Stories for December 2012

Monday, December 31

Azoff Cuts Ties with Live Nation

Live Nation Entertainment Inc. said that Irving Azoff, executive chairman of the company and chief executive of the Live Nation talent agency subsidiary he founded, had resigned from all positions and is selling slightly over half his stake.

Disney, NBCUniversal Make Year-End Carriage Deals

On the last day of the year, Walt Disney Co. and NBCUniversal Media LLC each signed new deals with cable carriers that avoid year-end blackouts, and AMC Networks agreed to a temporary extension of its contract with another carrier.

LAN Launches International Dreamliner Flights From LAX

Los Angeles travelers can now make international flights on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Chile's LAN Airlines on Monday began offering international service from Los Angeles International Airport to Santiago and Lima, Peru.

LABJ Stock Index Gains 12 Percent in 2012

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies made double digit gains in 2012.

Stocks Rally on Year-End Trading Day

In New Year’s Eve trading on Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 166 points, or 1 percent, to 13,104. The Nasdaq rose 59 points, or 2 percent, to 3,020. The S&P 500 rose 24 points, or nearly 2 percent, to 1,426. The LABJ Stock Index rose more than 1 point, or 1 percent, to 135.

Tribune Co. Emerges From Bankruptcy

Tribune Co., owner of the Los Angeles Times and seven other daily papers, emerged from bankruptcy today, four years after a doomed leveraged buyout by billionaire Sam Zell led to Chapter 11 proceedings, the Times and Bloomberg News report. The Chicago Tribune says the new board will include Bruce Karsh, president of L.A.’s Oaktree Capital Management, and Kenneth Liang, an Oaktree managing director.

Taxes to Rise as Budget Deal Remains Elusive

New Year's Eve dawned with no solution to Washington's budget impasse, setting up a 24-hour scramble to determine whether lawmakers could do what they've promised for months: engineer an alternative to the so-called fiscal cliff, reports the Wall Street Journal and CNBC, which is streaming lawmaker debates on its website. The Journal and the Fiscal Times detail the cuts likely to take place if no deal is reached.

Settlement Expected on Past Home Loan Abuses

Banking regulators are said to be close to a $10 billion settlement with 14 banks – Including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo — that would end government efforts to punish lenders for foreclosure abuses like high fees and faulty paperwork, the New York Times reports.

BofA Settlement Hits Snags

A big legal settlement usually marks the end of the bulk of the work for the Justice Department. But the Wall Street Journal reports that a year after a $335 million deal with Bank of America to compensate Countrywide Financial minority borrowers for alleged discrimination, much remains to be done.

Thomas the Tank to Get Multimillion-Dollar Sheen

Mattel Inc., which now owns the gentle, chubby-cheeked Thomas the Tank and his friends, will be taking steps to ramp up the brand’s presence internationally, trying to retain the sweetness of the characters, the New York Times reports.

Plan Near to Avoid ‘Dairy Cliff’ Price Jump

Farm-state lawmakers are backing a short-term extension of a farm law that lapsed Sept. 30, as the Obama administration warns that retail milk prices could almost double without congressional action, the Associated Press reports.

Signs of Negative Economic Impact Growing

The damage may already be done, the Wall Street Journal reports. Even if lawmakers manage to avoid most of the $500 billion in tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect this week, the risks to the U.S. economy have risen as consumers and investors recoil from Washington's latest budget spectacle.

Lionsgate Among Hollywood Stock Picks for 2013

Lionsgate still is among analysts' big entertainment industry stock picks for next year despite a roughly 90 percent gain in this year, the Hollywood Reporter reports. Wall Street observers in the year-end roundup also mention AMC Networks, Discovery Communications, CBS Corp. and Time Warner as big entertainment industry stocks with an upside.

Pension Funds Seek Insider Curbs

A group of pension funds that oversee more than $3 trillion in assets has asked U.S. securities regulators to revamp rules on how corporate executives can trade their company stock, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Time Warner Cable, AMC Extend Deadline

AMC Networks and Time Warner Cable continue to negotiate a long-term carriage deal renewal for the IFC and WE cable channels, but have agreed on a temporary extension to avoid a year-end blackout of the networks, the Hollywood Reporter reports.

Chinese Tea Farmers Switching to Coffee

Coffee is enjoying a new popularity among China's younger generation, the Los Angeles Times reports. What’s more, coffee is more lucrative to grow than tea, and Starbucks and Nestle are training farmers and buying beans from the nation's best growing regions to meet the world's growing thirst for coffee.

Maxim Recruits a Readership in Uniform

Testosterone-fueled magazine Maxim has become for today’s Army what Esquire was to soldiers in World War II, the New York Times reports.

Stocks Stare at the Cliff

Stocks kicked off a volatile final trading session of 2012 as investors weighed the fate of a deal to avert the year-end fiscal cliff, Reuters and CNBC report.

Stocks Volatile This Morning

In Monday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 2 points to 12,940. The Nasdaq rose 19 points to 2,979. The S&P 500 rose 4 points to 1,406.

Friday, December 28

No Sanctions in ‘Friends of Angelo’ Probe

The House Ethics Committee has ended its investigation without taking action on alleged favored treatment by the former Countrywide Financial Corp. to House members.

Chevron Sues Edison Mission Energy

A bankrupt unit of Edison International has been sued by Chevron Corp. affiliates, which claim that the unit unfairly rejected a buyout offer and is now forcing them to take on unwanted partners in their joint ventures.

Reed’s to Move to NYSE

Reed's, Inc. said that its stock will move from the Nasdaq to the New York Stock Exchange starting Monday.

The Week's Biggest Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies fell for the week, as ongoing concerns of the “fiscal cliff” weighed on markets during the Christmas week of light trading.

Stocks Down at End of Week

In Friday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 158 points, or 1 percent, to 12,938. The Nasdaq fell 26 points, or 1 percent, to 2,960. The S&P 500 fell 16 points, or 1 percent, to 1,402. The LABJ Stock Index fell more than 1 point, or 1 percent, to 133.

Cliff Talks Down to the Wire

Congress and the White House took small steps toward breaking the budget impasse Thursday, but Democrats and Republicans grew increasingly fearful that they won't be able to avert tax increases and spending cuts, the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post report. President Obama invited congressional leaders to the White House this afternoon for a last-ditch effort to broker a deal.

DirecTV to Raise Rates

DirecTV will ring in 2013 with a price hike that will increase customer bills an average of 4.5 percent, Broadcast & Cable and Reuters report. The nation's largest satellite operator says that’s because the fees it pays broadcasters and cable networks will rise by about 8 percent.

L.A. Assessor's Office Was Off the Radar

The corruption case involving Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez and others emerged in an L.A. County department that saw little scrutiny – even though so many of the questionable actions were carried out in plain sight, leaving witnesses and an extensive paper trail, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Oscar's E-Voting Problems Worse Than Feared

Online Oscar voting is hitting a few snags, which some Academy members worry might depress voting participation to its lowest level in years, says the Hollywood Reporter, which spoke with numerous Academy members, many of whom had problems voting electronically.

Union Pickets Gain Special Protections

Signature gatherers and protesters may be ejected from privately owned walkways outside a store, but labor unions may picket there peacefully, the California Supreme Court decided Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Downtown’s Real Estate Transformation Building Speed

Downtown Los Angeles has changed dramatically in the past dozen years. Its transformation into a fully rounded 24-hour urban center is far from complete, but the process is well underway and accelerating, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Milk Prices Could Double If 'Dairy Cliff' Not Avoided

If a distracted Congress fails to pass the latest version of the country’s sweeping farm bill, the price of milk could rise significantly — some say by more than $3 a gallon — as the country’s farm policy reverts back to laws dating from 1949, the Washington Post reports.

Edison Questioned About San Onofre Restart Plan

Federal regulators have sent Southern California Edison a new set of detailed questions that will help them evaluate the feasibility of a partial restart of the shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Carlos Slim's TracFone Under Fire

A prepaid cellular company controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim is taking fire as it moves to expand in the lucrative California market, the Los Angeles Times reports. Activists criticize the Mexican billionaire's business practices, and regulators say TracFone should pay the state the same fees that other telecom firms do.

Coal's Ascendancy May Leave Ailing U.S. Miners in Pit

Within five years, the coal is likely to replace oil as the world’s top energy source, according to the International Energy Agency. That should be good news for America’s miners, which are sitting on 28 percent of the planet’s coal. But they’re ill placed to do well from the boom, Slate reports.

Heirs of Mao’s Comrades Are New Capitalist Nobility

Backing Deng Xiaoping two years after Mao’s death in 1976, a group of battle-hardened revolutionaries – who are revered in China as the “Eight Immortals” – wagered that opening China to the outside world would raise living standards, while avoiding social upheaval that would threaten the Communist Party’s grip on power. Bloomberg News provides a detailed look at how their heirs have became the country's elite class.

Stocks Open Down Again

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 72 points to 13,024. The Nasdaq fell 10 points to 2,976. The S&P 500 fell nearly 8 points to 1,410.

Thursday, December 27

Effort to Block Downtown Wal-Mart Grocery Rejected

A Los Angeles city zoning office has rejected an appeal by Wal-Mart opponents to overturn permits for a Wal-Mart grocery store in Chinatown, the company announced Thursday.

Health Net Ends Contracts with Area Tenet Hospitals

Health Net Inc. on Thursday said it ended contracts with Tenet Healthcare Corp.’s six hospitals in Southern California over a dispute on reimbursement rates.

L.A. Attorneys Appointed Superior Court Judges

Several Los Angeles area attorneys were among a group of new judges appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court by Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday.

Stocks Close Down

In Thursday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 18 points to 13,096. The Nasdaq fell 4 points to 2,985. The S&P 500 fell 2 points to 1,418. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 135.

Storm Cancels, Delays Flights

A massive storm system upended post-Christmas travel after dumping snow and sleet in much of the country and spawning tornados through the South on Christmas Day, CNN and the Los Angeles Times report. Airlines canceled more than 1,800 flights Wednesday and another 400 so far today.

Toyota to Pay $1 Billion to Settle Acceleration Suits

Toyota Motor agreed Wednesday to pay more than $1 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit related to issues of unintended acceleration in its vehicles, reports the Los Angeles Times, which published an award-winning series on the problem in 2009. The Christian Science Monitor reports that despite massive safety-related recalls and last year's Japanese earthquake and tsunami that interrupted production, the automaker will finish 2012 with a record 9.7 million in vehicle sales and expects to do even better next year.

Hollywood Rebounds at the Box Office

Some blockbuster new characters (Katniss Everdeen, Ted the foul-mouthed bear) joined some familiar ones (Batman, Bond, Baggins) to deliver a lift to the movies in North America this year, increasing attendance by 5.6 percent after two years of declines, the New York Times and MovieFone report.

Southland Welcomes Lower Gas Prices

Southern California motorists have welcomed steadily falling gasoline prices in recent weeks after being hammered by record highs in early October, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

No Deal in Sight as 'Cliff' Deadline Looms

Lawmakers are engaged in a playground game of "who goes first," daring each political party to let the year end without resolving a Jan. 1 confluence of higher taxes and deep spending cuts that may rattle a still-fragile economy, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News report.

Rent Dispute to Close Junior's Deli

Junior's Deli, which has been serving pastrami and other deli fare on L.A.'s Westside since 1959, will close at the end of the year, its workers learned Wednesday, a casualty of a rent dispute over the 11,000-square-foot space, the Los Angeles Times reports.

‘Crowdfunding’ Rules Unlikely to Meet Deadline

When the Jobs Act became law in April, supporters proclaimed a new era for small businesses seeking to raise money by “crowdfunding” — selling stock and other securities over the Internet directly to the public. But the New York Times reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission appears certain to miss its end-of-year deadline for issuing regulations to put the provision into effect.

Lower Consumer Confidence Sinks Markets

Stocks fell early Thursday, putting the market on track for its fourth straight loss. Consumer confidence fell sharply in December as Americans worried about higher taxes and government spending cuts, the Associated Press reports.

Another Lower Opening for Stocks

In Thursday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 88 points to 13,026. The Nasdaq fell 27 points to 2,964. The S&P 500 fell 12 points to 1,408.

Wednesday, December 26

Herbalife Shares Rebound

Shares of Herbalife Ltd., which had fallen nearly 40 percent recently, made a comeback Wednesday as investors digested the company’s response to the latest criticisms of its multilevel marketing business model.

Mann Exchanges MannKind Debt for Stock

MannKind Inc. shares rose 5 percent on Wednesday after investors learned that the biotech’s founder had acquired more shares in exchange for cancelling debt the company owed him.

Stocks Slide at Close

In Wednesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 24 points to 13,114. The Nasdaq fell 22 points to 2,990. The S&P 500 fell 7 points to 1,420. The LABJ Stock Index fell 1 point to 135.

Holiday Sales Disappoint

Holiday sales growth slowed by more than half this year after gridlock in Washington soured consumers’ moods and Hurricane Sandy disrupted shopping, Bloomberg News and the Associated Press report. Sales in the two months before Christmas increased only 0.7 percent compared with last year – below the healthy 3 to 4 percent growth analysts had expected.

Battle to Control St. John's Far From Over

A deal was brewing this fall to sell St. John's Health Center, a Santa Monica hospital founded by Catholic nuns and befriended by Hollywood stars. The Los Angeles Times reports that a management shake-up has thrust into public view a long-simmering debate about the hospital's future.

Netflix Hit by Outage, Blames Amazon

Netflix Inc. restored streaming video services on Christmas morning, a day after an outage triggered by technical problems at Web service provider Amazon.com Inc. stretched across the Americas, the Wall Street Journal reports. ZD Net and PC World bloggers say the scale of the failure needs to be taken into consideration when businesses transition more real-time business applications to the cloud.

Potential Strike Threatens Eastern, Gulf Ports

The nation's retailers, manufacturers and farmers are bracing for a possible strike that could idle ports all along the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast, the Los Angeles Times and New York Post report.

Budget Talks Cloud Outlook

Washington's budget gridlock is unsettling consumers and businesses, raising the risks that economic growth would be hurt next year no matter what Congress does in the coming days, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Americans Missed Gains by Abandoning Stocks

Americans – haunted by the financial crisis – have missed out on almost $200 billion of stock gains as they drained money from the market in the past four years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News and Morningstar Inc.

Murdoch's Christmas Tweets

News Corp. chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch over Christmas tweeted about the potential reaction of the Arab world to Oscar contender "Zero Dark Thirty," and called for stricter gun ownership rules in the United States to end violence, the Hollywood Reporter reports.

Obamacare Costs Unknown for California

It's unclear how many Californians will sign up when the health care law takes effect in 2014, the Los Angeles Times reports, making it difficult for the Brown administration to estimate the costs of expanded coverage.

Venture Capital to Suppress its Appetite for Risk

Internet entrepreneurs have had the upper hand over venture capitalists in recent years, but that balance of power is now showing some signs of shifting, a trend that could accelerate next year, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Farmland in Demand

Investors such as Prudential Financial Inc., pension funds and others are snapping up rural California acreage and pushing prices to record highs, the Los Angeles Times reports. That's raising questions about how long the boom might last and what effect it might have on the state's agricultural sector.

Stocks Fall in Morning Trading

In Wednesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 46 points to 13,092. The Nasdaq fell 22 points to 2,990. The S&P 500 fell 8 points to 1,418.

Monday, December 24

Investors Have Faith in Religious Dating Websites

INTERNET: JDate parent Spark sees stock climb as it expands into Christianity.

Investors bless JDate parent Spark’s move to Christian-oriented sites.

Video Producer Cuts Staff in Shift Into Distribution

YouTube channel Machinima cuts staff as it shifts focus away from original content.

Courting Disaster

Nuisance suits have become law of the land and California is doing nothing to protect small businesses.

David Houston warns that California’s encouragement of nuisance lawsuits leaves small business in a perilous state.

Stocking up

YEAR IN REVIEW: Homebuilders, media rise; energy slips

Local companies shared in the economy’s recovery this year as some stock values soared

Tease photo

Forget China, Governor Should Trade Up to Mexico

Antonia Hernández thinks the governor is headed in the wrong direction by prioritizing China over Mexico.

Breaking With Reality

Charles Crumpley is aghast that reality TV may not be so real

Apartment Project Moves Into Downtown L.A.

DEVELOPMENT: Da Vinci backers see growing market for residential space.

Filling downtown L.A.’s demand for more apartment space, a Bunker Hill complex is about to break ground.

M&A Buyers Finding Few Targets

Buyers go hungry as dearth of sellers drops number of merger and acquisition deals this year.

Data Bank

Calendar and Events

Update Lets Drivers Use Phones to Find Spaces

APP: Santa Monica firm adds street parking to its location-based service.

ParkMe is taking its parking information app to the streets.

Stations Dial Down Staff As Parent Cuts Expenses

RADIO: Clear Channel looks to save money while maintaining quality.

Clear Channel dials back staff numbers at local stations in a cost-cutting move.

Contractor Investigation Stings Clothing Makers

APPAREL: Crackdown delivers garment workers $326,200 in back wages.

Regulators’ crackdown on clothing contractors yields back pay for garment makers.

Bank Sees Brokerage as Good Buy As Rivals Pare Back Trading Services

BANKING: B. Riley grows investment offerings with acquisition of Caris.

B. Riley invests more money in trading services with pickup of stock brokerage Caris.

Market In the Bag?

GROCERY: Industry newcomers seek to feed hunger for store in downtown L.A.

Two industry rookies hope to produce sales with a small upscale market to serve downtown Los Angeles.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Education Reconstruction

Gary Drake might not have a white beard or a sleigh, but he looks an awful lot like Santa Claus to one local school.

Heads Up On Foodie Style

Salon hits grocery aisle to find ingredients for hair treatments.

Broot salon’s grocery bill is climbing along with the popularity of its food-based hair treatment.

Clawing Way To Success?

Couple brings bayou taste of La. to L.A. with crawfish chain.

Hot N’ Juicy Crawfish co-owners look to get Angelenos to shell out for a taste of Louisiana crustaceans.

Political Charge Powers Startups

TECHNOLOGY: Firms link with City Hall to boost scene.

L.A.’s political scene gets a jolt from tech firms looking to plug the city as an industry hub.

Luxury Retailer Bags Storefront

REAL ESTATE: Rodeo Drive deal a square-footage record.

Billionaire retailer busts square-footage record with $85 million deal for Beverly Hills storefront.

Friday, December 21

Disney Completes Acquisition of Lucasfilm

Disney late Friday said that it has completed its $4.06 billion cash-and-stock acquisition of "Star Wars" film franchise owner Lucasfilm Ltd.

Rodeo Storefront Sold for Record Amount

Bernard Arnault, one of the richest men in the world and the head of a luxury-brand empire, has acquired a Rodeo Drive storefront for $85 million, sources told the Business Journal. The price is believed to be the highest on a square-foot basis ever in Los Angeles County.

L.A. Jobless Rate Falls Slightly

L.A. County’s unemployment rate fell to 10.2 percent in November, its lowest point in nearly four years, according to state figures released Friday.

Nazarian Buys South Beach Hotel

Sam Nazarian’s SBE Entertainment LLC on Friday announced that it has partnered with developer David Edelstein to acquire Miami South Beach's famous Raleigh Hotel. The partners plan to renovate the hotel and turn it into the flagship for a new brand of luxury hotels.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies gained for the week, despite Friday’s sell-off in the broader markets over setbacks in “fiscal cliff” negotiations.

Stocks Decline on Budget Uncertainty

In Friday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 121 points, or 1 percent, to 13,191. The Nasdaq fell 23 points, or 1 percent, to 3,021. The S&P 500 fell 14 points, or 1 percent, to 1,430. The LABJ Stock Index fell 2 points, or more than 1 percent, to 136.

Way Forward on 'Fiscal Cliff' Uncertain

The task of picking up the pieces of the “fiscal cliff” talks falls to President Barack Obama after House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner failed to get Republican support for his deficit-reduction plan, Reuters and the Washington Post report. The Wall Street Journal says the markets are in disarray this morning over the uncertainty.

The Mayans Predicted This Stock Sell-Off, You Know

The market is waking up Friday to the prospect that the economy really might plunge over the fiscal cliff. This is coming as a something of a shock, although it’s hard to see why, says Wall Street Journal blogger Paul Vigna.

Investor Gordon Crawford Has Left His Mark on Media

Gordon 'Gordy' Crawford, who is ending a four-decade career at the giant Los Angeles investment firm Capital Group, became a trusted adviser to media magnates. His new focus: journalism, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Disney Wins EU Approval to Buy Lucasfilm

Walt Disney Co. has won key European Union approval to buy George Lucas’s Lucasfilm Ltd. for $4 billion, combining two of Hollywood’s most lucrative film franchises, Bloomberg News reports. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission gave its approval earlier this month.

Uncertainly Hits Research In Motion

Research In Motion Ltd. shares plunged Friday after the company announced unspecified changes to a key source of its revenue stream late Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reports. The New York Times notes that the once dominant business cell phone maker lost a million BlackBerry owners worldwide during the company’s latest financial quarter, the first such decline in the device’s history.

A Tortilla Flap Over Whether Henry's Tacos Folds

Henry's Tacos, the Studio City taco stand which opened in 1961, is set to close at the end of the year. Fans say it’s a piece of area history worthy of official preservation, if only for the lifestyle it conjures, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Good News for ‘Newsies’

The boys of “Newsies” now have one more thing to dance about - they’ve made their money back. Disney Theatrical Productions said that the musical recouped its $5 million investment in just over nine months - faster than any other Disney stage property, the Associated Press reports.

A New Safety Review of Airport Scanners

Responding to critics, the Department of Homeland Security is launching another safety study of full-body scanners used to screen passengers at the nation’s airports, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Facebook Tests Message Payments

Facebook Tests Message Payments Facebook Inc. has begun testing a system for users to send messages to people outside their immediate circle of social contacts for a payment of $1, as the company continues to find new ways to capitalize on its popularity, the Wall Street Journal reports. CNet says the social network is seeking yet an opportunity to encourage impulse purchases.

The Future of Mobile Networks

Carriers worldwide will begin their first small-cell deployments next year, with the aim of creating dense layers of 3G and 4G capacity. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that the goal of these shrunken cells is to put massive amounts of bandwidth precisely where people are using it: in malls, arenas, public plazas, urban parks, and busy business districts.

Stocks Drop on Budget Uncertainty

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 177 points, or more than 1 percent, to 13,135. The Nasdaq fell 42 points, or more than 1 percent, to 3,008. The S&P 500 fell 20 points, or more than 1 percent, to 1,424. The LABJ Stock Index fell 1 point, or 1 percent, to 137.

Thursday, December 20

Orders Dampen Otherwise Good KB Home Quarter

KB Home on Thursday reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit with revenue up 20 percent. Shares fell 6 percent, however, with investors concerned about sluggish growth in new home orders.

Herbalife to Expand in North Carolina

Herbalife Ltd., which has long relied on contract manufacturers to make its weight loss and nutritional products, has taken additional steps to change that.

Stocks End Day on the Rise

In Thursday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 60 points to 13,212. The Nasdaq rose 6 points to 3,050. The S&P 500 rose 8 points to 1,444. The LABJ Stock Index rose 1 point, or nearly 1 percent, to 138.

Upstart Market Operator Clinches $8.2 Billion Deal for NYSE

The owner of the 220-year-old New York Stock Exchange on Thursday agreed to an $8.2 billion deal that would give control of the longstanding symbol of American capitalism to an upstart competitor, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal report. The NYSE Euronext will sell itself to the IntercontinentalExchange.

Ex-Universal Pictures Co-Chair Breaks Silence on LAPD Beatdown

Brian Mulligan was a straight-laced finance executive who cut deals with Hollywood power players. Now he's planning to sue the police and is plotting a comeback, the Hollywood Reporter reports, which also looks at the hot new designer drug – bath salts – that got him into trouble.

Infill Housing Development Rises in L.A.

A new report on residential construction places the Los Angeles region in some surprising company, according to the Los Angeles Times. Contradicting the region's reputation as the capital of unbridled sprawl, roughly two-thirds of new housing built here between 2005 and 2009 was infill – constructed in previously developed areas rather than on raw land in the exurbs.

Guns Sold Out at Wal-Mart and Ammo Surges on E-Bay

With President Obama endorsing sweeping gun restrictions in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., prices for handgun magazines are surging on EBay and semi-automatic rifles are sold out at many Wal-Mart Stores Inc. locations, Bloomberg News reports.

Lionsgate Sues to Protect 'Hunger Games' Emblem

Lionsgate Entertainment Corp. is suing an alleged Hunger Games counterfeiter who hasn't paid proper tribute to the studio. The "Mockingjay Pin," an important symbol in the story of lead character Katniss Everdeen, is at the center of the dispute, the Hollywood Reporter reports.

Kodak Digital Patents Sold for $525 Million

Bankrupt Eastman Kodak Co. said it will sell about 1,100 digital-imaging patents to a group that includes Apple Inc., Google Inc. and Facebook Inc., for about $525 million, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Decline of the ‘Great Equalizer’

The poor are losing an academic arms race with the rich, Reuters reports as part of its three-part series, "The Unequal State of America."

U.S. Expands Child Online Privacy Law

Regulators broadened decade-old rules governing children's privacy online to cover new areas like smartphones. But amid pressure from the technology industry, they backed away from proposals that could have made companies like Facebook and Apple more responsible for violations, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Amgen Workers Helped U.S. in Marketing Inquiry

Undercover work by an Amgen Inc. sales rep, and information provided by other whistleblowers, led to Amgen’s agreement this week to pay $762 million to settle federal investigations regarding the marketing of some of its top-selling drugs, the New York Times reports.

In a World Full of Risk, Why Are Investors So Calm?

It’s been a paradoxical climate for investors, who have seen the rather unique confluence of low economic growth with double-digit global equity returns. But Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports at least one measure tells us that the overall mood of the market has never been so sanguine.

Latin Americans Rank as Happiest People on Planet

The world's happiest people aren't in Qatar, the richest country by most measures. They aren't in Japan, the nation with the highest life expectancy. Canada, with its chart-topping percentage of college graduates, doesn't make the top 10. The Associated Press reports that a new poll of nearly 150,000 people around the world says seven of the world's 10 countries with the most upbeat attitudes are in Latin America.

A Guide to the End of the World

A Mayan crocodile that lives in the sky and vomits water has suggested the end of the world will occur on Friday. So you've been warned, Southern California Public Radio reports. But just in case there is a morning after, the Los Angeles Times tells us about the special NASA video that the space agency has posted on YouTube for Saturday.

Stocks Down This Morning

In Thursday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 19 points to 13,234. The Nasdaq fell 7 points to 3,038. The S&P 500 fell less than 1 point to 1,435. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 137.

Wednesday, December 19

THQ Files for Chapter 11, Plans To Be Acquired

Agoura Hills video game publisher THQ Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Wednesday as part of an acquisition.

Herbalife Plunges on Trader Comments – Again

Herbalife Ltd. shares dropped more than 10 percent on Wednesday after a report that a well-known hedge fund trader had shorted the company’s stock.

KB Home Makes Texas, North Carolina Land Deals

KB Home is continuing to expand its presence in Texas, announcing Wednesday that it recently acquired land that will yield more than 700 new home sites in two fast-growing communities northeast of San Antonio.

Dodger Dogs Maker Settles in Discrimination Case

The Vernon meatpacking company that makes Dodger Dogs and other Farmer Johns meats has reached a settlement with thousands of women who claimed their applications were rejected by the company due to gender discrimination.

Stocks Down at Close

In Wednesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 99 points to 13,252. The Nasdaq fell 10 points to 3,044. The S&P 500 fell 11 points to 1,436. The LABJ Stock Index fell 1 point to 137.

Recruiting Firm Ordered to Pay Teachers $4.5M

A federal jury has ordered Los Angeles recruiting firm Universal Placement International Inc. and its owner to pay $4.5 million to 350 teachers who said they were lured from the Philippines for teaching jobs in Louisiana but ended up being exploited, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Newtown Massacre Changes Studios' Plans

Last week's killings in Newtown, Conn., are reverberating in film and TV programming and promotional decisions, the New York Times reports. Movie studios and television networks used to confront this balancing act a couple times a decade, but this year alone there have been three incidents that have required a crisis response.

Du-Par's Restaurant in Studio City Closed After Fire

The popular Du-Par's Restaurant in Studio City, which is normally open 24 hours a day, was closed Wednesday because of a late-night fire which left a male worker with smoke inhalation and damaged the kitchen and an office, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Obama is Time's 'Person of the Year'

President Obama has been named Time magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2012. "We are in the midst of historic cultural and demographic changes, and Obama is both the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America," Time Editor Rick Stengel said. Obama also received the honor in 2008, when he was President-elect.

UBS Fined $1.5 Billion in Libor Probe

Switzerland's UBS AG agreed Wednesday to pay some $1.5 billion in fines to international regulators following a probe into the rigging of a key global interest rate, Bloomberg News and the Associated Press report. The AP also provides a roundup of bank scandals since the financial crisis.

Treasury Announces GM Exit Strategy

The Obama administration said Wednesday it will sell 200 million shares — or 40 percent of its remaining stake in General Motors Co. — back to the automaker and announced plans to completely exit the Detroit automaker by March 2014, the Detroit News and Wall Street Journal report. The exit will cost taxpayers billions.

Time Warner Cable to Drop Ovation

Time Warner Cable, nation's second-largest cable television provider, plans to drop the small Santa Monica-based channel Ovation from its programming lineup at year's end – a blow to the independent network that has attempted to elevate TV coverage of the arts and contemporary culture, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Four Hollywood Donors on Ambassador Shortlist

White House decorator Michael Smith, philanthropist Colleen Bell, money manager John Emerson and Tennis Channel chief Ken Solomon could cash in their election support for a coveted overseas post, the Hollywood Reporter reveals in its January magazine.

A Humbled Oprah on Her Network's Turnaround

After bad headlines about OWN's slow start, media mogul Oprah Winfrey tells the Hollywood Reporter that the cable network's recent success "feels like a sigh of relief."

Google Faces Further Antitrust Wrangling

Google Inc. received positive signals from the European Union about prospects for an antitrust settlement next year, but U.S. regulators have decided they need more time to complete their own probe of the Internet giant, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Stocks Mixed This Morning

In Wednesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 11 points to 13,340. The Nasdaq rose 3 points to 3,057. The S&P 500 fell 2 points to 1,445. The LABJ Stock Index fell less than 1 point to 137.

Tuesday, December 18

Amgen to Pay $762 Million Settlement in Marketing Case

Amgen Inc. has agreed to pay $762 million to resolve federal charges that the company improperly tried to market its troubled anemia drug Aranesp for uses for which it had not yet been approved.

Overhill Farms Moves to Profit

Overhill Farms Inc. moved to a profit in the fourth quarter on solid revenue growth, particularly for its Boston Market-licensed brand of frozen foods.

Stocks Gain at Close

In Tuesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 116 points, or 1 percent, to 13,351. The Nasdaq rose 44 points, or 1.5 percent, to 3,055. The S&P 500 rose 16 points, or 1 percent, to 1,447. The LABJ Stock Index rose nearly 2 points, or 1 percent to 138.

Port Terminal Operator Accused of Labor Spying

The union behind the recent L.A. and Long Beach port strike accuses APM of conducting “secret surveillance” for months to gain an edge in labor negotiations, the Los Angeles Times reports. APM says it’s investigating the matter.

Kilroy Sells Industrial Portfolio

Kilroy Realty Corp. closed the sale of its entire industrial portfolio and two small office projects for $355 million, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports.

Amgen Expected to Plead Guilty in U.S. Case

Biotech giant Amgen Inc. is expected to plead guilty Tuesday to illegally marketing its drugs, sources told the New York Times.

LAX Light Rail Plan Advances

Plans to build a light rail connection to Los Angeles International Airport advanced Monday with the unveiling of four potential station sites that would link to a people mover serving passenger terminals, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Nielsen to Buy Arbitron in $1.26 Billion Deal

Nielsen on Tuesday announced plans to buy Arbitron for $1.26 billion Tuesday morning, extending the company's monopoly reach on TV ratings in the U.S. to radio as well, Ad Age reports.

Developers Worry about Phone App Rules

The software industry is bracing for new regulations that it says will stifle creativity and saddle small businesses with legal and technical costs, the Associated Press reports. The changes would update a law prohibiting the collection of personal information from preteens.

Apple-Samsung’s Smartphone Battle

A federal judge late Monday dealt Apple a major blow in its landmark battle with Samsung, USA Today reports. Samsung on Tuesday said that it would drop its injunction applications against Apple Inc. in five European countries, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Millions Face Higher Taxes Soon

While much of Washington is consumed by the debate over tax increases scheduled to take effect next year, big tax hikes have already gone into effect for millions of families and businesses this year, the Associated Press reports.

3-D Isn’t Big Draw Second Time Around

Hollywood isn't seeing as much green in 3-D re-releases as it had hoped, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Banks Getting Shield in Mortgage Rules

Banks are about to get a significant advantage: protection against homeowner lawsuits. But some banking and housing specialists worry that borrowers are losing a critical safeguard, the New York Times reports.

Disney Raises Bar on Customer Experience with New Fantasy Land

Disney Parks and Resorts recently unveiled New Fantasy Land within the Magic Kingdom at Disney World. Forbes sat down with the Burbank entertainment giant's global marketing chief to discuss the attraction.

Hero or Villain? NYT Profile of Activision CEO Kotick

People who love video games love to hate Activision Blizzard Chief Executive Bobby Kotick, the New York Times reports. The disdain heaped on Kotick in video game blogs is second only to the admiration for him on Wall Street.

Stocks Continue Gains

In Tuesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 81 points to 13,317. The Nasdaq rose 30 points, to 3,040. The S&P 500 rose 11 points to 1,441. The LABJ Stock Index rose more than 1 point to 137.

Monday, December 17

Kilroy Sells Industrial Portfolio

Kilroy Realty Corp. said that it closed the sale of its entire industrial portfolio and two small office projects for $355 million.

BYD to Set Up U.S. Plant in California

BYD Co. Ltd., the Chinese battery and electric vehicle producer with U.S. headquarters in downtown Los Angeles, plans to open its first wholly owned assembly plant overseas next year somewhere in California, according to a Monday news report.

CEO Reports Growth for Hulu

The chief executive of Hulu said in a Monday blog post that he expects the Internet streaming TV service to generate 66 percent more revenue than last year and grow to 3 million paid subscribers by the end of the year.

Stocks End Day on the Rise

In Monday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 100 points to 13,235. The Nasdaq rose 39 points, to 3,010. The S&P 500 rose 17 points to 1,430. The LABJ Stock Index rose 1 point to 136.

Edison Mission Energy Files for Bankruptcy Protection

Edison Mission Energy, the unregulated generating unit of Rosemead's Edison International, has filed for bankruptcy and reached agreement on a reorganization plan with holders of its $3.7 billion in debt, Reuters and the Los Angeles Times report. Under the agreement, Edison International will transfer its stake in Santa Ana-based Edison Mission to unsecured creditors.

B. Riley Acquires Caris

Los Angeles investment bank B. Riley & Co. has bought San Diego stock-research firm Caris & Co. in an effort to increase its sales and trading business amid a slowdown in the brokerage industry, Bloomberg News reports.

Cop Retires With Nearly Half-Million Dollar Payout

California Highway Patrol division chief Jeff Talbott, 53, retired last year as the best-paid officer in the 12 most-populous states, collecting $483,581 in salary, pension and other compensation, Bloomberg News reports.

U.S. Moves Ahead on New Downtown Courthouse

Downtown Los Angeles is finally getting its new federal courthouse, and it's going to stand out amid the aging government buildings in the Civic Center, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Both Parties May Have Reason for January Budget Deal

Republicans and Democrats in Congress are starting to talk about the benefits of waiting until January to reach a budget deal, even as House Speaker John Boehner signals openness to allowing tax rates to rise for millionaires, Bloomberg News reports. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-17/both-parties-in-congress-may-have-reason-for-january-deal.html

Downtown Property Owners Fight MTA Tunnel Plans

As the Metropolitan Transportation Authority moves closer to starting construction on a subway tunnel in downtown Los Angeles, some property owners have dug in for a fight, the Los Angeles Times reports. Big landlords fear that MTA's plans to build a massive trench on Flower Street will disrupt their businesses for years, costing millions of dollars in lost revenue.

LAX Adds Hip New Lounge and Caviar Bar

Los Angeles is home to many stylish, exclusive nightclubs that draw some of the hippest crowds, but the city’s airport does not have such a cool reputation – until now, the Los Angeles Times reports. Virgin America has opened a passenger lounge at LAX dubbed the Virgin America Loft.

California Utilities Say Solar Raises Costs for Non-Users

Booming rooftop solar installations in California are bringing an unwelcome surprise to the homes and businesses that don’t have the devices: $1.3 billion added to their annual bills, Bloomberg News reports.

Google, FTC Close to a Deal

Google Inc. is close to emerging largely unscathed from a two-year federal probe of its Web-search business, sources tell the Wall Street Journal, a result likely to disappoint rivals that were hoping the Internet giant would become mired in antitrust litigation.

Avoiding Fiscal Cliff Won’t Spur Growth

A majority of economists surveyed said lawmakers will avoid across-the-board tax hikes and steep government spending cuts but say averting the fiscal cliff will do little to propel stronger economic growth immediately, the Wall Street Journal reports.

PUC Plan Would Put Trust Funds at Risk

California Public Utilities Commissioner Timothy A. Simon is proposing that about $6 billion set aside for decommissioning two nuclear plants would be subject to looser, potentially riskier investment rules in order to boost returns, the Los Angeles Times reports. The item is on Thursday's agenda.

Stocks Rise This Morning

In Monday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 63 points to 13,198. The Nasdaq rose 17 points, to 2,988. The S&P 500 rose 9 points to 1,423. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 135.

Tech Firms Look to Link to Companies

CapLinked seeks to click as a tech firm that provides services for companies as opposed to consumers

Port’s Cruising In for Bruising

tourism: Disney Wonder latest ship to sail out of L.A.

L.A. port’s cruise business sinks further as Disney ship sets sail for Miami.

Getting Crack At Fish Eggs

Beverly Hills Caviar looks to spread product to masses with mall vending machines.

Beverly Hills Caviar looks to spread product to masses with mall vending machines.

Different Strokes

As a veteran trial lawyer, Dan Stephenson has seen plenty of high-stakes competition in bet-the-company cases.

Regional Reports

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Geeking Out

ENTERTAINMENT: Podcast-comedy business Nerdist Industries not kidding about expansion after acquisition by film producer.

Podcast and comedy business Nerdist Industries hopes to laugh last as it moves into TV and movies.

Investors Go for Extra Servings of Coffee Company

BEVERAGE: Shares of Farmer Bros. heat up on rumored McDonald’s deal. deal.

Investors super-size shares of coffee company Farmer Bros. after reports of deal with McDonald’s.

Water Company Gets Line on Mojave Desert Pipe

Cadiz pumps up plan for Mojave Desert aquifer with pipeline deal.

Layoffs Another Buzz Kill for Electric-Car Maker

AUTOMOTIVE: Coda cuts 50 positions as sales of its sedan remain sluggish.

Layoffs at Coda could be another sign that electric auto maker is running out of gas.

Food Importer-Exporter Plans to Chill Out at Port

SHIPPING: Baker to build Long Beach complex’s first cold storage facility.

Vernon’s Baker Commodities Inc. plans to build what would be the only cold storage warehouse within the local port complex.

Motel Checks Out; Boutique Hotel to Check In

DEVELOPMENT: Owner to replace old Sunset Inn with trendy Moment.

From Hollywood to West Hollywood, Sunset Boulevard is home to some of L.A.’s most prominent destination hotels.

News of the Week

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

Data Bank

Calendar and Events

Niche Accent

Korean banks cast a big shadow in Los Angeles, but there’s a range of lower-profile institutions with other specific ethnic focus.

Niche Accent Profile: Bank Of Whittier

From a bank that adheres to Shariah law to one that serves South L.A.’s black community, the Business Journal spotlights six ethnic institutions.

Niche Accent Profile: Eh National Bank

From a bank that adheres to Shariah law to one that serves South L.A.’s black community, the Business Journal spotlights six ethnic institutions.

Niche Accent Profile: State Bank Of India (California)

From a bank that adheres to Shariah law to one that serves South L.A.’s black community, the Business Journal spotlights six ethnic institutions.

Niche Accent Profile: Manufacturers Bank

From a bank that adheres to Shariah law to one that serves South L.A.’s black community, the Business Journal spotlights six ethnic institutions.

Niche Accent Profile: Pan American Bank

From a bank that adheres to Shariah law to one that serves South L.A.’s black community, the Business Journal spotlights six ethnic institutions.

Niche Accent Profile: Broadway Federal Bank

From a bank that adheres to Shariah law to one that serves South L.A.’s black community, the Business Journal spotlights six ethnic institutions.

Engineering Firm Builds Up Presence in Pasadena

LEASE: Expanding Jacobs relocates headquarters to larger space in city.

Engineering and construction giant Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. is moving its headquarters into new Pasadena digs.

Emily Litella Had It Right

Charles Crumpley plans to pay no never mind to the steady stream of health scares.

Welcoming New Approach to Tourism

Public-private partnership to run Los Angeles Convention Center is idea worth visiting.

Wayne Avrashow sees L.A.’s Convention Center getting more business through a public-private partnership

Sequestration Wrong Prescription for Biotech

David L. Gollaher warns that failed “fiscal cliff” talks could leave local biotech firms on shaky ground.

Added Layers

Cardboard Firm Folds in Businesses

Used Cardboard Boxes repackages its business model to include corporate clients.

Tease photo

Education Plan Teaches Lesson

Employment: New savings benefit cost D&B Credibility big effort.

Malibu credit-monitoring firm had to work overtime to devise rare new employee benefit.

Boston Firm Turns to Hire Power to Grow in L.A.

EXPANSION: Gary Urwin latest recruit for Edwards Wildman’s local office.

The recent hiring of commercial litigator Gary Urwin as a partner in Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP’s Beverly Hills office is a signal of the Boston firm’s aggressive new growth plans for the L.A. area.

Taking Health By the Throat

‘Medical food’ maker seeks healthy sales with pills that are step up from vitamins.

Targeted Medical Pharma sets table with “medical food”: prescription pills for specific maladies.

Friday, December 14

Former IndyMac Chief Settles with FDIC

Michael Perry, the former head of failed mortgage lender IndyMac Bank, has reached a settlement with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in a lawsuit stemming from the institution’s 2008 failure.

US Bank Tower at Risk of Loan Default

Downtown’s landmark U.S. Bank Tower, which is owned by struggling MPG Office Trust Inc., could be heading for loan default.

Traffic Drops at Port of Los Angeles

A transfer of cargo to Long Beach combined with the late-November strike led to one of the worst months this year for the Port of Los Angeles.

CBS Outdoor Retains MTA Ad Contract

Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Agency has decided to renew the contract with CBS Outdoor to sell advertising on Los Angeles County buses and trains.

Former Mattel CEO Joins Amgen’s Board

Amgen Inc. said that Robert A. Eckert, former chief executive at Mattel Inc., has been appointed to its board.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies fell for the week as the broader markets reacted to uncertainty about the direction of “fiscal cliff” negotiations.

Stocks Down

In Friday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 36 points to 13,155. The Nasdaq fell 21 points, to 2,971. The S&P 500 fell 6 points to 1,414. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 135.

Caruso to Buy Palisades Parcels

Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso is buying a parcel of 10 retail properties in the tony town center of Pacific Palisades, sources tell the Los Angeles Times. The acquisition would give Caruso the opportunity to restyle a significant portion of the affluent neighborhood’s commercial district in his vision.

Amgen Boosts Dividend

Amgen Inc., the world’s largest biotechnology company, said it will increase its dividend 31 percent for the first quarter of 2013 and buy back an additional $2 billion in shares, Bloomberg News reports.

KB Home to Build at Playa Vista

KB Home plans to build more than 100 residences in the final phase of the Playa Vista community, the Los Angeles Times reports. KB Home bought land from Brookfield Residential Properties, which gained command of more than 50 acres of land near the coast in a transaction this month valued at more than $250 million.

Two New BlackBerrys Coming

Research In Motion Ltd. is rolling out two new BlackBerrys next month that Chief Executive Thorsten Heins promises will make RIM competitive again in the global smartphone market, the Wall Street Journal reports.

SolarCity Soars on First Day of Trading

SolarCity Corp. stock surged 47 percent in its first day of trading Thursday, but analysts are skeptical that the Silicon Valley solar energy provider chaired by Elon Musk will be able to boost investor interest in the rest of the green-tech industry, the Los Angeles Times reports.

U.S. Rejects Telecommunications Treaty

Talks on a proposed treaty governing international telecommunications collapsed in acrimony on Thursday when the United States rejected the agreement, citing an inability to resolve an impasse over the Internet, the New York Times reports.

EHarmony Founder Has Heart Set on Reviving the Dating Site

Neil Clark Warren thinks he's the best match for EHarmony Inc. The Los Angeles Times reports that after watching the Santa Monica matchmaking website struggle, its founder came out of retirement to take over as chief executive.

Buffett to Tribune Owners - Call Me!

Warren Buffett is mulling the prospect of owning at least one of Los Angeles Times owner Tribune Co.’s East Coast newspapers, Reuters reports.

Stores Offer Same-Day Delivery to Compete With Amazon

Tired of competing on price with online retailers, many bricks-and-mortar chains are experimenting with same-day delivery. But the Los Angeles Times reports that few such services are available in sprawling Southern California.

Job Recruiters Find Hidden Talent on LinkedIn

Instead of relying on websites such as Monster.com, recruiters these days are filling openings faster by relying on new tools that scour social networks and target workers who aren’t necessarily looking for jobs, Bloomberg News reports.

Stocks Down This Morning

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 14 points to 13,156. The Nasdaq fell 17 points, to 2,975. The S&P 500 fell 4 points to 1,415. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 135.

Thursday, December 13

Ratkovich to Buy Downtown’s Macy’s Plaza

Ratkovich Co. is in escrow to purchase downtown L.A.’s aging Macy’s Plaza, another sign of returning interest in downtown redevelopment, according to a news report.

MetLife Becomes Joint Owner of Loews Hollywood Hotel

New York insurance giant MetLife Inc. has become a joint owner of the Loews Hollywood Hotel next to the Hollywood & Highland Center.

Port of Long Beach on Upswing

The Port of Long Beach reported a nearly 21 percent spike in traffic for November despite a strike that slowed operations the last few days of the month.

Stocks Down at Close

In Thursday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 75 points to 13,171. The Nasdaq fell 22 points, or nearly 1 percent, to 2,992. The S&P 500 fell 9 points to 1,419. The LABJ Stock Index fell 1 point, or 1 percent, to 135.

Plan Outlined to Boost Silicon Beach Tech Scene

The Los Angeles technology scene isn’t getting the respect it deserves, a situation that the city is looking to change, the Los Angeles Times reports. The recently formed L.A. Mayor’s Council on Innovation and Industry on Wednesday presented the city’s plan to highlight local innovation and outline steps to attract new entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and start-ups.

Bankruptcy Strategy Pits Retirees vs. All Others

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System is trying to rewrite the rules for bankrupt cities, claiming that it should get paid before almost everyone else, including bondholders, Bloomberg News reports.

BofA Fights MBIA Claims Tied to Countrywide

Bank of America Corp. is attempting to defeat bond insurer MBIA Inc.’s bid to force the bank to pay billions of dollars related to home loans from its Countrywide Financial unit that were packaged into securities during the real estate boom, Bloomberg News reports.

Unbowed, Mozilo Says Countrywide Was ‘World-Class Company’

Countrywide Financial Corp. co-founder Angelo Mozilo said under oath last year that he had “no regrets” about how he ran the mortgage firm and that he only agreed to a record $67.5 million regulatory settlement in 2010 to protect his children, Bloomberg News reports, according to documents filed this week in New York state court.

David Geffen Donates $100 Million to UCLA

Bloomberg News and Southern California Public Radio report that billionaire entertainment mogul David Geffen is donating $100 million for full-ride scholarships for up to 33 medical students a year at UCLA, the school announced. The cost of medical school can exceed $300,000 for four years, and average debt for U.S. medical graduates was $170,000 in 2012, UCLA said. The gift makes Geffen the largest-ever donor to UCLA.

Fed Ties Rates to Joblessness

The Federal Reserve, clarifying its intentions for an economy hobbled by uncertainties, for the first time spelled out the unemployment level it would like to see before it raises short-term interest rates, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Blue Shield Seeks Steep Rate Hikes

Health insurer Blue Shield of California wants to raise rates as much as 20 percent for some individual policyholders, prompting calls for the nonprofit to use some of its record-high reserve of $3.9 billion to hold down premiums, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Tax Offer for Firms Pits Big vs. Small

The Obama administration's offer to revamp the corporate-tax code as part of the "fiscal cliff" budget talks raises the prospect that tax rates for large and small companies could diverge significantly, the Wall Street Journal reports.

CALM Law Regulating TV Commercial Volume Takes Effect

TV viewers finally should get some relief from a major annoyance: excessively loud commercials. The Los Angeles Times reports that a federal law taking effect today requires broadcasters to ensure that TV commercials maintain the same volume as the entertainment programming in which the ads are contained.

Chairman: Google's Tax Avoidance Is 'Capitalism'

Google Inc. Chairman Eric Schmidt has insists that measures to lower his company's tax payments are just "capitalism." The Telegraph reports that Schmidt's comments risk inflaming the row over the amount of tax multinationals pay, after it emerged that Google funneled $9.8 billion of revenues from international subsidiaries into Bermuda last year in order to halve its tax bill.

Why You Won't Finish This Article

Distraction at the office is hardly new, but as screens multiply and managers push frazzled workers to do more with less, companies say the problem is worsening and is affecting business, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Stocks Fall in Morning Trading

In Thursday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 39 points to 13,216. The Nasdaq fell 7 points to 3,006. The S&P 500 fell 4 point to 1,424. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 136.

Wednesday, December 12

Coda Automotive Lays Off 50

Electric car maker Coda Automotive has laid off about 50 employees.

Report: Southland Publishers Eye Tribune Papers

Two Southern Californian publishers are considering bidding for Tribune Co.’s stable of newspapers, which includes the Los Angeles Times, according to news reports.

ILFC Takes Back Planes from Airline in India

International Lease Finance Corp. has repossessed four jetliners that it leased to struggling Indian carrier Kingfisher Airlines citing non-payment, according to a news report.

Sale of Physicians Formula Closes

Markwins International Corp. has completed its acquisition of Asuza cosmetics company Physicians Formula Holdings Inc. in a $75 million deal.

YouTube Network MiTú Gets Funding

MiTú, a YouTube network targeting Hispanic audiences, has raised a fresh round of funding from Los Angeles media holding company Chernin Group and other investors.

Boingo Partners with Large Japanese Carrier

Boingo Wireless Inc. said that NTT Docomo Inc., the second largest mobile operator in Asia, was expanding its relationship with the Los Angeles Wi-Fi hotspot provider.

Stocks Mixed at Close

In Wednesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 2 points to 13,245. The Nasdaq fell more than 8 points to 3,014. The S&P 500 rose nearly 1 point to 1,428. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 136.

'Storage Wars' Star Says Show is Fake, Suing

Ever wonder how those cunning buyers on A&E;’s Storage Wars continue to get so lucky in their attempt to find treasure in abandoned storage units? We’re about to find out: Cast member Dave Hester is suing the cable network, claiming he was wrongfully terminated after he accused the show of committing fraud, Entertainment Weekly and Fox News report.

MTA to Decide Ad Contract

The long-running fight between CBS and outdoor billboard company Titan for the right to sell advertising on Los Angeles County buses and trains should finally be decided this week, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Mattel’s Loss in Bratz Case Questioned by Judges

Mattel Inc.’s trial loss in its eight-year fight with Bratz doll maker MGA Entertainment Inc. was questioned by the same federal appeals court panel that two years ago threw out Mattel’s earlier victory over its rival, Bloomberg News reports.

County Slams Convict Releases

Angered about the recent quadruple murders in Northridge, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has demanded changes to Gov. Jerry Brown's public safety realignment law so violent criminals released from state prison are monitored by armed parole officers instead of merely being placed on probation, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Fed: Some Banks Are Too Big to Deal

The Federal Reserve is pushing large U.S. banks to forget about all but the smallest acquisitions for awhile amid a debate over the risk big lenders pose to the financial system, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Journal also provides a preview what's likely to happen at today’s Fed meeting.

Lots of Shopping Left to Do, Less Left to Spend

Most Americans are nowhere close to having their holiday shopping done, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows, raising hope there could be a big boost in sales during the last two weeks before Christmas.

French Leader Slams Flight of the 'Greedy Rich'

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has slammed wealthy citizens fleeing the country's new punitive tax on high incomes as greedy profiteers seeking to "become even richer," the Telegraph reports. Bloomberg News looks at how France's wealthy are moving across the border to Belgium to escape a 75 percent tax on incomes above 1 million euros.

China Woos Overseas Companies, Looking for Deals

Even as Wall Street deal makers await a revival of the moribund merger market, Chinese companies are shopping abroad with their wallets out. Yet they are also facing scrutiny, particularly in Washington, as Chinese corporate buying trips coincide with a growing assertiveness in Chinese foreign policy, the New York Times reports.

Beatles Muse Ravi Shankar, Father of Norah Jones, Dies

Ravi Shankar, the sitar player and composer described as the “godfather of world music” by Beatles guitarist George Harrison, has died at age 92, Bloomberg News reports. He was scheduled to receive a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in February, Billboard reports.

50 Shades Under the Tree

Santa knows who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. This year, he’s rewarding couples who want to be both, Bloomberg News reports. Spurred by the global sensation of the “50 Shades of Grey” bondage trilogy, sex toys featured in the tale are leading to a flush Christmas for the adult novelty industry.

Stocks Continue Gains

In Wednesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 19 points to 13,268. The Nasdaq rose 1 point to 3,023. The S&P 500 rose 4 points to 1,431. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 136.

Tuesday, December 11

Ducommun Wins Dreamliner Contract

Ducommun Inc. has received a larger contract from Boeing Co. to produce subassemblies and other components for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

UTi Worldwide Shareholder Increases Stake

UTi Worldwide Inc. largest shareholder took advantage of a post-earnings drop in the company’s share price last week to add to its stake in the Long Beach logistics company.

Joe’s Jeans Gets Nasdaq Warning

Joe’s Jeans Inc. said that it received a delisting warning from Nasdaq because its stock has been trading below $1 a share for 30 consecutive trading days.

Stocks Continue Gains

In Tuesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 79 points to 13,248. The Nasdaq rose 35 points, or 1 percent, to 3,022. The S&P 500 rose 9 points to 1,428. The LABJ Stock Index rose nearly 1 point to 136.

DirecTV Adds Sports Surcharge

DirecTV has started charging new customers in markets such as New York and Los Angeles an extra fee for regional sports channels, a move highlighting not only sports’ rising costs but also their generally opaque nature for subscribers, the Hollywood Reporter and TVWeek report.

Hiring May Slow in First Quarter

Hiring in Los Angeles and Orange counties is expected to slow next quarter, according to a survey from Milwaukee staffing firm Manpower Inc., the Los Angeles Business Journal reports.

ILFC Deal Caps Record Year for Chinese Investment

Chinese companies have snapped up $6.5 billion in U.S. assets this year, and the buying spree is expected to continue, the Los Angeles Times reports.

AIG Bailout Ends Four Years After Two-Year Plan

The U.S. Treasury Department is exiting its equity stake in American International Group Inc. through the final sale of shares acquired as part of a 2008 bailout that swelled to $182 billion, Bloomberg News reports.

Telemundo Shifts Focus to Boost Share

NBCUniversal has installed new management and increased the operating budget at the Spanish-language network, which has lagged behind rival Univision, the Los Angeles Times reports.

'Fiscal Cliff' Outcome Still Uncertain

As the pace of talks quickened to avert the "fiscal cliff" of steep tax hikes and spending cuts set for the end of the year, members of the U.S. House of Representatives of both parties cautioned that an agreement on outstanding issues remained uncertain, Reuters reports.

In Venice, New Business Blooms on Rose Avenue

The breakneck pace of change along the once shabby blocks between Lincoln Boulevard to Pacific Avenue suggests that the down-and-out bohemian days of Venice are numbered, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Warner Bros. and MGM Invest in Kabam

Warner Bros. Entertainment and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios today revealed that they have partnered to make an investment in social mobile game developer Kabam, joining other investors like like Google, Intel and Redpoint Ventures, Inside Social Games and Variety report.

For Next SEC Chief, Why Not an Investor?

Mary Schapiro's decision to step down as chairman of the SEC after nearly four years — Friday is her last day on the job — has sparked a bout of soul-searching around the agency, the Wall Street Journal reports.

New Problems With Boeing 787 Revive Concerns

After years of delays in producing its 787, Boeing seemed to be turning a corner, streamlining production and increasing the pace of deliveries. But the New York Times reports that problems last week revived concerns about the reliability of the plane, the first commercial aircraft to make extensive use of lightweight carbon composites that promise big fuel savings for airlines.

Stocks Continue Gains This Morning

In Tuesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 122 points, or 1 percent, to 13,292. The Nasdaq rose 45 points, or 1.5 percent, to 3,032. The S&P 500 rose 14 points to 1,433. The LABJ Stock Index rose more than 1 point, or 1 percent, to 137.

Report: Hiring May Slow in First Quarter

Hiring in Los Angeles and Orange counties is expected to slow next quarter, according to a new survey from Milwaukee staffing firm Manpower Inc.

Monday, December 10

Court Orders L.A. Digital Billboards Removed

A three-judge appeals panel ruled Monday that about 100 digital billboards in Los Angeles installed by CBS Outdoor and Clear Channel Communications must be removed, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

Amgen Buys Genetics Firm in Iceland

Amgen Inc. has agreed to buy Decode Genetics, an Icelandic company that can help Amgen develop personalized drug therapies, for $415 million.

Gores Announces Two Acquisitions

Gores Group said that an affiliate has agreed to acquire video technology company Harris Broadcast Communications for $225 million.

Ryland Buys Arizona Home Developer

Ryland Group Inc. has acquired the operations and assets of Trend Homes, a Phoenix residential developer.

Sequential Buying Footwear Company

L.A. brand licensing company Sequential Brands Group Inc. has agreed to buy Dallas sports footwear company Heelys Inc. for about $63 million.

Stocks Gain at Close

In Monday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 15 points to 13,170. The Nasdaq rose 9 points to 2,986. The S&P 500 rose less than 1 point to 1,418. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 135.

AIG to Sell Majority Stake in ILFC

American International Group has announced that it is selling a majority stake in International Lease Finance Corp., the Century City aircraft leasing company, to Chinese investors as the insurance giant continues to shed non-essential assets to help pay off its government bailout money, the Los Angeles Times reports.

FDIC Awarded Damages from Former IndyMac Execs

Three former IndyMac Bank executives must pay the government $169 million for their role in the Pasadena lender's collapse, the Los Angeles Times reports, delivering a victory to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in its efforts to recover losses from the financial crisis.

Jenni Rivera Was a Rare Voice

Jenni Rivera, who is believed to have died in a plane crash Sunday in Mexico, was many things: a superstar banda singer with a nimble voice, a chronicler with a unique perspective from Long Beach, an advocate of domestic violence awareness, a reality show star, a symbol. The Los Angeles Times and Long Beach Press-Telegram provide an appreciation of the musician who rose to become one of the most successful female singers in a male-dominated music style.

How to Train Your Branding

In a bid to sell more toys and clothing derived from its animated characters, DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. has hired veteran branding executive Michael Francis as its first chief global brand officer, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Study: Commercial Real Estate Market Improving

The Los Angeles Times reports on USC’s annual Casden forecast, which says the office and industrial real estate sectors continue to improve for Southern California landlords, but high office vacancy will remain common for the foreseeable future as businesses put more workers into less space.

New USC Church Shows Caruso Touch

Billionaire developer Rick Caruso was a major donor and strong force behind the construction of Our Savior Catholic Church, the new Roman Catholic Church consecrated Sunday near the USC campus. The USC alum not only contributed money to build the $29-million church and meeting center, but the Italian Romanesque-style structure was designed by the same team that did the Grove and the Americana at Brand shopping centers, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Renewable Energy Will Require More Use of Fossil Fuels

One of the hidden costs of solar and wind power — and a problem California is not yet prepared to meet — is that wind and solar energy must be backed up by other sources, typically gas-fired generators, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Report Predicts Less Global Poverty, Scarcer Resources

Nearly two-thirds of the world's population will live in cities by 2030, with most people middle class, protected by advanced health care and linked by countries that work together, perhaps with the U.S. and China cooperating to lead the way, according to a new government report detailed in the Wall Street Journal.

Proposal for Global Regulation of Web

An unexpected new proposal for international regulation of the Internet drew warnings over the weekend of a spread of online censorship and left a global conference on the issue on the edge of collapse, the Financial Times reports on CNBC.

FedEx Ready for its Busiest Shipping Day

Today marks the busiest shipping day of the year for FedEx. The couriers and drivers who deliver packages to individuals and businesses around the country will be responsible for 19 million packages on Monday — nearly an 11 percent increase from 2011, the Daily Ticker at Yahoo Finance reports.

The Fight to Buy Hostess: Main Street vs. Wall Street

The idea that Hostess – a mainstay of the collective American memory – could go stale has struck a chord with consumers and collectors. CNBC reports that a singularly unique set of strangers who want to save the brand are plunging into the world of wonky financial engineering, court hearings, and fire sales normally inhabited only by Wall Street pocket squares and white-shoe law firms.

Stocks Up This Morning

In Monday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 30 points to 13,185. The Nasdaq rose 15 points to 2,993. The S&P 500 rose 2 points to 1,420. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 135.

Fax Firm Sends Internet Message

COMMUNICATIONS: Old technology gives new life to J2.

Fax firm J2 sends stock climbing with Internet moves and diversification steps.

Strike One for the Ports?

COMMENT: The strike at the port complex may be over, but Charles Crumpley thinks the real problems are just starting.

The strike at the port complex may be over, but Charles Crumpley thinks the real problems are just starting.

California Trapped in State of Rising Taxes?

OP-ED

Arthur F. Rothberg sees California digging itself deeper with its reliance on raising levies.

Getting L.A.’s Economy Moving

Op-Ed Projects at LAX, local ports and Convention Center could work to improve region’s job picture.

Russell Goldsmith and Michael Kelly list ways the public sector could work to create more jobs

Technology Firms Look to Bloom Beyond Seed Funding

INVESTMENT: Lack of series A money may pinch growth plans.

Later-stage tech firms have rooting interest in finding financial support beyond seed funding.

News of the Week

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

New Social Network Plugs Off-Line Relationships

INTERNET: Local startup sees Facebook connections as too limited for many.

Alex Capecelatro thinks there’s a big flaw in the world’s largest social network: It’s anti-social.

Engineering Services Firm Builds Presence in Brazil

EXPANSION: Parsons acquires company to score work in growing market.

Pasadena’s Parsons Corp. is the latest local engineering and construction firm to buy a company in Brazil, a nation with a growing economy, vast infrastructure needs and a preference for local talent.

L.A. Station Makes News as CNN Latino Partner

TV: KBEH to debut cable channel’s Spanish- language programming.

The newest entrant trying to grab the attention of L.A.’s Spanish-speaking population has an advantage; it’s already a household name.

Obamacare Spurs Health Firms to Contract, Grow

ACQUISITION: Universal sells off some operations to MemorialCare.

Two South Bay health care providers are taking action to remain competitive in the era of national health care reform.

Redondo Beach Not Sold On Loss of Mall Tenant

REAL ESTATE: City files suit that could halt move of Nordstrom to Torrance.

Redondo Beach makes waves with lawsuit to block Nordstrom relocation to Del Amo mall.

Survey: Tax, Fee Hikes May Spur Businesses to Walk

COMMERCE: Levy spikes approved by voters make cities tough to work in.

Voter-approved tax hikes have made some L.A. cities a tougher sell for business, according to survey.

Acquisition Adds Value for Semtech

SEMICONDUCTORS: Shares of Camarillo firm rise on increased revenue.

Healthy third quarter revenue powers up shares of chip maker Semtech.

Jeans Maker Hopes to Stretch With New Parent

Clothing: Japanese buyer may back J Brand’s launch of retail stores.

Jeans maker J Brand looks to fashion expansion after acquisition by Japanese company.

Investors Check Into Gelson’s Market Operator

GROCERY: Shares go up and way down on Arden’s special $20 cash dividend.

Gelson’s parent Arden sees stock sacked after announcing cash dividend for investors

From T’s to Tease

APPAREL: Hot Topic brings its Goth sensibility to new Blackheart line of lingerie stores.

Hot Topic looks to rock the lingerie world with Goth-influenced undergarments at its new Blackheart stores.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Making Friends

It’s not every day that a local business person gets to spend an hour with the president and the vice president in the White House, but that’s exactly what happened to Arnulfo “Arnold” Ventura.

Just In Time For Doomsday

West Hollywood bars, eateries plan party for end of Mayan calendar.

It’s apocalypse now for West Hollywood bars and restaurants planning an end-of-the-world party.

New ‘Wheel’? Just Roll With It

Inventor hopes to spin off-kilter creation into speedy, stable sales.

David Patrick hopes to spin his new Shark Wheels into must-haves for bikes, strollers and even cars.

Web-Surfing Site Hopes To Get Shoppers to Buy In

INTERNET: Swagbucks extends reward system to e-commerce partners.

Rewards-for-surfing website Swagbucks looks to catch rising tide of online shoppers.

Lens Company Eyes Tax Break

HEALTH care: Staar sees growth in California – for now.

Tax breaks have lens maker Staar bringing manufacturing back to California – for now.

Silk Purse?

Virtual Piggy lets parents guide kids’ online shopping

Payment system Virtual Piggy banks on parents’ desire to let their young children shop online.

High-Profile Tenants Anchor Valley Retail Deal

ACQUISITION: Wal-Mart, Burlington Coat Factory buildings draw $25 million.

In one of the largest retail property sales in the San Fernando Valley this year, the Fallbrook Center mall’s Wal-Mart and Burlington Coat Factory buildings were sold last month.

Data Bank

Calendar and Events

Hazard Pay

Carlos Siderman fled Argentina two steps ahead of military kidnappers. When he came to the U.S., he started a real estate hazard disclosure firm.

Carlos Siderman fled Argentina in the 1970s and launched his hazard disclosure service when he got to the United States

Friday, December 7

Report: Macerich Putting Lower-Tier Malls on the Block

Macerich Corp. reportedly wants to sell at least 17 non-core Class B malls around the country in an effort to streamline its portfolio.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed down slightly for the week as the broader markets reacted to uncertainty about the direction of talks on the federal budget.

Stocks Mixed at Close

In Friday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 81 points to 13,155. The Nasdaq fell 11 points to 2,978. The S&P 500 rose 4 points to 1,418. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 135.

Port Strike Sets Stage for Wider Standoff in 2014

The recent labor crisis at the nation’s busiest port complex could be a prelude to another, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The eight-day walkout by clerical workers at the Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors foreshadows upcoming contract talks with dockworkers at western U.S. shipping terminals.

A Good Meal at LAX No Longer a Fantasy

For years, Los Angeles International Airport was a culinary wasteland. But signature restaurants are preparing to offer fare to travelers that is worthy of L.A., the Los Angeles Times reports.

Mac to Be Made In USA

Apple plans to shift production of one of its Mac computers from China to the United States in 2013, a move that may hearten customers who have expressed a preference for American-made goods, Information Week reports. The Associated Press reports that Apple under new Chief Executive Tim Cook is emerging as a kinder corporate citizen.

Google to Charge Small Biz for Apps

Google is ending availability of a free version of its Google Apps online application suite for small businesses, PCWorld reports, saying that it wants to provide a stronger and more uniform experience to users.

California Sues Delta over Mobile App Policy

The state of California has fired the opening shot in its fight to get mobile apps to comply with state privacy laws, the Los Angeles Times reports. California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris filed a suit against Delta Air Lines over its Fly Delta mobile app.

Fiscal Talks Spur Charitable Giving

Tax uncertainty in Washington is setting off a mad scramble among wealthy taxpayers and charities to maximize donations before the end of the year, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Appeals Court Undermines Regulation

The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act makes it illegal to sell a prescription drug for any purpose other than what's listed on the label. Nevertheless, a divided federal appeals court this week tossed out the conviction of a former drug sales rep who was recorded pitching a doctor on other uses of a medicine approved by regulators, the Los Angeles Times reports.

U.S. Small Business Hiring Plans Plunge

The Wall Street Journal reports that in a sign of deep pessimism about the economy, U.S. small-business hiring plans last month plunged to their lowest level in four years, according to a survey.

Stocks Mixed in Morning Trading

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 29 points to 13,103. The Nasdaq was down 13 points to 2,976. The S&P 500 was down less than 1 point to 1,414. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 135.

Thursday, December 6

Korn/Ferry Net Income Surpasses Estimates

Korn/Ferry International on Thursday reported better-than-expected fiscal second quarter profit. It also announced acquisition of a Minnesota staffing firm.

Fed Ends Scrutiny of Hanmi

Hanmi Financial Corp. said that the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco has terminated three years of tighter oversight of the Koreatown bank.

Stocks Up at Close

In Thursday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 40 points to 13,074. The Nasdaq rose 16 points to 2,989. The S&P 500 rose 5 points to 1,414. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 135.

Parking at Broken L.A. Meters Subject to Ticketing

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday upheld a policy that makes it illegal to park at spaces with broken meters, overriding a state law that limits issuance of tickets in such cases. City revenue from tickets at non-working meters is $5 million a year, the Los Angeles Times reports.

L.A. to Regulate Valet Parking Operators

Valet parking operators in Los Angeles would be regulated for the first time under an ordinance the City Council approved unanimously on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Port Strike Part of Bigger Fight

The eight-day strike that crippled two of the world's busiest ports reflected a clash that is playing out across the global shipping industry, as ports and their unionized workforces gird for an era of briskly expanding foreign trade. The Los Angeles Times reports that business at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are springing back to life.

Garage Sale Planned at Hope Home

Fans of the late Bob Hope can buy a little piece of the legendary entertainer this weekend at a garage sale held at the comedy great's Toluca Lake estate – a prelude to its eventual sale, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

McAfee Arrested in Guatemala

Guatemalan police arrested software company founder John McAfee Wednesday for entering the country illegally, ending a bizarre journey and search by authorities in Belize, Fox news reports. Ars Technica reports that the anti-virus guru asked for a computer so he can continue blogging from his jail cell.

'Window-Dressing' Trades Lift Results

A Wall Street Journal analysis found unusual numbers of stocks beating the market on the last day of most quarters, suggesting deliberate efforts to temporarily drive up their value.

Deutsche Bank Is Probed

U.S. securities regulators are investigating allegations that Deutsche Bank AG hid billions of dollars of paper losses during the financial crisis, sources tell the Wall Street Journal.

Jobless Claims Fall Sharply for Week

New jobless claims last week fell much more sharply than expected, a potentially reassuring sign that the damaging effects of Hurricane Sandy on the labor market have largely passed, Reuters reports.

The Music Banker's Big Score

Parviz Omidvar plays financier to songwriters, doling out loans repaid with the artists’ royalties, but his terms leave some clients singing an unhappy tune, Reuters reports. Michael Jackson was a customer, as is the son of late Motown legend Marvin Gaye.

Just How Much Is 'Gangnam Style' Artist Making?

A breakdown of ad revenue from YouTube phenom Psy's hit "Gangnam Style," including iTunes sales and television commercial deals, shows that the South Korean pop star is making millions, The Wrap and Associated Press report.

Firm Agrees to End Browser 'History Sniffing'

In a settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, digital advertising company Epic Marketplace Inc. has agreed to stop “history sniffing,” the practice of secretly tracking Internet users’ activity through their Web browsers, ComputerWorld and Bloomberg BusinessWeek report.

Landlords Repurpose Classic Bank Vaults

The classic bank vault, with its captain's wheel, imposing steel door and prison bars at the entrance, is fast becoming a relic as older bank branches close down. But the Wall Street Journal reports that these spaces are being turned into trendy boutiques, party spaces and even wedding venues.

Stocks Rally This Morning

In Thursday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 14 points to 13,049. The Nasdaq rose 15 points to 2,988. The S&P 500 rose 2 points to 1,412.

Wednesday, December 5

ValueClick Names New CEO

ValueClick Inc. said that its longtime chief executive has retired and has been succeeded by the company’s chief operating officer. The change is effective immediately.

Colony Financial Sells 10 Million Shares

Colony Financial Inc. on Wednesday priced a stock offering of 10 million shares at a 2.9 percent discount to the previous day’s closing price.

Stocks Mixed at Close

In Wednesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 83 points to 13,035. The Nasdaq fell 23 points to 2,974. The S&P 500 rose 2 points to 1,409. The LABJ Stock Index rose nearly 1 point to 135.

Ports Reopen Following Tentative Labor Deal

Business at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach began to return to normal Wednesday after a tentative deal was struck late last night with striking clerical workers, whose job action had crippled port operations for eight days.

Deal Brings End to Ports Strike

Clerical workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are back at work Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times and Daily Breeze report. Negotiators agreed to a tentative deal ending a strike that crippled America's busiest shipping hub for more than a week. Retailers expressed relief at the deal, which still must be approved by union members, the Times says.

Tesco Expected to Leave U.S. Market

Tesco is poised to leave the United States after spending five unprofitable years and $1.61 billion on an ill-timed American expansion that became one of the British supermarket giant's biggest-ever failures, the Wall Street Journal reports. Its chief executive said Wednesday that the company will likely sell or close 199 Fresh & Easy stores. Fresh & Easy is headquartered in El Segundo and many of its stores are in Los Angeles County.

American Apparel Chief Accused of Assaulting Employee

Dov Charney is no stranger to controversy, but a new lawsuit accuses the American Apparel chief executive of some very strange behavior, including choking and rubbing dirt into the face of a former Malibu store manager, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Citigroup to Cut 11,000 Jobs

Citigroup Inc. said that it will eliminate 11,000 jobs – about 4 percent of its work force – and take a related $1 billion fourth-quarter charge. The Wall Street Journal reports that the bank has been under increasing pressure to cut costs to lift returns, and its new chief executive’s priority is to make Citi a leaner and more efficient bank.

AeroVironment Profit Up Despite Drop in Drone Sales

Aerovironment Inc. posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit as its unmanned aircraft business sold more fixed-price products in its fiscal second quarter, Reuters reports.

Forecast: Prop 30 to Be a Slight Drag on State's Economy

The UCLA Anderson Forecast expects that Proposition 30, the tax-raising measure voters approved last month by a comfortable margin, will slow economic growth in California but won't derail the fledgling recovery, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

'Creative Economy' Brings Billions to Southland

How much is "creativity" worth in the Los Angeles region? A new report by the Otis College of Art and Design analyzes what it calls the “creative economy” of Los Angeles and Orange Counties, Southern California Public Radio reports.

Eccentric Tech Mogul Flees to Guatemala

The story of John McAfee reads like a bestselling mystery: murder, poisoned dogs, young women and international intrigue fueled by weeks on the run. But in the latest chapter of the saga, the millionaire says his month of evading Belizean authorities is over, CNN reports. The 67-year-old Internet security software founder plans to settle down in Guatemala – at least for now.

Global Banking Under Siege

Global banking, a model promoted for more than 30 years by financial conglomerates and cobbled together through cross-border mergers, is colliding with the post-crisis reality of stricter national regulation, Bloomberg News reports.

A Star Is Reborn

She was long in tooth, a blistering, peeling nearly 90-year-old Hollywood dowager in need of some major "work." After a $175,000 face-lift unveiled Tuesday, the Hollywood sign looks as young as a golden-age Greta Garbo, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

L.A.'s Retro Line

In a city often derided for its lack for public transportation, L..A.’s downtown is the one exception. The city center has light-rail lines, a subway, a maze of bus routes and shuttles, links to commuter rail and even a tiny funicular that trudges up and down Bunker Hill. Now voters in the district have approved key financing for a $125-million streetcar project that should make it even easier to get around, the Los Angeles Times reports.

For AEG's Tim Leiweke, It's Been Quite a Year

The most powerful man in Los Angeles sports has overseen two teams — the Kings and the Galaxy — that won championships. And that's just the beginning, the Los Angeles Times says in an interview with Tim Leiweke, president of Anschutz Entertainment Group.

Stocks Mixed in Morning Trading

In Wednesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 7 points to 12,959. The Nasdaq was down 25 points to 2,971. The S&P 500 fell 4 points to 1,403. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 134.

Tuesday, December 4

Both Sides in Port Strike Agree to Mediation

Port clerks and their shipping company employers agreed Tuesday to work with a federal mediator in an attempt to end a strike that has shut down most of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for the past week.

Disney, Netflix Sign Distribution Deal

Walt Disney Co. and Netflix Inc. announced a multiyear licensing agreement that starting in 2016 will make the Northern California media rental service the exclusive U.S. subscription television service for Walt Disney Studios’ first-run feature films.

Stocks Down at Close

In Tuesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 14 points to 12,952. The Nasdaq fell 5.5 points to 2,997. The S&P 500 fell 2 points to 1,407. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 134.

Downtown Streetcar Measure Headed for Victory

A plan to bring back the downtown Los Angeles streetcar appeared to win approval Monday with more than 70 percent of votes in favor, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Mexico Port Picks Up Slack from L.A. Strike

The strike that has crippled the two busiest U.S. cargo ports -- L.A. and Long Beach -- has diverted ships elsewhere, creating a windfall for the Port of Ensenada, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Disney Loses Appeal in 'Millionaire' Case

Walt Disney Co. has lost its appeal of a high-profile case concerning profits from the game show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Home Prices Make Largest Gain in 6 Years

A measure of U.S. home prices rose 6.3 percent in October compared with a year ago, the largest yearly gain since July 2006, the Associated Press reports. The jump adds to signs of a comeback in the once-battered housing market.

FDA Nudges Drug Firms to Find Childhood Cancer Cures

Four experimental cancer treatments -- including one developed by Amgen Inc. -- may one day help gravely ill children. The drugs are facing review by U.S. pediatric advisers who have been working for years to find ways to develop more drugs for this underserved population, Bloomberg News reports.

CalPERS Crusader Takes Aim at Fees

At its annual investor meeting, L.A. buyout firm Leonard Green & Partners LP played a video that parodied Réal Desrochers of CalPERS as a spear-carrying sentry fending off a team of Leonard Green executives. The Wall Street Journal reports that the video was meant to be lighthearted, it's also a sign of how Desrochers is picking fights with heavyweights of the private-equity business.

Pimco’s Gross Wins U.S. Patent

Bill Gross, who runs the world’s largest mutual fund, has received a U.S. patent for the methodology behind a global bond index that weighs countries by the size of their economy rather than their indebtedness, Bloomberg News reports.

Text Messaging Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Text messaging is already past its teen years, PCWorld and the Los Angeles Times report. The thumb-numbing communications format that has become a favorite of teenagers and created a language of its own has turned 20.

Slayings Spotlight Unlicensed Boarding Homes

The killing of four people outside what appeared to be an illegal boarding house in Northridge has cast a renewed spotlight on the proliferation of such homes and the health and safety of residents who live in them, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Stocks Down This Morning

In Tuesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 14 points to 12,980. The Nasdaq fell 10 points to 2,992. The S&P 500 fell 1 point to 1,408. The LABJ Stock Index is unchanged at 134.

Monday, December 3

AeroVironment Invests in Swedish Tech Firm

AeroVironment Inc. is investing in a Swedish developer of vertical takeoff and landing systems, with plans to incorporate the technology into some of its unmanned drones.

CBRE’s White Retires

CBRE Group Inc. said that Brett White retired as chief executive on Friday and his successor, President Robert Sulentic, took the helm of the commercial real estate services giant.

Stocks Slip at Close

In Monday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 60 points to 12,965. The Nasdaq fell 8 points to 3,002. The S&P 500 fell 7 points to 1,409. The LABJ Stock Index fell 1 point to 134.

Weekend Talks Fail to End Port Strike

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has had enough, the Los Angeles Times and Daily Breeze report. He wants round-the-clock bargaining to end the six-day-old strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, with the help of a mediator.

'Iris' Joins List of Recent Cirque du Soleil Duds

Has Cirque du Soleil flown a little too close to the sun? The company's resident show at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre, "Iris," announced over the weekend that it will close much earlier than expected due to poor ticket sales, The Wrap reports. The Los Angeles Times looks at some of the reasons why.

Chinatrust to Move Headquarters Downtown

Chinatrust Bank has agreed to move its U.S. headquarters to downtown Los Angeles from Torrance. The bank will rent two floors in 801 Tower, a high-rise in the financial district north of Staples Center, the Los Angeles Times reports.

U.S. Manufacturing Shrinks More Than Expected

The U.S. manufacturing sector fell back into contraction last month and employment weakened sharply, according to data released Monday by the Institute for Supply Management, the Wall Street Journal reports.

LAX Runway Separation Plan Advances

A controversial plan to separate the two northern runways at Los Angeles International Airport by 260 feet advanced last week when airport staff recommended the proposal for further environmental review over other runway options, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Who Benefits From Texas Incentives?

Texas offers the most incentives of any state to attract business, but it can be unclear whether Texans or companies gain more, the New York Times reports.

Airlines Working on New Fees

Anyone who has flown on a commercial airline recently might assume that air carriers have run out of ideas for new passenger fees. But the Los Angeles Times reports that the airline industry is not resting on its money-making laurels.

SEC Chief Delayed Rule Over Legacy Concerns

The Wall Street Journal reports that in one of her last acts as chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Schapiro delayed a rule potentially affecting hundreds of billions of dollars of private offerings by companies, in part because of concerns about her personal legacy.

Who Do Online Advertisers Think You Are?

The extreme microcategorization of consumers means advertisers can bid for the chance to show you exactly what you might be interested in. The trouble is, that's all you'll see, the New York Times reports.

Stocks Slightly Lower This Morning

In Monday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 33 points to 12,992. The Nasdaq fell less than 1 point to 3,010. The S&P 500 fell 2 points to 1,414. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 135.

Firm Maps Out Future of GPS Tracking Devices

LOGISTICS: GTX makes case for using product to trace luggage location.

New GPS tracking devices made by downtown L.A. company GTX Corp. can be turned off remotely and turn themselves back on based on how high they are or how fast they’re moving.

Coffee Chain Turns Over New Leaf With Tea Bars

EXPANSION: Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf debuts concept store in Manhattan Beach.

While people just call it Coffee Bean and forget the Tea Leaf, executives at family-run chain Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf want to change that by highlighting their love of Orange Oolong and other whole-leaf tea selections.

Atlanta Firm Still Building Case in Downtown L.A.

EMPLOYMENT: Latest hire brings Alston’s local attorney tally to 85.

The addition of James R. Evans Jr. to the downtown L.A. office of Alston & Bird LLP marks another sign of the Atlanta firm’s aggressive growth plans here.

News of the Week

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

Web Links

Social media pioneer David Bohnett got jump on Facebook’s online connections with his 1994-launched Geocities.

Social media pioneer David Bohnett remains friendly with the Internet industry as a venture capitalist.

Data Bank

Calendar and Events

Hotel Owner to Make Rooms for Improvement

RENOVATION: Carlyle plans $10 million facelift for Culver City DoubleTree.

The Culver City DoubleTree by Hilton hotel is set to receive a $10 million makeover.

Document Firm In Paper Chase

LAW: LegalZoom lawyers up as rivals move into market.

Online document provider LegalZoom gets on its rival’s case.

Firm Brews Beer Brand To Serve as Promotion

MARKETING: BeCore sees New Vaudeville as means to showcase business skills.

BeCore stages a promotional coup with its own beer brand, New Vaudeville.

Tinseltown Gets Friendly on Web

MOVIES: Startup casts social media in film promotion role.

FilmBreak looks to give social media a starring role in promoting Hollywood productions.

Side Business

Hollywood eateries stake claim in cleaned-up alleys

Hollywood restaurants back into more room by dressing up alleyways for additional space.

Tease photo

Frozen Meal Maker Hopes to Deliver

ONLINE: Pop-Up Pantry seeks seat at table for gourmet fare.

Pop-Up Pantry hopes to get sales cooking with its home-delivered gourmet meals.

Tapping Into Group Effort

OP-ED: Crowdfunding could be capital idea that goes long way toward unlocking L.A.’s entrepreneurial potential.

Victoria Silchenko believes crowdfunding could hold mass appeal for L.A.’s entrepreneurs.

It Pays to Shop Around for Holiday Traditions

OP-ED

Victoria Thomas defends holiday sales as a blossoming seasonal tradition.

Little Light in Los Angeles

COMMENT

L.A.’s lame Christmas decorations haven’t put much holiday cheer in Charles Crumpley

New Angle For Going Down Slopes

Company hopes small snowboards for each foot find traction.

Dual Snowboards tries to pull off sales feat with its small boards that strap to each foot.

Kidding Around on Vacations

MiniTime lets parents plan getaways based on age of children.

Co-founders of dating site now make time with family vacation-planning business.

Sweating the Sweet Stuff

Dentists warn their patients not to eat too much Halloween candy. But this year, Dr. Vijay Patel of Claremont decided to put his money where his mouth is.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Notes For Notes

INTERNET: Chromatik took cues from high schoolers in test of musicians’ app.

Chromatik turned to high schoolers for help grading the performance of its musical app.

L.A.-Area Market Can Bank on More Branches

BANKING: Region adds outposts as number of sites dwindle nationwide.

L.A. bucks national contraction trend by adding branches.

Mall Owner May Have More Acquisitions in Store

REAL ESTATE: Macerich looks to improve portfolio with sales and pickups.

Mall operator Macerich picks up three retail properties during recent shopping spree.

Biofuels Company Sows Seeds of Growth in Brazil

ENERGY: Ceres signs deal with agriculture firm to bolster market presence.

Deal with Swiss agricultural company powers up biofuels maker Ceres’ stock.

Internet Ad Firm Looks To Connect as Publisher

MEDIA: Woven steps into editorial content with deal for men’s site BroBible.

Online ad firm Woven is stitching together a network of editorial sites to display its advertorial content.