ICAHN EXIT: 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. The move comes less than a year after Icahn sold his 33 percent stake in Santa Monica studio Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., which he had wanted to merge with MGM.
BURKLE BID: Billionaire Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. reportedly is the leading contender to buy Hollywood trade newspaper Variety. Burkle, who made his first fortune in supermarkets and logistics but has expanded into media and retail, is expected to pay around $40 million. Variety’s parent, Reed Elsevier, put the financially struggling 107-year-old print publication and its website on the market earlier this year.
OLYMPIC CASH: NBC may break even on its coverage of the Summer Olympics in London, NBC Universal Chief Executive Steve Burke said in a conference call with analysts. Initially, the Universal City company had projected that the network would lose $200 million on broadcasting the games. But ratings for the first five days were up 9 percent compared with the 2008 event in Beijing and were 26 percent better than the 2004 games in Athens, Greece.
LAX TRAFFIC: Passenger traffic continues to grow at Los Angeles International Airport, which is on track to handle more passengers than it has since before the recession. In all, 5.7 million passengers flew in and out of LAX in June, up about 2 percent from the same period a year earlier. For the first half of the year, the number of passengers flying in and out of LAX is up 3.6 percent to 30.9 million.
CADIZ APPROVAL: The Santa Margarita Water District in Orange County approved plans to purchase water from Cadiz Inc., the L.A. developer of a controversial plan to plan to harvest water from aquifers beneath land it owns in the Mojave Desert. Environmental groups, which fear the project will endanger the local habitat, want better conservation measures in urban areas.
GAME DEVELOPER: Saban Brands has acquired Playforge, a San Mateo mobile games developer and publisher known for Zombie Farm, the third highest grossing app for the Apple operating system last year. The company, founded by media billionaire Haim Saban, said it plans to extend current and future free-to-play Playforge games into licensing, merchandising and media opportunities. The deal also gives Saban Brands a presence in Silicon Valley.
BANKS MERGE: California United Bank has completed its acquisition of Premier Commercial Bank N.A., a subsidiary of Premier Commercial Bancorp. Premier Commercial Bank’s branch offices in Anaheim and Irvine-Newport Beach have become full-service offices of Encino’s California United Bank under a new holding company, CU Bancorp. The stock deal was valued at $38.2 million.
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