Stories for May 2008

Friday, May 30

Aerovironment Lands $7.7 Million Contract With the Netherlands

Aerovironment Inc. said Friday that the Netherlands Ministry of Defense awarded it a $7.7 million contract for the company's Raven unmanned aircraft system.

Daily Briefs

Semtech Names CTO

Audit Clears LAX Chief of Cronyism Allegations

The executive director of Los Angeles International Airport did not manipulate the selection of two firms for lucrative construction contracts, but the airport's procurement process still needs to be more transparent, says a report released Thursday.

Tutor-Saliba Co-Founder Passed Away

Naseeb Michael Saliba, co-founder of L.A. construction company Tutor-Saliba Corp., has died. He was 93.

Big Movers

After taking quite a hit last week, dropping 2.6 percent, the Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies rebounded, gaining 1.4 percent.

Local Index Indicates Hard Times Ahead

The Anderson Center's California Composite Index of Consumer Sentiment declined for the third straight quarter, hitting its lowest level since the survey originated in 2002.

Korean Tenants to Replace Japanese at Little Tokyo Center

The Little Tokyo area near downtown Los Angeles is about to get a culture shock.

Kerkorian's Ford Offer Still a Go Despite Slip

Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian will move ahead with his tender offer for Ford Motor Co. shares despite a recent slump in the No. 2 U.S. automaker's stock, pushing shares up as much as 3 percent.

Former Ihop Exec Sues for Severance

Ihop Corp.'s former chief operating officer filed a lawsuit against the company claiming he was terminated in January without a severance package after refusing to take a demotion.

Peerless Opts Out of Prism Acquisition

Peerless Systems Corp. said Friday that it has ended an asset purchase agreement with Prism Software Corp. due to various closing conditions not being satisfied.

American Funds' Spotless Reputation at Risk

The American Funds mutual fund group has gone 77 years without a significant whack from financial regulators, a track record that is a true rarity in the investment business.

Thursday, May 29

Azteca Shifts Production Jobs to Mexico

Spanish-language television network Azteca America is now producing its U.S. national and local Los Angeles newscasts from Mexico City.

Countrywide Debt Risk Falls Again

The cost of protecting Countrywide Financial Corp. bonds from default fell for a second day to the lowest in a month on signs its takeover by Bank of America Corp. will be completed.

Live Nation to Sell Tickets on Facebook

Live Nation Inc. plans to sell tickets to its concerts and live events through a program on the popular social networking Web site Facebook.com.

Tetra Tech Inks $30 Million Wind Deal

Tetra Tech Inc. said Thursday that one of its recent acquisitions has been awarded three wind energy projects on the East Coast valued at more than $30 million.

First Housing, Now Oil

In Charlotte, N.C., gasoline at nearly $4 a gallon is cracking "the survivors," as credit counselor Bruce G. Hamlett calls them. They're the people who played by the rules and kept up their mortgage and utility payments even as neighbors gave up and moved

Changes at Centinela Raise Local Healthcare Concerns

Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood has been a key healthcare provider to nearby residents for nearly a century. Now some patients and activists in South Los Angeles worry that recent cuts and other changes are diminishing its role in the commu

Countrywide Sets Shareholder Vote Date on BofA Deal

Shares of embattled lender Countrywide Financial Corp. gained Thursday morning after it set a June 25 date for shareholders to vote on the $4 billion takeover by Bank of America Corp.

Live Nation Brining Music to Dubai

Those who fetch $130 for a barrel of oil can call the tune these days. And it seems the tune is becoming so catchy that even Madonna, the original Material Girl, might be singing soon in this rich Gulf city-state.

THQ Delays 'Saints Row 2' By Two Months

THQ Inc said late Wednesday that it will delay the release of the second installment of its successful "Saints Row" game franchise by nearly two months due to what it called product quality and marketing concerns.

Judge Gives Minor Victory to DirecTV in Patent Case

A U.S. appeals court said it won't reconsider an April decision giving DirecTV Group Inc. a new trial in a patent dispute with Finisar Corp.

Wednesday, May 28

Daily Briefs

TiVo, Disney Reach Deal; Ihop to Change Name to DineEquity.

Middle Class Focus of SAG Talks

You've probably never heard of John Eric Bentley. But you might recognize his face. The 38-year-old actor has played a park ranger in the TV series "Bones," a police officer in "CSI: Miami" and a judge on "Hannah Montana."

Blue Holdings Receives Second Delisting Notice

Blue Holdings Inc. said Wednesday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it received notification from the Nasdaq stock exchange that the company had not submitted its earnings report for the period ended March 31 and once again faces delisti

Countrywide Settles Shareholder Suits

Countrywide Financial Corp. agreed to settle three shareholder lawsuits Wednesday that were challenging the company's sale to Bank of America Corp.

Countrywide Exec to Retire After BofA Deal

Countrywide Financial Corp.'s President David Sambol will leave after Bank of America Corp.'s acquisition of the company instead of running the combined mortgage operations as originally announced.

Afternoon Briefs

Abraxis names CFO.

Medallion Back on Track

One week after the announcement that the Medallion project was being halted in the midst of construction shocked Downtown, the $125 million mixed-use effort on a key plot near the Historic Core, the Toy District and the Civic Center is back on.

AFTRA, Hollywood Reach Deal

Hollywood studios and one actors union reached a tentative labor agreement on prime-time television shows quieting concern about a second actors strike this year.

Concern Ebbs as Countrywide Debt Risk Falls

The cost of protecting Countrywide Financial Corp. bonds from default fell the most in two months on optimism that a takeover by Bank of America Corp. will be completed.

Ridership On Rail Line Rises Nearly 19 Percent

In another sign commuters are leaving their fuel-guzzling vehicles behind, ridership on the Metro Gold Line increased by nearly 19 percent from last year, far outpacing ridership on other Metro Rail lines, according to figures released Tuesday.

Cogent Shares Surge on Earnings

Shares in Cogent Systems Inc. got a boost Wednesday after the company said late Tuesday that its first-quarter profit more than doubled.

Tuesday, May 27

Doll Brawl Commences

The trial involving Mattel Inc. and MGA Entertainment kicked off Tuesday, with Mattel saying MGA hid the origin of its wildly popular Bratz dolls for seven years and subsequently hurt Mattel's Barbie sales.

Local 'Pot' Dispensary Owners Indicted

The owner-operator of six Los Angeles-area "medical marijuana" dispensaries and his wife were arrested Tuesday morning on a host of federal charges, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Tuesday.

National Lampoon Starts Record Label

National Lampoon Inc. said Tuesday that it has launched a record label called National Lampoon Records.

J2 Names Zucker CEO

J2 Global Communications Inc. said Tuesday that it promoted Hemi Zucker to chief executive.

IndyMac Dips on Another Downgrade

Shares in IndyMac Bancorp Inc. fell early Tuesday after an analyst cut his rating on the mortgage lender.

Daily Briefs

Pacific Office Properties buys Honolulu office building.

Monday, May 26

UCLA Professor's Lollipops Sucker-Punch Cavities

Microbiologist Wenyuan Shi has crafted a sweet treat minus the sting with a lollipop that fights cavities.

Refined Touch

'Pawnbroker to the Stars' Yossi Dina handles artwork, five-figure watches and other high-end items at his Beverly Hills shop.

Clean Truck Plan Losing Traction

As the October start date looms, few trucking companies have taken steps to prepare for the ports' vehicle replacement program.

Turn Signal for Transportation

Federal funding of toll lanes puts the focus back on the Southland's roadways, writes Adrian Moore.

Bank Resisting Call for Action By Hedge Fund

Hedge fund Palisair Capital Partners is pressuring 1st Century Bancshares to take action to raise its share price.

No Kidding Around

Toni Casala's firm and Web site help aspiring child actors and their parents navigate show business.

Sports Producer Career Fits Baseball Fan Like Glove

Featured Newsmaker: Brad Zager

Newsmakers

Hirings, promotions and kudos.

Adding Law to Their Repertoire

Concord Law School's online-only courses make up for a lack of esteem with convenience.

No Time for Drama In Contract Talks For Studios, Actors

Jonathan Handel feels that Hollywood's actors unions and the studios need to act on a speedy deal.

Barron's Barren List for L.A.

Charles Crumpley is a little discouraged by the dearth of local businesses on Barron's list of America's Best Companies.

U.S. Home-Price Index Falls 14 Percent

Home prices in 20 U.S. metropolitan areas fell in March by the most in at least seven years, pointing to weakness in the housing market that will constrain economic growth.

Job Killer Laws On the Increase

Despite governor's veto vow, bills on the California Chamber of Commerce "job-killer" list have local business owners worried.

Penthouse Rent Tops Out At Steep $19,000 a Month

Hanover Co., a national developer of luxury apartments, is planning on renting out the primo penthouse at its new downtown apartment building for $19,000 a month.

Thousand Oaks Company Offers Virtual IT Service

Information technology is one of those topics many executives don't care to think about unless they're forced to, when, for example, the computer doesn't turn on one morning.

Medicare Misstep Proves Fatal for Medical Management Business

Medicare officials' decision to end a three-year program with Care Level Management Group has resulted in the medical management company filing for bankruptcy.

All's Fare

Cab drivers may get a break if the city lifts restrictions on where passengers can be picked up.

Wearing Down

Jeans maker Blue Holdings is flying by the seat of its pants as slow sales and management issues have pummeled its stock.

'Awkward'

Association of Tennis Professionals could be courting controversy at its local tournament courtesy of its main sponsor: Countrywide.

LABJ SUPPLEMENTS and GUIDES

WOMEN MAKING A DIFFERENCE 2008

Arena Football Team Looks to Bottle Fan Spirit

The Los Angeles Avengers play a high-energy brand of football on an indoor 50-yard field. Now, the company is hoping to bring that energy to its fans through a sponsorship agreement with Verve, a new entry on the energy drink market.

AFTRA, Studios Still Negotiating

After nearly three weeksof negotiations, representatives of Hollywood studios and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists talked into the night Monday, apparently moving closer to a deal on a new prime-time TV contract.

Bank Snaps Up Office Space in Downtown L.A.

Despite muted demand for office space by banks and financial services companies, many Los Angeles lenders and financiers are gravitating toward the downtown office market.

Los Angeles Port Quietly Rolls Out Electric Truck

The Port of Los Angeles this month unveiled a first-of-its-kind all-electric truck that officials hope can play a meaningful part in the growing effort to reduce port-related pollution.

Music Magazine Cues Up Rival for 'American Idol'

Taking a page from "American Idol," Billboard magazine is launching a talent show, "Billboard Next."

Studios: Less Risk, Less Reward

These days, an abundance of outside financing for Hollywood movies means that studios often don't always fully own or control the films they distribute -- an arrangement that limits both their risk and the money they can make, even from a big hit.

Stem Cell Blood Bank Relocates as Business Booms

It's a common tale about the chronic shortage of commercial lab space in Los Angeles: A fast-growing bioscience company frequently has to move away to realize its full potential.

Playing for Home Team

Architect Dan Meis grew up in Denver as a huge Broncos fan. And he's lived in Los Angeles for more than a decade now, but without a local National Football League team to root for, he's taken to cheering for the Philadelphia Eagles because he designed the

Friday, May 23

Oil, Uncertainty Hit Local Dining Chains

Shares in local casual dinning chains were hit Friday as analysts downgraded stocks because of rising oil prices and consumer uncertainty about the economy.

Big Movers

In a week where the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 4 percent, the Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest public companies followed suit, shedding 2.6 percent on 138 of the companies either losing ground or staying flat for the week.

Home Prices Fall More

Home prices in California tumbled 32 percent in the month of April when compared to the year earlier.

Brawl Over Doll Is Heading to Trial

Four years ago, Mattel Inc. exhorted its executives to help save Barbie from a new doll clique called the Bratz.

Dock Workers Contract Talks on Course

Contract negotiations continue smoothly between shippers and the union representing West Coast dockworkers, with both sides announcing Thursday that an agreement should be reached before the current labor pact expires July 1.

Poor Home Sales Hit Local Builders

Shares in local home builders dipped Friday morning when the National Association of Realtors said existing-home sales remained weak in April and inventories of unsold homes continued to swell.

American Apparel CFO Resigns

American Apparel Inc. said late Thursday that its Chief Financial Officer, Ken Cieply, has left the clothing retailer to pursue other opportunities.

Alleged Foreclosure Scam Busted

Hundreds of homeowners facing foreclosure have fallen victim to scam artists who told them they could hang on to their properties by placing them in phony "land grants," authorities said Thursday as they announced the breakup of the alleged scheme.

Thursday, May 22

Hot Topic Posts Wider Q1 Loss

Hot Topic Inc. posted a wider first-quarter loss Wednesday as same store sales continue to drop for the struggling retailer.

True Religion Spikes on Analyst's Forecast

Shares in True Religion Apparel Inc. got a boost Thursday after an analyst forecast long-term growth for the company.

L.A. Firm Fined For Lead Lunchboxes

A Los Angeles company that sold 100,000 lead-tainted lunchboxes to the state health department last year has been ordered to pay a $10-million fine for violating California laws on toxic substances.

Napster Looks to AT & T; For Boost

Napster Inc. said its subscription service will become available to between 5 million and 6 million AT & T; Inc. mobile phone customers next month.

'Big One' Report Paints Bleak Picture

An earthquake with a magnitude similar to the one that recently rocked China is inevitable in Southern California and could cause about 2,000 deaths, injuries to 50,000 and $200 billion in damage if it happened today, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Ca

Busy Travel Season to Start This Weekend

The busy travel season kicks off this upcoming Memorial Day weekend, and Los Angeles World Airports said Wednesday that passenger volumes at Los Angeles International Airport will be roughly the same as they were last summer.

Sony Introduces Hot Ticket

Sony Pictures Releasing is diving into the alternative theatrical content biz. Studio has created a new unit dubbed the Hot Ticket, which will distribute nonmovie content, including concerts, performing arts and sporting events, in high-definition digital

Disney Recalls Lead-Tainted Toys

Thousands of sleeping bags and magic wands contaminated by excessive levels of lead paint are being recalled by The Walt Disney Co., federal inspectors said Thursday.

Report: L.A. Should Avoid Recession

L.A.'s economy will skate by for the rest of 2008, just avoiding recession, and begin to turn around in 2009 as the regional and national economies recover, according to a forecast released Thursday morning by California State University Long Beach.

Wednesday, May 21

Northrop Nixes 'Say on Pay,' for Second Time

Shareholders of Northrop Grumman Corp. for the second straight year rejected a proposal calling for a vote on executive pay.

Disney, Other Studios Settle Web Suit

Walt Disney Co. and other Hollywood studio owners have settled a copyright lawsuit against movie-sharing Web site ShowStash.com after its owner agreed to pay damages of $2.77 million.

MySpace, Live Nation Eyeing 50 Cent

Soon-to-be-free-agent rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson could be the next major hip-hop star to score a big-bucks deal involving records, tours and other rights.

Volume at L.A. Airports Same as '07

Almost 20 million passengers are expected to pass through Los Angeles International Airport during the summer travel season, crowding terminals and filling flights to near capacity, LAX officials said Tuesday

Oops! Mozilo's 'Disgusting' Email

Chief Executive of Countrywide Financial Corp, Angelo Mozilo, is taking heat about an angry reply accidentally sent to a pleading borrower.

Napster Cuts Q4 Loss in Half

Shares in Napster Inc. closed up 4 percent Wednesday after the company said its fiscal fourth-quarter loss was nearly cut in half, beating Wall Street estimates.

Reed's Posts Increased Sales, Loss for Q1

Shares in Reed's Inc. added 6 percent Wednesday morning after the drink maker posted strong sales for its first quarter.

Honda to Sell Cheaper Hybrid in '09

Honda Motor Co. said Wednesday that it will launch a new, affordable gas-electric hybrid car in the U.S., Japan and Europe in early 2009.

Herbalife Ups Buyback

Shares in Herbalife Ltd. gained nearly 4 percent Wednesday after the supplement retailer said its board approved a $150 million increase to the company's share repurchase program.

Boeing Lays Off 750 So. Cal. Workers

Boeing Co. confirmed Wednesday morning that it will lay off 750 employees, mostly in El Segundo and Seal Beach, as its satellite manufacturing sector has seen a downturn in business.

Tuesday, May 20

Fans Resist End of Virtual Disneyland

For Walt Disney Co., the task of opening a virtual version of Disneyland on the Web was relatively easy. Closing it, though, is proving to be quite a bit more difficult, thanks to the wrath of obsessive fans of Disney's theme parks.

Maguire Says He Chose to Leave

Breaking a long silence, Robert Maguire III said Monday that he realized weeks ago that he likely would have to step down as chairman and chief executive of the real-estate company he founded if he was going to continue his efforts to take it private.

Enova Soars on Bus Deal

Shares in Enova Systems Inc. shot up Tuesday after the company said it inked a long term supply agreement with a school bus manufacturer worth over $120 million.

Ihop Sells More Applebee's Chains

Ihop Corp. said Tuesday that its Applebee's unit signed a deal to sell and lease back 187 company-owned real estate parcels.

S & P; Lowers KB Credit Rating

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered its corporate credit and senior note ratings on KB Home late Monday, sending shares down 4 percent early Tuesday.

The Recession Hits Mexico

In better times, the money Martimiano Pineda wired back to Purechucho from roofing jobs in Florida coated his dirt floor with cement and paid for a home computer.

Restatement, Delisting Hit Blue Holdings

Shares in Blue Holdings Inc. dropped nearly 30 percent early Tuesday after the denim company said it might restate earnings and was in danger of being delisted.

More Able to Buy Entry-Level Homes

The percentage of households that can afford to buy an entry-level home in California was 44 percent during the first quarter, compared with 26 percent for the same period a year ago, according to a report released Tuesday by the California Association of

Monday, May 19

Greater Good

Elise Buik, chief executive of United Way of Greater Los Angeles, has changed the focus of the non-profit from fundraising to addressing poverty issues

Photographers Take Shot at Fashioning Camera Bag

Unhappy with available camera bags, photographers Jessica Claire and Keats Elliott fashioned their own stylish and functional line.

Production Turbulence Won't Delay Airbus Landing at LAX

Airbus' superjumbo jet A380 is on schedule for a fall debut at LAX despite some production problems.

Clothing Maker Expands With Facility to Dye For

American Apparel Inc., the sometimes-controversial Los Angeles clothing manufacturer and retailer, is expanding in spite of its unsettled financial situation.

Swiping Out Crime

Carson-based MagTek's payment card readers reject phony cards in addition to protecting customers' personal data from theft.

CEO's Thrills More Grounded

Pinkberry Chief Executive Ron Graves says that working for the frozen yogurt purveyor gets his adrenaline pumping. Of course, it can't compare to Graves' old job flying fighter jets.

Foreclosures an Opportunity for Charity

The foreclosure crisis that has forced thousands of families from their homes has given something good to the nation's best-known housing charity: Cheap properties for sale in communities around the country.

Wealth Manager Changes Name

Independent wealth management firm Kochis Fitz/Quintile has changed its name to Aspiriant.

SoCal Home Sales Jump in April

Home sales surged 22 percent in April in Southern California as bargain-hunters bought lower-end homes in areas hardest hit by foreclosures, a research firm said Monday.

Wealthiest Angelenos (1 - 20)

The subprime meltdown and credit crunch took a toll on Udvar-Hazy even though business is aircraft leasing. The co-founder of International Lease Finance Corp. saw net worth shrink when parent American International Group reported $12 billion in subprime-

Bratz and Barbie Case Playing Out

A trial is looming over Mattel's claim that an ex-employee took drawings for the Bratz line to rival MGA.

Subprime Fallout Takes Toll on Wallets, Rankings

The subprime fallout has pinched some wallets, impacting the 2008 rankings.

Valuing the Rich

The subprime fallout has pinched some wallets, impacting the 2008 rankings.

Ticket Business Boom Powered by Las Vegas Shows

While ticket sales for everything from movie seats to theatrical performances have become a victim of a slowing economy, business for one local discount ticket broker has been booming.

Translating the Book of Love

Online matchmaker eHarmony is looking to hook up with overseas markets including China.

The 50 Wealthiest Angelenos (#s 21 - 50)

The top 20 Wealthiest Angelenos' profiles are broken out individually. here are numbers 21 - 50. For the list of all 50, please click here.

Newsmakers

Kudos, hirings and promotions.

Los Angeles Works Out New Approach to Web

The complexity of navigating across Web pages can tax even the most resourceful among us.

Local Lawyer Made Case Early On for Career Choice

Even as early as grade school, Alex Choi knew he would become a lawyer. While his 6-year-old friends had to beg their parents for G.I. Joes, Choi never whined when persuading his parents to get him what he wanted.

Becoming a Money Magnet for World's Richest

Some of the international players now in Los Angeles.

L.A.'s Sun, Glamour Steadily Draw Foreign Born

L.A.'s weather and glamour have long pulled in the rich from around the globe.

Buyers Take on Debt to Swing Property Deals

Two large property sales have occurred recently that have included debt assumption by the buyers, highlighting an emerging trend in the local real estate market. As financing becomes more difficult to obtain, some buyers are assuming in-place debt on prop

Santa Monica Firm Enters Athletic Competition

Dreier Stein Kahan Browne Woods & George LLP has formed a sports marketing and consulting firm that will be based in the firm's Santa Monica office.

Maguire Ousted, Dividend Cut

Maguire Properties Inc. founder Robert Maguire III was ousted over the weekend as chief executive of the company he founded.

Safety Study at LAX Set for Liftoff

After months of negotiating, NASA Ames Research Center is expected to launch a safety study of the north airfield at Los Angeles International Airport next month, under the terms of a $1.4 million contract up for consideration Monday.

Story of a Script: Dreams Vs. Less Equity

Last September, when Sanjay Sanghoee set about turning his first novel into a Hollywood movie, the budding filmmaker had his pick of investors.

Drama of Next Act

A Securities and Exchange Commission review of Sarbanes-Oxley has small businesses wondering what the ultimate impact of the 2002 act will be.

Canned Glam

Tom Wassner and Reed Schmidt cull the garbage cans of the rich and famous for items to auction online and for a documentary on American celebrity.

SPECIAL REPORT: Wealthiest Angelenos

Los Angeles is changing its profile from vacation spot to place of residence and investment for the world's wealthy.

Wealth of Nations

Los Angeles is changing its profile from vacation spot to place of residence and investment for the world's wealthy.

Wake-Up Call for Dreamy L.A.

Charles Crumpley warns that L.A.'s problems fester as city leaders dream of solutions.

They Already Have 'Ties to Their Homeland'

Los Angeles is changing its profile from vacation spot to place of residence and investment for the world's wealthy.

The 50 Wealtheest Angelinos

The Money: The real estate market has tanked but Roski has just about held his own a testament to the strength of his holdings as owner and chief executive of Majestic Realty Co., one of the country's largest privately held commercial real estate develo

The 50 Wealthiest Angelenos

Los Angeles is changing its profile from vacation spot to place of residence and investment for the world's wealthy.

Web Design Business Branches Out Into Software

Web design agencies are a dime a dozen in Los Angeles. But they usually don't develop their own software.

Daily Briefs

East West Shares Surge on Barron's Article; AltraBiofuels Names CEO.

Mattel Settles With Bratz Designer

Barbie maker Mattel Inc. on Monday settled with a former employee who the company alleged drew sketches for the popular Bratz line while working at Mattel and then took the drawings to rival MGA Entertainment.

Setting Boundaries

John Kabateck and Kofi Sefa-Boakye take opposing positions on whether Proposition 98's limits on the government's power to seize property would help or hurt challenged communities.

SPECIAL REPORT: Wealthiest Angeleios

Kerkorian stayed at the table too long last year and big 2006 Vegas winnings evaporated. The majority owner of MGM Mirage saw shares lose half their value as soft economy kept tourists home. Decline forced Kerkorian to turn to the Middle East and bring in

Friday, May 16

Texas Dialysis Center Probe Completed

Texas health officials said Wednesday that they have concluded their investigation into DaVita Inc.'s Lufkin Dialysis center following a recent spike in patient deaths, a state spokeswoman said. Results of the investigation have not been released.

After Upfronts, TV Biz Back to Work

The TV biz wrapped up its "very different" (as execs noted at every opportunity) upfront week on Thursday.

Port OKs Independent Trucker Ban

A plan to completely ban independent truck drivers from the Port of Los Angeles by the end of 2013 was approved Thursday night.

Big Movers

After a decline of more than 2 percent last week, the Los Angeles Business Journal's index of 200 largest public companies in L.A. County gained 2.7 percent. In all, 136 of the companies either gained or stayed flat.

L.A. Unemployment Inches Up

Unemployment inched up in L.A. County in April while the local job market was flat, according to state figures released Friday.

Maguire Board May Force Out Fonder

Robert Maguire III has abandoned his last-ditch effort to buy the company that he founded, and is on the verge of being forced out as chief executive and chairman.

Maguire Deal 'Derailed,' Newsletter Says

Shares in Maguire Properties Inc. shed as much as 16 percent during trading Friday after a real estate newsletter said an acquisition deal involving the company's founder had been "derailed."

Enova Sales Up, But Widens Q1 Loss

Enova Systems Inc. reported a wider first-quarter loss Friday due to greater expenses.

Edison 'Early Action' Plan Proposed

Southern California Edison said Friday that it has proposed to the California Air Resources Board the first major set of "early action" greenhouse gas reduction projects.

Afternoon Briefs

Panda Express Pledges $1 Million in Asian Disaster Relief; Edison Names Scilacci CFO

Preferred Bank Dips on Loan Concern

Shares in Preferred Bank Los Angeles dropped 12 percent Friday after shares in the bank were downgraded by D.A. Davidson.

Fox Says 'Cut' on Commercials

Fox Broadcasting Co. is shaking up the commercial TV model with "Remote-Free TV."

Venture Fund Buys PC Club

A Los Angeles-based venture fund said Friday that it has acquired City of Industry-based personal computer retailing chain PC Club for an undisclosed sum.

Thursday, May 15

Shares in En Pointe Drop on Q2 Earnings

Shares in En Pointe Technologies Inc. dropped more than 20 percent Thursday after the company reported decreases in profits and sales.

Pellicano Guilty in Wiretapping Case

The Hollywood private investigator, Anthony Pellicano was found guilty Thursday in federal court in Los Angeles of using wiretaps and other illegal tactics to gather information for rich and famous clients involved in divorces or legal disputes.

Wind Power Pact Approved

Southern California Edison on Thursday received approval from state regulators to proceed with one of the largest wind power contracts in the nation.

Federal Judge OKs Countrywide Suit

A federal judge rejected requests by Countrywide Financial Corp. to dismiss a shareholder lawsuit against executives and directors of the lender, and on Wednesday said that the case should go to trial.

Afternoon Briefs

Abraxis reports first quarter profit; J2 Global buys Phone People Holdings

Kaiser Reaches Rescission Settlement

State regulators on Thursday said they had finalized a settlement with Kaiser Permanente that will compensate 1,092 former or current members whose policies were canceled after they got sick.

Ventura County Lures Show Business

Plans to build a $125-million independent movie and television production facility in the Ventura County city of Moorpark were announced Wednesday by two entertainment industry veterans who hope to cash in on a regional shortage of soundstages.

Prius: Over 1 Million Sold

Most industry milestones make for pretty weak news events so Toyota's news that it has sold more than 1 million Priuses globally as of the end of April was no exception. Until you look deeper.

Actors to Resume Talks With Studios

The Screen Actors Guild, the largest actors union, will resume contract talks with Hollywood Studios after negotiations broke off last week.

MannKind Will Seek Approval for Insulin

MannKind Corp. said it is close to asking for the Food and Drug Administration's approval on its inhaled insulin product.

Senate Nears Mortgage Deal

Senate lawmakers are close to a deal that would expand a government program to insure hundreds of billions of dollars in refinanced mortgages, top lawmakers said Thursday.

Trio-Tech Swings to Loss on Expenses

Trio-Tech International on Thursday posted a third-quarter loss on decreased sales, sending shares down more than 10 percent.

Wednesday, May 14

Malibu to Ban Plastic Bags

An ordinance unanimously adopted by Malibu's City Council this week will soon make plastic bags a thing of the past among its 13,000 residents and four supermarkets.

ATRA, Studios Close in on Deal

AFTRA and the majors have kept their primetime contract negotiations under the radar while the Screen Actors Guild still waits in the wings.

Meruelo Maddux Declines On Q1 Loss

Shares in Meruelo Maddux Properties Inc., which had surged 30 percent early this week, declined a bit Wednesday after the large landowner in downtown Los Angeles reported a loss for the first quarter late Tuesday.

Malone, Diller Shake Hands

Liberty Media and IAC/InterActiveCorp said on Tuesday that they had settled their differences, paving the way for the division of IAC into five companies.

Schumer Pushes for Countrywide Probe

A Democratic lawmaker on Wednesday urged federal regulators to investigate alleged mistreatment by Countrywide Financial Corp. of homeowners in bankruptcy.

Former Gemstar CEO Charged Again

The now-missing former chief executive of Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc., Henry Yuen, was charged by the U.S. Justice Department with obstructing an investigation into accounting irregularities at the media company he ran.

Sports Put $5 Billion Into L.A. Economy

The Southern California sporting events industry accounted for $5.1 billion in total economic impact during 2007, according to a study released by the Los Angeles Sports Council.

Daily Briefs

CB Richard Ellis raised $2.1 billion for projects.

American Apparel Off on Dip in Q1 Profit

Shares in American Apparel Inc. dipped more than 10 percent Wednesday morning after the clothing retailer reported meek first quarter results.

Six Flags Asks Bond Holders to Cash In

Six Flags Inc., the owner and operator of Six Flag Magic Mountain in Valencia, said Wednesday that it is seeking to exchange existing bonds at a discount to extend maturities and avoid defaulting.

Ports Expected to Keep Growing

Buoyed by an increase in exports, Los Angeles County will see moderate growth in international trade activity this year after a down year in 2007, according to a new study.

Afternoon Briefs

Private Bank of California names CEO; FutureLogic and TransAct Technologies settle patenmt dispute; Easton-Bell Sports reports first quarter earnings.

Tuesday, May 13

Honda Shows Off New Fuel Cell Car

Honda's new hydrogen-powered vehicle, set for leasing within a few months, radically reduced the sizes of its fuel cell and motor. leaving the same interior space as a regular car, engineers said Tuesday.

Beverly Hills Bancorp Jumps On Earnings

Shares in Beverly Hills Bancorp Inc. closed up nearly 70 percent Tuesday after the parent company of the First Bank of Beverly Hills reported first quarter earnings late Monday.

NetSol Posts Profit, Sales Gains in Q3

NetSol Technologies Inc. posted increases in both sales and profit for its third quarter, sending shares up nearly 10 percent Tuesday.

Daily Briefs

Disney names Susan O'Day its chief information officer.

IndyMac Continues to Suffer

Shares in IndyMac Bancorp Inc. continued to tumble Tuesday after an analyst reaffirmed his "underperform" rating, saying the company's book value continues to diminish shares, forcing the company to raise capital.

ABC Plans Only 2 New Fall Shows

ABC will introduce only two new series in the fall, one of them scripted, in a schedule the network admits was severely affected by the 100-day TV writers strike.

Disney Plans TV Think Tank

Walt Disney Co. is planning to start a think tank designed to find out how and why people watch certain shows.

DTS Q1 Boosted by High Def Demand

DTS Inc. said late Monday that it swung to a first-quarter profit, crediting a jump in demand for high definition components.

Moody's Cuts Amgen Rating

Moody's Investors Service cut its rating for Thousand Oaks-based Amgen Inc. on Tuesday, saying it expects further declines in Amgen's anemia drug sales.

Talks Continue as Hollywood Waits

AFTRA and the majors have launched a second week of primetime negotiations for a deal that's expected to do little toward easing the town's strike fears -- since SAG still won't have a new feature-primetime contract once AFTRA makes its deal.

Mattel Could Win Big in Bratz Case

Mattel Inc., the world's biggest toymaker, may add as much as $500 million a year to its revenue by winning a copyright suit against MGA Entertainment Inc. over the Barbie doll's hip urban rival, Bratz.

Monday, May 12

Data Processing Company Revs Up With Auto Parts Acquisition

Data processing firm Cash Technologies saw its stock soar after making a deal for an auto parts remanufacturer.

Cogent Soars On Q1 Forecast, Settlement

Shares in Cogent Systems Inc. surged 13 percent early Monday after the company said it expects its first-quarter earnings to top Wall Street's expectations but further delayed the earnings report pending a settlement review.

Meruelo Maddux Soars on Land Sale

A package of Los Angeles real estate on sale for 35 cents on the dollar is attracting investors to the depressed shares of Meruelo Maddux Properties Inc., the biggest private landowner in the city's four-square-mile downtown.

RadNet Q1 Profit Misses Expectations

Shares in RadNet Inc. closed up more than 3 percent Monday but quickly retreated in after-hours trading when the company's profit fell short of expectations.

Tribune Sells Newsday for $650 Million

Cablevision Systems Corp. is buying the Long Island-based newspaper Newsday from Tribune Co. in a deal valued at $650 million, the companies announced Monday.

Show Business Executive Played Variety of Roles in Rise

Justin Bergeron realized at a young age that in order to be successful in the world of entertainment production, knowing many different aspects of the industry was important.

Trash Talking Good for L.A.

The city Sanitation Department's public meetings have yielded a promising plan to reduce waste, notes Richard Risemberg.

Blu-Ray Isn't Getting Much Traction

In January, Sony and its allies won a big victory. Blu-ray, Sony's version of a new generation of high-definition DVD players and discs, signed up enough studios to knock out Toshiba's format after a six-year tussle.

Medallion Project Abruptly Halted

Construction on the Medallion, a $125 million mixed-use project on a key plot near the Historic Core, the Toy District and the Civic Center, has been halted.

Buy-or-Die Time Nears For Affinity Media Corp.

Special purpose acquisition company Affinity Media International is

Governor Tries to Retain Productions

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Friday that California must increase tax incentives to movie and television studios as a way to keep them from moving their productions out of state.

BALL + MALL

Southland shopping could be sporting a new look as retail destination projects are planned for Dodger Stadium and Ed Roski's proposed home for an NFL team

OVGuide Is Putting a Focus on Web Video Sites

As video Web sites from user-generated YouTube to studio-approved Hulu get more hits every day, it makes sense that a site like OVGuide.com would emerge.

Video Game Firms Make Play for Scribes' Services

As next-generation consoles expand the complexity of video games, game publishers are turning to Hollywood writers to punch up story lines

Brief Break

Some local lawyers will be hanging up "Gone Fishin' " signs and heading out on exotic vacations.

Janitors, Building Owners Reach Deal

The union representing 4,100 janitors in buildings on L.A.'s Westside has reached a tentative contract agreement with building owners and janitorial service contractors, apparently averting a possible strike, union officials and a spokesman for L.A. Mayor

IndyMac Posts Loss, Shares Slide

Shares in IndyMac Bancorp Inc. dropped early Monday after the bank reported a first-quarter loss and said it won't be profitable soon.

Evolution Has Restaurant Reality Show on Menu

Barbara Lazaroff, former wife and business partner of Wolfgang Puck, is about to take on the world of reality TV, joining forces with Evolution Media to create a show that would pit budding restaurateurs against each other in a competition to win a new re

Art Lessons

Bruce Johnson, chief executive of PorchLight Entertainment, initially envisioned a career as a small-town college professor.

Kidney Dialysis Business Expands Buyback Plan

Shares of kidney dialysis center operator DaVita Inc. have been bobbing between $50 to $60 over the past year higher than the stock of all but the top dozen companies on the Business Journal's index of 200 local stocks.

Newsmakers

Kudos, hirings and promotions.

L.A. Port to Move Forward on Terminal Expansion

After a four-year delay brought on by environmentalists' virulent opposition, the Port of Los Angeles is set to move forward with an expansion of the China Shipping Container Lines Co. terminal.

Using Topography to Build a Lower-Cost Stadium

Southland shopping could be sporting a new look as retail destination projects are planned for Dodger Stadium and Ed Roski's proposed home for an NFL team.

Former Actor Plays It Safe With Security Business

While waiting for his big acting break to arrive, Louis Perry formed the relationships that led to the launch of a security service

Sales Increase as Home Prices Fall

County home sales continued to rebound in April, with the number of homes sold rising 15 percent compared to March.

Beware 'Bottom' Line

Charles Crumpley says the evidence is indicating the housing crisis is over. Or is it?

Afternoon Briefs

HemaCare Posts Strong Q1 Earnings.

Local Sports Network Channels Dodgers' History

As the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate the 50th anniversary of the team's move from Brooklyn, local broadcast partners are joining the party.

American States Posts Q1 Declines

American States Water Co. posted a dip in first quarter profit but still beat Wall Street's expectations on revenues, sending shares up 3 percent.

Jury Weighs In At Americana

When Rick Caruso threw a black-tie bash to open his Americana at Brand mall in Glendale on May 1, he made sure there were plenty of recognizable names.

Executive Search Service Turns Up Timely Hires

When Fox Mobile Entertainment decided to launch a six-month project last year to develop screen savers and videos for cell phones, the company needed a qualified interim manager.

Individual Attention

Startup Magnify360's software lets e-commerce sites tailor their Web pages and ads to individual visitors.

Restless Retirees

O'Melveny & Myers' early retirement package has encouraged several lawyers to cash in and jump ship to other law firms

Businesses in Space Race Buy Entire Buildings

Companies with office needs on the Westside are continuing to turn to the South Bay in search of less expensive rents. At a new office complex in El Segundo, companies are foregoing renting altogether, instead purchasing buildings.

Program to Curtail Counterfeit Drugs Is a Case of Overkill

Donald Bren's $8.5 million donation to an after-school program highlights the importance of education to the future of business, according to Dr. David H. Aizuss.

Waldorf-Astoria OK'd

The Beverly Hills City Council on Monday gave final approval to a proposed $500 million revitalization project for the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Friday, May 9

Daily Briefs

Meruelo Maddux Names CFO

AFTRA Meets With Majors

With SAG pushed to the sidelines until the end of the month, the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists and the majors have held two days of news-free negotiations.

Superior Shares Surge on Q1 Earnings

Shares in Superior Industries International Inc. gained 13 percent early Friday after the company reported that first-quarter profit rose 55 percent as lower expenses offset weaker sales.

A Secret Identity for Marvel

The blockbuster superhero movie, starring Robert Downey Jr. as an industrialist who fights terrorists and arms dealers in a red-and-yellow metal suit, pulled off a $100 million-plus opening weekend.

Fremont Considers Toward Bankruptcy

Shares of former mortgage lender Fremont General Corp. plunged 47 percent Friday after the company said that it may be forced to file for bankruptcy in order to complete the sale of its retail banking business.

Newhall Owner Defaults on Loan

The joint venture that owns Newhall Land & Farming Co. and is on the eve of building a 21,000-home project in the Santa Clarita Valley has defaulted on its $1.1 billion loan.

Guidance Reports Increased Q1 Loss

Shares in Guidance Software Inc. edged down early Friday after the company reported an increased first-quarter loss late Thursday.

True Religion Spikes On Q1, Forecast

Shares in True Religion Apparel Inc. shot up Friday after the high-end denim retailer posted better-than-expected first quarter earnings and boosted its forecast for the rest of 2008.

Warner Bros. to Close Indie Houses

Warner Independent Pictures and Picturehouse -- respectively, the art-house film division of Warner Bros. and the indie movie arm of New Line Cinema -- are closing, Warner Bros. Chief Executive Alan Horn announced Thursday.

Tax Gain Gives Tribune Q1 Profit

Tribune Co. reported a big first-quarter profit, thanks to a mammoth tax gain the Chicago media concern recorded in connection with the leveraged buyout by which it went private at the end of 2007.

Big Movers

After two weeks of solid gains, the Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest public companies took a dip this week, dropping 2.1 percent. In all, 130 of the companies either lost ground of stayed flat for the week.

Thursday, May 8

Visitor Growth Boosts Six Flags

Six Flags Inc., the company that owns Magic Mountain amusement park, said its first-quarter loss narrowed as revenue increased.

Live Nation Narrows Loss on Strong Sales

Live Nation Inc. said it narrowed its first quarter loss thanks to increased sales at its venues.

Janitor Talks to Continue

Building owners and union leaders will continue talks through the weekend to settle a janitors' strike, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced Thursday.

Developer Set to Build in Tejon Ranch

A coalition of environmental groups and a developer have agreed on a landmark plan to conserve 90% of the largest chunk of privately owned wilderness remaining in Southern California.

Edison Profit Slips as Sales Increase

Edison International reported Thursday that first-quarter profit dropped despite a rise in sales.

AEG To Buy Stake in Golden Boy

AEG said Thursday that it will acquire a stake in Los Angeles-based boxing promoter Golden Boy Promotions, Oscar De La Hoya's company.

L.A. Chamber Endorses Bernard Parks

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday endorsed L.A. City Councilman and former L.A. police chief Bernard Parks for county Supervisor.

Warner Shares Slip on Increased Q2 Loss

Shares in Warner Music Group Corp. dropped as much as 25 percent Thursday after the record label reported a wider second-quarter loss forcing it to suspend its quarterly dividend.

Hansen Drops on Missed Q1 Expectations

Despite reporting double-digit growth in both sales and profit, shares in Hansen Natural Corp. were stung Thursday when its first-quarter results missed Wall Street's expectations.

Aecom Profit Soars on Sales Overseas

Aecom Technology Corp. posted strong earnings Thursday boosted by its international business.

Activision Posts Strong Q4

Activision Inc. reported strong earnings that beat Wall Street's estimates after nearly doubling sales.

Anworth Posts Strong Q1 Earnings

Shares in Anworth Mortgage Asset Corp. jumped 4 percent Thursday after the real estate investment trust reported better-than-expected first quarter earnings, prompting an upgrade from one analyst.

Amgen CEO Optimistic About Future

The beleaguered chief executive of biotech giant Amgen Inc. confronted an often testy group of shareholders Wednesday, his first annual meeting with investors since the company's fortunes took a hard turn last summer.

Wednesday, May 7

Spot Runner Lands $51 Million

Los Angeles advertising firm Spot Runner Inc. said Tuesday that it had received $51 million in financing from Grupo Televisa and a slew of other international media companies, evidence that even global advertisers are interested in local ads.

DirecTV Posts Strong Q1

DirecTV Group Inc. reported strong first quarter results Wednesday mainly because of an increase in subscribers in the United States and Latin America. What's more, customers in both regions spent more each month.

ValueClick Drops on Analyst Skepticism

ValueClick Inc. reported solid first-quarter earnings late Tuesday that beat expectations, but shares suffered after an analyst questioned the company's business model and financials.

Stock Deal Helps Triple News Corp.'s Q3

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. reported Wednesday that its earnings more than tripled in the latest quarter on a one-time gain of $1.7 billion from a stock exchange with Liberty Media Corp.

JetBlue Scraps LAX Plans

Thanks to sky-high fuel costs, discount airline JetBlue Airways has decided to temporarily nix its plans to launch service out of Los Angeles International Airport, the airline said late Tuesday.

Mattel Wins Patent Suit Against Dorel

Mattel Inc.'s Fisher-Price division won a $5.7 million award from a Dorel Industries Inc. unit in a lawsuit over patents for baby bassinets and bouncers.

Cash Tech Shares Surge After Deal

Shares in Cash Technologies Inc. soared 200 percent Wednesday after the company said that its subsidiary bought Champion Parts Inc., a troubled company with a well-known name, for just under $3 million.

United Online Boosted By ClassMates

Shares in United Online Inc. gained nearly 10 percent Wednesday after the company reported late Tuesday that paid accounts at its Classmates.com Web site gained 22 percent.

Actors Guild Talks End Without Deal

Hopes for a last-minute breakthrough in negotiations between Hollywood studios and the Screen Actors Guild were dashed Tuesday when contract talks ended on a bitter note, fueling anxiety over the prospect of another strike.

Countrywide Makes Pledge to Improve

Facing growing criticism of its conduct toward homeowners in bankruptcy court, Countrywide Financial Corp. said it would improve its practices at a hearing before a U.S. Senate panel.

Studios Get $111 Million in Piracy Case

Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures and other studios were awarded $110.9 million by a U.S. judge in a case over pirated films distributed through the Dutch file- sharing Web site TorrentSpy.com.

Daily Briefs

Blue Holdings Appoints CFO; UTi to Pay CEO, Board Member Solely in Options; Internet Brands Posts Q1 Earnings;l Hot Topic Same-Store-Sales Dip, Guidance Renewed.

Building Owners Brace for Strike

Hundreds of janitors on L.A.'s Westside were set to walk off the job Wednesday night after contract talks with building owners broke off earlier in the day.

J2 Posts Gains in Q1 Profit, Revenues

J2 Global Communications Inc. reported increases in first quarter profit and revenues thanks to a boost in subscribers.

THQ CEO Outlines Plans for Company

After reporting that his company swung to an annual loss, THQ Inc.'s chief executive, Brian Farrell, outlined his plans to restore profitability, including 200 layoffs.

Tuesday, May 6

Will BofA Bail on Countrywide?

Could Bank of America act like a troubled homeowner and hand the keys to Countrywide Financial back to the lender?

Countrywide Yanks Home-Equity Lines

Countrywide Financial Corp. has suspended the home equity credit lines of almost all its Las Vegas customers, including the $60,000 Christopher Whipple says he needed to expand his cell-phone accessories business.

Countrywide Admits Officers' Errors

Mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp., which is under investigation for inflating certain borrowers' fees, acknowledged Tuesday that it has made errors and pledged to take steps to improve its operations.

Mercury Air Opens Middle East Terminal

Amid a boom in corporate jet use, Mercury Air Group Inc. has opened its first private aviation terminal in the Middle East.

Disney Posts Strong Q2 Results

Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday that second-quarter profit rose 22 percent as theme park traffic and box office sales from the film "National Treasure 2" boosted the bottom line.

THQ Posts Q4 Loss

THQ Inc. said Tuesday that it swung to a loss in its fourth quarter despite a rise in sales.

City Limits Mansions, Hotel Conversions

The Los Angeles City Council today approved new rules to address major byproducts of the gentrification that has swept the city: Limiting the size of "mansionization" additions and making it harder for developers to convert low-income housing on skid row

WPT Posts Q1 Loss, Settles Lawsuit

WPT Enterprises Inc. reported an increased loss Tuesday and said it settled a lawsuit in which some poker players accused the company of violating antitrust laws.

Commission Backs LAX Chief

The airport commission on Monday threw its support behind the executive director of Los Angeles International Airport, agreeing that Gina Marie Lindsey did not improperly steer a pair of contracts toward firms that she previously worked with.

DreamWorks Gets Upgraded

Shares in DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. added as much as 6.5 percent Tuesday after the stock was added to Goldman, Sachs & Co.'s "buy" list.

Maguire Q1 Loss Widens

Maguire Properties Inc. reported Tuesday that its first quarter loss more than tripled from a year ago, and the company continues to weigh its options.

CBRE, Duke Realty Team Up

CB Richard Ellis Realty Trust and Duke Realty Corp. said Tuesday they have partnered in a joint venture to acquire as much as $800 million of newly developed Duke industrial projects over the next three years.

Disney Profit Helped By Movies

Walt Disney Co., the second-largest U.S. media company, may say today that second-quarter profit gained on box-office sales for ``National Treasure'' and ``Hannah Montana,'' and the DVD release of ``Enchanted.''

Arden Q1 Earnings Slow

Arden Group Inc. said Tuesday that its first quarter net income was slightly higher than the previous year despite a slip in same-store sales and a weakening economy.

TV Guide Names New Editor

TV Guide magazine on Tuesday named Debra Birnbaum its editor-in-chief just a few days after Macrovision Solutions Corp. took over the storied magazine's parent company Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc.

Monday, May 5

Northrop Faces Drone Deal Protest

Lockheed Martin Corp. has protested a $3.74 billion Navy contract awarded to Northrop Grumman Corp. to build unmanned spy-planes.

Dial-Up Internet Provider Branches Out to Flowers in FTD Deal

Dial-up Internet service provider United Online has expanded into flower delivery with the acquisition of FTD.

U.S Customs Revisits Rule on Duty Fees

Importers already slammed by the plunging dollar now have a new concern: a proposal by Customs to do away with a rule that has been saving them lots of money on import duties.

Los Angeles-Based Firm Banks On British Capital

London's calling at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP. Since March, the Los Angeles-based firm has brought three entertainment lawyers on board, and two are from London.

Israeli Entrepreneur Finds L.A. a Land of Iron, Honey

Gali Begim.

Care Groups Sue Over Medi-Cal Cuts

A broad coalition of health care groups sued the state of California on Monday, hoping to stop 10 percent cuts to Medi-Cal and Denti-Cal reimbursements from taking effect July 1.

Developer Chips In to Revive Riverside Project

Watt Cos., a Santa Monica-based developer, is bailing out an Irvine-based builder that ran into trouble with a 130-home development in Riverside County.

Film Industry Settles Web Site Suit

Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Co. and other members of the Motion Picture Association of America settled a lawsuit against a Web site they accused of illegally posting copyrighted movies.

Getting in Touch

An increasing number of churches today are putting their collection plates aside and asking their members instead to pull out their debit cards.

Government Delays Port Security Program

The federal government has extended the deadline to apply for a nationwide port security program amid a slower-than-anticipated sign-up process.

Countrywide Down on B of A Downgrade

Shares of Countrywide Financial Corp. tumbled more than 17 percent Monday morning after an analyst recommended that Bank of America Corp. abandon its takeover of the troubled lender.

CNG Vehicles Stuck in Back Seat

With $4-a-gallon gasoline making teeth grind and cascading nearly everyone into an even tighter economic bind, is there an overlooked, albeit partial, solution that continually gets a cursory drive-by without a fuller examination?

Americana Seeks Mix to Meet Two Rules of Attraction

While it is fairly easy to line up luxury retailers as tenants in an upscale mall, Americana at Brand had a bit of a different challenge: It wanted to establish itself as upscale at the same time it incorporated a few regular retailers that would be usefu

Quite a Racket

Steve Bellamy, who scored success with the Tennis Channel, is taking on the great outdoors with the Ski Channel.

Mercury Reports First Quarter Loss

Mercury General Corp. on Monday reported a loss for the first quarter due to a drop of almost $60 million on its investments during the quarter.

Pier Expects to Spin New Wheel Into Tourist Dollars

The Santa Monica Pier will be rolling out a new Ferris wheel in time for Memorial Day weekend crowds.

LAX Chief to Answer Questions on Pacts

Los Angeles airport director Gina Marie Lindsey -- about to complete her first year overseeing one of the world's busiest travel gateways -- will spend the next few days explaining to her bosses what role she played in the awarding of $67 million in LAX c

Regulators Seek to Expand Green Loans

California regulators want to expand a pilot program under which utilities offer interest-free loans to small businesses that want to buy energy-efficient gear.

Demand Rises for Industrial Temps in L.A. County

Manufacturing employment in Los Angeles County has been on the decline for the past two decades, but there may be some signs of a turnaround even if only temporary.

New Goal

Major League Soccer club Chivas USA has kicked off a campaign to add Anglo fans to its Latino fan base.

Fashion Police

Litigation firm Gareeb Pham has crafted a cost-efficient process that allows apparel companies to pursue the makers of knockoff duds.

Show Business Paper Raises Curtain on Makeover

The 78-year-old Hollywood Reporter's facelift could help it step into the spotlight.

Book Puts Price on Use of Solar Panels, Rainwater

Robert Freilich walks from his Century City condo to his office nearby. He'll even walk to Beverly Hills with his wife for dinner. The exercise is great, but he's got a point to prove, too.

Occidental Facing Peruvian Problem

A Westwood protest at Occidental Petroleum's headquarters underscores how multinational corporations are increasingly facing challenges from activists.

Kroger Widens Tax Bonus Program

The nation's largest grocery chain plans to give shoppers a bonus -- 10 percent in its case -- if they exchanged tax stimulus checks for store gift cards for matching amounts.

Ethical Flap Forces Exit Of President

The Herbalife Ltd. president and chief operating officer who resigned last week following charges that he had hyped his academic credentials was a longtime colleague and personal friend of Chief Executive Michael Johnson.

New Kid on Block Spurs Touch Up

Glendale Galleria gussies up with glitzy shops to counter the draw of its new neighbor, Americana at Brand.

Profits Hit Nadir At Zenith Corp.

Falling workers' comp premiums and increasing competition are crunching business insurer Zenith National Insurance.

Roll Call

Port businesses fear they are falling behind in obtaining federal security clearances for their workers.

Pico/Olympic Plan Dealt Blow

A Superior Court ruling today dealt a blow to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's plan to configure Pico and Olympic boulevards so they act as one-way streets.

Obagi Shares Drop on Earnings

Shares in Obagi Medical Products Inc. plunged 22 percent in trading Tuesday after the company reported disappointing first quarter earnings late Monday.

Bordering on Unbearable

There's a good reason for many businesses in Los Angeles to be frightened. They are being hassled, fined and may be shut down, at least temporarily, because of the intensified crackdown on illegal immigrants in the workplace.

L.A. Firm Steps Out With European 'Anti-Shoe'

Kastner & Partners, a German ad agency with U.S. headquarters in L.A., has won the account for a brand unfamiliar to U.S. consumers MBT, a Swiss manufacturer of therapeutic athletic footwear that the agency will sell as the "Anti-Shoe."

Ranks of L.A. Millionaires Thins

Counter to a national trend, the ranks of millionaire households surprisingly declined in L.A. County last year, according to figures released Monday from a global market research firm.

Newsmakers

Hrings, promotions and kudos.

Real Estate Firm Drafts Bruin QB

Famed UCLA quarterback Cade McNown is trying his hand at the real estate game. McNown, who led the Bruins to 20 straight wins in the late 1990s and became UCLA's all-time leader in passing, had a brief career in the NFL before hanging up his cleats in 200

Holograms to Add Depth to In-Store Promotions

Holograms yes, those 3-D images Darth Vader used to communicate in "Star Wars" are coming to Latino grocery stores in L.A.

Friday, May 2

BofA Prompts Countrywide Downgrade

Countrywide Financial Corp.'s credit rating was cut to "junk" by Standard & Poor's Corp. Friday after Bank of America Corp. said it may not pay all of the Countrywide's debt if it acquires the lender.

Macrovision Closes Gemstar Deal

Macrovision Corp. said Friday that it has completed the acquisition of Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc.

Entravision Shares Slumps on Slow Sales

Shares in Entravision Communications Corp. dropped more than 10 percent early Friday after the media company more than doubled its quarterly loss due to slower-than-expected ad sales.

Uncertainty Looms as SAG Talks End

With Hollywood's hopes for labor peace hitting the skids for now, the Screen Actors Guild and the majors will pull the plug today on three weeks of largely unproductive talks -- with no sign of compromise by either side.

Daily Briefs

On Assignment Doubles Q1 Profit

Big Movers

During a week where the Dow Jones industrial average closed above the 13,000 mark for the first time since Jan. 3, the Business Journal's index of 200 largest local public companies saw its second straight week of gains adding 1.9 percent. Of the compan

Chevron Profit Up on Record Oil Prices

Chevron Corp., the second-largest U.S. oil company, said on Friday its first-quarter earnings rose 10 percent as record oil prices outweighed weak profits from gasoline production.

BofA May Not Cover Countrywide Debt

Bank of America Corp. said Friday that it may not guarantee $38.1 billion of Countrywide Financial Corp.'s debt after taking over the mortgage lender.

Jury Gets Pellicano Wiretap Case

The six-year-old Hollywood wiretapping case went to the jury Thursday after a federal prosecutor urged the panel members to look past the celebrities and entertainment moguls involved.

Thursday, May 1

Teaching New Media Old Tricks

News Corp. aims to make its new MySpaceTV venture a stripped-down version of Fox, with three-minute episodes sponsored by the likes of Ford.

TV Guide Slashes Jobs Following Merger

TV Guide has laid off an undisclosed number of staffers in association with parent company Gemstar-TV Guide's proposed merger with Macrovision Corp.

Investor May Boost Maguire Bid

The efforts of Robert Maguire to buy a sizable portion of the company he founded may be bolstered by a letter from Brookfield Properties Corp.

CEO: IndyMac Has 'Turned the Corner'

Shares in IndyMac Bancorp Inc. surged more than 30 percent Thursday after the company's chief executive said that it had narrowed its first-quarter loss.

Producers' Pessimistic on Actor Talks

A bargaining group for Hollywood's largest movie and television companies told its members not to expect a breakthrough in stalled talks with the Screen Actors Guild before their scheduled end on Friday.

Herbalife President Quits; Strong Q1

Herbalife Ltd., while reporting strong first quarter earnings and increased guidance, also said its president and chief operating officer resigned after it was found that his resume had been padded.

Panel to Examine Countrywide

Countrywide Financial Corp. will testify Tuesday at a U.S. Senate panel hearing to defend allegations that it "abused the bankruptcy system," a senior Democratic senator said late Wednesday.

Afternoon Briefs

S & P; Cuts Ryland to 'Junk.'

Oxy Ups Dividend After Record Quarter

After posting record first quarter profit, Occidental Petroleum Corp. said it raised its annual dividend by 28 percent to $1.28 a share.

Disney Takes Control of Disney Stores

Walt Disney Co. said late Wednesday that it has officially taken over the Disney Store chain from Children's Place Retail Stores and plans to close about 100 stores in the United States and Canada.

Insurer Interested in Countrywide Unit

Assurant Inc. said Thursday that it may be willing to buy an insurance unit held by Countrywide Financial Corp.

Live Nation, Jay Z Deal Official

Live Nation Inc. said Thursday that it signed a 10-year agreement with rapper Jay-Z that includes live shows, recordings and money the performer can invest in new ventures.

NBC Site in Burbank to Get Remake

New owners of NBC Studios in Burbank unveiled plans Wednesday for $750 million worth of upgrades to the historic lot where top entertainers and newscasters have broadcast to the nation since the 1950s.