Stories for January 2010

Friday, January 29

Regulators Close First Regional Bank

First Regional Bank in Culver City was seized by federal regulators and its assets sold, marking the county's first bank failure this year.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed down for the week as investors worried that strong GDP last quarter can't be sustained.

Weak Demand Hurt Ameron Profits

Ameron International Corp. shares eked out a small gain Friday, even after the industrial pipe maker said its fourth-quarter profit fell 20 percent on weak demand.

Burkle Angles for Controlling Stake in Barneys

Billionaire Ronald Burkle is angling to take a controlling stake in Barneys New York, people familiar with the situation said, a bet that the company and battered luxury retail sector have seen the worst of the recession.

Comcast: NBC Universal Deal Won't Hurt Competition

Cable giant Comcast Corp. said in a regulatoy filing that it doesn't expect its proposed $30-billion takeover of NBC Universal to significantly change the media landscape.

Avery Dennison Profit Disappoints

Avery Dennison Corp.'s fourth-quarter profit grew from last year, helped by a marginal increase in revenues and tax benefit, but was less than analysts expected.

Mattel Mainstays Boost Profit

Higher sales of Mattel Inc. standards Barbie and Hot Wheels lifted the El Segundo toymaker’s fourth quarter beyond Wall Street’s expectations.

Hanmi’s Loss Widens

Hanmi Financial Corp., which is under regulators' orders to raise capital, said its fourth quarter losses widened after the bank reserved $77 million to cover loan losses.

Thursday, January 28

Acquisition Boosts City National’s Quarter

City National Corp. reported significantly higher earnings, largely boosted by its acquisition of Imperial Capital Bank.

State Gets $2.25 Billion in High-Speed Rail Money

California will receive $2.25 billion, the largest amount for any state, in federal economic stimulus funds to develop a high-speed rail line running from Anaheim to San Francisco.

Miramax Dies: Rest in Peace

It’s been a slow death, but Miramax dies today. The New York and Los Angeles offices of the arthouse movie studio owned by Disney will close.

Abraxis CEO Leaves

Abraxis BioScience Inc. said Chief Executive Lonnie Moulder was leaving the company to pursue other opportunities. A successor already has been named.

Teledyne Profit Improves

Teledyne Technologies Inc. posted a 62 percent increase in quarterly profit, but gave guidance for 2010 that was below Wall Street expectations.

Occidental Petroleum Profit Jumps

Occidental Petroleum Corp. said that its fourth quarter net income more than doubled as it kept oil production to take advantage of higher prices.

Wednesday, January 27

Tetra Tech Tempers Expectations

Tetra Tech Inc. shares plunged 17 percent on Thursday, a day after the company lowered guidance due to expected slower demand for its construction management services.

Ryland Group Turns to Profit

While home sales continue to be sluggish, Ryland Group Inc. said it turned a profit in its fourth quarter.

Grocers Fined for Child Labor Violations

The Superior Grocers supermarket chain was assessed $79,200 in fines for allowing teen employees to operate heavy machinery in violation of child labor laws.

Kaiser Workers Vote to Split from SEIU

OTHER NEWS

Kaiser Permanente workers in Southern California have voted by huge margins to dump Service Employees International Union and go with a rival union formed a year ago by former SEIU officials.

SouthWest Water CFO Leaves

SouthWest Water Co. said Chief Financial Officer David B. Stanton was no longer with the company and an interim CFO had been appointed .

Drucker Dean to Leave Claremont

Ira Jackson, dean of the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University, is resigning at the end of the year.

OSI Systems Profit Rises

OSI Systems Inc. reported a 67 percent growth in second quarter net income, despite a fall in revenues.

Tuesday, January 26

Martha Stewart Moves to Hallmark Channel

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. has struck an exclusive deal with the owners of the Hallmark Channel for the “Martha Stewart Show” and other productions.

Profit Falls at Jacobs

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. said cost controls enabled it to report a fiscal first quarter profit that, while lower than a year ago, was still better than Wall Street expected.

East West Reports Profit

East West Bancorp Inc. turned to a profit in its fourth quarter and said that its chief financial officer had resigned.

Udvar-Hazy Gives Up Chairman Role at ILFC

Steven Udvar-Hazy has been succeeded as chairman of International Lease Finance Corp., a move that analysts said eliminates a potential conflict of interest in his bid to buy back a portion of the aircraft leasing business.

Council OKs L.A. Medi-Pot Ordinance

OTHER NEWS

The L.A. City Council gave its final approval to an ordinance that will shut down hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries and impose strict rules on the location and operation of the dispensaries that are allowed.

Liberty Media Seeks Larger Live Nation Stake

Liberty Media is launching a partial tender offer to more than double its stake in the newly merged Live Nation Entertainment.

Temp Service to Pay Insurance Fine

A Bellflower-based temporary employment agency has agreed to pay $20 million in court-ordered restitution in a workers’ compensation fraud case.

Nara Reports Smaller Loss

Nara Bancorp Inc. reported a significantly smaller fourth quarter net loss that barely beat Wall Street expectations.

Monday, January 25

Update: Ticketmaster, Live Nation Merger Closes

Live Nation Inc. and Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. said they closed their merger after reaching agreements with U.S. and Canadian anti-trust regulators.

Amgen's Profit Edges Up

Amgen Inc. said its fourth quarter earnings rose 1 percent as growth in its anti-infection and anti-inflammatory drugs offset continued problems in its flagship anemia franchise.

Udvar-Hazy of ILFC Will Depart AIG Unit

Steven Udvar-Hazy, the founder and chief executive of aircraft-leasing company International Lease Finance Corp. — who tried to extricate the firm from its struggling parent, American International Group Inc. — is expected to leave the company as soon as this week.

Imperial Capital Launches IPO

Imperial Capital Group Inc., an investment banking firm headquartered in Century City, announced that it has commenced an initial public offering.

SAN FERNANDO VALLEY: Drop in Asking Rents Helps Fuel Deals

Real Estate Quarterly: 4th Quarter 2009

The San Fernando Valley may have gotten slammed in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the last go-round.

Disney Draws Plan for Battle

Studio rejects lawsuits alleging release of toxins.

Disney is girding up to fight a slew of lawsuits alleging its Burbank studio has released toxins.

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TRYING TIMES

L.A. lawyer courts controversy, big rulings

High-profile cases have proved a good fit for the outsized personality of L.A. attorney Pierce O’Donnell.

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How to Help Small Business Weather Global Warming Debate

OP-ED

Jorge C. Corralejo and Victor Florian propose steps to ensure climate-change regulations boost, not bind, small businesses.

A Poor Fit for Los Angeles

OP-ED: Incentives for South Gate clothing company to relocate should be killed by L.A.’s jobs czar.

Peter Dreier urges L.A.’s new jobs czar to shoot down a deal to lure a garment factory to the city.

CALENDAR & EVENTS

Events of interest to Los Angeles' business community.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a ban on smoking in outdoor cafes, food courts and within 40 feet of mobile food trucks.

Electric Utility Switches Stance

Edison gives shareholders say on exec pay.

Electricity supplier Edison has OK’d shareholders’ input on executive pay policies.

Calling Shots

INTERVIEW: Chamber CEO Leron Gubler has helped Hollywood grow from a place his friends joked about to a retail-nightlife center that has restored some glamour to the iconic name.

Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Leron Gubler has helped revive Hollywood’s glamorous image.

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Firm Foothold

CORPORATE FOCUS: Footwear maker Skechers’ stock has soared with two new product lines and a trend-spotting CEO.

Manhattan Beach footwear maker Skechers has been stepping up its game with two new lines.

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South Bay Galleria Seeks Help From Neighbor

Mall hopes to boost traffic by renovating shopping center next door.

South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach hopes to spur business by redeveloping its adjacent shopping center.

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Looking Sharper

Burbank’s 3ality sees a bright future for 3-D TV-production gear.

Burbank’s 3ality has drawn in-depth attention with its gear for creating 3-D TV content.

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Hollywood Sky High on Vegas Style

Nightlife impresario’s new lounge to crown W hotel’s rooftop.

Las Vegas nightclub entrepreneur Victor Drai sees a rooftop lounge in Hollywood as a safe bet.

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A Case of Double Vision

Van Nuys company’s glasses take another look at bifocals.

A Van Nuys firms hopes its new take on bifocals is worth a look.

Dole-ing Out Health Tips

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Grilled salmon over a bed of sautéed kale and a raw carrot relish may not be all that atypical fare for Westwood’s exclusive Regency Club.

Long Beach Firm Hopes Investors Endorse Pickup

Molina expands into information management with deal.

Long Beach-based Molina has expanded into information management with pickup of a Unisys unit.

Capital Plans Drive Shares of Koreatown Banks

Hanmi and Saehan look overseas for financial infusions.

Shares in two Koreatown banks have spiked on reports of capital infusions coming from overseas.

L.A.’s Slow Fundraising Outpaced National Rate

BANKING & FINANCE: 2009 saw 53 percent decline from $15.3 billion to $7.3 billion.

Private-equity fundraising in Los Angeles fell sharply in 2009 as the economy forced even well-heeled investors to tighten their purse strings.

Philadelphia Firm Grows Presence in Century City

LAW: Blank Rome adds Robins Kaplan lawyer and five from Knee Ross.

Blank Rome LLP continues to build its practice in Century City with the addition of six attorneys.

L.A. Conference Becomes An International Attraction

TECHNOLOGY: London, Israeli startups to attend Twiistup networking conference.

Twiistup, a local tech conference that links entrepreneurs with investors and gives a sneak peak at budding startups, has gone international.

Effects Artist Has ‘Howling’ Good Time in Hollywood

FEATURED NEWSMAKER

Visual effects artist Andre Bustanoby knows that if the shoe fits, wear it.

NEWSMAKERS

Brigante Cameron Watters & Strong LLP has named Mark C. Tackmann partner.

Publisher’s Calabasas Home Looked Good on Paper

CHIEF DWELLINGS: Former Daily News exec’s mansion sells after a $750,000 price cut.

Listings and sales of L.A. executive homes.

Impossible Task for Jobs Czar

COMMENT

Charles Crumpley thinks it may be impossible for L.A.’s new jobs czar to overturn an entrenched anti-business city culture.

Law Firm Courts Clients In Distress

Real Estate Quarterly: Rising Up in the Decline

Whether it’s complicated debt restructurings, foreclosures or equity injections for stalled developments, top L.A. law firms are finding that the real estate bust can be just about as profitable as the boom.

Developer Receptive to Receiverships

Most people in the L.A. commercial real estate community know Mark Weinstein as an investor and developer – and for good reason.

Insurance Exec Finds Gap to Fill With Defaults

Real Estate Quarterly: Rising Up in the Decline

The process of foreclosing on a piece of real estate is daunting in detail. But the way Selina Parelskin sees it, yes, it’s fun.

Auctioneer Has Something To Shout About

Real Estate Quarterly: Rising Up in the Decline

The real estate market has been in the tank for the better part of the last few years. But there is a bright spot in the sales world: the auction business.

COUNTY: Industrial Market Could Be Headed for a Turnaround

Real Estate Quarterly: 4th Quarter 2009

Chalk this up as another sign of an economic recovery on the horizon: Los Angeles County’s industrial real estate market, once in a free fall, seems to have bottomed out.

DOWNTOWN: Landlords May Be Holding Space to Boost Rents

Real Estate Quarterly: 4th Quarter 2009

While fourth quarter data appear to show that the downtown L.A. submarket rebounded, analysts said those figures likely masked a sobering reality.

HOLLYWOOD: Vacancies Decline as Renters Grab Prime Offices

Real Estate Quarterly: 4th Quarter 2009

The good news for those looking to rent Hollywood offices? You can get a pretty nice deal these days. The bad news? A lot of the good stuff is taken.

TRI-CITIES: New Buildings, Busted Businesses Boost Open Space

Real Estate Quarterly: 4th Quarter 2009

The sour economy is trouble enough in most real estate markets, but toss in the collapse of major tenants and a glut of brand-new office space, and you’ve got the perfect storm that is the Tri-Cities office market.

WESTSIDE: Landlords Turn to Concessions to Attract Tenants

Real Estate Quarterly: 4th Quarter 2009

Westside asking rents are lower than they have been in years, but landlords aren’t stopping there, courting potential tenants with concessions to fill a growing vacancy rate.

WILSHIRE CORRIDOR: Demand Drives Spike in Koreatown Rent

Real Estate Quarterly: 4th Quarter 2009

When it comes to rent, cheap is in demand these days. There’s no better proof than Wilshire Center’s Koreatown, a decent, centrally located address with some of the cheapest rents around.

SANTA CLARITA: Tenants Stay Put but Cut Back on Office Space

Real Estate Quarterly: 4th Quarter 2009

The Santa Clarita Valley office market finished the year with a vacancy rate higher than any other in Los Angeles County at 23.4 percent – a full three points greater than in the third quarter.

SOUTH BAY/ MID-CITIES: Industrial Strength Gap in Submarkets

Real Estate Quarterly: 4th Quarter 2009

As historically has been the case, the South Bay – closer to the ports and with newer product – was faring better with a 2.4 percent rate, down from both the prior quarter and a year ago, according to Grubb & Ellis Co.

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY: Port Slowdown Spurred Wave of Vacancies

Real Estate Quarterly: 4th Quarter 2009

Landlords in the San Gabriel Valley’s import-dependent industrial market were more than happy to bid farewell to 2009, a year that dealt them a serious slowdown at the ports and a vacancy rate that nearly doubled.

Friday, January 22

This Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed down for the week as investors fretted about President Obama's proposal to tighter regulate big banks.

Bob Pisano Becomes Interim MPAA Head

Bob Pisano, the former head of the Screen Actors Guild, has been named interim chief executive of the Motion Picture Assn. of America as Dan Glickman exits as Hollywood's top lobbyist sooner than expected.

VC Investment Fell in 2009

Venture capital investment in Los Angeles was down sharply last year, but signs of life began to return to the sector in the fourth quarter.

Thursday, January 21

Auction Alone Unlikely to Resolve MGM Woes

The first round of bids for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer turned out a shade better than expected, but the offers aren't close to covering the $3.7 billion that is owed to lenders.

Letter Reveals City's Plans for More Layoffs

OTHER NEWS

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Council leaders have begun laying the groundwork for the elimination of at least 1,000 more jobs by July 1 in an attempt to eradicate a nearly $200 million budget shortfall .

Unemployment Rate Rises Again

L.A. County’s unemployment rate rose in December to 12.4 percent from 12.2 percent in November as the professional service, construction and manufacturing sectors shed jobs.

Oxy and Partners Get Iraqi Oil Deal

Occidental Petroleum Corp. and partners Eni SpA and Korea Gas Corp. said that they signed a contract with Iraq's state-owned South Oil Co. and Missan Oil Co. to redevelop an oil field near Basra in southern Iraq.

Profit Down at NBC Universal

General Electric said that operating profit at NBC Universal fell 30 percent in the fourth quarter as advertising revenue continued to falter amid higher programming costs.

Broadcast Facilities Acquires Satellite Services Business

Broadcast Facilities Inc. said that it had acquired the satellite services division of Crawford Communications Inc. to expand its outsourced broadcasting services to major broadcasters and media companies.

Profit Rises at American Business Bank

American Business Bank shares rose after the bank said its fourth quarter net income jumped 50 percent as both assets and income grew in an improving economy.

Lower Wilshire Profit Better Than Expected

Wilshire Bancorp Inc. reported fourth quarter net income fell 36 percent, but the Koreatown bank’s per-share profit was still better than Wall Street expected.

Wednesday, January 20

Nara CEO Resigns

Nara Bancorp Inc. said that Min Kim, the first woman to lead a Korean-American bank, had resigned as chief executive. The company appointed Alvin Kang, formerly chief financial officer, to replace her.

Reliance Steel Makes Better-Than Expected Forecast

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. projected fourth-quarter and full-year earnings above analyst estimates, prompting shares to rise.

Long Beach Company to Pay EPA Fine

Pacific Pipeline Systems LLP has agreed to pay a fine of $1.3 million related to a 2005 oil pipeline break in northern Los Angeles County.

CalPERS' Investments Underperformed in 2009

OTHER NEWS

Heavy losses in real estate holdings battered 2009 investment returns at California's giant public pension fund, although the portfolio overall rose in value for the year.

Proposed Tan Tax Prompts Local Protests

OTHER NEWS

A little-noticed provision of the Senate's health care reform bill would slap a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning treatments to help extend healthcare coverage uninsured Americans. That has L.A. salon owners and their clients fuming.

L.A.'s Outdoor Smoking Ban Extended

OTHER NEWS

Smokers in Los Angeles lost another refuge when the City Council unanimously approved a ban on lighting up in outdoor cafes, food courts and within 40 feet of the city’s ubiquitous mobile food trucks.

L.A. Official Nominated to Run TSA Withdraws

OTHER NEWS

Erroll Southers, the Los Angeles airport official whose nomination to lead the Transportation Security Administration was blocked by Republican opposition in Washington, has withdrawn his name from consideration.

Northrop Gets Saudi Training Contract

Northrop Grumman said it had been awarded a contract worth up to $550 million for training and other services for the Saudi Arabian National Guard.

TicketsNow Appoints CEO

TicketsNow, the event online ticket reselling service for Ticketmaster, said Ron Bension would become the company’s chief executive officer.

Tuesday, January 19

Bank Stocks Boosted by Investment Reports

A pair of beleaguered publicly traded Koreatown bank stocks surged amid reports that each is on the verge of obtaining capital infusions from investors.

Molina Makes $135 Million Acquisition

Molina Healthcare Inc. announced an agreement to acquire Unisys Corp.’s health information management business.

Businesses Aren't Changing Hands

Sales of businesses in L.A. County fell 32 percent last year from 2008, and the median price also dropped. Still, there are signs that the number and value of deals will improve this year.

LA Medi-Pot Ordinance Approved

OTHER NEWS

After years of debate, the Los Angeles City Council has voted to adopt a medical marijuana ordinance requiring dispensaries to be at least 1,000 feet from places where children congregate, such as schools, parks and libraries.

OSI Wins Mexican Airport Contract

OSI Systems Inc.'s Rapiscan Systems security division was awarded a $35 million contract to upgrade baggage screening systems at 12 airports in Mexico.

Edison Adopts ‘Say-on-Pay’ Policy

Edison International said that its board has adopted a so-called “say-on-pay” policy that will give shareholders an advisory vote on executive compensation.

Monday, January 18

Grappling With Studios’ Lost Clout

A proposed sale of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the most powerful and lucrative studio during the golden age of film, drew only meager offers last week.

Founder of Taco Bell Dies at 86

Glen W. Bell Jr., founder of the Taco Bell restaurant chain, died over the weekend at his home in Rancho Santa Fe. He was 86.

Spiritual Oasis on Your TV

‘New-age-y’ channel in Century City grows its cable reach.

Oasis TV has expanded the cable reach of its mind-body-spirit programming.

Let’s Go All Conan on Our Bosses

COMMENT

Charles Crumpley finds nothing funny in Conan O’Brien’s ingratitude to NBC.

Forcing a Sea Change in Priorities

OP-ED: California needs to protect its ports from losing cargo to facilities in other countries and states.

John McLaurin warns that other states and countries seek to steal California’s port business.

Holocaust Institution To Expand

Site’s planners say it won’t conflict with Museum of Tolerance.

The expanded Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust doesn’t expect to clash with the Museum of Tolerance.

Businesses Call Tax Appeal Bogus

LEGAL: City of L.A. routinely rejects pleas for tax breaks.

Some firms contesting their tax rates claim the city of L.A.’s appeals process is a sham.

L.A. Extends Hand to Business

City taps outsider to help shed unfriendly reputation.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has turned to outsider Austin Beutner to make L.A. work for business.

Feast, Famine

Food trucks thrive as eateries suffer.

Are food trucks’ curb service driving Miracle Mile eateries out of business?

Bad Blood Fills the Boardroom

Ousted, current CEOs clash over future of L.A.’s Emak.

A boardroom battle has been nothing but bad news for agency Emak Worldwide and its stock.

Community Institutions Deserve Break From Banking Backlash

OP-ED

Community institutions are taking too much heat for the banking sector’s problems, write Harold P. Reichwald and T.J. Mick Grasmick.

CALENDAR & EVENTS

Events of interest to Los Angeles' business community.

Fairfax District Apartments Prove a Strong Draw

REAL ESTATE: Developer of 801 North credits building’s design and price points.

After a very quick lease-up of the 93 units at its Fairfax district apartment building, Frost/Chaddock Developers LLC is turning its attention to completing the leasing of the project’s ground-floor retail space

NEWSMAKERS

Santa Monica accounting and consulting firm Gumbiner Savett Inc. has named Raymond Blatt a principal

On the Line

PR maven Mike Sitrick says he has to be reachable 24-7 while helping high-profile clients such as Global Crossing and Paris Hilton navigate controversies.

PR exec Michael Sitrick admits that shepherding clients through scandal can cut into family time.

Radio 2.0

PROFILE: Sherman Oaks-based Triton has boosted business by providing ads and programming for streaming on stations’ Web sites.

Innovation: Triton Media Group’s radio programming and advertising has been clicking online.

REGIONAL REPORT

Broadway Federal Bank, an L.A.-based bank serving the Inglewood and South L.A.-area markets, has received a $1 million investment from DaVita Inc.

Media Relations Veteran Will Try Hand at Politics

ADVERTISING & PR: Fred Muir to run downtown L.A. office of Rose & Kindel.

Fred Muir, former chairman of the Southern California region for PR powerhouse Burson-Marsteller, has joined political consulting agency Rose & Kindel.

Some L.A. Firms’ Stocks Among ‘Zombie’ Horde

Shares of bankrupt or near-bankrupt businesses still draw buyers.

Some brave souls never say die when it comes to buying the zombie stocks of bankrupt or near-bankrupt companies.

FDA Spells Out Change for Inhaled Insulin Product

HEALTH CARE & BIOTECH: Alfresa switched to Afrezza out of fear of brand confusion.

Despite long-standing jokes about the poor handwriting of doctors, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration takes the situation seriously enough that it forced a local drug maker to rename its leading drug candidate.

Buzz Builds for Firm’s Home Charging Stations

MANUFACTURING: Nissan turns to AeroVironment to power new electric car.

AeroVironment Inc. has received a lot of press for its unmanned aircraft systems such as the Raven, which is launched by hand, and changed the rules of the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Van Nuys Firm Gets in the Swing With Lacrosse

SPORTS BUSINESS: Easton-Bell picks up San Carlos sticks manufacturer.

Lacrosse, an American Indian sport that has been largely played at East Coast colleges for decades, is booming in popularity.

Local Golf Tournament Isn’t Teed Off With Tiger

Northern Trust has thrived despite recent no-shows by Woods.

The upcoming Northern Trust Open won’t miss Tiger Woods, as the scandalized golfer has skipped the tournament in the past.

Area Aid Groups Rush to Quake-Ravaged Haiti

Businesses help out too, pledging millions in assistance.

The deadly earthquake that rocked Haiti has L.A.-area aid groups and businesses gearing up to help.

Shaping Future

Hawthorne bio-plastics maker Cereplast will save 70 percent on electricity by moving to Indiana.

Reducing and relocating staff is helping the future take shape at bio-plastics maker Cereplast.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

Stuart Wolff, the former chairman and chief executive of Homestore Inc., has pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to impress analysts by inflating the online real estate company’s revenue.

Channeling Life in Law Office Into TV

PAGE 3

The television series “The Deep End,” which will debut this week, chronicles the lives of five fresh-faced lawyers practicing at a powerful L.A. firm named Sterling.

Trafficking In Info for Commuters

Time Warner Cable to help L.A. drivers navigate rush hours.

Time Warner Cable hopes to drive commuters to its rush hour info on TV, on the Web and via cell phone.

Friday, January 15

This Week’s Big Movers

Decliners outpaced gainers on the Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies for the week ended Jan. 15 as investors reacted to a disappointing consumer sentiment survey and some negative quarterly reports.

L.A. Location Filming Falls Again

It may have been a blockbuster year at the box office, but 2009 was a dud for local film and TV production.

Tetra Tech Gets Base Cleanup Contract

Tetra Tech Inc. said that it was awarded a worldwide remediation services contract by the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center that will include overseeing the cleanup of unexploded ordnance and other hazardous materials.

Warner Bros. Entertainment Re-Brands Music Label

Warner Bros. Entertainment said that it has re-branded its in-house New Line Records music label as WaterTower Music and expanded its scope to marketing the soundtracks of all its films.

Thursday, January 14

First Solar Acquires Edison Solar Projects

A Tempe, Ariz. solar panel maker has acquired several solar projects that Edison International had been developing in California and the Southwest.

Monday, January 11

Northrop Wins $577 Million Army Contract

Northrop Grumman Corp. said that a team of contractors it led has won a U.S. Army contract to develop an integrated air- and missile-defense battle command system.

AeroVironment Wins Nissan Contract

AeroVironment Inc. said Nissan North America will use the Monrovia company’s electric vehicle home-charging stations and installation services for the all-electric Nissan Leaf.

Los Angeles Hires a Jobs Chief

OTHER NEWS

Facing a widening budget deficit and regional unemployment stuck above 12 percent, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is placing a vast swath of city government under a former private-sector executive charged with making Los Angeles more business friendly.

Ex-TCW Manager Gundlach Fires Back

Star bond fund manager Jeffrey Gundlach fired back at former employer TCW, saying the firm had smeared him in a lawsuit it filed last week.

CalPERS to Disclose Details About Intermediaries

California's giant public pension fund, racked by criticism for the way it has managed a $205-billion portfolio, is preparing to disclose new details about the financial middlemen who play a little-understood and lucrative role in pension investing.

Images Closes Stock Sale

Image Entertainment Inc. said that it closed the sale of $22 million in preferred shares to affiliates of a San Francisco private equity firm that is acquiring control of the Chatsworth home entertainment distributor.

SEC Sues NewPoint Financial Services

The Securities and Exchange Commission has accused a Beverly Hills firm of defrauding investors of some $20 million in a scheme that allegedly targeted Iranian-Americans through a local Farsi-language radio program.

Easton-Bell Sports Acquires Lacrosse Company

Easton-Bell Sports said that it is expanding into the sport of lacrosse with the acquisition of privately held lacrosse equipment manufacturer Talon Lacrosse.

Busting Out The Brand

Sexy lingerie maker Frederick’s to license name to other products.

Frederick’s of Hollywood is looking to dress up other products with its sexy brand name and image.

Still Leader Of the Pack

Galpin Ford revved up the dealmaking to keep volume sales title.

Van Nuys’ Galpin Ford held on to the pole position as the No. 1 dealership in volume sales – barely.

You Shouldn’t Bank on It

PAGE 3

The local Korean-American media came out in force last week, eager to get a few minutes with Nara Bank’s elusive 81-year-old chairman, Chong-Moon Lee.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

Walt Disney Co. completed its $4.3 billion cash-and-stock acquisition of Marvel Entertainment.

Reality Checks In

Recession woes undercut developer’s plan for hip Hollywood hotel.

Developer Avi Brosh hopes his hip Hollywood hotel will someday open, even if he no longer owns it.

Investors’ Interest in Oil Companies Heating Up

Local firms BreitBurn, BNK reap double-digit stock gains.

Investors have lit a fire under the stocks of local oil and gas companies.

Developer’s Left Turn May Signal Mayoral Run

Rick Caruso sparks talk by backing Jerry Brown for governor.

Is Rick Caruso’s fundraiser for Jerry Brown the first step of Caruso’s campaign for mayor?

Local Institutions Move to Shore Up Capital Levels

BANKING & FINANCE: Stock issue boosts Center Financial; Hanmi future looks shaky.

As loan losses pile up at banks across Los Angeles, a number of institutions have recently signed agreements with regulators to shore up capital and overhaul management.

Analysts Expect Wave of Business to Hit Ports

TRADE & TRANSPORT: Improved consumer confidence helps fuel optimism.

After almost two and a half years of slumping imports, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are poised for a slight recovery within the next few months, according to local economists and industry analysts.

Century City Firm’s Partners Go It Alone Together

LAW: Six attorneys leave Jeffer Mangels to run their own operation.

The new year started off rocky for Jeffer Mangels Butler & Marmaro LLP, which saw the departure of six longtime partners.

Loss of Wrestling Line Fails to Floor Toymaker

Malibu’s Jakks looks to other sports, TV to offset WWE breakup.

A bevy of hot deals has cushioned Malibu toymaker Jakks’ loss of its WWE pro wrestling dolls.

Illegal Downloads Shoot Holes in ‘Warfare’ Sales

Pirates could have cost Activision as much as $300 million.

‘‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,” the blockbuster video game from Santa Monica-based Activision Blizzard Inc., has set sales records and garnered industry awards since its November release.

REGIONAL REPORT

Burbank-based media giant Walt Disney Co. has paid $2.5 million for a 10 percent stake in comic book icon Stan Lee’s L.A.-based Pow Entertainment.

Border Trade

PROFILE: Custom Framing in Van Nuys weathered the decline in high-end art purchases by reducing staff and scoring emergency financing.

Van Nuys’ Custom Framing cut staff and secured emergency financing to cope with a slowdown in sales.

Raising the Bar

INTERVIEW: Rande Gerber transformed New York nightlife with his upscale lounge concept Whiskey, where he then met his wife, model Cindy Crawford.

Rande Gerber can thank his nightspot lounge business for introducing him to wife Cindy Crawford.

American Apparel Goes G-Rated

Firm shelves racy image for kids’ clothing line.

American Apparel isn’t kidding about a new clothing line geared toward children.

CALENDAR & EVENTS

Events of interest to Los Angeles business community.

Power Grab at Center of Environmentalist Water Package

OP-ED

Wayne Lusvardi sees an environmentalist power grab in a proposed package of water bills.

Helping Men Weather the Storms

OP-ED

Ted Lux sits up and “salutes” local TV stations’ bevy of beautiful meteorologists.

Helping Southern California Take Wing

OP-ED: Boeing’s C-17 cargo plane works to stabilize the region’s economy and manufacturing base.

Boeing’s C-17 provides jobs, and economic character and culture to the region, according to Maria Elena Durazo and Bill Allen.

Star-Crossed by the Paparazzi

OP-ED: New state legislation would protect celebs, but ignores small businesses and neighbors caught in the fray.

Daniel A. Rozansky thinks businesses and neighbors should get top billing in new anti-paparazzi legislation.

Why Northrop’s Exit Matters

COMMENT

In and of itself, Northrop’s departure means little, writes Charles Crumpley. But the move is a symbol of a big problem.

Downtown Namvar Deal May Usher In Many More

An industrial property near downtown Los Angeles owned by Namco Capital Group Inc., the bankrupt West L.A. investment company of beleaguered businessman Ezri Namvar, is being sold for $3.1 million, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court documents.

December Delivers Higher Home, Condo Prices

Sales volume drops, stoking concern over strength of rebound.

The median price of homes and condos in Los Angeles County rose year over year in December.

NEWSMAKERS

NEWSMAKERS

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has named Robert “Bud” Ovrom general manager of the Department of Building and Safety. Ovrom is deputy mayor of economic development.

Truck Dump

Thousands of port rejects swamp salvagers

Local scrap yards are feasting on trucks scuttled by the ports’ clean air standards.

Tease photo

TV Exec Hopes to Channel Programs Toward Women

FEATURED NEWSMAKER

‘‘Reality” didn’t hit for TV development executive Emily Mayer until she was out of college and working in the mailroom at Beverly Hills’ United Talent Agency

Northrop Flew Under the Radar

L.A. leaders left at a loss over company’s exit.

Northrop’s decision to leave L.A. surprised many charged with keeping companies here.

SoCal’s Aerospace Sector Still Has Lots of Lift

Sidebar

L.A.’s aerospace industry is now populated by newer and smaller companies.

Consolidation In Koreatown?

Nara, Wilshire see acquisition opportunities.

Business could pick up for Koreatown institutions looking at acquisition opportunities.

Dining Option’s Off the Wall

House of Blues plans to serve produce from club’s vertical garden.

House of Blues hopes produce from its vertical garden will grow on customers.

Friday, January 8

FDA Delays Decision on MannKind Drug

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has informed MannKind Corp. that it can’t meet its own deadline for making a decision on whether it should approve the Valencia biotech’s inhaled insulin drug.

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 Jan. 8 as investors shrugged off news that U.S. employers cut 85,000 jobs last month.

Live Nation, Ticketmaster Shareholders Approve Merger

Live Nation Inc. and Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. said that the shareholders of both companies approved a merger to create a live concert promotion and ticketing giant.

Schwarzenegger Declares Budget Emergency

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled an $82.9 billion state spending plan that calls for no tax hikes, but envisions pay cuts for state workers and reductions in services to neediest residents. It also relies on the benevolence of the federal government.

TCW Sues Gundlach

The money management giant alleges that former bond investment chief Jeffrey Gundlach's stole confidential data and used it to start his new firm. It also says it found pot and porn in his offices. Gundlach's firm plans to countersue.

Colony Buys FDIC Loans

Investment vehicles managed by Colony Capital LLC of Santa Monica have bought a portfolio of mostly commercial real estate loans from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Obagi Medical Products Sued by Founder

Celebrity dermatologist Dr. Zein Obagi has sued the company he founded, alleging that publicly traded Obagi Medical Products Inc. engaged in anti-competitive practices that hurt a private company he later founded.

Thursday, January 7

CalAmp Narrows Loss

CalAmp Corp. said that its third quarter loss narrowed on higher sales of its satellite communications products, which includes broadcast equipment for digital and high-definition satellite TV.

DirecTV and RealD Form 3D Partnership

DirecTV and RealD have joined the growing number of Los Angeles companies working on 3D television products. The two companies struck a licensing agreement to offer high-definition programming to DirecTV’s subscribers.

F.D.A. Plans Safety Check of Amgen's Anemia Drugs

OTHER NEWS

The Food and Drug Administration said it would review of the safety of anemia drugs sold by Amgen and Johnson & Johnson after another clinical trial suggested that high doses of one of the drugs might cause strokes.

MGM Likely to Draw Bids as Deadline Looms

A week before a Jan. 15 deadline on offers to buy MGM, two things are clear: The studio will attract some bids, but debt holders will need to OK another extension on scheduled debt payments. Warners, Lionsgate, and AT&T interested in making bids, but Fox appears to be staying on the sidelines.

Bank Holding Company Files for Bankruptcy

FirstFed Financial Corp., the Los Angeles savings and loan holding company whose operations were closed last month by regulators, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Jakks Announces Partnership for Animated Series, Toy Line

Jakks Pacific Inc. announced a strategic partnership with Japanese animator Dentsu Inc. to produce a TV series called Monsuno, a first-ever project created by Jakks to launch a line of boys toys.

Wednesday, January 6

DreamWorks Animation Forms 3D Alliance

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. said that it has formed a partnership with Samsung Electronics America Inc. and Technicolor to help promote a 3D home entertainment product line this year.

Cerrell Relinquishes Titles at Company He Founded

Cerrell Associates Inc said that longtime president Hal Dash has taken over the titles of chairman and chief executive from founder Joe Cerrell, who in recent years had stepped back from an active role in the high-profile public relations firm he founded.

Beach Business Bank Plans Orange County Expansion

Beach Business Bank said that it has applied with regulators to open a branch in Costa Mesa, following its acquisition of a portfolio of performing loans from an out-of-state lender that is leaving the area.

DirecTV Sees Rise in Subscriber Costs

DirecTV Group said it expects its subscriber acquisition costs to increase in 2010 as the satellite TV provider invests in more advanced services and products to differentiate itself from rivals at the cable companies.

Update: Governor Proposes Worker Training Initiative

In his last state of the state speech, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger presented initiatives to push employee training, spend more on higher education than prisons, and alter state employee pensions and the budget.

Disney Unveils KeyChest Technology

Walt Disney Co. has unveiled a technology called KeyChest to enable consumers to buy films or television shows from various distributors, store them on remote servers, and play them on multiple platforms ranging from TVs to computers and phones.

Cherokee Signs Swimwear Licensing Agreement

Licensing company Cherokee Inc. said Blue By Yoo will make women’s, junior’s and girl’s swimwear for Cherokee’s Sideout brand.

True Religion Apparel Appoints COO

True Religion Apparel Inc. said that Lynne Koplin, formerly of Tommy Bahama, has been appointed to the new post of chief operating officer.

Tuesday, January 5

Westwood One Acquires Sigalert

TV and radio programming syndicator Westwood One Inc. said that it had acquired the popular Sigalert service, which provides on-air, on-line and mobile traffic information throughout Southern California.

TV Producer David Gerber Dies at 86

Prolific television producer/executive David Gerber, whose wide-ranging career included the award-winning “George Washington” miniseries and the stylistic 80s series drama “thirtysomething,” died Saturday of heart failure. He was 86.

California Pizza License Shifts to Nestle

California Pizza Kitchen Inc. said that its licensing agreement for Kraft Foods Inc. to produce grocery-store versions of its gourmet pizza will shift to Nestle USA.

International Aluminum Files Chapter 11

International Aluminum Corp. has filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition and entered into a restructuring agreement with holders of about 72 percent of its senior debt.

Discovery, Imax and Sony Form 3-D Television Channel

Discovery, Imax and Sony say they are forming a joint venture for a 3-D television channel.

Tetra Tech Lands FAA Contract

Tetra Tech Inc. said it was awarded a multi-year contract, worth up to $200 million, to provide navigation technical assistance to the Federal Aviation Administration

Pacific Office Properties Acquires San Diego Complex

Pacific Office Properties Trust Inc. said it acquired a five-building San Diego office and biotechnology complex known as Seaview Corporate Center, where it has an office.

Monday, January 4

Culver City Entrepreneur Dies

Patsy Flanigan, president and chief executive of Culver City's Flanigan Farms Natural Foods, has died. She was 78.

Northrop to Move Corporate Office to D.C.

Northrop Grumman Corp. becomes the latest large public company to move its corporate office out of Los Angeles. A relocation to the Washington, D.C. area is planned by next year.

Yasheng Eco-Trade Secures Financing

Yasheng Eco-Trade Corp. said it entered into a preferred stock purchase agreement in which an entity of Socius Capital Group LLC will give it up to $5 million over time.

Private Bank of California Names CEO, Chairman

Private Bank of California said that David Misch has become its chief executive. Bank director Todd Neilson has been named chairman.

Korn/Ferry Buys Gov’t Management Consultant

Korn/Ferry International Inc. said that it has acquired Sensa Solutions, a Washington D.C.-area management consultant that primarily serves U.S. government agencies.

Immigration Offers Obama a Shot at Productive Reform

OP-ED

Immigration is an issue where Obama can make his mark as a reformer, according to Jorge Corralejo, Theresa Ynzunza and Robert Guzman.

IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURS: Charlie Woo

SPECIAL REPORT: IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURS

Charlie Woo is founder of Megatoys Co.

IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURS: Najeeb Ghauri

SPECIAL REPORT: IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURS

Najeeb Ghauri is founder and chief executive of NetSol Technologies Inc.

CALENDAR & EVENTS

Events of interest to Los Angeles' business community.

IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURS: Adolfo Suaya

SPECIAL REPORT: IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURS

Adolfo Suaya is founder and owner ofHollywood restaurant BoHo.

IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURS: Alan Thian

SPECIAL REPORT: IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURS

Alan Thian is chief executive of Royal Business Bank

IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURS: Mercedes Pellegrini

SPECIAL REPORT: IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURS

Mercedes Pellegrini is owner of Vittorio’s Ristorante.

IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURS: Nabih Youssef

SPECIAL REPORT: IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURS

Nabih Youssef is principal of Nabih Youssef Associates.

IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURS: Kamran Pourzanjani

SPECIAL REPORT: IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURS

Kamran Pourzanjani is founder and chief executive of Bestcovery.com.

IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURS: Jacques Nack Ngue

SPECIAL REPORT: IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURS

Jacques Nack Ngue is chief executive of eClaris Inc.

STILL THE LAND OF OPPORTUNITY

SPECIAL REPORT: Immigrants say why they set up shop in L.A. instead of their home countries

IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURS: From the founder of an e-discovery firm to restaurateurs, foreign-born business owners explain how they have made it in America.

Healthy Growth?

MLK hospital’s reopening may boost plan for biotech business park.

The revival of South L.A.’s MLK hospital has spawned a proposal for a biotech business park.

YWCA Playing Ball With Federal Tax Program

REAL ESTATE: Association leverages tax credit to pay for $70 million center.

The YWCA of Greater Los Angeles Inc. has turned to a unique financing tool to raise money for the construction of its $70 million center in downtown Los Angeles.

SHELTER FALLOUT

Tax scheme flattens ex-Haim Saban adviser

A tax fraud case has grounded the formerly high-flying tax attorney for media mogul Haim Saban.

Time to Go Back to School

OP-ED: The state’s business leaders have remained silent for too long in talks over funding higher education.Daniel J.B. Mitchell urges state business leaders to get involved in the debate over fund

Daniel J.B. Mitchell urges state business leaders to get involved in the debate over funding higher education.

NEWSMAKERS

Reed Smith LLP has promoted Nicole Herron Kolhoff to partner in its Century City office.

Life Lessons Inform Entrepreneur’s Business Approach

FEATURED NEWSMAKER

Mary Ann Seymour is a self-taught businesswoman, who got her first taste of entrepreneurship operating a corner lemonade stand when she was 9.

Man of Troy

INTERVIEW

Former musician Steven Sample ended up making his name drumming up support for USC.

Stripped-Down Appeal

BUSINESS PROFILE: Van Nuys’ Icon emphasizes rugged performance to drive sales for its Land Cruiser

EXPANSION: Van Nuys’ Icon pitches its bare-bones Land Cruiser-like vehicles as the wheel deal.

REGIONAL REPORT

Back in the Ring: Agoura Hills video game publisher THQ Inc. and pro wrestling producer World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. have signed an eight-year agreement to develop wrestling titles.

Hollywood Firm Realigns After Press Agent’s Passing

ADVERTISING & PR: The late Lee Solters’ name is dropped, staff added.

Lee Solters passed away at 89 in May, but his name lived on at the company he founded. Until now.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

City National Corp. regained its status as the largest locally based bank by acquiring for $3.4 billion the assets of Imperial Capital Bank, a La Jolla institution closed by regulators before Christmas.

L.A. May Burn Eatery Owners

A city of L.A. proposal to ban smoking on outdoor patios is drawing fire from some local restaurants.

Free Seminars Pay Off With Some Business Sense

Deloitte’s free seminars are helping some L.A. charity executives get down to business.

Westwood Maker of Dialysis Machines Pulls Plug

HEALTH CARE & BIOTECH: Germany’s Fresenius to take nearly all assets of Xcorporeal.

Last year’s credit crunch came at just the wrong time for Xcorporeal Inc., whose scientists were close to launching costly clinical trials of a portable kidney dialysis machine they’d been working on since the company’s founding in 2006.

Designers Drawn To Vacant Space

Glendale Galleria shop highlights area artisans.

Glendale Galleria’s Local Collection store lets individual vendors showcase their sales potential.

L.A. Event Firm Will Double Dip With Rose Bowl

SPORTS BUSINESS: Primesport to host parties for pair of BCS games.

For the first time ever, the Rose Bowl is hosting two bowl games during the same week this year: the traditional New Year’s Day Rose Bowl and the Jan. 7 BCS National Championship Game.

Investors Like Look of Airport Security Screeners

MANUFACTURING: Shares of machine maker OSI rise after Delta attack.

The failed Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner has led to more interest in machines that can better detect potential explosives hidden on passengers’ bodies.

It All Boils Down to Jobs

OP-ED: Landlords and lawmakers must understand that helping small businesses helps the economy.

Harold L. Katz wants landlords and lawmakers to understand that small business is a cornerstone of employment.

Not All Banks Want to Bail Out of Bailout Program

Smaller lenders praise TARP while larger institutions seek quick exit.

Small banks are praising the TARP program that larger institutions can’t quit fast enough.

Local Firm Hopes Power Plants Are Hot Properties

SolarReserve to build two molten salt facilities in Southwest.

SolarReserve’s prospects are heating up with plans to build two molten salt generating plants in the Southwest.

Infamy Insurance

New policies help advertisers handle star spokesman scandals.

A new policy aims to protect advertisers from scandals that befall celebrity pitchmen such as Tiger Woods.

Making the Call on City Hall

New iPhone app lets users send complaints to local, state officials.

A local man’s iPhone app helps users speak out on civic issues.

Game Theory Pays Off

Business student turns class project at UCLA into two-man company.

A class project bloomed into a board game business for a former UCLA grad student.

L.A. Foodies Cook Up a Storm on Reality Shows

PAGE 3

Los Angeles seems to be enjoying a veritable embarrassment of emerging celebrity chefs.

Making the Most of Opportunity

COMMENT

Charles Crumpley salutes immigrant entrepreneurs and their moving experiences.

Friday, January 1

First Regional Gets Nasdaq Warning

First Regional Bancorp said that Nasdaq regulators warned the business bank holding company that its low market cap endangered the company’s listing on the market.