Stories for August 2015
Monday, August 31
Video distribution services company Vubiquity has purchased Juice Worldwide to bolster its online video distribution capabilities.
Local travel is expected to increase slightly during Labor Day weekend, the Automobile Club of Southern California said Monday.
The creative office conversion craze that has swept through Santa Monica, Playa Vista and El Segundo is reaching deeper into the South Bay, if a recent sale in Torrance is any indication.
The MTV Video Music Awards, held Sunday night in downtown Los Angeles, was the most tweeted about television event other than the Super Bowl since records began.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 115 points in Monday trading to close at 16,528. The S&P 500 fell 17 points to 1,972. The Nasdaq fell 52 points to 4,777. The LABJ Stock Index fell three points to 221.
Swedish billionaire and co-founder of video game Minecraft Markus Persson is bored, on a plane and taking joke submissions.
The volatile ride on the stock market is not over yet, according to analysts, the Los Angeles Times reports. Although it rallied last week after the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 1,000 points in one day, analysts expect more volatility, especially in light of the slowing economy in China and the question of whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next month.
The money that state workers contribute plus the money taxpayers give still isn’t enough to cover the escalating checks that California Public Employees' Retirement System, or Calpers, doles out. Now, the state’s largest pension plan is proposing moving money into bonds, which are generally safer but lower yielding investments, the Los Angeles Times reports. That would mean cities would have to contribute more – even though a few cities have already gone bankrupt, blaming high Calpers payments as part of their problem. Oh, and employees would not have to contribute any more, under this plan.
Online dating service eHarmony Inc. plans to apply the same compatibility strategies it uses to set up love connections to help match workers with employers, Yahoo Finance reports. The company expects to launch the service called Elevated Careers next year and use personality traits to match job prospects with the culture of employers. EHarmony appears to be in love with this new service: It expects the new undertaking to contribute about 60 percent of the company's revenue within three years.
After being one of the hardest-hit states during the recession, California’s economy has bounced back and even outperformed some national growth numbers, the Los Angeles Times reports. But the question remains: will the growth continue? Some economists say a slowdown could occur, especially given the volatile stock market. They expect the upward trend will continue for now.
Universal Pictures' "Straight Outta Compton," a biopic of the rap group N.W.A., stayed on top of the box office for the third consecutive weekend, bringing in $13.2 million. Sony Pictures' faith-based film "War Room" came in at No. 2, making $11 million. The Weinstein Co.’s “No Escape,” grossed $10.3 million and tied with Paramount Pictures' "Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” for third place, the Hollywood Reporter reports. The latter grossed an additional $8.3 million over the weekend.
Pershing Square was recently transformed into a sea of white as more than 2,000 people flocked downtown, dressed in white attire as part of “Diner in Blanc,” a pop-up dinner extravaganza to kick off the weekend, LAist reports. Guests who pre-registered, were also asked to bring white chairs and table settings before being whisked off to the party’s secret location where they ate and danced to live music well into the night.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 159 points in early trading Monday to 16,484. The S&P 500 was down 19 points to 1,970. The Nasdaq was down 40 points to 4,789. The LABJ Stock Index was down three points to 222.
Genesis’ Cayla taps Wi-Fi to converse with children, play games.
Toymaker Genesis hopes its Wi-Fi-enabled My Friend Cayla doll connects with kids.
Market chaos carves chunks from billionaires’ billfolds
It’s not just 401(k)s that have been roiled in the market downturn. L.A.’s wealthiest have seen billions evaporate.
ACQUISITION: Developer pays $30 million for site; plans mixed-use project.
One of the last large land parcels near downtown Los Angeles, a 5.25-acre plot that was owned by a Korean Presbyterian church, has sold to a Beijing developer.
EMPLOYMENT: Analyst says surge just government erasing recession’s cuts.
Public sector outpaces private in job growth as government employers reverse recession losses.
ENERGY: Eagle Crest looks to tap site for use in wind, solar storage.
Eagle Crest digs the idea of using abandoned mine for power storage system.
SPORTS: Hotels, eateries seen as added attractions if games return in 2024.
If L.A.’s $6.4 billion bid for the 2024 Olympics is successful, one can’t help but think how different the experience will be from 40 years earlier, when the city last hosted the event.
MARIJUANA: Medbox buys farmland to grow product as stock price languishes.
It’s been a volatile year for Medbox Inc.
TRANSPORTATION: City of L.A. opens LAX to Uber, peers; OKs complaint line.
When the Los Angeles City Council gave the green light for Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing services to pick up passengers at Los Angeles International Airport last week, there was talk about streamlining regulations for taxicab drivers so they could compete on a more equal footing.
LENDING: Xceed’s staff, financial advisers will be available 24-7 next month.
While mobile banking is a godsend for those who are more likely to have a smartphone than a checkbook handy, there are certainly some people who lament losing the personal touch they get when going to a branch.
TECHNOLOGY: Agency still seeks sum from founder of L.A. incubator, ex-partners.
Federal Trade Commission still pursues already dialed-back settlement sum in alleged cellphone scam.
BIOTECH: Analysts like outlook for NantKwest despite post-IPO slide.
Analysts like the prognosis for immunotherapy firm NantKwest despite its post-IPO slide.
News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County
Industrial Electronic Engineers Inc., a Van Nuys electronics manufacturer, has been chosen as a subcontractor to provide cockpit displays for the Air Force’s F-15E.
Walt Disney Co. reached into its storied past to find the perfect song to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Disneyland.
Insomniac cues up its first electronic music event in South America.
Insomniac Holdings looks to translate the success of its Electric Daisy Carnival to Brazil.
Brian Silverman turns spotlight on ’80s rock with singing telegrams.
Musical vet Brian Silverman’s latest career stage involves singing telegrams and heavy metal wigs.
REAL ESTATE: Sunset Strip property could welcome retail-hospitality project.
Buyer may use gift shop site to mix it up on Sunset Strip with retail-hospitality project.
VIDEO GAMES: Developer Scopely puts ‘Walking Dead’s’ fate in fans’ hands.
Developer Scopely isn’t worried about digging up fans for its “Walking Dead” mobile title.
Oak Paper Products brings partner into fold to build state-of-art, automated facility.
Oak Paper Products’ owners look to box in rivals with a new state-of-the-art automated facility.
FITNESS: Pop Physique mulls selling stake to bulk up chain.
Boutique exercise chain Pop Physique weighs private equity investment to pump up expansion plans.
LENDING: Local duo vault into New York with pair of pickups.
Chinese-American banks put their money on the Big Apple with New York pickups.
Sunday, August 30
INTERNET: Viral video firm Jukin Media looks to crack down on rival’s website in move to enforce its licenses.
Jukin Media heads to court to become a bigger player in viral video by enforcing its content licenses.
Friday, August 28
A weekly roundup of must-read L.A. tech investments and acquisitions.
After taking criticism for its lack of a system to track copyright violations on its site, Facebook has announced a new video content identification program.
The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies rose slightly after a volatile week. The weighted LABJ index was up 1 percent to close at 224, with gainers outpacing losers 79 to 75. Four companies closed the week unchanged.
The family law attorney and mediator on the importance of showing compassion, taking time to unwind and giving his work his all.
Mark Baer’s parents divorced when he was a child, an experience that initially made him want to avoid the field of family law, which often deals with separations and divorce.
Santa Monica video game company Activision Blizzard Inc. will join the S&P 500 after the close of trading Friday, becoming the second video game publisher to join the benchmark index.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 12 points in Friday trading to close at 16,643. The S&P 500 rose one point to 1,989. The Nasdaq rose 16 points to 4,828. The LABJ Stock Index rose one point to 224.
International travel to Los Angeles continues to drive traffic at Los Angeles International Airport, which saw a double-digit surge in the number of international travelers last month.
Beverly Hills firm Levine Leichtman Capital Partners announced Monday that it has completed the acquisition of short line railroad firm Regional Rail in Kennett Square, Pa., alongside the company’s management. Terms were not disclosed.
Entertainment reporter Sandro Monetti’s business take on this weekend’s new movie releases.
City officials have been touting plans to host the 2024 Summer Olympics as a win-win for Los Angeles that will result in a surplus, but city analysts, in a report released late Thursday, are questioning the plan, saying basically the projections are vague, the Los Angeles Times reports. The report, for example, said the proposed Olympic village next to the Los Angeles River “may significantly exceed” the $1 billion expected cost and said the Union Pacific Corp., which operates a rail yard on the property, has “no plans or desire to vacate the site.” The City Council is expected to discuss the Olympic issue today.
The optimism over the stock market the past couple of days faded this morning as shares fell in early trading, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some say it is looking less likely the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in September.
Netflix is doubling its Los Angeles office space with a move from Beverly Hills to Hollywood, the Los Angeles Times reports. Netflix has signed a long-term lease at the Icon Building on Sunset Boulevard that is under construction at Sunset Bronson Studios. The move may be as a result of how the company, which has recently beefed up its originally programming, aims to establish its presence in the entertainment capital.
The Federal Drug Administration has authorized Amgen Inc. to sell its drug Repatha to some patients with very high cholesterol. It could add up to big money for the Thousand Oaks company, the Los Angeles Times reports, but insurance companies may balk at the price, which starts at $14,100 for a year's worth of treatment.
The National Labor Relations Board ruled Thursday that companies using contractors are still responsible for any labor violations and might even be required to bargain with employee unions, the Los Angeles Times reports. The ruling is expected to have a ripple effect on companies nationwide, including those that use outsourced workers. Business groups say the decision could hurt the economy.
Los Angeles County Supervisors are the latest to face drought shaming after reports that supervisors have their taxpayer-funded vehicles washed up to three times a week, the Daily News reports. Supervisor Don Knabe made a motion recommending employees in all county departments be limited to washing their cars once a month. The motion must still be approved.
The California Public Utilities Commission is investigating Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to find out if there’s an unsafe work environment there that could have contributed to accidents, including the 2010 natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno that killed eight people, the Los Angeles Times reports. However, the commission itself is under criticism for possibly being too cozy with companies it regulates.
The Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival has just kicked off, and festivalgoers can expect a host of celebrity chefs and plenty of wine to go around, LAist reports. The annual event, which takes place downtown, features tasting events, a night market on Grand Avenue Friday, street food bites and plenty of gourmet cuisine. The festival ends on Sunday.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 54 points in early trading Friday to 16,600. The S&P 500 was down three points to 1,985. The Nasdaq was down 11 points to 4,802. The LABJ Stock Index was up one point to 224.
Thursday, August 27
Culver City’s Scopely has launched its mobile game based on the popular “Walking Dead” zombie comic book series that inspired two top-rated television shows.
Vernon glass industry supplier C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. announced Thursday that it will be acquired by Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope, a subsidiary of Irish building products giant CRH Group, for $1.3 billion in cash, subject to regulatory approval.
Trying to cut congestion at local port terminals, 10 terminal operators plan to require truckers to make reservations to pick up shipping containers from the docks.
David Murdock, chief executive of Dole Food Co., and a former Dole executive were ordered to pay $148 million to shareholders Thursday after a Delaware judge ruled they rigged the 2013 deal through which Murdock took the company private.
Santa Monica human resource software company Cornerstone OnDemand has made its first investments out of its venture arm, the Innovation Fund.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 369 points in Thursday trading to close at 16,655, it’s second day of big gains following a week of declines. The S&P 500 rose 47 points to 1,988. The Nasdaq rose 115 points to 4,813. The LABJ Stock Index rose five points to 223.
Wall Street surged again Thursday morning as the Dow Jones industrial average rose 224 points in early trading, the Wall Street Journal reports. Of course, analysts say it is too early to know whether the recent volatility is over.
A large parcel near downtown Los Angeles that was owned by a financially troubled Korean church has sold to a developer that plans to make it into a mixed-use residential center, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports. The finished project will include retail that faces Sunset Boulevard, and units could have a commanding view of downtown.
The term “anchor babies” may create images of Hispanic immigrants sneaking into the United States to birth their babies on American soil. But there is a sizable “birth tourism” industry – especially in the San Gabriel Valley – in which Asian women give birth here, the Los Angeles Times reports. The practice is basically legal, but authorities have been finding ways to crack down on it.
Los Angeles residents cut their water use by 21 percent last month, beating the state mandate, according to city officials, Los Angeles Times reports. It marks the second straight month the city has met California requirements.
Los Angeles officials revealed details this week for the city’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics – at an estimated cost of $4.6 billion – with possible venues that could be selling points to help woo the International Olympic Committee, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. A renovated Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum would be the focal point of the games while Griffith Park, the Rose Bowl, Carson’s StubHub facilities, UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion and San Pedro are among the proposed sites. The City Council’s new ad hoc committee is scheduled to meet Friday to discuss the plans.
Tesla Motors Inc. has reason to celebrate as its P85D, the all-wheel-drive version of the Model S, earned a 103 out of a possible 100 from Consumer Reports magazine, the highest ranking ever, Bloomberg reports. The Tesla sedan also was the fastest the magazine has ever tested, accelerating to 60 miles an hour from a stop in 3.5 seconds using its “insane mode.” Despite the high score, the car was criticized for the quality of the materials used in its interior compared to those in other luxury models.
Boeing Co.'s decision to lay off possibly hundreds of employees at its El Segundo satellite factory has sparked concerns that the entire aerospace industry could suffer if Congress does not revive the Export-Import Bank, the Los Angeles Times reports. Some are concerned there could be a ripple effect for subcontractors in light of the fact Boeing channeled $48 billion in business last year to subcontractors, including more than 3,000 in California. But others argue the layoffs are not necessarily a sign of bad news to come.
If you think Los Angeles has the worst traffic in the nation, think again. While Southern California drivers sat in traffic for around 80 hours last year, Washington, D.C. commuters faced the biggest delays, clocking 82 hours, according to traffic analysts, the Los Angeles Times reports. However, Los Angeles still has some of the most troublesome stretches of freeways with the top one being the southbound 101 Freeway from Woodland Hills to downtown.
The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission is debating whether to require that businesses that donate directly to city campaigns publicly disclose more information about who owns them, the Los Angeles Times reports. The argument is that without knowing who owns a company, it is not clear who might be funding a candidate. Some argue that such rules would violate free speech rights, and campaign consultants are concerned they would make it more difficult to raise money.
The U.S. economy’s second quarter was better than expected with the gross domestic product growing at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.7 percent, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Commerce Department had previously estimated a rate of just 2.3 percent, the agency said Thursday.
After several delays, the new Broad Museum, built by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, is scheduled to open Sept. 20, and there’s still a chance to be among the first to visit it, LAist reports. Free tickets for the contemporary art museum downtown, next door to Disney Concert Hall, can be reserved online, beginning Monday. The museum will feature more than 250 works from such artists as Andy Warhol, Barbara Kruger and Kara Walker.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 169 points in early trading Thursday to 16,455. The S&P 500 was up 26 points to 1,966. The Nasdaq was up 71 points to 4,768. The LABJ Stock Index was up four points to 222.
One of the last large land parcels near downtown Los Angeles, a 5.3-acre plot that was owned by a Korean Presbyterian church, has sold to Palisades Capital Partners.
Wednesday, August 26
Wednesday Rundown: CBRE Gets $80 Million for Burbank Office Buildings, Guess Sinks on Slipping Sales
A two-property office building portfolio off the 5 Freeway in Burbank has traded hands for more than $80 million. The buildings, at 2400 and 2350 Empire Ave., total nearly 230,000 square feet and are fully leased.
The Walt Disney Company is planning a massive worldwide marketing event to launch the line of toys tied to its upcoming blockbuster film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
The parent company of beleaguered affair website Ashley Madison considered buying a majority stake gay men’s dating app Grindr for as much as $70 million, according leaked documents.
The Dow Jones industrial surged 619 points in Wednesday trading to close at 16,286, erasing much of the previous two days’ losses. The S&P 500 rose 73 points to 1,941. The Nasdaq rose 191 points to 4,698. The LABJ Stock Index rose eight points to 218.
Medbox Inc. Founder P. Vincent Mehdizadeh is letting 13 million shares of his company go up in smoke, raising the value of those held by others.
With more than $1 billion in venture capital investment, more than $128 million in losses last year and a plan for an initial public offering, Snapchat has tapped a public company veteran to run its bookkeeping team.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 253 points in early trading Wednesday to 15,919. The S&P 500 was up 37 points to 1,904. The Nasdaq was up 75 points to 4,581. The LABJ Stock Index was up two points to 213.
Stocks rebounded in early trading Wednesday after plunging late Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Dow Jones industrial average surged briefly more than 400 points early Wednesday before trimming its gains. Fears about China’s economy in light of the recent devaluing of its currency have shaken the markets in recent weeks. As a result, some are now predicting the Federal Reserve will not raise interest rates in September.
The expiration of the Export-Import Bank is having ripple effects in Southern California. Boeing Co. has announced it will lay off possibly several hundred employees at its El Segundo satellite factory after a client canceled an order for an electric-powered satellite because it couldn’t get financing through the bank, the Los Angeles Times reports. The bank’s charter expired July 30, but some in Congress still hope to revive it.
City lawmakers heard testimonies from locals Tuesday about whether L.A. residents should be allowed to temporarily rent out their homes, through such services as Airbnb, even if they are not their primary residences, the Los Angeles Times reports. Some city officials are concerned about those renting out houses or apartment buildings continually, which they say takes much-needed rental units off the market. Councilman Mike Bonin hopes legislation might be drafted by October.
A New York judge has approved the final sale of embattled entertainment company Relativity Media to take place in October and is allowing the studio to keep running for now, the Los Angeles Times reports. Some lenders had originally filed objections to the timeline before the hearing, saying it was too short to allow for an auction. Relativity Media filed for bankruptcy last month after being unable to pay its debts. A possible starting bid has been set at $250 million.
Bad news for tenants at Hollywood’s 22-story high-rise at Sunset Boulevard and Gordon Street as a California court has issued a tentative ruling Tuesday that could void the building’s permits and possibly lead to residents being evicted, the Los Angeles Times reports. A legal dispute over the building dates back to 2012 after city officials said the developer, real estate company CIM Group, had to preserve the building’s historic façade. The company offered to build a replica instead which angered area neighbors who filed a legal action against it.
An eight-bedroom, 18,000-square-foot Beverly Hills estate once owned by comedian Danny Thomas could go on the market for $135 million, according to local realtors, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Trousdale Estates house currently features $2.5 million of Baccarat chandeliers and custom-made carpets as well as 360-degree views of Los Angeles. Thomas’ children, including Marlo Thomas, sold the house for $15 million in 2000 after Thomas’ wife died.
Tuesday, August 25
Los Angeles’ bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games comes with a $6.4 billion price tag, according to a report released Tuesday by Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office.
Amgen Inc. has applied to the Food and Drug Administration for permission to sell etelcalcetide, a treatment for an ailment found in patients on dialysis, the company announced Tuesday.
A nonprofit intent on getting Bunker Hill’s Angels Flight railway reopened has launched a campaign to raise $10,000 to help fund the historic railway until state regulators make a decision about its future.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 205 points in Tuesday trading to close at 15,666, the fourth consecutive trading day the blue chips have fallen by 200 points or more. The S&P 500 fell 26 points to 1,868. The Nasdaq fell 20 points to 4,506. The LABJ Stock Index fell two points to 211.
After falling short of its first set of performance goals, Maker Studios will receive a $105 million payment from parent Walt Disney Co., shy of the $198 million it could have received under the terms of its 2014 acquisition.
The day is nearly at hand when passengers arriving at LAX will be able to hail a ride with their smartphones.
Stock markets took off Tuesday morning after the biggest two-day drop since the financial crisis, Bloomberg reports. Of course, the big question now: Will the gains hold?
Monday’s stock market plunge was a good reminder that California depends on its top 1 percent of earners for about half the state’s revenue. Lawmakers claim that Monday’s stock plunge did not make them worry about a big fall in capital gains, at least not yet, the Los Angeles Times reports. But depending on the current tax structure remains a problem.
The Los Angeles City Council’s land use committee is expected to look at whether to regulate short-term rentals such as Airbnb during a meeting Tuesday, Curbed Los Angeles reports. Critics argue that short-term rentals are taking 11 units off the rental market each day, making the remaining rental units even more expensive, particularly in places such as Venice. City officials could draft an ordinance that makes short-term rentals legal as long as the dwelling serves as the landlord’s primary residence.
No apartment buildings have been converted to condos in downtown Los Angeles in nine years. But 74 units in the landmark Title Guarantee Building apartment tower at 5th and Hill streets will become condos, the Los Angeles Times reports. Prices may start at around $500,000 for a 750 square foot unit.
Car sales peeled out in California in the first half of the year with Detroit automakers leading the pack, the Los Angeles Times reports. Registrations for new cars statewide were up 11.5 percent, topping one million, according to the California New Car Dealers Association. Why so? Well, low interest rates and deals on leases helped. However, hybrid sales were down.
If you hoped Gov. Jerry Brown would back off the ledge regarding the energy industry, you’ll be disappointed. He doubled down on his ongoing tirade against oil companies again Monday, calling their product “highly destructive” without acknowledging that cheap and available energy underpins the economy, the Los Angeles Times reports. Brown has proposed cutting the state’s gas consumption in half by 2030.
Some celebrities in the world of eating championships descended on Little Tokyo over the weekend to try to win the World Gyoza Eating Championship title, LAist reports. The victor downed 343 chicken gyoza at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center plaza as part of the 75th annual Los Angeles Nisei Week which celebrates Japanese-American culture.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 324 points in early trading Tuesday to 16,196. The S&P 500 was up 36 points to 1,929. The Nasdaq was up 116 points to 4,642. The LABJ Stock Index was up five points to 218.
Monday, August 24
The Los Angeles Dodgers and advertising agency R/GA of New York have selected 10 companies for the inaugural L.A. Dodgers Accelerator.
Hustler’s retail store at 8920 W. Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood will soon pack up its sex toys and move.
Universal Pictures International has set a new record for the most successful year ever at the global box office for a Hollywood studio – and we’re not quite two-thirds of the way through the year.
Monday Rundown: Toyota Sticks with Long Beach Grand Prix, Army Orders $47 million in AeroVironment Drones
Toyota may be relocating its U.S. corporate headquarters out of California, but it’s keeping its stamp on the annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
If Stephen Colbert’s first-week guests are anything to go by, it looks like David Letterman’s successor has an interest in the tech world – or at least in its biggest personalities.
Have you taken advantage of incentives to replace your lawn with drought-tolerant landscaping?
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 588 points in Monday trading to close at 15,871, its lowest close since February 2014. The S&P 500 fell 78 points to close at 1,893. The Nasdaq fell 180 points to close at 4,526. The LABJ Stock Index fell 10 points to close at 207. Of the 158 stocks on the LABJ Stock Index, 140 lost value Monday, while just 10 companies saw shares rise. Eight stocks were unchanged on the day.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 1,000 points at the opening Monday as the global sell-off in stocks intensified, the Wall Street Journal reported. The rout began in China when its stock market plunged 8.5 percent and confined in Europe later Monday.
The slide in the stock markets could spell bad news for technology companies, whose stocks had been high-performing all year, the Los Angeles Times reports. Lower valuations could well deter investments in tech companies, which have always been risky bets. However, the current market conditions also mean some tech stocks like Twitter Inc. are cheaper now for investors to buy.
Ridesharing service Uber has spent big bucks on state lobbyists – more than $900,000 in the past two years – in an effort to influence California lawmakers to allow its drivers to transport passengers without having to get a commercial license, Bloomberg reports. Ridesharing company Lyft Inc. is also waging its own campaign, spending more than $360,000 on lobbyists since 2013.
Should Californians with high incomes get a rebate from taxpayers for buying an electric or hybrid car? State lawmakers have decided to limit rebates to individuals who make less than $250,000 or couples who bring in under $500,000, the Los Angeles Times reports. However, some are questioning why the grants are being given to people with incomes that high.
Universal Pictures' "Straight Outta Compton," a biopic of the rap group N.W.A., topped the box office for the second weekend in a row, bringing in $27 million. It has now crossed the $100 million mark while Paramount Pictures' "Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation" came in at No. 2, making $11.7 million. Gramercy Pictures' new horror film, "Sinister 2" came in third place, grossing $10.6 million, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Big colorful balls, painted by volunteers and school children, were strewn across MacArthur Park’s lake over the weekend with a total of 2,500 eventually expected to be released, LAist reports. The project aims to help bring people together and bring attention to the area.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 327 points in early trading Monday to 16,133. The S&P 500 was down 47 points to 1,924. The Nasdaq was down 112 points to 4,593. The LABJ Stock Index was down eight points to 215.
Big order, big trouble for ‘Shark Tank’ winner
Lack of payment from Walgreens proved too tough to swallow for oral supplement maker Marz Sprays.
COMMUNICATION: MRV’s shares soar after company reveals sale of subsidiary.
Networking firm MRV gets a line on investors after the firm announces the sale of an Italian unit.
CONSTRUCTION: Rise in starts drives up shares of KB Home, Ryland Group.
Shares of homebuilders KB Home and Ryland Group climb as investors welcome rise in housing starts.
FASHION: Torrid campaign shifts catalog focus away from traditional models.
Plus-size fashion retailer Torrid is taking a cue from its customers, featuring them as models for its fall 2015 campaign.
TV: PBS says media giant played no editorial role in documentary on Walt.
The Walt Disney Co. has traditionally kept a tight control on the image of its co-founder and namesake, but the company took a rare hands-off approach for a new four-hour PBS documentary examining the man who built the Burbank entertainment giant.
HIRING: RadPad ups ante in hunt for employees with $10,000 referral bounty.
With roughly 1,100 tech startups in the greater L.A. area, competition for talented engineers is stiff.
Oil industry revives arguments from carbon dioxide fight to challenge bill that would cut petroleum use.
Kevin de León says the oil industry is reheating dismissed arguments about carbon dioxide limits to oppose reduction in petroleum use.
Ethical standards can work to the benefit of consumers and businesses, writes Steve McFarland.
Grade inflation is bad for L.A.’s diners since the county routinely gives A ratings to questionable restaurants, Charles Crumpley writes.
EMPLOYMENT: Hogan Lovells’ global reach helps land Stephanie Yonekura.
After serving as the acting U.S. attorney for the Central District of California for about a year, Stephanie Yonekura last week returned to private practice.
ACQUISITION: Properties expand Hudson Pacific’s presence in Arts District.
West L.A. real estate investment trust Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. is on a buying spree in downtown L.A.’s Arts District.
Grass is no longer green for lawn remover Turf Terminators as water agencies’ subsidies evaporate.
Teacher Michael Lin’s new business aims for parents who want male nannies.
Michael Lin doesn’t hesitate to bring up “mannies” when it comes to helping raise people’s kids.
Chief executive during the week, off-road truck racer on the weekends. That’s how Greg Adler spends most of his time.
News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County
Marathon Patent Group Inc., a West L.A. patent monetization firm, has announced that it will merge with competing European company Uniloc Luxembourg.
Disney imagineers took classes to help translate Chinese culture into their plans for a Shanghai park.
DINING: High costs, poor access chew up well-reviewed eateries.
Downtown Los Angeles serves up steady diet of high-profile restaurant busts.
Sarath Malepati’s EZC Pak fights cold, flu while holding line against antibiotics.
Sarath Malepati makes his antibiotic-free cold and flu medicine because super bugs are nothing to sneeze at.
StemCyte moves to expanded facility to store umbilical cord blood for future therapies.
StemCyte provides cord-blood storage services to customers banking on future therapies.
TECHNOLOGY: OriginClear picks up first firm despite never having turned profit.
Water purifier OriginClear looks to make a splash rolling up small players in its industry.
Sunday, August 23
INTERNET: Studios take direction from rising YouTube stars to expand accommodations for digital productions.
YouTube boom spurs studios to recast themselves as production sites for digital content.
REAL ESTATE: Flexibility, price points prove good fit for startups.
Co-working spaces share in growth of technology scene.
Friday, August 21
A weekly roundup of must-read L.A. tech investments and acquisitions.
The attorney on breaking barriers, taking chances and finding time to unwind.
Being a lawyer is something Angela Reddock-Wright naturally gravitated toward.
Entertainment reporter Sandro Monetti’s business take on this weekend’s four big movie releases.
American Apparel Inc.’s newest union, representing production workers at the downtown retailer, has alleged that the company is longer offering to pay health insurance premiums for employees’ spouses.
The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies was down for the week as both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 posted their biggest percentage one-day drops since November 2011.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 531 points in Friday trading to close at 16,460. The S&P 500 fell 65 points to 1,971. The Nasdaq fell 171 points to 4,706. The LABJ Stock Index fell five points to 222.
In the wake of leaked documents showing Snapchat hemorrhaged nearly $130 million last year, the Venice ephemeral photo app has scooped up another top media executive, solidifying its team of senior executives with experience forging revenue-generating deals.
Westwood firm Shamrock Capital Advisors, which began as an investment adviser for the Disney family, announced Wednesday that one of its portfolio companies, New York fantasy sports portal FanDuel, acquired New York sports analytics company NumberFire. Terms were not disclosed.
SolarReserve, a Santa Monica developer of large-scale solar projects has received environmental approval for a 260 megawatt plant in Chile.
L.A. County’s unemployment rate fell sharply in July to 7.1 percent from 7.5 percent in June, despite massive seasonal layoffs in education, state figures released Friday show.
Westfield Corp. is giving Century City Mall an $800 million makeover, stealing Nordstrom Inc. from the Westside Pavilion and adding Eataly, a gourmet Italian food emporium. The goal is to make it more competitive with the Grove and Santa Monica Place, the Los Angeles Times reports. About one-fourth of the mall will be given over to restaurants because that’s a good way for a mall to compete in an era of online shopping. The work, which could total $1 billion including other improvements, is expected to be completed in 2017.
Condos that will be among the most expensive in the city will soon be built as part of the Four Seasons Private Residences-Los Angeles across the street from the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, the Los Angeles Times reports. The 59-unit complex will include a $50-million penthouse, and it will cater to those willing to spend perhaps 50 percent more than the current asking price of up to $2,400 a foot in that area. The new units are scheduled to open in 2017.
The sporting goods company Easton, which makes baseballs and bats familiar to kids, is moving from its longtime Van Nuys home to a roomier 90,000-square-foot headquarters in Thousand Oaks, the Los Angeles Times reports. The new digs will include an indoor training facility as well as a research and development lab. The move will be a new start for the company which has faced upheaval and different owners in recent years. It is now owned by New Hampshire’s Performance Sports Group Ltd.
In an effort to reach local tech companies known for their catered lunches for employees, the Palo Alto food delivery service Eat Club is expanding to Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reports. The start-up, which claims to be the only company dedicated to corporate catering, has raised $16.5 million of funding.
All those kids standing in line on Fairfax Avenue aren’t waiting to get into a concert. They’re fans of the New York-based Supreme clothing store. Some stood in line since Monday for Thursday’s release of its fall and winter clothing and other “dope” threads, the Los Angeles Times reports. Some of the customers resell the items at huge markups.
Billionaire Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors is revamping its stores worldwide to attract new customers and to make way for its new Model X sport-utility vehicle, Bloomberg reports. As Tesla’s customer base evolves from a few tech-savvy wealthy people to more mainstream folks, the company has to focus on informing would-be buyers about the differences in electric cars. Also, Tesla now has its own fashion line with clothes and accessories designed in Los Angeles.
Stocks plummeted around the world Thursday over fears about the slowdown of China’s economy after its currency was devalued last week and whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in September, the Los Angeles Times reports. U.S. indexes suffered their worst day since last October with the Walt Disney Co. falling 6 percent as a result of concerns about Disney's declining pay-TV subscriptions.
His goal was simple: walk the entire 15-mile Pico Boulevard, partially inspired by Los Angeles Times reporter Jonathan Gold's aim to eat at every restaurant on the street, LAist reports. Photographer Trevor Brightman engaged in conversations with strangers and took photos along the way. It took him more than eight hours to reach the edge of Santa Monica beach.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 130 points in early trading Friday to 16,861. The S&P 500 was down 14 points to 2,022. The Nasdaq was down 30 points to 4,848. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 226.
Thursday, August 20
You don’t get a $250 billion market capitalization – the highest valuation of any retail company in the world – without hurting some feelings. Just ask Amazon of Seattle.
Two years after making national news for banning the sale of fur products in the city, West Hollywood has made its fur ban ordinance tougher, while also creating a loophole that could allow some fur sales in the city.
AeroVironment Inc. got a $3.4 million contract Thursday from the U.S. Army to supply its Raven unmanned aircraft to Spain.
Developer Fred Afari has snatched up International Church of the Foursquare Gospel’s 15-property portfolio in Echo Park, paying nearly $18 million for the package.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 358 points in Thursday trading to close at 16,991, the first time it’s closed below 17,000 since October. The S&P 500 fell 44 points to 2,036. The Nasdaq fell 142 points to 4,878. The LABJ Stock Index fell eight points to 227.
United Talent Agency has made another big strategic move by acquiring the world’s largest independent music agency, the Agency Group.
Hudson Pacific Properties sure is bullish on the Arts District. The west Los Angles real estate investment trust, which bought the former Coca-Cola manufacturing plant in the downtown district three months ago, now is snatching up nearly a complete square block’s worth of properties nearby. Hudson Pacific’s CEO recently said the Arts District “is approaching almost Beverly Hills type rental rates.” See the Los Angeles Business Journal’s coverage here.
After an outbreak first reported in February at UCLA Medical Center of patient infections from tainted medical scopes, now Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena says it has the same problem with three patients, the Los Angeles Times reports. The infections also have been reported at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and at hospitals nationwide. While the Food and Drug Administration is expected to address the concerns, the medical scopes are still on the market.
Ridesharing service Uber can’t seem to get a break. Now state prosecutors say the company’s background screening – which does not require drivers to submit fingerprints – didn’t reveal the fact that 25 drivers, who have driven thousands of customers in Los Angeles and San Francisco, had criminal records, the Los Angeles Times reports. One driver had even been convicted of second-degree murder. An Uber spokesperson said no background check is “foolproof.”
Business operators may find this hard to believe, but it appears the city of Los Angeles isn’t taxing businesses enough. The city is missing out on more than $20 million a year on taxes from businesses because city databases are not synced up with state and county databases for sales tax and business personal-property tax, according to an audit released Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
In a continuing saga, city officials say the Sunset and Gordon building on Sunset Boulevard cannot be used as a hotel, the Los Angeles Times reports. A violation against the high-rise was first issued in April because Los Angeles officials say the owners had not received city approval to use the building for short-term stays. A company leasing space in the building argues the city is wrong about those allegations.
The Los Angeles City Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee is to have a hearing next week regarding regulating short-term rentals, such as Airbnb, which are now illegal, the L.A. Weekly reports. While the city’s proposal would legalize them, it would only apply to primary residences and not second homes. The measure is being co-sponsored by City Councilman Mike Bonin who represents Venice Beach – a popular area for short-term rentals.
Now that embattled entertainment company Relativity Media has filed for bankruptcy protection, some of its assets are headed to an auction on Oct. 1, the Hollywood Reporter reports. The company is estimated to be worth about $250 million and has 27 film projects in development but also comes with a line of creditors.
It looks like Federal Reserve officials may be divided as to whether inflation has risen enough to merit raising the interest rate, according to minutes from a July meeting, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Who said a ride with an Uber driver has to be boring? A Los Angeles driver, Jonathan Gaurano, recently had his passengers dance and lip-sync to the group the Weeknd's “Can't Feel My Face,” and he shot video of it as they rode, LAist reports. Gaurano, who maintains he’s a safe driver, said he only participated in the dancing when the car was stopped, or when it was safe to do so.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 216 points in early trading Thursday to 17,133. The S&P 500 was down 23 points to 2,057. The Nasdaq was down 70 points to 4,950. The LABJ Stock Index was down five points to 230.
West L.A. real estate investment trust Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. is on a buying spree in downtown L.A.’s Arts District.
Wednesday, August 19
Billionaire Virgin Group founder Richard Branson is among several investors putting $28 million into Santa Monica startup Ring, a company that manufactures a doorbell with a video camera.
Owners and employees of several Los Angeles-area businesses were convicted this week of operating Medicare fraud schemes that took in about $7 million in false billing.
Lincoln Property Co. and Linwood Investments have sold a 103,800-square-foot, Class A creative office campus in Pacific Palisades to New York real estate equity firm Brickman for $53 million, or roughly $500 a square foot.
Have you taken advantage of incentives to replace your lawn with drought-tolerant landscaping?
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 163 points in Wednesday trading to close at 17,349. The S&P 500 fell 17 points to 2,080. The Nasdaq fell 40 points to 5,019. The LABJ Stock Index fell one point to 235.
Sell tobacco to a kid in Los Angeles and you’ll soon get a month-long time out.
After hours of testimony on whether ridesharing companies should be held to the same screening standards as taxi drivers, a committee of the Los Angeles City Council narrowly voted, 3-2, to support a policy with conditions that would allow Uber and Lyft to pick up passengers at Los Angeles International airport, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports. The full City Council is expected to vote next later this summer.
Hoping to attract younger viewers, NBCUniversal Inc. has made a $200 million investment in digital publishing giant BuzzFeed, the Los Angeles Times reports. Just a week ago, NBCUniversal also invested $200 million in online publisher Vox Media.
Billionaire Richard Branson is among those who are putting up millions of dollars to invest in Santa Monica’s Ring, a start-up that makes doorbells with a video camera, the Los Angeles Times reports. Homeowners who use the $199 “smart doorbells” can talk to anyone at their door via a smartphone app even when they’re not at home.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is aiming to make it harder for restaurants to score high on health inspections, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports. According to a report sent Tuesday to the County Board of Supervisors for review, health officials want to make changes to the current, 17-year-old grading system which allows restaurants to get an “A” even when they’ve been closed for inspections or face two major violations.
Four stolen N.C. Wyeth paintings were found in the high-end Beverly Hills pawnshop the Dina Collection, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. A total of six paintings by the artist, who’s the father of artist Andrew Wyeth, were stolen last year from a Portland, Maine collector, according to authorities. The four paintings found in the pawnshop, which is featured on a reality TV show, are valued between $1million and $2 million. A $20,000 reward is being offered by the FBI for information leading to two stolen paintings.
It was Christmas in July for home brokers as house sales were the highest they’ve been in Southern California in nine years even with rising home prices, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Sales were up 17 percent of both new and pre-owned houses and condos, according to Irvine’s CoreLogic Inc. In Los Angeles County, sales were up 13.5 percent from last year with the average price around $492,000. However, the number of people paying in cash was down.
While the film, “Straight Outta Compton,” is surpassing expectations with moviegoers flocking to theaters to see it, you can’t actually watch it in Compton, LAist reports. Compton, ironically, has no movie theaters. However, Compton residents can look forward to the future as a 16-screen movie theater is being planned for the city.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 136 points in early trading Wednesday to 17,376. The S&P 500 was down 13 points to 2,084. The Nasdaq was down 28 points to 5,031. The LABJ Stock Index was down two points to 235.
After a marathon packed hearing, a Los Angeles City Council committee late on Tuesday voted to uphold an airport commission decision to allow rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft to pick up passengers from Los Angeles International Airport.
Tuesday, August 18
The U.S. Department of Commerce will maintain stewardship of the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers, Icann, the administrator of Internet domain names, for at least another year.
American Airlines plans to offer nonstop flights from Los Angeles International Airport to Havana for the first time since restrictions were loosened between Cuba and the United States, the airline announced Tuesday.
Drivers for Uber and Lyft lined up opposite opponents of the ridesharing companies Tuesday at a Los Angeles City Council committee hearing that could determine whether the firms will be able to operate at Los Angeles International Airport.
Amgen Inc. has agreed to a $71 million settlement over claims that the pharmaceutical giant marketed two of its drugs for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Logix Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union in Los Angeles County, said Tuesday it has outgrown its long-time Burbank offices and will build a 170,000-square-foot headquarters in Santa Clarita.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 34 points in Tuesday trading to close at 17,511. The S&P 500 fell six points to 2,097. The Nasdaq fell 32 points to 5,059. The LABJ Stock Index fell three points to 236.
A movie version of the 1970s TV series “CHiPs” heads the list of 11 films sharing in the California Film Commission’s newly expanded tax-credits program, the commission announced Tuesday.
A former president of the San Francisco 49ers says building a stadium in Carson for the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders would be the most beneficial for the National Football League and prove to be a fan “megamarket,” the Daily Breeze reports. The Carson stadium would bring in the most profits and attract a fan base of 22 million Southern Californians, according to Carmen Policy.
A new W Hotel is headed downtown across from Staples Center and will replace the Luxe Hotel as part of a $700 million mixed-use development in the South Park area being built by China’s Shenzhen Hazens Real Estate Group Co., the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The hotel is scheduled to open in 2019 and will be part of a complex that’ll include 650 condos as well as space for stores and restaurants.
With a second quarter marred by falling sales and a big net loss, downtown L.A. apparel maker American Apparel Inc. is inching closer to bankruptcy, the Los Angeles Times reports. While the company received a lifeline Monday when it was able to replace a $50 million credit line with a $90-million one, American Apparel is also facing a variety of lawsuits and has nearly $235 million in debt.
Almost two years after Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers were overcharged $44 million due to a faulty billing system, the utility will now either refund or credit those overcharged as part of a proposed class-action lawsuit settlement, the Los Angeles Times reports. However, a consumer advocate says the amount is too small given the stress customers faced, and that it does not do enough to prevent something similar from happening in the future. A court will soon decide whether to approve the settlement.
You knew this was coming. Speculation is already starting about who may jump into the race for president if Hillary Clinton’s campaign continues spiraling downward. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich believes California’s Jerry Brown could be one, Real Clear Politics reports.
The West Hollywood dating app Tinder has been blamed for a lot, including hastening the decline of courtship. But now it’s being blamed for killing nightclubs and roughing up live-music venues. A Melbourne, Australia, bar owner and a promoter claims fewer people are going out to meet others and instead are sitting on their couches and swiping their smartphones, the Independent reports.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 15 points in early trading Tuesday to 17,530. The S&P 500 was down three points to 2,100. The Nasdaq was down 14 points to 5,078. The LABJ Stock Index was down one point to 238.
Monday, August 17
Singer Katy Perry lent a hand today at Hyperloop’s downtown L.A. headquarters.
Edmunds.com has enhanced its True Market Value car pricing product in a move that may pose a direct challenge to TrueCar.
Haggen Food & Pharmacy, a Washington state grocery chain that has struggled locally since taking over dozens of California Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions stores earlier this year, will close or sell 16 locations in the state, including four in the Valley.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 68 points in Monday trading to close at 17,545. The S&P 500 rose 11 points to 2,102. The Nasdaq rose 43 points to 5,092. The LABJ Stock Index rose three points to 239.
A surface parking lot of less than one-fifth of an acre in downtown L.A.’s South Park neighborhood might soon house a slim hotel.
West L.A. patent monetization firm Marathon Patent Group Inc. will merge with Uniloc Luxembourg, a competing European company, in coming months, the companies announced Friday.
The Clean Energy Jobs Act, or Proposition 39, that was passed three years ago to pay for clean energy projects in schools as well as fund more than 11,000 jobs each year has so far created only about 1,700 jobs, the Associated Press reports. In addition, more than half of the $297 million designated for schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District has gone to consultants, and it is unclear what amount of work has actually been done. A state oversight board, which is supposed to deliver yearly reports, has never met.
The trend of “mansionization” in Arcadia, replacing 1940s ranch-style houses with multi-story ones, is being met by outraged residents, a lawsuit, calls for revising zoning codes and signs in local neighborhoods calling for area councilmen to be recalled, the Los Angeles Times reports. Locals complain the mansions block views and violate their privacy, and many are left vacant after being bought by wealthy Chinese investors.
Car fans, get ready for the on-time, on-budget reopening of the Petersen Automotive Museum, the Los Angeles Times reports. Museum officials say the museum on the Miracle Mile will feature a new restaurant, displays from the Pixar movie, "Cars," and new sponsorships with Ford, BMW and Maserati when it reopens on Dec. 5.
Santa Monica's Kite Pharma Inc., a cancer drug developer, this morning acknowledged a patient in one of its clinical trials died but says the death had nothing to do with its drug candidate, Investors.com reports. Kite’s stock fell at the end of last week after rumors a patient had died who was part of a trial for the company’s KTE-C19 drug.
A large wildfire, dubbed the “Warm Fire,” erupted Sunday in the Castaic area of the Angeles National Forest and has so far burned around 300 acres and three buildings after being fueled by heavy brush, according to fire officials, the Los Angeles Times reports. Sunday’s 100-degree temperatures were also of no help. Firefighters are still investigating the cause of the blaze.
South Los Angeles residents are at odds with the oil company Freeport-McMoRan over its plans to add a burner to its West Adams Boulevard site in order to burn off unused gas, the Los Angeles Times reports. Local residents have environmental concerns about drilling on the land, in general, and say it’s a waste to burn gas that could be used to create electricity. The oil company insists no environmental review is needed. City officials are expected to soon weigh in on the issue.
Morgan Stanley has dramatically hiked the price target on billionaire Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors Inc. from $280 to $465, Bloomberg reports. One analyst says Tesla’s app-based, on-demand mobility service is giving it a leg up over its competition.
Emeryville, in the Bay Area, may be something of a petri dish for understanding the effect of a higher minimum wage since the Bay Area got out front of the movement. The Los Angeles Times reports that city officials have approved a hike to $14.44. Critics say a higher minimum wage could hurt smaller businesses and add up to fewer jobs.
Universal Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ “Straight Outta Compton” conquered the weekend box office during its debut weekend, bringing in $56.1 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. Universal also offered to pay for extra security at movie theaters, but no incidents were reported. Paramount Pictures' "Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation" came in at No. 2, adding $17 million to the $138 million it’s already made in North America. Warner Bros.’ “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” debuted in third place, taking in $13.5 million.
Thousands of Disney fans stormed the Anaheim Convention Center over the weekend for D23, Disney's annual expo, with many donning elaborate costumes, paying tribute to some of their favorite Disney characters, LAist reports. In addition to buying up merchandise and catching trailers for films, the convention goers were also treated to big news, including Disney's plan to build a "Star Wars Land" at Disneyland.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 123 points in early trading Monday to 17,355. The S&P 500 was down 11 points to 2,080. The Nasdaq was down 22 points to 5,027. The LABJ Stock Index was up one point to 237.
DIAGNOSTICS: RadNet pockets $35.5 million in 10-center sale to network.
In yet another example of how Obamacare is reshaping the health care industry, Westwood diagnostic imaging firm RadNet Inc. has doubled down on a joint venture in New Jersey with Barnabas Health, the Garden State’s largest health system.
Zingy collars deal with Westfield to offer service to shoppers.
Zingy teams with mall owner Westfield to sell shoppers on its dog-walking service.
News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County
Kitchen Bath Collection, a maker and importer of kitchen, dining and bathroom products, has signed a 10-year lease valued at $3.2 million for 48,500 square feet of industrial space in Torrance.
REAL ESTATE: Small business Big Block Media has bought in to the idea of owning its office space despite risks.
Entertainment firm Big Block Media risks paying the price if its decision to buy rather than lease office space doesn’t work out.
FILM: Record-breaking quarter powers up shares of Reading International.
Theater operator Reading International has the right ticket with investors after a record-setting quarter.
ACQUISITION: Preferred takes New York institution with Chinese connection.
Downtown L.A.’s Preferred Bank had never made an acquisition in its nearly 24-year history. But in a New York minute, that all changed.
ACQUISITION: Developer duo spent $3.5 million to upgrade Sunset & PCH.
Lincoln Property Co. and Linwood Investments have sold a 103,800-square-foot, Class A creative office campus in Pacific Palisades to New York real estate equity firm Brickman for $53 million, or roughly $500 a square foot.
MANUFACTURING: Shares of American Apparel slide with bad credit, sales news.
American Apparel shares tumble as mounting credit and sales woes point toward a bankruptcy filing.
HEALTH: Analysts question firm’s wait to mount PR push.
Herbalife’s PR exec boosts staff to triangulate response to pyramid scheme allegations.
HEALTH CARE: CEO says deadly past did not hamper MLK’s hiring campaign.
Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital nursed new image to land staff.
FINANCE: Public debut turns into profitable day for Houlihan’s parent.
Investors unite behind IPO for mergers and acquisitions adviser Houlihan Lokey.
RETAIL: Curacao says worker bilked chain with false front.
Department store chain Curacao alleges its employee marked up goods in fraudulent role as middle man.
Homeboy casts former gang members in new light at Culver Studios.
Culver Studios hopes to serve Homeboy Industries’ gang-reform goals by opening Homegirl Café.
What ridesharing companies are doing to taxis isn’t fair, Charles Crumpley writes. But business isn’t supposed to be fair.
Improving transit options should be driving concern in City Council vote to open LAX to Lyft, Uber, others.
Mike Bonin wants Los Angeles to get rideshare services rolling at LAX.
Huntington Park has crossed the line by naming “illegal immigrants” to city commissions, writes John Mirisch.
HansonLA staff sizes up styles on walk from downtown to beach.
HansonLA has new staff walk from downtown to the beach to gain street smarts on L.A. styles.
Manar Afghani, founder of Long Beach audio visual production company Visual Sound, never thought his love of vinyl records would result in a collection of more than 25,000 LPs and 45s.
RETAIL: Wheelhouse will feature coffee shop as well as biking accessories.
Before they married, Chase and Tami Spenst spent a lot of time biking around the Historic Core, and in the process fell in love with downtown Los Angeles.
Sunday, August 16
Google’s ABC.xyz yields busy spell for URL firm
Google’s use of ABC.xyz for its Alphabet iteration turns into red-letter day for URL firm.
Twenty20 takes shot at stock-photo business with catalog drawn from users’ cellphones.
Twenty20 takes on rivals with a focus on images sourced from social media.
MEDIA: Podcast One dials up dollars with rise in ads, audience.
Podcast One channels interest in on-demand content into a $12 million investment from Hubbard Radio.
Friday, August 14
A weekly roundup of must-read L.A. tech investments and acquisitions.
WeWork, a New York operator of co-working facilities, is close to signing a lease for roughly 90,000 square feet at the Gas Co. Tower in downtown Los Angeles, according to sources with knowledge of the deal.
The Port of Los Angeles saw container cargo volume fall in July, a sharp contrast to a record-setting month at the port next door.
The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies was down for the week. The weighted LABJ index fell one percent to close at 236, with gainers outpacing losers 85 to 64. Eight companies closed the week unchanged.
The chief executive of people-search platform Spokeo on parenting, Legos and respecting work and family.
Harrison Tang and the other founders of Pasadena’s Spokeo built their company while sleeping in his parents’ basement.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 69 points in Friday trading to close at 17,477. The S&P 500 rose eight points to 2,092. The Nasdaq rose 15 points to 5,048. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 236.
With the Walt Disney Co.’s hot property Star Wars very much the focus of the entertainment empire’s D23 Expo fan fest, the three day event launched Friday with an award for the space saga’s creator, George Lucas.
West L.A.’s Leonard Green & Partners and TPG Capital of Forth Worth, Texas, will take a majority stake in Ellucian Co. of Fairfax, Va., a maker of software used by colleges and universities.
Entertainment reporter Sandro Monetti’s business take on this weekend’s two big movie releases.
Could there be relief for California’s highest-in-the-country gasoline prices? Exxon Mobil Corp. wants to increase output at its hobbled Torrance refinery using old equipment, the Los Angeles Times reports. While the proposal includes using a pollution-control system to temporarily replace one damaged in an explosion earlier this year, doing so would violate air quality safety rules. However, the company, which was fined $566,600 Thursday by regulators for the February explosion at the refinery, also aims to mitigate the problem by reducing emissions. The proposal must be approved by air quality officials. The problems at the refinery are largely blamed for the state’s high pump prices.
Century City investment bank Houlihan Lokey officially went public Thursday not because its needs the capital but in the hope of raising its profile to bring in more business and employees, the Los Angeles Times reports. Of course, it’s also a way for owners to cash out. Insiders, including the majority owner, Japanese finance firm Orix Corp., sold shares for $21 each, below the company’s initial estimates.
Local golf courses received millions of dollars in turf rebates despite the fact they already use environmentally-friendly, recycled water on their grass, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Some, including water officials, are now questioning how fair the subsides were.
Just one day after billionaire Elon Musk's Tesla Motors announced it planned to sell enough stock to raise about $500 million, the company now is raising its offering to $642 million, CNBC reports. Tesla wants the money to fund its Model 3 as well as its battery factory.
Los Angeles may have to pay $92.5 million to settle a lawsuit over a city telephone tax, the Los Angeles Times reports. The case dates back nine years and stems from a taxpayer’s lawsuit in which he accused the city of illegally collecting a telephone users tax on services that were not subject taxation. Local taxpayers, including individuals and businesses, as well as lawyers stand to benefit from the settlement.
The state’s farmers fear the devaluation of China's currency could hurt them, the Los Angeles Times reports. China accounts for 10 percent of California’s foreign exports but 35 percent of California pistachio crop, for example.
Oscar and Big Bird are headed to a new home on HBO, the Los Angeles Times reports. The cable network announced the deal for “Sesame Street” to air its next five seasons on the channel and its streaming services, starting this fall, as a way to draw young viewers. The deal will also serve as a financial lifeline for the Sesame Workshop which has been struggling to fund the show. The educational show will air on HBO before later being broadcast on PBS stations.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 36 points in early trading Friday to 17,444. The S&P 500 was up three points to 2,087. The Nasdaq was up three points to 5,036. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 236.
Thursday, August 13
Los Angeles may be given the chance to pick up where Boston left off.
A California regulatory agency has found that Exxon Mobil Corp. intentionally failed to comply with state safety standards prior to a February explosion that injured four workers at its Torrance refinery.
It was Christmas in July for the Port of Long Beach, which on Thursday reported record monthly cargo traffic as the peak pre-holiday shipping season got off to a strong start.
While the Walt Disney Co. will be revealing no fresh footage from the forthcoming Star Wars film at its D23 fan fest over the coming days, the entertainment empire may well announce huge new plans for the space franchise.
Santa Monica design firm DLR Group is moving its regional California office to downtown Los Angeles.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose six points in Thursday trading to close at 17,408. The S&P 500 fell three points to 2,083. The Nasdaq fell 11 points to 5,034. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 236.
Payroll and production services provider Entertainment Partners has acquired competitor Ease Entertainment Services, the companies announced Thursday.
Honest Co., a Santa Monica online retailer of eco-friendly and non-toxic household products, has raised a $100 million round that reportedly values the company at $1.7 billion.
Chris Payne, chief executive of West Hollywood dating app Tinder, has resigned. He will be replaced by company co-founder and former Chief Executive Sean Rad, who will reassume leadership of the company less than a year after he was forced give up control.
Could L.A. host the 2024 Olympics? Yes, if it were up to the 81 percent of Angelenos polled by the U.S. Olympic Committee who say they’d support it. The figure has impressed the Olympic Committee which met Wednesday as it’s double the level of support Boston showed. That city backed out after it was originally chosen to be the U.S. candidate to compete to host the games. See the Los Angeles Business Journal’s coverage here.
Now that China has devalued the yuan, Southern California could lose out as fewer Chinese tourists may come to town, and exporters could suffer, the Los Angeles Times reports. However, cheaper goods from China could mean increased traffic at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and economists say more Chinese might invest in local real estate as a result.
Despite the fact three executives at the Weinstein Co., including Chief Operating Officer David Glasser, all resigned within one week, Harvey Weinstein is asserting the movie production company is financially “the best it’s ever been,” the Hollywood Reporter reports. Still, some wonder if the company is possibly facing a cash crunch.
The drought is about to impact your shower as state legislators just approved big reductions in the flow of water allowed from all shower heads and bathroom faucets in California, the Los Angeles Times reports. Starting in July, the current maximum of 2.5 gallons per minute from a shower head will be reduced to two gallons a minute and will fall even more to 1.8 gallons by July 2018. That number is lower than in any other state.
More bad news for ride-sharing service Uber as the California Public Utilities Commission is now looking into whether the company’s car-leasing program for drivers is legal, the Bay Area News Group reports. Uber recently announced a pilot program lease cars for prospective drivers who don’t own cars. The company was also ordered by a PUC judge last month to pay $7.3 million for refusing to disclose data about its drivers as required by state law.
NBCUniversal has invested $200 million in online publisher Vox Media as a way to try to reach younger consumers, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Billionaire Elon Musk's Tesla Motors Inc. plans to sell 2.1 million shares to raise about $500 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bloomberg reports. Tesla wants to use the money to develop its less expensive Model 3 electric car as well as to develop its battery factory and expand retail operations. The company is not yet profitable.
The state turf rebate program paid off big for Rancho Santa Fe residents as homeowners in the San Diego County community, which has the state’s highest per capita water use, were paid the five biggest residential “cash-for-grass” payments by water regulators, the Los Angeles Times reports. The five residents there were paid a combined $288,000 which was more than the top recipients in other areas, including Malibu and Beverly Hills. The Metropolitan Water District stopped accepting new applications last month after its budget was depleted and earlier capped payments at $6,000 per household.
It’s not every day that you can catch Batman and Captain America scaling a building, but kids at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA got to see it firsthand this week when window washers at the hospital donned superhero attire on the job, ABC7 reports. Parents say it gave many of the children a welcome treat since some had been unable to leave their hospital rooms for some time.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 37 points in early trading Thursday to 17,365. The S&P 500 was down five points to 2,082. The Nasdaq was down eight points to 5,037. The LABJ Stock Index was down one point to 235.
Wednesday, August 12
United Online Inc. sold off its social media business Classmates.com to Intelius Holdings Inc. in a deal valued at $30 million.
Bumble Bee Foods will pay a record $6 million to settle a criminal prosecution over the 2012 death of an employee who became trapped in an industrial oven at the company’s Santa Fe Springs facility, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office announced Wednesday.
The Dow Jones industrial average was flat in Wednesday trading, closing at 17,403. The S&P 500 rose two points to 2,086. The Nasdaq rose eight points to 5,044. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 236.
Shares of Ceres Inc. more than doubled in value Wednesday after the company announced it had secured a U.S. patent for a system it developed to genetically engineer crops.
Culver City mobile game company Scopely Inc. made the top 10 on Inc magazine’s 2015 Inc 5000, a list of the nation’s fastest-growing privately held companies.
Wednesday Rundown: USC Accounting School Receives $15 Million Donation, Kind Financial Needs New Slogan
Business leader and USC alumnus James Parks has donated $15 million to USC’s Leventhal School of Accounting to name its master of business taxation degree program and endow its chair, university officials announced Wednesday.
Federal investigators have closed an antitrust probe into car dealers that refused to work with TrueCar, the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In a series of 31 tweets today, Tinder lambasted a Vanity Fair article critical of the dating app’s role in “hookup culture.”
As if traffic congestion isn’t bad enough here, the City Council, in a dramatic policy shift, approved sweeping changes Tuesday that will reduce lanes for cars but carve out more dedicated lanes for bicycles and buses, the Los Angeles Times reports. Those opposing the deal, called Mobility Plan 2035, argue that losing car lanes will make traffic worse and slow emergency response times.
More bad news for downtown L.A. apparel maker American Apparel Inc. as it reported sinking sales and a deeper loss in a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In other bad signs, the company stated it needs to delay filing its quarterly report and it doesn’t have enough money to pay its creditors, the Los Angeles Times reports. A fair amount of gloomy reports popped up overnight; “Bankruptcy Looms Over American Apparel” reads one headline on the Seeking Alpha website this morning, for example.
Century City investment bank Houlihan Lokey is seeking a valuation of as much as $1.57 billion in its initial public offering scheduled for today, Bloomberg reports. The firm, which specializes in advising companies on middle-market deals, is hoping to take advantage of the rise in mergers. The company’s top brass and Japanese finance firm Orix Corp., which purchased Houlihan in 2007, stand to benefit from the IPO.
Reality TV star Kim Kardashian popularity on social media has become a problem for the Food and Drug Administration as a recent post in which she praised the pregnancy drug Diclegis, that she’s a paid spokesperson for, left out the its risks, the Los Angeles Times reports. The FDA has now ordered the prescription pill’s maker, Canada’s Duchesnay, to remove posts from several of Kardashian’s social media accounts. She has more than 100 million followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
China’s surprise move to slash the value of its currency – the biggest devaluation in 20 years – in hopes of boosting its economy caught world markets off guard and could hurt exporters, the Independent reports. As a result, it could affect activity at the L.A. port complex.
Federal authorities have busted up an international group of hackers and traders who made $100 million on Wall Street by hacking into online business wires, reading corporate press releases and using the information to make trades before they went public, the Associated Press reports. Nine people in the United States and the Ukraine were indicted on federal criminal charges.
Inglewood’s Randy’s Donuts got in on the water conservation action Tuesday when the giant doughnut on its roof was temporarily transformed into a water pigot knob, LAist reports. A sign on the large donut read “Take a Turn,” encouraging Angelenos to turn off their water spigots to help fight the drought. Customers who pledged to save water were treated to a free donut for a couple of hours in honor of the occasion.
The Dow Jones Industrial average was down 212 points in early trading Wednesday at 17,190. The S&P 500 was down 22 points to 2,062. The Nasdaq was down 57 points to 4,980. The LABJ Stock Index was down two points to 235.
Tuesday, August 11
Daniel Negari thought he hit the jackpot when HBO’s show “Silicon Valley” jokingly registered fictional company Hooli.xyz from his Santa Monica domain registry business XYZ. Then Google called.
A major investment bank downgraded shares of Edison International Tuesday amid concern that shareholders could be on the hook for more costs related to the Rosemead electric utility’s 2013 closure of the San Onofre nuclear power plant.
Fisker Automotive Inc. said it would open a manufacturing facility in Moreno Valley, marking the first time Southern California will have an automotive plant in decades.
Century City private equity and debt giant Ares Management reported second-quarter economic net income of 32 cents a share, falling short of analyst predictions of 39 cents a share.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 212 points in Tuesday trading to close at 17,403. The S&P 500 fell 20 points to 2,084. The Nasdaq fell 65 points to 5,037. The LABJ Stock Index fell three points to 237.
It appears Los Angeles is closer to securing a bid to host the 2024 Olympic games, which officials say would come with a $4.1 billion price tag, the Los Angeles Times reports. City officials say Los Angeles could put on the international athletic event for less cost than Boston, which recently bailed out. The Olympic Committee is expected to decide who should be the host city next month.
The Office of Ratepayer Advocates is joining a San Francisco consumer group in no longer supporting the settlement over the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear power plant and wants state regulators to reopen the case, the Los Angeles Times reports. As a result, there could be a change in how much the utilities and consumers would have to pay of the $4.7 billion in costs for shutting down San Onofre. Edison maintains the existing settlement is in consumers' best interest.
Mexican-based supermarket chain El Super has reached a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board after being accused of refusing to bargain with the union and mistreating employees who were part of it, the Los Angeles Times reports. While the grocery store chain says it will now begin bargaining, the union is still reviewing other complaints, including that workers were fired by El Super for supporting the union.
Donald Sterling is fighting back, filing a lawsuit against TMZ and his apparent mistress, V. Stiviano, after a recording was released in which he made racist remarks that ended up forcing him to sell the Clippers basketball team, the Los Angeles Times reports. The lawsuit claims Stiviano recorded the conversation that was released to TMZ, and that it was doctored, but Sterling claims he did not know he was being recorded. Sterling also filed for a divorce last week from his wife, Shelly, citing “irreconcilable differences.”
New York's Filmed Entertainment Inc., parent of DVD distributor Columbia House, has filed for bankruptcy, the Hollywood Reporter reports. Columbia House, which used to be famous for sending its customers cheap videotapes and records through the mail, owes Hollywood studios, including Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures, a total of more than $1 million.
The Los Angeles Police Department pulled out the big guns at Monday's premiere of Universal Pictures' “Straight Outta Compton,” subjecting stars and other attendees to metal detectors as they made their way to the red carpet at L.A. Live, the Wrap reports. The movie, which opens Friday, traces the origins of the rap group N.W.A. which sparked controversy in the past with lyrics that condemned the police.
California has dropped the word “alien” from the labor code which, on top of other protections in place for residents of the state here illegally, makes California unique, the Los Angeles Times reports. Of course, some decisions have been widely criticized, including the “sanctuary city” policy especially in light of last month’s death of Kathryn Steinle, who police say was shot by a Mexican who had been deported several times but was off-limits to police.
Famous artists, such as Frank Ocean and Morrissey, aside, nothing will beat the food at the FYF Festival as a host of new, local food vendors will line up to please local palates with an array of options, including mac 'n' cheese waffles and vegan chicken sandwich donuts, LAist reports. The event is scheduled to take place Aug. 22 and 23 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena and Exposition Park.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 153 points in early trading Tuesday to 17,462. The S&P 500 was down 15 points to 2,089. The Nasdaq was down 28 points to 5,074. The LABJ Stock Index was down two points to 238.
Monday, August 10
Advertising fraud, falling digital ad rates and Google’s shifting algorithms. What’s another headache to online publishers? Ad-blocking software.
MannKind Corp. on Monday reported a quarterly loss that beat analysts’ expectations, as well as the hiring of a chief medical officer.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s proposed $37.2 billion acquisition of Precision Castparts Corp. will see some 30 Southern California Precision subsidiaries land in Warren Buffett’s portfolio.
After getting a taste of the creative office market in Playa Vista, New York real estate firm Tishman Speyer set its sights on the blossoming market in El Segundo.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 242 points in Monday trading to close at 17,615. The S&P 500 rose 27 points to 2,104. The Nasdaq rose 58 points to 5,102. The LABJ Stock Index rose one point to 240.
A month after being delisted from the Nasdaq Capital Market, diagnostic test maker Response Genetics Inc. announced Monday it declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy and would sell its assets to cancer diagnostics company Cancer Genetics Inc. for $14 million.
The idea of possibly raising the minimum wage in Long Beach may be welcome news for labor advocates but worries some local business owners who say they might have to cut workers or relocate, the Daily Breeze reports. The Long Beach City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to spend $65,000 to fund a study that will look at the local impact of raising the minimum wage.
A jump in nicotine poisonings is causing the Food and Drug Administration to look at enacting rules to regulate businesses that make liquid nicotine, the Los Angeles Times reports. Any crackdown could prove expensive for makers of vaping liquids, and that could put smaller operations out of business while the bigger tobacco companies that make e-cigarettes would likely survive.
More air quality tests have been ordered by the Environmental Protection Agency for homes near the Del Amo and Montrose Superfund site after contaminants were found inside some of the houses, the Los Angeles Times reports. The EPA found pollutants at more than 100 homes in the area, which is located next to chemical waste sites, but federal officials say the level of chemicals found is not enough to cause a health risk.
Billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is buying Portland’s Precision Castparts Corp., a maker of aircraft components, for more than $32 billion, the Los Angeles Times reports. Precision Castparts does business with energy companies and has struggled as a result of the low oil prices.
High air fees haven’t gone unnoticed by lawmakers. A Senate committee has issued a report urging airlines to be more transparent about passenger fees so fliers will know what they have to pay, the Los Angeles Times reports. However, an airline trade group argues air carriers are already clear about their pricing.
Paramount Pictures' "Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation" dominated the weekend box office for the second weekend in a row, bringing in $29.4 million and has now crossed the $100 million mark while Twentieth Century Fox's "Fantastic Four" failed to meet expectations, coming in at No. 2, generating $26.2 million. The thriller, “The Gift,” came in third place, grossing $12 million this weekend, the Los Angeles Times reports.
This year’s CicLAvia didn’t disappoint with more than 20,000 bicyclists, pedestrians and people riding other non-motorized transportation, closing roads to car traffic along the six-mile route from Culver City to Venice Sunday, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. It marked the first time CicLAvia was held on the Westside in two years.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 173 points in early trading Monday to 17,547. The S&P 500 was up 20 points to 2,098. The Nasdaq was up 52 points to 5,095. The LABJ Stock Index was up two points to 240.
GOVERNMENT: Helping small businesses cope with increase among concerns.
Recognizing that Long Beach elected officials will likely enact an increase in the minimum wage in coming months, the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is hoping to negotiate a deal that would make a raise more palatable to businesses in the city rather than opposing a wage hike outright.
FILM: Woody Allen to shoot first scenes in L.A. since 1977’s ‘Annie Hall.’
Woody Allen is decidedly not a fan of Los Angeles.
ENTERTAINMENT: First tour from Fullscreen will showcase female stars.
At last month’s VidCon, an annual convention focused on online video, thousands of teenage fans, mostly girls, descended on the Anaheim Convention Center to see their favorite YouTube personalities in the flesh.
EXPANSION: Liner pulls in field veteran Kirk Pasich to lead new practice group.
Stuart Liner decided five years ago that he needed to bolster the insurance coverage practice group at his eponymous Westwood law firm.
CIT and OneWest executives say they will bank on staying the course now that the institutions have merged.
REAL ESTATE: Outlying properties draw attention as urban, beach prices soar.
Hotel projects check in to suburbs as prices soar in city center and beach markets.
Jeans maker Lucky Brand looks to fashion comeback with more shops, product lines.
Lucky Brand plans to add stores and products to help sew up a future beyond denim’s waning draw.
REAL ESTATE: Proposal would ease live-work space minimum.
Developers see small opening in Arts District with city’s proposed minimum requirement for live-work space.
INVESTMENT: Settled case still hampers Aura’s quest for capital.
Aura says a settled SEC case still has the generator maker coming up short in its hunt for capital.
Jenette Goldstein says West L.A. store better fit for curvy clientele.
Bra dealer Jenette Goldstein hopes to widen her role as a bosom buddy to buxom women by opening a third shop.
Fired Piolin now calls shots in return to radio
Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo has turned up the volume, in terms of both listeners and ad revenue, in his return to the airwaves.
For the next couple of weeks, Paul Grossman plans to start his workday around 6 p.m.
BabyFirst TV takes steps into apps, games, other products.
BabyFirst TV looks to channel its educational kids’ fare into apps, games and other products.
News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County
West L.A.’s California Cryobank Stem Cell Services, a provider of cord blood and tissue services that does business as FamilyCord, has purchased Stamford, Conn.’s Lifeline Cryogenics, which primarily services the New York tristate area.
HEALTH CARE: IPC stock soars from Team Health’s $1.6 billion acquisition bid.
IPC investors got a big shot in the arm from news of Team Health’s $1.6 billion acquisition bid.
BANKING: Institutions say industry rules will squeeze customers, not drug cartels.
Execs say it will be ordinary customers, not drug cartels, who will pay for cross-border remittance restrictions.
Charles Crumpley is shocked by California’s electricity rates, which seem destined to charge even higher.
ACQUISITION: Tishman Speyer pays $45 million for El Segundo conversion.
After getting a taste of the creative office market in Playa Vista, New York real estate firm Tishman Speyer set its sights on the blossoming market in El Segundo.
Sunday, August 9
INTERNET: Edmunds.com joins trend of firms using social events to stir staff.
Car shopping site Edmunds.com runs in-office camp to light fire under worker engagement and morale.
TECHNOLOGY: Service Technologies takes on companies’ complaint process to speed resolution, refunds for customers.
Service Technologies says its software helps crack the code of companies’ complaint processes.
Friday, August 7
A weekly roundup of must-read L.A. tech investments and acquisitions.
The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies was down for the week. The weighted LABJ index fell three percent to close at 238, with losers outpacing gainers 91 to 62. Four companies closed the week unchanged.
TrueCar shares rebounded from an all-time low Friday, a day after founder Scott Painter announced he will step down as the company’s chief executive.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 46 points in Friday trading to close at 17,373. The S&P 500 fell six points to 2,078. The Nasdaq fell 13 points to 5,044. The LABJ Stock Index rose two points to 238.
L.A. is set to pick up a new public company next week, as Century City investment bank Houlihan Lokey prepares for its initial public offering.
Westwood firm Shamrock Capital Advisors, which began as an investment adviser for the Disney family, announced Tuesday that it has acquired audiobook publisher Recorded Books in Prince Frederick, Md. Terms were not disclosed.
Entertainment reporter Sandro Monetti’s business take on a few current releases.
Thoughts from the Twitterverse: Hyperloop Technologies is settling into their downtown headquarters.
In light of Wednesday’s ruling by a state judge that Southern California Edison was involved in illegal, unreported communication with members of the California Public Utilities Commission regarding the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant, now the commission is facing new criticism, the Los Angeles Times reports. Consumer advocates claim the PUC may be too cozy with companies it regulates and say an unfair burden is being placed on Edison’s customers.
Now that Ryan Kavanaugh's battered Relativity Media has filed for bankruptcy, the question is who might buy the studio, the Los Angeles Times reports. Everyone from billionaires to investments firms to rival movie studios may put in their bids, but experts say the longer the process takes, the less valuable the studio will become.
Ontario may have regained its airport after making a deal with Los Angeles, but now the real work is just beginning. City officials are faced with the challenge of marketing the airport, increasing the number of passengers and wooing airlines, the Los Angeles Times reports. Airline industry consultants wonder how effective the city will be at reviving the airport, which has lost one-third of its passengers since 2007.
The best laid plans for an orderly first Republican debate instead gave way to rounds of tough questions and squabbling among the 10 contenders Thursday evening. Here’s CNBC’s version of winners and losers. Spoiler alert: Hillary Clinton was one winner because her email scandal was mentioned just once.
More than 1,300 Southern California Edison customers who live in Rolling Hills Estates and Lomita will receive credits on their bills after being incorrectly billed by nearby Torrance due to a clerical error, the Daily Breeze reports.
The U.S. private sector added 215,000 jobs in July, the Labor Department reported this morning, which was a bit disappointing but still in line with economists’ expectations, the Wall Street Journal reports. The state of the labor market could cause the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates next month.
Maybe camp isn’t just for kids. Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge will be hosting an adult mini-summer camp, “Lakeside Lounge,” for the next two Wednesdays, complete with a deejay, boozy snow cones, crafts and lawn games, LAist reports.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 31 points in early trading Friday to 17,388. The S&P 500 was down three points to 2,081. The Nasdaq was down five points to 5,052. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 236.
Thursday, August 6
After a disappointing earnings report and new fights with car dealerships, TrueCar Chief Executive Scott Painter will step down by the end of the year.
Did OneWest Bank get a sweetheart deal from now-bankrupt Relativity Media?
Shares of movie studio Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. fell in after-hours trading Thursday following a quarterly earnings report that showed markedly lower revenue compared with the same quarter a year ago.
The tech investment banker on the importance of gratitude, the excitement of financial models and taking advantage of Southern California.
Rashaun Williams’ road to investment banking was a tough one.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 121 points in Thursday trading to close at 17,420. The S&P 500 fell 16 points to 2,084. The Nasdaq fell 84 points to 5,056. The LABJ Stock Index fell four points to 237.
When the Walt Disney Co. revealed lower growth expectations late Wednesday, it caused stock drops in other large media companies, the New York Times reports. Media executives claim they are not worried about competition from digital rivals like Netflix, but investors were clearly spooked about a future with fewer cable subscribers and advertisers. “There is almost an eeriness to this,” one analyst said.
After more than a year of bargaining, city officials have reached a tentative labor deal for 20,000 Los Angeles employees, the Los Angeles Times reports. Who won? Labor. The proposed contract would secure pensions for current employees, taxpayers would continue paying all the workers’ healthcare premiums and the deal “kept in place workers’ compensation benefits that critics say encourage abuse of the system,” the Times article said. The Los Angeles City Council and union leaders must still approve the deal.
The advocacy group Consumer Watchdog is criticizing the fuel refining industry for allegedly overcharging Californians for the first half of the year and is calling on state lawmakers to intervene, the Los Angeles Times reports. The article only makes a passing reference to the fact that regulators won’t allow a damaged refinery in El Segundo to fully resume operations.
Ending an old dream of creating a regional airport system, Los Angeles has agreed to transfer ownership of the Los Angeles/Ontario International Airport, which it acquired 30 years ago, back to Ontario, the Los Angeles Times reports. The agreement calls for Los Angeles World Airports to be reimbursed for its investments and for the settlement of Ontario’s lawsuit. The L.A. Airport Commission is expected to weigh in on the deal Thursday.
Southern California Edison is facing as much as $34 million in fines after an administrative judge ruled Wednesday that the company was involved in illegal, unreported communication with members of the California Public Utilities Commission regarding the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant, the Los Angeles Times reports. The judge is giving Edison until Aug. 20 to explain why it should not have to pay the penalties. Utilities are not supposed to discuss cases with their regulators outside of formal hearings.
The former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling, has filed for a divorce from his estranged wife, Shelly, citing “irreconcilable differences.” The two have been married since 1955 but legally separated in August 2012. The divorce filing comes more than a year after the release of a recording in which Donald Sterling made racist remarks to his apparent mistress, V. Stiviano, which led to an investigation by the National Basketball Association and the Sterlings’ forced sale of the Clippers. See the Los Angeles Business Journal’s coverage here.
Billionaire Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors Inc. reported a big loss in the second quarter of $184 million compared to $62 million last year, the Los Angeles Times reports. The loss is mainly due to increased spending; revenue was up.
After failing to reach a Pacific free-trade agreement at a meeting last week, Japanese and U.S. negotiators of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership hope to finish the deal later this month, the Los Angeles Times reports. At issue are debates over sugar, cars and the patent length of drugs, but a debate over dairy goods is particularly important for California.
Layoffs nationwide hit a nearly four-year high last month with more than 105,600 layoffs compared to 46,887 this time last year, CNBC reports. Cuts in the army added up to half of that total, and big workforce reductions at technology companies were also a contributing factor.
Is all that time your children are spending on the computer and bending over a cell phone damaging their posture? Yes, according to some medical experts who say “tech neck” is hurting children’s posture at a time when their bodies are still developing, KENS 5 San Antonio reports. Experts urge parents to regularly measure their child’s posture and watch out for problems.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 84 points in early trading Thursday to 17,457. The S&P 500 was down seven points to 2,093. The Nasdaq was down 28 points to 5,112. The LABJ Stock Index was down four points to 237.
Wednesday, August 5
Donald Sterling, the former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, filed for a divorce from his estranged wife, Shelly, on Wednesday.
Video streaming startup Pluto TV of Santa Monica has poached one of Spotify’s top executives.
It was a step back for Uber and Lyft Wednesday as the Los Angeles City Council voted overwhelmingly to intervene in the city airport commission’s decision to allow ridesharing companies to pick up passengers at Los Angeles International Airport.
A Canadian developer snatched up a Manhattan Beach office property for roughly $96 million at auction last week.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 10 points in Wednesday trading to close at 17,540. The S&P 500 rose seven points to 2,100. The Nasdaq rose 34 points to 5,140. The LABJ Stock Index fell five points to 241.
American Airlines is betting plenty of Angelenos will be headed for ski slopes in the Rockies this winter.
Startups are time-pinched ventures. Survival, not taking on social issues, is the top priority for most of them. Yet, Hollywood’s ZestFinance thinks despite constraints L.A. tech startups could do more to increase workforce diversity.
More trouble for Uber as at least four drivers recently ticketed by Los Angeles International Airport Police have criminal convictions that would prevent them from operating a taxi in Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Times. While Uber officials say they perform background checks, the convictions raise questions about how well drivers are screened. Six Los Angeles City Council members also said last week they want to reexamine a new airport permit process that would allow Uber and other ridesharing companies to legally pick up passengers at LAX.
The Walt Disney Co. has purchased 14.7 acres of land near its Anaheim Disneyland park, fueling speculation that it’s making way for an expansion that could include Disney's Star Wars or Marvel's superhero characters, the Los Angeles Times reports. While Disney executives would not comment on their plans, they have agreed to invest at least $1 billion in the park by 2024 in exchange for a tax break for the next 30 years.
Less than a week after embattled entertainment company Relativity Media filed for bankruptcy protection, its senior executives, including billionaire Ryan Kavanaugh, are being forced to face pay cuts of about 20 percent, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Of course, those pay cuts aren’t as great as those suffered by the 75 employees who were laid off last week.
While most carmakers are trying to water down federal and state mandates to increase the number of zero emission vehicles, Tesla Motors Inc. is pushing for tougher ones, the Los Angeles Times reports. Tesla, which has earned more than $534 million from the sale of environmental credits to competitors, claims California won’t be able to meet Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandate to have 1.5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2025 without tougher standards. Some governmental agencies agree.
Los Angeles aerospace firm Rocket Lab USA aims to become the first commercial company to build a satellite launch site in New Zealand, the Los Angeles Times reports. Rocket Lab plans to build near Christchurch and hopes to keep costs low by focusing on the increasingly popular smaller satellites. It is attracting such investors as defense contractor Lockheed Martin, Bessemer Venture Partners and Khosla Ventures.
Federal Reserve Gov. Jerome Powell says he hasn’t decided whether interest rates should be raised in September for the first time in nine years, CNBC reports. While Powell said his decision will be based on upcoming economic reports, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said he’s in favor of a rate hike next month barring any surprises in the data.
Shares of Apple Inc. stock have plunged recently, causing the company to lose $113 billion in stock value on Monday and Tuesday, USA Today reports. That drop is greater than the total value of McDonald’s. Investors are concerned about increasing competition for smartphones in China, Apple’s biggest future market.
The private sector added 185,000 jobs in July, according to an ADP report, well below the 215,000 jobs that were expected, CNBC reports.
Thousands of public companies may soon be forced to share how much more chief executives make than typical workers, the Washington Post reports. The Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to finalize a rule on Wednesday forcing businesses to share its median salary so that number can be compared to the chief’s salary. These days, the typical chief executive makes more than $300 for every dollar a typical employee makes. However, critics of the rule say exposing the ratio could cause problems and be easily misconstrued by employees, customers and investors.
Michael Jackson’s former mansion, where songs like “Beat It” and “Billie Jean” were recorded, may soon become a tourist mecca, according to TMZ, LAist reports. The Jackson family is now considering allowing people to tour the Tudor-style Hayvenhurst Mansion, as it’s known, which is located in Encino and some consider to be the first “Neverland.”
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 89 points in early trading Wednesday to 17,640. The S&P 500 was up 17 points to 2,110. The Nasdaq was up 58 points to 5,163. The LABJ Stock Index was down four points to 242.
Tuesday, August 4
Mobile games may be played on small screens, but to be viable businesses they require big money.
IPC Healthcare has agreed to be acquired by Team Health Holdings Inc. for $1.6 billion in cash, the companies announced Tuesday.
Century City private equity and debt giant Ares Management could be in line for another big payday.
Activision Blizzard Inc., the video game publisher behind the massive Call of Duty and World of Warcraft franchises, beat Wall Street expectations in the second quarter thanks to increasing returns from online gameplay.
Most chief executives in California remain confident the economy will improve over the next six months, though the number of executives with that view has dipped over the past few months, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Young President’s Organization.
CBRE Group Inc. announced Tuesday it had acquired PKF Consulting Inc.’s Canadian operations, known as PKF Canada, for an undisclosed sum.
Switching up the standard media life cycle, a hit YouTube series is about to spawn its own print magazine.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 48 points in Tuesday trading to close at 17,551. The S&P 500 fell five points to 2,093. The Nasdaq fell 10 points to 5,106. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 246.
Long Beach could become the next city to raise the minimum wage, the Long Beach Press Telegram reports. Long Beach Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal and three other City Council members are calling for a study to examine what impact it might have on that city. Local business leaders are concerned about how small businesses would fare if there were a higher minimum wage.
Team Health Inc. of Knoxville, Tenn., announced early Tuesday it has agreed to purchase IPC The Hospitalist Co. of North Hollywood for about $1.6 billion in cash, Modern Healthcare reports. The combined company is expected to employ 15,000 medical professionals nationwide. Both companies supply doctors to medical facilities.
Fueling the ongoing debate about illegal immigration in California, Huntington Park has become the first city in the state to appoint two undocumented immigrants as commissioners on city advisory boards, CBS Los Angeles reports. The appointments made by City Councilman Jhonny Pineda, who is himself an immigrant, were met with protests with some arguing it sends the wrong message.
Shares at Walt Disney Co. are on a high and have been up almost 45 percent over the past year, CNBC reports. There are also lofty expectations going into Tuesday afternoon’s scheduled earnings announcement with both revenue and earnings expected to grow, thanks to the upcoming release of “Star Wars” and theme park growth.
The Los Angeles Unified School District’s embattled food services director David Binkle has resigned, the Daily Breeze reports. Binkle had been audited for allegedly getting schmoozed by food contractors, wasting millions of dollars and failing to disclose his own food consulting company, which he started after accepting his job with the district, had made close to a million dollars off the district.
The state may have a leg up on other states in light of the Clean Power Plan released by President Obama Monday, the Los Angeles Times reports. While the new regulations include cutting greenhouse gas emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, state officials say California could meet the federal targets a decade early because of the already existing climate change programs on the books. Of course, that also means Californians are paying higher electricity rates for more years than those in other states.
Wildfires burning in Northern California are especially worrying fire officials in Southern California who are preparing for the worst due to the drought conditions, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports. Local fire officials have sent extra personnel to fire stations here as a precaution in order to make up for crews helping fight the blazes in Northern California.
Another month, another government default. Puerto Rico has failed to pay a $58 million debt payment, even though the government says the missed payment shouldn't be considered a default under the “technical definition of the term,” the Associated Press reports. The United States territory paid just $628,000 in interest but couldn’t pay the remainder. The government wants to be able to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, but the White House has no plans for a federal bailout, and the idea has no Republican support in Congress.
You wouldn’t know it from California’s very high pump prices, but oil prices are way down. In fact, they fell below $50 Monday for the first time in six months, and there is little hope for a quick rebound as the fall approaches, Bloomberg reports. Demand for gasoline often declines after the summer months and into the fall when vacationing stops, and there is not as much demand for seasonal workers.
Tattling on your neighbors has just gotten government approval, thanks to a new website, “Save Water,” just launched by the state, LAist reports. People can submit photos and reports of water being wasted that include everything from a leaky sprinkler to a restaurant server bringing water you didn’t ask for. Local water agencies will investigate the claims.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 12 points in early trading Tuesday to 17,610. The S&P 500 was up one point to 2,099. The Nasdaq was up six points to 5,12. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 246.
Monday, August 3
Anxious to snap up the next big thing in audio media, another legacy radio broadcaster has invested in an L.A. podcasting advertising company.
Monday Rundown: Cathay Completes Purchase of New York Lender, Molina Healthcare Makes Deal with Integral Health Plan
Chinatown’s Cathay General Bancorp has completed its purchase of Asia Bancshares Inc. in Flushing, N.Y., expanding the reach of Cathay, L.A.’s oldest Chinese-American bank, in the Big Apple, the bank announced Monday.
Cedars-Sinai will be checking into three floors of medical office space above the new Runway retail center in Playa Vista.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 92 points in Monday trading to close at 17,598. The S&P 500 fell six points to 2,098. The Nasdaq fell 13 points to 5,115. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 246.
Cain Hoy Enterprises, a Greenwich, Conn., private investment firm, shelled out $130 million for the 118,400-square-foot Class A office building at 100 N. Crescent Drive. The seller, New York’s Clarion Partners, purchased the building in 2012 for $80 million, a 63 percent return in three years.
It’s finally a done deal: CIT Group Inc. in Livingston, N.J. announced Monday it has completed its acquisition of Pasadena’s OneWest Bank for about $3.4 billion in cash and stock.
President Obama will unveil a new proposal taking an even tougher stance against greenhouse gases, pushing regulations that would require power plants to, among other mandates, cut carbon emissions by 32 percent, instead of 30 percent, from 2005 levels by 2030, KPCC reports. But some Republicans argue such tough standards would be too costly for states to comply with especially given the timeframe.
Santa Monica’s Honest Co., co-founded by actress Jessica Alba and L.A. entrepreneur Brian Lee, is under fire after sunburned consumers claimed on social media that the company’s sunscreen doesn’t work, CNBC reports. The company issued a statement Friday, saying its SPF 30 sunscreen meets regulatory standards, but an NBC Chicago investigation has found otherwise: The FDA requires sunscreen products to use up to 25 percent of zinc oxide, and NBC Chicago found the company had dropped the percentage of that ingredient in its sunscreen from 20 percent to 9.3 percent.
A growing Northern California fire forced firefighters to evacuate 12,000 people from their homes Sunday after the blaze, fueled by drought-dried brush, more than doubled in size, the Sacramento Bee reports. The fire has threatened more than 6,100 homes.
While business-friendly Delaware has long been a corporate haven, some companies, including L.A. billionaire David Murdock’s Dole Food Co., are complaining the state doesn’t do enough to protect corporations from shareholder lawsuits, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The private equity industry is facing increasingly tougher scrutiny from the Securities and Exchange Commission over whether clients are being treated fairly, the Los Angeles Times reports. Regulators have pursued enforcement actions, alleging fees and expenses are being improperly handled.
Should all cars in California be electric? Yes, says Mary Nichols, who heads the California Air Resources Board, Bloomberg reports. While she says zero-emission vehicles are vital to meet the state’s 2050 greenhouse gas targets, some automakers see the cleaner vehicles as money-losers.
The Special Olympics World Games wrapped in grand style over the weekend as thousands, including 6,500 athletes, converged on the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to celebrate the end of this year’s competition, the Los Angeles Times reports. The games welcomed competitors from 165 countries, making it the largest such gathering of nations in Los Angeles.
A Special Olympics athlete from Albania who went missing from the University of Southern California on Saturday has turned up in Hayward, not far from San Francisco, the Associated Press reports. Authorities are not sure how 44-year-old Andi Gusmari, a bowling competitor, made it to the Bay Area.
Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions’ “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” beat opening-weekend expectations, bringing in an estimated $56 million. It ruled over Warner Brothers New Line Cinema’s “Vacation,” which made $14.9 million this weekend, and Marvel’s “Ant-Man,” which brought in $12.6 million, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Coming soon to a rooftop in Hollywood: a night at the movies. Rooftop Film Club, which has hosted rooftop movies in New York and London, plans to start showing classic flicks, including “Top Gun” and “Ghostbusters,” at the end of this month on the roof of the Montalbán theater near Hollywood and Vine, LAist reports. For about $17, you can also get wireless headphones and a free blanket to ward off the chill.
The Dow Jones Industrial average was down 46 points in early trading Monday to 17,643. The S&P 500 was down one point to 2,103. The Nasdaq was up six points to 5,134. The LABJ Stock Index was up one point to 246.
SALE: $1,100-square-foot price highest ever paid for Beverly Hills office space.
Investors love the 90210 ZIP code. And just in case that wasn’t clear, it was highlighted last month when a Beverly Hills office building sold for $1,100 a square foot, the highest per-square-foot price for an office asset the area has seen.
EXPANSION: Ignition adds trio of divisions to handle entire campaign process.
Ignition Creative is seeing triple.
REAL ESTATE: Skid Row trust offers affordable units in $16.5 million project.
The intersection of Fifth and Main, “The Nickel,” was once a destination for those who frequented shady bars, looked for a fix or were just plain down on their luck.
LENDING: One foe turns to crowdfunding; group eyes OneWest-CIT’s CRA plan.
San Francisco community activist organization California Reinvestment Coalition and a host of other advocacy groups spent the better part of a year protesting the merger of Pasadena’s OneWest Bank and CIT Group Inc., of Livingston, N.J.
REAL ESTATE: PatientPop jumped to bigger office after $2.1 million raise.
Sometimes a funding round means more breathing room for a startup, quite literally.
ALCOHOL: Jinro America’s choices few even if it wins suit to ax current contract.
Consolidation among distributors could bottle up options for liquor maker Jinro America – if it can ditch its current deal.
AUTOMOTIVE: Lawsuits, weak outlook, dealer feuds hit TrueCar shares.
Investors are quick to drop off shares of online auto marketplace TrueCar after gloomy forecast.
News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County
Prospect Medical Holdings Inc., a Westwood health services company, last week reopened Los Angeles Community Hospital at Bellflower (formerly Bellflower Medical Center).
It’s safe to say Felicia Day, who’s often referred to as “queen of the geeks,” knows her way around the Internet.
Ami Bhansali looks to brew up new career with Chai Diaries.
Ami Bhansali finds herself back in hot water after formerly passing on the family business.
GROCERY: Market chain Erewhon lays out expansion plan as it works to cart off customers from rival Whole Foods.
Market chain Erewhon looks to grow organically as a rival to Whole Foods.
ScreenBid to auction collectibles from show about ’60s ad execs.
ScreenBid hopes its “Mad Men” memorabilia sale holds lots of interest with fans of the TV show.
Medical businesses hope to have more in store for patients by opening clinics at retail centers.
ENTERTAINMENT: Its D23 gets big events, not Comic-Con.
Disney held back at Comic-Con to cast its D23 as the star event to spotlight its properties.
Loot Crate scores with fan boys despite other e-tailers’ subscription struggles.
Loot Crate thinks outside the e-subscription box with mystery swag pitched at sci-fi and comics nerds.
DEVELOPMENT: Sky-high vacancy rate makes LAX area ripe for conversions.
LAX area’s flagging office market could take off courtesy of hotel conversion projects.
FOOD: Beyond Meat signs up partners to serve vegan items.
Beyond Meat has teamed with vegan product firms to beef up interest in its plant-based substitutes.
O’Melveny & Myers’ office bar makes case as permanent fixture.
O’Melveny & Myers looks to raise the bar after hours with its office speakeasy.
Mikawaya taps tortilla veteran to push Japanese treat
Maker of mochi ice cream Mikawaya hires tortilla veteran to roll up more sales.