Stories for April 2013

Tuesday, April 30

United Online’s Goldston Plans to Leave after FTD Spinoff

Shares of United Online Inc. fell 8 percent in late trading Tuesday after its longtime chief executive said he would leave the Internet services company after its FTD floral delivery business is spun off later this year.

Council Approves Plan to Move LAX Runway

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday voted to approve a controversial plan to move the north runway at LAX.

Kinder Morgan to Pay $13 Million to Clean Up Port Site

Kinder Morgan Liquids Terminals LLC will pay more than $13 million as part of a settlement to clean up the former site of an oil terminal at the Port of Los Angeles.

DreamWorks Has Unexpected Profit

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. on Tuesday reported it generated a profit in its most recent quarter, although Wall Street had expected a loss.

International Rectifier Stock Rises on Forecast

Shares of International Rectifier Corp. rose 8 percent on Tuesday after the semiconductor company reported a smaller-than expected net loss in its fiscal third quarter and was optimistic about the current quarter.

Edison Reports Strong Earnings

Edison International on Tuesday reported strong first quarter earnings that beat street estimates as its electric utility subsidiary profited from higher power rates that kicked in this year.

Personnel Costs Lower Green Dot’s Quarter

Shares of Green Dot Corp. were up more than 5 percent in after-hours trading Tuesday after the prepaid debit card company reported lower but better-than-expected net income in the first quarter.

Tuesday's Market Close

In Tuesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 21 points to 14,840. The Nasdaq rose 22 points to 3,329. The S&P 500 rose 4 points to 1,598. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 162.

Two Bit Circus Looks to Bring Technology to Carnival Classics

Two Bit Circus launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign on Tuesday to raise $100,000.

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USamp Shuffles Top Ranks

USamp, an Encino online survey provider, announced Tuesday that it has appointed Alan Gould as chief executive.

Legal Online Poker Set for Debut

A Las Vegas-based social gambling company is expected to launch the first legal, real-money poker website in the United States today, the Associated Press reports.

Farmers Face Labor Shortages

Tighter borders and an improving Mexican agricultural sector are causing seasonal labor shortages in Ventura County and other farming regions, Southern California Public Radio reports.

Bond Insurer Loses Ruling on Countrywide Loan Repurchase

Bond insurance company MBIA Inc. has failed to win a pretrial ruling against Bank of America Corp.’s Countrywide Financial unit in a lawsuit claiming the mortgage lender breached its obligations to buy back loans, Bloomberg News reports.

SEC Sues High Desert City in Bond Sale

A Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit accuses Victorville, the Southern California Logistics Airport Authority and others of defrauding investors in a $13.3-million bond sale in 2008, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Diller, Murdoch at Milken Conference

The three-day Milken Institute Global Conference kicked off Monday in Beverly Hills, with media moguls Barry Diller and Rupert Murdoch among the hundreds of business leaders and politicians slated to speak, the Los Angeles Times reports. Diller was talking up Aereo, an online service that TV broadcasters are trying to shut down.

DreamWorks Signs Asian Licensing Deal

Dreamworks has signed a deal with Sands China, one of Asia's largest resort operators, to license its characters for a "DreamWorks Experience" at a Macao resort, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Credit Card Innovator Stanley A. Dashew Dies

Stanley A. Dashew, an inventor and entrepreneur who helped revolutionize the credit card industry died last week in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reports. He was 96.

Billionaires Suffer as Tax Shelters Go Away

Bloomberg News reports that some of the wealthiest people in the world are scrambling to rearrange their financial affairs as international tax shelters become less accommodating.

High Court: States Can Restrict Access to Public Records

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled states are free to allow public records access only to their own citizens, delivering a blow to freedom of information advocates who had challenged a Virginia law, USA Today and the Los Angeles Times report. The ruling also affects businesses and researchers who gather data across the nation.

Online Ads That Go Where You Go

Companies are trying to better pinpoint online activity so advertisers can better serve ads to mobile phones based on the interests people express when surfing the Web on their PCs, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Paul Allen Gains Attention with Sports, Real Estate Bets

Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft Corp, is getting increasing respect for his investment ventures in decidedly low-tech sectors, including sports teams, commercial real estate and energy pipelines, Reuters reports.

Protecting Your Business From Social Media Hackers

The social media watch group Facecrooks has a number of tips to help prevent your personal and business social media accounts from being hacked, CBS Los Angeles reports.

Virgin Galactic Hit Key Milestone

With a successful Monday test flight of its SpaceShipTwo over the Mojave Desert, British billionaire Richard Branson's commercial space venture, Virgin Galactic, sped one step closer to carrying tourists into space, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Tuesday Morning Markets

In Tuesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 13 points to 14,806. The Nasdaq rose 9 points to 3,316. The S&P 500 fell less than 1 point to 1,593.

Monday, April 29

Digital Donnybrook Over Local Tech Funding

Are L.A. investors a bunch of wimps? That was the kernel of an argument buffeting around online among members of the tech community over the weekend.

NetDNA Stumbles Upon New Client

NetDNA announced Monday that StumbleUpon will seek to boost the performance of its website using NetDNA’s content delivery network.

Oxy Board Moves to Retain Chazen as CEO, Restrict Irani's Future Role

After intense shareholder pressure, Occidental Petroleum Corp. announced Monday that Steve Chazen will continue to serve as chief executive through next year, and announced new governance policies that would effectively bar former Chief Executive Ray Irani from returning to that post.

Herbalife Posts Better-Than-Expected Profit

Herbalife Ltd. late Monday reported adjusted first quarter earnings significantly better than Wall Street expected, raising its full-year profit forecast.

PennyMac Financial Provides IPO Details

PennyMac Financial Services said Monday it planned to raise $200 million though a previously announced initial offering by selling 11.1 million shares at a price range of $17 to $19.

Thomas Properties to Move to NYSE

Thomas Properties Group Inc. said it would transfer its stock listing from the Nasdaq Global Market to the New York Stock Exchange next week in an effort to boost investor interest in its common shares.

Monday Markets Up at Close

In Monday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 106 points to 14,819. The Nasdaq rose 28 points to 3,307. The S&P 500 rose 11 points to 1,594. The LABJ Stock Index rose 1 point to 162.

Minimum Wage Bill Faces Rocky Road

AB 10, which would give California its first minimum wage increase since 2008, was approved last week by the Assembly’s Labor and Employment Committee on a party-line vote. But business lobbyists such as the California Chamber of Commerce plan to fight the bill every step of the way, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Dreamliners Take to the Air Again

This weekend, air carriers in Ethiopia and Japan sent Boeing Co.'s battery-troubled Dreamliner on its first flights in more than three months, NBC.com reports.

Chinese Car Maker's Favorite Passenger: Uncle Sam

Chinese car maker BYD is setting up shop in L.A. County, with small ambitions but a clear goal: Get the U.S. government to subsidize the sales of the company's American-made electric buses, the Wall Street Journal reports. (sub req)

Tame Inflation to Keep Fed on Course

Fed officials are likely to continue their easy-money policies at their meeting Tuesday and Wednesday, in part because recent inflation measures have fallen well below the Fed's target, the Wall Street Journal reports. (sub req)

Apple Plans First Bond Sale

Apple Inc. took initial steps Monday for what would be its first debt sale ever, Reuters reports, as the US computer giant lays the groundwork for what would be one of the most anticipated bond sales of the year.

U.S. Analysts to Better Track 'Intangible' Assets

Until recently, you were probably safe in assuming that time and money spent dreaming up Robot Unicorn Attack 2 — the second-most popular free app on iTunes — was not adding much to the total output of the U.S. economy. But NBC.com reports that the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis soon will give more weight to “intangible and intellectual” assets when tracking GDP growth.

Choosing Foosball Over Finance

A wave of young professionals are abandoning the pinstriped suits, outsize paychecks and cutthroat attitude of Wall Street for the geekier, more collegial world of technology startups, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Has the Post-Password Era Arrived?

We may not have needed more evidence that password-based security is as vulnerable today as it ever was. But we got it anyway when a bogus tweet, posted from a hacked Associated Press Twitter account, caused a 143-point free-fall in the Dow Jones Industrial Average earlier this month, CNBC reports.

Google Invades Siri's Turf

Google Now is trying to upstage Siri, the automated assistant that answers questions and helps people manage their lives on Apple devices, the Associated Press and Wired report.

Online Sales Tax Divides the G.O.P.

Antitax groups, such as Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, seem to be losing their influence, as Republican lawmakers’ constituents support legislation that would require Internet retailers to collect sales taxes, the New York Times reports.

Have Twinkies Killed the Union Movement?

Twinkies will be returning to store shelves, but restructured Hostess management is moving ahead with out unionized workers, CNBC reports.

Jackson Family Suit Against AEG to Open

The trial in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Michael Jackson's mother and three children against Anschutz Entertainment Group begins today, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Markets Rise on Morning Trading

In Monday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 63 points to 14,776. The Nasdaq rose 26 points to 3,505. The S&P 500 rose 8 points to 1,590.

Greuel Favors Industry Zones

Special Report: The Race For Mayor

The Business Journal interviews the two contenders for Los Angeles mayor in the May 21 runoff. Next up is Wendy Greuel, 51, who has served nearly four years as city controller. Before that, she served seven years on the City Council representing the eastern San Fernando Valley.

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News of the Week

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

Medal Event Shows Mettle

SPORTS: Special Olympics to be biggest event in 31 years.

The Special Olympics is coming to Los Angeles in 2015. And believe it or not, it will be the biggest sporting event here since 1984.

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Building Side Career in Show Biz

PAGE 3

Developer Andrew Meieran is plenty busy. He owns downtown L.A. nightclub the Edison and has undertaken the multiyear, multimillion-dollar redo of the nearby Clifton’s Cafeteria.

Too Many Dumbbells?

COMMENT

Charles Crumpley is pretty exercised about the city of Santa Monica’s proposal to make outdoor fitness classes pay big fees to the city.

Gem of a Deal?

Firm polishes up diamonds as investment

Chris Duffield and Kristopher Schellhas hope to polish up investors’ portfolios with diamonds.

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Online Postage Company Finds Way on Wall Street

INTERNET: Stamps.com’s stock surges after beating earnings expectations.

Online postage company Stamps.com delivers on Wall Street with strong earnings.

Venture Funding in Region Dives in First Quarter

INVESTMENT: Westside startups are exception as two large deals are closed.

Venture capital plugged into Westside tech companies in the first quarter while other areas lagged.

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Asian Accents

TOURISM: Hotels and shops offer cultural comforts to serve wave of Chinese visitors.

L.A.-area businesses look to add services that speak to a rising tide of Chinese visitors.

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Investment Group Has Armani Boutique in the Bag

ACQUISITION: Jenel takes Beverly Hills retail-office property for $40 million.

The Beverly Hills home of Emporio Armani Boutique has been sold for an estimated $40 million.

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Food Trucks Running Risk

INSURANCE: Operators moving faster than coverage.

Food trucks can face problems with policies that fail to cover their use as mobile kitchens.

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Moving Seats Shake Up Mexican Film Exhibition

CINEMA: MediaMation signs deal for chairs with Cinemex theater chain.

MediaMation has sold its “4-D” technology to theme parks and other attractions for more than two decades.

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Garcetti Hails Green, Tech Jobs

Special Report: The Race For Mayor

The Business Journal interviews the two contenders for Los Angeles mayor in the May 21 runoff. First up is Eric Garcetti, 42, who represents the Hollywood area on the Los Angeles City Council.

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Data Bank

Calendar and Events

Medical Employee Firm’s Stock Gets Shot in Arm

HEALTH CARE: Increase in patient visits helps boost shares of IPC.

Investors check into IPC after the medical employee business reports healthy quarter

Comedy Producer Looks to Field Sports Content

ENTERTAINMENT: Two genres touted as natural teammates by New Wave.

Producer of stand-up comedy specials New Wave looks to play ball with sports-themed content.

Jet Lessor’s Stock and Fleet Rates Hit Turbulence

AVIATION: Air Lease sees shares decline along with prices charged for planes.

Air Lease’s stock has lost altitude along with the prices it can charge companies for renting its planes.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

In Search Of Promotion

Korean food company cues up pop star for chef-audition contest.

Korean restaurant chain Bibigo tunes up promotional campaign with “Gangnam Style” singer Psy.

Towering Achievement In New York

Design firm tackles tourism project at new World Trade Center.

Design firm Hettema hits new heights with observation deck project for the new World Trade Center.

Served Up With Slice Of Creativity

Pizza Studio partners take artistic approach to crafting pies.

Pizza Studio allows customers to get artistic by crafting specialty pies.

Friday, April 26

L.A. Banker to Announce Syrian Reconstruction Fund

A Los Angeles banker, the head of a Middle Eastern investment bank and retired General Wesley Clark plan to announce Monday the formation of an investment fund to help rebuild Syria.

Tim Leiweke Moves to Toronto for Maple Leaf Job

Tim Leiweke, the former AEG chief executive who oversaw the Staples Center, the Kings and Galaxy, on Friday was named president and chief executive of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.

K-Swiss Shareholders Approve Acquisition

K-Swiss Inc. on Friday said that announced that its stockholders had approved its $170 million acquisition by South Korean retailer E. Land World.

Acquisition Targets Among Week’s Biggest Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies gained strongly for the week as two companies announced they were being acquired.

Friday Close

In Friday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 12 points to 14,713. The Nasdaq closed down 11 points to 3,279. The S&P 500 fell 3 points to 1,582. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged 161.

Senate Passes Bill to End Air Traffic Furloughs

The U.S. Senate on Thursday unanimously passed legislation designed to end the sequester-related air traffic controller furloughs that have caused widespread airline flight delays, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal report.

How Jerry Brown Scared California Straight

Jerry Brown has done what was long assumed impossible: balance the California budget, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports.

Herbalife Investors Meet — Briefly

Herbalife would seem to have a lot to talk about with its investors, but you'd never know it from Thursday's annual shareholder meeting in Beverly Hills. It lasted less than 15 minutes, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Implications of the Brookfield Deal

Five of the 10 tallest skyscrapers in Los Angeles soon will be controlled by Manhattan’s Brookfield Office Properties Inc., in one of the biggest shake-ups of the downtown commercial real estate market in decades. The Los Angeles Times looks at the implications.

FAA Clears Boeing Battery Fix

The Federal Aviation Administration gave formal approval on Thursday for a new lithium-ion battery system for Boeing Co's 787 Dreamliner, ending a three-month ban and clearing airlines to fly the plane with passengers again, Reuters reports.

City Council Committee Mulls Gun Control Measures

The Los Angeles City Council's Public Safety Committee was expected to consider two proposed gun control measures Friday, including a law banning possession of large-capacity ammunition clips, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

U.S. Companies Are Back on Top

For the first time in eight years, the five largest companies in the world by market value are American. The rise of tech giants, a weakening China, and the continuing U.S. recovery precipitated the shift, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports.

The Despair, Drive and Gamble Behind 'Great Gatsby'

Like his protagonist Jay Gatsby, Australian director Baz Luhrmann once reinvented himself with a name change and new identity. Now, he’s risked everything on his flashy $100 million spectacle, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Judging ‘Gatsby’ by Its Covers

“The Great Gatsby” has united generations of American readers with its crash-and-burn tale of empty elegance and impossible love on Long Island in the 1920s. The New York Times reports that the enigmatic blue cover of the original edition, kept in print for decades, now faces competition from a flashy movie tie-in that is dividing booksellers around the nation.

McPherson Reboots His TV Biz

After nearly three years out of spotlight, former ABC Entertainment chief Stephen McPherson is quietly returning to TV biz thanks to a production pact with Lionsgate TV and development commitments at Fox Broadcasting Co., Variety reports.

State Medical Board Could Lose Investigative Powers

The Medical Board of California would be stripped of its power to investigate physician misconduct under a sweeping reform plan by legislators who say the agency has struggled to hold problem doctors accountable, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Murdoch's Pay Linked to Performance

Rupert Murdoch's target direct compensation will grow 15 percent, but be more performance-based after the split of News Corp. into two companies later this year, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Can This Former Clerk Save Best Buy?

Best Buy is counting on a 26-year company veteran to improve customer service and stanch the flow of shoppers walking out empty-handed, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Deutsche Bank 'Slumlord' Case Going to Trial

Is Deutsche Bank one of the biggest "slumlords" in Los Angeles? The city thinks so, and has brought a lawsuit against the German banking giant that is headed to court now that a dismissal bid was rejected, Spiegel Online and Bloomberg News report.

Regal Makes Peace with Disney on 'Iron Man 3'

Regal Entertainment, the nation's largest theater chain, has ended its fight with Walt Disney Studios over how to split revenue from ticket sales for "Iron Man 3," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Anthem Blue Cross To Pay $3.2 Million in Overdue-Claims Case

Anthem Blue Cross will pay more than $3.2 million to medical providers under a state settlement reached this week related to the company's mishandling of overdue bills, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Morning Markets

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 17 points to 14,718. The Nasdaq was down 17 points to 3,277. The S&P 500 rose 3 points to 1,582.

Thursday, April 25

Lower Oxy Profit Better Than Expected

Occidental Petroleum Corp on Thursday reported higher-than-expected net income as the oil and gas company employed cost cutting domestically to offset the impact of lower natural gas prices.

Markets Up at Close

In Thursday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 25 points to 14,701. The Nasdaq rose 20 points to 3,290. The S&P 500 rose 6 points to 1,585. The LABJ Stock Index rose more than 1 point to 161.

Built In LA Celebrates Local Tech Successes

Built In LA has released its first report on the state of technology in Los Angeles.

DIY Startup Shoots for the Moon

And the company has raised $2.5 million in funding led by Century City venture capital firm GRP Partners.

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Drafting an App for Sports Enthusiasts

Draftpedia, an iPhone app released a few weeks ago, is designed to be a one-stop reference for all things related to watching a draft.

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MPG Office Trust to Be Sold

New York's Brookfield Office Properties Inc. announced Thursday that its newly formed DTLA Holdings will acquire downtown L.A.'s troubled MPG Office Trust Inc., Bloomberg News and Dow Jones Newswires report. Brookfield will offer MPG’s common-stock holders $3.15 a share in cash — 21 percent more than Wednesday’s closing price — and begin a tender offer for preferred stock at $25 a share. Total value of the deal is $180 million.

Jamie McCourt Says Ex Owes Her $770 Million

Jamie McCourt's attorney urged a judge on Wednesday to accept his client's assertion that she was not fully informed by Frank McCourt about the potential value of the Los Angeles Dodgers when she agreed to a $131 million divorce settlement, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The former Dodgers owner last year sold the team for $2.15 billion, six months after the couple announced their settlement.

Gibson Amphitheatre Makes Way for Harry Potter

The iconic Gibson Amphitheatre will go silent this fall as part of the massive $1.6 billion expansion of the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The theater site will be converted to part of the "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" attraction.

Herbalife to Reassure Investors

Herbalife Ltd., battling a billionaire investor's bet that its stock will tank, is expected to reassure shareholders at the company's annual meeting today that the Los Angeles nutritional products maker is a strong, healthy, legitimate operation, the Los Angeles Times reports.

405 Project Stuck in Slow Lane

Billionaire Elon Musk quips that it's easier getting rockets into orbit than navigating his commute from Bel-Air to his SpaceX factory in Hawthorne. He and other 405 Freeway commuters will have to wait for relief: plagued by cost overruns and delays, the widening project now will take at least a year longer than first anticipated, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Skechers Gets New Auditor

Skechers USA Inc. appointed a new auditor Wednesday to replace its former accounting firm, KPMG, which was rocked by an insider trading scandal earlier this month, the Los Angeles Times reports.

A Minimum Wage Quandry

Legislation in Congress this year would raise the $2.13 base wage for waiters and waitresses for the first time since 1991. Some say it would help those who rely on tips for much of their earnings. But it could also spur firings and reduced hours as thin-margin businesses grapple with higher costs, say some restaurant owners and economists, Bloomberg News reports.

Directors Take Shelter in Trading Plans

A Wall Street Journal analysis of the growing use by nonexecutive directors of "10b5-1" trading plans finds abuses of the system, which enable directors to lay out future stock trades at set prices or on set dates.

Underground Economy May Be Recovery's Savior

The $2 trillion and growing underground economy may be helping to prevent the real economy from sinking further, CNBC reports.

When Payroll Firms Implode

An estimated four in 10 business owners farm out management of their payrolls. But many are coming face to face with a downside of that strategy, after being left on the hook for unpaid taxes by unscrupulous payroll services firms, the Wall Street Journal reports.

What Bad News? Markets Don't Seem to Care

The global economy is once again showing signs of slowing yet global stock markets are back near their highs for the year. Bill Blain, a senior fixed income broker at Mint Partners, told CNBC, "This is going to become an asset 'grabathon.' Put your buying boots on."

Morning Markets Rise

In Thursday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 72 points to 14,749. The Nasdaq rose 27 points to 3,297. The S&P 500 rose 10 points to 1,589.

Wednesday, April 24

State Orders Shutdown of Vernon Battery Recycling Plant

California regulators on Wednesday ordered the shutdown of a battery recycling plant in Vernon for failure to control pollution at the facility.

Caruso Announces Changes for Americana at Brand

Caruso Affiliated on Wednesday announced more than $60 million in renovations at Americana at Brand, largely aimed at the Brand Boulevard side of the Glendale shopping center.

Profit Enhances OSI Systems’ Quarter

Shares of OSI Systems Inc. rose nearly 10 percent on Wednesday after the company reported lower-than-expected fiscal third-quarter earnings but a larger stock buyback.

Stocks Mixed at Close

In Wednesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 43 points to 14,676. The Nasdaq rose less than 1 point to 3,270. The S&P 500 rose less than 1 point to 1,579. The LABJ Stock Index fell more than 1 point to 159.

L.A. Venture Capital Funding Drops Despite Tech Boost

Venture capital investments into Los Angeles County dropped for the third consecutive quarter, according to a report Wednesday.

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Getting Down to Business on the Side

Media Temple has an unwritten policy that employees who want to start their own businesses are free to do so. In addition to Setzen and his candle company, there are employees who run restaurants, own party planning businesses and front bands.

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Region Wins Worst Traffic, Pollution Awards — Again

Los Angeles has reclaimed the dubious honor of having the worst traffic in the United States, according to an annual congestion scorecard, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Long Beach Press-Telegram says of the top 10 percent most polluted ZIP codes in the state, half are in Southern California.

New Charges Filed Against Noguez

The corruption investigation into the Los Angeles County assessor's office broadened Tuesday with prosecutors filing dozens of new charges against embattled Assessor John Noguez, one of his former top aides and a tax consultant, the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily News report.

Fiat Considers Buying Rest of Chrysler

Fiat is weighing a plan in which it would acquire the part of Chrysler Group it doesn't already own, and then launch a U.S. offering of shares in the combined company to replenish is balance sheet, sources tell the Wall Street Journal.

Number of Homes Entering Foreclosure Plunges

New foreclosure actions in California dropped 51 percent in the first quarter, thanks to a stronger economy and housing market and new state rules affecting lenders, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Governments May Push Workers to Health Exchange

In a move that would capitalize on provisions under President Obama's health care law but could cost the federal government millions of dollars, Washington state lawmakers have found a creative way to pass a large chunk of their health care expenses along to Washington, D.C. – and analysts say others are likely to follow, the Associated Press reports.

How the Wheels Came Off for Fisker

Barring a last minute rescue, Anaheim electric-car maker Fisker is poised to become a symbol of overreaching when emboldened by government loans, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times report.

From American Girl to Trolls

The Los Angeles Times talks with Shawn Dennis, the former American Girl veteran who was recently hired to build the Trolls franchise for DreamWorks Animation, which last year acquired the rights to Veggies Tales, Lassie, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Lone Ranger and other hot properties.

Warner Bros. Enlists Wal-Mart to Promote 'Man of Steel'

In an unusual partnership, about a million tickets to early screenings have been put aside for customers at Wal-Mart stores, the New York Times reports.

Amazon Moves Toward Becoming Internet Ad Network

Amazon.com is known in the advertising industry as the "sleeping giant" because it harbors a trove of consumer-spending data that many marketers have called an unrealized opportunity. It's now awakening to the potential, Reuters reports.

S.E.C. Could Force Companies to Disclose Donations

A loose coalition of elected officials, shareholder activists and pension funds has flooded the Securities and Exchange Commission with calls to require publicly traded corporations to disclose to shareholders all of their political donations, a move that could transform the growing world of secret campaign spending, the New York Times reports.

Flawed Bidding Process Leaves Dell at a Loss

The fizzled bidding for Dell Computer is a result of the board’s extreme reliance on a process known as a go-shop and how it ran the initial sale. If this episode does not change the way companies sell themselves, perhaps it should, the New York Times reports.

As Economy Recovers, the Richest Get Richer

Wealth inequality widened dramatically during the first two years of the economic recovery, as the upper 7 percent of American households saw their average net worth increase 28 percent, while the wealth of the other 93 percent declined, the Washington Post reports.

Markets Open Mixed

In Wednesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 21 points to 14,698. The Nasdaq fell 7 points to 3,262. The S&P 500 was up less than1 point to 1,579.

Tuesday, April 23

Amgen Reports Lower-Than-Expected Sales

Shares of Amgen Inc. fell 6 percent in after-hours trading Tuesday after the biotech giant reported first-quarter sales that fell short of Wall Street expectations.

BBCN's Quarter Hurt by Bad Loan

Koreatown bank holding company BBCN Bancorp’s earnings fell well short of investors’ expectations, thanks in part to one bad loan.

PennyMac To Offer Residential Mortgage Bonds

PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust said it plans to issue its first residential-mortgage bonds starting in the third quarter.

Rothenberg To Head L.A. Sports Council

The Los Angeles Sports Council has named L.A. business leader Alan Rothenberg interim chairman to replace former KPMG partner Scott London.

Markets Gain at Close

In Tuesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 152 points, or 1 percent, to 14,719. The Nasdaq rose 36 points, or 1 percent, to 3,269. The S&P 500 rose 16 points, or 1 percent, to 1,579. The LABJ Stock Index rose more than 1 point to 160.

Online Ad Startup Raises $3.5 Million

Nativo Inc. announced Tuesday that is has raised $3.5 million in funding led by Greycroft Partners with participation from San Francisco venture capital firm E.Ventures.

'My Favorite Entrepreneur Story in a Long Time'

Venture capitalist Mark Suster loves a good story of an entrepreneur driven by the desire to provide a great product. The tale of Sriracha hot sauce creator David Tran, who fled Vietnam in the 1970s and settled in Los Angeles is one of them, Yahoo's Business Insider reports.

Califonia's Foreclosure-Relief Funds Mostly Unspent

A federal foreclosure-prevention effort that earmarked nearly $2 billion in taxpayer money to help troubled California homeowners has delivered only about one-sixth of that money in three years, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Netflix Could Expand to 20 Original Shows

Netflix could back as many as 20 original shows in the future, TheWrap.com reports, part of the company's ongoing transformation from a rental service to a digital-only premium cable channel.

Supervisors To Vote on NBCUniversal Plans

Los Angeles County Supervisors are scheduled to vote today on zoning regulations that would allow NBCUniversal to expand its Hollywood theme park and add more movie and television production facilities, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Internet Sales Tax Bill Gains Ground in Senate

Legislation to help states force online retailers to collect sales taxes cleared its first procedural hurdle in the U.S. Senate on Monday, the New York Times reports.

L.A. To Host All-Electric Race Car Series

Downtown Los Angeles will be one of 10 cities globally to host an all-electric race series — dubbed Formula E — as soon as 2014, the Los Angeles Times reports. The series will be the first in the world to feature fully electric open-wheel race cars.

Regulators Get Banks to Rein in Bonus Pay

U.S. banks — including Capital One and Discover Financial — are bowing to regulators' concerns about the size of executive pay and its role in financial industry risk-taking, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Century City to Get Single-Family Homes

A vacant lot in Century City, one of the most densely developed neighborhoods in Los Angeles, will be filled with single-family homes by its new owner, the Los Angeles Times reports.

M&A Values Surge in Entertainment and Media

The value of mergers, acquisitions and other deal activity in the U.S. entertainment, media and communications industries increased to $96.2 billion in 2012 even as the volume of deals fell, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Keeping New York's Showbiz Sector Humming

Established in 1966, the New York City Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting is the oldest film commission in the country. But it’s staying up to date, Variety reports.

Stock Gains Continue

In Tuesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 139 points, or 1 percent, to 14,706. The Nasdaq rose 365 points, or 1 percent, to 3,269. The S&P 500 rose 14 points, or 1 percent, to 1,577.

Monday, April 22

THQ Auctions Remaining Assets

Bankrupt video game publisher THQ Inc. has sold off the remaining properties in its catalog.

Swiss Company To Acquire Power-One

Shares of Power-One Inc. soared 57 percent on Monday after Swiss industrial giant ABB Ltd. said it signed a deal to buy the Camarillo power-conversion technology company for roughly $1 billion.

Villaraigosa Proposes Economic Development Department

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Monday released his final budget as mayor. The $7.7 billion spending plan would close a previously estimated $216 million deficit and proposes creation of an economic development department.

Lower Wilshire Profit Better Than Expected

Wilshire Bancorp Inc. on Monday reported sharply lower first-quarter profits compared to last year, though the results topped Wall Street expectations.

Markets Rise at Close

In Monday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 20 points to 14,567. The Nasdaq rose 27 points, or nearly 1 point, to 3,233. The S&P 500 rose 7 points to 1,562. The LABJ Stock Index rose 1 point to 159.

Furloughs Delay Flights at LAX

Sunday was the first day of air traffic controller staff cuts at Los Angeles International Airport due to federal sequestration-related spending reductions. ABC News 7 and the Los Angeles Times report that some flight delays were 3 hours and 7 minutes and were expected to get worse today.

Koch Industries Eyes Tribune Papers

The diversified industrial conglomerate controlled by conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch is closer to deciding whether to make a bid for Tribune Co.'s newspapers, which include the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, sources tell the Wall Street Journal.

SAG-AFTRA Confirms Layoffs

SAG-AFTRA, the union representing Hollywood actors and other performers, is eliminating 60 positions from the organization as part of plan to balance its budget, the Hollywood Reporter and Los Angeles Times report.

Warner Gateway Complex Is Sold

The 255,864-square-foot Warner Gateway office complex in Woodland Hills has been bought by Thrifty Oil Co. for $40 million in an all-cash deal, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Santa Fe Springs-based Thrifty plans to invest several million dollars on property upgrades.

Antelope Valley Homes on Upswing

Antelope Valley subdivisions abandoned during the housing meltdown are now attracting buyers who have been priced out of the Los Angeles market, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Rival Marijuana Measures Create Infighting

Three competing measures on the May 21 city ballot have divided Los Angeles' medical cannabis industry, the Los Angeles Times reports, with each side accusing the other of trying only to protect profits, not do what is best for patients.

Data Shift to Make U.S. Economy Look Bigger

The U.S. economy will officially become 3 percent bigger in July as part of a shake-up that will see government statistics take into account 21st century components such as film royalties and spending on research and development, the Financial Times reports.

Fraud Allegations Rock the Trucking Industry

Allegations of an elaborate diesel-fuel rebate fraud by truck-stop giant Pilot Flying J roiled the trucking world as its customers tried to assess whether they had been duped, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Home Entertainment Firms Tap the Classics

As Hollywood studios search for profits amid shriveling DVD sales, they increasingly are mining their libraries of classics like 1963’s "Cleopatra," the Wall Street Journal reports.

Wall Street vs. Employees' Privacy

State efforts to block companies from monitoring employees' personal Facebook and Twitter accounts are under fire from a new front — securities regulators, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Markets Mixed This Morning

In Monday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 68 points to 14,479. The Nasdaq was up 2 points to 3,208. The S&P 500 fell 3 points to 1,552.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

L.A. Narrows Pay Gap

Study says local women make 90 percent of what men make in same job.

L.A. women narrow the gender pay gap due to area’s wealth of entertainment and engineering jobs.

Hollywood Surprise

COMMENT

It’s a mighty tall order to accept the height of Millennium Hollywood’s proposed towers, Charles Crumpley writes.

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Homes Sales Remain Flat in County

The number of Los Angeles County homes sold in March remained flat compared with a year earlier while the median sale price soared as fewer homes were listed for sale.

SOUTH BAY: Aerospace Companies’ Flight Boosts Office and Industrial Vacancies

Real Estate Quarterly

Main events in Los Angeles County’s submarkets.

Classic Cars To Rev Up Fundraiser

Non-profit lines up vintage autos to benefit Greystone Mansion.

Organizers of Greystone Mansion fundraiser hope to drive interest with classic car exhibition.

TRI-CITIES: Burbank Faces Flood of Returned Space From Disney’s Exodus

Real Estate Quarterly

The first quarter was not kind to the Tri-Cities, with the Pasadena, Glendale and Burbank office markets all experiencing negative net absorption. Burbank took the worst hit.

Bread Maker Doesn’t Loaf On Nostalgia

La Brea Bakery giving away hometown trip in grilled-cheese contest.

La Brea Bakery seeks to get a rise out of customers with a grilled-cheese sandwich promotion.

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SANTA CLARITA VALLEY: Entertainment Tenants Helping North L.A. Market Stage Comeback

Real Estate Quarterly

A ready supply of available space and decreasing asking rates could make the Santa Clarita Valley office market more attractive to tenants.

Brokerage Takes Stock of Poland

INVESTMENT: Wedbush aims to tap Warsaw exchange.

Stock brokerage Wedbush is betting its zloty on Poland’s Warsaw exchange as a revenue generator.

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SAN GABRIEL VALLEY: Dearth of Inventory Spurs Competition Among Property Buyers

Real Estate Quarterly

Main events in Los Angeles County’s submarkets.

SAN FERNANDO VALLEY: New Year Ushers in Gains but Some Large Tenants Plan Departures

Real Estate Quarterly

The San Fernando Valley saw nearly a half-million square feet of office space taken off the market in the first quarter as the region posted its best absorption numbers in several years.

Jeans Maker Sowed Fate

APPAREL: Litigious Guess co-founder fights bankruptcy.

Failure to button up his litigious behavior might cost Guess Jeans co-founder Georges Marciano much of his fortune.

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WILSHIRE CORRIDOR: Miracle Mile Rates Go Distance In Boosting Wilshire Submarket

Real Estate Quarterly

Wilshire Corridor opened the year with a steady performance, charting barely perceptible changes in quarterly vacancy and asking rates. But the submarket, which runs from downtown Los Angeles to Beverly Hills, reported marked improvement in year-over-year asking rates even as occupancy declined.

WESTSIDE: Media Content Companies Help Tech Firms Fill Creative Space

Real Estate Quarterly

Back in the tech boom, creative space was in demand on the Westside as startups and spin-offs sought out seaside locations that appealed to the high-caliber employees they wanted to hire and near the beach communities where staff and executives alike wanted to live.

HOLLYWOOD: Sky’s the Limit on Development After Height Restrictions Lifted

Real Estate Quarterly

The first quarter vacancy rate in Hollywood rose to its highest level in a year, though it remained the lowest in all of Los Angeles County.

Redondo Beach Moves to Shore Up Hotel Options

HOSPITALITY: Hilton and Marriott projects to add 319 total rooms to city.

Springtime in Redondo Beach has brought new life to the hotel industry in the beachside city.

Startup Hopes Employers Sign Up for Sign-In Service

ONLINE: Bitium’s tool consolidates accounts and passwords for workers.

Bitium hopes to get to work linking new employees to their companies’ cloud networks.

Pacific Design Center Looks to End Vacancy Streak

REAL ESTATE: Vet exec brought in to land first tenants for Red Building.

Pacific Design Center brings in vet exec to get a new lease on life in signing Red Building tenants.

Studios’ Next Stages

Real Estate Quarterly

Three Hollywood studios expand their roles in the real estate market with large local projects.

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Calendar and Events

Calendar and Events

DOWNTOWN L.A.: Asking Rents Decline as New Property Owners Pursue Tenants

Real Estate Quarterly

For years, it’s been the biggest anomaly in the downtown L.A. office market: Despite soaring vacancy rates and much more space being put on the market than absorbed in new deals, Class A monthly asking rents stayed stuck at nearly $3.20 a square foot.

L.A. COUNTY: Returned Space Bumps Up First Quarter Vacancies

Real Estate Quarterly

The broader Los Angeles County commercial real estate market lost ground in the first quarter and the countywide vacancy rate inched higher as more inventory came back on the market.

L.A. Scores Shoots

PHOTOGRAPHY: Production sector soars in first quarter with boost from automobile and fashion advertising.

L.A. shoots rose in a flash during the first quarter with an assist from auto and fashion advertising.

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Privacy Apps’ Popularity Spreads

INTERNET: WhisperText and Snapchat step into social gaps.

WhisperText’s and Snapchat’s privacy-oriented apps look to connect with teens drifting away from Facebook.

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Video Streamer Goes Live With Expansion Plan

AEG Digital signs deal with the goal of becoming a big fish in streaming technology.

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Investors Pull Plug on Network Equipment Maker

TELECOM: Ixia shares fall after company reduces first quarter guidance.

Ixia’s stock drops as phone companies dial back their spending.

Mobile Commerce Firm Signals Expansion Plan

Communications: Mandalay Digital makes moves as it aims at Nasdaq.

Mobile company Mandalay Digital looks to connect its stock on the Nasdaq.

License to Lease

PAGE 3

For those who don’t know commercial real estate, the license plate on Paul Sablock’s GMC Suburban doesn’t mean much. It reads 32FTCLR.

Developer Dials Up Deal To Mobilize Tunes Game

APP: Music Mastermind partners with Chillingo for iOS song platform.

Music Mastermind tunes up for the mobile market by teaming with app maker Chillingo.

Fashion Retailer’s Equity Arrangement Tailor Made

FINANCING: Owners of Planet Blue retain larger stake with debt transaction.

Santa Monica retailer and fashion brand Planet Blue needed cash to buy more inventory, redo its website and attract more online customers.

L.A. Outpost Teaming Up for International Reach

EXPANSION: Dentons sees latest merger as way to grow specialties.

The downtown L.A. office of Chicago’s Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal saw its attorney count fall to 30 from more than 70 in a 12-month period ended in spring 2009, due to a combination of departures and layoffs.

News of the Week

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

Friday, April 19

Early Ouya Reviews Critical

Early reviews of the mini console, which taps into the Android mobile operating system to bring smartphone games to TVs, have been less than stellar.

County Unemployment Rate Falls; Jobs Added

Los Angeles County’s jobs picture continued its gradual improvement in March as the unemployment rate dipped to 10.2 percent and employers added nearly 24,000 jobs, according to state figures released Friday.

Virco Shares Fall on Weak Quarter

Shares of Virco Mfg. Corp. fell almost 13 percent on Friday after the institutional furniture maker reported a larger quarterly loss and warned of continuing volatility and weaker demand in its core K-12 public school market.

Joe's Jeans, Virtual Piggy Among Week’s Biggest Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies fell slightly for the week.

Stocks Up

In Friday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 10 points to 14,547. The Nasdaq rose 40 points, or 1 percent, to 3,206. The S&P 500 rose 14 points, or nearly 1 percent, to 1,555. The LABJ Stock Index rose 3 points to 158.

One Boston Bombing Suspect Dead

A dramatic search continues for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bomb attacks. The suspect's brother died in a firefight with police, an officer was killed and another was seriously wounded, the Boston Globe reports. The suspects are immigrants from Chechnya.

Charney: How I Would Fix JCPenney

Business Insider asked controversial American Apparel CEO Dov Charney, who engineered a turnaround at his own L.A. company without changing or rebranding, how he would fix JCPenney.

Changes on Bidding Rules Favored Tutor Perini

State high-speed rail officials acknowledged that they changed their rules for selecting a builder for the bullet train’s first phase, making it possible for a consortium led by Sylmar's Tutor Perini Corp. to rank as the top candidate despite receiving the lowest technical rating, the Los Angeles Times reports.

New Retailer to Dress Up Downtown

Brooks Bros., the iconic Manhattan retailer that dresses President Obama and the male cast of upcoming film "The Great Gatsby," is coming to downtown L.A. later this month, the Los Angeles Times reports.

KPMG Plans for Review in Light of Insider Case

KPMG LLP plans to reassess its internal safeguards, the latest fallout from the insider-trading case that has led to the firing of a senior partner and the accounting firm's resignation as the auditor for two L.A. two companies, the Wall Street Journal reports.

F.A.A. Expected to Approve Fix to Dreamliner Batteries

The Federal Aviation Administration is expected on Friday to approve Boeing’s plans to fix the batteries on its new 787 Dreamliner jets, a decision that could soon allow the planes to return to service after being grounded for more than three months, the New York Times reports.

Mortgage REITs May Pose Threat to Financial System

A panel of top financial regulators is targeting mortgage real-estate investment trusts as a potential risk to the U.S. financial system, the latest example of Washington's growing concern with market bubbles, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Home Prices and Sales Rise

Home prices across California jumped 8 percent in March compared with February and 25 percent compared to a year earlier, the Los Angeles Times reports.

China's BYD Mulls Leaner, Greener Plan

BYD Co. may stop making conventional gas cars within two years and focus on "new energy" battery models as part of a plan to arrest a slump in sales, sources tell Reuters.

Should Fox Become a Pay TV Network?

News Corp.'s Chase Carey says Aereo, the new service that transmits broadcast network signals online, might force the network to convert. But many questions remain unanswered as to the viability of such a move, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Blackstone Pulls Out of Dell Bid

Blackstone Group LP has pulled out of bidding for Dell Inc. amid concerns about the personal-computer maker’s finances and the worsening outlook for global PC sales, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports.

Stocks Open Mixed

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 16 points to 14,520. The Nasdaq was up 40 points, or 1 percent, to 3,206. The S&P 500 rose 11 points to 1,553.

Thursday, April 18

City National Reports Higher Profit

Downtown L.A. bank holding company City National Corp., parent of City National Bank, on Thursday reported higher first-quarter net income that fell just shy of investors’ expectations.

Cherokee Delays Year-End Report

Cherokee Inc. said that it had delaying filing of its annual report due to unspecified financial reporting issues that occurred before its new chief financial officer started.

Stocks Again Close Down

In Thursday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 81 points to 14,537. The Nasdaq fell 38 points, or 1 percent, to 3,166. The S&P 500 fell 10 points to 1,541. The LABJ Stock Index fell more than 1 point to 155.

Hulu Shopping for Sale

Rumors about the potential sale of West L.A.’s Hulu Inc. have heated up in recent weeks. The newest report is that the video streamer has brought on financial services firm Guggenheim Partners to advise on the sale.

Countrywide Agrees to $500 Million Settlement

Bank of America Corp.’s Countrywide unit has agreed to pay $500 million to settle a class action lawsuit over billions of dollars in residential mortgage-backed securities that were downgraded to junk, Bloomberg News reports.

Senate Scuttles Gun Limits

The biggest push in nearly two decades to restrict firearms in the United States, touched off by the emotional response to December's mass shooting of schoolchildren, collapsed in the Senate on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reports. Both the Journal and Reuters look at where gun control advocates go from here.

Guggenheim to Advise Hulu on Sale, May Also Bid

Hulu has hired Guggenheim Partners to advise on a sale of the company, even as the financial services firm considers making its own bid for the video streaming service, sources told Reuters.

Lawsuit Over 'Get-Thin' Ads Is Settled

A company behind the 1-800-GET-THIN billboard ads has reached a $1.3-million settlement of a false-advertising lawsuit, the Los Angeles Times reports. Some of the money will be spent on billboards warning the public about the risks of weight-loss surgery.

Venture Capital Funding Drops Sharply in SoCal

Venture capital funding, the lifeblood of start-ups, is down 42 percent so far this year in Southern California to less than $508 million, according to a study released Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Feds, States Settle for $25 Million in Amgen Case

Amgen Inc. has agreed to pay $24.9 million to resolve claims it illegally promoted its anemia drug to nursing homes and long-term care facilities, the Associated Press reports. The Thousand Oaks biotech denies all of the allegations that were resolved by the settlement.

Did Cocaine Cause the Financial Crisis?

British neuropsycopharmacologist David Nutt argues that the financial crisis was a hangover from a gigantic coke binge, helping feed a banking "culture of excitement and drive and more and more and more," CNBC reports.

Air Quality Better Across Southland

Air quality statewide has improved over the last 12 years, but the agency that works to control pollution in Southern California wants tougher restrictions on wood burning in open pits and fireplaces as well as cleaner ports and railroads, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Founders Cash Out, But Do Workers Gain?

This week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill to encourage employee-ownership plans. But critics of the plans say owners who are looking for an easy exit are simply spreading the risks of business ownership by convincing employees to gamble their retirement savings, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Former Israeli PM Enters Tech Funding

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert joined forces Thursday with a leading Kazakh industrialist and an Israeli entrepreneur to launch "Genesis Angels," an early-stage investment targeting innovations in robotics, artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies, the Associated Press reports.

Chinese Go Nuts Over Bumper U.S Peanut Crop

Mei Guan had never seen so many Chinese customers at her Hong Kong Café in 10 years of operation. She wondered what brought them all to her small city in southern Georgia, because "there's really nothing to see in Albany," she said. They came for the peanuts, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Stocks Continue Decline

In Thursday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 28 points to 14,590. The Nasdaq fell 15 points to 3,189. The S&P 500 fell 4 points to 1,548.

Wednesday, April 17

Mattel Rises on Steep Profit Increase

Shares of Mattel Inc. rose on Wednesday after the company reported net a sharp increase in net income, boosted by increased sales of its American Girl dolls.

Better-Than-Expected Quarter for East West

East West Bancorp Inc. on Wednesday reported higher net income in the first quarter as loan growth and quality improved.

Higher PacWest Profit Lower Than Expected

PacWest Bancorp on Wednesday said that its first-quarter net income more than doubled, but the results still fell short of Wall Street expectations.

J2 Global Makes Dutch Acquisition

Hollywood online service provider J2 Global Inc. said that it has acquired Dutch cloud storage firm Backup Connect BV.

Compromise Mattress Recycling Bill Moves Forward

After winning changes to a controversial recycling law, mattress manufacturers and retailers have dropped their opposition and allowed a compromise bill to clear a legislative hurdle on Wednesday.

Stocks Close Down

In Wednesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 138 points, or 1 percent, to 14,618. The Nasdaq fell 60 points, or nearly 2 percent, to 3,205. The S&P 500 fell 22 points, or more than 1 percent, to 1,552. The LABJ Stock Index fell nearly 2 points, or 1 percent, to 157.

Software Startup Launches With $2.4 Million

Bitium has created what it calls a software-as-a-service operating system designed to help businesses manage their accounts and passwords for cloud software – or software accessed via a web browser instead of downloaded to a computer.

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Music Mastermind Announces Mobile Launch

Music Mastermind announced Wednesday that it will publish its music creation game, “Zya,” on iPhones and iPads through a distribution deal with Chillingo, the mobile game publishing arm of Electronic Arts Inc.

AEG Could Be Disqualified From Managing Convention Center

L.A. Live operator Anschutz Entertainment Group, one of two firms looking to take over management of the Los Angeles Convention Center, could be knocked out of the running after executives failed to open their accounting books to city officials, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Glitch Grounds American Airlines Flights

American Airlines, hoping to reinvent itself by coming out of bankruptcy with a new logo, freshly painted planes and a merger plan that will make it the nation's largest carrier, suffered a setback Tuesday when a computer outage grounded hundreds of planes across the country, the Los Angeles Times and USA Today report.

Boeing Making 5 Percent Cut in Satellite Workforce

Boeing Co.'s satellite-making operation in Southern California has just concluded a round of voluntary buyouts in an effort to slash its workforce by 250 to 300 employees, the Los Angeles Times and the Daily Breeze report. Affected are Boeing's Space & Intelligence Systems facilities in El Segundo, Torrance, Seal Beach and Huntington Beach.

Hollywood's 'Poker Princess' Tied to Russian Mob Gambling Ring

The U.S. Attorney in Manhattan has unsealed an indictment against 34 individuals who are alleged to have participated in two related Russian-American organized crime enterprises engaged in gambling and money laundering. The Hollywood Reporter says among those charged is Molly Bloom, who admitted to having played a key role arranging high-stakes Hollywood poker games for the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Tobey Maguire and Ben Affleck.

BYD to Open Bus Factory in Lancaster

Gov. Jerry Brown announced on the last day of his trade mission to China that electric car and bus manufacturer BYD would open a factory in Lancaster, the first Chinese-owned vehicle plant on American soil, the Los Angeles Times reports. Also read the Los Angeles Business Journal’s earlier coverage of BYD’s decision to build buses here.

AMC Stops Selling Advance Tickets for 'Iron Man 3'

AMC Entertainment, the nation's second-largest theater chain, has stopped selling advance tickets for the upcoming movie "Iron Man 3" because of a dispute with Walt Disney Studios, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Port Construction Led to Thousands of New Jobs

More than 5,000 regional jobs were created in 2012 because of Port of Long Beach-related projects, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports. Much of the work came from a project that aims to fuse aging terminals into one mega terminal, and from the Gerald Desmond Bridge replacement.

Tesco Confirms U.S. Exit

Tesco PLC’s ambitious U.S. experiment, the 5-year-old grocery chain Fresh & Easy, has failed after costing its British parent billions of dollars, the company said Wednesday, confirming that it will attempt to sell Fresh & Easy and its 200 stores in California, Arizona and Nevada, the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg BusinessWeek report.

Broadcasters Ask for New Aereo Hearing

Seeking a rehearing of an appellate court’s decision in favor of Aereo, Fox and other broadcasters said that the startup’s ability to continue offering unauthorized streams of their signals “will swallow the entire retransmission licensing regime," Variety reports.

Entertainment Group Takes 21st Century Fox Name

Rupert Murdoch has settled on a new name for his soon-to-be-reconstituted film and television company: 21st Century Fox, the Los Angeles Times and New York Times report. Murdock earlier announced that the existing News Corp. would be renamed "Fox Group" when the media conglomerate separates itself into two separate publicly traded companies this summer.

Yahoo's Ad Struggles Persist

Yahoo Inc.'s stock price is sharply higher since the hiring of Marissa Mayer last year, but the new chief executive has so far provided little evidence of a turnaround for the Internet company, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Bill Would Limit Payday Loans

n attempt to break the "debt cycle" ensnaring some of the state's poorest residents, State Senate Bill 515, which set to go before a committee today, would bar the payday lenders in California from making more than six loans a year to any borrower and extends the minimum term of a payday loan from 15 days to 30, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Stocks Slide Again

In Wednesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 181 points, or 1 percent, to 14,576. The Nasdaq fell 68 points, or 2 percent, to 3,197. The S&P 500 fell 26 points, or nearly 2 percent, to 1,548.

Tuesday, April 16

BBCN to Buy Chicago Bank

BBCN Bancorp is heading east with Tuesday’s announcement that it plans to acquire a Chicago-based Korean-American bank for $4.6 million.

Cathay General Profit Falls

Cathay General Bancorp on Tuesday reported lower first quarter net income as the company continued to pay down money it borrowed from the U.S. Treasury during the recession.

Analyst Upgrades DreamWorks

A local stock analyst on Tuesday upgraded shares of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. from “sell” to “buy,” saying that the filmmaker’s prospects over the next year are brighter than expected.

Stocks Rebound

In Tuesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 158 points, or 1 percent, to 14,757. The Nasdaq rose 48 points, or 1.5 percent, to 3,265. The S&P 500 rose 21 points, or 1.5 percent, to 1,575. The LABJ Stock Index rose 3 points, or nearly 2 percent, to 158.

Snapchat Grows, Gets Hit With Spam

Many people who use photo messaging app Snapchat on Tuesday woke up to a spam message, the same day that Evan Spiegel, the Venice company’s co-founder and chief executive, was in New York to promote the app at a mobile conference.

Immigration Bill Features Sweeping Changes

The U.S. immigration system would undergo dramatic changes under a bipartisan Senate bill that puts a new focus on prospective immigrants’ merit and employment potential, while creating legal avenues for workers to come here, the Associated Press and Los Angeles Times report.

Bombings Shatter National Sense of Safety

The Boston Marathon explosions struck at the nation's sense of safety in public places, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Wall Street Journal looks at how difficult it can be to tighten security at outdoor competitions that draw tens of thousands of spectators.

State Senate Considers Plastic Bag Ban

A drive to ban most stores from handing out single-use plastic bags got an important boost Monday when the California Grocers Association announced its support for a bill, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Two Disney Rides Remain Closed

A ride at Disneyland and another at Disney California Adventure Park stayed closed as park officials worked to fix state safety violations, the Los Angeles Times reports.

USC's Enfield Coaches Like Nobody's Business

Andy Enfield brings hoops know-how and ample experience in the finance world to new job as USC basketball coach, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Twitter Said to Seek Deals With Viacom, NBC

Twitter Inc. is close to reaching partnerships with television networks that would bring more videos and advertising to the social site, sources tell Bloomberg News.

Hollywood CEOs See Compensation Drop

With corporate boards and investors more cautious over executive compensation, pay packages for the heads of many entertainment conglomerates declined in value last year, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Sprint Went From Poor Stepchild to Hot Target

People are guzzling wireless data and spending more on their phone bills. That has helped turn Sprint Nextel Corp., earlier seen as the poor stepchild of the U.S. wireless industry, into a hot acquisition target, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Fed Official: Latest Jobs Report Gives Me Pause

An influential Federal Reserve official said Tuesday that March's weak jobs report underscores the need for the nation's central bank to keep buying bonds apace, Reuters reports.

Greuel Seeks $175 Million in City Savings

Los Angeles mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel says that she would seek an extra $175 million in savings from the city's budget by using such strategies as cutting the City Council's discretionary funds, the Los Angeles Times reports.

No One Wants the World's Cheapest Car

The old adage says a person can’t be too rich or too thin. Given Indian automaker Tata Motors’ disappointing experience with the Nano — the $2,000 compact it introduced with great fanfare in 2008 — it’s clear a car can be too cheap, Bloomberg News reports.

Stocks Rebound

In Tuesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 101 points to 14,700. The Nasdaq rose 30 points, or 1 percent, to 3,247. The S&P 500 rose 13 points, or 1 percent, to 1,566.

Monday, April 15

L.A. Port Numbers Plunge, Long Beach Rises Slightly

A steep decline in Asian imports as factories closed for the Lunar New Year holiday helped drive container volume at the Port of Los Angeles down 23 percent year over year.

Mandalay Digital Announces Reverse Stock Split

Shares of Mandalay Digital Group Inc. rose more than 13 percent on Monday after the company announced a reverse stock split and said two directors invested an additional $1 million.

Expenses Move Joe's Jeans to Loss

Joe's Jeans Inc. on Monday moved from a profit to a loss in the first quarter on higher operating expenses.

Stocks Slide

In Monday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 266 points, or nearly 2 percent, to 14,599. The Nasdaq fell 78 points, 2 percent, to 3,216. The S&P 500 fell 36 points, 2 percent, to 1,552. The LABJ Stock Index rose fell more than 4 points, nearly 3 percent, to 156.

Dish Makes Bid for Sprint

Satellite-TV provider Dish Network Corp. is making a $25.5 billion bid for Sprint Nextel Corp. in an effort to derail the No. 3 U.S. wireless carrier's acquisition by Softbank Corp. of Japan, Variety reports. The Wall Street Journal profiles Dish CEO Charlie Ergen, a onetime professional gambler.

L.A. School Reform Effort Draws Rich and Famous

From Eli Broad to Lynda Resnick, Michael Bloomberg to the widow of Steve Jobs, wealthy donors have poured about $4 million into the Coalition for School Reform, a political action committee spearheaded by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Digital Billboards Ordered To Go Dark

The Los Angeles Times reports that a judge has demanded that 77 signs operated by Clear Channel and CBS must be turned off by 5 p.m. Monday.

Oxy Seeks Stability at the Top

Occidental Petroleum is searching for a successor to its CEO during challenging times, including disappointing stock performance amid investor activism, the Los Angeles Times reports.

IRS Targets Business Taxpayers in Certain Regions

Worried the Internal Revenue Service might target you for an audit? You probably should be if you own a small business in one of the wealthy suburbs of Los Angeles, according to a study by the National Taxpayer Advocate, the Associated Press reports.

Home-Building Boom Returns to Southland

Home builders are bidding up land prices, scrambling to find workers and building bigger, more expensive homes than they did just a few years ago, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Porn Film Permits Drop Dramatically

Film permits requested by the porn industry have all but ceased in Los Angeles County as producers decide how to work around much opposed law that requires actors to wear condoms during shoots, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

An Industrial Real Estate Boom Hits the Inland Empire

Demand for warehouse space in Riverside and San Bernardino counties is picking up as firms set up massive distribution centers, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Gold Rout Continues

Gold continued to take a battering on the spot market Monday, shedding nearly another $100 per troy ounce after weaker than expected data on Chinese first quarter growth sparked a new wave of selling, the Wall Street Journal and CNBC report.

Valley Doc to Be Sentenced in Medicare Fraud

A doctor with a clinic in the San Fernando Valley faces sentencing Monday for bilking Medicare out of more than $3 million by submitting bills for procedures never performed, sometimes involving "patients" who were already dead, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

As Wall Street Soars, Company Size a Big Factor

American giants are benefiting from productivity gains and renewed growth in China and other overseas markets, allowing them to increase profits even if business at home remains lackluster, the New York Times reports.

Stocks Drop

In Monday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 87 points to 14,778. The Nasdaq fell 27 points to 3,268. The S&P 500 fell 12 points to 1,577.

Success In the Cards?

Philosophie gets down to business with game about Web development.

Web development firm Philosophie now deals in entertainment with a card game based on its industry.

Handling ‘Series A Crunch’

Special Report: Tech Finance

The “Series A crunch,” despite its ominous name, is not much more than an observation.

Bonds Break At Brokerage

INVESTMENT: Vets exit TCW as Carlyle takes over.

TCW can no longer bank on a stable image as veteran executives continue to jump ship.

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Online Platform Gets Marketing Firms Talking

Internet: Shift’s cloud service allows businesses to network and access apps.

Shift, a Santa Monica firm that makes apps for marketers, is continuing to tweak its formula.

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Satellite Service to Unleash Paid Pooch Programming

TV: DirecTV looks to add DogTV to lineup in order to collar canine viewers.

Satellite provider DirecTV looks to collar a real niche audience with its pooch-aimed DogTV channel.

Businesses See Little Gain in Minimum Wage Hike

GOVERNMENT: Proposed state bill seen as ‘job killer’ by some employers.

Employers fear maximum layoffs if Sacramento passes minimum wage legislation.

Farmed Out

Fresh produce service feeds restaurants’ buy-local urges

Dan Chak looks to plant himself as a go-between for produce producers and the increasing number of restaurants looking to buy local.

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L.A. Draws Outside Cash

Special Report: Tech Finance

As startup activity in Los Angeles heats up, venture capital firms and angel investors from outside the region have begun to take notice.

Sowing Startups

Special Report: Tech Finance

Angels and venture capital firms have sprouted in Los Angeles as the local tech scene has bloomed.

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Summer Learning Programs in Need of Seasoning

Jennifer Peck and David Rattray want to heat up summer learning programs.

Want Ads Unanswered

California risks leaving lots of money on the table by not developing workforce with in-demand skills.

Vicki Schemel backs vocational training to give job seekers the skills to pay the bills.

Higher Ed’s Expensive Lessons

Nobody seems able to bring down the higher cost of higher education, but Charles Crumpley has a thesis on how to make college affordable.

Dallas Developer Lassoes Another L.A. Building

ACQUISITION: Lincoln to pay $50 million for downtown office property.

Lincoln Property Co. is about to acquire yet another downtown L.A. office building.

Data Bank

Calendar and Events

News of the Week

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

Medical Pot Dispenser Looks to Expand Delivery

ACQUISITION: Medbox buys maker of medicinal vaporizing products.

Medbox Inc., which makes ATM-like devices that dispense medical marijuana and other pharmaceuticals after-hours, recently announced an acquisition that’s in line with its founders’ ambitions to increase the respectability of the medical marijuana industry.

Investment Firms Put Their Money on Los Angeles

BANKING: Mid-size businesses help provide stable environment.

Smaller boutique investment firms help Los Angeles avoid big swings in the sector.

Contact Lens Maker Draws Wall Street’s Focus

Health Care: Staar’s stock shoots up on strength of quarterly revenue.

Investors like what they see in contact lens maker Staar’s increased revenue.

Fresh Spin

MUSIC: Record label Varèse Sarabande looks to double its output of film soundtracks with assist from new parent.

New parent hopes to tune up record label Varèse Sarabande’s movie soundtrack business.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Pushing Pedals With His Mettle

Spinmeister by day, spinmeister by night.

Sequencing Venture Capital

Special Report: Tech Finance

Business Journal takes a step-by-step look at how funding needs are met as tech startups mature, with profiles of local investors.

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Catching Drift at Grand Prix

Long Beach race looks to gain traction with new fans on the slide.

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach broadens its racing focus by adding a drifting competition.

Hoping Every Dog Has Its Day

Pet food maker turns to crowdfunding to feed her business.

J.J. Israel hopes she’s not barking up the wrong tree by trying to crowdfund her doggie treats business.

Wrapping Up At Rap Station?

RADIO: Buyer may switch KDAY to Chinese language.

Rap station KDAY faces the music as new owner is likely to switch to Chinese-language programming.

Foreclosure Boom Busts Attorney

LAW: Bankrupt Gene W. Choe also faces possible loss of license.

State Bar homes in on attorney whose firm boomed then busted handling foreclosure cases.

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Friday, April 12

Signature CEO Resigns

Signature Group Holdings Inc. said that Craig Noell has resigned as chief executive and Chairman Chris Colville will take his place.

Staar, RealD Among Week’s Biggest Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies gained strong for the week.

Stocks Mixed

In Friday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down less than 1 point to 14,865. The Nasdaq fell 5 points to 3,295. The S&P 500 fell 5 points to 1,589. The LABJ Stock Index rose 1 point to 160.

Tumblr Opens L.A. Office

New York blog network Tumblr has opened an office in Culver City.

Crime and Blunders Alleged in KPMG Insider Trading Case

The actions of former auditor Scott London and pal Bryan Shaw guaranteed their downfall, according to experts and a criminal complaint, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Ontario Prepares to Sue L.A. Over Airport

Frustrated by the slow pace of talks to get its airport back, Ontario officials have signaled their intent to sue the city of Los Angeles to dissolve the decades-old deal that gave Ontario International Airport to L.A., the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports.

Gun-Bill Debate Begins After Bipartisan Breakthough

The Senate finally voted Thursday to begin the process of bringing gun-control legislation to the floor, the Wall Street Journal reports, the result of a new bipartisan breeze wafing through the halls of Congress.

Another Plot Twist at Herbalife

Herbalife will find its next auditor watched closely by the participants in the ongoing stock fight being waged by hedge funds, the New York Times reports. The Wall Street Journal profiles one stock analyst who's back to his bullish ways on the company after the initial scare on Monday.

L.A. Port Rail Project Sparks Anger

Plans for a new railyard at the Port of Los Angeles have struck a nerve in the city of Long Beach, whose working-class neighborhoods are near the port, the New York Times reports.

Consumer Sentiment Tumbles

U.S. retail sales contracted in March for the second time in three months and consumer confidence tumbled in April, a sign that tax hikes early this year have stolen momentum from the American economy, Reuters reports.

An Age of Bite-Size Entertainment

As the world goes mobile, get ready for more movies, books and music that can be snacked on in a single sitting, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Imax to Go Into Hollywood’s Chinese Theatre

Imax Corp., once a peripheral player in Hollywood, is putting its stamp on the industry’s most famous movie theater: the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Union Delivers No-Confidence Vote to Superintendent

LAUSD's teachers union issued an overwhelming vote of no-confidence Thursday in the leadership of Superintendent John Deasy as he finishes his second year, while a rival survey released by civil rights groups showed strong support for his reform strategies, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Academy Unveils Plans for Museum

The Academy has unveiled more details about its Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which will include 30,000 square feet of exhibition space, labs and galleries and a 15,000-square-foot landscaped public plaza, TheWrap.com reports.

When Your M.D. Is an Algorithm

Amid all that’s being done to fight prescription painkiller abuse, the most effective measure might be a computer algorithm, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Are Billionaires Just Smarter Than Everyone Else?

A growing body of research tells us that success is not so much a function of raw intelligence, but of work, circumstances and time applied to a specific skill, CNBC reports.

Stocks Sink

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 46 points to 14,818. The Nasdaq fell 23 points to 3,277. The S&P 500 fell 10 points to 1,583.

Thursday, April 11

Pair Charged in KPMG Case

Federal criminal and civil charges were filed Thursday against former KMPG partner Scott London and his friend who allegedly traded on insider information about KPMG clients that included Herbalife Ltd. and Skechers USA Inc.

DreamWorks Buys Rights for Troll Doll Franchise

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. said Thursday it has bought the Troll Doll brand from Denmark’s Dam family and plans to expand the franchise.

Green Dot CFO To Depart

Monrovia’s Green Dot Corp. is in the market for a new chief financial officer after John Keatley announced he plans to leave the company by September.

Hanmi Names Chief Financial Officer

Koreatown’s Hanmi Financial Corp., the holding company for Hanmi Bank, announced Thursday that Shick “Mark” Yoon has been appointed chief financial officer, effective immediately.

Reliance Steel’s Largest Acquisition Nears Completion

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. acquisition target Metals USA Holdings Corp. on Thursday said that its shareholders had approved the $766 million deal by an overwhelming margin.

Stocks Rise

In Thursday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 63 points to 14,865. The Nasdaq rose 3 points to 3,300. The S&P 500 rose 6 points to 1,593. The LABJ Stock Index rose 1 point to 159.

FieldLevel Helps Coaches Recruit Home Runs

Santa Monica technology company FieldLevel on Thursday announced its technology to help coaches find and recruit the right student athletes and vice-versa.

Oxy Stung by Proxy Adviser

An influential proxy adviser says Occidental Petroleum Corp. shareholders shouldn't re-elect Executive Chairman Ray Irani or lead director Aziz Syriani, citing a failure to manage the L.A. oil company's search for a new chief executive, the Wall Street Journal reports.

China's Pollution May Hold Silver Lining for California

With Chinese leaders talking openly about cleaning up the air, Gov. Jerry Brown sees his visit there as a chance to parlay the state's know-how into business deals, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Fired KPMG Auditor Photographed Accepting Cash

The defining moment in the KPMG insider-trading scandal happened over coffee at a Starbucks in the San Fernando Valley, when the auditor at the center of the case was set up by Bryan Shaw, an Encino jeweler and golfing buddy of fired auditor Scott London, the Los Angeles Times reports.

PC Sales Swoon; Microsoft Downgraded

Smartphones and tablets, while not perfect substitutes for PCs, are pulling dollars out of consumers’ wallets that might have otherwise gone to laptop or desktop computers. That contributed to a worldwide 13.9 percent decline in PC shipments in the first quarter, the New York Times reports. Two analysts so far this morning have downgraded shares of Microsoft Corp., Fox Business reports.

10 Things the Post Office Won’t Tell You

The U.S. Postal Service on Wednesday gave up plans, for now, on its plan to end Saturday service after encountering resistance from Congress, MarketWatch reports, which also notes that your failure to send mom a real birthday card is the least of the Postal Service’s problems now.

Fewer Californians Get Insurance at Work

A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study shows that 53 percent of Californians get their health insurance through work, down from 62 percent in 2000, the Los Angeles Times reports. Higher costs are translating into fewer employers offering insurance coverage, and fewer employees accepting it even when it is offered.

Music Festival Fashion Inspires New Trends at Stores

Fresh-off-the-runway fashion trends usually travel across the county to influence fashionistas from New York to Los Angeles. But the Los Angeles Daily News reports that the ever-growing music festival scene has taken "seen-on-the-street" fashion to a different stage, sparking hot trends that fill the racks of retailers such as L.A.'s Forever 21 and Guess.

Report: Lenders Used Aid to Repay TARP

A number of small banks used $2.1 billion in government cash intended to boost small-business lending to repay bailout funds from the financial crisis, a government watchdog said in a report that also concluded the banks lent less money than firms that didn't take bailout aid, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Gold Loses Its Luster

Below the streets of Lower Manhattan, in the vault of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the world’s largest trove of gold has lost about $75 billion of its value. The New York Times looks at what went wrong — or actually, what likely went right.

U.S. Home Repossessions Down

The number of U.S. homes repossessed by lenders last month fell to the lowest level in more than five years, the latest evidence that the nation's foreclosure crisis is abating amid an improving housing market, the Associated Press reports.

PayPal Hopes to Break Shoppers' Swipe Habit

A nagging question hangs over PayPal's push to checkout counters, Reuters reports: How can it convince consumers to try its new payment method when swiping a credit or debit card is so easy?

Don't Mess With Coupons

Mike Ullman’s direction for struggling J.C. Penney has yet to take shape, but Boomberg BusinessWeek reports that at least one part of the new chief executive’s plan is clear: coupons will be back. His predecessor failed to take into account our country’s longstanding affection for those money-saving pieces of paper.

Ready to Rent a Nerd?

Are you a mom-and-pop operator who always wanted a fancy consultant on your payroll for tasks ranging from accounting to building a mobile-social media strategy? Hourly Nerd.com is an online marketplace that offers MBA students for hire from the nation's top business schools, CNBC reports.

Stocks Rise

In Thursday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 67 points to 14,860. The Nasdaq rose 7 points to 3,304. The S&P 500 rose 7 points to 1,594.

Wednesday, April 10

California Ranks Third in Milken Technology Index

The Golden State came in third in this year’s index, following Massachusetts and Maryland.

Snail Brings Game Stateside

On Wednesday Snail Games finally launched its biggest game, a massive-multi-player called “Age of Wushu,” to American audiences.

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Ad Hoc Adapts Burner for Android

Ad Hoc Labs, a Los Angeles mobile software company, announced Wednesday it is making its Burner app – which generates short-term phone numbers for sensitive uses such as online dating – available for use on Android phones.

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Soon-Shiong Adds to Stake in Jakks

An investment company controlled by Patrick Soon-Shiong has bought more than 3 million shares of Jakks Pacific Inc., increasing the Los Angeles billionaire’s stake in the Malibu toymaker from 9 percent to nearly 14 percent.

Disney Layoffs Announced

Walt Disney Co. has begun a new round of layoffs as part of the Burbank entertainment giant’s latest attempt to cut costs.

Gold, Karatz Join MOCA Board

Downtown Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art said Wednesday that its board has elected new trustees, including two well-known Los Angeles businessmen, Stanley P. Gold and Bruce Karatz.

Staar Jumps on Better-Than-Expected Revenue

Shares of Staar Surgical Co. gained more than 16 percent over the last two trading days after the implantable eye lens maker said it expected to report significantly better-than-expected revenue for the first quarter.

KDAY to Turn Chinese?

Old school hip-hop station KDAY (93.5) of Redondo Beach and Inland Empire sister station KDEY (93.5) have been sold to investors who might switch KDAY to a Chinese-language format.

American Airlines Adding Destinations From LAX

American Airlines announced that it is expanding its service at Los Angeles International Airport this year with nine new destinations.

Stocks Rise

In Wednesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 129 points, or 1 percent, to 14,802. The Nasdaq rose 59 points, or nearly 2 percent, to 3,297. The S&P 500 rose 19 points, or more than 1 percent, to 1,588. The LABJ Stock Index rose 2 points or more than 1 percent, to 158.

L.A. TV Production Has Strong First Quarter

Production on the streets of Los Angeles County rebounded during the first quarter of 2013, jumping 17.6 percent compared to the same period last year, the Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.com report.

Fired KPMG Auditor Describes 'Lapse of Judgment'

Scott London, the Los Angeles partner at KPMG fired for insider trading of prominent companies whose audits he handled, told the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal that his fall began four years ago when he tried to help a friend in money trouble.

Herbalife Rocked by New Controversy

In the wake of KMPG's insider trading scandal, Herbalife Ltd. officials scrambled Tuesday to reassure investors that its financial statements are accurate and its stock will continue to trade as normal, the Los Angeles Times reports.

S&P 500 Sets New Intraday High

Stocks extended their gains Wednesday morning, with the S&P; 500 surpassing its all-time high, boosted by upbeat economic news from China and after the Federal Reserve's latest meeting minutes, CNBC reports.

Villaraigosa Gives Last 'State of the City'

In one of his last major speeches as mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa on Tuesday took credit for creating a safer, greener and more livable city, while also scolding the candidates running to replace him for not saying enough about how they will improve schools, the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily News report.

Relativity Media Under Pressure to Grow

Ryan Kavanaugh’s TV and film company Relativity Media is dealing with the growing pains of a business that has expanded rapidly in a short period, Variety reports.

Building a Brand Without Spending on Advertising

It was quite a week for Tesla Motors. The Palo Alto electric car company last week said it reached profitability for the first time, unveiled a new financing program and saw its stock close at an all-time high. Much of the action was driven by Chief Executive Elon Musk's bold, brash and unconventional use of social media, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

L.A. Jury Sides with Doctor in Anthem Case

A Los Angeles jury has awarded at least $3.8 million in damages to a Porter Ranch doctor who contends insurer Anthem Blue Cross retaliated against him for being a strong patient advocate, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Powerball Launches Lucky Times for Messenger Services

Gamblers aren't the only ones pumped up by Powerball's California debut this week, the Los Angeles Times reports. With long lines at the state's 21,000 authorized retailers, online services such as LottoGopher are swooping in to take advantage of consumers' desire for a more convenient way to play.

Facebook Gets a Hold on Phones

Facebook wants to take over your phone, says the Wall Street Journal in a review of a new suite of software that the social networking giant is introducing for Android phones on Friday. Facebook Home aims to immediately immerse you in its world with just a glance at the phone's opening screen.

Broadcasters Circle Wagons Against TV Streaming Upstart

Aereo, which scoops up the free signals of local television stations and streams them to the phones and computers of paying subscribers, denies stations the fees cable operators pay to retransmit their signals. Networks are determined to shut it down — even, they say, if they have to go cable-only, the New York Times and Variety report.

Why Johnny Depp Joined the Comanche Nation

Disney's quiet, months-long effort to head off Native American controversy for its upcoming film "The Lone Ranger" included on-set experts, a filming location blessing from a Navajo elder and the adoption into the Comanche Nation of co-star Johnny Depp — who plays iconic sidekick Tonto, the Hollywood Reporter says.

DirecTV Adds DogTV Channel for Canine Viewers

El Segundo's DirecTV, the largest U.S. satellite-TV provider, will begin airing DogTV, a $5.99-a-month premium channel designed to comfort canines and stave off loneliness when pet owners are out of the house. It's the biggest distribution deal for the nascent channel, Bloomberg News and AdAge.com report.

Stocks Rise

In Wednesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 126 points to 14,800. The Nasdaq rose 49 points to 3,287. The S&P 500 rose 16 points to 1,585.

Tuesday, April 9

Fired KPMG Auditor Is Prominent L.A. Businessman

The fired auditor at the center of a Los Angeles insider trading case has been identified as Scott London, a longtime partner in the downtown L.A. office of accounting firm KPMG and a board member of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

Stocks Up at Close

In Tuesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 60 points to 14,673. The Nasdaq rose 16 points to 3,238. The S&P 500 rose 5 points to 1,569. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 156.

Boingo Connects With AT&T

he partnership allows AT&T wireless customers to tap into Boingo’s worldwide network of hotspots in international airports through a special free app.

Docstoc Launches Microsoft Office Marketplace

Docstoc announced Tuesday that it will begin selling templates for legal and business documents through Microsoft Office.

KPMG Insider Case Affects Herbalife, Skechers

KPMG has resigned as auditor of Herbalife after the accounting firm fired a partner in Los Angeles over alleged insider-trading tips, the Wall Street Journal reports. Trading in shares of two L.A. companies, Herbalife and Skechers Inc., also a KMPG client, were halted earlier this morning.

Oxy Board Denies Infighting in Executive Suite

Occidental Petroleum Corp. company's board said there is "no fight at the top" of the oil and gas producer, but made it clear that the two men who have run Oxy for the last decade were both on their way out, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Disney Stock Soars as Layoffs Loom

Disney will be laying off about 150 people at its film studio by the end of the week, sources tell CNBC and TheWrap.com. The news comes as Disney's share price is up more than 15 percent year to date.

New Amgen CEO's Salary Jumps in First Year

Amgen Inc.'s new chief executive, Robert A. Bradway, received total compensation of $13.6 million in 2012, more than his predecessor, the Associated Press reports.

Will Hollywood Cash Follow New Crowdfunding Plan?

David Marlett, an aspiring screenwriter with a pair of small producing credits, has just launched BlueRun Crowdfund, TheWrap.com reports.

Fed Policies Spur Corporate Spending

A Wall Street Journal survey of chief executives say historically low interest rates engineered by the Federal Reserve are motivating at least some businesses to invest in new equipment, buildings and technology upgrades, and lenders are starting to make credit more available.

Now Showing in Homes of the Rich: First-Run Movies

Prima Cinema Inc. allows the wealthy to use their home theaters to show movies that are still at the multiplex. The cost: $35,000 in equipment and $500 to $600 a film, the Los Angeles Times reports.

JC Penney Turns to Old CEO

J.C. Penney is hoping former Chief Executive Mike Ullman can revive the retailer after a risky turnaround strategy backfired and led to massive losses and steep sales declines, the Associated Press reports. The company's board ousted Chief Executive Ron Johnson after only 17 months.

Kroger to Put Vehicle-Charging Stations at Stores

Kroger Co., the country's largest grocery store owner with chains including Ralphs and Food 4 Less, plans to install a total of 225 vehicle charging stations at 125 supermarkets in California and Arizona, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Thatcher's Economic Overhauls Still Debated

The late Margaret Thatcher profoundly changed economic policy making in Britain, and the British economy itself. To what extent those changes were for the better is still debated in this country decades later, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Stocks Mixed

In Tuesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 10 points to 14,624. The Nasdaq was down less than 1 point to 3,222. The S&P 500 was up less than 1 point to 1,563.

Monday, April 8

Long Beach Hyatt Hotel Employees Elect Union

Employees at two Hyatt hotels in Long Beach, the 528-room Hyatt Regency Long Beach and the 138-room Pike Long Beach, said Monday they had voted to be represented by Unite Here Local 11.

California Chamber Flags 32 “Job Killer” Bills

The California Chamber of Commerce released its annual list of “job killer” bills on Monday, targeting 32 measures in the state Legislature it believes will have a negative impact on California’s business climate if they were to become law.

Merz Bows Out of Race for Obagi

Merz Pharma Group on Monday withdrew its $22-a-share offer for Obagi Medical Products Inc., leaving the Long Beach dermatology company with a sweetened offer by its original suitor, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. of Montreal.

Stocks Rise

In Monday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 48 points to 14,613. The Nasdaq rose 18 points to 3,222. The S&P 500 rose 10 points to 1,563. The LABJ Stock Index rose more than 1 point to 156.

Science Adds Former Mahalo Exec

Science announced Monday that it hired Jason Rapp as managing director.

California Joins Powerball Lottery

Californians double down on the lottery today as the Golden State becomes the 43rd state to join the Powerball jackpot game, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Giving Street Vendors the Business

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider cracking down on the proliferation of unlicensed street vending, including people illegally selling used items out of their homes or at informal open-air markets, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Former British PM Margaret Thatcher Dies

Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister who became one of the most influential leaders of the postwar period, died on Monday at age 87, three decades after her championing of free-market economics transformed Britain's economy, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Chernin Bids $500 Million for Hulu

Former News Corp. president Peter Chernin has bid about $500 million for Hulu, the online video streaming service he helped create in 2007, sources told Reuters and the Wall Street Journal.

Long Lines for Ammo at Gun Show

Ammunition was the hot item this weekend, as Southland gun enthusiasts — concerned about the impact of potential gun-control legislation — converged on the Crossroads of the West Gun Show in Ontario, the Inland Valley Bulletin reports.

Jay-Z Signs Deal With Universal Music

Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group said Monday it had signed a multiyear deal with rapper Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter to house his music label Roc Nation, snagging the coveted rights to release Carter's next album along with the forthcoming records of other top-selling artists including Rihanna and Shakira, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Too Soon to Call New BlackBerry a Failure?

The BlackBerry Z10, designed to do battle with Apple and Samsung in the competitive smartphone market, debuted to something of a thud. But despite the howling of fans expecting more and investors whipsawing the stock around, one large BlackBerry investor is staying the course, Yahoo's Breakout blog reports.

Reed's Nears Profitability Amid Healthy Thirst

Best known for its ginger drinks, Reed's Inc. has added kombucha to its line of low calorie drinks with perceived health benefits, as the L.A. beverage maker seeks a return to profitability, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Eye on Ratings, ABC Peers into Disney Toy Chest

ABC has long been a type of distant planet in the Walt Disney Co. universe, largely operating outside the company’s synergistic approach to show business. But the New York Times reports that's changing.

Investors Bankroll Lawsuits

Law would seem to be the furthest thing from a growth industry these days. But a certain class of investors sees one aspect — big commercial lawsuits — as an increasingly good bet, the Wall Street Journal reports.

3-D Still a Tale of Two Markets

Thanks to a 3-D overhaul, "Jurassic Park" roared back into theaters last weekend, racking up nearly $20 million domestically despite being 20 years old. But that success is an exception to how 3-D has been performing in the United States, TheWrap.com reports.

Email Newsletters Connect Advertisers with Niche Audiences

DailyCandy, Thrillist and others send free daily emails telling subscribers about activities and products they might enjoy. Take InsideHook L.A., a new curated email newsletter fronted by actor Rob Lowe, which announced special experiences to men too busy to find them for themselves, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Roger Ebert as Builder of an Empire

The late film critic Roger Ebert, who used all available technologies and platforms to advance both his love of film and his own professional interests, left behind a remarkable template for how a lone journalist can become something much more, the New York Times reports.

Faber: Crash Likelihood Goes Up if Stocks Continue Rally

The U.S. stock market is overbought and any more near-term gains portend big trouble for the market, "The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report" publisher Marc Faber told CNBC on Monday.

Digital Subscriptions Boost Newspaper Circulation

After years of devastating losses, circulation revenue for daily newspapers grew in 2012 for the first time in a decade, as more people paid to subscribe to digital editions according to industry data, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Slaking a Region’s Thirst While Cleaning Its Beaches

Los Angeles officials are trying to deal with runoff pollution and another problem — the lack of drinking water — with an ambitious plan to make the runoff drinkable, the New York Times reports.

Stocks Drop

In Monday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 37 points to 14,528. The Nasdaq fell 1 point to 3,203. The S&P 500 fell less than 1 point to 1,553.

Owner Could Follow Disney Out of Building

LISTING: BlackRock may sell office tower left empty by entertainment giant.

The Burbank office building recently vacated by Walt Disney Co. may be put on the market.

Malibu Mulls Chains Break

Real Estate: Developers rip proposed retailer limits.

Developers aren’t buying a new Malibu proposal to restrict large chain retailers.

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Giving Birth To Future

Egg donation service uses 3-D software to project face of child.

Egg donation service helps parents by projecting what their child will look like.

Investors Sold on Online Shopping Service’s Future

INTERNET: Virtual Piggy’s stock surges after company lines up more merchants.

Investors go hog wild for Virtual Piggy after the kids’ online shopping service lines up more merchants.

Heavyweight Competitor Puffs Up Cloud Storage

ONLINE: Gobbler greets Sony subsidiary as virtual boost for business sector.

Gobbler, a Hollywood cloud company, is unfazed by the prospect of competition from giant Sony.

Set-Up, Delivery

ENTERTAINMENT: Laugh Factory sees online platform as next stage in club chain’s expansion.

Laugh Factory isn’t joking about its plans for an online network for comedy content.

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Some Clarification on Social Media Would Be Welcome

Michelle Lee Flores believes employees need guidance on use of social media.

Supply Chain Needs to Forge More Links to Diversity

Luis Vasquez-Ajmac would like to see diversity in the corporate supply chain.

Certain About Uncertainty

Some business owners’ upbeat outlook shows how they’ve learned to function in unpredictable times.

Some business owners are upbeat despite unpredictable circumstances, according to Jeff Stibel.

Right Tools for Escaping Poverty

Charles Crumpley revives his praise for non-profit KickStart International’s business model, which lifts people out of poverty

Data Bank

Calendar and Events

Case by Case

Allure of building his own coffee business spurred Mel Elias to give up his law practice.

Former lawyer Mel Elias now keeps business brewing as Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s chief executive.

News of the Week

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

Private Equity Firm Sees Filter Maker as Pure Play

ACQUISITION: Vance Street takes controlling interest in Micronics.

The filters that separate precious metals from wastewater at a mine or pull impurities out of milk at a dairy aren’t expensive, but they’re vital pieces of equipment that companies will continue to buy if they’re reliable.

Silicon Valley Firm Comes on Line in Los Angeles

EXPANSION: New oupost lets Wilson Sonsini also land patent law attorney.

Silicon Valley’s largest and most storied law firm is opening an office in Los Angeles this week and it’s doing so with a splash: by poaching one of the area’s most highly regarded patent litigators.

Channel Hopes to Laugh Last With Comedy Show

TELEVISION: NuvoTV sees program as means to develop additional fare.

The debut of 10-episode stand-up comedy series “Stand Up & Deliver” last week on Latino-focused NuvoTV was the start of a larger effort at the Glendale-based cable channel to build out its original programming.

Do the Math

Schools must rewrite curriculum to include financial literacy to provide students with crucial skills.

William Coffin calls for rewriting school curriculums to include financial literacy

Suitor for Skin-Care Firm Rubs In an Improved Offer

HEALTH CARE: Valeant’s latest bid for Obagi might fall short as stock surges.

Valeant fleshes out a bigger offer for skin-care products company Obagi.

New Chief Executive Dives Into Aquifer Project

WATER: Cadiz also raises $17.5 million to fight legal battles over desert facility.

Cadiz names new chief executive as desert pumping program gets ready for flood of challenges.

Producer Looks to Deck Out Card Game as Show

TV: Gurin Co. sees Uno as nightly or weekly program with hefty cash prizes.

Producer Gurin Co. believes kids’ card game Uno has enough draw to make it as a game show.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Part-Time Biker Keeps It Together

A few months back, when Storage Mobility Inc. exec Ben Orze was visiting his family in Arizona, he decided to go out for a motorcycle ride.

Buttoning Up Sports History On Screen

Prop house’s authentic baseball jerseys use wool and drop zippers.

Sports Studio Ventures goes to bat for authenticity with its uniforms for new Jackie Robinson film.

Bagging On Consumer Culture

Thursday Friday line features images of high-price handbags.

Style is only skin deep for Thursday Friday’s canvas totes bearing images of designer handbags.

Automaker Boards Buses

AUTOMOTIVE: BYD seeks charge from new electric sector.

Struggling electric-vehicle maker BYD hopes building buses for Long Beach will drive new business.

Advocates Prove Persuasive in L.A.

Lobbying: Land-use projects helped firms’ fees rise in 2012.

Real estate development projects have built up fees for some of L.A.’s top firms.

Stocked Up

Farmers bank keeps share number low, value high

Is Farmers & Merchants Bank the Berkshire Hathaway of Los Angeles?

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Friday, April 5

Cetera to Acquire MetLife Broker-Dealer Businesses

Cetera Financial Group said that it will acquire Tower Square Securities and Walnut Street Securities from financial services giant MetLife Inc.

Ixia Restates Financials

Ixia has restated financial results for fiscal years 2010, 2011 and the first three quarters of last year in order to correct errors in how it records revenue for its warranty and software maintenance contracts. The changes added more than $7.8 million total to net income.

Reliance Gets $2 Billion Credit Deal to Back Acquisition

L.A.’s Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. announced a $2 billion financing deal for its acquisition of Metals USA Holding Corp.

The Week’s Biggest Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies rose slightly for the week.

Stocks Fall

In Friday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 41 points to 14,565. The Nasdaq fell 21 points to 3,204. The S&P 500 fell 7 points to 1,553. The LABJ Stock Index was down less than 1 point to 155.

Disney Planning Layoffs

The Walt Disney Co. will lay off workers at its film studio and its consumer products division within two weeks in an effort to cut costs, sources tell Reuters. The move is said to stem from an internal audit ordered by CEO Bob Iger.

Critics Sue Over UCLA Hotel Plans

Opponents of UCLA's proposed 250-room hotel and conference center on campus have filed a lawsuit that challenges the project's tax exemptions and contends it would not be financially viable if it paid all the federal and local taxes required of commercial hotels, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Academy Asks Members to Sound Off on Oscars Future

Members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, have been invited to a landmark meeting where they will sound off on matters of concern to the 86-year-old organization, TheWrap.com reports.

Bushnell on Finding the Next Steve Jobs

How do you find the next Steve Jobs? You make it easy for that person to find you, according to L.A. entrepreneur Nolan Bushnell, author of a new management book on how to find, hire, keep and nurture creative talent. And Bushnell should know — Steve Jobs came to work for him at Atari in 1974, Yahoo's Breakout blog reports.

Mattel Petitioned for Diversity in Barbie Party Goods

There is a black Barbie and even a black friend of Barbie. But what about Barbie party supplies such as plates, cups, napkins and invitations with an African-American theme, a New York mom asks Mattel in an online petition, the Daily Breeze reports.

Groups Sue to Block Chinatown Wal-Mart Grocery from Opening

The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance L.A. and the Southeast Asian Community Alliance, foes of a planned Wal-Mart grocery store in Chinatown, have filed a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles seeking to bar the market from opening, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Boeing to Test Dreamliner

Boeing may carry out a certification test flight of its grounded 787 Dreamliner with a revamped battery system on Friday, a key step toward returning the state-of-the-art aircraft to flight, sources tell Reuters.

Sport Chalet Joins Same-Day-Delivery Parade

Specialty sporting goods chain Sport Chalet Inc. is now offering same-day delivery service, hopping on a crowded bandwagon that includes Amazon, Wal-Mart, Google and EBay, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Founder to Buy Frommer's Back From Google

Nearly eight months after Google Inc. acquired the Frommer's travel-guide brand, the Internet giant has reversed course and sold the brand to its founder, Arthur Frommer, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Millionaires Got $80 Million in Jobless Aid in Recession

The U.S. government paid almost $80 million in unemployment benefits during the worst of the economic downturn to households that made more than $1 million, including a record $29.9 million in 2010, tax records show, Bloomberg News reports.

Stocks Fall

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 100 points to 14,505. The Nasdaq was down 33 points to 3,192. The S&P 500 fell 12 points to 1,548.

Thursday, April 4

Air Lease Places Jets with Saudi Carrier

Air Lease Corp. has signed six-year lease agreements to provide three Airbus A320-200 aircraft to NAS Air, a fast-growing, low-cost Saudi Arabian airline.

Lucky, Juicy on the Block

New York fashion company Fifth & Pacific Cos. reportedly is hoping to sell two well-known boutique brands with Los Angeles roots: Lucky Brand and Juicy Couture.

Stocks Gain

In Thursday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 56 points to 14,606. The Nasdaq rose 6 points to 3,225. The S&P 500 rose 6 points to 1,560. The LABJ Stock Index rose 1 point to 155.

YouTube Companies Turn to Traditional TV

At least two L.A. companies that focus on the YouTube space have started advertising on TV.

CBRE Group Builds for Future

Robert Sulentic, who took over real estate services giant CBRE in December, says he is optimistic but not euphoric about growth this year, especially in tech, energy and manufacturing, the Los Angeles Times reports.

L.A. Port Finishes Dredging Project

One final batch of mud was scooped from the Main Channel on Wednesday at the Port of Los Angeles, signaling the end of a 10-year, $370 million channel deepening project that makes the port's channels better able to accommodate today’s larger ships, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports.

Herbalife CEO's Compensation Slashed

Herbalife Ltd. Chief Executive Michael O. Johnson was paid $10.3 million in 2012, a 58 percent cut from a year earlier largely due to the lower value of his stock-option grants, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Disney to Shut LucasArts Videogame Unit

Walt Disney Co. is closing LucasArts to cut costs. The Wall Street Journal reports that the once-pioneering San Francisco videogame unit of George Lucas's "Star Wars" empire had become a shadow of its former self. Disney said it will focus on licensing “Star Wars” content rather than developing games internally, Bloomberg News says.

Orthodox L.A. Philanthropist Acquires Doheny Meats

Shlomo Rechnitz has purchased Doheny Glatt Kosher Meat Market, the scandal-plagued kosher meat retailer and distributor. Doheny is believed to supply as much as 50 percent of the kosher meat and poultry in Los Angeles, so closure would have significantly reduced competition, the Jewish Journal reports.

'Fashion Police' Writers Claim They're Not Getting Paid

Eight writers on E's reality show "Fashion Police" on Wednesday filed a claim with state labor officials, alleging that they're not being fairly compensated for the hours they've been working, TheWrap.com reports.

Intel Takes on Pay-TV Cable Business

Intel Corp. is preparing to invade the pay-TV business with a nationwide multichannel TV service of its own, Variety reports.

TED Pulls License, Citing ‘Pseudoscience’

A TED program has withdrawn the license previously awarded to organizers of TEDxWestHollywood, saying the conference theme and speaker lineup seemed to be promoting a kind of "pseudoscience," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Is the U.S. Becoming a Nation of Interns?

Internships traditionally have viewed as a way to get real-life working experience and make connections that will lead to full-time employment. But in the new economy, “permaterns” have replaced entry-level employees at many companies, Yahoo's Daily Ticker reports.

Tax Refund Fraud a Big Problem

Stolen identity tax refund fraud was a $5 billion problem last year. CNBC reports on why the IRS needs to work harder to catch thieves.

Flaws Cited in Foreclosure Review

A federal watchdog is faulting U.S. bank regulators for a flawed review of foreclosure documents, saying the agencies didn’t establish consistent procedures or adequately monitor the work, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Demand for Space in U.S. Strip Malls Still Weak

With retail sales struggling and muted demand for space, new construction for neighborhood strip centers remained low during the quarter, Reuters reports.

Chinese Flood U.S. Master's Programs

Specialized master's degrees in accounting, finance and other disciplines have found tremendous popularity in recent years among Chinese nationals seeking a competitive edge and U.S. experience, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Stocks Mixed

In Thursday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 20 points to 14,570. The Nasdaq was down 4 points to 3,214. The S&P 500 rose 4 points to 1,557.

Wednesday, April 3

Operations Suspended at Three L.A. Hospital Sites

Financially strapped Pacific Health Corp. on Wednesday suspended operations at Bellflower Medical Center and the Los Angeles and Hawthorne campuses of Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center.

Bidding War Erupts for Obagi

Obagi Medical Products Inc. said its initial suitor had increased its bid to more than $418 million, exceeding a rival bid announced yesterday.

Workers at Two LAX Hotels to Receive Service Tips

Two hotels near Los Angeles International Airport are expected this month to pay $4.5 million to settle two class-action lawsuits alleging that the hotels pocketed service charges instead of passing them on to room service, bell and banquet employees.

Stocks Fall

In Wednesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average close down 112 points to 14,550. The Nasdaq fell 36 points to 3,219. The S&P 500 fell 16 points to 1,554. The LABJ Stock Index more than 1 point to 154.

The Game of Philosophie

Philosophie launched a 30-day Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for a game, called DevShop, last week. It has already raised more than 40 percent of its $5,000 goal.

The Most Hated Man in Hollywood?

Charlie Ergen's satellite TV service Dish Network has been labeled the "worst place to work in America," he's being sued by all four networks, and his ad-skipping Hopper could decimate TV industry economics. The Hollywood Reporter examines one of the entertainment business' ugliest fights.

SEC Clears Companies to Disclose Info Via Social Media

The Securities and Exchange Commission will not pursue enforcement action against Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings for posting corporate news on his Facebook page, Variety reports, and instead is giving the green light to public companies to use social media to disclose information as long as investors know that is where they should turn.

Tesla Arranges Buyback Deal to Spur Sales

Tesla Motors has worked out a deal with several banks to sell its pricey electric sports sedan with a guaranteed buyback after 36 months. Bloomberg News reports that the company's shares fell Wednesday amid analyst skepticism.

USDA to Probe L.A. Kosher Market

Doheny Glatt Kosher is accused of selling meat that may not have been properly certified under kosher rules, the Los Angeles Times reports. A council of rabbis last week pulled the market's kosher certification, and now the U.S. Department of Agriculture has launched an investigation.

Jay-Z Turning Sports Pals into Big Biz

Entertainer Jay-Z has long been in the inner circle of sports A-listers such as Alex Rodriguez and LeBron James. Now, he is making a move to turn those relationships into big business in a more formal way, the New York Times reports.

Bank of America Settles Credit Union Case

Bank of America Corp. has reached a $165 million agreement with a federal credit-union regulator to settle allegations that the bank played down the risks of poor-quality mortgages packaged into securities, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Bad Credit? Start Tweeting

Online lending startup Lenddo Ltd. is part of a growing group of ventures that believe that online reputations can tell lenders more about a person's trustworthiness than the ubiquitous credit-rating FICO score, the Wall Street Journal reports.

More Jobs, More Money, More Homebuyers

The improving job market is lifting incomes and helping families repair credit scores, expanding the pool of eligible buyers and providing additional firepower to the housing recovery, Bloomberg News reports.

New Laws Could Cause Hollywood Headaches

In the rush to pass New York's tough new gun-control laws, the state neglected to exempt fake assault weapons used on film and television sets. If not addressed before the laws go into effect on April 15, it could spell trouble for the Big Apple’s growing filmed-entertainment business, TheWrap.com reports.

Financial Discipline Grows Five Years After Crisis

The frugality and investing discipline that the 2008 financial crisis imposed on Americans appear to have led to permanent changes in behavior on money matters, according to a survey by the nation's second largest mutual fund company, the Associated Press reports.

Say Goodbye to the Office Cubicle

The same folks who brought you the bland office cubicle are turning a profit these days by trying to kill it off. Office-furniture makers are racking up sales by persuading companies that newer office layouts can encourage collaboration and often shrink space requirements and costs, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Stocks Down

In Wednesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 72 points to 14,590. The Nasdaq fell 19 points to 3,236. The S&P 500 rose 11 points to 1,559.

Sony Enters Cloud Business

Sony Media Cloud Services launched Wednesday as an online platform for filmmakers and television broadcasters to store and share their large and complex media files.

Tuesday, April 2

Be Great Partners Launches $6 Million Incubator Fund

Miracle Mile incubator Be Great Partners, which opened in February, announced Tuesday that it has raised a $6 million fund to invest in startups.

German Company Enters Bidding for Obagi

Merz Pharma Group on Tuesday announced a $383 million bid to acquire skincare maker Obagi Medical Products Inc. in Long Beach, topping a previous offer.

Stocks Rise

In Tuesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 89 points to 14,622. The Nasdaq rose 16 points to 3,254. The S&P 500 rose 8 points to 1,570. The LABJ Stock Index rose nearly 2 points to 156.

Charms of Beautiful Downtown Burbank

Burbank has taken serious dissing since news "The Tonight Show" may leave NBC studios in search of an edgier, fresher vibe in New York City. But Burbank Mayor Dave Golonski is among many who believe the entertainment industry's "Blue-Collar Hollywood" will be just fine, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Police Target Texting Drivers

As part of distracted driving month, police across Southern California will be ticketing for texting drivers, those holding a cellphone to their head or drivers whose attention wanders for any reason, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Village Roadshow Conquering China

Village Roadshow has found huge success in China with its movie "Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons." The Los Angeles Times reports that Village Roadshow makes its films specifically for China.

How Paramount's 'Retaliation' Gamble Paid Off

Paramount gambled when it delayed "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" to make it 3D. The gamble paid off on its opening weekend to the tune of $130 million in global grosses, roughly the same as "Retaliation" production budget, TheWrap.com reports.

Edison Seeks San Onofre Restart

Southern California Edison submitted to federal regulators a draft request for a license amendment that would allow the San Onofre nuclear plant to be fired up again before summer, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Garcetti Against Moving LAX Runway

Los Angeles mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti opposes moving a runway at Los Angeles International Airport, putting him in line with neighborhood activists near LAX and at odds with business interests, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Apple Apologizes for China Customer Service

Apple Inc. issued an apology letter signed by Chief Executive Tim Cook that vowed to revamp aspects of its customer-service policies in China after more than two weeks of pointed attacks by government-run media, the Wall Street Journal reports.

'High-Skilled' Visa Requests Likely to Exceed Supply

The Homeland Security Department expects applications for high-skilled immigration visas to outpace the available supply in a matter of days – a sign of new hiring interest by U.S. tech companies, the Associated Press reports.

Three Myths About Housing Market Rebound

Home prices have been zooming up over the past year in many of the housing markets that saw the biggest declines. The Wall Street Journal reports that some pundits have grown wary of the rally, arguing that it’s unsupported by fundamentals and marks the beginning of another housing bubble.

Stockman: Washington Can’t Help

Former Reagan budget chief David Stockman says Congress has been co-opted by big lobbyists and powerful PACs and can no longer drive any real economic reforms, Reuters reports.

How the U.S. Energy Boom Could Shake Up Global Order

The Washington Post and CNBC say the dramatic shift in how energy is being produced and consumed globally may lead to far-reaching changes in the geopolitical order.

Bertelsmann Completes BMG Buyout

German media giant Bertelsmann has completed its takeover of music rights group BMG, giving it a catalog of more than 1 million songs, with works from such recording artists as Bruno Mars, Johnny Cash and Duran Duran, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Stocks Up

In Tuesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 106 points to 14,679. The Nasdaq rose 28 points to 3,267. The S&P 500 rose 11 points to 1,573.

Monday, April 1

Mayor Launches App for City Services

Angelenos can now use the app to submit requests for graffiti removal or pothole repair. They can also use the app to pay utility bills and locate city resources.

ValueClick Chief Transition Complete

Former ValueClick Chief Executive James Zarley has stepped aside as the company’s executive chairman to become non-executive chairman.

Silicon Beach Fools Around

Silicon Valley tech firms have a history of poking fun at customers on April Fools' Day. This year, some Los Angeles startups got in on the fun.

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Burkle’s Firm Adds Two Hospitality Interests

Billionaire Ron Burkle’s L.A. investment firm Yucaipa Cos. has acquired ownership stakes in two hospitality businesses.

Dole Closes $1.7 Billion Sale

Dole Food Co. Inc. of Westlake Village announced Monday it has closed on the sale of two international businesses as part of a major company restructuring.

Edison Inks Solar Contract

Southern California Edison has signed a 20-year deal to buy energy from a solar farm in Kern County.

Markets Slightly Down

In Monday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down six points to 14,573. The Nasdaq fell 28 points to 3,239. The S&P 500 was down seven points to 1,562. The LABJ Stock Index fell a half point to 154.

Occidental Faces a New Fight at the Top

Major shareholders of Occidental Petroleum Corp. are taking sides in an executive-suite drama that has split the energy producer into camps supporting either the chairman or chief executive, the Wall Street Journal reports.

More Employers Provide Same Sex Benefits

No matter how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the Defense of Marriage Act, more companies are offering same sex domestic partner benefits to their workers, and in increasing numbers, Forbes reports.

Card Clubs Warring Over “No-Collection" Baccarat

The owners of Normandie Casino in Gardena want to let gamblers play baccarat for free. But other Los Angeles-area card clubs and a group of American Indian tribes aren't going to let that happen without a fight, the Daily Breeze reports.

Dodger Stadium: $100 Million Fan Experience

L.A.'s baseball stadium received some notable upgrades this season, thanks to the Guggenheim ownership group, the Daily Breeze reports.

Hollywood Reporter Admits Code Theft

The Hollywood Reporter admitted to stealing code from Penske Media Corp., parent company of rival publications Deadline Hollywood and Variety, as part of a recent settlement the two companies reached to end their year-and-a-half-old legal dispute , the Wrap reports.

KB Home Building Its Way Back to Profitability

KB Home has endured some rough patches during its 56 years in business. There have been real estate downturns, painful recessions, even the criminal prosecution of its former chief executive. Today, things are looking a little brighter, the Los Angeles Times reports.

At Banks, Board Pay Soars Amid Cutbacks

Wall Street pay, while lucrative, isn’t what it used to be — unless you are a board member. Since the financial crisis, compensation for the directors of the nation’s biggest banks has continued to rise even as the banks themselves, facing difficult markets and regulatory pressures, are reining in bonuses and pay, the New York Times reports.

U.S. Manufacturing Growth Slows in March

U.S. manufacturing activity continued to expand in March, but the rate of growth slowed, according to a report released Monday, according to CNN.

VFX House Pixomondo Shuts Shanghai Office, Will Abandon Film

Visual-effects company Pixomondo will abandon much of its film business after shutting its Shanghai office following closures in London and Detroit, according to the Wrap.

Microsoft, Google Swap April Fools Barbs

Microsoft and Google have both gotten in some April Fools' Day zingers, creating a couple of full-blown Web pages to make fun of each other, CNET reports.

Stocks Down

In Monday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 31 points to 14,547. The Nasdaq dropped 24 points to 3,243. The S&P 500 was down 8 points to 1,560.

Still Clicking With Penn State

Dick Lippin, founder and chairman-CEO of L.A.-based entertainment PR agency Lippin Group, said he owes a lot of his success to his alma mater, Penn State.

Auctioneer Has Pen Pals

Fitzgerald poems and Richard III signature to go up on block.

Nate Sanders hopes poems by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Richard III’s signature have the write stuff with bidders.

Making Call On Philanthropy

Platinum, gold iPhone cases help Brikk cover charitable pursuit.

Brikk, a maker of precious metal iPhone covers, looks to push the right buttons with its philanthropic business model

Truck Fan Wheels In Career

Matthew Perlman gets in gear to restore, sell Defenders as business.

His love for Land Rover Defenders drove Matthew Perlman into restoring and selling the trucks.

Mattress Recycling May Pad Bill

Manufacturing: Makers, retailers question program costs.

Some mattress makers and retailers are losing sleep over a proposed state recycling program.

Video Links

YouTube channels team up to score bigger ad rates

YouTube content creators team up with the hope of channeling higher ad rates.

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Drone Business Could Use Lift

AVIATION: Federal cuts take air out of AeroVironment.

State lawmakers have drafted legislation to help drone manufacturers take wing in California.

Shapes Of Future

MANUFACTURING: Keck-Craig out of its depth competing with 3-D prototypes.

Old-school Keck-Craig found itself out of shapes when competing with 3-D modelers for prototype work.

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Hefty Loan Helps Landlord Move Into New Phase

REAL ESTATE: Evoq taps $78 million to help ugrade downtown L.A. property.

Evoq scores $78 million loan to help it build interest in its mixed-use Alameda Square Campus.

Bank Created Little Interest

LENDING: Evergreen can’t even sell off its charter.

Evergreen International Bank checks out after failing to find a buyer for its assets or charter.

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Philanthropy the Right R/x for Some Local Hospitals

Jane Haderlein sees philanthropy giving some local hospitals a shot in the arm.

Black, White and Really Read All Over

Co-ownership by L.A.’s 10 million residents would ensure community’s connection to Los Angeles Times.

Calvin Naito thinks a Los Angeles Times with 10 million Angelenos as co-owners will deliver better news.

Changing Light Bulbs in the Dark

Charles Crumpley thinks L.A.’s green initiatives are fine, but he wonders how much green (as in money) they cost.

Buyer Plans to Get Creative With Industrial Site

ACQUISITION: Developer to turn $8 million property into office campus.

A Culver City office warehouse has been sold for $8 million to a development team that plans to renovate it into a creative office campus.

Data Bank

Calendar and Events

News of the Week

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

Public TV Station Tunes In to L.A. Mayoral Race

TELEVISION: KCET’s online interactive chart tracks campaign donations.

The Web team at public TV station KCET (Channel 28) has put a high-tech twist on the old journalism advice to “follow the money.”

Hollywood Farmers’ Market Racks Up Spice Alley

FOOD: Operator of weekly event sees new merchants as natural ingredients.

Shoppers who frequent the Hollywood Farmers’ Market on Sundays will soon have the option to brighten up their fresh haul of fruits and veggies.

Public Relations Vet Spins Firm Into $1 Million Sale

PR: Michael Levine to serve as consultant for buyer Icon Builder.

Michael Levine has nothing but good things to say about the buyer of his public relations business.

Sagging Jeans Maker Sees Cracks in Year Ahead

APPAREL: Guess’ gloomy outlook spurs analysts to lower target stock price.

Guess shares fall as jeans maker struggles to fashion a comeback.

Newspaper Chain Thrives on Link to Chairman

PUBLISHING: Investments guided by Charlie Munger lift Daily Journal stock.

Newspaper chain Daily Journal’s stock is making headlines with help from Chairman Charlie Munger.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County