SAG ELECTION: Actor and director Ken Howard was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild, capping a bitter election campaign that divided Hollywood's largest union. Howard, considered a moderate within the union, defeated Anne-Marie Johnson, SAG's first vice president. Johnson was backed by a more militant faction.
INSURER SEIZED: Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Co. was seized by California regulators after the insurer sold assets to cover losses. The L.A. company, which operates in 12 states but has failed to make a profit for five straight years, was served an order of conservation by state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and told it must stop selling new policies immediately.
JOINT VENTURE: Macerich Co. sold a 49.9 percent stake in two of its shopping malls to real estate investment firm Heitman LLC, creating a new joint venture. The sale is part of an ongoing plan to reduce debt. Heitman, a Chicago firm, paid the Santa Monica real estate investment trust more than $167 million in cash and assumed $161 million of the mortgages on malls in Freehold, N.J., and Chandler, Ariz.
CHINESE INVESTMENT: China Investment Corp. has committed to invest about $1 billion with Oaktree Capital Management. Oaktree, an L.A. investment firm overseeing more than $60 billion, is expected to invest the Chinese wealth fund's money in distressed debt and other fixed-income assets. CIC is expected to funnel an additional $2 billion directly into hedge funds in the next several months.
BILLBOARD BAN: A federal judge refused to halt enforcement of the Los Angeles City Council's newest outdoor advertising law, which bars the installation of new digital billboards and multistory supergraphic signs. U.S. District Judge Audrey B. Collins said Liberty Media had failed to show a likelihood that it would prevail with its procedural arguments against the month-old ordinance. The city is fighting more than 20 legal challenges from the billboard companies opposed to its outdoor advertising regulations.
OH, POOH: U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Coope dismissed remaining claims by the estate of longtime Winnie the Pooh licensee Stephen Slesinger against the Walt Disney Co. in a copyright infringement case, according to L.A. court documents. Slesinger, a New York television and film producer, obtained the exclusive merchandising and other rights to the Pooh works from author A.A. Milne in 1930 and transferred them to Disney in 1961 in exchange for a regular royalty. The Slesinger estate still has a claim against Disney pending before U.S. patent regulators.
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