Stories for July 2007

Tuesday, July 31

Geico Policyholders Due Rate Cut

The Gecko's got good news for California drivers, at least for those with Geico auto insurance.

Shares Soar as CBRE Doubles Profit

Shares in CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. gained more than 5 percent Tuesday after the company reported it had more than doubled profit and increased revenues more than 60 percent during the second quarter.

Northrop Accelerates Buyback

Northrop Grumman Corp. said Tuesday that it has agreed to a $500 million accelerated share repurchase with JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Medicare Eases Proposed Restrictions

Medicare has eased up on some of its proposed restrictions on the use of popular anemia drugs made by Amgen and Johnson & Johnson.

Ticketmaster Posts Domestic Decline

TicketMaster, a division of Internet conglomerate IAC/InterActiveCorp., announced Tuesday that revenue climbed 3 percent in the second quarter to $303 million from $295 million thanks to a slight rise in worldwide ticket volume. However, domestic revenue

IndyMac Up on Surprising Earnings

Despite reporting that its profit had been cut in half, shares in IndyMac Bancorp Inc. surged more than 15 percent Tuesday after the lender reported better-than-expected second quarter earnings.

Hilton Reports a Solid Second Quarter

Hilton Hotels Corp. reported solid second quarter numbers boosted by higher demand in most major markets as well as a 16 percent boost in management and franchise fees.

Daily Briefs

Hot Topic shares fall on Downgrade; Shares in ValueClick gain on upgraded, PC Mall reports seven-fold jump in profits.

Monday, July 30

Broader Defaults Rock Countrywide

Countrywide Financial Corp. Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo didn't foresee higher delinquency rates among borrowers who weren't in the subprime sector.

Acquisition of Keystone May Face a Number of Roadblocks

There may be a few bumps in the road before the acquisition of local auto parts manufacturer Keystone Automotive Industries Inc. can be completed.

Trying to Stretch a Music Video Into a Full-Length Motion Picture

Codeblack Entertainment is trying to help artists and record labels battle the decline in music royalties and digital piracy using music videos and DVD releases.

It's a Moving Experience When Firms Redraw Themselves

Two film finance attorneys left Buchalter Nemer PC to join the local office of Bingham McCutchen LLP.

WILSHIRE CORRIDOR: Vacancies, Downtown Proximity Attracts Firms

SUBMARKETS Leasing and sales activity across the Los Angeles area for the second quarter.

Phone Directory Giant Donnelley Buys Business.com

Santa Monica-based Business.com has been purchased.

Jeans Maker 7 for All Mankind Sold For $775 Million

The acquisition of jeans maker 7 for All Mankind LLC shows the value of lines with a strong retail presence.

Shares in Ducommun Gain After Earnings

Ducommun Inc. reported double-digit increases in profits and sales Monday thanks mainly to strong commercial sales and a broadening customer base, the company said.

Prospect Medical Holdings Taking Major Step Forward

Prospect Medical Holdings Inc. took a big step last week toward its goal of becoming a vertically integrated regional managed care specializing in HMO patients and the elderly.

Local Lenders Have Rollercoaster Day

Shares in two area lenders hit three-year lows Monday after Wall Street reacted to American Home Mortgage Investment Corp.'s decision to suspend its dividend. The company said some of its lenders want their money back.

Today's Activists Learn Lessons of Failed Cityhood Drives

As another attempt to incorporate East Los Angeles has been launched, organizers are hoping not to repeat the mistakes of past attempts.

VENTURA COUNTY: Landlords Raise Rents as Vacancies Fall in Bigger Cities

SUBMARKETS Leasing and sales activity across the Los Angeles area for the second quarter.

Internet Brands Makes New Drive Toward Going Public

Internet Brands is establishing itself as the go-to site for big purchases.

Liquid Launch

The Rocket Racing League is facing delays in its TV debut.

West Covina's Prime Address Sells for $333 Per Square Foot

A record price per square foot has been hit in the West Covina office market.

Is the Bull Market Over?

Last week's stock-market carnage -- the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 4.23% for the week to 13265.47 -- seemed an overreaction to most analysts, who focus on fundamentals like corporate profits and interest rates.

DOWNTOWN: Lower Rents, Premier Buildings Attract Westside Tenants

SUBMARKETS Leasing and sales activity across the Los Angeles area for the second quarter.

United Way's New Funding Criteria Adds Recipients Buts Cuts Others Out

For the first time, half of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles' local partners have never before received funding from the organization.

Economic Prosperity Is Directly Connected to State Water Policy

Ruben Guerra believes California's residents and businesses have a lot at stake in the success of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to ensure water supplies.

MID CITIES: Dwindling Supply Slows Sales and Leasing in Industrial Market

SUBMARKETS Leasing and sales activity across the Los Angeles area for the second quarter.

Real Redial

Flipswap Inc. enables wireless retailers to get their customers trade-in refunds for used cell phones that are then sold abroad.

On the Cusp Of Something Big

Development plans and another attempt at incorporation signal that East Los Angeles may be taking the first steps toward a renaissance.

Newsmakers

Hirings, promotions and kudos.

USC Project Shows Promise and Pitfalls of Redevelopment

The Whiteside Redevelopment Area, near USC and California State University, Los Angeles could turn into a thriving biotech hub if all the pieces fall into place.

Occidental Shows CEO the Money, And Commitment

Occidental Petroleum Corp. extended Chief Executive Ray Irani's employment contract following the launch of a natural gas project off the coast of Qatar.

l.a. county: Lack of Inventory, Rising Lease Rates Squeezing Companies

SUBMARKETS Leasing and sales activity across the Los Angeles area for the second quarter.

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY: Market Remains Strong Amid High Demand

SUBMARKETS Leasing and sales activity across the Los Angeles area for the second quarter.

HOLLYWOOD: Rising Lease Rates Prompt Some Tenants to Leave Market

SUBMARKETS Leasing and sales activity across the Los Angeles area for the second quarter.

Army Boots Up

An Internet character has become so popular the Army has commissioned USC to create him as a virtual human being.

Matching Job Seekers With Opportunities in Logistics

The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. has created the California Transportation and Logistics Institute. Al Shepetuk is now president of the newly formed organization.

Regional Report

News from L.A. County.

Culture Klatch

In Koreatown, a cup of coffee can set you back as much as seven bucks. You're paying for the ambience.

SAN FERNANDO VALLEY: High Investor Confidence Kick Starts Construction

SUBMARKETS Leasing and sales activity across the Los Angeles area for the second quarter.

Test of Time

Joseph Berenato, chief executive of Ducommun Inc., has revved up the aerospace company's operations.

SANTA CLARITA VALLEY: Big Spec Office Projects Set to Hit Market

SUBMARKETS Leasing and sales activity across the Los Angeles area for the second quarter.

INLAND EMPIRE: Building Boom in Eastern Market Holds Down Rents

SUBMARKETS Leasing and sales activity across the Los Angeles area for the second quarter.

Barbie Makes Her Move

Barbie has taken a page from the MySpace social-networking playbook and Charles Crumpley wonders what took Mattel so long to make the perfect move.

SOUTH BAY: Westside Migration, Organic Growth Boosts Office Market

SUBMARKETS Leasing and sales activity across the Los Angeles area for the second quarter.

East Los Angeles in Transition

Development plans and another attempt at incorporation signal that East Los Angeles may be taking the first steps toward a renaissance.

Price Tag Every Bit as Major League As Sports Stars at New Fantasy Camp

At the Ultimate Sports Fantasy Camp, high-paying attendees get to play with stars such as Sugar Ray Leonard.

East West Bancorp, Countrywide See Returns on Tennis

Tournaments attract the two companies for promotional benefits.

WESTSIDE: Little Relief Expected From Historically Steep Lease Rates

SUBMARKETS Leasing and sales activity across the Los Angeles area for the second quarter.

TRI-CITIES: Affordable Rents, Good Location Fuel Glendale Comeback

SUBMARKETS Leasing and sales activity across the Los Angeles area for the second quarter.

Will Northrop Join Space Travel Race?

Space tourism has an attraction for Northrop Grumman Corp., as shown by its agreement to buy a Mojave company that built the first private manned rocket to reach space.

ValueClick Stock Battered After Earnings

Shares of ValueClick lost nearly one quarter of their value Monday after the company lowered its 2007 guidance and announced second-quarter results that fell short of Wall Street expectations.

Downtown's Duel Over Density

When South Group wanted to build the Elleven project in South Park - the first ground-up residential building Downtown in nearly 20 years - many city officials welcomed the plan as paving the way for a new wave of high-rise housing.

Tax Rules on Computers Have Become Overly Complex

The tax system the state has devised to fund computer recycling is overly complex, according to Philip de Souza and Debra Anne Davis.

Friday, July 27

United Way Shifts L.A. Funding

For the first time in its history, half of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles' local partners are agencies that have never before received funding from the organization.

More Dissent on IHOP-Applebee's Deal

Applebee's International Inc. was sued by a shareholder claiming the planned $1.9 billion takeover by IHOP Corp. undervalues the restaurant chain owner.

Big Movers

For the week ending July 27, 161 of the 200 companies on the Los Angeles Business Journal's stock index lost ground, with 27 of them losing 10 percent or more. The index lost 5 percent this week alone.

Bollenbach's Hilton Payout $125 Million

Stephen Bollenbach, the retiring chief executive of Hilton Hotels Corp., will walk away from the Beverly Hills-based hotel chain owner and operator with about $125 million when private equity firm Blackstone Group buys the company.

Deadly Explosion Rocks Test Site

Three people were killed and three others critically injured Thursday afternoon after an explosion at a Mojave-based rocket testing facility operated by Scaled Composites, the company started by famed private space flight engineer Burt Rutan.

New Venture Exploits Housing Woes

Canyon Capital Realty Advisors, a Los Angeles-based provider of financing for property development, said Thursday that it had formed a $250-million venture with former state Treasurer Phil Angelides and another partner to buy land for homes.

VCA Shares Surge on 2Q Earnings

Shares in VCA Antech Inc. soared more than 12 percent Friday after the company announced stronger-than-expected second-quarter earnings.

Daily Briefs

Stamps.com reported second quarter earnings; Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. acquires minority stake in distributor; Gemstar-TV Guide reports second quarter earnings.

Providence Hospital Expansion OKd

After winning some concessions, the Los Angeles Planning Commission gave its unanimous approval Thursday to a $143 million plan to expand Providence Holy Cross Hospital in Mission Hills.

Earnings: Amgen's Anemia Drugs Falters

Beleaguered biotech giant Amgen Inc. on Thursday reported a surprisingly steep drop in sales of its main anemia product line, raising doubts about the company's growth prospects.

Thursday, July 26

Dancing Elmo Smackdown

Inside Mattel's sprawling test lab in China, scores of technicians are doing their worst: setting Chicken Dance Elmo dolls on fire, wrecking Hot Wheels cars and yanking at the limbs of Dora the Explorer.

Port Talks at Impasse; Strike Looms

The union representing clerical workers at the nation's largest seaport have declared an impasse in contract negotiations with shipping companies and are threatening an imminent walkout.

R.H. Donnelly Buys Business.com

R.H. Donnelley Corp. said Thursday that it has agreed to purchase search and advertising provider Business.com for $345 million in cash.

Board Votes To Cut Construction Pollution

Despite fierce construction industry opposition, the California Air Resources Board late Thursday afternoon voted to adopt a sweeping regulation to reduce emissions from more than 180,000 off-road vehicles.

VF Buys 7 Jeans for $775 Million

VF Corp. has agreed to acquire 7 For All Mankind, the Los Angeles-based premium jean maker, for a reported $775 million.

NBC's Hands Telemundo to Gaspin

Top NBC Universal executive Jeff Gaspin's world got a lot bigger and more challenging on Wednesday.

Teledyne Off Despite Strong 2Q

Shares in Teledyne Technologies Inc. fell more than 3 percent despite the company reporting strong growth in both profit and sales.

L.A.'s Office Vacancy Rate Falls to 9.2%

Office vacancies in Los Angeles County continued to shrink during the second quarter as white-collar businesses expanded at a slow, steady rate, according to data released Wednesday.

Glum Outlook Socks K-Swiss

Shares in K-Swiss Inc. fell nearly 6 percent Thursday after the company warned investors that its third quarter and annual guidance will not meet expectations due to lower demand and investments in international expansion.

Daily Briefs

Great American Sells 33% Stake; PG & E; Buys Power From Israelis; FirstFed Earning Slip

Unions, Shipping Lines Reach Deal

After months of ongoing contract negotiations including a strike threat this week, the port clerical workers union have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract.

Euro Disney Posts Profit

Euro Disney SCA said Thursday that sales rose 12 percent in the fiscal third quarter as Europe's largest theme park operator drew more visitors to its parks and hotels with discounts and new attractions.

Wednesday, July 25

Study Touts Plug-In Hybrids

A new study shows a proliferation of plug-in hybrid cars could have a major impact on reducing pollution

Jacobs Shares Dip Despite Earnings

Despite solid third quarter numbers and a boost in its annual guidance, shares in Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. dropped nearly 4 percent Wednesday.

Daily Briefs

Jacobs Shares Dip Despite Earnings; Earnings Sack Jakks Shares; Cheesecake Factory Up on Strong Sales; Skechers Sinks on Poor Profit

Countrywide Feeling the Pain

Call it the mortgage-meltdown creep. Countrywide Financial Corp. helped trigger a Wall Street sell-off Tuesday when it said that a growing number of customers once considered to be good credit risks were having trouble making their mortgage payments.

Ryland in the Red for 2Q

Ryland Group Inc. was claimed as the latest victim of the nation's real estate slump as the homebuilder reported its second-consecutive loss.

Strong Second Quarter for IHOP

While IHOP Corp. shares gained on the company's strong second quarter earnings, a disgruntled Applebee's investor caused some concern when he announced that IHOP's $2.1 billion price tag for the restaurant chain was too low.

Some Anemia Drug Restrictions Lifted

Blue Shield of California said Wednesday that it has lifted a set of restrictions on anemia drugs from Amgen Inc. and Johnson & Johnson after cancer doctors complained.

Cheesecake Factory Up on Strong Sales

Shares in Cheesecake Factory Inc. rose 5 percent Wednesday after the company reported a surge in sales.

Conflicting Reports Out of the Ports

There were conflicting reports on talks between union clerical workers and the shipping lines at the Los Angeles port complex Wednesday.

Foreclosures Jump 800 Percent

Foreclosures soared an annual 799 percent in Los Angeles County and California in the second quarter - a record 17,408 homeowners couldn't make their mortgage payments and lost their property in the state.

Earnings Sack Jakks Shares

Shares in Jakks Pacific Inc. plummeted 16 percent Wednesday after the toymaker reported a dip in profit due to a double-digit hike in costs.

Tuesday, July 24

Supermarket Chains Brought Down

More than 87 percent of Southern California grocery workers approved a new contract that regained many benefits, including a pay raise, lost during previous negotiations, union officials announced Monday.

Oxy Shares Slip on Solid 2Q Earnings

Occidental Petroleum Corp. reported solid second quarter profit thanks mainly to gains from asset sales. Shares slipped nearly 2 percent Tuesday, however.

Skechers Sinks on Poor Profit

Shares in Skechers USA Inc. dropped more than 20 percent Tuesday after the company reported poor earnings hit by the rollout costs of a new line of shoes.

Amp'd Still Alive

Amp'd Mobile was able to keep its doors open, and phones working, for one more week as Verizon agreed Monday afternoon to keep data and phone service up and running on the network it leases to the Los Angeles startup.

Northrop Reports Higher Earnings

Northrop Grumman Corp. said Tuesday that second-quarter earnings rose as gains in its new information technology unit offset a drop in sales at its aerospace and shipbuilding operations.

Internet Brands Plans IPO

Internet Brands Inc., an Internet media company, said Friday it plans an initial public offering of its Class A stock, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Countrywide Shares Fall on Forecast

Shares in Countrywide Financial Corp. plummeted nearly 8 percent Tuesday after the lending giant reported poor second quarter earnings.

Daily Briefs

Blue Holdings Inc. named new CEO; Material Technologies Inc. appointed new COO; Avery Dennison Corp. lowered its 2007 full-year guidance.

Irani's Golden Years All Green

Occidental Petroleum Corp. Chief Executive Ray Irani, who collected more than $55 million in compensation last year, appears destined to become one of the nation's highest-paid octogenarians.

Avery Shares Sink on Acquisition Charges

Shares in Avery Dennison Corp. sank more than 5 percent Tuesday after the company said second-quarter profit fell due to costs related to its purchase of Paxar Corp. earlier this year.

Labor Talks Point Toward Resolution

Labor talks between port clerical workers and shipping companies appear headed toward a peaceful resolution this week, despite threats of a waterfront strike by workers.

Monday, July 23

Shareholders Fret Over Guitar Center

Two lawsuits allege that the proposed acquisition of Guitar Center Inc.

Welfare Checks Can't Cover Rent for Downtown's Homeless

Paul Tepper points out that welfare checks don't cover the cost of cheap housing downtown.

L.A. Venture Funding Booming

Southern California continued to gain ground on the Bay Area as California's venture capital hot spot in the second quarter, according to a report released Monday by Ernst & Young and Dow Jones VentureOne.

Downtown Boosters Show Canines To Promote Area's Pet Friendliness

A business organization and a cathedral are promoting the center of the city as a dog-friendly neighborhood.

Galaxy's Quest

Alexi Lalas, the soccer player who complained about having to cut his shaggy hair, is now general manager of the L.A. Galaxy as the team benefits from the Beckham craze.

IHOP's Strategy for Applebee's Centers on Franchising

IHOP Corp., lauded for reviving the brand by placing most of its restaurants in the hands of franchisees, is rolling out the same plan for Applebee's.

Diesel Emission Debate Puts Air Board Leader on Hot Seat

Industry claims cutbacks would hurt construction companies.

Souped Up Aftermarket Business Drives Keystone Acquisition

The acquisition of Keystone Automotive Industries Inc. is expected to form a powerhouse in the aftermarket parts industry.

Broke-O-Matic

The 2005 sale of Ronco Corp. has led to lawsuits, a bankruptcy, shattered stock and whistleblowers' allegations of credit card fraud.

TV Ads for Geico, American Express Take the Trophies

The best TV commercials of the year will appear for a one-time screening in Los Angeles this week.

Barbie Gets Another Accessory

A new doll hitting retail shelves this week is familiar in many ways but she also has some unusual features: this Barbie, who is smaller and less shapely than her standard namesake, functions as an MP3 music player.

Barbie, Bratz Doll Brawl Goes Online

Barbie and her rivals, the Bratz, have taken their long-running fight for playground supremacy off to an important new venue: MySpace-like social-networking sites.

Clerks Ratify Southland Market Pact

Axcel Flores was upbeat as he joined thousands of co-workers from Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons supermarkets in voting for a new labor contract that won approval Sunday.

Record Employment Levels of 1990s Will Soon Be Surpassed

L.A. County is on track to add about 50,000 jobs a growth rate of 1.2 percent for all of 2007, according to a new forecast.

Image of Success

Airport security device maker OSI Systems Inc. has won a contract to provide airports with its advanced X-ray systems.

Teed Off

Sean Connery alleges a Thousand Oaks country club reneged on an agreement allowing him to resell his discounted membership.

Acquisition Means Bug Music Becomes Top Publisher

Private equity firm Crossroads Media and L.A.-based Bug Music Inc. have acquired Windswept Holdings, one of the largest independent music publishers in North America.

Striking Distribution Deals for Urban Media Content

Paul Campbell, Microsoft and Xerox veteran.

Grocery Chains, Unions Decide Not to Go to War Again

Sunday's expected ratification of a new four-year contract means the three largest supermarket chains in Southern California can turn their attention back to making money.

Clean Air Action Plan Has Advantages Despite Flaws

The plan to clean up the air at the ports by reducing emissions from trucks brings significant benefits, according to Manuel Pastor.

Beckham Blitz Out of This World

U.S. soccer may finally turn into a major sport in L.A., thanks to David

L.A. Port Clerks Present Final Offer

Clerical workers presented their final offer to shipping companies Saturday after all-night contract talks aimed at preventing a strike at the nation's largest port complex.

Aesthetician-to-the-Stars Continuing Her Upward Spiral

The booming beauty and cosmeceutical industry continues to benefit homegrown L.A. businesses.

Northrop Buys Scaled Composites

Northrop Grumman Corp. acquired privately held aerospace company Scaled Composites LLC, the builder of the first successful privately funded and manned spaceship.

L.A. Hedge Fund Facing Opposition on Hawaiian Plans

Oaktree Capital is trying to sell all or part of its plans to develop a sprawling resort on the North Shore of Oahu as opponents fight for preservation.

Bringing It All Back

Fetch Technologies Inc. has developed Web search capabilities that improve marketing data compilation.

Mixed-Use Project Divides Culver City

A small proposed building has cast an oversized shadow in Culver City, where City Hall's reputation for being open to development is suddenly under question.

Newsmakers

Hirings, kudos and promotions.

L.A. Web firms Getting More Funding

Los Angeles is gaining on Silicon Valley as ground zero for the current Internet boom.

L.A. County Job Growth Slows

L.A. County's job-creating machine slowed in June as the troubles in the residential real estate market are finally having an impact on the overall economy.

Blackstone Will Benefit From Hilton's Brand and Technology

Hilton Hotels Inc. (NYSE: HLT)

Good Samaritan Hospital Property Sold for $45 Million

Good Samaritan Hospital has sold a full city block in Central City West near downtown Los Angeles for $45 million.

L.A. Company Turning Telephone Into a Search Engine

Dial 1-800-555-5555 and voice recognition software kicks in and functions like a Yellow Pages.

Will Soccer Tie The Score?

Charles Crumpley writes that NFL officials might be upset about not having a team in L.A. now that the frenzy over David Beckham has put a new spotlight on soccer.

Friday, July 20

Grocery-Pact Concessions

The Southern California grocery union and three major chains made key concessions to reach a tentative contract agreement after more than six months of contentious negotiations, officials revealed Thursday.

Port Clerical Workers Talks Continue

Negotiations resumed early Thursday between harbor-area clerical workers and shippers following an overnight break.

Big Movers

The threat of going under, a lowered forecast and more from the subprime mess hit some local stocks while a pair of acquisitions and an analysts upgrade boosted some area stocks.

Youbet.com Lowers Guidance

Shares in Youbet.com Inc. lost nearly 8 percent Friday after the company cut its full-year earnings forecast following lower-than-expected revenue at two subsidiaries.

State Budget Clears Assembly

Following a marathon floor session, the state Assembly adopted a $103 billion state spending plan early Friday.

FDA Sets Anemia Drug Panel Date

The Food and Drug Administration said Friday that it will form a panel to address safety concerns surrounding anemia drugs made by Amgen Inc. and Johnson & Johnson. The panel is set to meet September 11.

IndyMac Axes 400 Jobs

IndyMac Bancorp. is laying off 400 employees, or about 4 percent of the lender's total work force. The layoffs are effective immediately.

Housing Slump Hits Local Homebuilders

Shares of KB Home and Ryland Group Inc. slipped Friday amid industry-wide concern that the national real estate slump may last longer than anticipated.

Thursday, July 19

East West Shares Up on Strong 2Q

Shares in East West Bancorp Inc. gained 4 percent Thursday after the company reported strong gains during the second half.

$75 Million for Precision Dynamics

Precision Dynamics Corp. has received a first-ever $75 million investment from a Chicago private equity firm that will help the company expand its cutting-edge radio frequency identification wristband business.

J2 Buys Irish Messaging Firm

J2 Global Communications Inc. said Thursday that it has acquired Ireland-based messaging services provider YAC Limited.

Citadel Ups Gemstar Stake

Hedge fund Citadel Investment Group increased its stake in Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. to 8.4 percent Thursday and urged the company not to sell to itself to "a financial buyer."

Disney Pushing Teen Bands

Last year, a teen pop act known as the Jonas Brothers nearly washed out of the music industry. Now signed to Walt Disney Co.'s Hollywood Records, the teenage trio will release a second album next month.

Housing Skid Hits Rents

When Riverside County landlord Eloise Figueroa learned that her tenant was about to move out of her four-bedroom home in Perris and into a lower-priced rental house, she sprang into action.

WMG Decides not to Bid for EMI

Shares in Warner Music Group Corp. soared nearly 9 percent Wednesday after the music label said it was not making an offer to acquire rival EMI Group PLC.

Reliance Shares Tumble on Outlook

Shares in Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. plummeted more than 5 percent Thursday after the company reported a 22 percent jump in profit but sharply lowered its third quarter guidance.

Daily Briefs

J2 Buys Irish Messaging Firm; Verizon Moves to Shut Down Amp'd

No Breakthrough in Port Labor Talks

Contract negotiations for unionized harbor-area clerical workers continued late Wednesday after rumors of an imminent breakthrough in talks with shippers and terminal operators dissipated.

Wednesday, July 18

Hollywood Readies for Negotiations

At a moment when all industry planning seems keyed to a possible strike, talks between Hollywood's talent guilds and their employers are finally about start.

Internet Brands Buys Apartment Site

Internet Brands Inc. said Wednesday that it has acquired Austin-based Apartment Ratings Inc. for an undisclosed sum.

Manufacturing Sector to Keep Growing

California's manufacturing sector continues to see sustained growth thanks to more new orders and a boost in production, according to a Chapman University survey released Wednesday.

CalAmp Improves Earnings, Sill in the Red

Shares in CalAmp Corp. lost more than 6 percent Wednesday after the company reported another loss, largely the result of a $16 million charge taken for a faulty product.

No Strike. Grocers, Union Reach Deal

Fears of a supermarket strike this summer in Southern and Central California evaporated Tuesday when the region's largest grocery chains and the union representing 65,000 store employees reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract.

Verizon Moves to Shut Down Amp'd

Amp'd Mobile, which is reorganizing in bankruptcy court, is in danger of being unplugged from Verizon Wireless, the carrier that provides its cellular network, according to court filings this week.

Grocer Strike Averted

The fears of a possible grocery strike were put to rest after the unions representing 65,000 workers and the three major Southern California grocery chains that employ them signed a new, four-year deal.

Revived Panel Gaining Steam

A little-known advisory group in Sacramento is getting new energy these days and it is talking about tackling issues that can mean the difference between survival and bankruptcy for the several million small companies.

Economy Still Strong, But Problems Lurk

L.A.'s economy will continue to see moderate growth for the rest of this year and into next year, though several trouble spots loom that could derail the momentum.

Largest Retail Center Slated for Valley

The San Fernando Valley will soon boast one of Southern California's biggest shopping centers with construction of a $750 million outdoor retail complex connecting the Topanga and Promenade malls, The Westfield Group said Tuesday.

Daily Briefs

Shamrock opposes Reddy Ice deal; Warner Passes on EMI Bid; CalAmp Improves Earnings, Sill in the Red; Internet Brands Buys Apartment Site.

Honda Hits the Gas on Capacity

By expanding production in North America, the carmaker is insulating itself against currency fluctuations and an anti-import backlash.

Tuesday, July 17

Skechers Shares Get Boost After Upgrade

Shares in Skechers Inc., which drooped earlier this year, gained more than 8 percent Tuesday after an analyst upgraded the stock.

GE Invests in Glendale Power Project

GE Energy Financial Services, the energy investing unit of General Eeletric Co., is increasing its investment in the Scholl Canyon Landfill gas project in Glendale.

No Agreement Yet in Grocery Talks

Negotiations between Southern California's grocery workers union and the region's largest supermarket chains continued Monday, but have slowed over the issue of how many years employees have to work before reaching the top pay scale.

Port Unions Offer: 'Last, Best, Final'

Office clerks at the nation's largest port complex traded contract proposals with their employers Monday during marathon talks that one labor official hoped would lead to a settlement and avert a possible shutdown of the docks.

Keystone Bought by LKQ for $811 Million

LKQ Corp. said Tuesday that it is buying Keystone Automotive Industries Inc. for about $811 million in cash, in a move to expand its presence in the distribution of auto replacement parts.

Injury Leaves Beckham's Debut in Doubt

David Beckham's Los Angeles Galaxy debut against Chelsea is in doubt after the England star played only a limited part in his first training session yesterday.

Hollywood Apartment Complex OKd

In another boost for Hollywood, the Los Angeles City Council today approved a major new apartment complex with 1,000 rental units in seven buildings that will rise on sprawling parking lots around the historic Pantages theater.

Monday, July 16

Bratz Image Gets a Hollywood Polish

The Bratz are headed to rehab, courtesy of Hollywood. Since introducing the line of overtly sexy dolls in 2001, MGA Entertainment has sold over 150 million Bratz around the world.

Wrap Stars Hit It Big

SkyTag Inc.'s latest giant sign is the "Transformers" poster, an image that covers more than 100,000 square feet on the side of a Hollywood building.

Lear Rejects Icahn's $2.9 Billion Offer

Lear Corp. shareholders rejected a $2.9 billion buyout offer Monday from a firm led by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, mounting enough opposition amid concerns that the bid undervalued the auto supplier.

TVN's 'Watch & Win' Breaks Product Sampling Ground

'Product sampling" conjures up images of women in lab coats at the end of a supermarket aisle, but TVN Entertainment has successfully translated the concept to the video-on-demand market.

Disney Leads the Parade

Disney knocked Amgen off the top of the list of L.A.'s 200 largest publiccompanies.

The Affair of the Mayor

Charles Crumpley writes that Antonio Villaraigosa has sustained serious damage over his affair with a TV newscaster.

Ironclad Outsources Warehousing and Fulfillment Services

El Segundo-based Ironclad Performance Wear Corp. announced last week it will outsource its warehousing and fulfillment operations to another company based less than 50 miles away.

Newsmakers/Kudos/Donations

News from around L.A.County.

Universal Finds Success by not Leading

The hilltop theme park outside the 14th floor office of Ron Meyer, president of the Universal Studios Group, anchored by past glories like its "Jurassic Park" and "Backdraft" rides, could stand a makeover.

Slick Bank Shots Are Online Firm's Game

Oversee.net is expanding thanks to the success it has in channeling traffic to Web sites through what's known as "direct navigation."

Extending the Red Line Will Be Good for Los Angeles

Plans for a "Subway to the Sea" the extension of the Red Line to Santa Monica will help ease congestion, according to Richard Risemberg.

Plastic Fantastic

Cereplast Inc. makes biodegradable plastic used mainly for food containers.

Los Angeles companies that manufacture and service consumer goods were the most profitable.

Los Angeles companies that manufacture and service consumer goods were the most profitable.

Daily Briefs

Warner Music Faces Bid Deadline; Global Sales Boosts Mattel's 2Q; Countrywide Slides on Lending Report; Internet Brands Buys Apartment Site.

ValueClick Buys MeziMedia

Online advertising company ValueClick Inc. said Monday that it has agreed to buy privately held Web shopping site owner MeziMedia Inc., which operates comparison shopping Web sites.

Local Companies Finally Shake the Fear of Going Public

Eleven companies completed IPOs recently in a sign that the local market has shaken off the fear of going public.

Big Talk

Howard Bragman has handled media relations and crisis management for such high-profile clients such as Isaiah Washington and Paula Abdul.

L.A.'s Largest Public Companies

Disney knocked Amgen off the top of the list of L.A.'s 200 largest public companies.

KVEA-TV Ratings Hold Steady With Anchor on Sidelines

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's romantic relationship with KVEA-TV anchor Mirthala Salinas boosted the audience for the station for a short time.

Ralphs Gets Back to Roots With Opening of Downtown Store

Ralphs Grocery Co. will open an upscale store in downtown this week, just a few blocks from where the original Ralphs general store opened 134 years ago.

Countrywide Slides on Lending Report

Shares in Countrywide Financial Corp. slipped nearly 3 percent Monday after the lender said that June loan volume rose 4 percent but warned that delinquencies and defaults are also rising.

Warner Music Faces Bid Deadline

A Thursday deadline has been set by Britain's Takeover Panel for receiving offers for music company EMIT Group Plc from rival Warner Music Group Corp and former EMI Chief Executive Jim Fifield.

Assessed Property Values Spike, but Not in Palos Verdes

L.A. County's assessed property values soared in 2006 to top $1 trillion for the first time. Oddly enough, one exclusive corner of the county lagged.

Dough Still Rising but Some of the Heat May Be Escaping

CPK has trimmed its second-quarter earnings projection by 2 cents, to 21 cents per share.

Kobe's Beef Could Mean Trouble for Downtown Eateries

NBA: If Laker star exits and Staples attendance falls, restaurants may be feeling it.

El Segundo Office Market Shows Signs of Moving Up

Two companies have left Marina del Rey for new offices in El Segundo a possible signal that the office market there is moving up.

Developers Looking for a Slice of Orange Line's Action

Builders are hoping to launch projects along the surprisingly popular Orange Line busway, which crosses the San Fernando Valley.

Multiple Platform Approach Driving Recovery at Gemstar

Satellite, tech deals providing momentum as firm rebounds and considers a sale.

L.A. Medical Association Leader Opposes Governor's Plan

Dr. David Aizuss, sworn in last week as president of the Los Angeles County Medical Association, isn't shy about sounding off on a variety of issues affecting fellow doctors.

Venerable Polo Lounge Has Hip New Neighbor At Beverly Hills Hotel

The Beverly Hills Hotel is keeping the Polo Lounge old-school cool, but has added Nineteen 12, a bar that is designed to attract younger drinkers.

Ronco Assets May Be Sold Off in Just One, Easy Payment

Ronco Corp., maker of the Veg-O-Matic and the Pocket Fisherman, could slice off a big chunk of its debts as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

Global Sales Boosts Mattel's 2Q

Mattel Inc. reported a 15 percent increase in second quarter profit driven by strong worldwide sales of Barbie dolls, as well as Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars.

Port Union Mulling 11th-Hour Proposal

he prospect of a work stoppage at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports faded at least temporarily late Sunday as union negotiators studied an eleventh-hour proposal from shipping lines and terminal operators.

Firms Cash In on Franchising Boom

L.A. franchise lawyers are experiencing a noticeable bump in business because of the increasing popularity of frozen yogurt shops and similar franchises.

Fresh With Funding, GaimTheory to Add Sports, Racing

Los Angeles-based GaimTheory Inc. finds skill level for players.

IHOP Shares Soar on Applebee's Deal

Shares in IHOP Corp. soared nearly 8 percent Monday after the company said it had agreed to buy bar-and-grill chain Applebee's International Inc. for about $1.9 billion in cash.

Friday, July 13

Big Movers

Great earnings, a possible buyout and solid sales boosted some stocks while the subprime mess and poor sales stung some local stocks.

Countrywide Sued For Racial Bias

Four black homeowners sued Countrywide Financial Corp. on Thursday, accusing the largest U.S. mortgage lender of racial discrimination in its lending practices.

Disney Acquires Videogame Developer

Walt Disney Co. said late Thursday it has acquired Warren Spector's Junction Point Studios in an effort to expand its game-publishing business.

Amgen Board Decides to Buy More Stock

Amgen Inc.'s stock may be depressed, but the company's board believes that makes it a buying opportunity. The board has authorized an additional $5 billion in stock repurchases.

Gemstar-TV Guide Gets New Digs

Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. is set to move its Big Apple operations out of the headquarters of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., which controls a 42% stake in the company, in mid-December, according to the company.

State Issuing Ameriquest Refund Forms

Eligible California customers who took out loans with Ameriquest Mortgage Co. from 1999 to 2005 will soon be receiving forms to claim a share of $51 million the company has agreed to pay to settle accusations of predatory lending practices.

Daily Briefs

Jacobs Lands $561 Million NASA Deal; Big 5 Shares Suffer on Downgrade; IndyMac Sells Pasadena Office Building; MRV names new CFO

Thursday, July 12

MRV Names New CFO

MRV Communications Inc. said Thursday that it has named Guy Avidan acting chief financial officer after Kevin Rubin resigned from the position.

Big 5 Lowers Forecast on Poor Sales

Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp. reported its first year-to-year dip in same store sales in more than a decade, forcing the retailer to lower its second-quarter earnings forecast Thursday.

Game Plans Touted at E3 Conference

After Disney launched "Spectrobes" for the Nintendo DS this spring, it discovered that fans had posted hacks to the video game on the Web. But instead of calling their colleagues in the legal department, the Disney executives were thrilled.

Oxy Sells Lyondell Stake

Occidental Petroleum Corp. said that it liquidated its remaining stake in Houston-based oil company Lyondell Chemical Co.

$750 Million Disney Bond Offer

Walt Disney Co. said Thursday that it plans to sell $750 million of 10-year notes.

LAX Passenger Safety Questioned

Los Angeles International Airport compromises the safety, security and health of passengers, because of an inefficient contracting system for passenger services, according to a new study.

More Subprime Woes to Come

The subprime storm isn't blowing over. On July 10, credit-rating agencies Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's (like BusinessWeek, a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies (MHP)) warned of greater-than-expected losses for bonds backed by subprime lo

Liberty Considering DirecTV Spinoff

Liberty Media may buy all DirecTV Group Inc. and spin off the satellite television provider into a tracking stock but also is considering liquidating its position in the company, Liberty's chief executive said Thursday.

IHOP Reports Solid 2Q Same Store Sales

Shares in IHOP Corp. gained more than 2 percent Thursday after the restaurant chain owner and operator said that same-store sales rose 2.5 percent for the second quarter.

IndyMac Sells Office Property

IndyMac Bancorp Inc. said Thursday that it has sold a Pasadena office building for $116 million.

Wednesday, July 11

Disney to Offer Movies for Xbox Live

Microsoft Corp. said it has struck a deal to make 35 Disney movies available to rent on its online video game service.

United Talent, Spot Runner Team up

United Talent Agency and the Internet-based advertising agency Spot Runner have started a ministudio for digital entertainment from established actors, directors and others.

Fremont to Halt Mass. Foreclosures

Fremont General Corp. will halt foreclosures in Massachusetts for 90 days while the state conducts an investigation of its lending practices, state Attorney General Martha Coakley said Wednesday.

Hot Topic Reports Dip in Same Store Sales

Hot Topic Inc. said Wednesday afternoon that same-store sales fell 4 percent in June, although it was better than expected.

Burkle, Greenspan, Dow Jones Meet

Dow Jones & Company board members met yesterday with a pair of wealthy investors who are interested in buying a piece of the company, even as the company appears to be in the late stages of negotiating a full takeover by the News Corporation owned by Rupe

State's Economy Eighth Largest in World

We're No. 8. For the second year in a row, California was home to the world's eighth-largest economy in 2006, according to statistics released Tuesday.

Innovo Shares Soar After Earnings

Shares in fashion company Innovo Group Inc. gained ground Wednesday after the Commerce-based maker of Joe's Jeans reported improved results for its first quarter.

CPK Stung After Revised Guidance

Shares in California Pizza Kitchen Inc. lost more than 7 percent Wednesday after the company lowered its guidance for the second quarter.

Tuesday, July 10

Activision 1Q Boosted By Movie Titles

Activision Inc. said Tuesday that it expects first-quarter results to exceed its previous guidance thanks to strong sales of games based on recently released movies.

Northrop Lands $400 Million Navy Deal

Northrop Grumman Corp. said that it won a $408 million contract to supply three Hawkeye surveillance airplanes to the U.S. Navy.

Topps Voices Concern on Upper Deck Deal

The board of baseball card maker Topps Co. on Tuesday recommended that shareholders vote against a $425 million tender offer from Upper Deck Co. because of concerns about getting antitrust approval.

European Firm Ups Stake in KB

Paris-based insurance firm Axa SA upped its stake in homebuilder KB Home by 9 million shares Tuesday, giving Europe's second-largest insurer a 10 percent stake in the struggling homebuilder.

OSI Lands Big TSA Deal

Little OSI Systems Inc. said Tuesday that it won a big contract for its Rapiscan Systems unit.

SEC Names Acting Regional Director

The Securities and Exchange Commission has appointed Rosalind Tyson as the acting regional director of its Los Angeles regional office.

DirecTV Shares Get Boost From Upgrade

Shares in DirecTV Group Inc. gained nearly 4 percent in early trading Tuesday after the nation's largest satellite TV provider got an upgrade from a Citigroup analyst.

City Housing Audit Paints Bleak Picture

Los Angeles City Controller Laura Chick released Monday an audit of the city Housing Department, which stated that the department faces considerable challenges.

Emak Switches Stock Exchanges

Emak Worldwide Inc. said Tuesday afternoon that the Nasdaq Global Stock Market has approved its application to transfer its common stock listing to the Nasdaq Capital Market effective Wednesday.

Diversity Diverges

Los Angeles County's racial makeup is expected to change dramatically by 2050, with Latino and Asian populations doubling to account for more than 80 percent of residents as the number of whites and blacks shrinks in half.

L.A. Property Values Continue to Soar

L.A.'s real estate juggernaut continued to roll last year as assessed values in the county jumped 9.3 percent to top $1 trillion for the first time.

Physicians Formula Lowers Guidance

Personal care products makers Physicians Formula Holdings Inc. cut its second-quarter and full-year guidance, citing lower retail sales due to weaker consumer spending.

County Picks New CEO

Los Angeles County supervisors have appointed former Los Angeles chief administrative officer William Fujioka as the county's new chief executive officer, replacing David Janssen, who will retire this month.

Monday, July 9

Luxury Condo Market Hitting a Peak

A Wilshire Corridor development that made a splash last year when it started building condos that it said would average about $2,000 a square foot is now up for sale.

Regional Report

News from around Los Angeles County.

Kate Spade, Concept Five Sign Up for Americana at Brand

After years of lobbying, permitting and construction, the Americana at Brand shopping center in Glendale took another step towards reality earlier this month, announcing a second slate of stores that have signed on.

Herbalife Progresses in China

Herbalife Ltd. said Monday that it has received a license from China's Ministry of Commerce to sell its products in Jiangsu province.

IHOP Sells Florida Franchise

IHOP Corp. said Monday that Sunshine Restaurant Partners LLC, an affiliate of Atlanta-based Argonne Capital Group LLC, acquired the operations and development rights of Ihop's Florida franchise licensee, FMS Management Systems Inc.

Crossing Guards

Material Technologies Inc. is beginning to market what some consider the only true metal fatigue testing technology in the world.

Sorry Partner, Not For Just a Million

A million dollars worth of business isn't the magic number it once was for attorneys seeking to jump ship and become equity partners at other firms.

Museums, Aquariums Competing With Roads, Levees

Voters approved bond funds for roads and bridges, so that money shouldn't go to museums and aquariums, according to Richard G. Little.

Hazardous Designation May Prompt Switch to Ethanol

State regulators are close to listing the solvent methanol as a hazardous chemical under the state's Proposition 65 law, requiring employers that use methanol to notify employees and neighbors of their facilities that they could face harmful health effect

Corn Crunch Isn't Slowing Ethanol Firm

AltraBiofuels is leaping at the mammoth opportunity presented by an energy bill the Senate passed in June that calls for a sevenfold increase in ethanol production.

Green Dot Gets Gates Grant

Green Dot Public Schools received a $7.8 million investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to open 10 new high schools in the Watts neighborhood.

Pancake Better

Julia Stewart, chief executive of IHOP Corp., is known as a turnaround artist. After choreographing a dramatic resurgence at Applebee's International Inc. during her three years running the company, she was recruited to do the same at the pancake house ch

Election Year Could Be Boost For Struggling Ad Sales Sector

Ad spending is down for 2007, but could bounce back thanks to political campaigns in 2008.

Not Clearing the Air in China

Cracking down on air pollution in California stands in sharp contrast with voluminous and unabated amounts of it spewing from China, writes Charles Crumpley.

Getting Back Into Ad Game Proved to Be a Smart Move

Profile of an area business newsmaker

Consumer Unit Of PUC Rejects Rate Hike Request

Citing excessive executive compensation packages, the consumer watchdog arm of the California Public Utilities Commission rejected a request from Southern California Gas Co. for a $139 million rate increase.

Sponsors Opted for Last-Minute Entry Into 45-City Warped Tour

Just before the curtain rose for the first performance of Vans Warped Tour 2007, three companies managed to slip onstage: Lucha Libre USA, Myspace.com and Snocap, a San Francisco-based music Web site

Dow Jones Looks to Burkle for Bid

Board members of Dow Jones & Company plan to meet today with Ronald W. Burkle, the California billionaire, as they continue to hunt for alternatives to a takeover by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, people close to the board said yesterday.

Moppet Massage

Pedicures for preschoolers? Kids' spas are springing up all over Southern California and in many upscale parts of the country. Many are already in expansion mode.

MGlobal Trust, UCLA Bringing Bollywood to Hollywood

India Splendor, a festival that will run from Aug. 10-15 at UCLA, is intended to bring the latest offerings in Indian independent cinema, arts and technology to Los Angeles.

Sale May Drive Hilton Headquarters From Beverly Hills

Experts say the Blackstone Group will have to cut costs after its purchase of Hilton Corp., and the hotel chain's Beverly Hills headquarters may be the first to go.

Abraxis Spins Off Its Generic-Drug Manufacturing Arm

Abraxis BioScience Inc. Chief Executive Patrick Soon-Shiong announced last week that Abraxis would separate its generic drug manufacturing arm, known as American Pharmaceutical Partners Inc., back into its own public company, which will be called APP Inc

June Median Prices Slip as Some Sellers Start Asking Less

The June median home price in Los Angeles County slipped back from its record high in May as sellers of mid-priced homes appear to have grown tired of waiting for a turnaround and are more willing to lower their asking prices.

Jacked Up

Ripple Networks Inc. plans to install flat screens in about 1,000 Jack in the Box restaurants, with programming from ESPN, CBS, MSNBC and Yahoo.

Beverly Hills Hearst Mansion for Sale

A home once owned by William Randolph Hearst was put on the market for $165 million, making it the most expensive home for sale in the United States, Westside Estate Agency said Monday.

First Commercial Taking Leave From City National Plaza

A Taiwanese bank is relocating in the downtown market in face of escalating rental rates. First Commercial Bank has signed a lease at 600 Wilshire Blvd. and will leave City National Plaza at 515 S. Flower St. this December.

State to Review Wellpoint Merger

The California Department of Managed Health Care will hold a public hearing in Los Angeles in response to complaints about Blue Cross of California's parent company.

Game On for South Korean Free-to-Play Business Model

On July 9, Korea's ministry of culture and tourism will open a permanent exhibit showcasing the latest online games and digital mobile technology at the L.A. Korea Center.

New Federal Prosecutor Could Intensify Focus On White-Collar Crime

Thomas O'Brien appears to be on track to become Los Angeles' top federal prosecutor, an appointment that could result in more white collar criminal cases.

Cordero Takes Helm of Long Beach Harbor Commission

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners played a game of musical chairs this past week, and Mario Cordero came out the winner.

Ford, Edison to Test Hybrids

Southern California Edison Co. and Ford Motor Co. are expected to announce a partnership today that will include a multimillion-dollar test of plug-in hybrids.

Alon USA Energy Upping Its California Refinery Ante

With purchases of pipelines and refineries, Dallas-based Alon USA Energy Inc. has quietly become a player in the Southern California oil refining market.

E3 Settles Down to Business

The video game industry's annual showcase is saying goodbye to scantily clad booth babes, extravagant multimillion dollar exhibits, blaring lights and pounding music.

UPDATE: Gemstar Sale Boosts Shares

Shares in Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. continued to gain Tuesday a day after the company said it had hired UBS Investment Bank and legal advisers Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz to explore the possible sale of the company.

Property Rights Should Be Invoked in Environmental Conflicts

Fred E. Foldvary writes that laws on pollution have been generally ineffective, so property rights should be invoked.

Container Traffic to Reach a New High

Container traffic at local seaports is expected to reach a record high in August despite ongoing waterfront labor uncertainties, retailers indicate in a new memo.

Transnational Automotive Drives Cameroon Bus Contract

Transnational Automotive Group Inc. in Woodland Hills launched bus service in the West African nation of Cameroon last year, and plans to expand it tenfold.

Newsmakers

Hirings, promotions and kudos.

Friday, July 6

Investor Seeks More for Guitar Center

A Guitar Center Inc. shareholder contends that directors are shortchanging investors by accepting a $1.9 billion buyout bid by Bain Capital Partners LLC, a lawsuit contends.

Proposed Hilton Sale Prompts Suit

Hilton Hotels Corp. has sued by a shareholder claiming company directors didn't get a high enough price when they agreed to sell to Blackstone Group LP for $20 billion earlier this week.

Workers Use Cell Phones to Submit Data

Paperless data exchange between field workers and their offices is not new. But Florida startup JumpStart Wireless is bringing it to regular cell phones with software that bridges incompatibilities among handsets.

Calabasas Company Receives Funding

Emergent Game Technologies said it has received $12 million in funding from six firms.

Director Resigns From Kilroy Board

Only a week after he was appointed to the board of Kilroy Realty Corp., Howard Shiebler abruptly resigned, telling the Los Angeles real estate investment trust that he is no longer authorized by his employer to serve as a director.

Marketing Icons Get a Makeover

Breathing new life into an old marketing symbol has often helped weakened companies boost sales -- a trend that appliance maker Maytag and retailer Kmart are hoping can happen again.

Grill Makes Private Placement

Grill Concepts Inc. said it has raised $14.1 million, before deductions for fees and expenses, through a private offering of common stock and warrants to institutional and other investors.

Thursday, July 5

Hot for Hotels

Blackstone's $26 billion private equity bid for Hilton shows public markets may be undervaluing lodging stocks. Could Starwood or IHG be next?

Gemstar Signs Licensing Deal

Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. has signed a multi-year patent license agreement with SKY Italia, the leading Italian digital television service with more than four million subscribers.

Regulators Want Gas Rate Decrease

Citing excessive executive compensation packages, the consumer watchdog arm of the California Public Utilities Commission has rejected a request from Southern California Gas Co. for a $139 million rate increase.

Network Makes Wimbledon Deal

The famed Wimbledon tennis tournament will stay on NBC through 2011 after the network and the All England Club agreed to a four-year contract extension.

Samsonite to be Taken Private

Samsonite Corp., the 97-year-old luggage maker, has agreed to be bought by CVC Capital Partners Ltd. for about $1.1 billion.

Details of Hilton Purchase Disclosed

Hilton Hotels Corp. would have to pay Blackstone Group LP $560 million to back out of their $20 billion buyout agreement announced earlier this week, according to a regulatory filing.

Fewer Seats May Boost Fares, Shares

Less flying may mean more profit for the biggest U.S. airlines. Some airline shares may double within a year because more demand and less supply will allow carriers to charge more for tickets, analysts said.

Who's King of the Street?

Nothing makes a business story more gripping than a great rivalry and there is no larger one today than the ongoing showdown between Blackstone's Steve Schwarzman and KKR's Henry Kravis.

Tuesday, July 3

Subprime Backblow Hits Ratings Firms

Investing in Wall Street's credit ratings cops was one of the decade's sure bets for beating the market, but as the turmoil in subprime mortgages spreads the shine is coming off that play.

Hilton Sold For $26 Billion

The Blackstone Group on Tuesday agreed to pay $26 billion to acquire the Beverly Hills-based Hilton Hotels Corp.

A Bloomberg, Villaraigosa Ticket?

We now know Michael Bloomberg is seriously considering a run for the presidency. Is the New York City mayor planning to ask our mayor to join him on the ticket? Has he already asked?

Greenspan 'Open' to Joint Bid

The founder of the company that spawned MySpace said Monday that he would be willing to work with an investment firm recruited by Dow Jones & Co. staffers to fashion a joint bid for the financial news empire.

L.A. Equity Firm Buys Container Store

The Container Store, one of Dallas' biggest entrepreneurial success stories, has been sold to a private equity firm that promises to preserve its unique culture.

Alon Buys Port Oil Pipeline Network

Alon USA Energy Inc. said Monday afternoon that it had finalized the purchase of a crude and unfinished products pipeline system from Houston-based Kinder Morgan Inc. for $4.5 million.

Simulations Plus Soars on Earnings

Shares in Simulations Plus Inc. soared up to 15 percent Tuesday after the firm reported record profit for its third quarter.

Green Gets a C-Level Suite

They are exploring partnerships with vendors and customers to create green products , and they have the power to close the deal. Chief sustainability officers are a growing presence on the top floor of Corporate America.

Fremont Closes Sale, Named Interim CEO

Fremont General Corp. said Tuesday that it has appointed Alan Faigin as interim president and chief executive of its industrial bank unit Fremont Investment & Loan.

Monday, July 2

League Re-Evaluates Its Business Model

Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Kobe Bryant are just two of more than 1,000 current and former NBA players that have passed through Long Beach's Summer Pro League during its 38-year history.

Cancer Survivor Tauzin a Powerful Ally for Amgen

Billy Tauzin, head of the pharmaceutical industry's leading trade group, is passionate about promoting biotech. That's good news for companies such as Amgen Inc.

More Green Power For Edison

Southern California Edison, a subsidiary of Edison International, signed six new renewable energy contracts, the utility company said Monday.

In This Tale of Two L.A. Studios, Uncertainty Is Recurring Theme

With Sunset Gower Studios trading for over $200 million (see 'On the Cover'), a high price is likely also for Culver Studios.

El Segundo Property Sold for $49 Million

El Segundo's Douglas Technology Center has changed hands for $49 million in a deal that closed May 25 after being held by NG Holdings LP for just a year.

Completion Bonds Come to Video Game World

Completion bonds, long a staple in film financing, are now moving into the video game publishing industry.

Sheffield Pays $16 Million for Two Aerospace Suppliers

Sheffield Manufacturing Inc., a Los Angeles precision machining products maker, announced late last month the $16 million acquisition of a pair of longtime aerospace suppliers.

International Rectifier Firers CFO

International Rectifier Corp. has fired Chief Financial Officer Michael McGee, the El Segundo semiconductor manufacturer disclosed Monday in a regulatory filing.

Near the Rails but Still on the Road

In Los Angeles, billions of public and private dollars have been lavished on transit-oriented projects such as Hollywood & Vine, with more than 20,000 residential units approved within a quarter mile of transit stations between 2001 and 2005, the Los Ange

Mexican Standoff

Charles Crumpley wonders about the rights Americans and other foreigners have and don't have when they live in Mexico.

Universal Says 'No' to iTunes

Apple is an emerging force in the mobile phone business, thanks to the snaking lines of gadget fans who queued up last week to buy the iPhone. But now he faces a headache in an industry Apple already dominates , digital music.

NICE WORK, BUT...

Midway through his term, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is getting generally solid marks from local business leaders.

Nichols to Head State Board

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday appointed Los Angeles resident and environmental regulator Mary Nichols as chairwoman of the beleagured California Air Resources Board.

Developer Enjoys Working in 'Very Tangible Business'

Patrick Roberts

99 Cents Stores Narrows Loss

Shares in discount retailer 99 Cents Only Stores rose more than 2 percent Monday after the company reported that it had narrowed its fourth quarter loss on a rise in same-store sales.

Santa Monica's Dubious Honor

Santa Monica has become the costliest L.A. County city to do business in, according to a survey.

KB, Ryland Stung By Downgrade

Los Angeles-based KB Home lost 70 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $38.67 after Citigroup said that waning demand for new homes and high inventories will keep the shares from rebounding this year.

Burbank Contractor Is Taking On Goliath

A lawsuit alleges that administrators affiliated with State Fund were retaining a portion of premiums as bonuses money that they say should have been returned to policyholders.

TELEDYNE: Company Boosted By Focus on Specializations

After a financially rocky 2001 following its spin-off from Allegheny Technologies, Teledyne refocused on core niche markets, such as defense electronics and instrumentation, which require specialized technology and have high barriers to entry.

Grocery War ... Again?

Who won? When Southern California grocery workers went on strike against Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons in October 2003, they were hoping to avoid a two-tier wage scale that would pit new employees against older ones.

Rent Control Discourages Development of Affordable Housing

The L.A. City's Council's passing of an ordinance on rent control is well-intentioned, but misses the mark, according to Christopher Thornberg and Jon Haveman.

Shadow of the Pellicano Probe Is Lifting From Law Firms

Around this time last year, Westside law firms Christensen Glaser Fink Jacobs Weil & Shapiro LLP and Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP were both still reeling from the departures of several lawyers.

Business Journal Honors

The Los Angles Business Journal is honored with three awards.

UPDATE: Abraxis to Split Company

Biotech drug maker Abraxis BioScience Inc. said it is splitting apart the two businesses that were brought together in a 2006 merger, a tacit acknowledgement that investors continue to value the combined company lower than management believes is warranted

Think Inside the Box

Nicole Jaffe left the entertainment business to launch Yellow Box Beauty Inc., which offers salon samples to subscribers.

The Loan Arranger

Mark Cohen originated more mortgages and had the highest dollar volume of any broker in the country.

Beverly Hills Moves to Rekindle Romance With ICM

City enters into talks with talent agency about moving from Century City.

L.A. Merger and Acquisition Activity Remains Revved Up

Acquisitions activity is continuing on pace.

Online Marketplace Firm Is Scratching Its Niche Itch

AdEngage.com acts as the middleman between Web publishers and advertisers.

Passport Expediting Firms Blocked From Addressing Massive Backlog

It would seem that private companies that expedite passport processing would be booming, given new requirements. But not when federal restrictions trump the laws of supply and demand.

Electronics Firm Teledyne Might Be Boring but It's Thriving

Teledyne Technologies Inc.

Buying a Domain Name Too Costly? Think About Leasing

In a world where popular domain names sell for $1 million or more, it makes sense that people should be able to lease them.

Man of the People's

For new chief executive Colin Dyne, driving the promising L.A. denim company People's Liberation Inc. into profitability is a chance for redemption.

Sunset Gower Studios Sell for $200 Million

Sunset Gower Studios is changing hands for just over $200 million, in the latest sale of a production property.

Feeling the Heat

A congressional report showed that more than half of all government contracts in 2006 were awarded with little or no competition.

Eco-Beat

Control Room is the name of an L.A. company that has become an online concert giant and an unlikely environmental advocate.

Subway-to-the-Sea Is Not the Solution for L.A. Transit

The extension of the Red Line in the proposed "Subway-to-the-Sea" plan is not the solution for transit in Los Angeles, writes Daniel Freedman.

Newsmakers/Kudos

Hirings, Promotions and kudos.

Producers Hope Record Payout Will Pay Off in Syndication

Ex-'Survivor' contestant creates reality show that offers a $10 million prize.