a deal that creates a rival to Electronic Arts as the world's largest independent video game publisher.

Banking Veteran Places Artisan Precast on Firm Ground

In little more than a year, Chief Executive Craig Lewis has engineered a turnaround for Artisan Precast, a maker of concrete walls.

Northern Trust Takes Top Billing at PGA's Westside Stop

When the PGA Tour makes its Los Angeles stop in February at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, it won't be the Nissan Open anymore.

Jakks Says Court to Dismiss Lawsuit

Jakks Pacific Inc. said a New York federal district court will dismiss a lawsuit from World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. that accused the Santa Monica toy maker of bribery and other actions.

Vivendi Breakup Cloud Remains

Vivendi's deal with Activision Inc is unlikely to end speculation over a possible break-up of the French conglomerate, analysts say.

CB Richard Ellis Repurchase Plan Drives Up Shares

CB Richard Ellis enjoyed a nice stock bounce last week, but it's still way down from its summer highs.

Developer Plans New Project Near Pomona Business Park

Five buildings will be erected on site of old paper mill.

Strange Brew

Chris Reed, chief executive of Reed's Inc., has turned his passion for organic living into a best selling ginger ale and a Nasdaq-traded company.

Stacked Up

Universal Studios-based Insomnia Media Group has scored $550 million from an Egyptian financier.

Spam's End? Maybe, if Time Allows

Twenty-five years ago Steven T. Kirsch built a better mouse. Now he believes he has found a way to create a better trap , for spam, not mice , if he has enough time to finish his project.

Sporting Move

The decision by Chick's Sporting Goods to sell out to rival chain Dick's sharpens the competition in that crowded sector.

Business Class Might Not Be Thrilled by Superjumbo

Business travelers may find that superjumbo jet Airbus A380 has fallen short of lofty expectations.

La Cachette Offers Satisfying French Fare Without the Fat

The health-conscious French cuisine of La Cachette is worth the hassle of visiting this impossible-to-find Century City restaurant.

Toll Lanes Would Give Drivers the Option to Achieve Greater Speed

Should toll lanes replace high-occupancy vehicle lanes? Samuel R. Staley is for it, and wants to begin on a network of such roadways around Los Angeles.

On Shores of Tripoli, Occidental Drills In

Although it has been burned in the past by working in politically unstable countries, Occidental Petroleum is trying again with a deal in Libya.

Gore Beating Bush at Bali

Seven years after he lost the U.S. election, Al Gore has more influence on U.S. global warming policy than the man who defeated him, President George W. Bush.

Truckers Drive Away From Battle at Ports

Trucking companies are grinding their gears as they attempt to fight a clean air plan for the ports that could put hundreds of them out of business.

Emergency Management System Tested in 9/11 Response

Eteam is an emergency management IT software that was scheduled to be deployed in mid-September 2001 for the New York City Office of Emergency Management.

UCLA Graduate Finding Fulfillment in Helping Girls

Anna Ouroumian, president of the Academy of Business Leadership

Arrowhead Names New CEO

Arrowhead Research Corp. on Monday announced the appointment of Dr. Christopher Anzalone as its president and chief executive cfficer, succeeding company founder Bruce Stewart.

Insomnia Media Gets Infusion

The movie version of "Cleopatra" was a Hollywood epic in the days of yore. Now, a Tinseltown production company has an epic $550 million to work with and the money has an Egyptian connection.

Newsmakers/Kudos

Promotions and honors for area professionals and businesspeople.

One-Way Streets Going Nowhere

Los Angeles officials are spinning their wheels on a too-little, too-late proposal to turn Olympic and Pico boulevards into one-way streets, according to Charles Crumpley.

Partner Status Puts Lawyers in Product Pitch Bull's-Eye

Some L.A.-area lawyers are finding that being promoted to partner also means being targeted by companies pitching them high-end services.

Bruins Bearish Over USC in Rose Bowl

The notion of the USC football team possibly leaving the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to play its home games in the Rose Bowl has a few UCLA fans peeved and preoccupied.

Designing a Museum in Minutes Instead of Months

Onuma Inc.'s architectural software slices design time from weeks to days, sometimes even hours. But there are drawbacks.

How WGA Garnered Sympathy With Winning Strike Script

Public relations executives say celebrity supporters and a simple economic argument helped striking writers win the early battle for the public's sympathy.

Lane Change?

Should toll lanes replace high-occupancy vehicle lanes? Richard G. Little cautions that the switch could impact the region's compliance with the federal Clean Air Act.

Marines Abuzz Over Deal for Aerovironment's Wasp III

Aerovironment Inc., a Monrovia manufacturer of advanced unmanned aerial vehicles and quick-charge energy systems, is flying high with the military.