Stories for April 2010

Friday, April 30

CB Richard Ellis Sells $300 Million in Stock

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. on Wednesday said it has sold nearly 28.3 million shares of its Class A common stock in the open market for gross proceeds of about $300 million.

Billionaire Jeff Greene Faces Slew of Attacks in Senate Race

OTHER NEWS

Running for Senate as a billionaire has its pluses and minuses. Jeff Greene is about to experience both.

Lower R&D Costs Reduce MannKind’s Loss

MannKind Corp. reported a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss due to lower spending on its inhaled insulin drug candidate Afrezza.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies closed down for the week as investors reacted to disappointing economic and earnings reports.

Chinese Automaker to Roll Into L.A.

Chinese hybrid electric automaker BYD Co. plans open a U.S. headquarters and research & development facility in downtown Los Angeles later this year.

Zenith Shareholders Approve Merger

Zenith National Insurance Corp. stockholders have voted in favor of the company's acquisition by Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. in a deal valued at $1.4 billion.

Thursday, April 29

Higher Income at City National

City National Corp reported better-than-expected first-quarter profit, as both interest and non-interest income grew and the bank holding company paid back TARP funds borrowed from the federal government.

Oxy Profit Triples

Rising oil prices helped to nearly triple Occidental Petroleum Corp.’s earnings in the first quarter.

Activision Makes Deal With 'Halo' Studio

OTHER NEWS

Activision Blizzard Inc. may have lost key talent at its prized Infinity Ward studio, but it scored major points by signing a deal to publish the next game series from the developer of the blockbuster Halo video games.

Anthem Blue Cross Withdraws Rate Hikes Request

OTHER NEWS

Anthem Blue Cross is withdrawing rate increases of as much as 39 percent for thousands of California policyholders after state insurance regulators rejected the proposals.

Skechers Earnings Exceed Expectations

Higher shoe sales, both domestically and internationally, enabled Skechers USA Inc. to report first quarter earnings that exceeded Wall Street expectations.

CB Richard Ellis Lowers Loss

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. said improvement in commercial real estate markets around the world enabled it to significantly shrink its first-quarter net loss.

Wednesday, April 28

Profit Rises for Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman Corp. said that growth in its once shipbuilding unit helped boost net income 20 percent in the first quarter, beating analysts’ estimates.

Stay-at-Home Productions Get City’s Gratitude

OTHER NEWS

A strange thing happened at City Hall last week. For the first time anyone can recall, the Los Angeles City Council handed out awards to a group of filmmakers for simply shooting in town.

Lions Gate to Fight Regulator's Decision

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. has appealed a Canadian stock market regulator's decision to block the studio's potential use of a "poison pill" to thwart Carl Icahn’s unfriendly takeover effort.

East West Posts Better Earnings

East West Bancorp’s first quarter profit was better than Wall Street expected, boosted by higher interest income. The Pasadena bank company also forecast a better current quarter than analysts were expecting.

Tuesday, April 27

Developers Say Further Cutting Back Would Kill L.B. Project

OTHER NEWS

Cutting back on the proposed Long Beach "seaside village" development at Second Street and Pacific Coast Highway, as suggested by an environmental impact report released last week, would kill the project, the developers warned.

DreamWorks Quarter Better Than Expected

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. had 65 percent lower first quarter profit, largely due to the lack of a major home video release.

Activision Sued by Current, Former 'Duty' Employees

OTHER NEWS

Former and current employees of Infinity Ward, the Encino development studio that made the hugely successful Call of Duty: Modern Warfare video games for Activision Blizzard Inc., have sued the publisher claiming that they are owed between $75 million and $125 million in unpaid royalties and potentially more in compensatory damages.

Caruso Forms Joint Venture for Acquisitions

Rick Caruso's Caruso Affiliated has formed a joint venture with private equity firm TPG to buy retail and mixed-use properties along the West Coast, taking advantage of the current depressed real estate market.

Northrop Picks Virginia for New Headquarters

Los Angeles defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. will move its headquarters to Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. according to reports.

Avery Profits Jump

Avery Dennison Corp. reported much better-than-expected first quarter results, boosted by higher sales in a recovering economy.

Higher Costs Hurt VCA Antech Profit

VCA Antech Inc.'s first-quarter net income was a little lower than expected as rising costs offset higher revenue from the company’s acquisitions over the past year.

Monday, April 26

Amgen Names New COO

Amgen Inc. announced several executive changes, with Chief Financial Officer Robert Bradway moving to the new position of chief operating officer beginning next month.

Longtime LAX Concessionaires Protest Bidding Process

OTHER NEWS

Three major companies that have long provided places to eat, drink and shop at Los Angeles International Airport say city officials have unfairly evaluated a series of bids from firms now seeking to replace them.

Security Sales Boost OSI’s Quarter

OSI Systems Inc.'s net income more than doubled in its third quarter as sales of airport security scanner overcame its slower medical imaging system business.

New Century Changes Name

New Century Companies Inc. has changed its name to U.S. Aerospace Inc. to better reflect its growing business providing military aircraft components.

Conspiracy Entertainment Reduces Shares

Conspiracy Entertainment Holdings Inc. said it had completed a one-for-three reverse common stock split in an effort to improve its share price.

O’Melveny Vet Energized About Jumping Firms

LAW: Charlie Read to lead Jones Day’s regulated utility practice.

Although Charlie Read spent most of his legal career at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, L.A.’s largest law firm, he said he was a “one-man band” there when it came to attorneys specializing in energy regulation.

The Prince of Pawn

SPECIAL REPORT: 20 in their 20s

From a painter of model trains to a pawnshop operator to the founder of a green lighting firm, the Business Journal looks at local entrepreneurs who got an early jump on being their own boss.

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Angels to the Rescue

SPECIAL REPORT: 20 in their 20s

From a painter of model trains to a pawnshop operator to the founder of a green lighting firm, the Business Journal looks at local entrepreneurs who got an early jump on being their own boss.

Getting Into the Game

SPECIAL REPORT: 20s in their 20

From a painter of model trains to a pawnshop operator to the founder of a green lighting firm, the Business Journal looks at local entrepreneurs who got an early jump on being their own boss.

‘Freedom to Do What You Want’

SPECIAL REPORT: 20 in their 20s

From a painter of model trains to a pawnshop operator to the founder of a green lighting firm, the Business Journal looks at local entrepreneurs who got an early jump on being their own boss.

All the Ads That Add Up

SPECIAL REPORT: 20 in their 20s

From a painter of model trains to a pawnshop operator to the founder of a green lighting firm, the Business Journal looks at local entrepreneurs who got an early jump on being their own boss.

Marrying Wedding Work With Publicity

SPECIAL REPORT: 20 in their 20s

From a painter of model trains to a pawnshop operator to the founder of a green lighting firm, the Business Journal looks at local entrepreneurs who got an early jump on being their own boss.

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‘At Our Old Firm, We Felt Stunted’

SPECIAL REPORT: 20 in their 20s

From a painter of model trains to a pawnshop operator to the founder of a green lighting firm, the Business Journal looks at local entrepreneurs who got an early jump on being their own boss.

Staying on Track With His Models

SPECIAL REPORT: 20 in their 20s

From a painter of model trains to a pawnshop operator to the founder of a green lighting firm, the Business Journal looks at local entrepreneurs who got an early jump on being their own boss.

Making a Statement With Urban Apparel

SPECIAL REPORT: 20 in their 20s

From a painter of model trains to a pawnshop operator to the founder of a green lighting firm, the Business Journal looks at local entrepreneurs who got an early jump on being their own boss.

Beginning To See

SPECIAL REPORT: 20 in their 20s

From a painter of model trains to a pawnshop operator to the founder of a green lighting firm, the Business Journal looks at local entrepreneurs who got an early jump on being their own boss.

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Bankruptcy Makes Financial Sense for Los Angeles

OP-ED

Former Mayor Richard J. Riordan considers bankruptcy as a means to get L.A.’s finances under control.

Ducking Duty With Chapter 9

COMMENT

Charles Crumpley warns filing for Chapter 9 won’t free L.A. elected leaders from making tough calls.

Putting Parking in Its Place

OP-ED: City of Los Angeles would benefit physically and financially by axing car spaces to make room for bikes.

Josef Bray-Ali wants to steer L.A. projects away from their auto focus and make the city bike-friendly.

Publisher Asks $6.4 Million for Palisades Property

CHIEF DWELLING: Neal Vitale of 1105 Media puts Tudor-style home up for sale.

Listings and sales of L.A. executive homes.

Stationery-Gift Business Wraps Up Local Building

REAL ESTATE: Punch pays $10.8 million for property next to Culver City offices.

Punch Studio LLC is expanding its headquarters in Culver City after acquiring a 41,000-square-foot building that is adjacent to the stationery and gift company’s offices.

County, USC Look to Hatch Business Incubator

HEALTH CARE & BIOTECH: Officials in talks with Momentum for Boyle Heights location.

Los Angeles County and the USC may be closer to establishing a long-sought biotech park around the USC Health Sciences campus in Boyle Heights.

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Calendar & Events

Events of interest to Los Angeles' business community.

Newsmakers

Colony Capital LLC, a Santa Monica-based investment firm, has named Justin Chang a principal.

Engineer Builds a Show Biz Career Out of Computers

FEATURED NEWSMAKER

Engineer Daniel Rosen sometimes can’t believe he works in Hollywood.

Courtly Manner

John Quinn turns to Shakespeare, climbing mountains and bird-watching when not running litigation-only firm Quinn Emanuel.

John Quinn turns to mountain-climbing and Shakespeare when not running litigation-only law firm Quinn Emanuel.

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Peddle to the Metal

Egge Machine drives sales for its parts by tapping into the ever-expanding passion for ‘classic’ cars.

Auto parts maker Egge Machine in Santa Fe Springs has proven its metal with classic car enthusiasts.

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Sausage Giveaway Brings Sizzle to Dodger Stadium

ADVERTISING & PR: Giant truck trumpets Farmer John’s expanded menu at venue.

Farmer John has extended its brand from Dodger Stadium out to the parking lot.

Advisory Committee Presses City of L.A. on Taxes

REGULATION WATCH: Panel backs lower business rates and streamlined process.

Business tax reform is back on the agenda in the city of Los Angeles as an advisory committee last week called on officials to make the city’s business tax system less confusing and more consistent.

Fit Addition

Westlake Village’s K-Swiss has ‘Biggest Loser’ trainer Jillian Michaels step in to promote new shoe

Shoemaker K-Swiss has signed “Biggest Loser” trainer Jillian Michaels to pump up sales.

News of the Week

News of the Week

Dubai Stay: Super Deluxe, but Still Second Best

PAGE 3

Staying in a four-star hotel sounds like you’re getting the royal treatment – unless one of the world’s most expensive and luxurious hotels is right next door.

Courting Bias?

Study ranks L.A. high on list of antibusiness judges and juries.

A study argues the case that business faces a tough time in front of L.A. judges and juries.

Health Care Priced To Move

L.A. firm offers wealthy clients access to top service across globe.

L.A.’s Leslie Michelson charges a healthy fee for lining up medical services around the world for wealthy clients.

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Retaking Pole Position

Barber offers return to masculine tradition at Farmers Market shop.

Barber Woody Lovell Jr. made the cut with Farmers Market officials looking to open a shop.

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Developers Ride Culver City Line

Projects now on track near future train station.

Property owners are already on track to build shops and residences around an upcoming Culver City light-rail station.

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Business, Labor Come to Terms

Groups look to loosen lawmakers’ term limits.

L.A. business and labor leaders have united behind a plan to loosen term limits on state lawmakers.

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Date Site Operator to Play the Field

Beverly Hills’ Spark Networks rejects takeover offer as too low.

Beverly Hills-based dating site operator Spark may play the field when it comes to takeover bids.

Give and Take

Charities fear tax plan will stifle donations

Local recession-ravaged charities fear President Obama’s proposed tax changes will undercut donations even more.

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Long Beach Throws Lasso on Auto Dealership

City hopes to drive off Ford Motor’s deal to relocate car lot.

Long Beach hopes to put the brakes on Ford Motor’s plan to move the landmark Cal Worthington dealership out of the city.

Waking Up And Seizing Opportunity

SPECIAL REPORT: 20 in their 20s

From a painter of model trains to a pawnshop operator to the founder of a green lighting firm, the Business Journal looks at local entrepreneurs who got an early jump on being their own boss.

Developing Expertise

SPECIAL REPORT: 20 in their 20s

From a painter of model trains to a pawnshop operator to the founder of a green lighting firm, the Business Journal looks at local entrepreneurs who got an early jump on being their own boss.

Marketing To the Next Generation

SPECIAL REPORT: 20 in their 20s

From a painter of model trains to a pawnshop operator to the founder of a green lighting firm, the Business Journal looks at local entrepreneurs who got an early jump on being their own boss.

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Getting the Text Message Out

SPECIAL REPORT: 20 in their 20s

From a painter of model trains to a pawnshop operator to the founder of a green lighting firm, the Business Journal looks at local entrepreneurs who got an early jump on being their own boss.

Kebabs Get Sizzling

SPECIAL REPORT: 20 in their 20s

From a painter of model trains to a pawnshop operator to the founder of a green lighting firm, the Business Journal looks at local entrepreneurs who got an early jump on being their own boss.

Sunday, April 25

Effort to Preserve Land Near Hollywood Sign Hits Goal

OTHER NEWS

A $900,000 donation by Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has completed the $12.5 million fundraising drive to protect the 138 acres behind the famous Hollywood sign from development.

Saturday, April 24

CKE Names Apollo as Successful Suitor

The operator of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's restaurants has accepted a higher $694 million buyout offer from an affiliate of private equity group Apollo Management VII LP.

Friday, April 23

Lions Gate to Count Ichan’s Stake in Vote

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. is changing the conditions necessary to approve a shareholder rights plan designed to discourage hostile takeover efforts, such as the one now being waged by Carl Icahn.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies closed up for the week as the Dow marked its longest winning streak in more than six years.

MannKind Studies Show Afrezza Safe, Effective

New MannKind Corp. data indicates its experimental insulin inhaler controls blood sugar levels in diabetics without hurting lung function, answering a safety concern.

PS Business Parks Makes Acquisitions

PS Business Parks Inc. bought a 704,000-square foot portfolio of office park properties in Austin, Texas for nearly $43 million.

Thursday, April 22

L.A. Mayor's Budget Called a 'Management Failure'

OTHER NEWS

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich blasted Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's proposed city budget in harsh terms Thursday, declaring it an example of "fundamental failure of management."

Karatz’s Legal Team Focus on Keeping Him Out of Prison

OTHER NEWS

Defense attorneys say they intend to ask the judge to reverse the former KB Home CEO’s four felony convictions on charges related to the manipulation of executive stock options.

Reliance's Higher Profit Still Disappoints

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co.'s first-quarter earnings were more than double that of a year ago, but the results still fell short of Wall Street expectations.

Cheesecake’s Quarter Better Than Expected

The Cheesecake Factory's first quarter profits rose 97 percent as recession-weary diners began returning to the casual restaurant chain.

Broadway Gets Nasdaq Warning

Nasdaq regulators have notified Broadway Financial Corp. that it has fallen out of compliance with the stock market’s rules because it had missed a financial reporting deadline.

Sheraton Universal Hotel Put on Market

OTHER NEWS

The long-troubled Sheraton Universal Hotel is officially on the market now. It could fetch about $90 million, less than its current owner paid.

Amgen’s Quarter Exceeds Expectations

Amgen Inc.'s first-quarter profit rose 15 percent, but the biotech warned that health care reform measures likely will dampen its fiscal 2010 results.

Sweetened Lions Gate’s Offer Rejected

Directors at Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. urged shareholders to reject Carl Icahn's latest tender offer.

Salem to Buy D.C. Station

Salem Communications Corp. is entering the Washington, D.C. talk radio market with the purchase of an AM station that it will convert to its own conservative format.

Wednesday, April 21

Former KB Home Chief Found Guilty

A federal jury in Los Angeles found former KB Home Chief Executive Bruce Karatz guilty of four counts related to a stock options back-dating case.

Warner Bros. Unit Makes Gaming Acquisition

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group has bolstered its growing interactive games business with the acquisition of online gaming studio Turbine Inc.

Tuesday, April 20

Burkle, Not Weinsteins, Would Own Miramax Under Proposed Deal

OTHER NEWS

There's just one hitch in Harvey and Bob Weinstein's pending deal to buy back Miramax Films from Walt Disney Co. Under the transaction currently being discussed, the brothers wouldn't necessarily be the ones who come away owning the independent film company.

Port, Truckers Square Off as Clean Trucks Suit Opens

OTHER NEWS

A trucking association challenging the Clean Trucks Program at the Port of Los Angeles argued Tuesday that a provision banning independent drivers will "dramatically change how work is done at the port."

Playa Vista Developer Stepping Down

Steve Soboroff is stepping down from his role as chairman and chief executive of the company that developed the 1,000-acre Playa Vista community near Marina del Rey.

German Ticketseller Files Live Nation Claim

Live Nation Entertainment Inc. faces a breach-of-contract claim by a German ticketing company related to the Live Nation-Ticketmaster Entertainment merger.

Shaken 007 Producers Put James Bond on Ice

OTHER NEWS

The producers of the James Bond franchise have put the brakes on developing and producing the next installment of the 007 spy series because of the ongoing drama plaguing the franchise's home studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.

Live Nation to Make Private Placement

Live Nation Entertainment Inc. said that it plans to refinance some debt by selling $250 million in senior notes in a private placement to institutional buyers.

Jazz Age Hotel Normandie May Roar Again as 'Pot-tel'

OTHER NEWS

The Hotel Normandie, a stoic brick building weighing down a corner of Normandie Avenue and 6th Street, opened in the Roaring '20s as an elegant residence, promising in tasteful advertisements to "leave nothing to be desired by the most experienced and exacting."

CKE to Go with New Suitor

CKE Restaurants Inc.'s board plans to end a merger agreement with Thomas H. Lee Partners because it has determined that a later offer by another entity is superior.

About Our New Look

Welcome to the Los Angeles Business Journal's new Web site. Check here for new features and other updates.

Monday, April 19

Villaraigosa Taps Beutner to Lead DWP

OTHER NEWS

Bringing in the ninth chief executive in 10 years, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is scheduled to announce he is appointing First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner to serve as interim general manager of the Department of Water and Power.

Countrywide Probe Shows Signs of Life

OTHER NEWS

Federal criminal investigators looking into the collapse of Countrywide Financial Corp. have been calling witnesses before a grand jury, say people familiar with the matter.

On Assignment Makes Acquisition

On Assignment Inc. has acquired a competing company called the Cambridge Group Ltd. for more than $5.5 million.

Fox TV Vet Channels Skills for West L.A. Media Firm

FEATURED NEWSMAKER

If there’s a woman in Hollywood who knows what TV audiences want, it’s Susan Levison.

Remaking Promises

New owner rehabbing celebrity rehab center

Rehab program Promises hopes to shine up its image after high-profile relapses by star clients.

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Dogs Go for ’Walk

L.A. landmark Pink’s opens stand at Universal City mall.

Popular eatery Pink’s will unleash its dogs on Universal CityWalk.

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Getting Fare Share

City of L.A. may extend program to give cabs curbside access.

Some L.A. city officials are hailing a program allowing curbside access to cabs.

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Taking a Plunge

Port of L.A. pushes into alternative fuel while some truckers still struggling with LNG rigs.

Yet another kind of alternative fuel truck is rolling out of the Port of Los Angeles.

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Westwood Equity Firm Looks Beyond Studio Deal

BANKING & FINANCE: Gores Group closes billion-dollar fund while pursuing Miramax.

Regardless of whether he walks away with Miramax, private equity titan Alec Gores doesn’t look like he will be slowing down anytime soon.

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Social Calls

Activist Madeline Janis tapped her City Hall connections to push a living wage ordinance, worker retention ordinances and project labor agreements in Los Angeles.

Social activist Madeline Janis’ City Hall connections inspired her to co-found Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy.

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Area Brokers Go for Broke With Launch of Firm

SPECIAL REPORT: REAL ESTATE QUARTERLY

A group of commercial brokers found the time was ripe to launch a firm.

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Standing Still Not An Option

SPECIAL REPORT: REAL ESTATE QUARTERLY

Flexibility and fortitude helped two local brokers make their way to new positions in the local industry.

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3-D Company Jumping Out

Beverly Hills’ RealD plans IPO to fund growth.

Beverly Hills maker of 3-D technology hopes an IPO will add depth to its business plan.

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Eatery Feasts on Extra Helpings

Customers chip in to reopen fire-damaged Off Vine.

Dedicated and deep-pocketed patrons helped Hollywood restaurant Off Vine rise from the ashes.

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Regional Report

Regional Report

Newsmakers

Rubicon Project, a West L.A. digital advertising firm, has named Eric Matza director of product marketing and Ben Trenda vice president of U.S. demand.

Calendar

Events of interest to Los Angeles' business community

Card Maker Stacks Deck With Lakers Superstar

SPORTS BUSINESS: Panini lines up Kobe Bryant and team for promotions.

Lakers star Kobe Bryant has signed on as spokesman for Panini America, and the Lakers made a sponsorship deal to promote the company’s Adrenalyn line.

Toying With Icon’s Image

L.A. retailer unleashes biker-chic Barbies to mark its anniversary.

Chrome Hearts owners have Barbie all dolled up in biker chic as part of the shop’s 20th anniversary.

Seeing Eye Movie Time

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What does eye surgery have to do with a crime movie? Plenty if the movie in question is “One in the Gun,” according to Dr. Rajesh Khanna.

News of the Week

News of the Week

Video Game Maker Scores Surprising Turnaround

TECHNOLOGY: THQ credits cost cuts and focus on higher-quality titles.

A year ago, video game publisher THQ Inc. was teetering on the financial abyss.

Holding On to the Recovery

COMMENT

Charles Crumpley hopes political posturing doesn’t cloud a brightening economic picture.

DWP Rate Hike a Shocking Maneuver

OP-ED

Enrique Aranda hopes to short-circuit the DWP’s drive for rate hikes saying that families and small businesses can’t afford them in this recession.

Putting L.A. Transit in the Fast Lane

OP-ED: Villaraigosa-backed 30/10 initiative would lift local economy while speeding transportation projects.

L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas believes the 30/10 initiative by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will get local transit on the right track.

Stream of Contracts May Signal Deeper Recovery

Aecom paces field of local firms swamped with new deals.

An upswing in contracts for three local companies may signal a broader economic recovery.

COUNTY: Vacanies, Asking Rents Disappoint but Optimism Rises

SPECIAL REPORT: REAL ESTATE QUARTERLY

Major events in individual commercial and industrial real estate markets across Los Angeles County in the first quarter.

DOWNTOWN: Law Firms, Government Agencies Shed Office Space

SPECIAL REPORT: REAL ESTATE QUARTERLY

Major events in individual commercial and industrial real estate markets across Los Angeles County in the first quarter.

HOLLYWOOD: Positive Net Absorption Offset by Soft Sales Scene

SPECIAL REPORT: REAL ESTATE QUARTERLY

Major events in individual commercial and industrial real estate markets across Los Angeles County in the first quarter.

TRI-CITIES: Finished Properties Build Up Burbank Vacancy Rate

SPECIAL REPORT: REAL ESTATE QUARTERLY

Major events in individual commercial and industrial real estate markets across Los Angeles County in the first quarter.

WESTSIDE: Bargain-Seeking Tenants Down to ‘Worst’ Options

SPECIAL REPORT: REAL ESTATE QUARTERLY

Major events in individual commercial and industrial real estate markets across Los Angeles County in the first quarter.

WILSHIRE CORRIDOR: Media Firms Improve Market’s Picture

SPECIAL REPORT: REAL ESTATE QUARTERLY

Major events in individual commercial and industrial real estate markets across Los Angeles County in the first quarter.

SAN FERNANDO VALLEY: West Region Swamped With Space

SPECIAL REPORT: REAL ESTATE QUARTERLY

Major events in individual commercial and industrial real estate markets across Los Angeles County in the first quarter.

SANTA CLARITA: Business Park Opening Boosts Area Vacancies

SPECIAL REPORT: REAL ESTATE QUARTERLY

Major events in individual commercial and industrial real estate markets across Los Angeles County in the first quarter.

SOUTH BAY/MID-CITIES: Traffic at Port Buoys Brokers’ Optimism

SPECIAL REPORT: REAL ESTATE QUARTERLY

Major events in individual commercial and industrial real estate markets across Los Angeles County in the first quarter.

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY: International Trade Fuels Positive Absorption

SPECIAL REPORT: REAL ESTATE QUARTERLY

Major events in individual commercial and industrial real estate markets across Los Angeles County in the first quarter.

Hot Topic Heats Up

Chain’s stock rises after as investors warm to signs of change.

The future is looking brighter for Hot Topic.

Cost-Cutting Crucial to CB Richard Ellis’ Survival

SPECIAL REPORT: REAL ESTATE QUARTERLY

Staff and cost reductions have helped CB Richard Ellis Group navigate the downturn.

Oil and Gas Company Lights Investors' Fire

L.A.’s BreitBurn narrows debt, settles suit and sees stock soar.

Oil company BreitBurn’s debt-reduction plan has investors pumped up.

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Saturday, April 17

Report: Weinsteins, Burkle in Exclusive Miramax Talks

OTHER NEWS

Bob and Harvey Weinstein and their financial backer, billionaire Ron Burkle's Yucaipa Companies, have an exclusive negotiating window to negotiate buying Disney's Miramax Films division,

Friday, April 16

Center Buys Assets of Failed S.F. Bank

Center Financial Corp. said that its Center Bank subsidiary has acquired the banking operations of Innovative Bank in Oakland from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies closed up for the week, even as the overall markets fell sharply on news that Goldman Sachs was facing civil fraud charges.

L.A. Community College District Has New Chancellor

OTHER NEWS

The Los Angeles Community College District’s board of trustees has named a state education official from Virginia to head its nine campuses.

Former LAPD Chief Daryl Gates Dies

OTHER NEWS

Daryl F. Gates, the rookie cop who rose from driver for a legendary LAPD chief to become chief himself, died Friday. He was 83.

Mattel Profit Exceeds Expectations

Mattel Inc. surprised Wall Street by swinging to a profit in the first quarter, boosted by strong sales of its brand-name toys and positive foreign-currency exchange rates.

Jobless Rate Remains at 12.4 Percent

Los Angeles County’s economy showed modest signs of recovery in March as it added nearly 10,000 jobs and the unemployment rate steadied.

Thursday, April 15

Icahn Sweetens Offer for Lions Gate

Carl Icahn has increased his hostile takeover bid for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. by a buck to $7 per share in cash.

Activision More Optimistic

Activision Blizzard Inc. raised its revenue and earnings forecasts closer to Wall Street expectations, citing stronger worldwide demand for two top video game franchises.

Cherokee Reports Higher Profit

Cherokee Inc. said fourth-quarter earnings rose 29 percent both due to higher licensing revenue and lower expenses.

Wednesday, April 14

Kilroy Launches Secondary Offering

Kilroy Realty Corp. has commenced a secondary offering of 5.5 million shares of common stock. At the stock’s current price, the sale could raise more than $195 million.

Macerich Increases Secondary Offering

Macerich Co. shares fell more than 6 percent Thursday after the REIT increased the size of a secondary offering, which now could gross at least $1.23 billion.

Moratorium Proposed on Hikes for Rent-Controlled Units

OTHER NEWS

Citing high unployment and the weak economy, City Councilman Richard Alarcon has called for a one-year moratorium on increases for rent-controlled units.

ILFC to Sell 53 Jets to Macquarie

International Lease Finance Corp. is selling 53 aircraft for $1.98 billion to Australia’s Macquarie Aerospace Ltd., an indirect subsidiary of Macquarie Group.

IndyMac Veterans Make Credit Push

Plan would speed loans to foreclosure survivors.

Former IndyMac execs have homed in on a plan to ease lending rules for borrowers who were foreclosed on.

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Tuesday, April 13

Report: Abraxis Considering Options

Abraxis BioScience Inc. reportedly has hired financial advisers to help it weigh strategic options that could include sale of the company, according to a wire report.

Mercury May Face Fines for Overcharging

OTHER NEWS

State regulators contend Mercury Insurance Group violated state laws and overcharged perhaps thousands of Californians for homeowner and automobile insurance.

Lions Gate to Shareholders: Reject Offer

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. urged shareholders to turn down activist investor Carl Icahn's $6-a-share offer for the Santa Monica studio, saying Icahn lacks a “coherent vision” for the studio.

Aecom Wins Contract

Aecom Technology Corp. won a contract to provide utilities design and engineering services for U.S. Marine Corps installations in North Carolina.

Monday, April 12

Tribune Co's Comeback Plan Still Under Fire

OTHER NEWS

The Tribune Co. would give ownership of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and other media properties to its main creditors under a bankruptcy reorganization plan that calls for wiping out most of the debt from an ill-timed buyout engineered by real estate mogul Sam Zell.

EdgeCast Receives $10 Million Investment

EdgeCast Networks Inc. has closed a $10 million financing led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Menlo Ventures.

RealD Plans to Go Public

RealD Inc., the 3-D technology company behind such hits as “Avatar” and “Clash of the Titans,” is planning a $200 million initial public offering.

Fired Activision Execs in Deal with Rival EA

OTHER NEWS

Two studio executives recently fired by Activision and accused of inappropriately meeting with a rival company said they will create games to be distributed exclusively by one such competitor, Electronic Arts Inc.

Note to Readers

Because of technical problems, the Business Journal was unable to send Enews Alert emails last week. We apologize for any inconvenience.

California Pizza Kitchen Exploring Alternatives

California Pizza Kitchen Inc. said it was considering strategic alternatives, essentially confirming media reports last week that it might sell itself.

Kennedy-Wilson Makes Acquisition

Kennedy-Wilson Inc. is acquiring Beverly Hills property management company Sachse Real Estate, founded by longtime real estate veteran Ed Sachse.

West L.A. Firm Heads South to Acquire Lab Space

Abraxis buys Costa Mesa building after failing to find local site.

A lack of local lab space forced West L.A.’s Abraxis to pick up a Costa Mesa R&D facility.

Split Decision

Divorcing lawyers guided billion-dollar suit

Two L.A. attorneys stood united in leading a billion-dollar tech lawsuit while their marriage fell apart at home.

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Flight Path

INTERVIEW: Los Angeles World Airports chief Gina Marie Lindsey’s dedication to her career has helped her deal with the mysterious death of her college-age son.

Los Angeles World Airport’s Gina Marie Lindsey credits the mayor with landing her as executive director.

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Westchester Hotel on Block After Pricey Remodel

REAL ESTATE: Custom likely to sell for less than 2007’s $23 million facelift.

Custom Hotel, a 250-room boutique operation in Westchester, has been put up for sale by Marathon Bank, which took ownership of the property in November after foreclosing on developer Avi Brosh.

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Concrete Option

Rubbersidewalks has gone beyond cities to seek business customers for its flexible product.

Rubbersidewalks Inc. is taking a crack at concrete competitors with its flexible product.

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Some Docs Find Lap-Band Ads Tough to Stomach

HEALTH CARE & BIOTECH: Beverly Hills practitioners fear treatment is pushed as a quick fix.

The thousands of dollars that a controversial Beverly Hills surgery center spent promoting its Lap-Band weight-loss procedure on billboards around Los Angeles has been a mixed blessing for some lower-key competitors in the 90210 ZIP code.

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Business in Dark On DWP Hikes

City feuding leaves companies up in the air.

Wrangling over proposed DWP rate hikes has left the budgets of local businesses in limbo.

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Growth Engine for Los Angeles

OP-ED: U.S. and state governments should take steps to further encourage women-owned businesses.

Linda A. Livingstone and Larry Cox call for more support of women-owned businesses.

Show Business Dreams on the Block

OP-ED: Former Hollywood hopefuls let it all hang out at yard sales where career mementos can be had for a price.

Mark Miller sees a lot of show biz careers literally wind up on the streets at local yard sales.

Guiding Obama’s Small-Business Policy by the Letter

OP-ED

Jorge Corralejo, Gilbert Vasquez and Maria de Jesus Rosas list steps Obama can take to help local small businesses.

L.A. Story Needed a Happy Ending

COMMENT

A city bureaucrat’s take on taxes left LegalZoom and Los Angeles in a lurch, according to Charles Crumpley.

Calendar & Events

Events of interest to Los Angeles' business community.

Newsmakers & Kudos

Newsmakers

Executive Chef Adds to His Plate With Teaching Duties

Featured Newsmaker

When chef Daniel Elmaleh helped open the Celadon restaurant in 2006, he was excited to experiment with new tastes and dishes.

Regional Report

Regional Report

Insurer Hits New Heights With Airship Promotion

ADVERTISING & PR: L.A.’s Farmers sees zeppelin as high-profile option to billboards.

Farmers Insurance Group has found a high-profile way to get above the billboard debate: by putting its name and logo on the world’s largest airship.

Downtown L.A. Firm Boosts Its Insurance Policy

LAW: Specialists Joan Cotkin, Terry Leuin sign up at Nossaman.

Nossaman LLP has boosted its insurance law practice with the addition of Joan Cotkin and Terry Leuin.

Opposition to State’s Greenhouse Gas Law Expands

REGULATION WATCH: Business group joins campaign to suspend AB 32 regulations.

The business community’s campaign to suspend the state’s controversial greenhouse gas reduction law is in full swing.

Bobsledder Taking Run at Local Supplement Maker for

Athlete’s suit says Nutriland ingredient cost him trip to Olympics.

An Olympic hopeful’s lawsuit against Paramount’s Nutriland has stoked questions about the supplement industry.

Churchill Downs Looks to Ride Betting Web Site

Horse-racing giant bids $128 million for L.A.’s YouBet.com.

Churchill Downs has put its money on gambling site YouBet.com with a $128 million buyout.

News of the Week

News of the Week

Getting Technical About Texas Festival

PAGE 3

The music and interactive South by Southwest festival went down last month in Austin, Texas, and about 100 L.A. tech people were there.

L.A. Port’s Power Play

Officials tap federal funds to turn tour boat into hybrid craft.

The Port of Los Angeles hopes to make waves with its new electric-diesel hybrid tour boat.

Playing Different Tune

Eurythmics co-founder stresses creativity in new business book.

Eurythmics co-founder Dave Stewart has composed a business book focused on creativity.

Facing Hollywood Ending?

Business leaders look to kick some street panhandlers to curb.

Hollywood business leaders hope to lower the curtain on aggressive costumed panhandlers.

Tax Credits, Shoppers Lift Home Prices

County median rises 4 percent in March after two-month slide.

L.A. County’s median home price rose 4 percent in March after two months of declines.

Lender to Thrive Despite Industry Takeover

Facing closure, student loan outfit hired lobbyist.

Federal reforms could move ALL Student Loans to the head of the class as a loan servicer.

Spinning Wheels

Entrepreneur’s plan for an electric car-share business in Hollywood has failed to connect with city officials.

A businessman’s electric car-share pitch generates little interest from L.A. city officials.

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Friday, April 9

Deliberations Underway in Karatz Trial

OTHER NEWS

A jury began deliberations Friday in the monthlong stock option backdating trial of former KB Home Chief Executive Bruce Karatz.

California Pizza Kitchen Gains After Report

California Pizza Kitchen Inc. shares jumped 14 percent Friday after a news report that the Century City restaurant chain is looking for a buyer.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies closed up for the week, as investors were heartened by signs that the economy continues to recover.

Thomas Properties Announces Equity Offering

Thomas Properties Group Inc. plans to sell up to $30 million in new common stock in an "at market price" offering.

Cereplast Shares Move to Nasdaq

Cereplast Inc. has received approval to list its common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market as soon as next week.

SoCal Gas Gets 'Smart Meter' Approval

State regulators have approved Southern California Gas Company plan to replace nearly 6 million business and residential meters with computerized smart meters that will enable better tracking of natural gas usage.

Villaraigosa Backs Off on Proposed Furloughs

OTHER NEWS

City revenues are up more than expected, so L.A. 'might not be out of cash after all,' the Los Angles mayor says. His plan for two furlough days a week was expected to spark a protracted fight.

Thursday, April 8

How Barbie Got Her Geek On

OTHER NEWS

Computer engineers hijack online poll on career for iconic doll. Little girls wanted anchorwoman.

Closing Arguments Continue Bruce Karatz Case

OTHER NEWS

A federal prosecutor asked a jury to convict former KB Home chief Bruce Karatz of 20 felony charges, saying he secretly backdated stock options to enrich himself and other executives at the Westwood home-building company for seven years.

Three Visions Competing for Miramax

As the Walt Disney Company began weighing three potentially viable bids for its inactive Miramax Films unit, a central question became not so much who will own the ministudio but what exactly will it be.

Aecom Partnership Wins U.K. Contracts

Aecom Technology Corp. said that one of its joint ventures received a pair of contracts worth a total of $238 million over the next five years in the United Kingdom.

Wednesday, April 7

New Suitor for Carl's Jr. Parent

CKE Restaurants Inc. has received another, potentially better takeover bid than an earlier $928 million offer from a Boston private equity firm.

RadNet Completes Debt Refinancing

RadNet Inc. said that it had closed its previously announced $585 million in financing.

Youbet Shareholders Approve Merger

Youbet.com Inc. shareholders have approved the online horse betting operator's merger with Churchill Downs Inc.

Tuesday, April 6

John Malone to Resign as DirecTV Chairman

John Malone will resign from the board of DirecTV and reduce his voting stake in the satellite provider to 3 percent.

CyberDefender Raises Expansion Funds

CyberDefender Corp. has received $5 million in debt financing from an affiliate of direct marketing giant Guthy-Renker LLC.

Monday, April 5

Lions Gate, Saban Form Joint Venture

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. is forming a joint venture with Haim Saban’s private investment group that will help it expand its Asian pay television operations.

Update: Maguire Properties Rejects Offer by Founder

OTHER NEWS

Maguire Properties Inc., the largest office landlord in downtown Los Angeles, has rebuffed an offer from departed founder Robert F. Maguire to take over three of the company's best properties.

Ousted TCW Exec Launches First Mutual Funds

OTHER NEWS

Four months after his ugly split with TCW Group Inc., star L.A. bond fund manager Jeffrey Gundlach is launching his first mutual funds, hoping to lure some of the individual investors whose billions of dollars he managed at TCW.

Public Storage Buys SoCal Facilities

Public Storage has entered into an agreement to acquire 30 self-storage facilities, many in the Los Angeles area, in a deal valued at $189 million.

Branding Comes Early in Filmmaking Process

OTHER NEWS

These days, having Campbell’s Soup or Chrysler associated with your motion picture project can be nearly as important to your pitch as signing Tom Cruise.

Tix Names New CFO

Tix Corp. said that it had fired its chief financial officer but has quickly replaced him.

Jillian Michaels to Promote K-Swiss

K-Swiss Inc. has signed a global multi-year endorsement deal with “Biggest Loser” TV fitness trainer Jillian Michaels.

Stepping Out From Behind the Curtain

Crisis PR spinmeister Mike Sitrick is accustomed to advising clients before they talk into microphones.

More Than Drop in the Bucket

El Segundo company looks to cut costs for clean drinking water.

El Segundo’s NanoH20 hopes to make waves with its low-cost water treatment process.

Another Carmaker Steers Toward L.A.

Coda fuels area’s buzz in electric sector.

Electric carmaker Coda hopes to park its final assembly plant in Los Angeles County.

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101 Freeway Park Proposal Ramping Up

Federal lawmaker plays up plan.

A plan for a park atop the Hollywood Freeway is gaining ground.

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Calpers to Bow Out of Condo Project in Venice

REAL ESTATE: Pension fund had pushed partner to reduce unit prices.

The upscale Dogtown Station condominium project at 700 Main St. in Venice has had an interesting year.

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Deli Counter Steps Up To You

Fairfax District’s Canter’s hits the road with curbside service.

The granddaughter of a Canter’s deli founder has taken the landmark eatery’s fare to the streets.

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Florida Native’s Move to L.A. Turns Into a Big Event

FEATURED NEWSMAKER

Growing up within miles of Orlando, Fla.’s Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, Rebecca Pontius always suspected she might end up working in the theme park industry.

Regional Report

Regency Theatres, a Calabasas-based cinema chain, has acquired two Westwood movies theaters.

Domain-Name Business Notches Up Top10 Score

TECHNOLOGY: Idealab in Pasadena sells dot-com address for $1 million.

How much money is a group of eight letters and numbers worth?

Galaxy Hopes to Keep Shining Despite Injured Star

SPORTS BUSINESS: Attendance expected to fall as David Beckham recuperates.

L.A. Galaxy fans were star struck when David Beckham arrived four years ago, but these days celebrity sightings are more common than the British soccer star’s rare field appearances.

Has Fatburger Cooked Up Move to Santa Monica?

BANKING & FINANCE: Fog Cutter yet to confirm apparent relocation from Oregon.

Did Los Angeles gain another publicly traded company last week?

USC Wants Students to Hit More Books and Road

Marshall business school to push broader, overseas studies.

USC’s Marshall School will now encourage undergrads to take more classes outside the business curriculum – and the United States.

Altadena Tech Firm Puts a Price on Old Newspapers

Perfect Market unveils product to add ads to archived stories.

An Alhambra tech firm hopes to make headlines with its method of adding ads to archived newspaper articles.

Pasadena Pipe Maker Puts a Plug in Dissidents

Group of shareholders loses vote to split CEO, chair positions.

A hedge fund wants Pasadena pipe maker Ameron to split its CEO and chairman positions.

News of the Week

The Los Angeles City Council and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power remained at odds over a proposed electricity rate increase.

Looking Forward

Old school chamber turns to YouTube to promote businesses.

Pasadena Chamber of Commerce has waded into streaming Webisodes promoting local businesses.

LOBBY EFFORT

New hotel exec faces tough foes, tight market.

InterContinental’s new boss has checked in with a plan to get more people to check out the hotel.

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On the Hunt

INTERVIEW: Steve Lee turned his back on a straight accounting job to travel the globe to protect clients from fraud as a forensic financial investigator.

A gut feeling led Steve Lee to leave the World Trade Center and launch an L.A. forensic accounting business.

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Pickup Game

Small L.A. banks add staff, branches from failed rivals.

Some local community banks are building business as they pick up staff and branches from their busted rivals.

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Boosting Connections

CORPORATE PROFILE: Calabasas’ Ixia acquired two tech firm rivals to help offset slow sales periods for its network test products.

Tech firm Ixia looks to steady the sales of its networking test products with overseas business and boost revenue with a pair of acquisitions.

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Driving a Green Economy

OP-ED: Alternative-energy practices will help offset gains in the Earth’s population and provide economic opportunities.

Dr. Joel Shapiro values alternative-energy practices as beneficial to the Earth and the economy.

State’s Cap-and-Trade Plan Comes With Hefty Price

OP-ED

Tom Tanton warns that the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act comes with a hefty price tag.

Positive Palm Readings

OP-ED: PR expert finds there’s nothing to worry about when sealing deals on nothing more than a handshake.

A local PR expert holds special respect for the power of a handshake.

LegalZoom Poised to Zip Out of Hollywood Digs

Document company ripped by steep taxes.

Reform of L.A. business tax rates didn’t stop an online legal document company from pulling out of the city.

Calendar and Events

Events of Interest to Los Angeles' Business community.

Let Stockholders Do Their Share

COMMENT

Charles Crumpley writes that there are two ways to deal with excessive executive pay – and one of them is potentially lethal.

Guess Jeans Chairman Zips Up Beverly Hills Home

CHIEF DWELLING: $10 million buys 9,000-square-foot contemporary remodel.

Listings and sales of L.A. executive homes.

Newsmakers

The J. Paul Getty Trust, a Brentwood-based arts non-profit, has named Mark S. Siegel chairman.

Friday, April 2

L.A. Plannning Department Hit by Audit

The Los Angeles Department of City Planning still has not done enough to streamline permit processing, according to an audit released by City Controller Wendy Greuel.

American Apparel Suffers Growing Pains

The L.A. urban-chic clothing maker and retailer posted a drop in fourth-quarter sales and profit as cheaper rivals are reviving. But its outspoken CEO insists the company is flourishing.

Rock & Republic Files Chapter 11

Premium denim company Rock & Republic said it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Thursday, April 1

Hyundai, Kia See March Sales Soar as Industry Rebounds

Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America and Irvine’s Kia Motors America Inc. again led local automakers with big gains in March sales as part of a larger industry rebound.

This Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies closed up slightly at the end of a short trading week, as investors anticipated an improved U.S. jobs report for March.

Superfund Cleanup Effort Gets Boost

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said 12 companies have agreed to pay $3.9 million towards the cleanup of a San Gabriel Valley Superfund site.

Disney Said to Extend Deadline for Miramax Bids

OTHER NEWS

Once again Walt Disney Co. has pushed back to Monday the deadline for bidders making offers to acquire the specialty label Miramax Films, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

RadNet Prices $200 Million of Senior Notes

RadNet Inc. announced the pricing of a $200 million offering of senior notes, proceeds of which will be used to pay down debt and complete acquisitions.

Korn/Ferry Names Futurestep Head

Korn/Ferry International said Byrne Mulrooney had joined the company as chief executive of its Futurestep global outsourced recruiting business.

J2 Global Makes Acquisition

J2 Global Communications Inc. on Thursday said it acquired the unified messaging and communications business of mBox Pty Ltd., which is based in Australia.