Stories for January 2008

Thursday, January 31

Edison Argues for Lower Fine

Southern California Edison, hoping to limit the damage from a seven-year fraud that could cost the utility $237 million, told state regulators Wednesday that the rigged customer satisfaction surveys and falsified safety data at the heart of the case did l

More Subprime Pain in Store

After racking up more than $100 billion in mortgage-related losses in recent months, banks and their investors had hoped they were out of the woods. They aren't.

State Targets East L.A. Economy

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has designated East Los Angeles an "enterprise zone" to create jobs and stimulate business investment.

Investor Tries to Block Countrywide Deal

A Monaco-based hedge fund, claiming Countrywide Financial Corp. has agreed to sell itself too cheaply, has acquired a 5.19 percent stake in the home lender and hinted that it may agitate for competing bids.

Mattel Gains on Strong Q4 Earnings

Shares in toymaker Mattel Inc. surged 11 percent in early trading Thursday after the company reported that fourth-quarter profit rose 15 percent thanks to a surge in international sales and a tax benefit. Those gains countered the costs of massive toy rec

Foreclosure Bill Rejected by One Vote

Legislation aimed at slowing residential foreclosures in California failed by a single vote in the state Senate on Wednesday, after Republicans balked at requiring lenders to talk personally with borrowers before they start the default process.

Guild Leaders Rattle Writers' Talks

Promising closed-door talks aimed at settling Hollywood's three-month-old strike by movie and television writers have been jolted in the last few days by the actions of some prominent guild leaders.

DirecTV Partners to Take on Nielsen

DirecTV Inc. said it has joined forces with TNS Media Research to develop a national audience measurement panel of its subscribers.

PeopleSupport Rejects Latest Buyout Offer

PeopleSupport Inc. said Thursday that its board rejected an unsolicited acquisition proposal from IPVG Corp. and AO Capital Partners due to concerns over the companies funding vehicles.

Wednesday, January 30

Zell Sells Tribune Studios

Real estate titan Sam Zell will soon sell the storied 10.5-acre Tribune Studios in Hollywood for $130 million to Los Angeles-based Hudson Capital LLC, a private equity real estate house, according to sources familiar with the transaction.

CSC to Move Headquarters

Computer Sciences Corp. will move its corporate headquarters from El Segundo to Falls Church, Va., the company announced Wednesday.

Unsold Home Inventory Grows

California's swelling inventory of unsold homes continued to balloon during December, while median prices dropped in nearly every region surrounding the greater Los Angeles area, the California Association of Realtors announced Tuesday.

State Steps up Scrutiny of Insurers

Lawmakers and regulators took aim at California health insurers Tuesday in efforts aimed at making sure they cover members' medical needs and pay physicians and hospitals what they owe them -- and on time.

Lawmakers: Mattel Broke Word on Lead

Dozens of members of Congress sent a letter Tuesday to the chief executive of Mattel, accusing the company of not living up to its promise to keep lead-tainted toys out of children's hands.

Homebuilders Lose Ground After Reports

Shares in homebuilders dropped in early trading Wednesday after one of the nation's largest homebuilders reported dismal earnings and a separate report showed that would-be home buyers remain on the sidelines despite recent drops in interest rates.

Tuesday, January 29

Countrywide Shares Gain Despite Q4 Loss

Countrywide Financial Corp. reported a greater-than expected loss Tuesday for its fourth quarter as more and more borrowers fell behind on mortgage payments.

Dayton Steps Down at Helio

Serial entrepreneur Sky Dayton, currently chief executive officer at Helio LLC, said he will step down from his position at the Santa Monica-based company, but will continue as chairman of Helio's board.

East West Reports Decline in Q4 Profit

East West Bancorp Inc. saw fourth quarter profit decline nearly 5 percent after the bank raised its loan loss provisions due to the decline in the real estate market.

Former Chamber President, Hammer, Dies

Russell "Rusty" Hammer, former president of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, died Monday evening, ending a long battle with leukemia. He was 54.

Home Prices Decline at Record Rates

A closely watched gauge of U.S. home prices shows they are falling sharply at record rates as a deepening slump in the housing market threatens to damp consumer spending.

Avery Posts Declines in Q4 Earnings

Shares in Avery Dennison Corp. surged more than 6 percent early Tuesday after the company reported a 24-percent slide in earnings, but still eclipsed Wall Street's expectations.

Writers, Studios Edge Closer

Hollywood's striking writers and major studios have moved closer to bridging their divide after a week of talks, raising hopes that a new contract is within reach.

Oxy Reports Gains in Sales, Profit for Q4

Shares in Occidental Petroleum Corp. gained 2.4 percent Tuesday after the oil company said fourth-quarter profit surged 56 percent thanks to higher oil prices and increased production.

UnitedHealth Faces $1.3 Billion in Fines

California regulators are expected to announce today that they are seeking as much as $1.33 billion in penalties from Cypress-based PacifiCare as a result of widespread problems stemming from its takeover two years ago by healthcare giant UnitedHealth Gro

Monday, January 28

Strike: Signs Still Promising

Hollywood remains guardedly optimistic about an end to the writers strike, now entering its 13th week.

Making the Grade

In addition to improving facilities for school children, the LAUSD's $20 billion construction program is pumping money into the building industry just as local real estate markets falter.

Short-Term Response

Countrywide Financial Corp.'s banking arm is offering CD rates that are among the highest in the nation, and its pending takeover may push those rates down.

Revenue Falls 4.6 Percent at City National

City National Corp. reported a nearly 5 percent decline in its 2007 net income after the parent of City National Bank made its first loan loss provision in almost four years.

Disney Adds Fantasy Lands

Walt Disney Co. is no stranger to fantasy worlds, transporting audiences -- whether to a cottage in the woods with a young princess in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" or to the Great Barrier Reef aboard the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage ride at Disneyla

Court Rules for Manager

The California Supreme Court has upheld a decision awarding commissions to a Hollywood talent manager.

Flashes of Restraint

Intelligent Optical Systems is developing a law enforcement tool that uses light-emitting diodes to subdue suspects.

Belmont School, Ambassador Site Teach Hard Lessons

Few school projects have had as long, tortuous and costly a history as the Belmont Learning Center and the Ambassador Hotel site, the two largest and most expensive projects in the district's massive expansion program.

Under the Radar

Tim Conver, chief executive of unmanned aircraft maker Aerovironment, prefers to stay in the background, giving credit for the company's success to its employees.

Company Spinning Turnaround Process

Turnaround specialist Adam Michelin uses Redux Holdings to acquire assets of underperforming and distressed companies, growing and keeping the businesses.

Rats! They're the Talk of the Town Among Urban Pioneers

Rats have become conspicuous as a boom in building projects has driven the rodents from their usual hiding places.

Mozilo Foregoes Retirement Package

Countrywide Financial Corp. said late Sunday that Chairman and Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo has decided to give up his severance package when he leaves the company.

REIT Taking Stock of Federally Backed Mortgage Securities

Anworth Mortgage Asset will sell new stock and use the money to buy federally backed mortgage securities.

L.A. to Announce Broadway Makeover

City officials today will announce a new campaign to remake downtown Los Angeles' historic Broadway corridor by redesigning the bustling street, fixing up some of the grand movie palaces and restoring the fading facades of buildings.

Real Estate Quarterly: Making the Grade

In addition to improving facilities for school children, the LAUSD's $20 billion construction program is pumping money into the building industry just as local real estate markets falter.

Neighbor Noise Stifling LAX

Charles Crumpley says the time has come to fix the runway problems at LAX because they are impeding business and hurting safety at the airport.

Company's Baggage Screeners Qualify for Beijing Games

OSI Systems Inc., a Hawthorne-based manufacturer of specialized electronics products, has won two modest contracts, including one designed to aid security efforts of the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing.

District Pulls High-Wire Act With Downtown Performing Arts School

The district went with a bold, futuristic design for its flagship $208 million visual and performing arts high school.

Herbalife Kicks In for Youth Soccer League Sponsorship

Los Angeles-based Herbalife Ltd. signed a four-year sponsorship agreement last week with L.A.-based national non-profit American Youth Soccer Organization to put the company's logo on the front of youth soccer jerseys. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Green List Shines Spotlight on Locals

With sprawling suburbs and clogged freeways, Los Angeles is rarely seen as an example of environmental consciousness. But several locals were recently named by British newspaper the Guardian as "50 people who could save the planet."

Company Helps Banks See Opportunities Amid Challenges

Emerging Markets is a private company filling a public need: convincing banks to place branches in underserved areas of Los Angeles, writes Manuel Pastor.

Conference Dials In CEOs to Address Reformatted Audio

Two L.A.-based organizations have teamed up to produce a conference on a phenomenon known as "audio-anchored advertising," with six chief executives from major broadcasters in attendance.

Fame Game

Christian Audigier, the fashion designer behind the popular Von Dutch hats, is looking to strike gold again with a line of skull-and-dagger tattoo-themed apparel.

Sparks Owners Hung Up on Plan to Retire Player Number

Los Angeles Sparks General Manager Penny Toler's jersey adorns the wall of the arena which is owned by Los Angeles-based Anschutz Entertainment Group only during the WNBA season. That's a sore point for current Sparks owners Kathy Goodman and Carla Ch

Comin' at Ya

StereoVision Entertainment is looking to the future of film exhibition with its production of low-budget 3-D movies.

Neighborhood Councils Have Become Tools of Obstructionists

The city's system of neighborhood councils is stifling business, according to Harold L. Katz, as important land-use decisions have been placed in the hands of contentious NIMBYs.

Homebuilders Drop on Home Sales Data

Shares in local homebuilders plunged Monday morning after the Commerce Department reported that new-home sales plunged by a record amount in 2007 while prices posted the weakest showing in more than 15 years.

Brown Bag Getting in the Sack With Stretch Island Fruit

Brown Bag Naturals is moving out of the mansions and onto the streets.

Irreverence Is in the Cards With Online Video Business

Greeting cards at stores range in sensibilities, from sappy sentimentality to irreverent humor. E-cards, on the other hand, are pretty safe and tame across the board, said Jeff Gorman, founder and president of VidiGreet.

Blue-Ribbon Panel Seeing Red Over Permit Process

If a blue-ribbon panel's report last week leads to ways to cut red tape, it could boost business.

Health Care Bill Defeated

State Senate committee turns down $15 billion plan by Gov. Schwarzenegger that would have required businesses to pay for health insurance.

Friday, January 25

Lions Gate Signs as WGA Talks Go On

With Hollywood holding its breath, WGA leaders and moguls provided another slice of optimism as they continued to meet informally for a third day to hammer out a conclusion to the three-month writers strike.

Big Movers

After three straight weeks of declines, the Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest public companies bounced back this week, with 120 posting gains or staying even, culminating in a 1.8 percent gain for the week

Cheesecake Factory Upgraded

Shares in Cheesecake Factory Inc. rose nearly 3 percent on Friday after an analyst upgraded the stock.

FirstFed Slips on Delinquencies

FirstFed Financial Corp. reported that fourth-quarter net income plunged 75 percent due delinquent home loans, causing shares to dip as much as 10 percent Friday morning.

IndyMac Surges on CEO's Optimism

IndyMac Bancorp Inc. shares soared as much as 20 percent Friday after the lender said it was optimistic that it may post a profit later this year.

Federation Forms to Offset Labor's Power

Frustrated by organized labor's growing domination of local politics, a group of business leaders is forming an umbrella federation of local business groups that would take on labor on key issues.

Image Plunges on Merger Quarrel

Shares in Image Entertainment Inc. plunged as much as 40 percent Friday after the company claims its would-be buyer, BTP Acquisition Co., has breached its amended merger agreement.

Amgen Surprises With Q4 Earnings

Shares in Amgen Inc. gained nearly 4 percent early Friday after the biotech giant late Thursday reported that its fourth-quarter profits rose despite ongoing inquiries into the safety of its best-selling anemia drugs. The earnings beat Wall Street's estim

Countrywide Earnings Eyed Before Deal

Investor concerns that Bank of America Corp. might try to pull out or pay less for Countrywide Financial Corp. could intensify next week when the troubled mortgage lender reports 2007 year-end financial results.

Northrop Names New IT Sector Chief

Northrop Grumman Corp. said Friday that it has named Linda Mills to run the company's surging information-technology unit, replacing retiring James O'Neill.

Thursday, January 24

Ryland Posts Q4 Loss

Ryland Group Inc. reported late Wednesday that it lost money in its fourth quarter due to inventory valuation adjustments and write-offs.

IPC Sells IPO

Physician management company IPC The Hospitalist Co Inc. on Thursday raised $75.2 million in an initial public offering.

Lions Gate in Talks Writers Guild

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., the largest independent U.S. film studio, is in contract talks with the Writers Guild of America, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions.

More Scrutiny Over Amgen Drugs

Anemia drugs made by Amgen Inc. and two other pharmaceutical companies will be reviewed by a panel to determine the safety risks in cancer patients using the drugs.

THQ Plunges After Revised Outlook

Shares in THQ Inc. plunged more than 30 percent Thursday after the company lowered its fiscal third-quarter profit outlook on charges related to product development and underperforming titles.

Study: Office Market to Remain Strong

The Southern California office market will weaken in 2008, but L.A. County will be an exception, with a continuing rise in lease rates and relatively high occupancy rates, according to a survey to be released today.

Biotech Firms Might Hit Roadblock

California's biotechnology industry is growing steadily, but the looming possibility of increased government oversight could stifle new drug development, according to an industry-supported report set for release today.

Northrop Reports Q4 Earnings

Northrop Grumman Corp. reported fourth-quarter earnings Thursday of $454 million ($1.31 per share), up slightly from $453 million ($1.28) from the same period a year earlier. The results met analysts expectations.

Wednesday, January 23

Oxy Wins LNG Permit Extension

Occidental Petroleum Corp. said Wednesday it won government approval for a three-year extension of its permit to begin construction on a liquefied natural-gas terminal in Texas.

Builders, Lenders Up on Mortgage Data

Shares in local homebuilders and lenders jumped Wednesday morning after mortgage application volume rose 8.3 percent because of a surge in refinance activity thanks to dropping interest rates.

Panel Pitches L.A. Stimulus

As fears of a recession grip the local economy, an independent panel of business leaders today is recommending a handful of improvements to strengthen the local economy.

Foreclosures Soar to State Record

A desperate slashing of interest rates may ease some of the nation's economic jitters but may not be enough to stave off recession. It also probably won't provide an immediate fix for a deepening foreclosure crisis that has moved into uncharted territory

Sears Site Back in De La Hoya's Corner

Oscar De La Hoya has reached a new agreement to buy the landmark Sears property in Boyle Heights after a previous agreement with owner Mark Weinstein collapsed.

Market Turnaround Boosts L.A. Stocks

The Dow Jones industrial average, down more than 320 points early Wednesday, staged a dramatic about-face and closed up 298 points.

Axium Staffing Unit Sold for $8.1 Million

The staffing arm of defunct Hollywood services firm Axium International Inc. was sold at auction Wednesday to MPS Group Inc. for $8.1 million, a spokeswoman said.

Market Turnaround Propels Local Stocks

The Dow Jones industrial average, down more than 320 points early Wednesday, staged a dramatic about-face and closed up 298 points.

Writers Relent on Key Demands

Hollywood's striking writers, signaling a possible thaw in the 3-month-old labor dispute, have agreed to drop two demands that studios have long viewed as non-starters.

Disney to Offer Japanese Cell Service

Walt Disney Co. will launch a cellular phone service in Japan targeting young adult women a year after service branded to children and their parents flopped in the U.S.

Tuesday, January 22

O'Shea Fires Back at Tribune, Industry

The ousted editor of The Los Angeles Times on Monday offered a scathing critique of the newspaper industry and specifically his longtime employer, the Tribune Company, arguing that cost cuts, a lack of investment and an aversion to serious news was damagi

Lou Gehrig's Disease Drug Trials Halted

Shares in biopharmaceutical products developer CytRx Corp. plunged nearly 22 percent Tuesday after the company said the Food and Drug Administration halted its clinical trial of an experimental drug for the treatment of Lou Gehrig's disease.

Jacobs' Shares Surge on Q1 Earnings

Shares in Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. gained nearly 5 percent Tuesday after the engineering and consulting firm reported solid gains in revenues and profit for its first quarter.

Stocks Rebound After Colossal Drop

Many anxious investors stateside continued a global selloff early Tuesday, propelling the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 465 points at the start of the session.

Local Companies Gain on Rate Cut

Shares in local homebuilders, lenders and banks moved up Tuesday after the Federal Reserve moved to push-start the economy with a surprise interest-rate cut.

Anworth to Offer 11 Million Shares

Anworth Mortgage Asset Corp. said Tuesday that it plans to sell 11 million common shares to raise money to buy more mortgage debt, sending shares up more than 4 percent in trading.

Bill Clinton May Net $20 Million Buyout

Former President Clinton stands to reap around $20 million and will sever a politically sensitive partnership tie to Dubai by ending his high-profile business relationship with Ron Burkle.

Monday, January 21

Loan Losses Spreading Fast and Furious Across Sector

The subprime carnage continued on Wall Street last week and it didn't just involve big players such as Merrill Lynch & Co. and Citigroup Inc., which booked a combined $16.7 billion in writedowns related to the credit crunch.

Informal WGA Talks Set to Begin

The communications impasse between the Writers Guild of America and Hollywood's majors has finally ended.

Micro Business

UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute is making big tech deals out of its work with tiny particles.

From MySpace to YourSpace

Two years ago, Chris DeWolfe, the co-founder and chief executive of MySpace, was talking about international expansion with Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corporation bought the social networking site in 2005.

Times Editor to Leave Paper

The editor of the Los Angeles Times will leave the paper in a dispute over newsroom cuts, becoming the fourth senior executive in less than three years to depart after resisting budget reductions.

Home Sellers

Charles Crumpley thinks that some home sellers are still in denial and are pricing themselves out of the struggling Southland market.

Glam Slam Feared

Daphna Ziman says that if the Writers Guild of America strike forces the cancellation of next month's Academy Awards, her Children Uniting Nations organization, which aims to help suffering kids worldwide, would feel it in a major way.

Pinkberry's Coffee Flavor Makes It Taster's Choice

Pinkberry is stirring up the rivalry among frozen dessert chains with the addition of a new flavor: coffee.

Sale of Countrywide Ends Brief L.A. Era

The recent buyout of Countrywide puts an exclamation point on what may be the fastest meltdown of any industry in L.A. County history.

Ago Doesn't Break New Ground, but Pleases the Crowd

Ago, which gets the most out of its tiny space on Melrose Avenue, continues to deliver with its simple Italian cuisine.

Justice Department Makes Federal Case for Area Attorney

Local attorney Nathan Hochman will be sworn in as U.S. assistant attorney general for the tax division this week during a ceremony at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C.

Sea Launch Has Space to Breathe After Satellite Success

Sea Launch Co. has returned a rocket to space nearly a year after a very public explosion forced the company to scrap all of its 2007 launches.

Competing Mediation Firms Resolve to Snag Retiring Judges

Retiring judges have become a popular commodity for dispute resolution businesses, which compete to sign up the jurists as highly paid mediators.

O'Shea Fired as Editor of L.A. Times

James O'Shea will step down as editor of the Los Angeles Times, making him the third editor to leave the newspaper since 2005.

Eminent Domain Foes Qualify Proposition to Restrict Seizures

Foes of eminent domain laws have placed a proposition on the June ballot that would restrict California from seizing land for private development.

Drawn In

Platinum Studios' Splastk functions as a syndicated online channel that offers animated comic-book videos.

Airport Plan Fails to Get Off the Ground

The Southern California Regional Airport Authority faces permanent grounding after failing to boost the use of the area's smaller airports.

West L.A. Deal Raises Specter of Commercial Slowdown

A four-story office building in West Los Angeles has traded hands for $33 million, or less than $360 per square foot, a price that reflects the lowering of values due to the credit crunch.

Inhalable Insulin Market Looking Brighter for MannKind

In the arena of inhalable insulin, now there are two. And local contender MannKind Inc.'s prospects may be brightening in the eyes of investors.

Yard Monitor

Cyber-Rain's wireless sprinkler systems allow customers to manage the irrigation of their yards through the home computer.

Causes and Effects

Jacob Yadegar writes that although the commercial real estate sector may not face the same downturn as the residential market, there is cause for concern. Mark Cohen sees the current situation as a good time to buy residential property.

Concerns Emerge Over Countrywide Sale

Concern surfaced on Monday over Bank of America Corp.'s deal to acquire ailing mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp., with an analyst saying the Charlotte bank may be overpaying for the company and now might want to renegotiate the $4 billion deal.

Reality Strikes

A state senator has scheduled a hearing on working conditions for reality TV writers, a move some see as a sympathy play for the striking writers.

Threat of Recession Toys With Mattel Recovery Chances

Interest in toy maker Mattel's stock is surging, but recession fears could hinder a full recovery for the company.

Potable Water Hits Road Via Portable Purification System

The plant is called Sionix Elixir System, a water purifier based on technology primarily used in Europe. The company has honed it over a decade of research and development, during which time the company filed 10 patents for water purification.

Venture Funding Declines in L.A. County

Despite a rise in venture capital investment nationwide, funding for firms in Los Angeles County fell in 2007.

Santa Monica Blank Check Files for $125 Million IPO

Wall Street investors have put out the welcome mat for blank check companies, which go public with the goal of raising money to buy another company

State Board of Equalization Sits on Millions in Refunds

It may be a little late for Christmas, but hundreds of businesses in L.A. County that may have been stiffed on refunds from state tax collectors could soon be collecting some tidy checks.

Grand Avenue Groundbreaking Delayed

A groundbreaking ceremony for the $3 billion Grand Avenue project has been pushed back from March until at least the summer, officials with developer Related Cos. confirmed last week. It marks the third time that the public kickoff for the massive Bunker

Ticketmaster Pays $265 Million For Better Seat in Marketplace

Ticketmaster, which is losing major client Live Nation this year, has moved aggressively into the ticket reseller market with its purchase of TicketsNow.

Healthy Development

Wayne Ratkovich, whose development career took off with his purchase of the Oviatt Building, has made "doing good and doing well" a cornerstone of his philosophy.

Friday, January 18

New Jersey Probes Amgen on Sales

New Jersey's state attorney general on Thursday said she had subpoenaed records from Amgen Inc. after accusations by two former employees that the biotech giant engaged in possibly improper marketing practices to boost sales of a top-selling psoriasis dru

Countrywide Sets Retention Bonuses

Countrywide Financial Corp. has sweetened annual bonus awards for a handful of its top executives as an incentive for them to remain with the mortgage lender as it goes through the process of being acquired by Bank of America Corp., according to regulator

South Bay Realty Firms Merge

Prudential California Realty and Moore & Associates, two of the South Bay's biggest realty offices, have combined forces.

IndyMac Slips on Downgrade, Investment

Shares in IndyMac Bancorp dropped nearly 6 percent Friday after Moody's Investors Service cut the lender's credit rating deeper into "junk" territory late Thursday.

Big Movers

The New Year is taking a toll on the Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest public companies. This week was the third straight week of losses, with 151 of the companies either losing ground or remaining flat, culminating in a 4.2 percent

County Unemployment Jumps

L.A.'s unemployment rate shot up to 5.6 percent in December the highest level in nearly two years as the impacts of the writers' strike and the housing slump rippled through the local economy.

Countrywide Ups Bonuses to Keep Execs

Countrywide Financial Corp. increased its annual bonus awards for some of its top executives in an effort to provide an incentive for them to remain with the mortgage lender as it is being acquired by Bank of America Corp.

Directors, Studios Cut Deal

The Directors Guild of America, after swift negotiations, reached a new contract with the major Hollywood studios Thursday, a move that ups the ante for striking writers to craft their own accord.

Thursday, January 17

Ports See Decline, Still Busy

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach saw a decline in container traffic during 2007 for the first time in at least 20 years.

MPAA To Move Headquarters

The Motion Picture Association of America Inc. will move into to its new headquarters office at 15301 Ventura Blvd. on Jan. 22 after signing a long-term lease at the Sherman Oaks office building.

No Consensus That Recession Looms

Is a recession a serious risk -- or is it mostly in Wall Street's mind? Financial markets have descended into a major funk in the last two weeks, driving key stock indexes to their lowest levels in more than a year.

Directors Deal Imminent

Hollywood is anticipating a settlement on the Directors Guild contract this week -- but not expecting an end to the labor war.

True Religion Sinks After Guidance Issued

Shares True Religion Apparel Inc. in lost more than 3 percent Thursday after the company projected lower-than-expected earnings for this year. Sales, however, will be higher.

Countrywide Shares Sink

Shares in Countrywide Financial Corp. took a tumble Wednesday after the company said that it helped 81,266 borrowers keep mortgage payments manageable last year as part of plan to prevent foreclosures and provide some relief to homeowners.

Wednesday, January 16

Mattel Soars on Upgrade

Shares in toymaker Mattel Inc. shot up more than 7 percent Wednesday after investment firm Needham & Co. upgraded the stock to "strong buy" from "hold."

Massachusetts Targets Fremont

The Massachusetts Attorney General asked a court yesterday to block Fremont Investment & Loan from foreclosing on 500 mortgages in the state.

Writers Look to Directors for Cue

Nearly three months into the writers' strike, the leadership of the Writers Guild of America says it is at a critical juncture in its contract stalemate with the major Hollywood studios and television networks.

PFF Hit by Charge

Shares of PFF Bancorp Inc. plunged as much as 22 percent Wednesday after the company said it expects to record a $55 million charge in its fiscal third quarter.

Capstone CFO to Leave Company

Capstone Turbine Corp. said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday that Chief Financial Officer Chuck McBride is leaving to join another company.

Study: Disparity in Hospital Pricing

Fifteen of the state's 20 least expensive hospitals are in Southern California -- as well as some of the costliest, a study released Tuesday says.

Tuesday, January 15

Ticketmaster Buys Resale Web Site

Ticketmaster has agreed to buy ticket reseller Web site TicketsNow Inc. for a reported $265 million.

Jacobs Inks Army Deal

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. said Tuesday that it was awarded a weapons systems support contract from the U.S. Army valued at as much as $492 million.

Daily Briefs

Paramount, DreamWorks Settle "Bee Movie" dispute; THQ buys game developer; Northrop combines shipbuilding, space sectors.

Beverly Hills' Meltdown Mogul

Relaxing at his 40,000-square-foot mansion, Jeff Greene reflects on a stellar run. He snatched the estate out of receivership for $35 million in a bidding war. He got married in a spectacular wedding with boxer Mike Tyson as his best man. And he is up mor

IndyMac to Cut 24% of Its Workforce

Mortgage lender IndyMac Bancorp Inc. said Tuesday that it will cut its workforce by 24 percent, laying off 2,403 employees in a bid to cut costs as it tries to stay solvent amid a slumping economy and dismal housing market.

FirstFed Shares Sink on Delinquencies

Shares in FirstFed Financial Corp. dipped more than 8 percent Tuesday after the regional bank holding company said it was forced to raise its bad-loan provision fivefold in the latest quarter because of a spike in delinquencies.

CPK Shares Plummet on Tepid Outlook

Shares in California Pizza Kitchen Inc. sank more than 20 percent in after-hours trading Tuesday after the casual dining chain lowered its fourth-quarter guidance and fiscal 2008 earnings.

Airbus Confims U.S. Plant For Tankers

The competition for the Pentagon's biggest contract in years intensified Monday as European aircraft maker Airbus said it would assemble commercial jets in the U.S. if it won the $40 -billion award to build aerial refueling tankers for the Air Force.

TV Studios Cut More Overall Deals

The other shoe dropped in TV land Monday. Citing fallout from the WGA strike, Warner Bros. TV, CBS Paramount Network TV, Universal Media Studios and 20th Century Fox TV followed the lead of ABC Studios and began dropping writers and producers from their r

Mozilo Asked Testify to Congress

Countrywide Financial Corp.'s Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo and two former chiefs of leading investment banks have been asked to testify before a congressional committee next month on their pay and severance packages.

Monday, January 14

Napster in Tune With Rivals as It Drops Copy Protection

Napster has joined with its online music competitors, allowing its tunes to be played on any device.

Stars Aren't Shining On Elizabeth's Line

Elizabeth Taylor's star power has not translated into a strong performance for her House of Taylor Jewelry company.

NTI Acquired for $182 Million

NTI Group, a provider of emergency alert services to schools, is being acquired by Blackboard Inc., a Washington D.C.-based educational software maker.

Street Smart

Ruben Guerra, chairman of the Latin Business Association and the owner of three companies, began working at age 11 helping his father sell fruit in East Los Angeles.

Simulations Plus Reports Strong Q1

Shares in Simulations Plus Inc. soared more than 15 percent Monday after the company said it more than doubled first quarter profit.

My Gym Targets Baby Fat With Kids Exercise Show

My Gym's latest fitness program is an exercise show pitched as a workout for new parents and their babies.

Ports Approve Cargo Fee

The Los Angeles and Long Beach ports will begin charging a $15 fee on all loaded cargo containers in 2009 to help fund local transportation projects.

Big Money Players Can Now Sell PIPES Through Online Market

Zealous Trading Group's Web-based platform offers a virtual marketplace for private investors in restricted stock.

END OF TREND?

The city's move to preserve industrial space downtown runs counter to a boom in retail and residential projects.

Pizza Places Craving More Latino Dough

Pizza Patron is pursuing a bigger slice of the Latino market with the hire of radio star Piolin as its pitchman.

Aecom Buys Firm, Starts New Sector

Aecom Technology Corp. said Monday that it has acquired Arlington, Va.-based development services firm The Services Group for an undisclosed sum.

Riding the Waves

Strix Systems has found markets for its wireless networking products in foreign countries including India, Greece and China.

GeoOptics Looks to Put GPS Weather Forecasting on Map

Tom Yunck is taking a fine-tuned, GPS-based weather forecasting system into the private sector with a company named GeoOptics.

Public Storage Spins Sale of European Unit as Stock Spikes

The decision by Public Storage to sell its stake in a European company has boosted its standing with investors

Campaign Spending Should Offset Slow Ad Year in L.A.

A housing slump, writers' strike and unstable national economy add up to slow growth for the Los Angeles advertising market in 2008, but campaign spending will ease the pain.

There's No Denying

Universal City is a fine place and all. Still, it's no Beverly Hills. But it suits Santiago Pozo, founder and chief executive of Arenas Entertainment Marketing, just fine.

Bus Lines Could Be Taking a Swing to Dodger Stadium

The city's Department of Transportation and the county Metropolitan Transportation Authority will consider restoring public transit to the stadium by opening day.

Cutting Houses Down to Size

The city's stand against oversized homes is a much needed step in civic planning, according to Charles Crumpley.

Road Warriors

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa explains his "Olympic-West, Pico-East" proposal to ease traffic. But the plan, Kevin Hughes writes in an opposing editorial, was drafted without input from neighborhood residents and the Planning Department.

Williams-Sonoma Makes Itself at Home in City of Industry

Williams-Sonoma Inc. will move into a 230,000-square-foot building at Majestic Realty Co.'s Grand Crossing industrial park Feb. 1, completing its transition into the site.

Behind Bank of America's Big Gamble

The endgame in Bank of America Corp.'s $4 billion takeover of Countrywide Financial Corp. began with a December phone call from Countrywide Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo to his Bank of America counterpart, Kenneth D. Lewis.

ValueClick Surges on Upgrade

Shares in online ad broker ValueClick Inc. jumped nearly 10 percent Monday after an analyst from RBC Capital Markets upgraded shares in the company.

Oversee.net Purchase Demonstrates Boom in Domain Name Game

Oversee.net's purchase of a company that deals in expensive Web addresses demonstrates the draw of the virtual real estate market.

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Uncoils Purchase of Encore

Reliance announced last week it has sold the assets of Encore Coils, gained as part of a larger acquisition in February, to Samuel Son & Co. Ltd., based in Mississauga, Canada. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Prescriptive Music Cues Up Deals for Background Tunes

Marriott International has procured Prescriptive Music as its only custom music programmer across 375 of its hotels in the United States and Canada.

MySpace to Protect Minors

MySpace.com said it has agreed with 49 states and the District of Columbia to add measures to combat sexual predators' access to the popular social-networking Web site.

USSearch.com Has All Bases Covered With Diverse Data

Want to know whether your contractor, nanny or blind date has a criminal record? Chances are analysts at USSearch.com Inc. can get that information from its comprehensive database of criminal records, real estate documents and credit information.

Fremont Sells Texas Unit

Fremont General Corp. of Santa Monica said its bank subsidiary, Fremont Investment & Loan, agreed to sell its loan servicing facility in Irving, Texas. Fremont did not disclose financial details of the buyer.

Java Plan May Fill Vendor's Cup

Coffee vendor F. Gavina & Sons anticipate a Venti-sized jump in business as customer McDonald's adds Starbucks-styled bar service.

Countrywide Draws Ire of Judges

More federal bankruptcy judges are calling into question the business practices of Countrywide Financial Corp., as Bank of America Corp. prepares to buy the ailing mortgage lender.

Disney, Chinese Firms Buy NBA Stake

The Walt Disney Company and four Chinese investment firms will invest in an 11 percent stake in the National Basketball Association's subsidiary in China, people briefed on the matter said Sunday.

Business Community Avoids Sting of State Budget Cuts

Businesses statewide and locally mostly applaud the governor's plan to narrow California's deep deficit through budget cuts.

Hooked Up

Torrance-based Dreamgear focuses its accessories products on the hottest markets video games and iPods.

Directors 'Shouting' For A Pact

Showbiz insiders were hopeful at the prospect that the Directors Guild of America could reach a tentative contract pact with the majors as early as this week.

Hi-Shear Shares Soar on Q2 Earnings

Shares in Hi-Shear Technology Corp. leaped nearly 13 percent Monday after the company reported strong growth in sales and profits for its second quarter.

Labor Intensive

The Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency is weighing a proposal that would require major developments to hire workers who are paid union wages.

Friday, January 11

B of A to Buy Countrywide for $4.1 Billion

Bank of America Corp. has agreed to acquire struggling Countrywide Financial Corp. for $4 billion, it was announced early Friday.

Live Nation to Launch Ticketing Business

Concert promoter Live Nation Inc. said Friday that it will launch its own global ticketing business next year when its long-standing deal with Ticketmaster expires.

Weinsteins Ink Pact With WGA

Weinstein Co. signed an interim deal with the Writers Guild of America, co-founder Harvey Weinstein confirmed in an interview Thursday.

Ihop Sales Increase; Applebee's Struggles

Ihop Corp. reported a jump in same-store sales Friday, but decreased sales from its newly acquired Applebee's chain left shares flat.

Big Movers

In what's been a tough start of the year for stocks, the Business Journal's index of the largest 200 local public companies was hit hard for the second-straight week losing 3.6 percent. In all, 147 of the companies lost ground.

B of A Buys Countrywide for $4 Billion

Bank of America Corp. on Friday said it will buy Countrywide Financial Corp. for about $4 billion in an all-stock deal that will provide a lucrative exit for the troubled mortgage lender's longtime chief executive, if not shareholders.

No Globes Could Cost L.A. $80 Million

Hollywood's blue-collar infrastructure is going to take a beating this weekend , maybe to the tune of $80 million.

Mozilo Could Reap $115 Million

Countrywide Financial Corp. founder Angelo Mozilo, one of the nation's highest-paid chief executives, stands to reap $115 million in severance-related pay if his troubled company is acquired by Bank of America Corp., regulatory filings show.

IPVG Ups PeopleSupport Bid

PeopleSupport Inc. shares gained nearly 8 percent Friday after IPVG Corp., a call center operator based in Makati City, Philippines, said it had raised its unsolicited takeover offer for the Los Angeles-based outsourcing company.

Thursday, January 10

Newhall Ranch Plan Advances

After 12 years of litigation and protests, the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved a tentative tract map for the first of four "villages" in the massive, 20,855-home Newhall Ranch development near Santa Clarit

B of A, Countrywide in Acquisition Talks

Shares in Countrywide Financial Corp. soared more than 50 percent Thursday after talks that Bank of America Corp. was in advanced talks to acquire the struggling lender.

Big Five Lowers Guidance

Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp. cut its fourth-quarter and full-year forecasts Thursday, saying weaker sales eroded profits.

99 Cents Only Posts Strong Sales Gain

Discount retailer 99 Cents Only Stores said late Wednesday that same-store sales jumped 2.9 percent for its fiscal third quarter.

Directors Guild Talks Intensifying

The lead negotiators for the Directors Guild of America are scheduled to meet today and discuss opening formal negotiations with the studios for a new contract.

Deep Cuts Proposed in New Budget

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected today to propose shutting 48 state parks -- including some popular Southern California beaches -- releasing far more prison inmates than previously projected and increasing car fees for the second straight year as pa

ValueClick Sees Probe Ending

The Federal Trade Commission could end its investigation into the business practices of online advertising company ValueClick Inc. as soon as the first quarter of this year, according to the Westlake Village company.

Ports to Charge Additional Truck Fee

For the second time in just a few weeks, the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports today announced plans to charge a fee on all loaded cargo containers passing through its terminals.

Shareholder Opposes Gemstar Deal

A major shareholder in Macrovision Corp. said it plans to vote against Macrovision's proposed acquisition of Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. because it's too risky for the software company.

Wednesday, January 9

Calpers Takes Big Stake in Buy Out Firm

The Calpers pension fund is moving further into trailblazing territory, taking a roughly 10% stake in private-equity firm Silver Lake.

Former Employees Sue Amgen

Until last spring, Marc Engelman was a successful salesman for biotech giant Amgen Inc. His specialty: selling Enbrel, a powerful psoriasis treatment that costs nearly $20,000 a year.

Elk Hills Plant Workers Sue Oxy

Occidental Petroleum Corp. is being sued by three workers who were injured in a natural-gas pipeline explosion at its Elk Hills field last year.

National Lampoon buys College Site

National Lampoon Inc. said Wednesday that it has acquired the Web site CollegeHangover.com for an undisclosed sum.

Public Storage Sells European Stake

Public Storage Inc. agreed to sell 51 percent of its Shurgard Europe storage facility company after it scrapped plans to take the company public more than seven months ago.

Countrywide Shares Tumble

Shares in embattled Countrywide Financial Corp. continued to tumble Wednesday after the lender announced its December loan foreclosure rate had doubled from a year ago to nearly 1.5 percent.

Fremont Replaces Board

Struggling Fremont General Corp. said Wednesday that it has replaced five members of its board of directors as it continues its management overhaul following the collapse of the subprime lending market last year.

Axium International Closes Up Shop

Axium International, the industry's largest payroll services providers as well as a source for production and gap financing, has closed its doors indefinitely.

Tuesday, January 8

Countrywide Bankruptcy Rumors Renewed

Shares in Countrywide Financial Corp. swooned Tuesday after several reports surfaced that the company was close to filing bankruptcy protection.

Amgen Gains on Strong Guidance

Shares in Amgen Inc. gained nearly 4 percent after the company's chief executive said the company would beat its 2007 profit forecast due to spending cuts.

Countrywide Says it 'Recreated' Letters

The Countrywide Financial Corporation fabricated documents related to the bankruptcy case of a Pennsylvania homeowner, court records show, raising new questions about the business practices of the giant mortgage lender at the center of the subprime mess.

Northrop to Enter Humvee Competition

Northrop Grumman Corp. is seeking a contract potentially valued at billions of dollars to build vehicles to replace the Humvees that now provide basic transportation for the Army and Marine Corps.

KB Loss Widens, Outlook Remains Bleak

Shares in KB Home sank more than 6 percent Tuesday after the homebuilder reported an increased loss and predicted more woes to come.

NBC Pulls Golden Globes Broadcast

Hollywood's awards season locomotive was derailed Monday when NBC pulled the plug on its highly rated Golden Globes, choosing not to broadcast on Sunday what promised to be a virtually celebrity-free ceremony.

Grand Jury To Pursue MySpace Suicide

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles has begun issuing subpoenas in the case of a Missouri teenager who hanged herself after being rejected by the person she thought was a 16-year-old boy she met on the social networking site MySpace, sources told The Time

Monday, January 7

Road Map to A Banner Year

Charles Crumpley's wish list for 2008 includes a wiser local lending sector, an end to phony "green" promotions and an escalation in Pinkberry's and Red Mango's frozen yogurt battle.

De La Hoya TKO'd Over Sears Project

Boxer Oscar De La Hoya and partners have thrown in the towel on a plan to purchase the Sears warehouse and store site in Boyle Heights.

Torrance Manufacturer Scores Big Without Keyboards

TabletKiosk has managed to carve out a niche market in the past five years since its launch, growing more than 100 percent annually in revenue, which is expected to hit $25 million this year.

New York Feeling Pain of Strike Too

David Letterman and Conan O'Brien might be back on the air, but the Writers Guild of America strike that put them in reruns for the past two months continues to wreak havoc on New York's film and television production industry.

Buzz Words

Web marketer Rocket XL has worked with bloggers in generating buzz for Dove's Real Beauty campaign and video game Guitar Hero.

Separate Deals Draw Ire of Big Producers

A deal between United Artists and the Writers Guild of America West to let the production company sidestep the screenwriters' strike may have opened the door to a full-blown brawl, as other producers demanded to know why writers have granted some companie

U.S. Court in Texas Leaps Past L.A. in New Patent Cases

A federal district court in Texas has become the leader in new patent cases, dethroning the L.A.-centered district in California.

Teledyne Acquisitions Highlight Strength of L.A. Aerospace

Electronics and aerospace manufacturer Teledyne

Reliance Sells Canadian Assets

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. said Monday that it has sold the coils division of its subsidiary Encore Group Ltd. to Samuel Son & Co. Ltd. for an undisclosed sum.

Deep Discounts Help Retailers Make a Post-Holiday Recovery

Holiday sales delivered a mixed bag for local businesses, with stores that offered deep discounts among the

Taken Off

Leg Avenue went from swap meet vendor to multimillion-dollar business courtesy of its lingerie and sexy Halloween costumes

Kaiser Strengthens Its Resolve On Seismically Safe Facilities

California hospitals, which originally faced their first deadline for completing earthquake safety improvements this year, got some respite when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger approved legislation that provided greater flexibility for some hospitals.

Moguls Don't Make Mountain of Season

One might expect local moguls to give lavish gifts during the holiday season. That doesn't appear to be the case.

Jet Setter

Scott Duffy, who is piloting his fifth startup, credits his recovery period from a car accident for setting the stage for his success.

Napster to Sell Music As MP3 Files

Napster Inc. said Sunday it will begin selling music downloads as unprotected MP3 files in the spring, joining other online retailers.

Peking Pluck

Investment banker Lorne Goldberg, who once thought the restaurant business too risky an investment, leads two thriving Chinese fast-food chains.

Legal Exposure

Cytokine Institute's tests for chemical exposure are used as legal tools for plaintiffs and defendants. 13

Retailer J.C. Penney Will Apply Brakes to Diesel Trucks

Department store chain J.C. Penney Co. Inc. has become the latest corporation to commit to convert its local fleet of diesel trucks to cleaner burning models.

Schwarzenegger Mortgage Assistance Doesn't Do Enough

While endorsing the governor's plan to help loan-distressed homeowners, the California Association of

Wolfgang Puck Shutters Vert at Hollywood & Highland

DINING: Restaurant was the only mid-level operation among chef's locations.

Napster to Sell Unprotected MP3 Files

Napster Inc. said Sunday that it will begin selling music downloads as unprotected MP3 files starting this spring.

Gardens Offers Fine Fare in Exquisite Four Seasons Setting

Four Seasons' Gardens restaurant provides a luxurious dining experience in lush environs.

Deloitte & Touche Media Executive Covers Many Bases

Ken August.

Regulators Look to Toughen Oversight of Public Projects

State regulators are looking to require more public oversight of private contractors on public works projects, including more frequent site visits.

L.A. Firm Partner Enlists in Effort to Educate Afghans

INTERNATIONAL: State Department looks to improve legal system.

Cartoon Producer Draws Up Deal to Remain in Burbank

DIC Entertainment Holdings Inc., a producer and distributor of animated television programs, has renewed and expanded its lease in the Burbank.

Issues at Stake in February Election Divide Business Interests

The local business community has failed to reach consensus on several issues up for a vote on the February ballot.

In the Strike, a Tale of Two Unions

Film and TV writers were led into their two-month strike by Hollywood outsiders who were elected as union leaders after promising to take on the movie studios and TV networks head-on.

LAX-Area Hotels Regroup in Living Wage Battle

LAX-area hotels will continue to fight paying the city's living wage to workers, despite an appellate court ruling upholding the ordinance.

Community Court Could Help Address L.A. Homeless Problems

Edmund D. Edelman writes that setting up a Community Court to handle quality-of-life issues in Skid Row would assist the city and county in their efforts to help the area's homeless inhabitants.

Home Prices Dip as Sales Volume Dives

The county's real estate market continued to slide in December, with sales down 66 percent and the median price falling 7 percent compared with the

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Apple Closes In on Hollywood

It has been Hollywood's worst-kept secret: Steve Jobs is starting to win over the film industry.

California is Tops in Mortgage Job Cuts

The state of California lost nearly 16,000 jobs last year due to the stumbling mortgage industry, by far the most of any other state, according to a survey released Monday by MortgageDaily.com.

Friday, January 4

L.A. Directive Limits Building

In a move that immediately angered business and development interests, Los Angeles officials declared Thursday that only a fraction of industrial land in downtown would be opened to residential and commercial uses.

Crown, Interfaith Cable Reach New Deal

Crown Media Holdings Inc. said late Thursday that it has reached a new programming agreement with the National Interfaith Cable Coalition.

Daily Briefs

DaVita forms Arizona partnership.

Fresh Concerns On Anemia Drugs

Anemia drugs sold by Amgen Inc. took another hit Thursday when government regulators said two new studies indicated that the drugs may increase the risk of death in some patients.

Big Movers

The first week of the new year was not a kind to stocks, with the Dow Jones industrial average shedding more than 400 points. The Business Journal's index of 200 public companies swooned, losing 4.1 percent.

Parent of Dating Sites Looks for a Suitor

The parent company of the popular Jewish online dating site JDate has put itself up for sale, people close to the auction said Thursday, and is already in talks with several prominent media companies.

Northrop, Boeing Submit Final Tanker Bids

Northrop Grumman Corp. and the Boeing Co. submitted final bids for the Air Force's tanker contract late Thursday, which could be worth as much as $100 billion.

Thursday, January 3

Countrywide to Cut Chicago-Area Jobs

Countrywide Financial Corp. will cut 127 jobs from its office in Rolling Meadows, Ill. as a result of the ongoing slide in the mortgage lending and homebuilding industries.

Live Nation Signs the Jonas Brothers

Live Nation signs the Jonas Brothers to a long term touring deal.

AeroVironment Flying High

The military's reliance on unmanned aircraft that can watch, hunt and sometimes kill insurgents has soared to more than 500,000 hours in the air, largely in Iraq, The Associated Press reports.

Jacobs Joint Venture Buys Finnish Firm

Finnish refiner Neste Oil said Thursday that Neste Jacobs, a unit it owns jointly with Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., will acquire Finland-based engineering services provider Rintekno for an undisclosed sum. The move will strengthen Neste Jacobs' position

Northrop, Boeing Pitch Tanker Bids

Boeing Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp. submitted their final proposals for the Air Force's KC-136 tanker replacement program, as they compete in a $40 billion battle to replace the military's aging refueling tankers.

CinemaNow, Macrovision Ink Deal

Online movie download site CinemaNow Inc. said Thursday that it has signed a deal with software developer Macrovision Corp. in an effort to make it easier for manufacturers of media players and other devices to make their products compatible with CinemaNo

Daily Briefs

ValueClick named new COO.

Oversee.net Acquires Florida Domain

Oversee.net said Thursday that it has acquired Pompano Beach, Fla.-based domain name services provider Moniker for an undisclosed sum.

California Sues EPA on Emissions Ruling

California sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday for denying its first-in-the-nation greenhouse gas limits on cars, trucks and SUVs, challenging the Bush administration's conclusion that states have no business setting emission standards

LAX Nation's 4th-Busiest Airport

Los Angeles International Airport was the nation's fourth-busiest airport in 2007, logging 680,954 landings and takeoffs, according to preliminary statistics released Wednesday by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Wednesday, January 2

Vans Accuses Skechers of Infringement

Vans Inc. asked a federal appeals court to block Skechers USA Inc. from making and selling shoes with a checkerboard-patterned during an ongoing trademark-infringement lawsuit against the Manhattan Beach-based company.

U.S. Manufacturing Sector Contracts

The U.S. manufacturing economy unexpectedly contracted in December, ending a streak of 10 consecutive months of growth, a private research group said Wednesday. The decline suggests that the overall economy may be weakening faster than some economists pre

2008 Might be 'Perfect Storm' for Ports

It's here. 2008. The year of "wild cards" economists warned about in '07. The "perfect storm" of potential waterfront labor trouble, industry revolt and government regulation that could have long-lasting impacts on operations at local ports.

Santa Barbara Paper Broke Labor Laws

The Santa Barbara News-Press and its owner violated federal labor laws in firing eight reporters for union activities, and the workers are entitled to return to their jobs with back pay, a judge has ruled.

Semtech Drops After Sector Downgrades

Shares of semiconductor maker Semtech Corp. dropped nearly 7 percent Wednesday after several major companies in the sector were downgraded by Banc of America Securities.

Casual Dining Stocks Take Hit

Shares in local casual dining companies took another hit Wednesday after a Bear Stearns analyst said shares in the maligned sector will likely continue to drop in 2008.

Survey: L.A. Worker Confidence Up

Bucking a national trend, L.A. workers were more confident in December, according to a survey released Wednesday.