Stories for December 2008

Wednesday, December 31

Manhattan Bancorp Gets Private Capital Infusion

Manhattan Bancorp said it received $13.7 million of additional capital from Carpenter Fund Manager GP LLC. This is the second and final installment of a stock purchase agreement that makes the Irvine-based general partner of Carpenter Community BancFunds

Fannie Mae May Be Holding IndyMac Deal 'Hostage'

As the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. continues to work a backroom deal with a private equity consortium known as HoldCo, mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae is now holding the deal hostage and threatening to jeopardize the potential sale, according to so

Vitesse Reports 2008 Profit

Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. reported a small profit for its 2008 fiscal year from a combination of cost cuts and slightly higher sales.

Hong Kong May Get Shares, Not Cash, for Disney Loan

Hong Kong's government may accept equity rather than cash as repayment for part of a $782 million loan it gave to Hong Kong Disneyland, its loss-making joint venture with Walt Disney Co, according to news reports.

Creditors Force Ezri Namvar into Bankruptcy

Local businessman Ezri Namvar's plan to pay back up to $400 million he's been accused of losing has been halted by a group of his investors, who have filed involuntary bankruptcy actions against him and his L.A. investment company, Namco Capital Group Inc

Faction May Seek Ouster of Guild Negotiating Team

Adding to the drama that has engulfed contract talks between actors and Hollywood studios, moderates on the Screen Actors Guild board are expected to push for the ouster of the union's negotiators.

Tuesday, December 30

Luxury Hotels Hope Downturn Skips Hollywood

Whether the phalanx of L.A. luxury hotels just opening their doors survive the current economic downturn may well depend on Hollywood's appetite for red-carpet events.

Update: Judge May Alter Bratz Stay

The judge who barred MGA Entertainment Inc from selling or manufacturing its Bratz doll line said he is open to modifying his order to allow the toys to be sold through the end of 2009 retail season.

Genius Products Moves to Pink Sheets

Genius Products Inc. said its stock had been de-listed from the OTC Bulletin Board because the Santa Monica media company was unable to report its third quarter results on time due to prior quarterly restatements.

Tarrant Apparel Settles American Rag Suit

Tarrant Apparel Group said it has settled litigation with American Rag Cie LLC related to its license to sell American Rag apparel at Macy's.

Jakks Completes $56 Million Costume Company Purchase

Jakks Pacific Inc. said it completed its $28.3 million acquisition of Halloween costume and decoration company Disguise Inc. The transaction also includes $27.6 million for license transfer fees and liabilities.

VEDC Gets Loan From Merrill Lynch

Merrill Lynch said it had loaned $1 million to the Valley Economic Development Center that will be used to help small businesses throughout Southern California.

L.A. Clubs to Offer Cheaper Revelry

For the first time in years, clubs in this night-life mecca on Sunset Boulevard and nearby will be ringing in 2009 on Wednesday by slashing cover charges or offering special incentives, such as open bars and free hors d'oeuvres.

Monday, December 29

Update: J.C. Flowers, Others Close to IndyMac Deal

A consortium of private equity and hedge fund firms, including J.C. Flowers & Co. and Dune Capital Management, is close to a deal to buy the assets of failed mortgage lender IndyMac, said sources familiar with the negotiations.

Managed Care Provider Posts $6.5 Million Profit

Managed care provider Prospect Medical Holdings Inc. said it turned from a loss to a profit in the fourth quarter as its revenue grew by nearly a third due to an acquisition.

Kerkorian Sells Ford Stake

Kirk Kerkorian completed selling all his Ford Motor Co. shares, a plan announced in October when the billionaire investor said he would focus his investments on energy, gambling and hotels.

J & A; Shoe in Step with Customers

While most Americans step into Manolos and Nikes that were stitched together thousands of miles away, J & A; Shoe Co. cranks out 50,000 pairs of heels, wedges and thongs every month at a factory 15 miles south of downtown Los Angeles.

Update: American Apparel Names New CFO

American Apparel Inc. said it promoted Adrian Kowalewski to chief financial officer to succeed Ken Cieply, who left the company in May.

Friday, December 26

The Week's Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies narrowly closed up at the end of a shortened holiday week.

L.A.'s New Meters Raise Price of Parking

As part of a city overhaul that's expected to generate an extra $18 million as City Hall grapples with a $400 million budget deficit, the Department of Transportation is rolling out new parking meters that take credit cards - and more of your money.

Teledyne Buys Software Company

In its second acquisition in a week, Teledyne Technologies Inc. said it acquired the assets of Demo Systems LLC, which makes aircraft-data software.

L.A. Flower Grower's Composting Efforts Limited

The owner of Silver Lake Farms is cited by a city agency for composting waste not generated in her home. Officials say she will be OK if they receive no more complaints.

Lampoon Director Resigns

National Lampoon Inc., which is embroiled in an alleged stock manipulation investigation, said director Paul Skjodt had resigned and David Tornek was appointed to replace him.

Mervyns Leads Lay-off List

Nine employers alone will have laid off at least 2,744 employees in Los Angeles County this month, with bankrupt department store chain Mervyns accounting for more than 60 percent of the job losses, according to state data.

Wednesday, December 24

Capstone Plans to Sell $150 Million in Securities

Capstone Turbine Corp. said it filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to sell up to $150 million of its securities from time to time.

Building an Edgier Barbie

Barbie turns 50 next year, and her luster has faded over the years. Now, Mattel Inc. executives have begun a sweeping makeover of the doll's marketing in advance of her birthday.

MannKind Eyes Canadian Insulin Producer

SemBioSys Genetics Inc. said MannKind Corp. purchased an option to license rights to its plant-based genetically engineered human insulin for potential use in Mannkind's inhaler.

Suit Against Warner's Bronfman Dismissed

A court dismissed a $100 million lawsuit against Edgar Bronfman that claimed the Warner Music Group chief executive failed to compensate a former chief executive of publisher Simon & Schuster for assisting in the 2003 Warner buyout.

FirstFed to Fall Off Index

Standard & Poor's said it is removing FirstFed Financial Corp. from its S & P; SmallCap 600 after the close of trading on Dec. 31 because its $20.7 million market cap is well below requirements for that index.

Sale of IndyMac Bank Appears Imminent

ndyMac Bank, the California mortgage lender seized by U.S. regulators five months ago, will be sold by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. before the end of this year, said a person familiar with the matter.

NASA Takes a Leap in Outsourcing

In the biggest boost yet for commercial investment in outer space, the U.S. government awarded Hawthorne-based SpaceX and another company contracts valued at up to $3.5 billion to ship cargo to the International Space Station.

Tuesday, December 23

MOCA Accepts Broad's Lifeline

Los Angeles' financially strapped Museum of Contemporary Art has voted to accept Eli Broad's $30-million bailout offer. UCLA Chancellor Emeritus Charles E. Young was appointed the museum's first chief executive.

Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against Amgen

A federal court in Los Angeles dismissed a lawsuit against Amgen Inc. and two kidney dialysis providers that had alleged illegal promotion of Amgen's anemia drugs. The court said the complaint should have been made to regulators rather than a court.

State Regulators Crack Down on Employers

State regulators have cracked down on L.A.-area businesses in the garment and car wash industries, levying more than $200,000 in fines.

Ducommun Announces Acquisition

Ducommun Inc. said it acquired competitor DynaBil Industries Inc., which makes titanium and aluminum structural components for commercial and military aerospace craft, for $46.5 million.

Stockholder Rights Plans Adopted

The Ryland Group Inc. and BreitBurn Energy Partners L.P. said their boards have approved stockholder rights plans designed to discourage hostile takeover attempts.

Regulator in IndyMac Case Gets Reassigned

A key senator has questioned regulators' approval of a backdated cash infusion for IndyMac, a big thrift that failed in July and cost the federal insurance fund for banks nearly $9 billion. The official at the Office of Thrift Supervision who approved the

SAG Delays Strike Authorization Vote

Facing growing internal dissent, leaders of the Screen Actors Guild have postponed SAG's divisive strike authorization vote for two weeks.

Monday, December 22

New Chief Exec at Comedy Company Has Little to Smile About

Comedy content producer National Lampoon faces serious challenges after its CEO was charged in securities fraud.

Second Impressions - CEREPLAST INC.

Plastic resin manufacturer Cereplast Inc. takes aggressive steps on new plant, financing.

Newsmakers & Kudos

The Hollywood Entertainment District has named Christopher Bonbright, chief executive of Ramsey-Shilling Commercial Real Estate Services, as its president.

Advertising Executive Has High-Tech Take on Career

With a passion for technology and media, Sean Lyden said he enjoys the career challenge of staying ahead of the curve.

Restriction Zones May Give Fishermen the Hook

Bob Bertelli has been fishing for sea urchins for years off the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Catalina Island coastlines to sell at wholesale.

Unico Approves Stock Repurchase

Insurance company Unico American Corp. said its board of directors has authorized a repurchase program to acquire up to 500,000 shares of its outstanding common stock.

2008: Let's Call It a Wrap

2008 proves reading a crystal ball is still an inexact science, writes Charles Crumpley.

Chic Retail Neighborhood Victim of Retail Slowdown

In recent years, the trendy section of Robertson Boulevard between Third Street and Beverly Boulevard has become a bellwether for the local retail leasing market, exploding in popularity.

MGA Files for Stay in Bratz Ruling

MGA Entertainment Inc. has asked a judge to delay enforcing an order requiring it to turn over all of its Bratz dolls, models and marketing materials to rival Mattel Inc. until MGA can appeal his permanent injunction preventing the company from making and

Northrop to Share $14 Billion Contract

The U.S. Navy awarded a $14 billion contract to General Dynamics Corp and Northrop Grumman Corp. for eight Virginia-class submarines, the Pentagon said.

Previous Economic Downturns Provide Guidance

Lessons on the current economic downturn can be found in the previous slowdown, according to Katy Delay.

Second Impressions - CADFORCE INC.

Cadforce Inc., an outsourcer of architectural design work, finds kindred spirit in Indian company.

REGIONAL REPORT

Gumiyo, a Woodland Hills mobile marketing firm, has teamed up with the Los Angeles Times to provide the paper's auto and real estate classified ads to cell phones.

Regulator Let IndyMac Backdate Capital, Treasury Says

IndyMac Bank's U.S. regulator allowed the lender to backdate a capital infusion from its holding company to let the mortgage lender maintain "well-capitalized" status and escape regulatory sanctions, the Treasury Department's watchdog arm said.

Licensees of Bratz Dolls May Be Playing With Fire

The recent order by a federal judge that stripped MGA Entertainment Inc. of rights to the Bratz doll franchise could have ramifications for another L.A.-area company: THQ Inc.

Matters of Taste Critic's Pick of L.A. Restaurants

A taste of 2008's best reviewed eateries.

Second Impressions - RADLINK INC.

Radlink Inc.'s sales of low-cost medical imaging equipment tripped up by problems with supplier of key parts.

Teledyne Makes Acquisition

Teledyne Technologies Inc. said it bought a Baton Rouge, La. company that has developed technology used for offshore energy exploration, port surveys and dredging.

Sharing the Pain

2008 was a story of steady and often steep declines for companies that make up the LABJ 200 stock index.

Final Act For Feud?

Televisa and Univision have turned to the courts to get a clearer picture on their programming feud.

Second Impressions - MRS. MAY'S NATURALS INC.

Snack food company Mrs. May's Naturals Inc. hopes consumers take a bite on its new 99-cent product.

Another Suit Filed Against American Apparel

Another former American Apparel employee has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the company. The L.A. apparel company claims the suit, which makes charges of financial misconduct related to the company's European operations, is in retaliation fo

Namvar Hatches Another Plan for Reimbursement

Embattled businessman Ezri Namvar is working to repay his investors and stay out of bankruptcy court.

Second Impressions - EXXEL OUTDOORS INC.

Exxel Outdoors Inc. is used to standing out from the crowd.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

Anthony Pellicano was sentenced in federal court to 15 years in prison. The private investigator was convicted in August of conspiring to illegally wiretap Lisa Bonder Kerkorian, billionaire Kirk Kerkorian's ex-wife, during a child support dispute.

Cheap Dates

Some L.A.-area clubs and restaurants will be offering New Year's Eve entertainment at a discount.

Trying Times

Analysts and local business executives expect that the financial problems felt in Los Angeles will continue to take a toll in 2009.

Amgen Seeks FDA Approval of Bone Drug

Amgen Inc. said it has sought U.S. regulatory approval of denosumab, a highly anticipated bone loss drug the company hopes will replace its damaged anemia franchise as a sales accelerator for the company.

Not in Quite So Deep

Today's economy may be depressing, but reporters should lighten up on all the comparisons to the Great Depression, writes Ron Shinkman.

Second Impressions - LEXICON MARKETING

Lexicon Marketing affected as English-language instruction for Spanish speakers takes hit from economic downturn.

Privatization of Some L.A. City Operations Urged

The city of Los Angeles should consider privatizing dozens of major operations, including Ontario International Airport, according to a report commissioned by the office of City Controller Laura Chick.

IPC Buys Florida Physician Group

IPC The Hospitalist Company Inc. said it made its 10th acquisition of the year, buying National Medical Affiliates Inc. in Punta Gorda, Fla. for an undisclosed amount.

Merger Frenzy Sweeps Through Aid Associations

More non-profit organizations hope that by merging operations they can save money.

Playing the Trump Card

Patricia Gracia, president of Hispanic advertising agency Power Media Group in Santa Clarita, was in a restaurant recently finalizing a deal with a client when a man approached and asked if her group was enjoying lunch.

Battle Over Strike Authorization Continues

Even with much of the town now on vacation, the feverish battle over the Screen Actors Guild strike authorization vote will continue through the holidays.

Jersey Export

Plastic pipe maker JM Eagle left New Jersey to connect with L.A. County's work force.

California Has Eye on Stimulus Money

California is broke and cannot afford thousands of public works projects, but Uncle Sam could be riding to the rescue. Officials have identified $28 billion worth of ready-to-go projects that could benefit from President-elect Barack Obama's projected $85

Gloom & Doom in Mergers & Acquisitions World

It's no big secret that the mergers and acquisitions market is struggling. But it may even be worse than it appears.

Friday, December 19

Villaraigosa Makes Appointments

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa shuffled the deck of city commissioners, placing former Paramount Studios executive Christine Essel on the Airport Commission and naming Andrea Alarcon to the Board of Taxicab Commissioners.

American Apparel Renegotiates Debt

American Apparel Inc. said it renegotiated the terms of more than $100 million in debt, extending the maturity date until April.

Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies closed up for the week ended Dec. 19, as the markets cheered news that President Bush had approved using federal bailout funds for a $17.4 million loan to beleaguered U.S.

L.A. County's Jobless Rate Hits 8.9 Percent

L.A. County's unemployment rate shot up to 8.9 percent in November, it's highest level in 14 years, as the recession continued hammering the region's construction, retail and manufacturing sectors and spread to the leisure and food service industries.

Update: Governor Rejects Democratic Budget Plan

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he will not sign a package of bills Democrats sent him to increase taxes and make program cuts, an $18 billion effort passed without Republican votes.

L.A. Port Terminal Expansion Approved

After six years of delays and legal wrangling, China Shipping Holding Co. will finally undergo a massive $85 million expansion at the Port of Los Angeles under a plan approved by the Board of Harbor Commissioners.

Obama Picks Solis as Labor Secretary

President-elect Barack Obama announced the final selections for his Cabinet, naming Rep. Hilda L. Solis (D-Calif.) as labor secretary.

Redstone and Daughter Said to Clash on Debt Plan

When Sumner Redstone was forced to sell more than $200 million of stock in CBS and Viacom to satisfy terms of a big bank loan, the media mogul and his executive daughter appeared presented a united front. That's turned out not to have been the case.

Live Nation Takes $19 Million Hit on U2 Deal

Live Nation Inc. bought back 1.6 million of its shares from Irish rock band U2 for $25 million, taking a $19 million loss on the deal, according to a report the Beverly Hills concert promoter filed with regulators Thursday.

Thursday, December 18

Teledyne Reynolds Settles Contract Dispute

Teledyne Reynolds Inc. agreed to settle allegations that a company it acquired had fraudulently overbilled the U.S. Air Force. The L.A. defense contractor, which agreed to pay the government $825,000, did not admit any wrongdoing.

Tetra Tech Awarded Contract

Tetra Tech Inc. said it was awarded a $240 million contract to provide various services to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Peoples Liberation Partners with Charlotte Russe

People's Liberation Inc. said it is pulling its trendy denim apparel out of high-end department stores, and has made boutique retailer Charlotte Russe Holding Inc. its exclusive distributor in North and Central America.

Century Plaza Owners Unveil Redevelopment Plan

Next Century Associates LLC, which bought the Century Plaza hotel site in June, unveiled plans to demolish the iconic Hyatt Regency hotel and create a $2 billion mixed-use project on the 5.75 acre Century City site.

National Lampoon Chief Resigns

National Lampoon Inc. said Chief Executive Daniel S. Laikin resigned in the wake of his indictment earlier this week on charges related to an alleged stock manipulation scheme.

Bond Issue Would Enhance Stadium Project

With developer Ed Roski poised to build an NFL stadium and retail project on the east side of City of Industry, its City Council is asking voters to approve an unusually large $500 million infrastructure bond next month.

TV Guide Network Sold for $300 Million

Macrovision, the owner of TV Guide, has found a buyer for its utilitarian television network of program listings.

L.A. Congresswoman Tapped for Labor Secretary

Barack Obama has selected Los Angeles congresswoman Hilda Solis to run his Labor Department, a labor source confirmed.

Wednesday, December 17

Disney to Issue $1 Billion in Corporate Bonds

Walt Disney Co. plans to raise $1 billion via five-year notes in its first U.S. bond offering in more than a year, according to media reports.

A Reprieve for Redstone

It's starting to look like embattled mogul Sumner Redstone will have a reasonably happy,or at least quiet,Hanukkah after all. The 85-year-old majority owner of CBS and Viacom, who is struggling to restructure $1.6 billion in defaulted debt, won't have to

Center Financial Settles Dispute

Center Financial Corp. said it settled all disputes with First Intercontinental Bank concerning its cancelled acquisition of the Georgia commercial bank, It will pay Intercontinental $100,000 but not admit any wrongdoing.

MTA Chief Snoble to Retire

Roger Snoble, chief of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for seven years, plans to announce his retirement Wednesday.

Huntington Park Lender Charged with Investment Fraud

The owner of Best Diamond Funding in Huntington Park was arrested on federal charges of running a Ponzi scheme that lured more than 2,000 mostly Hispanic victims into investing more than $62 million, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.

Liberty Says Spinoff May Take Six Months

Liberty Media Corp.'s proposed spinoff of its stake in DirecTV Group Inc. and other entertainment assets may take four to six months to complete, Chief Executive Officer Greg Maffei said.

Black Sabbath Guitarist Sues Live Nation

Anthony Iommi, lead guitarist of the rock band Black Sabbath, sued Live Nation Inc. for trademark infringement, charging that a subsidiary illegally sold merchandise using images of the band.

Hollywood Figures Snared in Madoff Scandal

Screenwriter Eric Roth, Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg are among those who suffered losses in investment manager Bernie Madoff's alleged $50-billion Ponzi scheme.

Entravision Receives NYSE Warning

Entravision Communications said it has been warned by the New York Stock Exchange that the Spanish-language TV and radio station owner must raise its stock price in order to remain listed on the stock exchange.

State Public Works Projects Halted

A board headed by State Treasurer Bill Lockyer voted unanimously to freeze $3.8 billion in state financing for more than 2,000 road, levee, school and housing construction projects throughout California until the state budget is balanced.

City Council Enacts New Billboard Ban

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a temporary ban on new billboards. The ban will last three months while the city attorney and planning department draft permanent changes to L.A.'s sign ordinances.

Tuesday, December 16

LAX Hilton Hit with Class Action Suit

Workers at the LAX Hilton filed a purported class action lawsuit against the hotel, alleging a pattern of violations of California wage and hour laws since at least 2004. The action is the latest salvo in the hotel's ongoing dispute with workers who have

Madoff Scandal Hits SoCal's Jewish Community

Wall Street financier Bernard L. Madoff's alleged $50-billion Ponzi scheme appears to have extended deeply into Southern California's Jewish community, with millions of dollars in losses tallied by charitable organizations, Hollywood executive Jeffrey Kat

Cortines Named Schools Superintendent

The Los Angeles Board of Education voted to give Ramon Cortines a second try as superintendent, giving him a three-year contract to take over from David Brewer at the beginning of next year.

Disney Launches TV Channel in Russia

The Walt Disney Co. said it is launching a Disney-branded television channel on 30 TV stations in Russia in a joint venture with station owner Media-One Holdings Ltd.

Obagi Expands Japanese Partnership

Obagi Medical Products Inc. announced an expansion of its relationship with Rohto Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., a manufacturer of over-the-counter personal care products and Obagi's marketing and distribution partner in Japan.

Dennis Quaid, Wife, Settle with Cedars-Sinai

Documents show Dennis Quaid and his wife have agreed to a a $750,000 settlement with a hospital that gave his newborn twins an overdose of blood thinner in 207.

Las Lomas Review Rejected

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge upheld the city of Los Angeles' rejection of the controversial 5,553-home Las Lomas real estate development project in the Antelope Valley, dealing a serious setback to the project.

Monday, December 15

No Insurance

Andy Funk gave up his German family's insurance business for L.A. and software startups.

Free Parking Finds a Spot in Hearts of Shoppers

What's a draw for L.A. shoppers? Two words: free parking.

Case for Quitting His Day Job

Andrew Spitser is an indie rock musician who's used to being on stage, but his Dec. 6 performance at the Key Club on Sunset Boulevard was particularly nerve-wracking.

Leno to Act as Prime Mover

Charles Crumpley writes that Jay Leno's move into prime time will mean even less work for L.A. actors.

L.A. Hockey Team Hopes to Thaw Fan Relations

The Los Angeles Kings are hoping for some new hockey fans.

REGIONAL REPORT

Westwood-based law firm Richardson & Patel LLP has launched an Economic Solutions Group for its clients to address concerns in the current economic environment. The firm specializes in corporate securities, litigation and bankruptcy.

L.A.'s Hedges Get Clipped

L.A. hedge funds are traveling the same tough road as their older and bigger counterparts in New York.

Update: Stars Sends Anti-Strike Letter to SAG

As SAG called off an emergency Friday board meeting, more than 130 stars -- including George Clooney, Matt Damon and Tom Hanks -- have strongly urged SAG members to vote down the guild's strike authorization.

Better Than One

Special effects house Mastersfx still likes to get physical with its film and TV creations.

Defense Company Departs Office in Long Beach

Two large lease deals have recently been brokered at 1500 Hughes Way in Long Beach, long the home of Raytheon Co.

Rolled Up

Trio's taco truck gives a Korean spin to meals on wheels.

L.A. Firm Severs Ties With Owner in New York

An L.A. law firm that was owned by New York attorney Marc Dreier ended its relationship with him when he was charged with securities fraud last week.

Ports Push Projects Despite Rocky Economy

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach want to move ahead with expansion projects would cut pollution, create jobs and prepare the complex for a shipping rebound, officials say.

LAX Projects Would Help Area Economy Take Off

Investing in LAX will help Los Angeles' economy take off, according to Bill Allen.

Newsmakers

Maurice Hebert has been named chief financial officer of Hythiam, a West L.A. company that provides addiction treatment programs for health plans and employers.

Accounting Executive Conducts Career by the Numbers

Chicago native Bill Browning knew that he would go into accounting as soon as he graduated from the University of Oklahoma.

Pellicano Gets 15 Years

Private investigator Anthony Pellicano was sentenced in federal court to 15 years in prison over the illegal wiretapping of the ex-wife of billionaire Kirk Kerkorian.

Driven Dealership

Car dealership Galpin Ford looks to corral customers with deeply discounted Mustangs.

PROFILE: CANYON CAPITAL ADVISORS LLC

Founded by three ex-Drexel Burnham Lambert executives, Canyon Capital Advisors has emerged as one of the largest hedge fund shops in Los Angeles.

Music Instrument Retailer Tunes In Video Game Fans

Is the Activion Blizzard's "Guitar Hero" video game franchise a gateway drug to becoming a rock star?

PROFILE: LAHDE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT LLC

In an industry built on discretion, the 37-year-old Andrew Lahde has earned a reputation for his outspokenness.

Restaurant Operator Taking Stock Off the Menu

A plan to take restaurant chain operator Grill Concepts private could serve up savings.

Liberty Media to Continue DirectTV Spin-off

Despite the volatile stock market, Liberty Media Corp. said its board agreed to continue plans to spin off Liberty Entertainment group, which includes El Segundo satellite operator DirecTV Group Inc., into a separate publicly traded company.

Westlake Village a Business-Friendly Standout

Westlake Village stands out among as the most business-friendly city in L.A. County, according to a new study from Kosmont Cos. and the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College.

Update: National Lampoon Chief Indicted in Stock Scam

National Lampoon Inc. executives and consultants, including Chief Executive Daniel Laikin, were charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission and federal investigators in connection with an alleged stock manipulation scheme.

MediaNews Chief Sees Bad Timing, Not Bad Bets

Dean Singleton expanded his newspaper empire at the worst possible time, in the worst part of the country he could have chosen, and he has been paying the price ever since in plummeting advertising and shrinking papers. Yet somehow, even in today's advers

Candy Man

Auto engineer Christopher Pratt's personal drive led him to launch online retailer CandyWarehouse.com.

Laid Off Lawyers Often Subjected to Spin Cycle

Local law firms take different approaches to control spin about layoffs.

PROFILE: DALTON INVESTMENTS LLC

Since it was founded a decade ago, Dalton Investments, a West Los Angeles hedge fund firm with $800 million under management, has found lucrative investment opportunities in the Asian equity markets.

Building From Underground Up

The MTA's planned subway expansion should encourage mixed-use development, according to Ernesto Vasquez and Jeffrey Mayer.

Stuck Trucks

Truck operators that made the shift at the ports to "green" trucks feel like they got the shaft.

DaVita Gets Subpoena

Dialysis clinic chain DaVita Inc. said it is responding to a federal subpoena for documents related to Medicare claims for several drugs. The subpoena is related to a previously announced investigation.

Hollywood Park About to Ride Into the Sunset

Developers are betting on a retail-residential project to replace the Hollywood Park race track.

Mattel Settles With States Over Tainted Toys

Mattel Inc. agreed to pay $12 million to 39 U.S. states to settle claims it shipped toys tainted with lead paint, attorneys general in various states said.

PROFILE: DORCHESTER CAPITAL ADVISORS LLC

Michael Halpern and Mark Zucker head up one of L.A.'s largest hedge fund companies, with three "funds of funds" that invest in other hedge funds.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

The owner of the Los Angeles Times and KTLA Channel 5 filed for Chapter 11 reorganization, seeking time to deal with its mountain of debt.

Former KB Home Executive Pleads Guilty

A former executive of KB Home pleaded guilty to conspiring to obstruct justice in connection with stock option backdating at the L.A.-based home builder.

How Developer Exploited Rival's 'Onerous' Debt

Buying debt gave Hines of Houston an opportunity to pick up L.A. properties on the cheap in a down economy.

Hedge Funds in the Spotlight

The Wall Street crisis has led to talk of increased government scrutiny of hedge funds.

PROFILE: TELESIS CAPITAL LLC

For Rishi Narang, the key to hedge fund management is all in the numbers. Narang takes a quantitative analysis approach to investing.

Satellite TV Service Expected to Retain High Viewership

Analysts expect satellite TV service DirecTV to channel subscribers despite an economic slowdown.

Saturday, December 13

Homeboy Industries' Money Crunch

Father Gregory Boyle's Homeboy Industries deserves everyone's help, argues columnist Tim Ruttan. The state and the county are cutting off aid to the L.A. anti-gang program, and donations are drying up.

Screen Actors Guild Faces Dissension

An East Coast faction of the Screen Actors Guild has called for the union to suspend an upcoming vote to authorize a strike amid stalled negotiations with Hollywood producers.

Friday, December 12

Update: More Banks to Get TARP Funds

Three more Los Angeles area banks said they are participating in the U.S. Treasury Department's Capital Purchase Program.

State Board Approves Diesel Truck Restrictions

State air regulators have adopted the nation's most sweeping regulation of diesel trucks and buses, requiring all diesel truck owners to either put expensive filters on their rigs or to replace their engines.

MGA to File Appeal

Lawyers for MGA Entertainment Inc. have notified a federal court that the Van Nuys toymaker intends to appeal a permanent injunction preventing the company from making and selling its Bratz dolls.

Burton Appointed to Planning Commission

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa filled two positions on city commissions important to the business community. One of the appointments was of investment executive Sean Burton to the city's Planning Commission,

Former City of Angels Head Pleads Guilty

A former L.A. hospital executive admitted he paid a man to recruit homeless people for unnecessary medical treatment in a scheme to bilk government health programs out of millions of dollars.

Macerich Finds New Anchors for Mervyns Sites

Macerich Co. said retailers Forever 21 and Kohl's are expected to move into 22 of 41 Mervyns locations it owns once the retailer completes its liquidation sales and closes.

Economy Delays New Fashion Industry Event

The launch of Reveal Los Angeles, a fashion show planned as a rival to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, has been postponed to October 2009 due to the economy, according to a spokeswoman for the show.

DreamWorks Drawing Up New Ventures

DreamWorks Animation SKG is launching its franchise characters into new lines of business, giving the Glendale studio a chance to grow steadily and consistently even during a recession that already is slowing its DVD sales.

Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies closed up for the week ended Dec. 12, as the overall markets cheered news that the White House was willing to use federal bailout funds to aid the Big Three automakers.

Apparel Company Announces Layoffs

Vernon-based BCBGMaxAzriaGroup Inc. has laid off 125 employees across all areas of the company's operations, according to a company spokesperson.

Thursday, December 11

Forecast Sees Continuing Weak Office Market

Office and industrial properties across the Southland will continue to feel the effects of business closures and slower global trade well into 2009, according to the latest forecast from University of Southern California's Lusk Center for Real Estate.

Foreclosures Rise in L.A. County

Home foreclosures in Los Angeles County in November rose 69 percent from the same month a year earlier, according to a new report from RealtyTrac Inc., an Irvine-based seller of foreclosure data.

Forecast Sees Recession Through 2009

Next year will be an ugly one for the California economy with continued job losses and falling incomes as the nationwide recession deepens, according to the latest quarterly forecast from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Who Cares About The Golden Globes?

They're derided as the goofy stepkids of the Oscars, looked down on by much of the elite press. Want to know who pays serious attention to the Golden Globes? The people who matter: Hollywood's bean counters.

DineEquity Suspends Dividend

DineEquity Inc. said it will suspend its quarterly cash dividend for the "foreseeable future" and use the money instead to pay down debt.

From 'For Sale' to 'For Lease'

A downturn in the real estate market and a precipitous drop in qualified buyers are prompting the conversion of downtown L.A. condominiums into rental units.

SAG Could Strike by End of January

The Screen Actors Guild has made its strike threat official, announcing it will send out authorization ballots Jan. 2 and reveal the results Jan. 23 -- setting the stage for an Oscars boycott and a halt to most production.

Wednesday, December 10

Ducommun Wins Raytheon Contract

Ducommun Inc., which provides engineering and manufacturing services to the aerospace industry, said a subsidiary received a multi-year contract from Raytheon Co. potentially worth more than $102 million.

L.A. Investor Wants Yahoo to Sell Search Engine

Ivory Investment Management LP, a Los Angeles-based hedge fund and one of Yahoo Inc.'s largest shareholders, called for the Internet company to pursue a sale of its search engine unit to Microsoft.

Port of L.A. to Cut Spending

The slumping economy has forced the Port of Los Angeles to cut its current spending budget by more than $20.5 million amid a projected 20 to 30 percent decline in shipments during the first quarter of 2009.

Beverly Center Pet Shop Moving Out After Protest

The Beverly Center said it will terminate the lease of Pet Love at the end of January. The move came after Best Friends Animal Society set up information tables at the mall protesting the popular store's alleged practice of selling animals from puppy mill

Poor Economy Hurts Korn/Ferry's Quarter

Korn/Ferry International Inc. said a global slowdown in hiring caused its net income to drop 20 percent in its second quarter, prompting the executive recruiter to cut 400 jobs.

CKE Profit Falls 13 Percent in Quarter

CKE Restaurants Inc. said its third-quarter net income fell 13 percent, primarily due to interest expenses unrelated to sales at its Carl's Jr. and Hardee's fast food restaurants.

SAG to Meet Again in L.A.

Ramping up its strike authorization campaign, the Screen Actors Guild has scheduled a third town hall meeting Dec. 17 at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel -- aiming to assure members that they won't be turned away.

Cherokee Profit Falls 12 Percent

Apparel brand licensing company Cherokee Inc. said the poor economy and a weak dollar overseas drove down net income by 12 percent in its third quarter.

Emotive Gets Funding, Makes Acquisition

Emotive Communications said it completed its second round of venture capital financing. The $6.25 million infusion enabled the Los Angeles mobile entertainment developer to acquire Sennari Entertainment, which makes networked games for cell phones and oth

Tuesday, December 9

Grill Concepts Plans to Delist Stock

Arguing that it is too costly to remain a public company, Grill Concepts Inc. said it plans to ask shareholder permission to cease registration of the company's common stock and stop trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market.

SAG Members Gather to Endorse Strike

About 400 Screen Actors Guild members at a meeting in Hollywood have given their leaders an enthusiastic, though still unofficial endorsement of the guild's push for a strike authorization.

Update: Brewer to Leave LAUSD

The Los Angeles Board of Education voted 5-2 to buy out the contract of Supt. David Brewer. That clears the way for Ramon Cortines, who had been the mayor's chief education adviser, to get the top job.

CKE Restaurants to Expand to Kazakhstan

CKE Restaurants Inc. said it will build 12 Carl's Jr. restaurants in Kazakhstan over the next five years in partnership with a longtime overseas franchisee.

Second 'Green' Hangar Proposed for Valley

Maguire Aviation and Shangri-La Construction said they are in negotiations to build a "green" jet hangar at Van Nuys Airport. The facility would be similar to a $17-million environmentally friendly facility that Shangri-La unveiled Tuesday at Bob Hope Air

Census Portrays More of a Melting Pot in SoCal

The integration of Southern California's suburban communities continued apace into the second half of the decade, driven by steadily growing numbers of Latinos and Asians moving into middle-class neighborhoods, according to new census data.

Workers Pay for Tribune Debacle

Sam Zell financed much his $8.2 billion takeover of Tribune Co. last year by borrowing against part of the future of his employees' pension plan. In the wake of this week's Chapter 11 filing, Los Angeles Times and other Tribune employees probably be left

Northrop Gets Navy Contract

Northrop Grumman Corp. said it has won a $15.5 million order for the fifth year of a five-year contract to provide technical help on navigation systems installed on U.S. Navy ships and submarines.

Caruso's Montecito Project Can Proceed

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors has upheld the Montecito Planning Commission's approval of Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso's Miramar resort project.

Monday, December 8

Making the Grade

LAUSD's new school campuses are designed to function as community centers, writes Adrian Cohen.

Asianada Changes Name, Adds CEO

Blank check company Asianada Inc. said it changed its name to Lateral Media Inc. and a former Disney executive, Jeffrey Schwartz, has come on board as chairman and chief executive.

Homebuyers Flocking to Foreclosed Properties

November's home prices drop 31 percent from the same month last year while buyers snap up cheap foreclosed properties.

Still Running Hard

Some guys just can't slow down. In this special report, the Business Journal features eight Angelenos who are 80 or older and not only still in the race, but outpacing many of the young guys in their 50s and 60s.

Trade Schools Are Learning Lending

Some local vocational schools help students make the grade by offering loans to pay tuition.

Profile: Tom Jones

SPECIAL REPORT: Eight in Their 80s

For Tom Jones, former chief executive of Northrop Corp., retirement was just the end of Act I.

Angelenos Still Waking Up With KTTV Morning Trio

When it comes to morning news on L.A.'s local television, Fox's KTTV (Channel 11) continued to dominate the ratings through this year's November "sweeps," a period of time that is used to set shows' advertising value.

Picture Appears Cloudy for Popular Video-Streaming Web Site

Video site Hulu.com is drawing audiences and ad dollars, but rivals are stepping up their services.

Profile: Sorrell Trope

Attorney Sorrell Trope considers retiring the equivalent of dying.

SAG to Hold Bicoastal Town Meetings with Members

The Screen Actors Guild, with its upcoming strike authorization vote in the spotlight, will take the town's temperature via a pair of meetings to update members, publicists and managers.

Walt Disney to Boost Ownership of Jetix Europe

The Walt Disney Co. said a unit will boost its ownership share of European children's media company Jetix Europe NV. The company is known for its Asian-inspired Power Rangers and other animated TV programs.

Conejo Valley Retains Outsource Sales Company

Cydcor Inc., an outsource sales operations company based in Westlake Village, has recommitted to the Conejo Valley, an office market that's been hit hard by the real estate slowdown.

Profile: George Phillips Sr.

George Phillips Sr. is still at work because wants to see his investments come to fruition.

Ride the Big Three Automakers Out of Town on a Rail

Instead of bailing out the Big Three automakers, money should be spent on mass transit, according to Richard Risemberg.

REGIONAL REPORT

Zalemark Inc., a Sherman Oaks jewelry designer and maker, has merged with Dallas-based investment firm Charis Industries Inc.

Golf Caddy Co. Shifts to Electric Vehicles

What started with online sales of motorized golf caddies has turned into a thriving Ventura County business that could soon grow into a dealership for electric vehicles.

Busted Ventures Rock Persian Jewish Community

A Brentwood businessman's collapsed ventures have rattled Westside's Persian Jewish community.

Fink v. Charney

Attorney Keith Fink doesn't shrink from high-profile fights with the likes of Ellen DeGeneres and American Apparel's Dov Charney.

Push and Pull

A high price and possibly exaggerated benefits are hurdles to sales of Romfab's exercise machine.

CEO's Demand Performance Spurs Yahoo Talk

Richard Rosenblatt wants to be clear: He's not interested in being chief executive of Yahoo Inc.

Update: NBC Universal Reveals Details of Exec Shuffle

NBC Universal announced its long-anticipated executive shakeup in its TV divisions, with international production chief Angela Bromstad taking over the company's scripted efforts and former BBC Worldwide Prods. president Paul Telegdy joining the network a

Profile: Julian Myers

SPECIAL REPORT: Eight in Their Eighties

The best day of Julian Myers' career was the morning he got Marilyn Monroe out of bed.

Holding Companies Banking on Rescue Funding

Local bank holding companies Center Financial Corp. and First California Financial Group Inc. can now count themselves among the growing number of institutions to receive funds under the U.S. Treasury Department's financial rescue program.

Profile: David S. Smith

Attorney David S. Smith has no intention of vegetating at home in his 90s.

MGA Draws Up Battle Plan After Doll Verdict

Mattel's court victory in the Bratz doll case may mean curtains for MGA.

Update: Debt-Laden Tribune Co. Files Chapter 11

Tribune Co. filed for bankruptcy protection as the Chicago-based owner of the Los Angeles Times and KTLA Channel 5 tries to buy time to deal with $13 billion in debt.

Case Study

Attorney Gloria Allred was a single mom and teacher before switching to law.

Some Love for eHarmony

Charles Crumpley writes that opponents of eHarmony's same-sex site may have misdirected their passion.

Tough Neighborhood

A homeowners association may stand in the way of a deal for a Beverly Hills megamansion.

Doggie Digs

D Pet Hotels in Hollywood offers high-end service to discriminating dogs.

Lenders Court Lawsuits With Modified Mortgages

An investor suit challenging Countrywide's home-loan modifications may signal trouble for similar programs.

Profile: John Anderson

At 91, Topa Equities Chief Executive John Anderson continues to stick by his motto to always be ethical in business and do the right thing.

Boosted Image?

Hollywood heads are being scratched over Nyx's $100 million buyout of video distributor Image.

Profile: Saul Levine

Broadcaster Saul Levine says the secret of success is hard work, and lots of it.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

Skechers USA Inc. has settled litigation with rival Crocs Inc. that will require the trendy Manhattan Beach shoemaker to stop making products similar to Crocs' signature plastic clogs.

Mumbai Security Not an Issue

Entertainment attorney Arnold Peter was booked on a flight to Mumbai and a room at the Taj Mahal Palace last week in order to put some deals together between Hollywood and Bollywood.

City May Have Less in Store for Pot Dispensaries

Three members of the L.A. City Council have asked City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo's office to make a less restrictive draft ordinance to regulate the city's medical marijuana dispensaries.

Newsmakers

Oversee.net, a downtown Los Angeles online marketing company, has named Lawrence Ng chairman and Jeff Kupietzky president. Ng is co-founder of the company.

Profile: Alfred Mann

SPECIAL REPORT: Eight in Their 80s

Serial entrepreneur Alfred Mann generally puts in longer hours now than when he founded his first company more than a half-century ago.

Friday, December 5

Cost Cuts Boost UTi Worldwide's Profits

Freight logistics company UTi Worldwide Inc. said its third-quarter net income beat Wall Street expectations, rising 8.6 percent as cost-cutting offset declining freight revenues.

New Team Targets Port Smugglers

A new law enforcement task force charged with thwarting smugglers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has confiscated 140 pounds of cocaine, 50 weapons and $25 million worth of counterfeit goods in just five weeks.

City Council Re-Authorizes Billboard Count

The Los Angeles City Council voted to re-authorize a billboard inspection program that will charge fees from outdoor advertising companies.

Toy Companies Settle Lead Suit

Mattel Inc. and eight other toy companies agreed to pay nearly $1.8 million to settle a California lawsuit over Chinese-made toys tainted with lead.

SEIU Probe Top Official's Role in Ex-Boyfriend's Deal

The SEIU is investigating whether union official Annelle Grajeda helped former boyfriend Alejandro Stephens, who had headed an Los Angeles local that merged with hers, stay on the L.A. County payroll. She denies wrongdoing.

Viacom, NBC Universal Plan Job Cuts

Viacom Inc. and NBC Universal are cutting a combined 1,350 positions worldwide as the recession slows advertising sales and movie revenue.

Behind The Scenes With An Obsessive Collector

One L.A. memorabilia dealer's search for the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West.

Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies was virtually unchanged for the week ended Dec. 5 as investors pondered whether the federal government will step in to help the economy following the loss of more than half

Thursday, December 4

MannKind Says Study Upholds Product's Safety

Shares of MannKind Corp. rose after the Valencia biotech said a new study indicates its inhaled insulin product didn't cause adverse lung effects.

Update: Mattel Stock Rallies Following Court Victory

Shares of Mattel Inc. rose in morning trading after the Barbie doll maker won a permanent injunction banning rival toymaker MGA Entertainment Inc. from making and selling Bratz dolls, which were found to infringe on Mattel's copyrights.

Guess Profit Rises, But Outlook Tempered

Guess Inc. said its net income rose 10 percent in the third quarter, beating expectations. But the apparel retailer cut its full-year revenue and profit outlook, citing the slowing economy.

Luxury Brands Go Over the Top to Connect with Clients

Lavish parties and extravagant events are in vogue as the economic slowdown causes marketers to focus on their high-net-worth customers.

Edison Gets OK for Solar Plants

Edison International received state approval to go ahead with a contract with a local solar energy startup for new solar power plants in Kern County.

Wednesday, December 3

Skechers, Crocs Settle Litigation

Skechers USA Inc. has settled litigation with rival Crocs Inc. that will require the trendy Manhattan Beach shoe maker to stop making products similar to Crocs' signature plastic clogs, the companies said.

Timing Tricky for SAG Contract Demand

As Hollywood braces for what could be its second labor walkout in a year, the fundamental contract issue dividing the Screen Actors Guild and the major studios is what the future holds for online entertainment.

Aerovironment's Profits Rise 78 Percent in Quarter

Aerovironment Inc. shares jumped 7 percent in after-hours trading after the company reported better-than-expected second quarter results, driven by higher sales of its unmanned aircraft and its energy systems.

Farmer Bros. Buys Sara Lee Coffee Delivery Business

Farmer Bros. Co. said it is buying Sara Lee Corp.'s foodservice coffee business for $45 million.

Activision Signs Ad Deal with Microsoft Unit

Massive Inc., Microsoft Corp.'s video game advertising unit, said it signed deals with Activision Blizzard Inc. to provide ads for its Blizzard's Web sites and the Battle.net online game service in the U.S. and several other countries.

Broad Says No Strings on $30-million MOCA Bailout Offer

When Eli Broad announced recently that he wanted to help bail out the financially woebegone Museum of Contemporary Art by making a $30-million "investment" in its rescue, his choice of words made some wonder what he might want in return. But billionaire p

Google Signs Ad Deal with Hallmark Channel

A deal between Google Inc. and the Hallmark Channel will enable advertisers to place ads on Hallmark's television channels through the Internet search operator, the companies said.

Gifting Suites on the Wane

Like the red carpet, gifting suites have become a staple of the awards-show experience. This year, with the Golden Globes and other events occurring in the midst of a severe economic downturn, they're more in the spotlight than ever.

Tuesday, December 2

Update: Voters Approve Measures H and R

Measure H, the Beverly Hills referendum that would allow the construction of two condo buildings and a Waldorf-Astoria hotel at the site of the Beverly Hilton, has passed by a slim margin of 129 votes. Measure R, the half-cent county sales tax increase fo

SAG: We Don't Want to Strike

Leaders of the Screen Actors Guild have told their 120,000 members that they don't want to strike -- even though they're seeking an authorization from them to do so.

Fabian N & #250; & #324;ez Joins Zenith's Board

Zenith National Insurance Corp. said former Assembly Speaker Fabian N & #250; & #324;ez has been appointed to its board of directors.

53 SoCal Office Buildings Change Hands

A major Texas developer said it took possession of 53 Southern California office buildings last week in a transaction valued at almost $1.4 billion after the previous owners were unable keep up their loan payments. Among the properties are Beverly Atrium

Port Cargo Fee Postponed

Citing the poor economy, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners voted to delay for at least six months the collection of a cargo container fee that would help fund road, rail and bridge improvements in the harbor area.

Live Nation Will Sell Tickets at Blockbuster Outlets

Live Nation Inc. said it has made Blockbuster Inc. a preferred outlet for selling tickets for its concerts and live events around the country.

Countrywide Sued Over Loan Deal

Countrywide Financial Corp. was sued by Greenwich Financial Services Fund over claims an agreement to reduce payments on mortgages by $8.4 billion would hurt investors.

Monday, December 1

L.A. Gets a Live One

L.A. Live is filling out as five businesses are poised to open in the downtown project by Saturday.

Bikini Maker's Big Splash

Three months after swimsuit designer Ashley Paige made her life available for the world on the TLC reality show "Bikini or Bust," Paige is a star and her shop on Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood is a destination.

Playing It Up

Michael Griffith of hit video-game developer Activision, sees similarities with his stint at Procter & Gamble.

Newsmakers

Real estate investment firm CB Richard Ellis Investors has appointed Peter DiCorpo chief operating officer in its downtown L.A. office.

Same-Sex Site Hits Sour Note For eHarmony

Matchmaking site eHarmony is getting little love for its decision to launch a gay-dating service.

Symark International Appoints Chief Executive Officer

Business software maker Symark International said that John Mutch was appointed chief executive officer.

Firms Partner to Put Companies in Positive Light

Two marketing companies have consummated a Hollywood marriage aimed at making companies look like they care.

Beyond Reach of Relief

Charles Crumpley suspects some borrowers are beyond the help of home-loan modification programs.

Update: Redstone Talks Over Debt Load Proceed Slowly

Sumner Redstone's family holding company National Amusements Inc. is sitting on a trove of cash and near-term liquid assets of around $500 million after its latest deal to exit Midway Games Inc. But it is still far from out of the woods,

American Apparel Files Pre-Emptive Lawsuit

In an unusual step, American Apparel Inc. filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against a former employee in an attempt to pre-empt a wrongful discrimination lawsuit from her.

Office Building Goes Under the Knife in Encino

How tight is the L.A. County medical office market?

NEWS OF THE WEEK

A federal judge sentenced prominent entertainment attorney Terry Christensen to three years in prison and fined him $250,000 for conspiring to illegally wiretap the ex-wife of billionaire Kirk Kerkorian.

Media Bias

Quant the News' Stockmood Web site assesses news stories on companies to help investors place their money.

J2 Global Makes Communications Acquisitions

J2 Global Communications Inc. said it acquired most of MailWise LLC and the fax and voice messaging units of Mijanda Inc.

Marketing Exec Covered Lot of Ground at Various Jobs

Because her father was in the Air Force, Angela Courtin traveled the world as a child. She currently applies her business acumen at social networking site MySpace.

Charity Groups Finding Savior In Foundation

The Weingart Foundation is offering relief to pinched non-profits by picking up operating expenses.

Shot Taker

Tim Garrett's firm helps young hoopsters export their game to Europe.

Los Angeles Firm Prefers Midwestern Sensibility

They tried life as a boutique for more than two years, and now they need the muscle that a partnership with a big firm can provide.

Lost in Translation

Financial terms used by politicians keep Californians from knowing what's at stake, writes Daniel J.B. Mitchell.

CKE Restaurants Announces Carl's Jr. Expansion

CKE Restaurants Inc. said three franchisees will open 51 new Carl's Jr. restaurants in Nevada and Idaho over the next decade.

Simulations Plus Shows Growth in Quarter

Specialty software developer Simulations Plus Inc. said its fourth quarter net income rose 17 percent despite a drop in revenue from a year ago.

Bellflower Firm Charged with Fraud

In one of the largest fraud cases of its kind, two executives of a Bellflower staffing company have been charged with defrauding the State Workers' Compensation Insurance Fund out of $18 million.

Business Hazard

Employers are bracing for a big bump in carriers' premiums for workers' comp.

Airports in a Dogfight Over Jet Noise

A raging noise battle between Burbank's national Bob Hope Airport and the general aviation Van Nuys Airport is getting louder. And residents at both ends of the San Fernando Valley are losing sleep over it.

Promotional Partnership on Cancer Drug May Have Run Course

Drug maker Abraxis is expected to pull the plug on its promotional partnership with Sweden's AstraZeneca.

Got 'Em Covered

Rubicon Project's Helix program keeps pop-up porn links away from clients' Web sites.

Flynt Trying on Clothes for a Change

Hustler impresario Larry Flynt has turned his eye to the less-sexy business of online T-shirt sales.

SAG, Studios Launch PR Offensives

SAG's strike threat has kicked off a heated holiday-season spin battle between the guild and the major studios -- with each side blaming the other for being greedy during the nation's financial crisis.

REGIONAL REPORT

International Checkout Inc., an e-commerce services company in Santa Monica, was named the most innovative company of the year at the 2008 Stevie Awards for Women in Business.

Picture Appears Cloudy For Public Access Shows

Public access television producers throughout Los Angeles are up in arms because of a city agency's recommendation to make them all compete for limited air time on just one channel LA36, a quasi-public channel.

Restaurateur Wants Vodka Drinkers to Chill Out

Larry Nicola, owner of Nic's Beverly Hills restaurant and lounge, is a self-proclaimed "vodkateur."

Rooms to Maneuver in Handling Homeless Issue

Paying to shelter L.A.'s homeless makes fiscal sense, according to Patrick Spillane.