Stories for June 2007

Friday, June 29

HemaCare CEO Resigns

HemaCare Corp. said Friday that Judi Irving has resigned as president and chief executive to pursue other opportunities.

Insurance Hikes May be Down the Road

Consumer advocates warned Thursday that a legal victory by the Automobile Club of Southern California could spur other insurers to charge customers steep fees for paying their bills in installments.

Mattel, Warner Bros. Team for Toys

Mattel Inc. extended its partnership with Time Warner Inc. to produce toys based on the array of DC Comics characters.

Grocer's Union Says It's Trying

Contract negotiations between representatives of Southern California's three largest supermarket chains and 65,000 union workers continued at a secret location Thursday. But as the give-and-take continued for a second day, there was no word of any breakth

Pelosi Still Wants More Miles Per Gallon

As the price of benchmark West Texas crude oil topped $70 a barrel for the first time in 10 months, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) yesterday affirmed her support for the tougher fuel-economy standards recently passed by the Senate.

Government Pacts Power CSC

More than $3.1 billion of Computer Sciences Corp.'s $3.9 billion in first quarter revenue came from government contracts.

Big Movers

Strong earnings lead to an unexpected drop in shares while the subprime mortgage mess continued to beat up on two local lenders. Those on the rise were fueled by a sale and an upgrade.

FAO Schwarz Features Custom Barbies

FAO Schwarz will open a section Friday in its flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York that will allow shoppers to customize their own Barbie dolls, Mattel Inc. said.

Thursday, June 28

KB Shares Flat After Posting Big Loss

Shares in KB Home were flat Thursday morning after the homebuilder reported a second-quarter loss due to charges for unsold homes.

Image Reports Loss, Tweaks Sale

Shares in Image Entertainment Inc. gained 4 percent Thursday after the company reported a loss for 2007 and amended its acquisition agreement to permit it to remain a public company.

Warner, Sony Comrades in Russia

Warner Music Group Corp. will partner with rival Sony BMG Music Entertainment and billionaire Len Blavatnik to form a wholesale distribution vehicle for digital music in Russia.

NBA Contract Takes Digital Leap

Walt Disney Co.'s ABC and ESPN and Time Warner Inc.'s TNT agreed Wednesday to pay the National Basketball Assn. $7.4 billion over eight years for rights to televise its games and, in one of the first deals of its kind, stream action on the Internet and mo

Gores Fund Looking for Smaller Deals

You know private equity firms are getting big when writing a check for $250 million is considered a medium-size deal.

New York Firm Ups Herbalife Stake

D.E. Shaw & Co. bought 1.4 million shares of Herbalife Ltd. Thursday, making the New York-based hedge fund Herbalife's largest shareholder.

FDA Warns Staar on Implants

Shares in Staar Surgical Co. lost nearly 4 percent after it said U.S. regulators told the company its clinical study procedures for its vision-improving implants are not in compliance with federal rules.

Wednesday, June 27

Wall Street Stoked the Mortgage Fiasco

Twelve years ago, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. sent a vice president to California to check out First Alliance Mortgage Co. Lehman was thinking about tapping into First Alliance's lucrative business of making "subprime" home loans to consumers with sketc

Countrywide Executives Plead Guilty

Three former Countrywide Financial Corp. vice presidents Wednesday plead guilty to insider trading charges from nearly three years ago.

King Hospital Gets Another Reprieve

Los Angeles County supervisors Tuesday backed off a threat to begin closing Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital, opting instead to give the beleaguered facility a reprieve as it prepares for a last-chance government inspection next month.

Orders for Manufactured Goods Plunge

Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods plunged in May by the largest amount in four months as demand for aircraft, heavy machinery and metals all declined.

Ports Delay Vote on Truck Plan

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach announced Wednesday that they will extend by 60 days the evaluation period for a controversial program aimed at reducing emissions from the 16,000 short haul trucks serving the port complex.

Guitar Center Shares Soar on Sale

Shares in Guitar Center Inc. gained nearly 20 percent Wednesday after the company said it has agreed to be bought by a private equity firm for $2.1 billion in cash.

Hansen Executives Unload Options

A pair of executives with Corona-based beverage manufacturer Hansen Natural Corp. sold almost 300,000 shares of common stock this past week, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings Tuesday.

Hilton Hotels Moves Into China

An investment arm of Deutsche Bank AG and private equity firm H & Q; Asia Pacific said they are teaming up to develop 25 Hilton hotels in China.

Tuesday, June 26

Billion-Dollar Warner Film Deal

In a sign that the flood of private money in Hollywood only continues to rise, Legendary, the production company of the venture capitalist Thomas Tull, will invest $1 billion in a portfolio of films co-produced by Warner Brothers Pictures.

AeroVironment Posts Strong Earnings

Shares in AeroVironment Inc. gained nearly 5 percent Tuesday after the company reported a strong fiscal year bolstered by a solid fourth quarter thanks to stronger sales, the company said.

Amgen Tries to Fend off Congress

Biotech drug maker Amgen Inc. submitted written testimony prior to a key congressional hearing today in an attempt to head off congressional action that could hamper sales of its most popular anemia drugs.

To Strike or Not to Strike

Even though Southern California grocery workers have given their union the go-ahead to call a strike, that doesn't mean a walkout or an employer lockout is imminent, Wall Street analysts and labor experts said Monday.

Upper Deck Makes Offer for Topps

Upper Deck Co. had officially made a bid buy rival Topps Co. for about $425 million, a move that could undermine an attempt by former Walt Disney Co. head Michael Eisner to acquire the trading card company.

Enova CEO to Retire

Enova Systems announced that Chief Executive Officer Edwin Riddell will retire on October 1 and will be succeeded by Mike Staran.

Trucker, Port Relations Polluting Port

Port authorities appear headed for a legal showdown with the trucking industry over a sweeping program to rid the harbor of polluting diesel trucks.

Hospital's Fate Still Unsure

Two years ago, Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke answered talk about closing the long-troubled Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center with an emphatic declaration: "That hospital will be closed over my dead body."

Monday, June 25

American Film Institute Works To Put Women Behind Camera

The American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women, a program that promotes femme filmmaking, has seen a spike in interest recently.

Building Sold Twice During Lease Renewal Negotiations

An executive vice president with CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., Hammerstein represented law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP in a $13 million lease renewal for 36,473 square feet of space at Two California Plaza downtown.

Construction Industry Angry Over Diesel Filter Retrofits

Construction contractors in Los Angeles and throughout California are fuming over the latest state attempts to curtail diesel emissions from off-road construction equipment.

Shakeup at Yahoo Could Rattle L.A.

Yahoo Inc.'s decision last week to replace former Hollywood executive Terry Semel as its CEO has put the Internet titan's Santa Monica entertainment operations squarely in the crosshairs.

Progressive Action Will Help Clean Polluted Waters, Protect Aquatic Life

A ban on plastic bags at grocery stores will help clean polluted waters and protect aquatic life, writes Mark Gold.

Profiles: Dale Reed

Managing Director, JPMorgan Private Bank, Los Angeles

A Pro Bono to Pick

In a city where a cottage industry of marketers has developed around giving celebrities free stuff, lawyers said it should come as no surprise that having famous clients can help their businesses.

South Gate Distributor Taking Advantage of Boom at the Ports

The explosive growth at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is changing the face of goods movement and forcing companies of all stripes to streamline their operations.

Profiles: Alan Whitman

Senior Vice President, Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management, Pasadena

Feisty Little Bratz Dolling Up the Bottom Line for THQ

Feisty little Bratz dolls are doing wonders for THQ Inc.'s attempt to win the hearts of young girl gamers.

Newsmakers

Hirirngs promotions and kudos.

Blooming Wealth

An explosion of riches in L.A. means more wealth advisers, who now offer services beyond investing so they can get a bigger piece of the action.

Profiles: Drew Zager

Managing Director, Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Los Angeles

Inspired Tissue Pack Designs Are Nothing to Sneeze At

Campbell-Ewald Los Angeles came out on top of the heap in AdPack USA's Inaugural Tissue Tactics Contest with a hankie designed for client Kaiser Permanente.

Profiles: Richard Jones, Reza Zafari

Senior Vice Presidents, Merrill Lynch, Los Angeles

Stater Bros. Ready In Event of a Strike By Grocery Unions

Stater Bros. Holdings Inc. has already seen a small increase in sales as shoppers began to prepare themselves for a grocery strike targeting Ralphs, Vons/Pavilions and Albertsons stores.

Joining the Farm Team

Restaurants are forging unprecedented alliances with California farmers as both try to convince consumers that closer is better when it comes to produce.

Profiles: Richard Blosser

Executive Director, Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Los Angeles

National Lampoon Mounting a Comeback

"Did you say 'over?' " the character played by John Belushi asked in "National Lampoon's Animal House" in 1978. "Nothing's over till we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell, no!"

Game Faces

No Good TV is building online programming around celebrities playing video games amid decadent decor.

Grocery Workers Vote to Allow Strike

Southern California grocery workers voted Sunday to give their union the right to strike if negotiations for a new contract fail. Union officials said the measure passed by an overwhelming 95%.

Hospital, Heal Thyself

Charles Crumpley calls for drastic measures at King-Harbor.

Profiles: Bruce Treitman

Managing Director, Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown, Los Angeles

L.A.'s Top Wealth Advisers

An explosion of riches in L.A. means more wealth advisers, who now offer services beyond investing so they can get a bigger piece of the action.

Disney Near Deal for stake in NBA China

The NBA and the Walt Disney Co. are nearing a deal that has the entertainment giant buying a minority stake in the league's nascent NBA China entity.

Profiles: Rebecca Rothstein

Managing Director Wealth Management, Smith Barney, Beverly Hills

Regional Report

Business news from around L.A. County.

Oxy Worker Killed in Yemen Shooting

A subcontractor working for Occidental Petroleum Corp. was killed and seven other workers were injured after a man shot at them as they arrived in Yemen.

Property Values

Real estate expert Stuart Gabriel predicts that it will take a while for the housing market to recover.

Abraxis Makes Deal for USC Biomarkers

Last week's agreement granting Abraxis BioScience Inc. exclusive development and commercialization rights to a portfolio of cancer biomarkers developed at the University of Southern California marks a significant milestone for both institutions.

Group Carves Niche Putting Artists in Their Place

ArtSpot L.A. finds studio space for artists and performers amid empty buildings or properties in escrow.

El Segundo Joining Downtown As a Computer Storage Market

Downtown remains a leader in storage of computer servers, and El Segundo is poised for fast growth.

Profiles: Steven Levine

Director, Credit Suisse Private Banking, Los Angeles

Getting the Sack?

The arguments for a ban on plastic bags at L.A. grocery stores aren't based on facts, according to Harold L. Katz.

News Veteran Moves Up to Leadership Role at KCET

A veteran news show producer, Bret Marcus has recently switched gears to become vice president of programming, publicity and promotion for KCET (Channel 28).

Profiles: David Hou, Mark Sear

Senior Vice Presidents, Merrill Lynch, Los Angeles

Journalism Honors

The Business Journal won a first place award and several other honors at the annual Los Angeles Press Club event.

Truckers Ready To Raise a Stink

Trucking companies contend a port cleanup plan will drive up costs and force many of them out of business, consolidating the industry.

Killin' the Villain at Disney

Ding-dong, the glitch is dead. In a move that is long overdue, Disney is axing its model of producing low-budget direct-to-DVD sequels of its animated classics.

Profiles: Howard Rowen

Managing Director, Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown, Los Angeles

Rock & Republic Founder Facing Suit After N.Y. Scrap

Michael Ball, founder of Rock & Republic Enterprises Inc., frequently cites his rough and tumble upbringing which included at least one jail stint as part of the reason for his success.

Private Hospitals Oppose MLK Closure Despite Patient Death

Private hospitals near Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital want to keep the troubled facility open because a shutdown would overwhelm their emergency rooms.

Are You Experienced?

Moments Made Inc. provides packages of unusual gifts.

True Religion Soars on Upgrade

Shares in True Religion Apparel Inc. gained nearly 10 percent Monday after the denim company was upgraded by an analyst.

Friday, June 22

Hansen Files Delayed Financials

Shares in beverage maker Hansen Natural Corp. slipped Friday even though the company filed its final delinquent earnings report to put itself back in compliance with Nasdaq listing rules.

Union Steps up Pressure on Grocers

The union representing 65,000 Southern California grocery workers turned up the heat Thursday on three major supermarket chains.

Big Movers

A poor prospectus and jittery investors dropped two stocks, while an overseas deal and solid earnings boosted two other firms' shares this week.

Shurgard Withdraws Brussels IPO

Shurgard Self Storage Europe Ltd. withdrew plans to raise as much as $1 billion in an initial public offering Thursday due to what it called poor market conditions.

Markets Fret Over Tribune Deal

Confidence appears to be ebbing on Wall Street in Tribune Co.'s ability to pull off a complex, $8.2 billion deal to take itself private in partnership with Chicago billionaire Sam Zell.

Thursday, June 21

Teledyne Buys Systems Firm

Teledyne Technologies Inc. said Thursday that its subsidiary, Teledyne Cougar has acquired microwave transmission systems manufacturer Tindall Technologies Inc.

Boeing, Airbus in Dogfight Over Tankers

The bitter rivalry between Boeing Co. and Airbus over supplying tankers for the U.S. Air Force is intensifying at the international air show here, with both sides using sharp-elbowed tactics in the final push to snare a prize worth up to $40 billion.

State Threatens MLK License

California health officials on Thursday notified Los Angeles County that it plans to start a process that could lead to revoking the license of Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital, which would force the troubled county hospital to close.

Cheesecake Factory hurt By Downgrades

Downgrades took a toll on shares of Cheesecake Factory Inc. Thursday, sending them plummeting nearly 8 percent.

Ameron Shares Surge on Earnings

Shares in Ameron International Corp. soared as much as 14 percent Thursday and continued to gain Friday after the company reported strong earnings.

The Key Issues in the Grocery Talks

Frustrated by an inability to reach an agreement despite negotiating for much of the year, the United Food and Commercial Workers union set a noon deadline today for the major grocery companies to make a contract proposal.

Wednesday, June 20

Boeing Counts on 10 C-17 Orders

Boeing Co. has told C-17 parts suppliers to restart production in anticipation of selling 10 more planes to the U.S. Air Force.

Reliance Buys Midwest Company

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. said Wednesday that it has agreed to acquire Wood Dale, Ill.-based Clayton Metals Inc.

Anemia Drugs to be Discussed at Hearing

A June 26 hearing has been called by the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee to discuss safety concerns related to anemia drugs made by Amgen Inc. and Johnson & Johnson.

Murdoch, Malone Stock Swap Queries

Regulators requested information regarding the planned $11 billion asset swap that would shift control of DirecTV Inc. from News Corp. to Liberty Media Corp, indicating that an official investigation of the deal may be forthcoming.

Enova Inks Electric Car Deal

Enova Systems Inc. said it has received a contract to supply engine components to British electric vehicle maker Tanfield Group Plc.

Murdoch Mulling MySpace/Yahoo Deal

News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch has been discussing a deal to swap his MySpace social-networking site with Yahoo for a one-quarter stake in the Internet-portal company, even as he pursues his $5 billion offer for Dow Jones.

Disney Consolidates Distribution

Walt Disney Co. said it has formed a unit to sell TV programs in other countries in an effort to consolidate its U.S. and international distribution efforts.

KB's French Unit Posts Strong First Half

The French homebuilder KB Home agreed to sell to an investment firm reported double-digit growth in both profit and sales for its first half.

Grocery Contract Talks Sputter

Contract talks between Southern California's major supermarket chains and the union representing their workers have sputtered, raising the possibility of a repeat of the region's crippling grocery strike of 2003-2004.

Truckers Object to Port's New Plan

When Shannon Bell began hauling containers in and out of the harbor a few years ago, he took the job because of the flexibility it afforded him to spend time with his four children.

Tuesday, June 19

DirecTV Shares Soar on Upgrade

Shares of DirecTV Group Inc. jumped more than 5 percent Tuesday after the satellite TV provider received an upgrade from a Morgan Stanley analyst.

Pay Hikes for State's Top Brass

California's legislators and other top elected officials -- already among the nation's highest paid -- received annual salary increases Monday ranging from $3,110 to $8,776.

Abraxis, USC Team on Colon Cancer

Abraxis BioScience Inc. said it has made an exclusive agreement with the University of Southern California to develop and market protein biomarkers used in diagnosing some types of colon cancer.

Report From UCLA Skirts the R-word

The sluggish housing market is starting to drag down the rest of the economy, leading UCLA forecasters to conclude that although the U.S. is not actually in a recession, "it is certainly close."

Energy Victory for State

California won a round Monday in its seemingly endless quest to win billions of energy-crisis refunds.

Air Wars Heat up In Paris

The battle between Boeing Co. and Airbus is front and center at the at the Paris Air Show and Boeing has received a boost from Los Angeles-based International Lease Finance Corp., which has pledged to buy 63 Boeing jets, including 50 of the company's flag

Monday, June 18

Union Strategy Would Harm Grocery Stores and Customers

The interests of the grocery workers union run counter to those of consumer choice, according to Peter Larkin

Publisher Taking Active Interest in Specialty Magazines

At a time when many major magazine publishers are shedding their niche titles, Active Interest Media Inc. has taken the contrarian approach, buying hobby publications and associated trade shows.

Newsmakers/Kudos

Hirings, promotions and kudos.

Arden Buys West Coast Portfolio

Arden Realty Inc. has agreed to purchase a portfolio of 106 West Coast office buildings from CarrAmerica Realty Corp., the Business Journal has learned.

Industry Vet, 'Mama Bear' Take On Toy Titans

Jim Huntley, a former executive at Mattel Inc. and MGA Entertainment Inc., recently launched his own company, Tomorrow Inc., after hundreds of hours of running focus groups on product design, features, packaging and commercials for three lines of toys.

Video Games Going Casual

Critics may fume about violent killer video games, but top manufacturers are starting to beat some of their swords into beauty tips.

Business May Be Paying the Bills

Business interests are once again playing defense in Sacramento as dozens of bills that could harm businesses have cleared a key deadline.

Camera Firm Plugs Into General Electric

Hiroshi "Hugh" Komiya believes his Torrance company will be a top seller of digital cameras before long, and he could be right: His cameras carry the powerful brand name of General Electrics Co.

Northrop/Airbus Tanker Nearly Complete

The first KC-30 air refueling tanker made by Northrop Grumman Corp. and Airbus will begin final assembly this week, the Los Angeles defense contractor said Monday.

Royal No-Flush

The Taj Mahal and Rose Bowl may not seem to have much in common, but amid the growing worldwide green movement, in fact they do the urinals in their men's rooms. The Pasadena college stadium and India's signature architectural achievement both feature w

A Plot? What Plot?

The plan to clean up the ports will benefit Teamsters at tremendous cost, Charles Crumpley writes.

THQ to Make Bratz Games

THQ Inc. is developing three new video game titles to be released in the fall based on the popular Bratz doll franchise.

Adjusting His Focus

Howard Ruby's passion for photography led him to turn his West L.A.-based Oakwood Worldwide into a model of environmental responsibility.

Builder Betting On 'Urban-Surburban'

The future growth area for KB Home may be in condos in older suburban areas instead of suburban houses. One early project in Warner Center will hit the market in coming weeks.

The NFL Comes Back to L.A., But Just for One Night in July

The Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission is bringing the NFL back to the Los Angeles Coliseum for one night. The non-profit organization will host its fifth "NFL 101/201" event on July 12. It's for sponsors and executives who want to show the

CSC, iSoft End Dispute

Computer Sciences Corp. has ended its dispute with British software firm iSoft Inc. and has given its approval for the company to be acquired by Australian health care technology company IBA Health.

Court Turns Down State Energy Case

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to wade into a legal dispute stemming from California's 2000-2001 energy crisis.

Global Top 10

Despite its reputation locally as a difficult place to do business, Los Angeles is one of the top 10 cities in the world as a global center of commerce, according to a study released last week by MasterCard Worldwide.

Upstart Helio Seen as 'Glimmer of Hope' in Tough Sector

Young consumers want cell phones that not only make calls, but also provide Internet access and let them play videos, music and games. But as proven by the bankruptcy filings of Walt Disney Co.'s Mobile ESPN and, more recently, L.A.-based Amp'd Mobile Inc

Check the Rear-View Mirror

Daniel J. B. Mitchell celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Collier-Burns act, which created California's freeway system.

Thelen Reid Business Litigators Join Dickstein Shapiro

The Los Angeles outpost of Dickstein Shapiro is quickly turning into the little office that could. The Washington, D.C.-based firm gained a California presence in May 2005 with the acquisition of 10-attorney insurance coverage boutique Pasich & Kornfeld.

U.K. Grocer Plans South Central Site

The U.K.'s biggest grocer, Tesco plc, apparently sees profits where few large domestic supermarket chains have dared to tread: South Central Los Angeles.

First Consulting Buys Software Firm

First Consulting Group Inc. said Monday that it has acquired Salt Lake City-based software developer Zorch Inc. in an all-cash deal. Financial terms of the deal were not released.

L.A.-China Paper Trail

Los Angeles County accounts for almost 40 percent of American exports to China, and those exports have swelled in recent months in the face of China's torrid economy.

Regional Report

Business news from around L.A. County.

Bringing Gerrymandering to the 'Grand Theft Auto' Crowd

Chris Swain, a professor of interactive media at USC, and his team have married the unlikely couple a Web-based videogame and the practice of dividing voting districts that often become political borders.

Game Guy Determined to Play Up GSN's Advantages

Playing video games went from just a fun way to kill time to a career path for Frank Cartwright, who was recently appointed to the newly created position of vice president of online entertainment at GSN.

Jet Manufacturer, Northrop Grumman End Joint Venture

Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman, the world's largest shipbuilder, and Saic Corp., a San Diego-based jet manufacturer, announced last week they will break up Amsec LLC, a $500-million joint venture that provides engineering and technical support service

Webinar Slingers

Few people have figured out how to make money from Webinars, but at Copia Creative Inc. in West Los Angeles, Webinars have emerged as a major revenue stream.

IHOP's Takeover Bid for Applebee's May Be Tall Order

Glendale-based International IHOP Inc. would be taking a big bite with its reported $2-billion bid to purchase Applebee's restaurants.

Tennis Guru Ready to Hit the Cable Slopes

Steve Bellamy plans to launch Ski Channel as an ad-supported cable channel in early 2008. He already has deals with Time Warner Cable for carriage in several key markets such as Los Angeles and New York. He also has plans to pipe the channel into ski reso

Chore Corps

Darren Berkovitz joked one day with his co-workers at Beverly Hills-based Internet incubating company Metro Enterprises, "We outsource code writing to India. I wish I could outsource finding me a girlfriend." They laughed and then realized they hit on an

Capital Poised to go Wi-Fi

After more than a year of fits and starts, Sacramento is on the verge of approving a system that would blanket the city with free and paid wireless Internet coverage for both residents and visitors.

StarPoint Sells Koreatown Buildings for $9 Million Profit

StarPoint Properties LLC has turned a tidy profit on the sale of a two-building apartment property in Koreatown after owning it for just 18 months. The Los Angeles real estate investment firm has sold the 302-unit community at 136 and 160 S. Virgil Ave. f

Jules Verne Festival Comes Halfway Around the World

An American version of the Jules Verne Adventure Film Festival, a fixture in Paris for 15 years, will make its debut Dec. 10-15 in Los Angeles.

Friday, June 15

Big Movers

Analyst upgrades and brighter earning boosted some local stocks while poor earnings and short selling stung others.

Hansen Shares Soar on Upgrade

Shares of Hansen Natural Corp. soared as much as 10 percent Friday after a Goldman, Sachs & Co. analyst recommended buying the stock.

Honda to Debut MySpace Mini-Episodes

YEARS after Volkswagen challenged drivers to "Think small," another automaker, Honda, plans to run smaller commercials for a smaller car in smaller versions of television series.

More Trouble in Subprime Mortgages

Delinquencies and foreclosures among homeowners with weak credit moved higher in the first quarter, particularly in California, Florida and other formerly hot real estate markets, according to an industry report released on Thursday.

Higher Office Rents On The Way

Rents in Los Angeles County office buildings will continue to rise during the next few years as businesses expand and take empty space off the market, according to a UCLA survey of real estate professionals to be released today.

L.A. Job Scene Looks Bright

L.A.'s job picture brightened in May as the county's unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent and the county gained 10,000 jobs from April thanks to strong growth in the entertainment and hospitality sectors, according to figures released Friday by the state

Thursday, June 14

Beverly Hills Bancorp Mulls Sale

Shares in Beverly Hills Bancorp Inc. rose more than 4 percent Thursday after the firm disclosed that it is exploring a possible sale of the company.

CSC Shares Dip Despite Strong 4Q

Shares in Computer Sciences Corp. lost ground Thursday, even though the company beat analysts' expectations and reported a jump in both profit and sales in the fourth quarter.

On the Road Alone in L.A.

According to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly nine out of 10 workers drive to their jobs each day, 77 percent of them are by themselves.

Burkle's Ugly Business Breakup

In early 2005, Los Angeles billionaire Ronald Burkle met a young Italian businessman named Raffaello Follieri and quickly committed up to $105 million to a joint venture to buy surplus properties from the Catholic Church and redevelop them.

Local Grocery Gangster Drama Unfolds

A Los Angeles grocery chain entrepreneur ran a lucrative criminal enterprise, orchestrating murders, bribing city officials, extorting customers and exploiting illegal immigrants, according to a federal racketeering indictment unsealed Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 13

Ihop Makes Bid for Applebee's

Ihop Corp. has made an offer to buy the struggling restaurant chain Applebee's International Inc., according to reports Wednesday afternoon.

Bollenbach Joins Macy's Board

Hilton Hotels Corp.'s Chief Executive Stephen Bollenbach has been elected to the board of Macy's Inc.

Queen Mary Litigation Dismissed

The only major piece of litigation still pending against the company that leases the Queen Mary has been dismissed, opening the door for a potentially snag-free sale of the lease this summer.

Ryland Names New COO

Ryland Group Inc. appointed Larry Nicholson as its chief operating officer, the Calabasas homebuilder said Wednesday in a statement.

Countrywide Compensation Proposal Fails

Shareholders of Countrywide Financial Corp. rejected a proposal that would have given them a nonbinding say on compensation for top executives at the nation's biggest mortgage lender.

Warner Partners on Talent Branding

Warner Music Group Corp. said it signed a deal with talent agency Violator Management to pitch artists as brands for corporate sponsorships and merchandise sales.

MySpace Expands Chinese Business

MySpace.com's Chinese operation is looking into starting an online messaging service as it attempts to break the stranglehold that a Chinese software company has on one of the world's largest Internet markets.

Airbus Faces Wide Gap in A350 Orders

With the Paris Air Show less than a week away, Airbus has so far been unable to lure crucial customers to its proposed A350 jetliner despite making sweeping changes to the plane a year ago.

DWP Ordered to Pay $224 Million

The city of Los Angeles' already shaky budget outlook took a potentially ominous turn after a judge ruled that the Department of Water and Power intentionally overcharged other government agencies for electricity for nearly two decades, and owes them more

Edmunds.com Names New CEO

Jeremy Anwyl has been appointed chief executive of Edmunds.com Inc., replacing Peter Steinlauf, the company's controlling shareholder.

Tuesday, June 12

Hilton Signs Expansion, Spa Deals

Hilton Hotels Corp. said Tuesday that it plans to open 25 hotels in the United Kingdom over the next five years.

Countrywide Lending, Hiring Jump

Countrywide Financial Corp. added some 1,300 jobs and made 15 percent more home loans in May as refinancing increased but its foreclosure rate doubled.

Major Shipper Goes Electric

Several Port of L.B. execs on a 12-day trade mission through Asia were told that Japanese carrier "K-Line" - one of the world's largest - would soon begin using electricity to power its diesel ships during layovers in Long Beach.

Warner to Launch On-Demand Trial

Warner Bros.' plan to release selected movies to video-on-demand services at the same time they come out on DVD is a test of whether Hollywood can expand one distribution pipeline without hurting another.

Northrop to Split Joint Venture

Northrop Grumman Corp. said that it will split its naval and aviation engineering venture Amsec LLC along customer and product lines with its partner SAIC Inc.

City, Partners Launch Training Effort

Los Angeles officials, businesses and a community college are joining forces to address a skilled-worker shortage and high unemployment in some city neighborhoods.

Monday, June 11

Stamp of Disapproval

The recent postal rate increase is inflicting higher costs on small publishers.

Boards Exerting More Control Over CEOs

After years of high payouts to their chief executives, local boards are exerting more control over their chief executives.

L.A. Airport's New Executive Flies Through Difficult Debut

It is shaping up to be a difficult first few weeks for Gina Marie Lindsey, who last week assumed the role of executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, which oversees LAX and the Van Nuys, Ontario and Palmdale airports.

From Hollywood to the War on Terror

Alan Purwin recently sold Cineflex LLC, which makes a special camera system that stays steady even on bumpy helicopters.

Kosher Clash

After problems with being a kosher restaurant, a pizzeria dropped the label and has increased business.

Grocery Workers Set Strike Vote Deadline

The Southern California Grocery Workers union Friday issued a June 21 deadline in its contract talks with the Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons supermarket chains, threatening to take a strike vote if no deal is competed by then

Beverly Hills Building Sold To Big Rock for $16 Million

Local real estate private equity fund Big Rock Partners LLC has purchased a 1950s Beverly Hills office building from Blue Real Estate for $16 million.

Managing Partner Credited for Calm at Milberg Office

The managing partner at Milberg Weiss & Bershad LLP was on display again as lawyers were reportedly meeting with federal prosecutors here in an effort to stave off a trial.

Condo Spokesman's Flashy Lifestyle Is Too Good to Be True

Rob Clark is a fictional personality invented to help sell condos at his namesake building near Robertson Boulevard .

Adapting Historic Downtown Sites Getting Tougher, Survey Finds

Killefer Flammang Architects has released a survey of downtown properties that could be revamped.

'Casual' Interest Is Intense For Women

Adolescent males are perceived as the typical gamer, but it is the adult female homemaker many gaming companies are targeting today.

Companies Face Ramped Up Disability Act Requirements

The U.S. Department of Justice is set later this summer to unveil a new set of expanded regulations for public access for the disabled.

California Consumer Confidence Falls

Consumer confidence evaporated statewide during the second quarter thanks to the one-two punch of a soft housing market and record high gas prices.

Stake in Modern Luxury Sells for 'Several Hundred Million'

Private equity fund Clarity Partners has purchased a controlling interest in Modern Luxury Media, a publisher of upscale city magazines.

Warner Still Interested in EMI

Warner Music Group Corp. said Monday that it is still "actively" considering making a new offer to buy rival EMI Group Plc, the record label said in a statement.

Celebrity Death Media Coverage Moves Into Overkill Zone

Michael Levine criticizes excessive coverage of celebrity deaths.

In a Disaster, Blindly Following Procedures Won't Be Sufficient

Standard business procedures should be jettisoned in case of emergency, writes Shlomo Benartzi, who cites an incident he observed at the airport as evidence.

Big Movers

An auditor change, FDA rumors and great earnings boosted some local stocks while a firing, a quelled sale rumor and a downgrade stung others.

Macy's Nixes KB Deal

Shares in homebuilder KB Home lost nearly 2 percent Monday after Macy's said it was nixing a deal that would have had the Los Angeles company build mock home displays to market Martha Stewart goods.

Newsmakers/Kudos

Hirings, promotions and kudos.

Disney Pushes Films in India

On a dusty movie lot known as Film City here, a soft-spoken director counsels two actors on a love scene for the latest movie from Yash Raj Films. In typical Bollywood style, the closest the on-screen lovers get to intimacy is a longing gaze and a brush o

Getting the Word Out

Rhoda Weiss, chairwoman of the Public Relations Society of America, tells why her industry is growing.

SEC Scrutiny

Compiling the list of highest paid executives posed special challenges this year due to new SEC requirements.

Regional Report

Business news from aruond L.A. County.

Local Lift Manufacturer Acquired

Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corp. said Monday that it has acquired wheelchair lift and ramp manufacturer Ricon Corp. for $73.5 million.

It's Mixed-Up Martial Arts At Coliseum

Bungled promotion and loss of card's top draw puts damper on heavily-hyped event.

Model Citizens

Model Works Inc. creates elaborate scale representations of development projects.

Strange Mobile Network Bedfellows Cramped Amp'd

Firm's aggressive expansion push another factor in its bankruptcy.

'Working in Visual Effects, You Can Do Almost Anything'

Tricia Pifer- Entitity FX head of production.

Equity Buyout Rumors Roil KB Home Stock

KB Home denied it was a target of a buyout.

Couch Latkes?

The Jewish Television Network became reality last month when it launched 10 channels on its Web site.

Valley Commercial Space Snapped Up

They topped out a 255,000-square-foot building in Warner Center last week and one with the same size footprint is half finished.

Ronald Reagan Medical Center Celebrates Major Milestone

It will be close to another year before the new Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center treats its first patient. But the major construction is complete.

Box Office Horror

Moviegoers put a nail in the coffin of a dying horror boom this weekend, as "Hostel: Part II" opened to just $8.8 million in ticket sales, far behind the crime caper "Ocean's Thirteen" in a three-day period of relatively soft box office performance.

On Both Sides Of the Fence

Charles Crumpley has reconsidered the border barrier and decided good fences might make good neighbors.

New Management Team Puts Some Polish on Crown Media

New management has executed a savvy film slate pickup at Crown Media.

Home Prices Set Another Record

The median home price in Los Angeles County rose for the fourth consecutive month in May, but the rise favors the top end.

L.A. Fashion Folks Facing Quandary of Outsourcing

While the bulk of L.A. clothes manufacturers are outsourcing, a few find compelling reasons to stay.

Burkle's Bid For Wall St. Journal

Ron Burkle's attempt at helping a union bid against Rupert Murdoch for the Wall Street Journal faces an uphill climb.

It Pays to be the Boss

Proxy statements released this year were the first requiring companies to more thoroughly detail their executive compensation with a goal of discouraging huge payouts.

Wall Street Likes the Taste of CKE's Sale of La Salsa Chain

The myriad madre y papa taco stands in Southern California will prevent Santa Monica investor David Kim from ever owning the whole enchilada when it comes to Mexican fast food, but he's taking a run at it.

Macy's Scuttles KB's 'Mock Home' Deal

Last spring, Macy's Inc. Chief Executive Terry Lundgren came up with an ambitious plan to build 3,000-square foot mock "homes," built by KB Home, in key stores.

Saturday, June 9

Grand Avenue Developer Gets Shorter Extension

The Los Angeles city-county joint powers authority that oversees downtown's Grand Avenue mixed-use project has given the project's developer a two-month extension for the start of construction.

Friday, June 8

Thomas Properties Sells Houston Building

Thomas Properties Group Inc. said Thursday that it has sold the Intercontinental Center office building in suburban Houston for $24.2 million, or $123 per square foot.

Queen Mary Resort in the Works

A development team looking to refurbish the Queen Mary and create a theme resort on the surrounding 45 acres is one of the two top choices to be the next lease holder.

$1 billion Port Budget OKd by Officials

A record $1 billion budget was adopted Thursday by the Port of Los Angeles, with the 2007-08 spending priorities to include environmental initiatives, port security, capital improvement projects and waterfront development.

Keystone Loses Parts Appeal

Generic automobile parts distributor Keystone Automotive Industries Inc. said Friday that the International Trade Commission has denied its appeal to continue importing after-market collision parts for Ford Motor Co. cars, trucks and sport utility vehicle

Immigration Bill Dies

The collapse of comprehensive immigration revision in the Senate last night represents a political defeat for President Bush, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), the bill's most prominent sponsors.

Thursday, June 7

Stan Lee Signs Deal With Disney

Zowie! Stan Lee, the creator of such comic-book superheroes as Spider-Man and X-Men, has signed an exclusive content deal with Walt Disney Studios, it was announced Wednesday.

Hospitality Industry Hangs On

Los Angeles County's hospitality industry is leveling out but remains an important part of the economy, according to a recently released report.

SEC Probes Activision Options

The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched a formal probe into the stock option practices of video game maker Activision Inc.

Countrywide Compensation Proposal

Countrywide Financial Corp. has begun a campaign to block a proposal to give shareholders a say in setting compensation for Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo.

CSC Ordered to End U.K. Dispute

Computer Sciences Corp. has been informed that the British government will take over an $8 billion contract to overhaul the country's health care records system unless the company can resolve a takeover dispute involving its partner, ISoft Group Plc.

Edison Buys Wind Turbines

Edison International said Thursday that it has agreed to purchase $698 million worth of wind power turbines from India's Suzlon Energy Ltd.

Disney to Invest in Films Overseas

Walt Disney Co. plans to spend $100 million making films in China and other locations outside the U.S. over the next two to three years, the company announced Thursday.

Disney Unions OK Deal

Union members at Walt Disney Co.'s Disney World theme park have approved a three-year labor contract.

Wednesday, June 6

Port Pollution Plan Pleases Truckers

A plan to overhaul the port trucking industry was hailed Tuesday by drivers who foresee more stable jobs and enough money to afford necessities such as medical insurance for their families.

J2 Names Griggs as CFO

J2 Global Communications Inc. named Kathy Griggs as its chief financial officer.

Amgen Acquires Alantos for $300 Million

Amgen Inc. said it has agreed to buy closely held pharmaceuticals Alantos Pharmaceuticals for $300 million.

Power, Water Rate Hikes Proposed

The general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has proposed rate increases to pay for the replacement of aging equipment, conservation programs, and for the training of field workers replacing retirees.

MannKind Settles Cheatham Suit

Shares in MannKind Corp. lost more than 4 percent Wednesday after the company settled a lawsuit by a former executive claiming he was wrongfully fired.

CSC Mulls iSoft Bid

Computer Sciences Corp. said it is considering an offer for British software firm iSoft Group PLC.

Shurgard Plans $1 Billion IPO

Shurgard Self Storage Europe Ltd., Europe's largest owner of self-storage units, said Wednesday that it plans to raise as much as 752 million euros ($1 billion) in an initial public offering.

Another Strong Quarter at Guess

Shares in Guess Inc. jumped more than $2 Wednesday after the company handily topped Wall Street's forecasts with its first quarter earnings.

Meyer Gets 5 More Years at Universal

A week after a messy shake-up of the management of its television unit, NBC Universal has signed Ron Meyer, the president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios, to a new five-year contract.

Tuesday, June 5

Amgen Deal May be First of Many

A buying spree may be underway at troubled Southern California biotech giant Amgen Inc.

Execs Say Options Windfall Unplanned

KB Home and Occidental Petroleum Corp. executives said during Senate testimony that tax deductions received from granting stock options were much higher than they reported to shareholders due of their company's strong share performance.

United Food Recalls Tainted Meat

Ground beef tainted with a deadly strain of E.coli sickened a dozen people in five states and Canada, including three in southern California, state health authorities said Monday, a day after the distributor recalled 75,000 pounds of meat.

True Religion Nixes Sale Talk

True Religion Apparel Inc. said it has ended its review of its strategic alternatives and will focus on opening its own stores and expanding its wholesale and licensing business ending speculation that the denim maker might be sold.

Warner Inks Online Music Deal

Warner Music Group has cut a deal with Internet start-up Lala.com to allow free music online in hopes of prodding CD sales.

Burkle in Dow Jones Hunt

Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle and the union that represents Dow Jones & Co. employees are exploring making an offer for the publisher of the Wall Street Journal, which is being wooed by News Corp. publisher Rupert Murdoch.

Monday, June 4

Mandatory Health Insurance Bills Heading Toward Passage

HEALTH CARE

Key bills in California's health care reform debate passed an important test last week, setting the stage for legislative floor fights this week that will be closely monitored both by employers and industry groups.

Weintraub Buys Sportsmen's Lodge Hotel for $50 Million

Sportsmen's Lodge Hotel; Long Beach office buildings

Amp'd Mobile Seeks Reorganization

The youth-oriented cellular phone company Amp'd Mobile Inc. said over the weekend that it had declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday and plans to remain in business.

Helping Producers Get Perks for Running Away From L.A.

Entertainment Group Inc. and Axium International Inc. are advising producers on incentives for filming in other states.

Makeover That Makes Sense for L.A.? The Hollywood Example

If Los Angeles needs a model for planning, officials should use the renewal of Hollywood as an example, according to Eric Garcetti, the City Council President.

Merger Activity Keeps Pace, With Emphasis on Strategy

April's deals kept pace with the numbers of previous months, but smaller transactions brought down the dollar value.

Unsentimental Education

As founder and chief executive of Green Dot Public Schools, the most prominent L.A. charter school operation, Steve Barr has become a major reformer in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Fever And Anxiety -- Builds for iPhone

It has been almost six months since Steve Jobs, the world's consummate salesman, introduced its iPhone, to be released on June 29, as the Ronco Veg-O-Matic for the Internet era.

Ubiquity Packages the Players Who Produce Internet Content

Ubiquity Partners packages entertainers, financiers, Web site operators and advertisers to produce serial online content.

Together Apart

Accordent Technologies offers Webcast presentation packages for such businesses and institutions as General Electric Co., Harvard University and the Internal Revenue Service.

Pride of Lions

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. raised a $400-million fund with Pride Pictures to finance a slate of 23 movies.

L.A.-Based Vert Franchises to Pump You Up All Over

Vert Worldwide; fantasy football; World Champion Sports Network

Robots! More Robots! And They're in Your House!

Pasadena-based Evolution Robotics Inc. has sold 2 million robotic products, mostly overseas. Now the company is poised to break into the domestic market.

L.A. Billionaires Provide Services That Enrich Our Lives

Brian Doherty of Reason magazine points out that the billionaires on the Business Journal's list of Wealthiest Angelenos have provided services that help enrich people's lives.

Companies Help Employees With MTA Fare Hikes

Companies that are enrolled in an MTA program will help their workers sidestep the increase, at least for now.

LATV Shows Go to 10 Markets Under Entravision Partnership

An L.A.-based network and an L.A.-based station group have teamed up to shake up the Latin TV market.

HCP Deal Valued at $2.9 Billion

Health Care Property Investors Inc. said it is buying Slough Estates USA Inc., a unit of United Kingdom-based real estate firm Segro Plc, for $1.7 billion in cash.

'Why Settle for the Stand-In When You Can Get the Star?'

Starting pay; Schwarzenegger appointees

Newsmakers

Hiring and Promotions

The Lakers and Other Paradoxes

Charles Crumpley reflects on the problems of the Los Angeles Lakers, the significance of the Business Journal's Wealthiest Angelenos list, and the myth of the savings crisis.

Prepared? Probably Not

Local businesses have grown complacent when it comes to planning for disasters, according to a recent study.

Port Plan Could Boost Teamsters

A huge plan to help clear the air at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will close up to 1,000 trucking companies and may lead to a resurgence of the Teamsters.

NBC Universal Picks Production Chief

NBC Universal has promoted development chief Katherine Pope to head its television production studio, replacing Angela Bromstad.

Hilton Adds Expansion Partners

Hilton Hotels Corp. has signed deals with three real-estate groups to develop more than 55 properties in Russia, Britain and parts of Central America, according to a published report.

International Aluminum Taken Private

Private equity firm Genstar Capital LLC said it has completed its $228 million acquisition of Monterey Park-based manufacturer International Aluminum Corp.

One-Man Show

TheStreamTV is a Web site that features 12 niche-interest shows per week, including "LoveStream," a show about dating; "Thought Balloon" for fans of comic books and "Film Nut" for cinephiles.

Computer Sciences Corp. Facing Accounting Debacle

Computer Science Corp. will restate its earnings from 2000 to 2006 after finding significant errors in its accounting resulting in costs of between $300 million and $400 million.

Search Engine Puts the Human Touch Back Into Internet

Human-powered search engine; hospital translation service; J2 expands;

She Gets Things Cooking as Director of Sizzler's Menu

Audrey Baldwin, senior director of menu development and product innovation for Sizzler Restaurants

L.A. Companies Push for Choice of Electricity Providers

Dozens of major companies hope to cut costs by choosing their electricity providers a key component of deregulation shelved after the 2001 power crisis.

Good Things Can Come From Good Packaging

Sales doubled for DermaQuest after the overhaul of the skin care company's brand, packaging, Web site and promotional materials.

Porn's Economic Impact Scrutinized

The San Fernando Valley's adult-entertainment industry - long considered the epicenter of the business - rakes in about $1 billion annually, with more than 200 local companies jump-starting a national market worth about $12 billion a year.

Weinstein Co. Gets Together With Exodus for Animation

Weinstein Co. teams up with Exodus Film Group; 'Alvin and the Chipmunks' in production

Amgen to Acquire Silicon Valley Firm

Amgen Inc. said it plans to acquire Ilypsa Inc., a privately held drug development company working on treatments for kidney disorders, for $420 million in cash.

Hot Ticket

Reserved seating is taking hold at Los Angeles multiplexes, with the Landmark Theater opening last week at the Westside Pavilion and two other planned theaters adopting the concept.

Herbalife Investor Liquidating Stake

J.H. Whitney & Co., once the majority shareholder at Herbalife Ltd., is liquidating its remaining stake in the Los Angeles supplement maker.

Home Makover Star Accused of Fraud

On an episode of A & E;'s popular reality series "Flip This House", Sam Leccima sits in front of a run-down house and calls buying and selling real estate his passion. Now authorities claim that Leccima's true passion was scamming.

Friday, June 1

Weintraub Buys Hotel Site for $50 Million

The Sportsmen's Lodge Hotel, a mid-century Studio City landmark, has been sold, with some redevelopment of 9-acre Ventura Boulevard property considered likely.

F-14 Parts, Anyone?

To friends and family, native Iranian Reza Tabib had seemed an inspiration, proof an immigrant could launch life anew. But Pentagon investigators discovered the Orange County flight instructor had another talent.

Northrop Wins Navy Contract

The U.S. Navy has awarded a $2.4 billion contract to a unit of Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman Corp. to design and build the first replacement amphibious assault ship.

VCA Antech Adds to Pet Clinics

Animal health care provider VCA Antech Inc. said it completed its $153 million acquisition of Fairfield, Conn.-based Healthy Pet Corp. on Friday.

Hotel Construction Commences

The planned Convention Center hotel got an official kick start Friday when the new backers of the financially troubled project were introduced to a host of business and civic leaders, as well as state and local officials.

Lifestyles of Wall Street's Top Earners

Multiple homes, million-dollar art, weird stuffed trophies, their very own professional sports teams. Just a few of the ways Wall Street's most successful financiers spend their paychecks.

How to Fix Air Travel

U.S. air travel is a miserable experience -- bad service, long lines, grumpy flight crews and groping security agents. But there's much that can be done to improve the situation.

Herbalife Investor Liquidating Stake

J.H. Whitney & Co., once the majority shareholder at Herbalife Ltd., has been liquidating its stake in the Los Angeles supplement maker in the wake of its failed attempt earlier this year to take the company private.

Milberg Partners Talk Pleas

Law firm Milberg Weiss & Bershad LLP held talks this week with federal prosecutors about settling a criminal case that alleges the firm made improper kickbacks to class-action clients, according to people familiar with the case.