Stories for November 2007

Friday, November 30

Price Upgrade Drives Gemstar Shares Higher

The share price of Gemstar-TV Guide jumped more than 10 percent early Friday after a brokerage firm upped its target price.

Entravision Buys Florida Radio Station

Spanish-language media firm Entravision Communications has purchased WNUE-FM in Orlando, Fla., for approximately $24 million.

Producers Make Offer to Striking Writers

Film and TV writers who've been on strike for nearly a month are mulling a new contract offer from Hollywood studios.

Lenders Gain on Reports of Treasury Plan

Countrywide Financial and IndyMac Bancorp shares rose nearly 20 percent following reports of a Treasury Department deal to protect the home mortgage market.

Video Games to Benefit From Toy Recalls

Due to the toy recalls, analysts expect increase this to be a very good year for video games and a flat one, at best, for toy sales.

Video Game Makers Benefit From Toy Recalls

Due to the toy recalls, industry analysts expect this to be a very good year for video game sales and a flat one, at best, for toy sales.

Thursday, November 29

USC Gets $17 Million Donation

Real estate developer Sonny Astani has donated $17 million to USC to advance the study of "megacities."

Applebee's Reports Lower Sales in Final Month

In its last month as an independent restaurant chain, Applebee's sales decreased 2.3 percent compared to last November, the company reported Wednesday.

FCC Chairman Backs Tribune Buy-Out

Kenneth Martin, chairman of the Federal Communications Commissions, circulated a plan Wednesday that would allow investor Sam Zell to take Tribune Co. private.

ValueClick Gains from Analyst Attention

Shares of ValueClick Inc., the online marketing firm based in Westlake Village, rose after UBS announced Wednesday it had started following the stock.

FCC Clears Way for Tribune Deal

Federal regulators are poised to approve Tribune Co.'s $8.2-billion deal to go private by the end of the week, clearing the way for the transaction to close by Dec. 31.

Warner Music Income Falls

Warner Music Group Corp. reported a 58 percent drop in fourth-quarter net income, due to poor international sales and an industry still reeling from lost CD sales and illegal music downloads.

Wednesday, November 28

Workers Comp Rates Steady

State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner on Wednesday recommended no change to workers compensation rates for California businesses.

Guess Shares Jump on Upgrade

Shares in Guess Inc. closed up more than 8 percent Wednesday after analyst Jeffrey Klinefelter, at Piper Jaffray Cos., said the stock was now a bargain.

Entravision Shares Up on Arbitron Decision

Shares of Spanish-language radio broadcaster Entravision Communications rose after audience measurement firm Arbitron Inc. said it would delay implementation of its new Portable People Meter system in key markets.

Staar Names CEO

Staar Surgical Co. named a new chief executive Wednesday, choosing the CEO of a Mountain View company that produces laser systems to treat eye conditions.

Feds Probe Countrywide on Charges

The federal agency monitoring the bankruptcy courts has subpoenaed Countrywide Financial to determine whether the company's conduct in two foreclosures in southern Florida represented abuses of the bankruptcy system.

Live Nation to Sell Tickets at Costco

Live Nation Inc. said Wednesday that it has begun selling gift certificates for its show's next year through Costco Wholesale Corp. retail stores.

When the Stike Ends, Delays Will Remain

If the writers strike ended today, Hollywood would not immediately return to its regularly scheduled programming.

Tuesday, November 27

Activision Gains on Renewed Outlook

Shares in Activision Inc. gained 13 percent Tuesday after the video game developer raised its sales and profit forecasts for the third quarter and the fiscal year on strong game sales.

Countrywide Gains on Upbeat Outlook

Shares in embattled lender Countrywide Financial Corp. gained ground early Tuesday after the company said that big losses at Freddie Mac are unlikely to significantly dent its lending business.

State Says Online Buyers Owe Tax

As Internet commerce continues to flourish, California tax officials have a piece of advice: Save your online sales receipts.

Daily Briefs

Iris to sell $125 millioni n stock, debt; Motorcar Parts of America to move shares to Nasdaq.

Sea Launch Scraps Latest Launch

Sea Launch Co. said late Tuesday that unusually strong ocean currents at its launch site in the Pacific Ocean have forced the Long Beach-based company to reschedule its most recent launch effort.

Computer Sciences: Options Probe Over

Computer Sciences Corp. said late Monday that federal regulators do not plan any action against the company now that an investigation into the company's stock option granting practices was completed.

Groups Protest Tesco's Fresh & Easy

The British owner of the new Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market grocery chain had to contend with uninvited guests Monday, when about 100 activists from a coalition of community groups protested outside a meeting with investors.

Universal Studios to Build Park in Korea

Universal Studios, owned by General Electric Co., and partners will build a $3.1 billion theme park in South Korea, its third resort in Asia, the nation's Gyeonggi provincial government said.

Despite Solid Q4, Outlook Stings Aecom

Shares in Aecom Technology Corp. on Tuesday experienced their sharpest drop since the engineering company went public earlier this year because the company's 2008 outlook disappointed investors. Nonetheless, the company reported strong earnings.

Monday, November 26

New Stock Shock For Countrywide

Countrywide Financial shares take a tumble on news that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may no longer be buying the company's loans.

Grades Would Aid Senior Care

Charles Crumpley endorses a proposed plan to adapt the county's restaurant grading scale to assess nursing and convalescent homes.

Transfer Student

LA BioMed Chief Executive Ken Trevett ran for public office three times (unsuccessfully) before moving into the non-profit sector.

NEWSMAKERS

Kudos, hirings and promotions.

A French First

The Karen Lynne Gallery in Beverly Hills has fielded the first American contingent to show artworks at the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts exhibit in Paris.

Oxy Lands 30-Year Oil Deal with Libya

Occidental Petroleum Corp. said Monday that Libya's national oil company has awarded it a 30-year contract to explore and develop a basin off the coast of the country.

Tesoro Plan Hurts Tracinda Shareholders

Tracinda Corp. is weighing alternatives to its cash tender offer for Tesoro Corp., after determining a rights plan Tesoro adopted last week would have an adverse effect on the value of Tesoro's stock and shareholders.

Local Firm Top List of War Contractors

Three L.A.-area companies have reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Homebuilders Hurt By Downgrades

Local homebuilders took another shot on the chin Monday morning after a Citi Investment Research analyst downgraded shares in homebuilders nationwide, saying the housing market is only going to get worse.

APL Unwraps 53-Foot-Long Containers for Sea Cargo

A container transport subsidiary of Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines Ltd. recently unveiled the world's first 53-foot-long ocean cargo containers, which will be used to ship goods between China and the Port of Los Angeles.

Dueling Guitars: MTV Vs. Activision

The holiday season is when all the action takes place in the video game business, and this year has already pitted Microsoft's Xbox 360 against Sony's PlayStation 3, and sleek new software against sequels like Halo 3.

Pax TV, Internet Company Charged Up Over 'Ion'

Pax TV found itself quickly in legal crosshairs when it planned to adopt a name similar to that of San Pedro-based Positive Ions Inc.

Financing Is Coming Into Focus for Kalantari Building

Speculation about condo site at northeast corner of 11th Street and Grand Avenue has lingered for years, partly because the developer's company got the property entitled in 2005 and then let it sit.

Theater District Faces Hurdles in Reviving Movie Palaces

The theater district on Broadway hopes to raise the curtain on a new era by breathing life into historic entertainment venues.

Mattel Is Dressing Up 50-Year-Old Barbie in Nostalgia

El Segundo-based Mattel Inc. is hoping little girls aren't the only ones who are interested in Barbie. Mattel has teamed up with a variety of fashion and beauty companies to make grownup products, and most recently is working with Patricia Field on a coll

REGIONAL REPORT

Business news from around L.A. County.

Walton Isaacson Uncorks Campaign for Kubler Absinthe

Walton Isaacson in Beverly Hills has teamed up with an importer to promote Kubler, the first Swiss absinthe sold legally in the U.S. in nearly 100 years.

Security Details

Delta Scientific Corp. is one of the premier barrier companies in the nation, with its products protecting government and diplomatic sites at home and abroad.

Indian Ownership In Natrol's Future

Chatsworth-based Natrol, a maker of nutritional supplements, has drawn

Culver City Council OKs Scaled-Down Mixed-Use Project

Culver City's approval of the Uptown Lofts proposal basically works out as a $500,000 subsidy to Runyon Partners' now-downsized mixed-use project.

Campanile Serves Up A Special for Writers

Campanile, the La Brea Avenue restaurant, hosted a "Writers Soup Kitchen" Nov. 21, which featured a three-course dinner for $18. You simply had to flash a WGA card to get the deal.

Anworth to Offer More Shares

Anworth Mortgage Asset Corp. said Monday that it plans to make a public offering of 9 million shares of common stock in an effort to acquire more capital to buy mortgage securities.

Fresh & Easy Promises Accountability and Social Responsibility

Tesco's Fresh & Easy chain pledges to work with and respect the

California Panel Backs Reduction in Harbor Emissions

Operators of some 4,000 commercial harbor craft in the state will be required to reduce diesel and nitrogen oxide emissions by as much as 50 percent by 2015.

It's Time to Stop California's Plans for High-Speed Rail

California voters should put the brakes on bonds to fund the high-speed rail project, writes Adam B. Summers.

Businesses Carving Out 'TheirSpace' on Internet

Social networking sites allow businesses to hook up with customers online, and build brand awareness and loyalty.

'Clean Tech' Company Pushes Ahead on Carbon Recycling

Glendale company is poised to commercialize a process for making biodegradable products such as fertilizer, feedstock and building materials out of carbon.

Schumer Seeks Countrywide Probe

Countrywide Financial Corp. fell more than 10 percent in New York Stock Exchange trading after U.S. Senator Charles Schumer urged the Federal Home Loan Bank system to probe cash advances to the largest U.S. mortgage lender.

Meta Housing Acquires Three North Hollywood Parcels

A Los Angeles-based real estate development company specializing in senior housing has purchased three adjacent parcels in North Hollywood, where it will build an apartment building.

Guess Names Macchi to Head European Office

Guess Inc. said Monday that it has appointed Massimo Macchi as the new president of its European business.

Downtown: Theater District Faces Hurdles

The Los Angeles Business Journal has added a Downtown section that will appear monthly in the publication and on the Web site. This month's inaugural section looks at Downtown's theater district and how it hopes to raise the curtain on a new era by breath

William Morris Gets OK on New Building in Beverly Hills

The Beverly Hills City Council voted 4-1 last week to approve a new, six-story headquarters for William Morris talent agency in a bid to retain the talent agency while others have moved to new digs in Century City over the last year.

Reaching for The Stars

Smaller houses can make millions helping fans get a piece of memorabilia from their favorite movies and TV shows.

Gov. Takes on Foreclosure Crisis

No doubt more bad news looms on the real estate market horizon. A coalition to stave off the financial carnage is building, though.

Deutsch LA Advises Fresh & Easy on In-Store Appeal

Deutsch LA's strategy for the British-owned Fresh & Easy chain was to focus on the in-store experience instead of traditional advertising.

Writers, Studios Returning to Table

Writers and studio negotiators will return to the bargaining table today amid cautious optimism that the pickets and protests that have roiled the entertainment industry in the last three weeks might soon give way to labor peace.

Got Faith?

Los Angeles attorneys are finding work where faith-based organizations and business intersect.

THQ's CFO Resigns

THQ Inc. said late Monday that Chief Financial Officer Edward Zinser resigned and that Controller Rasmus van der Colff would replace him on an interim basis.

New York Tycoons Making Play in L.A.

The LeFrak family of New York is expanding its 100-year-old Big Apple property business all the way to Los Angeles' Westside.

Friday, November 23

Toys 'R' Us CEO: Mattel Doing 'Well'

Toys made by Mattel Inc. are selling "well" at Toys "R" Us Inc. stores, the retailer's chief executive officer said in an interview Friday with Bloomberg News.

Holiday Air Travel Starts Well

A mostly smooth start to the Thanksgiving travel rush bodes well for the rest of the hectic holiday season for airline passengers.

State Tax Revenue Down

As California's housing slump punches through the state economy, it's leaving bruises on the state budget.

Big Movers

Despite a turbulent week on the stock markets when the Dow Jones industrial average sunk 1.5 percent, companies on the Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest public companies held up reasonably well, losing only 0.7 percent for the week.

Wednesday, November 21

State Targets Insurance Cancellations

California's move last week to fine Health Net Inc. $1 million for failing to disclose a link between employee bonuses and the cancellation of individual insurance policies was the latest move by regulators there to stop health plans from dropping enrolle

Maguire Responds to Critics

Maguire Properties Inc., a Los Angeles-based real-estate investment trust, is fighting back against criticisms lobbed by a hedge fund that has taken a sizable position in the company -- in the first jabs of what could become a rare proxy fight in the REIT

Toyota's Growing Troubles

Toyota Motor Corp. seems poised to overtake General Motors Corp. as the world's biggest automaker, but lately the Japanese auto giant is finding the road to the top awfully bumpy.

Jacobs Lands Air Force Deal

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has been awarded a contract worth up to $25 million from the U.S. Air Force to provide support for the Air Force Research Laboratory's Aeronautical Sciences Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

Countrywide Deal Looking Bad for B of A

What seemed like a great idea at the time has cost Bank of America Corp. nearly $1 billion.

Health Net Contract Nixed

Health Net Inc. said Wednesday that the State of Connecticut canceled its contract for children and youth insurance program because the company refused to release information on reimbursement rates.

Strike Could Cost $21 Million a Day

As thousands of TV and film writers marched along Hollywood Boulevard in the third week of their strike, film officials put a price tag on the potential economic toll of the walkout.

Hot Topic Posts Drop in Profit, Sales

Shares in Hot Topic Inc. hit a new seven-year low Wednesday after the retailer reported that its third-quarter profit fell 5.6 percent on a drop in sales.

Aecom Acquires Economic Research Frim

Aecom Technology Corp. said Wednesday that it has agreed to acquire Economics Research Associates of Los Angeles for undisclosed terms.

Tuesday, November 20

Daily Briefs

Oxy to drill for natural gas off Bahrain; DreamWorks buys back more shares.

Countrywide Downgrade Slashes Shares

Shares in Countrywide Financial Corp. dropped to a new 52-week low on Tuesday after the stock was downgraded.

Toymakers Try to Restore Confidence

Mattel Inc. has joined up with competitor Hasbro Inc. and government regulators to help make toys safer for consumers, federal regulators said Tuesday.

Countrywide Deal Bad for Bank of America

What seemed like a great idea earlier this summer has cost Bank of America Corp. nearly $1 billion.

Life Nation Defends Madonna Deal

Ever since Live Nation, the giant concert promoter, announced a sweeping 10-year deal with Madonna to handle her albums, tours and merchandize, investors have worried that the company spent too much to lure the superstar away from Warner Music Group.

Local Homebuilders Stung By Report

Despite a better-than-expected government report that found housing starts rose 3 percent in October, shares in local homebuilders tanked Tuesday as the overall housing market continues to struggle.

Monday, November 19

Jacobs Engineering Group Unveils Quartet of Contracts

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. announced four new contracts last week.

Newsmakers/Kudos/Donations

Kudos, hirings and promotions.

Disney's Princess Revolution

At the recently opened Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Cinderella's castle in Walt Disney World, hordes of young girls in ball gowns jostle every day to get their hair coiffed, their nails painted and their faces plastered with make-up to imitate their favori

Tower General Contractors

TOWER GENERAL CONTRACTORS

Abraxis BioScience's Spawn Draw a Mixed Reception

Generic drug company struggles as Abraxane maker soars.

Real McCoys

Foil Flex Products Inc.'s high-tech security measures protect businesses' name-brand integrity and exclusivity agreements.

Oversee.net

OVERSEE.NET

Company's Pet Project

Natural Balance Pet Foods has rebounded from two national pet-food scares, in part by setting up a system that allows customers to verify product safety online.

Zorbit Resources

ZORBIT RESOURCES

Reunion.com

REUNION.COM

Countrywide Shares Dip on Credit Scares

Shares in Countrywide Financial Corp. closed down more than 12 percent Monday in anticipation that the nation's largest mortgage lender's credit rating would be downgraded to junk status by Moody's Investors Service.

Natrol Gets Tender Offer from Indian Firm

Shares of Natrol Inc. soared in trading Monday after Indian biotech firm Plethico Pharmaceuticals Ltd. launched a tender offer to buy the supplement company maker for about $81 million which figures out to nearly double the stock's recent price.

TelePacific Communications

TELEPACIFIC COMMUNICATIONS

Lightening Up

Ageless Beauty Corp. is taking light therapy from dermatology offices and salons into the home with its Marvel Mini, which invigorates facial tissue.

Chad to Sell Device Business

Chad Therapeutics Inc. said Monday that it has entered into an agreement to sell its oxygen conserver business to Naples, Fla.-based Inovo Inc. Chad said the deal was worth about $5.5 million. Inovo is a privately held medical device manufacturer.

Judging Judges

Eric George, a partner in law firm Browne Woods & George, also serves on state and U.S. panels that advise on judge nominations.

CBRE to Acquire Miami Firm

CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc. said Monday that it has acquired Miami-based Blackrock Retail Property Advisors Inc., in a move to boost its presence in the Southeastern United States. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

South Bay Building Seen as Good Fit for Equinox Gym

South Bay fitness aficionados will soon have a new Hawthorne option for their high-end exercise needs.

Peninsula Beverly Hills Names New Managing Director

Offer Nissenbaum has been named as the new general manager of the Peninsula Beverly Hills.

Newegg Fries Competition With Vast Electronics Menu

Online retailer Newegg.com's $1.5 billion in revenues makes it a rare bird among the companies on the list.

Computer Sciences Tallying a Big Buy

Computer Sciences Corp. sets its sights on buying First Consulting Inc., a purchase that could help boost its health care practice.

Budget Shortfall, Writers' Strike Linked by Uncertainty

Daniel J.B. Mitchell believes that the fiscal crisis roiling Sacramento and the labor issue locking up Hollywood both stem from uncertainty.

Design People

DESIGN PEOPLE

Bentley Forbes Group LLC

BENTLEY FORBES GROUP LLC

Dole Food Brings in Expert Attorney for Future Appeal

Dole Food Co. brought in new counsel for the punitive phase of the suit by Nicaraguan banana workers over their sterility due to pesticide use at the company's plantation.

Hotel Contract Fuels Hospitality Focused Solutions

HOSPITALITY FOCUSED SOLUTIONS INC.

Custom Treatment Woos Hip Clientele

Avi Brosh, president of local development company Palisades Development Group, has recently opened Custom Hotel, which is aimed at hip business users who want a fun, moderately priced hospitality option near LAX.

L.A.'s a Fine Fit For Tech Sector

Tech startups are clicking with Los Angeles' culture of entrepreneurship, writes Charles Crumpley.

Univision Music Assets Loosing Appeal

Potential bidders for Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications' music assets are shaving their offer prices by at least $50 million due to concerns over its artist contracts, access to advertising on the television network and issues related

Fraser Communications

FRASER COMMUNICATIONS

Joshua Tree Imports

JOSHUA TREE IMPORTS

Siegel Group Inc.

SIEGAL GROUP INC.

Internet Pioneers Went Their Own Way, Then Reunited

Four friends have reunited to launch Rubicon Project, which manages ad network sales across small Web sites.

Emerald Health Services

EMERALD HEALTH SERVICES

Programming Is Child's Play for Mesoft Tech Executive

Freddy Goeske, Chief Technology Officer for MeSoft Corp.

Companies Find It Hard to Stay on List, Sustain Double-Digit Growth

Which companies fell off, which companies joined.

Ripple's High-Definition Screens Heading for Borders

Ripple has a new client with the signing of the Borders chain.

Hydramedia

HYDRAMEDIA

NxTV Inc.

NXTV INC.

Online Startup Hunkers Down at Brick-and-Mortar Library

Jacked Inc. "went public" from the start, holding business meetings at free conference rooms at the library.

The Coding Source LLC

THE CODING SOURCE LLC

Cirque du Soleil, Kodak Theatre Ink Deal

Cirque du Soleil said Monday afternoon that it will open a new show at the Kodak Theatre in 2010.

Big Plans Raise Builder's Low Profile

Richard Weintraub may have to say goodbye to his low profile, as he takes on several conspicuous and potentially controversial projects at once.

Digitizing the Bottom Line

Today's Web 2.0 companies are making money and not just burning through venture capital cash.

Lead in Toys Sparks Lawsuit

The California attorney general and Los Angeles city attorney said they would file a lawsuit today against Mattel Inc., Toys R Us Inc. and 18 other companies, accusing them of making or selling products that contain "unlawful quantities of lead."

Networking Group Honors Women in The 50-Plus World

Big Thinking Women Unlimited, a networking group for women over 50, had its awards luncheon at the Millennium Biltmore.

Guitar Center Purchase Hitting Wrong Notes for Underwriter

The financing of Bain Capital's purchase of Guitar Center has run into complications as JP Morgan Chase pulled a bond issue off the market.

Inclusionary Zoning Would Worsen L.A.'s Housing Shortage

Inclusionary zoning will only worsen Los Angeles' affordable housing shortage, according to Benjamin Dachis.

Actress, Former Manager Continue Commission Feud

Attorneys for "Strong Medicine" actress Rosa Blasi and her ex-manager Rick Siegel once again squared off Nov. 6.

Cyber Monday to Ring in Online Shopping Season

Web retailers are bullish on the prospects for this year's online shopping season, which officially kicks off the first Monday after Thanksgiving.

KTLA-TV's Studio in a Possible Sale

The owner of Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood has a preliminary agreement to buy the former Warner Bros. studio a few blocks away that is now home to station KTLA-TV Channel 5, according to people who know about the deal.

Francais Keeps Maverick Ways With Kochis Fitz Deal

Rob Francais is merging his Quintile Wealth Management with San Francisco-based Kochis Fitz.

California Pizza Kitchen's Fare Is Joining Staples Diet

California Pizza Kitchen Inc. has a deal to sell its barbecue chicken pizzas and other items at Staples Center.

Health Care Businesses Strong on List

Health care companies make a strong showing on the list of fastest growing companies, taking two of the top 10 spots and seven overall.

True Religion Receives Delisting Notice

True Religion Apparel Inc. said late Friday that it received a letter from the Nasdaq Stock Market warning the premium denim maker that it could be delisted due to a delay in filing its latest quarterly earnings report.

Friday, November 16

Daily Briefs

Live Nation to Sign More Artists

October Job Picture Flat

L.A.'s unemployment rate remained at 5.1 percent in October as payroll job growth slowed, according to data released Friday.

Hosts Pushing for End to Strike

Late-night television talk-show hosts are assuming an unlikely central role in the stalled negotiations between Hollywood writers and producers.

Image Sinks on Acquisition Delay

Shares in Image Entertainment Inc. sank Friday after the company said it agreed to extend the Nov. 15 closing date of its acquisition by BTP Acquisition Co.

Health Net Fined for Lack of Candor

The state Thursday slapped a $1-million fine on Health Net Inc., the Woodland Hills-based insurer that acknowledged last week that it set goals for cancellations and paid bonuses in part based on how many policyholders were dropped and how much money was

Donald L. Gursey, Accountant, Dies at 71

Donald L. Gursey, a founding partner of the L.A. accounting firm Gursey Schneider & Co. LLP, has died of pancreatic cancer. He was 71.

Roche Gets FDA OK for Anemia Drug

Swiss biotech company Roche Holding AG has received approval from U.S. regulators for its anemia drug Mircera, a drug that has been found to violate patents held by competing biotech firm Amgen Inc.

Big Movers

Same story, different week. The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest public companies took another hit, losing 1.7 percent for the week, amid uncertainty about the economy. It was the third straight week, and fourth of the last five, in

Entravision Mulling Sales of Ad Unit

Spanish-language media company Entravision Communications Corp. said late Thursday that it is exploring options for its outdoor advertising operations.

Mann: Betting it All on Inhaled Insulin

Pfizer, the world's biggest drug company, flopped miserably with a seemingly can't-miss idea. But Alfred E. Mann is so certain he can succeed that he is betting nearly $1 billion of his own money on the effort.

Thursday, November 15

Daily Briefs

Amgen upgraded.

Dole to Pay $2.5 Million in Damages

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury on Thursday ordered Dole Food Co. to pay $2.5 million in punitive damages for exposing five Nicaraguan banana plantation workers to the pesticide DBCP in the 1970s.

L.A. Leading Push for Cheaper Satellites

China's success in shooting down one of its own satellites last January has given new energy to efforts in the United States to develop and launch more , and cheaper , satellites.

Peninsula Gets New Managing Director

Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd., the owner of the well-known Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel on Santa Monica Blvd., announced a new managing director effective in December.

Dole Exec to Court: 'We've Changed'

In an extraordinary public mea culpa, a top Dole Food Co. executive Wednesday pleaded with jurors considering punitive damages against the firm to separate the "old Dole" from what he called the enlightened "new Dole."

Holiday Airport Traffic Jump Expected

Airport officials on Thursday said they expect 1.85 million passengers to use Los Angeles International Airport during the Thanksgiving holiday a 3 percent increase over last year.

DirecTV Banned From Raising Prices

HDNet LLC has obtained a temporary restraining order barring DirecTV Group Inc. from moving the Dallas high-definition television network to a more expensive tier of HD programming, according to court documents.

SBA Does More With Less in L.A.

Business is booming at the L.A. office of the Small Business Administration, which operates loan guarantee, contracting support and small-business skill-building programs for the 12 million residents of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Long Beach Port Traffic Declines

Cargo traffic at the Port of Long Beach was down slightly in October from the same month last year, but the numbers were buoyed by huge gains in local exports.

Green Machines Hot at Auto Show

While there's no official theme at the Los Angeles Auto Show - which will open to the public Friday at the Convention Center - hybrids, electric vehicles and smart, fuel-efficient cars and trucks are this year's stars.

Live Nation Buys Licensing Company

Live Nation Inc. said Thursday that it has agreed to buy Signatures Network Inc. for $79 million in a move to further bolster its emerging music merchandising business.

DirecTV to Move to Nasdaq From NYSE

DirecTV Group Inc. said Thursday that it will switch its stock listing from the New York Stock Exchange to the Nasdaq market effective Dec. 3.

Upgrade Boosts ValueClick Shares

Shares in ValueClick Inc. rose slightly Thursday morning after an analyst upgraded the online advertiser, saying the stock was now a bargain.

Anworth Swings to Loss

Shares in Santa Monica-based Anworth Mortgage Asset Corp. edged up Thursday as the company swung to a quarterly net loss due to losses in its mortgage portfolio and a charge on discontinued operations.

Wednesday, November 14

Ameron Adopts 'Poison Pill'

Ameron International Corp. adopted a shareholder rights agreement Tuesday designed to discourage abusive takeover tactics and encourage potential buyers to negotiate exclusively with the company.

National Lampoon Names New CFO

National Lampoon Inc. said late Wednesday that it has named Lorraine Evanoff interim chief financial officer.

Soros Invests $34 Million in Countrywide

Billionaire investor George Soros reported in a regulatory filing Wednesday that his fund has picked up 1.78 million shares, worth nearly $34 million, in troubled mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp.

Lenders Climb as Mortgage Volume Jumps

Shares in local lenders edged slightly up Wednesday after the Mortgage Bankers Association said mortgage application volume increased 5.5 percent for the week ending Nov. 9.

Imax, DreamWorks Team Up

Imax Corp. said Wednesday that it has agreed to release three DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. films in its Imax 3-D format.

California Leads Nation in Foreclosures

California, Ohio and Florida had more than two-thirds of the 25 cities with the nation's highest foreclosure rates during the third quarter, as the credit crunch and falling home values hit homeowners, a foreclosure-listing service said.

Homeless Man Inspires New Brand

The newest sensation at the center of Hollywood's fashion scene isn't a famous designer or starlet. It's a 56-year-old homeless man who spends his days dancing on roller skates.

Writers Take the Drama to Wall Street

Striking TV and movie writers chose Wall Street as a symbolic backdrop Tuesday for their demand for a bigger slice of the new-media pie.

Tuesday, November 13

Investment Firm Calls For Maguire Sale

JMB Capital Partners LP, which holds 2.45 million shares in real estate investment trust Maguire Properties Inc., has requested that the company create an independent committee to explore a sale and give the New York-based investment firm two seats on the

Countrywide Fundings Slump in October

Countrywide Financial Corp. said Tuesday that its October mortgage loan fundings fell 48 percent from a year earlier as the company continues to suffer from a sluggish housing market complicated by a worsening credit crunch.

Allen Sells More DreamWorks Shares

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen sold more of his shares in DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. Tuesday, according to the Glendale-based studio.

Caruso Wins Another $15 Million

A Los Angeles County Superior Court jury added $15 million in punitive damages in favor of mall developer Caruso Affiliated Holdings LLC on Tuesday.

Producers: 'Don't Blame Us'

With the Hollywood writers strike now in its second week, media coverage often describes the labor impasse as a dispute pitting writers against producers.

Gemstar Shares Surge on Deals

Shares in Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. gained nearly 4 percent Tuesday after the publisher of TV Guide magazine said late Monday that it signed several syndication deals with publications.

Slowing Economy Posing Test for Disney

Since becoming chief executive of the Walt Disney Company two years ago, Robert A. Iger has dazzled Wall Street by delivering soaring profits and moving aggressively to fix trouble spots.

So, What's Up in Downtown L.A.?

Undaunted by recent discouraging news in the California housing market, condominium developer South Group is finishing up its third high-rise building in downtown Los Angeles and planning two more.

Countrywide Faces More Woes

Countrywide Financial Corp.'s ability to raise money and increase deposits in its banking subsidiary could be hampered if its credit ratings should be downgraded below investment grade, the mortgage lender said in a regulatory filing.

Monday, November 12

Featured Newsmaker

Debrah Lederman vice president of marketing for Zula USA LLC

No Interest

Non-profit Jewish Free Loan Association, founded in 1904, offers small, interest-free loans and enjoys a 99.5 percent repayment rate.

Horn Will No Longer Call Robertson Boulevard Home

Another boutique is leaving Robertson Boulevard's trendy stretch, making way for yet one more national tenant.

IndyMac's Outlook Downgraded by S

IndyMac Bancorp Inc.'s credit outlook was downgraded by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Monday.

Family Guy

Steve Hirsch founded Vivid Entertainment in 1984 for $20,000 and has guided it to a $100 million business.

Skechers Steps Up In Slippery Sector

Skechers is putting its best foot forward. It's managing to jog ahead while most similar shoe companies have stubbed their toes.

Ex-Fleishman Hillard Executive Continues Comeback

Hill & Knowlton sign up Sugerman despite role in DWP scandal.

The Eyes Have It

AcuNetx is taking its ocular diagnostic devices from the medical sector to the workplace safety and police markets.

Fremont Names New Leadership

Fremont General Corp. named a slew of new company officers and said that two board members resigned. The company was under a federal order to change management.

Entrepreneurs Eye First Look Funds

In a first, L.A.'s three big universities collaborate to let their academics make pitches to potential investors for their business ideas.

Tesco Should Sign L.A.'s Community Benefits Agreement

Peter Dreier urges supermarket giant Tesco to sign what's called a community benefits agreement.

Most Lenders Struggle While Fremont General's Stock Rises

The stock of most L.A. lenders continued their swoon last week, but troubled Fremont General saw a bump.

Premiere Radio Networks Puts Beck Among Talk's Top Stars

Five-year deal is said to be worth $50 million for often-controversial host.

Property: County's Median Home Prices Dip Year to Year

A neighborhood-by-neighborhood list of October home and condo sales in Los Angeles County.

Disney to Offer Cell Service in Japan

Walt Disney Co. said Monday that it is teaming up with Softbank Corp. to offer mobile phone service in Japan starting next spring branded "Disney Mobile."

Regional Report

Business news from around L.A. County.

Two Startups Score Green at California Clean Tech Open

Two L.A. startups recently took home a $100,000 prize each from the California Clean Tech Open for developing green technology.

Fame Game

TMZ's expansion from Web site into television show is something the Hollywood company planned from the start.

Amgen Subpoenaed for Documents

Biotechnology company Amgen Inc. disclosed that it recently received two federal subpoenas seeking documents related to its products.

Two Wealth Advisors Merge

Two of the state's largest independent wealth advisory firms are merging in an effort to form a national firm.

L.A.-based ILFC Lines Up Order for Airbus' A350 Jet

International Lease Finance Corp. has placed a big order for the latest plane from European manufacturer Airbus.

Production Delays Could Trigger Rare Strike Coverage

Writers and producers aren't the only ones affected by the writers' strike that began last week. Insurance companies are, too.

Daily Briefs

Mattel shares surge after being recommended by firm.

Newsmakers/Kudos/Donations

Hirings, kudos and promotions.

Sky High Stakes

Sea Launch has a lot riding on its attempt this week to put a commercial satellite into space after its last attempt in January ended in a fiery explosion.

Homeland Security to Require Online Inventories of Chemicals

Manufacturers, oil refineries and other businesses that use or store hazardous chemicals will soon confront another new regulation.

Median Home Price Finally Falls

In a first since the housing swoon started, the median price of a Los Angeles County home fell from the same month one year earlier.

Inland Valley-High Desert Transportation Projects Are Essential

The closure of a freeway tunnel after a fatal truck crash underscores the need to develop the Inland Ports and High Desert Corridor, according to Michael Antonovich and Brad Mitzelfelt.

Architects' Dallying Is Drawing Attention

When downtown trendsetters want a drink, they'll likely venture to one of the chic rooftop bars in the area.

Investors Applaud Cheesecake Factory's Slowdown

The casual dining sector is so depressed that the Cheesecake Factory's stockholders cheered when they discovered the chain plans to open fewer, not more, shops.

Teamsters Take Own Paths in Strike

Rick Valencia stared through his windshield at the Hollywood writers pacing in front of the Paramount Studios gate, a blur of red T-shirts and picket signs blocking his passage.

International Designers Collective to Open Site in L.A.

Two New York fashion designers have opened a Los Angeles store that will showcase and sell apparel created by designers in the newly formed International Designers Collective.

Friday, November 9

Jury awards $74 Million to Caruso

A jury awarded developer Rick Caruso $74 million in compensatory damages Thursday on his claim that the owner of the Glendale Galleria made illegal business threats to try to prevent a restaurant chain from moving into his competing complex.

Big Movers

Unimpressive earnings from companies on the Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 public companies as well as an overall sour mood about the economy collaborated to sink the index 3 percent for the week.

Studios Go After Shows, Striking Writers

At least two major television studios have sent breach-of-contract letters to the show runners on their current series who have stopped performing their production duties once they went on strike with other television writers.

99 Cents Only Loss Widens

Shares in discount retailer 99 Cents Only Stores dropped Friday after the company reported late Thursday that it had widened its quarterly loss due to higher expenses and rising costs.

Shares in Grill Concepts Sink on Q3 Loss

Shares in Grill Concepts Inc. tumbled early Friday after the company reported a quarterly loss along with strong same-store sales.

Strike Concerns Dim Disney's Bright Q4

Walt Disney Co. reported strong fourth-quarter earnings late Thursday boosted by increased attendance at its domestic theme parks as well as strong sales in its consumer products division.

Countrywide Critics Slam Board's Pay

Two groups representing union pension funds turned their sights on Countrywide Financial Corp.'s directors Thursday, saying board members failed to curb what they called excessive compensation for Chairman and Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo.

Home Depot Sues City

Home Depot Inc. filed suit Friday against the city of Los Angeles, alleging that the City Council ignored established procedures in revoking a permit to convert an abandoned Kmart store in Sunland-Tujunga into a Home Depot center.

Bonuses Linked to Dropping the Sick

One of the state's largest health insurers set goals and paid bonuses based in part on how many individual policyholders were dropped and how much money was saved.

Thursday, November 8

DirecTV Profit Slumps on Increased Sales

Shares in DirecTV Group Inc. moved slightly upward Thursday after the company reported a surge in sales along with a double-digit dip in profits.

J2 Shares Tumble on Missed Estimates

Despite posting double-digit growth in sales and profit late Wednesday, shares in J2 Global Communications Inc. plunged more than 20 percent Thursday morning after investors showed they were underwhelmed by the company's third-quarter results.

Amgen Adds Safety Label to Anemia Drugs

Amgen Inc. said it will strengthen the warnings about potential risks on the labels of its top-selling anemia drugs.

Crown Narrows Loss, Hits Milestone

Crown Media Holdings Inc. said Thursday that it had lowered its third-quarter loss thanks to higher advertising sales as its Hallmark Channel reached record ratings.

Hansen Shares Tank on Tepid Earnings

Shares in Hansen Natural Corp. lost more than one-third of their value early Thursday, the stock's steepest decline in more than 15 years, after the company reported strong earnings that missed Wall Street's expectations.

Ports Seek Cost-Effective Energy

As if we didn't already have enough reasons to start seriously exploring alternatives to oil, brokers in London gave us another on Monday when they pushed black gold to a record $86 per barrel.

Fremont Shares Soar After Q3 Earnings

Shares in Fremont General Corp. soared nearly 50 percent Thursday after the company said it was able to pull a third-quarter profit by unloading its portfolio of real estate loans earlier in the quarter.

Jury Says Dole Acted Maliciously

A Superior Court jury ruled Wednesday that the Dole Fresh Fruit Co. acted maliciously in harming five of six workers who say they were left sterile by a pesticide used on a Nicaraguan banana plantation in the 1970s.

Wednesday, November 7

Plans For Queen Mary Site Unclear

For the first time in nearly 15 years, the company that leases the Queen Mary changed hands Tuesday. But who will end up developing the valuable property around the ship - and for what - remains strikingly unclear.

Debut Could be Tough for Fresh & Easy

Britain's largest retailer may not find much of a welcome mat Thursday when it opens its first stores in Southern California.

Local Stocks Drop on Bad News

Shares in local mortgage lenders and homebuilders sank Wednesday after one of the nation's largest lenders painted a bleak picture of its financial future and a report said that mortgage application volume fell.

Herbalife Shares Sink After Solid Q3

Herbalife Ltd. has reported an 83 percent spike in third-quarter earnings, beating Wall Street forecasts.

Strike About to Cost Jobs

A day after Hollywood's writers went out on strike, the major studios are hitting back with plans to suspend scores of long-term deals with television production companies.

Lancaster is 'Most Business Friendly' City

The High Desert city of Lancaster has won the annual "most business friendly city" in L.A. County award from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., it was announced late Tuesday.

True Religion Shares Soar on Strong Q3

True Religion Apparel Inc. said late Wednesday that its third-quarter sales grew thanks in large part to new store openings.

Connery, Country Club Settle Dispute

Sean Connery settled a lawsuit against Sherwood County Club last week for an undisclosed sum.

Tuesday, November 6

Countrywide Extends Stock Options

Countrywide Financial Corp. has taken some of the sting out of a weak share price for several thousand employees by giving them more time to exercise stock options, making it less likely the options will prove worthless.

PeopleSupport Posts Strong Q3

Shares in PeopleSupport Inc. soared in after-market trading Tuesday after the company reported surprising earnings on strong sales to established clients.

IndyMac Widens Loss but Shares Surge

IndyMac Bancorp Inc. posted a bigger-than-expected third-quarter loss on Tuesday, but shares in the company shot up on an optimistic outlook.

Fisher Price Recalls 155,000 Toys

Mattel Inc.'s Fisher-Price division and the Consumer Product Safety Commission on Tuesday announced a recall of 155,000 "Laugh & Learn Learning Kitchen" toys because small parts pose a choking risk for small children.

Study: Dubious Fees Hit Borrowers

As record numbers of homeowners default on their mortgages, questionable practices among lenders are coming to light in bankruptcy courts, leading some legal specialists to contend companies may be taking advantage of imperiled borrowers.

Dole Must Pay Workers $3.2 Million

A Los Angeles jury said Dole Foods Co. Inc. will have to pay $3.2 million to six Nicaraguan farm workers after chemicals the company used 30 years ago rendered the workers sterile.

Video Game Developers Sink on Outlook

Shares in local video game developers lost ground Tuesday after an analyst said Activision Inc. gave a disappointing outlook for the crucial holiday quarter when it reported strong earnings Monday.

Shows Shut Down as Writers Strike

In an often spirited display of protest playing out on both sides of the country, more than 1,000 screenwriters -- representing "Lost," "The Young and the Restless," "Chinatown" and everything in between -- hoisted picket signs.

Monday, November 5

Keeping It Clean

SEI Chemical aims to make its mark on the do-it-yourself market with its anti-graffiti coating.

Partnership Picks Up Westside's Sepulveda Eagle Center

A mixed-use building in West L.A. that is 100 percent leased has changed hands for $27 million.

Medical Sector's Symptoms Are Not Promising for Prospect

Prospect Medical Holdings Inc.

Law Firm Managing Partner Powers Through Her Day

Linda Kornfeld - Managing Partner Dickstein Shapiro, L.A. office

Long Beach Port OKs Truck Ban

Despite fierce trucking industry opposition, the Long Beach Harbor Commission unanimously approved Monday a progressive ban on dirty diesel trucks beginning next year.

El Segundo's Scan Digital Cuts Decay Out of the Picture

Scan Digital can put a lifetime of memories on a computer. Literally.

Hollywood Writers Strike as Talks Fail

Hollywood's film and television writers went on strike early this morning after last-ditch efforts to negotiate a deal with the major studios failed Sunday.

Equity Office will brave the rocky real estate market by breaking ground on a $200 million office building at the Howard Hughes Center.

Equity Office will brave the rocky real estate market by breaking ground on a $200 million office building at the Howard Hughes Center.

Tanked Up

Local companies will benefit regardless of whether Northrop Grumman Corp. or Boeing Co. wins the contract to replace the Air Force's aging tanker fleet.

Toll the Need For Speed

Charles Crumpley is willing to put a price on reducing L.A.'s traffic problems with toll lanes.

Daily Briefs

Mercury General releases initial fire damage claims data.

Hit the Bottles

Fine wines are selling with greater regularity and at record prices at Christie's in Los Angeles.

Ducommun Getting An Uncommon Lift Thanks to Dassault

Hefty third-quarter profits and a $25 million contract lift Ducommun Inc.'s stock to a 52-week high.

Foreign Language Advertising Is Booming Online

Online advertising agency Sensis is helping customers reach non-English

Leadership Overhaul Looms for Fremont

A management overhaul and important earning statement are in the cards this week for struggling Fremont General Corp.

Pelican Products Spreads Its Wings With German Factory

Pelican Products Inc. has prided itself in keeping all of its manufacturing operations in the United States, but business has been too good to keep that going.

Clean Truck Plan Backs Up at the Ports

A $1.8 billion plan that would replace the short-haul trucks serving the ports is facing growing opposition.

Assemblyman's Bill to Help Patients Keep Coverage

Assemblyman Hector De La Torre said a short item he read several months ago detailing how insurance companies have retroactively canceled policies set his blood boiling.

Cheesecake Factory Rises on Upgrade

Shares in Cheesecake Factory Inc. rose Monday after an analyst upgraded the casual dining operator's stock, saying investors should expect earnings to rise despite consumer spending and cost concerns.

Audience Rolls Eyes At Mozilo's Remarks

Angelo Mozilo was quick to spread the blame last week for the subprime crisis and resulting credit crunch.

Plugged Into Market

Nyko Technologies specializes in accessories for video game consoles.

Hemancipation Guides Guys Who Recently Turned Single

Akilah Kamaria's company offers guidance to men going through divorce, from personal grooming to homebuying.

Federal Bill Would Offer Incentives to Work in States

Rep. Xavier Becerra has introduced legislation that aims to protect moviemakers by attracting film and television production projects back to the United States.

Roni Deutch Tax Centers to Multiply and Diversify Services

Roni Deutch plans to open 200 tax preparation centers in Los Angeles to offer a range of financial services.

Newsmakers/Kudos/Donations

Kudos, hirings and promotions.

KB Rises, Irani Quits Board

Shares in KB Home rose a bit Monday after the company said it expects "increased momentum" in demand for its Martha Stewart-branded communities.

UFL Sees Securing Squad in Los Angeles as Essential

A group of investors wants to bring professional football to Los Angeles next August. But they're not talking about an NFL team.

Activision Beats Q2 Estimates

Activision Inc. reported Monday that it swung to a profit for the second-quarter behind sales of its "Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock" videogame.

UCLA Takes Think Tank Plunge With 'Strategic Alliance'

The UCLA School of Law announced last week that it has formed a "strategic alliance" with Rand Corp.

Building Boom Sweeping L.A.'s Film Studios

Studios are giving the green light to back-lot building projects in order to cash in on high rents for office space.

Fantasy Football?

Area residents and elected officials express optimism that a scheduled meeting this week between National Football League staffers and billionaire developer Edward Roski Jr. will ultimately bring a team back to Los Angeles

Construction Falloff Weakens Job Growth

A sharp drop in construction spending is weakening overall job growth in California, according to a leading indicator report released Monday.

Universal Appeal

Jim Thomas of Thomas Properties is taking on one of his biggest projects, a 400-acre site for NBC Universal in Universal City.

ESPN to Offer Programming for X-Box

Walt Disney's sports network ESPN and Microsoft Corp. will add college basketball and other ESPN programming to the lineup of video content available for download to its Xbox 360 video game console.

Barron's: Mattel Due for Rebound

Shares in Mattel Inc. rebounded Monday, gaining the most since July 2006 on a report in Barron's magazine that said the company was due for a big rebound.

Friday, November 2

Hollywood's Quality Glut

As the home stretch of the movie year arrives, Hollywood has rarely been more in need of a holiday pick-me-up.

Jacobs Buys Texas Firm

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. said Friday that it has agreed to buy Fort Worth-based Carter & Burgess. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Napster Posts Surprising Q2 Earnings

Napster Inc. reported a smaller second-quarter loss Thursday as its online music service posted higher revenue from subscriptions and mobile music sales despite a decline in paid subscribers.

On Assignment Shares Plunge

Shares in On Assignment Inc. plunged more than 25 percent Friday after the company reported gains in revenues and profit but missed Wall Street estimates.

Writers Will Strike, Union Leaders Say

Leaders of the union representing Hollywood's film and television scribes declared Thursday night that they would go on strike in what would be the first walkout by writers in nearly two decades.

ValueClick Reports Tepid Q3 Earnings

ValueClick Inc. reported disappointing third-quarter earnings late Thursday that highlighted the advertising firm's lead generation troubles but also showed promise in its comparison shopping segment.

Entravision Shares Drop on Q3 Loss

Shares in Entravision Communications Corp. lost more than 15 percent Friday after the media company reported poor earnings late Thursday.

Daily Briefs

Emak posts loss, announces restructuring.

Burkle's Twinkie Fix Could Help Deal

Ron Burkle, the billionaire who favors unions over shareholders, is roiling company management and giving creditors a chance of higher returns with his effort to rescue bankrupt Interstate Bakeries Corp.

Big Movers

In a week wrought with uncertainty about the national economy, the Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest public companies dropped 2.8 percent, with 150 of the companies losing ground.

THQ Reports Loss, Tempered Outlook

Despite a tempered outlook for the year and its third quarterly loss in a row, investors remain optimistic on THQ Inc., sending shares down only slightly.

Thursday, November 1

Fremont Postpones Shareholders Meeting

Fremont General Corp. shares sank even further Thursday after the former mortgage lender postponed its annual shareholders meeting because it expects to announce a new management team within the week.

Studios, Writers Quit Talks

Hollywood's film and TV scribes and their employers failed to reach an agreement before their contract expired at midnight Wednesday, setting the stage for a possible strike.

Centinela Hospital Sold

A rapidly growing Southland hospital chain owned by a controversial cardiologist has agreed to buy struggling Centinela hospital in Inglewood.

Douglas Emmett Buys Cornerstone Plaza

Real estate investment trust Douglas Emmett Inc. said Thursday that it has acquired Cornerstone Plaza for $84 million.

Disney to Offer 'Pirates' Game Online

Walt Disney Co. will offer an online, multiple-player game based on its "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise.

Ryland Drops on Downgrade

Shares in Ryland Group Inc. dropped 5 percent Thursday after shares in the homebuilder were downgraded to "strong sell" from "sell" by Matrix USA analyst Daniel Scalzi.

Security at Ports to Tighten

The Transportation Security Administration announced this week that the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports will begin enrollment in a new national security program in mid-December.