Stories for July 2012
Tuesday, July 31
The plan to build a streetcar in downtown Los Angeles picked up speed Tuesday when the Los Angeles City Council called for a special election that could create a taxing district for the project.
DreamWorks Profit Falls Short… Herbalife’s Quarter Beats Expectations… IHOP President to Leave… OpenGate Makes French Acquisition… Rite Aid Workers Authorize Strike.
On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 64 points, or 0.49 percent, to 13,008. The Nasdaq fell 6 points, or 0.21 percent, to 2,939. The S&P 500 fell 6 points, or 0.43 percent, to 1,379. The LABJ Stock Index fell 1 point, or 1 percent, to 135.
Movie studio Warner Bros. has taken the unusual step of releasing a study on its economic impact in L.A. County, estimated at more than $4 billion. The Los Angeles Times reports that it’s part of an effort to better inform local politicians and the public about the value of the entertainment industry to the local economy as the region struggles to keep productions in town.
RealD Inc. shares fell nearly 21 percent early today after the Beverly Hills supplier of 3-D projection systems to theaters reported second quarter financials that missed analysts’ estimates. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that profits were hurt by a 50 percent jump in product costs, largely from supplying theaters with new eyeglasses.
DineEquity Inc. shares rose more than 10 percent in early trading today after the Glendale restaurant operator reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by lower costs and strength in its Applebee's business. Reuters reports that the company plans to cut costs further by eliminating 100 jobs.
For Google Inc.'s YouTube it was a $150 million experiment – seed dozens of new video "channels" on its Web service and see what works. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company likes what it’s seen and will invest another $200 million to market the channels as it attempts to upgrade its content and lure more viewers and advertising.
Frito-Lay is developing a new potato chip flavor, which, in the old days, would have involved a series of focus groups, research and trend analysis. The New York Times reports that now the company – and many others – are using Facebook and other social media.
The Food and Drug Administration has sent a letter to the owners of Lap-Band VIP in Tarzana, warning them to pull what it called misleading ads. The Los Angeles Times reports that the allegations were similar to those the agency made in December against 1-800-GET-THIN, another company that marketed Lap-Band weight-loss surgery.
Unemployment in the 17 countries that share the euro hit another record high in June, which is likely to further weaken consumer spending and add pressure on the European Central Bank's governing council to take action at its monthly meeting on Thursday. The Wall Street Journal reports that the figures give grim evidence of how the euro-zone crisis is affecting ordinary people and the wider economy.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down nearly 6 points, or 0.04 percent, to 13,067. The Nasdaq was up nearly 9 points, or 0.3 percent to 2,954. The S&P 500 was up less than 1 point, or flat, to 1,385. The LABJ Stock Index was down less than 1 point, or 0.51 percent, to 136.
Monday, July 30
CKE Inc. said that it expects that its initial public offering of 13.3 million shares will price at between $14 and $16 a share. That would raise about $200 million at the mid-point range.
Passenger traffic continued to grow last month at Los Angeles International Airport, which is on pace to handle more passengers than it has since before the recession.
Mercury General Moves to Loss… Providence Hospital CEO Selected… Live Nation Expands.
On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down nearly 3 points, or 0.02 percent, to 13,073. The Nasdaq fell 12 points, or 0.41 percent, to 2,945 The S&P 500 fell less than 1 point, or 0.05 percent, to 1,385. The LABJ Stock Index rose 2.5 points, or 2 percent, to 137.
The Entertainment Software Association is expected to announce today that it has signed a contract to keep the E3 video game convention in Los Angeles through at least 2015, according to the Los Angeles Times. The group had said it would move the event unless it was assured that construction of the proposed football stadium on Los Angeles Convention Center property would not disrupt the event.
When Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. face off in a high-stakes patent trial starting today, there will be another elephant in the room: Google Inc. The Wall Street Journal reports that a loss for Apple, conversely, could sustain the spread of competition that has made Google’s Android the No. 1 smartphone operating system.
A new survey measuring TV network loyalty shows that content owners have leverage over pay TV operators in carriage disputes. The Hollywood Reporter says the study found that about 40 percent of viewers would cancel or switch their pay TV service if they lost top broadcast networks.
The turnaround in home video business, which began last year after a seven-year decline, continued in the first six months of 2012, according to new figures cited in the Wrap.
The Sacramento Bee reports that a subsidiary of New York investment bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. is being investigated for allegedly gaming the state's electricity system in a case reminiscent of the Enron scandal.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 21 points, or 0.16 percent, to 13,054. The Nasdaq was down 14 points, or 0.47 percent to 2,944. The S&P 500 was down 3 points, or 0.21 percent to 1,383. The LABJ Stock Index was up 2.5 points, or 2 percent to 136.
Building Safety drafts plan for world’s tallest building in Dubai.
Emergency-preparedness company reaches new heights with work for Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building.
Glimcher picks up Lumber Yard in $35.5 million sale.
Richard Weintraub and Richard Sperber finally cashed in on the Malibu Lumber Yard, a high-end shopping center the duo began working on together about five years ago.
Dating site SamePlate pairs people based on diets, favorite foods.
Dating site SamePlate.com looks to put romance on the menu by pairing up users by diet.
Bingham reduces office at Water Garden to 19,000 square feet.
Three months after Miami-based Greenberg Traurig LLP left Santa Monica’s Water Garden office complex for Century City, Boston’s Bingham McCutchen LLP has reduced its footprint in that same facility.
Wedding-ring chain unveils ads based on marriage proposals.
Wedding-ring chain Robbins Bros. hopes to engage customers with ad campaign focused on proposal stories.
Move over, Silicon Beach: El Segundo wants in on the tech boom action.
Local employee vies in Anheuser-Busch’s specialty beer battle.
Anheuser-Busch’s Van Nuys brewery hops into company’s craft beer competition.
The explosion of Latino media is putting an accent on L.A.’s business scene, Charles Crumpley notes.
For 22 years, attorney Michael Jenkins, 59, worked at downtown L.A. law firm Richards Watson & Gershon. In fact, that’s where he met his attorney wife, Christi Hogin, 50. But because he lived in Manhattan Beach, he endured a tedious daily commute
California should form public utility commissions to steer oversight of transportation infrastructure.
Pete Rahn hopes to drive California into treating roads like utilities.
Larry Palmer cautions it could be sink or swim for infrastructure investors.
Little web episodes to be made by big producers.
Quantity is the goal of video producer BiteSize as it seeks to feed content to the growing online audience.
Solid Terrain launches D.C. offensive for its 3-D physical maps.
Solid Terrain maps out strategy to line up more customers for its 3-D physical models.
State holds up deals by successor agencies.
New state law puts a hold on successor agencies’ sales of former CRA properties.
Shares of Staar lose their shine after disappointing quarter.
Shareholders don’t like what they see after implantable lens maker Staar’s disappointing quarter.
Industry giant ponders spinning off packaged products.
Dole could be looking to seal up a deal for its fast-growing prepackaged product business.
NantWorks draws $125 million for its blood-based therapies.
Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong scores healthy private-equity investment for his NantPharma startup.
Items made in Mexico pushed in U.S. by MarcasUSA.
MarcasUSA turns to Hispanic consumers to test the retail prospects of its Mexican medical items
Redondo Beach businesses split over whether to pull the plug on a local power plant.
Shares of Tutor Perini slide after setback in Las Vegas case.
Tutor Perini fails to build good will on Wall Street after setback in lawsuit over Las Vegas tower.
Owners could lose shops to city ban on critter sales
Some pet store owners could need rescuing if a city of L.A. ban on certain animal sales goes into effect.
Friday, July 27
JustFab.com, an online shopping subscription service in El Segundo, has raised $76 million in new financing.
The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed up the week as the markets speculated that further economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve might be forthcoming. Quarterly reports drove most of the biggest local movers.
On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 188 points, or 1.5 percent, to 13,075. The Nasdaq rose 65 points, or 2 percent, to 2,958 The S&P 500 rose 26 points, or 1.9 percent, to 1,385. The LABJ Stock Index rose 2.3 points, or 1.7 percent, to 137.
Shares of Green Dot Corp. plummeted more than 60 percent Friday after the online debit card provider gave a weak outlook amid sharper competition. The Business Journal reports that the news prompted 10 analysts to downgrade the stock.
Investors punished shares of Facebook and Amazon.com this morning after both reported disappointing earnings. The Wall Street Journal says that thin margins may finally be catching up with Amazon despite its 29 percent jump in revenue. Facebook traded at its lowest levels ever as the company struggled to convince investors that it can leverage its popularity into profits.
The federal government this morning confirmed what businesspeople suspected: the U.S. economy grew at a tepid 1.5 percent annual rate in the second quarter. The New York Times reports that the sluggishness of the recovery makes the nation more vulnerable to trouble in Europe and increases the likelihood of more stimulus from the Federal Reserve.
A week after uncovering a hidden-funds scandal at the state parks department, California finance officials are now trying to piece together why the balance sheets for similar "special funds" are off by $2.3 billion. The San Jose Mercury reports that the money appeared to be right under their noses amid California's financial meltdown.
Wal-Mart's Neighborhood Market grocery in Huntington Beach and Target's CityTarget in Westwood will open in the next few days. The Los Angeles Times reports that the giant retailers are putting aside their big-box ways and going urban with a new look and a metro-oriented feel as they expand in Southern California.
The nation’s drought is pushing up the cost of meat and milk for the state's consumers. The Los Angeles Times reports that's because the cost of feed for California cattle, poultry and hog producers is soaring as withering Midwestern farms are unable to grow much in the way of corn, soybeans and other feedstuffs.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 111, or 0.87 percent, to 12,999. The Nasdaq was up 37.6, or 1.3 percent, to 2,931. The S&P 500 was up 15.7, or 1.2 percent, to 1,375. The LABJ Stock Index was up 4.6, or 2.5 percent, to 136.
Thursday, July 26
In a strongly worded letter sent late Thursday, one of the largest shareholders of First California Financial Group Inc. called on the board to sell the bank holding company.
Financially strapped MPG Office Trust Inc. may look to sell its entire 8.2 million-square-foot office portfolio as soon as next year.
Stamps.com shares sank 15 percent on Thursday after the online postal service reported a better-than-expected second quarter but warned that economic headwinds may put a damper on growth.
Amgen Beats Street View… Profit Up at Reliance Steel… Gehry Makes Acquisition… New CFO at NTSI.
On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 1.7 percent to 12,887. The Nasdaq rose 1.4 percent to 2,893 The S&P 500 rose 1.6 percent to 1,360. The LABJ Stock Index rose 2.7 percent to 134.
Business and labor organizations have joined forces to speed up revitalization at Los Angeles International Airport, which they contend has been slowed for decades by lawsuits, community opposition and the changing visions of past mayoral administrations. The Los Angeles Times reports that the initial focus of the Coalition to Fix LAX Now is on a pending project to increase the distance between the two northern runways.
Occidental Petroleum Corp., the largest producer of onshore crude in the continental United States, said today that its second-quarter profit fell 27 percent as new output in California and Texas failed to make up for declining oil prices. Bloomberg News reports that Oxy’s midstream and marketing business, which includes pipelines and gas processing, saw a 59 percent decline, the biggest drop in any of the company’s businesses.
Fearful that Los Angeles will lose more television pilots to New York, the Los Angeles City Council has called for studies on how to reduce or eliminate city taxes on film and TV production. The Los Angeles Daily News reports that the city may consider eliminating taxes on all pilot productions done here, the number of which has dropped significantly.
JAKKS Pacific Inc. said today that it has acquired Maui Inc., a Youngstown, Ohio manufacturer and distributor of spring and summer activity toys, including the popular Wave Hoop and Sky Ball products. RTTNews reports that the Malibu toymaker expects that the deal, terms of which were not disclosed, will be accretive to earnings next year.
Nearly half the clothing in the United States today is made in China. So the owner of Dayang Trands, a $300-million company in Dailian, China which tailors clothing for some of the world's most famous brands and powerful people, is baffled that Americans would be surprised and upset that uniforms for the U.S. Olympic team were made by her company, the Los Angeles Times reports.
From melting Texas highways to overheated Illinois nuclear power plants, the concrete, steel and sophisticated engineering that undergird the nation’s infrastructure are being taxed by heat, drought and vicious storms, the New York Times reports. The frequency of extreme weather is up over the past few years, and people who deal with infrastructure expect that to continue.
Internet marketplace EBay Inc. is considering allowing consumers who are under 18 years old to set up accounts and access the eBay.com website to buy vintage T-shirts, jewelry, school supplies or other products. The Wall Street Journal reports that this untapped class of buyers is potentially lucrative, but also fraught with privacy and parental oversight concerns.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.4 percent to 12,848. The Nasdaq was up 1 percent to 2,883 The S&P 500 was up 1.2 percent to 1,354. The LABJ Stock Index was up 2 percent to 133.
Wednesday, July 25
Cheesecake Factory Commences Dividend… CytRx Starts Drug Trials… Skechers Quarter Beats Expectations… Ryland Earnings Miss… Limoneira Adds Orchards.
Los Angeles County’s economy will continue its painfully slow improvement over the next 18 months as the unemployment rate remains in double digits, according to a mid-year economic forecast to be released Wednesday by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.
Pop star Lady Gaga and her management company were sued by MGA Entertainment Inc. for $10 million for failing to approve a line of dolls in her image, Bloomberg News reports. The Van Nuys maker of Bratz dolls says in the complaint that it agreed to produce dolls in Lady Gaga’s image in December 2011 at the request of her management company, the Atom Factory in Culver City, and a merchandising company, Bravada International Group of Los Angeles.
Creditors for Los Angeles Times parent Tribune Co. have appealed the Chicago media company’s reorganization plan and asked a judge to temporarily halt the company’s effort to exit bankruptcy. Reuters reports that the creditors hold debt that preceded the buyout loans and claim that the settlement robbed them of the ability to collect by leaving Tribune insolvent.
The agency that supplies drinking water to almost 19 million Los Angeles-area residents paid $47.2 million to unwind interest-rate swaps with banks. But the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California didn’t incur a loss, Bloomberg News reports.
DineEquity Inc., the parent of Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP restaurants, has agreed to sell 65 company-operated Applebee's in Michigan for about $61 million. The Wall Street Journal reports that the deal enables the Glendale company to nearly complete its transition to a franchisor business model.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has filed for a possible public offering of its stock that would allow former debt holders that are now its owners to start selling their holdings, the Los Angeles Times reports. The 88-year-old Beverly Hills-based studio emerged from bankruptcy in late 2010.
The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to ban all pot dispensaries, the Los Angeles Times reports. Under the ban, all 762 dispensaries registered in the city will be sent letters ordering them to shut down immediately. But the City Council opened the door to letting some remain; it asked the staff to draw up a measure allowing original shops to stay open.
Nearly 10 percent of employers anticipate dropping health coverage for their workers in the next three years as medical costs keep rising, according to a new survey by consulting firm Deloitte. The Los Angeles Times majority of companies, 81 percent, said they plan to continue providing health benefits even if new rules begin in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act.
Two years after disappearing from the Hollywood scene, a controversial nonprofit group called the Bring Hollywood Home Foundation is attempting to stage a comeback, holding benefit concerts and other events to raise money to combat runaway production and build public support for filmmaker tax breaks. But the Los Angeles Times reports that the group’s fundraising tactics are once again raising concerns as Hollywood’s powerful unions, studio representatives and film industry officials distance themselves from the foundation.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.37 percent to 12,633. The Nasdaq was 0.45 percent to 2,850 The S&P 500 was down 0.24 percent to 1,335. The LABJ Stock Index was down 0.62 percent to 131.
Tuesday, July 24
Patrick Soon-Shiong’s NantWorks LLC said that New York investment firm Blackstone has invested $125 million in one of its health care companies, NantPharma.
Avery stock up… Disney may allow Segways… Bank merger approved…THQ regains compliance.
The Los Angeles Times reports that California's foreclosure crisis appears to be easing. Notices of default in the second quarter fell 2.9 percent from the first quarter and 3.6 percent from a year earlier, according to DataQuick statistics. However, the number of bank-owned homes will remain significant for a long time.
Home values posted their first year-over-year increase since 2007 in the second quarter. Bloomberg News cites data from Seattle real estate information firm Zillow Inc., which said that of 167 markets it tracks, 53 posted annual increases.
The Los Angeles City Council today will consider a measure that would make medical marijuana dispensaries illegal, but still allow small groups of patients and caregivers to grow it collectively. The Los Angeles Times reports that a recent state appeals court ruling has prompted the council to revisit an ordinance approved in 2007.
Avery Dennison Corp. this morning announced a restructuring plan after reporting weak sales and a 12 percent decline in second-quarter earnings. MarketWatch.com reports that executives at the Pasadena maker of labels and tags hope to achieve annual cost savings of $100 million by the middle of next year.
California workers in Inglewood and Sacramento will join labor advocates across the country at rallies today to support forthcoming legislation that would increase the federal minimum wage by $2.55 per hour. CaliforniaWatch.org reports that the bill by U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., calls for the minimum wage to jump to $9.80 an hour over three years.
Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg wants his DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. of Glendale to become more like Walt Disney Co. by making deals to expand its revenue base beyond movies. Bloomberg News points to Monday’s acquisition of Classic Media, owner of rights to cartoon characters such as Rocky and Bullwinkle, as well as plans to create an indoor theme park at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.
Several groups of traders are under investigation by regulators around the world for allegedly banding together to rig interest rates, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. Most of the traders under scrutiny are separate from the alleged collusion involving British bank Barclays, which last month paid about $450 million in fines for its role in the scandal to fix the London interbank offered rate, or Libor.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.3 percent to 12,563. The Nasdaq was down 1 percent to 2,860. The S&P 500 was down 1.3 percent to 1,332. The LABJ Stock Index was down 2.3 percent to 130.
Monday, July 23
A bankruptcy judge confirmed a plan that grants a group of creditors, led by L.A. asset management firm Oaktree Capital Management, control of Tribune Co., which is the parent of the Los Angeles Times and KTLA-TV (5).
MPG Office Trust Inc.’s second quarter net income fell 43 percent as the downtown L.A real estate investment trust continued to trim its office portfolio.
The NCAA today fined Penn State $60 million, banned the football team from bowl games for four years and vacated all of its wins from 1998 to 2011 in the wake of the university's child sex abuse scandal. ESPN.com reports that the fines will go toward a fund for victims of child abuse.
In a world where Amazon can predict your next book purchase and you must register to buy allergy medicine, the Huffington Post reports that James Holmes spent months stockpiling thousands of bullets and head-to-toe ballistic gear without raising any red flags with authorities. The Colorado shooting suspect made his first court appearance today, his hair dyed reddish-orange in an apparent nod to the comic book world of the Caped Crusader, the Christian Science Monitor reports.
“Dark Knight Rises” is headed for a record three-day opening north of $160 million at the domestic box office if Sunday traffic holds. The Hollywood Reporter said studios did not plan to officially report weekend grosses for any film until later today out of respect for victims of the Colorado theater massacre.
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has been sold for $550 million to Sacramento-based aerospace and technology firm GenCorp Inc. The Los Angles Times reports today that parent United Technology Corp. is selling the Canoga Park rocket engine maker to help finance last year’s $16.5 billion acquisition of Goodrich Corp. Also, the Business Journal wrote about the expected Rocketdyne sale in the July 16th issue.
DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. today said it agreed to acquire Classic Media for $155 million, adding a library of vintage film and television characters such as Casper, Lassie and the Lone Ranger. Bloomberg News reports that the Glendale studio late next year plans to release a 3-D feature film, “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” based on characters from the “Rocky & Bullwinkle” show.
Peet's Coffee & Tea Inc. today said it had agreed to be taken private in a $1 billion cash deal by German investment group Joh. A. Benckiser. The Wall Street Journal reports that profits for the San Francisco Bay Area company, which operates retail stores and sells bagged-coffee in grocery stores, have been hit by high coffee costs in recent months.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.94 percent to 12,701. The Nasdaq was down 1.4 percent to 2,883 The S&P 500 was down 1.1 percent to 1,347. The LABJ Stock Index was down 2.5 percent to 131.
BIG APPLE: SBE Entertainment LLC announced plans for its first hotel in New York, an $85 million project.
Madame Tussauds hopes King turns up heat on rival museum.
TOURISM: New Elvis attraction rocks rivalry of Hollywood wax museums
GOVERNMENT: Rob Carpenter believes L.A’s Innovation Council will change the city for the better
NorthStar’s service comes packed with luxury options.
MOVING: NorthStar’s luxury service is hauling in more customers
SPECIAL REPORT: Largest & Most Profitable L.A. Companies
Disney’s rising share price gave it the largest market cap, but most local firms made barely a squeak in a weak climate. Includes LABJ's 2012 LARGEST PUBLIC COMPANIES list for download (pdf)
Fishhound gets line on Major League Fishing as promotional partner.
SPORTS: Fishhound.com is angling for a bigger online presence after hooking up with Major League Fishing
In January of last year, attorney Sanford H. Perliss felt a sudden urge to start telling his old stories again – much to the chagrin of his 15-year-old son.
Bauer Transportation Inc., a San Francisco group-transportation services provider, has begun operating the FlyAway bus service between Van Nuys and Los Angeles International Airport.
HEALTH CARE: Iris stock climbs on deal to distribute Italian-made system.
HEALTH CARE: Urinalysis company sanguine about new deal to distribute blood-testing system
Congress’ ‘sequestration’ process could punch hole in L.A. region’s vital defense industry.
DEFENSE: Congressional budget cuts could leave local contractors at a loss
COMMENT: Charles Crumpley wants a permanent break from wait staff interruptions
EDUCATION: Kite’s online marketplace to provide questions to teachers.
EDUCATION: Kite co-founders hope their website moves to the head of the class in the testing services industry
APPAREL: Body-sculpting undergarments prove a good fit for dMondaine.
APPAREL: Former dressmaker Kiana Anvaripour forms business out of shaping undergarments
FINANCE: Ex-Fremont exec pushes new slate of directors for Signature.
FINANCE: Former co-founder of flopped company Fremont fights to take reins of reorganized, renamed busness
INVESTMENT: Funding for media and ad startups fuels healthy quarter.
Though venture capital investment is down nationwide, funding to startups in Los Angeles surged during the second quarter.
ACQUISITION: Partners pick up office property for estimated $40 million.
An 85,000-square-foot West Hollywood office building traded hands last week for an estimated $40 million.
RELOCATION: QTrade moves to Cerritos with eye on future expansion.
You’ve probably never heard of QTrade International Corp., but if you’ve ever strolled down the tea aisle at Whole Foods Market, you’ve probably seen the company’s products.
RETAIL: United Oil plans to add private-label treats to fuel sales.
United Oil hopes customers bite on the gas station operator’s new line of freshly baked cookies.
Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong is game for co-developing products with toymaker Jakks.
BIOTECH: One Lambda hopes new owner can help grow sales overseas.
New parent looks to expand body of work for One Lambda’s organ transplant products
GOVERNMENT: LAEDC efforts could be undercut by loss of county money.
GOVERNMENT: The Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. could lose critical county funding to rival groups
Chief Executive Marco Petruzzi has learned to live with angry foes of Green Dot’s charter schools.
INTERVIEW: CEO Marco Petruzzi says the LAUSD could learn a lot from Green Dot’s charter schools
SPECIAL REPORT: Largest & Most Profitable L.A. Companies
PROFITS: Moneymakers prove their worth in a variety of industries
Astro Pak turns sights to Earth for new customers
Astro Pak turned to new industries to unearth customers for its cleaning services used by the Apollo moon program.
Friday, July 20
Dole Food Co. confirmed weeks of speculation that it might consider a sale or spinoff of its packaged-foods unit.
The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed down slightly for the week as the overall markets reacted to mixed earnings forecasts and worries about Spain’s economy.
L.A.’s slow but steady jobs recovery continued last month as the unemployment rate fell to 11.2 percent and the county added 13,000 jobs, led by a rebound in construction. The Business Journal reports that June marks the third straight month the rate has fallen and bucks the typical seasonal trend of increased unemployment as schools let out and people look for summer jobs.
The movie industry today expressed shock and sadness to the tragic shooting at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in a Denver suburb. A gunman opened fire in an Aurora movie theater, killing at least 12 people and leaving at least 50 injured. The Los Angeles Times reports that the Paris premiere of the film has been cancelled, and theater owners around the U.S. are increasing security.
Viacom Inc. and DirectTV said today that they have settled a dispute that had cut off access to 26 Viacom channels for subscribers of the El Segundo satellite TV provider for more than a week and a half. The Associated Press reports that as part of the new long-term deal, subscribers also will be able to see Viacom shows on tablets, laptops and other devices via DirecTV's new Everywhere platform.
The La Mirada Neighborhood Association of Hollywood has sued the city over its approval of new zoning laws that allow taller buildings in the community, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The group contends that the city’s new Hollywood Community Plan inadequately addresses traffic, air quality and land use provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act.
Los Angeles County companies landed 44 venture capital deals totaling $545 million in the second quarter, up from 37 deals totaling about $250 million a year earlier. The Los Angeles Times reports that the county’s surprisingly strong showing stole some of the Bay Area's usual thunder in venture capital funding.
A $6 billion accounting charge related to Microsoft Inc.’s ill-fated acquisition of an online advertising business led to a second-quarter loss for the Seattle software giant, its first in more than two decades as a public company. The New York Times reports that results also were affected by a 13 percent drop in revenue at the company’s flagship Windows operating system business.
Warner Bros.’s domestic television distribution unit in Burbank has signed a license agreement to make its programming available on the Amazon Prime Instant Video service and Amazon’s Kindle Fire reader. The Wall Street Journal reports that the deal is a major step to help Amazon compete with Netflix.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.88 percent to 12,830. The Nasdaq was down 1.18 percent to 2,930 The S&P 500 was down 0.92 percent to 1,363. The LABJ Stock Index was down 1.05 percent to 133.
Thursday, July 19
Higher interest income helped City National Corp report a better second-quarter profit that beat analysts’ forecasts.
The fight for duty-free stores at Los Angeles International Airport started in earnest on Thursday, with Swiss retailer Nuance Group alleging airport staff improperly favored rival DFS in its bid to hold on to airport shops.
Hancock Park’s iconic El Royale Apartments, once home to Hollywood elites such as Clark Gable, is for sale for the first time in 50 years.
In another sign of recovery in the local real estate market, property values in Los Angeles County rose more than 2 percent last year, according to the County Assessor’s office.
“Carmageddon 2” – the nickname for the coming closure of the San Diego (405) Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass – is now set for the last weekend of September, local transportation officials announced.
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is expected to lose millions of dollars this fiscal year, driving the taxpayer-owned stadium into a deeper financial hole as it continues to deal with a costly corruption scandal. In addition, the Los Angeles Times and a First Amendment group have sued the Coliseum Commission, accusing it of violating state laws by failing to release public records and deliberating a lease with USC in secret.
Viacom Inc. said talks over programming fees with DirecTV have stalled, Bloomberg News reports. That signals a longer blackout for 20 million satellite TV subscribers who lost access to 26 Viacom pay-TV channels last week. El Segundo’s DirecTV said an accord had been close until Viacom demanded movie channel Epix be added to the line-up.
Occupy L.A. has moved its focus from the City Hall lawn to the sidewalks in front of the Central City Association, a downtown business group that represents local shop owners but also banks and large companies. The Los Angeles Times reports that protestors contend the group has outsized sway at City Hall.
The San Bernardino City Council voted 5-2 on Wednesday to declare a fiscal emergency, with plans to file for bankruptcy within 30 days. Southern California Public Radio reports that the vote enables the city to gain court protection from creditors earlier than permitted under a state law.
The Obama administration warned that food supplies are at risk from the drought afflicting more than half of the United States, the New York Times reports. Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack said a projected poor harvest of many crops would increase food prices into next year.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.22 percent to 12,936. The Nasdaq was 0.95 percent to 2,970 The S&P 500 was 0.3 percent to 1,376. The LABJ Stock Index was up 0.22 percent to 134.
Wednesday, July 18
With declining credit costs and steady loan growth, East West Bancorp Inc. increased its second quarter net income by a healthy 17 percent, narrowly beating analyst estimates.
SBE Entertainment LLC announced plans for its first hotel in New York City, an $85 million project.
The Laugh Factory is launching an app on the PlayStation3 platform that provides streaming access to live performances at the famous Hollywood comedy club, as well as archives of classic performances by comedic greats.
UCLA’s controversial plan to build a conference center and 250-room hotel on campus won a crucial approval Tuesday from a University of California regents' panel, the Los Angeles Times reports. Westwood-area hotels and neighborhood groups have threatened to sue if the project proceeds.
El Segundo’s DirectTV said it is closer to restoring 26 Viacom channels as contract talks between the two sides continue, Bloomberg News reports. The nation’s largest satellite-TV provider lost access to MTV, Comedy Central and other channels more than a week ago after it balked at Viacom Inc’s demand for a 30 percent rate increase.
Former Coliseum contractor Tony Estrada, charged with embezzlement and conspiracy, says he told superiors about wrongdoing for years but nothing was done about it. Wearing a ski mask and goggles in a Skype interview from an unknown location in Latin America, Estrada told the Los Angeles Times that a culture of self-dealing and fraud thrived at the taxpayer-owned stadium for more than a decade.
Billionaire Richard Branson said he is interested in buying back Virgin Records if Universal Music is forced to offload the company to gain regulatory clearance to take over EMI. The Guardian reports that Branson, who started the record company as a mail-order delivery service in 1970, has held conversations with French entrepreneur Patrick Zelnik on a joint bid.
The Los Angeles city attorney's office is considering filing the first case under a new anti-paparazzi law against a photographer who pursued Justin Bieber during a recent high-speed freeway chase, the Los Angeles Times reports. The 2010 law cracks down on photographers who recklessly pursue celebrities or block sidewalks and create the sense of "false imprisonment."
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau delivered its first enforcement action against the financial industry today, fining financial services giant Capital One. The New York Times reports that that the card company is accused of misleading customers into buying unnecessary products such as credit monitoring reports, according to the consumer agency.
In letters left when he attempted suicide last week, Peregrine Financial Group Inc.'s founder admitted he spent most of an estimated $215 million allegedly embezzled from customers to cushion his trading firm's capital and fund a new corporate headquarters, according to the Wall Street Journal. Russell Wasendorf's failed suicide attempt prompted regulatory and criminal investigations of the Cedar Falls, Iowa company.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.82 percent to 12,909. The Nasdaq was up 1.29 percent to 2,947. The S&P 500 was up 0.75 percent to 1,272. The LABJ Stock Index was up 2.02 percent to 134.
Tuesday, July 17
Jakks Pacific Inc. has attracted the attention of L.A. biotech billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, who wants to partner with the Malibu toymaker to create interactive toys.
French media and telecommunications conglomerate Vivendi SA has hired two investment banks to explore a sale of its majority stake in Santa Monica video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc.
After the markets closed Tuesday, L.A. bank holding company Cathay Bancorp reported second quarter net income that exceeded Wall Street expectations.
Shares of Mattel Inc. rose more than 9 percent Tuesday morning after the toymaker reported a 20 percent jump in second-quarter earnings. Price increases helped lift margins, the company said.
Los Angeles is again going after a big bank for its handling of foreclosed homes. The Los Angeles Times reports that the city sued US Bank for its handling of 1,500 foreclosures, including allegedly allowing 150 vacant homes to fall into disrepair. The city previously accused Deutsche Bank of being a slumlord for its handling of foreclosed properties.
Could Shrek be putting Lassie on a leash? DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. is leading the bidding for Classic Media, the privately held owner of rights to characters such as Lassie, Casper the Friendly Ghost and the VeggieTales franchise, sources tell the New York Times. The Glendale animation house has reportedly offered more than $150 million.
With the economy looking increasingly sluggish, Ben Bernanke offered few clues this morning on whether the U.S. central bank might launch a new round monetary stimulus. Reuters reports that investors had hoped the Fed chief would signal that the central bank was moving close to a third round of bond purchases to support the economy.
The founder of a well-known operator of unionized charter schools today announced an agreement to develop academies within the Los Angeles Unified School District, the Los Angeles Times reports. Steve Barr, chief executive of Future Is Now Schools, said the academies would be similar to independently managed charter schools but would remain under direct supervision of the district.
The Business Roundtable has called on the White House and Congress to move before the November elections to extend all expiring Bush-era tax cuts through the end of next year. The Wall Street Journal reports that the group, which includes the chief executives of Xerox Corp., American Express Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., warned in a letter that economic uncertainty could lead to a "dangerous crisis."
Marissa Mayer, a top executive at Yahoo Inc. nemesis Google Inc., has agreed to become Yahoo’s fifth chief executive in the past five years. The Associated Press reports that Mayer played a key role in developing many of the Google services that drew Web surfers and advertisers away from the struggling portal.
Stephen R. Covey, who recreated the business self-help genre with his series of “Seven Habits” books, died on Monday due to complications from a bicycle accident. The New York Times notes that Covey’s 1989 book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic” sold more than 25 million copies worldwide and became the first audio book to sell more than a million copies.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.49 percent to 12,789. The Nasdaq was up 0.33 percent to 2,906. The S&P 500 was up 0.50 percent to 1,360. The LABJ Stock Index was up 1.34 percent to 134.
Monday, July 16
NBCUniversal is abandoning controversial plans to build thousands of residences on its Universal City backlot.
Supermarket magnate Ron Burkle has teamed up with Hollywood financier Ryan Kavanaugh to launch a sports agency that represents professional athletes, coaches and broadcasters.
Cargo volumes at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach rose in June, though the two ports continue to see disparate trends.
The market for small business sales in the Los Angeles area softened in the second quarter in yet another indicator of a weakening economy, according to data from website BizBuySell.com.
Shares of Kennedy-Wilson Holdings Inc. fell 4.5 percent in after-hours trading on Monday after the real estate investment firm announced plans to sell 7.5 million shares in a public offering.
Canoga Park medical company One Lambda Inc. will be acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world’s second-largest maker of health-care equipment, for about $925 million, the companies announced today. The Business Journal reports that the deal is one of the largest for local biotech in recent years.
Tribune Co. has won court approval to emerge from bankruptcy, more than 3-1/2 years after the Los Angeles Times owner sought Chapter 11 protection. The Wall Street Journal reports that L.A. billionaire Eli Broad is interested in joining with other wealthy Angelenos to acquire the Times.
Federal data indicates that since the recession ended in June 2009, men have gained 80 percent of the 2.6 million net jobs created in the U.S. The Los Angeles Times reports that men not only are benefitting from a rebound in traditionally male-dominated sectors such as manufacturing. but also in industries typically strong for women, such as retail.
Tim Pawlenty, who was on John McCain’s short list for a GOP running mate, is again being considered for the Republican ticket. The New York Times reports that Mitt Romney has developed a close friendship with the former Minnesota governor, whose working-class roots, experience outside Washington and evangelical faith appeals to a broad spectrum of Republicans.
NBCUniversal made it official today that it is buying Microsoft out of its joint ownership of msnbc.com. The deal has an estimated value of $300 million. Analysts tell the Hollywood Reporter that the deal will enable NBCUniversal to tighten the channel’s branding and corporate presentation.
Microsoft is expected today to announce a next-generation version of Office that will be more web friendly. The Wall Street Journal reports that it’s part of an effort by Microsoft to protect is single largest generator of profits from encroachment by Google Inc.’s Apps.
A trade association representing 3,700 convenience stores plans to challenge last week's $6.6 billion lawsuit settlement between the credit-card industry and merchants. The Wall Street Journal reports that the National Association of Convenience Stores believes the deal doesn't address the core issue of how much control Visa, MasterCard and card-issuing banks have over merchants.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.44 percent to 12,720. The Nasdaq was down 0.33 percent to 2,898. The S&P 500 was down 0.29 percent to 1,352. The LABJ Stock Index was up 1.3 percent to 132.
Prop. 32 could spur work for nonunion contractors.
Some local contractors see a ballot measure limiting labor donations working in their favor.
LICENSING: Bear Grylls mulls sponsorhip deals while plotting TV return.
“Man vs. Wild’s” seven-season run on Discovery Channel is over due to a contract dispute.
EMPLOYMENT: Jones Day nabs Beong-Soo Kim for issues and appeals.
As chief of the major frauds section in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, Beong-Soo Kim oversaw the prosecutions of former KB Home executive Bruce Karatz, bankrupt baseball slugger Lenny Dykstra and the bankrupt real estate mogul Ezri Namvar.
You’ve just about arrived at the restaurant where you’re going to have a business lunch, and suddenly it looks as if this is your lucky day.
WesCorp’s fall leads to rewrite of industry standards.
Collapse of industry titan WesCorp spurred new federal checks on the corporate credit union system.
Insurance executives pour over premiums as winery co-owners.
Insurance execs get a taste of risk management as co-owners of their own winery.
Downtown Long Beach and the city’s airport are separated by just a few miles, but the office markets in those two areas are quickly moving in opposite directions, reflecting broader changes in the local economy.
The Santa Clarita Valley’s office market saw some improvement last quarter, but few predict that the market is on any kind of long-term upswing.
The San Gabriel Valley’s industrial market absorbed more than 1 million square feet of space in the final quarter of last year and the first of this year as businesses prepared to meet the demands of an improving economy.
The San Fernando Valley showed some incremental improvement in the quarter as tenants taking advantage of the still weak market signed leases that locked in low rents.
The Tri-Cities office market accounted for nearly one-third of all Los Angeles County office space that was absorbed during the second quarter, but it was no thanks to Glendale or Burbank.
The Wilshire Corridor mustered a slight improvement last quarter with some unusual help from the Park Mile.
Rocketdyne’s energy units could help fuel sale
Rocketdyne hopes its emerging energy technology helps fuel acquisition interest.
Umami chain turns up the legal heat on former employees’ rival Fusion burger joint.
APPAREL: True Religion and Guess stock tumble after slow Levi’s sales.
Slow sales for Levi’s wears on investors’ confidence in local jeans makers
Newhall Ranch isn’t the only massive residential development planned in Los Angeles County.
METALS: Recent Reliance acquisition in Australia could herald more deals.
Reliance irons out long-term strategy by returning to acquisitions
You don’t have to go back far to see the Los Angeles County office market looking better.
BIOTECH: Al Mann ups stake in MannKind as Afrezza trials continue.
MannKind owner’s equity move gives maker of inhalable insulin product some breathing room
PUBLISHING: Buzzmedia acquires music mag Spin with eye on digital growth.
Blog network Buzzmedia tunes up with purchase of music magazine Spin
Santa Monica web firm Savings.com won’t discount value of new ownership by Cox Media.
Valpak distributor Cox hopes to click with more deal hunters thanks to its acquisition of Savings.com.
CLOTHING: Dov Charney sees stabilized company adding 50 locations.
American Apparel might fashion its rebound into opening more stores.
Website founder hopes his Meals With Mentors finds seat at table.
Website Meals With Mentors looks to provide young people with food for thought.
Hollywood’s real estate fortunes took a big step forward in June with the approval of a community plan that will allow high-rise development, but the decision failed to move the occupancy needle during the second quarter.
While downtown L.A.’s leasing continued its sluggish ways during the quarter, sales of major commercial properties reached levels not seen since the onset of the recession.
Though demand has yet to fully recover from the downturn, the Westside office market posted its best average vacancy rates and asking rents in more than two years.
The battle over Newhall Ranch and its planned 21,000 homes is almost over. The developer looks to have won.
The bucolic Santa Clara River valley features scenic rolling grasslands, oak trees and other habitat typical of Southern California chaparral.
Preferred stock slides after downgrades by two analysts.
Investors check out of Preferred as loan problems are expected to squeeze the lender’s earnings.
80-year-old owner of
Octogenarian shop owner Billy Tarnol says 25-year-old Bagel Broker still takes his hole effort.
Friday, July 13
A building fully occupied by film equipment maker Panavision Inc. has traded hands for $8.12 million in Hollywood’s largest office sale this year, sources told the Business Journal.
The current operator of duty-free shops at Los Angeles International Airport has been recommended by airport staff to continue in that role over seven competitors.
Former baseball slugger Lenny Dykstra pleaded guilty on Friday to bankruptcy fraud and other federal charges for selling items taken from his mansions in Ventura County.
The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed up slightly for the week. A better-than-expected quarterly report from JPMorgan on Friday boosted financial stocks and erased earlier market declines
A late-night posting at the Drudge Report stirred up speculation that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a top contender to become Mitt Romney’s running mate. Some responded by writing that she’d be “a brilliant choice” or a “game changer.” But CNN.com reports that Rice would a problematic pick.
Federal regulators have disclosed the most detailed information to date on damage at the San Onofre nuclear power plant, which been offline since a tube broke in January and released traces of radiation. Tubes that carry radioactive water from the seaside facility have eroded at an alarming rate, the Huffington Post reports.
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. said today that its second-quarter earnings fell 8.7 percent, largely due to double-digit revenue decline and a $4.4 billion trading loss at its chief investment office. The Wall Street Journal reports that nation’s largest bank by assets also plans to restate its first-quarter results to reduce profits and revenue due to the scandal involving traders who made outsize bets on certain corporate credit indexes.
Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. reportedly plans to replace its current $360 million revolving credit line with a significantly larger one of up to $750 million. The Hollywood Reporter calls the planned refinance one of Hollywood’ largest ever and is part of the Santa Monica film company’s strategy to lower debt costs and deleverage in the wake of its $412 million acquisition of Summit Entertainment.
Jean-Rene Fourtou, chairman of Vivendi SA, is at the Allen & Co. media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, looking for a buyer for the company’s $8.1 billion, 61 percent stake in Activision Blizzard Inc. But the Santa Monica’s video game developer’s emphasis on packaged games will be a deterrent because the industry is moving online, analysts told Bloomberg News.
Media analysts told the Christian Science Monitor that the war between El Segundo satellite TV provider DirecTV and Viacom Inc. over Viacom’s fees is like fussing with the deck furniture on the proverbial troubled ship. The real risk is that customers, with an ever-increasing menu of entertainment options, will simply move on.
Billionaire investor Howard Marks said in an interview on Bloomberg Television that U.S. real estate including single-family homes actually is a smart investment right now because of a general aversion among investors. The chairman of downtown Los Angeles private equity firm Oak Tree Capital Group noted that “excess aversion to an asset is a form of a mistake just as an excess desire to buy causes a bubble.”
In midday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.37 percent to 12,745. The Nasdaq was up 1.26 percent to 2,902. The S&P 500 was up 1.41 percent to 1,253. The LABJ Stock Index was up 1.02 percent to 132.
Thursday, July 12
Simulations Plus Inc. shares fell more than 4 percent on Thursday after the developer of pharmaceutical simulation software reported a 17 percent drop in fiscal third quarter net income due to higher costs.
NetSol Technologies Inc. shares jumped 18 percent on Thursday after the business software company said it expects to report its strongest fiscal year ever.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.36 percent to 12,558. The Nasdaq was down 1.2 percent to 2,854. The S&P 500 was down 0.68 percent to 1,332. The LABJ Stock Index was down 0.34 percent to 130.
DirecTV competitor Cox Communications Inc., the nation's fifth-largest cable operator, took the unusual step of issuing a statement supporting the El Segundo satellite broadcaster’s fight against Viacom’s higher fees, according to a Los Angeles Times report. DirectTV subscribers lost access to Viacom channels on Wednesday.
Some outraged French politicians are calling for a boycott of California wine in response to the state’s new ban on foie gras. Bloomberg News calls the campaign ironic, since more French wines are sold in California than California wines sold in France.
Warren Buffett said that U.S. economic growth has slowed in the last two months as fears about Europe's debt woes mounted. The Associated Press reports that the comments contrast with the billionaire investor’s earlier view that the economy has been gradually improving since the fall of 2009 in every area except businesses related to housing.
The Justice Department announced today that Wells Fargo & Co. will pay at least $175 million to settle allegations that the company discriminated against black and Hispanic borrowers. The Wall Street Journal reports that the nation's largest mortgage lender also will stop working with mortgage brokers, which now account for 5 percent of its home loan volume.
Many in the airline industry say inevitable that the nation’s third and fourth largest airline will to merge in order to stay afloat. The New York Times reports that US Airways and American Airlines aren’t yet officially talking with each other, but their executives are making statements to others that appear to support a combination.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts that the nation’s corn farmers will get a 12 percent smaller harvest this year. The Los Angeles Times reports that drought is causing corn futures prices to spike and manufacturers that use corn in products from fuel to vitamins to worry.
Wednesday, July 11
MPG Office Trust Inc. said it was able to extend the maturity date of its mortgage loan for KPMG Tower and make other modifications that should increase its chances of retaining the key property in its portfolio.
Private Bank of California, a small lender headquartered in Century City, announced the opening of its first branch in Orange County.
LABJ News from Around the Web
In midday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.16 percent to 12,633. The Nasdaq was down 0.49 percent to 2,977. The S&P 500 was up 0.09 percent to 1,342. The LABJ Stock Index was down 0.71 percent to 131.
LABJ News from Around the Web
Viacom networks including MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon went dark overnight for DirecTV subscribers as the two media companies continued to squabble over Viacom’s demands for a 30 percent fee increase. TheWrap.com reports that 20 million customers are affected...
LABJ News from Around the Web
California ended its fiscal year with a shortfall that was $1 billion less than Gov. Jerry Brown estimated in May. The state collected more taxes and spent less last month. Bloomberg News reports that the state ended the year with a $9.6 billion cash deficit that was covered with internal borrowing and accounting maneuvers.
LABJ News from Around the Web
San Bernardino has become the third California city in less than a month to seek bankruptcy protection. The Los Angeles Times reports that the financial situation was so bad that the city of 209,000 residents could not cover payroll through the summer.
LABJ News from Around the Web
The Securities and Exchange Commission today ordered U.S. stock exchanges to establish a uniform system for tracking all orders and trades. The Associated Press reports that the new requirement should make it easier to investigate market disruptions, such as the so-called "flash crash" that sent the Dow plummeting nearly 600 points in five minutes two years ago.
LABJ News from Around the Web
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission took a major step toward reining in risky Wall Street trading, approving new rules regulating the $700 trillion derivatives industry aimed at preventing a repeat of the financial crisis. The New York Times reports that the agency did include a crucial exemption for many nonfinancial companies and small banks.
LABJ News from Around the Web
Spain’s government today announced fresh austerity measures that should help the country cut its budget deficit by more than $79 billion through 2015. The Wall Street Journal reports that the steps could slow the country's recovery from recession and still may not save it from needing a full-fledged financial bailout.
LABJ News from Around the Web
AMR Corp., the parent of American Airlines, plans to consider a merger or other investment deal as an alternative to an independent restructuring plan now being developed with the airline’s bondholders, unions and other parties. The Wall Street Journal reports that the nation’s third largest airline intends to send nondisclosure agreements to other airlines as soon as this month.
Tuesday, July 10
Walt Disney Co. of Burbank and Hearst Corp. of New York have agreed to become fifty-fifty partners in A&E Television Networks, a New York company that owns a group of popular cable channels.
The staff of the Los Angeles City Planning Department has submitted a recommendation that the city not ban chain stores from Chinatown, despite political pressure stemming from Wal-Mart’s decision to put a grocery in the neighborhood.
L.A. blog network Buzzmedia has made its biggest push yet into the music world, acquiring the prominent yet struggling Spin Magazine.
Digital postal service company Zumbox has closed a $10.6 million funding round, bringing its total raised to date to $28 million.
Billionaire L.A. investor Howard Marks has put his condo at Manhattan’s Ritz-Carlton on the market, with a listing price of $50 million.
Wireless network manufacturer Xirrus Inc. said that it has raised $18.4 million in venture capital funding.
LABJ News from Around the Web
The National Federation of Independent Business’ optimism index fell to 91.4 from 94.4 in May, the biggest monthly decline in two years, Bloomberg News reports. Fewer companies said they would hire, invest in new equipment or expand their businesses.
LABJ News from Around the Web
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation closing a loophole that could have made defaulting borrowers responsible to pay back all the money they borrowed when refinancing their previously more valuable homes. The Los Angeles Times reports that homeowners who default on refinanced mortgages now won't be liable for debts that exceed the market value of their lost properties.
LABJ News from Around the Web
DirecTV customers may not see SpongeBob or Jon Stewart after midnight because the El Segundo satellite TV company can’t come to terms with Viacom Inc. on how much DirecTV should pay for access to 26 Viacom channels, including Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. Reuters reports that that standoff is the latest in a dispute between media companies and TV service providers.
LABJ News from Around the Web
The Board of Supervisors today will consider a ballot measure requiring producers of adult films in Los Angeles County to obtain a permit from the Department of Public Health and mandates the use of condoms. The Long Beach Press-Telegram reports that the measure would impose the same sort of permitting requirements that now govern massage parlors, tattoo shops and bathhouses.
LABJ News from Around the Web
Senate Democrats will attempt this week to pass a targeted tax relief package aimed primarily at encouraging small businesses to hire new workers. The Wall Street Journal reports that the $28 billion bill is the latest in a series of election-year tax maneuvers by the political parties.
LABJ News from Around the Web
Politicians in both London and Washington are questioning whether regulators allowed banks to report false interest rates in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis. The New York Times reports that the Senate Banking Committee is the latest to announce it was looking into the issue.
LABJ News from Around the Web
The leadership of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. today will face investors exasperated by missed earnings forecasts and delayed product news, the Wall Street Journal reports. Shares are trading at eight-year lows as the company’s annual meeting opens in Waterloo, Ontario.
LABJ News from Around the Web
Duke Energy Chief Executive Jim Rogers today will testify before North Carolina utilities regulators about the abrupt resignation of former Progress Chief Executive Bill Johnson just hours after the companies merged last week. The Charlotte Observer reports that critics want to know more about what they suspect was a bait-and-switch since regulators and shareholders had been assured that Johnson would lead the merged company.
LABJ News from Around the Web
Athlete’s Performance, a Phoenix company with significant technology operations in Los Angeles, said that it has raised $22.5 million for its performance training services that are used by athletes and some corporations in their fitness programs. SoCalTech.com reports that the company says its Los Angeles offices are growing rapidly.
Monday, July 9
Air Lease Corp. has ordered 75 of Boeing Co.’s new 737 Max jets as the Century City company continues to build its fleet of fuel-efficient aircraft to lease to cost-conscious airlines.
Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. said that the new Australian unit of its Braco Metals business has acquired most of the assets of Airport Metals Pty Ltd.
LABJ News from Around the Web
Former IndyMac Bancorp Chief Executive Michael Perry and former Chief Financial Officer Scott Keys appear close to settling a class-action securities lawsuit stemming from the Pasadena thrift's collapse four years ago. The Wall Street Journal reports that IndyMac's insurers would pay $6.5 million to investors who had sued.
LABJ News from Around the Web
Fox News is reporting that Peter O’Malley, the former Los Angeles Dodgers owner, and members of his family are close to acquiring the San Diego Padres from owner John Moores. The deal is valued at $800 million.
LABJ News from Around the Web
Los Angeles in May became the largest U.S. city to phase out plastic bags. The U-T of San Diego reports that a statewide movement to ban plastic bags is gaining momentum. A California State Senate committee last week endorsed a statewide ban.
LABJ News from Around the Web
Merchants, which pay transaction fees each time a credit card is swiped, may soon be able to impose a surcharge each time a customer pays with plastic. It is a practice that Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. have long opposed. The Wall Street Journal reports that easing the ban is expected to be included in a potential settlement of lawsuits by retailers.
LABJ News from Around the Web
Residents of Kern and other California counties are protesting the new practice of releasing local prisoners from jails early to make room for state offenders being moved out of state facilities. The Wall Street Journal details several instances in which the early releases have gone on to commit more crimes.
LABJ News from Around the Web
The State Senate's approval of legislation allowing $4.7 billion in bonds for California's proposed bullet train is likely to be signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. But the Wall Street Journal warns that the project faces numerous obstacles, including lawsuits and questions over future funding.
Commentary: As a business news journalist, I read lots of press releases from companies.
DENTISTRY: Brighter touts pricing transparency as a way to lure patients.
News & Analysis: The federal health care reform recently upheld by the Supreme Court requires Americans to obtain some form of health insurance.
INTERNET: Mayo lines up party, band tour to launch Global Onslaught in U.S.
News & Analysis: Global Onslaught Ltd., a Melbourne, Australia-based website that promotes startup rock bands, has hired Mayo Communications in Canoga Park to publicize its U.S. launch.
CATERING: Former home of Doheny family to host special events and parties.
News & Analysis: The mysterious old house on the hill just opened its doors.
Last week’s major news from labusinessjournal.com and other sources
News & Analysis: MannKind Inc.’s founder and largest shareholder has significantly added to his stake by converting debt to stock.
INTERNET: Project with Equus to ease delivery of movies to customers.
News & Analysis: Customers of Netflix Inc. are downloading more and more movies.
HEALTH CARE: Most L.A. companies’ stocks climb on back of Obamacare.
News & Analysis: The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that upheld health care reform generally proved a positive for the stocks of L.A.-area health care companies.
Aerospace: Elon Musk firm takes104,000 square feet next to its headquarters.
News & Analysis: Space Exploration Technologies Corp. made big headlines for a successful spaceflight in May.
DINING: Pinkberry looks to heat up sales by adding Greek yogurt, coffee and breakfast hours to menu.
In the seven years it has been in business, Pinkberry Inc. has focused on doing one thing really well: serving frozen yogurt.
CEO Sky Meltzer pushed Manduka to be more flexible in its line of yoga products.
People: Sky Meltzer’s parents were hippies; that’s where he got his celestial name.
SALE: Buyer pays all-time per-square-foot high for building with bank tenant.
Real Estate: A West L.A. building occupied by a JP Morgan Chase Bank branch sold for a record $1,500 a square foot last month.
TICKETS: Tix’s shares fall after chairman-CEO axes share acquisition plan.
News & Analysis: The ongoing battle for control of discount ticket seller Tix Corp. has taken yet another turn.
Energy: City likes revenue but some see private-public conflict.
ENERGY: Lancaster charges into solar deals to power up city revenue.
Finding someone to provide local perspective can help SoCal business people navigate growing market.
Op-ed: Like it or not, Los Angeles and China are connected at the hip.
Op-ed: As an entrepreneur, I have always believed that providing our employees health insurance was an important benefit for them, their families and our bottom line.
Non-profit: County denies condom-fueled feud with AHF.
NON-PROFIT: AIDS Healthcare Foundation courts controversy by filing suits against L.A. County.
GOVERNMENT: State-run system divides small businesses.
GOVERNMENT: Some small businesses fear state-run retirement-savings system will compound problems.
News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County
Bank Merger: Beach Business Bank, a Manhattan Beach-based bank, has completed its merger with First PacTrust Bancorp Inc., the Irvine holding company of PacTrust Bank.
New muscle cars pump up pages of Hot Rod
PUBLISHING: Hot Rod magazine hopes to make inroads with fans and advertisers by revving up muscle car coverage.
North Korea may not sound like a dream destination for most people, but then globe hopper Mickey Kantor isn’t most people.
Firm pays for mural project by 22 middle school students.
Local firm moves into art direction by lining up students to paint Santa Monica mural
Wetzel’s Tokyo shop on record sales pace as customers buy in bulk.
Wetzel’s bulks up in Japan as customers prefer large orders of pretzels
Bonbon makers add in hot peppers in order to heat up business.
John Kelly Chocolates refuses to sugarcoat its bonbons made with hot peppers
INTERNET: Plan A Drink sees Westernizing India as ripe for wooing.
News & Analysis: When mobile group-dating service Plan A Drink launched four months ago, the company was focused on the U.S. market.
Friday, July 6
Shares of Preferred Bank fell more than 17 percent on Friday after the downtown Los Angeles bank said it would take loss provisions on two loans, which will result in a second quarter loss.
The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed up slightly for the week, as Friday’s sharp market sell off spurred by weak national jobs data nearly erased the gains from earlier in the week.
Amgen Inc. has completed its $315 million acquisition of KAI Pharmaceuticals.
Wesco Aircraft Holdings Inc. has completed its acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Interfast Inc.
Thursday, July 5
Shares of MannKind Inc. rose nearly 8 percent Thursday morning on news that the Valencia biotech’s founder and largest shareholder had significantly added to his stake by converting debt to stock.
Tuesday, July 3
On-location production in Los Angeles fell in the second quarter, with a rise in feature film production failing to offset a double-digit percentage decline in television production.
Associations representing thousands of California doctors filed suit in Los Angeles against Aetna Health of California. The lawsuit claims that the health insurer routinely denies patients access to out-of-network doctors, even if the patient has paid for a policy that gives them that option.
Hoping to keep auto sales in Los Angeles and bring other dealers to the city, the City Council approved a nine-year business tax exemption for all car dealers selling new models in the city.
The Gores Group said that its new fund targeting smaller businesses has acquired two technology companies.
Monday, July 2
Los Angeles has lost its bid for a U.S. patent satellite office. Silicon Valley has been selected as the California site.
Scott Evans, who has been serving since late January as interim chief executive of the two hospitals that are part of Keck Medical Center of USC, has been appointed to the position.
THQ Inc.'s shareholders have approved a one-for-10 reverse share split of its common stock in an effort to avoid Nasdaq delisting.
Ixia plans to acquire BreakingPoint Systems Inc. of Austin, Texas for about $160 million in cash
Government says bailout equity small for individual auctions.
There are more than 300 financial institutions across the country – and about a dozen in Los Angeles County – still in the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and the Treasury Department wants them out.
Valley Presbyterian sees moms as long-term customers.
Valley Presbyterian’s new obstetrics unit could give birth to new business down the road from new moms.
Rival roasters force Farmer Bros. to brew premium line.
Coffee maker Farmer Bros. hopes to light a fire under sales and its stock with a specialty line.
Mickey Fine pharmacy takes soda shop-style approach to service.
Mickey Fine proves counter intuitive with traditional soda fountain in the pharmacy
Charles Crumpley prizes your opinion on how to improve the award-winning Business Journal.
Port PLAs could sink nonunion contractors.
Nonunion contractors look to stem tide of project labor agreements at Long Beach port.
Master’s in public policy hasn’t prevented job hunter from having way too much private time.
Jessica Nolan Daugherty gets worked up over the lack of job opportunities in Los Angeles.
John Kabateck wants California to break its chemical bonds with an over-regulating Sacramento.
Video crew packages premieres to travel overseas
Small L.A. crew hits Hollywood premieres to translate show biz glamour for the Chinese market.
Local producers of online videos draw focus of acquirers.
Online video producers have reeled in the focus of buyers and investors.
Mattel Inc. Chief Executive Bryan Stockton was what he calls a 'basement musician.'
CrossFit hopes to stick around with help from annual competition.
CrossFit looks to sport its healthy bona fides at annual competition built around the fitness program.
RealD shares climb as format shows staying power with moviegoers.
Investors like the look of 3-D technology company RealD as Hollywood’s summer blockbuster season heats up
Startup LP Mobile hopes new parent can spark sales.
LP Mobile hopes its new parent will get sales moving for the startup’s support service for apps
Honors include Journalist of the Year for reporter Richard Clough.
Business Journal earns 17 national and local honors including Journalist of the Year for reporter Richard Clough.
Anthony Valerio goes into battle yet again on ‘Cupcake Wars.’
A trial consultant followed his calling for cooking into battle on reality TV’s “Cupcake Wars.”
Jakks stock buyback reduces number of shares, cuts price.
Toymaker Jakks’ moves to stave off a takeover may have drawn acquisition cross hairs.
Four L.A. companies hope to score points in Great Britain with their work for the London Olympics.
Ziba wants to grow eyebrow-threading locations to 501 by 2021.
Eyebrow-threading business Ziba Beauty in Artesia is looking to defuzz the nation with its ancient Middle Eastern hair-removal technique.
ValueClick shares fall as exchange system surges.
Investors have broken links with ad “network” ValueClick as “exchanges” have scooped up online business.
Third track near docks planned to speed cargo east.
The Port of Long Beach will soon start building almost five miles of railroad track near the docks, a move to ease congestion and speed cargo to points east.
Sonny Astani sells entitled development in $63 million deal.
Developer Sonny Astani had spent the last couple of years in a heated and high-profile legal battle with hedge fund Starwood Capital Group.
Aggressive attorney Louis R. ‘Skip’ Miller says forget trying to make a case for his sensitive side.
Attorney Louis R. “Skip” Miller courts tough cases, whether defending the city of L.A. from Rodney King or wrangling with his former firm over compensation.