Stories for November 2008

Friday, November 28

Hollywood, Retailers Hope Audiences Deck Their Halls

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas -- unfortunately for showbiz. The holiday shopping season that kicks off on Black Friday is likely to provide a fitting cap to a tumultuous year, with analysts predicting the worst showing in several decades.

West Coast Ports Face Struggle to Maintain Relevance

Slowdowns at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports extend beyond the nation's economic woes, and changes on the horizon could leave the seaports struggling to keep customers.

CB Richard Ellis to Manage Seized Bank Properties

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. said it has been selected to advise the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on the agency's growing portfolio of real estate from failed financial institutions.

This Week's Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies surged for the week ended Nov. 28. The last five trading days marked the biggest Wall Street rally in more than 75 years.

Wednesday, November 26

Nunez Lands Lobbying Job

Former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, who leaves office this week, has joined the staff of Mercury Public Affairs, a national political consulting and public affairs firm with offices in Los Angeles and Sacramento.

Caruso Named to Coliseum Commission

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso to the Coliseum Commission, the state and local authority that oversees the Memorial Coliseum in Exposition Park.

L.A. Drivers Revel in Lower Gas Prices

Drivers in many parts of Los Angeles County this week witnessed something they hadn't seen in almost four years. Gas prices that start with a 1.

SAG Inches Closer to Strike

The Screen Actors Guild will send out its strike authorization vote to members next month, making it possible for actors to strike as early as January -- prompting a bitter response from the studios.

Stock Sales by Failed Lender's Officers Probed

While Irvine subprime lender New Century was failing, key executives continually changed their stock trading plans and often sold within days of colleagues' trades, a newspaper's investigation shows.

Hanmi Seeks TARP Funds, Addresses Share Price

Hanmi Financial Corp. confirmed that it had applied for $105 million from the government's $700 billion financial bailout program. The Korean-American bank also said it believes a recent sharp decline in its share price could be traced to a large investor

Tuesday, November 25

Redstone Weighs Sale of Theaters

In an effort to stave off the dismantling of his media empire, Sumner M. Redstone, the controlling shareholder of Viacom and CBS, recently proposed to sell his family's 1,500-screen theater chain in an effort to restructure his large debt load.

New Aecom Orders Worth Nearly $180 Million

Aecom Technology Corp. said it received three contracts worth $163 million from the U.S. Air Force, plus a separate smaller contract in Saudi Arabia.

Obit: Carlton Varner, 61, Sheppard Mullin Attorney

Carlton Varner, an attorney and former chairman of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP, has died of Lou Gehrig 's disease. He was 61.

AstraZeneca, Abraxis Rethink Cancer Drug Deal

Abraxis BioScience Inc. and AstraZeneca PLC said they will end or change their co-promotion partnership on U.S. sales of the breast cancer treatment Abraxane.

Zenith Files for Rate Increase

Zenith National Insurance Corp. said it will seek an average 4 percent increase in workers' comp premiums for California employers whose policies renew on or after Jan. 1.

Sam Zell's Sell

Before Sam Zell bought the Tribune Company last year, he said he was "skeptical" of using staff reductions to increase profit. These days, the outspoken Zell, who made his fortune investing in real estate, has dubbed the purchase of the Los Angeles Times'

No Lines, No Fears in Downey Takeover

U.S. Bancorp's weekend takeovers of failed Downey Savings & Loan and PFF Bank appear to have gone smoothly for customers and bank employees, a contrast to July's collapse of IndyMac Bank.

Monday, November 24

Urban Renewal

Related of California President Bill Witte has brought his passion for city planning to the Grand Avenue development.

Center Financial to Receive TARP Funds

Center Financial Corp. said it received approval to obtain $55 million as part of the government's $700 billion financial bailout program.

Christensen Sentenced to Prison Term

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

Ruff Rollout

Natural Balance Pet Foods' Rose Parade float has gone to the dogs: skateboarding canines Tyson and Tillman.

Vendors Hope All Signs Point to Increased Sales

Signmakers' business is booming as stores pull out the stops to attract customers.

Hospital Works to Revive Project in Mission Hills

With the meter running each day construction is delayed, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center has launched a media campaign to bolster support for a $180 million patient building that was halted after a successful court challenge.

Telecommunications Firm Dialed Into Santa Monica

Finnish telecommunications giant Nokia has placed its most important call in to Hollywood, establishing a state-of-the-art research and development center last week in Santa Monica.

JAKKS Pacific to Acquire Halloween Costume Company

Jakks Pacific Inc. said it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of Halloween costume and d & #233;cor company Disguise Inc. and a related company, both subsidiaries of France-based C & #233;sar S.A.

Hunter Gathers

Reunion.com is eyeing the top role in the people-search sector after acquiring rival Wink.com.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

Alliance Bancshares California said it could be placed into government receivership if it cannot raise additional capital.

Megaplexes May Lower Curtain on Area Theater

Robert Bucksbaum, the movie-buff owner of the Westwood Crest Theatre, is putting the historic movie house up for sale after buying it in 2003.

REGIONAL REPORT

The city of Palmdale has taken over the lease of the terminal, parking lot and taxiways at Palmdale Airport.

Lenders Yanking Borrowers' Bucks

As financial institutions tighten their lending standards, borrowers are heading to court to contest revised terms.

Golden Boy Punching Up Pay-Per-View Revenue

The economy is delivering a killer right hook: For the first time ever, a promoter of a marquee boxing match is offering national rebates on its pay-per-view rates.

New Club Bets on Bingo's Future

The newly opened, expansive Hawaiian Gardens Bingo Club has room to draw big numbers.

Working Out L.A.'s College Rivalry

With the UCLA-USC football game looming Dec. 6, the rivalry is heating up in workplaces across Los Angeles.

Peninsula Goes to the Dogs to Address L.A. Competition

The ultraluxurious Montage Beverly Hills has checked into L.A.'s high-end hotel scene.

Water Policies Channeling Resources in Wrong Directions

Trendy environment policies are damaging the state's groundwater policies, cautions Wayne Lusvardi.

Shopping Malls Are Running on Empty

Shopping center owners throughout the Southland are struggling to fill an increasing number of vacancies.

THQ Signs Advertising Deal with Microsoft Unit

Video game publisher THQ Inc. and Microsoft Corp.'s advertising network Massive Inc. said they will expand their relationship to put ads in upcoming THQ computer and Xbox 360 games.

Vice President Gets Interactive With Promotions Career

While at college, Anne Moldovan had aspirations to work in journalism, specifically business journalism.

Government Cash May Bring Together Area Banks

The Los Angeles banking industry could be in for some consolidation now that six local institutions have received government investments under the U.S. Treasury Department's $250 billion financial rescue plan.

Joint Venture to Create Celebrity Superhero Franchises

Diverse Media Group Inc. said it plans to acquire a 50 percent stake in Celebrities In Action Inc., which has a joint venture with Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment to create superhero character franchises based on real-life Hollywood celebrities.

'Bad Boys'

Father-son duo John and Morgan Langley have parlayed the success of "Cops" into other TV and film projects.

Opulent Openings

The ultraluxurious Montage Beverly Hills has checked into L.A.'s high-end hotel scene.

LABJ SUPPLEMENTS and GUIDES

URBAN LIVING 2008

Occidental Signs Deal to Develop Oman Fields

Occidental Petroleum Corp. said it will partner with Mubadala Development Co. of Abu Dhabi and the Sultanate of Oman to develop existing oil and gas fields and explore for new discoveries in Oman.

Throwing Water on Fire Fallout

Charles Crumpley tells those calling for expensive fire safety regulations in mobile home parks to chill out.

Too Small to Fail

While the behemoths of Wall Street stumble and fall, humble local banks such as Broadway Federal Bank in Los Angeles are doing just fine, thank you. Their surprising resilience holds a key lesson for twenty-first-century global finance.

Oxy Stands Firm As Prices Slide

Occidental Petroleum will stay pumped up whether oil prices wax or wane.

Newsmakers

Hilton Hotels Corp. has appointed Paul J. Brown president of global brands and shared services in the Beverly Hills office.

Sucking Them In

Clothing maker Hot Topic's sales have come to life courtesy of tie-ins with vampire movie "Twilight."

Tech Company's Stock Falls as Accounting Review Drags On

Stock of MRV Communications has plunged as it hammers out accounting problems.

Actors Will Vote on Strike

Although no date has been set, SAG leadership has begun preparations for a strike-authorization vote after two days of meetings with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers failed to break the 5-month-old deadlock on a new TV/theatrical cont

Slowing Economy Slims Staffs at Online Outfits

As the economy contracts, the dreaded pink slip has been putting in more appearances around L.A.'s Web community.

Getting in Shipshape

California can't afford to let its port complexes fall into decay, writes John R. McLaurin.

Friday, November 21

Ixia Announces New Stock Buy-Back Program

Ixia said its directors approved a repurchase program of up to $25 million of the company's common stock over the next six months. This follows a $50 million repurchase program completed in June.

L.A.'s Jobless Rate Jumps

Los Angeles County's unemployment rate soared to 8.4 percent in October, its highest level in more than 12 years, according to state figures released Friday.

Private Group to Buy Image Entertainment for $100 Million

After bypassing richer deals over the past two years, home-entertainment distributor Image Entertainment Inc. said it agreed to sell itself to Nyx Acquisitions Inc. for approximately $60.2 million in cash plus assumption of debt.

Finances Force Cal State System to Cut Students

Faced with an increasingly bleak financial outlook, California State University officials said they would have to slash enrollment at the 23-campus system by up to 10,000 students next year - the first-ever cut of its type.

Two Gas Stations Declare Price War Against Chains

Oil's half-off sale got better Thursday as crude tumbled $4 to $49.62 a barrel. The gas-price party was in full swing in Pasadena, where two independent service stations staging a mock price war to sell the cheapest fuel in town.

Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies closed down for the week ended Nov. 21, with Friday's recovery in the overall markets not enough to erase losses earlier in the week.

Lower Prices Dent Reliance's Margins But Cut Costs

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. said ts profit margins deteriorated in the first half of November as selling prices fell and economic uncertainty eroded demand. But shares rose 5.5 percent after the company said lower inventory costs reduced working capital

Thursday, November 20

Equipment Auctions Sign of Slow Times

In the midst of a California construction slump, companies are dumping their equipment at auction to raise capital. Buyers may be lured by cheap prices, but some are reluctant to spend on equipment that could remain idle for months until the market recove

Alliance Bank Faces Receivership

Alliance Bancshares California, the Culver City-based parent of Alliance Bank, said that it could be placed into government receivership if it cannot raise additional capital.

Semtech Outlook Cautious As Profit Drops 28 Percent

Semtech Corp. shares rose nearly 8 percent Thursday, despite the semiconductor maker providing a cautious outlook for the year as electronics manufacturers slow production due to the poor economy.

Amgen, Takeda's Cancer Drug Test Stopped After Deaths

Amgen Inc. and partner Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. said they suspended a clinical trial of their experimental cancer drug motesanib because of higher deaths among patients getting the medicine.

IATSE, Hollywood Studios in Tentative Agreement

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees agreed to a tentative three-year contract with major Hollywood studios, becoming the fifth union this year to conclude a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

For Studio, Vampire Movie Is a Cinderella Story

Until now, tiny Summit Entertainment has been largely ignored by the major studios and looked down on by A-list agents and managers. But because of a classic bit of Hollywood bungling, the fledgling movie company finds itself sitting atop one of the bigge

Carwash Settles in Minimum Wage Violation Case

Sixty workers at a Redondo Beach carwash will receive $450,000 in unpaid wages in a settlement reached between the carwash's owner and the California Labor Commissioner.

SouthWest Water Receives Nasdaq Warning

SouthWest Water Co. said it received a deficiency letter from Nasdaq staff warning that the water, waste water, and public works services company is subject to delisting for being late in filing its quarterly report.

Wednesday, November 19

Cathay to Accept Government Investment

Cathay General Bancorp said it received approval to obtain $258 million as part of the government's $700 billion program to invest in banks.

Cogent Rises on Analyst Optimism

Cogent Inc. shares rose after a J.P. Morgan Securities analyst upgraded the stock because he expects the biometric identification systems provider to benefit from several large-scale government contracts to be awarded in the next six months.

Billionaire Broad Proposes Beverly Hills Art Museum

Eli Broad, the billionaire art collector and philanthropist, wants to build a public museum in Beverly Hills, almost a year after he decided not to give his collection to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Despite Better Quarter, Hot Topic Outlook Cautious

Hot Topic Inc. maintained its fourth-quarter profit outlook after reporting third-quarter net income rose 11 percent, beating expectations. But the trendy teen retailer warned it expects sales to drop slightly due to the uncertain economy.

SoCal Home Prices Down 41 Percent from Peak

With the median price of Southern California homes down more than 40 percent from its peak, the housing market has now slid further than most economists expected, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick.

Home Construction Sinks to Record Low

Shares of homebuilders KB Home and Ryland Group fell Wednesday after the Commerce Department reported construction of new homes plunged in October to the lowest level in at least 50 years.

L.A. Auto Show Opens Under a Cloud

When Carlos Ghosn takes the stage to deliver the keynote address at this week's Los Angeles auto show, the journalists and automotive executives gathered are likely to be hanging on the Nissan chief executive's every word.

Tuesday, November 18

Santa Clarita, Vernon Top Biz-Friendly List

The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. has named Santa Clarita and Vernon the most business-friendly cities in Los Angeles County.

Univision Predicts Lean Times Ahead

Univision Communications Inc. said it probably would trim expenses as the Spanish-language media giant grappled with a worsening economy and a mountain of debt.

Jacobs Wins $70 Million Contract

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. said it had won a contract worth an estimated $70 million from the Delaware Department of Transportation.

MRV Misses Deadline

MRV Communications Inc. has missed another deadline for filing a required quarterly earnings report, putting the telecommunications equipment company out of compliance with Nasdaq requirements to remain listed.

Aspyra Names New CEO

Aspyra Inc. said that after a year-long search Rodney Schutt has joined the company as chief executive officer, a day after the medical products company announced it had narrowed its net loss for the third quarter.

Investors Unhappy With Loan Modifications

Bank of America Corp.'s decision to embark on an $8.4 billion home-loan-modification program to settle charges brought by state attorneys general against Countrywide Financial Corp. was hailed as a milestone when the deal was announced this fall. But app

Health Net Sets Expectations for 2009

Health care insurer Health Net Inc. reaffirmed its earnings guidance for fiscal 2008 and outlined expectations for 2009.

Monday, November 17

Fires Losses May Prompt Tougher Building Codes

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called for a review of building standards and emergency procedures after the Oakridge Mobile Home Park was devastated by the Sayre fire and a backup power system failed at a Sylmar hospital.

Some Local Stores Willing to Give Until It Hurts

Holiday shoppers can expect a season of giving as retailers woo customers with in-store prizes.

Buyer Pulls Hollywood Power Play With Studios

Economic pressures and tax advantages drawing film and television production out of state have all taken a toll on Hollywood's entertainment industry, but faith still abounds.

Roots of Success: Mini-Profiles

A new crop of entrepreneurs proves that a good idea and hard work never go out of style when it comes to growing a business. The Business Journal talks to executives behind some of the other top companies on its annual list of L.A.'s Fastest-Growing Priva

New Owner Combines Hollywood Studio Lots

Hudson Capital LLC is combining two legendary Hollywood studio lots to become one entity and changing the studios' names to Capital Studios.

Weighty Names Stand Behind Convicted Lawyer

High-profile entertainment lawyer Terry Christensen is scheduled to be sentenced next week in L.A. federal court, where he could receive up to 10 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

Industrial Equipment Draws Air Panel's Attention

A little-noticed state emissions regulation that could increase some equipment costs for business is on the verge of passing.

NORTH vs. SOUTH

Friction over street and gate usage in an exclusive enclave near Beverly Hills has pitted north against south.

Montecito Blaze Puts Scare Into Stars' Enclave

For the showbiz community the wildfires raging across Southern California hit closest to home in Montecito, where a number of stars and producers live.

Supporting Non-Profits in Business' Best Interests

Businesses should bear in mind the economic boost provided by non-profits, according to David Hamlin.

State Fund To Hike Workers' Comp Rates

State Compensation Insurance Fund, the state's largest workers' compensation insurer, has announced it will hike employer premiums an average of 9 percent starting Jan. 1.

New Agency President Brings Driving Ambition

Cathy Saidiner has joined ad giant McCann Erickson Los Angeles with the title of president and something of a challenge.

REGIONAL REPORT

National Technical Systems Inc. has sold its information technology services and contracts business to Detroit-based Strategic Staffing Solutions.

Marketing Exec Serves Up Solutions at Yogurt Chain

Todd Putman has moved from managing malls to a top job at a chain you can find in many of them.

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Sam Nazarian's spanking new SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills is so opulent that foreign and local dignitaries were sure to be at its opening last week. But its neighborhood at La Cienega and San Vicente boulevards includes some regular folks, to be sure.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

Foreclosure filings in Los Angeles County dropped 10 percent in October from the previous month, according to Irvine-based research firm RealtyTrac.

Goal Oriented

Alan Rothenberg, 1st Century Bancshares CEO, has gotten his kicks promoting Olympic and pro soccer.

Federal Lending Act's Role in Meltdown Debunked

Critics have long charged that the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 forced banks to make bad loans, leading to the current financial Armageddon. There's just one problem: It isn't true, according to one newspaper's analysis of lending data.

Getting Around Transit Issues

Hong Kong's public transportation holds some lessons for Los Angeles, writes Eric J. Heikkila.

Driver's Seat

The Beverly Hills Lamborghini dealership is revving up a new showroom as regional rivals crash.

Grand Avenue Project Facing Another Delay

Related Cos. will again delay construction of its long-languishing Grand Avenue project.

Braking News for Detroit

Charles Crumpley considers the potential benefits to Los Angeles if U.S. carmakers were to shutter.

Online Ad Company Slims Down by Selling Off Two Subsidiaries

Internet ad company ValueClick has sold two businesses as it prepares for less online spending.

Silver Lining

ElephantDrive has its head in the "cloud movement" that lets companies rent server space to store data.

Model Car Maker Says It Won't Be Toyed With

Exoto Inc., a Moorpark-based manufacturer of collectible model cars, has filed the latest lawsuit in its long-running battle against Mattel Inc. over claims that Mattel interfered in a licensing agreement between Exoto and Ferrari.

Goal of Ballot Measure Is to Boost Business

A March ballot measure would give city officials expanded powers to attract businesses to Los Angeles.

Cuisine Stealing the Show at Chateau Marmont

The cuisine is something to talk about at Hollywood's hush-hush Chateau Marmont.

He's Making Pet Food the Natural Way

When Marco Giannini founded pet food maker Dogswell LLC four years ago, he had an idea: sell the most natural food possible at a profitable price that pet owners could afford.

Newsmakers

Health Net Inc., a Woodland Hills-based health care company, has named Jonathan Rollins vice president and treasurer.

Import-Export Company Stays Put in Commerce

Though new lease transactions are slowing, tenants are renewing at a fast pace as landlords cut deals to keep them amid the slow real estate market.

Energy Business Delivers With Backup-Power Plan

Pentadyne Power Corp.'s unusual backup power systems are generating some serious interest, making it the fastest-growing company on the list.

Timing Key To Success Of Developer

With the real estate industry in shambles, it might be surprising to see an industrial developer among the ranks of the county's fastest-growing businesses but not if a company knows market timing.

Healthy Compact

Kingdom Animalia pitches its high-end cosmetics by touting their skin-nurturing properties.

Disney Falls on Downgrade

Walt Disney & Co. shares fell 5 percent early Monday after an analyst downgraded shares to "hold" from "buy," noting the company's stock price was bound to catch up to declining bond values.

Mattel Sued by Model Car Maker

Exoto Inc., a Moorpark manufacturer of collectible model cars, has filed the latest lawsuit in its long-running battle against Mattel Inc. over claims that the toymaker interfered in a licensing agreement between Exoto and Ferrari.

Staff Rooms

Separate rooms for nannies and other staff are available to Westwood condo tower residents.

Friday, November 14

Abraxis Sees Loss on Litigation Costs

Though sales of its flagship cancer drug grew in the quarter, Abraxis BioScience Inc. reported a loss in its third quarter, primarily due to litigation and impairment charges.

Three L.A. Banks Gets U.S. Investment

A trio of local financial institutions said they have received capital infusions from the U.S. Treasury Department under the government's $250 billion capital purchase program.

Calpers Expanded REIT Stakes Prior to Market Collapse

The California Public Employees' Retirement System, already hit with multibillion-dollar real estate losses, invested in more than 100 property companies before their value collapsed in the weeks after Oct. 1.

Westfield Gets OK to Expand Century City Center

The Los Angeles Planning Commission has unanimously approved Westfield Group's plan to expand its Century City shopping center after the developer agreed to make a key modification.

Image Entertainment Narrows Its Loss

Image Entertainment Inc. shares got a slight bump early Friday after raising its guidance. The company noted modest success in releasing video titles on several DVD and digital formats had helped to narrow the net loss for its fiscal second quarter.

Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies closed down for the week ended Nov. 14 as investors reacted to poor economic news at the end of a turbulent week.

Thursday, November 13

Saehan Told to Strengthen Lending Practices, Management

Saehan Bank, the Los Angeles-based subsidiary of Saehan Bancorp, has been ordered by federal regulators to shore up weaknesses in its operations.

Calpers Confronts Huge Housing Losses

Calpers is paying dearly for its ill-fated decision to become one of the most aggressive real-estate investors among public pensions.

L.A. Officials Seek Moratorium on New Billboards

Los Angeles city planning officials on Thursday recommended a six-month moratorium on all new billboards.

Foreclosures Fall in Southland

Foreclosure filings in Los Angeles County fell 10 percent in October from the previous month, an Irvine-based research firm said. However, the slowdown is mostly because of legislation that has sought to slow the foreclosure process.

CB Richard Ellis Jumps on Successful Offering

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. shares soared 43 percent after the real estate services company said it sold a 50-million share public offering at $3.77 per share, for a total value of $180 million. The stock also benefitted from an overall market rally.

Tetra Tech Cuts Outlook for Quarter

Tetra Tech Inc. shares gained 9 percent on even though the company a day earlier cut its outlook for the current quarter benefitting from Thursday's rally in the overall markets.

Cogent Extends Buy-Back

Cogent Systems Inc. said its board extended the company's stock buyback program by one year to Nov. 12, 2009. It also increased its size to $150 million from $100 million.

Schwarzenegger Seeks Federal Aid

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said the federal government should give money to states as part of a financial stimulus package, insisting that such aid would not be a bailout.

Wednesday, November 12

Live Nation Shares Fall on Downgrades

Shares of concert promoter Live Nation Inc. dropped 27 percent Wednesday after two analysts downgraded them, saying the poor economy will reduce ticket sales in the coming year.

Former American Apparel Employee Sues

American Apparel Inc. shares plunged 35 percent on allegations made by an former employee in a wrongful termination suit against the company. The man alleges he was fired in 2006 after refusing requests from Chief Executive Dov Charney to inflate figures

Cellphone to Become a Theme-Park Visitor's Tool

Walt Disney Co. has struck a deal with Verizon Wireless that will allow it to remain in wireless contact with its theme park visitors -- even when they step outside the turnstiles in Anaheim and Orlando, Fla.

Mattel Bratz-Ban Request Creates `Struggle' for Judge

The judge weighing Mattel Inc.'s bid to ban rival MGA Entertainment Inc. from making and selling its Bratz dolls after a copyright-infringement finding is struggling with the toymaker's request, he said.

Glendale Galleria Owner Mulls Bankrupcty Filing

General Growth Properties Inc., which owns the Glendale Galleria, said it faces solvency trouble and may be forced to file for bankruptcy if it can't refinance or extend nearly $1 billion in debt due next month.

Abraxis Makes Fastest-Growing Tech List

Abraxis BioScience Inc. is the fastest growing technology company in the Los Angeles area and the fourth fastest nationwide, according to Deloitte's annual Technology Fast 500.

Plugging in For Clean Air at L.B. Port

Port and maritime officials have launched a new era of "green" shipping operations, as the first cargo-container ship plugged into clean dockside electrical power.

Aecom's Quarter Beats Expectations

Aecom Technology Corp. reported 48 percent higher profits in its fiscal fourth quarter, which exceeded Wall Street expectations.

Tuesday, November 11

Grill Concepts Loss Grows in Quarter

Upscale restaurant chain Grill Concepts Inc., whose top officers recently took a pay cut, said its net loss in the third quarter widened significantly as cash-strapped consumers ate out less often and spent less.

Goldman Sachs Urged Bets Against California Bonds

Goldman, Sachs & Co. urged some of its big clients to place investment bets against California bonds this year despite having collected millions of dollars in fees to help the state sell some of those same bonds.

American Apparel Profit Falls

American Apparel Inc. shares dropped 6 percent, a day after the trendy clothing designer and retailer said its third-quarter profit fell 61 percent as it spent $13.2 million on stock-based compensation.

IPC Exceeds Expectations for Quarter

IPC The Hospitalist Company Inc. said it went from a loss to a profit in the third quarter as revenue grew from both existing and recently acquired hospital-based physician practices. The results exceeded Wall Street expectations, although the company is

CB Richard Ellis Plans Large Offering

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. shares plunged 23 percent after the struggling commercial real estate services giant said it plans to offer 50 million shares of common stock in a public offering.

Ticketmaster Sees Lower Results on Higher Costs

Shares of Ticketmaster Entertainment dropped 28 percent, a day after the event ticketing and marketing company reported third quarter net income dropped 76 percent in part due to lower ticket sales, higher royalty payments and acquisition costs.

DTS Beats Quarterly Expectations, But Tempers Outlook

Shares of DTS Inc. fell 6 percent, a day after the entertainment sound technology company said it expects 2008 earnings to be at the lower end of its previous estimates.

Clean Trucks Plan Supporters Fight Back

Three environmental groups filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the Federal Maritime Commission violated environmental laws when it sought to block the Clean Trucks Program at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Monday, November 10

Mattel Seeks to Seize, Ban MGA Dolls

Mattel Inc., maker of the Barbie doll, wants to follow up a copyright-infringement victory against MGA Entertainment Inc. with a court order to seize all MGA's Bratz dolls and ban making them again.

HealthNet Names California Unit President

In the wake of a restructuring of the duties of HealthNet Inc.'s top management, Steven Sell has been promoted to president of the health insurer's largest subsidiary, Health Net of California Inc.

Activision Publishing Acquires Budcat Creations

Activision Publishing Inc. said it had acquired one of its partners, video game developer Budcat Creations, for an undisclosed amount.

Split Decisions

Former Tenet hospitals Brotman and Olympia have taken different paths in search of a prescription for success.

Special Report: Troubling Symptoms

Hospitals in L.A. County continue to hemorrhage red ink as closures have left the remaining facilities to serve the area's underinsured population.

A Building Boom Coming to L.A.?

The construction sector should get a boost from transportation and school projects backed by voter-approved funding.

Searchlight Looks to Regain Its Shine

Fox Searchlight is one of the premiere specialty labels in Hollywood, releasing successful movies such as "Little Miss Sunshine," "Sideways" and the pop-culture juggernaut "Juno." But lately Searchlight has been in the dark.

Paper Losses

A decline in Chinese demand has waste paper piling up in the "out" box.

Condition Critical

The Los Angeles County hospital industry has been rocked by several changes in recent years.

Code Blue

Fourteen L.A. County hospitals with emergency rooms have closed since 1998.

Cahuenga Makes a Comeback

Upscale retail and eatery tenants have helped Hollywood's Cahuenga Corridor shake a dicey image.

Northrop Outspent Boeing to Defend Tanker

Northrop Grumman Corp. spent 39 percent more than Boeing Co. to lobby lawmakers in this year's first nine months, cranking up spending in a failed effort to protect its win of a $35 billion Air Force tanker contract.

Farmer Bros. Net Loss Widens

Farmer Bros. Co. said that despite higher sales, its fiscal first quarter net loss widened more than 500 percent from a year ago due to continued volatility in the green coffee market, higher commodity and fuel prices and significant losses in the coffee

Study Sees Continued Job Losses

Job losses in California will continue to accelerate well into next year, according to a report from Chapman University in Orange.

Lions Gate Shrinks Loss but Still Disappoints

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. said its fiscal second quarter net loss shrank 17 percent as it cut personnel and saw growth in DVD and other home entertainment sales. The results fell short of Wall Street expectations.

Friday, November 7

Calabasas Lamborghini Dealership Closes

Calabasas Lamborghini, which opened last November amid much fanfare, has been closed, along with the world's largest Lamborghini dealership in Orange County.

True Religion Raises 2008 Outlook

Shares of True Religion Apparel Inc. fell more than 9 percent Friday, even though the premium jeans maker beat Wall Street expectations for third-quarter profits and raised its full year outlook.

Regulators Close Security Pacific Bank

Another Los Angeles-area bank fell victim to the real estate market downturn late Friday, as bank regulators seized Security Pacific Bank and sold more than $450 million of its deposits and some assets to Pacific Western Bank.

Slowing Economy Eases Ports Traffic

Slower international trade due to the faltering economy is helping the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as they implement their new Clean Trucks Programs, though there are concerns about bottlenecks developing, according to a new report.

Tight Economy Puts Squeeze on Arts Groups

Arts organizations throughout Southern California are scrambling in the face of declining ticket sales and donor contributions. This week brought news of layoffs and concert cancellations by the Pasadena Symphony and of the possible collapse of Opera Paci

Greig Smith Proposes Business Incentives

As the economic downturn continues to slam Los Angeles businesses, a city councilman is proposing further reductions in the city's business tax and changes to the city charter to allow the city to give more generous incentives to attract businesses from e

Caruso Not Running for L.A. Mayor

Developer Rick Caruso said he has decided not to challenge Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in the March 3 city election, saying the job would place too heavy a burden on his family.

Caruso Won't Run for Mayor

Developer Rick Caruso announced Friday that he has decided not to challenge Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in the March 3 city election.

Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies closed down for the week ended Nov. 3, with markets mixed as excitement over the historic presidential election was dampened by dour quarterly reports.

Edison Profit Falls on Expenses

Electric utility Edison International said its third-quarter earnings fell 5 percent as revenue growth was offset by a regulatory penalty against its Southern California Edison unit. The results didn't meet Wall Street expectations.

CB Richard Ellis Earnings Beat Estimates

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. said net income plummeted 65 percent in its third quarter, but the results for the world's largest commercial broker still beat Wall Street expectations.

Amgen Anemia-Drug Woes Will Bottom Out, Chief Says

Amgen Inc. said the financial fallout from safety concerns and reimbursement cuts for its flagship anemia drugs should bottom out during the first half of 2009, bolstering the company's position as it prepares for the anticipated approval and launch of a

Thursday, November 6

California Pizza Kitchen Cuts Forecast

California Pizza Kitchen Inc said third quarter net income more than tripled from a year ago, but the restaurant chain lowered its earnings forecasts for 2008.

A Rough Quarter for Disney

Walt Disney Co., the world's biggest theme-park operator, said fourth-quarter profit fell 13 percent, as a slowdown in U.S. consumer spending caused earnings to decline. The results fell short of Wall Street expectations.

THQ Plans Layoffs, Cuts Outlook

Shares of THQ Inc. plunged 27 percent on Thursday, a day after the video game publisher reported a second-quarter net loss, cut its full-year earnings estimate and announced a restructuring that will result in 250 layoffs.

Governor Proposes Tax Increases, Employee Furloughs

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is calling for a temporary 1.5-cent increase in the state sales tax to help close an $11.2 billion deficit in the state budget, as well as new taxes on liquor and oil production.

Higher Sales, Lower Costs Boost DirecTV Profit

DirecTV Group Inc. said its earnings rose 14 percent in the third quarter as the satellite television operator's customers spent more on premium services and its capital expenses dropped. But profits were still below Wall Street expectations.

Creditor Wants Newhall Ranch to Sell land

A key creditor of LandSource Communities Development wants the bankrupt developer to sell its 15,000-acre tract of land north of Los Angeles to repay $1.1 billion in loans.

Poor Economy Prompts Mattel Layoffs

Toymaker Mattel Inc. said it is cutting 1,000 jobs companywide due to a grim outlook for the upcoming holiday shopping season.

Activision Posts Loss, Beats Expectations

Activision Blizzard Inc. reported a third-quarter loss, but exceeded Wall Street's estimates due to strong sales of the "Guitar Hero" music franchise and online game "World of Warcraft."

Wednesday, November 5

The Obama Challenge

America woke up Wednesday to a new era in its political history. And as Barack Obama prepares to take office, he will have to wrestle with these facts of life: the economy is either in recession or teetering on the brink of one, and the U.S. is embroiled

Precision Dynamics Acquires Label Maker

Precision Dynamics Corp., which makes identification products for health care and other industries, said it has acquired TimeMed Labeling Systems Inc., a national producer of specialty health care labels.

CB Richard Ellis Cuts Loose Troubled Subsidiary

In a sign that financial markets remain stagnant, the struggling investment subsidiary of real estate brokerage giant CB Richard Ellis Inc. said that it would sever relations with its Los Angeles parent company and strike out on its own.

Businesses See Mixed Results in Election

L.A. County business interests scored key victories on local and state ballot measures in Tuesday's elections, but also suffered some setbacks.

Hahn Appointed Judge

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed former Mayor James Hahn to the L.A. County Superior Court bench on Wednesday alongside 16 private attorneys and commissioners.

Dole Sells European Operation to Compagnie Fruiti & #269;re

Dole Food Company Inc. said it had completed the sale of its English ripening and distribution businesses JP Fresh and its similar French business, Dole France, to a partner for an undisclosed sum.

Tuesday, November 4

Slowing Sales Push Down Big 5's Profits

Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp. shares fell 7 percent in Tuesday trading, a day after the retailer said its third-quarter net income fell nearly 47 percent as fewer customers visited its stores and spent less.

Jacobs' Quarter Exceeds Expectations

Shares of Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. jumped nearly 13 percent Tuesday, a day after the construction services provider raised its full-year guidance and said its fiscal fourth-quarter profit rose 36 percent on stronger demand for its services.

Schwarzenegger Aims to Boost In-State Film & TV Production

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants millions of dollars in tax breaks for film and television companies that shoot productions in California, according to a report. The governor is expected to unveil the proposal this week, after the Legislature opens a spec

Wall Street Stages Election Day Rally

Investors believing that Wall Street is on the verge of a yearend rally piled into the market Tuesday, brushing off more weak economic data while they scarfed up stocks and propelled the Dow Jones industrials to its highest close in four weeks.

Health Net Shifts Management as Profit Slows

Health Net Inc. shares plunged 24 percent after the health insurer reported third-quarter net income well below expectations, in part due to higher medical costs. The company also cut its full-year outlook.

Herbalife Forecast Disappoints Wall Street

Herbalife Ltd. shares slid 22 percent on Tuesday, a day after the nutritional and weight-loss supplement distributer said third-quarter earnings rose 20 percent on stronger international sales, but disappointed Wall Street with its forecast for the rest o

Spurned Suitor Threatens Takeover of Guidance

A Utah company said Tuesday that it may launch a hostile takeover of Pasadena-based Guidance Software Inc. after its $4.50-a-share buyout for the rival digital investigation software developer was rejected.

Macerich Sees Better 2008 Outlook

Shares of Macerich Co. jumped 7 percent after the shopping mall owner boosted its outlook for the rest of the year, despite reporting lower-than-expected third-quarter results.

Monday, November 3

REGIONAL REPORT

The Long Beach Redevelopment Agency has bought an office building for nearly $5.1 million from Susanne Bard and the Jewish National Fund.

New Tenant Channeled Into TV Guide Space

Macrovision Solutions Corp. has given back about half its space at the former Hollywood headquarters of TV Guide, the iconic magazine that has fallen on hard times and was recently sold for just $1.

Sunset Boulevard Encore

Architect Christopher Coe hopes his restoration of the legendary Palladium will help inaugurate another golden age in Hollywood.

BreitBurn Sued By Investor

BreitBurn Energy Partners LP said a lawsuit filed against it by a Texas oil and gas company in connection with a management-led buyout last year is without merit.

Funny, Seriously

Viral video maker JibJab is hoping its e-greeting card business clicks with customers.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

A dozen top executives at the parent company of the Daily Grill restaurant chain plan to take a 10 percent pay cut to help offset impact of the ailing economy.

Beverly Hills Now Known for Dollars and Scent

Beverly Hills has long been a city of luxury. And soon you could also have a piece of that luxury that might even make you smell luxurious.

Right Hairdos

Cindy McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin have put a Westlake Village salon on the electoral map.

Point.360 Acquires Video Box Studios

Point.360, which provides integrated media management services, said it acquired the assets of Video Box Studios Inc., a provider of 3D animation, visual effects, motion design and digital finishing services.

Union Bank Signs Large Downtown Lease

Union Bank of California has signed downtown's biggest lease deal this year, 345,000 square feet of office and retail space at Union Bank Plaza, where it has long maintained its Los Angeles headquarters.

Law Firms Pull Reins on Raises

Junior associates at some local firms will have to mind their budgets as guaranteed raises are increasingly scrapped.

In a Season of Disappointments, Young Viewers Flock to CBS

When did CBS, the network awash in cop shows featuring leading men in their 50s, become the hot network with young audiences? The secret, at least as CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves, sees it: "comfort food."

DaVita Profit Falls on Higher Costs

DaVita Inc. said its third-quarter net income fell on higher costs. The kidney-dialysis provider's results were slightly better than Wall Street expectations, but the stock sunk in early trading Monday.

Right Tools for Escaping Poverty

Charles Crumpley praises non-profit KickStart International for a business model that lifts people out of poverty.

Pacesetter: City National Bank

Beverly Hills-based City National Bank remained the largest bank headquartered in L.A. County, according to the Business Journal's annual list.

Non-Profit Director Takes Charge of Movie Shoots

With states such as Michigan, Louisiana and New York giving filmmakers access to their treasuries through generous tax incentives, Los Angeles officials are doing what they can to stem runaway production.

American Apparel Seeks to Clear Name of CEO

American Apparel founder Dov Charney is fighting for exoneration in a sex harassment suit.

Prekindergarten's Positive Lessons

Prekindergarten turns out a better class of pupil, contends Daphne Anneet.

Nishimura Is the Real Thing on the Sushi Scene

Get prepared to shell out serious cash as you enjoy delicious sushi amid Nishimura's understated decor.

MTV Networks in Deal to Monetize Videos

Hollywood used to fume when fans uploaded video clips to the Internet to share with their friends. Now it's looking to cash in on them -- MTV Networks plans to pair ads with clips on MySpace using Auditude's technology.

'Guitar Hero' Picks Celebrities for New Campaign

Video game maker Activision Blizzard Inc. in Santa Monica has pulled out all the stops for the TV campaign to launch "Guitar Hero World Tour," the latest installment of the popular series.

J2 Global Reports Mixed Quarter

J2 Global Communications Inc. reported 20 percent better third-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street expectations, but revenue was lower than expected.

Mercury General Posts Loss on Investment Decline

Mercury General Corp said it had swung from a profit to a loss in its third quarter, hurt mainly by fall in value of its equity holdings.

Holding Court

Kathy Goodman and Carla Christofferson went from rooting in the stands to running the L.A. Sparks.

Recession Hits Home

Home prices will fall more before bouncing back, cautions Ted Lux.

Crunch Credit

E.D. Produce founder Dantee Cardenas has plucked the tasty title "King of Persian cucumbers."

Liberal Advice for Grand Old Parties

If you're thinking of crashing any of Tuesday's election parties, Hal Dash says go ahead. Most parties don't require a ticket, so just act confident and walk right in.

Redstone Divide Looms Over Talks

In recent years, media mogul Sumner Redstone has battled with his daughter and business partner, Shari, over their differing visions for the family business. Now, as they race to solve its looming debt problems, those divisions threaten to complicate make

Caruso Too Busy For a Campaign?

Would developer Rick Caruso be able to curb his passion for business while running for L.A. mayor?

Asian Angle

Global Korea Textile Week seeks to build bridges between South Korean and American businesses.

Truck Owners, Drivers Air Emission Complaints

As state air regulators get set to vote next month on sweeping regulations to reduce diesel emissions from big-rig trucks, major fleet owners and truck operators are stepping up their campaign to postpone the deadlines, citing the recent financial crisis.

CEOs Face 'Extreme Anxiety'

Speaking last week to a roomful of top local executives, Richard Welch was blunt in his assessment of the effects the financial crisis is having on companies.

Northern California Woman Had Childhood Connection to Music Biz

Janette Baxa got her first exposure to the music world when she was 6 and started subscribing to Rolling Stone.

Maguire Takes Flight

The fire still burns for Robert F. Maguire as he channels his energy into aviation and investment ventures.

Newsmakers

Marc Goedemans has been named chief financial officer in the L.A. office of New York-based Patina Restaurant Group.

Further Declines in Housing Prices Predicted Before Recovery

"Look out below!" was analysts' consensus on home prices at a Milken Institute conference.

Refugees From Dissolving Firm Flood L.A. Market

The nation's largest law firms continue to pick up attorneys from San Francisco-based Heller Ehrman LLP as it dissolves, and Locke Lord Bissell & Lidell LLP joined the trend by adding former Heller Ehrman attorneys to its Los Angeles office.