Stories for January 2007

Wednesday, January 31

Countrywide Merger Talk Discounted

Talk of a merger between Bank of America Corp. and Countrywide Financial Corp. was dampened Wednesday after remarks by bank's Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis.

Hilton Shares Gain on Earnings

Shares in Hilton Hotel Corp. rose 3 percent Wednesday after the company announced a doubling of earnings due to its acquisition of the U.K.'s Hilton Group.

Living Wage Deal Reached

Business leaders have dropped their effort to use a ballot referendum to overturn a law that extends L.A.'s living wage ordinance to workers at a dozen hotels near the Los Angeles International Airport after reaching a last minute compromise with the city

Healthcare is Key Issue in Grocery Talks

The big supermarket chains and union officials have started talks on a new labor contract. If those early contacts have been the appetizers, the players will sit down to the main course Monday, when Southern California's biggest grocery union local meets

DreamWorks Ends Partnership

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. said late Tuesday that it had formally ended ties with Aardman Animations, the maker of "Flushed Away," which didn't perform up to expectations.

NoHo Development Boost

The NoHo Arts District received yet another boost Tuesday when a development group said it would invest $30 million to build a live/work project near the Y-shape intersection on Lankershim Boulevard.

Sea Launch Rocket Explodes on Launch

A rocket launched in the mid Pacific Ocean by Sea Launch Co. of Long Beach exploded during liftoff, destroying the rocket and its payload late Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 30

Passenger Count Declines at LAX, Ontario

The number of passengers at Los Angeles International and Ontario International airports declined in 2006, according to operator Los Angeles World Airports.

L.B. Port Proposes Expansion

While it's been nearly five years since the Port of Long Beach approved any new terminals or shipyard expansions, the lull doesn't mean all new projects are off.

21st Century Investors Sue to Block Bid

Shareholders of 21st Century Insurance Group sued to block a proposed $690 million buyout Tuesday by insurance giant American International Group Inc.

Wilshire Bancorp Reports Record 4Q Profit

Wilshire Bancorp Inc. the holding company for Wilshire State Bank, reported fourth quarter earnings, but failed to impress investors.

Northrop Lands Destroyer Deal

Northrop Grumman Corp. said Tuesday that the U.S. Navy awarded it a $268 million contract for continuing design work on the Zumwalt-class destroyer.

Countrywide Takeover Unlikely

Most analysts expect Countrywide Financial Corp.'s stock to give back some recent gains as investors realize that Bank of America Corp. won't buy the mortgage lender.

DaVita Investigation Ends

A six-year federal investigation of DaVita Inc. has concluded without any charges being filed, the El Segundo-based dialysis center operator announced Tuesday.

Health Plan Review May be Intensified

The state's top HMO regulator said Monday that health plans should be required to get outside review before dropping a policyholder, a dramatic step up in oversight that probably would face stiff challenges from the industry.

Jacobs Lands Katrina Contract

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. said Tuesday that it has received a contract from Louisiana to provide project management services for the Hurricane Katrina state military reconstruction program. The contract is worth a reported $460 million.

Image Inks Sci Fi Deal

Image Entertainment Inc. said Tuesday that it has entered into a multi-year agreement with NBC Universal Television Distribution to release 14 movies produced for the Sci Fi Channel's Saturday night movie franchise.

Berman, Braun Form Firm

Two of the television industry's biggest names are forming a company to produce TV programs, movies and Internet entertainment, according to people familiar with the plan, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Countrywide Earnings Disappoint

Countrywide Financial Corp. released fourth quarter results Tuesday, missing Wall Street expectations but still gaining thanks to speculation of a merger with Bank of America.

County CAO Pick Bows Out

Thomas Mauk, who had accepted a job as L.A. County's chief administrative officer the day before, agreed on Tuesday to stay in Orange County in the same post.

Keystone Shares Gain on Strong Quarter

Keystone Automotive Industries Inc. reported record earnings and sales for its fiscal third quarter sending shares up more than 6 percent.

Monday, January 29

All-Star Pitchers Get Big Wins During L.A. Technology Week

Tech companies make play for venture capital at UCLA's Anderson School.

Acquisition Tear Sends Reliance Steel Revenue Soaring

Thanks to an acquisition tear, revenues at Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. have doubled since 2001.

Van Nuys Jet Facility Expanded

The Air Group said Monday that it has broken ground on a multi-million dollar expansion of its West Coast private jet terminal and corporate headquarters at the Van Nuys Airport.

Insurance for All?

Jim Lott writes that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's health insurance proposal has significant flaws.

The Need for Discretion Outweighs the Need for Advertising

Medical marijuana shops have a quandary: They want to get the word out to customers, but too much advertising could get them busted.

Firms Making S-l-o-w Progress on Diversity in Hiring

Law firms are continuing to progress towards more respectable minority representation, according to the National Association of Legal Placement, an organization that monitors hiring of women and minorities.

Games People Play

Nolan Bushnell, who launched Atari and went on to found Chuck E. Cheese, has a new venture a Woodland Hills restaurant with a video game theme.

Natural Gas Projects In a Race for Survival

A plan to build a liquid natural gas terminal in the Port of Long Beach has been derailed, intensifying competition among the remaining contenders.

Two Thumbs Way Down

What's all the fuss over "Borat" and "Babel"? Charles Crumpley doesn't really know, because he doesn't go to movies much anymore. He's not alone, either.

Launching Lawdragon Means Work Around the Clock

Katrina Dewey

Shell Sells Wilmington Refinery

Tesoro Corp. said Monday it is buying the Wilmington refinery and about 250 retail sites in Southern California from Shell Oil Products for $1.6 billion.

A Moving Experience

UsedCardboardBoxes.com offers those changing locations a cheaper and environmentally friendly way to acquire their containers.

From Big Cheese at Mouse House to Pioneer of Internet TV

It's a long way from heading the Walt Disney Co., but Michael Eisner is getting back in the media game.

Hip-Hop Gaming League Set For Major Media Sponsorships

The finals of the Hip-Hop Gaming League's second season will kick off on Feb. 16 in Las Vegas, with a raft of media tie-ins and heavyweight sponsorships.

Insurance Firm Signs Downtown Lease for $6.2 Million

Two deals show office market continues to gain strength.

Software Lets Drug Companies Simulate Their Clinical Trials

Simulations Plus Inc.

Amgen Wins Patent Suit

Amgen Inc. said on Monday that it has won an appeals court ruling that prevents an Israeli company from seeking royalties on its Enbrel arthritis treatment.

Author Turns Up Marketing Power Of Internet Sites

Local author Eli Davidson helped herself when she marketed her self-help book by using such new media as MySpace and YouTube.

County Appoints Chief Administrator

After a five-month search, current Orange County Administrative Officer Thomas Mauk was appointed Monday by the Board of Supervisors as the new Los Angeles County chief administrative officer.

RIDING HIGH

The number of medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles County has ballooned from a relative handful to more than 200 in two years.

Megadeals Highlight December After M & A; Slowdown

While overall deal activity in L.A. was down during the second half of 2006, the year ended with a bang as three megadeals were announced in December.

Hock Jock

EBay and Craigslist have changed the secondhand business. But some pawn shops, such as Elliott Salter's in West Hollywood, manage to thrive.

Businesses Push for Quick Start of Greenhouse Gas Law

After mounting a fierce but futile fight against passage of a state law cracking down on greenhouse gas emissions, a coalition of businesses is now pushing for more rapid implementation of that law.

Countrywide Rises on Merger Talks

Shares in Countrywide Financial Corp. continued to rise Monday on reports the mortgage lender is exploring a possible merger with Bank of America.

Venture Capital Activity Bouncing Back With 'Web 2.0'

Venture Capital has made a significant comeback in Los Angeles, thanks to the phenomenon of "Web 2.0" a resurgence of Internet business.

Regional Report

Business news from around the L.A.-area.

Will Governor's Plan Deliver the Goods?

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to spend more than $1.5 billion to speed cargo through Los Angeles sounds good, but are delays inevitable?

The 'Godfather' of the Movement Takes Shots at 'Pot Doctors'

The man who pioneered medical marijuana in California has regrets about the way things have turned out.

Calif. Town's Economy 'Hostage' to Fly

This city lives in the shadow of a 1-inch fly that that slurps nectar and zooms around like a hummingbird.

Street's Heat Has Investor's Daily Circulation Bubbling

In a year when the largest daily newspapers lost readers, the circulation numbers in 2006 for Investor's Business Daily show 2.5 percent more customers.

Newsmakers/Kudos

Promotions, hirings and honors.

Toyota's Long Beach Roots

When Toyota opened its first North American manufacturing plant here in 1972, the automaker was just a bit player in the United States, grossly overshadowed by the Big Three and even foreign competitors like Volkswagen.

Overhill Reports Record Earnings

Shares of Overhill Farms Inc. hit a 52-week high in midday trading Monday after the Los Angeles frozen food manufacturer reported record earnings.

The Award for Best Use of Banquet Leftovers Goes to . . .

Angel Harvest is having its busy season: the non-profit picks up pricey leftovers from awards shows and delivers them to homeless shelters.

Airbus Executive Calls for Quick Start to LAX Upgrades

Allan McArtor, chairman of Airbus North America Holdings, believes the City Council needs to begin upgrades on LAX or the airport will lose its chance to be a hub for future jumbo jets.

Sporting News Move Makes L.A. Epicenter of Jock Talk

Los Angeles' status as capital of sports talk was cemented last week when Sporting News Radio said it is shifting its nationally syndicated radio shows here.

Barbie Propels Mattel Earnings

Boosted by Barbie and the T.M.X. Elmo dolls, Mattel Inc. posted better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings.

Friday, January 26

MRV Buys Fiberxon

MRV Communications Inc. said it plans to acquire Santa Clara-based Fiberxon Inc. for $131 million in cash and stock, in a move to expand its operations in China.

B of A Talking Merger with Countrywide

Shares of Calabasas-based Countrywide Financial Corp. rose more than 4 percent on Friday on reports that the mortgage giant was in talks with Bank of America about a possible merger or alliance.

International Rectifier Shares Surge

Shares in International Rectifier Corp. closed up12 percent Friday after the company reported that second-quarter profit nearly doubled.

Winners & Losers

Overhill Farms, 21st Century get 52-week highs while THQ, Hot Topic and Trio Tech lose ground.

SEC Launches KB Home Investigation

KB Home said Thursday that the Securities and Exchange Commission has started a formal investigation into the company's backdating of stock options.

Realtors: Home Sales Hold Steady

The number of home sales in Los Angeles County dropped in December compared to the previous year, but sales overall have stabilized, according to the California Association of Realtors.

Easton Moves Jobs to China

Easton Sports is transferring all 250 of its manufacturing jobs to China but will keep its headquarters in Van Nuys, the Daily News reported.

IndyMac Shares Fall

Shares of IndyMac Bancorp continued to fall Friday after losing 5 percent of their value the previous day due to lackluster earnings.

Edison Gets OK for Transmission Line

Southern California Edison Co. has been given approval to build a major transmission line to improve its electrical grid but also must obtain new power from less polluting plants, the California Public Utilities Commission has decided.

Caruso in Escrow on Miramar Hotel

Developer Rick Caruso is in escrow to buy the shuttered Miramar Hotel in Montecito, in his first foray into the hospitality industry.

Chandlers May Mount Proxy Fight

With Tribune Co.'s deadline for board nominations weeks away, a new issue has emerged in the battle for control of the newspaper and TV empire: the possibility that its biggest shareholder, the Chandler family, could mount a proxy fight for additional boa

FirstFeb Reports Strong Earnings

Shares in FirstFed Financial Corp. rose Friday after the company reported a big jump in loan sales and a strong increase in profit.

Amgen Shares Drop on Drug Warning

Shares in Amgen Inc. sunk nearly 5 percent Friday after news that its anemia drug Aranesp increased the risk of death when used to treat certain cancer patients.

EMI to Combine Two Labels

Ailing music giant EMI will merge two of the music industry's best-known labels, Capitol Records and Virgin Records America, in a sweeping reorganization prompted by the company's financial troubles.

Thursday, January 25

Meruelo Maddux Shares Up After IPO

Shares of Meruelo Maddux Properties Inc. rose Thursday during its first day of trading since it raised $400 million in a disappointing IPO.

Grand Avenue Project Gets Hotel

A key element of the Grand Avenue redevelopment project was secured Thursday when developer Related Cos. announced it will bring a five-star hotel to the $1.8 billion mixed-use project.

Insurance Shares Surge on Buyout Offer

Shares in 21st Century Insurance Group shot up 27 percent Thursday following an offer by American International Group Inc. its majority shareholder to buy its remaining publicly held shares.

KB Home to Restructure CEO Pay

KB Home said Thursday that it will pay Chief Executive Jeffrey Metzger an annual salary of $1 million, far less than predecessor Bruce Karatz.

Oxy Earning , Shares Fall

Shares in Occidental Petroleum slid Thursday after reporting lower earnings due to a fall in oil prices.

Northrop Reports Strong Earnings

Northrop Grumman Corp. shares dipped Thursday despite strong fourth quarter earnings.

Long Beach Port Sets Another Traffic Record

For the fifth consecutive year, the Port of Long Beach in 2006 set a record for cargo movement.

Ryland Shares Fall on Earnings

Shares in homebuilder Ryland Group Inc. lost 4.7 percent after reporting poor earnings amid the worst housing slump in 15 years.

L.A. is Losing Allure For Films

Having a movie star governor in California has done little to stop feature films from abandoning production in and around Los Angeles - once the undisputed movie capital of the world.

Wednesday, January 24

Murdoch to Join Chandlers in Bid

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has thrown in with the Chandlers, agreeing to take a minority stake in their deal, according to a News Corp.

Will Awards Equal Success for Paramount

If awards were the only measure of a movie studio's success, Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures would appear to be at the top of its game. But award nominations do not equal financial success all of the time.

Northrop to Make Missile Defense Laser

Northrop Grumman Corp. said Wednesday that it has teamed with Israeli defense firm RADA Electronic Industries Ltd. to build a laser-based missile defense system for Israel.

AECOM Plans IPO Again

Engineering and design firm AECOM Technology Corp. said Wednesday that it intends to go public during the second or third quarter of this year.

FTC OKs International Rectifier Sale

The Federal Trade Commission has put aside antitrust concerns and cleared the way for the $290 million sale of International Rectifier Corp.'s power management business to Vishay Intertechnology Inc., executives at the El Segundo firm said Wednesday.

Crop Losses Could Set Records

Ventura County farmers lost a record $281 million in crops and nursery stock during a recent cold snap, while the state's overall losses could top $1 billion, officials said Tuesday.

Internet Brands Buys DoItYourself.com

El Segundo's Internet Brands Inc. has agreed to acquire DoItYourself.com, a leading independent home improvement and home repair website.

Tuesday, January 23

Avery Shares Up After Earnings

Shares in Avery Dennison Corp. rose nearly 4 percent after the company announced fourth quarter earnings that were better than expected.

Northrop Lands 3 Biometric Tech Deals

Northrop Grumman Corp. said it has been awarded more than $20 million in three biometrics and identity management contracts from the United States government.

Complex Planned for Playa Vista

Two prominent real estate investment firms are planning a major office building complex in Playa Vista, adding another large development to an area already at the heart of a construction boom.

Yuen Ordered to Pay Gemstar $94 Million

An arbitration panel has ordered former Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. Chief Executive Henry C. Yuen to pay the company $93.6 million in damages, salary and other costs.

L.A. Landed $1 Billion in VC During '06

L.A. posted its best year for venture capital investment since 2001, topped off by a slight increase in the fourth quarter.

DirecTV Extends 'March Madness' Deal

DirecTV Group Inc. said Tuesday that it has extended its agreement with CBS Corp. to carry the "NCAA Mega March Madness" college basketball package on the satellite TV provider's network.

Long Beach LNG Terminal Axed

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners has nixed a proposed LNG terminal in the Port of Long Beach, citing a flawed environmental impact report as well as stalled negotiations.

Jacob's Shares Surge on Earnings

Shares in Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. ballooned more than 8 percent after the company announced strong first-quarter earnings that beat ambitious Wall Street expectations.

Monday, January 22

No Decisions for Tribune Bids

Tribune Co. directors came away with no decisions made after meeting today in Chicago to mull offers for the company generated by a four-month auction process that ended earlier this week.

Online Job Recruiting Dips

Online job recruiting in Los Angeles County fell slightly in December as holiday season hiring tapered off, according to figures released from Monster Worldwide Inc.

WESTSIDE: High Rents, Low Vacancies Keeping It a Landlord's Market

Sales and leasing activity in L.A.'s various neighborhoods in the fourth quarter.

SAN FERNANDO VALLEY: Investors Clamor for Quality Office Product

Sales and leasing activity in L.A.'s various neighborhoods in the fourth quarter.

L.A. COUNTY: Vacancy Rates Across Region Are on the Decline

Sales and leasing activity in L.A.'s various neighborhoods in the fourth quarter.

The Nose Knows

Electronic Sensor Technology Inc. is marketing a device that can sniff the chemical components of everything from explosives to catfish bait.

TRI-CITIES: Events in Burbank Point to Ongoing Strength of Submarket

Sales and leasing activity in L.A.'s various neighborhoods in the fourth quarter.

Port Trade Grows Steadily

Despite signs that the U.S. economy is poised to slow in the new year, there appears to be no end to steady growth in trade moving through local seaports.

Protesters Force Juice Maker to End Testing on Animals

The makers of pomegranate juice POM Wonderful have vowed to cease animal testing in the face of pressure from animal rights groups and a leading supermarket chain.

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY: Activity Declines Due to Lack of Available Space

Sales and leasing activity in L.A.'s various neighborhoods in the fourth quarter.

One Company's Long Search For a Site to Allow Expansion

One tenant figured it would take him a short time to find new industrial space. He was wrong.

Labor Pains For Building Owners

Commercial building owners and security companies agreed to let the Service Employees International Union organize up to 5,000 guards at L.A.'s major commercial buildings.

Acoustic Consultant Specializes in Making It Sound Right

Featured Newsmaker: Jerry P. Christoff

INLAND EMPIRE: Rise in Vacancy Rates Pushes Rents Slightly Downward

Sales and leasing activity in L.A.'s various neighborhoods in the fourth quarter.

Newsmakers

Hirings, promotions and honors.

British Soccer Star Ranks High On Celebrity Influence Ratings

Even before he walks on the field for the L.A. Galaxy, soccer player David Beckham can score some major points with U.S. consumers.

Wherehouses?

The dwindling supply of industrial space has become a critical problem for manufacturers, retailers and grocers who may find their regular shipments are getting more irregular as warehouses move to remote sites

MID-CITIES: Vacancy Rates on Rise, but Remain Lower Than Last Year

Sales and leasing activity in L.A.'s various neighborhoods in the fourth quarter.

HOLLYWOOD: Cleanup, Affordable Rents Lead to Boom in Office Market

Sales and leasing activity in L.A.'s various neighborhoods in the fourth quarter.

CSC Lands $378 Million Contract

Computer Sciences Corp. said Monday that it has signed an information technology services contract with BlueScope Steel Ltd. worth a potential $378 million.

DOWNTOWN: Maguire's Building Proposal Reflects a Low Vacancy Rate

Sales and leasing activity in L.A.'s various neighborhoods in the fourth quarter.

Short Order?

Early reviews of the renovated Du-par's Restaurant, the iconic L.A. diner that opened in 1938, have been mixed.

Fox Sports Adds Punch to MyNetwork's Telenovelas

Fox Sports Network was looking for a broadcast and online home for the mixed martial arts league it recently bought the rights to.

Northrop Wins Army Contract

Northrop Grumman Corp. received a $23.6 million contract from the U.S. Army to make 275 spare laser transceiver units for the AH-64D Apache attack helicopter.

Amp'd Mobile Ramping Up Cell Phone Sales With Videos

With an ad blitz and several notable content deals, Amp'd Mobile is striving to capture young customers for cell phone entertainment.

They're Bedding Big on Organic Fever

Demand for all things organic has grown such that even mattress makers have gotten into the picture.

Tribune Co. May Reject Outside Bids

The Tribune Company, which had put itself on the market, indicated over the weekend that it might reshape its future without outside help.

VENTURA: Few Projects, Low Vacancies Might Push Rental Rates Higher

Sales and leasing activity in L.A.'s various neighborhoods in the fourth quarter.

Omni Buss

As a top executive of the Lakers, Jeanie Buss is the boss's daughter and the coach's gal pal. She's also posed for Playboy.

WILSHIRE CORRIDOR: Only One Major Lease Signed in Tight Submarket

Sales and leasing activity in L.A.'s various neighborhoods in the fourth quarter.

SOUTH BAY: Port Proximity Means High Prices for Industrial Real Estate

Sales and leasing activity in L.A.'s various neighborhoods in the fourth quarter.

L.A. Submits Olympic Bid

The Olympic Games' Southern California Committee submitted its final plan to the United States Olympic Committee Monday in its effort to have Los Angeles become the host of the 2016 Summer Games.

Montgomery Sells in Hollywood, Buys in Mid-Wilshire

Mill Valley firm buys Park Wilshire for $17 million.

Billionaire Drug Executive Gives $35 Million to St. John's

HEALTH CARE & BIOTECH

Big gift to Santa Monica hospital won't be Soon-Shiong's last.

SANTA CLARITA VALLEY: Tenants Add Space While Rents Could Still Grow

Sales and leasing activity in L.A.'s various neighborhoods in the fourth quarter.

Staying Close to Home Is OK Sometimes, but Not All the Time

Ted Balaker writes that sometimes you want to drive across town to try that new Uzbek restaurant, but traffic in L.A. makes the prospect unappetizing.

Grocery Industry Set for the Impact Of Severe Freeze

With the costs of the last week's freeze headed past $1 billion, Los Angeles-area companies are figuring how the disaster would affect them.

MySpace Sues 'Spam King'

MySpace.com said it sued so-called "Spam King" Scott Richter in an effort to stop spam from being sent from MySpace.com user accounts.

Health Net Sued Over Veteran Care

Health Net Inc. has been sued by hospitals in Michigan and Vermont that claim the managed care provider owes more than $100 million for veterans' medical care.

Going, Going, Going, Gone All the Way to Moreno Valley

These days, L.A. companies may have to look all the way to Moreno Valley if they need major new industrial facilities.

Warehousing: Businesses Struggling to Find Facilities

The dwindling supply of industrial space has become a critical problem for manufacturers, retailers and grocers who may find their regular shipments are getting more irregular as warehouses move to remote sites.

Little Twig In Lather Over Organic Kids Soaps

Lenie Ramos developed natural-ingredient Little Twig products after her 8-year-old niece developed rashes and infections from soap.

Regional Report

Promotions, hirings and honors.

Wall Street Greets Napster's Deal With Glee, Then Ennui

Napster Inc.'s deal to take over the business of AOL Music Now was greeted enthusiastically on Wall Street for a short time.

Tepid 4th Quarter Caps Strong Year for VC

Even though venture capital investment in L.A. County firms tapered off in the fourth quarter, the county still managed to post its best year for investment since 2000.

Let's Do Lunch Or Maybe Not

Let's do lunch, Charles Crumpley says well, maybe not: the traffic's too awful.

Beverly Hilton Project Trading Vic's for Waldorf Astoria

Beny Alagem has announced plans to build a five-star Waldorf-Astoria hotel where the iconic tiki bar, Trader Vic's, now stands.

Mexican Expansion Proving a Problemo

Herbalife Ltd.'s stock got hammered when it lowered its 2007 sales expectations because some distributors in Mexico were selling goods at discounts.

Far-Flung Companies Are Complicating the Economy

Ed Roski Jr. points to Asia and predicts its vertical industrial buildings will be built here.

Oil Companies Should Be Stopped From Manipulation

Oil companies should be prevented from manipulating prices, according to Jamie Court.

Superwarehouse

When a company is looking for a modern tilt up warehouse, what exactly are some of the amenities it might expect?

Friday, January 19

Northrop Poised to Drop Defense Bid

Top Pentagon officials, at a meeting on Jan. 17, rejected Northrop Grumman's concerns that the bidding criteria for an initial $20 billion competition to build a new fleet of more than 100 aerial refueling tankers favored Boeing, say people familiar with

Hythiam Shares Slide on Acquisition

Hythiam Inc. shares slid Friday after the Los Angeles-based substance addiction treatment developer said it will acquire psychiatric managed care provider Comprehensive Care Corp.

Libya Asks Oxy for Help

The African country of Libya is seeking help from Occidental Petroleum Corp. in an effort to increase the output of two of its oldest oil fields, Bloomberg News reports.

Labor Market Still Strong

L.A. County's unemployment rate edged up in December amid signs that the local labor market may have peaked.

Movers and Losers

Taitron Components Inc. was the biggest local gainer of the week while Hi-Shear Technology Corp and Ameron International Corp. also did well. IndyMac Bancorp and Hythiam Inc. weren't so fortunate.

Fox Studio Names New CFO

Fox Filmed Entertainment said Friday that it has promoted Dean Hallett to chief financial officer.

A Contentious Cargo Plan

If it were a hub for ships instead of trains, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.'s Hobart rail yard would rank as the fourth-largest U.S. container port, behind Los Angeles, Long Beach and New York-New Jersey.

Bids For Tribune Co. Underwhelm

Final bids to buy Tribune Co. were submitted by two Los Angeles-based financial powers, but word on Wall Street is that the auction will yield no winners in terms of increasing shareholder value.

Hilton's Chief to Step Down

Hilton Hotels Corp. Chief Executive Stephen F. Bollenbach is stepping down at the end of the year, but will remain as chairman of the Beverly Hills-based hotel chain until at least 2010.

Tribune Bidders Chart Divergent Paths

Tribune Co.'s media empire now has three suitors: two with designs on the entire newspaper-television conglomerate, and a Washington private-equity group keen on its television stations only.

Bratz Signs Licensing Deal for Costumes

MGA Entertainment has signed a deal with Rubie's Costume Co. Inc. to produce costumes and accessories based on the company's wildly popular Bratz doll line.

Thursday, January 18

Guess Ups Profit Guidance

Guess Inc. raised its fourth-quarter guidance on Thursday, a week after the company announced better-than-expected holiday sales.

Chandlers, Moguls in Battle for Tribune

The Chandler family, which owned the Los Angeles Times for more than a century, and a partnership of local billionaires Eli Broad and Ron Burkle made competing offers Wednesday for Chicago-based media giant Tribune Co.

Chandlers, Burkle/Broad Make Bids

The Chandler family offered to buy the Tribune Co. Wednesday and spin off the Chicago-based company's broadcast assets in a bid that values the company at about $7.6 billion.

Technicolor Cutting More than 1,000 Jobs

Technicolor Inc. said Thursday that it is eliminating 630 jobs from its Ventura County DVD plant and is closing the doors at its 440-employee Technicolor-Universal Media Services in Pinckneyville, Ill.

Curtain Comes Down on 'Beauty and the Beast'

Walt Disney Co. said Thursday that it will close its New York production of "Beauty and the Beast," on July 29.

Universal to Hire Top Executive of Rival

Universal Pictures has raided 20th Century Fox and hired away the animation executive who oversaw the hit "Ice Age" movies, a move intended to fill a void left when Paramount acquired DreamWorks.

Waldorf-Astoria to Adjoin Beverly Hilton

Beny Alagem's Oasis West Realty LLC has finalized his plans for final phase of the Beverly Hilton Hotel renovation, announcing Thursday that a Waldorf-Astoria hotel will be built at the corner of Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards.

Wednesday, January 17

Cold Ruins Nearly $1B of Calif. Citrus

Shoppers soon will be feeling the sting of higher prices from a wave of icy weather that has hit California farms. As much as three-quarters of the state's citrus crop withered in the field during the cold snap, but nearly every winter crop, from avocados

CBRE Closes Sale of UK Shares

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. closed the sale of its 19 percent stake in Savills plc, the United Kingdom's largest public real estate company.

Little Interest in Tribune Co.

After a painstaking, closely watched process that has stretched for almost four months, the auction for Tribune Co. appears to be fizzling.

Hi-Shear Shares Up after Strong 2Q

Shares in Hi-Shear Technology Corp. soared more than 13 percent Wednesday after the company announced strong profits on increased sales.

MySpace Improves Parental Notification

MySpace.com said Wednesday that it is planning to offer free parental notification software in a move to allow parents to find out what name, age and location their children are using to represent themselves on the popular Web site, the Wall Street Jour

Northrop Opens Laser Facility

Northrop Grumman Corp. has opened a new Redondo Beach facility that will research and produce high-energy laser weapons and has landed a $71 million Army contract.

X-Prize Nets Gates Foundation Exec

The X-Prize Foundation said Wednesday that it has appointed Tom Vander Ark, the former executive director of education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as the president of the Santa Monica-based foundation.

Brookfield Buys Mills for $1.35 Billion

Mills Corp., a shopping-mall real-estate investment trust that was trying to avoid a fire sale of its assets, has agreed to be acquired by Brookfield Asset Management Inc. for $1.35 billion.

REIT Doubles Sale of Notes

Investor demand lead Health Care Property Investors Inc. to announce Wednesday that it will sell $500 million worth of 10-year senior secured notes, twice the amount it originally planned.

Abraxis CEO, Wife Donate $35 Million

A billionaire biopharmaceutical executive and his wife said Tuesday that they were giving St. John's Health Center $35 million to complete its reconstruction and help put it on the frontier of biologically based research and treatment.

Billionaire Donates $35 million

Billionaire biopharmaceutical executive Patrick Soon-Shiong and his wife are giving St. John's Health Center $35 million to complete the Santa Monica hospital's reconstruction and create a new center for cutting-edge research and treatments.

MySpace Sued By Abused Teens' Families

Four families have sued News Corp. and its MySpace social-networking site after their underage daughters were sexually abused by adults they met on the site, lawyers for the families said Thursday.

Tuesday, January 16

Housing Market Hits IndyMac

Shares of mortgage lender IndyMac slid after the company lowered its projected earnings for the fourth quarter to 97 cents per share, down from an earlier estimate of $1.30 to $1.40.

MTA Fears Governor's Plan

With the MTA already considering fare hikes to reduce its deficit, officials are grappling with news that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to withhold $100 million they'd counted on to build transit projects.

State's Orange Crop Severely Damaged

As much as 70 percent of oranges still on California trees may have been destroyed by record cold temperatures across the state, officials and farmers said.

Security Guards to Organize

Commercial building owners and major security guard contractors have reached an agreement with the Service Employees International Union to allow some 10,000 security guards in Los Angeles County to organize.

Review Finds Safety Failures at BP

BP, under pressure because of a refinery explosion that killed 15 workers, suffered from systemic safety failures, according to a report by a committee headed by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III.

Hotel Rates Continue Rise

The average hotel room rate in Los Angeles County jumped 11 percent during November, from $132.27 to $146.79, according to PKF Consulting.

KB Home To Take Charges

KB Home warned that it would report disappointing quarterly results because a slumping U.S. housing market has forced it to write down $343 million in property.

Guardian Takes Test Flight

Northrop Grumman Corp. on Tuesday began regular flight testing at LAX of a system designed to protect commercial aircraft from shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles.

Monday, January 15

Is Beckham the New $250 Million Man?

David Beckham is big. But is he really $250 million large? Bigger at the bank than Shaq or Kobe or A-Rod?

Sale of Alameda Media Center Shows Burbank's Strength

The Alameda Media Center, a single-tenant office building in Burbank, has changed hands for $46.3 million, two years after being sold for about $7 million less.

Newsroom Battle Spills Into Town

A nasty fight between the news staff and the owner of a local paper here has created some new casualties: readers.

Refineries Must Produce Fuel With Reduced Carbon Content

Governor's Arnold Schwarzenegger's action on greenhouse gas will affect oil industry.

Iger, Disney Bring Home the Bucks

Walt Disney Co.'s Chief Executive Bob Iger received nearly $25 million in total compensation in 2006 during his first full year on the job, according to a regulatory filing.

Savings in Governor's Health Care Plan May Prove Elusive

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says his plan to require businesses to cover employees will help lower costs. Experts aren't so sure.

Who'll Stop The Outflow?

If policy makers want to reduce the outflow of residents from L.A. and the state they will have to rethink their position on taxes, according to Charles Crumpley.

Wall Street Rewards On Assignment for Successful Diversification

On Assignment Inc. has expanded its placement services from health care to include information technology workers. Wall Street has responded enthusiastically.

Screen Test

With sales of flat-panel televisions reaching critical mass, several local plants find themselves facing a looming sector shakedown.

CytRx Creates Subsidiary for Gene-Silencing Technology

CytRx Corp. last week said that it is spinning off its gene-silencing RNAi technology into a majority-owned subsidiary that will capitalize on what may become the Next Big Thing in drug development.

Hot Topic Goes Beyond the Pale

Hot Topic Inc. plans to remodel some stores, shedding the trademark all-black fashions that have taken the company from rags to riches, and nearly back.

Pop Topped?

Is reggaeton a format, a music genre, or just a blip on the airwaves?

Little Tokyo Would Just as Soon Skip Bail

Los Angeles bail bond businesses say they're getting a bum rap, but the City Council has made permanent an ordinance preventing their proliferation in Little Tokyo.

Airline Exec Flies Funding Into Watts Youth Programs

A complex offering fine arts instruction, academic tutoring and other services and activities for children is taking shape in Watts, thanks in part to the chairman of Northwest Airlines who has pledged a $300,000 grant to Strive, a non-profit organization

Washington Blvd. Project Hinges on Access to Transit

If the Community Redevelopment Agency's big plans for improving Washington Boulevard have got a chance of success, experts say it will be thanks to the corridor's light rail system.

Tribune Bid Unlikely By Chandlers

The Chandler family fired its first shot last summer. The onetime owner of the Los Angeles Times lashed out at Tribune Co.'s plan to take on debt to buy back $2 billion of its stock and blamed the Chicago company's "disastrous" decision-making for its sin

Gibson Attorney Represents Cyclist Accused of Doping

American cyclist Floyd Landis has retained Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP partner Maurice Suh for his appeal.

Specialty Publications Follow Trend of Dropping Circulation

Numbers for Daily Journal Corp. show significant decline.

Are California's Economic Policies Driving Jobs Away?

Excluding foreign immigrants, more residents left California than arrived last year. And that's a statement on the state's anti-business policies, writes Anthony P. Archie.

Sundancing Time

Independent film aficionados in Los Angeles will be able to keep up with the 2007 Sundance Film Festival via Time Warner Cable's On Demand option.

Heart Conditions

Dr. William Plested has always been involved in the political elements of medicine. Now he's set aside his life as a heart

Apple of Their Eye

Mogopop.com offers iPod users more than just music, including a guitar tutorial and a bartending guide.

Post Apocalypse?

Direct mail remains the most popular advertising medium in the country for now.

Industry Hoping To Adjust State Policies

As new state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner gets settled into office this week, some local insurers will be looking to him to soften or even undo some of the moves made by his predecessor, John Garamendi.

STAFFING: Personnel Company Rewarded for Diversification

On Assignment Inc.

Welcome to Beyond L.A.

Sheppard Mullin was content to build its business only in Los Angeles. But with a new generation of leadership, it's opened offices in New York and Washington and plans to have a Singapore operation soon.

Proposal to Study a Ban on Trans Fat Elicits Cheers and Jeers From Eateries

After a motion to study the effects of a trans fat ban, health critics cheered and some restaurant owners sneered but others decided to give it up on their own.

L.A. Opera Making Overtures to Youth Via Podcast Preludes

The oldest form of musical theater is finding new life and conceivably a new audience via the iPod.

Newsmakers/Kudos

Hirings, promotions and honors.

Northrop Lands Air Force Contract

Northrop Grumman Corp. received a $56.2 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to produce a mobile target tracking and engagement system for the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft.

Regional Report

Regional news from the Los Angeles County area.

Tech Coast Angels Ready to Fund Emerging Entrepreneurs

Hopefuls can bring their pitches to session at UCLA's Anderson School.

Friday, January 12

Countrywide Reports Falling Loan Volume

Countrywide Financial Corp. reported another down month amid a sagging national real estate market.

No Truce in Sight in High-Def DVD War

In a city built on wagering, the smart money is staying on the sidelines when it comes to the battle between two high-definition DVD formats.

Weekly Movers & Losers

Wesco Financial Corp., Public Storage Inc. gain while J2 Global Communications Inc. and Edison International Inc. dip in trading.

Napster Joins AOL, Explores Sale

Napster Inc. said Friday that it will become the exclusive music subscription provider for America Online's music unit, and that it has hired an investment firm to explore a possible sale of the company.

Business Jet Crashes in Van Nuys

A small business jet crashed while taking off from Van Nuys Airport on Friday, federal officials said.

Johnston Group Sells Calabasas Center

The Johnston Group has sold its Calabasas complex, Malibu Canyon Corporate Center, to Lincoln Property Co.

A Flinch in House Flipping

House flipping in California last year declined to its lowest level since 2003 as speculators retreated from a market in which sales plunged and prices flattened, a market tracker said Thursday.

Grocers Union Gets Deal With Stater Bros.

Six Southern California grocery workers' unions have reached a tentative contract agreement with Stater Bros. markets, the United Food and Commercial Workers union announced.

Thursday, January 11

Paramount Will Not Replace Berman

Paramount Pictures is eliminating the position of president now held by Gail Berman, who resigned Wednesday.

Six Flags Sells 7 Parks

Six Flags Inc. said Thursday it is selling seven amusement parks to Jacksonville, Fla. company PARC 7F-Operations Corp. in a $312 million, primarily cash deal.

Center Financial Appoints New CEO

Center Financial Corp. said Thursday that it has appointed Jae Whan Yoo to replace Seon-Hong Kim as president and chief executive officer.

THQ Ups Earning Guidance

THQ Inc. on Thursday raised its earnings outlook for its fiscal third quarter, increased its guidance for the 2006 fiscal year and added it expects to eclipse $1 billion in sales in fiscal year 2007.

City Clerk Certifies Living Wage Petitions

Los Angeles City Clerk Frank Martinez said he has certified the petitions seeking to overturn the LAX-area hotel living wage ordinance.

Oversee.net Buys Travel Site

Oversee.net said Thursday that it has acquired LowFares.com, a Redondo Beach-based travel rate comparison Web site.

British Star Signs With Galaxy

David Beckham said Thursday that he is leaving Real Madrid soccer club to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy of the Major League Soccer league in a deal that could be worth as much as $250 million with endorsements.

DirecTV Discounts Merger Talk

DirecTV Group Inc.'s Chief Executive Charles Carey said Thursday that the El Segundo-based satellite TV provider is not considering a merger with smaller rival EchoStar Communications Corp.

House Passes Stem Cell Research Bill

The Democratic-controlled House Thursday passed a bill bolstering embryonic stem cell research that advocates say shows promise for numerous medical cures.

Hansen Admits to Options Error

Hansen Natural Corp. admitted in a filing Thursday that it "inadvertently" issued stock options to a director in 2004, four months after the options plan had expired.

CBRE Sells U.K Stake

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. sold its 19 percent stake in Savills Plc, the United Kingdom's largest publicly traded commercial real estate brokerage, netting more than $313 million from the sale.

Wednesday, January 10

Acquisition Boosts Supervalu Earnings

Thanks to the purchase of the Albertsons grocery chain early last year, Supervalu Inc. reported Wednesday that its profit in the fiscal third quarter jumped more than 50 percent on revenue that more than doubled.

International Aluminum Acquired

International Aluminum Corp. of Monterey Park said Wednesday that it has agreed to be acquired by a private equity firm Genstar Capital LLC for about $228 million.

Del Amo Mall Owner Facing Bankruptcy

The owner of Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance said Tuesday that it must sell off assets to pay a huge debt to avoid being forced to declare bankruptcy.

Paula Abdul Joins Bratz Movie Team

Lions Gate Entertainment the said Wednesday that it has hired Paula Abdul to the studio's creative team developing "Bratz: The Movie."

Meredith Buys Second L.A. Firm

Meredith Corp., a Des Moines-based media company, acquired Los Angeles-based interactive marketing firm Genex on Wednesday.

Governor to Boost Building, Cut Welfare

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Wednesday proposed a a $143.4 billion state budget with increases in spending on prisons and infrastructure but cuts in welfare for children.

Berman Might be Gone at Paramount

Less than two years after she was hired to help turn around Paramount Pictures, President Gail Berman and the studio are expected to sever ties this week, according to four people familiar with the situation.

Del Amo May be Sold

The owner of Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance said late Tuesday that it must sell off assets to pay debt and avoid being forced to declare bankruptcy.

Tuesday, January 9

CytRx Spins Off Subsidiary

Los Angeles-based biotech CytRx Corp. is creating a majority owned subsidiary based in Massachusetts that will concentrate on commercializing gene silencing RNAi technology.

Jacobs Lands 3 Deals

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. announced two new contracts and one contract extension Tuesday.

Big 5 Reports Strong Holiday Sales

Lead by holiday apparel sales, Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp. reported an increase Tuesday of 4 percent in fourth quarter same-store sales, a key retail industry measure.

Ducommun Lands Boeing Deal

Ducommun Inc. said it has been awarded a four-year contract with Boeing Co. to supply cargo barriers for the 767 family of airplanes.

Disney's Unveils New Web Site

Walt Disney Co. released details of the company's Web site redesign in a move to make the Burbank-based entertainment company more competitive with sites such as MySpace.com.

Property Owners OK East Hollywood BID

Property owners in East Hollywood voted on Tuesday to support the creation of a Business Improvement District.

L.A. Gets Olympic Nod

The United States Olympic Committee said Tuesday this it will nominate either Chicago or Los Angeles as the applicant city for the United States.

THQ: No Options Fraud Found

THQ Inc. said Tuesday that improperly backdated stock options to company executives will cost the videogame developer $11 million, but no wrongdoing was found by an internal probe.

Monday, January 8

Keystone: Company's Future Tied to Legal Case on Patents

Keystone Automotive Industries Inc.

Kor Group Relocating to Homey New Downtown Digs

A Los Angeles builder has found a new home, at a downtown site that could someday become homes.

Economy Looks Solid, Unless the Fed Uses the Past as Model

There's no need for the Federal Reserve Board to respond to inflationary pressure by raising interest rates, according to Daniel J.B. Mitchell.

Guess Shifts Leadership, Signs Deal

Guess Inc. said Monday that it has signed a European licensing deal and has shaken up the roles of brothers Maurice and Paul Marciano as part of a global expansion plan.

Newsmakers

Hirings, promotions and honors.

RedRover Navigating Maze of 'Casual' Online Games

Lots of people are playing what the industry calls "casual games" like "Minesweeper," "Fish Tycoon" and "Zuma" via the Web at work and at home.

Childrens Hospital Hopes for Savings With IBM Contract

Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has signed a five-year, $13 million contract with IBM.

Export Loan Business Booming for Bankers

Competition for export loan customers has grown fierce. Premier Business Bank dove in to the market less than two months after opening, and City National Corp. rolled out two loan programs with Export-Import Bank guarantees.

Hotel Programming For Wealthy Guests Quite the Suite Deal

Charlotte Novom, of Hollywood-based Novom Marketing, and her business partners are behind Luxury Media LLC, a communications company that is targeting luxury consumers with in-room programming available only in high-end hotels and resorts.

Restaurant Owners Reach Settlement In Loan Litigation

Los Angeles restaurateurs who sued Rewards Network Inc. have won a settlement valued between $28 million and $34 million.

Keystone's Legal Setback in Ford Suit Brings It Down but Not Out

The future of Keystone Automotive Inc. may hinge on a court ruling in a Ford patent case.

Meltdown Was More of a Mixed Bag

Prices for L.A. sales of homes and condos classified by ZIP code.

Google Stock Boom Boosts Calif. Coffers

California, whose budget revenue slides up and down like a yo-yo, is once again counting on outsized income tax filings from a handful of tech executives to help balance its budget.

ESPN's Bowl Game Money Strengthening Status Quo

Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN broadcast 23 of the 32 football bowl games played this year, so it's in no rush to see a playoff because it could mean lost revenues.

Gamblers Go Bused

City officials crack down after residents and merchants say daily tour buses that ferry gamblers from Koreatown to regional casinos create problems.

Health Insurers Deny Some Due to Job

Health insurers in California refuse to sell individual coverage to people simply because of their occupations or use of certain medicines, according to documents obtained by The Los Angeles Times.

Going the Distance

Russell Goldsmith leads City National Bank as it moves into foreign trade and wealth management.

Dial-a-Smile

Futuredontics' simple co-op marketing business model might seem easily replicable, particularly in the Internet age, but 1-800-DENTIST dominates the field.

Hilton Chain Keeps Busy From New Mexico to Poland

Beverly Hills-based Hilton Hotel Corp. announced two major projects last week.

Gov. Proposes 'Pay or Play' Health Reform

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unveils plan requiring all businesses to provide health coverage or pay into state fund. Individuals also would be under personal mandate to show insurance coverage.

Online Matchmaker Trying to Keep Spark

EHarmony.com has introduced a "Marriage Wellness Program" that features advice for couples trying to deal with the common challenges faced by husbands and wives.

More Progress Needed for Women Workers of Los Angeles

Women of Los Angeles have made progress, but many are still underpaid and underinsured, Elise Buik writes.

State of the Onion

The Onion launched its L.A. edition in August with a circulation of 50,000 and is beginning to establish itself in the market.

Northrop Might Forgo Tanker Bid

In a move that could complicate one of the U.S. Air Force's most important and politically sensitive weapons programs, Northrop Grumman Corp. is threatening to shun a competition against Boeing Co. for aerial-refueling planes because of concerns over the

Event Heaven

The Special Event Conference and Trade Show will be held in Los Angeles for the first time since 1984, culminating with a Shrine Auditorium awards ceremony.

Better-Than-Expected Sales Bode Well for Home Prices

Better-than-expected December sales bode well for the theory that prices will hold steady for 2007.

Northrop Lands Big Air Force Contract

Northrop Grumman Corp. said Monday that it has received a $256 million contract from the Air Force to begin laying out the proposed design of the new E-10A Multi-Sensor Command and Control aircraft.

A Specialty of Linking Corporate America to Social Issues

Dianne M. Segura

Could 'Total HD' End the Battle of Dueling Formats?

Warner Bros. Entertainment is unveiling a disc that can play on either Blu-Ray or HD-DVD, which could result in a truce between firms backing the warring technologies.

Creativity From Chaos

Charles Crumpley worries that the growing demand for tidy workstations isn't healthy and calls for more respect for creative clutter.

Skechers Raises 2006 Forecasts

Bolstered by stronger-than-expected sales during the holiday season, Skechers USA Inc. raised its fourth quarter and year-end guidance Monday.

Time for a Change

McElroy Inc. is making the transition from a traditional ad agency to marketing consulting.

Broadcast Advertising Dollars Seen Climbing Up to 4 Percent

Experts at Merrill Lynch predict national ad spending will increase between 2.8 and 3.5 percent in 2007, while rival Miller Kaplan Arase puts it between 2 and 4 percent.

Friday, January 5

Reliance Acquires Atlanta Steel Company

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. said Friday that one of its subsidiaries has acquired Atlanta-based Industrial Metals and Surplus Inc.

Grocery Suit Will Go to Trial

The lawsuit filed by grocers challenging the city of L.A.'s grocery worker retention ordinance can proceed to trial, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Thursday.

Disney Settles Wrongful Death Suit

The family of a woman who died after riding the "Indiana Jones Adventure" ride at Disneyland reached a settlement with the Walt Disney Co. Thursday. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Hilton Slammed for Cuba Embargo

An Oslo hotel owned by the U.S.-based Hilton Hotel Corp. faced protests, a boycott and a police complaint this week after refusing to book rooms for a Cuban delegation because of the United States' trade embargo against Cuba.

Charity May Join Bid for Tribune

With a bidding deadline for Tribune Co. set for Jan. 17, the charitable foundation that is the media company's second-largest shareholder said Thursday that it had hired Blackstone Group as an advisor on courses of action that could include selling its 12

Weekly Movers and Losers

Amgen, Guess looking good while Herbalife and Arden Group stumble out of the block during the first week of 2007.

Bell Names New CFO

Bell Industries Inc., said Friday that it has appointed Kevin Thimjon as chief financial officer, effective Jan. 8.

KB, Martha Stewart Team up Again

KB Home said Friday that it has again partnered with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia for a new development in Florida to be called KB Home Avellino: Homes Created with Martha Stewart.

Tetra Tech Buys Company, Gets Contract

Tetra Tech, Inc. said Friday that it has acquired Golden, Colo.-based Vector Colorado LLC. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Long Beach Firm Gets Rail Contract

Earth Tech said Friday that it has been awarded part of a $38.9 million contract for initial design of a new light rail link being built by the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority.

Herbalife Lowers Expectations

Shares of nutritional supplement maker Herbalife Ltd. plunged more than 20 percent Friday after the company slashed its sales projections for 2007 due to slower-than-expected growth in Mexico.

Thursday, January 4

Port Crews to Pay for New ID Card

Truck drivers, longshoremen and mariners will have to pay up to $159 for a high-tech identity card that will grant them access to U.S. ports.

State Farm Deepens Rate Cuts

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. deepened rate cuts for California homeowners and drivers in 2007, state Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi said Wednesday.

On Assignment Acquires Oxford

On Assignment Inc. said it has agreed to acquire Beverly, Mass.-based Oxford Global Resources Inc., a provider of technology and engineering staffing services, for $200 million.

Power-One Names New CTO

Power-One Inc. said Thursday that it has named Alexander Levran as chief technology officer of the power conversion and management equipment maker.

Paramount Launches Mobile Portal

Paramount Pictures said Thursday that it has launched a mobile phone portal to deliver content to mobile devices and act as a platform to promote theatrical and DVD releases.

2 Hollywood Agents Jump to Rival Firm

Two leading Hollywood agents with top-ranked writer and director clients in movies and television joined the Endeavor talent agency on Wednesday, after many years at the rival International Creative Management.

Guess Caps Banner Year

Guess Inc. said Thursday that same-store sales grew 9.6 percent in the final month of 2006, closing out a banner year for the Los Angeles-based apparel maker and retailer.

Future Looks Bleak for California's Kids

Children born and raised in New York, Nebraska, Minnesota and 30 other states have a better chance of becoming financially successful adults than do those who grow up in California.

Reliance Closes Crest Acquisition

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. said it has completed the acquisition of Carson-based Crest Steel Corp.

Wednesday, January 3

On Assignment Names New CFO

On Assignment Inc. said Wednesday that it has appointed James Brill as the company's chief financial officer effective Jan. 1.

Amgen Gains Stake in Heart Drug

Amgen Inc. has bought a 9.2 percent stake in San Francisco-based Cytokinetics Inc. as part of a partnership to develop Cytokinetics' experimental drugs to treat heart failure.

Northrop Lands $24 Million Missile Deal

Northrop Grumman Corp. received a $24.8 million contract from the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center to develop system definition requirements for a new missile early-detection system.

Treatment Gains European Approval

Less than a month after gaining U.S. patent approval for its treatment protocol for cocaine dependence, Hythiam Inc. announced it has received a similar approval from European officials.

Ownit Files Chapter 11

Ownit Mortgage Solutions Inc., a subprime mortgage lender, filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in San Fernando Valley Federal Court late last week.

Napster, Google, Apple Sued by Intertainer

Napster Inc. of Los Angeles joined Apple Computer Inc. and Google Inc. in being named in a lawsuit filed by online movie distributor Intertainer Inc. for allegedly infringing a patent on a way to distribute digital entertainment over the Internet.

Field Poll: Worry Over Health Care

More than eight in 10 California voters think government should guarantee that everyone can get affordable health care coverage, according to a Field Poll released Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 2

Skyview Capital Buys Telecom Company

Telecommunications firm HickoryTech Corp. said late Friday that it will sell its Enterprise Solutions subsidiary to Los Angeles-based equity firm Skyview Capital for an undisclosed amount.

Tenet Sells Alvarado Hospital to Plymouth

Sherman Oaks-based Plymouth Health has completed the acquisition of its first hospital property, a controversial Tenet Healthcare Corp. facility in San Diego, Tenet said Tuesday.

Northrop Waiting for Essex Deal Approval

Northrop Grumman Corp. said Tuesday that it will re-file an application with regulators to acquire signals intelligence company Essex Corp. in an effort to give regulators more time to review the deal.

McGuire Woods Opens L.A. Office

McGuire Woods LLP has opened a financial services practice in the firm's newly acquired L.A. office.

Disney to Unveil New-Look Web Site

Walt Disney Co. has completed the revamp of its Web site, Disney.com, and plans to unveil the new-look site next week, the New York Times reports.

1105 Media Buys Publisher Fawcette

1105 Media Inc. said Tuesday that it plans to acquire San Mateo-based Fawcette Technical Publications Inc. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

LAX Chief Stepping Down

L.A.'s airport chief Lydia Kennard announced Tuesday afternoon that she's stepping down as executive director of Los Angeles World Airports at the end of January to head up a new aviation-related real estate company.

Putting More on the Line Online

There may be one constant in the media sector in 2007: its obsession with Google Inc. and the Web.

Monday, January 1

Job Division

A survey shows optimism for first quarter job growth in some areas of L.A. and pessimism in others.

Threads to Beds

Efrem Harkham left the apparel business for the hospitality industry and is implementing new ways of doing business at his Luxe Hotels.

THQ Marks a High Score, but Will It Soon Be 'Game Over'?

THQ Inc.

Waging a Conflict

The City Council's extension of the living wage ordinance to cover Century Boulevard hotels sends the wrong message to L.A. businesses, writes Gary Toebben.

Combat Medic, Health Food Grocer, Graphic Designer

John Teschner, Emmy Award-Winning graphic design artist.

Two of Revver's Three Founders Step Out as Competition Spikes

Revver Inc., the Los Angeles-based video file-sharing Web site that has generated buzz with its unique business model, is rebooting.

Year in Review

The major stories of 2006 from the pages of the Business Journal.

Partnership Buys Burbank Industrial Facility for $20 Million

The aerospace and entertainment industries have more in common than some might think at least when it comes to industrial buildings.

The Crash That Wasn't

A year ago, there was speculation that housing prices were in for a correction at best, a crash at worst, Charles Crumpley recalls. The picture seems brighter this year.

Newsmakers/Kudos

Hirings, promotions and honors.

Time Warner Postpones Plan For Realignment of Channels

The executives overseeing Time Warner Cable's entry into the Los Angeles market were probably more than ready to turn the page on 2006.

Activity 'Bursting at the Seams'

Last year may not have set the record that Los Angeles mergers and acquisitions specialists had hoped for, but who's complaining it certainly came close.

It's Good in Concept, but Living Wage Ordinance Isn't an Equitable Solution

The living wage ordinance is a good concept, Lance Lipscomb believes. But he asks why it's being applied only to hotels and not other companies near LAX.

Easy Assignment? Selling Tourists on Santa Barbara Visit

Santa Barbara is hoping the entertainment marketing firm behind the celebrity-driven "See My LA" tourism campaign can bring it more visitors.

Up and Over

2006 was one of the strongest years for public markets since the dot-com crash and L.A.'s mostly small and middle market public companies more than held their own.

Hotel Owners Open To Truce on Wages

Even as hotel owners and business groups are busy fighting a Los Angeles ordinance to force a dozen hotels to pay higher wages, business leaders say they are open to a last-minute compromise.

Smart Cookie

Juli Novotny's Kookie Karma is getting its tasty treats wide distribution at health food chains.

Alschuler Breakup Complete With Launch of Dreier Stein

The breakup of Alschuler Grossman Stein & Kahan LLP is a done deal. Name partners Stanton "Larry" Stein and Bob Kahan are leaving with 30 to 45 lawyers to open Dreier Stein & Kahan LLP.

Minimum Wage Hike on Horizon

The increase in minimum wage is dominant among laws taking effect in 2007 that will impact L.A. businesses.

Mobile Advertising Sector Takes More Show on Road

Blake Pollack's company, Mobile Vision Marketing, puts ads on the sides of trucks so the captive audience of freeway commuters can see them.

2006's Quotable Quotes

Excerpts from Business Journal interviews with L.A. leaders.

Live Nation Taking Its Acts to Web

Leadership at Live Nation Inc. is determined to cash in on concert promotions via the Internet or other new media.

What to Expect in 2007

The increase in minimum wage is dominant among laws taking effect in 2007 that will impact L.A. businesses.

Local Companies Upbeat Amid Weak Holiday Sales

The gaudy holiday sales forecast by some economists never materialized, but L.A.-based companies reported upbeat results.

Premiere of His Own Business a Challenge For Box Office Guru

Veteran box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian has launched his own firm, Media By Numbers LLC, and hopes to expand beyond movie receipts.

First Stand, Last Stand?

The site of the first Fatburger hamburger restaurant is for sale. The seller envisions a residential development, which would require demolishing the 55-year-old stand.

Ash to Cash

A volcano damaged Italy's blood oranges, and Adriana Kahane saw an opportunity to make juice out of them.

Backstretch Boost

Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc.'s TVG Network has won the right to carry racing and process bets from tracks in New Jersey.