Stories for March 2010

Wednesday, March 31

AeroVironment CFO Resigns

AeroVironment Inc. said that Chief Financial Officer Stephen Wright has resigned to pursue “other business opportunities.”

Threatened Westwood Theaters Acquired

OTHER NEWS

Regency Theatres has bought the Westwood Village's historic Bruin and Village movie theaters near UCLA.

MGM's Creditors Extend Debt Deadline

The struggling studio's 140-plus lenders delay the due date for interest payments on $3.7-billion in debt to May 14. That gives MGM's stakeholders more time to weigh purchase offers.

Ameron Profits Sink

Ameron International Corp. said its first-quarter earnings dropped 72 percent, largely due to lower sales in the slower economy. The industrial products maker also disputed an activist shareholder’s criticisms about its executive compensation.

Pacific Office Properties Hires CFO

Pacific Office Properties Trust Inc. has named James Wolford its chief financial officer. The announcement follows the naming of a permanent chief executive earlier this week.

Tuesday, March 30

Joe's Jeans to Launch Shoe Line

Premium denim maker Joe's Jeans Inc. said that it is expanding into the women’s shoe market after signing a manufacturing and distribution licensing deal with shoemaker Burano LLC.

New DreamWorks Film Disappoints

The stock of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. dropped after opening weekend domestic box office receipts for the company’s 3D film "How to Train Your Dragon" came in lower than expected.

Reed’s Loss Shrinks

Reed's Inc. said its net loss narrowed in 2009 as lower costs offset a small decline in sales.

Coda Gets Battery Backing

Electric carmaker Coda Automotive Inc. and a partner have secured a nearly $300 million line of credit for the production of lithium-ion batteries at a facility in China.

Activision Blizzard Quietly Hits Reset Button

The nation's largest video game publisher has shuffled its senior management team and realigned its internal structure without telling investors or the public.

Monday, March 29

Unico American Profit Falls

Unico American Corp. said its fourth quarter earnings fell more than 70 percent, blaming a tougher insurance market in which competitors are pricing their products at rates it believes are inadequate to support an underwriting profit.

Mayor, Council Come Up with DWP Compromise

OTHER NEWS

A compromise designed to preserve the Department of Water and Power's financial stability and build up a solar energy program has been reached between Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council.

Skechers Execs Taking Profits

OTHER NEWS

Demand for Skechers' new Shape-ups shoe has helped the company's share price quintuple in the past year. Now, insiders are walking away from some of their shares.

Court Hearing Highlights McCourt's Lavish Lifestyle

OTHER NEWS

Jamie McCourt's divorce attorney Dennis Wasser argued passionately that his client deserved support to continue the lifestyle she had before her separation from her husband, Dodgers' owner Frank McCourt.

Response Genetics’ CFO to Resign

Response Genetics Inc. said that Thomas Stankovich has resigned as chief financial officer effective April 2 “to pursue other interests.”

REIT Names CEO

Pacific Office Properties Trust Inc. said that it named James Ingebritsen, a co-founder and major shareholder, as its chief executive officer.

Crackdown Stuns Big Sign Posters

Trutanich’s actions called unfair, excessive.

L.A. building owners and sign companies are stunned and upset by the city attorney’s crackdown on supergraphics.

Wilshire Grand Transformation Moving S-l-o-w-l-y

Korean Air calling on City Hall to speed up permit process.

Korean Air calls on Los Angeles City Hall to speed up the permit process for its transformation of the Wilshire Grand.

Newsmakers

Newsmakers

Stretched Out

Before Sit ’n Sleep achieved a success fueled in part by hit TV and radio ads, Larry Miller says the furnishings business flirted with bankruptcy.

Sit ’n Sleep founder Larry Miller spent nights tossing and turning in the early days of his business.

Bringing the Heat

Vernon’s Overhill Farms has seen its stock rise along with restaurant sales of its frozen-food products.

Restaurant sales have lit a fire under the stock of frozen-food maker Overhill Farms.

Regional Report

Regional Report

Airline Snack Company Takes Off Into Marketing

ADVERTISING & PR: Harvey Alpert opens Brand in the Hand to get ads on packaging.

Talk about high-end marketing: Advertisers now have a medium that reaches affluent consumers at altitudes above 35,000 feet.

Air District Gives Some Breathing Room to Business

REGULATION WATCH: Penalties for region’s pollution will be lower than under previous proposal.

The regional air quality authority took steps last week to lighten fees for hundreds of local polluting businesses that will be assessed because the region failed to meet federal standards.

But What Will Health Care Reform Really Cost?

Business owners worry about landmark legislation.

Business owners predict that health care reform is going to cost them more money.

Business Journal’s Coverage Earns Two Honors

Paper wins general excellence award, plus ‘Best of the Best.’

The Los Angeles Business Journal wins two significant awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

Tag Team

Avery Dennison getting traction with RFID

Avery Dennison is getting some traction with its RFID tags used for retail and baggage tracking.

News of the Week

News of the Week

Special Delivery From the New York Times

PAGE 3

As the founder of L.A. public relations firm Levine Communications Office, Michael Levine is not unaccustomed to rubbing elbows with the rich and famous.

Making Posh Push

Maker of high-end strollers opens first store in El Segundo.

El Segundo stroller maker Bugaboo has rolled out its first store.

Virtually Driving Economy

Online car site scores real dough from owners upgrading their rides.

Long Beach’s Cie Digital Labs draws real dough from virtual car enthusiasts.

Boosting Internet Connection

Beverly Hills PR vet helps execs shine in Web site videos.

A Beverly Hills consultant has added to her repertoire, now helping executives make appearances on Web site videos.

Pipe Company Under Pressure

JM Eagle says attacks on PVC products don’t hold water.

JM Eagle, the world’s largest maker of plastic pipe, finds itself in a legal battle that could damage its reputation and cost it hundreds of millions of dollars.

Pulling the Plug

KFWB up for sale after more static from FCC

CBS Radio has been forced to put Los Angeles station KFWB up for sale.

FirstFed’s Fault Lines

SPECIAL REPORT: Banking & Finance Quarterly

Was it just another thift that fell under the weight of too many shaky home loans? Or was FirstFed’s fall hastened by a combative CEO who rankled federal regulators?

Tease photo

Meating Your Maker at Lawry’s the Prime Rib

Mark C. Miller gently ribs Lawry’s red-blooded approach to eating meat.

Split Down the Middle

Business leaders must step in to stop L.A.’s increasing division into upper and lower classes.

Anti-poverty programs help foster economic stability, according to Elise Buik and Manuel Pastor.

Big Signs, Bigger Problems

COMMENT

Charles Crumpley writes that if Carmen Trutanich’s biggest problem is really supergraphics, his budget might need to be cut even more.

Entrepreneurs Building Photographic Memories

REAL ESTATE: Company uses images to settle questions over construction projects.

Two real estate industry veterans have started a new Woodland Hills business filling what they say is a void in the marketplace.

Calendar & Events

Calendar & Events

Music Executive Takes Cues From His Nerd Sensibility

Featured Newsmaker

Long before anyone had heard of a tweet or Facebook friend, Jay Hughen was experimenting with online social networking sites to communicate with other music industry professionals and music fans.

Thursday, March 25

County Sees Small Employment Improvement

The Los Angeles County jobs picture brightened slightly in February as the county gained 24,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a point to 12.4 percent, according to figures released Friday.

American Apparel Reports Lower Profit

Shares of American Apparel Inc. fell more than 17 percent Friday, a day after the apparel maker reported a lower fourth quarter profit largely due to higher expenses.

Lions Gate Seeks Shareholder Rights Plan Approval

Shareholders are being invited to get involved in the tussle between Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. and billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, who already controls about 19 percent of the company's stock.

Chinese Company Buys Marriott Downtown Hotel

Shenzhen New World Group, a Chinese development company, has purchased the Los Angeles Marriott Downtown Hotel, which had filed for bankruptcy last year.

Caltius Acquires HR Firm

Caltius Equity Partners in Los Angeles has acquired a controlling interest in Diversified Human Resources, a Phoenix-based HR firm that sells insurance, payroll services and temporary staffing solutions.

WWCOT Merges with DLR Group

Santa Monica architecture firm WWCOT has merged with national design firm DLR Group to create a new company.

UTi Worldwide Swings to Profit But Disappoints Analysts

Shares of UTi Worldwide dropped 9 percent after the logistics company’s fourth-quarter profit didn’t meet analyst forecasts.

Wednesday, March 24

SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills Refinances Debt

Nazarian Enterprises and SBE announced today that their SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills has refinanced its $70 million mortgage, easing a debt crisis for the owners of the chic new luxury hotel.

Jacobs Shares Gain on Upgrade

Shares of Jacobs Engineering Group rose 4 percent Wednesday after a JPMorgan analyst upgraded the company on the prediction that it will be among the first construction companies to rebound from the sector’s current slowdown.

Cereplast Signs Distribution Deal for Chile, Peru

Cereplast, a manufacturer of biologically made plastics in El Segundo, has entered into an agreement to supply bioplastic resins to customers in Chile and Peru.

UCLA Study Predicts Little Job Growth Until 2012

The recession may be over, but employers and workers in California won’t feel any recovery this year, according to the latest quarterly UCLA Anderson Forecast released Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 23

Reed’s Soda Faces Competition in Proposed Merger

Natural soda maker Reed’s Inc. said Wednesday that it has given Jones Soda, a Seattle acquisition target, the right to pursue another offer.

Reed’s Soda Faces Competition in Proposed Merger

Natural soda maker Reed’s Inc. said Wednesday that it has given Jones Soda, a Seattle acquisition target, the right to pursue another offer.

Hermosa Beach Asks Court to End Oil-Drilling Dispute

The City of Hermosa Beach has petitioned the California Supreme Court to end a legal battle with an oil company that could mushroom into a $700 million dispute.

KB Home Narrows Loss

Homebuilder KB Home on Tuesday reported a smaller net loss for the first quarter, citing improved margins on home sales.

Maguire Properties Reports Higher Loss

Maguire Properties Inc., the biggest office landlord in downtown Los Angeles reported a net loss of $299 million on Tuesday.

Monday, March 22

Director of Marketing Position Fits Champion Softball Player Like Glove

Softball has been at the center of Ashley Herrera’s life since she was 7 years old.

Still Producing

Why L.A. County remains No. 1 in factory jobs

L.A. County remains the leader in factory employment despite a steady decline in jobs.

Trouble for Tinseltown’s Two Trades

Variety’s latest cutbacks ‘almost bewildering,’ says Web rival.

Dips in ad revenue and circulation have Hollywood wondering if the curtain will fall on its two trade papers.

Trustees Criticize Namvar Conduct

Report faults lax business, personal practices.

Report by bankruptcy trustees details sloppy conduct by businessman Ezri Namvar and his company.

Divorce Lawyer In the Crosshairs

Payroll exec’s wife says attorney hid husband’s money.

The wife of a founder of bankrupt payroll company Axium alleges her husband’s divorce attorney helped him hide money.

Street Smart Shops

Cluster of L.A. stores pulls crowds with urban-wear focus.

A grouped effort seems to be working for an L.A. cluster of street wear stores.

Staying In the Picture

Non-profit aims to keep assisting disaster sites after media moves on.

Santa Monica’s Aid Still Required works to help disaster areas after they fall off the front page.

Assembly Required

House Port does for houses what Ikea did for home furniture.

Prefab home maker House Port will soon have some residences popping up in L.A.

Remembering the Octomom Account

Joann Killeen, president of publicity agency Killeen Furtney Group in Brentwood, vividly recalls the day more than a year ago when she won the account of a lifetime.

News of the Week

News of the Week

Building Momentum

Downtown L.A. condo tower racks up sales despite tough market.

Downtown L.A.’s upscale condo tower Evo has bucked the tough market with healthy sales.

Investors Gasp at FDA’s Inhaled Insulin Review

MannKind shares tumble after agency’s request for data.

The FDA’s request for more trial information about MannKind’s inhaled insulin rocked the company’s stock.

Area Shoemaker Steps Up Consolidation Efforts

Skechers’ new Moreno Valley warehouse to replace five in Ontario.

Manhattan Beach shoemaker Skechers will get a leg up with its big new warehouse in Riverside County.

Investment Firm Chief Executive Returns to Roots

LAW: Stanley Gold cuts role at Shamrock to take position at Gang Tyre.

Stanley Gold rejoined prominent entertainment law boutique Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown last week, ending his 25-year run as president and chief executive of the late Roy Disney’s investment firm, Shamrock Capital Advisors.

Business Leaders Hope to Zap DWP Rate Hikes

L.A. mayor touts surcharge plan as part of eco program.

L.A. city business leaders are shocked at the mayor’s push for a prompt DWP rate hike.

SEC Puts Brakes on Bus Driver Investment Plan

BANKING & FINANCE: L.A. firm and principal allegedly ran $14.7 million Ponzi scheme.

Financial fraud often goes unnoticed when the economy is strong. But in times like these, scams tend to fall apart.

Animation Firm Drawn Into Reverse-Merger Deal

TECHNOLOGY: Image Metrics goes public as means to raise money.

The executives of Image Metrics Ltd., a Santa Monica-based animation company that does work on video games and feature films, wanted to take their company public, but opted against a traditional IPO.

REGIONAL REPORT

Regional Report

No Pane, No Gain

CM Squared boosts retail customers’ branding and foot traffic with edgy window displays.

CM Squared’s distinctive displays aim to build buzz and turn window shoppers into customers.

Rooted Interest

Sherman Oaks native Ron Tutor took his dad’s small construction business and turned it into industry giant Tutor-Perini.

Ron Tutor feels his company’s 15-year lawsuit with the MTA has gone on much too long.

Newsmakers

Newsmakers

Always on the Clock

L.A. could build a road to the future by offering business, municipal and retail services on a ‘24 Hour Street.’

Rob Carpenter believes a “24 Hour Street” would liberate locals timewise.

DWP Hikes a Misuse of Power

COMMENT

Charles Crumpley sees red over the L.A. mayor’s green-minded proposal for DWP rate hikes.

Malibu Mansion More Than Diamond in Rough

CHIEF DWELLINGS: Jeweler Gregg Ruth seeks $16 million for 20-acre estate.

Listings and sales of L.A. executive homes.

Local Brokerage Chain Breaks After Purchase

REAL ESTATE: Agents depart, offices shut after Sperry Van Ness deal.

Real Estate

Calendar & Events

Calendar & Events

No Room for Excuses

Owners and lenders who insist on holding on to distressed hotels risk impeding economy’s recovery.

HOSPITALITY – Hotel industry owners and lenders need a reality check on property prices, writes Chauncey Swalwell.

City of Los Angeles Has Tough Choices to Make

GOVERNMENT – Cary Brazeman offers L.A. city officials guidance on dealing with the deficit.

Friday, March 19

Analyst Upgrade Boosts Shares of Tetra Tech

Shares of Tetra Tech gained 6 percent Friday after an analyst upgraded the stock to “buy” from “neutral,” citing the Pasadena engineering firm’s growing project pipeline.

Icahn Ramps Up Offer to Buy Lions Gate Shares

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn upped the stakes Friday in his bid to control Lions Gate Entertainment, offering to purchase up to all of the Santa Monica film studio’s outstanding shares.

Electro Rent Buys Telogy Assets

Electro Rent Corp. in Van Nuys announced Friday that it won an auction to acquire the assets of Telogy LLC, a reseller of electronic test equipment that filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

Thursday, March 18

Kerkorian’s Tracinda to Pay $8 Million to Settle Suit

OTHER NEWS

Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp. will pay $8.1 million to settle a class action lawsuit by former DaimlerChrysler AG shareholders who claimed the billionaire investor sold shares in 1999 based on inside information.

First Cal Plans 10 Million Share Offering

The holding company of First California Bank announced Thursday that it plans to sell 10 million shares of common stock to fund working capital needs, acquisitions and regulatory expenses.

Kennedy Wilson Reports Loss Due to Acquisition

Real estate investment firm Kennedy Wilson reported a fourth quarter loss of $9.1 million due to costs related to a spate of mergers and acquisitions.

Hanmi Capital Deal Falls Apart

Shares of Hanmi Financial Corp. were down nearly 10 percent Thursday after the Koreatown bank holding company revealed that talks with a potential investor had ended without a deal.

Wednesday, March 17

Skyview Capital Buys Credit Card Processing Firm

Skyview Capital LLC in Beverly Hills has completed the acquisition of Traxcom Technologies, which processes online transactions for credit card companies.

Clinical Trials Send Abraxis Shares Up

Abraxis BioScience on Wednesday announced successful results of a Phase 3 trial for its cancer drug Abraxane. News of the results sent Abraxis shares higher by 30 percent.

CB Richard Ellis Launches Solar Energy Service

Real estate management firm CB Richard Ellis Group will open a new service called CBRE Solar to help commercial buildings take advantage of solar energy.

Tuesday, March 16

Former Shamrock CEO Stanley Gold Rejoins Law Firm

Stanley Gold, the former chief executive of Shamrock Holdings, has rejoined the law firm Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown as of counsel, effective Tuesday.

1st Century Shares Surge Despite $3.5 Million Loss

Shares of 1st Century Bank in Century City rose 9 percent Tuesday after the company reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $3.5 million.

Business Group Takes Case to Washington

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was in the nation’s capital Tuesday heading up a delegation of 200 business leaders who will ask Congress for help in jumpstarting the local economy.

Maguire Sells OC Office Towers

Real estate investment trust Maguire Properties has completed the sale of the Griffin Towers project in Costa Mesa.

Monday, March 15

This Picture Needs Fixing

OPED: L.A.’s financial cutbacks imperil a cable TV service that covers important civic issues.

Paul M.J. Suchecki fears the city of L.A. has tuned out cable channel LA CityView 35.

Overhauled Brokerage Beefs Up in Los Angeles

REAL ESTATE: Colliers says scuttling network led to scoring new talent.

Since centralizing its business structure in December, Colliers International of Seattle has been busy hiring and promoting others within the company in Los Angeles.

Vet Looks to Collar Consumer Web Site

Suit says Yelp sought money to curb negative reviews.

A local veterinarian claims consumer Web site Yelp offered to stifle poor reviews for a price.

Down Under Transplant Takes Top Role as Hotel Caterer

Featured Newsmaker

During the last 20 years, Rosanna Harrison has made a name for herself in the hospitality industry, winning awards for catering work at a host of area hotels.

Family Matters

Charles Dunn CEO Walter J. Conn says one reason for owning your own real estate firm is working every day with your kids.

Walter J. Conn and his children have made real estate brokerage Charles Dunn a family business.

Proving a Good Fit

Shift at Joe’s Jean pays off as company drops aprons and totes to focus on premium demin.

City of Commerce’s Joe’s Jeans has proved a good fit in the premium denim business.

Venice Agency Will Give Retail Chain the High Sign

ADVERTISING & PR: Space150 to promote Forever 21 on Times Square billboard.

Space150, a digital agency in Venice, has won a $1 million contract to supply content for a giant digital billboard in New York’s Times Square.

Pasadena Drug Developer Sees No Reason to Go On

HEALTH CARE & BIOTECH: Chief exec of AutoImmune to return money to shareholders.

It’s a rare management team that’s willing to admit it’s time to throw in the towel before all investors’ money is lost.

Local Firm Has Hand in Improving Batter Safety

SPORTS BUSINESS: Valencia’s XProTex claims its gloves curb impact of pitches.

Broken wrists or fingers from a 100 miles-per-hour pitch can ruin a season for a Major League Baseball player.

Exec Search Firm Sees Positive Numbers

Korn/Ferry in Century City says profit, CEO outlook are up.

Does the profit spike at executive search firm Korn/Ferry point to a wider economic recovery?

Northrop Ditched Bid, but L.A. May Still Land Piece of Air Force Tanker

Boeing to talk with state suppliers about work on project.

Boeing has reassured local companies that they can still land work on the Air Force tanker plane now even though Northrop Grumman is out.

Group Seeks Safety on Adult Film Sets

REGULATION WATCH: State panel to hear petition on mandatory condom use.

A showdown between the porn industry and an AIDS activist group is coming to the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards board this week in a hearing over regulations for condom use on adult film sets.

L.A. Beverage Maker Brews Up Acquisition Deal

Reed’s makes $9.8 million offer for Seattles’ Jones Soda.

L.A. drink maker Reed’s has uncorked a plan to merge with Seattle’s Jones.

Sink or Swim?

Robert Stein wants to christen a shipyard, but the port wants to use what he calls a ‘community asset’ as a sludge dump.

A developer expected smoother sailing for his pitch to open a shipyard at the Port of Los Angeles.

A Heaping Slice of Humble Pie

It’s not every day that a local business owner gets humiliated on national television for the way they run their business.

New of the Week

News of the Week

Flush With Victory

Torrance hotel stages tax time-themed contest for toilet giveaway.

Miyako Hybrid Hotel hopes to make a splash with its toilet giveaway.

Popping A Tab on Branding

El Segundo maker of work apparel whips up energy drink line.

El Segundo apparel company Ironclad is proving its mettle as an energy drink maker.

You Have To Hand It To Him

Business adviser touts rock-paper-scissors as problem resolver.

Rock-paper-scissors comes in handy as a teaching tool for business adviser Daryl Wizelman.

Supervisor Railed Against the Wrong Transit Issue

Harold L. Katz opposes Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas framing transit issues as a rich vs. poor debate.

Pulling the Plug on Web Reviews

COMMENT

Online reviews of businesses have Charles Crumpley clicked off.

Bank’s Survival A Private Matter

Individual investors help Saehan dodge danger zone.

Koreatown’s Saehan shored up its capital levels by tapping individual investors in the Korean-American community.

City Asks Vendors To Cut Their Fees

Some open to L.A.’s 10 percent request.

The city of Los Angeles has asked contractors to cut fees 10 percent, and it found some takers.

Calendar and Events

Calendar and Events

Newsmakers

Newsmakers

Friday, March 12

Lions Gate Rejects Icahn’s Offer

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. has rejected Carl Icahn's unsolicited bid to increase his stake in the Santa Monica independent film studio. Its board also adopted a “poison pill” shareholders rights plan to discourage further efforts by the billionaire activist investor.

Thursday, March 11

BreitBurn Slips to Loss

BreitBurn Energy Partners LP on Thursday said it swung to loss in the fourth quarter partly because of lower energy sales and investment losses.

Planning Commission Approves Bundy Village

Consideration of Bundy Village, an 11.5-acre medical facilities and senior housing project in West L.A., now moves to the Los Angeles City Council after the city’s Planning Commission on Thursday endorsed a downsized version of the developer’s original plans.

Wednesday, March 10

Restaurant Cited for Whale Meat Sales

Federal prosecutors filed criminal charges Wednesday against Typhoon Restaurant Inc., the parent company of Santa Monica sushi restaurant Hump, with illegally selling Sei whale meat.

Hot Topic Profit Falls

Hot Topic Inc. said that its fiscal fourth-quarter profit fell sharply on a 10 percent decline in sales. It also forecast a loss in its current first quarter.

Runaway Film Production Is Star of This Movie

OTHER NEWS

Film industry veteran Mike Kehoe is hoping his latest production will promote awareness about the economic consequences in Southern California of so-called runaway production.

Film Review at Heart of Suit Against Variety

OTHER NEWS

In a step that is unusual even for litigation-heavy Hollywood, the maker of “Iron Cross,” a small independent film that has yet to find a distributor, charged in a complaint that the trade paper Variety had damaged the movie.

AeroVironment’s Quarter Disappoints

Hurt by delays in orders for its military drone aircraft, AeroVironment Inc. reported lower-than-expected net income for the fiscal third quarter and provided a more cautious full-year outlook.

Tuesday, March 9

Colony Offers Leibovitz a Helping Hand

Colony Capital LLC has entered into a long-term agreement with Annie Leibovitz to help the celebrity photographer manage her debt and stay out of bankruptcy.

Saehan Gets Cash Infusion

The Koreatown parent of Saehan Bank, ordered by regulators to shore up its capital levels, has privately negotiated a $60.6 million common stock sale to a group of investors.

Reed’s Buys Soda Competitor

Los Angeles gourmet soda maker Reed's Inc. said it planned to acquire Seattle competitor Jones Soda Inc. for about $9.8 million in cash and stock.

Caruso Targets Airport Business

OTHER NEWS

Developer Rick Caruso is looking to expand his retail empire to airports across the country, including Los Angeles International.

DirecTV Issues New Debt

DirecTV Inc. has priced about $2.98 billion in new debt that it plans to use for general corporate purposes, share repurchasing and possible repayment of some earlier debt.

Korn/Ferry Swings to Profit

Despite a continued slow pace in hiring, staffing company Korn/Ferry International said it moved to a profit in its fiscal third quarter on higher revenue.

Monday, March 8

Northrop Drops Out of Tanker Competition

Northrop Grumman Corp. said it will not compete for the U.S. Air Force's multibillion-dollar aerial tanker contract

KB Home Case Has High Stakes for Prosecutors

OTHER NEWS

Federal prosecutors seek to punish ex-CEO Bruce Karatz, but also to improve the record of a massive stock-options crackdown that so far has yielded few convictions.

Northrop Gets More Federal Records Work

Northrop Grumman Corp. said it was awarded a follow-on contract, valued at up to $100 million, to electronically convert and store federal employee records.

L.A. LAW

O’Melveny a key witness to city’s history

The history of L.A.’s largest firm, O’Melveny & Myers, offers a look at the life and growth of the region.

Tease photo

Hire Calling

INTERVIEW: L.A.’s new ‘jobs czar,’ Austin Beutner, has taken the $1-a-year gig because he believes it’s time for his generation to perform public service.

New city of L.A. jobs czar Austin Beutner has signed up for public service to the tune of $1 a year.

Rush Hour Returns With a Vengeance

OP-ED

Ted Lux writes that a fear of high gas prices no longer drives local commuters.

L.A. in Dire Need of Some Hospitality

OP-ED: Renewal process for city permits punishes bars, restaurants and clubs that play by the rules.

Leron Gubler rips a city of L.A. permit renewal process that makes all businesses start from square one.

Drawing a Line at City Hall

Charles Crumpley believes the city of L.A. needs to take some queues on its business permit process.

Ex-Disney Exec Now Entertaining in Santa Monica

CHIEF DWELLING: Gary Kreisel shells out $2.8 million for our-bedroom residence.

Listings and sales of L.A. executive homes.

Manhattan Beach Brokerage Files for Chapter 11

REAL ESTATE: Re/Max Marquee had been targeted in series of trademark lawsuits.

A long simmering legal battle over the trademark of a real estate brokerage has picked up steam in recent weeks.

NEWSMAKERS

Personal Lines Growth Alliance, an industry group for independent insurance agents, has named Steve Brooks chairman.

Graphic Designer Makes Burmese Refugees a Priority

FEATURED NEWSMAKER

When Starr Merten volunteered to help Burmese refugees in Thailand last year, she was surprised to find herself applying her graphic design background in ways that stretched far beyond her advertising career.

Turning the Page

PROFILE: West L.A. e-book vendor Wowio likes what it sees in readers’ increased reliance on digital devices.

West L.A. e-book vendor Wowio is abuzz about the boom in digital reading devices.

REGIONAL REPORT

ReachLocal Inc. has acquired SMB Live, a firm that monitors the online presence and reputation for small and medium-size businesses.

Did ‘Warfare’ Maker Shoot Itself in the Foot Over Duo?

TECHNOLOGY: Activision feud with former execs may hurt blockbuster franchise.

Activision Blizzard Inc.’s shakeup of the local video game studio responsible for its famed “Call of Duty” franchise carries some risks for the Santa Monica-based publisher.

Debit Card Company Takes a Run at Utah Bank

BANKING & FINANCE: Monrovia’s Green Dot touts pickup as cost-cutting maneuver.

Green Dot Bank? A funny name for sure – but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Doughnut Chain Buyer Now Hungry for Burgers

Equity firm makes $928 million all-cash offer for Carl’s Jr.

A private equity firm known for scooping up Dunkin’ Donuts wants to add Carl’s Jr. to the menu.

Councilman Wants Tax to Tie Businesses to L.A.

Alarcon would offer refunds based on length of city residency.

L.A. Councilman Richard Alarcon hopes a tax rebate plan will anchor businesses to the city.

Investors Look to Take Plunge With Water Company

Group offers deal valued at $427 million for L.A.’s SouthWest.

A group of institutional investors wants to dive in and take SouthWest Water private.

Soldiering On

Dale Dye, military adviser to film and TV, aims to grow his business with publishing and motivational speaking.

Vietnam vet Dale Dye has marshaled his military experience into a successful show biz career.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

Jakks Pacific Inc. said Jack Friedman, one of its founders and a co-chief executives, would step down April 1, but will continue to serves as board chairman and consultant to the Malibu toymaker.

Hotel’s Not So Arresting Launch

PAGE 3

About 300 attended what was called the “unveiling” of the JW Marriott Hotel at L.A. Live last week (the ribbon cutting was held last month).

Private Passion

Art collection of the late Michael Crichton to get public showing.

The late author Michael Crichton’s painting collection is expected to be a best seller at auction.

Turning Into No Last Resort

Lake Arrowhead center offers low-cost retreat options for businesses.

A UCLA resort in Lake Arrowhead offers business conventioneers a lesson in frugality.

Making Tracks to East L.A.

Community’s tourism campaign leverages new Metro line stop.

East Los Angeles hopes to use a new Metro extension to hook shoppers, diners and anglers.

Median Home Price Falls Two Months in a Row

February dip has analysts questioning market’s 2009 bounce.

The median sales price for homes in L.A. County fell for the second straight month in February.

Auto Insurer Revs Measure’s Motor

Mercury pays millions in Proposition 17 drive.

Mercury General is the driving force behind a state proposition that would let auto insurers target rivals’ customers.

China Car Maker To Plug Into L.A.?

BYD seeks office, plant for electric vehicles.

Chinese electric car maker BYD is hunting for a place to park in Southern California.

Local Firms’ Profits Make Case for Recovery

Sidebar: L.A. Law

The local legal industry is courting a comeback as a dozen of L.A.’s top firms report higher profits in 2009.

Friday, March 5

L.A. Jobless Rate Jumps Again

L.A. County lost a whopping 74,000 payroll jobs in January, pushing the unemployment rate up to 12.5 percent, according Employment Development Department figures.

Council Approves Modified Business Tax

Moving to prevent numerous Internet-related businesses from leaving the city, the L.A. City Council voted to create a new, lower business tax category specifically for Internet companies.

This Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies closed up for the week after the U.S. employment report showed fewer jobs were lost last month than expected.

Long Lines at Theme Parks Are for Jobs

OTHER NEWS

White-collar workers are among thousands flooding local amusement parks with applications.

Move’s Loss Widens

The real estate Internet site company Move Inc. reported a larger fourth-quarter loss as revenue slumped in a continuing slow market for home sales and leasing.

Thomas Properties Narrows Loss

Thomas Properties Group Inc.'s fourth quarter net loss decreased slightly as the Los Angeles company enjoyed improved revenue from its office properties.

Thursday, March 4

CB Richard Ellis Names CFO

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. said it promoted Gil Borok to chief financial officer.

Burkle to Leave KB Home Board

KB Home said that Ron Burkle will not run for re-election to the Los Angeles homebuilder’s board at its annual stockholders meeting next month, so he can devote more time to other business interests.

FDA Cracks Down on Food Claims

OTHER NEWS

The Food and Drug Administration sent 17 warning letters to food manufacturers, including the Los Angeles makers of POM pomegranate juice, as part of an effort to crack down on misleading labels on food packages.

RealNetworks Settles Suit with Movie Studios

OTHER NEWS

RealNetworks Inc. said it will pay $4.5 million and drop its appeal of a court order barring sales of its DVD-copying software to settle a lawsuit by Walt Disney Co. and other Hollywood movie studios.

For Movie Stars, the Big Money Is Now Deferred

OTHER NEWS

Movie stars, who not so long ago vied to make $20 million or even $25 million a picture, have seen their upfront salaries shrink as DVD sales fell, star-driven vehicles stumbled at the box office and studios grew increasingly tightfisted.

Activision Sued by Ex-Employees

The two former heads of a local video game studio filed suit against Activision Blizzard Inc., alleging that the Santa Monica publisher terminated them without cause.

Costs Batter Crown’s Quarter

Crown Media Holdings Inc. reported a 71 percent decline in fourth-quarter earnings, which were hurt by costs associated with contract terminations.

Wednesday, March 3

Big 5’s Higher Profit Falls Short of Expectations

Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp reported a 77 percent jump in fourth quarter earnings that barely fell short of analyst estimates, but its shares were not harshly punished on Wall Street.

Disney and Cablevision Take ABC Fight Public

OTHER NEWS

The Walt Disney Company and Cablevision have each told viewers to take a side — their side in a brewing battle over distribution payments that are increasingly seen as vital for television broadcasters.

JAKKS Slips to Loss

JAKKS Pacific Inc. reported a fourth-quarter net loss because of restructuring charges, and announced that one of its founders and co-chief executives would step down next month.

SouthWest Water To Be Acquired for $427 Million

SouthWest Water Co. said that it has entered into an agreement to be acquired and taken private by a group of institutional investors for about $275 million in cash, plus assumption of debt.

Tuesday, March 2

Northrop Wins Aircraft Component Contract

Northrop Grumman Corp. said that it won an U.S. Air Force contract valued at nearly $224 million to provide components for surveillance aircraft.

Creditors Set to Gain Panavision

OTHER NEWS

Ron Perelman is handing over Panavision Inc., the debt-laden camera rental company that is suffering from a steep downturn in movie and TV production, to its creditors, according to news reports.

Tix Makes Acquisition

Tix Corp. said that it acquired the assets of All Access Entertainment, a discount ticket service in Las Vegas.

Teledyne Invests in Security Equipment Company

Teledyne Technologies Inc. said that a subsidiary has acquired a minority stake in Optical Alchemy Inc., which makes sensors for surveillance equipment.

Monday, March 1

Green Dot Files for IPO

Green Dot Corp., a Monrovia financial services company, said it filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to make an initial public offering of its stock.

Boeing Seeks Foreign Buyers for C-17

OTHER NEWS

The cargo plane's Long Beach assembly plant is scheduled to close in two years. Boeing slows production to extend the life of the plant and work on sales.

Edison Profits Fall

Edison International said fourth-quarter earnings fell 2 percent as a Southern California Edison rate increase couldn’t offset a drop in revenue at its power generating Edison Mission Group.

Lions Gate to Review Ichan’s Offer

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. said it would review an earlier announced bid by Carl Icahn to increase his stake in the Santa Monica independent studio.

Four Online Firms Consolidate to Leverage Services

ADVERTISING & PR: New entity Evolve Media to target $1 million accounts.

Four local online companies have moved in together under the same corporate roof.

Talking Shop

PROFILE: Mall operator Macerich has been able to lighten its debt while moving ahead with retail center revamps.

Mall operator Macerich is looking shop shape to investors after lightening its debt load.

Raised Up

INTERVIEW: Leonard Aube parked cars and took pictures of marine wildlife before moving on to museum fundraising and eventually overseeing the $1.7 billion Annenberg Foundation.

Leonard Aube at one time worked as a marine photographer before plunging into non-profit fundraising at the Annenberg Foundation.

Stop-Motion Animator Says Success Isn’t So Shocking

Corky Quakenbush has been making films since his 13th birthday, the day his parents bought him his first Super 8mm film camera.

NEWSMAKERS & KUDOS

Los Angeles Federal Credit Union has promoted John Dea to chief executive.

Feds Look for Big Stick vs. Karatz

Backdating rules may favor former KB Home CEO.

A now-stock defense could help KB Home’s ex-CEO weather his upcoming trial over backdating options.

Video Game Publisher Takes Aim at El Segundo

REAL ESTATE: Activision mulls move from Santa Monica to get lower taxes.

Activision Blizzard Inc., one of the world’s biggest video game publishers, is close to inking a deal to move its headquarters from Santa Monica to El Segundo.

A Modest Proposal for All-Access Passes

OP-ED: Hey, why not? Donors could get inside look at how doctors, clergy and politicians work in Los Angeles.

Mark C. Miller would pay 250 bucks for close-up access to sensitive and personal work situations.

City’s Costly Conventional Thinking

OP-ED

Harold L. Katz believes privatizing the Los Angeles Convention Center would shortchange the city.

Card Maker Decks U.S. Distributor

Upper Deck caught making fake Yu-Gi-Oh game cards.

The U.S. distributor of a Japanese fantasy card game had no good hand to play when defending its piracy.

Erin: Take 2

Brockovich back, taking roles in lawsuits

A decade after the movie made her a star, Erin Brockovich still takes supporting roles in legal crusades.

Energy Sector Has Few Alternatives

COMMENT

Charles Crumpley feels alternative-energy sources have been overbuzzed.

Koreatown Bank Pursues Investors

Struggling Saehan must raise capital by March 8.

Time is running short for Koreatown’s Saehan to raise capital.

Pointing Toward Future

Oblong’s glove tech lets users get literally hands-on with data.

A downtown L.A. firm’s glove is a handy way to interact with computers.

Getting Organized

Two local women mean business with their new organizer.

Sunset Strip Hotels Join The Clubs

Six-month promotion will give guests VIP passes to area venues.

Sunset Strip hotels have staged a promotion offering guests VIP passes the Strip’s famous nightclubs.

Devilish Appeal Drives Roadster Win

PAGE 3

Mike Dingman is “Possessed” by his obsession for cars.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has appointed Bonnie Reiss, a Santa Monica private equity adviser, as secretary of education.

Room To Move

Reduced residential plan at Century Plaza could pay off for owners.

A scaled-back residential project has been booked at the Century Plaza hotel.

Audio Company Makes Noise in Blu-ray Sector

DTS of Calabasas spins disc format into income spike.

A Calabasas maker of Blu-ray audio equipment is proving a sound investment.

Online Video Site Trying a Different Kind of Stream

Hulu looks to original show to draw viewers and fight rivals.

Online video site Hulu hopes to channel more viewers by featuring original programming.

State Senate Postpones Action on Stimulus Plan

REGULATION WATCH: Business groups had touted bill as boost to 125 projects.

Business groups across California are frustrated that a state Senate committee last week delayed economic stimulus legislation that would have allowed 125 major construction projects to proceed without new environmental challenges.

Tour Heads to the Beach to Shore Up Attendance

SPORTS BUSINESS: AVP plans to stage matches longside large events and festivals.

AVP Inc., the L.A. operator of the professional beach volleyball tour, has a surprising “new” business strategy: play more tournaments on real beaches where fans already are.