Stories for February 2009

Saturday, February 28

KB Home CEO Got $9.6 Million in 2008 Compensation

The chief executive of struggling housing developer KB Home Corp., Jeffrey T. Mezger, received more than $9.6 million in compensation in fiscal 2008, the Westwood company said.

Friday, February 27

Image Entertainment Extends Merger Agreement

Image Entertainment Inc. said it agreed to give Nyx Acquisitions Inc. more time to finalize its merger agreement in exchange for Nyx agreeing to pay a higher business interruption fee and making other concessions.

Redstone's National Amusements Gets Restructuring Deal

Media mogul Sumner Redstone's family theater chain, National Amusements Inc., said it has reached an agreement in principle to restructure $1.46 billion worth of debt.

Sinking Ad Sales Hurt Entravision's Quarter

Entravision Communications Corp. reported a larger loss in its fourth quarter, largely due to lower ad sales at its Spanish-language TV and radio stations. It also took charges for the diminished value of some broadcast properties.

County Supervisor Slams Grand Avenue Developer

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich has strongly criticized Related Cos. Chief Executive Stephen Ross for his recent $1 billion purchase of the Miami Dolphins NFL franchise, which took place just prior to Ross' company deferring penalties on its

Public Storage's Growth Slows in Quarter

Public Storage shares rose 6 percent on Friday, a day after the operator of self-storage facilities reported a mixed fourth quarter.

Big 5's Earnings Drop; Company Lowers Expectations

Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp. said its fourth-quarter earnings dropped 42 percent amid a slowdown in consumer spending. While the results beat Wall Street forecasts, the company said the current quarter likely wouldn't meet analysts' expectations.

Law Firm Announces Layoffs

L.A.-based Latham & Watkins LLP said it is laying off 190 associates nationwide about 12 percent of the firm's associate base and 250 support staff, including paralegals. The layoffs are the deepest cuts made by a large law firm since the economy turn

Amgen Faces Whistleblower Suit

An unidentified whistleblower filed a lawsuit against Amgen Inc. accusing the biotechnology company of illegal marketing of its blockbuster drugs Enbrel and Aranesp.

L.A.'s Jobless Rate Passes 10 Percent

L.A. County's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate shot up to 10.5 percent in January the highest rate in 16 years as thousands of trade and retail jobs were lost amid the deepening recession, according to new state figures.

Vegas Running Out of Water Means Dimming L.A. Lights

Patricia Mulroy, manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, is the general in her region's war to stem a water emergency that's playing out worldwide. Across the planet, people like her are struggling to solve the next global crisis.

DTS Shares Rise on Positive Quarter

DTS Inc. reported a fourth-quarter profit, compared with a year-ago loss, boosted by higher demand for Blu-ray devices in which its digital sound technology is used.

AEG May Cancel Ticketmaster Contract if Merger Succeeds

Ticketmaster's chief executive sought to allay antitrust fears over the ticket seller's planned merger with concert promoter Live Nation by revealing that a major venue operator has threatened to cancel its contract if the merger goes through.

Thursday, February 26

Pentagon Official Says Aerial Tanker is Top Priority

The general in charge of transportation needs for the U.S. military said replacing the aging fleet of KC-135 aerial refueling tankers -- a Northrop Grumman Corp. contract that was reversed last year -- was his No. 1 modernization priority.

Thomas Properties Reports Loss on Charges

The real estate market downturn continues to batter Thomas Properties Group Inc., which reported a nearly $6 million loss due to charges related to the declining value of some of its office and mix-used projects.

Audit Faults Regulator for IndyMac Collapse

The collapse of Pasadena mortgage lender IndyMac Bancorp to date has cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. $10.7 billion more than $1 billion higher than previous estimates according to a new government audit.

j2 Global Buys Fax Technology for $12 Million

J2 Global Communications Inc. said it acquired the assets, including the subscriber base, related to the Internet virtual fax technology of CallWave Inc., a San Francisco provider of Internet and mobile-based communications services.

Tarrant Apparel Group To Be Taken Private

Tarrant Apparel Group, a Los Angeles company that designs and makes private label casual apparel, said it signed a merger agreement with a company formed by two of its founders. The cash deal is valued at $15.2 million.

Superior Industries Loss Smaller Than Expected

Superior Industries International Inc. reported a narrower-than-expected loss in its fourth quarter as the automotive parts supplier closed plants and cut jobs in response to the slower auto market.

It's Getting Gnarly for Surf Gear Makers

Across Southern California, small surf shops as well as action sports giants such as Quiksilver Inc. are trying to stay afloat as the economic crisis that started on Wall Street makes its way to the beach.

Wednesday, February 25

Katzenberg Leads Controversial Effort to Close Stars' Rest Home

Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. and chairman of the Motion Picture & Television Fund's fund-raising board, says the fund's 114-resident nursing home needs to close in order to preserve other programs helping Hollywood'

Update: True Religion Falls on Cautious Outlook

True Religion Apparel Inc. shares fell 20 percent Thursday, a day after the premium denim maker reported 43 percent higher fourth quarter profit, but forecast a weaker 2009 than Wall Street expected.

Cogent's Growth Below Wall Street Estimates

Cogent Systems reported a 49 percent jump in fourth-quarter earnings, helped by increased demand from its law enforcement and government agency customers. Despite the growth, the results came in below analysts' expectations.

Guidance Software's Quarter Beat Estimates

Guidance Software Inc. shares gained 10 percent Wednesday, a day after the company reporting better-than-expected fourth quarter results. The quarter was helped by higher sales of its digital investigation software.

Final Days for Circuit City, Downtown L.A. Macy's

Closeout sales are reaching their final days at Circuit City locations and the Macy's store in the 7+Fig shopping center in downtown Los Angeles.

Report: Murdoch May Be On the Prowl for L.A. Times

News Corp. insiders say Rupert Murdoch's love of print media is so fervent that he's been talking about a play for the beleagued Los Angeles Times,

Update: DineEquity's Good Quarter Beats Estimates

DineEquity Inc., which has been cutting costs to pay down debt since acquiring the Applebee's restaurant chain, reported better-than-expected fourth quarter results.

Macerich to Cut 142 Jobs

Macerich Co. said it would take a $5 million charge in its first quarter to cover a 5 percent workforce reduction that it expects to complete by the end of March.

Ryland's Longtime CEO to Retire

Ryland Group Inc. said R. Chad Dreier will retire as chief executive on May 29 after 15 years with the company. He will continue as board chairman. President Larry Nicholson will succeed him as CEO.

L.A. Scrambling to Bring Back Film Crews

Facing a sharp decline in the shooting of big-budget productions in Los Angeles, city officials are considering hiring a "film czar" to promote their interests with the multibillion-dollar entertainment industry.

Tuesday, February 24

TicketMaster Settles Complaints Over Reseller

Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. agreed to put a wall between it and its ticket reseller TicketsNow after thousands of complaints earlier this month that Bruce Springsteen fans were improperly redirected to the reseller.

Image Shareholders Approve Merger

Image Entertainment Inc. said its shareholders at a special meeting approved the company's acquisition by San Francisco investment group Nyx Acquisitions Inc.

Live Nation, Ticketmaster Defend Merger at Hearing

Skeptical U.S. lawmakers questioned claims by the heads of Live Nation Inc. and Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. that the proposed merger of the two largest companies in live music won't hurt competition.

Temporary L.A. Billboard Ban Extended

The Los Angeles City Council has extended for 45 days a temporary moratorium on new billboards, building supergraphics and digital billboards in order to give the city more time to update the city's sign ordinance.

Solis Confirmed as Labor Secretary

The Senate has confirmed Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) as labor secretary, more than two months after she was nominated for the post by President Obama.

Update: 'Panda's' Performance Lowers DreamWorks Quarter

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. shares fell 11 percent Wednesday, a day after the company said its fourth-quarter net income fell 45 percent as the home video version of "Kung Fu Panda" failed to perform as well as "Shrek the Third" did a year ago.

Icahn Adds to Lions Gate Stake

Activist shareholder Carl Icahn has again raised his stake in Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., and may attempt to add or oust directors from the board of the Santa Monica studio, according to regulatory filings.

Taxing Pot Could Become Political Toking Point

An Assemblyman from San Francisco argues that it's time to tax and regulate the state's biggest cash crop in the same manner as alcohol. Opponents say it would create new costs for society.

Update: Herbalife Earnings Fall 38 Percent

Herbalife Ltd. shares fell more than 20 percent Wednesday, a day after the nutritional and weight-loss supplements maker said its fourth quarter net income fell due to higher expenses and lower sales of its nutritional and weight-loss supplements.

Monday, February 23

Veteran Execs Departed as Boom Yielded to Bust

Some local veterans left or were shown the door as banks overhauled their management teams.

Staying In Fashion

Fashion Business' training program is tailored to aspiring clothing designers.

Coast Is Clear

Waterfront businesses in Marina del Rey are struggling to stay afloat as crowds have dried up.

Local Startup Puts Own Stamp on Postal Service

Could a Westlake Village startup spell the end of snail mail?

Torrance Mayor's Firm Named in Suit

The tow-truck company owned by Torrance Mayor Frank Scotto was named in a lawsuit brought by a Rolling Hills Estates man who claims he was assaulted by a driver from the firm.

WHO's WHO IN BANKING: V. Charles Jackson

The Business Journal looks at L.A.'s new banking executives, such as V. Charles Jackson, who now are guiding their institutions in this difficult period.

Truckers Group Wants to Steer Port Cleanup Straight

Almost a dozen local family-owned trucking companies have joined forces to create a group that will monitor efforts to clean up truck emissions at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Boutique Firm's Site Offers Executives Web Links

Carl Terzian Associates has started its very own social networking site.

Newsmakers

Arthur E. DeJong has been named partner at Kling & Pathak, a Cerritos-certified public accounting firm. DeJong previously served as senior manager at the firm.

Long Beach Port to Offer Incentives

Long Beach port officials approved plans to offer cargo processing discounts and other incentives to keep business that might otherwise go to other West Coast ports.

WHO's WHO IN BANKING: David Malone

The Business Journal looks at L.A.'s new banking executives, such as David Malone, who now are guiding their institutions in this difficult period.

Business Park's Retail Center Positioned to Move

The Edge Retail Center, a fully leased development within an El Segundo office park, has sold, showing that well-positioned properties can move even in the current economic climate.

WHO's WHO IN BANKING: James Daley

The Business Journal looks at L.A.'s new banking executives, such as James Daley, who now are guiding their institutions in this difficult period.

Calendar of Events

Events of interest to L.A.'s business community.

Ready for Takeoff

Employment is soaring at defense contractor AeroVironment thanks to deals for its unmanned aircraft.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

Earl Scheib Inc. agreed to be acquired by San Diego private equity firm Kelly Capital LLC in a deal valued at $8 million.

Birds of a Feather ...

Nicknamed the Academy Awards of aviation, the annual Living Legends of Aviation ceremony honors aviation entrepreneurs like Richard Branson; astronauts such as Neil Armstrong; and celebrities who have a passion for flying, including Tom Cruise and John Tr

Phone Application Dialed Into Kidney Function

Apple iPhone or iPod Touch owners are best known for using their trendy electronic gadgets to track appointments, watch the latest "American Idol" episode or social network via Twitter.

Facelift for Fuel Dock Flounders as Financing Falls Apart

On a quiet day at the Marina del Rey fuel dock, a gaggle of pelicans takes its rest, bobbing on the rickety floating platform. But the calm is deceptive.

WHO's WHO IN BANKING: Charles Fenton

The Business Journal looks at L.A.'s new banking executives, such as Charles Fenton, who now are guiding their institutions in this difficult period.

WHO's WHO IN BANKING: D. Tad Lowrey

The Business Journal looks at L.A.'s new banking executives, such as D. Tad Lowrey, who now are guiding their institutions in this difficult period.

WHO's WHO IN BANKING: Lisa Stevens

The Business Journal looks at L.A.'s new banking executives, such as Lisa Stevens, who now are guiding their institutions in this difficult period.

Center Of Focus

Pasadena officials are hopeful a new convention center will bring more business to the city.

WHO's WHO IN BANKING: John Sotoodeh

The Business Journal looks at L.A.'s new banking executives, such as John Sotoodeh, who now are guiding their institutions in this difficult period.

REGIONAL REPORT

Kythera Biopharmaceuticals will continue with the development of its fat-deposit reduction drug after a $10 million investment from a group of venture capital firms.

Banks Bet on New Leaders In Crunch Time

The Business Journal looks at L.A.'s new banking executives who now are guiding their institutions in this difficult period.

Frozen Yogurt Now Getting the Cold Shoulder?

Has Los Angeles lost its taste for Pinkberry-style frozen yogurt?

Northrop Wins Contracts Across Variety of Businesses

Northrop Grumman Corp. announced a trio of defense contracts whose total value exceeds $620 million.

Study: Health Care Job Prospects Looking Good

A new L.A. forecast sees health care and film production as industries that should add jobs this year.

Revving Up Education

A Raytheon-hosted event brings in a Nascar driver and TV show host to push science and math education.

WHO's WHO IN BANKING: Joseph Otting

The Business Journal looks at L.A.'s new banking executives, such as Joseph Otting, who now are guiding their institutions in this difficult period.

A Not-So-Private Problem

The recession might be the impetus for Los Angeles to turn some services over to businesses, writes Adam B. Summers.

Ports Turn Away Waves of Trucks as Clean Air Program Kicks In

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach put the brakes on trucks not in compliance with their vehicle replacement programs.

WHO's WHO IN BANKING: R. Scott Racusin

The Business Journal looks at L.A.'s new banking executives, such as R. Scott Racusin, who now are guiding their institutions in this difficult period.

WHO's WHO IN BANKING: Wayne Kent A. Bradshaw

The Business Journal looks at L.A.'s new banking executives, such as Wayne Kent A. Bradshaw, who now are guiding their institutions in this difficult period.

Start-ups Finding Ignition Trouble

With the recession making traditional venture capital scarce, new firms often look to angel investors. But funds from these investors are also getting hard to attract.

SAG Board Rejects Offer From Studios

The Screen Actors Guild national board voted by a 73 percent majority to reject the majors' most recent take-it-or-leave-it offer.

WHO's WHO IN BANKING: William Im

The Business Journal looks at L.A.'s new banking executives such as William Im, who now are guiding their institutions in this difficult period.

Deadline for Solvent Emissions May Get Dissolved

Trying to meet air quality goals can sometimes prove to be a s-l-o-w process.

WHO's WHO IN BANKING: Barbara J. Desoer

The Business Journal looks at L.A.'s new banking executives such as Barbara J. Desoer, who now are guiding their institutions in this difficult period.

Shocking Cost of Green Energy

Charles Crumpley thinks the green crowd will be shocked at the cost of transporting clean energy to Los Angeles.

WHO's WHO IN BANKING: Rod Banks

The Business Journal looks at L.A.'s new banking executives, such as Rod Banks, who now are guiding their institutions in this difficult period.

Economy Hurts Online Jewelry Retailer Bidz.com

Bidz.com reported its fourth quarter net income fell by nearly two thirds on sharply lower sales, but the online jewelry retailer still met Wall Street profit expectations.

Second Run

DV & A; doesn't expect the drive to digital distribution will soon crimp its discount DVD business.

WHO's WHO IN BANKING: Pablo Sanchez

The Business Journal looks at L.A.'s new banking executives, such as Pablo Sanchez, who now are guiding their institutions in this difficult period.

Ducommun Sees Loss on Goodwill Charge

Ducommun Inc. reported a quarterly loss in part due to an $8 million goodwill impairment charge. Though revenues beat Wall Street estimates, the defense contractor's shares dropped 14 percent on its worse-than-expected earnings.

Tightened Consumer Spending Will Push Recession Into 2010

Slow consumer spending will extend the recession into 2010, according to P. Jacob Yadegar.

Dine Equity Hires CFO

Dine Equity Inc., which owns the IHOP and Applebee's Neighborhood Bar & Grill restaurants, said it hired former Dial Corp. executive John F. Tierney as chief financial officer.

State Squeezes Station Owners On Pump Costs

Some owners are closing their gas stations rather than pay to upgrade their nozzles in accordance with state air quality laws.

Lane Change

Scott Painter, chief executive of car-shopping site Zag.com, indulges his love for automobiles.

Saturday, February 21

Local Businesses to Get Aid

Moving to protect the region's job base and keep companies from fleeing to other states, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. will send postcards to 200,000 local businesses offering the services of an economic ombudsman.

Friday, February 20

Anworth Reports Profit in Quarter

Anworth Mortgage Asset Corp. said it moved from a loss to profit in its fourth quarter, prompting investors to bump up shares on an otherwise sour day on Wall Street.

This Week's Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies closed down for the week ended Feb. 20 as investors continued to be fearful about the economic outlook.

Will Anyone Say Hurray to Hollywood This Year?

It's Oscar time again, but it's possible that fewer people than ever before will tune in to the Academy Awards broadcast on Sunday.

State Budget Includes Boost for Entertainment Industry

After years of effort, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger finally got his wish in the new state budget as the Legislature approved tax credits for film and television productions as part of an economic stimulus provision.

Acquisitions Boost VCA Antech's Quarter

VCA Antech Inc. said acquisitions boosted its fourth quarter net income. The veterinary services provider also expects to meet Wall Street's expectations for the current year.

Thursday, February 19

United Online Swings to Loss in Quarter

United Online Inc. reported a loss in its fourth quarter, with the online services provider saying its recently acquired FTD floral business was hit by what the company called a "weakening consumer spending environment."

Reliance Steel Profit Drops, But Beats Expectations

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. shares jumped 21 percent Thursday after reporting a big drop in fourth quarter profit that still beat analyst estimates.

Toning It Down for Oscar Bashes

At a moment when the nation is engulfed in an economic crisis, and showbiz is enduring layoffs and cutbacks, the theme for this year's private Oscar bashes is shaping up to be: Throw a party, have fun, but don't do too much.

J2 Global Sees Growth in Quarter

An 8 percent increase in subscriber revenue enabled j2 Global Communications Inc. to report fourth-quarter earnings that were above analysts' expectations.

John Laing Homes Files for Chapter 11

Irvine-based homebuilder John Laing Homes has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing turmoil in the housing market.

California, the Drama Queen

Why is California, the world's eighth largest economy and a national engine of growth and revenue, so often in the throes of fiscal disaster, even in flush times?

Ports to Offer Shipping Incentives

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach announced separately plans to offer cargo processing discounts and other incentives to help fight the effects of the shipping downturn.

Budget Deadlock Broken

The California Legislature voted early Thursday to approve a massive budget package of tax increases, spending cuts and borrowing to close a $40 billion deficit after granting major concessions to one holdout Republican senator.

Jakks Bags 'Hello Kitty' Deal

Jakks Pacific Inc. said it had been chosen as a principal North American toy licensee for the popular Japanese Hello Kitty brand of girls merchandise and accessories.

Wednesday, February 18

Senate GOP Dumps Leader as Budget Standoff Goes On

California Senate Republicans ousted their leader early Wednesday as other lawmakers continued searching for one more GOP vote in the upper house to break the state's budget deadlock.

FDA Accepts Application for Amgen Bone Loss Drug

Amgen Inc. said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has accepted its application for the bone-loss drug denosumab, which Wall Street believes has the potential to become another billion-dollar blockbuster product for the company.

Jakks Reports Lower Quarter, Names Co-CEO

Jakks Pacific Inc. reported lower fourth quarter results and gave guidance for the coming year that was below Wall Street expectations. The company also announced that Chief Operating Officer Stephen Berman has been named co-chief executive officer.

Walt Disney to Reorganize Theme Parks

Walt Disney Co. is reorganizing its U.S. theme park operation and cutting some jobs to streamline decision-making and eliminate redundancies.

L.A. Port Activity Drops

The Port of Los Angeles fared better than its Long Beach rival when it came to moving cargo shipments in January, but business is still down from last year, according to a new report.

'Apprentice' Runner-Up Launches Mapping Site in L.A.

A Los Angeles start-up called Zoodango is launching a local service today for finding restaurants, bars and entertainment venues on digital maps. Its claim to fame is founder James Sun, who came in second on the sixth season of "The Apprentice."

San Diego Private Equity Firm to Acquire Earl Scheib

Earl Scheib Inc. said it entered into a definitive merger agreement that allows Kelly Capital LLC to acquire the chain of automotive paint and collision repair shops in a deal valued at $8 million.

CB Richard Ellis Names CFO

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. has named Bob Sulentic its chief financial officer. The real estate services company said it also has created a new chief investment officer position.

Skechers Swings to Loss on Lower Margins

Skechers USA Inc. said it recorded a fourth-quarter loss because a poor retail environment forced it to take large markdowns in order to sell its line of sneakers and casual shoes.

L.A. Recovery? Forecast Says Not Until 2010

The L.A. economy will continue to endure "intense pain" for the rest of 2009, according to the annual economic forecast from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. The forecast shows that recovery will begin in 2010.

Tuesday, February 17

Wealthy Cities Discover They're Not Recession-Proof

Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Newport Beach, which are usually shielded from economic downturns, are seeing decreases in sales tax revenues, along with two-thirds of cities in Southern California.

U.S. Auto Parts Names Chief Financial Officer

U.S. Auto Parts Network Inc. said it had appointed Theodore R. Sanders, Jr. as chief financial officer, effective Monday.

CKE Makes Carl's Jr. Franchise Deal

CKE Restaurants Inc. said it signed a deal with a franchisee to open 72 Carl's Jr. restaurants in Dallas and Houston over the next nine years.

MannKind's Loss Widens

MannKind Corp. reported a larger fourth quarter loss, largely due to higher expenses as the Valencia biotech prepares to submit its first product for U.S. regulatory approval.

A New Gang Comes to Los Angeles: Solar-Panel Installers

In the race to train America's "green-collar" work force, a group composed mostly of former Los Angeles gang members on parole is an early participant.

Update: California Lawmakers Stymied on Budget

California is on the verge of starting to lay off some 20,000 government workers because of the budget stalemate. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg vowed that he won't let senators leave the Capitol building if the budget deadlock is not broken T

Monday, February 16

Chipping Away at Tickets

Concert producer Goldenvoice's layaway plan helps cash-strapped music lovers buy tickets.

Disney Channel Partnership Buys German Online Site

A children's TV channel jointly owned by Walt Disney Co. and German broadcaster RTL is buying a German online community site for mothers called Mamily for an undisclosed sum.

California Lawmakers Fail to Pass Budget Deal

California legislators tried and failed for a second day Sunday to close a $40 billion hole in the state's budget, still one Republican vote short of approving a package that contains $14.3 billion in tax increases.

Coastal View

Richard Steinke and family traded the Rockies for the Pacific Ocean when he became executive director at the Port of Long Beach.

Something Brewing

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf chain hopes to put the heat on its rivals by adding a breakfast menu.

Developer Seeks Universal Appeal

At an age when many would be thinking of hanging up their blueprints in favor of a beach umbrella, Jim Thomas is pursuing a vision. His passion: pouring $800 million into an ambitious studio and office complex atop the Metro Red Line subway station near U

Music Industry Titans Punch Their Own Ticket

A dent in discretionary spending may have spurred concert promoter Live Nation and ticket vendor Ticketmaster to merge.

Licensed Legacy

The son of Bob Marley may benefit from a branding deal for the late reggae icon.

Nick & Stef's Fails to Deliver on Signature Offering

Poor service and a subpar steak sink a trip to Nick & Stef's.

Calendar of Events

A calendar of events of interest to the business community.

Architects Married to New Vision

For Elizabeth Moule and Stefanos Polyzoides, transit-oriented development is more than just a line of work in their architecture practice: It's a mindset and philosophy.

Desolate Scene

A downturn in Hollywood production has hurt the SAG Foundation's ability to aid struggling actors.

New L.A. Chamber Chief Has Walked a Varied Career Path

Fran Inman describes her hometown of Fullerton in Orange County as being straight out of an "Ozzie and Harriet" episode. But she recalls her childhood as unconventional.

Ticketmaster Shareholders Sue

Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. shareholders have filed a class action lawsuit claiming the Hollywood company sold itself too cheaply to Live Nation Inc.

Newsmakers

Dave Butler has been promoted to president of West Hollywood-headquartered Ticketmaster North America.

WMG Partnership Sells Russian Online Music Distributor

Ru-Net II, a Russian digital investment company, has bought the online music and film distribution platform Digital Access from a partnership that includes Warner Music Group Corp. and Sony Music Entertainment.

Tattoo Artist Draws Line in Court Over Designs

Christian Audigier Inc., the Culver City apparel company known for decorating his expensive clothing with distinctive graphics, is facing an injunction against items in its Ed Hardy line, named for a tattoo artist.

U.S. Engineering Local Recovery

OSI Systems is among the local businesses expected to benefit from the federal government's stimulus package.

New Look For Pasadena Train Station

If you're looking for a history lesson in transportation reinventing itself, look no further than the train station at Del Mar Boulevard and Arroyo Parkway.

Making Adjustments

Being a lawyer and sitting on the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners, Kaylynn Kim sometimes must deal with difficult situations.

Group Mentality Governs Downtown Condo Deals

The results are in from the Feb. 8 auction of 79 condos at the Rowan Lofts building in downtown Los Angeles: 63 units were sold for a total of $21.8 million.

Righting the Ship

An export boom will prove a boon to manufacturing and America overall, writes Daniel J.B. Mitchell.

Time to Bank on Common Sense

Today's tough loan environment has its good side, according to Ted Lux.

Beckham Exit Would Put Sponsors on Wrong Foot

If soccer star David Beckham leaves the Los Angeles Galaxy for AC Milan prior to the end of his five-year contract, one big loser could be another Los Angeles company: Herbalife Ltd.

Making Tracks

The Business Journal selects the best transit-oriented projects in Los Angeles County, and salutes the developers, architects and advocates who push for transportation-centered developments.

Trendy Hotel Checks Into Iconic Hollywood and Vine

Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street is an iconic intersection that fell into disrepair decades ago, yet has remained a pop culture symbol as the destination for Hollywood dreamers.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

L.A. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo filed criminal charges against the owners and executives of four car washes in the Hollywood area, alleging multiple violations of labor laws.

Downtown Firm Dresses Up White-Collar Ranks

The troubled economy is likely to create a boom in white-collar law: As companies file bankruptcy plans and break contracts, suits will fly.

Disney Inks Lego Deal

Walt Disney Co. has signed a multi-year licensing agreement with Denmark's privately held Lego Group, which give the Denmark toymaker rights to produce products based on popular Disney Pixar films such as "Toy Story" and "Cars."

Barbie Turns Heads on New York's Catwalk

Barbie turns 50 this year but the classic doll was still turning heads at New York's semi-annual Fashion Week as models styled as Mattel Inc's fashion icon took to the catwalk in designer outfits.

Branding Brando

Producer Mike Medavoy is directing a plan to turn the late Marlon

DMV Sued Over Medical Marijuana

An advocacy group has sued the DMV, asking for a written policy that says medical marijuana should be treated the same as prescription drugs. The suit contends that the DMV has a pattern of investigating and suspending the driver's licenses of people who

City Planner Seeks Break From Cars

S. Gail Goldberg describes herself as a child of the suburbs, growing up in San Bernardino. But most people in Southern California who have crossed paths with her professionally know Goldberg as an urbanist with a keen interest in transportation issues.

Study: Business Improvement Districts Lower Boom on Criminals

A new study says business improvement districts experience less crime as well as improved commerce.

DJ's Shows May Be Heard With More Frequency

DJ Rick Dees has cued up syndication and development deals with ABC Radio Networks.

Urban Sensibility Can Be Summed Up as Big and Bold

When considering prospective transit-oriented developments, the team at Urban Partners LLC likes to see a BBI vocal shorthand for Big Bold Idea.

Commerce, Culture, Transportation Intersect in Valley

The intersection of Lankershim Boulevard and Weddington Street was once dotted with small body shops that took dents out of cars.

Long Beach Comedy Club Isn't Kidding Around

Laugh Factory comedy club owner Jamie Masada hopes the laughter spreads at his new Long Beach venue.

Koreatown Tower Puts An Emphasis on Retail

It has taken the better part of a decade to complete the Solair Wilshire mixed-use tower atop a Metro Purple Line subway stop on Wilshire Boulevard. But it's been worth the wait.

REGIONAL REPORT

GameFly Inc., a Culver City online renter of video games, has acquired Shacknews Ltd., a Dallas company that runs video game news site ShackNews.com and gaming digital download site FileShack.com.

Depression Talk Falls Flat

Charles Crumpley provides a little context for today's "worst economy" since the Great Depression.

Will New Supe Be Labor Pain?

Critics cite Mark Ridley-Thomas' pro-labor past when questioning the new supervisor's stance on business.

Sticking Up For Your Fair Shares

B. Riley & Co's new advisory service aims to turn small institutional investors into corporate-governance activists.

Saturday, February 14

State Budget Likely to Cancel Some Stimulus Benefits

The federal stimulus plan will shower California with tens of billions of dollars in tax breaks and spending. The proposed new state budget would cancel some of that out.

Friday, February 13

The Week's Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies closed down for the week ended Feb. 13 as investors remained depressed about prospects for economy despite progress in Congress on passing an stimulus package.

Parsimonious Customers Wreak Havoc on Restaurants

From the corner diner to elegant Westside eateries, restaurants in Southern California are shrinking portions, slashing wine prices, cutting employee hours and reducing staff. Some chain restaurants and fast-food purveyors are shutting unprofitable branch

Cost-conscious customers wreaking havoc on ailing restaurants

From the corner diner to elegant Westside eateries, restaurants in Southern California are shrinking portions, slashing wine prices, cutting employee hours and reducing staff. Some chain restaurants and fast-food purveyors are shutting unprofitable branch

Budget Critics Turn Up Pressure on Lawmakers

"This is war!" declares a powerful Los Angeles radio station. That's just some of the pressure mounting as lawmakers brace for a tense vote scheduled Saturday on a bitterly contested proposal to ease the state's $40 billion budget shortfall.

Congress Passes Stimulus Package

Congress approved a $787 billion stimulus package that aims to spur millions of jobs through massive new investments in energy, transportation, education and health-care projects, while reviving social safety-net programs that have been shrinking for near

American Apparel Founder Makes Loan to Company

American Apparel Inc. said its chairman and chief executive, Dov Charney, had loaned the apparel maker and retailer $4 million in exchange for a promissory note.

General Finance Sees Loss in Quarter

General Finance Corp. reported a loss in its second quarte,r in part due to slower sales and leasing of its modular buildings and storage units in the Asia-Pacific region.

Out-of-State Recruiter Worries Californians

Several Western states are launching aggressive efforts to poach jobs, talent and industry from California, sensing an opportunity to capitalize on the Golden State's current political and financial woes.

Live Nation Previews Positive Quarter

Live Nation Inc., which plans to merge with Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc., said its fourth-quarter adjusted operating income is expected to exceed analysts' estimates.

Thursday, February 12

ValueClick Reports Loss on Goodwill Charge

During tough times for Internet advertisers, ValueClick Inc. reported a fourth quarter loss, though its revenue and adjusted earnings exceeded Wall Street expectations.

Molina Profit Falls on Higher Costs

Molina Healthcare Inc. said its fourth quarter net income fell due to higher medical costs, but the managed care provider's performance met Wall Street estimates.

Amgen Says Cancer Drug Trial to Resume

Amgen Inc. and partner Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. said they plan to resume a late-stage clinical trial for their experimental lung cancer drug, but on the recommendation of an independent monitor only a smaller patient group will be studied.

North American Scientific Sells Prostate Cancer Treatment

North American Scientific Inc. said it agreed to sell its prostate brachytherapy product line to Best Theratronics Ltd. for $5 million so that it can better concentrate on its similar therapy for breast cancer.

DirecTV Owner Said to Seek Deal`for Sirius XM

Sirius XM Radio, the satellite radio giant that is on the brink of bankruptcy, is in preliminary talks with Liberty Media, the conglomerate controlled by John C. Malone, according to people briefed on the negotiations.

Shipments Drop at Long Beach Port

Cargo container shipments through the Port of Long Beach dropped 23 percent in January compared to last year, reducing port volume not seen in five years, according to new port statistics.

Live Nation's Top Shareholder Opposes Merger

Live Nation Inc.'s largest shareholder, Shapiro Capital Management Co., opposes the proposed merger with Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc., saying the concert promoter is better off on its own.

Update: Image Reports Profit, Says Merger Back on Track

After earlier announcing earlier the day that its acquisition by a San Francisco investment group was back on track, Image Entertainment Inc. said it turned a profit in its third quarter.

Grand Avenue Developer Seeks Revisions

As a deadline looms for the Grand Avenue project to begin construction, the developer of the $3-billion effort is seeking revisions to its agreement with the city and county about scheduling -- though it's unclear what those changes might be.

Santa Monica Place Resets Re-Opening

The re-opening of Santa Monica Place mall has been delayed nearly a year to ensure one of the mall's anchor tenants will be open for business.

Wednesday, February 11

Higher Rents Boosts Macerich's Quarter

Macerich Co. said higher rents on new leases at its shopping malls helped it achieve a 58 percent increase in fourth quarter profits and 39 percent growth in funds from operations, the latter metric better than Wall Street expectations.

Update: Weak Market Batters CB Richard Ellis Profits

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. said its fourth-quarter net income sank 95 percent on lackluster sales and leasing activity. Earnings were still better than Wall Street expectations and shares jumped more than 11 percent in after-market trading.

Medical Society Probes Octuplets' Fertility Doctor

A national medical society is investigating whether a Beverly Hills fertility doctor followed its guidelines when he implanted six embryos into a Los Angeles woman who gave birth to octuplets last month.

Anthem Blue Cross Makes Settlement on Recissions

The California Department of Insurance said Wednesday that Anthem Blue Cross agreed to pay a $1 million fine and offer new coverage to 2,330 people it dropped after they submitted bills for expensive medical care.

DaVita Shares Surge on Strong Quarter and Outlook

DaVita Inc. said its profit rose 15 percent in the fourth quarter as treatment volumes grew at its chain of kidney dialysis centers. The results surpassed Wall Street expectations.

SoCal Edison Signs Major Solar Deal

Southern California Edison said it signed contracts with Google-backed start-up BrightSource Energy for the supply of 1,300 megawatts of clean solar thermal power. The companies claim the agreement is the world's largest solar deal.

Regulators to Probe Live Nation-Ticketmaster Merger

U.S. antitrust enforcers have opened an investigation of the proposed merger of Live Nation Inc. and Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc., the largest companies in live music.

Activision Posts Loss, Beats Expectations

Activision Blizzard Inc. reported a fourth quarter loss due to charges, but its adjusted earnings exceeded Wall Street's expectations, boosted by sales of the newest "Guitar Hero" and "Call of Duty" video games.

Tuesday, February 10

Aecom Posts Higher Profit in Quarter

Aecom Technology Corp reported a 39 percent increased in fiscal first quarter net income, helped by strong growth across its businesses.

Live Nation to Buy Ticketmaster

Live Nation Inc. announced details of its planned all-stock acquisition of Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc., a deal valued at $2.5 billion that would merge two giants in the ticketing and concert promotion business but likely will face tough anti-trust scr

Possible SAG Deal Already Faces Opposition

With the Screen Actor Guild's feature-primetime talks expected to re-launch next week, allies of president Alan Rosenberg have already declared that any deal that emerges won't be acceptable.

Zenith to Cut 6 Percent of Workforce

Zenith National Insurance Corp. said it will cut 100 positions in response to the economic downturn, which has hurt its main workers' compensation business as companies lay off workers.

DirecTV Group Profit Drops 5 Percent on Higher Costs

DirecTV Group Inc. said its fourth-quarter net income fell 5 percent in part due to higher costs in acquiring customers, causing it to slightly miss Wall Street expectations.

Disney's Iger: DreamWorks Is a 'Perfect Fit'

Sometimes, in a CEO's life, you really do get a second chance. Just ask Walt Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger, whose company has snagged distribution rights to Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Studio films.

Grand Avenue Project Developer Wants Extension

As a deadline looms for the Grand Avenue project to begin construction, the developer of the $3 billion effort in downtown L.A. is seeking revisions to its agreement with the county.

L.A. City Attorney Targets Car Wash Owners

Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo filed criminal charges against the owners and executives of carwashes in the Hollywood area, alleging multiple violations of labor laws.

Tenet Sells Two Hospitals to USC

Tenet Healthcare Corp. it signed a definitive agreement to sell USC University Hospital and USC Kenneth Norris Jr. Cancer Hospital to the University of Southern California for $275 million.

HCP Profit Falls 22 Percent in Quarter

HCP Inc. reported fourth-quarter earnings and guidance for the coming year that all missed Wall Street's expectations.

Monday, February 9

Read the Writing on the Wall

Charles Crumpley wonders what self-respecting city would want lively, colorful and joyful messages on supergraphics.

Median Home Price Falls 35 Percent in January

The median home prices in Los Angeles County plunged 35 percent in January versus a year earlier.

Online Site Gets Graphic About Computer Chip

To demonstrate the speed of Intel Corp.'s new processing chip, interactive ad agency Razorfish has created a Web site showing graphic designers who race to put together images without having their computer bog down.

Update: Loss Prompts Belt-Tightening at Mercury General

Mercury General Corp shares plunged 16 percent Monday after the auto and home insurer reported a fourth quarter net loss, due to a nearly $142 million loss in its investment portfolio and claims from last year's wildfires.

Building Legacy

Robert J. Lowe now works alongside his two sons at his real estate development company.

Local Company to Launch Security Service at LAX

As federal air-cargo security regulations tighten, the government is looking to the private sector to keep cargo flowing without delay. And Los Angeles is leading the way.

Lions Gate Looking for Power Surge From Cable

Lions Gate will channel its film and TV programming to recently acquired TV Guide Network.

SAG Board Re-Fires Doug Allen

Screen Actors Guild leaders, in the latest twist in the guild's extraordinary drama, have set the stage for resuming contract talks with the majors by more formally topper Doug Allen and booting out the feature-primetime negotiating committee in favor of

Hit Parade

L.A. stations struggle to keep listeners dialed in as the audience fragments and ad revenue falls.

In Bed With Show Biz

Neil Leeds came to Hollywood to pursue an acting career. Last week he achieved his dream. Well, kind of.

Justice On the Clock

Rent-a-Judge makes the timely promise of resolving disputes in one day or less.

Hospital Project Feels the Heat in Antelope Valley

The Antelope Valley has so few hospitals that Lancaster Community Hospital Chief Executive Bob Trautman estimates that roughly 35 percent of his area's market heads to the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys for care.

Tighter Restrictions on Chemicals Worry Businesses

California regulators have their sights set on two chemicals commonly used in industry, sparking concerns from manufacturers and other businesses about new burdens to their bottom lines.

Lions Gate Posts Loss on Weaker Box Office

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp reported a net loss in its fiscal third quarter due to poor box office performances on some of its films and expenses related to a DVD distribution deal.

Too Much Room

Even high-end hotels are offering deals as occupancy rates have tumbled in the down economy.

Update: Disney, DreamWorks Reach Deal

Walt Disney Studios said it has agreed to a long-term exclusive distribution deal with Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks SKG production company after a similar agreement between DreamWorks and Universal Pictures fell apart.

Developer Gives Bank Equity Stake in Property

When residential developer California Landmark Group needed to restructure the debt on a Marina del Rey property, the Westwood company worked out a unusual financing deal.

Santa Monica Institution Still Standing Despite Shaky Portfolio

Despite a portfolio full of shaky loans, Santa Monica's FirstFed remains afloat.

Why Disney Wants DreamWorks

It's a no-brainer why DreamWorks wants to ally with Walt Disney. But for Disney, this is an atypical deal that underscores a lot of fundamental changes at the House of Mouse of late.

Working It Out

Chrysalis Enterprises lines up work to help the jobless restart their careers and lives.

Line Forms to Recoup Millions Lost by Namvar

Brentwood real estate investor Ezri Namvar's preliminary bankruptcy filing shows 40 creditors are seeking nearly $420 million.

Local advertisers wince at deep paper cuts

Recent cutbacks at local newspapers have businesses reconsidering their advertising options.

Calendar of Events

Upcoming events of interest to Los Angeles' business community.

L.A.'s Landmark Decisions

Developers are razing L.A. history as residents sit quietly, writes Robert B. Canaan.

AD SUBTRACTION

L.A. stations struggle to keep listeners dialed in as the audience fragments and ad revenue falls.

Newsmakers

Sharon Spira-Cushnir has been named chief executive of Executive Service Corps of Southern California, a Westlake-based non-profit organization devoted to strengthening non-profits through coaching and consulting.

Financial Advisers Willingly Went Along on Madoff's Ride

Financial advisers ignored due diligence in their dealings with Bernard Madoff, according to Ryan K. Bakhtiari.

Ad Fight Juiced Up

Lawyer says councilman seeks to score political points in criticizing supergraphics.

Bid-ness Booms Online

ShopitLA has seen an upswing in its eBay auction business liquidating busted companies' goods.

Internet Business Community Mourns Two Deaths

The local tech community is mourning two men who were killed in a Santa Monica plane crash.

REGIONAL REPORT

Advanced Real Estate Services has bought the Courtyards apartment complex in Norwalk for $22.9 million from a subsidiary of Beverly Hills real estate and investment services firm Kennedy Wilson.

Jolt From Renewable Energy

Ari L. Bessendorf says Los Angeles should expect a battle over power lines from the Tehachapi wind generation project.

L.A. Mayor Proposes Watering Restrictions

New proposed water use restrictions from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa could slam local building owners, gardeners and plant nursery operators in a few weeks.

Hospitality Industry Welcomes Marine to Its Ranks

James Sheets has stormed the beach: The former Marine sergeant is now in the hospitality industry as an executive at a hotel overlooking the Pacific.

Pomegranate Juice Maker Squeezes Back

POM Wonderful looks to put the legal squeeze on some big-time rivals' pomegranate products.

Capstone Loss Widens

Capstone Turbine Corp. reported a third quarter loss, in part due to in manufacturing expenses and costs associated with the launch of new products.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

Live Nation Inc. and Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. were said to be in merger talks.

Opening a Port of Entry

Taylor's Marketing & Management helps agencies such as the L.A. harbor find contractors and advises firms how to get work.

Motorcar Parts Reports Loss Despite Sales Growth

Motorcar Parts of America Inc. reported a net loss in its fiscal third quarter -- despite a 27 percent increase in sales -- partly due to goodwill impairment and other charges.

Alexandria Reports Revenue Growth

Alexandria Real Estate Equities reported mixed results for the quarter, with adjusted earnings in line with Wall Street estimates but revenue growth was better than expected.

Saturday, February 7

Showdown by the Seashore

Pacific Park, the amusement park on the Santa Monica Pier, may lose visitors and revenue when Cirque du Soleil sets up a tent in its main parking lot this fall, blocking more than 700 spaces.

Friday, February 6

Regulators Seize and Sell Culver City Bank

Regulators seized Alliance Bancshares California late Friday and transferred the deposits of the beleaguered Culver City business bank to a San Diego institution.

Pacific Office Plans Stock Sale

Pacific Office Properties Trust Inc. said it filed plans with the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell up to $350 million in shares of Class B common stock to raise money for new investments in depressed commercial property markets.

Recession Yields Silver Lining for Show Biz

Hollywood isn't recession-proof, with layoffs and belt-tightening sweeping the biz. But as easy as it is to get pessimistic about the state of the economy, there is some growth to be gained in Hollywood.

DreamWorks in Talks to Move to Disney

DreamWorks SKG, Steven Spielberg's boutique production company, is in advanced talks on a deal to distribute its movies through Disney, according to reports.

This Week's Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies closed up for the week ended Feb. 6 as investors saw January's bleak jobs report as likely to convince Congress to quickly pass a stimulus package.

Panetta Resigns Zenith Board to Head CIA

Zenith National Insurance Corp. said Leon Panetta resigned from its board to become director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Ixia Sees Loss in Quarter

Ixia said it swung from a profit to a loss in its fourth quarter due to investment losses and other charges.

Auto Club to Cut Car Insurance Rates 5.4 Percent

The Automobile Club of Southern California, the state's fifth-largest car insurer, is expected to announce a 5.4 percent rate cut that will save 1 million customers an average of $100 per vehicle.

Overhill Farms' Quarter is 56 Percent Higher

Managing costs enabled frozen food manufacturer Overhill Farms Inc. to report sharply higher profits in its fiscal first quarter, despite slightly lower net revenues.

Thursday, February 5

Court Backs Actions of SAG's National Board

Los Angeles Superior Court judge has denied Screen Actors Guild President Alan Rosenberg's request for a court order to overturn the firing of exec director Doug Allen and the abolition of SAG's negotiating committee.

Is BHHS the New 90210?

Plagued by aging facilities and competition from elite private schools, the school board in Los Angeles' most exclusive neighborhood wants to license Beverly Hills High School on apparel, cosmetics and accessories.

Investors Allege Real Estate Scam

Small investors accused a prominent Encino real estate brokerage and a former Orange County businessman in a lawsuit Wednesday of taking part in an elaborate scam that fleeced individual investors out of millions of dollars in recent years.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group Makes Acquisition

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group said it has acquired Snowblind Studios, an independent game development studio specializing in action and fantasy-based games.

Husband of Labor Nominee Settles Tax Liens

The husband of U.S. Rep. Hilda Solis, President Obama's choice to head the Labor Department, paid about $6,400 to settle tax liens that had been outstanding for as long as 16 years against his business.

International Rectifier Closing El Segundo Plant

International Rectifier Corp., which reported a big second quarter loss Thursday, said it plans to close its El Segundo semiconductor plant, consolidate operations at its Temecula facility and eliminate 850 jobs.

Warner Posts Profit on Sale of Stake

Selling its stake in Front Line Management to Ticketmaster Entertainment enabled Warner Music Group Corp to report a profit rather than a loss in its fiscal first quarter, the recording company said.

International Rectifier Loses Case

International Rectifier Corp. lost its battle with ousted chief executive Alexander Lidow when a Los Angeles federal judge dismissed its lawsuit over alleged theft of trade secrets.

Wednesday, February 4

L.A. County Supervisors Considering Tax `Revolt'

Declaring its own "Boston Tea Party," the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has begun plotting a tax revolt against the state of California by withholding potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in state tax payments.

THQ to Cut Jobs Following Loss

THQ Inc. said it plans to cut nearly a quarter of its workforce after reporting a loss in its third quarter due to lower sales and a large goodwill impairment charge.

Update: Anworth Plans Public Offering

Anworth Mortgage Asset Corp., which was hurt by the collapse of the regional housing market, said it plans a public offering of 8 million shares of its common stock, with the $46 million in net proceeds to be used to buy agency mortgage-backed securities.

Hilton Selects D.C. Suburb for New Home

Hilton Hotels Corp., which last month announced it was leaving Beverly Hills, said it had chosen Fairfax County, Va., as its new corporate home.

99 Cents Only's Profit Up 31 Percent

99 Cents Only Stores said its fiscal third-quarter net income rose 31 percent as more cost-conscious shoppers spent money at its discount stores. The results were a penny per share below Wall Street estimates.

Senate Cuts Movie-Industry Tax Break from Stimulus Bill

The motion picture industry's record-setting month at the box office may have cost it $246 million in tax breaks, as the Senate stripped a provision from the economic stimulus bill that critics derided as an unnecessary Hollywood bailout.

Long Beach Hiring Event Draws Crowd

With more than 10 percent of Long Beach out of work, it was no surprise that hundreds of people showed up to apply for 22 positions Tuesday at a soon-to-open Society of St. Vincent de Paul thrift store.

Ticketmaster, Live Nation Near Merger

Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. and Live Nation Inc. are close to a merger in a deal that would consolidate two of the most powerful forces in the music industry under one roof, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.

Live Nation and Ticketmaster in Merger Talks

Shares of Ticketmaster Entertainment and Live Nation jumped Wednesday following reports that the companies might announce a merger as soon as this week, creating the world's biggest concert promoter and a major force in artist management.

Broadway Federal Bank Names Chief Operating Officer

Broadway Financial Corp. said Wayne-Kent A. Bradshaw has been named president and chief operating officer.

Tuesday, February 3

Disney's Profit Falls in Quarter

The Walt Disney Co. said its fiscal first quarter earnings fell 32 percent on lower revenue from its home video business, TV networks and theme parks.

Update: Judge Denies SAG Restraining Order

Screen Actors Guild President Alan Rosenberg struck out Tuesday in his quixotic effort to reinstate Doug Allen as the guild's chief negotiator due to procedural errors with his legal filing, but his attorneys promised they'll refile shortly and try again.

DWP Makes Geothermal Deal

In a major step towards its renewable energy goals, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power said it signed an agreement with Mexico's federal power utility to immediately buy up to 100 megawatts of geothermal energy.

Northrop Swings to Loss on Write-Downs

Northrop Grumman Corp. reported a fourth-quarter loss as it took a $3.06 billion charge to write down the value of past acquisitions in its shipbuilding and space businesses.

Lower Health Net Profit Still Exceeds Expectations

Health Net Inc. said its fourth-quarter earnings fell 70 percent on higher costs and restructuring charges, but the results still were better than analysts expected.

Michael Milken Still Seeking Redemption

The disgraced junk bond king has raised millions for cancer research since his release from prison, but a presidential pardon eludes him.

99 Cents Only Reconsiders Texas Plans

99 Cents Only Stores said it will reconsider its plans to leave the Texas market as sales in the state have significantly improved in the last month, rejecting Chairman David Gold's offer to buy the operations.

Monday, February 2

Widening The Net

L.A. County's Business Technology Center puts out the welcome mat for overseas companies.

Frederick's of Hollywood Names CEO

Frederick's of Hollywood Group Inc. said board member Thomas Lynch has been appointed chief executive.

High-Profile Investigator to Lead Fraud Service

As Congress weighs the possibility of an economic stimulus plan that could pump more than $800 billion into the U.S. economy, one firm is already looking at the fraud and abuses that could accompany it.

Reality TV Executive Stays Tuned In Behind the Scenes

Lisa Knapp always wanted to work in TV, but at first she'd hoped to be in front of the camera.

Landlords Have Some Advice in Store for Tenants

Some local landlords, fearing more empty storefronts, are hiring consultants to help their tenants stay in business.

Investor Enters Hollywood Via Distressed Loans

Lion Real Estate Group LLC has cashed in on the hottest trend in the local commercial real estate market.

FirstFed Has Larger Loss in Quarter

FirstFed Financial Corp. reported a larger-than-expected loss for the second straight quarter, hurt by declining home prices and a more than 10-fold increase in its provision for bad loans.

Controversial Signs Offer Increased Revenues

An anticipated crackdown by Los Angeles on outdoor signs may catch some businesses flat.

Getting Off the Ground

L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman Fran Inman believes business needs to take a lead role in helping Los Angeles through recession.

Green Buzz

HOK drove staff to undergo Leed certification with a Prius

Sport Chalet to Consider Strategic Options

Sport Chalet Inc said it was evaluating strategic alternatives, including raising additional capital, amending or replacing its current credit line, or further cutting costs.

Ryland-Oaktree Partnership to Focus on Distressed Properties

Ryland Group said it had formed a limited liability company with Oaktree Capital Management LLC to acquire and develop distressed residential real estate projects.

Noted Expert

Howard Marks draws on decades of experience to pen guidance memos at investment firm Oaktree Capital.

Local Banks Let Funds Languish

Many local banks are sitting on government rescue funds rather than pumping up their lending.

Financing Issues Puts Downtown Project on Hold

Plans for a hotel, retail and residential project in downtown L.A.'s South Park district are facing significant challenges.

California Bicycle Race Switches Into High Gear

The recession has hit the sports world hard. Even the Super Bowl saw reduced demand for tickets. And cycling has been no exception, with one of the leading American races in Georgia canceled this year.

Rand's Road to Nowhere

Rand's traffic report is old news, according to Harold L. Katz.

Advertiser Talking Up Speech Issue

An anticipated crackdown by Los Angeles on outdoor signs may catch some businesses flat.

Breakaway Union Could Prompt War of Attrition

At a time when workers nationwide stand to make big gains under the Obama administration, the newly formed National Union of Healthcare Workers is seeking alliances with rivals of the powerful SEIU.

Curbside Appeal

A love for cars drives a trio's business venture selling high-end accessories for luxury and exotic vehicles.

Tale of Two Cities

West Hollywood is going business friendly. Beverly Hills? Not so much.

SIGNING OFF?

An owner of a supergraphic business sees opposition to the ads as out of scale.

State Spins Wheels on Mass Transit

Charles Crumpley fears state lawmakers could put the brakes on L.A.'s mass transit funding.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

L.A. County's jobless rate shot up to 9.9 percent in December from 8.9 percent the month before, reaching its highest level in 15 years.

Itacho Offers Much More Than Standard Sushi

Itacho in West Hollywood has more on the menu than just sushi.

Bankruptcy Boom Puts Firm in Acquisitive Mood

In bad times, the bankruptcy business is good. That thesis played a role in Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP's acquisition of Moldo Davidson Fraioli Seror & Sestanovich LLP.

REGIONAL REPORT

Commercial litigation firm Reeder Lu & Green LLP has opened in Century City. The name partners are Christopher Reeder, Beverly Lu and Gabriel Green

Pack Mentality

Rocky Rosen spends four to six hours a day looking for clients for his quit-smoking program by approaching smokers on the street.

Mattel Profit Falls by Nearly Half

Toy maker Mattel Inc. said its fourth-quarter profit fell 46 percent, well below Wall Street expectations, as consumers cut spending during the weakest holiday season in decades.

Newsmakers

Transamerica Insurance & Investment Group, a downtown L.A.-based unit of Transamerica Life Insurance Co., has named James Martin Flewellen president.

Full Houses for L.A. Card Clubs

Local card clubs have continued to draw players as traditional and American Indian casinos have struggled.

Back to the Basics Optimism, Ingenuity, Entrepreneurship

Developer Wayne Ratkovitch says it's time to filter out bad news and focus on what can be accomplished.

Entrepreneurial Twins Believe Company's Success Is in Their Jeans

The twin brothers behind Chip and Pepper jeans now are trusting their guts when calling the shots.

The Place to Go to Ski and Be Seen

The recently concluded Sundance Film Festival wasn't just for A-list celebrities and entertainment execs. L.A. bankers and lawyers, among others, also got to go.

'Girls Gone Wild' Founder Jailed

"Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis was taken into custody Monday after he arrived more than five hours late for a Los Angeles court hearing in his tax evasion case.

New CEO Cutting Online Ad Firm Down to Size

Oversee's CEO is cutting costs and staff as the company returns to its roots.

Sunday, February 1

Update: SoCal Gas, Union Make Tentative Pact

Southern California Gas Co. has reached a tentative contract accord with union negotiators, averting a strike by most of its 7,600 employees.