Stories for March 2008

Monday, March 31

Live Nation Inks U2

Live Nation Inc. said Monday that it has agreed to a 12-year deal with rock band U2 to manage and promote the Irish band's concerts as well as its merchandise and Web site.

Daily Briefs

Meruelo Maddux Narrows Q4 Loss; HCP to Offer 12.5 Million Shares.

Center Financial Merger Nixed

Center Financial Corp. said early Monday that it received a notice from First Intercontinental Bank terminating the merger agreement announced on Sept. 18 between the two banks.

Taking Wing

A planned makeover is helping a new era take wing at Van Nuys Airport.

Associate Designer Fashions Creative Career for Herself

Even when Natalie Sichko was a child, she knew she wanted to work in some type of creative field.

High Growth, High Rates

Boston-based firm Goodwin Procter has stood out in the Los Angeles market by expanding business and staff while charging higher than average rates.

Obama Blasts Countrywide on Bonuses

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama called Countrywide Financial Corp., the biggest U.S. mortgage company, an example of what's wrong in today's economy and a political culture dominated by corporate lobbyists.

SoCal Market Drives Car Lease Trader's Growth

Leasetrader.com, a Miami-based company that facilitates the transfer of vehicle leases between drivers, just can't resist the lure of Southern California's oversized car market.

PR Firm Makes Room for Jewelry Designers

A PR firm showcases the work of jewelry designers at a West Hollywood

Making Connections

Bernie Zaia, managing director at Barrington Associates, talks about the similarities between investment bankers and psychologists, and making time for family.

Conga Room Beats Path to New Digs at L.A. Live

The Conga Room, a Miracle Mile hotspot that ended its eight-year run on Wilshire Boulevard in 2006, will reopen at L.A. Live in November.

Bad Loans Turn To Profit Center

Several businesses are viewing the subprime collapse as a boon, snapping up loans and mortgage servicing operations on the cheap.

Orderly Transition for Kaiser Permanente Hospital

Barbara Zelinski was prepared for the worst when it came to moving Kaiser Permanente's Panorama City Medical Center lock, stock and every bed-bound patient to a new, earthquake-resistant building last week.

Bright Ideas

Kim Lighting's fixtures not only complement building designs but direct lighting to where it's needed, thereby saving energy costs.

Universal City Building Signs Up Two Tenants

Two lease deals have been done at the 3330 Cahuenga Blvd. West office building in Universal City.

Fit for Hollywood

Gym owner and reality TV star Jackie Warner has really gone Hollywood. That's where she is opening a fitness center and restaurant.

Jumping Through Hoops at Work

The NCAA men's basketball tournament is in full swing, and March Madness has hit offices across Los Angeles, zapping productivity.

Afternoon Briefs

Cheesecake Factory to Close Disney Location

PR Firms Seen as Gaining at Advertising's Expense

Insiders see a slow economy pinching both sectors in 2008, with PR firms benefiting as clients seek an alternative to traditional advertising.

Financial Incentives Might Expand Organ Donor Pool

We should not be above discussing increase of the organ donor pool through financial incentives, writes Thomas Mone.

Private Equity Group Bullish on Business Software

Despite a weakening economy that could reduce demand for business software, Triton Pacific Capital Partners this month acquired a majority interest in AssetPoint LLC, a leading provider of maintenance and asset management software.

Newsmakers

Kudos, hirings and promotions.

British Beckham Bent Out Of Shape by New Expos & #233;

When David Beckham came to Los Angeles last year to play for the Galaxy team, he was hailed as the savior of U.S. soccer. Times have changed, though, and an L.A. company is releasing a DVD expos & #233; that has the British athlete none too happy.

Out of Closet, Straight to Bank

Writer Del Shores has taken his "Sordid Lives" to the stage, to the big screen and now to TV as a series on MTV's Logo network.

Local Utility Facing $15 Million in Fines

Southwest Water Co. said the enforcement office of the California water board may recommend more than $15 million in fines against one of the Los Angeles-based utility provider's subsidiaries.

E-Mail Add-Ons Help Recipients Get the Message

RPost, which specializes in registered e-mails, has invented a kind of electronic Post-it note for electronic correspondence.

Producer to Make Shows for Xbox

Microsoft, seeking to expand offerings on its Xbox 360 console, has reached an agreement with a company headed by Peter Safran, the veteran Hollywood producer and talent manager, to produce original shows for distribution on the system.

Gibson Picks On Activision's Ax

Guitar maker Gibson's lawsuits over Activision's "Guitar Hero" target the retailers.

Dodgers Home Gets Flush With Eco-Improvements

While the Los Angeles Dodgers hope new manager Joe Torre can help make an impact on the field, team officials say recent renovations will lessen the stadium's environmental impact off the field.

Side Issues Sinking Ports' Progress, Profitability

Side issues are holding up infrastructure improvements at Long Beach and Los Angeles ports, according to John R. McLaurin.

B of A Deal Lands Mozilo $19 Milion

Countrywide Financial Corp.'s chief executive and president will receive a combined $19 million in stock next week as part of the company's pending takeover by Bank of America Corp., according to a regulatory filing.

Timberlake Adds Some Pop to Jean Company's Sales

Clothing company People's Liberation is making big inroads in foreign lands.

A Soaking At Car Wash

Charles Crumpley warns that it'll be the customers and workers who'll get soaked by efforts to unionize car wash employees.

Actors' Unions Snarl Studio Talks

A sudden split between two actors unions over the weekend added an unhappy twist to Hollywood's troubled contract cycle: It appeared to weaken the labor organizations without making life easier for the studios they bargain with.

Private Security Beefs Up Area's Safety, Appeal

Downtown groups are paying for private security patrols to keep the area an attractive destination.

Friday, March 28

FDIC: Fremont Must Raise Funds

Shares in Fremont General Corp. were down 10 percent Friday morning after the lender said it has been ordered by federal regulators to raise capital or find a buyer.

Afternoon Briefs

Earl Scheib Posts Q3 Loss.

KB Posts Loss, Paints Grim Picture

KB Home reported another quarterly loss Friday as it wrote down more than $200 million for its fiscal first quarter sending shares down close to 5 percent.

Maguire Shares Plunge as it Nixes Sale

Shares in Maguire Properties Inc. tumbled nearly 20 percent Friday after the real estate investment trust said it is no longer pursuing a sale of the company.

Daily Briefs

Earl Scheib Posts Q3 Loss

Redstone, Cruise Re-Establish Ties

An unlikely union was on display Thursday when Tom Cruise dined at a Beverly Hills hot spot with Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone.

Countrywide's Sambol Gets Bonus to Stay

Bank of America Corp. agreed to pay $28 million in cash and stock to Countrywide Financial Corp. President David Sambol as an incentive for him to stay.

Avery Sues over RFID Patents

Avery Dennison Corp. filed two suits against rival Alien Technology Corp. on Thursday over technology used in labels that incorporate radio-frequency identification chips.

Ovitz Wins Ruling in Burkle Suit

Former Walt Disney Co. president and Hollywood agent Michael Ovitz won a legal victory over billionaire investor Ron Burkle in a Los Angeles courtroom Thursday.

U.S. Bancorp to buy Mellon Subsidiary

U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) said Friday that it has agreed to buy a Bank of New York Mellon Corp. subsidiary for an undisclosed amount.

Trade Group Gets $70 Million From India

Southern California's economy will soon get a $70 million economic boost thanks to a delegation of local business and government leaders who recently returned from India.

Thursday, March 27

UTi Shares Surge on Q4 Report

UTi Worldwide Inc. on Thursday reported a dip in fourth quarter profit due to accelerated costs, but the stock price of the supply-chain logistics company surged 17 percent.

Hearings Set on BofA-Countrywide Deal

The Federal Reserve Board on Thursday took the unusual step of scheduling public hearings in Chicago and Los Angeles to get comments on Bank of America Corp's acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp.

Now Playing at the Coliseum: Profits

Patrick Lynch has racked up one of the worst losing streaks in the world of sports. He's 0 for 13 years.

Farm Lobby Fighting to Keep Subsidies

With grain prices soaring, farm income at record highs and the federal budget deficit widening, the subsidies and handouts given to American farmers would seem vulnerable to a serious pruning.

Douglas Emmett Lands Six Buildings

Douglas Emmett Inc. said late Wednesday that it has acquired a 1.4 million square foot office portfolio consisting of six buildings for $610 million.

Air Board May Slash Zero-Emission Rule

Hoping to buy an emission-free vehicle in the next few years? Finding one might soon get much tougher.

Edison Plans Big Solar Project

Southern California Edison said Thursday that it plans to install $875 million worth of rooftop solar panels in order to meet peak demand and new state environmental requirements.

CPK Hit Again on Analyst's Comments

The stock of casual dining chain operator California Pizza Kitchen Inc. lost 3 percent in early trading Thursday after a Friedman Billings Ramsey analyst said its 2008 forecast may be too aggressive because sales in key markets are getting worse. The stoc

CBRE Wins Round in Property Battle

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. has won a round in a legal battle with real estate developer Richard Weintraub over a 20-acre property in Marina del Rey.

IndyMac Drops on Analyst Concern

Shares in Pasadena-based financial services company IndyMac Bancorp. Inc. dropped nearly 9 percent Thursday and were down another 7.1 percent Friday after an analyst expressed concern for company's financial stability.

Disney Sweeps up Disney Store Mess

A subsidiary of Children's Place Retail Stores Inc. that operates 322 Disney Stores in North America filed a Chapter 11 bankrupcty petition late Wednesday and said it plans to sell 180 stores to the Walt Disney Co. and its affiliates.

Wednesday, March 26

Missed Q1 Expectations Hit Ameron

Shares in Ameron International Corp. dropped as much as 25 percent Wednesday after the company reported strong first quarter earnings that missed Wall Street expectations.

CPK Drops on Analyst's Comments

Shares in casual dinning chain California Pizza Kitchen Inc. closed down nearly 5 percent Wednesday after an analyst initiated coverage of the company and recommended investors sell shares.

Hallmark Buys Disney Film Rights

Crown Media Holdings Inc. said Wednesday that its Hallmark Channel bought the rights to 99 movies from Walt Disney Co. in an effort to reach younger audiences.

Northrop Files Motion on Boeing Protest

In an escalation of the fight over a $40 billion U.S. Air Force aerial tanker jet contract, victor Northrop Grumman Corp. filed a motion Wednesday attacking key aspects of Boeing Co.'s protest with the Government Accountability Office over how the winning

Mojave Firm to Unveil New Space Ship

XCOR Aerospace of Mojave, Calif. is expected to unveil plans today for a new entry in the suborbital spaceship business , a rocket-powered space plane to be known as the Lynx.

Daily Briefs

Wilshire Bancorp Names CEO

Ports Target Trucks for Cleaner Air

Port authorities plan to spend most of an expected $400 million in public clean-air grants to subsidize the replacement of diesel trucks working in the sprawling San Pedro Bay port complex.

True Religion Receives Extension

True Religion Apparel Inc. said late Tuesday that it received an extension from the Nasdaq Stock Market to file its results for the year ended Dec. 31.

Tarrant Reports Strong Fiscal, Bad Q4

Tarrant Apparel on Wednesday reported strong annual earnings boosted by sales in its private label business, although the final quarter was down.

Icahn Wins, Motorola to Split Company

Motorola Inc. announced plans to separate its struggling handset business from other operations Wednesday, forming two separate publicly traded companies after months of agitation from frustrated investors.

Tuesday, March 25

Mexico's Baja Port to Make Big Splash

Mexico's government is preparing to open bidding on the largest infrastructure project in the nation's history, a $4-billion seaport that could transform this farming village into a cargo hub to rival the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

City to Provide Red-Tape Relief

Responding to years of complaints about the city's cumbersome building approval process, L.A. city officials Tuesday announced plans to cut the red tape faced by developers.

Final Push Starts on NoHo Commons

The final phase of a $375-million real estate development near the North Hollywood end of the Red Line subway called NoHo Commons was kicked off Monday by builders and public officials.

Ports OK Sulfur Emissions Plan

The Los Angeles and Long Beach harbor commissions on Monday approved a one-year, voluntary program aimed at reducing sulfur emissions from cargo container ships entering San Pedro Bay.

Public Storage Slips on Downgrade

Shares in Public Storage Inc. closed down nearly 5 percent Tuesday after an analyst with Banc of America Securities downgraded the company.

RadNet Rebounds After Earnings Delay

Shares of RadNet Inc. rebounded Tuesday after closing down more than 6 percent Monday when the company said it was postponing its fourth-quarter results for a week due to auditing issues.

Seymour Gets $300,000 for Tanker Deal

Northrop Grumman Corp. and former executive Scott Seymour exchanged parting gifts: He helped the underdog contractor win a $35 billion Air Force refueling tanker contract, and Northrop gave him $300,000.

NBC Universal Dividing TV Studio

NBC Universal, in a bid to retain a key executive, has split its television production studio into two separate operations.

Coalition Hopes to Unionize Car Washes

Opening a new front in L.A.'s labor wars, union officials and their allies plan to announce this week a campaign to organize thousands of workers at local car washes.

Daily Briefs

Obagi CFO to Step Down; Coverage Initiated on Aerovironment.

Prospect Medical Gets New Chief

Jacob Terner, the founder of struggling Prospect Medical Holdings Inc., is stepping down as chief executive and turning over the day-to-day reins to the CEO of a recent acquisition.

Monday, March 24

Corporations Walk Strict Path to Secure Funding

Corporations seeking financing amid the market's turmoil might find following a simple recipe can significantly improve their chances and lower their costs.

Seek and Find

Startup Prodege has sweetened the stakes in the search engine battle by offering prizes to lure users

Family Roots

Richard Sperber has grown ValleyCrest Cos., a company his father started, into the second largest landscaping business in the industry.

CEO Gets 8 Year Prison Term

Richard I. Berger, former chief executive of Craig Consumer Electronics, was re-sentenced Monday to 97 months in federal prison for financial fraud.

It's Time for Teamwork

No one needs to tell Angelenos that this winter's storms dropped a record amount of rainfall.

Content Distributor Channeling Online Television

Once solely a video distributor, Dave Networks saw revenues grow five times over the past year after its segue into the social networking scene, revamping 20 Web sites for TV shows such as "Price Is Right."

Canter's Joins Dodger Dogs in Dugout

Canter's Delicatessen has joined the lineup this season at Dodger Stadium.

Special Report: Slaking the Thirst for Cash

There's a funny dynamic at play in the credit markets these days. Read the Los Angeles Business Journal's Banking & Finance Quarterly to learn more.

Local Firms Gain on Investor Optimism

Shares in local mortgage lenders and homebuilders ticked higher Monday after JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its bid for embattled investment firm Bear Stearns Cos. and a report showed home sales increased in February.

Lake Balboa Apartments Sell for $9.75 Million

A 52-unit apartment complex in Lake Balboa near Van Nuys has changed hands for $9.75 million.

Gemstar Inks European Programming Deal

Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. said Monday that it has signed a deal with Irvine-based set-top-box maker Humax Co. to include its digital programming guides on the company's equipment.

Northrop Aims for the Moon

NASA's plan to establish permanent manned bases on the moon may hinge on the results of a "suicide mission" by a spacecraft that resembles a 6-foot-diameter sewer pipe.

Bear Merger Puts L.A. Jobs at Risk

JPMorgan Chase's absorption of Bear Stearns will probably mean a smaller presence for the combined businesses in Los Angeles.

Newsmakers

Kudos, promotions and hirings.

Attorney's Drink Passes the Bar

Laura Wasser, the high-profile divorce attorney who has handled split-ups for the likes of Angelina Jolie, Nick Lachey and Kiefer Sutherland, now has a drink named in her honor.

Jacobs Eyes Future With Saudi Deal

Jacobs Engineering Group has bought a business in Saudi Arabia with the goal of forging partnerships in the country.

Game Theories

AccuScore's software forecasts the winners of sporting contests.

Youbet.com Eyes Rebound After Feds Clear Subsidiary

Youbet.com is hoping its stock will recover now that a federal investigation into a subsidiary has closed with no charges being filed.

CBRE Gains as Hedge Fund Ups Stake

Shares in CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. closed up 13 percent Monday after hedge fund Lone Pine Capital LLC increased its stake in the real estate investment trust to 6.6 percent.

MySpace Nears Deal With Record Labels

MySpace's plan to launch a digital-music joint venture with the major record companies is picking up steam, as the social networking giant nears deals with Sony BMG and Warner Music Group, multiple sources familiar with the situation told The Post.

Northrop Grumman Deal Flying Past Turbulence

As congressional outrage dies down, the fate of the high-profile $35 billion contract to build aerial refueling tankers now lies with the government's accountability agency.

Aid to Distressed Companies Comes at Steep Cost

Distress comes with a high price these days. Although capital remains relatively accessible for quality borrowers, credit options have severely diminished for struggling firms, with large public corporations on the ropes facing particular challenges.

Handbag Line Takes Top Billing in Daily Web Show

Why advertise a product unless people can buy it? Love JD, a new line of handbags from L.A. accessory house Junior Drake, is trying to create prelaunch buzz.

Asian American Attorneys Look to Raise Profiles

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association is looking to help more Asian Americans make the jump from associates to partners at law firms.

Slaking The Thirst For Cash

There's a funny dynamic at play in the credit markets these days.

Touches of Class

High-end Los Angeles hotels are upgrading or adding spa treatments and facilities, an increasingly competitive sector of the business.

Daily Briefs

Prospect Names CEO

Ripe Ready for Plucking With Short-Form Content

Is the time ripe for Los Angeles-based Ripe Digital Entertainment, which its founder once described as attention-deficit disorder TV, offering young male viewers their preferred viewing diet of bikini babes and extreme sports stunts?

Fire Rips Through KB Condos

A sprawling KB Home condo project under construction in Woodland Hills was engulfed by flames this morning, causing damage to about one quarter of the 191-unit condo complex.

Hopes Hit High Tide for Port Talks

Port officials and the dock workers' union have started talks in hopes they'll reach a labor deal and avoid a costly shutdown like the one in 2002.

Lenders Getting Personal With Small Businesses

Pickled pork skins, jalapenos and other Mexican culinary staples have been good business for El Alteno Foods so good, in fact, they've helped cushion the blow of the credit crunch.

Featured Newsmaker

Kajima Corp.'s Elmond Wan.

State Home Prices, Sales Dip

Sales of existing homes in California dropped 29 percent in February and the median home price fell 26.2 percent compared to a year ago, the California Association of Realtors said Monday.

It's Not Easy Going Green

At fashionable boutiques throughout Los Angeles, shoppers can find the latest "green fashions" fabrics marketed as organic or eco-conscious in some way and often at prices well above that of regular apparel.

Commercial Real Estate In Search of Firm Ground

In need of a commercial real estate loan? Despite the havoc in capital markets, it's still possible to finance the purchase of a retail center or construction of a headquarters building. But be prepared to roll up your sleeves.

Prep Work Pays Off for Middle Market Business

Here's some advice to middle market companies seeking a commercial loan these days: Get out of the comfort zone.

Icahn Sues for Motorola Documents

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn said Monday he's seeking a court order that would force Motorola to turn over documents about its trademark cell-phone business and senior executives.

'Stagflation':Sound of '70s

Charles Crumpley is in a retro mood as today's stagflation stirs up memories of the 1970s' economy.

Friday, March 21

Lenders Demand More of Borrowers

Just when consumers and the U.S. economy need banks to lend more freely, the mortgage industry is making it harder to borrow - even for those with good credit.

HBO Struggles With New Shows

Last summer, as HBO emerged from a double blow of losing its longtime top executive and its hit "The Sopranos," the network began filming "12 Miles of Bad Road," a comedy about ultra-wealthy Texans starring Lily Tomlin. It was one of several new shows it

L.A. Job Market Rebounds

L.A.'s job market rebounded slightly in February from its January swoon, thanks largely to thousands of writers returning to their jobs after settling a bitter strike, according to state figures released Friday.

State Court Says Starbucks Must Tip

A California court awarded baristas at Starbucks cafes in California $105 million on Thursday, ruling that supervisors wrongly shared in tips.

Gibson, Activision Battle Heightens

Gibson Guitar Corp. has demanded that six of the nation's largest retailers pull copies of Activision Inc.' popular game "Guitar Hero" from shelves as part of a widening patent fight.

Fremont Sells Servicing Rights

Fremont General Corp. is selling the servicing rights on certain securitized mortgage loans to Carrington Capital Management LLC, which has bought other servicing rights for subprime mortgages.

Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest public companies eked out a slight rise this week, with local real estate-affiliated firms helping the index finish in the positive albeit a slight 0.47 percent gain for the week. This despite

Tribune Posts $79 Million Loss

The parent company of the Los Angeles Times reported a $79 million fourth quarter loss as advertising sales declined across all categories.

Thursday, March 20

Amgen Downgraded on Anemia Worries

Amgen Inc. was downgraded by a Wachovia analyst Thursday because its important anemia drugs may face sharp competition soon.

L.A. Port OKs Truck Plan

The Port of Los Angeles on Thursday approved an employee-based truck replacement program that officials say will reshape the harbor trucking industry.

Bargains Taking a Summer Holiday

Bad news is piling up for families looking to fly overseas or even cross-country for vacations. Airlines are cutting flights, adding fees and fuel charges, trimming frequent-flier benefits and reducing customer service personnel, particularly at airport c

Local Lenders, Homebuilders Gain

Shares in local mortgage lenders and homebuilders jumped early Thursday after federal regulators decided Wednesday to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy more mortgages.

IPC Hospitalist Posts Strong Q4

IPC The Hospitalist Co. reported Thursday that its fourth-quarter profit went up more than five fold on increased revenue and stronger margins.

Weiss Pleads Guilty to Racketeering

Famed plaintiff's lawyer Melvyn I. Weiss, founding partner of New York-based Milberg Weiss LLP, agreed to plead guilty today to a federal racketeering charge and could face up to 33 months in prison.

City Council Rejects Las Lomas Plan

A divided Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to halt its review of the 5,553-home Las Lomas project, dealing what could well be a fatal blow to the mega-development planned for north Los Angeles County.

Assessor's Office Cuts Property Taxes

County Assessor Rick Auerbach has announced that his office has slashed the assessments of more than 40,000 residential properties.

Cargo Slump Bodes Ill for Supply Chain

A sharp drop in freight shipped across the Pacific during the past two months suggests the shipping-industry slump is about to get worse.

Wednesday, March 19

Guess Posts Record Q4 Sales

Guess Inc. on Wednesday reported record sales that were shy of expectations. The Los Angeles-based company's stock edged down.

Ihop Sells 41 Applebee's

Ihop Corp. said Wednesday that it has agreed to sell 41 of company-owned Applebee's restaurants to the chain's largest franchisee, Apple American Group LLC. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Daily Briefs

Countrywide Continues Gains On Upgrade; Cereplast Names COO.

Seven Lenders Shut in Fraud Probe

State prosecutors shut down seven mortgage companies Tuesday in a growing campaign against predatory lenders suspected of tricking thousands of struggling homeowners into mortgage refinancing deals that led many to lose their homes.

Ports Propose Air Cleanup Plan

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Tuesday unveiled a $19-million plan to persuade shippers to burn cleaner fuel when vessels are near the California coast, a move expected to slash local air pollution by 11%.

Tarrant Reaches Settlement With IRS

Tarrant Apparel Group said Wednesday that it has reached a settlement and payment plan with the Internal Revenue Service relating to audits for fiscal years 1996 through 2002.

FCC Lays Out HD Requirements

The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday said that when the conversion to digital service becomes mandatory in 2009, satellite TV providers essentially cannot pick and choose which high-definition signals they may carry.

International Rectifier Gets Extension

International Rectifier Corp. said Wednesday it has received a three-month extension from the New York Stock Exchange for continued listing as the company prepares its earnings report for fiscal year 2007.

Tuesday, March 18

Irani Landed a 40 Percent Pay Raise

Occidental Petroleum Corp.'s Chief Executive Ray Irani got a 40 percent pay bump in 2007, according to a Tuesday regulatory filing.

Arrowhead Spins Off Subsidiary

Arrowhead Research Corp. said Tuesday that it has decided to spin off its majority-owned subsidiary Unidym Inc. into a company that will focus on developing medical treatments.

Local Stocks Soar on Fed Cut

Shares in Countrywide Financial Corp. soared more than 25 percent Tuesday, after the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point.

Youbet Settles Gambling Case

International Racing Group, a subsidiary of Woodland Hills-based Youbet.com Inc., said Tuesday that federal and state authorities have agreed to settle an investigation into wagering activities of certain customers in Nevada.

Port Talks Start Smoothly

Contract negotiations between shippers and the union representing West Coast dock workers started off with a peaceful tone Monday, when both sides met in San Francisco for talks on a new three-year agreement.

The Drug Company CEO Bracket

The NCAA men's basketball tournament bracket is out, and we'll probably get around to filling one out by Thursday. But we might go down to the wire this year because we've been spending a lot of time handicapping changes in the executive suites of Big Pha

Jacobs Acquires Stake in Saudi Firm

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. said Tuesday that it has acquired a 60 percent interest in Saudi Arabian firm Zamal & Turbag Consulting Engineers. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Roche Offers Amgen Higher Fee

Still hoping to get its anemia drug Mircera onto the U.S. market despite a legal challenge from Amgen Inc., Roche Holding AG has agreed to pay Amgen a higher royalty fee than it proposed earlier.

City Council Mulling Utility Rate Hikes

Amid opposition from neighborhood council activists and lingering concerns about DWP management, two City Council committees declined to vote Monday on whether to support the utility's proposal to raise water and power rates.

Allstate Must Cut Rates 15.9 Percent

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has ordered Allstate Insurance, the state's seventh-largest auto insurer, to cut its automobile rates by 15.9% -- an average savings of about $133 per car.

Edison Chief to Retire This Summer

Edison International Chairman and Chief Executive John E. Bryson, who led the utility parent through the disastrous energy market meltdown in 2000-01, will retire this summer with a pension plan and stock options that at the end of 2007 were worth almost

Monday, March 17

Internet Brands Goes Into Overdrive

Online auto-buying pioneer Internet Brands has undertaken an expensive growth spurt, buying up sites that cover a variety of interests.

Afternoon Briefs

Hythiam Dips After Poor Quarter; Earl Scheib Exploring Options; American Apparel Posts Strong Q4, Shares Sink.

Mattel Dolls Up Bond Offering With 'Poison Puts'

In a $350 million bond offering earlier this month, Mattel Inc. laced its five-year notes with "poison puts."

Dialysis Business Gives New Life to Griffith Park

A company that makes products to take toxins out of the human body has helped inject new life into Griffith Park.

NEWSMAKERS

Kudos, hirings and promotions.

The Answer Is Blowin' in the Wind

Two local utilities make a big bet on the future of wind power.

Telemundo, Televisa Close to Deal

NBC Universal's Spanish-language Telemundo television network and Mexican broadcasting powerhouse Grupo Televisa are expected to announce a programming sharing agreement today that could lead to a closer alliance between the two.

Putting a Premium on Investor Relations

Entrepreneur Paul Marino's online site hopes to give potential investors a leg up by assessing companies' investor relations efforts.

Shipping Lines, Union Kick Off Talks

West Coast dockworkers and major transpacific shipping lines plan to begin negotiations today on a new six-year labor deal.

Cash Issues Hang Over Huntington Park Hospital

Medical staff and hospital workers were saddened, though not particularly surprised, when the owner of Mission Hospital of Huntington Park announced last week that hospital operations were being suspended.

Glendale Gamble

Rick Caruso, developer of the Grove, is set to launch Americana at Brand in Glendale. But this time, the opening will be in the midst of an economic slowdown.

True Religion Files Second Extension

True Religion Apparel Inc. said Monday it will request an extension from Nasdaq to file its third and fourth quarter earnings reports in addition to other results.

Drug Expansion Stretches Pill Maker to Breaking Point

Leiner Health Products' expansion from supplements and vitamins to drugs has the company facing bankruptcy and a possible sale.

Ameriquest Founder Dies

Roland Arnall, founder of defunct subprime mortgage lender Ameriquest Mortgage Co., died of cancer on Monday at UCLA Medical Center at the age of 68, his family announced.

In the Picture

Encino-based Panache's software allows content providers to place advertising into their videos across a variety of platforms.

Picturing 'Soul' Of Business

Los Angeles-based photographer Dana Gluckstein has made a living off commercial photography for clients like Apple Inc. and Toyota Motor Corp. In fact, her portraiture work has appeared in print advertising campaigns for many companies.

Port of L.A. to Vote on Truck Plan

The Port of Los Angeles will vote on a truck replacement program that requires motor carriers to hire employee drivers, marking an official break from its sister port in Long Beach.

The Right Fit

Michael Johnson, the busy chief executive of nutritional supplement maker Herbalife, finds time to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a strong relationship with his family.

Court Takes Indecency Case

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday accepted a bid by the Federal Communications Commission to overturn a Fox Television indecency case the agency lost in lower courts against News Corp.

Culver City Office Campus Proves Popular Spot

The 1.6 million-square-foot Corporate Pointe office campus in Culver City has seen its share of activity in recent months.

Misunderstood Policies Spark Insurance Fights

The insured not understanding the coverage that their policies actually provide is at the heart of many insurance disputes, according to Jim Fitzgerald.

Boeing: Tanker Award 'Fatally Flawed'

Boeing Co. told the U.S. government that the Air Force used a "fatally flawed" analysis that made the company's bid for a $40 billion contract to build aerial refueling tankers look too expensive.

Sea Launch Postpones Mission

Sea Launch Co. put a rocket launch on hold due to an undisclosed technical issue, the second successive problematic launch for the Long Beach company.

New Bank Bucks Loan Sector Trend

Many financial institutions may be cutting back on their lending, but brokerage Wedbush is launching a commercial bank.

Video-Based Know-It-All Looks to Show You How

''How-to" may be the next hot niche in the world of online videos, with a Santa Monica startup company launching how-to video Web sites during the first three months of this year.

New Life in Death

Raw Feed keeps it cheap, bloody and funny with a profitable line of low-budget horror-thrillers.

Long Beach Moving on Trucks

The Port of Long Beach, having broken ranks with its sister port, has started down its own road to replace 16,000 trucks.

Smoothie Move

Naked Juice is seeing its business seriously heat up as the natural juice maker's lines have virtually replaced Odwalla's at Starbucks outlets.

City Making Poor Excuses

Baldwin Park officials who complain that payday advance businesses make the city look poor confuse a symptom with the cause, writes Charles Crumpley.

Lawmakers Look to Speed Sale of Medical Center

State legislators have stepped in to try and speed the sale of Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center, which has been on the block for four years.

Online Destination Brings Social Graces to Blogs

The online universe is filled with blogs a totally acceptable form of blatant self-promotion made possible by the Internet.

Los Angeles Port's Foreign-Trade Zone Expands

It's more than 100 miles away from San Pedro Bay, but the Tejon Industrial Complex is very much a part of the Port of Los Angeles.

Friday, March 14

Mission Hospital Suspending Operations

Community and Mission Hospital of Huntington Park will start suspending operations at its Mission campus on Friday. About 100 workers will be laid off or transferred.

Countrywide Fights Federal Investigation

Countrywide Financial Corp. is trying to block a Justice Department official from investigating its actions in bankruptcy cases involving its borrowers.

Port to Build 'Green'

Tthe Port of Long Beach is making plans to build a new "green" headquarters building as it pursues a larger program to clean up the air at the complex.

Superior Swings to a Profit

Superior Industries International Inc. swung to a fourth quarter profit Friday, saying sales rose faster than expenses -- but the company also said it will have to restate some earnings due to a tax liability.

Big Movers

During a turbulent week of trading, the Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest public companies stayed relatively flat from the previous week, losing only 0.74 percent. Of all the companies, 115 lost ground or staying the same.

Disney Exploring Adult Theme Park

Nearly 10 years after Disney opened Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World, there is word the entertainment giant is looking at building another theme park in Central Florida.

Diodes Shares Dip on Tempered Forecast

Shares in Diodes Inc. dipped 7 percent early Friday after the electronic component maker lowered its first quarter forecast because of a slump in subcontracting sales.

Ron Sugar: Tanker Deal Should Stand

Northrop Grumman Corp.'s chief executive said Congress would undermine the entire government procurement process if it tries to block a $35 billion Air Force contract won by his company and its European partner.

HCP to Sell Portfolio for $371 Million

Long Beach-based HCP Inc. is planning to sell a $371 million portfolio of health care facilities to a Birmingham, Ala. real estate investment trust that has several Southern California holdings.

CBRE Weighs Strategic Moves

CBRE Realty Finance Inc., a real-estate investment trust that makes and invests in commercial-property loans, said it is considering strategic "initiatives" after posting a fourth-quarter loss partly due to bad loans tied to developer Harry Macklowe.

Thursday, March 13

Home Prices Dropping at Record Rate

Southern California home prices continued to fall at a record pace in February, and are now at 2004 levels, a real estate information service reported today.

CSC to End Cycling Sponsorship

Computer Sciences Corp. said Thursday that it will not renew its eight-year sponsorship of Team CSC after this year. It is the latest company to abandon cycling in the wake of a string of doping scandals.

Northrop to Sell Night Vision Business

Northrop Grumman Corp. said late Wednesday that it has sold its night vision systems business to L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. for $175 million in cash.

State, County See Spike in Foreclosures

The state, and Los Angeles County, saw foreclosures more than double when compared to the same period last year, according to figures released Thursday.

DirecTV to Start On-Demand

In its yearslong battle with cable-TV operators, DirecTV Group Inc.'s Achilles' heel has been its inability to offer any sort of video-on-demand service. The company intends to change that.

Countrywide Foreclosures Rise in February

Shares in Countrywide Financial Corp. declined more than 7 percent Thursday after the lender said foreclosure rates rose in February.

Downtown Not the Center of it All

Downtown Los Angeles has seen a much-heralded revival in the last few years, with thousands of people moving in and a flock of new restaurants and upscale stores opening to serve them.

Anworth Drops After Greater Q4 Loss

Shares in Anworth Mortgage Asset Corp. dropped 10 percent Thursday after the real estate investment trust reported a fourth quarter loss greater than expected.

Westin, Union Agree to Negotiate

The management of the Westin LAX hotel announced Thursday that a lingering labor dispute has been resolved.

Santa Monica Settles Lawyer Dispute

The Santa Monica City Council signed off on a $55 million settlement Wednesday with several former attorneys who claimed the city failed to pay them contingency fees.

American States Q4 Profit, Sales Rise

American States Water Co. said Thursday that its fourth-quarter profit rose 15 percent due to a favorable rate increase in California.

FDA Panel Backs Amgen Anemia Drug

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel said Thursday that anti-anemia drugs by Amgen Inc. and Johnson & Johnson should continue to be marketed to cancer patients despite concerns the drugs could increase the risk of tumor growth and death.

Liberty, IAC in Settlement Talks

Settlement discussions between IAC/InterActiveCorp and Liberty Media Corp. are continuing, even as the companies fight over control of IAC in Delaware Chancery Court, a witness for IAC testified this morning.

Union Wants LAX Flight Reductions

The air traffic controllers union called on the Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday to reduce the maximum number of jetliners allowed to land at Los Angeles International Airport.

Wednesday, March 12

Port Cargo Drops Again

The Port of Long Beach said Wednesday that its cargo volume in February dropped from the same month last year, the fourth time in the past five months that the volume has been down.

Amgen Needs to Get Mojo Working

Standing in front of a packed room of investors at a San Francisco conference early this year, Kevin Sharer took a repentant tone.

DreamWorks Gains on Upgrade

Shares in DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. closed up nearly 7 percent Wednesday after the company was upgraded by Pali Research.

HMOs' Unwelcome Diagnosis

One sector that had been touted as a refuge while the broader stock market works through its funk,health insurance,hit investors with a bombshell on Mar. 10.

Live Nation Buys Florida Venues

Live Nation Inc. said Wednesday that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the majority of the live music assets of late Florida concert promoter Jon Stoll's Fantasma Productions.

Crown Media Posts Wider Q4 Loss

Crown Media Holdings Inc. reported a wider fourth-quarter loss Wednesday as expenses rose and the company settled a dispute with a programmer.

Region Fails in Bid For State Funds

A Southern California bid to grab more than two-thirds of $3 billion in statewide trade funds appears to have failed as officials this week recommended the region get just $1.65 billion.

Afternoon Briefs

Anworth Posts Wider Loss; Countrywide Credit Rating Downgraded by Fitch

Hot Topic Profit Up, Sales Down

Hot Topic Inc. said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter profit jumped 34 percent as lower costs offset a drop in sales.

Daily Briefs

Pelican Products Names CFO

Tuesday, March 11

Oversight 'Flaw' Led to Meat Recall

Steve Mendell poured millions of dollars into stainless-steel paneling and state-of-the art cleaning systems to upgrade the decades-old meatpacking plant he has run since the late 1990s.

Judge Reduces Dole's Damages

A Los Angeles judge has wiped out most of a jury verdict awarding millions of dollars to Nicaraguan field hands who applied pesticides to Dole Food Co. crops and who are now sterile.

Local Lenders Gain After Fed Boost

Shares in local lenders advanced early Tuesday after the Federal Reserve moved to help a rickety lending market by making up to $200 billion available to cash-strapped financial institutions.

Health Care Providers Down on Worries

Shares in local healthcare providers dropped early Tuesday after analysts cut their estimates on WellPoint Inc.

Anderson Forecast: No Recession

Economists from the University of California at Los Angeles said Tuesday that the state and the nation will survive the lingering housing slump and mounting job losses without plunging into a recession.

Homebuilders Surge on Fed Move

Shares in local homebuilders gained Tuesday along with the broader market after the Federal Reserve moved to jump start seized credit markets and boost the flagging economy.

Loan Data Focus of Countrywide Probe

Federal investigators probing the business practices of Countrywide Financial Corp. are trying to figure out what Countrywide knew -- or in some cases didn't know -- about the incomes and assets of thousands of its borrowers.

Monday, March 10

Sick Seniors to Take Big Hit From State Budget Cuts

Nina Nolcox feels that the proposed state budget cuts will fall hardest on groups such as the ailing elderly.

FBI Investigates Countrywide

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing subprime lender Countrywide Financial Corp. for possible securities fraud, according to law-enforcement officials and finance-industry executives.

Real Estate Awards: Creativity Counts

The L.A. County industrial market is the nation's largest, and players must rely on a combination of knowledge, experience and sophistication.

Countrywide Shares Fall on Probe

Shares in Countrywide Financial Corp. closed down 14 percent Monday after a report surfaced over the weekend that the FBI is investigating the lender for possible securities fraud.

T-Shirt Maker Uncorks Plastic Bottle Line

Chaser Merchandising has launched a line of concert T-shirts partly made from recycled plastic bottles.

Mayor Touts Los Angeles as Good Fit for Fashion

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will kick off Market Week, touting Los Angeles as a perfect fit for the fashion industry.

Northrop Defends Tanker Contract

Northrop Grumman Corp. announced Monday that it won four of five categories established by the Air Force to weigh the awarding of a coveted $35 billion aerial refueling tanker contract.

Actors Union Cuts Independent Films Some Slack

In an unusual effort to quell fears of independent film producers, the Screen Actors Guild made an offer last week to grant waivers to certain productions, meaning that they could continue even if actors went on strike.

Long Beach Grand Prix Is Ready to Turn Corner

When drivers speed through Long Beach next month, it will be the last time the race is run in the Champ Car series. The Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix, along with other Champ Car races, will join the Indy Racing League in 2009.

Daily Briefs

Gemstar, Nintendo Ink Programming Deal

Business Park Aims for the High End

When executives at Thrifty Oil Co. decided to convert a shutdown refinery into an industrial park, they aimed high.

Cougar Drops on High Volume

Shares of Cougar Biotechnology Inc. fell 22 percent Monday on exceptionally large trading volume despite no important news about the company.

Off the Bench

Joseph Wapner of "People's Court" fame has written a book for business owners who go to small-claims court.

Median Home Price Falls, Sales Slow in February

Los Angeles County home prices continued to slide in February and sales dropped as prospective buyers wait

Grocery Owners Win Ruling on L.A. Labor Ordinance

A judge struck down a law requiring L.A. supermarket owners to retain employees for 90 days after a store changes hands.

Northrop Increases Tanker Job Count

Northrop Grumman Corp. said Monday that it has nearly doubled its estimate of the number jobs that will be created as a result of the $35 billion contract it got from the Air Force to make aerial refueling tankers.

New Reality

Style Network's show "Peter Perfect" is providing makeovers to businesses and their owners.

Boeing to File Tanker Protest

Boeing Co. plans to formally protest the $35 billion contract awarded to Northrop Grumman Corp. and its European partner to build a new fleet of aerial refueling tankers for the Air Force.

Privately Held Business Tops in County

When Majestic Realty Co. began breaking ground on the first commercial buildings in the City of Industry, the area was still a rural outpost of hayfields and citrus groves.

Big Payload

The Air Force's decision to go with Northrop Grumman on its refueling tankers contract could be a boon to the local economy if Congress doesn't take it away.

Anworth Down Ahead of Earnings

Shares in Anworth Mortgage Asset Corp. closed down nearly 8 percent Monday as investors ditched the tumbling stock as it sets to report its fourth quarter earnings.

Tanker Bid: Boeing vs. Bold Ideas

Just hours before the Air Force announced the winner of a $35 billion contract to build aerial refueling aircraft on Feb. 29, an Airbus plane lumbered off the runway in Getafe, Spain, and climbed to 27,000 feet to rendezvous with a Portuguese F-16 fighter

Malone Says Diller Violated Deal

Liberty Media Corp. Chairman John Malone took the witness stand in a Delaware court Monday, saying he believes a proposed restructuring of IAC/InterActiveCorp breaches a more than decade-long agreement between himself and IAC Chairman Barry Diller.

Survey: State Remains Bearish

California consumers are as bearish as they have been in years about the prospects for the state economy as housing market woes and soaring gas prices have taken their toll, according to a survey released Monday.

Study Finds In-Store Ads Boost Video Game Sales

Channel M, an in-store video company, has released the results of a study conducted in partnership with Nielsen Media Research on the impact of advertising at retail locations. The study focused on custom programming that Channel M produces and distribute

Infill Developer Makes Most of Available Space

Infill development is a way of life for Rexford Industrial LLC.

Glendale Gains Ground on Office Vacancy Rates

Though it still lags behind the other Tri-Cities, the Glendale office market has made strides in recent months. Companies have been driven to Glendale because of higher rents and less available space in Pasadena and Burbank.

MannKind Plunges on Downgrade

Shares in MannKind Corp. plunged nearly 20 percent Monday after they were downgraded by Jefferies & Co. Analyst Salveen Kochnover, who said that it is becoming unclear if there is a viable market for MannKind's main product; an inhalable insulin treatment

Thinking Inside Box Paying Off

Oltmans Construction Co. makes boxes really nice, big boxes.

Small Projects Yield Firm Big Profits

Seventh Street Development knows its way around small industrial developments.

2007 Deals Piled Up For Broker

Jeff Smart lives up to his name. A senior vice president for Grubb & Ellis Co. in the South Bay office, he was the real estate services firm's top Los Angeles County broker in 2007 by total value of brokered transactions.

City's Planning Has Plenty of Room for Business

Industrial development isn't an afterthought in Santa Clarita.

Big Complex Projects Don't Scare This Developer

Kearny Real Estate Co. LLC, an owner and developer of industrial properties, has made a name for itself by taking on large, complex rehabilitation projects.

Solar Flexes

The Los Angeles area's solar power industry is finally moving out of the shadow of Northern California.

Oxy Partners With Abu Dhabi

Occidental Petroleum Corp. said Monday that it has agreed to develop production and refining projects jointly with Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Co.

Politicians, Pollsters Snubbing Small Business

Small business owners comprise a voting bloc that is being ignored by the

L.A. Firm Breaks $3 Million Mark

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges set a record in 2007 for L.A. law firms: $3 million in profits per partner.

Small Buildings Have Tiny Touches Like Feng Shui

The four small buildings of the Koll Center Industry don't necessarily stand out at first glance.

Building Series Looks Toward Future

The Business Journal gives awards to the people, projects and businesses that excel in Los Angeles County's crowded industrial market.

Higher Taxes Fuel Exodus

Charles Crumpley reminds Sacramento lawmakers that raising taxes will only drive small businesses away.

2008 Real Estate Awards: Creativity Counts

The L.A. County industrial market is the nation's largest, and players must rely on a combination of knowledge, experience and sophistication.

Disney Taking Heat Over China

A year after Walt Disney Co. banned Hao Wei Metal Plastic Manufactory as a supplier, Huang Renzhong got a job there sculpting melted globs of poly-resin into statuettes of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Snow White.

NEWSMAKERS

Hirings, promotions and kudos.

Northrop Aims Sky High in Satellite Partnership

With all the commotion surrounding Northrop Grumman Corp.'s shocking victory over Boeing Co. to replace the Air Force's aerial refueling tankers (see article on page 5), it's easy to overlook several significant announcements Northrop has made recently.

William Morris Joins Fund to Back Online Companies

William Morris Agency, known for handling a stable of Hollywood celebrities, has joined a fund targeting online startups.

Development Director Has Purpose-Driven Life

Jennifer K. D'Alvarez

Plugged In

Avalon Laboratories is working on a new line of medical tubing to be used in

Demand Media Adds to Supply of Online Ventures

Demand Media Inc., an Internet upstart pumped with $350 million in venture funds, has made its most expensive acquisition to date.

Businesses Face Loss of Benefits

Area business owners are alarmed at recent talk in Sacramento to eliminate or reduce tax benefits that they depend on.

L.A. Seeks Feedback on Airports

On a scale of one to five, how would you rate your satisfaction with the facilities, management, shops, noise levels and economic impacts of Los Angeles International Airport?

Hoop Dreams For Breakers?

Carl Williams, the owner of Long Beach Breakers, a team in the semi-pro American Basketball Association, returned two weeks ago from a trip with his team to Singapore.

Friday, March 7

Anemia Drugs Face New Limits

Amgen shares have dropped 27 percent the past year with two-thirds of the decline coming since early December, reflecting investor fears its best-selling anemia drugs could plunge again this year after 25 percent revenue drops in 2007.

Illinois Probes Countrywide

Illinois's attorney general issued subpoenas yesterday to units of Countrywide Financial Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co., for an investigation into whether lenders have improperly steered minority borrowers into high-cost or inappropriate loans.

Big Movers

After two weeks of slight losses, the Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest public companies was hit hard this week, dropping 4.8 percent as 164 companies lost ground or stayed flat.

Arden Posts Lower Sales and Profit

Shares in Arden Group Inc. slipped nearly 2 percent Friday after the grocery chain owner reported a dip in profit due to lower sales and higher expenses.

Edison Starts Work on Wind Power Lines

Southern California Edison said Friday that construction on the biggest U.S. transmission project for wind energy has begun.

U.S. Auto Parts Plunges on Q4 Earnings

Shares in U.S. Auto Parts Network Inc. plunged more than 30 percent early Friday after it reported a big dip in profits.

Thursday, March 6

Malone, Diller Case Rewards Investors

Liberty Media Corp. Interactive, the stock that tracks the performance of John Malone's QVC home- shopping unit, may gain as much as 15 percent from the Colorado billionaire's faceoff against Barry Diller in a Delaware court.

WPT Q4 Sees Profit, Sales Dip

WPT Entertainment Inc. after Thursday's market close reported its fourth quarter net loss widened 63 percent from a year ago due to a decrease in the number of episodes delivered of its World Poker Tour television series.

KB's Mezger Banks $24.4 Million in '07

Jeffrey Mezger, chief executive of home builder KB Home (KBH.N: Quote, Profile, Research) was awarded a cash bonus of $6 million in 2007 on top of his annual base salary of $1 million, according to a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

PeopleSupport Shares Sink on Guidance

Shares in PeopleSupport Inc. lost more than 34 percent Friday after the outsourcing service provider gave a grim outlook for 2008, despite reporting a strong fourth quarter.

Amgen Buys Rights From Kyowa Hakko

U.S. biotech company Amgen Inc. agreed to pay Japan's Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co Ltd. up to $520 million for the rights to a potential new drug, the companies said.

Officials Threaten to Block Tanker Funds

An influential Kansas congressman says he's opposed to the team of Northrop Grumman Corp. and European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. winning a $35 billion Air Force tanker deal because of its potential impact on domestic jobs and national security.

Anworth Plunges on Downgrade

Shares in Anworth Mortgage Asset Corp. dropped more than 21 percent in early trading Thursday after shares in the firm were downgraded.

No Joke: Lampoon Gets Delisting Warning

National Lampoon Inc. said Thursday that it has been notified by the American Stock Exchange that the company does not meet continued listing standards and must present the exchange with a specific plan to achieve and sustain compliance by March 27.

Specialty Films See Rising Costs

Studio specialty divisions are no longer low-budget arthouse arms: Last year, the cost of production for specialty pics rose a whopping 60% vs. an 8% rise for major-studio titles.

Maguire Continues Slide on Downgrade

Maguire Properties Inc. was downgraded by RBC Capital Markets Thursday, sending shares down nearly 2 percent. Shares have lost nearly 5 percent so far this week.

Daily Briefs: Ixia Names CEO

Also: Reed's Inks Distribution Deals; Farmer Bros. Names COO.

Cheesecake Factory Extends Debt

The Cheesecake Factory Inc. said Thursday it has extended its revolving credit facility by $100 million, and it will use that money, as well as some other cash, to repurchase between $150 million and $200 million worth of its shares.

Wednesday, March 5

Hot Topic Total Sales Increase in Feb.

Shares in Hot Topic Inc. gained 5 percent in after-market trading Wednesday after the retail chain announced February store sales declined 2.3 percent, which was a significantly lower dip than analysts expected.

Proposed L.B. Port LNG Terminal Stalls

The proposal for building a liquefied natural gas terminal in Long Beach Harbor may be dead today.

KB Goes Green to Gain Sales Edge

More builders are adding "green" features to their new homes. It is a strategy born out of necessity.

Ryland Fined for Lending Practices

Ryland Group Inc. has been fined by the North Carolina banking commissioner's office for allegedly employing unlicensed loan officers and charging borrowers excessive fees.

Maguire Postpones Shareholder Meeting

Maguire Properties Inc. said directors have decided to delay its annual shareholder meeting as it continues weighing a possible sale of the company.

Official: Northrop Proposal 'Clearly' Better

U.S. Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne told a congressional panel Wednesday that the proposal submitted by Northrop Grumman Corp and the European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. was "clearly" better than a rival bid from Boeing Co.

U.S. Sues Countrywide, Again

The United States Trustee has filed a new lawsuit against Countrywide Financial Corp's (CFC.N: Quote, Profile, Research) main lending unit, accusing the largest U.S. mortgage lender of abusing the bankruptcy process, court records show.

L.A. Times Inks Ad Deal

Los Angeles Times Media Group has inked an advertising deal with Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc., the San Antonio-based outdoor billboard owner said Wednesday.

Afternoon Briefs

Disney Names New HR Chief.

Daily Briefs

CalAmp Names New CEO; Demand Media buys Pluck Corp.

Ihop to Sell Applebee Franchises

Ihop Corp. said Wednesday that it is close to selling company-owned Applebee's restaurants to franchisees in two markets as part of a restructuring following the chain's acquisition last year.

Tuesday, March 4

Panel OKs LAX Expansion Plans

The Los Angeles Airport Commission approved a one-year, $25-million contract Monday for a Florida aviation company to manage preparations for expansion and modernization plans at Los Angeles International Airport.

Grocery Worker Retention Law Nixed

A judge on Tuesday overturned a Los Angeles ordinance requiring grocery store operators to retain workers for 90 days after a store changes ownership.

House Panel to Look at Tanker Award

The U.S. House of Representatives said it will hold a hearing Wednesday on the Air Force's decision to award the lucrative tanker replacement contract to the team of Northrop Grumman Corp. and European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co.

Boeing Shouldn't Protest Tanker Deal

Boeing executives are girding for battle as they lay legal groundwork for kicking up a more official fuss,the filing of a formal protest of a U.S. Air Force decision to buy from Northrop Grumman.

Fremont Receives Default Notices

The parent company of Fremont Investment & Loan announced Tuesday it had received default notices from two investors who purchased $3.15 billion in home loans in March of last year.

State Ponies Up For Clean-Air Plan

Following months of intense lobbying by local elected leaders and community members, the state has awarded $550 million to fund clean-air initiatives tied to freight moved through local trade corridors.

Semtech Profit Soars

Semtech Corp. said late Tuesday that fourth-quarter profit more than tripled, sending shares up nearly 6 percent Wednesday.

MannKind Shares Up

Shares in MannKind Corp. fell more than 4 percent early Wednesday after the company said that its fourth-quarter loss increased as expenses rose. The loss, however, wasn't as high as estimated.

IndyMac Shares Off

Shares in IndyMac Bancorp Inc. dropped more than 20 percent Monday but rebounded slightly in early trading Tuesday.

THQ, Jakks Dispute Moves Forward

THQ Inc. said Tuesday that it won a ruling in a procedural matter in its ongoing dispute with Jakks Pacific Inc. over royalty payments.

Monday, March 3

Belaboring Union Power

The local business community doesn't oppose organized labor as much as its outsized political partnerships, writes Charles Crumpley.

West L.A. Office Property Bought for $9.6 Million

A three-story office building in West Los Angeles called Corinth Gardens has changed hands in an off-market transaction for $9.6 million.

Out With the Old

TechForward's buyback policies allow gadget buyers to trade in their aging devices for money.

LAX Adds Italian Fares to Already Crowded Field

Forest Hills, N.Y.-based JetBlue Airways Corp., which recently announced plans to begin service from Los Angeles International Airport, won't be the only airline coming to LAX in the next few months.

Obagi Posts Strong Q4, Drops on Estimates

Shares in Obagi Medical Products Inc. closed down 4.7 percent Monday and continued to slide after reporting strong fourth quarter earnings.

Disney's ESPN Enters Hollywood

Walt Disney Co.s' ESPN sports cable channel, expanding into movie-making, started a division to produce feature films.

Punched Up

David Marshall, chief executive of private investment firm Santa Monica Capital Partners, is seeking to take mixed martial-arts fights into the mainstream.

Hollywood, Silicon Valley and AT & T;?

Hollywood and Silicon Valley have something of a Mars/Venus problem: the two sides are talking but they don't speak each other's language. A new venture involving a phone company may just add Pluto to the mix.

Medical Firm IPO Enjoys Healthy Public Reception

IPC the Hospitalist Co., a hospital physician management firm, was the first L.A. company to go public this year and has enjoyed one of the best IPOs since the credit market crashed.

THERE WILL BE OIL

High-tech methods along with the high prices have breathed new life into the oil industry in Los Angeles County.

Will Fashion Week Move Downtown?

Fashion Week may be headed for a move to downtown L.A.

Cord Blood Bank Infuses Clinical Trials With Cash

StemCyte Inc., which banks newborn cord blood, signed a university licensing agreement last week that could speed commercialization of a new spinal cord injury therapy.

Virgin Sparks Fare Wars at LAX

For years, JetBlue Airways Corp. turned up its nose at flying out of Los Angeles International Airport, saying that LAX was too big, too crowded and, well, that it just preferred to operate out of smaller hubs.

Cutting Back

Long Beach's Sky Room is among the restaurants that now offer smaller portions at pared-down prices to appeal to today's wallet-conscious customers.

Movie-Music Distributor Likes What It Sees, Hears

Speculation about another acquisition attempt sent the stock of movie and music distributor Image Entertainment Inc. soaring up by 100 percent last week.

Supper Club Born As 'Boys' Club

When SBE Entertainment Group's new supper club, Foxtail, opened last week in West Hollywood, it included the company's usual offerings: slick drinks and a slick setting. What's unusual about the supper club other than the A-list entertainment industry g

City Weighs Plan to Protect Pets From Fumigation

In an effort to prevent neighborhood pets from being exposed to deadly fumes, Los Angeles may require pest control companies to notify neighbors 48 hours in advance of a fumigation.

Arab Investors Home In on Newhall Land

Reports have surfaced that Middle Eastern investors might purchase Lennar Corp., the parent of Valencia-area developer Newhall Land and Farming Co.

NEWSMAKERS

Hirirngs, promotions and kudos.

Economy Benefits From High Wages, Strong Unions

High wages and strong unions are good for business and the economy, contends Richard Risemberg.

TV Producer Walks Casual Route to Video Games

The production company behind TV shows "Deal or No Deal," "Fear Factor" and "Extreme Makeover" is making a foray into casual gaming, or video games played on computers and mobile devices.

Investor Seeks to Revive Ailing Radio Programmer

Gores Group, which is known for reviving foundering companies, has targeted another business: radio programmer Westwood One.

Talking Shop

Media Savvy, which has prepped celebrities for talk shows and press junkets for years, is expanding to coaching business people on venture capital pitches.

How Northrop Won the Tanker Deal

The upset choice of Airbus planes as the U.S. military's newest aerial-refueling tankers represents nearly six years of planning and investment.

Shoemaker on Its Heels After Stock Tumbles 10 Percent

Shoemaker K-Swiss lost its footing last week as a disastrous fourth quarter report dropped shares more than 10 percent.

LAUSD Priority Is Education, Not Labor Issues

The LAUSD should keep its focus on improving children's education and stay out of the LAX-area hotels labor dispute, according to Gary Toebben.

Univision Battle With Televisa Places Programs in Jeopardy

Univision, the biggest Spanish-language network in the U.S., is headed for a crucial showdown over fees it pays for shows from Televisa.

Northrop Gains After Tanker Deal

Northrop Grumman Corp.'s stock jumped more than 4 percent Monday morning after its surprise announcement Friday that it had been awarded a $40 billion contract to make the Air Force's next generation of aerial refueling tankers.

Korean Banks Build Iranian Bridges

Some Korean banks in Los Angeles are seeking to expand their customer bases by targeting another immigrant community: Iranians.

Countrywide Dips on Warning

Shares in Countrywide Financial Corp. fell more than 3 percent early Monday after the lender said more credit losses, a slowing economy and a sluggish real estate market have conspired to boost delinquency rates.

Bowl Runneth Over With Football Fundraiser

Four years ago, Todd Doney went to a fundraising event where one of the live auction items was use of the Rose Bowl for a day, including a barbecue lunch for 100. Doney bid on it and won. Only at that point did he start thinking about what he would do wit