Stories for March 2012
Friday, March 30
The Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists announced that a merger of the unions was approved by both memberships
Oaktree Capital Group hopes to raise nearly $600 million in its planned initial public offering, according to a regulatory filing.
The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed up slightly for the week, as the markets ended their strongest quarter in more than two years.
True Religion Apparel Inc. has won a default judgment in a New York district court against more than a hundred web sites selling counterfeit True Religion jeans out of China.
Thursday, March 29
Aerospace Corp. in El Segundo laid off more than 300 engineers and other workers this week to cope with budget cuts from its biggest customer, the United States Air Force.
THQ Inc. plans to lay off 114 employees, all of them out of state, in order to cut costs as it converts one of its franchise video games into a potentially more profitable format.
American depositary receipts for Avita Medical Ltd., a Northridge company that recently relocated operations from the United Kingdom, began trading Thursday morning.
Wednesday, March 28
Ever-Glory International Group Inc. jumped 25 percent on Wednesday after the apparel company reported a 45 percent jump in net income for last year on strong retail and wholesale growth.
A U.S. District Court judge in Los Angeles has granted summary judgment in two decade-old antitrust lawsuits against Live Nation Entertainment Inc., effectively dismissing the class action cases.
NantWorks has invested $30 million in Strand Diagnostics, an Indianapolis developer of a testing service for diagnosing cancer.
Tuesday, March 27
The Los Angeles Dodgers late Tuesday said that owner Frank McCourt has reached an agreement with a group lead by Earvin “Magic” Johnson to sell the troubled Major League Baseball franchise in a deal valued at $2.15 billion.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug called Omontys, which is poised to break Amgen Inc.’s near monopoly in the roughly $6 billion U.S. anemia treatment market.
Response Genetics Inc. said its fourth quarter revenue fell 23 percent with the end of a study for a large pharmaceutical client, leading to a larger net loss.
ImaginAb, a UCLA spinout that is developing new ways to determine the best cancer treatment for a patient, announced that it has raised $12.5 million in a Series A round.
Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. said it was awarded a contract to provide project management consulting services for construction of a large pipe rolling mill near Corpus Christi, Texas.
Monday, March 26
Colony Financial Inc. has promoted Chief Financial Officer Darren Tangen to the position of chief operating officer, effective immediately.
A subsidiary of Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. has agreed to acquire substantially all of the assets of Worthington Steel Vonore, a Tennessee processing facility owned by Worthington Industries Inc.
LTC Properties Inc. has acquired a Texas skilled nursing facility with 144 licensed beds for $18.6 million.
RETAIL & APPAREL: Royal-Pedic in hunt for wealthy customers; Middle East market next.
South African consumers may soon be sleeping like royalty.
Non-profit guides luxury travel company’s clients in aiding needy.
Luxury travel company helps clients leave guilt behind by taking charitable items to needy destinations.
Research firm reports Meow Mix jingle sinks claws into listeners.
Research firm says long pause proved the old Meow Mix cat-food jingle has legs.
BANKING & FINANCE: Enrollment numbers stay flat despite drive to ditch big banks.
Los Angeles was ground zero for a nationwide movement to encourage bank customers to switch to credit unions, but that didn’t seem to have much of an impact on local institutions.
Move to acquire IT-focused peer lifts On Assignment’s shares.
Staffing company On Assignment’s plan to acquire IT-focused rival works for investors.
EIR sides with Century City businesses on train stop.
Beverly Hills and Metro’s subway fight may be on track for a showdown in federal court.
Studio One Eleven turns parking spaces into dining areas.
Studio One Eleven hopes to improve eateries’ curb appeal by converting parking spaces into seating areas.
Sionix’s filtration system could help oil projects.
Fracking business could be a big break for Sionix’s mobile water treatment system.
Merged union may wield more web clout.
Acting unions may be staging merger to boost clout and make play for new-media money.
Special Report: BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR
CEO Dominic Ng has widened the gap between East West Bank and most of its rivals by building bridges to Asia.
This month’s L.A. Marathon was Roi Shleifer’s fifth 26.2-mile race, but in another way it was a first for him and his wife: They finished the marathon together.
Den.m Bar co-owners see backlog build up for custom-made jeans.
Den.m Bar hopes appointment-only fittings measure up with buyers of its hand-made jeans.
City of L.A. proposed ordinance would streamline process.
Developers say it’s about time the city of L.A. streamlined its staggered permit deadlines.
Hal Dash left radio reporting in the 1970s to join public relations firm Cerrell Associates where he eventually would take the reins.
Former radio reporter Hal Dash has been dialed into PR for 35 years at Cerrell Associates.
3DX sees place for Pop-Up process despite increased costs.
New three-dimensional system offers 3DX’s clients a new perspective on print ads.
‘Bank to the stars’ City National expands role with out-of-state outposts.
‘Bank to the stars’ City National takes a shine to out-of-state growth strategy.
$900 million project to add beds, classes, retail.
Football powerhouse USC looks to tackle big-time development with a $900 million mixed-use project.
Ai Hoa Manager Diana Han questions business groups’ backing for a Wal-Mart store in Chinatown.
OPED: Bicycle racks offer city a cheap, easy way to cut down on congestion while boosting foot traffic for retailers.
Mark Elliot peddles bike racks as a means to improve Beverly Hills as a retail destination.
Charles Crumpley sees putting the brakes on some fuel taxes as a means to slow the rise of gasoline prices.
REAL ESTATE: Hunt for space drives two multimillion-dollar office acquisitions.
Two office sales this month indicate Santa Monica’s real estate market, a hot spot for tech companies, isn’t cooling off.
Friday, March 23
Hollywood trade publication Variety is up for sale by parent company Reed Business Information.
The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies fell as higher oil prices fueled a downturn in the broader stock market.
L.A. County’s jobs picture continued its gradual improvement in February, according to state figures.
Shares of KB Home fell after the company announced an 8 percent drop in new orders for the first quarter of 2012 along with a greater-than-expected net loss.
State utility regulators have approved the $294 million sale of Southern California Edison’s share of a coal-fired power plant in New Mexico to Arizona Public Service Co.
Wednesday, March 21
City Councilman Ed Reyes is proposing to block retail chains from moving into Chinatown, an apparent reaction to the news that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is planning to open a grocery store in the neighborhood.
Tuesday, March 20
Temporary worker agency On Assignment will pay $600 million to acquire Apex Systems, a technology staffing firm based in Glen Allen, Va.
Cable channel Oprah Winfrey Network on Tuesday announced a restructuring that will result in layoffs for one-fifth of its staff, or about 30 people in Los Angeles and New York.
Shares of Dole Food Co. fell 9 percent early after an analyst downgraded the stock.
Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has signed a $50 million contract to design a sulfuric acid plant in British Columbia, Canada.
Monday, March 19
The final environmental report for the Westside subway extension recommends building the Century City station at Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars rather than along Santa Monica Boulevard.
Shares of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. rose to their highest levels ever in anticipation of the box-office results from “Hunger Games,” a movie the studio will release March 23.
Aecom Technology Corp. has won an order from the U.S military worth $289 million over 34 months if all options are exercised.
In work or in play, Russ Lesser just can’t seem to get away from the beach. And that’s the way he likes it.
Uruguayan emigrant wins architecture honor for S. Korean project.
Immigrant architect increases global footprint with international honor for South Korean project.
Online-coordinated shopping group boosts in-store sales in a flash.
“Cash mobs” take a flash-y approach to sales by using the Internet to line up group trips to shops.
Special Report: BANKING & FINANCE QUARTERLY
Firm retains cautious philosophy of reserved founder.
Sales rose in February but listings shrank as owners opted to hold on to depressed-price homes.
Appellate attorney Irving Greines has had his fine art photos courted by galleries.
Irving Greines takes his shots in court as an appellate attorney and on the streets as a fine arts photographer.
Electronic cigarette firm fights regulation.
Chief executive of electronic cigarette maker fears new taxes and FDA rules will snuff out business.
Federal regulation calls for pricey apparatus to aid disabled.
Hotel operators aren’t happy about requirements for wheelchair lifts at their pools.
Stock up as Demand Media recovers from Google search setback.
Website operator and domain-name seller Demand Media is clicking with analysts again.
Contractors look to renovate Caltech properties while preserving campus’ 121-year-old history.
Contractors get history lesson as Caltech looks to renovate structures on 121-year-old campus.
MarVista channels money into productions to boost content control.
Distributor MarVista expands Hollywood role by putting its money into productions.
TicketBust.com helps drivers fight fines with mailed-in declarations.
TicketBust.com helps motorists steer clear of fines via mailed objections to driving citations.
Green Dot dials up deal for payments via phones.
Debit card pioneer Green Dot dials up acquisition in effort to expand into purchases through mobile phones.
Special Report: BANKING & FINANCE QUARTERLY
Mutual fund manager Capital Group is trying to recapture ground lost to rival firms.
Pot-growing greenhouse maker targets veggie market
Phototron hopes to light a fire under its pot-growing greenhouses by pitching them for produce cultivation.
Steven Shapiro sees no relief for underwater homeowners who honor their mortgages.
OPED: Assembly measure could allow proliferation of unsafe and unsanitary home businesses.
Alexander Auerbach slices and dices state bill that would encourage cooks to open home businesses.
Charles Crumpley backs state tax credit as a means to boost Hollywood’s role in show biz production.
REAL ESTATE: Omninet’s $9.3 million deal closes escrow in quick 10 days.
Omninet Capital LLC has purchased a 189-unit apartment building in Mid-Wilshire for $9.3 million in cash, closing escrow in an unusually quick 10 days.
MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT: Internet retailer donates $25,000 to venture’s capital drive.
With the Los Angeles Review of Books set to launch online next month, the non-profit site is embarking on an aggressive fundraising campaign to underwrite expansion – and has picked up a donation from a reader-friendly corporation.
TRADE & TRANSPORT: Poll says local residents open to building new terminal at Bob Hope.
Discussions about overhauling or replacing the main terminal at Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport have been on ice for seven years.
Paper wins for general excellence; reporter Richard Clough takes two.
Journalism organization salutes Business Journal with three honors including two for reporter Richard Clough.
Hot Topic stock on rise after new chief exec backs away from goth look.
Retailer Hot Topic is back in fashion with investors after bringing in a new CEO and backing off goth clothing.
Friday, March 16
The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies gained slightly during a week of positive economic reports that pushed the stock market higher.
Shares of Dole Food Co. gained more than 12 percent after the company announced it had returned to profitability in the fourth quarter.
The parent corporation of Rocketdyne, a Canoga Park maker of rocket engines, plans to sell the company to help pay for an acquisition.
Real estate firm MPG Office Trust plans to relinquish ownership of a downtown building because it couldn’t rework the debt financing.
Thursday, March 15
International Lease Finance Corp. in Century City plans to sell $1.5 billion worth of notes to repay debt and purchase aircraft.
Cinema developer Reading International saw its losses grow in the fourth quarter after it wrote off an earthquake-damaged theater in New Zealand.
Wednesday, March 14
Cargo traffic at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach declined in February, and an early lunar new year is being blamed for the disappointing numbers.
The federal government has made $3.3 million in grants to local programs that will pay for job training for 1,000 workers.
Shares of Health Net Inc. rise after directors allot $323 million to the company’s stock repurchase program.
Tuesday, March 13
Shareholders of Walt Disney Co. have voted to make Chief Executive Robert Iger the company’s chairman as well.
Monday, March 12
ImpreMedia, the Los Angeles-based Spanish-language publishing group that owns flagship newspaper La Opinion, has announced that US Hispanic Media Inc. will become its controlling shareholder.
A report that American Apparel could land an $80 million credit line sparked a rally in the company’s stock.
AeroVironment, the Monrovia company the makes unmanned aircraft, has won an $11 million contract from the U.S. military for logistics support.
Wal-Mart’s Steven V. Restivo says the retail giant’s market is hailed as a welcome addition to downtown L.A.
Charles Crumpley would be sure to enforce a business-free policy during a visit to Cuba.
HEALTH CARE & BIOTECH: Medical center retains same ownership after reorganization.
Non-profit community hospital Downey Regional Medical Center last week emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy without changing owners, an accomplishment achieved by only a handful of hospitals in the state’s history.
Craft-beer brewer and restaurateur Tony Yanow’s cup runneth over after hitting some sour notes as chief executive of Music.com.
After losing his Internet job, Tony Yanow turned to beer – crafting and selling it at his own restaurants.
Even though U.S. can’t do business in Cuba.
Thanks to newly loosened rules, Cuba is suddenly the hot destination for local chamber of commerce trips.
Gibson Dunn topples O’Melveny as biggest L.A. firm.
Gibson Dunn reclaims crown of L.A.’s largest firm as longtime No. 1 O’Melveny sheds attorneys.
University says project boon to business.
UCLA is facing increased local pressure to check out of its new plan to build a campus hotel and conference center.
Biotech firm breaks mold, becomes manufacturer too
Cynvenio breaks industry mold by creating a subsidiary to manufacture its own lab equipment.
Lucky second clothing company to leave city for downtown.
Clothing maker Lucky slips out of Vernon after finding downtown L.A. a better fit.
OPED: State and local governments, businesses take lead in bridging gap between U.S. and China.
Mickey Kantor and David Fisher see business playing a key diplomatic role in U.S.-China relations.
ADVERTISING & PR: Bender/Helper forms an alliance with eight foreign partners.
Bender/Helper Impact, a West L.A. PR firm, has formed a partnership with agencies in nine countries to provide services for entertainment industry clients looking to expand globally.
MANUFACTURING: Capstone sells $23.1 million in shares as end of fiscal year nears.
Is Capstone Turbine Corp. trying to calm suppliers or satisfy its auditors?
MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT: Shares of Emmis drop under $1 spurring Nasdaq warning.
The parent company of Los Angeles Magazine, and L.A. radio stations KPWR-FM (105.9) and KXOS-FM (93.9) is trying to hold on to its ticker.
REAL ESTATE: New owner Progressive to raze former Pleasures property.
Insurance company Progressive Corp. is building its first Los Angeles County offices in Pasadena.
Quinn Emanuel exceeds $4 million in profits per partner.
Emerson College joins the ranks of ‘Hollywood U.’
Emerson College looks to become a Hollywood star in the neighborhood and industry with a new stylish campus.
Depressed prices spur Edison to shed its money-losing facilities.
One analyst thinks Edison may pull the plug on its Santa Ana power plant subsidiary.
Share value of Tutor Perini also hurt by weak guidance.
Tutor Perini builds little more than analyst disapproval after sub-par year and weak forecast.
Local groups line up behind proposal for Chinatown location.
Business groups oppose the calls to sack Wal-Mart grocery from downtown Los Angeles.
Keith Gregory spends much of his time at the downtown L.A. office of law firm Snell & Wilmer LLP representing electronic component makers in complex litigation.
Beverly Hills Hotel to open ’93 time capsule to mark centennial.
Beverly Hills Hotel hopes time-capsule opening makes centennial celebration one for the ages.
Offspring of reggae royalty opens vintage clothing shop with pal.
Bob Marley’s daughter dances to her own drum as co-owner of a new vintage clothing store.
Ivy-It’s plastic plant vines take root with public agencies.
Ivy-It’s anti-graffiti plastic vines aim to hang taggers out to dry.
Austrian native Rudi Schreiner dropped anchor in Valley before piloting three river tour companies.
Austrian immigrant at different times steered three global river cruise companies from San Fernando Valley.
Friday, March 9
The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed down slightly for the week, even as the markets rose on heartening domestic and overseas economic news.
Kite Pharma Inc., an early-stage cancer drug developer, has raised $15 million in an initial financing round.
L.A. County’s unemployment rate dipped to 11.8 percent in January, even as the county appeared to have shed 85,000 jobs. Part of the change was due to annual data revision by statisticians but also suggests that some of the jobs gains seen last year were overstated.
Air Lease Corp. moved to a better-than-expected profit in the fourth quarter as the company acquired and leased more aircraft to commercial airlines.
Green Dot Corp. has agreed to acquire Loopt Inc., a Silicon Valley mobile social networking company, for $43.4 million.
Thursday, March 8
Cornerstone OnDemand Inc. has agreed to acquire a New Zealand firm that makes employee “talent management” software for the small businesses market, in a deal valued at about $14 million.
Wednesday, March 7
Shares of Staar Surgical Co. fell 4 percent on Wednesday after the maker of implantable contact lenses reported a fourth quarter profit that was less than what analysts expected.
Downey Regional Medical Center has emerged from Chapter 11 reorganization, and received $52 million in debt financing.
The Gores Group has closed fundraising for its fourth private equity fund. The new $300 million fund will target lower middle-market businesses.
AeroVironment Inc. shares edged down Wednesday morning after the company reported fiscal third-quarter results that missed Wall Street’s expectations. A delay in having an order of its drones accepted by a key customer pushed anticipated revenue into the current quarter.
Amgen Inc. has completed its tender offer for shares of cancer therapy developer Micromet Inc., which it is buying for $1.16 billion.
The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena announced plans to expand its campus with the acquisition of an adjacent former U.S. Postal Service property.
Tuesday, March 6
DirecTV Inc. has priced a large senior debt offering, proceeds of which will be used to buy back stock and for general corporate purposes.
Fetch Technologies, a USC spinout that has developed online data aggregation and analysis software, has been sold Connotate Inc., a New Jersey tech company that sells similar products.
Kennedy-Wilson Holdings Inc. has acquired Meyers LLC, an Irvine real estate consultancy that specializes in advisory, research and capital placement for the single family homebuilding and apartment markets.
Meruelo Maddux Properties Inc., one of downtown L.A’s largest commercial landlords, has changed its name to EVOQ Properties Inc., effective immediately.
Monday, March 5
Casual shoemaker Skechers USA Inc. said that it is dropping its third-party distributor arrangement in Japan, and forming a wholly owned subsidiary in hopes of significantly growing its market there.
Activision Blizzard Inc. has hired Dennis Durkin, a former Microsoft division financial and operations executive, as its chief financial officer.
Superior Industries International Inc.’s fourth quarter profit jumped 80 percent as the aluminum wheel maker enjoyed a big income tax benefit.
Gil Priel homes in on shortcomings in the foreclosure settlement between lenders and states.
Business leaders scramble to tie down air base
Local business leaders fear a shuttered Los Angeles Air Force Base will make it harder to land contracts.
OPED: Vehicle history report now required from dealers by California law does little to protect used-car buyers.
Ruben Guerra fears a new state law may steer used-car buyers into making bad purchases.
REAL ESTATE: Mola consolidates after sewing up five-year deal worth about $3 million.
Garment manufacturer Mola Inc. has consolidated and moved its headquarters to another site in Vernon, locking down space in a tight market after several other companies were taking a close look at the location.
LAW: Barry J. Thompson among local vets joining new firm.
Lateral hiring of attorneys in the health care industry has picked up recently, with several local partners switching firms since February.
RETAIL & APPAREL: Tourism official foresees millions from Pow Wow event.
A big Pow Wow is coming to Los Angeles in April, and it promises to bring in big money.
Jack Klunder given reins to boost LANG’s web revenue for publications.
New exec hopes to make news by getting LANG’s local papers to click as digital properties.
Chicken and waffle chain is singing the blues after losing fight over royalties owed on playing jazz songs at eatery.
City preps strip for commercial buildings.
Beverly Hills hopes to dress up neglected strip with commercial buildings.
Upgraded facilities may boost base’s chance of survival.
Starpoint sees rivals ramp up auction action.
Cash-using, fast-flipping Starpoint has seen more rivals set up house at residential auctions.
First California says pickup of another bank, branch closings unrelated to investors’ recent criticism.
First California buys rival and plans branch closures after investor complaints about profits and share value.
Oxygenetix line holds up under bright lights of TV production.
Oxygenetix’s medical make-up takes on a new role in Hollywood productions.
Ocean freight credited for taking air out of jet shipments.
Lower-cost ocean freight sank LAX’s cargo numbers last year.
OSI shares rise on Mexican deal, results of X-ray study.
Security scanner maker OSI looks good to investors after huge Mexican deal and clean bill of health on devices’ safety.
Charles Crumpley once checked out a Wal-Mart grocery like the one planned for downtown, and doesn’t see how it could be a threat to competitors.
City of Santa Monica’s booster campaign fails to impress businesses.
Santa Monica businesses say benefits of city’s “Buy Local” campaign are too close to call.
New app lets amateur chefs self-publish their kitchen secrets.
Babette Pepaj’s new cookbook-creating app lets kitchen creatives dish out their culinary secrets.
Chinese shoemaker sees L.A. shops as first steps to U.S. growth.
Chinese shoemaker Peak is using L.A.-area shops to get a foothold in the U.S. market.
R.J. Comer is a land-use attorney by day. By night, he’s the lead singer for the Dance Hall Pimps – which will release its debut album this month.
Business leaders rip proposed ballot measure to raise pay.
Long Beach hotel executives have no room for a union-backed “living wage” ballot proposal.
Harry Morton follows hotelier father and steakhouse-founding grandfather by launching his own restaurants.
Third-generation restaurateur Harry Morton adds to his already full plate with new eatery Fukuburger.
Friday, March 2
Kilroy Realty Corp. has acquired a Silicon Valley office complex for more than $162 million.
The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed up marginally for the week as the markets pulled back over uncertainty about Europe and the Middle East.
Shares of U.S. Auto Parts Network Inc. sank nearly 20 percent Friday morning after the online provider of aftermarket automotive parts reported a larger fourth quarter loss and an analyst downgraded shares.
Shares of PC Mall Inc. fell 6 percent on Friday after the retailer of information technology products reported a fourth quarter loss related to losing business from a large customer.
Thursday, March 1
Tutor Perini Corp reported higher fourth quarter profit that fell short of Wall Street estimates, in part due to increased interest expenses.
Wedbush Capital Partners said that it had bought an ethnic food manufacturer in Chino. One of its tech portfolio companies also has made an acquisition.
DineEquity Inc. returned to a profit in the fourth quarter, despite a 19 percent decline in revenue at its IHOP and Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar restaurants.
J2 Global Inc. has acquired the Australian business of Zintel Communications, a provider of cloud voice services.