Stories for August 2008

Friday, August 29

Hanmi Financial Suspends Quarterly Dividend

Hanmi Financial Corp. said it will not pay a cash dividend for the second quarter in order to conserve cash.

International Rectifier Rejects Buyout Bid

International Rectifier Corp. has turned down a $1.6 billion takeover offer from Vishay Intertechnology Inc., arguing that the El Segundo power management chipmaker is worth more and can do better on its own.

99 Cents Not Only?

Ninety-nine cents just doesn't go as far as it used to, and that's a problem for the 99 Cents Only Stores chain.

Napster Considers Sale

Facing a challenge from three dissident investors, Napster Inc. executives have told shareholders that they are willing to consider a sale.

Court Dismisses WWE Suit Against Jakks

Shares of Jakks Pacific Inc. rose 7 percent after a Connecticut state court dismissed World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.'s bribery and antitrust claims against the Malibu toymaker.

Big Movers

Despite a pre-Labor Day pull-back that hurt the larger markets, the Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies closed out the week ended Aug. 29 on an up note due to stock gains earlier in the week.

Christensen, Pellicano Convicted

Private investigator Anthony Pellicano and Century City attorney Terry Christensen have been convicted of conspiring to illegally wiretap the ex-wife of Beverly Hills billionaire Kirk Kerkorian.

Apparel Insiders Fear Death by 'Safe' Fashion

If the best fashion inspires shoppers to buy even when they know they shouldn't, this year's crop of safe styles is sure to keep their wallets shut tight.

LAX Workers Back on the Job

As Labor Day holiday travelers headed out of town Friday, striking baggage handlers, security personnel and janitors at Los Angeles International Airport headed back to work, less than 24 hours after going on strike following months of failed negotiations

Thursday, August 28

Motorcar Parts of America Makes Florida Acquisition

Motorcar Parts of America Inc. said it has completed the acquisition of the new and remanufactured alternators and starters operation of Suncoast Automotive Products Inc. for an undisclosed amount.

VICA Names New President

The Valley Industry and Commerce Association in Sherman Oaks has a new president in former Assembly staff worker Stuart Waldman.

Wilshire Finance Partners Expands Fund Opportunities

Stepping into the breach created by the credit crunch, Wilshire Finance Partners, an asset-based commercial real estate lender, said it has launched a second real estate mortgage pool fund to raise $100 million to make commercial property loans.

Amgen to Stop Offering Aranesp Discounts

Amgen is halting some pricing practices that critics say were contributing to overuse of its flagship anemia drug Aranesp at a time of mounting concerns about the product's safety.

Man Removed From Wiretap Jury

A juror has been removed in the federal wiretapping trial of Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano and high-profile attorney Terry Christensen, forcing deliberations to restart a day after the panel got the case.

Airport Workers Strike

About 2,500 airport service workers walked off their jobs at Los Angeles International Airport Thursday afternoon as contract talks between their union and airline service contractors broke off.

Congress Investigates L.A. Local

A congressional committee has opened an inquiry into disclosures that the Service Employees International Union's largest California local and a related charity paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to firms owned by relatives of its president.

Analyst Suspects FirstFed Short Selling

Shares of FirstFed Financial Corp. jumped more than 33 percent after a Wall Street analyst questioned whether so-called naked short-selling might be taking place, since short interest in the company exceeded the number of publicly traded shares.

Solid Concepts Makes Michigan Acquisition

Solid Concepts Inc. said that it has acquired a Michigan firm that supplies fabricated components to automotive and other manufacturing industries.

FirstFed Jumps as Analyst Questions Shorts

FirstFed Financial Corp., the parent of First Federal Bank of California, surged as much as 39 percent on Thursday after an analyst said short interest in the company exceeded the number of publicly traded shares.

Wednesday, August 27

Pacific Office Properties Obtains $40 Million Credit Facility

Pacific Office Properties Trust Inc. said it has closed on a $40 million revolving credit facility with KeyBank National Association that will be used acquire West Coast office properties in partnership with institutional investors.

At Disney, Blu-ray Sales Team is a Cast of Characters

The Walt Disney Company is dispatching Pinocchio, Snow White and a team of other characters in its effort to accelerate consumer adoption of next-generation DVD technology.

Bratz Verdict Seen Weakened by Low Damages Award

Shares of Mattel Inc. fell Wednesday as investors reacted to the relatively small damages award in the Bratz doll case and the prospect that Mattel's Barbie doll line will continue to face stiff competition from rival MGA Entertainment Inc.

True Religion to Grow Existing Wholesale Business

Premium jeans brand True Religion Apparel Inc is focused on increasing its penetration into existing retail accounts, given recent record-breaking sales trends.

OSI's Higher Q4 Falls Short of Expectations

OSI Systems Inc. said its fiscal fourth quarter net income rose 28 percent on higher sales of its airport security and medical monitoring systems. While the quarter's profits fell short of analysts' estimates, the company's guidance for the coming year wa

Judge Dismisses Suits By IndyMac Borrower

A New York federal judge has dismissed lawsuits that accused IndyMac Bancorp Inc. of inflating the appraised values of homes and misleading borrowers into paying higher closing and financing costs.

Superior Industries Falls on Downgrade

Shares of Superior Industries International Inc. and several other auto suppliers fell after a Wall Street analyst downgraded the sector in the face of an automobile sales slump that is likely to persist.

Haim Saban, Power Ranger

The man who gave you the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers now wants to sell you a president.

Tuesday, August 26

New Deposits Have Grown at City National

City National Corp has picked up business from new and existing customers following the failure of IndyMac Bancorp Inc., helping offset the Los Angeles County's largest local bank's own challenges with bad loans.

Pellicano Case Moves to Closing Arguments

Jurors will hear closing arguments in the federal case against high-powered attorney Terry Christensen and ex-private eye Anthony Pellicano, both charged with conspiring to wiretap the ex-wife of billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian.

Two Accused of Selling Countrywide Data Plead Not Guilty

A former senior analyst for Countrywide Home Loans and another man have pleaded not guilty in an alleged scam to download and sell customer data from the mortgage lender.

UPDATE: Mattel Gets $100 Million in Bratz Case

Mattel Inc. said a federal jury has awarded it as much as $100 million in damages from MGA Entertainment Inc. in the hotly contested copyright infringement case over the Bratz franchise. The amount is significantly less than the nearly $2 billion that mak

United Online Completes FTD Merger

United Online Inc. said that it had completed its acquisition of national floral retailer FTD Group Inc. in a deal finally valued at $754 million, including assumption of debt.

Health Net to Pay $41 Million in New Jersey Case

Health Net Inc. has agreed to pay a $13 million fine and $28 million in other penalties and costs for a decade of underpaying out-of-network claims from its New Jersey members.

Hilton 'University' Tests Hotel Innovations

A secret wing -- code-named University -- in the otherwise unassuming Hilton Garden Inn LAX in El Segundo is Hilton's "hotel laboratory," the place were the company tests and refines its next generation of rooms.

Arrowhead Raises $4.4 Million in Offering

Nanotech investment company Arrowhead Research Corp. said it has sold approximately $4.4 million worth of securities to fund operations, research and development. Most of the buyers were long-standing Arrowhead shareholders or company officers.

Major Studio Film Shoots Slow in L.A.

Filming of big-budget movies has ground to a virtual halt across the city and much of the county, a slowdown partly driven by scheduling decisions studios made a year ago to prepare for a possible actors strike.

Jacobs Buys U.K. Firm

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. said it has acquired a maintenance, construction and service works contractor in England that will significantly increase its capabilities in Europe.

IndyMac Failure Has Cost FDIC $8.9 billion

Federal regulators admit that last month's failure of IndyMac Bancorp Inc. has cost the government more than originally anticipated.

Jury to Announce Award in Bratz Trial

A federal jury in Riverside is expected to announce Tuesday afternoon how much in damages MGA Entertainment Inc. should have to pay Mattel Inc. in the Bratz doll copyright infringement case.

Monday, August 25

A Big Scrap

The owner of a scrap metal recycling business is battling to reacquire a lot that a city agency seized through eminent domain.

Online Marketer Takes Personal Approach to Business

Fullerton native Rynda Laurel got an early start in the worlds of music promotion and interactive marketing, handing out band fliers at rock shows when she was 17.

Cable Show Campaign Has Hocus-Pocus Focus

When promoting a magic show, the advertising cries out for something magical.

Game Developer Hopes to Ring Up Sales on iPhone

A new game for the iPhone, Informatist, helps players get a line on the business world.

FTD Shareholders Approve United Online Merger

Shareholders of floral retailer FTD Group Inc have approved a more than $400 million merger of the Illinois-based floral retail network with internet service provider United Online Inc.

La Terza Hitting Its Stride as Chefs Make Magic

Gino Angelini's La Terza serves up unfussy Italian cuisine with verve in Los Angeles.

What's Hot? Ask DailyCandy

Trendsetters know that one small write-up equals mass exposure. And those Daily Candy 'girls' are a force to be reckoned with.

Regional Report

Real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield Inc. has added its investment banking firm division, Cushman & Wakefield Sonnenblick Goldman, at its L.A. office, 601 S. Figueroa St.

Boffo or Bust

Variety Group publisher Neil Stiles leads the show business trade paper as it gears up to change ownership hands.

Out of Thin Air

Santa Monica-based Air2Water's dehumidifying devices pull water from the air and make it safe for drinking.

Foreign Buyers Rev Up Market for L.A.'s Exotic Cars

Foreign collectors are taking advantage of the weak dollar and shifting the exotic car market into overdrive.

Battle Heats Up Over Beverly Hills Hotel Project

With a referendum vote on the controversial Waldorf-Astoria hotel and condo project in Beverly Hills looming, both sides are ratcheting up their rhetoric.

Newsmakers

Venice Family Clinic has appointed Jimmy H. Hara its chairman. Hara is regional lead physician for community health at Kaiser Permanente of Southern California.

Outdated Cell Phone Service to Close

When Teleflip debuted in 2005, the Santa Monica-based company that promised e-mail on cell phones made quite a splash, receiving glowing praise from the tech media and Wall Street analysts. Now Chief Executive Tony Davis says it's time to hang it up.

Put a Lid on Construction Caps

Charles Crumpley seeks to put a lid on a proposal to cap commercial construction in Santa Monica.

Giving Nature

Susan Gottlieb launched Venice art gallery G2 to use its proceeds in support of environmental causes.

Kerkorian Still Holding Court

In 2005, a vigorous then-88-year-old Kirk Kerkorian talked about his mean tennis game. But has the multibillionaire slowed any since?

State Staff Cuts Could Delay Architecture Exams

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's firing of part-time state workers earlier this month could force postponement of an exam set for next month for more than 200 people seeking state architecture licenses.

L.A. Times Ripe for Some Advice on Reaching Local Readers

Calvin Naito sends a memo to the L.A. Times brass on how to connect to Southland readers.

1977 Who Concert Takes Rocky Road to TV Screen

While Image Entertainment Inc. struggles to gain solid footing in the digital and broadcast markets, the company recently landed what may prove to be a rather lucrative music video deal.

Southern Firms Head West to Rustle Up Business

A bid for more business has inspired some Southern law firms to set up L.A. outposts.

Cell Phone Service Got Hung Up on Outdated E-Mail Program

Teleflip is ending its once-celebrated e-mail on cell phone service as smartphone technology has passed it by.

State to Target Business Tax Cheats

State inspectors will visit storefronts throughout Van Nuys and Torrance next month as part of a statewide crackdown on businesses that lack licenses and fail to pay taxes.

Running With Light Rail

The MTA is on the right track using light rail for its Expo Line project, according to Darrell Clarke.

New Speculation Over MGM Sale

Speculation circulates anew over a possible turnover in ownership at MGM. But two things are stressed by those in the know: The current owners won't sell for substantially less than the $5 billion they paid for the studio just a few years ago. And few sui

News of the Week

Three disgruntled Napster Inc. investors are urging fellow shareholders to vote them onto the board at the Los Angeles-based company's Sept. 18 annual meeting.

Entertainment Unit Presses Right Buttons at Firm

After some prompting from first-year associate Shawn Foust, Los Angeles-based Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP launched a video game practice group.

Investors Speculate on Bratz Jury's Direction

Mattel Inc. shares fell more than 4 percent on speculation that the jury in the Bratz doll trial might significantly narrow the scope on which they would award monetary damages to Mattel from MGA Entertainment Inc.

Years of Lawsuits Ahead for BofA

Countrywide's final quarterly report revealed a slew of lawsuits, and actions by state and federal authorities.

Disney Plugs Into Interactive World

Disney's new Blu-ray DVD service will hook up viewers across a variety of media platforms including cell phones and PCs.

Hatching Innovation

A pair of entrepreneurs is looking to build an incubator for startups from Amgen's laid-off employees.

Friday, August 22

Westside Hospital Faces Closure

Century City Doctors Hospital, a troubled West L.A. boutique hospital, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Friday and said it likely would have to close its doors within a week unless a buyer is found.

Disney's Rights to Young Mickey Mouse May Be Wrong

As Mickey Mouse turns 80 this fall, the most beloved rodent in show business is widely regarded as a national treasure -- and owned lock, stock and trademark ears by the corporate heirs of his genius creator. But film credits from the 1920s reveal impreci

California Attorney General Declines Schumer Probe

California Attorney General Jerry Brown declined to investigate U.S. Senator Charles Schumer's criticism of IndyMac Bancorp Inc., which some have said caused a run on the Pasadena thrift and its subsequent collapse.

Pacesetter: Largest Private Employers

Oakland-based Kaiser Permanente, the non-profit health provider, remains atop the Business Journal's list of the largest private-sector employers in L.A. County with 36,500 employees locally. That's up 3,716 employees, or 10 percent, from a year ago.

Saehan Bancorp Names New CEO

Los Angeles-based Saehan Bancorp announced Friday that it has named former Hanmi Bank Chief Executive Chung Hoon Youk as its new president and chief executive, replacing Benjamin Hong.

Boeing Seeks More Time for Tanker Bid

Boeing Co. is considering giving up its effort to supply the Air Force with its next generation aerial-refueling tanker if the Pentagon doesn't give it six months to submit an updated proposal to better compete with Northrop Grumman Corp. and its European

UPDATE: Ports Deny Truck Replacement Program Illegal

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have filed legal papers outlining their opposition to legal efforts to block the ports' controversial clean air program. In addition, two large out-of-state freight haulers that are members of the industry group fig

Minkow Drops Campaign Against Herbalife

Herbalife Ltd. has convinced former fraudster-turned-consumer advocate Barry Minkow into retracting his accusations about the safety of Los Angeles nutritional supplement maker's products.

Tough Times for Guild Militants

Six months after the end of the 100-day Hollywood writers strike, the condition of the writing community is far more dire than it was before the strike.

Cedars-Sinai Challenges Allegations in McMahon Suit

A law firm that has defended celebrities involved in civil suits is now going to bat on behalf of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in its fight against litigation brought by long-time Hollywood figure Ed McMahon.

Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies was down slightly in the week ended Aug. 22, despite a Friday market rally prompted by an oil price retreat and a prediction by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke that inflation pre

Amgen Wins New Drug Approval

Amgen Inc. said that it won U.S. regulatory approval to market its new drug Nplate, beating other competitors to market with a therapy for a serious, but relatively rare bleeding disorder.

Thursday, August 21

KB Home, Other Builders Sued Over Internet Patent

A group of homebuilders that includes Toll Brothers Inc. and Los Angeles-based KB Home have been sued over claims they wrongfully use patented technology linking builders, manufacturers, and buyers online.

Ticketmaster Looks for Growth Abroad

Ticketmaster becomes a stand-alone publicly traded company just as the dominant seller of tickets to concerts and sporting events is about to lose its biggest customer, Live Nation.

Ticketmaster Debuts on Nasdaq

Shares of newly spun-off Ticketmaster rose nearly 7 percent on Thursday on the first day the West Hollywood-based ticketing service began independent trading on the Nasdaq.

Live Nation Signs Mexico, Brazil Concert Deals

Shares of Live Nation Inc. fell five percent on Thursday even as the nation's largest concert promoter announced two partnerships that should significantly expand its business south of the border.

Hot Topic Drops on Poor Outlook

Shares of Hot Topic Inc. plunged 22 percent the morning after the trendy teen retailer forecast weaker-than-expected earnings for the rest of the year, despite a smaller loss in the last quarter.

Dissident Napster Investors Seek Board Seats

Three disgruntled Napster Inc. investors who say the money-losing Internet music company should consider a sale or merger have sent a letter to shareholders urging their election to the board.

Editor's Note

Due to technical problems, Wednesday editions of the Business Journal's email newsletters could not be sent as scheduled during the business day. A daily newsletter may have arrived in subscribers' in-boxes by late evening. The newspaper's Web site was op

Semtech Beats Q2 Profit Expectations

Shares of Semtech Inc. rose three percent a day after the chipmaker reported that its second-quarter net income rose 29 percent on increased sales, beating analyst expectations.

Wednesday, August 20

AeroVironment Wins DARPA Contract

AeroVironment Inc. said that it has received $4.6 million in funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop very small unmanned aircraft system capable of performing bird-like "hover and perch and stare" missions.

Foreclosure-Purchase Program May Fall Flat

To Congress, it looked like a way to both ease blight and provide affordable housing: give local governments $4 billion to buy, repair and resell homes lost to foreclosure. But the program may hurt other California homeowners with properties on the market

Kerkorian Says He Was Unaware of Wiretapping

Beverly Hills billionaire Kirk Kerkorian made a rare public appearance as he testified in the high-profile wiretapping conspiracy case against his longtime attorney Terry Christensen and private sleuth Anthony Pellicano.

Mattel Asks for Nearly $2 Billion in Bratz Case

In closing arguments of the damages phase of the Bratz doll trial, Mattel Inc. asked a jury for more than $1 billion in profits and interest from MGA Entertainment Inc. and nearly as much from the company's majority owner.

Same-Store Sales Rise for CKE

Thanks to its upper-end burgers, fast-food chain operator CKE Restaurants Inc. said that same-store sales rose during the four weeks ended Aug. 11 at both its Carl's Jr. and Hardee's restaurants.

Heelys Rejects Sweetened Skechers Bid

Heelys Inc. has rejected a second unsolicited buyout offer from Skechers USA Inc., saying the shoemaker's $143 million cash offer is too low.

A Change at Applebee's on CEO's Menu

Dine Equity CEO Julia Stewart, nick-named the Velvet Hammer, is one of the toughest customers of her Glendale-based company's IHOP and Applebee's casual dining restaurants.

FDIC Will Modify Mortgages for Some IndyMac Borrowers

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. may lower mortgage interest rates for delinquent IndyMac Federal Bank FSB borrowers after suspending foreclosures on $15 billion in loans it's managing as successor to the failed lender.

FirstFed Sees Drop in Delinquent Loans

Shares of FirstFed Financial Corp. jumped more than 30 percent after the bank holding company reported that it not only had reduced its exposure to troublesome adjustable-rate loans and mortgage-backed securities, but had seen a drop in single-family home

Tuesday, August 19

Jacobs Announces Contract

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. said Tuesday that it received a consulting contract from a county in northwest England that is upgrading its highway system.

Superior Industries to Close Plant, Cut Jobs

Auto parts supplier Superior Industries International Inc. said Tuesday that it is cutting its U.S. work force by 29 percent and closing a plant due to slowing truck and SUV sales.

National Lampoon Acquires AllModelZone.com

National Lampoon Inc., best known for its comedy media content aimed at male college students, said Tuesday that it has acquired a modeling industry Web site for an undisclosed sum.

SAG Faction Softens Stance on Membership Restrictions

Amid a bitter battle for control of the Screen Actors Guild board, the upstart Unite for Strength faction has promised not to limit voting rights if it wins the election, and continues to support merger with a rival union to strenghten labor's hand in neg

MRV to Appeal Nasdaq Delisting

MRV Communications said that it has requested a hearing with Nasdaq officials to prevent delisting of its stock, which it is being threatened with because of a failure to file its quarterly financial report.

L.A. Sees Mixed July Foreclosure Data

Default Research Inc. said that filings of defaults and other pre-foreclosure notices a gauge of foreclosure activity jumped 120 percent in July from a year ago in Southern California, lead by Los Angeles and Riverside counties.

Union Reviews Port Contract

About 100 representatives from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union are meeting in San Francisco this week to review a proposed labor contract with the Pacific Maritime Association.

SoCal Edison Nuclear Plant Gets Regulatory Pressure

Southern California Edison is scrambling to avoid stepped-up oversight from federal regulators at its San Onofre nuclear power plant, which has worker safety and operational problems that have put the facility's industry ratings significantly below its pe

Northrop to Boost L.A. Jet Fighter Production

Northrop Grumman Corp. plans a 20 percent increase next year in the local production of its center fuselage sections for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as the program shifts to full scale production.

Monday, August 18

Still Playing Favorites

Charles Crumpley revisits what he likes most about L.A. beaches still don't make the cut.

Lawyers' Case Of Culture Clash

Los Angeles attorneys Yoanna Binder and Yi-Chin Ho have reason to celebrate. Last week, the Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP lawyers successfully sought asylum for two Tibetan women who were incarcerated after entering the United States illegally.

War of Attrition

The Southland job market and economy has been hurt by the loss of military facilities, according to Don Hallwerck.

UCLA Extension Means Business At Downtown Site

UCLA Extension is getting down to business with expanded course offerings at a new downtown site.

Montage Beverly Hills 225 N. Canon Drive

When the Montage Beverly Hills opens in November it will give other ultra-luxurious Beverly Hills hotels a run for their money.

Local Governments Should Take Lead on Global Warming

State and local governments are best positioned to cope with greenhouse gases, writes Jared Blumenfeld and Dean Kubani.

W Hotel and Residences Hollywood & Vine

Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street is a fabled intersection, but it fell into a funk decades ago. Now, Dallas developer Gatehouse Capital is attempting to bring back the glamour.

Newsmakers

Mark Robinson has been promoted to senior managing director at the West Los Angeles office of Studley, an international commercial real estate services firm. Robinson was previously corporate managing director.

DirecTV Signs Ad Sales Pact

National Cable Communications LLC, the nation's largest cable spot ad sales company, announced an ad partnership Monday with satellite TV provider DirecTV Group Inc.

Edison Signs Wind Power Deal

Southern California Edison said Monday it has signed a 20-year contract with DCE, an affiliate of Caithness Energy, to provide up to 909 megawatts of wind power.

REGIONAL REPORT

The Holiday Inn Express at 485 Arrow Highway has been sold for $10.2 million. The 68-room building was completed in April was not in operation at the time of the sale, and received its certificate of occupancy just before the close of escrow.

International Rectifier Trading Above Acquisition Bid

Investors continue to indicate they believe Vishay Intertechnology Inc. is offering too little for El Segundo power management chipmaker International Rectifier Corp.

Wealth Management Firm Maps Out Road in L.A.

Convergent Wealth Advisors, acquired last year by Beverly Hills-based City National Corp., has opened a Los Angeles office to take advantage of the burgeoning local market.

Restaurant Chain Grateful for Thank-You Cards

California Pizza Kitchen thanked its Thank You card promotion for serving up a strong second quarter.

Northrop Bets on The Highest Tech

Northrop is rushing to get its climate-change satellite technology off the ground.

Eddy Hartenstein Named L.A. Times Publisher

Former DirecTV Group Inc. Chief Executive Eddy Hartenstein has been named publisher of the Los Angeles Times. He replaces David Hiller, who resigned on July 14, seven months after real-estate billionaire Sam Zell took the company private in a buyout.

Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residences at L.A. Live 900 W. Olympic Blvd.

The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles, will be one of a kind in the city.

SoCal Home Sales Climbed in July as Prices Fell

Southern California home sales surged to a 16-month high in July as prices kept falling and bargain-hunters snapped up foreclosed properties, according to a research firm.

Comics Trip

Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, Platinum Studios chairman, helps comic books jump from the page to TV and the big screen.

Record Labels Seek More Action on Video Games

Many music industry executives facing slumping CD sales love the sound of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. but Warner Music Group head Edgar Bronfman Jr. recently grumbled that record labels deserved a bigger piece of the spoils from the games' success.

SLS at Beverly Hills 465 S. La Cienega Blvd.

When the 297-room SLS at Beverly Hills opens this November, it will be one of L.A.'s most ambitious building adaptations.

Strife Plagues Palladium Renovation

With two months until its reopening, the Hollywood Palladium finds itself in the middle of a labor dispute.

Goldman Sachs Pumps Up Prospects for Amgen

Beleaguered by months of bad news about its flagship anemia franchise, Amgen Inc. got a boost last week after Goldman Sachs said the company is poised to accelerate its earnings growth.

Music Station Debuts With Street-Level Promotion

Los Angeles is one of the largest radio markets in the nation, so when a new station launches it has to spend some big bucks to get noticed.

Video Feed

OVGuide.com functions as an online TV Guide, directing visitors to clips and programs available on other sites.

Rebranded Lingerie Company Finds Average Woman a Poor Fit

In an attempt to move away from its sex kitten image, Frederick's of Hollywood started marketing its lingerie line to the average woman. That was two years ago, and it now looks as if the intimate apparel retailer's rebranding has fallen flat.

Chill in Air

Pasadena media company DMI drafted a song list to deflate customer tension for Delta Air Lines.

UCLA, USC Athletics Team Up for Cable Show

FSN Prime Ticket is jettisoning its "Bruin Mondays" and "Trojan Tuesdays" shows, and combining them in a new format that will go up against "Monday Night Football."

Los Angeles Signs Downtown's Biggest Deal

The city of Los Angeles has renewed a lease for 170,087 square feet at the Garland Center in a $47 million deal that is the largest in downtown Los Angeles this year.

Caltech Professor Charges Into Future of Fuel Cells

Caltech professor Sossina Haile is powering a venture to build cost-effective fuel cells.

Stage Set for Santa Monica Battle

Developers have joined with businesses to battle a November ballot issue that would cap commercial development in Santa Monica.

Pacesetter: Panda Restaurant Group

Panda Restaurant Group tops this year's LABJ list of the largest L.A. County businesses owned by women.

Luxury Checks In

L.A. is seeing its biggest wave of new deluxe hotels in years. Here are the people changing the face of the industry.

Brand-New Skin

Brian Gross helps adult entertainment companies and performers establish a mainstream presence.

Guidance to Buy Back Stock

Guidance Software Inc., whose stock price plunged earlier this month after reporting disappointing earnings, said Monday that its directors have authorized repurchasing up to $8 million worth of its common shares.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

A fifth state attorney general has sued Countrywide Financial Corp., and its former chief executive, Angelo Mozilo, on allegations of making unaffordable loans and using unfair and deceptive practices.

Friday, August 15

State Kills Pacific Health's Bid to Buy Hospital

The latest deal to sell Anaheim Memorial Medical Center collapsed when state officials nixed its $57-million purchase by Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center owner Pacific Health Corp., which faces allegations that it defrauded Medicare and Medi-Cal.

Insiders Buy Staar as Lasik Alternate Shows Potential

Staar Surgical Co. insiders and investors are buying stock as they bet the company's $3,081 lens implants to correct nearsightedness will gain on less-costly Lasik treatments, increasing the potential for a takeover.

July Jobless Rate Highest in 11 Years

The housing and mortgage finance meltdown hit the L.A. economy with full force in July as the county's unemployment rate shot up to 7.5 percent, its highest level in 11 years and well above the 4.9 percent rate of a year ago.

Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies finished strong for the week ended Aug. 15 despite a mixed overall market that alternated between enthusiasm over falling oil prices and ongoing concern about weak credit m

Warner Music to Offer Xbox Live Videos

Warner Music Group Corp. said it will offer its music videos on Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox Live service for $1.99 each, creating an additional outlet for the recording label's content amid declining compact disc sales.

International Rectifier Gets Acquisition Offer

International Rectifier Corp. has received an unsolicited and potentially hostile $1.6 billion cash takeover offer from Vishay Intertechnology Inc., which has been in a dispute with the El Segundo power management chipmaker.

32 Union Protesters Arrested Outside Disneyland

Cinderella, Snow White, Tinkerbell and other fictional fixtures of modern-day childhood were handcuffed, frisked and loaded into police vans at the culmination of a labor protest that brought a touch of reality to the Happiest Place on Earth.

Analyst Sees Growth for Jacobs

Shares of Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. gave back gains on Friday, the day after an analyst upgraded the engineering consulting company's stock from "hold" to "buy."

Thursday, August 14

Abraxis Shares Fall on 2Q Loss

Abraxis BioScience Inc. shares continued to slump a day after the biotech drug developer reported a deeper second quarter loss driven by lower revenue and one-time acquisition and litigation charges.

Foreclosures Rise in L.A. County

Home foreclosures in Los Angeles County in July rose 41 percent from a year ago, according to new report from RealtyTrac Inc., an Irvine-based seller of foreclosure data.

Upper Deck Seeks Dismissal of Topps Suit

Baseball card maker Upper Deck Co. is urging a judge to dismiss trademark claims by competitor Topps Co. over the names and images of Jackie Robinson, Lou Gehrig and other legendary players.

Few Shares Tendered to Activision Blizzard's Offer

Activision Blizzard Inc. said it bought back far fewer shares than envisioned because of a rise in share price, thanks to a strong earnings report.

Theater Chains, Studios Close to Digital Agreement

Theater companies are close to a $1 billion agreement with Hollywood studios to equip theaters to show digital movies, according to a group representing the exhibitors. That means potential big growth for companies offering enabling technology for the con

Probe Sought on Whether Countrywide Favored Lawmakers

Two Republican lawmakers are urging a congressional investigation into whether House members and staff received favorable treatment from Countrywide Financial Corp. in violation of House rules.

Northrop Grumman Gets $250 Million Air Force Contract

Northrop Grumman Corp. said it has received a 4-year, more than $250 million contract to provide logistics services for C-20 aircraft that fly high-ranking officials around the world.

Plan Could Aid Subprime Lenders

One reason California still has no state budget is a closed-door dispute over a tax proposal that could be a multimillion-dollar boon to banks that engage in subprime lending.

Wednesday, August 13

West Virginia Sues Countrywide

A fifth state attorney general has sued Countrywide Financial Corp. on allegations of making unaffordable loans and using unfair and deceptive practices.

IndyMac Lists $443 Million in Debts

IndyMac Bancorp Inc. said in bankruptcy filings that its debts are more than 21 times its assets of $20.4 million.

Ordinance Seeks To Encourage Laborer Shelters

The L.A. City Council has approved an ordinance that may push large home improvement stores to provide facilities for day laborers, formalizing a long-standing, though unofficial practice of laborers congregating near such stores while waiting for work.

Skechers Raises Bid for Heelys to $143 million

Casual shoemaker Skechers USA Inc. has raised its buyout offer for wheeled shoemaker Heelys Inc. to $143 million cash and hinted it eventually might be willing to offer more.

Warner Music Exec. Sells 23 Percent of Stake

Warner Music Group's top U.S. executive for recorded music, Lyor Cohen, sold 23 percent of his shares in the company earlier this week, according to a U.S. regulatory filing.

Image Entertainment Gains on Surprising Profits

Shares of Image Entertainment Inc. rose 6 percent the day after the home entertainment programming producer and distributor said it swung from a loss to a profit in its fiscal first quarter, and expects to be profitable for the fiscal year.

Former Tennis Star Accuses Broker of Fraud

Former tennis champion Tracy Austin has joined an all-star cast of sports figures in accusing prominent Los Angeles investment broker Gary Fournier of defrauding them.

Tribune Posts $3.8 Billion Loss

Los Angeles Times parent Tribune Co. plunged to a $4.53 billion loss in the second quarter after taking a $3.84 billion charge to write down the book value of its newspaper brands.

DreamWorks to Buy Back $21.8 Million in Shares

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. has agreed to pay about $21.8 million to the Steven Spielberg-endowed Wunderkinder Foundation to buy back 706,330 shares of the company's stock.

Tuesday, August 12

One Third of New Homeowners Under Water

Almost one-third of U.S. homeowners who bought in the last five years now owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth, according to Zillow.com, an Internet provider of home valuations. The highest percentages of homeowners with negative eq

Investment Promoter Arrested

An Commerce investment promoter who promised Spanish speakers a bonanza in distressed real estate but allegedly cost them millions of dollars has been arrested on a federal charge of bribing a bank executive.

Court Refuses to Halt Bratz Trial

A federal appeals court denied a motion Tuesday by MGA Entertainment to temporarily halt the hotly contested Bratz trial over alleged racist remarks made by a juror.

Physicians Formula's Q2 Fails To Satisfy

Shares of Physicians Formula Holdings Inc. plunged 25 percent the day after the cosmetics company reported a larger second quarter loss and worse outlook for the rest of the year than Wall Street had expected.

Countrywide Faces FTC Probe

Countrywide Financial Corp. faces a Federal Trade Commission investigation into its loan-servicing business.

Capstone Gains Despite Disappointing Wall Street

Capstone Turbine Corp. saw its shares surge the day after the micro-turbine man manufacturer announced it narrowed its net loss and had a strong backlog of orders.

Red Mango Receives $12 Million Investment

Specialty frozen yogurt retailer Red Mango Inc. announced a $12 million Series A investment led by Dallas-based private equity firm CIC Partners and veteran retail executive John Antioco, who will join management.

Disney to Close Large Retail Store

Walt Disney Co. said it plans to close its World of Disney store on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue when the lease expires in 2010 and replace it with a smaller store in the area.

Monday, August 11

Lions Gate Swings to Profit in Quarter

Double-digit revenue increases in production, distribution and its library division enabled Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. to report first quarter net income that exceeded Wall Street expectations.

More Suffering in Store for Areas Lacking Big Grocery Chains

All of Los Angeles pays the price for the lack of big grocery chains in South L.A., writes Clifford Goldstein

U.S. Takes Charge in TV Converter Box Purchases

No new taxes on federal subsidies for TV converter boxes, that is.

Asanebo Looks Like a Winner in the Battle of Sushi

San Fernando Valley's Asanebo is a cut above its local sushi bar rivals.

Sounding Off

Halftime Magazine has taken the field as a publication aimed at members of high school marching bands.

Homecoming King

Rising costs in China are prompting companies such as American Poly Bag to bring work back to the United States.

Pacesetter: Galpin Ford

Galpin Ford takes over the top spot this year on the LABJ's list of the largest auto dealerships in Los Angeles County

Defining Public's Interest

Charles Crumpley says Calpers' and Calstrs' "socially responsible" investing is mostly just political monkeying with state workers' pension money.

MannKind Has Wider Loss on Development Costs

Shares of drug developer MannKind Inc. rose in after-hours trading despite reporting a larger-than-expected second quarter loss due to higher research and development costs.

Talk of Takeover Shakes Up Drink Maker's Stock

Rumors of an acquisition deal and the chief executive's exit are bubbling up at drink maker Reed's Inc.

Right at Home

Korean-American C.G. Kum, First California Financial CEO, has fulfilled many of his goals.

Lawyers Get Creative With Firm in Century City

Entertainment attorneys John Mason and Darrell Miller are tuning up a new firm; both are professional musicians turned lawyers.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

L.A. would become the largest city in the U.S. to adopt a smoking ban for most public places if the City Council goes along with Councilman Bernard Parks' new proposal to significantly expand the city's smoking ban.

Report: Boeing May Not Bid for $35 Billion Tanker Contract

Boeing Co is "strongly considering" not bidding on the upcoming competition for a $35 billion U.S. Air Force refueling tanker contract, according to the trade publication Aviation Week, which did not identify its sources.

FDIC Fund Strained by Bank Failures

The failure of IndyMac Bancorp Inc. and seven other banks this year may erase as much as 17 percent of a government insurance fund and raise premiums for all banks, from Franklin National of Minneapolis to Bank of America Corp.

Newsmakers

Lisa Gilford has been appointed president of the National Association of Women Lawyers. Gilford is a partner with Weston Benshoof Rochefort Rubalcava and MacCuish LLP, a Los Angeles-based law firm.

City Planning in Transit

The proposed mixed-use project at the Universal City Metro stop is a positive step toward transit-oriented city planning, according to Gary Toebben.

RadNet Reports Loss in Quarter

Medical diagnostic imaging center operator RadNet Inc. reported a second-quarter loss as higher expenses overwhelmed a solid increase in revenue.

Napster Reports Larger Than Expected Loss

Shares of Napster Inc. took a dive in after-hours trading after the online music service reported a slightly larger first-quarter net loss than a year ago, as well as a decline in paid subscribers.

L.A. Eatery Dips Into History With 100th Birthday

Downtown eatery and French dip purveyor Philippe's the Original has made it to the century mark.

New Day on High-Definition Dial

High-def channels are allowing show producers to experiment with eclectic playlists and formats such as child-targeted Top 40 tunes.

REGIONAL REPORT

Drink maker Hall of Fame Beverages Inc. has made a distribution deal with New York-based Spencer's Gifts, a retailer of humorous and novelty merchandise.

Northrop Keeps Spyplane Award

Northrop Grumman Corp. will hold on to a U.S. Navy unmanned spyplane order valued at as much as $3.74 billion after a protest by losing bidder Lockheed Martin Corp. was rejected.

Obagi Exceeds Expectations for Q2

Obagi Medical Products Inc. said its net income rose 15 percent in the second quarter on higher U.S. sales of its skin-care treatments, slightly exceeding Wall Street expectations. But the company cut its expectations for the fiscal year.

Assessing L.A. Foot by Foot

Los Angeles architect Doug Hanson, principal at DeStefano + Partners, says that one of the best ways to get a feel for Los Angeles and its architecture is to walk from one end of the city to the other.

Manila Rising as Call Center Power

Los Angeles outsourcing provider PeopleSupport is being purchased for $250 million in cash by a private Indian competitor.

N.Y. Investor Buys Home of Showbiz Publications

The home of the Hollywood Reporter and Billboard has been sold.

Japanese Agency Draws Up Plans for Cartoons

A division of the fifth largest advertising agency in the world has started producing cartoon shows for children. Is this a parent's worst nightmare?

Home Prices Fall, Buyers Moving In

As house prices swoon in some outlying areas, bargain hunters are swooping in.

Health Net's Prescription for Recovery: Raising Premiums

Diminished revenue expectations add up to a dismal diagnosis for insurer Health Net.

Positive Pessimism

East West Bancorp has earned analysts' praise for proactively pumping up its provision for possible loan losses.

Movie Trailer Composer Rolling Out Record Label

Veteran trailer music composer Yoav Goren has crafted trailer music for popular films such as "The Dark Knight," "Hancock" and "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor," among dozens of others during the past 15 years.

DreamWorks Nears Venture Deal in India

A deal between the principals of DreamWorks SKG and one of India's largest entertainment conglomerates to set up a new film company is on the brink of completion, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Friday, August 8

Lackluster Forecast Drives Down Guidance Shares

Guidance Software Inc. shares plunged 39 percent after the software developer unexpectedly reported a larger net loss for the second quarter and cut its 2008 outlook. Two analysts cut their recommendations on the stock.

Edison Beats Analyst Views on Profit Margins

Edison International said that its second-quarter earnings more than doubled, helped by lower taxes and better margins compared to a year ago.

Stem Cells' New Sugar Daddy

Alan Trounson, a pioneering Australian embryologist, is conducting what may be the world's most ambitious experiment in public funding for science: California's voter-approved $3 billion speculative venture in human stem-cell research.

Mozilo Under Formal SEC Investigation

Securities regulators have stepped up their investigation of mortgage giant Countrywide Financial Corp. and its former chief executive, Angelo Mozilo.

Warner Falls on Analyst Downgrade

Shares of Warner Music Group Corp. fell nearly 7 percent after Citigroup cut its recommendation on the stock from "buy" to "sell," a day after the music label reported that it significantly reduced its second quarter loss.

AIG CEO Prepares to Pare Down Insurance Giant

American International Group Inc Chief Executive Robert Willumstad will soon take the scalpel to the world's largest insurer -- and not a minute too soon for investors blindsided by mortgage losses that led to an unexpected $5.36 billion quarterly loss.

Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies finished strong for the week ended Aug. 8 along with the larger markets, which were buoyed by a surge in the dollar and another plunge in oil prices.

Cogent Gains on 2008 Prospects

Shares of Cogent Systems gained 7 percent the day after projecting improved future performance despite disappointing second quarter earnings.

Thursday, August 7

Supervisor Supports Early Vote on Tax Initiative

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe said he now supports a November vote on so-called "Subway to the Sea" tax initiative, and will ask fellow supervisors to reconsider their previous rejection of the Metropolitan Transit Authority's proposed measure.

Security Firm Andrews Acquires Seventrees Corp.

Andrews International, one of the largest private full-service national security firms, said that it has acquired Seventrees Corp., a specialized security and training services company based in Benton Harbor, Mich. The price was not disclosed.

Lower Live Nation Profits Beat Expectations

Live Nation Inc. reported lower second quarter net income on higher costs, but beat Wall Street expectations as the world's largest concert promoter saw increases in ticket sales, the number of events and revenue per attendee.

Molina Healthcare to Acquire Florida NetPass

Managed care provider Molina Healthcare said that it has reached agreement to acquire Florida NetPass for $42 million in cash.

'Spruce Goose' Hangar for Sale

A chunk of Howard Hughes' Los Angeles is on the block: the cavernous hangar where the aviation mogul built his infamous Spruce Goose aircraft that flew only once in 1947. Real estate experts value the property at more than $60 million.

California Pizza Kitchen Raises Profits in Q2

California Pizza Kitchen Inc. said that cost controls had enabled it to report improved second-quarter net income that met Wall Street expectations.

MGA Pursues Mistrial in Bratz Case

MGA Entertainment Inc. has filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking to overturn a federal judge's ruling that a mistrial was not warranted in the high-stakes Bratz doll case.

The End of Caruso's Miramar?

L.A.-based developer Rick Caruso may be throwing in the towel on ambitious plans to remake Montecito's historic Miramar Hotel after failing to come to an agreement with community leaders.

Committee Kills Sick Leave Bill

Legislation requiring California employers to provide paid sick leave has been killed in committee, handing a major victory to business groups.

DirecTV Profits in Line with Expectations

The DirecTV Group Inc. said its second quarter net income rose 2 percent, slowed by higher marketing expenses, dealer incentives and installation costs. Earnings were in line with Wall Street expectations.

Wednesday, August 6

Three SoCal Hospitals Accused of Medicare Fraud

L.A. City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo is suing three Southern California hospitals and their operators in what federal and local officials allege was a scheme to defraud the Medi-Cal and Medicare programs out of millions of dollars. FBI agents served search wa

Parks Proposes Major Expansion of L.A. Smoking Ban

Smokers would be banned from lighting up on restaurant patios, outside office towers, in hotel lobbies and most other public places in Los Angeles under an ordinance to be proposed Friday by Councilman Bernard Parks.

L.A. Live Lures Conventions Downtown

The promise of 1,001 new hotel rooms, the Nokia Theatre and about a dozen restaurants and entertainment venues opening by year's end at downtown's new L.A. Live complex has helped the city's convention bureau book a record 53 future conventions.

Loans Gone Bad Plague FirstFed's Q2

FirstFed Financial Corp. posted its second straight quarterly loss, as the Santa Monica savings and loan holding company said it was forced to modify more of its home loans or write them off.

Another State to Sue Countrywide

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said he plans to sue mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp, alleging its loan practices violated state consumer and banking laws.

Herbalife Gains on Strong Q2 Profits

Shares of Herbalife Ltd. gained 5 percent after reporting better-than-expected second-quarter net income, helped by strong dietary supplement sales in China and Venezuela. The company raised its earnings forecast for the current year.

Northrop, Boeing Battle Anew Over Tanker Bid

The Pentagon on Wednesday opened a second round of bidding for a $35 billion Air Force tanker contract, following the first error-plagued attempt that led to Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman Corp. and its partner beating out expected winner Boeing Co.

United Online Reports Lower Profits

Internet provider United Online Inc. reported net income fell 15 percent to $13.7 million on lower Internet service revenues and increased expenses related to the online provider's scrapped stock offering of a social networking subsidiary.

Hallmark Channel Parent Reports Better Quarter

Crown Media Holdings Inc. said it was able to reduce its second quarter loss by 87 percent, aided by an increase in subscriber fees and advertising revenue. But the company warned that advertising likely would be hit by the slower economy for the balance

L.A. DWP Renews Wackenhut Contract

Wackenhut Corp. won a second fight in its long-running battle with the Service Employees International Union when the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power renewed the national private security firm's temporary contract for security guards.

News Corp. Drops After Analysts Reduce Profit Estimates

News Corp. reported a 27 percent jump in its fiscal fourth-quarter net income, fueled by proceeds from the sale of its stake in Los Angeles-based Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc.. But its stock faltered after analysts lowered their longer term outlook

Tuesday, August 5

Anworth Beats Q2 Expectations

Anworth Mortgage Asset Corp. said its second-quarter net income hit a record, largely due to the shuttering of a money-losing mortgage unit.

Study: Broadcast beats Papers for Ad Sales

This year will mark the first time in U.S. history that broadcast television will get more advertising dollars than newspapers, according to a new study. But TV networks ought not get too complacent -- three years from now, Internet advertising will take

Meruelo Maddux Losses Widen

Meruelo Maddux Properties said that its second quarter net loss had increased nearly 80 percent due to higher expenses and the real estate slump.

Health Net Sees Lower Earnings for Year

Shares of Health Net Inc. slide after the Woodland Hills-based health insurer posted quarterly results that missed Wall Street expectations, and said full-year earnings would be far lower than expected.

Arden To Go National

Los Angeles-based office landlord Arden Realty Inc. said it is expanding its West Coast role to include the national investment operations of its parent company.

Disney, ESPN Buy Web Sites

Walt Disney Co. and its ESPN sports network have announced separate digital media acquisitions designed to expand their overseas audiences.

Allstate Settles with Poisner on Homeowners' Coverage

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has quietly dropped an effort to seek refunds for Allstate Corp. policyholders who might have paid too much for their homeowners' coverage in recent years. Critics immediately denounced his decision.

Lions Gate To Distribute Disney Shows

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. said it has reached an agreement distribute TV shows produced by Walt Disney Co.'s ABC Studios on DVD.

Dish Network Again Casts Eye on DirecTV

Dish Network Corp.'s dismal performance in the previous quarter has renewed speculation that Chief Executive Charles Ergen may consider another attempt to merge with El Segundo-based rival DirecTV Group Inc.

HCP Beats Profit Expectations

HCP Inc. said its second quarter net income rose nearly 250 percent as the Long Beach real estate investment trust sold 40 health care properties and other assets valued at $496 million.

Monday, August 4

Cutting Edge

Local companies that have earned patents.

Harry Sloan Extends Deal at MGM

Harry E. Sloan has signed a deal to continue as MGM's chairman and chief executive for three more years. Sloan came on board to revamp the ailing MGM studio in late 2005.

Wall Street Gives Thumbs Down to 'Wall-E' Games

THQ saw its stock drop after slow sales for its "Wall-E" games and delays for future title "Saints Row 2."

SoCal Racetrack to Saddle Up for Breeders' Cup

The largest prize purse in the sports world will be awarded at Santa Anita racetrack in Arcadia when the Breeders' Cup World Championships comes to town in October.

Business 'Bootcamp' Boosts Military Vets' Prospects

An entrepreneurial program at UCLA is all business when it comes to aiding disabled post-9/11 veterans.

FirstFed Shakes Off IndyMac's Shadow of Death

The Santa Monica-based holding company for First Federal Bank of California, has gained some much-needed stability in the past few weeks after nearly collapsing under the weight of Wall Street's fears.

Tide's Turning at Queen Mary Site

Owners of the Queen Mary hope to have the ocean liner's home looking shipshape with a new hotel and amusement park.

Mercury's Q2 Fails to Meet Expectations

Mercury General Corp. reported that its net income rose almost 2 percent in the second quarter as the Los Angeles auto and home insurer benefited from an investment gain. But the company's net premiums and other financials disappointed Wall Street.

Politicians, Voters Pillage Set-Aside Funds to Plug Budget Gaps

California voters and politicians are trying to plug holes in the

Newsmakers

Kudos, hirings and promotions.

Pet Cat, Hard Fruit Are Mothers of Invention

A pet cat and a mother's battle with unripened hard fruit sparked ideas for two patented products.

Firm's Original Content Expands Customers' Brands

In the brave new world of digital media, a giant corporation like Walt Disney Co. turns to a 23-person advertising agency to create original content.

Study Sees Continuing Jobs Decline

Driven by the state's construction slump, California's job market is weakening dramatically and will continue to worsen in coming months, according to a new survey by Chapman University.

Struggling Westside Hospital Seeks Buyer

Century City Doctors Hospital, which has been coping with deteriorating finances for months, is weighing options that include a sale of the struggling hospital, its chief executive said.

Court a Costly Resort in Protection of Patents

The only sure thing about defending a patent in court is the hefty legal bill.

Northrop to Pay Sky-High Sum in El Segundo

Los Angeles-based aerospace and defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. has signed the biggest South Bay lease by price and square footage in the last year.

Footloose

A Marina del Rey sporting goods shop is helping Freeline Skates gain some sales traction.

Creditor Looks to Bring Footwear Chain to Heel

Creditor Wells Fargo is putting its foot down over what it sees as Shoe

A Guild Divided Against Itself

The quest by the Screen Actors Guild for a sharply improved labor contract has a new plot line: mutiny.

Wall Street Taking Second Look at Alternative to Lasik Surgery

A new CEO has resuscitated the outlook for Monrovia medical device maker Staar Surgical.

Restless Retirees

Business news from around L.A. County.

On Golden Pond?

Alternative fuel company OriginOil has based its business on a tiny source of energy: algae.

Special Report: THE NEXT BIG THINGS

Caltech and Northrop Grumman locked up the two top spots in the Business Journal's assessment of local patent filers.

Water Utility Announces CEO Succession

American States Water Co. said that its chief executive will retire at the end of the year and Chief Financial Officer Robert Sprowls will succeed him.

Railing Against Air Pollution

Richard Risemberg is hoping to fast track a plan to switch the U.S. rail system to electric-diesel trains.

SpaceX Rocket Fails to Deliver Payload

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. had yet another grim reminder of just how difficult it is to get into space when its third consecutive rocket failed to reach orbit over the weekend.

Judge Rejects Mistrial in Bratz Suit

A federal judge has rejected a defense motion for a mistrial in the Mattel vs. Bratz case.

LABJ SUPPLEMENTS and GUIDES

THE 2008 BUSINESS ALMANAC

L.A. Legacy

Broadway Financial CEO Paul Hudson has followed his grandfather and father into the local banking business.

Men at Work

Thom Beers, whose reality series focus on blue-collar jobs, turned his cameras on a high-rise construction crew in downtown L.A.

It Knows The Drill

Political wrangling has PXP's proposed Baldwin Hills drilling project on shaky ground.

News Round-up

Meruelo Maddux Lands Loan to Finish Downtown L.A. Building; DaVita Earnings Fall in Q2; On Assignment's Q2 Beats Expectations; Reliance Closes Purchase of Steel Service Center from Platinum Equity

PeopleSupport Bought by Indian Company

PeopleSupport Inc., a Los Angeles-based business process outsourcing provider that has been hurt by the weakened U.S. dollar, said it is being purchased for about $250 million in cash by a private Indian competitor.

Ghostly Gamble for Architect

Long Beach architect Kelly Sutherlin McLeod has been hired by the Westridge School in Pasadena to handle the conservation of the Pitcairn House, a home designed by famed architects Charles and Henry Greene that the school uses for offices.

Producer-Promoter Drives Into Europe With Pickup

In an effort to build its brand throughout Europe, Los Angeles-based Stratus Media Group Inc., which produces and promotes sporting events, car shows and concerts, recently acquired Swiss-based Exclusive Events S.A. in a cash and stock transaction valued

Olympic-Size Opportunity

The Olympics may provide an opening for Los Angeles to foster cultural and financial connections to China, writes Charles Crumpley.

Friday, August 1

IndyMac Files Chapter 7

As expected, IndyMac Bancorp Inc. has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and will liquidate all of its remaining assets.

Amgen Licenses Experimental Pain Drug

Amgen Inc. has agreed to license an experimental pain drug to a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson for an initial payment of $50 million and as much as $385 million in additional payments if the drug works as expected.

None Signed Up For Truck Plan

Motor carriers are idling as the deadline nears to register for the ports' truck replacement programs.

Jobless Rate Hits Four-Year High of 5.7 Percent

The nation's unemployment rate climbed to a four-year high of 5.7 percent in July as employers cut 51,000 jobs, dashing the hopes of an influx of young people looking for summer work.

Cher Asking $45 Million for Malibu Estate

Less than two years after auctioning off the contents of her Malibu, Calif., mansion, singer Cher has put the Italian Renaissance-style villa on the market for $45 million.

Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journals index of the 200 largest public companies eked out its second-straight week of gains, although it added just less than 1 percent with the companies split in half between gainers and losers.

Studios Go To Work Despite Strike Talk

After taking much of the summer off in the hopes of avoiding any more labor strife, the film biz is planning to get back to work after Labor Day.

Activision Profit More than Doubles

Activision Inc. said Friday that net income for its first quarter, which closed before its merger with Vivendi SA's online games division, more than doubled over the same period last year.