Stories for March 2013

Friday, March 29

StartEngine Revs Up With Accenture

Westwood accelerator StartEngine has enlisted the help of global consulting firm Accenture to pair startups and established companies looking for new technologies.

L.A. Economy Improves

L.A. County’s economy improved in February as the unemployment rate dipped to 10.3 percent and the county added 39,000 jobs, according to state figures released Friday.

Sky Tag Settles in Supergraphics Lawsuit

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich announced Friday that Michael McNeilly’s Sky Tag Inc. has agree to pay $1.2 million in civil penalties to settle a long-standing supergraphic billboard dispute with the city.

Avery Dennison, 3M Settle Antitrust Litigation

Avery Dennison Corp. on Friday announced settlement of patent and antitrust litigation with onetime suitor 3M Co., enabling Avery Dennison to continue selling its specialty reflective sheeting product used on traffic signs.

The Week’s Biggest Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies rose for the week, as the broader markets posted gains as well.

Planning Commission OKs Hollywood Skyscrapers

Despite last-minute intervention by Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti, the City Planning Commission on Thursday approved the controversial Millennium Partners' project, which would add 1 million square feet of apartment, office and retail space, the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Business Journal reports.

Rhythm & Hues Buyer Tied to Prana Studios

A holding company connected with Los Angeles effects and animation studio Prana Studios has beat out other bidders to acquire El Segundo's Rhythm & Hues, the Oscar-winning visual effects house that filed for bankruptcy protection last month, sources tell Variety and the Wall Street Journal.

E.P.A. Plans Stricter Limit for Sulfur in Gasoline

The Environmental Protection Agency will move ahead Friday with a rule requiring cleaner gasoline and lower-pollution vehicles nationwide, amounting to one of President Obama’s most significant air pollution initiatives, sources tell the Washington Post and New York Times.

BofA Tops Financial-Complaint List

Bank of America Corp. accounted for the largest share of consumer complaints lodged with the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over the past 16 months, the Wall Street Journal reports, highlighting the challenges that the nation's second-largest bank faces in improving its sprawling operations.

New RIM Phone Plan Has Risks

Research in Motion Ltd. reported its second consecutive quarterly profit and decent sales for its new flagship phone, but perhaps the biggest revelation from its chief executive was a risky mixed-price phones strategy to help revive the company, the Wall Street Journal reports.

T-Mobile's MetroPCS Deal Is Threatened

Deutsche Telekom AG's attempt to merge its U.S. wireless business, T-Mobile USA, with smaller rival MetroPCS Communications Inc. has run into serious trouble as a prominent shareholder advisory firm recommended that MetroPCS's already-divided investors vote against the deal, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Federal Report Backs Bullet Train Revenue Forecasts

The California bullet train project has reasonable ridership and revenue forecasts, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office, which appears to run counter to widespread criticism of the state rail authority's projections, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Millennium, Gravitas to Partner on Distribution

Millennium Entertainment and Gravitas Ventures have formed an alliance on distribution of indie films, with Gravitas handling digital distribution and Millennium on home entertainment, Variety reports.

Mystery Malady Kills More Bees

A mysterious malady that has been killing honeybees en masse for several years appears to have expanded drastically in the last year, commercial beekeepers say, wiping out as much as 50 percent of the hives needed to pollinate many of the nation’s fruits and vegetables, the New York Times reports.

First Comes Love, Then Come Taxes

If the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a federal law defining marriage as between a man and woman, the newfound rights for gay married couples may bear something not so welcome -- a bigger tax burden, Reuters reports.

Markets Closed Today

U.S. stock markets are closed today for Good Friday.

Thursday, March 28

Massive Hollywood Development Project Clears Hurdle

Los Angeles city planners on Thursday unanimously approved a controversial $664 million development plan with two huge skyscrapers in the heart of Hollywood.

CBRE Refinances Debt

CBRE Group Inc. said it had refinanced its existing credit facilities and will pay off some senior notes, which it said would lower debt levels by nearly $500 million.

Stocks Rise at Close

In Thursday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 52 points to 14,578. The Nasdaq rose 11 points to 3,267. The S&P 500 rose 6 points to 1,560. The LABJ Stock Index rose 1 point to 155.

Io/LA Startups Find New Home

With the forthcoming closure of Hollywood co-working space io/LA, many of the startups working out of the office have already found new homes.

PR Firm Opens L.A. Office to Serve Tech Clients

The latest PR firm to make a move into Los Angeles is theMix, a San Francisco communications and media consultancy.

L.A. Wants Convention Center Alternatives to AEG

Los Angeles officials have agreed to pursue a parallel track for redeveloping the city's Convention Center in the event that Anschutz Entertainment Group and the National Football League fail to reach agreement on the Farmers Field stadium downtown, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Judge Approves Mega Airline Merger

American Airlines has won bankruptcy court approval to combine with US Airways and form the world's biggest airline, the Associated Press and New York Times report.

Sequestration Threatens to Delay Port Cargo Flow

Trade leaders on Wednesday urged stakeholders to rally against sequestration cuts to U.S. Customs and Border Protection that threaten to delay cargo movement at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports.

New Tenants Filling Century Plaza Towers

Landlord J.P. Morgan Asset Management has signed new tenants to fill nearly three floors in the Century Plaza Towers in Century City, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Economy Expands Slightly

The U.S. economy grew at a slightly faster but still anemic rate at the end of last year, suggesting that companies are looking to expand despite uncertainty in Washington, the Wall Street Journal and Associated Press report.

Disney Toys with New Games Strategy

When “Disney Infinity” launches this summer, the videogame-toy hybrid will give Walt Disney Co. a unique way to promote older Disney characters that may not have been worthy of their own high-profile release, Variety reports.

Can the Tablet Please Take Your Order Now?

As wages rise, employers consider replacing certain types of workers with technology, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Use of Food Stamps Swells Even as Economy Improves

The financial crisis is over and the recession ended in 2009. But food stamps, one of the federal government's biggest social welfare programs that expanded when the economy convulsed, isn't shrinking back alongside the recovery, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Industries Under Pressure from Mobile Apps

The mobile-apps industry is still in its infancy, but it is already taking on giants. Apps are cheap to make and easy to distribute, forcing many old-line industries to rethink the way they do business, the Wall Street Journal reports.

'Fat Flier' Fee on Horizon

How long will it be before airlines start charging for the extra body weight you carry aboard? Not too long, says the Washington Post. Just consider a new study by an economist encouraging airlines to charge a fat flier fee.

Survey Unveils Economic Insecurity

Despite making enormous strides professionally and financially, almost half of American women fear becoming bag ladies, even many of those earning six-figure salaries, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Commune Thrives as Europeans Tire of Chaos

As Europe's financial woes deepen and depositors increasingly question the safety of their savings, CNBC reports that some European citizens are looking to escape their economic troubles by joining an Italian hippie commune, replete with its own monetary, political and economic system.

Stocks Mixed at Close

In Thursday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 50 points to 14,576. The Nasdaq rose 6 points to 3,262. The S&P 500 rose 4 points to 1,567.

Wednesday, March 27

Lancaster to Require Solar Panels on New Homes

The Lancaster City Council has voted to make the city the first in the nation to require solar panels on all new homes in an effort to make the community more carbon neutral.

Participant Media to Launch New Cable Channel

L.A. production company Participant Media announced its plans on Wednesday to launch a new cable channel called Pivot.

Wealth Manager Aspiriant Enters Funds Market

Aspiriant, a West L.A. independent wealth management firm that oversees $7 billion in client assets, announced the launch of its first mutual fund.

Stocks Mixed at Close

In Wednesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 33 points to 14,526. The Nasdaq rose 4 points to 3,256. The S&P 500 fell 1 point to 1,562. The LABJ Stock Index rose more than 1 point to 153.

Hollywood Incubator to Close

Hollywood tech incubator io/LA is closing its doors.

CBS Buys Half of TV Guide Network

CBS Corp. has acquired the cable channel TVGN, formerly called the TV Guide Network, along with TVGuide.com and plans to operate both with co-owner Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., AdAge.com and TheWrap.com report.

Reservations Grow Among High-Speed Rail Backers

The California bullet-train project has collided with farmers, political conservatives and wealthy suburbanites who would like to see the $68-billion system killed. Now it's facing tough criticism from an unlikely quarter: the ranks of high-speed rail's true believers, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Web-Based Productions Taking Off in L.A.

Filming for Web productions in Los Angeles last year rose 46 percent over 2011. Such content has evolved from short episodes to full-length productions, some with budgets comparable to conventional TV shows, the Los Angeles Times reports.

SoCal Ports Could See More Tax Revenue

The Los Angeles and Long Beach ports would get back more of the money they raise under a bill sent to the Senate by Sen. Barbara, the Los Angeles Times reports.

USC Village Project Moves Ahead

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and city leaders will join USC President C.L. Max Nikias today to sign an agreement for the construction of USC Village, a $1 billion retail and residential project billed as the largest in South Los Angeles history, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Cyprus Preps Capital-Control Plan

Cyprus's government is preparing aggressive curbs on the flow of cash out of the country, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. These and other worries about Europe rattled stock markets on Wednesday, a day after the Dow Jones industrial average showed its biggest gain in three weeks, the Associated Press reports.

Spam Squabble Jams Internet

A dispute between a group fighting spam and a Dutch company that hosts Web sites said to be sending spam has escalated into one of the largest computer attacks on the Internet, causing widespread congestion and jamming crucial infrastructure around the world, the New York Times reports.

Do Millennials Stand a Chance in the Real World?

The members of Generation Y have developed an obsession with money — partly because they don’t have any, the New York Times Magazine reports.

Fannie, Freddie to Ease Loan-Modification Rules

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will simplify their mortgage-modification policies, waiving a requirement that borrowers who are already seriously delinquent on their mortgages prove hardship, the Wall Street Journal reports.

'Psych' Train Not in Vain

Not many writing staffs get to settle in on an Amtrak train to hammer out new storylines as they head toward the destination where their series is set. But Variety reports that for the writers of “Psych," a train ride to Santa Barbara has become the traditional way to get back to work before the crew heads off for production in Vancouver.

Stocks Slip This Morning

In Wednesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 59 points to 14,500. The Nasdaq fell 11 points to 3,241. The S&P 500 fell 6 points to 1,558.

Tuesday, March 26

SpaceX Dragon Completes Space Station Mission

SpaceX’s Dragon capsule returned to Earth on Tuesday after a nearly month-long supply mission to the International Space Station.

Markets Gain on Tuesday

In Tuesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 112 points to 14,560. The Nasdaq was unchanged at 3,050. The S&P 500 rose 12 points to 1,564. The LABJ Stock Index rose more than 1 point to 153.

USC Accelerator Aims to Help Student Start-Ups

The Viterbi School of Engineering’s new Startup Garage at USC is designed to foster an environment where start-ups could flourish in Southern California with financial resources and business expertise provided by the school and its corporate partners, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Meet Britain's 17-Year-Old App Entrepreneur

Nick D'Aloisio, creator of the news summarization app Summly, is Britain's most exciting young tech entrepreneur, the U.K.'s Telegraph reports. D'Aloisio told Bloomberg News that he plans even more startups now that Yahoo Inc. has paid $30 million to buy his company, which had early backing from Stephen Fry and Ashton Kutcher, and bring him on board Yahoo's mobile team.

Tesla Shares Jump on Cryptic Tweet

No stranger to leveraging his Twitter presence to maximize attention for his electric car company, Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk sent his company's stock up 2.5 percent on Monday with a single, cryptic tweet, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Political Pundit Schnur Drops GOP Registration

Dan Schnur, the longtime Republican strategist and political pundit who now runs the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, has dropped his Republican Party registration, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports.

Why It's Important to Keep Cypriot Banks Shut

The decision to further push back the re-opening of banks in Cyprus, which have been shut since March 16, may be seen as a signal of further uncertainty in the crisis-hit island nation. But some analysts tell CNBC the move actually should help restore investor confidence.

Puerto Rico Creates Tax Shelters for the Rich

Known for its white-sand beaches and killer rums, Puerto Rico hopes to stake a new claim: tax haven for the wealthy. The island has created tax breaks for interest, dividends and capital gains in an effort to lure affluent American executives from the mainland, the New York Times reports.

T-Mobile Launches 'Contractless' Service

T-Mobile USA is ditching phone subsidies under a new set of service plans, hoping to differentiate its offerings from bigger rivals by promising customers more flexibility, Reuters reports. CNet.com looks behind the curtain of the No. 4 U.S. mobile network operator's new contractless plan for smartphone subscribers.

Dell's Days as CEO May Be Numbered

With two bids competing with Michael Dell's buyout plan for Dell Inc., he may lose control of the company he founded nearly three decades ago, Bloomberg News reports. But the Los Angeles Times reports that the computer company's founder might still join with suitors Blackstone Group or Carl Icahn.

U.S. Cracks Down on 'Forced' Insurance

The Federal Housing Finance Agency on Tuesday cracked down on a little-known practice that has hit millions of struggling borrowers with expensive homeowners' insurance policies arranged by banks that benefit from the costly coverage, the Wall Street Journal reports.

GM's Hopes for a Buick Revival

General Motors Co. will make another attempt to get Buick to appeal to younger buyers with freshened up versions of the Regal midsize sports sedan and the LaCrosse large luxury car. GM unveils the new cars Tuesday ahead of the New York auto show, the Associated Press reports.

Wealth Inequality Sparks Fed's Interest

The gap between the wealthy and the rest of America is a hot-button issue in Washington, especially in the White House and Congress. Now the Federal Reserve has taken a greater interest in the topic, leaving some analysts to ask whether financial inequality in the U.S. might soon become part of the Fed's decision-making process, CNBC reports.

Markets Rise in Morning Trading

In Tuesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 80 points to 14,527. The Nasdaq rose 7 points to 3,242. The S&P 500 rose 6 points to 1,558.

Monday, March 25

Political Pundit Schnur Drops GOP Registration

Dan Schnur, the longtime Republican strategist and political pundit who now runs the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, has dropped his Republican Party registration.

Musical App the Cat’s Meow

At the Games for Cats Hackathon this weekend, the winning tablet app was a game that allows cats to make music with their paws.

Concord Music Group Sold to Private Equity Firm

Village Roadshow Entertainment Group said it had a deal to sell its eclectic Concord Music Group subsidiary to a Connecticut private equity firm for more than $115 million.

Burkle, Beckman Form TV, Digital Content Studio

Billionaire Ron Burkle has made his latest investment in the entertainment industry, partnering with media veteran Richard Beckman to launch a branded TV and digital content studio called Three Lions Entertainment.

Markets Down at Close

In Monday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 64 points to 14,448. The Nasdaq fell 10 points to 3,235. The S&P 500 fell 5 points to 1,552. The LABJ Stock Index fell less than 1 point to 151.

Buzzmedia Rebrands, Launches Teen Site

The Hollywood digital media company, which operates a network of 45 pop culture websites, announced Monday it had changed its name to SpinMedia.

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F.C.C. Shift May Thwart a Murdoch Deal for L.A. Times

News Corp. wants the F.C.C. to waive a rule that would prevent it from acquiring the Los Angeles Times, but last week's exit of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski may delay further action, the New York Times reports.

Cyprus Reaches Last-Minute Deal, Raids Deposits

Cyprus and the EU reached a late-night bailout deal that will dampen the enthusiasm of rich depositors for keeping money in banks that get themselves into financial trouble, Yahoo’s Daily Ticker and Reuters report.

Visual Effects Artists Consider Union

Movie visual effects artists, frustrated by poor pay, working conditions and recent Oscar snubs, met recently to consider organizing a union and other solutions to the industry's numerous problems, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

UCLA a Possible Bidder for St. John's

A potential partnership between UCLA and Ascension Health Alliance is among proposals that the owner of St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica is said to be weighing, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Altadena Merchants Feel Pressure from New Competitor

Altadena small businesses near new Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market had hoped the store would attract new customers and increase sales throughout their older business district. But so far, the crowds are only streaming to Wal-Mart, Southern California Public Radio reports.

Signals Weak for TV-Ad Market

Broadcast television ratings have dropped sharply this season. And that, combined with the weak economy and competition from other media, augurs badly for the spring ad-sales market, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Wall Street Sees Opportunity in Marijuana

Hoping to cash in if pot becomes legal nationwide, entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to potential investors, the Los Angeles Times reports.

SEC Approves Nasdaq Settlement in Facebook IPO

Regulators cleared Nasdaq OMX Group Inc.’s plan to pay $62 million to compensate brokers for its mishandling of Facebook Inc.’s public debut, dealing a defeat to Wall Street firms that say they lost many times that amount, Bloomberg News reports.

Behind China's Switch to High-End Exports

As rising labor costs push manufacturing of T-shirts, jeans and the like out of China, the country has been able to offset that loss by grabbing the high end. Nowhere is that on better display than the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Zuckerberg’s Harvard Legacy Paves Way

Facebook Inc. Chairman Mark Zuckerberg and his dorm-room buddies, who created the $64 billion social-media site at Harvard in 2004, sparked a startup culture that’s still gaining momentum, Bloomberg News reports. The university is building a reputation as a hotbed for innovation, promoting entrepreneurship and weaving it into campus life.

Markets Rebound

In Monday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 37 points to 14,475. The Nasdaq fell 5 points to 3,240. The S&P 500 fell 1 point to 1,556.

Pressing Paws On Video Games

Contest competitors to craft feline apps to score cats’ fancy.

Cats are out of the bag in a tech contest to develop fun apps for our feline friends.

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Room Service

Hotelier now puts focus on management

Setbacks during the recession led hotel developer Avi Brosh to check into property management.

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Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Jumping Through Hoops at Office

March Madness is spreading through offices everywhere and employment attorney Lonnie Giamela couldn’t be happier.

Showing Nose For Business

Perfume shop catches lightning in bottle with speedy launch.

Original Scent co-founders’ swift launch of their business is nothing to sniff at.

Staffing Jobs Not Just Kid Stuff

Nanny wrangler grows into range of personal service placements.

Lexington Nannies is now home to other personal placements such as chefs and housekeepers.

Jobs Program May Not Work

GOVERNMENT: Employers fear loss of hiring tax credits.

Some businesses fear changes to the state enterprise zone program will cost them tax credits and crimp hiring.

Lingerie Firm Straps In Cash

APPAREL: New ownership aims to shape up Frederick’s.

New Frederick’s of Hollywood owner reveals plans for the lingerie company’s recovery.

New Port Terminal Plan Surfaces

Shipping: Royal Vopak to sink money into Long Beach facility.

Vopak plunges into a Long Beach oil terminal project despite the recent collapse of a comparable plan at the port of L.A.

Environmental Screening Could Trash Cities’ Prospects

Felipe Aguirre fears a proposed environmental ranking program will make it tough for some cities to attract businesses.

Responsibility in Driver’s Seat

Results Only Work Environment policy goes distance in helping employees find work-life balance.

Edmunds.com CEO Avi Steinlauf credits organizational trust for success of the company’s flex-time program.

Zapped by Electric Car Buzz

Don’t think Coda’s frumpy electric car is quite as sexy as the Corvette? No? Neither does Charles Crumpley.

Label Maker No Longer Stuck on Pasadena HQ

SALE: Avery Dennison makes $20 million deal with Legacy Partners.

Avery Dennison Corp., a label and packaging maker, has a contract to sell its Pasadena headquarters for about $20 million.

Data Bank

Calendar and Events

Making News

Steve Carlston works to return KNBC to top of L.A.’s nightly coverage.

Steve Carlston is channeling change as he works to improve the ratings for KNBC (Channel 4).

News of the Week

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

New Magazine Positive About Show Biz Coverage

PUBLISHING: Hollywood Journal to accent spiritual entertainment stories.

Even with the glut of show business coverage already available online, Tribe Media Corp. felt there was still a niche to fill: coverage of positive entertainment stories and the various mensches in the business.

Building Buyers Welcome Wells Fargo Into Fold

INVESTMENT: Oaktree, National Financial praise bank as stable tenant.

When Wells Fargo & Co. pays its rent next month, the San Francisco banking giant will be sending a few big checks to Los Angeles.

Maker of Frozen Cuisine Feels Heat From Investor

FOOD: Management at Overhill Farms gives cold shoulder to call for sale.

Frozen-cuisine maker Overhill Farms faces heat from an investor who is pushing for a sale.

Shale Field Sale Fuels Investor Interest in Oil Firm

ENERGY: BNK’s proceeds will allow exploration and payment of obligations.

BNK shares rise as investors dig company’s sale of part of an Oklahoma oil field.

Skin Care Company Doesn’t Hide From Suitor

HEALTH CARE: Obagi accepts acquisition offer from Montreal’s Valeant.

Successful suitor Valeant fleshes out deal for skin care products maker Obagi.

Parts Maker’s Stock Takes Off on Aviation Orders

Aerospace: Boeing and Airbus contracts provide lift for Ducommun.

Aviation industry orders have investors high on parts supplier Ducommun.

Naming Names

REAL ESTATE: Four Seasons condo project accuses Four Seasons hotel of obstruction.

Four Seasons hotel seems reluctant to make room for a similarly branded condo project across the road.

Friday, March 22

Job Losses Hit L.A.

L.A. County’s economy took a big hit in January as more than 81,000 payroll jobs were lost and the unemployment rate edged up to 10.4 percent, according to revised state figures released Friday.

Markets Rebound

In Friday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 90 points to 14,512. The Nasdaq rose 22 points to 3,245. The S&P 500 rose 11 points to 1,557. The LABJ Stock Index more than 1 point to 152.

L.A. Clean Tech Organizations Merge

The L.A. Cleantech Incubator and Clean Tech Los Angeles announced that they are merging into one entity.

YouTube Channels Will Soon Charge Viewers

YouTube knows that channels with devoted followings could earn a tremendous amount of money by charging viewers. Subscriptions would benefit both creators and the platform, TheWrap.com reports.

How Change of Coasts for ‘Tonight’ Hurts L.A.

With NBC's "Tonight Show" poised to migrate back to New York, Southern California is in danger of losing not just jobs but also cultural clout, the Los Angeles Times reports. Variety looks at ABC’s possible indirect role in NBC’s move.

Web Money Gets Laundering Rule

The United States is applying money-laundering rules to “virtual currencies,” amid growing concern that new forms of cash bought on the Internet are being used to fund illicit activities, the Wall Street Journal reports.

L.A. City Attorney Calls for Removal of Digital Billboards

Calling for an end to the "billboard wars," City Attorney Carmen Trutanich asked the L.A. Superior Court to order 100 digital displays operated by CBS Outdoor and Clear Channel to shut be down, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Mayoral Rivals Walk Fine Line With Labor

Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel are Democrats with long histories of supporting organized labor. But the competition for labor support has upended conventional thinking about the candidates, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Sequestration May Close 14 Air Traffic Control Towers in Region

Due to federal budget cuts, Southern California could lose tower service at airports in Palmdale, Pacoima and elsewhere that handle civil, commercial and military flights. Santa Monica Airport will be considered in a later round of cuts, the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal report.

Health Insurers Warn on Premiums

Health insurers are privately warning brokers that premiums for many individuals and small businesses could increase sharply next year because of the health-care overhaul law, Wall Street Journal reports.

Craft Distillers Aim to Pour It On

California's craft distillers want to be able to charge for tastings and sell bottles for their visitors to take home. But they have run up against the liquor lobby, led by wholesalers opposed to changing state law, the Los Angeles Times reports.

FCC Chairman to Step Down

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski announced that he will resign soon. Genachowski has hewed a middle line between the desires of public-interest groups and the telecom industry, and that hasn't enamored him to either side, the New York Times and Washington Post report. National Journal looks at the unfinished business his successor will face.

Markets Rising

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 82 points to 14,503. The Nasdaq rose 15 points to 3,238. The S&P 500 rose points to 1,555.

Thursday, March 21

Smaller-Than-Expected Loss for KB Home

KB Home reported a narrower loss for its fiscal first quarter, as new home sales and prices improved amid the nationwide recovery of the housing market.

Guitar Center Names CEO

Guitar Center Inc. announced that Mike Pratt has been appointed chief executive and a member of the music retailer’s board, effective April 1.

Markets End Day on Decline

In Thursday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 90 points to 14,421. The Nasdaq fell 31 points, or 1 percent, to 3,223. The S&P 500 fell 13 points, or 1 percent, to 1,546. The LABJ Stock Index fell 1 point to 150.

TestFlight Takes Off With Analytics Tool

TestFlight, a Santa Monica company that helps developers test their mobile phone apps before they go up for sale on the iTunes App Store, launched a tool on Tuesday for apps once they go live.

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Riordan Backs Greuel for L.A. Mayor

Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan backed Wendy Greuel's mayoral bid Wednesday and said if she wins, he will join her administration as a senior advisor on the ongoing budget crisis at City Hall, the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily News report.

Prime Focus Emerges as Bidder for Rhythm & Hues

Prime Focus, the Indian visual effects and 3-D conversion company, has emerged as a possible buyer for bankrupt visual effects company Rhythm & Hues, the Los Angeles Times reports.

WeHo Apartments to Cater to Networked Tenants

Two West Hollywood luxury apartment buildings under construction will target mobile, creative tenants who make a living on the go, often tapping on their laptops in coffee bars and other hangouts, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Boeing Works to Redeem Dreamliner

As Boeing Co. tests fixes to the batteries of its 787 Dreamliners, it now faces the challenge of persuading passengers that the jetliner will be safe to fly when it resumes commercial service, the Wall Street Journal reports.

LAUSD Incubator School to Teach Entrepreneurship

A new pilot middle school, which is scheduled to open next year but still lacks a site, will teach students how to launch a business in addition to academics. Despite enthusiasm for the school's concept, the plan has been hung up in disputes over its location and union concerns, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Report: U.S. Companies Stashing More Cash Abroad

As the economy stagnated and the labor market moved sideways, corporate America has dramatically increased its cash piles over the past few years, last year filling coffers with an additional $130 billion for record $1.45 trillion total, Forbes reports.

CVS Orders Workers to Reveal Weight, Health Info

Pharmacy chain CVS has told workers around the nation to reveal their weight and other health information or pay extra for health coverage. It's part of a so-called “A Plan for Health,” featuring a mix of rewards and penalties for employees, the Huffington Post and Fox News report.

'Tonight Show' Set to Reclaim New York Roots

NBC appears to have settled on two new stars for “The Tonight Show” in 2014: Jimmy Fallon and New York City, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal report.

Kaiser Seen as Face of Future Health Care

When people talk about the future of health care, Kaiser Permanente is often the model they have in mind. Yet its executives acknowledge that Kaiser has yet to achieve the holy grail of delivering that care at a low enough cost, the New York Times reports.

A Call for Major Revision to Copyright Law

The U.S. Register of Copyrights testified on Wednesday that Congress should make extensive revisions to copyright law, even suggesting some limitations to the length of copyright terms, Billboard reports.

J.C. Penney Turnaround Could Take Longer

J.C. Penney Co Inc. said Wednesday that fixing its performance could take more time than it initially believed and suggested that any change in its strategy could be expensive, Reuters and the Dallas Business Journal report.

Markets Drop

In Thursday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 68 points to 14,444. The Nasdaq fell 26 points to 3,228. The S&P 500 fell 8 points to 1,551.

Wednesday, March 20

Demand Exec Talks Creativebug

Dan Brian, Demand’s executive vice president, said the company views Creativebug and the crafting space it occupies as an add-on feature to Demand’s existing ad-supported eHow site.

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Guess Shares Fall on Lower Sales

Shares of Guess Inc. plummeted in after hours trading Wednesday after the company reported earnings that showed sales in Europe and North America continued to fall in the fiscal fourth quarter.

Markets Gain on Wednesday

In Wednesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 56 points to 14,511. The Nasdaq rose 25 points to 3,254. The S&P 500 rose 10 points to 1,558. The LABJ Stock Index rose 1 point to 151.

Greycroft Adds New L.A. Partner

The venture capital firm, which has offices in Santa Monica and New York, announced Wednesday that it has named Mark Terbeek partner in Los Angeles.

Startup Takes Crowdfunding to Real Estate

Realty Mogul announced Wednesday that is has launched out of private testing and raised $500,000 in seed funding.

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Valeant to Buy Obagi Medical

Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. today said it would buy Long Beach's Obagi Medical Products Inc. for about $344 million to boost its dermatology business, Reuters reports. Obagi makes physician-prescribed skin-care products.

MOCA Turns Down LACMA Offer

The trustees of L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art have decided not to turn over the keys to their financially ailing institution to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and instead will raise the money needed to keep the downtown museum independent, the Los Angeles Times and New York Times report.

JS Communications Pulls Bid for Rhythm & Hues

South Korean entertainment and media company JS Communications has withdrawn its bid to acquire Rhythm & Hues, the El Segundo visual effects company that recently filed for bankruptcy protection, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Anschutz Eyes AEG Growth

Just a week after pulling the entertainment giant off the block, Phil Anschutz reportedly is prepping a fresh acquisition strategy for L.A.'s AEG. Sources tell the New York Post that may include purchase of Live Nation’s Foxwoods Theatre on New York's 42nd Street.

Fed Expected to Maintain Stimulative Programs

The Federal Reserve today is expected to maintain its resolve to keep borrowing costs at record lows despite growing signs that the economy is strengthening, the Associated Press reports.

Melanoma Drug Shows Promise in Key Trial

Amgen Inc. said its experimental and novel treatment for advanced melanoma met the main goal of a late-stage clinical trial by demonstrating a durable response in significantly more patients than a comparison treatment, the New York Times and Reuters report.

SEC Digging Into Fund Fees

The Securities and Exchange Commission is closely scrutinizing the fees and expenses, including travel and entertainment, that hedge funds and private-equity firms charge to their investors, the Wall Street Journal reports. Many managers of hedge funds and private-equity funds – collectively called "private investment advisers" – had long been largely unregulated.

Americans Cut Restaurant Spending as Taxes Bite

Restaurants are reeling from their worst three months since 2010, as American diners concerned by higher payroll taxes cut back on eating out, Bloomberg News reports.

Fund Launched to Make 'Star Trek' Device a Reality

BlackBerry inventor Mike Lazaridis is the latest techie trying to build a real-life medical tricorder, a fictional handheld device on "Star Trek" that enables users to quickly diagnose ailments, the Los Angeles Times reports. Lazaridis is starting a $97-million quantum technology fund that wants to commercialize technologies from research labs that he's been funding.

Watch Out for Hackers During March Madness

While market trading may slow during March Madness, hackers are ramping up to get you in their own brackets, CNBC reports. Basketball fans should be extra careful when scouring the web for live footage of games and teams' scores while the tournament is going on.

Markets Rise This Morning

In Wednesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 73 points to 14,528. The Nasdaq rose 18 points to 3,247. The S&P 500 rose 9 points to 1,557.

Tuesday, March 19

Lubell Steps Down as True Religion's Chief

True Religion Apparel Inc. late Tuesday said Jeff Lubell has decided to step down as chief executive. The board appointed Lynne Koplin as interim CEO.

CBRE Expands in Eastern Europe

CBRE Group Inc. has acquired Impact-Corti, which provides property management services in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Markets Mixed at Close

In Tuesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 4 points to 14,456. The Nasdaq fell 8 points to 3,229. The S&P 500 fell 4 points to 1,548. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 150.

Demand Media Gets Creative

Demand Media on Tuesday announced it has acquired teaching web service Creativebug in a sign of the company’s new interest in paid-for content.

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Rexter Launches, Raises Seed Round

Rexter has created a so-called professional relationships management system to help people build and maintain work contacts.

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Gang Accused of Extorting Hollywood Food Trucks

At least 20 reputed members of one of Los Angeles' most notorious gangs have been indicted in connection with a violent extortion racket that targeted food-truck operators in the Hollywood area over at least five years, the Los Angeles Times reports.

How to Save the Visual Effects Industry

Digital Domain Chief Executive Ed Ulbrich tells TheWrap.com how he thinks the visual-effects industry can be saved. "We need to stop acting like visual-effects vendors and start acting like digital production companies."

Valero to Keep Two California Refineries

Valero Energy Corp. won't try to sell its refineries in Wilmington and Benicia, but instead will attempt to bring in low-priced, domestically produced crude to make them more profitable, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Liberty Media Buys Stake in Charter Cable

John Malone's Liberty Media Corp. agreed on Tuesday to buy more than 27 percent of cable operator Charter Communications in a $2.62 billion deal, Bloomberg News and Fox Business report. Liberty will purchase the stake from Apollo Management, Oaktree Capital Management and Crestview Partners.

MGM’s IPO: Not So Fast

While speculation is high that Metro Goldwyn Mayer may soon launch an initial public offering to raise as much as $3 billion, sources tell Variety that the producer of such recent hits as “Skyfall” and “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” is more likely to seek a significantly smaller $400 million to $500 million private placement.

State Jobless Rate High, Job Growth Rate High, Too

California's jobless rate was unchanged at 9.8 percent in January for the second straight month, but a high rate of payroll job growth, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Honda Splits Its Advertising Account

After more than 25 years with Santa Monica agency RPA, the automaker parcels out parts of its business, with MediaVest of New York and Mullen of Boston now getting a slice of the pie, the Los Angeles Times reports. RPA will keep the creative side.

Edison: One San Onofre Unit Could Be Restarted at Full Power

Southern California Edison officials say one of the two reactors at the darkened San Onofre nuclear plant could be restarted at full power and operate safely for almost a year, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Cyprus Bank-Levy in Doubt

Faced with a growing panic that rattled the world markets yesterday, Cypriot lawmakers may now shoot down an unprecedented levy on bank deposits, risking the island’s membership in the euro, Bloomberg News reports.

Fannie May Repay Billions

The rebounding housing market has helped return Fannie Mae to profitability and now might allow the company to repay as much as $61.5 billion to the U.S. Treasury, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Variety Publishes Final Daily Print Edition

After 80 years, Daily Variety publishes its final daily print edition today, bringing the curtain down on the one thing that has separated it from other Hollywood trade publications in recent years, TheWrap.com reports.

Morning Rebound for Markets

In Tuesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 33 points to 14,485. The Nasdaq rose 3 points to 3,241. The S&P 500 rose 1 point to 1,553.

Monday, March 18

Factual Traveling With TripAdvisor

Factual, a Century City data company, announced Monday that it has inked a deal with TripAdvisor to provide information on restaurants in more than 50 countries.

Five Island Acquires Controlling Stake in Frederick’s

Frederick’s of Hollywood has a new majority owner: Five Island Asset Management, a unit of New York investment firm Harbinger Group Inc. now has a controlling stake in the Los Angeles lingerie maker.

BNK Shares Rocket on Oil Field Sale

Shares of Camarillo oil and natural gas producer BNK Petroleum soared Monday after the company announced it had reached a deal to sell property in Oklahoma to a unit of Exxon Mobil Corp. for $148 million.

J2 Global Makes Another Buy

J2 Global Inc. continued its acquisition spree on Monday, announcing that it has acquired MetroFax Inc., a provider of Internet faxing services.

Stocks Down at Close

In Monday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 62 points to 14,452. The Nasdaq fell 11 points to 3,238. The S&P 500 fell 8 points to 1,552. The LABJ Stock Index fell more than 1 point to 150.

Cyprus to Raid Personal Savings; Global Markets Upset

What's going on in the small Mediterranean nation of Cyprus could matter not just to the rest of Europe, but the rest of the world, Yahoo's Daily Ticker and the Wall Street Journal report. The decision to raise $7.6 billion from taxes on depositors, including individuals with small amounts in their accounts, risks a wider political fallout for the euro-zone leaders who are guiding the bloc's crisis strategy.

MGM Board to Consider $3 Billion IPO

Bolstered by big openings for co-productions "Skyfall" and "The Hobbit," privately-held producer Metro Goldwyn Mayer may go public in May or June, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Airline Group Seeks to Modernize Booking System

The International Air Transport Association wants to upgrade the computer system used by agents and websites so airlines can offer more than seats on flights, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Residents Battle Proposed Elder-Care Complex

Northridge homeowners are fighting construction of what they call a "Costco-sized" local elder-care home, the latest in a series of skirmishes since Los Angeles changed its rules to allow senior-care residences almost anywhere, the Los Angeles Times reports.

EPA Threatens to Sue Fuel-Storage Facility

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has notified the owners of a 40-year-old San Pedro tank farm that it is prepared to sue to ensure compliance with federal law. The Rancho LPG Holdings terminal is one of the largest and oldest aboveground fuel-storage facilities of its kind in the country, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Housing Investors Aim to Profit in Hard-Hit Areas

Investors say they're providing nice homes for families by buying up bargains, holding them and renting them out. Critics say they're taking advantage of a situation they caused, the Los Angeles Times reports.

'Wash Trades' Scrutinized

U.S. regulators are investigating whether high-frequency traders are routinely distorting stock and futures markets by illegally acting as buyer and seller in the same transactions, sources tell the Wall Street Journal.

Number of Cases Filed by SEC Slows

The Securities and Exchange Commission is filing significantly fewer civil fraud cases this year, as its efforts to punish misconduct related to the financial crisis start to ebb. Sources tell the Wall Street Journal that the agency is likely to fall short this fiscal year of its record-breaking number of enforcement actions in the previous two years.

Justice Official to Be Nominated to Top Labor Slot

Seeking to fill yet another second-term Cabinet vacancy, President Barack Obama is set to nominate Thomas Perez, an assistant attorney general, to be the next secretary of labor, the Associated Press reports.

China Shows Symptoms of Financial Crisis

Just as concerns over a hard landing in the world's second largest economy look to have faded, economists at Nomura have sounded a warning that the Chinese economy is exhibiting the same worrying symptoms that triggered the 2008 financial crisis, CNBC reports.

Stocks Down This Morning

In Monday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 33 points to 14,482. The Nasdaq fell 14 points to 3,235. The S&P 500 fell 7 points to 1,553.

Silicon Beach Shores Up Image at Texas Festival

TECHNOLOGY: L.A. firms make their presence known at interactive conference.

Silicon Beach firms looked to make industry waves during an Austin, Texas, conference.

California Policies Leave Companies Open to Poachers

Arthur F. Rothberg warns that California’s business policies are polishing the Lone Star State’s shine.

Satellite Provider Circles Content

TV: DirecTV goes ‘Rogue’ in hope that new drama draws subscribers.

Satellite broadcaster DirecTV hopes to pull more subscribers into its orbit with original drama “Rogue.”

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Coffee Firm Hopes Distribution Cup Runneth Over

MANUFACTURING: Retail deals more than double outlets for Jammin Java.

Coffee maker Jammin Java hopes new distribution deal perks up sales.

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Success in the Bag?

FOOD: Snak King restyles packaging of Whole Earth brand to accent flavor over health benefits.

Snak King hopes shoppers bite on the refocus of its Whole Earth line from healthy to tasty products.

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Oil Companies Don’t Dig Tax

ENERGY: Extraction levy may leave California in hole.

Cheesecake Factory looks to follow up its Mideast expansion by dishing out licensed locations in Latin America.

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Growth Factors

Tightened credit standards at banks have prompted businesses to turn to factors for high-cost, short-term loans.

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Making Cases

Ex-partners of Johnnie Cochran spar over name, legacy

Former partners fight to use attorney Johnnie Cochran’s name to court clients.

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Stimulating Discussion

Reduction or phase-out of city’s gross receipts tax could determine future of business in Los Angeles.

The future of L.A. commerce could hinge on the handling of the city’s gross receipts levy, according to Larry Palmer.

Lighting The Way At Coliseum

LEDtronics takes shine to venue’s sign and donates bulbs.

LEDtronics president has bright idea to donate light bulbs for L.A. Memorial Coliseum’s sign.

Internet Friend

Former Myspace exec Michael Jones still clicks with tech scene through his incubator, Science.

Former AOL and Myspace exec Michael Jones stays plugged into the tech scene through incubator Science.

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Y’All Wanna Buy a House?

Not only can Texas tout its low tax rates, but it now can brag that it has the most affordable house prices, Charles Crumpley writes.

Show Biz Publication Raises Curtain on New HQ

LEASE: Parent of Variety plans to move operations into Westwood building.

Angelenos may soon be talking about the Variety building … in Westwood.

Data Bank

Calendar and Events

Ancient Practice Found Fertile Ground in L.A.

L.A.’s apparel industry has helped factoring find a foothold in the area.

Factoring Spreads From Its Traditional Industries

Temp agencies and trucking companies are among the businesses fueling factoring’s growth.

Seeking Clients Who’ve Never Heard of Factoring

Fast A/R Funding uses online advertising to pursue clients outside of factoring’s traditional sectors.

News of the Week

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

App Lets Bosses Keep Close Eye on Telecommuters

INTERNET: MySammy compiles data on at-home workers’ productivity.

Yahoo Inc. Chief Executive Marissa Mayer sparked an online uproar last month when she sent out an edict banning telecommuting.

Boutique Hotel Finds Room in Redondo Beach

HOSPITALITY: Developer Zislis Group gets OK to begin work at waterfront.

A makeover of the outdated Redondo Beach waterfront that began last month with a ceremonial ground-breaking for a new hotel is gaining momentum.

Traders Crank Volume on Plastic Resin Company

INVESTMENT: Cereplast activity partly fueled by new shares from debt deals.

Investors have turned up Cereplast’s stock trading volume as they attempt to sound out the plastic resin maker’s future.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Lawyer Tunes Up Silver Lake Home

When entertainment attorney Jordan Bromley bought a house on Effie Street in Silver Lake in 2010, he realized that a half-dozen musicians he represented lived within a few blocks.

Pulling Back On Addiction

Alternatives facility permits moderate use while treating patients.

Addiction treatment facility Alternatives offers moderation as a means for patients to gain control.

Deep Freeze To Heat Up Sweet Sales?

Ice Cream Lab hopes to change treat lovers’ tastes by degrees with liquid nitrogen-blasted confections.

Eatery Growth Leads to South

DINING: Cheesecake Factory adds Latin America to menu.

Cheesecake Factory looks to follow up its Mideast expansion by dishing out licensed locations in Latin America.

Friday, March 15

Analyst Upgrades Boost Obagi Shares

Shares of Obagi Medical Products Inc. rose 7 percent on Friday after two analyst upgrades followed the company’s fourth-quarter earnings.

The Week’s Biggest Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies rose again for the week amid wider market gains.

Stocks Fall Slightly

The Dow Jones industrial average on Friday closed down 25 points to 14,514. The Nasdaq fell 10 points to 3,249. The S&P 500 fell 2 points to 1,561. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 152.

Hulu Names Interim CEO

Hulu has tapped Andy Forssell to fill in for Chief Executive Jason Kilar when he leaves the company later this month.

Broad Teams With Beutner for LAT Bid

Billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad has joined with financier and former L.A. Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner to turn the Los Angeles Times into a non-profit, sources tell the Hollywood Reporter.

Turmoil at AEG Clouds NFL's Return

Philip Anschutz's decision to take AEG off the market damages the prospect the NFL will return to Los Angeles, reports the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily News. The Times also looks at how departing CEO Tim Leiweke over the years wove AEG into the fabric of Los Angeles.

Shark Dies in Local Commercial Shoot

A 5-foot-long shark died last week after being placed in an above-ground pool at a Van Nuys shoot for a Kmart commercial, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Gavin Smith's Car Found, Homicide Suspected

Nearly a year after 20th Century Fox executive Gavin Smith disappeared, detectives have concluded he was murdered and identified a "person of interest" in the case, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Broad Remains Player in Museum Merger

Billionaire Eli Broad's 2008 bailout of MOCA gave him provisions that could complicate a potential deal with LACMA, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Employers Blast Fees in New Health Law

Companies are bracing for a fee in the federal health-care law that will charge them $63 for each person they insure next year, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Lumberyards Bustling Again

Timber prices have soared more than 40 percent over last year as sawmills are reopening and hiring again, the Los Angeles Times reports. Truck companies that haul wood out of state are also reviving.

Buffett Salary: Still $100,000

Warren Buffett earned a salary of $100,000 in 2012 as chairman and chief executive of his Berkshire Hathaway Inc., an amount that has remained unchanged for more than three decades, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Aviation Employees Demand TSA Drop New Knife Rule

The TSA is facing mounting opposition from many of the biggest players in aviation safety, including flight attendants and its own screeners, CNN and NBC report.

Is Your Cloud Drive Really Private?

While some popular cloud storage providers typically scan only for child pornography, their terms of service generally allow for other kinds of files to be considered non grata as well, CNBC reports.

Just Another Day With Your Lying, Scheming Co-Workers

They’ve been lied to, stolen from and betrayed, but they keep coming back, day after day. They’re your colleagues. The Wall Street Journal reports on a new survey that uses personality tests to improve workplace performance.

Stocks Down in Friday Trading

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 42 points to 14,597. The Nasdaq fell 10 points to 3,249. The S&P 500 fell 3 points to 1,560.

Thursday, March 14

Cooking.com Finds Buyer

Target Corp. announced it had acquired Marina del Rey cooking ecommerce site Cooking.com.

Judge Demands Forever 21 Supply Chain Information

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday that a judge ordered downtown L.A. retailer Forever 21 Inc. to release supply chain information that the apparel company refused to disclose after the federal agency demanded it last summer.

Liberty Media CEO Named Live Nation Chairman

Live Nation Entertainment Inc. on Thursday said that its board has appointed Greg Maffei, chief executive of largest shareholder Liberty Media Corp., as its non-executive chairman.

Port Volumes Rises on Chinese New Year

The Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach on Thursday reported higher container volume in February compared with the previous year.

Markets Mostly Gain

In Thursday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 83 points to 14,539. The Nasdaq was unchanged at 3,250. The S&P 500 rose 9 points to 1,563. The LABJ Stock Index rose more than 1 point to 152.

Villaraigosa Won’t Wait for AEG

Reacting to Philip Anschutz’s decision to not sell AEG, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa late Thursday said he wouldn’t wait on the sports and entertainment giant as a partner in modernizing the city’s Convention Center.

Insurers Warn of Overhaul-Induced Sticker Shock

Some Americans could see their insurance bills double next year as the health care overhaul law expands coverage to millions of people, the Associated Press reports.

Stormwater Cleanup Fee Put on Slow Track

Los Angeles County supervisors have decided not to fast track a proposed county's stormwater cleanup fee, opting not to proceed with the parcel fee as written but allowing for the possibility it could re-appear on a general election ballot next year, the Los Angeles Times and San Gabriel Valley Tribune report.

Molina Healthcare Buys Two Historic Long Beach Buildings

Two rundown 1920s-era buildings in Long Beach will be converted to a medical office complex for Molina Healthcare Inc., as the city's historic downtown notches another addition to its budding revival, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Contract Talks Break Off in Entertainment Industry Union

Contract talks broke down between the Motion Picture & Television Fund and the union representing healthcare workers Wednesday, paving the way for a planned strike early next week, the Los Angeles Times reports. The SEIU-UHW represents about 500 nurses, dietary workers, housekeepers and other healthcare workers at the fund’s Woodland Hills retirement community.

Lawsuit Filed Over Changes for Eviction Cases

Saying that a Los Angeles County Superior Court plan to reduce the number of courts handling landlord disputes "shuts the courthouse doors on many of the county's most vulnerable residents," several legal aid organizations filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the court system and the state, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Foreclosures Flare-Up Again

Banks are repossessing fewer homes, in fact the fewest since March of 2007, but in some states that may be about to change, CNBC reports.

New Samsung Phone Faces Stronger Competition

Samsung Electronics is taking to the Big Apple today to reveal its next big challenge to Apple Inc.: a successor to its top-selling Galaxy S III smartphone. At the same time, the Korean company faces increasing competition from other Android smartphones, the Associated Press reports. Apple also is firing back, with its marketing chief attacking Google Inc.'s "fragmented" Android software and its biggest adopter, Reuters reports.

Cities Weigh Taking Business From Private Utilities

Across the country, cities are showing a renewed interest in taking over electricity business from private utilities, reflecting intensifying concerns about climate change, responses to power disruptions and a desire to pump more renewable energy into the grid, the New York Times reports.

Immigration Reform Could Cost Social Security Billions

A bipartisan group of eight senators must consider how legalizing over 10 million immigrants might affect jobs, border security and tax revenue, and also Social Security taxes and checks, Yahoo's Daily Ticker reports.

A Struggle to Revive the Morning Magic at NBC

The last year for Matt Lauer, the once-popular host of the network’s “Today” show, is a lesson on how a combination of missteps can precipitate a star’s fall, the New York Times and Hollywood Reporter say.

Markets Up at Open

In Thursday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 52 points to 14,507. The Nasdaq rose 9 points to 3,254. The S&P 500 rose 5 points to 1,559.

Wednesday, March 13

Edgecast’s Indonesian Move

Edgecast, a Santa Monica technology company, has continued its worldwide expansion with a deal to place its servers in Indonesia.

Better-Than-Expected Quarter for Hot Topic

Hot Topic Inc., which last week announced it would be taken private by a private equity firm, on Wednesday reported that its fiscal fourth-quarter profit jumped by more than one-third.

BioSolar Gets First Commercial Order

Shares of BioSolar Inc. jumped 39 percent on Wednesday after announcing the first commercial order for its innovative solar panel protective film.

Markets Close Higher

In Wednesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 5 points to 14,455. The Nasdaq rose 3 points to 3,245. The S&P 500 rose 2 points to 1,555. The LABJ Stock Index rose less than 1 point to 151.

Myspace Touts New Look With Chevy Sponsorship

The Beverly Hills social network announced Wednesday that it signed a new sponsorship deal with Chevrolet – the site’s first since the revamp a few months ago.

L.A.'s Better Business Bureau Expelled

BBB of the Southland, the Los Angeles chapter of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, has been expelled after years of internal strife and a slew of audits by the national group, the Los Angeles Times reports. The local group has changed its name and vows to carry on. Also, check out the Los Angeles Business Journal’s earlier report on the controversy.

Hostess Twinkies Settles on its Savior

Hostess is moving ahead with plans to sell its Twinkies and other snack cakes after no one stepped forward to top an offer made by two investment firms, Reuters and the New York Times reports.

UCLA Expects Stronger Economic Growth

UCLA economists predict that the U.S. economy is ready to stage an earnest comeback this year — led by housing starts and auto sales — and California stands to grab a large proportion of the gains, the Los Angeles Times reports.

FCC Approves T-Mobile, MetroPCS Merger

U.S. regulators have approved the combination of wireless carriers MetroPCS Communications Inc. and Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile USA, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News report.

Consumer Group Urges FTC to Investigate Herbalife

The National Consumers League has called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the business practices of Herbalife Ltd., the Los Angeles nutritional products company that’s been described as a pyramid scheme by hedge fund manager Bill Ackman and others, the Los Angeles Times reports.

DreamWorks Set to Produce Kashmir Pic

Steven Spielberg has revealed that DreamWorks is prepping a film to shoot in Kashmir, on the India-Pakistan border, with its Indian partner Reliance Entertainment, Variety reports.

Glendale Votes to Ban Gun Shows on City Property

The Glendale City Council has narrowly approved an ordinance banning gun shows on city-owned property, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

The Research Behind 'The View's' Shake-Up

An internal ABC study showed "The View" co-hosts Joy Behar's and Elisabeth Hasselbeck's politics were too "polarizing" as the aging daytime hit faces a risky reboot amid a stiff ratings decline, the Hollywood Reporter says. Behar, 70, announced last week that she will exit the talk show after 16-plus years at the end of her contract this summer.

FTC Warns Mobile, Social Media Advertisers

The Federal Trade Commission has ruled that digital ads that pop up on Twitter, Facebook and on mobile sites must be accompanied by disclosures to avoid deceptive practices, AdWeek and USA Today report.

'Game of Thrones' Beer Is Released

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” already has some of the most passionate fans in television. Now it has its own beer. The network has partnered with Brewery Ommegang, a New York state craft beer maker, to create a series of brews inspired by the popular television series, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Markets Open Mixed

In Wednesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down nearly 4 points to 14,446. The Nasdaq rose 1 point to 3,243. The S&P 500 rose 1 point to 1,553.

Tuesday, March 12

Guess Shares Fall on News of President’s Departure

Shares of L.A. jeans company Guess Inc. fell Tuesday after news that Nancy Shachtman, the retailer’s president of North America, has left the company.

Dole Moves to Loss

Dole Food Co. Inc. shares dropped in after-hours trading Tuesday after the fresh food company reported a worse-than-expected loss in the fourth quarter.

Kennedy-Wilson to Sell 9 Million Shares

Beverly Hills real estate investment and services firm Kennedy-Wilson Holdings, Inc. said Tuesday it planned sell 9 million shares of common stock.

Report: Koch Brothers Eye L.A. Times

Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are considering a bid for the Los Angeles Times, according to a report Tuesday by L.A. Weekly.

Markets Mixed at Close

In Tuesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 3 points to 14,450. The Nasdaq fell 10 points to 3,242. The S&P 500 fell 4 points to 1,552. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 150.

SXSW: L.A. Entrepreneur Discusses Future of Crowdfunding

Entrepreneur Chance Barnett led a talk at the Hilton hotel in downtown Austin, Texas, about whether highly anticipated changes to investment regulations will live up to the challenge of funding more small businesses and creating jobs.

SXSW: Iconothon Asks Techies to Unleash Creative Side

To help grow its database of symbols, Noun Project held a brainstorming session called an Iconothon Monday evening during the South by Southwest interactive conference in Austin, Texas.

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Madison Square Garden Sells Stake in Live Nation

Madison Square Garden Co. sold its $44 million stake in Live Nation Entertainment Inc., severing ties with the concert promoter after MSG Chairman James Dolan stepped down from Live Nation’s board last month, Bloomberg News and TheWrap report.

L.A. Layoffs May Hit 5-Year Low

Manpower Group's latest staffing outlook among L.A. area employers shows that layoffs may hit a five-year low during the second quarter, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports.

Cinedigm Creating New Digital Movie Paradigm

Cinedigm plans to transform itself into a leading digital distributor of movies, documentaries and TV shows — not just to theaters but a variety of platforms, the Los Angeles Times reports.

L.A. County Tourism Hits High

The 41.4 million visitors to Los Angeles County last year spent $16.4 billion, most of it on lodging, food and drinks, the Los Angeles Times reports. More tourists come from China than any other foreign country.

Senate to Question SEC Nominee on Her Work for Wall Street and NFL

Mary Jo White will likely face questions about her work for Wall Street when senators consider her for head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, but Reuters reports that one lawmaker wants to huddle about football.

Disney Cancels 'Clone Wars'

Star Wars” apparently is setting a different course on TV under Walt Disney Co. Lucasfilm announced that the fifth season of its popular computer animated show “Clone Wars,” which recently finished airing on Time Warner's Cartoon Network will be its last, Wired and AdWeek report.

Ridley Scott Partners with Machinima

Ridley Scott and his commercial company have partnered with West Hollywood online network Machinima to produce 12 original sci-fi short films, TheWrap reports.

California Expensive for Rents

A minimum wage worker in California must toil about 130 hours a week in order to feasibly afford a two-bedroom rental, a new report found, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Budget Squeeze Hits L.A.'s Neighborhood Councils

With the failure of Measure A last week, L.A.’s 95 neighborhood councils are being asked to weigh in on a proposal to either cancel their elections next year or help cover the costs, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Menu Labeling 'Thorny' Issue

Diners will have to wait to find calorie counts on most restaurant chain menus, in supermarkets and on vending machines, the Associated Press reports. Writing a new menu labeling law "has gotten extremely thorny," says the head of the Food and Drug Administration.

Battle Goes Beyond Herbalife, Hedge Funds

Since 1948 multilevel marketing companies have faced questions of product efficacy and distributors have battled firms over non-compete agreements. CNBC reports that these persisting questions about multilevel marketing are bigger than Herbalife's latest drama.

Cargo Volume to Increase Despite Sequestration

A National Retail Federation forecast says cargo volume at the nation's ports is expected increase in March, despite port slowdowns as a result of automatic federal budget cuts, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Markets Down in Morning Trading

In Tuesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 4 points to 14,443. The Nasdaq fell 16 points to 3,237. The S&P 500 fell 5 points to 1,551.

Staffing Outlook Improves

The staffing outlook among L.A. area employers shows that layoffs may hit a five-year low during the second quarter, according to a survey released Tuesday from Manpower Group.

Monday, March 11

MPG Office Trust To Sell U.S. Bank Tower

Struggling downtown real estate investment trust MPG Office Trust Inc. announced it had agreed to sell U.S. Bank Tower, the tallest building west of the Mississippi River, and a related parking garage, for $368 million.

Reliance Steel Acquisition Hits Key Milestones

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co.’s acquisition of Metals USA Holdings Corp. moved forward Monday, with Metals USA announcing that no competing bids had emerged and anti-trust regulators did not planning to block the $766 million deal.

Markets Rise at Close

In Monday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 50 points to 14,447. The Nasdaq rose 8.5 points to 3,263. The S&P 500 rose 5 points to 1,556. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 150.

SXSW: L.A. Companies Show Off at Sunday Funday

Twenty L.A. companies set up booths inside Frank to pitch their ideas and demo products for the hundreds of investors, entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts who filtered through.

Rhythm & Hues Studios Has Found a Bidder

Rhythm & Hues Studios Inc., the struggling Oscar-winning visual-effects company behind the effects in "Life of Pi," said in a bankruptcy filing that it received a bid valued at about $17 million from a South Korean media company, the Wall Street Journal and Variety report.

Scores of FDIC Settlements Go Unannounced

Since 2007, 471 U.S. banks have failed, nearly depleting the FDIC deposit-insurance fund with $92.5 billion in losses. But rather than sue, the agency has typically preferred to settle for a fraction of the losses while helping the banks avoid bad press, the Los Angeles Times reports.

An 'Oz' Clash of the Titans

Disney, with its new hit Wizard of Oz prequel, and Warner Bros., which owns rights to the 1939 original, are preparing to do battle over filmgoers' hearts and pocketbooks with merchandising and possible films and a TV show, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Metrolink Begins Making Financial Repairs

Reacting to a scathing internal review, Metrolink officials are moving to correct serious accounting problems that led to the recent resignation of the commuter railroad's chief financial officer, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Why This Bull Market Has Little Street Cred

The current bull market cycle in the U.S. sailed past the four-year mark on March 9, and the Dow Jones industrial average hit a new all-time high of 14,397 the day before. Yet stocks as an asset class continue to be viewed with suspicion, despite strong corporate profits and the housing sector recovery, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports.

Schlotzsky's Has Big Plans for Southern California

Schlotzsky's, an Austin, Texas-based restaurant chain, has a big appetite for Southern California, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The fast-casual operator plans to open about 200 restaurants across the region, creating more than 7,000 jobs.

Social Media Fertile Ground for Stock Hoaxes

Prominent short-seller David Einhorn raised eyebrows last month when he popped up on Twitter to disavow that he had tweeted about Herbalife Ltd. He isn't the only investor who has been impersonated on Twitter, which has become an important source of information for many investors, Reuters reports.

'Ferry to Nowhere' Could Land in L.A.

A state-of-the-art prototype military vessel diverted to Alaska hasn't worked out as a ferry. Officials there are desperate to be rid of it, and some L.A. County officials think the $78-million "Susitna" might be of use to Catalina Island, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Icahn, Dell Enter Confidentiality Pact

Carl Icahn has reached a pact with Dell Inc. that allows him to look at the computer company’s books, the Wall Street Journal and Associated Press report.

Algorithms Get a Hand in Steering Web

Computer algorithms are capable of trading stocks, winning “Jeopardy” and even choosing bra sizes. But increasingly, behind the curtain, there is a human helper, the New York Times reports.

Dive Bar Becomes First to Ban Google Glass

Google Glass won't hit the market for months, but there's at least one bar where the tech-geek eyewear will not be welcome, CNet.com reports. The 5 Point, a self-described dive bar in Seattle, plans to ban the devices, and likely won't be the only establishment considering the implications of having customers with face-mounted cameras snapping pictures of their diverse and sometimes intoxicated clientele.

Markets Mixed This Morning

In Monday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 11 points to 14,408. The Nasdaq was down 4 points to 3,240. The S&P 500 was unchanged at 1,551.

See You in 15 Years?

L.A.’s business community has cause for optimism after last week’s mayoral primary results.

Bad Buzz For Electric Sedan

AUTOMOTIVE: Coda may seek sale as firm grinds gears.

Coda brings in investment banker as the electric car maker spins its wheels saleswise.

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Radio-Website Firm’s Debt Plan Could Pay Off

MEDIA: Salem shares rise 11 percent as investors hold out hopes for dividend.

Investors want to be left with a big dividend as conservative radio station and website operator Salem retools its debt.

Clothing Maker Moves Needle With Online Sales

FASHION: Improved sector takes on bigger role for American Apparel.

American Apparel is fashioning online sales into a bigger part of its growth plan.

YouTube Channel Pushes Play on Movie Project

FILM: AwesomenessTV looks to broaden reach with band documentary.

YouTube content is making the sizable jump to cable TV with greater frequency.

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Fresh Script

Talent agency CAA tries role of tech startup investor

Hollywood talent agencies look to cast themselves in a new role: tech investors.

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Spinning Expansion

AUTOMOTIVE: Wheel maker Superior touts plan for new plant as sales booster.

Wheel maker Superior hopes to regain traction on Wall Street with its plan for a new factory.

Energy Drinks in Power Play

Red Bull looks to shed tangy edge with new fruit-flavored line.

Red Bull wants to pump up sales of its energy drink with new fruit flavors.

Modest Practice, Flashy Growth

LAW: Low-key Lewis Brisbois becomes largest firm in L.A.

A focus on insurance defense has helped ensure Lewis Brisbois’ growth into L.A.’s biggest firm by attorney count. (Sidebar: Lower rates lead to job growth. Page 43.)

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New Hospital Turns Animal Care Into Pet Project

HEALTH CARE: West L.A. facility of VCA Antech offers high-tech treatment.

Aside from the dogs on leashes and cats in carriers in the upscale reception area, it’s hard to tell at first glance that the newest hospital on Sepulveda Boulevard is for four-legged patients.

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Not All Campaign Ad Buys Translate for KMEX

TV: Station sees little spending from candidates despite leading ratings.

Spanish-language KMEX would like to channel more of mayoral candidates’ ad spending.

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Homed In on High Prices

Spate of multimillion-dollar sales offers welcome evidence that local market is bouncing back.

Stephen Shapiro thinks blockbuster residential deals signal that California’s moving into a healthier housing market.

New Tenants Go Distance for Miracle Mile Space

LEASE: Pair of deals takes occupancy rate to nearly 80 percent at building.

Two new leases have brought a struggling Miracle Mile office building to near 80 percent occupancy.

Bean Counters Pull Up Roots

REAL ESTATE: KPMG to ditch its tower for new digs.

Accounting firm KPMG does a number on namesake downtown tower by moving closer to L.A. Live.

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Russell Goldsmith: Taking Image Into Account

Russell Goldsmith oversees the growth of City National Bank; now he’s focused on L.A.’s infrastructure

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Data Bank

Calendar and Events

Pollution Bill Could Help State Clean Up in Jobs

State pollution bill AB 32 could create jobs, according to Leonard E. Robinson and Rueben Guerra.

News of the Week

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

Denim Company Leaves Future of CEO Wide Open

APPAREL: True Religion lets contract of its founder expire amid plans for sale.

Jeans maker True Religion hasn’t quite sewn up the future employment status of founder Jeff Lubell.

CEO Hunt Could Leave Gas-Oil Firm in Hole

ENERGY: Oxy launches search for new chief while industry rivals seek same.

Other gas and oil companies’ CEO hunts could force Occidental to pay top dollar for a new leader.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Keeping It Briefs for Viral Video Success

Greg Fass at MeUndies knew he had to jump on the “Harlem Shake” fad as fast as possible.

Pulling Up Chairs in Downtown

Furniture maker hopes new shop helps launch L.A. retail corridor.

Furniture maker Angelo Surmelis hopes to sell Los Angeles on a downtown shopping corridor.

Dodgers Hope Pitch Connects

Team looks to leave McCourts in past with ‘Whole New Blue’ ads.

Dodgers step up to the plate with “A Whole New Blue” ad campaign to shake memories of the McCourt years.

Friday, March 8

Port of Long Beach Approves Pact for New Oil Terminal

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners on Friday approved a pact to study development for a new oil terminal.

Teledyne Wins $350 Million NASA Contract

A Teledyne Technologies Inc. subsidiary has won a $350 million contract to design and test new space systems for NASA,

Gores Group Acquires Canadian Outsourcing Business

Gores Group said that it will acquire three outsourcing services units from Toronto’s Davis + Henderson Corp.

The Week’s Biggest Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies climbed for the week as the Dow ended a week of record-breaking gains.

Markets Up at Close

In Friday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 68 points to 14,397. The Nasdaq rose 12 points to 3,244. The S&P 500 rose 7 points to 1,551. The LABJ Stock Index rose 1point to 150.

Ouya Opens Doors To Gamemakers

Ouya has reached another milestone toward its goal of releasing a crowd-funded gaming console to the masses.

Delta to Expand Service at LAX

Delta Air Lines has announced expanding service from LAX to cities in the West, Mexico and Central America, this summer. The Atlanta-based airline will add more flights and five destinations: San Jose, Nashville, Costa Rica and two cities in Washington state, Seattle and Spokane, the Los Angeles Times and Seattle Times report.

LACMA and MOCA May Make Mega-Museum Merger

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has proposed acquiring the Museum of Contemporary Art. Opposition may come from the region’s most influential art patron, Eli Broad, the Los Angeles Times reports.

L.A. Mayor Wants Olympic ‘Three-Peat’

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa sent a letter to the U.S. Olympic Committee confirming that civic, business and community leaders have lined up to express their interest in bidding for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics, the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily News report.

Hooters Is Chasing Women — As Customers

Its waitresses are as buxom as ever, but the Hoosters chain is making changes to counter declining sales. Efforts to make its restaurant more mainstream than man-cave are aimed as wooing women as customers too, CNBC reports.

Banks’ Health on the Mend

The Federal Reserve said the financial industry’s health continues to improve, potentially clearing the way for large U.S. banks to funnel tens of billions of dollars to investors in increased dividend payments and share buybacks, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Firms Send Record Cash Back to Investors

U.S. companies are showering investors with a record windfall in the form of dividends and share buybacks, helping to propel the stock market's rally, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Construction Jobs Surge, but Workers Lacking

After lagging housing starts for several months, construction jobs surged in February to the highest level in six years. But there’s a severe lack of workers, CNBC reports.

Facebook Launches Jazzier News Feed

Facebook doesn't want to be dismissed as an Internet has-been before its social network even enters its adolescence. So it’s unveiled a more dynamic home page, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News report.

Markets Up in Morning Trading

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 40 points to 14,370. The Nasdaq rose 7 points to 3,239. The S&P 500 rose 3 points to 1,547.

Thursday, March 7

BBCN Bancorp Chairman Named CEO

BBCN Bancorp on Thursday said that Chairman Kevin S. Kim has been named president and chief executive.

Hot Topic to Go Private for $600 Million

Shares of Hot Topic Inc. soared Thursday after the company said it will be acquired by private equity firm Sycamore Partners for about $600 million.

Content Partners Buys Stake in CSI

Long-running television franchise, “CSI” has a new owner: L.A. entertainment finance firm Content Partners LLC.

Markets Mixed at Close

In Thursday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 33 points to 14,329. The Nasdaq was unchanged at 3,050. The S&P 500 rose 3 points to 1,544. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 149.

Business Journal Heads to SXSW

The Los Angeles Business Journal is heading to the Lone Star State for the South by Southwest Interactive conference Friday through Tuesday. Follow tech reporter Natalie Jarvey on Twitter at @natjarv for updates from Austin. Also check out the LA Business Journal’s website and L.A. Tech Journal email newsletter for the latest stories about L.A. tech leaders at SXSW.

Startup Tackles Apartment Hunting

EHarmony veteran Jonathan Eppers got the idea for his new startup when he was searching for an apartment last year. Fed up with driving around or looking on Craigslist, Eppers decided to create an app that would help do the work for him.

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Hot Topic to Be Taken Private

Hot Topic Inc., the City of Industry operator of more than 800 teen-oriented retail stores, has agreed to be bought by private-equity firm Sycamore Partners for about $600 million, Bloomberg News and the New York Times report. Shares were up 29 percent in Thursday morning trading.

Marriott Doubles Down on Downtown

As demand for downtown Los Angeles hotel rooms grows, plans have emerged for yet another high-rise inn near Staples Center. A Marriott Renaissance Hotel with 450 rooms is slated to open in 2016 across the street from the L.A. Live entertainment complex, the Los Angeles Times reports.

LAX Opens Three Gates at Tom Bradley

Los Angeles International Airport officials unveiled three state-of-the-art gates at the new Tom Bradley International Terminal on Wednesday, showing off key facets of a project that is considerably behind schedule, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Blue Shield, Aetna to Raise Rates Over State Objections

Despite objections from regulators, health insurers Blue Shield of California and Aetna Inc. are proceeding with double-digit rate increases for individual and small-business policyholders that state officials say are unreasonable, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Time Warner to Spin Off Time Inc.

Time Warner said it will spin off its Time Inc. magazine unit into a separate, publicly traded company, a move that will allow the media conglomerate to focus entirely on its cable television and film businesses, the New York Times reports.

Labor Balks at State's Plan to Partner with Wal-Mart

California officials face mounting criticism from union leaders over plans to let retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. enroll shoppers in President Obama's healthcare expansion, the Los Angeles Times reports.

J.C. Penney Fires 2,200 as Woes Continue

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. laid off about 2,200 employees in its stores and district offices on Wednesday, the Dallas Morning News reports. The struggling Plano-based department store chain’s shares hit a new low on news that 10 million shares of stock were sold by a major shareholder who happens to be a board member.

Icahn Ratchets Up Dell Fight

Dell Inc. on Thursday said activist investor Carl Icahn is pushing for a huge special dividend instead of a planned $24.4 billion leveraged buyout by founder Michael Dell, and threatened the company with "years of litigation" if it doesn't combine a vote on the deal with its annual meeting, the Wall Street Journal reports.

L.A. Council OKs Up to $352 Million for Downtown Streetcar

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved up to $352 million to maintain a streetcar that would run from the Civic Center to the Convention Center, the Los Angeles Times reports. Supporters have emphasized the trolley's potential to create economic growth in downtown, particularly along Broadway, where the city is working to revive old theaters and other historic buildings.

Telecom Firms Seek to Curb Publicly Funded Web Services

Sensing a threat to their business model, telecom companies such as Time Warner and Comcast are pushing more states to curb the spread of publicly funded high-speed Internet access, arguing the networks could squash competition, the Wall Street Journal reports.

China Untapped and Untamed for App Makers

China is emerging as the next battleground for global app makers – but cracking the world's largest smartphone market is proving to be vexing, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Markets Up This Morning

In Thursday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 50 points to 14,346. The Nasdaq rose 5 points to 3,228. The S&P 500 rose nearly 3 points to 1,544

Wednesday, March 6

Disney Shareholders Reject Call to Split Executive Roles

Shareholders of Walt Disney Co. sided with management at the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday, nixing a proposal to separate the jobs of chief executive and chairman after Bob Iger retires in 2016.

Lower Korn/Ferry Profit Better Than Expected

Korn/Ferry International on Wednesday beat analyst’s estimates for the third fiscal quarter, even as net income fell from the same period a year earlier.

Market Mixed at Close

In Wednesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 42 points to 14,296. The Nasdaq fell 2 points to 3,222. The S&P 500 rose nearly 2 points to 1,541. The LABJ Stock Index was unchanged at 149.

Onetime L.A. Company to Power Nasdaq Private Market

SharesPost, a company incubated out of Los Angeles before the slew of current incubators and accelerators opened in town, is powering the technology behind the Nasdaq’s new private shares exchange.

Beats Raises $60 Million to Push Daisy

The Santa Monica headphone company announced late Tuesday that it has raised $60 million to spin off its streaming service, nicknamed Daisy, into a separate company.

Garcetti, Greuel Heading for Runoff

Councilman Eric Garcetti and Controller Wendy Greuel strengthen their leads in the race for Los Angeles mayor, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Measure A sales tax increase appears headed for defeat, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Fox Sports Cable Channel Unveiled

In the latest sign of how valuable the media industry considers sports programming, News Corp. has unveiled plans for Fox Sports 1, which it hopes will eventually challenge Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN empire, Variety and the Los Angeles Times report.

Showtime Aims to Become TV Sports Heavyweight

Showtime, already on a winning streak with the acclaimed "Homeland" series and other hits, also is muscling for more turf on the crowded field of TV sports, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Toast & Jam Holdings to Target Movie, TV Ventures

Financiers Neil Grossman and Howard Silverman have created a holding company for three existing companies to provide financing, production, distribution and other services for feature films and TV shows, the Hollywood Reporter and Variety report.

What the Pros Are Saying About the Market's Rally

With the Dow Jones industrial average at all-time highs, the big question many people have is: Is it too late to get in? CNBC's "Squawk Box" this morning asked Wall Street pros to weigh in on where the stock market goes from here.

Angel Investors May Get Tax Break Back

Two state legislators have responded to the uproar over a state tax agency’s decision to retroactively take away a tax break for angel investors, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports.

Move to Unlock Cell Phones Gains Steam

A day after the Obama administration endorsed an online petition to legalize cell phone unlocking, an Oregon senator has introduced a bill that would allow consumers to take their handsets to other carriers. Other lawmakers are climbing on board, CNet.com reports.

Jeff Berg Speaks

Jeff Berg, the veteran agent, Hollywood power broker and defrocked chairman of International Creative Management, gives the Hollywood Reporter the scoop on what happened and plans for building his new agency Resolution.

Nasdaq To Set Up Trading Post for Private Firms

Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. will form a joint venture with SharesPost Inc. to establish a marketplace for private companies, Reuters reports.

A Courtship Ritual Performed Early

The calendar says early March, but efforts by major media companies to attract advertising dollars, once reserved for the spring, already are in full swing, the New York Times reports.

Insider-Trading Suit Against Cuban to Proceed

Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, lost a bid to end an SEC lawsuit that accused him of insider trading when he sold his stake in the search company Mamma.com, the New York Times and Reuters report.

Hedge Funds Miss the Mark in Herbalife 'Short War'

The debate over Herbalife has been reduced to the level of a junior high school feud as it becomes about hedge fund billionaires trash-talking each other, with no actual investigation, the New York Times reports.

Forbes Hits Back at Saudi Prince Over Rich List

A spat between Saudi billionaire Alwaleed Bin Talal and Forbes over the exact fortune of the prince has taken another bizarre twist, CNBC reports.

Why Honey Boo-Boo Can't Sell Girl Scout Cookies

Alana Thompson, the 7-year-old star of reality show "Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo," has stopped selling Girl Scout Cookies via her Facebook page after the Girl Scouts complained. Slate looks at the entrepreneurial reasons why the youth group is so controlling about who can sell their iconic snacks.

Market Mixed This Morning

In Wednesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 29 points to 14,282. The Nasdaq fell 4 points to 3,220. The S&P 500 rose 1 points to 1,541.

Tuesday, March 5

Angel Investors May Get Tax Break Back

Two state legislators have responded to the uproar over a state tax agency’s decision to retroactively take away a tax break for angel investors.

AeroVironment Slides on Disappointing Quarter

AeroVironment Inc. shares fell 23 percent in after-hours trading on Tuesday after the company slashed its guidance and reported lower-than-expected fiscal third-quarter revenue and profit, largely due to reduced orders from its government clients.

NFL Rejects AEG Plan, Yahoo Reports

The National Football League has lost interest in the current plan to bring a team to downtown Los Angeles, Yahoo Sports reports.

Mercury Sues Insurance Commissioner

Mercury General Corp.’s insurance unit has filed a lawsuit against state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, challenging his order of an 8 percent rate decrease for the company’s 270,000 homeowner policyholders in the state.

British Airways to Fly A380s at LAX

The first British Airways Airbus A380 flights will come to LAX in mid-October. Travelers will be able to fly the double-decker planes on flights between Los Angeles and London Heathrow.

Dow Continues Climb

In Tuesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 126 points, or 1 percent, to 14,254. The Nasdaq was unchanged at 3,050. The S&P 500 rose 15 points, or 1 percent, to 1,540. The LABJ Stock Index rose more than 1 point, or 1 percent, to 148.

Xfire Launches Video Game Tournament Platform

Santa Monica game communication company Xfire is getting in on the tournament action. Xfire, which has technology that allows gamers to chat with friends and send pictures while playing PC games, announced Tuesday the launch of its video game tournament platform, Battleground.

Epoxy Raises $2 Million for Online Video Tools

Epoxy announced Tuesday that it had raised $2 million to hire a team of engineers and continue to build its products.

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Northrop Closes Dominguez Hills Site

Northrop Grumman Corp. is closing a site in Dominguez Hills as part of a plant consolidation strategy developed in response to government budget pressures, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports.

Sunset Strip’s Famed Key Club to Close

Sunset Strip hotspot the Key Club will close its doors March 15, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports.

Dow Breaks Record, Keeps Going

The Dow Jones industrial average powered to an all-time high today, putting devastating declines of the financial crisis in the rear-view mirror, the Wall Street Journal and CNBC report.

Voters Go to Polls in L.A. Races

Los Angeles voters head to the polls today with few specifics about how the city's next mayor and City Council would fix City Hall’s chronic financial problems, the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily News report.

The Rise and Fall of Andy Zaky

Fortune looks at how an Internet-trained Apple analyst from Los Angeles lost tens of millions of other peoples’ money.

Why Private R&D Won’t Make Up for Sequester Cuts

The full weight of the federal research budget cuts could reduce gross domestic product by at least $203 billion through 2021 and cost 200,000 jobs this year alone. Bloomberg BusinessWeek looks at why private companies won’t pick up the slack.

Paramount Returns to TV

Paramount Pictures announced that it easing back into television production with a high-profile pilot based on its “Beverly Hills Cop” franchise, Variety and the Los Angeles Times report.

Ikea’s Euro-Hotel Plan

Ikea has made a booming business out of cheap, stylish prefabricated furniture. Now, an affiliate and Marriott International Inc. are looking to create European hotels in the same mold, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Hollywood Market Research Gets Tech Savvy

n an age when the text and the tweet can destroy a movie an hour after it opens, Hollywood market research firms are scrambling to rethink film promotion, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Tribune Wants to Sell Papers as a Package

Los Angeles Times owner Tribune Co., which plans sell its newspapers to concentrate on its broadcast properties, is seeking a single buyer for all eight publications, sources tell Bloomberg News.

MPG Swings to Profit

MPG Office Trust Inc., the largest office landlord in downtown Los Angeles, divested enough assets in the fourth quarter to turn a profit, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Markets Continues Gains

In Tuesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 151 points, or 1 percent to 14,279. The Nasdaq rose 37 points or 1 percent, to 3,219. The S&P 500 rose 16 points or 1 percent, to 1,541.

Monday, March 4

Northrop Closes Dominguez Hills Site

Defense giant Northrop Grumman Corp. is closing a site in Dominguez Hills and moving its operations to other locations, citing the need to lower costs because of government budget pressures.

Sunset Strip’s Famed Key Club to Close

Historic Sunset Strip hotspot the Key Club will close its doors March 15, the club’s manager announced Monday.

Demand Veterans Launch YouTube Food Network

Larry Fitzgibbon, Steven Kydd and Joe Perez announced Monday the launch of their multi-channel YouTube network, Tastemade, focused on food.

True Religion Boots Founder

Vernon jeans maker True Religion Apparel Inc. will not renew its employment agreement with Jeff Lubell, the company’s founder, chief executive, chairman and creative director.

ILFC Buys 16 Boeings

Aircraft leasing company International Lease Finance Corp. announced that it had agreed to purchase and lease 16 Boeing jet aircraft to American Airlines.

Gores Buys Health Care Services Firm

The Gores Group said that it has acquired GE Healthcare Strategic Sourcing from GE Healthcare.

Derycz Changes Name to Research Solutions

Derycz Scientific Inc. has changed its name to Research Solutions Inc.

Markets Gain on Monday

In Monday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 38 points to 14,128. The Nasdaq rose 12 points to 3,182. The S&P 500 rose 7 points to 1,525. The LABJ Stock Index rose nearly 1 point to 148.

Buffett: 'No Thanks' on Buying Tribune Papers

Warren Buffett has been buying newspapers recently, but told CNBC today that he's not interested in the big papers owned by Tribune Co., such as the Los Angeles Times. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is more on the hunt for deals similar to its planned purchase of H.J. Heinz Co., he said.

Space Ship Arrives at Station

SpaceX's Dragon capsule recovered from an early glitch and delivered one ton of goods, including food, clothes and apples, to the International Space Station on Sunday, the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal report.

Slim Again Tops Forbes List

Mexico's Carlos Slim remains the world's richest person for the fourth year in a row, according to Forbes, while Warren Buffett dropped out of the top three for the first time since 2000. The Associated Press looks at trends in the magazine's annual billionaires list.

StubHub Replaces Home Depot at Carson Sports Venue

Home Depot Center, the 125-acre AEG-owned sports facility in Carson that’s home to two Major League Soccer teams, will become StubHub Center in June, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Is FaceBook So Yesterday?

Facebook in its annual report has made the startling admission that teenagers are becoming bored with the social networking giant, the U.K.'s Daily Mail reports. Facing competition from younger, more agile and 'cooler' apps such as Snapchat and Instagram, Facebook fears its long-term business could be harmed.

TV Studios Dial Up Pursuit of Pirates

Content pirates have sailed the Web since its earliest days, but today they are bolder, faster and better armed with technology. NBCUniversal gave the Wall Street Journal a rare peek inside the cat-and-mouse game that its security team plays with suspected pirates.

Oil and Gas Boom Takes Many by Surprise

The rapid growth in U.S. oil production has surprised even industry insiders, as forecasts that once sounded far-fetched are becoming reality, CNBC reports.

Deficit Reduction Target Reached

As automated federal spending cuts take effect, projected red ink for the next decade has been reduced by about $4 trillion. But this wasn't how Democrats or Republicans wanted to do it, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Corporate Profits Soar as Worker Income Limps

With the Dow Jones industrial average flirting with a record high, the split between American workers and the companies that employ them is widening and could worsen in the next few months as federal budget cuts take hold, the New York Times reports.

How the Student Loan Crisis Drags Down Home Prices

A new report details how the staggering amount of outstanding student debt — nearly $1 trillion owed – is beginning to impede the U.S. economy as a whole, chiefly by robbing the housing market of its richest crop of new buyers: young college graduates, CNBC reports.

Leftist President Fights to Win Back Business

Severe bottlenecks have brought Brazil's economy back to earth after a historic boom. A Reuters analysis looks at how President Dilma Rousseff must now balance her strong belief that the state shape the economy with the need to convince businesses to start investing again.

Where Apps Meet Work, Secret Data at Risk

IT Managers are struggling to contain corporate data in the mobile age. Chinese hackers are one problem. But so are employees who put company information online with their smartphones and tablets, the New York Times reports.

Markets Mixed This Morning

In Monday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 12 points to 14,077. The Nasdaq was up less than 1 point to 3,170. The S&P 500 rose less than 1 point to 1,518.

New Jersey Raises Gaming Stakes

Gambling: Local businesses hope to split state’s online pot.

New Jersey’s approval of online gaming has strengthened the hands of several local businesses.

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Bank Sheds Nonperforming Loans as Well as CFO

Broadway Federal Bank continued to shore up its balance sheet last month, selling off more than $13 million in nonperforming loans.

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Comedy Producer Serious About Syndication Model

TV: Debmar-Mercury sees 10-90 plan add up to deal for ‘Anger Management.’

Debmar-Mercury hopes to laugh all the way to syndication with its 10-90 comedy production model.

Online Fee For All

INTERNET: MediaPass’ paywall services help publishers put price on content.

MediaPass’ paywall services let publishers give online content to readers for a fee.

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Wall Street Cools to Provider of Wi-Fi Hot Spots

ONLINE: Boingo squeezed by customers’ push for free or low-cost access.

Wi-Fi provider Boingo’s stock has trouble connecting with investors as earnings fall.

Larry Flynt Hustles Up Buyer for Beverly Hills HQ

SALE: LFP headquarters building scores $82 million from Douglas Emmett.

Hustler Magazine publisher Larry Flynt has agreed to sell his Beverly Hills headquarters building for $82 million, sources told the Business Journal.

Driving Issue

Car dealer Frederick ‘Fritz’ Hitchcock looks to improve state’s business climate as chairman of California Chamber of Commerce.

Car dealer Frederick “Fritz” Hitchcock looks to help steer state business issues as California Chamber of Commerce chairman.

News of the Week

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

Juice Shops Now Come With Side of Vegetables

FITNESS: Robeks, Jamba among chains looking to fatten up offerings.

Restaurants and shops offering more pressed vegetable juices and leafy green smoothies have been sprouting up all over Los Angeles.

Mobile Game Maker Hopes to Score With Network

ENTERTAINMENT: Five firms sign up to develop titles for Scopely venture.

Scopely Inc. is pressing pause on game-making for the moment to focus on a different role: mobile game network.

Toymaker Looks to Make Play to Increase Sales

MANUFACTURING: Jakks pins hopes on licensing deals, interactive products.

Toymaker Jakks hopes to get a handle on higher sales with interactive products and action figures.

Coast Finally Clear for Harbor Rail Yard Project?

TRANSPORTATION: OK from panel could get BNSF plan on track.

L.A. Harbor Commission’s OK could clear the track for BNSF’s long-delayed rail yard project.

Maker of Cancer Drug Passes Test With Investors

BIOTECH: Puma shares rise as its product moves forward in FDA trials.

Puma’s shares see healthy growth with the success of the company’s cancer drug.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Ins and Outs of Meditation

Neal Baer has plenty of reasons to take a break and engage in some deep, balanced breathing.

Deli Helped Out of Pickle

Regular customer buys shuttered eatery and retains most of staff.

New owner Lenny Rosenberg stepped up to the plate to keep a favorite deli open.

Catching Lightning In Bottles?

Diet-soda maker Zevia moves beyond cans in bid to shake up sales.

Zevia hopes glass bottles result in more customers looking into its high-priced diet beverages.

Girls School Gets Down To Business

Archer works to give students skill sets for future careers.

Archer School for Girls has made preparing students for the business world its job.

Biofuels Firm Pulls the Plug

ENERGY: Rentech closes unit, seeks alternative strategy.

Low gas and oil prices force Rentech to power down its alternative fuels business.

Office Kingpin Loses Crown

REAL ESTATE: Jamison sells buildings as rents fall.

Jamison Services jettisons 10 percent of its portfolio as well as the title of L.A.’s biggest office landlord.

Short Order

Eateries, bars tap cities’ speedier permit procedures

Cities across the county try to add speed to the menu when approving permits for restaurants and bars.

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L.A. Must Sign Off on New Permit Process

Cary Brazeman provides a rundown on the runaround that permit seekers get from the city of Los Angeles.

Raising the Minimum Wage

Some studies contend laws boosting workers’ paychecks don’t result in reduction in employment.

Roxana Tynan defends minimum-wage increases as an economy booster and not a job killer.

Nevada Just Doesn’t Add Up

Texas is trying to sell California businesses on the notion of moving. But Charles Crumpley recalls when Nevada tried to do the same, and he wasn’t sold then.

Data Bank

Calendar and Events

Friday, March 1

UPDATED: L.A. Tech Heading to the Lone Star State

The L.A. tech community will have a significant presence at this year’s South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

Report: Colony Finalist in AEG Bidding

Colony Capital LLC looks like the high bidder so far in the auction for Anschutz Entertainment Group, although sources say that no suitor so far has offered the minimum that the L.A. sports and entertainment giant’s owner had expected.

The Week’s Biggest Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies rose for the week as positive economic data outweighed concerns about the federal government sequester.

Markets Up at Close

In Friday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 35 points to 14,089. The Nasdaq rose 10 points to 3,170. The S&P 500 rose 3.5 points to 1,518. The LABJ Stock Index rose 1 point to 147.

Scopely Takes First Step Toward Network Status

The Hollywood company announced yesterday it was going to work with five studios – Double Fine, Big Cave Games, High Line Games, Rocket Jump Games and Zupcat Games – as part of a new network of mobile games.

Girls Gone Bankrupt

Joe Francis' GGW Brands, the company behind the “Girls Gone Wild” video empire has filed for bankruptcy, the Hollywood Reporter and Associated Press report.

SpaceX Rocket Launched to Space Station

A SpaceX commercial cargo ship rocketed toward the International Space Station on Friday under a billion-dollar contract with NASA that could lead to astronaut rides in just a few years, the Associated Press and Wall Street Journal report.

Mayoral Candidates Compete for Hollywood Vote

The mayor’s race in Los Angeles has engaged Hollywood in ways rarely seen in a municipal election. But TheWrap.com reports that candidates are offering few specifics about how to stanch production flight to rival cities.

Goldman's Cohen: You Haven't Missed the Rally

The rally in the stock market is real and supported by the fundamentals, Goldman Sachs's Abby Joseph Cohen told CNBC on Friday.

Sequester Day Arrives

Congressional leaders on Friday met with President Obama on ways to avoid steep budget cuts, but expectations for the meeting were low, the Washington Post reports.

Will Firing Andrew Mason Save Groupon?

Bloomberg BusinessWeek warns that pushing out the founder of online "daily deals" pioneer Groupon won't necessarily save the company. The Washington Post praises Mason's refreshing blunt memo to employees.

Gasoline Excise Tax to Rise

No matter what market forces do to the state's gasoline prices in the near future, California motorists will be paying a few pennies more per gallon four months from today, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Other Tech Firms Woo Yahoo Workers

After a leaked memo revealed that Yahoo employees with work-from-home arrangements would need to start show up in the office every day, smaller tech companies are attempting to woo the firm's disgruntled telecommuters, CNBC reports.

Markets Mixed This Morning

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 5 points to 14,059. The Nasdaq fell 1 point to 3,159. The S&P 500 rose 1 point to 1,515.