Stories for September 2008

Tuesday, September 30

Aegis Receives Antitrust Clearance for PeopleSupport Acquisition

Clearing a big hurdle, Aegis BPO said that the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act for its proposed $250 million merger with PeopleSupport Inc. has expired without a request for further information by the Federal Trade Co

Jacobs Jumps on Upgrade

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. shares rose 14 percent after an analyst boosted his rating to "buy" from "neutral,'' noting that the company's stock price did not reflect its strong performance

Local Stocks Join Market Rally

Los Angeles-area stocks largely bounced back Tuesday along with the overall markets as investors hunted for bargains after yesterday's historic sell-off.

SAG Seeks to Rekindle Bargaining with Studios

The Screen Actors Guild sent a letter to News Corp. President Peter Chernin and Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger in hopes of jump-starting the stalled negotiations, but the overture has been rejected.

Movie Studios to Sue RealNetworks

Hollywood studios including Walt Disney Co. and News Corp. plan to file a lawsuit to block RealNetworks Inc. from distributing software that enables consumers to copy DVDs to computer hard drives.

Maguire Properties Completes $100 Million Financing

Maguire Properties Inc. said it completed a $100 million financing, which includes a new mortgage on its Plaza Las Fuentes hotel and retail development in Pasadena.

Hilton Plans Major Caribbean-Latin America Expansion

Hilton Hotels Corp. announced plans to quadruple its presence in the Caribbean and Latin America by adding 150 hotels to its portfolio over the next five years.

99 Cents Only Chairman Wants to Buy Texas Stores

99 Cents Only Stores Inc., which was planning to close its 48 unprofitable stores in Texas, said its board chairman, Dave Gold, has offered to acquire those stores himself.

Monday, September 29

California's Diverse Economy Well Positioned for Recovery

Len Rushfield hands out failing grades to the major players in the subprime crisis, while John Carrick writes that a diverse economy has California well positioned for a quick recovery.

Reining In Regulation Rush

Charles Crumpley says enough is enough on the call for regulation in response to the financial turmoil.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

Cherokee International Corp. will be purchased by Lineage Power Holdings Inc, a Gores Group company, in an all-cash deal valued at $105 million.

Career Is in the Bag for Natural Snack-Foods Executive

Cindy Liggett likes to snack. And the company she recently joined does not make her feel guilty when she munches barbecue-flavored potato chips in her office.

Suited Up

Anschutz Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke says the world of pro sports is more sweat than glamour.

Alternative Energy Fuels Growth of Automobile Expo

Increased interest in alternative fuels is driving the growth of the AltCar Expo in Santa Monica.

Look Out Below

The financial meltdown on Wall Street is having a ripple effect on Los Angeles County's office market, which could see millions of square feet of space quickly open up for lease.

PaceSetter: Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce saw its budget grow to $8.2 million for the 2008 fiscal year, up from $6.2 million in 2007. It remains the largest chamber ranked by budget in Los Angeles County, according to the Business Journal's annual list.

Deal for Israeli Satellite Company Fails to Launch

The acquisition of an Israeli satellite company by a Los Angeles-based investment group has become bogged down in a contentious spat.

UPDATE: Dow Plunges as House Defeats Bailout Bill

The House on Monday defeated a $700 billion emergency rescue package, ignoring urgent pleas from President Bush and bipartisan congressional leaders to quickly bail out the staggering financial industry.

Hawthorne Company Launches Rocket

Space Exploration Technologies Inc., a Hawthorne company, became the first to put a privately-built and funded rocket into orbit with a Sunday launch from the South Pacific.

From Buzz To Bank

Online business communication service Yammer seeks to translate positive buzz into big bucks.

Who Gets Bailout Help?

Area financial institutions are anxious about getting a share of the proposed federal bailout plan.

Of a Different Stripe

Beyond Zebra provides companies with promotional knickknacks while remaining eco-conscious.

'Key Issue Is Availability of Credit'

Executives and experts weigh in on what the market meltdown means for their industry and L.A.'s economy.

Northrop Grumman Awarded $125 Million Navy Order

The U.S. Navy has ordered more airborne electronic attack systems from Northrop Grumman Corp. with an estimated value more than $125 million, Northrop said.

William Morris Agency Sells Headquarters

William Morris Agency, the century-old talent firm that has represented generations of movie stars and other artists, has bucked a tough real estate market and sold its Beverly Hills headquarters complex for $143 million to a consortium led by South Ameri

Video Game Company Makes Play for Preschoolers

UFO Interactive Games hopes to pull in preschoolers with its new products.

Credit Freeze Putting Ice on Sale of Variety

Show business paper Variety remains on the block as the credit crunch has stalled the financing.

Sent to the Back of the Class

Len Rushfield hands out failing grades to the major players in the subprime crisis, while John Carrick writes that a diverse economy has California well positioned for a quick recovery.

AT & T; Switches Satellite-TV Provider to Direct TV

DirecTV Group Inc. the largest U.S. satellite television provider, said AT & T; Inc. had picked it to offer a co-branded package of video, home telephone, wireless phone and Internet service starting Feb, 1.

IndyMac's State Properties Positioned to Move

Another piece of the crumbling IndyMac pie has been divvied up for dispersal as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. looks to recoup on the bank's massive losses.

Investors Leave Homebuilders on Shaky Ground

The federal focus on fixing the housing crisis boosted stocks of homebuilders Ryland and KB Homes.

Child's Play

Joey Parsi gives toddlers the run of the place at Brentwood restaurant Giggles N' Hugs.

REGIONAL REPORT

Capstone Turbine Corp., a Chatsworth manufacturer of microturbines, has raised $29.5 million through an offering of more than 21 million shares of common stock.

Stadium Proposal Looks to Show Off in Public

It's the beginning of the game, and Ed Roski Jr. is hoping to catch the kickoff now that the environmental impact report for his proposed City of Industry stadium has been released for public review.

Maker of Inhaled Insulin Breathes a Little Easier

Has Al Mann pulled another rabbit out of his hat? Judging from the swings in the stock price of his MannKind Inc. drug development company, Wall Street still isn't quite sure.

Kor Hotel Group Rolls Out Welcome Mat for Foreign Investor

Kor Hotel Group had no reservations about selling a 50 percent stake to Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Development.

U.S. Ban on Shorting Stocks Buoys Local Banks

A move by the federal government temporarily banning short selling on hundreds of financial stocks has paid immediate dividends for several local banks.

Newsmakers

Lisa A. Rubino has been named president of Molina Healthcare of California, a Long Beach-base health plan subsidiary of Molina Healthcare Inc.

Non-Profits Fret About Their Benefactors

So much wealth has been vaporized that some local non-profits are fretting about their benefactors.

Ports Gear Up for Clean Trucks Program

Beginning this week, new challenges are in store for truckers serving the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The Clean Trucks Program, a $1.6 billion initiative designed to reduce diesel truck emissions by 80 percent within five years, takes effect

City Council Opens Checkbook for Historic Hall

The developer and owner of the historic Hollywood Palladium won over the Los Angeles City Council last week in a unanimous vote to provide the Newport Beach-based company $2.5 million to complete its exterior renovations.

Cucuy Makes His Exit After Ratings Slide

The decline of morning deejay Cucuy has opened the door for new voices in the local Spanish-language market.

Local Stocks Rocked in Market Downturn

L.A. financial and real estate stocks took a beating as the markets plunged on the failure of Congress to pass a financial bailout plan.

Bundling Up For Fall Election

The turmoil on Wall Street is making fundraising a little tougher for so-called bundlers those who not only max out on their own political contributions but also round up contributions from friends and associates.

Mattel Files Injunction Request in Bratz Dispute

Mattel Inc. has asked a federal court judge to issue an injunction against rival MGA Entertainment Inc. in the ongoing battle over the Bratz fashion doll empire. The maker of Barbie want to prevent MGA from manufacturing, distributing or selling Bratz dol

UPDATE: International Rectifier Strikes Back on Tender Offer

International Rectifier Corp. officials are urging shareholders to ignore a $23 dollar a share tender offer launched Monday by rival chip maker Vishay Intertechnology Inc.

Friday, September 26

Big Movers

The Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies closed up for the week ended Sept. 26 despite the turbulent week on Wall Street and the failure of Congress to pass a financial bailout plan.

LAX Contractors Reach Agreement with SEIU Unit

Service workers at Los Angeles International Airport reached a deal with four airline contractors, ending a dispute that had resulted in a Labor Day weekend strike.

KB Home Posts Wider-Than-Expected Loss

KB Home surprised Wall Street by reporting that its fiscal third-quarter loss had quadrupled from a year ago as revenue fell by 56 percent.

PFF Bancorp Stockholders Approve Merger

PFF Bancorp Inc. said stockholders at a special meeting approved the bank holding company's merger with FBOP Corp., the parent of California National Bank.

FDA Reviews Experimental Use of Anemia Drugs

Federal health regulators said they are reviewing an experimental use of blockbuster anemia drugs made by Amgen Inc. and Johnson & Johnson Inc. that have been associated with higher death rates in a study involving stroke patients.

State Budget Cuts $129 Million From L.A. County

The state budget that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed this week cut about $129 million from Los Angeles County programs -- $34 million more than expected, county officials said.

JPMorgan Chase to Replace WaMu Name in L.A.

It may be the largest bank or thrift failure ever in U.S. history, but the federal seizure of Washington Mutual's bank operations and their transfer to JP Morgan Chase & Co. is not expected to have much negative impact in Los Angeles. It could even turn o

Thursday, September 25

Occidental to Buy Out Oil Field Partner

Occidental Petroleum Corp. said it will buy out Plains Exploration & Production Co.'s stakes in two jointly operated Midwest oil and gas fields for $1.25 billion.

Ameron's Q3 Fails to Satisfy

Shares of Ameron International Corp. lost one-third their value Thursday after the maker of pipes, wind towers and other engineered products reported third quarter earnings that failed to meet Wall Street expectations.

Not Your Daughter's Jeans Sells Stake

Not Your Daughter's Jeans said it has sold a controlling interest of the company to New York private equity firm Falconhead Capital LLC for an undisclosed price.

Valley Median Home Price Drop 'Stunning'

San Fernando Valley homeowners saw property values plunge 35 percent -- a quarter-million dollars on a median-price home -- in the year since the credit crisis erupted and foreclosures began flooding the market, a research center said.

Gores' Company to Acquire Cherokee International

Cherokee International Corp. said it has agreed to be bought by Lineage Power Holdings Inc, a Gores Group company, in an all-cash deal worth about $105 million.

Northrop Announces Multiple Contracts

Northrop Grumman Corp. announced that it won three large equipment and consulting contracts, including a $120 million order for targeting and sensor systems from the U.S. military.

Wedbush Morgan to Acquire Arizona Investment Bank

Wedbush Morgan Securities said it has agreed to acquire Peacock, Hislop, Staley & Given Inc., a Phoenix investment bank and securities brokerage firm, for an undisclosed amount.

Frank McCourt Takes Over Los Angeles Marathon

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has completed a deal to acquire operating rights to the Los Angeles Marathon, ending an often-troubled chapter of the annual race.

Wednesday, September 24

Anderson Economists Still See Recession Skirted

The latest UCLA Anderson Forecast does not see U.S. economy slipping into recession, but anticipates California's economy will continue to weaken as the state's fiscal crisis and the housing and finance sectors continue to be a drag on growth.

Qualstar Improves Performance in Q4

Qualstar Corp. said it recorded a lower net loss in its fiscal fourth quarter compared to a year ago on improved operating efficiencies.

BofA Cuts Countrywide's No. 3

In a reversal, Bank of America Corp. replaced Andrew Gissinger III, the former No. 3 executive at Countrywide Financial Corp. with a longtime executive of the Charlotte, N.C., bank.

'Green' Industrial Park Proposed for Downtown L.A.

Officials are looking to generate jobs and turn a tattered pocket of Los Angeles into a hotbed of environmentally sustainable companies.

School District Extends Labor Agreement

The Los Angeles Unified School District, now in the midst of the nation's largest public works program, has extended its project labor agreement that favors union contractors for another five years.

International Rectifier Hires Permanent CFO

International Rectifier Corp. said it has appointed Ilan Daskal as its chief financial officer, more than a year after firing its long-time CFO over accounting irregularities discovered at a foreign subsidiary.

Hilton Has New CFO

Hilton Hotels Corp. said that Thomas C. Kennedy had taken over as chief financial officer as of Sept. 15.

Trucking Group Loses Appeal on Clean Trucks Program

The U. S. Court of Appeals panel has denied an American Trucking Association request for an injunction to prevent the Clean Trucks Program at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports from starting Oct. 1.

Tuesday, September 23

MannKind Up on Insulin Outlook

Shares of MannKind Corp. jumped 13 percent Tuesday following comments by Chief Executive Alfred Mann, who highlighted the company's progress in moving its experimental inhaled insulin system toward U.S. regulatory approval.

Disney, CBS Sign Netflix Deal

Netflix Inc. said it signed deals with the television units of Walt Disney Co. and CBS Corp. to make current and previously aired episodes of several popular shows, such as "Hannah Montana" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," available on its online mov

Goldman Eyes IndyMac

Goldman Sachs may target the assets of failed banks such as IndyMac Bank as it transforms from the biggest investment bank on Wall Street into the fourth-largest bank holding company in the United States.

Kor Sells Stake to UAE Fund

Kor Hotel Group, which operates about a dozen hotels worldwide, has sold a 50 percent stake to the investment arm of Abu Dhabi government to speed the company's expansion into foreign markets.

LABJ SUPPLEMENTS and GUIDES

THE TOBY AWARDS 2008

Jacobs Wins Contracts

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. announced a trio of contracts, one of which was valued at $18 million.

L.A. Officials Blast Wall Street Bailout Plan

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council denounced the $700-billion rescue plan for the nation's financial institutions, saying the deal provides too much power to U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

Cherokee Inc. Focuses on Value Message

An executive at Cherokee Inc., which licenses clothing brands including the Cherokee brand for Target, said that a cautious spending environment might actually bode well for sales of the company's value-oriented apparel basics.

Monday, September 22

Energy Measure Gets Short Circuit

A state proposition to boost renewable energy contracts has energized opposition from small companies who fear being left in the dark.

AIG's "For Sale" List Expected Next Week

American International Group Inc. should have a list of assets it wants to sell by next week, its new chief executive said as the company prepares to split itself up to repay an emergency bailout loan.

Ignoring Stop Sign?

Two outdoor ad companies are suing Los Angeles, claiming the city is cashing in on a billboard ban.

L.A. Plaintiffs' Attorneys Busy With MTA Crash

Los Angeles plaintiffs' lawyers have been working overtime since a Metrolink commuter train crashed head on into a Union Pacific freight train.

REGIONAL REPORT

Zcom Networks Inc., a Calabasas-based broadcast media company, has signed a content agreement with WGL Entertainment Holdings Inc., the Longwood, Fla., producer of golf competition show "WGL Million Dollar Shootout" and other programs.

Indulging in Good 'Bad Food' at Farmers Market

Loteria Grill at the Fairfax Farmers Market offers filling fare at a friendly price.

When the Richest Did Not Get Richer

The recent chaos on Wall Street has hit the wallets of some of L.A.'s wealthiest residents.

AIG Holders Seek Alternative to U.S. Plan

Major shareholders concerned about American International Group Inc.'s $85 billion loan agreement with the federal government plan to meet Monday to discuss alternatives to the bailout plan, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Tall Orders

Merle Elias' concierge business works to keep Hollywood stars and foreign royalty happy.

Tune-Up in the Cards for Online Music Service

Best Buy hopes to tune up music service Napster as a destination for videos and games, too.

Cutting Through Haze at Ports

American Trucking Associations' ports lawsuit challenges pro-labor hiring requirements, not the desire to clean the air, according to Clayton Boyce.

Tough Deal to Come for Spielberg

Steven Spielberg finally has his rupees, but now comes the tricky bit. Having wrapped up negotiations with India's Reliance Big Entertainment, Spielberg and other DreamWorks brass begin potentially complicated discussions with Paramount over exit terms.

Responsibility, Not Blame

Charles Crumpley says the Metrolink spokeswoman was right to accept responsibility for the deadly crash but wrong to assign blame.

Fast-Food Purge Hits Bottom Lines Not Waistlines

The moratorium on new fast-food eateries will do nothing to slim down Angelenos, writes Art Carden.

Jacques Cousteau Fan Splashes Down at Sea Level VFX

When Steve Reiss attended UC San Diego he immersed himself in communications, visual arts and biology with the objective of literally submerging himself in a future career.

Condo Developer Finds Hot Property in Valley

The real estate downturn has had a particularly deadly effect on the Los Angeles condo market, zapping sales figures as buyers are unable to qualify for home loans.

Drawing 'Em In

Online-only Animation World Magazine tracks the shop talk of animators and special-effects artists.

News of the Week

Abraxis BioScience Inc. directors, including Chief Executive Patrick Soon-Shiong, agreed to pay $14.3 million to settle claims they breached their fiduciary duties to shareholders when the company's predecessor, Illinois-based American Pharmaceutical Part

L.A. County to Buy More Cogent Fingerprint Scanners

Cogent Systems said that the Los Angeles County Regional Identification System has given Cogent a 1,000 unit purchase order for its Cogent BlueCheck mobile identification devices, which will be used by law enforcement agencies around the county.

Still a Lot Left

Former Arden CEO Richard Ziman balances real estate pursuits with charitable and Democratic causes.

Newsmakers

Kevin D. Kosenthal has been appointed executive director of Associated Builders & Contractors-California Cooperation Committee, a construction trade organization that provides labor compliance services to the non-union public works sector.

Magazine Hopes to Swing With Singles on Westside

In the midst of what some are calling the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression not to mention a decadelong slump in print advertising a Santa Monica investment adviser has launched a glossy magazine targeting L.A.'s affluent Westside si

Ascent Media to Sell Visiontext to SDI Media

Ascent Media Group LLC said it has signed an agreement to sell its subtitling business, Visiontext, to SDI Media, a large subtitling and language dubbing provider for feature films and television shows.

Executive Leaves to Found West Hollywood Shop

After three years of running Hollywood publicity shop Levine Communication Office, Dawn Miller has left to start her own agency.

No Turn Signal From Ports on Truck Replacement Programs

Long Beach and Los Angeles ports are sticking with Oct. 1 as the launch date for their clean air programs, despite growing opposition.

Plugging Into L.A. Tech Scene

When Silicon Valley veteran Peter Pham moved back to Los Angeles a year ago, he noticed the lack of a social scene where tech execs could hobnob and hatch deals.

Bratz Dolls Begin to Show Their Age

Retailers that helped turn Bratz into a sensation when the pouty-lipped dolls first appeared in 2001 are giving the line a chillier reception for this holiday season.

Laser Puts Metal Supply Business a Cut Above Rivals

Industrial Metal Supply has a leg up on rivals with a $2 million machine that uses lasers to cut pipes quickly.

Financial Meltdown Sending Big Chill Across L.A.

As Wall Street struggled last week through one of its worst crises since the Great Depression, the Los Angeles financial industry didn't escape the turmoil.

CytRx Acquires Innovive Pharmaceuticals

CytRx Corp. said it has added to its drug development pipeline by completing a stock-funded buyout of Innovive Pharmaceuticals Inc.

New Restaurant Locks Up City National Bank Space

Security issues? Chef Celestino Drago's new downtown restaurant comes complete with what was once a bank vault. The formerly safe place will serve as a private dining room and demonstration kitchen when the eatery opens next month.

Struggling WaMu Thrift May Fade from L.A.

A decade ago, Seattle-based Washington Mutual Inc. burst onto the Los Angeles scene from nowhere as it swallowed up two huge local thrifts. Now, the beleaguered savings and loan and its nearly 200 L.A. branches could disappear just as quickly.

Fly, Try Again

Countdown has begun on Space Exploration's credibility after a string of failed rocket launches.

Who Needs Another Film Festival?

Co-founders of the Cinema City International Film Festival hope to grab the spotlight with a category for TV pilots.

More Oversight for Labor Compliance Companies

State regulators are cracking down on third-party companies that contract with government agencies to enforce labor laws on public works projects performed by private contractors.

Friday, September 19

AIG Unit Draws Down Credit Line

International Lease Finance Corp., the Los Angeles airplane-leasing company owned by American International Group Inc., said it is borrowing $6.5 billion, the maximum amount allowed under its three credit lines.

Hanger-to-Studio Plan Taking Off

Plans for a massive indoor movie studio are underway in Long Beach, where the buyers of a former aerospace plant say they will build a $500-million soundstage facility that would rival the largest established Hollywood studios in scope.

Former Ralphs Employees Are Indicted

A Los Angeles federal grand jury indicted several former Ralphs Grocery Co. employees for conspiring to rehire locked-out employees under false names and social security numbers during the Southern California grocery workers strike.

United to Leave Palmdale Airport

United Airlines will pull service from L.A./Palmdale Regional Airport, dealing a massive setback in the effort to divert air traffic from Los Angeles International Airport to outlying facilities.

Indian

Indian communications giant Reliance ADA Group has reportedly cobbled together a deal to acquire DreamWorks for $1.2 billion, allowing Steven Spielberg and David Geffen to part ways with Paramount Pictures.

Big Movers

After a tumultuous week on Wall Street during which the Dow Jones industrial average lost as much as 450 points only to gain virtually all of it back, the Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest public companies rallied to gain 5 percent.

Indian Entertainment Company Acquires DreamWorks

Indian communications giant Reliance ADA Group has reportedly cobbled together a deal to acquire DreamWorks for $1.2 billion, allowing Steven Spielberg and David Geffen to part ways with Paramount Pictures.

Regulators Fine SoCal Edison Over Faked Data

The California Public Utilities Commission has fined Southern California Edison $146 million for falsifying customer satisfaction surveys, a lower fine than levied last year.

County's Jobless Rate Highest in 12 Years

L.A. County 's jobless rate soared in August to 7.9 percent as layoffs continued in the beleaguered construction sector and seasonal job losses hit local education workers, according to state figures.

Thursday, September 18

SAG Dissidents Win Control of Local

Screen Actors Guild dissidents backed by Sally Field and Tom Hanks won control of the union's Hollywood local, potentially signaling a new approach in deadlocked labor negotiations with the studios.

First Regional Restricted on Internet-Related Business

Attorney General Jerry Brown has announced a settlement with First Regional Bank that prevents the Los Angeles bank from processing the payments of retailers who illegally sell tobacco products online.

99 Cents Only Stores to Exit Texas

99-Cent Only Stores said it will exit the Texas market to focus on its core markets of California, Arizona, and Nevada, which contribute around 90 percent of the discount retailer's revenue.

Capstone Turbine Announces Equity Offering

Capstone Turbine Corp. announced a registered offering of almost 21.5 million common stock and warrants that should net $29.5 million for the company.

Northrop May Receive Termination Fee on Tanker Deal

Northrop Grumman Corp. may receive a termination fee in the tens of millions of dollars to compensate it for the Defense Department decision to withdraw its contract to build a new fleet of aerial refueling tankers.

Law Firm Drops Christensen From Its Name

Prominent attorney Terry Christensen announced he was quitting law and his firm announced it was dropping his name as a result of his recent conviction in the Anthony Pellicano case.

Breitburn: Exposure to Lehman Bankruptcy 'Minimal'

Breitburn Energy Partners LP said it has "minimal exposure" to Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. after the investment bank filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this week.

Downtown's Citigroup Center Changes Hands

The iconic Citigroup Center office building in downtown Los Angeles has been sold by Broadway Real Estate Partners LLC to a Houston real estate firm for about $285 million, a soft price reflecting the economy and long-term tenant leases.

Some AIG Units Could Fetch High Bids

Bargain hunters could snag some good deals by buying parts of troubled American International Group Inc.'s profitable subsidiaries in Los Angeles and around the world, market analysts predicted.

CKE Cost-Cutting Raised Q2 Profits

CKE Restaurants Inc. reported a 31 percent increase in second-quarter net income as the fast-food chain cut operating costs. The results topped Wall Street's expectations.

California Says Climate Plan Will Help Its Economy

California's climate change plan would have an overall positive effect on the state's economy by creating new jobs, reducing lost work days and increasing household savings through improved energy efficiency, according to a state analysis.

Wednesday, September 17

L.A. Times Employees Sue Tribune, Zell

Several former and current Los Angeles Times employees filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the newspaper's corporate parent, Tribune Co., and its chief executive, Sam Zell, contending that reckless management is destroying the value of the company.

Udvar-Hazy May Buy Company Back From A.I.G.

Steven Udvar-Hazy, the chairman of American International Group Inc.'s highly successful aircraft-leasing unit, is expected to lead an effort to buy back the Los Angeles company that he founded 35 years ago, according to people familiar with the situation

Former Big 5 Chairman Dies

Robert W. Miller, former chairman, chief executive and president of Big 5 Sporting Goods, has died. He was 85.

Blue Holdings Delisted From Nasdaq

Once trendy denim maker Blue Holdings Inc. has begun trading on the over-the-counter Pink Sheets after the Nasdaq delisted the stock.

Reliance Steel Makes Singapore Acquisition

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. said Wednesday that it had further expanded its presence in Asia by acquiring the assets of HLN Metal Centre Pte. Ltd. for about $2.6 million.

Liability Cap Could Be Tested in Metrolink Crash

Compensation awards to victims of last week's Metrolink train crash could easily overwhelm a $200-million cap that Congress imposed 11 years ago on a railroad's liability in any one accident.

Abraxis Board Settles Shareholders Suit

Abraxis BioScience Inc.'s board has agreed to pay $14.3 million to settle claims that directors breached their fiduciary duties to shareholders when the company's predecessor merged with American BioScience Inc. in 2006, according to a report.

Bug Music Secures $200 Million Credit Facility

Amid the crisis on Wall Street that has squeezed the already-tight credit markets, independent music publisher Bug Music Inc. said that it had secured a $200 million credit facility led by investment bank J.P. Morgan.

Tuesday, September 16

Pinkberry Hires Former Cheesecake CFO

Frozen yogurt chain Pinkberry said it has named Michael Dixon as chief financial officer. Dixon had held the same title at Cheesecake Factory Inc. for eight years before resigning in July.

LAEDC Recognizes Biz-Friendly Cities

Ten of Los Angeles County's 88 cities have been named as finalists for the most business-friendly city award handed out each year by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

Amgen Reports Solid Denosumab Data

Amgen Inc. shares gained 5 percent, despite a choppy overall market, after reporting widely anticipated clinical studies showing its experimental osteoporosis drug denosumab dramatically cut the risk of spinal and hip fractures in postmenopausal women whe

International Rectifier Rejects Another Vishay Bid

International Rectifier Corp. has rejected a second, unsolicited buyout proposal from chip maker Vishay Intertechnology Inc., which has threatened a proxy battle over the matter.

MannKind Falls on Continued Drug Safety Worries

MannKind Corp. shares dropped more than 13 percent despite reporting positive clinical data for its experimental Technosphere inhaled insulin, and announcing that a former rival plans to switch users over to MannKind's drug.

L.A.'s Cross-Town Rivals Find Common Ground

Sport Chalet Inc. is literally on the fence when it comes to the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins. It has signed a three-year sponsorship deal with USC giving it sole rights among sporting goods companies to promote itself at Trojan home games, a week afte

THQ Forms Joint Venture with Shanghai Game Operator

THQ Inc. said it has formed a joint venture to launch casual online games in North America and China with ICE Entertainment, a Shanghai online game operator.

Bargain Hunter Checks Out 99 Cents Only

I'd never before been tempted to shop at the 99 Only Store. Me buy groceries and goods from a one-price-fits-all store? Not a chance. But at 99 cents - a price that is going up by nearly a penny at the end of the month - even the "rejects" it stocks have

Jacobs to Share Large Bridge Contract

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. that it and two other companies have been awarded a $1.3 billion contract to replace a key commuter train bridge in New Jersey.

Monday, September 15

Medical Startups to Pursue Injection of Funding

HEALTH CARE

A select group of 23 young Southern California companies will speed-date potential investors later this week at the region's premier life sciences investor conference.

Actors' Labor Plan in Need of a Rewrite

The Screen Actors Guild is in desperate need of some direction, according to Jonathan Handel.

Pacesetter: Deloitte & Touche

The employee benefits division of accounting giant Deloitte & Touche USA LLP tops the list of employee benefits consultants with 224 employees in L.A. County, according to the Business Journal's annual list

Is Northrop Stuck With South Bay Property?

The Defense Department's announcement that it would delay awarding a $35 billion aerial tanker contract until the next presidential administration could be mucking up Northrop Grumman's office plans in the South Bay.

Electrification's Sticker Shock

Kirk Marckwald says switching American train lines to electricity would burn too much money and time.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

99 Cents Only Stores said it will raise its top price for the first time in 26 years to 99.99 cents in response to dramatically higher fuel and commodity costs.

Live Nation Takes Stage for New Act

Ticket seller Live Nation is beefing up, adding U.S. venues and expanding into Latin America.

Executive Recruitment Firm Worked Up Over Strong Quarter

A strong first quarter and job market has stoked executive recruitment firm Korn/Ferry International.

Boom Time

Pork Pie Percussion expects to drum up business with its products featured in Activision's new "Guitar Hero" video game.

L.A. Oil Company Sues Somebody Over Something

Occidental Petroleum has filed suit against an unidentified former or current employee for releasing confidential

Poor Impression, Ads Up For L.A. Times Magazine

When the latest reincarnated version of the Los Angeles Times Magazine hit front porches in the Sunday paper, it could have passed as an advertising circular.

Fail-Safe CEO

Motorcar Parts of America CEO Selwyn Joffe drives his employees with a no-firing policy.

UPDATE: Amgen Sells Products to Swedish Drug Company

Amgen Inc. said it had agreed to sell two of its smaller drugs and license a third to Swedish drugmaker Biovitrum AB in a deal valued at $130 million.

Seeing Is Believing

Miracle Mile sits as an L.A. oasis of bustling real estate projects, bucking the general market downturn.

Pacesetter: Delta Dental of California

San Francisco-based Delta Dental of California remains the largest dental insurer in Los Angeles County with 4.2 million subscribers, according to the Business Journal's annual list

UPDATE: Financial and Actual Hurricanes Buffet Local Stocks

Local financial and real estate stocks were largely down on Monday following a tumultuous weekend that saw Merrill Lynch agree to sell itself to Bank of America, Lehman Brothers file for bankruptcy and A.I.G. seek emergency funding from the Fed. Energy st

Battling Over Site For Oil Recycling

A recycler of oil and antifreeze earned a business permit from the state that Los Angeles officials are now trying to revoke.

IndyMac Yields High-Interest Lessons for Bankers

Bank executives discuss the hard lessons learned from IndyMac's collapse.

Riding Green Wave

Todd Patterson is looking to make waves in the surfing world with his eco-friendly boards.

UPDATE: AIG Plans Major Restructuring

American International Group Inc. is seeking a $40 billion bridge loan from the Federal Reserve, but so far is ruling out disposal of its Los Angeles aircraft-leasing business, according to reports.

Texas Takes Shine Off Golden State

Charles Crumpley tips his 10-gallon hat to Texas and its pro-growth policies that California sorely lacks.

Chambers at Odds Over Endorsement Of Bond Funding

Bonds endorsed by Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce include high-speed rail and school projects.

Fed Comes to Aid of A.I.G.

The Federal Reserve has asked two investment banks to put together at least $70 billion in loans to help prop up the insurance giant American International Group, according to news reports.

REGIONAL REPORT

Microdevice manufacturer Microfabrica Inc. has received $22.5 million in financing to go toward development of medical devices and its growing electronics and defense businesses.

Former KB Home CEO Settles Backdating Charges

Former KB Home Chief Executive Bruce Karatz has agreed to pay $7.2 million to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges that he fraudulently backdated stock options issued to himself and other employees for at least six years, the SEC said.

Best Buy to Acquire Napster

Best Buy Inc. said it will acquire struggling online music-sharing site Napster Inc. for more than $121 million cash in an effort to boost its digital media offerings.

Saddling Up At 7-Eleven

Herb Domeno knows what it's like to be a cowboy at least a retail version of one. He was the first in Los Angeles to open his convenience store 24 hours.

Special Report: IndyMac's Last Gasps

Former CEO Mike Perry's independent streak was behind IndyMac's resistance to get help before it was too late.

Pricey PR

Insignia Brand Partners helps get the word out on pricey products like six-figure motorcycles and $2,500 pens.

Gym Chain Weighs In With Senior-Focused Fitness

Sheldon Zinberg's Nifty After Fifty gym chain hopes to fit in with the senior set.

Fallout From Fannie, Freddie Hurting Some Banks

Financial institutions both locally and nationally are starting to suffer fallout from the government's Sept. 7 takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Coffeehouse Targets L.A. Latino Community

Tierra Mia Coffee's owner hopes to open more shops by surpassing Starbucks on quality and offering Latin-inspired drinks.

USC Fills Up Coffers With Expanded Coliseum

The 1,607 new seats at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum add up to an increase of about $530,000 per season for the University of Southern California athletic department.

Newsmakers & Kudos

Sandy Murphy has been appointed general manager of the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.

Sunday, September 14

Argyros, Higby Could Bid for OC Register

Businessmen and philanthropists George Argyros and Larry Higby reportedly are interested in buying the Orange County Register. Separately, the Register is said to be in talks with once-bitter rival the Los Angeles Times about combining some operations in

Saturday, September 13

Bankrupt Twinkies Maker, Union Agree to End Standoff

Interstate Bakeries Inc. and the Teamsters ended their standoff over a new union contract, allowing the bankrupt maker of Hostess Twinkies to reorganize with financial backing from buyout firm Ripplewood Holdings LLC.

Friday, September 12

L.A. Council Sells Out Skyline

The L.A. City Council seems to care about the health of Angelenos so much so that it took a decidedly nanny turn this week with two measures addressing fast food and smoking. But when it comes to the overall health of the city, well, that's a different ma

Lionsgate Signs Mobile Partnership

Lions Gate Entertainment said that it had it signed an agreement with Spanish mobile content provider Zed to co-develop entertainment projects based on the Santa Monica studio's films, TV programs, music and original mobile programming.

Activision Buys U.K. Game Developer

Activision Blizzard Inc. said that a unit has bought FreeStyleGames, a United Kingdom developer of music-based video games.

Health Net Agrees to Settle Rescission Cases

Health Net Inc. has reached a $25 million agreement with the California Department of Insurance to offer new coverage to 926 people whose policies it rescinded after they got sick.

Pinkberry Serves Lawsuits to Six Competitors

L.A.-based Pinkberry Inc. has filed six lawsuits this week against what it contends are copycat frozen yogurt shops, three of them local.

Mattel Consolidates Barbie Businesses

Mattel Inc. announced a reorganization of its famous Barbie brand into one global brand management team.

Smart & Final Expands Its Approach

Smart & Final - a company better known for its reasonably priced bulk products -this week launched in Bellflower its first Extra! store in Los Angeles County, offering smaller portion groceries to better compete with regular supermarkets.

Metrolink Train Collides with Freight Train in L.A.

A Metrolink commuter train collided head on with a freight train late Friday afternoon in Chatsworth, causing multiple fatalites and serious injuries, and affecting the evening commute through the San Fernando Valley.

Physicians Formula Plans Stock Buy Back

Cosmetics maker Physicians Formula Holdings Inc. said that it will buy back up to $10 million in shares.

Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies closed up slightly for the week ended Sept. 12 after a volatile trading week.

Thursday, September 11

City National to Take Charge on Freddie, Fannie Holdings

City National Corp. has become one of the first Los Angeles bank holding companies to disclose its exposure to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the wake of the mortgage giants' takeover by federal regulators earlier this week. The company said it expects to

Trucking Association Appeals Port Policy Ruling

The American Trucking Association has appealed a U.S. district judge's ruling that allows the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to implement its program to lower air pollution by banning older, more polluting trucks from the ports.

CEO: MGA Willing to Share Bratz Money

MGA Entertainment Inc. is prepared to share future revenues from its Bratz doll franchise with rival Mattel Inc. in order to settle an intellectual property judgment, the company's chief executive said.

Northrop Grumman Wins $5.1 Billion Navy Contract

Northrop Grumman Corp. has received good news in the wake of the Pentagon's decision to delay a lucrative Air Force tanker contract. The U.S. Navy said it awarded the Los Angeles defense contractor a $5.1 billion contract to build its first next-generatio

Updated Santa Monica Place Will Gain Ocean View

The new incarnation of Santa Monica Place, the Frank Gehry-designed shopping center that is getting a major makeover in downtown Santa Monica, will feature a broad plaza surrounded by curving walls that open both to the street and toward the beach.

UPDATE: Live Nation Signs Large Ticketing Deal

Ticketmaster shares plunged 18 percent after rival Live Nation Inc. said it signed a seven-year deal to sell tickets at North American venues managed by SMG, one of the nation's largest operators of arenas, stadiums and theaters.

Wednesday, September 10

Italian Businessman Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy

Raffaello Follieri, an Italian entrepreneur and onetime business partner of billionaire Ron Burkle, pleaded guilty to criminal charges in a real-estate investment scheme designed to fund his lavish lifestyle.

UPDATE: AeroVironment Rises on Better-Than-Expected Q1

Shares of AeroVironment Inc. gained 18 percent the day after reporting first quarter results on higher revenue that beat Wall Street expectation.

Amgen Isn't Seeking a Partner for Bone Drug

Amgen Inc.'s chief executive hinted the biotech might not immediately sign a partnership agreement to market denosumab, its osteoporosis drug in development.

Vishay Intensifies Hostile Bid for International Rectifier

Vishay Intertechnology Inc. has raised its all-cash offer for power management chip maker International Rectifier Corp. and said it plans to take the $1.7 billion bid directly to shareholders.

Judge Tells Mattel and MGA to Play Nice

A federal judge has ordered the heads of Mattel Inc. and MGA Entertainment Inc. into talks aimed at settling their copyright dispute over MGA's Bratz doll franchise.

Chapman Survey Says Consumer Sentiment Mixed

California consumers are more bullish about their economic prospects in the third quarter but that might not be saying much, according to a new survey.

Pentagon Delays Air Force Tanker Decision

The Defense Department said it will delay its decision on a $35 billion aerial tanker contract until after the start the next administration to allow a "cooling off" period between rivals Northrop Grumman Corp. and Boeing Corp.

Live Nation Sells Division

Concert promoter Live Nation announced the sale of its Motor Sports division to Feld Entertainment Inc. for $205 million. Feld paid $175 million in cash with an additional $30 million to be paid according to a performance agreement.

AEG Seeks Massive Complex of Signs at LA Live

Anschutz Entertainment Group, which operates Staples Center, wants exclusive rights to display billboards around the convention center. But a local neighborhood association is fighting the proposal, saying the LA Live area already is starting the resemble

Cheesecake Falters After Analyst Comments

Shares of Cheesecake Factory Inc. fell 5 percent after an analyst downgraded shares, saying the upscale casual restaurant operator hasn't been aggressive enough in offering promotions to lure in customers during a slow economy.

Tuesday, September 9

School Sues Amgen in Patent Dispute

The University of Iowa and its research foundation filed a federal lawsuit against Amgen Inc. alleging that the biotechnology company infringed upon two of its patents related to a tool used to enhance vaccine making.

Jacobs Engineering's NASA Contract Gets $35 Million Larger

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. said it won a nearly $35 million contract addition for aerospace testing and facilities operations and maintenance at the NASA Ames Research Center in Northern California.

Avery Dennison Warns of Lower Q3

Shares of Avery Dennison Corp. dropped 11 percent after the Pasadena adhesive label maker warned investors that it had earned less in July and August than it had expected.

Korn/Ferry's Lower Q1 Beats Expectations

Shares Korn/Ferry International rose 7 percent after the staffing company reported first-quarter net profits that beat Wall Street analyst.

Long Beach Wants to Boost Wilmington Oil Field

Long Beach isn't waiting for Congress and the presidential candidates to do something about reducing America's dependence on imported foreign oil.

DineEquity Chief Financial Officer Resigns

Shares of DineEquity Inc. plunged 26 percent on Tuesday, a day after the casual dining chain announced that its chief financial officer had resigned effective immediately to "pursue other opportunities."

Walt Disney Studios Look to Extend Brand

Walt Disney Studios said that it will spend $100 million over the next two to three years in an attempt to extend its brand into emerging markets.

Monday, September 8

Switch Hitter

Bob Graziano went far afield going from CPA to president of the Dodgers and now managing partner at Northern Trust.

Corporate Parent of Fast-Food Chains Decides to Play Favorites

CKE has cast off some of its poor performing Hardee's eateries to focus on its healthy Carl's Jr. chain.

REGIONAL REPORT

Brick-and-Mortar Launch: Revolve Clothing, an online retailer based in La Mirada, has opened its first store.

Proxy Advisors Back Napster Management

Digital music company Napster Inc. said that two independent proxy advisors are saying three dissident investors who seek board seats are unqualified to be elected.

Universal, Disney Back Digital Cinema Rollout

Universal Pictures and Walt Disney Co. have agreed to throw their backing behind the rollout of digital cinema equipment in U.S. theaters, according to people familiar with the matter. The support should finally allow exhibitors to proceed with an aggress

Chip Company In Takeover War

Despite takeover interest, International Rectifier management is set on turning the company around.

Old-School Attorneys Face E-Discovery of New World

Law firms are adding units to handle the expanding practice of tracking down e-mails and other digital information, even if some lawyers are Luddites.

Businesses Star in Hollywood Revival

Charles Crumpley applauds the local property owners who played a lead role in reviving the Hollywood area.

State Board Puts Emission Proposal in Slow Lane

Faced with mounting opposition from truckers, farmers and other industry groups, the California Air Resources Board has pushed back consideration of a landmark regulation to reduce diesel emissions from more than 300,000 trucks and buses traveling the sta

Clouded Picture as Commercial Brokerage Closes

A local commercial brokerage is closing its doors later this month amid the slowing real estate market and a bitter lawsuit.

Hitched Up

Comic Pamela Yager isn't joking about expansion plans for her bachelorette party service.

E-Zines Looking Like the Wave of Luxury's Future

A recent flurry of activity suggests e-zines may be the wave of the future in the upscale mag market.

Make That '99.99 Cents' Only

99 Cents Only Stores said it will raise its top price for the first time in 26 years to a fraction under $1 in response to "dramatically rising costs and inflation."

Encino Agency on Target With Specialized Retailers

Hank Cohen loves numbers. Here's one that has some special significance for him, though: $300 million. That's how much new business his agency, KSL Media, has landed in the last 18 months.

New Gold Standard for Energy Issues

Russell Goldsmith writes that Americans are ready for the Olympic-sized challenge of a new energy plan.

Median Home Prices Persist in Steady Decline

August saw sales slow and median prices fall for homes and condos in Los Angeles County.

Fest Hits Sour Notes

Sunset Junction business owners say they were on the outside looking in during this year's street festival.

Pacesetter: USC Marshall School of Business

The USC Marshall School of Business awarded degrees to 663 students from its M.B.A. program in 2008 and tops this year's Business Journal list as the largest M.B.A. program in L.A. County.

Food Service Firm Fills Up With Philanthropic Work

It was a hot July day and the Burbank office of Aramark, a uniform and food services company, sat empty. The 200 employees were nowhere to be found. No, they did not take a beach day to hit the surf at Santa Monica.

Activision Blizzard Stock Split Now Effective

Activision Blizzard Inc. said that its two-for-one stock split is effective and its common stock began trading Monday on a split-adjusted basis.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

Liberty Media Corp. plans to split off into a publicly traded company several of its television and communications businesses, including its 50 percent stake in El Segundo-based satellite television provider DirecTV Group Inc.

L.A. Firm Hopes to Form Bonds With Clients

Two years ago, mortgage-backed securities started losing their value as home loan borrowers couldn't make their payments when their teaser rates ticked up.

Manhattan Beach Sushi Eatery Serves Up TV Chef

Real estate brokers Greg Harris and Jeff Benson have garnished their new sushi restaurant with a TV celebrity chef.

Charting New Course

Thomas Giannulli thinks he may finally have a killer application with his iChart medical records tracker for the iPhone.

Port's Clean Trucks Program to Proceed

A U.S. District Court judge said no Monday to a trucking industry group seeking to stop the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach from starting their landmark Clean Trucks Program on Oct. 1.

LABJ SUPPLEMENTS and GUIDES

THE BEST PLACES TO WORK IN LOS ANGELES

Warner Music Signs Overseas Deal with EMI

Warner Music Group Corp said it has signed a license deal to market and distribute EMI Music releases in South East Asia.

L.A. Prosecutor Overseeing Probes Into Mortgage Mess

Thomas O'Brien, the U.S. Attorney for California's Central District, is emerging as a likely prosecutor in criminal cases expected from the U.S. mortgage meltdown.

Flowboard Sales Pick Up Speed

Mike Kern has a knack for catching a wave. Now, looking to profit from the action sports craze, the Long Beach entrepreneur is marketing a product he sees as a crossover for boarders of all kinds.

Boxer Steps Into Real Estate Ring

Boxer Oscar de la Hoya's Golden Boy Partners is fighting for housing options for Latino families in South Gate.

What Drives People to the Movies?

Disney executives Michael Salama and Nancy Wong take a look at the impact of gas prices on cinema attendance.

Don't Go for the Salmon, But Do Go for the Swans

Atmosphere is the best thing on the menu at Hotel Bel-Air's restaurant.

Banks, Homebuilders Rise on Freddie, Fannie Seizures

Sunday's seizure of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae was good news for many bank and homebuilder stocks, as investors boosted the price of several L.A. area companies on analyst upgrades.

Natural Gas Prices Fuel Company's Move Into Market

Vortex Resources is digging into the natural gas market with lease deals in Texas.

Guiding Lights Bring Shoppers to Parking Spaces

Visitors to Westfield Century City Mall are pointed in the right direction by a new automated parking system.

In With the Old

The housing market may be slow, but the submarket for architecturally or historically significant homes remains hot in Los Angeles.

Newsmakers

The California chapters of the National Association of Women Business Owners, a non-profit research and leadership development foundation headquartered in Washington, D.C., have named Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire president.

Getting Handle On Business

The daughter of one of the big hitters in the local commercial real estate scene is getting a taste of the big leagues by running one of her family business' large properties.

Friday, September 5

Tetra Tech Wins Navy Contract

Tetra Tech Inc. said Friday that it has received a $50 million contract to perform biological resources management services at U.S. Navy installations around the world.

California AG Sues Trucking Companies

California Attorney General Jerry Brown announced Friday that he filed lawsuits against a pair of trucking companies operating at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach over alleged labor violations.

FDIC Lowers Estimate of IndyMac's Uninsured Deposits

Uninsured deposits at IndyMac Bancorp totaled about $541 million, federal regulators said, marking their second reduction of the estimate since the government seized the troubled mortgage lender July 11

1st Century Bancshares Approves Stock Repurchase Plan

1st Century Bancshares Inc. said its directors have authorized the purchase of up to $5 million worth of its common stock over the next 24 months, which represents 9.2 percent of total common shares.

Big Movers

News of a hike in the U.S. unemployment rate fanned fears that the economy was near recession, causing the Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies to drop for the week ended Sept. 5.

Macerich CEO Adds Chairman Title

Shopping mall operator Macerich Co. said Friday that Chief Executive Arthur Coppola had been named chairman, succeeding founder Mace Siegel, who retired this week.

Countrywide Tries to Settle Bankruptcy Abuse Claims

Countrywide Financial Corp. made its second attempt since July to settle claims that it abused the bankruptcy system by losing or destroying mortgage payments, then charging homeowners late fees and legal costs.

At ESPN, Play-by-Play Goes Virtual

ESPN, the cable powerhouse that calls itself "Worldwide Leader in Sports," is looking to extend its domain in virtual worlds by merging video game graphics with real-life sports anchors.

Thursday, September 4

Vortex Resources to Gain Texas Natural Gas Assets

Vortex Resources Corp., which changed its name from Emvelco Corp. on Tuesday, said Thursday that it has signed an agreement that will lead it to acquire undeveloped natural gas reserve leases in two Texas counties.

Broad Increases Investment in Genomics-Based Medicine

With a $400 million gift to his namesake research institute in Cambridge, Mass., L.A. billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad is banking that genomics-based medicine is the wave of future for attacking a host of human diseases.

Hollywood Business Improvement District To Grow

The Los Angeles City Council has endorsed the Hollywood property owners' vote to renew and expand the Hollywood Entertainment District for a 10-year period through the end of 2018.

Sprinkles is Frosted Over Cupcake Newcomer

Beverly Hills premium cupcake chain Sprinkles, which has taken legal action against other rivals, now is demanding that Montecito bakery Sprinkled Pink change its name.

Abraxis Licenses Potential Drugs from Canadian Company

Abraxis BioScience Inc. said that it has signed agreements with ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. to develop and commercialize four of the Canadian biotech's products that target underserved medical conditions.

UTi Worldwide Profit Rises in Q2

UTi Worldwide Inc. said that its fiscal second-quarter net income and revenue each increased 21 percent, exceeding analyst estimates.

Lower Royalties Pulls Down Cherokee's 2Q

Cherokee Inc. said its second-quarter net income fell 18 percent on lower sales and licensee royalties of its clothing brands, disappointing analysts.

FDA Orders Stronger Warnings for Arthritis Drugs

The Food and Drug Administration has ordered stronger warnings on four widely used rheumatoid arthritis medications -- including Amgen Inc.'s Enbel -- saying they can raise the risk of possibly fatal fungal infections.

Wednesday, September 3

Back-to-School Better for Hot Topic

Shares of Hot Topic Inc. rose as the teen retailer reported a 2.7 percent drop in back-to-school August same-store sales. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for total same-store sales to decline 5.1 percent.

Proposed Routes for 'Subway to Sea' Unveiled

Los Angeles' Metropolitan Transportation Authority has unveiled two proposed routes for the much-touted "subway to the sea" despite having no money to build it.

LA's Fast-Food Ban Draws Skepticism

A ban on new fast-food restaurants in poor Los Angeles neighborhoods has made headlines around the world, but residents say they don't plan to give up their cheeseburgers, fried chicken and tacos anytime soon.

Platinum Equity Closes $2.75 Billion Private Equity Fund

Los Angeles private equity group Platinum Equity said it had closed a new $2.75 billion leveraged buyout fund, indicating investors have not given up on private equity firms with a solid track record.

LAPD Makes Effort to Take Over Security on Film Sets

Hollywood's production community is yelling "cut!" to a plan by the LAPD to take over the jobs of handling security -- many of which are filled by former cops -- on film sets.

North American Scientific To Divest Non-Therapeutic Products

North American Scientific Inc. said that it is selling its remaining non-medical product line to a German company for $6 million.

DreamWorks Falls on Downgrade

Shares of animated filmmaker DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. fell after a Wall Street analyst downgraded shares to "hold" from "buy."

Kerkorian's Tracinda Settles GM Securities Probe

Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda investment firm has settled allegations that it was misleading about its plan to cut its stake in General Motors Corp, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said.

Liberty's DirecTV Stake to Be Spun Off

Liberty Media Corp. said that it would split off several of its television and communications businesses, including its 50 percent stake in DirecTV Group Inc., into a publicly traded company.

Tuesday, September 2

Skechers Expands in Hong Kong

Shoe maker Skechers USA Inc. said it is expanding its wholesale distribution in Hong Kong and Macau through a partnership with the Onwel Group of Companies, considered a leading fashion company in the region.

Maguire Sells Another OC Office Tower

Maguire Properties Inc. said it has sold City Plaza tower in Orange to an entity owned by Hudson Capital LLC.

JAKKS Body Slams Wrestlers

Forget the playroom: It's the courtroom where the success of many toys is now being decided.

THQ to Expand Business in Asia

THQ Inc. announced the opening of a new office in Shanghai where the video game publisher will pursue development and publishing partnerships in the fast-growing Chinese market.

Promoter Told to Pay Rapper More Than $700,000

The promoter of R. Kelly's tours has been ordered to pay rapper Ne-Yo more than $700,000 for allegedly breaching a contract regarding a series of concerts featuring the entertainers.

JAKKS Licenses Martial Arts Figures

Toy maker JAKKS Pacific Inc. said it had signed licensing agreements with two mixed martial arts organizations to launch a line of action figures and play sets.

CKE Sells More Company-Owned Hardee's

Shares of CKE Restaurants Inc. rose 4 percent after the fast food chain said it has sold a group of Hardee's restaurants as part of its efforts to sell company-owned locations to franchisees.

Exports Jump, Inports Slump at L.A., Long Beach Ports

Forget scrap paper, plastics, scrap metal and the bounty of agricultural harvests. Until this year, the biggest U.S. contribution to the international supply chain were vast mountains of empty cargo containers outbound on ships to China, where they were q

Monday, September 1

Truck Trouble Swamps Ports

Charles Crumpley laments that the ports' Clean Truck Program has gone adrift with labor issues

Stock Action Heated Up in August for FirstFed

FirstFed Financial Corp., the Los Angeles-based parent of First Federal Bank of California, saw its stock surge more than 75 percent in late August

Big Bucks Buildup

For the second straight year, there are 50 building projects in Los Angeles County worth at least $100 million each.

Century City Facility Was Not Prime Candidate

HEALTH CARE & BIOTECH

When news broke that troubled Century City Doctors Hospital would close its doors by Aug. 29 unless a white knight could be found, some in the hospital community turned their eyes toward Victorville.

Sticking With It

Employers Group Chief Executive Mark Wilbur chills out by coaching USC's ice hockey team.

L.A. Games Organizer Helped Hatch Beijing Edition

David Simon, now president of the Los Angeles Sports Council, saw Michael Phelps win his eighth gold at the Water Cube in Beijing. It was the culmination of the journey that brought him to China 24 years ago.

Graphic Content

Venice firm Fish Eggs' success making visuals for TV shows can only be described in graphic terms.

Organized Labor Lifts L.A. Economy

Daniel Flaming touts the benefits to the economy from local organized labor.

Wages at Airport Could Fly Higher

Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn is pushing for LAX contractors to raise employee wages.

News of the Week

Amgen Inc. is halting some pricing practices that critics claimed were contributing to overuse of its anemia drug Aranesp.

Transportation Executive in Express Lane With New Job

As the son of a former chief executive of Trans Caribbean Airways, which merged into American Airlines in 1970, Patrick J. Cooney received early exposure to the travel and transportation industry.

Truckers Grind Gears Over Subsidies

Local motor carriers claim the L.A. port's truck-replacement incentives are pulling in out-of-state competition.

PaceSetter: Gold Line

The six-mile extension of the Gold Line from Union Station to East Los Angeles is the largest construction project under construction in Los Angeles County.

Union Workers Widen Footprint Across State, Nation

A UCLA study found the percentage of unionized workers has risen in Los Angeles, the state and the United States.

Local Banks See Deposits Increase

Some local banks are bulking up on deposits from new customers fleeing collapsed institutions.

Online Service Provider Expects to Click With Flower Retailer

United Online CEO Mark Goldston expects business to bloom at

Newsmakers & Kudos

Premium frozen yogurt chain Pinkberry has named Ron Graves chief executive. Graves is a general partner of venture capital firm Maveron and had been serving as the company's interim chief executive.

Regional Report

Santa Monica-based luxury bedding and furniture designer Rachel Ashwell Designs Inc. has partnered with Van Nuys apparel manufacturer and licenser Jerry Leigh of California Inc. to launch Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture lounge wear and sleep wear.

Food Maker's Gluten-Free Line Goes Against Grain

Shari Cole launched Gluten Free and Fabulous food line after her dad's allergic reaction to gluten in grain products.

Virtually Connected

West L.A.'s ReferNow.com helps businesses click with potential customers by compiling e-mail databases.

Back Issues

Property owners in Hollywood are being asked to chip in to clean up the area's alleys.

Loss of Hit Maker Spurs Questions on Studio's Fate

With DreamWorks Studios about to be taken back by Steven Spielberg through a deal with an Indian conglomerate, rumors are circulating in Hollywood that Paramount Pictures may soon be on the block.

Who Will Get Spanked in Bratz Spat?

MGA Entertainment now is squabbling with its insurance companies over who's going to pay court costs and damages in its fight with Mattel.

Turn Signal for Development

L.A. officials shrugged off community concerns in order to expedite the NBC Universal project, according to Roy P. Disney.

Glendale REIT Building on Investor Confidence

PS Business Parks Inc. is stacking up as a standout among local, publicly traded real estate companies.

Executives Have Reason to Sweat

Lots of busy local business people will be running, cycling and swimming in the Los Angeles Triathlon coming up Sept. 7.