Stories for August 2012

Friday, August 31

Making It Big

The long-anticipated and controversial redevelopment of Century City’s iconic Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel has taken a big step forward.

The Week's Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies fell slightly for the week as the broader markets also declined on news of higher oil prices.

Fed Chairman Pushes Hard for New Steps to Spur Growth

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday delivered a detailed and forceful argument for the benefits of new steps to stimulate the economy, reinforcing earlier indications that the Fed is on the verge of action, the New York Times reports.

Guggenheim Partners Nearing Deal for Dick Clark Productions

Fresh from spending over $2 billion to become majority owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Guggenheim Partners now appears to be the leading candidate to land Dick Clark Productions – for a price tag of close to $400 million, sources told the Los Angeles Times.

Hillside Landowners Face Vote on Tax to Preserve Open Land

Residents who enjoy the view of the Santa Monica Mountains and its scenic hilltops are being asked to pay to protect the untouched land, the Daily News reports.

Suit Says Special Law for NFL Stadium is Unconstitutional

In the first major legal challenge to a planned NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles, a coalition of environmental activists and community advocates filed suit claiming that a state law intended to assist the project is unconstitutional, the Los Angeles Times reports.

California to Target Web Retailers for Sales Taxes

State tax collectors are preparing to crack down on renegade Internet merchants who don’t collect sales taxes, and nearly 100 new state auditors, lawyers and other specialists are being hired to help over the next three years, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Consumer Sentiment Hits Three-Month High in August

Consumer sentiment climbed to a three-month high in August as households made progress paying down debt, but future expectations remained grim, according to a Thomson Reuters survey.

Lineman Sues USC Over Injected Drug

A former University of Southern California football player from Elk Grove charged in a lawsuit that team doctors shot him up with a painkiller that gave him a heart attack, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Stocks Rise This Morning

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 93 points to 13,094. The Nasdaq rose 14 points to 3,063. The S&P 500 gained 7 points to 1,407. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 136.

Thursday, August 30

State Sued Over 'Farmers Field' Law

A coalition of environmental activists, anti-poverty groups and law professors have filed suit against the state of California to challenge the constitutionality of a state law they say gives unfair special treatment to Farmers Field developer Anschutz Entertainment Group.

Amgen Competitor Gets Drug Approval

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.’s application to market a drug that boosts the production of infection-fighting white blood cells in certain cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The drug is a direct competitor to Amgen Inc.’s second oldest drug, Neupogen.

Stocks Down at Close

In Thursday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 107 points to 13,000. The Nasdaq fell 33 points to 3,048. The S&P 500 fell 11 points to 1,399. The LABJ Stock Index fell 1 point to 136.

Committee: Trash Pickup Should Be Exclusive Franchise

Fewer private companies would be allowed to pick up trash from L.A.’s commercial and multifamily properties under an exclusive franchise deal unanimously approved by two Los Angeles City Council committees, Southern California Public Radio reports.

Dispute Between Aetna, Doctors Heats Up

California Medical Association has accused insurer Aetna of refusing to negotiate with member doctors or kicking doctors out of its network as retaliation for a lawsuit, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Consumer Spending Ticks Up

U.S. personal spending rose the most in five months in July, a sign that wary consumers may be coming out of their shell despite broad economic uncertainty, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Nickelodeon Shakes Up Management

Reeling from a spectacular ratings fall, Nickelodeon has pushed out animation chief Brown Johnson, the executive most responsible for creating the network's cartoon sensation "Dora the Explorer," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Citi to Settle Suit for $590 Million

In one of the largest settlements of suits tied to the financial crisis, Citigroup Inc. agreed to pay $590 million over claims that it deceived investors by hiding the extent of its dealings in toxic subprime debt, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Amazon Says Kindle Fire Is Sold Out

Amazon.com on Thursday said its Kindle Fire tablet accounts for 22 percent of U.S. tablet sales and that the device is sold out, Reuters reports.

France’s PM Says 75 Percent Tax OK

New French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault dismissed claims that his government is anti-business and driving away investment with a 75 percent tax on high earners, CNBC reports.

Distressed Home Prices Jump With Inventory Shrinking

Demand for distressed properties is driving up prices for the first time in two years as investors such as the Blackstone Group and Los Angeles’ Colony Capital chasing shrinking inventory, Reuters reports.

Stocks Down This Morning

In Thursday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 100 points to 13,007. The Nasdaq fell 28 points to 3,053. The S&P 500 fell 10 points to 1,400. The LABJ Stock Index fell 1 point 136.

Wednesday, August 29

Wal-Mart Plans Store at West Covina Mall

As it prepares to fight a legal challenge to its proposed store in Burbank, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. confirmed reports that it plans to open a Wal-Mart this fall in a vacated Mervyns at West Covina’s Eastland Shopping Center.

DreamWorks Signs New Overseas Deal

DreamWorks Studios has signed an agreement with London’s Mister Smith Entertainment to handle the licensing and servicing of future DreamWorks films and products in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, a role that had been handled by Walt Disney Co.

Stocks Close Up

In Wednesday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 5 points to 13,107. The Nasdaq was up 4 points to 3,081. The S&P 500 rose 1 point percent, to 1,410. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 137.

Hurricane Isaac Misses Oil Platforms

Oil prices weaken this morning, Reuters reports, because apparently no significant damage occurred from Hurricane Isaac.

Workers' Comp Bill Races the Clock

With just three days left in this year's legislative session, state lawmakers struggle to overhaul California's century-old workers' compensation insurance program, the Los Angeles Times and Sacramento Bee report.

Bill Would Allow Sale of Homemade Foods

A bill up for a final vote in the California State Senate would let home bakers and cooks sell their baked goods, the Los Angeles Times reports, spurring home-based cooking businesses as many households look for ways to earn money in the weak economy. Check out earlier coverage and op-ed in the Business Journal.

Silicon Valley Boom Creates Shortage of $1 Million Homes

The capital of high tech is now the capital of high-priced real estate, CNBC reports. Silicon Valley now leads the nation in the number of homes sold for $1 million or more, toppling longtime luxury real-estate leaders like Beverly Hills and Miami.

WellPoint CEO Quits Under Pressure

Dogged by investor criticism, Angela Braly, the chief executive of Anthem Blue Cross parent WellPoint Inc., abruptly resigned and an interim chief was named, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Will Short Sales Hit Home Prices?

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced new guidelines that are supposed to make it easier for home owners to sell their properties in a short sale, MarketWatch reports.

As Europe's Banks Stall, Companies Look Afar

Companies in Southern Europe are going hat in hand around the world in search of funding as local bank lending dwindles, with many of them raising money by tapping assets in healthier regions such as Latin America and the United States, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Officials Warn 1,700 Yosemite Visitors Risk Disease

A second person has died of a rare, rodent-borne disease after staying in one of Yosemite National Park's most popular lodging areas, the Associate Press reports, prompting federal officials to step up efforts to locate and warn recent visitors.

Report: Lohan Banned for Not Paying Chateau Marmont Bill

Lindsay Lohan has been banned from the Chateau Marmont after she stiffed the Hollywood hotel for nearly $50,000, says City News Service, citing a TMZ.com report.

F.A.A. to Review Electronic Device Restrictions

The Federal Aviation Administration is considering softening restrictions on use of such electronic devices as smartphones and digital tablets in all phases of flight – including takeoff and landing, the New York Times reports.

Stocks Up This Morning

In Wednesday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 5 points to 13,107. The Nasdaq was up 1 point to 3,078. The S&P 500 was up 1 point to 1,410. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 137.

Tuesday, August 28

L.A. Airport Traffic Rises Slightly

The number of passengers flying through Los Angeles International Airport continued to rise in July, keeping the airport on pace for its best year since the recession.

Salem Buys Church Media Company

A unit of Salem Communications Corp. has acquired SermonSpice.com, an online media provider for churches and ministries.

NetSol Regains Nasdaq Compliance

NetSol Technologies Inc. said that it received notice that it has regained compliance for continued listing on the Nasdaq.

ESPN Reaches $5.6 Billion Baseball Deal

Walt Disney Co’s ESPN unit has reached a $5.6 billion deal with Major League Baseball giving it television, radio and digital programming rights for an additional eight years.

Opponents of Pot Shop Ban To Submit Referendum Signatures

Local medical marijuana proponents are expected to announce Wednesday that they have gathered enough signatures for a referendum that would overturn the L.A. City Council’s ban on medical marijuana stores.

Monday’s L.A. News Roundup

L.A. Airport Traffic Rises Slightly… Salem Buys Church Media Company… NetSol Regains Nasdaq Compliance.

Stocks Mixed at Close

In Tuesday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 22 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,102. The Nasdaq rose less 4 points, or less than 1 percent, to 3,077. The S&P 500 fell 1 point, or less than 1 percent, to 1,409. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 137.

Recent Success More Than a Blip, Disney Chief Says

Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger says the success of his studio’s superhero film "The Avengers" and record theme-park turnout this summer are less a seasonal blip and more the result of savvy long-term investments, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Airbag Recalls Slow Pace of Coda Sales

Coda Automotive, the start-up Los Angeles electric car company, said it started to sell its $37,250 car in March but has been mum about sales figures. The Los Angeles Times reports that one reason may be the need to recall some cars for airbag problems.

Samsung Vows to Fight Phone Ban

Samsung Electronics Co. vows to fight Apple Inc.'s attempt to ban the sale of some of its smartphones in the United States with "all necessary measures," the Wall Street Journal reports.

Banks’ Financial Health Improves

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said that the American banking industry’s earnings continued to rise in the second quarter as banks set aside less money to guard against losses, the New York Times reports.

Lotsa of Smoke But Still No Fire for NFL Return

Los Angeles, the nation’s No. 2 media market, has been without a team in the No. 1 sport since 1995. But the Los Angeles Times reports that despite recent rumblings, don't hold your breath.

Report: Winklevoss Twins to Set Up Shop in L.A.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who won a $65 million settlement with Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg over their role in founding the social networking service, reportedly have purchased a house in the Hollywood Hills and plan to open a local office of their New York investment firm Winklevoss Capital, according to reports at TMZ.com and SoCalTech.com.

Home Prices Rise, Survey Shows

The Standard & Poor’s Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas says single-family home prices in the United States gained in June in what could be a sign of improvement in the housing market, the New York Times reports.

Upgrade Time for iPhone Users

There are a few online sites that may offer iPhone 4 users enough money to pay for a new iPhone 5, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Stocks Open Mixed

In Tuesday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 2 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,122. The Nasdaq was up less than 1 point, or less than 1 percent, to 3,074. The S&P 500 was unchanged at 1,410. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 137.

Monday, August 27

CEO Chosen for MLK Hospital

The nonprofit corporation in charge of opening Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital said Monday that Dr. Elaine Batchlor has been chosen as chief executive.

Ixia Completes Acquisition

Ixia has completed its purchase of cyber security company BreakingPoint Systems Inc.

Monday’s L.A. News Roundup

CEO Chosen for MLK Hospital… Ixia Completes Acquisition.

Stocks Close Mixed

In Monday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 33 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,124. The Nasdaq gained 3 points, or less than 1 percent, to 3,073. The S&P 500 fell less than 1 point, or less than 1 percent, to 1,410. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 137.

San Onofre Plant Feels Earthquakes

The Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily News report that a so-called “earthquake storm” is continuing to rattle the Imperial Valley. Two “unusual events” were felt in the control room at the troubled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, MarketWatch says.

Report: Fox, Dodgers in Talks on TV Deal

Fox Sports and the Los Angeles Dodgers began preliminary talks in May on a multi-billion dollar cable TV deal, sources tell Reuters.

Hertz to Buy Dollar Thrifty

Two giants of the rental car industry agreed to merge late Sunday. Hertz Global Holdings announced a deal valued at $2.3 billion for the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, the New York Times reports.

Dark Days at ‘Tonight Show'

The NBC late-night show starring Jay Leno is suffering a ratings slide and layoffs amid instability in the TV business, plus a series of network mishaps, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Regulators Rethink Pre-IPO Chatter

U.S. securities regulators are reviewing whether to ease limits on what companies can say ahead of initial public offerings after lawmakers complained small investors were kept in the dark during this year's botched Facebook stock sale, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Times Co. Sells About.com

The New York Times Co. has agreed to sell how-to website About.com to Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp. for $300 million in cash, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Same Doctor Visit, Double the Cost

Insurers say rates can surge after hospitals buy private physician practices, while hospitals say the acquisitions will make health care more efficient, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Stocks Begin Week on the Rise

In Monday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 9 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,166. The Nasdaq was up 14 points, or less than 1 percent, to 3,083. The S&P 500 rose 4 points, or less than 1 percent, to 1,415 The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 137.

Honda Car Designers Draw Up Downtown Plan

Elite studio behind exotic Acura NSX moving near L.A. Live.

Honda R&D Americas Inc. is moving one of its design studios to downtown Los Angeles, only steps from L.A. Live and the Los Angeles Convention Center.

NBA Deal Gets Ticket Company Into Resale Game

TICKETING: Ticketmaster courts pro hoops fans with exclusive deal with the NBA.

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HuffPost Videos Give Voice, Face To Commentary

Website Huffington Post looks to put a new face on the news with a site for visitors’ video commentary.

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Hotel Room At a Premium

DEVELOPMENT: Another project eyed near L.A. Live.

Buyer of carwash near LA Live hopes to clean up by building mixed-use hotel on the site.

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Cool Customer

Real estate developer Bob Champion credits ice cream with launching his business career and landing his wife.

Real estate developer Bob Champion isn’t afraid to admit his Bob’s Big Boy statue scared off the receptionist.

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Homebuilder’s House Divided

REAL ESTATE: KB Home investors challenge exec pay.

REAL ESTATE: Investors in money-losing KB Home have put out the unwelcome mat for executives’ pay packages.

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Cooling Off?

Solar ranch nears launch as large projects lose sizzle

ENERGY: Sun could be setting on large-scale projects such as First Solar’s facility outside of Lancaster.

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Recession Proved

BANKING: CapitalSource has become area’s fourth-largest bank despite launching a few weeks before 2008 financial downturn.

BANKING: CapitalSource has parlayed a recession-era acquisition into the fourth biggest bank based in Los Angeles

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Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

New Digs: RBZ LLP, a West L.A. accounting firm, is moving its headquarters across the street to a larger office.

DEVELOPER Jeffrey E. Palmer

Jeff Palmer began building properties for creative and tech tenants during the first dot-com boom in the mid-’90s.

TECH EXEC Josh Berman

Josh Berman, a co-founder of Myspace, is chief executive of rapidly growing e-commerce company BeachMint Inc., which sells celebrity-endorsed retail items and has raised more than $75 million in venture capital.

Scoring More Space

Video game company Riot Games Inc. is growing so fast that within months of leasing more than 47,000 square feet of space last year for a new headquarters, co-founders Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill needed to double the size before moving in.

ARCHITECT Michael White

Michael White is among the go-to designers for local tech, media and entertainment firms.

Turning on Tech Clients By Design

An ocean wave crafted out of wood separates work stations from communal space in Google Inc.’s Venice office.

BROKER Jeff Pion

If Jeff Pion could live his life over again, he would be a Google Inc. executive.

BROKER Matthew Miller

Limited experience isn’t necessarily a resume highlight, but for Matthew Miller, it made all the difference.

BROKER Jim Jacobsen

Jim Jacobsen has spent most of his career catering to companies with a creative bent, but in the last decade that’s meant more and more Westside companies in tech.

Displaying Third Street Smarts

Randy Starr has been called the King of Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade. But it’s not why you think.

Summer Doldrums a Reality for Reality Television

A little more than a decade ago, launching a reality show on a big four broadcast network during the lazy days of summer was a recipe for success – think “Survivor.”

LANDLORD Avesta Rasouli

Avesta Rasouli and his wife, Cameron Kashani Rasouli, opened a 6,000-square-foot office space in 2010 for entrepreneurial tenants working in the technology industry.

DEVELOPER Lawrence N. Field

New York transplant Larry Field had no idea how prescient he was when he began buying industrial properties in the 1960s on the beachfronts of Santa Monica and Venice: “It all looked pretty inexpensive by New York standards.”

Sprucing Up, Goosing Up L.A. Landmarks

If Wayne Ratkovich isn’t the godfather of rehabbing L.A.’s old iconic buildings, he’s at least its uncle.

Catching the Tech Wave

In a local commercial real estate market that is decidedly cool, there is one big hot spot: Santa Monica and its environs.

data bank

Calendar of Events and Conventions

Chip Maker Finally Goes All In on Plant Shutdown

ELECTRONICS: Closing of International Rectifier facility first floated in 2009.

Three years ago, El Segundo chip maker International Rectifier Corp. had slumping sales and announced plans to shut down its manufacturing plant in that city.

Chief Executive Gets New Handle on His Business

Jon Waterman turns Findology into Ad.net to reflect firm’s evolution.

Why did Ad.net Chief Executive Jon Waterman recently change his company’s moniker?

Clothing Makers Look to Sew Up More Business

apparel: City-supported pavilion boosts L.A. firms’ presence at trade show.

APPAREL: City of L.A. rolls the dice on pavilion to promote local clothing makers at Las Vegas trade show

News of the Week

Last week’s major news from labusinessjournal.com and other sources

Wi-Fi Network Provider Connects With Analysts

INTERNET: Boingo deals and future prospects offset disappointing earnings.

INTERNET: Analysts see Boingo’s line on smartphone Wi-Fi access offsetting com-pany’s recent poor earnings.

Irvine Bank Steps Up Foothold Activity in L.A.

LENDING: Private Bank latest institution acquired in First PacTrust spree.

LENDING: First PacTrust could be looking to pick up its acquisition pace

UCLA Hotel Reservations

Many businesses in Westwood have reservations about UCLA’s planned hotel, but Charles Crumpley thinks there’s a compromise.

MTA on Wrong Track When It Comes to Safety

Marc Little rails against a planned street-level MTA line near a church.

Time for Permanent Holiday

City of L.A. should drop three-year tax break for new businesses and just ax its gross receipts levy.

David M. Smith urges the city of L.A. to forget “holidays” and permanently get away from its gross receipts levy.

From Property to Pageantry and Back

Page 3

For as long as Karen Baldwin can remember, the real estate business has played a supporting role in her life.

Shooting For Blockbuster Appeal

Docstoc makes big production out of its training videos.

INTERNET: Online document business takes a page from Hollywood films to create exciting training videos.

Getting Dialed In For Now

Iphone app Burner lets users set up temporary numbers.

TELEPHONY: Duo’s iPhone app helps users get a line on temporary numbers

Friday, August 24

Honda Car Designer Heading Downtown

Honda R&D Americas Inc., the elite studio behind exotic Acura NSX, moving downtown near L.A. Live, sources told the Business Journal.

KB Home Investors Challenge Exec Pay

To get a sense of the struggles at KB Home, look no further than the second quarter loss it reported this summer. The company’s performance has spilled over into shareholder anger over executive pay, including a recently filed lawsuit.

New HuffPost Site Adds Video to Commentary

AOL and its Huffington Post Media Group are making a big bet to capitalize on the popularity of online video.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies gained slightly for the week as the broader markets reacted to positive developments in the European debt crisis.

Stocks Rise at Close

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 101 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,157. The Nasdaq rose 16 points, or less than 1 percent, to 3,070. The S&P 500 rose 9 points, or less than 1 percent, to 1,411. The LABJ Stock Index closed up 1 point, or 1 percent, to 137.

Disney Considers Buyout of Struggling Paris Resort

After two decades of putting up with lackluster financial results at its European theme-park resort, Disneyland Paris, the Walt Disney Co. is considering a buyout of the publicly traded French company that manages the resort, Time.com reports.

Lance Armstrong Is a Conglomerate

By accepting sanctions against him, Lance Armstrong has effectively prevented real closure, and left open the question of whether he misled fans, scammed prize committees, and defrauded his many corporate sponsors, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports.

More THQ Layoffs as Development Focus Shifts

About 20 more THQ Inc. marketing and production employees have been laid off at struggling Agoura Hills video game publisher, Develop.com reports, citing an internal e-mail by new company president Jason Rubin.

Scan Health Pays Record Settlement

Scan Health Plan of Long Beach has agreed to pay $320 million to resolve allegations that it was overpaid by the state's Medi-Cal program going back to 1985, the Los Angeles Times reports. Federal officials called it the largest settlement of its kind from a single Medi-Cal provider.

Markets Haven’t Priced in Fiscal Cliff – Yet

The stock market hasn't priced in the end of the world this December, and it's not pricing in the "fiscal cliff." CNBC.com reports that's because most investors don't believe either will happen.

Higher Fines for Texting While Driving Approved

State lawmakers have advanced measures that would increase fines for texting while driving, allow voter registration on election day and restrict the ability of law enforcement to track people through their cell phones, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Big Income Losses for Those Near Retirement

Americans nearing retirement age have suffered disproportionately after the financial crisis. Along with the declining value of their homes, which were intended to cushion their final years, their incomes have fallen sharply, the New York Times reports.

U.S. Judge Gives Poker a Break

A federal judge in New York has concluded that skill plays the bigger role in determining who wins a poker game, in a ruling that could strengthen the hand of the companies seeking to get online poker legalized in the United States, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Odds of Global Recession 100 Percent, ‘Dr. Doom’ Says

There’s still a 100 percent chance the world heads into recession, contrarian investor Marc Faber told CNBC.com, echoing a call that the publisher of “The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report,” made in May.

Stocks Rise With Sun

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 81 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,138. The Nasdaq was up 17 points, or less than 1 percent, to 3,070. The S&P 500 was up 7 points, or less than 1 percent, to 1,408. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 136.

Thursday, August 23

Guess Cuts Profit Forecast

Shares of Guess Inc. sank more than 23 percent on Thursday after the Los Angeles apparel maker cut its annual profit and revenue forecasts.

J2 Global Makes Acquisition

J2 Global Inc. has acquired the New Zealand business of Zintel Communications, a cloud voice services provider.

Student Loans to Be Channeled to Green Dot Card

Green Dot Corp. is partnering with student lender Sallie Mae to market a prepaid card to students who do not have a bank account.

Injunction Stops Construction on Burbank Wal-Mart

A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge has issued a written preliminary injunction ordering Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to cease all construction on its Wal-Mart Supercenter in Burbank. He also ordered the city of Burbank to suspend its approval of building permits pending a trial.

Oaktree Reviving Bid for Jakks

Jakks Pacific Inc. said late Thursday that Oaktree Capital Management LP apparently is still interested in making a bid for the Malibu toymaker, even though it has sold off what had been a growing stake in the company.

Thursday’s L.A. News Roundup

Guess Cuts Profit Forecast… J2 Global Makes Acquisition… Student Loans to Be Channeled to Green Dot Card

Stocks Close Down

On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 115 points, or nearly 1 percent, to 13,057. The Nasdaq lost 20 points, or nearly 1 percent, to 3,053. The S&P 500 fell 11 points, or nearly 1 percent, to 1,402. The LABJ Stock Index fell more than 1 point, or 1 percent, to 136.

Study: Middle Class Losing Ground

The middle class is shrinking, losing its money, and uncertain about the future, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center study, reports U.S News and the Huffington Report.

Zev Won’t Run for Mayor

Saying four decades of elective office is enough, County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said he will not run for mayor of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reports.

U.S. Plans New Asia Missile Defenses

The U.S. is planning a major expansion of missile defenses in Asia, a move American officials say is designed to contain threats from North Korea, but one that could also be used to counter China's military, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Trading Caps and Gowns for Mops

After four years of college, many graduates are ending up in jobs that only require the ability to operate a cash register with a smile, MarketWatch reports.

SEC Takes Aim at 'Blood Minerals'

The Securities and Exchange Commission has voted to require U.S. companies to disclose the use of minerals sourced from war-torn Central Africa, UPI and Fox Business report.

Who Pays if San Onofre Is Restarted?

Nearly seven months after the San Onofre nuclear power plant was closed because of a leak, officials are grappling with whether it makes financial sense to bring the plant fully back online, and if so, who should pay for the necessary repairs, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Copper Theft Epidemic Meets Rash of Illegal Metal Yards

L.A. authorities are finding stripped wires from street lights and stolen park statues at illegal metal scrap yards around California, Southern California Public Radio reports.

Dreamliner Coming to LAX

Airline passengers will get their first chance to fly out of the City of Angels on Boeing's 787 Dreamliner in January, when United Airlines begins daily nonstop flights to Narita, Japan, the Los Angeles Times reports.

PayPal, Discover Team Up

PayPal, the online-payment unit of eBay Inc. announced a deal with Discover Financial Services that will allow shoppers to tap into their PayPal accounts, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Wanna Buy a Greek Island?

According to CNBC’s Bob Pisani, there’s a report that the Greek Prime Minister is suggesting his cash-strapped government may sell or lease some of the country's islands to raise money to help pay for the country’s bailout.

Stocks Drop in Morning Trading

In Thursday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 65 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,107. The Nasdaq was down 4 points, or less than 1 percent, to 3,069. The S&P 500 was down 5 points, or less than 1 percent, to 1,409. The LABJ Stock Index was down less than 1 point, or less than 1 percent, to 136.

Wednesday, August 22

Preferred Bank Announces New President

Preferred Bank announced that Chief Operating Officer Wellington Chen has been promoted to president and chief operating officer.

Staar Surgical To Expand in Monrovia

Staar Surgical Co. has signed an eight-year lease on a 26,000-square-foot building adjacent to its current 44,000-square-foot facility in Monrovia.

Miss California USA Comes to Pasadena

The Miss California USA organization plans to move both that pageant and the Miss California Teen USA program from Palm Springs to Pasadena, starting next year.

International Rectifier to Close El Segundo Plant

El Segundo’s International Rectifier Corp. announced a fiscal fourth quarter loss and a restructuring that includes closing its semiconductor wafer fabrication facility in that city.

First PacTrust Bancorp to Acquire Private Bank of California

Century City’s Private Bank of California has agreed to be acquired by First Pactrust Bancorp Inc., the Irvine holding company for PacTrust Bank and the South Bay’s Beach Business Bank. The stock deal is valued at about $50 million.

Wednesday’s L.A. News Roundup

Preferred Bank Announces New President… Staar Surgical To Expand in Monrovia… Miss California USA Comes to Pasadena.

Stocks Mixed at Close

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 31 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,172. The Nasdaq rose 6 points, or less than 1 percent, to 3,073. The S&P 500 rose than 1 point, or less than 1 percent, to 1,413. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 137.

Panel Puts Hold on Makeover of Land Near USC

A planned $1.1-billion makeover of a faded shopping center near USC into student housing and retail space was put on hold by a Los Angeles City Council land-use committee. The Los Angeles Times reports that a coalition of community, labor and faith groups told the panel that they believed the school was not offering enough money to make up for the loss of low-income housing. See also the Business Journal’s earlier coverage of USC’s big development plan.

L.A. Council Considers Two Tax Increases

You knew this was coming. The Los Angeles City Council signaled it may put two tax increases on the March ballot. The Los Angeles Times reports that business groups in particular didn’t like a proposal to double a city tax on property sales, with one Realtor saying it would make L.A. home prices even higher and put Los Angeles at a “competitive disadvantage.”

Panel Seeks Temporary Ban on Big-Box Stores Downtown

Alarmed by plans for a Wal-Mart grocery store in Chinatown, a city planning committee has approved a temporary ban on large retail chain stores setting up shop in the downtown district. The Los Angeles Times reports that the Los Angeles City Council panel instructed the city's Planning Department to prepare an ordinance, but it would not affect the permits issued to Wal-Mart in March.

Report: Risk of U.S. Double-Dip Recession Rises

Don’t look now, but the chances that the United States will slip into recession next year have risen, according to a report on the Yahoo news site.

Kimmel to Go Head-to-Head with Leno and Letterman

The late-night wars are about to get hotter. The Los Angeles Times reports that “Jimmy Kimmel Live” will move to 11:35 p.m., putting him in direct competition with Jay Leno and David Letterman.

Big Retailers Urge Rejection of Card-Fee Settlement

A trade association representing the country's largest retailers formally opposed a proposed multibillion-dollar settlement reached by Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. in lawsuits filed by merchants over credit-card processing fees. The Wall Street Journal reports that the 70-member Retail Industry Leaders Association objects to terms that prevent retailers from suing credit-card companies in the future over processing fees.

Home Resales Jump

Sales of previously occupied homes in the U.S. were up slightly in July from a month earlier and were more than 10 percent above the year before. The Wall Street Journal reports that today’s figures from the National Association of Realtors may be a sign of strength for a part of the economy that is starting to recover from a severe downturn.

Split in Private Equity Funding

The private-equity industry is dividing between haves and have-nots. The Wall Street Journal reports that as investors become pickier and more closely scrutinize recent performance, some big names are finding it hard to raise as much money as they would like.

California May Grant Driver's Licenses to Young Illegal Immigrants

California is poised to issue drivers licenses to young illegal immigrants, the Sacramento Bee reports. The action is related to President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gives a select group of undocumented immigrants the right to live and work in the United States for two years without fear of deportation.

Stocks Drop in Morning Trading

In Wednesday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 66 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,137. The Nasdaq was down 7 points, or less than 1 percent, to 3,060. The S&P 500 fell 5 points, or less than 1 percent, to 1,408. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 137.

Tuesday, August 21

Broadway Financial to Restate Financials.

Broadway Financial Corp. said that it would restate its financial statements for fiscal 2011 and the first quarter of this year.

CFO Leaves at Response Genetics

Response Genetics Inc. said that Chief Financial Officer David D. O'Toole left the company last Wednesday. Former CyberDefender Corp. CFO Kevin R. Harris has been hired as interim CFO.

Qualstar to Cut Workforce

Qualstar Corp. announced that it would reduce its workforce by 13 percent to about 61 people.

State Senate Extends In-State Film Production Tax Credit

The California State Senate on Tuesday approved a two year extension of a $100 million film and television tax credit, which could carry the annual subsidy through 2017.

Tuesday’s L.A. News Roundup

Qualstar to Cut Workforce… CFO Leaves at Response Genetics… Broadway Financial to Restate Financials.

Stocks Down at Close

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 68 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,203. The Nasdaq fell 9 points, or less than 1 percent, to 3,067. The S&P 500 fell 5 points, or less than 1 percent, to 1,413. The LABJ Stock Index fell less than 1 point, or less than 1 percent, to 137.

San Onofre Nuclear Plant to Cut 730 Workers

Southern California Edison announced plans to lay off about 730 employees at the troubled San Onofre nuclear plant – nearly one-third of the facility's workforce – raising new questions about whether the plant will ever return to full operations. The Los Angeles Times reports that the cuts apparently were under consideration even before current problems that have kept the nuclear plant offline.

Think Gas Prices Are Bad Now…

Rising gasoline futures are paving the way for more pain at the pump. The Wall Street Journal reports that gasoline futures have soared 19 percent over the past two months, setting in motion an increase in retail prices. Pump prices tend to lag behind moves in the futures market by several weeks, meaning drivers have yet to feel the full extent of the recent rally.

AAA: 33 Million Americans Plan Labor Day Travel

Americans plan to hit the road this Labor Day weekend despite rising gasoline prices. AAA estimates that 33 million people will travel 50 miles or more, the highest level of travel for Labor Day since the start of the recession in late 2007. The Associated Press reports that AAA officials consider it an encouraging sign that Americans continue to prioritize travel despite an absence of strong economic growth.

Lesson of Occupy LA: Protests Are Expensive

The City of Los Angeles continues to wrestle with the financial implications of its decision to allow Occupy L.A. protesters to camp out on the City Hall lawn for two months last fall. Southern California Public Radio reports that officials are struggling with how to pay for the nearly $5 million it cost to accommodate and later evict protesters when the city already is facing significant cuts in programs and services.

Port Funds Pollution-Curbing Projects

Thousands of trees, new electric buses and eco-friendly lighting are among the more than two dozen projects in the works that will be paid for by Port of Long Beach grants designed to curb air pollution. The Long Beach Press-Telegram reports that so far more than $15 million in grants have been given to businesses, hospitals, schools and organizations serving communities directly affected by operations at the port.

Ryan Seacrest Eyes Big Expansion

Ryan Seacrest Productions is beefing up its executive ranks, adding a small army of programming executives. The Hollywood Reporter says that the growth spurt comes in the wake of a move in January by Thomas H. Lee and Bain Capital to make investments worth up to $300 million to Seacrest’s company. Seacrest said the goal is to have a balanced slate of reality and scripted shows on major broadcast and cable networks.

Univision Makes Key Hire

Univision Communications Inc. has tapped the head of the CBS News Investigative Unit to oversee the Spanish broadcaster's partnership with ABC News. The Los Angeles Times reports that Keith Summa, who had been with CBS News for five years, will serve as vice president of news partnerships for Univision. He will be the broadcaster’s point person with ABC on the news network the two companies are planning on launching next year.

Subprime Whodunit a Case of Semantics

Exactly what is a subprime mortgage? The Wall Street Journal reports that the way a U.S. judge answers that question could determine if three former Freddie Mac executives misled investors about loans backed by the mortgage giant before it sank.

Regulator: Broker Audits Fail to Include Required Work

The many auditors who inspect the financial statements of brokerage firms appear to be cutting corners and not doing all the work they should do. The New York Times reports that the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has found deficiencies in every audit its inspectors reviewed.

Morning Stocks Rise

In Tuesday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 8 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,279. The Nasdaq was up 5 points, or less than 1 percent, to 3,081. The S&P 500 was up 3 points, or less than 1 percent, to 1,421. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 138.

Monday, August 20

Ticketmaster Signs Major Deal with NBA

The Ticketmaster unit of Beverly Hills’ Live Nation Entertainment Inc. has signed a deal with the National Basketball Association to develop a software program for the sale – including resale by individuals – of NBA game tickets.

ImmunoCellular Therapeutics’s CEO Resigns

ImmunoCellular Therapeutics Ltd., a small Woodland Hills developer of cancer treatments, said that Chief Executive Manish Singh had resigned, effective immediately.

On Assignment to Move to NYSE

On Assignment Inc. on Monday said that it will transfer listing of its common stock from the Nasdaq Stock Market to the New York Stock Exchange beginning Aug. 31.

SolarMax Technology Moving to Riverside

SolarMax Technology Inc., a City of Industry-based solar panel installer, announced Monday that it’s moving its corporate headquarters to Riverside.

DreamWorks Animation Signs 20th Century Fox Deal

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., the Glendale studio behind the Shrek and Madagascar animated movies, has reached a five year distribution deal with 20th Century Fox.

Monday’s L.A. News Roundup

Ticketmaster Signs Major Deal with NBA… ImmunoCellular Therapeutics’s CEO Resigns… On Assignment to Move to NYSE.

Stocks Down at Close

On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 4 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,271. The Nasdaq fell less than 1 point, or less than 1 percent, to 3,076. The S&P 500 fell less than 1 point, or less than 1 percent, to 1,418. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 138.

Calpers Defends Pension Benefits While Risking Losses

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System is defending government workers against criticism of their benefits even while it risks losses as municipalities, faced with rising retirement costs, file for bankruptcy. Bloomberg News reports that the $239 billion fund is the largest creditor in bankruptcy cases filed by two California cities, Stockton and San Bernardino, since the end of June, with a total of $291 million at stake.

Moody's to Review Ratings on California Cities

Moody's Investors Service will review its debt ratings of California cities over the next few weeks and that it believes the risk of default on municipal bonds in the state is rising. The Wall Street Journal and Associated Press report that the disclosure came after three California cities filed for bankruptcy protection this summer, prompting some investors to question their investments in certain California local governments.

LAX Pumps $40 Billion Into SoCal Economy

Los Angeles International Airport supported more than 294,000 jobs in 2011 and added about $2.5 billion in taxes to the city, county and state, according to a new report from Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. The Los Angeles Times reports that LAX helped pump $39.7 billion into the Southern California economy last year.

Going After Debt Firms

Hard economic times have helped push millions of Americans deeply into debt, plunging many into a dark world filled with relentless collection agents, aggressive lawyers and companies that profit mightily if they can get people to pay up. The Los Angeles Times reports that federal regulators, along with lawmakers in California and several other states, are starting to take action against overly aggressive debt collection firms.

Plan for New Downtown L.A. Courthouse Criticized

Although construction on a federal courthouse is slated to begin this year, two congressmen are speaking out against a plan that would add a third courthouse and another federal office building in downtown Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times reports that Rep. Jeff Denham, a Republican from Atwater in Central California, called the proposal a "sham" at a hearing and said the judiciary would not need more space if its judges shared courtrooms more efficiently.

Groupon Investors Give Up

Some of the early backers of Groupon Inc. are heading for the exits, joining investors who have lost faith in companies that had been expected to drive a new Internet boom. The Wall Street Journal reports that at least four Groupon investors who held stock in the daily-deals company before it went public have sold or significantly pared back their holdings in recent months.

Wal-Mart Brings Back Layaway

For the second year in a row, Wal-Mart Stores, the nation’s biggest retailer, will offer a layaway program for holiday purchases. The New York Times reports that millions of cash-strapped customers used its layaway program last year.

Gas Prices Set Record

The price of gasoline is setting a record as the summer draws to a close. AAA says drivers paid an average of $3.72 per gallon Monday, which is the highest price on record for this date. The Associated Press reports that more daily highs are likely over the next few weeks.

Morning Stocks Drop

In Monday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 28 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,246. The Nasdaq was down 11 points, or less than 1 percent, to 3,065. The S&P 500 was down 4 points, or less than 1 percent, to 1,414. The LABJ Stock Index was down 1 point, or 1 percent, to $137.

Chain No Longer Accents Spanish

RETAIL: Curacao restyles stores to draw wider Hispanic base.

RETAIL: Formerly immigrant-focused retail chain Curacao now aims for a broader Hispanic customer base.

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News of the Week

Last week’s major news from labusinessjournal.com and other sources

REFINERY SOLD: Tesoro Corp. has agreed to buy BP PLC’s oil refinery in Carson and the Arco brand of gas stations in the Southwest for $1.18 billion.

data bank

Calendar of Events and Conventions

real estate

los angeles county home sales July 2012

HOUSING: July home and condo sales in Los Angeles County by ZIP code

Betting Big

Green card-for-startup program draws capital – and critics

INVESTMENT: Some foreign investors are giving small businesses a go to get green cards under the EB-5 program – which has drawn critics.

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regional report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

New Name, Focus: Findology Interactive Media Inc., a Westwood company that previously focused on pay-per-click advertising, has changed its name to Ad.net Inc. to reflect the company’s service as an online ad network.

Washington State Bank Invests in L.A. Presence

BANKING: AmericanWest looks to grow with more acquisitions and branches.

BANKING: AmericanWest might be looking to invest more capital into expanding its presence in Los Angeles

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Utilities Face Power Struggle

ENERGY: State may open lines for solar electricity.

ENERGY: Utilities are shocked by proposed law that would force them to carry third-party renewable power.

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Airline Buzzes Tech Investors

AVIATION: Sector high on planned L.A.-Bay Area route.

Surf Air’s plan for an airline linking Silicon Beach to Silicon Valley has taken off with investors.

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Giant Dolly Takes on Big Role

Nathan Kimmel gets promotional lift from 16-foot hand truck.

Hand truck and tarp vendor gets a big lift from giant 16-foot dolly in front of downtown store

Putting Value on Celebrity

Ad firm’s game lets players guess wealth of rich and famous.

Ad agency hopes to strike it rich with guessing game based on celebrities’ wealth

San Antonio On the Cheap

Lone Star city launches low-cost campaign to lure L.A. businesses.

San Antonio becomes latest city looking to lasso L.A. businesses, but it is doing so on the cheap

So Much Walking at Car Museum

More than 30 years ago, Terry L. Karges was feeling burned out from a career working in theme parks such as Disneyland and Sea World.

Canned Heat

RECYCLING: Acrylatex’s business of treating and reselling old paint should get boost from expanded state program.

RECYCLE: Acrylatex expects to add a layer of business after the expansion of a state program to recycle old paint

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Indian Slip-Up Latest Snag for Bioresin Maker

MANUFACTURING: Stock slide continues as Cereplast letter of credit delayed.

MANUFACTURING: Shares of bioresin maker Cereplast continue to slide as an Indian misunderstanding delays letter of credit

Small Airline Blames Route Turbulence on LAX

AVIATION: Allegiant says lack of space at airport caused flight suspensions.

AVIATION: Allegiant says LAX was plain wrong in cutting the airline’s space at the airport

Frozen-Food Company No Longer Cool to Deal

Manufacturing: Offers spur Overhill to rethink resistance to acquisition.

MANUFACTURING: Suitors’ passion has melted frozen-food maker Overhill’s resistance to considering a deal

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Former Titan of Television Looks for New Life Online

INTERNET: TV Guide to relaunch mobile app with focus on interactivity.

INTERNET: TV Guide hopes to come in handy again with the launch of a mobile app to assist viewers

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Movie Tracker Looks to Expand YouTube Patrols

INTERNET: Zefr hopes to add TV and sports clips to its advertising service.

It was only a handful of years ago that Hollywood studios were scrambling to remove clips of their movies from Google Inc.’s YouTube – conventional wisdom was that if videos were posted on the site, studio profits were being stolen.

Aviation Acquisition May Be Ready to Leave Nest

INVESTMENT: Oaktree may sell off jet-leasing business Jackson Square.

Oaktree Capital Group LLC could have a big payday coming.

Sun Sets on San Fernando Valley Investor Group

SALE: Samuel Rand unloads eight buildings in separate deals for $25.5 million.

An eight-property multifamily portfolio in the San Fernando Valley has sold to four different buyers for a total $25.5 million.

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Major League Error for Dodgers?

COMMENT

Charles Crumpley is starting to wonder if the new Dodgers owners have a couple of strikes on them already

Giant Retailer a Big Plus for Smaller Businesses

Op-Ed

Hector V. Barreto asks Wal-Mart opponents to shelve their criticism

Letting the Air Out of Regulation

Op-Ed: California’s attempt to reduce pollutants will drive up gas and energy prices, and kill jobs.

REGULATION: Randy Gordon warns California’s clean-air efforts will only curb employment

Friday, August 17

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed up slightly for the week as the broader markets continued a summer rally.

Stocks Rise at Close

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 25 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,275. The Nasdaq rose 14 points, or one-half percent, to 3,076. The S&P 500 rose 3 points, or less than 1 percent, to 1,418. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 138.

Unemployment Rate Unchanged for L.A.

L.A. County’s jobs recovery stalled in July as the unemployment rate remained unchanged from June and the county lost 44,000 payroll jobs as schools let out for the summer and overall hiring slowed, according to figures released Friday.

L.A. Controller on a Search for Hidden City Money

In an effort to determine if there are any hidden pots of money in the city, Controller Wendy Greuel announced that she plans to audit some of the 500 special revenue funds the city has created to finance its operations. The Los Angeles Daily News reports that the probe comes in the wake of the state Parks Department recently discovering $54 million in a special fund at a time it was closing parks for a lack of money.

Superheroes Soar Above Disney Tensions

Walt Disney Co.’s acquisition of Marvel Entertainment gave it the Hulk, Iron Man and other superheroes to fuel summer blockbusters for years to come. It also got Ike Perlmutter. The Financial Times and the Los Angeles Journal report that the addition of Marvel’s chief executive has added some dramatic tension to the Burbank family-oriented entertainment giant.

Will ‘Firing Its Customer Base’ Help J.C. Penney?

J.C. Penney is not a specialty retailer in the classic definition of the term, but it's clearly become a very "special" situation. Yahoo Finance’s Daily Ticker reports that second-quarter results show the retailer's continued struggles, but initiatives that alienated and confused its core consumer base may work in the long run, one analyst believes.

Treasury Changes Fannie and Freddie Bailout Deal

The federal government on Friday changed the terms of its bailout agreement with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in a way that will shrink the holdings of the two mortgage giants more quickly and will require payment to the government of all quarterly profits the companies earn. The Associated Press reports that Treasury Department hopes to answer concerns that the companies could at some point exhaust the federal support they were guaranteed when they were taken over by the government during the financial crisis.

Kodak Auction Makes Odd Bedfellows

Kodak's auction of intellectual property has yet to produce a sale. But the Wall Street Journal reports it has had one unlikely result: turning the fiercest rivals in the global patent battle – Apple Inc. and Google Inc. – into potential collaborators.

CalPERS Plans to Invest More in Asian Real Estate

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System plans to invest $530 million in commercial real estate in China and other Asian countries. The Sacramento Bee reports that in keeping with CalPERS' conservative, post-crash approach to real estate – and awareness of how the European Union's sagging economy is hurting China – the investments will be confined to projects that are already built and leased up.

Morning Stocks Rise

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was rose 14 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,264. The Nasdaq was up 6 points, or less than 1 percent, to 3,068. The S&P 500 was up nearly 1 point, or less than 1 percent, to 1,416. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 138.

Thursday, August 16

Report Boosts Housing Stocks

Shares of local homebuilders rose Thursday after the U.S. Commerce Department reported that building permits, an indicator of future construction, rose 6.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 812,000.

PennyMac To Sell Shares

PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust said that it plans to offer 12 million common shares in a public offering.

Dole Chairman Adds to Stake

Dole Food Co. Chairman David Murdock continues to accumulate shares in the Westlake Village producer and distributor of fruits and vegetables, adding 847,228 shares earlier this week according to regulatory filings.

Thursday’s L.A. News Roundup

Report Boosts Housing Stocks … PennyMac To Sell Shares… Dole Chairman Adds to Stake.

Stocks Rise at Close

On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 85 7 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,250. The Nasdaq rose 32 points, or 1 percent, to 3,062. The S&P 500 rose 10 points, or nearly 1 percent, to 1,406. The LABJ Stock Index rose less than a point to 138

Facebook Stock Hits All-Time Low as Insiders Sell

Facebook's life as a public company has been a nightmare from day one, and the pain continued on Thursday as some company insiders got their first chance to dump shares. CNNMoney.com reports that social networking company’s stock fell nearly 7 percent in early trading Thursday, hitting a new intra-day low of $19.76.

Business Leaders Want Reform in L.A. Pension Costs

Los Angeles business leaders on Wednesday pressed elected officials to address ballooning city employee pension costs, pushing for salary freezes as well as a ballot measure that would let voters, instead of lawmakers, decide how much employees should collect in retirement. The Los Angeles Times reports that, unlike a plan by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa that would affect only new city employees, the group’s proposal would open the door for salary reductions for current staff.

California's Boom Masks Uneven Recovery

California added jobs faster than the rest of the nation over the past year, and tech firms are showering riches on Silicon Valley. But the Wall Street Journal reports that for a broad swath of residents – including many in Los Angeles County – the Golden State’s rebound is a lot less golden and is likely to stay that way.

Hypersonic Aircraft Test Flight Fails

A closely watched test flight of an unmanned experimental aircraft designed to travel up to 3,600 miles an hour ended in disappointment for a third time when a part failed, causing it to plummet into the Pacific Ocean, the Air Force said. The Los Angeles Times reports that the X-51A WaveRider, which includes components from Boeing Co.'s research center in Huntington Beach and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne in Canoga Park, was designed to hit six times the speed of sound and fly for five minutes on Tuesday. But the engine never lit.

Justice Dept. to Order Changes in Verizon Deals

The Justice Department announced Thursday it will order changes to protect consumers in deals between Verizon and four of the nation's largest cable companies. The Associated Press reports that while the government will allow Verizon's proposed acquisition of spectrum from the cable companies to go forward, the acquisition would be contingent on the purchase of a significant portion of that spectrum by a competitor, T-Mobile USA.

Knight Put Fate in Familiar Hands

As Knight Capital Group Inc. faced its darkest hours earlier this month, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. found itself in a familiar position: The Wall Street Journal reports that it’s not the first time that the banking giant has been on the receiving end of similar pleas for help in some of Wall Street's biggest meltdowns, with the company snapping up Bear Stearns Cos. and Washington Mutual's assets at cut-rate prices.

Morning Stocks Rise

In Thursday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was rose 38 points, or less than a half percent, to 13,203. The Nasdaq was up 17 points, or one-half percent, to 3,048. The S&P 500 was up nearly 5 points, or less than a half percent, to 1,410. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 137.

Wednesday, August 15

Signature Group Names New Chairman

Signature Group Holdings Inc., which last month fought off a proxy battle by its largest single shareholder, said that one of its two new directors, G. Christopher Colville, had been named chairman.

Physicians Formula To Go Private in $65 Million Deal

Shares of Physicians Formula Holdings Inc. rose more than 14 percent on Wednesday after the Azusa cosmetics and skin care company announced a deal to be taken private by San Francisco private equity firm.

Hot Topic Narrows Loss

Teen retailer Hot Topic Inc. reported a smaller second-quarter net loss than a year earlier, when the company took charges as it revamped its business.

Movieclips Raises Money, Changes Name

Movieclips,com, a online movie clip service based in Venice, said that it raised $18.5 million in a Series C funding round and was renaming itself Zefr.

Mandalay Digital Makes Acquisition

Mandalay Digital Group Inc. has signed an agreement to acquire assets of Logia Group, a mobile content development provider.

Cargo Traffic Up at L.A. Port, But Down Again at Long Beach

After a hiatus in June, familiar trend reemerged at the local ports last month: growth in cargo traffic at the Los Angeles harbor, but shrinkage in neighboring Long Beach.

Wednesday’s L.A. News Roundup

Signature Splits Chairman/CEO Job... Physicians Formula Rises on Acquisition… Hot Topic Narrows Loss… Movieclips Raises Money, Changes Name… Mandalay Digital Makes Acquisition.

Stocks Close Mixed

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 7 points, or less than 1 percent to 13,164. The Nasdaq rose 14 points, or less than 1 percent, to 3,031. The S&P 500 rose nearly 2 points, or less than 1 percent, to 1,406. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 137.

New Law Could Relax L.A. Parking Requirements

Los Angeles City Council members on Tuesday backed an ordinance that would allow real estate developers, landlords and business owners to reduce the number of parking spaces need for their projects. The Los Angeles Daily News reports that the ordinance challenges long-standing notions about parking requirements.

Private Equity Firm to Buy Physicians Formula

Swander Pace Capital on Wednesday said that it is taking Physicians Formula Holdings Inc. private in a deal valued at about $65 million. The Associated Press reports that the San Francisco private equity firm will pay $4.25 per share in cash for the Azusa cosmetics and skin care company, a 15 percent premium over the stock's closing price on Tuesday.

Both Sides in Chinatown Wal-Mart Dispute Face Off

Wal-Mart’s plan to bring a grocery store to Chinatown got another testy airing Tuesday as speakers on both sides of the issue squared off in a crowded hearing room at Los Angeles City Hall. The Los Angeles Times reports that activists urged a council committee to move forward with a ban on large national chain stores in the historic district, but business backers chided the city for targeting a retailer unions don't like.

L.A. Losing Core of Its TV Production to Other States

The five broadcast TV networks will be rolling out 23 one-hour dramas for the upcoming season, which normally would be good for Hollywood's hometown industry. But not this year, the Los Angeles Times reports. Just two of the new fall and midseason shows will be shot here, as producers seek tax-friendly havens in other states.

U.S. Tests Hypersonic Aircraft Over Pacific

The U.S. military on Tuesday conducted an unmanned test flight of its hypersonic Waverider aircraft, designed to move at six times the speed of sound using technology that bridges the gap between planes and rocketships. Reuters reports that Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne designed the X-51A's "scramjet" engine, which uses the forward motion of the craft to compress air for fuel combustion, according to a description of the project from the military.

Payment Network Takes on Google Wallet

More than a dozen big merchants announced Wednesday their plans to jointly develop a mobile-payments network that will battle similar services from Google Inc. and other companies. The Wall Street Journal reports that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. are among the companies hoping to elbow their way into the burgeoning market that turns smartphones into devices for making purchases.

Homebuilder Confidence at 5-Year-High

U.S. homebuilders grew more confident in the housing recovery in August, as many reported that prospects for sales are the best they've been since the home bubble burst five years ago. The Associated Press reports that the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Wednesday rose to the highest since March 2007.

Carlyle in $3.3 Billion Deal for Getty Images

The Carlyle Group announced Wednesday that it had reached a deal to acquire Getty Images, the well-known distributor of photography, video and multimedia products, from Hellman & Friedman for $3.3 billion. The New York Times reports that Carlyle will take a controlling stake in Getty Images, while the company’s co-founder and the chairman and the Getty family will roll substantially all their ownership interests into the acquisition.

Morning Stocks Mixed

In Wednesday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 9 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,162. The Nasdaq was up 10 points, or less than 1 percent, to 3,027. The S&P 500 was up less than 1 point, or less than 1 percent, to 1,404. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 137.

Tuesday, August 14

Kennedy-Wilson Acquires Irish Loans

Kennedy-Wilson Holdings Inc. has partnered with Germany’s Deutsche Bank AG to acquire an Irish real estate loan portfolio with an unpaid principal balance of $449 million.

Lower Sales, Larger Loss at Cereplast

Bioplastics maker Cereplast Inc. reported a 62 percent larger second quarter net loss, with sales down 97 percent.

Jacobs Wins Overseas Contracts

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. announced a trio of contracts overseas, including a $406 million consulting and project management contract with Qatar Railways Co.

Overhill Shares Get Cooking Amid Transaction Talk

Shares of Vernon frozen food manufacturer Overhill Farms Inc. surged Tuesday, a day after the company announced it has hired investment banking firm Piper Jaffray & Co. to help it evaluate potential acquisition offers and other deals.

Tuesday’s L.A. News Roundup

Kennedy-Wilson Acquires Irish Loans… Lower Sales, Larger Loss at Cereplast… Jacobs Wins Overseas Contracts.

Stocks Mixed at Close

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 3 points, or less than 1 percent to 13,172. The Nasdaq fell 6 points, or less than 1 percent, to 3,017. The S&P 500 fell less than 1 point, or less than 1 percent, to 1,404. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 137.

National Enquirer Owner Looking at Variety

Avenue Capital, a New York hedge fund whose holdings include the parent company of the National Enquirer is now the leading bidder for Variety. The Los Angeles Times reports that this late entrant in the sales process has bid more than $40 million, more than billionaire Ron Burkle, who had been considered the leading bidder.

Investigators Want to Examine Pipe at Refinery Fire

Federal and state investigators are trying to determine how to safely enter the area where a fire broke out in a Chevron Corp. refinery last week so they can examine a failed pipe blamed for the blaze. The Associated Press reports that Chevron examined the line that failed and a larger companion line linked to it in October but decided it was good for another five years of service.

Chinese Companies Pull Out of U.S. Stock Markets

Just a few years after Chinese companies lined up to sell shares on Wall Street, a growing number are reversing course and pulling out of U.S. exchanges. The Associated Press reports that the withdrawals in part follow accusations of improper accounting by some companies, but Chinese companies also say that low share prices here fail to reflect the strength of their businesses.

Beware the Goodwill Games

Multibillion-dollar write-offs by Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Boston Scientific Corp. for poorly performing acquisitions prompt the question: Who's next? A Wall Street Journal analysis reveals some intriguing possibilities, including six companies that are carrying more goodwill on their balance sheets than the companies' market values.

Municipal Bond Rule Mired in Limbo

Financial reform was supposed to help protect local taxpayers from getting burned by municipal bond deals. But the New York Times reports that a measure that would require municipal bond advisers to put the interests of taxpayers first has been bogged down in a rule-making quagmire in Washington for nearly two years.

Investors Shift Gears Toward Growth Stocks

As stock benchmarks edge closer to multiyear highs, the complexion of the summer rally shows investors are increasingly turning to small companies and growth-sensitive sectors. The Wall Street Journal reports that they are turning their backs on the defensive names that have provided a harbor amid recent uncertainty.

Morning Stocks Up

In Tuesday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 41 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,210. The Nasdaq was up 9 points, or less than 1 percent, to 3,031. The S&P 500 was up 5 points, or less than 1 percent, to 1,408. The LABJ Stock Index was up less than 1 point, or less than 1 percent, to 137.

Monday, August 13

Muslim Ex-Employee Sues Disney

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against Walt Disney Co., alleging that a female Muslim employee was harassed and removed from her job after a dispute over her head scarf.

Arrowhead Raises $6.2 Million

Arrowhead Research Corp. has entered into a securities purchase agreement with institutional and individual investors to raise gross proceeds of about $6.2 million.

Monday’s L.A. News Roundup

Muslim Ex-Employee Sues Disney… Arrowhead Raises $6.2 Million

Tesoro to Buy Carson Refinery from BP

Tesoro Corp. on Monday agreed to buy BP PLC’s oil refinery in Carson and 800 gasoline stations in the Southwest for $1.18 billion. Bloomberg News reports that the deal enables the San Antonio company to expand on the the West Coast just as a fire at a San Francisco Bay Area-area plant has cut fuel supplies and boosted prices.

Has Time Come for Sin City Express?

A group of private investors is making a pitch for a $6.9 billion high-speed rail line called XpressWest from Victorville to Las Vegas, and hopes to get a massive federal loan before the end of this summer. The Los Angeles Daily News reports that this could be the first high-speed rail project developed in the country, with County Supervisor Michael Antonovich wanting to take the route even farther.

Gas Prices in L.A. Rising Fast

Gasoline prices in Southern California are now climbing fast in the wake of Chevron’s Richmond refinery fire a week ago. Southern California Public Radio reports that the average price of a gallon of regular gas has jumped more than 20 cents since last week – from about $3.88 to $4.09 – much higher than national average of $3.68 a gallon.

Google to Buy Frommer's Travel Brand

Google Inc. is acquiring the Frommer's travel brand from publicly traded publishing house John Wiley & Sons Inc. for an undisclosed price, the Wall Street Journal reported this morning. Google hasn't yet decided whether the Frommer's guidebooks will continue to be published in print or whether they will eventually migrate entirely to online.

Rating Surprise for NBC's London Olympics

NBC's coverage of the London Olympics has blown away the most optimistic projections for audience performance in an increasingly fractured media landscape. The Los Angeles Times reports that more than 210 million Americans have watched a portion of the Games, despite the time difference with London.

Hollywood Eager to Feed China’s Appetite for 3-D

A portion of the American entertainment industry is gaining a foothold in China. The New York Times reports 7,000 of China’s 11,000 screens are 3-D capable, with Beverly Hills’ RealD Inc. a growing player in the market.

Problems for Lenders Trying to Collect Credit Card Debt

The same problems that plagued the foreclosure process – prompting a multibillion-dollar settlement with big banks — are now emerging in the debt collection practices of credit card companies. The New York Times reports that American Express, Citigroup and other are going to court to recoup their money but many of the lawsuits rely on erroneous documents, incomplete records and generic testimony from witnesses.

Groupon Staff Getting Recruited

Groupon is facing strains on its sales force as the daily-deals website seeks to recover from financial missteps and a stock that is 63 percent below its IPO price. The Wall Street Journal reports that competing firms are having a much easier time these days recruiting Groupon employees

Morning Stocks Down

In Monday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down nearly 77 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,131. The Nasdaq was down nearly 15 points, or less than 1 percent, to 3,006. The S&P 500 was down nearly 7 points, or less than 1 percent, to 1,399. The LABJ Stock Index was down less than 1 point, or less than 1 percent, to 136.

Silicon Valley Firm High on Westside Tech Industry

Cooley LLP opens six-attorney office in Santa Monica.

Silicon Valley law firm Cooley LLP’s opening of a Santa Monica office is the latest sign that the L.A. tech sector is gaining notice elsewhere in the country.

Putting Best Faces Forward

Shop’s beauty service gets low-cost makeover of its own.

She Bar helps women face a night out with low-cost makeovers at its mall kiosk.

Soda Tax Idea Goes Flat

Charles Crumpley thinks soda taxes could just go pop.

Small Firm Left Standing Tallest

Sale of TCW shows impact of MetWest deal.

Small fixed-income firm acquired by TCW comes up big in sale of the asset manager.

L.A. Fashion King Collars Daughter to Lead Brand

Joyce Azria playing bigger role at father’s BCBG empire.

Joyce Azria finds she’s a good fit for the clothing empire of her father, Max.

Pouring It On

Sugary drink tax among city levies sprung on business

Some business owners aren’t buying cities’ motives for ballot measures to hike sales levies.

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Children’s Museum Exhibits Signs of Life

Children’s Museum of Los Angeles bolsters finances after losing Friedman’s pledge of $10 million.

Digital Records May Save Money, Obamacare

Richard Stephenson sees digital recordkeeping giving Obamacare a shot in the arm.

Sweating The Cost

Exercise giveaway gets drink maker’s vitamin water moving.

Drink maker weighs in with anti-obesity promotion by having customers exercise for free vitamin water.

Imaging Clinic Sees Profits With Alzheimer’s Test

RadNet to offer sophisticated test at 10 centers nationwide.

RadNet Inc. has become one of the first – and largest – operators of medical imaging centers to offer a cutting-edge test for brain abnormalities linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

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Not Kidding Around

Startup guides young people in launching their own businesses.

Kidworth is all business when it comes to guiding young entrepreneurs.

Mud Makers Say They Have Dirt on Customers

Mask product of GlamGlow got boost from Hollywood buzz.

GlamGlow co-founders stay down to earth while promoting their mud masks with show business buzz.

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Double Play

Dodgers look to score multibillion TV-rights deal and sponsorships to pay for improvements to team, stadium.

Dodgers President Stan Kasten goes to bat for the new ownership’s business plans for the team.

Too Good to be True

SPECIAL REPORT

Big-hearted philanthropist, enthusiastic baseball fan and upstanding family man, the late Bruce Friedman was also a convicted felon accused of using lies and manipulation to steal the fortunes of retirees. Friedman’s promises to clients and charities proved to be nothing but talk after authorities shuttered his business as an alleged Ponzi scheme.

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Shoe-Ins for Downtown L.A. Condos

An NBA ban may have been the best thing that ever happened to Ryan and Adam Goldston.

Movie Studio Widens Focus

DreamWorks looks beyond animation to parks, TV.

DreamWorks draws up diversification plan to move beyond reliance on animated movies.

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News of the Week

Last week’s major news from labusinessjournal.com and other sources

Loss of Chevrolet Drives Agency’s Healthy Focus

L.A. office of Campbell Ewald touts Kaiser as signature client.

Kaiser account helps ad agency’s L.A. office recover from loss of signature client Chevrolet.

Investor Group Likes Fit Of Former Brown Derby

CMC Asset buys L.A. city historic monument property for $9.25 million.

The historic Brown Derby building in Los Feliz traded hands for $9.25 million last week.

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Airplane Parts Maker Soars on Back of Acquisition

Ducommun finally sees payoff of radar company pickup.

Airplane parts maker Ducommun receives big lift from formerly problematic acquisition.

Regional Reports

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Mayor in Driver’s Seat

Michael Wojnar credits Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for getting Metro funding on track.

Investors Shell Out $75 Million to Join Fast-Fashion Site

JustFabulous recently fashioned a $75 million funding round out of its successful subscription model.

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Calendar of Events and Conventions

Friday, August 10

Cities Pour on Sales Taxes

Hamburger joint owner Art Meier is mad. The proprietor of Art’s Burgers in El Monte, Meier fears losing sales if the city’s voters approve a tax on sugary drinks that would add 12 cents to the cost of a can of Coke.

DreamWorks Looks Beyond Film-Making

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., the studio known mainly for one thing – producing such animated film franchises as “Shrek,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “Madagascar” – suddenly is beginning to look more like an entertainment conglomerate.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed up slightly for the week as investors reacted to mixed economic and quarterly financial reports.

Stocks Rise Slightly

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 43 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,207. The Nasdaq rose 2 points, or less than 1 percent, to 3,020. The S&P 500 rose 3 points, or less than 1 percent, to 1,403. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 137.

CKE Postpones IPO

CKE Inc., the owner of the Carl's Jr and Hardees fast-food chains, has postponed its initial public offering citing market conditions.

Inside Story of the Coliseum Scandal

In April 2010, Maria Rodriguez was cleaning the bleachers after an event at the L.A. Sports Arena when she stepped on a loose piece of plywood and fell seven feet to the floor, suffering two herniated discs. The L.A. Weekly details how her effort to get her medical bills paid led to the unearthing of the ongoing L.A. Coliseum scandal.

Feds Plan Crackdown on SoCal Garment Industry

Federal labor officials say they're cracking down on what they call sweatshop conditions in parts of Southern California's garment industry. Southern California Public Radio reports that recent inspections resulted in citations totaling $217,844 to employers.

Lawmakers Question State Budget Accounting

In their first examination of state accounting problems, California lawmakers condemned parks officials Thursday for hiding nearly $54 million from budget writers. The Sacramento Bee reports that officials from the Department of Finance and state controller's office told legislators they will install cross-checks to verify that figures for 560-plus special funds are consistent across different sets of books.

U.S. Won’t Seek Goldman Charges

After a yearlong investigation, the Justice Department said that it won't bring charges against Goldman Sachs Group Inc. or any of its employees for alleged financial fraud related to the mortgage crisis. The Wall Street Journal reports that "the burden of proof" couldn't be met.

To Be or Not to Be an Online Ad

The online advertising industry – with all its data about individuals and what they like to buy – is sophisticated … sometimes. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that a study of 12 big-name advertisers found that 30 percent of their online ads never reached an eyeball.

Shopper Alert: Price May Drop for You Alone

It used to be that with dedication and a good pair of scissors, one grocery shopper could get the same coupons — and cheap prices — as another. The New York Times reports that grocers like Safeway and Kroger are going one step further, each offering different methods to determine individualized prices to encourage shoppers to spend more.

Morning Stocks Down

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 24 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,141. The Nasdaq was down 7 points, or less than 1 percent, to 3,012. The S&P 500 was down 3 points, or less than 1 percent, to 1,400. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 137.

Thursday, August 9

Carlyle to Acquire TCW

Carlyle Group LP, a private equity firm headquartered in Washington, D.C., has reached an agreement to acquire L.A. asset manager TCW Group Inc., the two sides announced Thursday.

Santa Anita Gets Breeders’ Cup Nod

Santa Anita Park will host the 2013 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, a series of races with stakes totaling more than $25 million, track owner Stronach Group announced Thursday.

Stocks Close Mixed

On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 10 points, or less than 1 percent, to 13,165. The Nasdaq rose 7 points, or less than 1 percent, to 3,018. The S&P 500 rose less than 1 point, or less than 1 percent, to 1,403. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 137.

Report: Carlyle to Acquire TCW

Private equity giant Carlyle Group is expected to announce as soon as late today that it will acquire Los Angeles asset manager TCW Group Inc., sources told the Wall Street Journal. TCW employees, who already own a sizeable chunk of the firm, would see their position would grow in the deal. Carlyle reportedly plans to make TCW a portfolio company rather than fold it into its own operations.

Homeowners in Fire-Prone Areas Face New Fee

Soon 800,000 homeowners in fire-prone regions of California – including 28,000 in Los Angeles County – will have to pay a new annual "fire prevention fee" of $115. The Los Angeles Daily News reports that the state Legislature mandated the fee last year, and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials expect it will bring in about $84 million a year to the state.

What L.A. County Cities are Best for Business?

Ten cities in Los Angeles County have been picked as finalists for the annual business-friendly city competition, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. the Business Journal reports.

The Next Shuttle Endeavour Mission: L.A.

Space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to begin its final odyssey next month, when it travels from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to Los Angeles International Airport and on to its new home in Los Angeles. Southern California Public Radio reports that getting the retired spacecraft to its final resting place at the California Science Center will be quite an undertaking.

Effect of Refinery Fire on Gas Prices Now Unclear

The expected run-up in gasoline prices after a major fire at a Bay Area refinery may not come as quickly as expected, but it's coming. But the Los Angeles Times reports that what isn't known is how bad it will get. The market is waiting for Chevron Corp. to report on the severity of the damage.

Deal on Workers' Comp Overhaul Likely

Unions and large employers are close to a deal to cut costs and hike benefits in the workers' compensation system, the Los Angeles Times reports. A small group of labor unions and large employers has been meeting quietly since April to craft legislation that would cut administrative, legal and medical costs. The Legislature could get the plan next week.

Banks Increase Mortgage Profit

Interest rates on mortgages and refinancing are at record lows, giving borrowers plenty to celebrate. But the New York Times reports that the bigger winners are the banks making the loans.

U.S. Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Fall

Fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, which Bloomberg News reports may be a sign of improvement. Fewer firings could mean employers are seeing enough demand to retain staff.

Amgen Halts Pancreatic Cancer Drug Trial

Amgen Inc. is halting a study of an experimental drug for reoccurring pancreatic cancer due to disappointing results. The Associated Press reports that a board of medical experts recommended that the Thousand Oaks biotech end the trial because the drug, ganitumab, appears unlikely to help patients live longer.

Now Arriving on Time: You and Your Luggage

U.S. airlines are more punctual and less likely to lose your bag than at any time in more than two decades. The Associated Press reports that nearly 84 percent of domestic flights arrived within 15 minutes of their schedule time in the first half of the year – the best performance since the government started tracking such data in 1988.

Morning Stocks Mixed

In Thursday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 6 points, or 0.05 percent, to 13,169. The Nasdaq was up 7 points, or 0.34 percent, to 3,018. The S&P 500 was up 1.4 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,404. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 137.

Wednesday, August 8

Kilroy Prices Stock Offering

Kilroy Realty Corp. on Wednesday priced a public offering of 5 million shares at $46.10 a share.

Live Nation’s Profit Falls

The stock of Live Nation Entertainment Inc. rose 1 percent on Wednesday, even after announcing that its second-quarter net profit fell 42 percent.

Brazilian Company Comes to Santa Monica

Realtime, a Brazilian startup that is developing technology for real-time web applications, announced it raised $100 million and had expanded operations to the United States, with offices Santa Monica and New York City.

First IHOP Opens in Middle East

DineEquity Inc., the parent of IHOP Restaurants and Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar, announced the opening of the first IHOP restaurant in the Middle East.

Boingo Shares Slip on Outlook

Shares of Boingo Wireless Inc. fell sharply in after-hours trading Wednesday after the operator of Wi-Fi hotspots provided guidance for the current quarter that was below Wall Street expectations The company also announced an acquisition.

Wednesday’s L.A. News Roundup

Kilroy Prices Stock Offering… Live Nation’s Profit Falls… Brazilian Company Comes to Santa Monica… First IHOP Opens in Middle East.

Stock Mixed at Close

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 7 points, or nearly 0.1 percent to 13,168. The Nasdaq fell 5 points, or 0.2 percent to 3,011. The S&P 500 rose 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,402. The LABJ Stock Index rose a half point, or 0.4 percent to $137.

Refinery Fire to Cause California Gas Prices to Surge

California gasoline prices could surge at least 35 cents a gallon this week as fire damage is assessed at the huge Chevron Corp. refinery in Northern California. The Los Angeles Times reports that fallout from the fire raises fresh concerns about the toll on consumers coping with a tepid economic recovery.

Home Prices Climb as Supply Dwindles

Home prices rose by their largest percentage in at least seven years during the second quarter, propelled by low inventories of properties for sale and high demand for bargain-priced foreclosures. The Wall Street Journal reports that the main force behind the home-price gains appears to be a shortage of homes for sale.

FAA Official Optimistic on Rules for Drones

With the prospect of thousands of unmanned aircraft flying around U.S. airspace beginning in 2015, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration pledged that new regulations are in the works to keep skies safe and protect people's privacy. The Los Angeles Times reports that opening the skies could be a potential boon for Southland drone makers such as AeroVironment Inc. and Lockheed Martin Corp.

Spain’s Ortega Overtakes Buffett on Richest List

Amancio Ortega, the 76-year-old Spaniard who founded retailer Inditex SA, has bumped American Warren Buffett from his ranking as the world’s third-richest person on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Bloomberg News reports that Ortega’s fortune is now estimated $46.6 billion, compared with 81-year-old Buffett’s $45.7 billion.

Liberty Media to Spin Off Starz

Liberty Media Corp. said this morning that it would split into two companies, dividing its Starz unit from its investment portfolio, clearing the way for the premium-TV channel business to be merged with another company. The Wall Street Journal reports that the planned split is the latest in a long series of restructurings announced by cable pioneer John Malone’s business empire.

Recession Generation Opts to Rent, Not Buy

Confronting a jobless rate above 8 percent since 2009 and student-loan debt hitting about $1 trillion, 20-to-34-year-olds are renting apartments, cars and even clothing to save money and stay flexible. Bloomberg News reports that as the Great Depression shaped the attitudes of a generation from 1929 until the early years of World War II, so have the financial crisis and its aftermath affected the outlook of young consumers.

The Bonds, They Are A-Changin'

Bob Dylan's music – soundtrack for the counterculture of 1960s America – now has become a selling point for an unusual bond offering being marketed to institutional investors and wealthy individuals. The Wall Street Journal reports that Sesac Inc., a private Nashville, Tenn., company, is preparing a $300 million bond backed by the cut it receives as a middleman between music companies and songwriters and the outlets that broadcast their music.

Morning Stocks Rise

In Wednesday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 27 points, or 0.21 percent, to 13,195. The Nasdaq was up 40 points, or 0.01 percent, to 3,016. The S&P 500 was up 2 points, or 0.14 percent, to 1,403. The LABJ Stock Index was up 1 point, or 0.7 percent, to 137.

Tuesday, August 7

Ducommun Earnings Beats Forecasts

Shares of Ducommun Inc. jumped 28 percent on Tuesday after the Carson aerospace components maker reported better-than-expected second quarter profit.

Aecom Reaffirms Guidance

Shares of Aecom Technology Corp. jumped 18 percent to $18.82 on Tuesday as investors reacted to a significant increase in free cash flow and the company reaffirming its guidance for the full year.

Chicago Investments Hurt Younan

Younan Properties Inc. reportedly is facing foreclosure lawsuits seeking more than $45 million on three office properties in the north and northwest suburbs of Chicago.

Disney Reports Mixed Third Quarter

Walt Disney Co. late Tuesday reported 24 percent higher quarterly net income that beat Wall Street estimates. But shares fell slightly in after-hours trading on lower-than-expected revenue.

DFS Group Wins LAX Contract

DFS Group LP, the current operator of duty-free shops at Los Angeles International Airport, has been awarded a sought-after contract to continue operating the shops for at least 10 years.

Tuesday’s L.A. News Roundup

Ducommun Earnings Beats Forecasts… Aecom Reaffirms Guidance… Chicago Investments Hurt Younan.

Stock Close Up

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 51 points, or nearly 0.4 percent to 13,168. The Nasdaq rose 26 points, or 0.8 percent to 3,015. The S&P 500 rose 7 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,401. The LABJ Stock Index rose 0.5 points, or 0.4 percent to $136.

Earnings Drive Big Local Stock Swings

Shares of Carson aerospace components maker Ducommun Inc. and Los Angeles professional and technical services provider Aecom Technology Corp. were up by double-digit percentages Tuesday morning after the companies reported second quarter earnings.

Padres to Be Sold to Beer Distributor Fowler, O’Malley Kin

John Moores has signed an agreement to sell the San Diego Padres to a group headed by California beer distributor owner Ron Fowler. The group includes the family of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley and golfer Phil Mickelson. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that the purchase price of $800 million would include a 21 percent stake in the regional sports network Fox Sports San Diego.

DreamWorks Plans Shanghai Entertainment District

Glendale film studio DreamWorks Animation SKG said it plans to co-develop a $3.1 billion cultural and entertainment district in Shanghai with a group of Chinese partners.

Disney Expected to Grow Studio, Theme Parks

On the heels of 'The Avengers' hit and the successful launch of Cars Land at its California theme park, Disney is expected to report stronger results after the markets close today. CNBC.com reports that analysts expect Disney to report 19 percent higher earnings per share of 93 cents on six percent higher revenue of $11.3 billion.

Fire at Northern California Refinery Is Out

Firefighters this morning contained a large fire at Chevron's refinery in Richmond that spewed thick black smoke over cities in the San Francisco Bay area and sent scores of residents to hospitals complaining of breathing problems. The Associated Press reports that the company said it did not know yet whether production would be affected. A 2007 fire shut down the refinery for most of that year's first quarter.

Study: Steady Job Growth Ahead

Hiring in California, which has outpaced the United States for the last two months, should continue at the same level of job growth in the third quarter, based on a new quarterly report released by Chapman University. The Orange County Register reports that the school’s California Leading Employment Indicator registered 110.7 for the third quarter, virtually unchanged from the 111 for the second quarter.

Morning Stocks Rise

In Tuesday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 83 points, or 0.63 percent, to 13,200. The Nasdaq was up 34 points, or 1 percent, to 3,024. The S&P 500 was up 11 points, or 0.81 percent, to 1,405. The LABJ Stock Index was up 1 point, or less than 1 percent to 136.

Monday, August 6

THQ Swings to Profit

Video game maker THQ Inc. late Monday said it swung to a profit in its fiscal first quarter as it restructures its business.

Teledyne Announces Acquisitions

Teledyne Technologies Inc. has acquired the parent of PDM Neptec Ltd., a United Kingdom company that makes underwater cables, subsea connectors that can be used in harsh marine environments.

TOLD Corp. Chairman Jack Gilbert Dies

Entrepreneur and philanthropist John “Jack” B. Gilbert died on Aug. 2 in Oxnard of complications from pneumonia. He was 91.

Contract Delays Hurt Tutor Perini’s Outlook

Shares of Tutor Perini Corp. fell nearly 13 percent on Tuesday after the construction company reported a lower-than-expected second quarter profit and cut its full-year forecast.

Monday’s L.A. News Roundup

THQ Swings to Profit… Teledyne Announces Acquisitions… TOLD Corp. Chairman Jack Gilbert Dies.

Stocks Rise as Knight Capital Gets $400M Financing Deal

U.S. stocks were marching upward this morning on a variety of positive news. The Associated Press reports that one item contributing to the gains is word that Knight Capital Group, which is fighting for survival after a disastrous software glitch sent trading haywire last week, has lined up $400 million in financing that will allow the firm to continue.

It’s Now Every Bank for Itself

Major banks, which often band together when facing government scrutiny, are now turning on one another as an international investigation into the manipulation of interest rates gains momentum. The New York Times reports that with billions of dollars and their reputations on the line, financial institutions have been spreading the blame in recent meetings with authorities.

Construction Begins on Wilshire at La Brea Complex

Work is underway on a $105-million apartment and retail development at the crossroads of two major Los Angeles thoroughfares, Wilshire Boulevard and La Brea Avenue. The Los Angeles Times reports that the six-story complex one of the first to take advantage of a new city planning policy that allows for replacement of obsolete structures to encourage higher density in urban infill areas.

Buffett Pares Consumer Stocks

Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s cash swelled in the second quarter to its highest level in a year as Chairman Warren Buffett pared bets on consumer-products stocks. Bloomberg News reports that Buffett has cited challenges at consumer-products firms in Berkshire’s $86.2 billion stock portfolio, which includes Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble Co., and his using his cash to build the larger stakes in firms such as Wells Fargo & Co.

Markets Guru Arnott: Inflation Will Triple

Round One of the inflation debate has seemingly been won by the doves. But Robert Arnott believes the hawks will be proved right, and soon. SmartMoney.com reports that the founder of Research Affiliates, a Pasadena investment firm, believes the inflation rate has an 80 percent chance of topping 5 percent within five years.

Apple Co-Founder Wozniak Sees Trouble in the Cloud

Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with the late Steve Jobs, predicts "horrible problems" in the coming years as cloud-based computing takes hold. Yahoo News reports that the engineering wizard behind the progenitor of today's personal computer notes that “on the cloud, you don't own anything.”

New Site to Link Magazine's Readers with Retailers

Lucky Magazine will launch a site this month that lets readers buy featured styles and products directly from about a dozen participating merchants, including Macy's and Sephora, without leaving the MyLucky.com site. The New York Times reports that Lucky is the latest magazine to look to e-commerce to buttress its income.

Morning Stocks Rise

In Monday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 73 points, or 0.56 percent to 13,169. The Nasdaq was up 26 points, or 0.88 percent to 2,994. The S&P 500 was up 7 points, or 0.49 percent, to 1,398. The LABJ Stock Index was up 3 points, or 2 percent to $136.

Striking Some Cords

Guitar maker salvages wood from old sites for his pricey products.

Gabriel Currie likes the sound of guitars made from salvaged wood.

Airport Agency Hopes to Land Energy Business

LAWA pitches property in Palmdale for use as wind or solar farm.

For decades, the nearly 18,000 acres of Palmdale land purchased by Los Angeles World Airports for the future home of a massive air terminal has instead been home to nothing but an expanse of Joshua trees and desert scrub.

News of the Week

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is selling his 25 percent stake in Beverly Hills film studio Metro- Goldwyn-Mayer in a deal reportedly worth $590 million.

Gas, Oil Power Turbine Maker

Capstone charges into industry to boost sales

Capstone has spun oil and gas companies into the biggest clients for its turbines.

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Metrolink Hires L.A. Agency to Get All Aboard

Messages will target cross-cultural audience.

Sensis, a multicultural advertising agency in downtown Los Angeles, has won a contract to try and boost commuter ridership on Metrolink.

Bank Parent Adopts Open Stance to Possible Sale

First California shareholder complaints spur change of heart.

Several months of investor complaints seem to be making a difference.

Businesses Draw The Line on Taxes From Other States

California business owners say bills from other states are borderline crazy.

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Diving In

Sea farmer hopes to harvest shellfish off Long Beach

KZO looks to dive into development of underwater shellfish farms off the coast of Long Beach.

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Letting Go

Susan Franceschini, executive director of ad industry trade group ThinkLA, credits being laid off from Chiat/Day for sparking her entrepreneurial spirit.

Ex-HR exec Susan Franceschini now puts her skills to work as executive director of ad industry trade group ThinkLA.

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LAUSD Fails Public Station

KLCS forced to scramble after district cuts subsidy.

LAUSD-supported station KLCS is getting a tough lesson on financing after the district reduced its subsidy.

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Concert Website Cues Up Informal Performances

Startup StageIt streams intimate shows at a low price for fans.

Counting Jimmy Buffett as an investor has benefits.

IPO Markets Looking Better for Local Companies

CKE and LegalZoom going public as investors seek quality.

Two L.A.-area companies hope their IPOs get a fair share of support from Wall Street.

Calendar of Events and Conventions

Calendar of Events and Conventions

DirecTV’s Fading Signal

COMMENT

Charles Crumpley wonders if DirecTV’s future is a little static-y.

Online Company Investors Root for Flower Spinoff

FTD long seen as poor mix with United Online properties.

Plan to spin off flower business takes root at United Online

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In the Spin

VIEWPOINT: Ad executive gets some pointers on industry after amateur turn as a sign spinner on the sidewalk.

Court Crandall thinks his stint as a sign-spinner has helped him get a better handle on his industry.

Some Landowners Not On Board With Railcar Tax

Vote by downtown residents to decide levy for new line.

Some downtown L.A. landlords are railing against proposed tax to pay for a new streetcar line.

Beverly Hills Too Taxing for Architecture Firm

L.A. city’s levy holiday draws HKS to Westwood office.

Beverly Hills has lost another tenant to the city of L.A.’s three-year tax holiday.

Lab to Market

SPECIAL SECTION: Innovation/Tech Transfer

Science-fiction isn’t a fantasy for these cutting-edge businesses spun off from Caltech, UCLA and USC. L.A.’s three prominent research universities send a range of products into the real world.

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Time Now on Side of Downtown Property Owner

Possible portfolio sale of MPG properties boosts shares.

Prospect of selling off downtown L.A. portfolio next year pumps up MPG stock.

Building Block

Real estate developer hopes to dress up stretch of La Brea Avenue as shopping strip.

Developer wants to put stretch of La Brea Avenue on the road to becoming a shopping destination.

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Restaurant’s ‘Gold’ Mettle On Display

WP24 crafts British cocktail to score with fans of the Olympics.

Restaurant WP24 toasts the Olympics with its Go for the Gold martini.

Regional Reports

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Small Private-Equity Firm Begins to Think Big Again

Brentwood sees ripe conditions for exits and new deals.

Private-equity firm Brentwood is going public with its plans for a revived market.

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Vote for the Queen

The London Olympic Games’ opening ceremony drew countless viewers, but there probably weren’t many in Los Angeles more enthusiastic than Dame Barbara Hay.

Nailing Down That Vintage Appeal

Timeline’s treated lumber offers wear, tear at a discount.

Timeline chops down the price of reclaimed wood with lumber that only looks old.

Friday, August 3

The Week’s Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies gained for the week as investors reacted to a significant increase in U.S. jobs last month. Quarterly reports drove most of the biggest local movers.

Stock Close Up

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 217 points, or nearly 2 percent to 13,096. The Nasdaq rose 58 2 points, or 2 percent to 2,968. The S&P 500 rose 26 points, or 2 percent, to 1,390. The LABJ Stock Index rose 1 point, or 0.73 percent to $136.

LegalZoom IPO Delayed

Online legal services company LegalZoom.com of Glendale has delayed its initial public offering which had been set for Friday, due to market conditions, underwriting sources told Reuters. The delay is the latest in a string of postponements and reduced deal sizes this week.

July Jobs Report Mixed

Continuing a long slog up from the depths of the recession, the U.S. economy added 163,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in July, the Labor Department said this morning. That compares to a downwardly revised 64,000 jobs added in June. But the New York Times reports that no one is popping Champagne corks; the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3 percent from 8.2 percent.

Health Net Stock Falls on Lower Outlook

Shares of Health Net Inc. fell 24 percent this morning after the managed health provider reported a strong second quarter but lowered its earnings forecast. RTTNews.com reports that the Woodland Hills company reduced its full-year guidance to a range of $1.45 to $1.55 a share, down from a previous outlook of $2.85 to $3. Analysts had been expecting $2.28 a share on average.

L.A. County Assessor's Probe Expands

Former appraiser Scott Schenter, a subject of an inquiry centered on Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez, is suspected of engineering improper tax breaks for nearly a decade, long before Noguez was elected. The Los Angeles Times reports that the corruption probe has expanded to include tax reductions allegedly made by the appraiser long before Noguez was elected assessor in November 2010.

Facebook Shares Now Worth Half the IPO Price

Facebook Inc.’s stock has been in a free fall, descending to levels that few thought possible when the company made its public debut in May. The Los Angeles Times reports that analysts attribute the free fall to disappointing earnings and the knowledge that insiders of the former darling of Wall Street will soon be able to sell their shares.

Central Banks Can’t Save the World

Three central bank meetings this week made very good cases for additional stimulus measures, though they failed to specify what they would be. Bloomberg News reports that the unfortunate reality is that – unlike during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 –the Federal Reserve, Bank of England and the European Central Bank can’t be the saviors this time around for a struggling global economy.

The Last Refuge of Radical America

The Occupy movement is still wreaking havoc in Oakland, the world capital of anticapitalism. The New York Times goes behind the scenes of Occupy Oakland.

Jobs Report Boosts Stocks

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 251 points, or 2 percent to 13,130. The Nasdaq was up 65 points, or 2 percent to 2,974. The S&P 500 was up 29 points, or 2 percent, to 1,393. The LABJ Stock Index was up 1 point, or 1 percent, to 136.

Thursday, August 2

Report: LegalZoom.com IPO Delayed

Online legal services company LegalZoom.com Inc has delayed its initial public offering which had been set for Friday, due to market conditions, sources told Reuters.

Staar Surgical Rises on Improved Outlook

Shares of Staar Surgical Co. jumped 26 percent on Thursday after the maker of implantable eye lenses reported a mixed second quarter but provided more optimistic guidance.

Activision-Blizzard's Quarter Beats Expectations

Shares of Activision-Blizzard Inc. fell nearly 2 percent in after-hours trading Thursday after the company reported a better-than-expected second quarter but provided guidance for the current quarter that was lower than analysts expected.

Saban Brands Buys Video Game Developr

Saban Brands has acquired Playforge, a San Mateo mobile games developer and publisher known for Zombie Farm, the third highest grossing app on the Apple operating system last year.

Thursday’s L.A. News Roundup

LegalZoom to Go Public… Staar Jumps on Better Outlook… Activision-Blizzard Cautious About Third Quarter… Saban Makes Silicon Valley Buy

Stocks Close Down

On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 92 points, or less than 0.71 percent to 12,878. The Nasdaq fell 10 points, or 0.36 percent to 2,909. The S&P 500 fell 16 points, or 0.74 percent, to 1,365. The LABJ Stock Index fell 2 points, or 1.3 percent to $133.

San Bernardino Files for Bankruptcy Protection

Cash-strapped San Bernardino said this morning that it has filed for bankruptcy protection, three weeks after city leaders preliminarily approved the action. City Attorney James Penman told Southern California Public Radio that the emergency petition, filed in federal bankruptcy court in Riverside, came a little ahead of schedule in order to avoid the possible seizure of city assets by creditors.

United Online Plans Split

Shares of United Online Inc. jumped more than 27 percent this morning after the Woodland Hills company said that its board approved a preliminary plan to spin off its FTD floral delivery service into a separate public company. The Business Journal reports that the new FTD would include the operations of the FTD and Interflora brands, with United Online retaining its social networking and legacy Internet access services.

DirecTV Profit Lags Forecasts

DirectTV this morning reported second-quarter net income that fell short of analysts’ estimates, as the El Segundo company posted its first net decrease in U.S. subscribers. Bloomberg News reports that the nation’s largest U.S. satellite-television provider said its profit rose 1.4 percent to $1.09 a share, compared with the Wall Street consensus of $1.14. Shares were down 2 percent in morning trading.

Fed Gives Stronger Signals of Action

The Federal Reserve is heading toward launching a new round of stimulus to buck up the weak economy, but stopped short of doing so right away. The Wall Street Journal reports that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is building a case that the economy needs more help and that the Fed can provide it without sparking other problems.

Drop That Pimms (and Pepsi)!

Organizers of the Summer Olympics in London have been zealous in protecting the exclusivity guarantees they offered the event’s corporate sponsors. The Associated Press reports that the multibillion-dollar sponsorship battle may boomerang on the very sponsors they seek to protect.

Fraud Concerns Freeze Out Some PayPal Users

PayPal remains the dominant global player in e-commerce, handling more than half of all Web transactions by some estimates. But the New York Times reports that some businesses frustrated by the company’s aggressive antifraud measures are looking at other ways to accept payments.

MGM Sells Overseas Channels

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has sold most of its international television channels to help it buy back investor Carl Icahn’s stake in the studio and also sharpen its focus on being a pure content company ahead of a planned initial public offering. The Los Angeles Times reports that the deal leaves the Beverly Hills company with networks in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany, and a few joint ventures in other countries.

Morning Stocks Slide

In morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 146 points, or 1 percent, to 12,825. The Nasdaq was down 20 points, or 0.68 percent, to 2,900. The S&P 500 was down 16 points, or 1 percent, to 1,359. The LABJ Stock Index was down 2 points, or 1.5 percent, to 133.

Wednesday, August 1

United Online Plans to Split Company

United Online Inc. late Wednesday said that its board has approved a preliminary plan to spin off its FTD floral delivery service into a separate public company.

Mixed Quarter at True Religion

Shares of True Religion Apparel Inc. fell more than 21 percent on Wednesday after the designer denim maker and retailer reported a mixed second quarter and lowered its full-year guidance.

ReachLocal Reports Profit Surprise

Shares of ReachLocal Inc. rose nearly 7 percent on Wednesday after the provider of online marketing services for small and medium businesses reported second-quarter profit and revenue growth topping analysts’ expectations.

Macerich Swings to Profit

Shopping mall owner Macerich Co. on Wednesday said it moved to a second-quarter profit, helped by large gains on asset sales.

Kilroy Makes Hollywood Buy

Kilroy Realty Corp. has completed acquisition of 6255 Sunset Boulevard, a 22-story, Class A office building one block from the iconic corner of Sunset and Vine.

CU Bancorp Merger Complete

Encino’s California United Bank has completed its acquisition of Premier Commercial Bank N.A., a subsidiary of Premier Commercial Bancorp.

Wednesday’s L.A. News Roundup

Mixed Quarter for True Religion… Profit Surprise at ReachLocal… Macerich Swings to Profit… Kilroy Buys Near Hollywood and Vine… CU Bancorp Merger Closes.

Stocks Slide

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 38 points, or 0.29 percent, to 12,971. The Nasdaq fell 19 points, or 0.66 percent, to 2,920. The S&P 500 fell 4 points, or 0.29 percent, to 2,375. The LABJ Stock Index fell 2 points, or 1 percent, to 135.

Water District Approves Cadiz Water Plan

Shares of Cadiz Inc. jumped 40 percent on Wednesday after the Santa Margarita Water District in Orange County approved plans to purchase water from the Los Angeles company.

Downtown Streetcar Clears Hurdle

The plan to build a streetcar in downtown Los Angeles picked up speed as the Los Angeles City Council called for a special election that could create a taxing district for the project. The Business Journal reports that downtown residents will be asked later this year to approve the creation of a community facilities district that would tax property owners over the next 30 years.

MGM Will Buy Out Icahn

Carl Icahn, who only a year ago hoped to combine two studios and create an entertainment empire, has retreated from Hollywood by selling his stake in Metro- Goldwyn-Mayer, sources told the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal. MGM Holdings Inc. agreed July 29 to repurchase Icahn's roughly 25 percent of shares for an estimated $590 million.

U.S. Faces Uphill Battle in Retraining the Jobless

The Obama administration has been promoting the retraining of unemployed workers as a linchpin of its economic-recovery plan, and the federal government spent about $18 billion on training and job-search programs. But the Wall Street Journal reports that government efforts to determine the effectiveness of the programs have been spotty at best.

Unhappy Olympic Fans Find a Way to Access BBC

Not happy with NBC's coverage of the Olympics? Reuters reports that some computer users in the United States, displeased with coverage of the London Olympics, are using VPNs, or virtual private networks, to view BBC coverage.

NBC May Break Even on Olympics Coverage

Some fans may not like NBC’s coverage, but the network may break even on the Summer Olympics in London, NBCUniversal Chief Executive Steve Burke said this morning in a conference call. The Wrap reports that ratings for the first five days of the games have been up 9 percent compared to the Beijing event and are up 26 percent compared to the 2004 games in Athens.

America's Future in the Suburbs

For nearly a generation, pundits, academics and journalists have written off suburbia. But noted demographer Joel Kotkin writes that wishing something dead does not make it so. Indeed, the suburbanization of America is likely to continue over the next decade.

Investors Await Fed Decision

U.S. stocks rose this morning, halting a two-day decline in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as investors awaited the outcome of the Federal Reserve’s meeting for clues on more stimulus measures, Bloomberg News reports.

Morning Stocks Up

In midday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 23 points, or 0.17 percent, to 13,031 The Nasdaq was down 4 points, or 0.14 percent to 2,935. The S&P 500 was up 1.5 points, or 0.11 percent, to 1,381. The LABJ Stock Index was down 1 point, or less than 1 percent, to 135.