Stories for September 2014

Tuesday, September 30

Work/Life Balance: Greenberg Glusker Partner Andrew Apfelberg on Krav Maga and Standing Calendar Appointments

Andrew Apfelberg, 42, is a partner in the mergers and acquisitions practice of Century City law firm Greenberg Glusker. He has represented the likes of Fiji Water, OPI Products Inc. and Westlake Financial Services in major deals. In 2012, the Association for Corporate Growth elected Apfelberg as president and chairman of its Los Angeles chapter. Despite his demanding career, he also gardens, spends time with his kids and practices Krav Maga, the self-defense system created by the Israeli military. For our new series on mastering work/life balance, we learned how he makes time for it all.

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Metro Connector Breaks Ground, Legal Challenges Loom

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti presided over a groundbreaking Tuesday for the $1.4 billion downtown Regional Connector, a project still facing legal challenges from downtown L.A. property owners.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 28 points in Tuesday trading to 17,043. The S&P 500 fell six points to 1,972. The Nasdaq fell 12 points to 4,493. The LABJ stock index was flat at 201.

Dotstudioz Launches Digital Distribution Platform

Dotstudioz, a Burbank entertainment tech company, has released a platform to help new media content creators manage, monetize and distribute their work.

AEG Seeks More Time for Downtown NFL Stadium

AEG asked city officials on Monday for a six month extension to sign a National Football League team and begin to build “Farmers Field” stadium in downtown Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Recovery in Los Angeles Lags Behind State, Nation

The economic recovery in Los Angeles lags behind both the state and the nation, with unemployment more than three percentage points above the national average, according to a report released this morning by Beacon Economics and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Business Journal reports.

Gov. Brown Vetoes Franchise Bill

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday vetoed a bill giving franchise owners more power in business transactions, the Sacramento Bee reports.

EBay to Spin Off PayPal

EBay said on Tuesday that it will spin off its payments processor, PayPal, into a separate publicly traded company, the New York Times reports. Billionaire activist-investor Carl Icahn nine months ago demanded the move, which will split eBay roughly in half, as a way to generate value for shareholders.

Gov. Brown Signs Bill Banning Tax Write-Offs for Pro Sports Fines

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a Donald Sterling-inspired bill on Monday, prohibiting sports team owners from writing off league penalties as an operating expense on their taxes, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Acquisition Talks Cool Between DreamWorks and SoftBank

Discussions between Japan’s SoftBank Corp. and Glendale’s DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. about a potential acquisition have cooled for now, the Wall Street Journal reports, though there is potential for a content partnership between the two companies.

Truck Drivers Fast to Protest Trucking Firm Policies

A handful of truck drivers who carry goods from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach took part Monday in a day of prayer and fasting to raise awareness of three local trucking firms they say misclassify drivers as independent contractors to skirt labor laws that require fair wages: Pacific 9 Transportation, Total Transportations Services Inc. and Green Fleet Systems, the Daily Breeze reports.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell one point in Tuesday morning trading to 17,070. The S&P 500 fell three points to 1,975. The Nasdaq fell six points to 4,500.

L.A. Economy Lags, Shows Spotty Growth

The economic recovery in Los Angeles has been uneven and lags behind the rest of the state and nation, according to a report to be released this morning by Beacon Economics and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

Monday, September 29

CBS Radio Shakes Up KNX and KRTH

CBS Radio has cut a program director and several on-air hosts at news station KNX-AM (1070) and oldies station KRTH-FM (101.1) as it seeks to improve ratings.

Seattle Lender to Buy Covina’s Simplicity Bank

Covina savings and loan Simplicity Bancorp Inc. announced Monday that it has entered into an agreement to be purchased by Seattle bank HomeStreet Inc. in an all-stock deal. The combined company will have about $4.1 billion in assets under management.

LAX On Course for Record Pace

Passenger counts at Los Angeles International Airport continued to climb last month, and the airport remains on pace to break its passenger traffic record, according to figures released Monday.

Governor Brown Signs Grease Theft Bill

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill to crack down on theft of used kitchen grease.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 42 points in Monday trading to 17,071. The S&P fell five points to 1,978. The Nasdaq fell six points to 4,506. The LABJ stock index was flat at 201.

‘Uniformly Flat’ L.A. Skyline Could Take Different Shape

Los Angeles will no longer require tall buildings in the city to have flat roofs and helipads, a change that means the city’s skyline could one day include the kind of narrow tops and grand spires seen in other big cities.

Dollar Shave Club’s Membership Hits 1 Million

No irritating stubble or bumps on Dollar Shave Club’s path of success.

L.A. Bank’s Survey Reports Optimism for 2015

The majority of local small and medium-sized businesses expect revenues to increase next year, according to a survey taken by downtown Los Angeles bank CTBC Bank Corp.

DreamWorks to be Acquired by Japans SoftBank?

Glendale’s DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. is in talks to be acquired by Japanese telecommunications and Internet company SoftBank Corp. in a deal that would value the company at $3.4 billion, according to a source who tipped off the Hollywood Reporter. A source at SoftBank told Bloomberg that an acquisition hasn’t been formally discussed by senior executives, and the chances of reaching a final agreement are low.

Sunset Boulevard Partially Closed After Water Main Break

A small stretch of Sunset Boulevard between Charing Cross Road and South Mapleton Drive remains closed today as repairs continue on a water main pipe that was ruptured on Sunday, ABC reports.

Los Angeles City Revenue Better Than Expected

Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin reported Friday that revenues for the city are nearly $87 million more than expected, the Daily News reports.

After Gross Departure, Pimco Faces $100 Billion of Withdrawals

Pacific Investment Management Co. investors withdrew approximately $10 billion in assets following Friday’s announcement that co-founder Bill Gross is leaving for Janus Capital Group, sources within the firm told the Wall Street Journal, echoing analysts’ predictions that it will lose at least $100 billion total. Meanwhile, shares of Janus rose as much as 40 percent on the news that Gross is starting there today, Fortune reports.

American Apparel Hires Interim Chief

Downtown L.A.’s American Apparel Inc. appointed Scott Brubaker, an Alvarez & Marsal managing director, as interim chief executive, charged with the task of stabilizing the struggling company, the Wall Street Journal reports. The clothing company also replaced one interim chief financial officer, John Luttrel, with another interim CFO, Hassan Natha, formerly of Fisher Communications Inc.

Vista Equity to Buy Tibco for $4.3 Billion

In the largest technology buyout this year, Palo Alto software maker Tibco Software Inc. announced today that it will be acquired by private equity firm Vista Equity Partners for $4.3 billion, a sale that will take the company private, Reuters reports. Vista will pay $24 a share in cash for Tibco.

Letters to Uber, Lyft, Sidecar Question Background Checks

The letters that the district attorneys of Los Angeles and San Francisco sent to the three biggest ride-sharing companies last week allege that the firms misled customers to believe their drivers go through background checks, ensuring they have no criminal record or driving violations, the Los Angeles Times reports. This week, San Francisco prosecutors arraigned an Uber driver who allegedly bashed a passenger in the head with a hammer, heightening discussions about safety, though that driver had no prior criminal record, KTVU reports.

Box Office: ‘The Equalizer’ Beats ‘The Maze Runner,’ But Only in North America

The Denzel Washington-driven thriller “The Equalizer” shot to the top of the North American box office on its debut weekend, earning an estimated $35 million and knocking “The Maze Runner” out of the top slot, the Hollywood Reporter says. There was less Denzel-mania overseas, where 20th Century Fox’s “The Maze Runner,” took in $27.5 million in 62 international markets, dwarfing the Sony Pictures’ debut of $17.8 million.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 74 points in Monday morning trading to 17,039. The S&P 500 fell seven points to 1,976. The Nasdaq fell nine points to 4, 503.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

PG Aerospace has signed a seven-year lease renewal worth $6.5 million to stay in Valencia.

A DIY Approach to Blooms at Brentwood Flower Shop Fleurish

Fleurish puts together build-your-bouquet bar to stem expense.

Fleurish serves up DIY bouquet bar to nip flower prices in the bud.

Cities Enjoy Home-Field Advantage With Local Owners

Alan Whitman homes in on the value of local ownership of businesses.

Ruling Out Los Angeles?

Small-business owners say they find themselves working too hard to live with area governments.

Jon Lieber discusses how area governments aren’t working for small-business owners.

Nothing To Hide?

A year after West Hollywood adopted a ban on the sale of fur items, merchants and the city still have questions about its enforcement. So the Business Journal asks:

What do you think of West Hollywood’s fur ban?

Shriver for County Supervisor

Business Journal gives nod to Bobby Shriver in county supervisor race.

Owner of Apartments Moves Into Office Property

ACQUISITION: SM pays $76.5 million for home to media, entertainment firms.

Beverly Hills real estate company SM Management has purchased the Class A office tower at 6100 Wilshire Blvd. for $76.5 million, about $358 a square foot.

conventions

Upcoming local conventions.

calendar

Upcoming local events.

‘Star’ on Rise In Moisture Farming

Skywell plays up ties to sci-fi in promoting water condensers.

Skywell taps “Star Wars” references as it hopes to become a force in moisture farming.

News of the Week

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

Toymaker Hasbro Inc. has announced a partnership with Burbank’s Walt Disney Co. to make Disney princess and “Frozen” dolls starting in 2016, leaving El Segundo toy giant Mattel Inc. out in the cold.

L.A. Has Sixth IPO in Bag as Grocer Goes Public

investment: Wall Street checks out Smart & Final to tune of $160 million.

Smart & Final became the sixth L.A. IPO this year as more businesses are sold on going public.

Debit-Card Firm Has More in Store for Wal-Mart

FINANCE: Green Dot stock rises after signing exclusive deal with retail giant.

Wall Street warmly greets debit-card company Green Dot deepening its ties to Wal-Mart.

Lawyer Joins L.A.’s Farm Team

His life might not exactly mirror “Green Acres,” but L.A. native Jerrold “Jerry” Bregman could feel as if he’s starring in a reprise of the old TV show.

Panoramic Screens to Try to Widen Films’ Appeal

EXHIBITION: Theaters turn to new technology to boost image with couch potatoes.

In an effort to get people off the couch and out of their homes, movie theaters are lifting the curtain on a new technology that boasts a huge, 270-degree panoramic viewing experience.

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Satellites to Play Big Role for Studios

FILM: Digital coalition beaming over cost savings for distribution.

Local coalition projects satellite distribution as the cost-saving future for movie houses.

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Deal Price for Tower Takes Elevator to Top Floor

REAL ESTATE: $175 million sets new total-dollar high for downtown market this year.

Downtown tower hits high mark this year in $175 million sale.

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Memberships Make Cut At Salon

Society uses monthly fees to keep prices out of customers’ hair.

Salon Society sees monthly memberships as a shear thing for customers.

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Teamsters Shift Gears at Docks

TRUCKING: Union revs up pressure on company investors.

Teamsters hope to drive Total Transportation Services to organize by pressuring investors in the company’s equity fund owner.

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Shot in Arm

LAW: Business booms for attorneys focused on nursing employers through implementation of Obamacare.

Subspecialized attorneys enjoy healthy returns from helping businesses figure out Obamacare.

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Tax Relief

Execs outside L.A. can live with business levies

Businesses in neighboring cities offer positive assessments of alternatives to the city of L.A.’s gross receipts levy.

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All That Glitters May Be Going

METALS: Another gold broker closes after accusations by city.

Santa Monica proves its mettle by going after a gold dealer accused of bait-and-switch scheme.

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Offshoot of O.C. Paper Folds Up Quickly in L.A.

MEDIA: Register continues on Web after failing to make headlines with arrival.

Los Angeles being a tough market to crack was apparently news to failed paper L.A. Register.

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Friday, September 26

Smart & Final, Green Dot Among Week’s Biggest Movers

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

Judge Dismisses McRO Suits Against Activision, Disney, Warner Bros.

Activision Publishing, a unit of videogame publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. in Santa Monica, has defeated an infringement suit involving two patents for lip synchronization of animated characters.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 167 points in Friday trading to 17,113. The S&P 500 rose 17 points to 1,983. The Nasdaq rose 45 points to 4,512. The LABJ stock index rose one point to 201.

Rightscorp Raises $2.7 Million

Rightscorp, which helps owners of copyrighted intellectual properties get paid, has sold $2.7 million worth of common stock in an effort to bring the Santa Monica company into the black.

Marvel Settles Superheroes Lawsuit

The family of comic book artist Jack Kirby and Marvel Entertainment said Friday they have settled a lawsuit over ownership rights to some of Hollywood’s most popular superheroes, including the Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man.

All That Glitters May Be Going

Santa Monica proves its mettle by going after a gold dealer accused of bait-and-switch scheme.

Shriver for County Supervisor

Business Journal gives nod to Bobby Shriver in county supervisor race.

Deal Price for Tower Takes Elevator to Top Floor

In one of the priciest downtown L.A. office deals since the recession, real estate investment management company Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers has negotiated to buy the tower at 801 S. Figueroa St. for about $175 million, according to sources familiar with the transaction.

L.A. Launch List: Sept. 26

The Los Angeles Business Journal brings you a weekly roundup of L.A. launches.

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Bill Gross Leaves Pimco, ‘Would Have Been Fired’

“The bond king,” William H. Gross, who founded Pacific Investment Management Co. and built it into one of the largest asset managers in the world, is leaving the firm and will join Janus Capital, the Wall Street Journal reports. Pimco, a unit of German insurer Allianz SE, was getting ready to fire Mr. Gross just before he resigned, according to people familiar with the matter.

Ride-Share Companies Accused of Violating California Law

The district attorneys of Los Angeles and San Francisco on Thursday accused the ride-sharing app Sidecar of violating California business law and threatened an injunction on its service following a joint investigation, the Wall Street Journal reports. Similar letters were also hand-delivered to Sidecar rivals Uber and Lyft.

Oversight Panel Rejects LAUSD Computer Request

Los Angeles Unified School District’s bond oversight panel rejected a proposal Thursday by officials to spend an additional $42 million on new computers, including purchases under a controversial and recently suspended contract to put iPads in the hands of every student. The independent School Construction Bond Citizens’ Oversight Committee said the district had not proved it urgently needed the device, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Gov. Brown Vetoes Bill Limiting Estate Recovery

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill on Thursday that would have limited the state's seizure of assets from the estates of Californians enrolled in Medi-Cal after they die, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Viewers Flock to KDOCT-TV for Dodgers

A late-season arrangement with Time Warner cable has been a ratings boon for TV station KDOC-TV, best known for its reruns of popular shows like “Seinfeld,” as it carries the final Dodgers games of the regular season, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Former Mattel Chief Joins PE Firm

Former Mattel chief Robert A. Eckert has joined the middle-market private equity firm Friedman Fleischer & Lowe, which is headquartered in San Francisco, as an operating partner, the New York Times reports. Eckert will remain in Los Angeles.

Haunted Houses Get a High Tech Upgrade

The technology used at Halloween Horror Night, an annual fright fest at Universal Studios Hollywood, has advanced dramatically in the past decade, from rubber masks to 30-channel audio mixers, animatronics, computer-controlled lights and video monitors, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 85 points in Friday morning trading to 17,031. The S&P 500 was up seven points to 1,973. The Nasdaq rose 20 points to 4,487.

Thursday, September 25

BeautyCon Wants to be Vice Media for Girls

The Hollywood startup is in the hands of Chief Executive Moj Mahdara. And Mahdara, whose marketing firm Made with Elastic bought the conference last year, has big plans for this new media company.

Buddytruk on Pace to Triple Monthly Transactions

It’s a familiar story: an on-demand car-service app that hooks up drivers with riders at a discounted price. But Buddytruk of Santa Monica doesn’t move people. It moves their things.

Industry’s Allfast to Be Acquired

Michigan manufacturing company TriMas Corp. announced this week it plans to acquire Allfast Fastening Systems Inc. in City of Industry for about $360 million.

Regulators Bless Bank Deal

Two Los Angeles banks are one step closer to merging after announcing Thursday they have received all approvals from government regulators.

L.A. Companies Get Drone Filming Permits

Two local aerial photography companies are among six the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday approved to use drones for film and television production.

DirecTV Shareholders Approve AT&T Takeover

DirecTV shareholders on Thursday signed off on AT&T’s $48.5 billion acquisition offer, DirecTV announced Thursday.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 264 points in Thursday trading to close at 16,946. The S&P 500 fell 32 points to 1,966. The Nasdaq fell 88 points to 4,467. The LABJ stock index fell three points to 200

Insurer Sues L.A. Brothers Behind 1-800-GET-THIN

UnitedHealth Group Inc., the nation's largest health insurance company, is suing Michael and Julian Omidi, the brothers who ran Los Angeles weight-loss surgery centers behind the 1-800-GET-THIN advertising campaign. UnitedHealth alleges the Omidis defrauded the insurer of more than $40 million by billing for surgeries that never happened or weren’t necessary, the Los Angeles Times reports.

New Hollywood Studio Backed with Chinese Cash

Fosun Group, one of China’s largest conglomerates, is investing about $200 million in Studio 8, a startup run by former Warner Bros. film chief Jeff Robinov, according to people with knowledge of the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports. The studio's movies will be distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

One Santa Fe in Arts District Welcomes Residents

The 438-unit, 1,500-foot-long One Santa Fe apartment and retail development in downtown L.A.’s Arts District has begun welcoming its first residents, the Los Angeles Times reports. Check out earlier coverage in the Business Journal. (This has been corrected from an earlier version.)

Smart & Final Prices IPO

Commerce warehouse retailer Smart & Final Stores Inc. raised about $161 million Wednesday through the public sale of nearly 13.5 million shares, the Los Angeles Times reports. Shares priced at $12, the low end of the company’s target range, and closed their first day of trading at $12.01. In midday trading Thursday, shares had risen 4 percent to $12.51.

Through JOBS Act, Struggling L.A. Chain Looks for Investors

Giggles N Hugs Inc., a struggling L.A. penny-stock company, says it plans to solicit new investors using rules in the JOBS Act - a law intended to help startups, not older companies, the Wall Street Journal reports. Giggles N Hugs, which runs a three-location chain of kid-friendly restaurants, had big expansion plans that didn’t pan out after it went public in 2011, the Business Journal reported.

Passport Scanners Speed Up Customs at LAX

Automated kiosks that scan passports and customs information were unveiled at Los Angeles International Airport today, the Los Angeles Times reports. The devices are expected to streamline the process of entering the United States and reduce wait times by an estimated 30 percent.

Engine Shut-Off Systems Keep Payments Coming

Auto lenders are increasingly using remotely activated devices to prevent late-paying borrowers from starting their cars. These starter interrupt devices are now a common requirement for borrowers with bad credit, the New York Times reports.

Council Pays Official for Allegations Deemed False

The San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments has agreed to pay a $250,000 settlement to Nicholas Conway, the body’s former executive director who last year was cleared of conflict of interest charges, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Cal State to Test Google Glass

Cal State Dominguez Hills agreed to become the first university in the nation to test Google Glass in a large-scale pilot program, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 209 points in Thursday morning trading to 17,000. The S&P 500 fell 27 points to 1,972. The Nasdaq fell 81 points to 4,475.

Wednesday, September 24

Dollar Shave Club Raises $50 Million

Dollar Shave Club, the razor club that mails blades to subscribers, has raised $50 million in Series C funding, bringing its total funding to date to $73 million.

Mattel Frozen Out in Disney, Hasbro Deal

Toy maker Hasbro Inc. said Wednesday that it will partner with Burbank’s Walt Disney Co. to make Disney Princess and “Frozen” dolls starting in 2016, leaving El Segundo toy giant Mattel Inc. out in the cold.

Cinedigm Sells Hollywood Software to Founder’s Investor Group

Los Angeles content distributor Cinedigm Corp. is selling back its Hollywood Software unit to an investor group led by David Gajda, one of the software company’s founders. Financial terms of the all-cash deal were not disclosed.

Council Passes Hotel Wage Hike

Over strenuous objections from business groups, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday voted to hike the minimum wage for workers at large nonunion hotels to $15.37 an hour.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 154 points in Wednesday trading to close at 17,210. The S&P 500 rose 16 points to 1,998. The Nasdaq rose 47 points to 4,555. The LABJ stock index rose one point to 202.

Science Inc. Shares Mobile Plan After Acquiring PlayHaven

Science Inc.’s acquisition of mobile ad network PlayHaven is yet another sign of its recent push to develop engaging mobile content.

Snapchat Accused of Misusing Model Photos

Snapchat probably wishes its legal battles could vanish like its photo messages.

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Poll: Did you ever read the print edition of the Los Angeles Register?

Every week the Los Angeles Business Journal asks readers their views on a variety of business and economic issues. A running tally is available on the site and later will be published in the Commentary section of our print edition.

Santa Monica Apartment Building Trades at Peak Price

A 60-unit apartment complex just five blocks from the beach in Santa Monica sold recently for $26.5 million, or nearly $442,000 a unit.

With Delays, KB Homes Earnings Fall Short

KB Home shares fell in midday trading after the company announced a decline in home sales and quarterly results that fell well short of analysts’ expectations.

Layoffs Hit Freedom Communications

Layoffs began at the Orange County Register on Tuesday after owner Freedom Communications ceased publication of the Los Angeles Register five months after it debuted, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Economic Development Committee Agrees to Hotel Wage Hike

The City Council’s Economic Development Committee listened to public testimony and economists’ findings before agreeing to set a new minimum wage of $15.37 for the hotel industry in Los Angeles, KPCC reports. The full city council is scheduled to vote on the wage law today.

With Port Fire Contained, Terminals Open

The Port of Los Angeles announced late Tuesday afternoon that terminals were set to resume full operations at 6 p.m., though the wharf where a welder’s torch touched off a fire would remain closed, KPCC reports.

Sirius XM Loses Lawsuit Brought by The Turtles

A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled Monday that satellite radio provider Sirius XM was liable for copyright infringement for failing to pay royalties on recordings made before 1972, the New York Times reports. The case, filed by 1960s band The Turtles, sparked many similar cases against Sirius XM and Pandora and could have major implications for the digital music business.

‘No Party Preference’ Voters Surge in California

The number of Californians registered to vote but not affiliated with a political party has risen since 2010, from about 3.4 million (20 percent of the electorate) to about 4.1 million (23 percent of the electorate), according to state data released Tuesday, Reuters says.

Long Beach May Waive Licensing Fees for Startups

In a move to lure business to the county’s second-largest city, Long Beach City Council voted 8-0 to investigate the feasibility of waiving licensing fees for first-year startups, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports.

‘Sports Jeopardy!’ Adapts Quiz Show for Digital Age

“Sports Jeopardy!,” a weekly 30-minute show that is exactly what it sounds like, debuts today on Crackle, a Culver City streaming video service owned by Sony, the New York Times reports. It is one of the first online game shows, and is accompanied by a mobile app that lets viewers play along.

No, Don’t Microwave Your iPhone

After fake online ads promoted microwaving the newest iPhone as a way to charge it, the communications units of the L.A.’s fire and police departments took to Twitter to warn about the hoax, pointing out that attempting to charge a phone in a microwave woud ruin the phone and potentially cause injury, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 66 points in Wednesday morning trading to 17,122. The S&P 500 rose seven points to 1,990. The Nasdaq rose 24 points to 4,533.

Tuesday, September 23

Zefr Acquires Ad Tech Firm Engodo

Video monetization platform Zefr has acquired Engodo, a Utah ad tech firm, to help match brands with social media influencers.

Maker Studios Says MiTu to Spanish-Language Market

Multichannel networks MiTú and Maker Studios are teaming up to offer a “total market solution” for brands to better understand how to target the U.S. Hispanic market.

Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach Close Terminals

Air quality concerns shut down the Port of Los Angeles and half of the Port of Long Beach today as firefighters continued to fight a wharf fire that ignited on Monday night.

Hollywood Chamber Horsetrades on Wages

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce said on Tuesday that it supports the idea of raising the citywide minimum wage – but only if the Los Angeles City Council rejects a proposal to hike the minimum wage for hotel workers.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 117 points in Tuesday trading to close at 17,056. The S&P 500 fell 12 points to 1,983. The Nasdaq fell 19 points to 4,509 The LABJ stock index fell two points to 201.

Hotel Owners, Business Groups Threaten Suit if Council Passes Wage Mandate

Hotel owners and local business groups heave threatened to sue the city of Los Angeles if the City Council tomorrow approves a proposed hotel minimum wage mandate.

InterContinental Will Operate New Wilshire Grand Hotel

British hospitality company InterContinental Hotels Group announced Tuesday that it would operate the hotel atop the $1.1 billion Wilshire Grand project in downtown Los Angeles.

BBCN Expands Into Korea

Koreatown’s BBCN Bancorp Inc. announced Monday that it would be taking its business to Seoul, South Korea’s capital city. The company signed a memorandum of understanding with the city, affirming its plans to expand operations there and work to promote Seoul’s Yeouido International Financial District as an Asian financial hub.

UCLA to Announce Tech Transfer Company

UCLA is set to announce a not-for-profit company to guide startups spawned from university-sponsored research to help commercialize their tech for the marketplace.

StackSocial Rebrands as StackCommerce

StackSocial is easing off of its e-commerce site to double down on its native commerce publishing platform.

Los Angeles Register Will Cease Publication Immediately

Freedom Communications will stop publishing the Los Angeles Register effective immediately, according to a memo to employees that hinted at layoffs. The paper launched just five months ago as part of Freedom Chief Executive Aaron Kushner's bet on print newspapers. Freedom will now focus on core markets in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Port of Los Angeles Fire Burns On

A blaze at the Port of Los Angeles has engulfed about 150 feet of wharf since Monday night, and the firefight is expected to continue for at least another 12 hours, the Los Angeles Times reports. Employees at several port terminals were told to check with their employers before coming to work and officials closed two schools in the harbor community of Wilmington because of toxic fumes from the fire.

Treasury Acts to Curb Tax Inversions

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew announced rules on Monday that are aimed at making it more difficult for American companies to lower their tax bills by relocating overseas and eliminating the benefits of doing so, the New York Times reports.

Water Wholesaler’s Reserves Shrink

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the wholesaler that provides drinking water for half of all Californians, has drained most of its stored supplies over the past three years, which could mean cutbacks next year if the drought continues, the Sacramento Bee reports.

DMV Hiring 900, Awaiting AB 60

California's Department of Motor Vehicles is on a hiring spree as it prepares to start issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, KPCC reports. The agency has hired more than 400 people and plans to bring on another 500 to work with an estimated 1.4 million immigrant drivers who can start applying for licenses on Jan. 1.

Chamber Lobbies Gov. Brown to Veto ‘Job Killers’

The California Chamber of Commerce is pressuring Gov. Jerry Brown not to sign two “job killer” bills currently on his desk, the Sacramento Bee reports. One measure would prohibit contracts that require someone to waive his or her right to pursue a civil action for a civil rights claim, and the other would hold businesses liable when subcontractors violate wage, workplace safety or workers’ compensation rules.

Long Beach Transit to Rebid Electric Bus Contract

Long Beach Transit will rebid a contract to build 10 battery-powered buses after its first contract with manufacturer BYD, which planned to build the buses in Lancaster, was voided by federal officials in March, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports.

Los Angeles May Crack Down on Unlicensed Park Vendors

Los Angeles leaders could soon bar vending in public parks unless sellers have a city license or permit to do so, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Activision Hires Giuliani to Fight Dictator

Santa Monica videogame publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. has hired former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to fight a lawsuit brought by imprisoned Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, who is suing the company over his inclusion in the hit game “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” Mashable reports.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 43 points in Tuesday morning trading to 17,130. The S&P 500 fell three points to 1,991. The Nasdaq fell four points to 4,523.

Monday, September 22

Fullscreen Sells Majority Stake to AT&T/Chernin Group

Otter Media’s deal for a controlling stake in Culver City MCN Fullscreen could set the stage for a showdown with competitor Walt Disney Co.-owned Maker Studios.

Shopzilla Rebrands as Connexity

Shopzilla Inc., which helps online shoppers compare prices through its shopping sites, has rebranded as Connexity as it moves from helping consumers find great deals to providing tech marketing solutions for retailers and brands.

MGM Buys Production Companies, Plans Christian Network

Beverly Hills’ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios announced on Monday it has acquired a 55 percent interest in One Three Media and LightWorkers Media, the production companies behind “Survivor” and History Channel miniseries “The Bible,” respectively.

Warner Bros. to Restructure Labor Office

Warner Bros. Entertainment announced on Monday a restructuring of the office handling the studio’s relations with trade unions and guilds.

CurbStand Parks an Additional $3 Million Seed Investment

CurbStand, maker of an app that lets drivers prepay for valet services, has secured $3 million to expand its executive staff and further develop its offering.

Amgen Seeks Approval for Leukemia Drug

Amgen Inc. announced on Monday that it is seeking regulatory approval to sell a drug for treating a rare and particularly deadly form of leukemia.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 107 points in Monday trading to close at 17,173. The S&P 500 fell 16 points to 1,994. The Nasdaq fell 52 points to close at 4,528. The LABJ Stock Index fell three points to 203.

Zealot Networks Leases Former Ray Bradbury Home

Danny Zappin, co-founder and former chief executive of Maker Studios Inc., has cinched coveted creative space in Venice for a fledgling digital media studio.

Package of Bills to Boost Electric Cars

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a package of bills Sunday to boost the state’s electric car market, including a measure that sets a goal of placing at least 1 million zero-emission vehicles and near-zero-emission vehicles on California roads by 2023, the Los Angeles Times reports. The bill assigns the state Air Resources Board the task of making sure these vehicles are more affordable to lower income residents.

Higher Minimum Wage for Hotel Workers?

Los Angeles lawmakers could vote as soon as Wednesday to boost the minimum wage for workers at big hotels to $15.37, more than the citywide wage hike proposed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Los Angeles Times reports.

DWP to Skeptical City Council: Customer Service is Improving

Department of Water and Power officials told Los Angeles City Council on Friday that it has made dramatic improvements in its billing and customer service system, the Daily News reports. The utility has been criticized in the past year as it implemented a new billing system that resulted in thousands of customers receiving bills that were double or triple what they should have been and other customers receiving no bills and then being hit with a large payment.

Party Buses: Growth Without Regulations

A South Bay teenager’s death aboard a party bus in July shined a light upon an industry which has experienced recent nationwide growth, but is subject to very few regulations, according to the Los Angeles Times. The number of party bus carriers in California alone increased from 6,000 to 9,000 in the last five years, and more than 20 people have died in accidents.

Networks Hunt for Next ‘Seinfeld’

As the fall television season begins this week, major television networks are rolling out 18 new comedies, hoping to hit blockbuster-sitcom gold, the Los Angeles Times reports. It’s a move to dig out of a sitcom rut: Only 14 of the 82 prime-time comedies released since 2009 remain on the air.

Korn/Ferry Moves Beyond Talent-Hunting

Century City staffing company Korn/Ferry International, which bills itself as the world's largest executive search firm, is seeking to expand beyond its bread and butter, into worker development programs, the Los Angeles Times says.

Sanitation Workers Receive Written Reprimands for Protest

A city official said more than 100 sanitation workers have been disciplined for taking part in a union-backed protest in July while on duty, the Los Angeles Times reports.

YA Film Beats Thriller at Box Office

The young-adult adaptation “The Maze Runner,” released by 20th Century Fox, opened to $32.5 million at the North American box office, more than double the $13.1 million debut of Liam Neeson's action movie “A Walk Among the Tombstones,” released by Universal, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Online Passenger Shaming Takes Off

Passenger Shaming, a Facebook and Instagram account that posts photos of rude airline passengers, has attracted more than 70,000 followers and 60,000 likes as of Thursday, the Independent reports. Photos submitted include unabashed PDA, feet on tray tables and over seats, partial nudity, and dirty diapers stored in seat-back pockets.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 63 points in Monday morning trading to 17,216. The S&P 500 was down 15 points to 1,996. The Nasdaq was down 55 points to 4,525.

Direct Lending Investments Partners with Realty Mogul

Direct Lending Investments has said it will provide $73 million in small business loans through Realty Mogul’s peer-to-peer lending platform, which pools money from investors to crowdfund large real estate projects.

YouTube Stars Try Next Stage

Internet: Fullscreen live show reels in marketers, screaming teens.

Fullscreen mounts a live production to help its YouTube stars show their stuff to marketers and fans.

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calendar

Upcoming calendar of event.

Bathrooms To Battle for Seat of Honor

Grove facilities look to blow lids off rivals in national contest.

Grove hopes to clean up with its washrooms in a national restroom

Pasadena Proves Popular As Center of Enterprise

SURVEY: Almost one-third of city’s tech companies self-identify as B2B.

Andy Wilson, co-chairman of Innovate Pasadena, has for a while had a hunch that his city was home to a number of tech companies focused on the enterprise market.

Mall Goes With Flow On Fountains

Water back on at Third Street as city weighs conservation options.

Third Street Promenade’s plan to turn off its fountains evaporates over maintenance issues.

Making Moves

entertainment: Stoopid Buddy Stoodios applies stop-motion animation of TV’s ‘Robot Chicken’ to commercial, film jobs.

Stoopid Buddy Stoodios hopes to make a go of stop-motion animation in commercials and movies

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Chinese Investor Makes Move on Burbank Media

ACQUISITION: Property aimed at entertainment tenants sells for $22 million.

Burbank Civic Plaza, a Class A office building in the city’s civic center, has sold to a Chinese investment group for $22 million, or about $287 a square foot.

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Take and Give

Lenders compete to help business owners tap dividend recapitalizations for hefty payouts while loading their companies with debt. Once limited, the practice nears record pace.

Bankers take dividend recapitalizations mainstream, letting business owners load up on money while loading their companies with debt.

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Hides & Seek

West Hollywood fur ban raises hackles, questions

West Hollywood’s fur ban might only be skin deep as city and shop owners remain unsure of its enforcement.

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Customer Still Always Right

Working at customer service pays off for businesses, writes Steve McFarland.

Textiles Firm Sports New Fabrics for Activewear

MANUFACTURING: SAS buys new plant, machines to take run at healthy sector.

SAS Textiles sees looming opportunity in making fabric for activewear.

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conventions

Upcoming local conventions

Doughnut Chain Says It’s in Hole

government: Yum Yum seeks more dough for seized shop.

Doughnut chain Yum Yum says it was unfairly boxed out by Metro’s seizure of its shop.

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Dividend Recaps Done by the Numbers

Dividend recaps come down to number-crunching.

Times Up?

Austin Beutner, a former venture capitalist and city of L.A. deputy mayor, has taken over the Los Angeles Times as publisher and chief executive. So the Business Journal asks:

Do you believe Austin Beutner can revive the Los Angeles Times?

News of the Week

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

Southwest Airlines has kicked off its $508 million redevelopment of Terminal 1 at Los Angeles International Airport, a modernization project expected to bring in 1,500 construction jobs, according to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. T

Has Oxy Spinoff Settled on Site?

Energy: Long Beach hopes to hold on to business long term.

Long Beach works to pump up its chances of landing the HQ of the offshoot of oil giant Oxy.

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Furniture Maker to Bring Online Platform to Table

MANUFACTURING: Nova looks to add shopping site as it targets Chinese market.

Furniture maker Nova couches future in terms of online sales in China.

Operator of Dating Sites Woos Wall Street, Users

INTERNET: Spark touts staff cuts, board shakeup as means to bolster business.

Dating-site operator Spark Networks cuts staff and revamps board in plan to connect with customers and investors.

Healthy Snack Maker Sweet on Southern California

FOOD: Popchips to ditch San Francisco headquarters for Playa Vista building.

San Francisco healthy snack maker Popchips has new Playa Vista headquarters in the bag.

Hyped Sci-Fi Shooter Misses Target for Publisher

VIDEO GAMES: Activision shares fall despite ‘Destiny’ setting sales record.

Activision Blizzard’s shares slide after “Destiny” title shoots wide of hoped-for first-day sales.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Industrial Acquisition: West L.A.’s Rexford Industrial Realty Inc. has purchased a Chatsworth industrial property for $30.5 million from Irvine’s LBA Realty.

Law of Jungle in Action

Mark Robinson knew when he embarked on an African safari this summer with his wife, Pamela, that he’d get to see all kinds of wildlife up close. But the executive director of Cushman & Wakefield’s Century City real estate brokerage never imagined just how close.

Videos Cast Propositions As Stars

SeePolitical animates ballot measures to educate voters.

SeePolitical elects to educate voters about ballot issues with animated videos on state propositions.

Friday, September 19

Sunset Complex Sells for Big Bucks

A Sunset Boulevard apartment building with 183 units has sold for $92.7 million, about $507,000 a unit.

Conversant, NetSol Technologies Among Week’s Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of the area’s largest public companies was flat for the week.

Stocks Crawl

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 14 points in Friday trading to close at 17,280. The S&P 500 was down a point to 2,010. The Nasdaq fell 14 points to close at 4,580. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 206.

Makemoji Raises $1 Million Seed Round

Makemoji, whose mobile app helps users create their own emoji characters, has raised $1 million in seed funding.

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Smart & Final IPO Set for Next Week

Commerce warehouse retailer Smart & Final Stores Inc., which filed for an IPO in June, will begin trading Wednesday according to Reuters PEHub. The company will offer about 13.5 million shares, priced between $12 and $14. At the midpoint of that range, the IPO would raise about $175 million and value Smart & Final at about $925 million.

L.A. Launch List: Sept 19

The Los Angeles Business Journal brings you a weekly roundup of L.A. launches.

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Has Oxy Spinoff Settled on Site?

California Resources Corp., the new and homeless spinoff from Occidental Petroleum Corp., is beefing up its presence in Long Beach, a move city officials hope will lead to the oil producer siting its headquarters there.

West Hollywood Fur Ban Raises Hackles, Questions

West Hollywood’s fur ban might only be skin deep as city and shop owners remain unsure of its enforcement.

L.A. Unemployment Stays at 8.1 Percent

L.A.’s unemployment rate held steady at 8.1 percent for August even as the county gained nearly 18,000 jobs as some schools reopened after summer vacation, according to state figures released Friday.

Warner Bros. Considers as Many as 1,000 Layoffs

Warner Bros. Entertainment is expected to cut as many as 1,000 jobs ﹘ or more than ten percent of the studio’s 9,000-person workforce, Variety reports.

Foster Care Agency Directors Charged With Embezzlement

CSJ Kidogo, the executive director of the nonprofit Little People’s World, and his wife, Hitaji Kidogo, are charged with embezzling more than $460,000 from the taxpayer-funded nonprofit agency hired by Los Angeles County to help abused and neglected foster children, the district attorney’s office announced on Thursday. A county audit in 2011 concluded that the couple had used agency funds to purchase real estate, personal vacations, and to pay themselves collective salaries totaling $269,000, the Los Angeles Times reports.

San Fernando Valley Losing Businesses, Jobs

The seven Los Angeles City Council members representing the Valley met at a luncheon Thursday to discuss how to tackle recent hardships the area as faced, the Los Angeles Times reports. Those hardships include Nestle USA and Sunkist leaving the area, taking hundreds of jobs with them, as well of the decline of adult film production, much of which is based in the Valley.

L.A. Taxi Commission to Review Rule Book

At Mayor Eric Garcetti urging, and to level the playing field for taxi firms competing with new app-based ride-sharing businesses such as Uber, Los Angeles officials agreed Thursday to re-examine hundreds of regulations that control the city's nine licensed cab companies, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Alibaba IPO Set to be One of World’s Largest

Shares of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba are set to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange today after pricing at $68 last night, topping the company’s initial expected range, Fortune reports. The stock offering, which was expected to be one of the world’s largest, will raise at least $21.8 billion.

California Health Exchange to Stay Neutral on Prop. 45

Despite its concerns, California’s health insurance exchange on Thursday remained neutral on a Nov. 4 ballot initiative that would allow the state’s elected insurance commissioner to regulate rates, the Sacramento Bee reports.

UBM to Acquire Santa Monica Tradeshow Company

British communications and events company UBM Plc is in advanced talks to acquire privately-held Santa Monica trade show organizer Advanstar for around $900 million, according to people familiar with the matter, Reuters reports.

LAUSD to Double Staff Working on iPad Plan

As recommended by a critical evaluation of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s program to provide iPads to all students, the system will double the number of people who will help with technical and instructional issues, the Los Angeles Times reports. The technical assistance this year will involve about 120 employees at a cost of about $3.9 million.

Larry Ellison to Leave Oracle

Oracle announced Thursday that Larry Ellison, its chief executive, will step down after almost 40 years running the enterprise software and computer services company he co-founded in 1977, the Los Angeles Times reports. But don’t expect Ellison, the third-richest American, to retire to his Malibu mansion.

Iggy Azalea Sues for Infringement

Australian hip-hop artist Iggy Azalea sued Primco Management Inc. ﹘ a Seattle penny-stock company that describes itself as a “multi-media company, medical marijuana and real estate management company,” ﹘ and a handful of other defendants for copyright and trademark infringement, Bloomberg reports. The suit, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, alleges the defendants plan to distribute music downloaded from Azalea’s computer without her consent.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 58 points points in Wednesday morning trading to 17,324. The S&P 500 was up five points to 2,016. The Nasdaq was up nine points to 4,602.

Thursday, September 18

Shuttlerock Lands on Miracle Mile with $2.4 Million Raise

Shuttlerock, a New Zealand visual marketing software company, has opened its U.S. headquarters in Silver Lake after raising a $2.4 million in a Series A round.

Docupace Raises First Investment

Docupace Technologies, an electronic document processing platform provider, has secured its first raise.

Poll: What do you think of the West Hollywood ban on the sale of items made with fur?

Every week the Los Angeles Business Journal asks readers their views on a variety of business and economic issues. A running tally is available on the site and later will be published in the Commentary section of our print edition.

Gov. Signs Film Tax Credit Bill

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed a bill to more than triple funding for California's film and TV tax-credit program.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 109 points in Thursday trading to close at 17,266. The S&P 500 rose 10 points to close at 2,011. The Nasdaq rose 31 points to close at 4,593. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 205.

Pershing Square Overhaul Gets $2 Million Boost

Efforts to overhaul Pershing Square, a five-acre urban park spanning a full city block in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, got a major boost Wednesday when a San Francisco real estate developer and the city together pledged $2 million to its revitalization.

Kin Secures $12 Million Series C Round

Kin, which offers women’s lifestyle video content, has closed a $12 million Series C round, bringing its total funding to date to $27 million.

Temple Community Hospital Closes

Temple Community Hospital of Los Angeles closed on Sept. 9 after more than 70 years in business, citing low revenue and the looming cost of seismic retrofits, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Garcetti Receives Warm Welcome at Valley Chamber Luncheon

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti received a warm welcome on Wednesday as he addressed almost 500 San Fernando Valley business leaders in a ballroom at the Warner Center Marriott for the United Chambers of Commerce’s 10th annual Mayor’s Luncheon, the Daily News reports.

IPad Learning Foiled by Technical Difficulties

A 95-page report released Wednesday says that a lack of technical support hindered the Los Angeles Unified School District’s efforts to teach students with iPads, according to the Daily News. The report recommends that the district move forward with its plan to get every student a tablet.

Manhattan Beach Attorney Charged With Embezzlement

James Miller, a Manhattan Beach attorney who worked for Body Glove International has been charged with stealing more than $250,000 from a former employer while serving as its president and managing partner, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. A five-count indictment alleges that Miller, who will face trial in November, devised a scheme to steal money from MWRC Internet Sales in Redondo Beach, the Daily Breeze reports.

Apple’s iOS 8 Arrives Today

Apple’s new operating system iOS 8 is ready for download today on all iPhones newer than and including the 4S, the Los Angeles Times reports. New features include suggested words, voice texts, time-lapse selfie tools, and the ability to remove yourself from group text messages.

Lincoln Place Gets a Makeover

After a long fight to keep it from being demolished, Lincoln Place, a postwar apartment complex in Venice, is getting a $200-million makeover that will keep its Midcentury style intact, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Gov. Brown Signs Ridesharing Insurance Bill

Gov. Jerry Brown signed new insurance requirements on ridesharing companies into law on Wednesday, but the regulations come at a far lower cost to the industry than written in the original bill, Reuters reports.

Ted Eliopoulos Becomes CalPERS Chief

After a nationwide search, the California Public Employees' Retirement System said Wednesday that it had picked Ted Eliopoulos, a seven-year investment expert at the fund who has been the interim chief investment officer since February, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Some Entertainment and Media Sectors Thrive, Others Lag

An Ernst & Young study says that the entertainment and media industry will deliver profit margins this year of 28 percent, a full percentage point better than the S&P; 500 average, according to the Hollywood Reporter. But the study shows inequalities: While cable operators are delivering 41 percent profit margins, film and TV production lag and the music industry falls far below the S&P; average at 11 percent.

Scottish Expats in Southern California Debate Independence

As Scots go to the polls today in a referendum vote to determine if the country will declare independence from the United Kingdom, the expatriate community in Southern California is watching – and, much like the Scottish, split on what is the best outcome, the Daily News says.

TV Directors are Still Mostly White and Male, Survey Says

A survey from the Directors Guild of America reveals that 81 percent of television directors are Caucasian, and only 14 percent are women, Variety reports.

FTC Warns of Hospital Consolidation Risks

The Federal Trade Commission says that mergers and acquisitions of hospitals and physicians groups tend to reduce competition, the New York Times reports. The agency is using a 100-year-old law, the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, to challenge some of these mergers.

Free Marketing for Apple: NFL Announcers Call Surface Tablets “iPads”

Considering that Microsoft is paying the NFL $400 million to use its Surface tablets during games, the company is likely not pleased that NFL announcers keep calling the devices “iPads” and “iPad-like tools,” CNBC reports.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 92 points in Thursday morning trading to 17,249. The S&P 500 was up nine points to 2,011. The Nasdaq was up 26 points to 4,588.

Wednesday, September 17

FameBit Launches as 500 Women Company

You can expect a bit more fame for FameBit co-founder Agnes Kozera, whose Santa Monica marketing startup has launched as one of the first companies in the 500 Women syndicate.

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Skechers Ties Up Rival in Court

Manhattan Beach footwear giant Skechers USA Inc has been laced up in infringement cases lately – on both sides of the docket.

Chinese Investment Group Sets Flag in Burbank

Burbank Civic Plaza, a Class A office building in the city’s civic center, has sold to a Chinese investment group for $22 million, or about $287 a square foot.

Stocks Climb

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 25 points in Tuesday trading to close at 17,157. The S&P 500 rose three points to close at 2,002. The Nasdaq rose nine points to close at 4,562. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 205.

Metacloud to be Acquired by Cisco

Metacloud, a cloud service company in Pasadena, is to be acquired by networking giant Cisco Systems Inc. of San Jose.

Gov. Brown Signs Groundwater Bill

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Tuesday that regulates groundwater pumping in California, creating local agencies to oversee its extraction, the Sacramento Bee reports. California is the last in the West to regulate the practice.

Web-Based TV Production on the Rise in Los Angeles

Amazon is filming six television series locally, the Los Angeles Times reports. Web-based TV production in Los Angeles has surged 353 percent from 2008 to 2013 and Web shows now account for as many production days in Los Angeles as sitcoms, according to a report by FilmL.A. Inc.

Anthem Blue Cross Partners With Hospital Groups

Anthem Blue Cross, a large California health insurance company, is teaming up with seven competitive hospital groups – including UCLA Health and Cedars-Sinai – to create a new health system in the Los Angeles area, the New York Times reports.

Audi Beats Google to Self-Driving Car Permit

The German automaker Audi on Tuesday became the first to get a permit from California to test its self-driving cars, the same day that a law went into effect allowing for such testing, Mashable reports.

Gov. Brown Poised to Sign Film Tax Bill

Gov. Jerry Brown is scheduled to sign a bill that would triple annual funding for California's film and TV tax credit program on Thursday at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Transfer Station Catches Fire Amid Heat Wave

The strain of triple-digit temperatures and record electrical usage on Tuesday caused an overheated circuit breaker to set an electrical distribution center on fire in Van Nuys, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The fire was extinguished in less than two hours, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Flash Flood Warning in San Gabriel Valley, Antelope Valley

Flash flooding threatened parts of the Southland today as a combination of high heat and subtropical moisture created atmospheric instability, raising a chance of showers and thunderstorms, City News Service reports. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch that will be in effect in the San Gabriel Mountains and the Antelope Valley from 10 a.m. through this evening.

Sony’s Expected Loss Shows Weakness in Mobile Communications

Japanese electronics behemoth Sony said Wednesday that it expected to post a loss of more than $2 billion for the fiscal year, almost five times larger than previously forecast, the New York Times reports. Going forward, Sony said it would focus more on its higher-end phones and change its mobile communications division’s strategy.

Black Bear Lounges Poolside

A black bear swam in a Sierra Madre homeowner's backyard pool on Sunday to cool off during the heatwave, NBC reports.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 26 points points in Wednesday morning trading to 17,158. The S&P 500 was up two points to 2,001. The Nasdaq was up six points to 4,559.

Tuesday, September 16

Spark Networks Breaking it Off With Employees

Spark Networks Inc., the company behind special-interest matchmaking sites such as ChristianMingle.com and JDate.com, has seen more of its customers fall for competing dating services.

Popchips to Move Headquarters to Los Angeles

San Francisco snack food manufacturer Popchips Inc. will move its headquarters to Playa Vista next month.

$508 Million Redevelopment Kicks Off at LAX

Southwest Airlines on Tuesday kicked off the $508 million redevelopment of Terminal 1 at Los Angeles International Airport, a modernization project expected to bring in 1,500 construction jobs, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a groundbreaking ceremony.

Tribune Co. Buys Stake in Contend

Tribune Publishing Co., parent company of the Los Angeles Times, has invested in downtown L.A. content creator Contend and will partner with the company to create branded campaigns for Tribune advertisers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

SpaceX, Boeing to Share NASA Contract

Hawthorne rocket maker SpaceX and Chicago aerospace giant Boeing Co. will share a contract to ferry U.S. astronauts to and from the International Space Station, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced today.

L.A. Chamber Opposes Garcetti Plan to Hike Minimum Wage

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors has voted to oppose Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s plan to hike the minimum wage in the city to $13.25 an hour by 2017.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial rose 101 points in Tuesday trading to close at 17,132. The S&P 500 rose 15 points to close at 1,999. The Nasdaq rose 34 points to close at 4,553. The LABJ Stock Index rose one point to close at 205.

Workpop Launches After Raising $7.9 Million

Workpop, a job board site with a career development focus, has launched after securing $7.9 million in funding.

3,600 Without Power in Heat Wave

Roughly 3,600 Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers are without power this morning, primarily in Mulholland, Brentwood and Sherman Oaks, the Daily News reports. The outage occurred Monday night after the utility’s customers set a record for peak power usage, using about twice as much power as on a typical day due to the heatwave.

Rod Wright Resigns

California State Sen. Roderick D. Wright said Monday that he will resign from office effective Sept. 22, bowing to pressure from Senate leaders who called for his resignation after a judge sentenced him to 90 days in jail for lying about living in his Senate district when he ran for office in 2008, the Los Angeles Times reports.

CalPERS to End All Hedge Fund Investments

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the nation’s largest pension fund, on Monday said that it would liquidate its positions in hedge funds over the next year, eliminating investments that total $4 billion, the New York Times reports. After months of deliberation, the pension fund’s investment committee decided that the complexity and cost of hedge fund investments, as well as the lack of ability to scale at CalPERS size, “doesn’t merit a continued role.”

Alibaba Raises IPO Target

Responding to higher-than-expected demand for Alibaba Group’s stock, the Chinese e-commerce behemoth raised the price range for its initial public offering to $66 to $68 for each American depositary share, up from $60 to $66, according to a regulatory filing on Monday, the New York Times reports. This pushes its potential total to as much as $21.8 billion.

Shipping Increases at Port of Los Angeles, Decreases at Port of Long Beach

Cargo volumes increased last month at the Port of Los Angeles, although the neighboring Port of Long Beach saw a decline in activity after what officials there characterized as a mismatch between last year’s peak shipping season and this year’s, the Business Journal reports.

Gov. Brown Repeals Parts of Prop. 187

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Monday repealing unenforceable provisions of Proposition 187, which was intended to withhold public services from those in the country illegally, the Los Angeles Times Reports.

PUC President Removes Himself from PG&E Proceedings

After criticism the Public Utilities Commission had developed “too cozy” a relationship with the state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., PUC President Michael Peevey removed himself from further proceedings over a huge explosion in 2010 in the Bay Area city of San Bruno that killed eight, the Los Angeles Times reports. Peevey also said he had asked his chief of staff to resign for “inappropriate communications” with the utility, and she did.

‘Apes’ Take China

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” won back the top spot at the Chinese box office, beating last week’s winner, “The Expendables 3,” by a hair, Variety reports.

Popup Cat Café Coming to Chinatown

Half a year after announcing a Kickstarter campaign to fund California's first cat café, Carlos Wong will launch Catfe as a four-day pop-up shop, partnering with the Chinatown Business Improvement District and Best Friends LA, a no-kill shelter, LA Weekly reports. Patrons will enter a room full of cats, and sip coffee and tea while socializing with them.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was down seven points in Tuesday morning trading to 17,024. The S&P 500 was up two points to 1,987. The Nasdaq was down four points to 4,514.

August Shipping Up at Port of Los Angeles, Down in Long Beach

Cargo volumes increased last month at the Port of Los Angeles, although the neighboring Port of Long Beach saw a decline in activity after what officials there characterized as mismatch between last year’s peak shipping season and this year’s.

Monday, September 15

UC Regents to Consider $250 Million VC Fund

The University of California Board of Regents is set to hear a proposal that will establish a multimillion-dollar venture capital fund to back startups founded on student and faculty research. The Wall Street Journal reported the fund could be as large as $250 million.

AAA Renews Partnership With TrueCar

Santa Monica car-buying company TrueCar Inc. renewed a deal with insurance giant AAA, announcing Monday it will continue to power the auto club’s online auto-buying program.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial rose 44 points in Monday trading to close at 17,031. The S&P 500 fell one point to close at 1,984. The Nasdaq fell 49 points to close at 4,519. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 204.

Real Estate is Major Driver of California’s Recovery, Report Says

Businesses are expanding and need more space, and that’s helping pump up California’s real estate industry. The real estate and rental leasing industries accounted for nearly a quarter of California’s economic growth in the second quarter, according to a report released Monday by downtown’s City National Bank and consulting firm Beacon Economics.

Downtown Investor Caught in Laundering Sweep

A downtown L.A. investor who recently purchased a prominent South Park development site was among those arrested last week when federal agents raided the Fashion District in connection with an alleged money-laundering scheme for international drug cartels.

Former Scopely Exec Launches MobLabs

Andy Kleinman knows mobile games. But now, Kleinman has a bit of game fatigue having worked in the industry for nearly a decade. So he’s getting out. At least that’s the plan.

JibJab Acquires Make Believe Labs and Hello Santa

JibJab Bros. Studios, a digital media production company, has acquired Make Believe Labs and its live video call service Hello Santa.

Gem Shines on Bitcoin Security

Though accepted at retailers such as Amazon.com, Sears and CVS, Bitcoin is still trying to shake the mainstream perception that it is black market currency used in degenerate corners of the Web.

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USC Embarks on Major Expansion

With the demolition of its outdated University Village complete, USC was expected to formally break ground Monday on the $650 million first phase of its $1.1 billion two-phase master-planned Village at USC.

Garcetti Urges Neighboring Cities to Raise Wages

After announcing his plan to raise the minimum wage in Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti is trying to persuade neighboring cities to do the same, potentially deflating tension from critics of the measure, who argued that businesses might move to nearby cities to pay workers less, the Los Angeles Times Reports.

Senate Leaders Call for Wright’s Resignation

Leaders of the Senate are calling for California state Senator Rod Wright, who represents an Inglewood-area district, to resign after he was sentenced Friday to three months in prison for perjury, voter fraud and other charges related to lying about where he lived when he ran for office, the Associated Press reports. If Wright is expelled or resigns, Gov. Jerry Brown would need to call a special election to fill his seat.

USC to Unveil Biggest Construction Project in University’s History

USC will unveil today the final design of a $650-million housing and retail complex just north of the main campus, the biggest construction project in the university's history, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Django Unchained Actress Detained

Daniele Watts, an actress from the movie “Django Unchained” was detained by police following a public display of affection with her white boyfriend, CNN reports. Watts and her boyfriend, Brian Lucas, believe they were targeted unfairly and suspect police assumed the actress was a prostitute and he, her client.

Microsoft Buys ‘Minecraft’ Company Mojang

Microsoft Corp. agreed to buy Mojang AB, the company behind the hit videogame “Minecraft,” for $2.5 billion, but the startup’s founders and top executives won’t be joining the software giant, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Repurposed Parking Meters Stir Controversy in Pasadena

Fourteen repurposed parking meters in Pasadena will collect change for nonprofits that serve the homeless, and Los Angeles has been talking about trying them out downtown, the Los Angeles Times reports. In San Diego and Denver, similar meters have been used as panhandling deterrents, and some advocates are arguing that the meters monopolize money that might have gone directly to needy people.

City of Industry Sues Ex-Mayor for Back Rent

City of Industry filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court suing ex-mayor Dave Perez, saying he owes the city’s former redevelopment agency $9.6 million in back rent for using public land without permission for his waste recycling business, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports.

So Far, 2014 is California’s Hottest Year

Average temperatures during the first eight months of 2014 were the hottest in California’s history since record-keeping began in 1895, the Los Angeles Times reports. The average temperature was 62.6 degrees, which is 1.1 degrees hotter than the previous high and more than 4 degrees warmer than the 20th century average, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported.

Retails Sales Inch Up in August

Retail and food sales in the U.S. rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent in August from July, the Commerce Department said Friday, quelling fears about a summer lull. Lower gasoline prices and better job growth could have contributed to increased consumer spending, according to the Wall Street Journal.

MTA Fares Rise

One-way fares on buses and trains operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority increased at midnight today from $1.50 to $1.75, KTLA reports. Monthly passes increased from $75 to $100.

Box Office: ‘No Good Deed’ Tops ‘Guardians,’ ‘Dolphin Tale 2’

The home invasion thriller “No Good Deed” claimed the box office this weekend, bringing in an estimated $24.5 million, The Wrap reports. The film’s expected contender, “Dolphin Tale 2,” trailed behind at $16.5 million, but both films beat “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which fell from the top slot for the first time in three weeks.

General Motors Admits Ignition Switch Death Toll is 19

General Motors Co. will pay compensation for 19 deaths linked to a faulty ignition switch, more than the 13 deaths the automaker had previously admitted were caused by the recalled part, Reuters reports.

Regulators Slow to Respond to Vehicle Defects

An investigation by the New York Times into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s handling of major safety defects over the past decade found that the agency has often been slow to identify problems, tentative to act and reluctant to employ its full legal powers against companies. It recently failed to detect an ignition switch defect in several models of General Motors.

Murdock Tower Purchased

Murdock Plaza, a prominent Westwood office building on Wilshire Boulevard, has been purchased by New York real estate company Tishman Speyer for a reported $125 million, the Los Angeles Times says. Check out the previous coverage in the Business Journal.

61.4 Million Hit L.A. Beaches This Year

Attendance at Los Angeles County beaches hit a new high this year, along with the number of ocean rescues, county lifeguard officials said Friday, CBSLA reports.

Americans Won’t Relax

A new paper by economists Dan Hamermesh and Elena Stancanelli found that Americans work longer hours and are more likely to work late at night and on weekends, the Atlantic reports. They found that on a typical weeknight, a quarter of American workers did some kind of work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., compared with about seven percent in France and the Netherlands.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down three points in Monday morning trading to 16,984. The S&P 500 was down four points to 1,982. The Nasdaq was down 41 points to 4,526.

Data Analyzer Looks to Grow Its Client Numbers

Marketing: Retail sites no longer sole focus of business for Retention Science.

Retention Science looks to get a hold on new sectors for its customer-evaluation data services.

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Bag Makers Join Plastic Ban Fold

MANUFACTURING: Pair of companies ready for reusable.

Pair of reusable bag makers say they are well positioned to win the sack race if the state adopts a plastic ban.

Northrop Aims to Land Big One

Aerospace: Winning bid for spacecraft could lift entire sector.

A winning bid by Northrop Grumman to develop a space plane could help the local industry take wing.

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Carwash Buyer Arrested for Money-Laundering

LEGAL: Investor among group accused in alleged drug cartel scheme.

A downtown L.A. investor who recently purchased a prominent South Park development site was among those arrested last week when federal agents raided the Fashion District in connection with an alleged money-laundering scheme for international drug cartels.

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Name-Dropping Worked for Bank

finance: New handle offered Cappello new life in court fight.

Investment bank Cappello Capital has gone back to work under a new name after a firm-scuttling lawsuit.

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Pizza Chain Decision Puts Box Around Lawsuits

DINING: Domino’s case lays out when franchisees’ workers can sue franchisers.

Decision in Domino’s lawsuit delivers protections for franchisers against lawsuits by franchisees’ workers.

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HEADLINER

Ex-banker Austin Beutner turns page as Times chief

Ex-investment banker Austin Beutner now looks to make news as publisher of the Los Angeles Times.

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School District Digs Hole on Subway

Joel Epstein doesn’t dig the Beverly Hills school district using construction bond money to fight plans for a subway.

Minimum Thought

Mayor Garcetti’s push to increase wages plays to his constituents but will only hurt L.A. businesses.

P. Jacob Yadegar wants to lower the boom on Mayor Eric Garcetti’s proposal to raise the minimum wage.

Paper Chase

Some local financial executives talked about how the lack of a big-school business degree has impacted their career. So the Business Journal asks:

How important is a degree from an elite school for those who aspire to reach the top of their profession?

Bill Breaks Chain of Responsibility

Gary Toebben says proposed state legislation on subcontractors would pass the buck on employer responsibility.

conventions

Upcoming local conventions.

calendar

Upcoming calendar of events.

News of the Week

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

Snapchat co-founders Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy settled an ownership dispute with Frank Reginald Brown, a former Stanford fraternity brother who claimed to be behind the idea that sparked the disappearing picture app.

Anti-Gang Program Hits Streets in Food Truck

dining: Mobile operation latest rehabilitation venture from Homeboy Industries.

Homeboy Industries, a downtown L.A. anti-gang program, is hitting the road.

Venture Capital Veterans Put Money on New Firm

INVESTMENT: Duo launch Basepoint to build future away from Rustic Canyon.

Rustic Canyon partners aren’t scared to bid the firm’s brand farewell as they carve out a future as Bravepoint.

Freight Forwarder’s Shares Advance on Wall Street

SHIPPING: UTi’s new IT system wins over investors despite poor quarter.

UTi’s new IT system helps the freight forwarder make up ground with investors.

Burning Issue

SAFETY: Sunseeker transforms aerospace coating into line of fire-resistant products.

Sunseeker hopes landing a U.S. Forest Service deal can turn its fire-resistant products into hot properties.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Woodland Hills’ CGI Strategies in Real Estate has acquired a Franklin Village apartment building for $12.3 million from limited liability corporation Villa Carlotta. Built in 1926, the 50-unit, four-story Villa Carlotta totals 45,644 square feet.

In a Family Way

In less than a year, David Fletcher went from being a single guy to married with two children.

Will That Monet Fade Away?

Conservation specialist devises index to assess risk for collectors.

Emily MacDonald-Korth’s index system lets collectors frame the value of paintings and other works.

Taking Stand for History

Affordable housing project preserves Fatburger’s first spot.

Affordable housing project made preserving the first Fatburger stand a main ingredient.

Friday, September 12

AssetAvenue Secures $3 Million Seed Money

AssetAvenue, an online commercial real estate lending platform, has raised $3 million in seed funding.

Daily News Could Be Sold

The Los Angeles Daily News is among the newspapers that could be sold as parent company Digital First Media said Friday it was reviewing strategic alternatives for its business.

DTS Acquires Manzanita Systems

Audio technology company DTS Inc. is acquiring Manzanita Systems, a Poway software developer for digital television, video-on-demand and other platforms.

Conversant, Rubicon Among Week’s Big Movers

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

Ex-Banker Austin Beutner Turns Page as Times Chief

Austin Beutner is an accomplished guy, what with being a co-founder of a successful investment bank and deputy mayor in Los Angeles. But since he has no experience in the news business, why did he take the top job at the Los Angeles Times?

Carwash Buyer Arrested for Money-Laundering

A downtown L.A. investor who recently purchased a prominent South Park development site was among those arrested last week when federal agents raided the Fashion District in connection with an alleged money-laundering scheme for international drug cartels.

Northrop Aims to Land Big One

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wants to build an unmanned plane that can fly into space and land back on Earth, and Northrop Grumman Corp. and its partners are trying to figure out how to do it.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 61 points in Friday trading to close at 16,988. The S&P 500 fell 12 points to close at 1,986. The Nasdaq fell 24 points to close at 4,568. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 206.

L.A. Launch List: Sept. 12

The Los Angeles Business Journal brings you a weekly roundup of L.A. launches.

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Mayor Garcetti to Consider Replacing Gross Receipts

Mayor Eric Garcetti said Thursday he and other elected officials are considering a ballot measure that would eliminate the gross receipts tax and replace it with a different tax on companies, the Los Angeles Times reports. Check out previous coverage of gross receipts tax receipts in the Business Journal.

Alliance Data to Buy Conversant

Alliance Data Systems Corp., a Dallas company that operates loyalty programs and private-label credit cards, agreed to buy the Westlake Village digital marketing company Conversant Inc. in cash and stock deal worth about $2.3 billion, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Santa Monica Moves Forward with Bergamot Station Redevelopment

The Santa Monica City Council gave Worthe Real Estate Group exclusive rights to negotiate with the city for the right to moved forward with an $84 million redevelopment of aging Bergamot Station, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Council viewed the Santa Monica developer’s proposal as the least threatening to the character of the historic complex.

Deasy Requests Board Members’ Emails

Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. John Deasy filed a public records request seeking emails and other documents from school board members as part of the ongoing finger-pointing over the fumbled roll out of a plan to give all LAUSD students iPads, the Los Angeles Times reports. While the district’s inspector general has focused on reviewing communications between Deasy, his top deputy and Apple and educational publisher Pearson, Deasy and his lawyer are now apparently looking for ties between board members and tech companies.

How Yahoo Was Forced Into PRISM

The U.S. government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day in 2008 if it failed to hand over user data, according to court documents unsealed Thursday, the Washington Post reports. The 1,500 pages of documents show an unsuccessful legal battle by Yahoo to resist the government’s demands, forcing the company to participate in the NSA’s controversial PRISM program.

Secretary of State Candidates Debate

Policy differences were in short supply during a debate between Republican Pete Peterson and Democrat Alex Padilla on Thursday, as the two candidates for California secretary of state battled over who had the better resume to turn around the office. The candidates outlined plans for improving voter participation in elections and upgrading the office’s antiquated business registration system, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Judge Dismisses Charges Against Pasadena Commissioner

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Thursday dismissed grand theft and forgery charges against city commissioner Allen Shay in connection with an alleged $2.3 million mortgage fraud scheme involving one of Shay’s former clients, the Pasadena Star-News reports.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Removes Ex-Wife From Governor Portrait

Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had the image of ex-wife Maria Shriver removed from his 6-foot-tall official government portrait, which was unveiled last week, the New York Post reports. Shriver’s face, which appeared on a lapel pin that Schwarzenegger wore as he sat for the painting in 2003, is now covered over by a visible smudge of blue paint.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 45 points in Thursday morning trading to 17,003. The S&P 500 was down eight points to 1,989. The Nasdaq was down 16 points to 4,574.

Thursday, September 11

Conversant Acquired for $2.3 Billion

The ad tech firm Conversant Inc. has agreed to be acquired for $2.3 billion in cash and stock. The Westlake Village company formerly known as ValueClick is to be bought by Alliance Data Systems Corp., a data marketing service provider in Plano, Texas.

Deluxe Buys Cloud Service Mediapeers

Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc. has acquired German business-to-business cloud service provider Mediapeers for an undisclosed amount.

Foreclosures and Home Sales Fall

Even as foreclosures fell to more normal levels, home sales in Southern California slipped to a four-year low in August as would-be buyers faced inventory and affordability challenges, according to separate reports released Thursday.

Tetra Tech Wins $23.6 Million U.S. Navy Contract

Pasadena’s Tetra Tech Inc. announced Thursday that is has been awarded a five-year, $23.6 million contract with the U.S. Navy. Tetra Tech will conduct field surveys and data analysis in order to predict the environmental consequences of an expansion of the training grounds at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms.

Poll: Do you believe Austin Beutner, a former venture capitalist and deputy mayor, can revive the Los Angeles Times?

Every week the Los Angeles Business Journal asks readers their views on a variety of business and economic issues. A running tally is available on the site and later will be published in the Commentary section of our print edition.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 20 points in Thursday trading to close at 17,049. The S&P 500 rose two points to close at 1,997. The Nasdaq rose five points to close at 4,592. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 206.

CU Wallet Gets Investment

CU Wallet, a mobile payments tech provider, has received an investment from one of the largest credit unions in the country, Security Service Federal Credit Union in San Antonio.

Ticketmaster Acquires Eventjoy

Ticketmaster, a division of Live Nation Entertainment, has acquired mobile ticketing platform Eventjoy.

East West Bank Faces $39 Million Judgment

A Los Angeles County Superior Court jury handed down a $39 million verdict against Pasadena’s East West Bancorp Inc., finding that the bank had breached a multimillion-dollar construction loan agreement with a Cambodian refugee couple, forcing them to default on their loan and leading to foreclosure on the commercial property, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Santa Monica, West Hollywood to Consider Wage Hikes

Following Mayor Eric Garcetti’s proposal to gradually raise the minimum wage in Los Angeles, city councils in West Hollywood and Santa Monica each voted to consider their own minimum wage hikes, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Will Alibaba Target Snapchat and Lion’s Gate?

Bloomberg reports that Venice’s Snapchat and Santa Monica’s Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. could be among the investment/acquisition targets of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the Chinese Internet giant expected to have a war chest of as much as $8 billion after its fall IPO.

Report Says California’s Recovery Will Remain Slow

California’s “painfully plodding” economic recovery will continue its “slow, steady and unexceptional growth,” according to a third-quarter report from UCLA Anderson Forecast released today. The report predicts that the state unemployment rate will sink to 5.7 percent by the end of 2016 from 7.4 percent now, the Los Angeles Times says.

Queen Mary Retailers Must Abandon Ship

Several retailers, including the 31-year-old Scottish Heritage Center, were served with a 30-day notice to disembark from the Queen Mary ocean liner in Long Beach to make way for a San Diego company tasked with revamping retail on the ship, the Daily News reports.

Statistics Show a Loss of Hollywood Jobs

The U.S. has seen a steady loss of jobs in the motion picture and sound industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Variety reports that preliminary BLS statistics show employment in those industries has dropped to 298,000 in August, a decrease of 8 percent from the year earlier and of 19 percent from two years ago.

Los Angeles Will Pay Lawyers Who Fought Policing on Skid Row

The Los Angeles City Council agreed on Wednesday to pay $725,000 in fees to civil rights attorneys who successfully challenged police sweeps of homeless encampments on skid row, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Megamansion Permits Revoked

The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety has officially revoked the construction permits for the 30,000-square-foot megamansion Mohamed Hadid has been building on a Bel Air hilltop since 2011, the Los Angeles Times reports, amid concerns that it would destabilize the slope.

Los Angeles Leads Nation in Pick-Up Theft

The Los Angeles-Long Beach area has more pick-up truck theft than any other urban area in the county, according to a study by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Los Angeles Times says.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 72 points in Thursday morning trading to 16,997. The S&P 500 was down eight points to 1,988. The Nasdaq was down 21 points to 4,566.

Wednesday, September 10

Activision’s Destiny Makes $500 Million in First Day

The online science fiction shooter game Destiny made more than $500 million in sales on Tuesday, the first day it was released, according to Santa Monica videogame publisher Activision Blizzard Inc., which published the game in conjunction with Bungie Inc., the studio that created the Halo game for Xbox.

Feds Raid L.A. Fashion District in Cartel Laundering Investigation

Thousands of federal agents raided businesses in downtown L.A.’s Fashion District on Wednesday and seized an estimated $65 million as part of a crackdown on what is alleged to be a sophisticated money laundering operation by Mexican drug cartels.

Governor Signs Paid Sick Leave Bill

Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed a bill requiring employers to provide at least three days of paid sick leave each year to workers. It applies to part-time workers as well as full-time.

KCET and KLCS to Auction Off Spectrum

Burbank public television station KCET has entered into a partnership with public educational station KLCS to auction off unused spectrum and share a single over-the-air broadcast channel.

Dow Jones, S&P, Nasdaq Rise; LABJ Flat

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 55 points in Wednesday trading to close at 17,069. The S&P 500 rose seven points to close at 1,996. The Nasdaq rose 34 points to close at 4,587. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 205.

Cross Campus Old Pasadena Open for Tour

Cross Campus, a Santa Monica co-working space for tech entrepreneurs, is giving a first look at its second location in Old Pasadena.

Tinder CEO Denies Funding Rumors

Tinder Chief Executive Sean Rad shot down reports that the dating app is in talks with VC firm Benchmark to raise a round that would value the company at $750 million.

American Apparel Settles for $1 Million Over Worker Death

American Apparel Inc. agreed on Tuesday to pay $1 million to settle a civil lawsuit brought by the Orange County District Attorney over an employee who was killed by an industrial knitting machine at one of the company’s factories in Garden Grove, LA Weekly reports.

House to Consider Temporary Renewal of the Export-Import Bank

Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives included a nine-month extension of the Export-Import Bank’s charter in a short-term budget bill, Bloomberg reports.

Long-Term Unemployment Last to Recover From Recession

While the national unemployment rate has fallen to 6.1 percent, Labor Department data show that the number of people who have been out of work for more than six months remains historically high, the Los Angeles Times says.

CalPERS: No Illegal Pension Spiking Found, But Vulnerabilities Revealed

State Controller John Chiang released a report Tuesday citing areas of failure in efforts the California Public Employees’ Retirement System has made to detect and prevent pension spiking practices at the 3,100 public agencies that contract within the system, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports.

Apple Pay May Boost iPhone Sales

Analysts say that the addition of a mobile payments service could help boost sales of Apple’s just-launched iPhone 6, according to Reuters. At least six brokerages raised their price target on Apple's stock by as much as $16 to a high of $116 on Wednesday, following the product launch of iPhone 6 and the Apple watch, which is the first new product introduced by Chief Executive Tim Cook.

Gov. Brown Signs Bill Protecting Online Reviews

Californians who write negative opinions or reviews of businesses online will have new legal protection under a bill signed Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown, which bans businesses from making their customers sign non-disparagement clauses, the Los Angeles Times reports.

L.A. Clinic for the Uninsured Sees Fewer Sign-ups

Care Harbor, a free and typically-packed annual clinic for Los Angeles residents who are uninsured, saw one third of its appointments unfilled this year, the Los Angeles Times reports. Organizers suspect that many who relied on the clinic now have their own doctors through Obamacare.

Los Angeles to Airbnb Hosts: Pay Your Tax

At a Los Angeles City Council meeting on Monday, officials directed staff to contact Airbnb hosts through the home-rental website itself – because they are unable to identify exact addresses – to warn them of their tax responsibility, Mashable reports. Short-term rentals in Los Angeles are subject to a transient occupancy tax aimed at hotels.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 30 points in Wednesday morning trading to 16,984. The S&P 500 was down three points to 1,986. The Nasdaq was up five points to 4,558.

Tuesday, September 9

Tinder Co-Founder Resigns, but CEO to Stay On

Tinder co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Justin Mateen has resigned after a sex harassment suit filed against him and the company was settled Monday, a person close to the company confirmed. Co-founder Sean Rad, who was also named in the complaint, will retain his role as chief executive.

Culver City Hopes for Fiber Internet

The city council in Culver City is preparing to consider a city-sponsored proposal to create an ultra-high-speed Internet network in the hopes it will lure tech companies to its resident-friendly streets.

Farmer Bros. Bounces Back from Previous Year’s Loss

Farmer Bros. Co. on Tuesday reported improved sales and earnings, recording its most profitable year in a decade, according to Mike Keown, the company’s president and chief executive.

Virgin Receives NASA Contract

Two aerospace companies at the Mojave Air & Space Port, including Virgin Galactic, have received three-year contracts from NASA to take scientific payloads into sub-orbital space.

Korn/Ferry Earnings Beat Expectations

Staffing giant Korn/Ferry International reported fiscal first-quarter profit that was better than analysts expected.

Stocks are Down

The Dow Jones industrial fell 98 points in Tuesday trading to close at 17,014. The S&P 500 fell 13 points to close at 1,988. The Nasdaq fell 40 points to close at 4,552. The LABJ Stock Index fell two points to close at 205.

Snapchat Settles Ownership Dispute

Snapchat and co-founders Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy have settled an ownership dispute with a former Stanford classmate who claimed to be behind the disappearing picture messages the app is known for.

L.A Employers to Slow Pace of Hiring

A survey released Tuesday from Manpower Inc. found that 77 percent of employers in Los Angeles and Orange counties plan to keep staffing levels constant, the Business Journal reports.

Apple to Reveal New Gadgets

Apple is expected to unveil two new iPhones with larger screens and its first wearable device, the smartwatch, at its product launch in Cupertino later this morning, along with new services involving health care, home automation and digital payments, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Californians Well Represented in Richest Members of Congress List

Members of California’s congressional delegation were well represented in Roll Call’s annual 50 Richest Members of Congress list, which included Rep. Gary Miller of Rancho Cucamonga and was topped by Rep. Darell Issa of Vista in San Diego, the Sacramento Bee says.

Pay in U.S. is Stagnant

The latest jobs report confirmed that average hourly pay has increased only about 2 percent a year since the recession ended five years ago, barely inching above the inflation rate and sinking below the gains in most recoveries, according to the Associated Press.

L.A. Homeless Organizations to Receive $214 Million

L.A. homeless organizations will receive $214 million to expand services and ease coordination between the city and county's many groups, KPCC reports.

College Rankings: Caltech Makes the Top Ten; UCLA Beats USC

In News & World Report’s annual list of university rankings, released Tuesday, UCLA placed 23rd, leaving crosstown rival USC trailing in 25th place, the Los Angeles Times Reports. But Caltech took the local cake, nabbing the title of 10th best school.

Montebello Strikes Tentative Agreement With Transit Workers

The city of Montebello has reached an agreement with its transit union to pay about 60 percent of its bus drivers’ retirement costs, the Whittier Daily News reports. The agreement goes to City Council for final approval this evening.

Pisano to Step Down From Helm of Natural History Museum

Jane Pisano will step down as president of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County after 13 years of leadership, during which she grew attendance by almost 70 percent and oversaw an overhaul and updating of the galleries and exhibits, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Universal Pictures Hires Former Disney Executive to Focus on Kids

Universal Pictures has hired former Disney executive Vince Klaseus as president of a newly created brand development division, according to Variety. Klaseus will help the company expand into the kids and family business.

Whole Foods and Instacart Partner, Will Deliver in Los Angeles

Whole Foods Market and start-up Instacart announced Tuesday that they are expanding their partnership to offer quick grocery delivery in 15 cities, including Los Angeles, Mashable reports. Whole Foods will imbed Instacart shoppers in its stores to be ready for action when an order is placed, increasing speed and the companies’ competitive stake in the instant-delivery market.

Water Used in Downtown Water Slide Will Irrigate Griffith Park

Protestors called a proposal to set up a 1,000-foot water slide in downtown Los Angeles absurd in a time of drought. The people have spoken. Following their vocal opposition, Councilman Jose Huizar worked with the slide event’s organizers to draft a new proposal, in which the 15,000 to 20,000 gallons of water brought in for the event are recycled and used to irrigate Griffith Park, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 76 points in Tuesday morning trading to 17,035. The S&P 500 was down 8 points to 1,994. The Nasdaq was down 17 points to 4,575.

Monday, September 8

L.A. Employers Hiring Plans to Slow in Fourth Quarter

L.A. employers plan to slow their pace of hiring during the fourth quarter, according to a survey released Tuesday from Manpower Inc.

Tinder Settles Sex Harassment Suit

Tinder and its parent company InterActiveCorp has settled a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit filed by former exec and co-founder Whitney Wolfe.

Culver City Mayor Talks Tech Development

Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells has big hopes for Culver City to become more than just a one-business town – but not at the cost of its family-friendly, tree-lined streets.

DreamWorks, Disney and Sony Hit With Class Action Suit

DreamWorks Animation, Walt Disney Co. and Sony Pictures Animation are among a handful of animation studios named in a class action lawsuit alleging they conspired to suppress the wages of visual effects workers by agreeing not to hire from each other.

Activision Blizzard Inc. Upgraded by Moody’s

Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Santa Monica videogame publisher Activision Blizzard Inc.’s credit rating from “stable” to “positive” on Monday, saying the company’s outlook had improved and that the launch of new game franchise Destiny would add to its revenue.

Fire Damages Magic Mountain Coaster

A fire broke out Monday afternoon at Six Flags Magic Mountain’s closed Colossus wooden coaster, which is set to be transformed next year into a hybrid wooden-metal coaster.

Stocks are Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial fell 26 points in Monday trading to close at 17,111. The S&P 500 fell six points to close at 2,001. The Nasdaq rose nine points to close at 4,592. The LABJ Stock Index fell one point to close at 207.

Idealab Founder Launches IdeaMarket

Bill Gross, founder and chairman of Pasadena tech incubator Idealab, announced Monday a new company dedicated to matching ideas with investors and entrepreneurs.

Less Riders and Revenue for Metrolink

Metrolink’s annual ridership has dropped by almost 595,000 passengers since 2008, with resulting losses in revenue, leaving the agency pondering whether to trim services or increase fares, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Export-Import Bank Charter Set to Expire

Thousands of jobs in Southern California and across the country could be in jeopardy as politicians argue over whether to reauthorize the soon-to-expire charter of the Export-Import Bank, which helps U.S. companies sell their products overseas, the Los Angeles Times says.

After Losing in Court, Workers Accused of Harassment Stay on the Job

Los Angles city workers accused of repeated discrimination or harassment received little or no discipline in at least six cases where the city paid millions in court settlements, the Daily News investigates.

FHA to Ban Lenders From Charging Extra Interest on Mortgages

In a policy switch recently made final, the Federal Housing Administration will ban lenders from charging interest on mortgages after their principal debt has been fully paid off, the Los Angeles Times reports.

In Weak Economy, More L.A. Residents Become Street Merchants

The number of street vendors in Los Angles has swelled since the recession, and is now a more diverse group, pulling in out-of-work professionals, war veterans and single mothers, according to a recent report by the Los Angeles chief legislative analyst's office, the Los Angeles Times reports.

‘Guardians’ Leads Slowest Box Office Weekend Since 2001

For the fourth straight weekend, Disney’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” led the box office, but total movie ticket sales fell to the lowest level in 13 years, Bloomberg reports.

Movie Company Uses Medical Marijuana to Promote Film

The indie film company A24 struck a deal with the Studio City medical-marijuana dispensary Buds & Roses to sell two branded cannabis strains under the names “Mr.Tusk” and “White Walrus,” as a promotion for Kevin Smith’s new film, “Tusk,” the New York Times Reports.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 33 points in Monday morning trading to 17,105. The S&P 500 was down six points to 2,002. The Nasdaq was up nine points to 4,592.

On Move

Boingo Wireless Chief Executive David Hagan has real connection with racing vintage cars.

Interview: Boingo Wireless’ David Hagan likes to disconnect from running mobile networks by racing cars.

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Taking Off

L.A. manufacturers get lift from Chinese growth

Trade: Rising middle class in China is helping sell local exporters on the communist country as a valuable market.

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Lender Steers Way to Texas

Banking: Hanmi joins rivals in chasing out-of-state growth.

Banking: Koreatown’s Hanmi is in a state of expansion with its acquisition of Texas’ United Central.

Learning By Degrees

Finance: Executives value relationships, experience over big-name business schools.

Finance: Local executives share how relationships and experience paid off more than a big-school business diploma.

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Business Wages War Over Hike

Politics: Minimum-pay raise feared as too much for city.

Politics: Business groups hope to minimize the damage from a proposed minimum-wage hike in the city of Los Angeles.

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Redondo Pursues Tourist Beach Head

Development: City fights wave of resistance to waterfront projects.

Development: Redondo Beach still works to shore up its waterfront despite some local activists making waves.

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Helping Get Over Bridge Work

Port-commissioned app to help drivers with Desmond project.

Internet Long Beach port builds bridge to future with app to help navigate traffic during Gerald Desmond work.

New Massage Apps Hope to Rub Users Right Way

Technology: Pair of businesses help customers order in therapists.

It’s becoming a lot easier to get a professional massage in Los Angeles.

Picture This: Paid Assistant to Snap Your Shots

Travel: Bruvion’s service for vacation photographers costs clients $500 a day.

Travel: Bruvion develops picture-taking service where clients pay photographers to join them on vacation.

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Hotel Developer Welcomes Hospitality Tenant

Real Estate: DDR reaches deal for Hyatt to handle future property in Pasadena.

A developer with plans to build a hotel on the site of what used to be a Macy’s department store at the Paseo Colorado retail center in Pasadena has signed a major hospitality tenant in advance of construction.

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Conventions

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Calendar of Events

News of the Week

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

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a class-action lawsuit involving 800 Allstate Insurance Co. employees in California may move forward.

Women’s Clothing Makers Man Up With New Lines

Apparel: Clover Canyon among local businesses moving into male market.

Apparel: Women-focused clothing companies are looking to fashion new business out of men’s lines.

Feds Charge Disbarred L.A. Attorney with Fraud

Law: Justin M. Lee allegedly bilked applicants to EB-5 visa program for millions.

Law: Federal agencies move on local attorney for allegedly exploiting immigration program for millions of dollars.

Wall Street Doesn’t Cotton to Poor Denim Sales

Fashion: Guess shares fall; CEO admits latest dresses, jeans unseemly.

Fashion: Denim maker sows trouble on Wall Street after its latest dresses and jeans fail to find fans.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Hinshaw & Culbertson, a Chicago-based law firm, is merging with downtown L.A.-based Barger & Wolen.

Rough Road for Family

Ari Bass was one of many L.A. dads who spent a couple weeks in August driving a van on a family vacation.

Restaurant Aims to Hold Block Party

Rock & Brews brings Tegu toys to table as attraction for kids.

Dining: Rock & Brews adds magnetic toy blocks to menu to pull in kids and parents.

Ferrari Looks To Rev Up Rodeo Drive

Merchants hope auto display will help fuel sales even after event.

Automotive: Ferrari looks to drive shoppers to Beverly Hills’ Rodeo with anniversary-marking car display.

On the Job at SBA

Lending: Small Business Administration’s Maria Contreras-Sweet shares how her agency works to bolster employers.

Tall Order

Fashion: Greenberg Glusker’s Jonathan Fitzgarrald goes to great lengths to keep his 6-foot-7-inch frame in tailor-made suits.

Friday, September 5

Nasty Gal Lays Off 10 Percent of Workforce

Nasty Gal, the online retailer of vintage women's clothing, has laid off up to 27 employees in the last week, according to reports. That number accounts for roughly 10 percent of its staff.

Business Wages War Over Hike

he way restaurateur Jeff Kavin sees it, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s plan to hike the minimum wage will have a maximum impact on his business – and it won’t be pretty.

L.A. Manufacturers Get Lift From Chinese Growth

It’s easy to oversimplify U.S.-China trade relations as a story of scrap materials going overseas while finished products come back, but the reality is becoming more complicated.

TrueCar Inc., UTi Worldwide Inc. Among Week’s Biggest Movers

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

Poll: How important is a degree from an elite school for those who aspire to reach the top of their profession?

Every week the Los Angeles Business Journal asks readers their views on a variety of business and economic issues. A running tally is available on the site and later will be published in the Commentary section of our print edition.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial rose 68 points in Friday trading to close at 17,137. The S&P 500 rose 10 points to close at 2,008. The Nasdaq rose 21 points to close at 4,583. The LABJ Stock Index rose one point to close at 208.

L.A. Launch List: Sept. 5

The Los Angeles Business Journal brings you a weekly roundup of L.A. launches.

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Gubernatorial Debate

Gov. Jerry Brown and his Republican challenger, Neel Kashkari, expressed open disdain for each other Thursday night in a heated debate that highlighted their differences on issues including schools, water, energy, jobs, transportation and crime, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Warner Bros. Announces Job Cuts

Warner Bros. Chief Executive Kevin Tsujihara told employees on Thursday that jobs “at every level” will be cut “across the studio,” but did not say how many positions would be eliminated or when, according to the Los Angeles Times. After rejecting an $80 billion bid from Fox, the studio’s parent company, Time Warner, signaled to investors that it would make cuts across the board.

U.S. Job Gains Short of Expectations

Job growth in the United States slowed to its lowest level of the year in August, after six months of gains, the Wall Street Journal reports. U.S. employers added a meager 142,000 jobs, falling short of this year’s monthly average of 215,000.

Los Angeles Food Workers Arrested During Strike

Police took 10 protesters into custody after they linked arms and sat down in front of a McDonald’s in downtown Los Angeles, the Daily News reports. The sit-in was part of a day of planned civil disobedience by hundreds of workers and their supporters seeking a higher base wage.

Apple to Add Security Alerts for iCloud Users

Apple said it planned additional steps to keep hackers out of user accounts, but denied that a breach of the company’s servers allowed intruders to distribute nude photos of celebrities, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Turner’s Michael Wright to Join DreamWorks as Chief Executive

Michael Wright, president of programming for several television channels at Turner Broadcasting, will join DreamWorks Studios as its chief executive next year, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Wright will replace Chief Executive Stacey Snider, who is reported to be moving to Fox.

Google Will Refund Purchases Racked Up by Kids

Google agreed Thursday to pay at least $19 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint. The settlement calls for the company to give full refunds to parents whose children rang up in-app purchases without their permission, the New York Times reports.

Yelp Review Manipulation is Not Extortion, Court Rules

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ended a long-running case in which some businesses alleged that consumer rating site Yelp extorted them into buying advertising by manufacturing negative reviews and removing positive ones. The court ruled Thursday that it was not unlawful for Yelp to post and sequence reviews, Forbes reports.

Season’s Phones Compete to Take the Best Selfie

Several phones unveiled at the IFA tech show in Berlin feature higher-resolution front cameras or apps that let you use rear cameras so that selfies will come out sharper, the Associated Press reports. Microsoft’s Lumia 730 has a selfie touch-up feature and Samsung’s new Galaxy Note phones have a wider lens option for fitting more people in your selfie, Ellen-at-the-Oscars style.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 21 points in Friday morning trading to 17,049. The S&P 500 was down three points to 1,995. The Nasdaq was down 11 points to 4,551.

Thursday, September 4

Mobile Games Are a $21 Billion Market

Mobile games are expected to bring in $21 billion in 2014 revenue worldwide, according to free-to-play and digital game research firm Super Data. That would be up 19 percent from the $17.7 billion spent last year. And next year’s spending is expected to go up 20 percent.

Former Port of Los Angeles Chief Joins USC

Geraldine Knatz, who served as executive director of the Port of Los Angeles from 2006 until last year, has joined USC’s faculty.

Murad to Open L.A. Flagship Store

Skincare brand Murad Inc. of El Segundo announced plans Tuesday to open its first retail location on Third Street near Miracle Mile.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial fell nine points in Wednesday trading to close at 17,070. The S&P 500 fell three points to close at 1,998. The Nasdaq fell 10 points to close at 4,562. The LABJ Stock Index fell one point to close at 207.

Epson’s Smart Glasses Added to Salesforce Wear

Epson, the Long Beach producer of printers and projectors, is seeing a different kind of tech take off with its smart glasses.

California Loses to Nevada as Site of Tesla Battery Plant

Tesla Motors has chosen Nevada as the site for its proposed $5 billion “gigafactory” battery plant, which could create as many as 6, 500 jobs over the next five years, the Los Angeles Times reports. In winning the contract, Nevada beat out California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico.

Fare Hikes Won’t Fix Deficit

Increased Metro bus and rail fares that take effect in 10 days will raise $21 million by the end of the 2015 fiscal year, which is not enough to close the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s $36.8 million deficit, officials said in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. The gap will leave the agency scrambling to pursue other revenue sources and operating cuts.

Los Angeles Bond Rating Improves

Three bond rating agencies gave Los Angeles improved ratings, thanks to the better economy and the city’s policies on managing its budget and liabilities, the Daily News reports. The ratings come as the city will be seeking more than $80 million from its Municipal Improvement Corp. of Los Angeles.

10 Percent of State’s Workers Here Illegally

A report released Wednesday by researchers at USC found that immigrants who are in California illegally make up nearly 10 percent of the state's workforce and contribute $130 billion annually to its gross domestic product, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Lower Wage Jobs Among the Fastest Growing in California

California’s economic recovery has featured a growing share of lower-wage jobs, according to a new analysis by The California Budget Project, raising concerns about the opportunities for middle-class workers hit hard by the Great Recession, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Fast Food Workers Strike for Better Pay

Fast food workers across the country went on strike today for $15 an hour minimum wages and the right to form a union without retaliation, including 100 local workers who converged on a McDonald’s in Exposition Park, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Texas Outpaces California in Exports and Related Jobs

Businesses exporting goods from Texas sustained 1.1 million jobs last year, compared to 802,000 jobs in California, according to a new report from the Department of Commerce, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Academy Museum Site Potentially Dangerous

The Los Angeles City Planning Department released an environmental impact report that raises concerns over methane and hydrogen sulfide gas at the site proposed for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ $300 million museum dedicated to Oscar and film history, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Most Southern California Movers Stay in Southern California

Los Angeles is drawing new residents from big cities in the Northeast and Midwest and losing people to less expensive cities in parts of the Sun Belt, according to new estimates from the Census Bureau, which tracks average annual migration between counties across the country. However, most of the people who move are moving within Southern California, the Los Angeles Times reports.

AeroVironment Loss is Worse Than Expected

Monrovia’s AeroVironment Inc. on Wednesday reported earnings that fell short of analysts’ expectations, the Business Journal reports.

More Murals Whitewashed Than Approved

Although the City Council approved an ordinance that allows murals to go up on private property with the owner’s approval, more murals have been whitewashed than have been approved in downtown Los Angeles, Downtown News reports.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 67 points in Thursday morning’s trading to 17,145. The S&P 500 was up 10 points to 2, 001. The Nasdaq was up 27 points to 4, 600.

Wednesday, September 3

AeroVironment Loss Worse Than Expected

Monrovia’s AeroVironment Inc. on Wednesday reported earnings that fell short of analysts’ expectations.

Federal Court Certifies Class Action Against Allstate

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday ruled that a class action lawsuit involving 800 Allstate Insurance Co. employees in California may move forward.

Heck Art Studios Will Premiere Indie Films on DirecTV

Heck Art Studios in Beverly Hills announced Wednesday that it had signed a five-year output agreement with El Segundo’s DirecTV to premiere films that will run exclusively on the platform weeks before their theatrical release.

Buyouts and Layoffs Loom at Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. Entertainment is looking to cut an unspecified number of staff by offering buyouts, according to media reports on Wednesday.

Teledyne Acquires Bolt Technology

Teledyne Technologies Inc. announced Wednesday it will acquire Bolt Technology Corp., a manufacturer of marine equipment used in energy exploration and other purposes, in a deal valued at $171 million.

L.A. Hotel Prices Increasing

Visitors to Los Angeles paid an average of $162 a night for hotel accommodations during the first six months of 2014, an increase of 6 percent compared to the same period in 2013, according to the biannual Hotels.com Hotel Price Index. The index listed Los Angeles as the fourth most popular travel destination for Americans, up one slot from last year.

Dow Jones Up; S&P, Nasdaq Down; LABJ Flat

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 11 points in Wednesday trading to close at 17, 078. The S&P 500 fell two points to close at 2,001. The Nasdaq fell 26 points to close at 4,573. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 207.

Internet Brands Buys High Gear Media

Internet Brands, which operates consumer interest websites and offers software to small and medium-sized businesses, has acquired automotive site publisher High Gear Media.

Gracenote Acquires Baseline for $50 Million

Gracenote, a subsidiary of Tribune Media Co., has acquired entertainment metadata provider Baseline of Los Angeles for $50 million.

California Officials Prepare for Obamacare Open Enrollment

California is preparing to get 1.2 million people to renew their health policies for next year, while looking to avoid the customer service pitfalls that caused angst during the launch of Obamacare, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Apparel Industry Fears Minimum Wage Hike

Ilse Metchek, president of the California Fashion Association, one of the state’s largest apparel trade groups, said Mayor Eric Garcetti’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $13.25 will force manufacturers to absorb costs, the Daily News reports. Metchek predicts that apparel manufacturers will leave Los Angeles if the wage increase is passed by the City Council.

Airline Cost-Cutting Fuels Passenger Anger

There have been three plane diversions in nine days caused by passenger fights over shrinking legroom, the Los Angeles Times reports. The volatility is leading to questions about whether the trend of packing more people into planes is sustainable.

New Rules May Help California Olive Oil Producers Compete

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is considering first-of-its-kind grading standards for the purity and quality of olive oil, much to the chagrin of the European Union and the olive oil importer community, which view the rules as a blueprint for wider trade restrictions, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Downtown L.A. Streetcar Construction Cheaper Than Expected

The cost of building a streetcar line in downtown Los Angeles may be about $55 million less than officials had previously estimated, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Dunkin Donuts Begins L.A. Expansion

East Coast chain Dunkin Donuts opened its first Los Angeles store in Santa Monica on Tuesday, drawing a line of 300 people before opening by offering up free swag, the Los Angeles Register reports. About 100 Dunkin Donuts shops are planned for Los Angeles County, and the company has a long term goal of opening 1,000 locations in California.

‘Guardians’ Tops Box Office for the Year

"Guardians of the Galaxy" topped the summer box office, and is also the top-grossing film of the year so far in North America, the Associated Press reports. The film brought in another $22.9 million over Labor Day weekend.

CVS Stores Stop Selling Tobacco Products

All 7, 700 CVS locations nationwide stopped selling tobacco products by midnight on Tuesday, the New York Times reports. The company, which has rebranded to CVS Health, seeks to reposition itself as pharmacies across the country compete for a piece of the growing health care industry.

The Food Gap Widens

Nutritional disparities between America’s rich and poor have grown, according to a new study by Harvard School of Public Health, the Atlantic reports. Diet quality has improved among people of high socioeconomic status but deteriorated among those at the other end of the spectrum.

Long Beach Business Spray Paints Lawns Green

Banking on the brown lawns wrought by the drought, Draw McCellan of Long Beach started a business spray-painting lawns green, golf-course style, according to the New York Times.

Dow Jones, S&P Up, Nasdaq Down

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 65 points in Wednesday morning’s trading to 17,133. The S&P 500 was up 5 points to 2, 007. The Nasdaq was down 3 points to 4, 595.

Tuesday, September 2

Ouya in Early Talks for Acquisition

Ouya, a gaming console developer, is in early acquisition talks with several Chinese and American companies, according to Re/code.

Deal Gives Live Nation Foothold in Philippines

Live Nation Entertainment Inc. announced a partnership on Tuesday with Music Management International Corp. that will allow the Beverly Hills company to promote concerts in the Philippines.

Hanmi Financial Corp. Acquires United Central Bank

Koreantown bank holding company Hanmi Financial Corp. completed its acquisition of United Central Bank of Garland, Texas, over the weekend in a deal that gives Hanmi a presence in Illinois, Texas and Virginia.

Motorcar Parts of America Completes Public Offering

Motorcar Parts of America Inc. announced Tuesday it had raised about $67 million with the completion of a secondary public offering of 2.8 million shares of common stock.

Vision Internet Secures Investment

Vision Internet, a government website developer headquartered in Santa Monica, has secured a growth capital investment from Caltius Equity Partners.

Dow Jones, S&P Down; Nasdaq Up; LABJ Flat

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 31 points in Tuesday’s trading to close at 17,067. The S&P 500 fell one point to close at 2,002. The Nasdaq rose 18 points to close at 4,598. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 207.

Garcetti Announces Minimum Wage Hike

In a Labor Day speech, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced plans to increase the minimum wage from $9 to $13.25 an hour by 2017, KPCC reports. City officials said the current hourly wage would rise to $10.25 immediately, then increase by $1.50 in each of the two succeeding years.

Deferred Repairs Plague L.A.’s Infrastructure

The water main break that flooded the campus of the University of California is only the latest sign of the ongoing breakdown of L.A.’s roads, sidewalks and water system, officials said. It would take an estimated $8.1 billion to do the necessary repairs, according to the New York Times.

Cold Summer at the Box Office

Domestic ticket sales dropped 15 percent this summer, Bloomberg reports.

California Lawmakers Pass Paid Sick Leave Bill

A bill that would require employers to provide at least three days of annual paid sick leave to workers passed the California State legislature early on Saturday, Reuters reports. It now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown, who praised the measure as a historic achievement, for a signature.

One in Six Construction Workers are Unreported

One in six construction workers in California are off the books or misreported, according to the Los Angeles Times. The state lost $473 million in 2011 from unreported construction because of loss of workers compensation payments, disability dues and the like.

Package of Bills Regulate Groundwater

California legislators approved three bills to regulate the state's groundwater. They now await Gov. Brown's signature, the Sacramento Bee reports.

FBI, Apple Hunt for Hacker Who Leaked Celebrity Nudes

The FBI confirmed on Monday that it has joined a hunt for the hacker or hackers who leaked hundreds of nude images of Hollywood actresses in what appears to be a breach of celebrity iCloud accounts, the Los Angeles Times reports.

New EPA Rules Would be Costly for California

EPA staff said Friday that the United States should tighten its smog rules significantly, setting an ozone goal that would improve air quality in California but force costly new requirements on government and industry, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Ten Bills Regulate Assisted Living

Ten bills that tighten California’s oversight of assisted living are headed to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature, the Daily News reports.

Are Festivals the National Pastime for Millennials?

One in five millennials attended a music festival this year, according to surveys by online ticket vendor Eventbrite, Quartz reports.

Downtown Businesses Score During Made in America

Some businesses in downtown Los Angeles reported a doubling of revenues during the two-day Budweiser Made in America weekend festival, which was touted by Mayor Eric Garcetti as a way to boost the local economy and create jobs, the Los Angeles Times Reports. The festival was the first major event to be held at Grand Park, the two-year-old public space that stretches between City Hall and the Music Center.

Judge Closes Marijuana ‘Farmer’s Market’

A judge ordered that California Heritage Market shut down after City Attorney Mike Feuer argued the business broke the medical marijuana law banning dispensaries from working with "suppliers who could then sell directly to patients," LA Weekly reports.

Uber Delivering Lunch in Santa Monica

The ride-sharing company Uber has begun testing a lunch delivery pilot program in Santa Monica, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Porn Industry Back in Business

The voluntary moratorium on adult film production was lifted Friday after an actor's HIV test was found to be a false positive, the Los Angeles Times reports.

GM to Make Cars That Detect Distracted Driving

General Motors, the largest U.S. auto manufacturer by sales, is preparing to launch cars with eye and head tracking technology that can tell whether drivers are distracted, CNBC reports.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 12 points in Tuesday morning’s trading to 17,110. The S&P 500 was up 2 points to 2, 005. The Nasdaq was up 17 points to 4, 597.

Monday, September 1

Contrary to Popular Thought

Shifting away from 9-to-5 workdays could put Los Angeles on road to easing commuter congestion.

Ted Lux would like to see more businesses hit the brakes on a 9-to-5 workday and give Los Angeles a break on traffic.

Net Gain?

Former Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer acquired the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion in what turned out to be a quick bidding process. So the Business Journal asks:

What do you think of Ballmer’s $2 billion purchase price for the Clippers?

High on Mountain Conservation

Gordon Seabury would like to hike up efforts to protect the San Gabriel Mountains.

Museum Tenant May Leave Oil HQ High, Dry

LISTING: Oxy deal to sell to Hammer in 2021 likely to scare off investors.

Six months after announcing a move to Houston, oil company Occidental Petroleum Corp. has put its Westwood headquarters building on the market.

conventions

Upcoming local conventions

calendar

Upcoming calendar of events.

News of the Week

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

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed off on a deal that would more than triple the funding for California’s film and TV tax-credit program.

Formerly Foodie-Focused Vet Adds More to Plate

LAUNCH: Bryanne Lawless founds firm Blnd to work with lifestyle brands.

Sticking with restaurant clients was great, but public relations executive Bryanne Lawless wanted to mix things up a bit more.

Juice Maker Pursues Rivals Fresh Off of Court Victory

BEVERAGES: Ex-lawyer for Roll Global says lawsuits business as usual.

U.S. Supreme Court ruling spurs POM to put squeeze on rivals with lawsuits.

Plane Maker to Wing Way to New City, Incentives

AVIATION: Icon chooses Vacaville to consolidate HQ, manufacturing facility.

Light sport aircraft maker Icon takes off for Vacaville and the city’s business incentives.

Different Tune

Your Music gives crowdfunders slice of song profits

Your Music cues up a new model for crowdfunding artists offering a slice of profits for small investors.

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Design Firm Sees Gas Stations as Creative Fuel

architecture: Built teams with nightlife maven to renovate 76 property.

Design firm and nightlife impresario look to pump up gas station’s sales with nautical makeover.

Drug Developer Turns Page With Published Trial

BIOTECH: Findings for cancer treatment send shares of Kite soaring.

Investors are high on Kite Pharma after the results of its drug trial are published in a medical journal.

Regional Report

Moonshark, a Century City developer of mobile entertainment apps, has been acquired by Hitcents, a Bowling Green, Ky., mobile game studio.

Text Exec Sends Message

Dez White, founder of free ephemeral messaging app Invisible Text, is excited to head to New York this month to kick off her work with the Clinton Global Initiative.

Grocer Gets In Bed With Breakfast

Fresh & Easy adds morning fare to draw more customers.

Fresh & Easy looks to wake up sales by offering breakfast items.

Internet Clicks With Low Rates

TAXES: Online business execs fear return of high levies in L.A.

Internet businesses say they rate getting to stay at a lower level of the gross receipts levy.

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Treat Makers Sweet On New Space

Sugar lab lets trio of tenants get creative with confections.

B&K Sugar Arts Lab’s resident treat makers tout their chemistry at a shared space.

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Cleaning Up

LAUNDRY: Wash Multifamily expands coin-operated business into Pacific Northwest, Alaska through pair of acquisitions.

Coin-operated machine business Wash cleans up by expanding into the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

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Mainland Buyers Shore Up Business

Eddy Chao has been advising Chinese real estate investors for more than 30 years.

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Electric Vehicles’ Latest Breakdown

AUTOMOTIVE: Debt-dragging Enova hopes for reverse merger.

Current problems could mean the end of the road for electric drive-train maker Enova Systems.

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Cards Swipe Market From Big Stars

FINANCE: Card.com bases debit business around lesser brand names.

Card.com’s debit cards sporting lesser brands are flat-out beating rival offerings tied to bigger names.

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Who’s Who in Real Estate: Richard Alter

Richard Alter has been sourcing real estate deals for Chinese investors for more than two decades, working closely with Asia Pacific Capital Co.’s Eddy Chao.

Who’s Who in Real Estate: Laurie Lustig-Bower

Laurie Lustig-Bower has spent 26 years working in real estate in Los Angeles, with a focus on multifamily properties and developable land with entitlements for condominium projects and apartment buildings.

Who’s Who in Real Estate: Gregory J. Karns

Gregory J. Karns began practicing real estate law more than three decades ago, and for most of that time he has worked almost exclusively with investors and lenders from Asia, particularly China.

Who’s Who in Real Estate: Bill Nan Zhou, Feng Feng

When a delegation of real estate professionals from China came to the United States a little over a year ago to tour major gateway cities for investment opportunities, longtime Southern California business buddies Bill Nan Zhou and Feng Feng helped pave the way.

Architect Drawn To Business Side

After less than a year in Los Angeles, I-Fei Chang has already established a reputation for the incredible scale and speed of her work.

’92 Crisis Offered Opening in Market

While Chinese investment firms have flooded the L.A. real estate market in recent years, Kin Hui, chief executive of Singpoli Capital Corp., seized the opportunity more than two decades ago.

Apparel Vet Finds Fit in Real Estate

Not long ago, Frank Yuan could be found operating a Las Vegas trade show for apparel manufacturers.

Who’s Who in Real Estate: Rising Tide

Local executives steer wave of Chinese money into L.A. properties.

Business Journal spotlights nine executives who are helping Chinese investors find a home for their money in L.A. properties.

Immigration Efforts Should Include Education

Linda Smith homes in on educational efforts as a means to create countries that residents won’t flee.