Stories for December 2015

Wednesday, December 30

Hollywood Sets Box Office Record

Hollywood smashed all records this year. Los Angeles-based Rentrak said Tuesday that the industry has already reached the $11 billion level and is expected to end the year with an unprecedented $11.1 billion in ticket sales in the United States and Canada.

Cadiz Shares Zoom

Shares of Los Angeles water and land resource company Cadiz Inc. rocketed nearly 27 percent Wednesday on news of an immediate $12 million cash injection from a land lease agreement.

Paramount, CBS Sue Producers of Crowdfunded ‘Star Trek’ Film

Paramount and CBS have sued Axanar Productions and producer Alec Peters for alleged copyright infringement in a Los Angeles court. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Axanar has raised more than $1 million on Kickstarter and Indiegogo to make the first independent “Star Trek” film.

American Apparel Seeks to Block Other Reorg Plans

American Apparel wants to keep a tight grip on its reorganization plan, according to WWD.

Assemblyman to Hold Hearing on Gas Leak

A State Assemblyman will hold a hearing in January on Southern California Gas Co.’s response to the gas leak in Aliso Canyon, the Los Angeles Times reports.

READER POLL

What’s your most important New Year’s resolution?

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 117 points in trading day to close at 17,603. The S&P 500 was down 15 points to 2,063. The Nasdaq was down 42 points to 5,066. The LABJ Stock Index was down two points to 237.

‘Unprecedented’ Security for Rose Bowl and Parade

Over two dozen federal agencies are teaming up with local police to bring an unprecedented level of security to the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl game Friday in Pasadena, Reuters reports. There’s no specific threat, but as one official said, “The San Bernardino event sort of upped the ante.”

Decrepit DTLA Building to be Hip Hotel

A British hotel operator has purchased a historic building in downtown Los Angeles and plans to transform the vacant structure into a trendy inn, according to the Los Angeles Times. Hoxton, the operator, brands itself as the “anti-hotel.”

Companies Will Clean Up Chemical Site in South Gate

A group of 40 companies has agreed to pay $22 million towards the cleanup of a Superfund site in South Gate, federal officials announced late Tuesday. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department announced the agreement to further clean up the 3.8-acre Cooper Drum Superfund Site at 9316 S. Atlantic Ave. The companies will pay $15 million for groundwater treatment and $7 million to reimburse the EPA for past cleanup activities.

Companies to Clean Up Chemical Site in South Gate

A place of business for a company in South Gate that spent decades stripping chemicals out of steel barrels – allowing those toxins to go into the ground – is now a superfund site. And on Tuesday it was announced that 40 companies, mostly former customers of the Cooper Drum Co., has agreed to pay $22 million to clean the groundwater there.

St. Louis’ Pitch to Keep Rams Lacks Some Financing

Planners in St. Louis submitted a formal proposal to the National Football League to build a $1.1 billion open-air stadium on the Mississippi riverfront in a bid to keep the Rams from moving to Los Angeles County. But the Los Angeles Times reports that the financing isn’t all there.

China’s Box Office Boom Barely Felt in Hollywood

China’s box-office receipts jumped nearly 50 percent between 2014 and 2015. But the boom in China hasn’t been entirely enjoyed by Hollywood. According to the Los Angeles Times, revenue for imported films rose less than 24 percent this year, while homegrown Chinese movies saw nearly a 70 percent surge.

‘Hateful Eight’ Expected to Generate Strong Returns

Quentin Tarantino’s new movie “The Hateful Eight” is expected to hold its own against “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and gross $20 million to $22 million in ticket sales over this holiday weekend, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Newest Eye-Popping Property for Sale: Neverland Ranch

Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch is up for sale for $100 million, far more than the $19.5 million Jackson paid for it in 1987, Curbed LA reports. The outlet notes that there are no rides on the 2,700 acre premises in Los Olivos, but the property still has a train station and tracks and one llama.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 35 points in early trading Wednesday to 17,686. The S&P 500 was down five points to 2,073. The Nasdaq was down 18 points to 5,090. The LABJ Stock Index was down nearly a point to 237.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 35 points in early trading Wednesday to 17,686. The S&P 500 was down five points to 2,073. The Nasdaq was down 18 points to 5,090. The LABJ Stock Index was down nearly a point to 237.

Tuesday, December 29

Cities in Final Drive to Keep Football Teams

Wednesday is the deadline for St. Louis, San Diego and Oakland to make their final pitches to the National Football League to keep their teams from moving to Los Angeles, but it appears only St. Louis will make a formal offer and Oakland will make an informal one. There was no report Tuesday afternoon as to whether San Diego would make a pitch. Earlier reports suggested it would be difficult for the city to retain the Chargers.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 193 points in trading day to close at 17,721. The S&P 500 was up 22 points to 2,078. The Nasdaq was up 67 points to 5,108. The LABJ Stock Index was up two points to 238.

Lawsuit Filed Against Spotify Over Royalties

A rock musician brought a class action lawsuit seeking at least $150 million against Spotify on Monday, marking the latest dispute over copyrighted songs reproduced by the music streaming service.

Some L.A. Hotel Rates Tripled for New Year’s

If you’re interested in booking a hotel this New Year’s Eve, get ready to pay up. Hotel rates in Los Angeles are going to the penthouse level this Dec. 31, according to a survey by LosAngelesHotels.org.

Holiday Travelers Throng LAX in November

Passenger volume through Los Angeles International Airport climbed into the double digits in November as Thanksgiving traffic took off, according to numbers released Monday by officials with the Los Angeles World Airports.

Publicist Murray Weissman Dies

Murray Weissman, a veteran publicist and co-founder of North Hollywood’s Weissman/Markovitz Communications, died Tuesday of pancreatic cancer, Yahoo News reports.

Making Money From ‘Star Wars’

Walt Disney Co.’s "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is breaking records, making $1 billion in only 12 days. However, CNBC asks: How much money is Disney making?

Busy November at LAX

Los Angeles International Airport saw an increase in passenger traffic last month with a 10.7 percent jump over a year ago, according to the Los Angeles World Airports. See the Los Angeles Business Journal’s coverage here.

Corporate Planes Vandalized

Three corporate jets parked on a runway at Van Nuys Airport were tagged with graffiti on Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reports. This is the second time in two years it has occurred.

Challenges for ‘The Hateful Eight’

The Weinstein Co.’s “The Hateful Eight,” directed by Quentin Tarantino, had a strong Christmas weekend opening despite some problems with the unusual 70 mm projection format, Variety reports. Around 19 percent of moviegoers mentioned issues at their theaters, according to a Twitter poll. However, Weinstein asserts problems occurred at less than 1 percent of the showings.

American Girl Dolls Get Diabetes Kits

Appeals from girls who have diabetes have been heard by El Segundo’s Mattel Inc., which owns American Girl dolls, the Los Angeles Times reports. The company is scheduled to release diabetic accessories and insulin pumps for the dolls on Jan. 1.

TSA Changes Screening Policy

A new Transportation Security Administration policy is allowing officers to force travelers to go through a full-body scanner – which helps find weapons hidden under clothes – even if they opt for a pat down instead, the Los Angeles Times reports. Those who refuse could be kept from boarding their flights.

Rocker Aaron Bruno Buys Malibu Retreat

Musician Aaron Bruno of the electronic rock band AWOLNation has plopped down $1.65 million for a 10-acre rustic retreat in Malibu, the Los Angeles Times reports. The property features a 2,400-square-foot house with beamed ceilings, three bedrooms, three bathrooms and an art studio as well as sweeping city views.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 161 points in early trading Tuesday to 17,688. The S&P 500 was up 16 points to 2,072. The Nasdaq was up 34 points to 5,075. The LABJ Stock Index was up two points to 238.

Holiday Travelers Throng LAX in November

Passenger volume through Los Angeles International Airport climbed into the double digits in November as Thanksgiving traffic took off, according to numbers released Monday by officials with the Los Angeles World Airports.

Monday, December 28

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 24 points in trading day to close at 17,528. The S&P 500 was down four points to 2,057. The Nasdaq was down eight points to 5,041. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 237.

Sunset Strip Hotel Gets Financing

A luxury hotel project on the western end of the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood has received $260 million in financing, according to the Los Angeles Times. The project, headed by New York developer Witkoff Group, will be the first West Coast outpost for the Edition hotel brand, a collaboration between Marriott International and Ian Schrager, a boutique hotelier.

Largest Container Ship Docks in L.A.

The largest container ship to ever dock at a North American port arrived in Los Angeles over the weekend, NBC reports. The CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, which surpasses the Empire State Building's height at 1,300 feet, pulled into the Port of Los Angeles on Saturday and will remain there for four days.

Reader Poll

When did you last go to Westwood to shop or dine?

'Star Wars' Fastest to $1 Billion

Walt Disney Co.’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” dominated the box office again this weekend and made history, grossing $1 billion by Sunday, faster than any film, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Leak Pinpointed in Porter Ranch

Efforts to stop that ongoing natural gas leak near Porter Ranch made progress Sunday when a crew finally located the leak more than 3,000 feet underground, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. No estimate was given for when the leak will be stopped. More than 6,000 area families have been displaced since October.

Disneyland Closing Some Attractions

Disneyland is set to close 10 attractions and restaurants, some permanently, next month to make way for the new “Star Wars” land – despite recently raising ticket prices, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Big Thunder area is the biggest victim.

Disruptive Construction at LAX

Construction begins Monday at the Los Angeles International Airport, which will force some planes to use a shorter runway, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. As a result, residents on the north side of air field may hear more overnight air traffic.

True Religion Exec Makes Pricey Purchase

Kym Gold, the co-founder of Vernon denim company True Religion Apparel Inc., has just purchased a newly-constructed house in Encino for $6.3 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. The 7,200-square-foot home has six bedrooms, nine bathrooms and a swimming pool. Gold recently sold a house in Malibu for $18.5 million.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 85 points in early trading Monday to 17,467. The S&P 500 was down 13 points to 2,048. The Nasdaq was down 33 points to 5,016. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 236.

Wednesday, December 23

READER POLL

When did you last go to Westwood to shop or dine?’

Disney Trying to Sell Stake in Fusion

Walt Disney Co. has decided to rid itself of Fusion Media. According to The Wall Street Journal, Disney is in talks to sell its stake in Fusion, which includes a cable and digital news network created as part of a venture with Univision Communications Inc. Disney’s ABC News and Univision launched the network in October 2013 in a bid to target English-speaking Hispanics.

L.A. Tech Execs Make 2016 Predictions

We spoke with several L.A. tech executives and investors about tech industry issues to watch in 2016.

CBS’ Moonves in Line to Succeed Sumner Redstone

Sumner Redstone’s successor as chairman of CBS Corp. is set to be the broadcaster’s current chief executive Leslie Moonves, Bloomberg reports.

ASCAP and BMI Sign Licensing Agreements With Pandora

Los Angeles performing rights organizations BMI Inc. and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) have reached licensing agreements with leading online radio service, Pandora Media Inc. The deals, which were reached separately, reportedly resolve disagreements over rates and allow Pandora access to more than 20 million musical works.

What to Watch: Holiday Edition

Sandro Monetti looks at the business angles of the plots of big Christmas Day movie releases.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 185 points in trading Wednesday to close at 17,602. The S&P 500 was up 25 points to 2,064. The Nasdaq was up 45 points to 5,046. The LABJ Stock Index was up slightly to 236.

Help for Displaced Porter Ranch Residents

In a bid to speed up temporary housing for displaced residents, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has filed a restraining order against the Southern California Gas Co. over the natural gas leak near Porter Ranch, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. More than 2,000 people have been displaced as a result of the leak.

Best Year Ever in Hollywood?

Thanks to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” domestic box office revenue could hit a record $11 billion this year, according to research firm Rentrak, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Port Drivers Get Millions in Back Pay

Carson trucking firm Pacific 9 Transportation has been ordered by state officials to pay more than $7 million in back pay to 38 truck drivers, the Los Angeles Times reports. Both sides have been at odds because unions have been pushing for truckers to be considered as employees while most trucking companies say they are independent contractors.

Johnny Depp is Hollywood’s ‘Most Overpaid Actor’

Actor Johnny Depp tops Forbes Magazine’s annual list of the most overpaid actors in Hollywood, Entertainment Weekly reports. He was so named after a string of box office flops, including “Mortdecai” and “Transcendence.”

Kirk Kerkorian Mansion Sells

Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian’s Beverly Hills estate has just sold for $19 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. The property has a three-car garage, a tennis court, a guesthouse and a house with more than 9,700 square feet of space as well as a home theater and six bedrooms. Kerkorian died last June at the age of 98.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 128 points in early trading Wednesday to 17,545. The S&P 500 was up 15 points to 2,054. The Nasdaq was up 34 points to 5,035. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 236.

Tuesday, December 22

Lyft Pick Up at LAX Starting Wednesday

Lyft has been approved to pick up passengers from Los Angeles International Airport starting this Wednesday at 8 a.m., reports the L.A. Times.

Metro to close Gold Line service through Little Tokyo on Jan. 8

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Tuesday service will stop on the Little Tokyo-Arts District Gold Line Station between Union Station and the Pico-Aliso Station starting Friday, Jan. 8 at 9 p.m., to allow for construction work expected to take three months to complete. The agency will provide free shuttle bus service in the interim.

Weinstein Co. Continues TV Business Expansion

Weinstein Co. announced Monday that it has formed a partnership to produce and distribute unscripted TV shows with New York firms American Media Inc. and Jupiter Entertainment, according to the New York Times.

Four Finalists Named for Pershing Square Facelift

Several local firms are part of the four finalist teams named for a project to transform downtown’s Pershing Square from a concrete park into a more picturesque area.

Whalerock Industries Launches Kim Kardashian App

Los Angeles media company Whalerock Industries has created a new app for Kim Kardashian that is proving so popular it prompted the reality star to tweet that demand for downloads had slowed service at Apple’s App Store.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 166 points in trading Tuesday to close at 17,417. The S&P 500 was up 18 points to 2,039. The Nasdaq was up 32 points to 5,001. The LABJ Stock Index was up two point2 to 236.

SpaceX Moves Ahead of Competition After Rocket Landing

In what could be a cost-saving paradigm shift for the aerospace industry, Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. of Hawthorne landed its Falcon 9 rocket vertically on earth Monday night after sending about a dozen satellites into space.

Judge Conditionally Approves Settlement in LADWP Overbilling Case

A $44 million settlement in a Department of Water and Power overbilling class-action case has been conditionally approved by a judge, reports City News Service. The agency has agreed to refund customers who were inaccurately billed during an overhaul of the utility’s customer billing system.

State Regulators Suggest Easing Water Conservation Requirements

State regulators have suggested rolling back the conservation requirements that limit urban water use across California, the L.A. Times reports. The State Water Resources Control Board recommended dropping the water usage restrictions from 25 percent to 22 percent statewide. The board will vote on the changes in February.

No Mental Exam for Sumner Redstone

A judge declined to order a medical examination of 92-year-old Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone as part of a lawsuit brought by his ex-girlfriend, KPCC reports. But sworn testimony of two of Redstone’s doctors could be used by the prosecution.

‘Hollywood’ Junkyard is Closing

A 26-acre Sun Valley junkyard, which holds numerous Hollywood treasures such as "Bruce" the shark from “Jaws,” will close by New Year’s Eve, the Associated Press reports.

SpaceX Makes Successful Rocket Launch and Landing

Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. of Hawthorne successfully blasted 11 satellites into orbit on its Falcon 9 rocket and also brought a first-stage booster back down to Florida's Cape Canaveral on Monday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 4 points in early trading Tuesday to 17,255. The S&P 500 was up 1 point to 2,022. The Nasdaq was up 2 points to 4,971. The LABJ Stock Index was up one point to 234.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 4 points in early trading Tuesday to 17,255. The S&P 500 was up 1 point to 2,022. The Nasdaq was up 2 points to 4,971. The LABJ Stock Index was up one point to 234.

Monday, December 21

Local Ports Receive $1.25 Billion From Federal Spending Bill

A chunk of the $1.15 trillion federal omnibus spending bill signed into law last week will help fund maintenance projects for U.S. seaports, including the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

American Apparel to Close Original Store

Downtown L.A. apparel manufacturer and retailer American Apparel Inc. has confirmed it plans to close its store on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park, which was the company’s first U.S. retail location when it opened 12 years ago.

More TV Shows Keen on California Tax Credits

A slew of new TV shows is set to film in Los Angeles. Included among them is established ABC series “Mistresses,” which has decided to ditch Vancouver for its upcoming fourth season, becoming one of 11 shows approved by the California Film Commission to take advantage of expanded film and television tax credits.

Reader Poll: Oil prices have sunk to lows not seen in years. Has this helped or hurt your business?

Oil prices have sunk to lows not seen in years. Has this helped or hurt your business?

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 123 points in trading Friday to close at 17,252. The S&P 500 was up 16 points to 2,021. The Nasdaq was up 46 points to 4,969. The LABJ Stock Index was up a little more than half a point to 234.

Fandango Rides ‘Star Wars’ Wave

Walt Disney Co. is far from the only company to profit from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." Fandango, the West L.A. company that sells movie tickets online, announced Monday that it sold more than 37 percent of the estimated $247 million in tickets for the movie’s U.S. opening.

LAX Could Be Busiest Airport in Country, But No Uber Yet

The Los Angeles International Airport is expected to see more foot traffic during the 17-day, end-of-year holiday period than anywhere else in the country, KPCC reports.

SpaceX Attempts Earth Landing of Rocket

Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. of Hawthorne is scheduled to launch an unmanned Falcon 9 rocket this evening, marking the company’s first launch attempt since June, during which the rocket exploded.

Delta’s Business Class Passengers to Receive Pajamas on Flights From L.A.

Delta Air Lines has announced that passengers on its elite business-class section will receive gray cotton sleepwear on flights from Los Angeles to Sydney, and Los Angeles to Shanghai, starting in March. According to the Los Angeles Times, business class passengers can already sleep in lie-flat seats with a white comforter and hypoallergenic, down-alternative pillow.

Faraday Future Lured by Nevada, not California

Southern California is out, Nevada is in. Lawmakers in the latter state have successfully wooed Faraday Future, the electric carmaker which hopes to become Tesla’s biggest rival, according to the Associated Press.

Businesses Hit Hard by Gas Leak in Porter Ranch

Businesses in the Porter Ranch area are bearing the brunt of the nearby gas leak, The Daily News reports.

Los Angeles With Highest Gas Prices in Country

In the lower 48 states, the highest average price of regular gasoline is in Los Angeles, at $2.71, while Tulsa, Oklahoma has the lowest, at $1.72, according to an industry analyst quoted by the Associated Press.

Judge to Consider Evaluation of Sumner Redstone

A judge will today consider whether a mental evaluation of Sumner Redstone should be conducted in response to claims by his ex-girlfriend. The hearing Monday afternoon in Los Angeles Superior Court was prompted by a filing by Redstone's former companion, Manuela Herzer, who contends his signature was forged on a recent document, the Associated Press reports.

Dodgers Hit with Over $43 million in Luxury Tax

The Dodgers have been hit with a record luxury tax of nearly $43.6 million for a payroll that fell just shy of $300 million during the 2015 season, according to the Associated Press.

Star Wars Awakens Box Office, Blasts Records

Walt Disney Co.’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has scored the biggest movie opening of all time in North America, grossing $238 million. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie had a global launch of $517 million.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 108 points in early trading Monday to 17,236. The S&P 500 was up 11 points to 2,017. The Nasdaq was up 29 points to 4,952. The LABJ Stock Index was up one point to 234.

Yogurt Chain Hot Property for Ice-Cream Veteran

FOOD: Kahala Brands buys Pinkberry; may pair it with other properties.

Quick-serve veteran Kahala Brands scoops up frozen yogurt pioneer Pinkberry.

Falling Oil Hits Related Sectors

ENERGY: Service firms suffer as client companies cut back.

Businesses that service oil and gas firms are seeing work and revenue dry up as their client companies cut back.

Professor Lets Kitty Out of Bag

Keith Nishida puts love for Japanese icon on display with museum exhibitions.

College professor Keith Nishida has helped book museum exhibitions for iconic Japanese brand Hello Kitty.

Planting Flag in Pacific Palisades

Soon after businessman Jake Steinfeld became honorary mayor of Pacific Palisades, friends at a party joked that one of his first acts should be to invade Malibu.

Time to Make Way for Millennials

John Paglia writes that the time has come to take millennials seriously and prepare them for the future workforce.

Different Destination?

Airbnb should welcome working with hospitality stakeholders to avoid fate of music service Napster.

For many modern travelers, the best way to see a new city is to find an apartment in a hip residential neighborhood using short-term home rental company Airbnb.

Minding Stores

DEVELOPMENT: Half-dozen big-name retailers buy into suburban Paramount’s drive to revive shopping district.

Suburban city Paramount successfully sold its shopping district as a home for big-name retailers.

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Knock at Door

Online pioneer in food delivery LAbite faces once-uncrowded sector flooded with rivals

LAbite faces new competition from tech giants and startups homed in on the food delivery sector.

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Brain Firm Gets Head Start With Chinese Money

BIOTECH: Neural Analytics also sees investors helping open that country’s market.

Neural Analytics has foreign money on the brain after a $15 million investment from two Chinese backers.

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Plastic Bag Makers Double Up on State Measures

POLITICS: Sector’s latest initiative would shift sack fees away from grocers.

Upset with the state Legislature’s passage last year of a ban on plastic bag use in grocery stores, the plastic bag industry is mounting a most unusual attack on the law, with not one, but two initiatives aiming for November’s ballot.

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In It to Win It

Founder left retirement to revive eHarmony

Founder Neil Clark Warren’s dating website eHarmony has turned into a longtime commitment.

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Cool Treat Loses Heat

Tale of frozen yogurt chain Pinkberry will offer cold comfort to firms looking to maintain their heat, warns Charles Crumpley.

Purchases Shore Up Long Beach Office Market

ACQUISITIONS: Separate buyers to cue up creative conversions at properties.

Revitalization efforts in downtown Long Beach have gotten a big boost with the sale of two low-rise office towers along Ocean Boulevard.

Conventions

Upcoming conventions

Calendar

Calendar of events

Port of L.A. Will Welcome Enormous Anchor Tenant

SHIPPING: Craft biggest container vessel ever to travel to North America.

The Port of Los Angeles is getting a big Christmas present this year – the biggest container ship ever to visit a North American seaport.

Rival Design Firms Circle Pershing Square Makeover

DEVELOPMENT: Proposed projects all would remove walls to invite in public.

Pershing Square’s lousy reputation as an ugly concrete park is about to change. Ten design firms are vying to do a major facelift on the plaza, last remodeled 20 years ago.

Wealthy Investors Looked High, Low Before Hike

LENDING: Jets, farm land among properties targeted in anticipation of rate spike.

Everyone’s been buzzing about the minor interest rate hike last week, but how did the previous low-rate world affect investments this past year?

Ruling by State Court Releases Chains in Malibu

DEVELOPMENT: Judge’s rejection of limits clears way for retail projects.

State court ruling unshackles retail projects from Malibu’s restrictions on chains.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

SteelHouse, a Santa Monica ad software firm, has announced a $49 million Series C round led by Mercato Partners, a Salt Lake City provider of growth capital.

Bow-Tie Maker Hanging Loose

Victor Becerril turns to Kickstarter to raise money for his chained neckwear.

Victor Becerril hopes to collar Kickstarter contributors to launch his bow-tie business.

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Friday, December 18

Silicon Beach Deal Flow: Dec. 18

A weekly roundup of must-read L.A. tech investments and acquisitions.

Silicon Beach Launch List: Dec. 18

A weekly roundup of L.A. tech company and product launches.

Immediate Medical Care Acquired by U.S. Healthworks

Immediate Medical Care in Los Angeles has been acquired by U.S. HealthWorks, one of the largest operators of occupational healthcare and urgent care centers in the United States. Terms of the deal, which took effect on Friday, were not disclosed.

L.A. Auction House Sells Slice of Princess Diana’s Wedding Cake

A 34-year-old slice of cake from the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles sold for $1,375 at Nate D. Sander’s Auctions in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Closing of Local Café Underscores Neighborhood’s Changing Face

Casbah Café, an established Silver Lake coffee house at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Hyperion Avenue closed on Monday after 18 years in business after being forced out by its landlord, according to a letter written by the café’s owners and published by LAist.

County Unemployment Rate Dips Below 6 Percent

L.A. County’s unemployment rate dipped below 6 percent in November for the first time in eight years as holiday retail hiring led broad job gains, state figures released Friday show.

ReachLocal and U.S. Auto Parts Network Among This Week’s Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies was up marginally for the week. The weighted LABJ index rose nearly 1 percent to close at 234, with losers outpacing gainers 76 to 70. Eight companies closed the week unchanged.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Levine Leichtman Capital Partners of Beverly Hills announced Monday that one of its portfolio companies, luxury linens maker SFERRA Fine Linens of Edison, N.J., had completed the acquisition of Kaufman Holdings of Freeport, Maine.

Appeal for Funds Ahead of El Niño

Congresswoman Janice Hahn is appealing for $10 million from the United States Army Corps of Engineers to pay for repairs to the San Pedro breakwater in order to protect the Port of Los Angeles and the neighboring community in the event of bad weather from El Niño, the Daily Breeze reports.

Realty Mogul Investors Earn $20 Million

Realty Mogul said its investors have earned more than $20 million in principal and interest from crowdfunded equity and debt real estate investments facilitated on its platform.

‘Star Wars’ Takes Over the Internet

Social media has been inundated with hype over Walt Disney Co.’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and brand campaigns with partners, including Verizon and Google, CNBC reports.

What to Watch This Weekend

Here’s the only review of the new “Star Wars” movie which focuses entirely on the business aspects of the plot.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 367 points in trading Friday to close at 17,128. The S&P 500 was down 36 points to 2,006. The Nasdaq was down 79 points to 4,923. The LABJ Stock Index was down five points to 234.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 367 points in trading Friday to close at 17,128. The S&P 500 was down 36 points to 2,006. The Nasdaq was down 79 points to 4,923. The LABJ Stock Index was down five points to 234.

Maker of Wireless Charger Losing Investment Power?

TECHNOLOGY: Analysts question uBeam’s use of crowdfunding campaign.

Wireless charging firm uBeam has shocked some analysts by turning to crowdfunding.

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Battle Over NFL Stadium Plans in L.A.

NFL owners are torn about which teams should move to Los Angeles as the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams jockey for position before a possible January vote, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Sizing Up Super Saturday

Christmas is almost here and retailers are preparing for “Super Saturday,” which could be the second-biggest event of the year for stores, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Theme Parks Beef Up Security

Both Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood are now using metal detectors, bomb-sniffing dogs and other precautions to protect visitors in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings, the Los Angeles Times reports.

LAX Travel Numbers Up?

Los Angeles International Airport is expected to see a record number of passengers over the holidays – about 3.5 million – according to Expedia and Orbitz, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports. That’s up 8 percent over last year.

UC Launches $250 Million Fund

University of California officials are launching a $250 million venture fund to invest in tech companies with UC ties, the Los Angeles Times reports. Entrepreneur and Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé will lead the charge.

‘Star Wars’ Living Up to Hype

Walt Disney Co.’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is already breaking records, raking in $50 million Thursday night, according to early estimates, Variety reports. It could beat the previous mark held by Warner Bros. Studios’ “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.”

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 130 points in early trading Friday to 17,366. The S&P 500 was down 11 points to 2,030. The Nasdaq was down 13 points to 4,990. The LABJ Stock Index was down one point to 237.

Thursday, December 17

Proctor & Gamble Sues Dollar Shave Club

Proctor & Gamble Co. is suing upstart rival Dollar Shave Club for alleged patent infringement, reports Recode.

Tencent Completes Purchase of Riot Games

Tencent has purchased the remaining portion of Riot Games that it did not own.

Tastemade Raises $40 Million

Online media network Tastemade Inc. of Santa Monica has raised a $40 million Series D round.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 253 points in trading Thursday to close at 17,496. The S&P 500 was down 31 points to 2,042. The Nasdaq was down 69 points to 5,003. The LABJ Stock Index was down four points to 239.

Measure Limiting Chain Stores in Malibu Overturned

Handing a victory to real estate developers, a judge this week overturned a measure enacted last year by Malibu voters to limit retail developments involving chain stores.

Tenants, ‘Evicted for Airbnb,’ Sue Landlord

Five long-term tenants in Fairfax District filed a lawsuit Wednesday claiming they were illegally evicted so their units could be rented for farm more money to Airbnb.

Two L.A. Banks to Merge

Little Tokyo’s Pacific Commerce Bank and ProAmérica Bank in downtown Los Angeles announced Thursday that they have agreed to merge. Pacific Commerce will be the surviving bank.

Californians Can Have Self-Driving Cars By 2017

California regulators unveiled a roadmap Wednesday to let consumers begin using self-driving cars, the Associated Press reports.

Pechanga Begins Expansion of Temecula Resort

The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians broke ground on a $285 million expansion of its resort and casino in Temecula on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Kaiser to Open Medical School

Kaiser Permanente on Thursday said it plans to establish a medical school in Southern California, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Hanmi Drops Bid for BBCN

Hanmi Bank parent Hanmi Financial Corp. announced Thursday it has dropped its bid to merge with fellow Korean-American bank BBCN Bancorp Inc., apparently ending a tug-of-war for dominance of the Koreatown banking market.

LAX Fails to Please Customers

Los Angeles International Airport ranks low in a new J.D. Power 2015 North America Airport Satisfaction Study, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. LAX was third from the bottom among the nation’s 31 large airports. It was only ahead of New York’s LaGuardia and New Jersey’s Newark Liberty.

City Council Votes for Ontario Airport Deal

The Los Angeles City Council has approved a $250 million agreement leading to the transfer of ownership of Los Angeles/Ontario International Airport to a local authority, the Daily Bulletin reports.

Malibu Measure is ‘Illegal’

A Superior Court judge has ruled that Measure R – which limits retail development – is illegal in Malibu, the Malibu Times reports. Malibu voters had approved the initiative last year.

Tarantino Angry at Disney

Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino had some harsh words for Walt Disney Co., on Howard Stern’s radio show, accusing the studio’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” of pushing his new film “The Hateful Eight” out of the Cinerama Dome at Hollywood’s Arclight Cinemas, Deadline reports.

Record Number of TV Shows

As far as TV shows go, 2015 was a peak year with an increase in production leading to a record 409 scripted series, according to a new survey by FX Networks, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Janice Hahn Demands New Rules for Port

Representative Janice Hahn is calling for independent oversight of the Port of Los Angeles in order to improve its air quality. It has been found that the port failed to implement court-mandated measures to reduce harmful emissions at its China Shipping terminal, one of its busiest, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Reheated Dishes at Fig & Olive?

Upscale restaurant and celebrity hang out Fig & Olive in West Hollywood is being accused of preparing some of its entrees at a commissary in New York, then shipping them to L.A. where the food is reheated before being served to customers, CBS Los Angeles reports.

Chris Paul Scores Calabasas House

Los Angeles Clipper Chris Paul has just sealed the deal on a new $8.99 million house in a gated community in Calabasas, the Los Angeles Times reports. The 10,400 square feet home has five bedrooms and 7.5 bathrooms, a home theater, a craft room, and a gym with a steam shower and sauna.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 62 points in early trading Thursday to 17,687. The S&P 500 was down 12 points to 2,061. The Nasdaq was down five points to 5,066. The LABJ Stock Index was down one point to 241.

Wednesday, December 16

Judge Overturns Voter Measure Limiting Chain Store Development in Malibu

Handing a victory to developers, a judge this week overturned a measure enacted last year by Malibu voters to limit retail developments involving chain stores.

Spielberg Back at Universal

Steven Spielberg, the filmmaker behind such hits, including “Jaws” and “Jurassic Park,” is returning to Universal Pictures under a five-year deal, the company announced Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

MD Insider Raises $12 Million

Doctor analytics startup MD Insider of Santa Monica has raised a $12 million Series B round.

Nimes Capital to Buy Togo’s

Century City private equity firm Nimes Capital will acquire San Jose’s Togo’s Eateries Inc., Nation’s Restaurant News reports.

L.A. Port Has Positive November

After two months of drops in container cargo volume, November was a banner month for the Port of Los Angeles, officials with the port reported Wednesday.

Rate Hiked

The Federal Reserve Open Markets Committee lived up to expectations Wednesday by raising the benchmark fed funds rate from zero to 0.25 percent.

Majority of L.A. Companies Minority-Owned

A majority of companies in Los Angeles County are minority-owned, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Tuesday.

Apple Maps Adding MTA Info

Apple has added public transit information for Los Angeles to its Apple Maps app, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 224 points in trading Tuesday to close at 17,749. The S&P 500 was up 30 points to 2,073. The Nasdaq was up 67 points to 4,664. The LABJ Stock Index was up three points to 242.

Toyota: High Housing Costs a Reason for Leaving L.A.

High housing costs played a role in Toyota’s decision 1 ½ years ago to move its North American headquarters from Torrance to Plano, Texas

Alibaba to Distribute Disney Content in China

The Walt Disney Co. has signed a multi-year agreement with Chinese Internet retailer Alibaba to distribute its content through a Mickey Mouse-shaped streaming device called DisneyLife.

Advance Tickets for ‘Star Wars’

Walt Disney Co.’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is already breaking records with advance ticket sales crossing $100 million, the Hollywood Reporter says. The film is to open Friday.

State of Emergency in Porter Ranch

It is official. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to declare the natural gas leak near Porter Ranch a state of emergency, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The move could help the area receive federal and state assistance.

Blocking Development in Carson?

The city of Carson is weighing putting a development moratorium on land near the site of its proposed NFL stadium that would house the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders, Curbed Los Angeles reports.

Water Rate Hike Approved

The board that oversees the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has approved a plan to raise water rates 4.7 percent a year for the next five years, the Los Angeles Times reports. Officials say the extra money is needed to repair aging water pipes.

Rooftop Solar Fees Proposed

Under a proposal backed by the California Public Utilities Commission, new owners of rooftop solar panels could face fees – including a one-time charge of at least $75 – for connecting to the electric grid, the Los Angeles Times reports. Current solar customers would be exempt for 20 years. Utilities wanted to charge more for homes and businesses with solar panels.

Driverless Fords on Our Streets

Ford Motor Co. is the latest car company – joining Tesla, Nissan, Honda and several others – to get a permit to operate driverless cars in California, the Los Angeles Times reports. Why here? A Ford exec explains that the state has more “clutter” on the streets – bicycles, pedestrians, lane-splitting motorcycles, etc.

Rate Expectations

Wednesday marks the day when the Federal Reserve – finally – is expected to do something it hasn’t done in nine years: raise interest rates. However, as Yahoo Finance reports, now attention turns to other questions, such as how aggressively the Fed will raise rates in the future.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 156 points in early trading Wednesday to 17,525. The S&P 500 was up 21 points to 2,043. The Nasdaq was up 43 points to 4,995. The LABJ Stock Index was up two points to 241.

Tuesday, December 15

Presidents' Rocking Chair Up for Sale

An unquestionably important piece of Americana is up for sale.

Disney’s Maker Studios Names New Leader

Courtney Holt has been named as the head of Maker Studios, the multi-channel YouTube network owned by Walt Disney Co., it was announced Monday.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 156 points in trading Tuesday to close at 17,525. The S&P 500 was up 21 points to 2,043. The Nasdaq was up 43 points to 4,995. The LABJ Stock Index was up five points to 239.

After LAUSD Closure, Local Firms Open Up to Kids

Local businesses on Tuesday responded quickly to the unexpected closing of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Restaurants offered free lunches to students, museums waived admission fees, and businesses opened their doors to kids as employees woke up to a morning in flux.

Cornerstone OnDemand Signs Hitachi Group

Human resources software maker Cornerstone OnDemand has signed a large contract with Japanese conglomerate Hitachi Group.

CBRE to Sell 50-Story Chicago Tower

CBRE Global Investors has hired a broker to sell a 50-story tower in Chicago which could attract bids of almost $400 million, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. The investment arm of Los Angeles-based CBRE hired a team from New York-based Eastdil Secured to broker the sale, the publication reports.

MGM Taps Burnett to Head TV, Digital Unit

Mark Burnett, a well-known television producer, has been named president of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.’s television and digital unit, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Wen Hair Care Sued

Celebrity stylist Chaz Dean, based in Hollywood, and his Wen Hair Care products, along with Santa Monica direct marketing firm Guthy-Renker, are the subjects of a class action lawsuit in which people in 40 states nationwide say the products made them lose their hair, CNBC reports.

Out With the Old Star Wars Stuff

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” marks a new beginning for the franchise – and a departure from times past. Walt Disney Co. of Burbank has said that the more than 30 years of tie-ins and products associated with the original – known collectively as “Star Wars Expanded Universe” including novels with separate story lines, toys and other memorabilia – will no longer be a part of future Star Wars projects. That’s because the company aims to create its own expanded universe, Bloomberg reports.

Deal Finalized for Daughters of Charity

The Daughters of Charity Health System has finally closed the deal with New York private investment firm BlueMountain Capital Management to transfer control of six struggling Daughters of Charity hospitals, including two in Los Angeles County, and create Verity Health System.

American to Fly Nonstop to Jamaica

Just in time for holiday trips, American Airlines Group Inc. will debut nonstop service to Jamaica’s Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay from Los Angeles International Airport starting Friday.

Bidding War for OC Register?

A federal judge approved a $4.5 million loan Monday to the owner of the Orange County Register, allowing the newspaper to operate during bankruptcy, the Los Angeles Times reports. But it also sets up a possible bidding war; at least three entities, including Tribune Publishing, the owner of the Los Angeles Times, appear interested in buying.

Big Desalination Plant Ready

The largest desalination plant in California is set to open in Carlsbad within days, paving the way for about 15 other projects proposed along the state’s coastline, the San Diego Tribune reports.

State of Emergency in Porter Ranch?

The natural gas leak near Porter Ranch could be proclaimed a local state of emergency by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors when it meets to vote on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. More than 1,000 families have been temporarily displaced as a result of the leak.

A Mega-Mansion of Trouble

Celebrity developer Mohamed Hadid is facing criminal charges over the Bel Air house he’s building that has been notoriously nicknamed “the Starship Enterprise,” the New York Times reports. The violations include building a house that is twice the legal height limit with unapproved features, such as underground bedrooms, and “unsecured open excavations” in an earthquake prone area.

Out of This World Premiere

The highly anticipated Hollywood premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” didn’t disappoint as celebrities and fans hit the red carpet Monday night for what may have been the biggest movie premiere in history, the Daily Mail reports. One early review: ‘Best blockbuster since the original.’ Director J.J. Abrams seemed moved by the night’s festivities and the film’s overwhelmingly positive response.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 199 points in early trading Tuesday to 17,568. The S&P 500 was up 26 points to 2,048. The Nasdaq was up 63 points to 5,016. The LABJ Stock Index was up five points to 240.

Monday, December 14

L.A. Tech Events Calendar: Dec. 14 - Dec. 27

Roundup of L.A. tech events in the next two weeks.

Pinkberry to Be Sold

Scottsdale, Arizona’s Kahala Brands, which owns Cold Stone Creamery, announced Monday it will acquire Santa Monica frozen yogurt chain Pinkberry Inc., CNBC reports.

Metro Launches New Silver Line Express

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday announced the launch of Metro’s Silver Line Express.

Ex Alleges Redstone Forged Signature

The turmoil continues for Sumner Redstone. According to the Los Angeles Times, a former girlfriend of the 92-year-old billionaire, who is chairman of both Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp., has alleged that Redstone’s signature was forged and that the mogul is being manipulated by Viacom's chief executive. Manuela Herzer, Redstone's former girlfriend, recently filed a lawsuit to contest recent changes that removed her from a position of power in Redstone's life and in his legal documents.

Connexity Acquires Consumer Analytics Company

Dublin-based Experian, a credit information provider, has sold two of its consumer-facing divisions in a simultaneous transaction, the company announced Monday.

Video Game Startup Azubu Raises $60 Million

Sherman Oaks’ Azubu, a live-streaming video game platform, has raised $60 million in bonds.

Arrowhead Moves to Nasdaq Biotech Index

Pasadena biopharmaceutical firm Arrowhead Research Corp. announced Monday that the company will be added to the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, a collection of biotech and pharmaceutical companies.

Supreme Court Protects Businesses’ Arbitration

El Segundo’s DirecTV got the go-ahead from the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to resolve a dispute with customers through individual arbitration rather than in court.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 103 points in trading Monday to close at 17,369. The S&P 500 was up 10 points to 2,022. The Nasdaq was up 19 points to 4,952. The LABJ Stock Index was up two points to 234.

Rolling Out the Red Carpet for ‘Star Wars’

The big Hollywood premiere of Walt Disney Co.’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is just hours away with some predicting it could be bigger than the Academy Awards, LAist reports.

Porter Ranch Home Values Hurt?

The natural gas leak near Porter Ranch has not only sickened some area residents and temporarily displaced more than 1,000 of them, but it may also be hurting the area’s housing market, at least temporarily, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Disney’s New Cash Cow

When the Walt Disney Co. paid $4 billion to buy Lucasfilm three years ago, it struck many as an iffy deal. But it appears set to pay off in a big way, the Los Angeles Times reports, thanks to the upcoming release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and related merchandise and tie-ins.

Change in CalPERS Policy

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System is set to discuss today a proposed new objective for its private equity investments, which is drawing critics, the Los Angeles Times reports. Instead of targeting those investments to earn 3 percent more than the overall stock market, CalPERS plans for then to “enhance” its overall returns. One critic said CalPERS wants to move the goal post since it can’t hit its goal.

Box Office: ‘Hunger Games’ Tops, Again

Director Ron Howard’s “In the Heart of the Sea” failed to float above "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part Two," the Lions Gate Entertainment film which made $11.3 million over the weekend, the Hollywood Reporter says. Howard’s film grossed $11 million in its opening weekend.

High Cost of Rose Parade

Just how much does it cost to have a float in the Rose Parade? The fee to participate in the parade is $5,500 for nonprofits and $16,500 for businesses, the Daily Breeze reports. However, the design and construction of each float typically costs around $250,000.

Celebrity Flip

Reality TV star Scott Disick has sold a house in Beverly Crest to NBA player and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook for $4.65 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. The two-story, 4,095-square-foot house has an outdoor lounge and a swimming pool.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 19 points in early trading Monday to 17,245. The S&P 500 was down two points to 2,010. The Nasdaq was down six points to 4,928. The LABJ Stock Index was up one point to 233.

SPECIAL REPORT: Checking Out?

Already squeezed by compliance rules and online rivals, payday lenders fear next year’s federal regulations could sink industry.

Some payday lenders fear upcoming federal regulations will place more checks on their ability to operate.

SPECIAL REPORT: Lender OK Taking Less

FINANCIAL: Credit union rules allow Nix to provide cheaper ‘payday’ loans.

Kinecta Federal Credit Union’s Nix Neighborhood Lending banks on different payday-style products.

Calendar

Calendar of events

Conventions

Upcoming conventions

Local Businesses Still Have Friends

Charles Crumpley points out that there are places in Los Angeles where a business can get a friendly reception.

Investors Step Into Customizable Footwear Firm

FASHION: Shoes of Prey’s $15.5 million Series B to go to boosting production.

Santa Monica footwear company Shoes of Prey is turning out to be a pretty good fit for investors.

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Nonprofit CEO

STAFFING: CEO job at Public Counsel convinces jurist to leave bench behind.

After an extensive search for a new leader, Koreatown nonprofit law firm Public Counsel has named U.S. district court Judge Margaret Morrow its chief executive.

Producer Finds Religion With Faith-Based Movie

FILM: Jon Sheinberg sees Mother Teresa production as long-term investment.

A new movie about Mother Teresa could answer the prayers of veteran L.A. movie producer Jon Sheinberg.

State’s High Court Alters Environment for Projects

REAL ESTATE: Rejection of Newhall Ranch’s EIR may scare away developments.

State high court’s ruling against the Newhall Ranch project may chill other developments.

TV, Radio Company Drops IPO From Schedule

MEDIA: Univision drops plan for IPO as cable sees steep fall in viewership.

Univision Communications cuts cord on IPO plans for now as loss in cable TV subscribers rattles industry.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Low-price online retailer Hollar has raised $12 million in an equity round led by Index Ventures of San Francisco.

New Age for Vet Actress

While making his first film, Matteo Mosterts had to convince actress Linda Gray to don aging makeup and a gray wig to play a 75-year-old aristocrat.

Jerky Maker Turns to Gold To Beef Up

Three Jerks hopes to mine sales interest for $500 edible collectible.

Three Jerks offers a taste of luxury with its $500 gold-covered filet mignon jerky.

‘Big’ Deal for Banks

LENDING: After buyout, L.A. gets new No. 1 bank, ousting City National.

CIT now claims the title of L.A.’s biggest bank but analysts are still sizing up what the new entity’s impact will be.

Mall Makeover Has Little Room for Korean Shops

DEVELOPMENT: Harridge to let tenants go in revamp of Koreatown Galleria.

As developers continue to descend upon Koreatown, betting on the area as a hot residential market, the neighborhood is set to lose many Korean businesses to the redevelopment process.

Quick Rise, Sudden Fall

MANUFACTURING: Fuhu’s bankruptcy prompts bid from giant toymaker Mattel.

Rival Mattel makes play to buy Fuhu after a surprise bankruptcy filing by the kids’ tablet maker.

Tease photo

Real Estate Vet Aims to Build on Downtown Boom

DEVELOPMENT: Related’s William Witte at home with affordable, luxury housing.

The downtown rooting interests of Related California’s William Witte do not include its NBA teams.

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‘Star Wars’ Film Tie-Ins Out in Force

Hype for new sequel may push merch sales beyond $2.5 billion.

“Star Wars” merchandisers hope for a blockbuster sales sequel at the cash register.

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Firm’s Analytics Service Checks Out With Investors

INTERNET: DataScience rings up $22 million more with extended Series A.

Combining old-school consultant skills with analytics software, DataScience of Culver City has convinced investors to give it an additional $22 million, an extension of a $4.5 million Series A round raised in June.

Hotel Keys

Offer Nissenbaum books repeat big-name customers with focus on details, discretion.

Offer Nissenbaum helps the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel score VIPs by leaving room for unusual requests.

Tease photo

Future on Trial For Class Actions

Lawsuit over compensation for plaintiffs’ attorneys could pay off in fewer class-action cases against businesses.

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Sunday, December 13

Space to Grow

Small-rocket makers rush to get business of launching tiny satellites off ground

Demand for tiny satellites has lit a candle under the makers of small rockets.

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Friday, December 11

Chic Boutique Fails

Some vendors to Kitson, which suddenly announced Thursday it was closing all of its 17 boutiques, claim the trendy retailer has been skipping out on some bills for more than a year.

Silicon Beach Deal Flow: Dec. 11

A weekly roundup of must-read L.A. tech investments and acquisitions.

No Fly Zone Over Porter Ranch

As a result of the ongoing natural gas leak near Porter Ranch, the Federal Aviation Administration has banned aircraft flights over the immediate area until early March, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Whisper Users Double to 20 Million

Anonymous sharing app Whisper has doubled its number of monthly active users in seven months to 20 million.

Silicon Beach Launch List: Dec. 11

A weekly roundup of L.A. tech company and product launch.

Big Movers: Mattel Rises, Disney Falls

Mattel Inc. was this week’s biggest local gainer. Shares rose 3 percent, closing at $26.25 upon news that the company might acquire Fuhu Inc., a children’s technology company.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 310 points in Friday trading to close at 17,265. The S&P 500 fell 40 points to 2,012. The Nasdaq fell 112 points to 4,933. The LABJ Stock Index fell five points to 232.

Long Beach Port Has Busy November

A 6.6 percent jump in container cargo volume over the prior year made last month the second busiest November in the 100-plus year history of the Port of Long Beach, officials reported Thursday.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Beverly Hills-based Levine Leichtman Capital Partners announced Tuesday that one of its portfolio companies, aircraft ground support equipment maker Tronair, Inc. of Holland, Ohio, bought Eagle Industrial Truck Manufacturing of Taylor, Mich., a provider of aviation tow tractors.

What to Watch This Weekend

Entertainment reporter Sandro Monetti previews the weekend’s movie releases focusing on the business angles of the plots.

Boyle Heights Businesses Charged with Environmental Violations

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, along with the California Environment Protection Agency and other state regulators, filed criminal charges Friday against five metal plating businesses in Boyle Heights over environmental violations they say pose a public safety threat.

Planning Commission Backs 30-Story Towers in Hollywood

The Los Angeles City Planning Commission on Thursday backed a controversial proposal for two 30-story residential towers in Hollywood, despite complaints from a nonprofit group next door, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Business of Sinatra Still Big

The business of Frank Sinatra is still going strong, CNBC reports.

RealD to Install Auditoriums in China

RealD Inc., the Beverly Hills 3D and visual technology company, signed an agreement to install four of its premium Luxe auditoriums in mainland China, the company announced Wednesday.

Kitson Closing Up Shop

West Hollywood boutique Kitson has seen its last days. The iconic retailer, known for its unique merchandise and celebrity customers, said Thursday it would close all 17 of its stores in California, Oregon and Nevada. See the Los Angeles Business Journal’s coverage here.

Iger’s Big NFL Plans

Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger is moving forward with efforts to help the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders secure an NFL stadium in Carson, the Los Angeles Times reports. He’s aiming to leverage the expertise he’s gained at Disney in the process.

SoCalGas Ordered to Get on Track

California regulators have ordered Southern California Gas Co. to give them a detailed schedule and outline of how the utility plans to plug up the natural gas leak near Porter Ranch, the Los Angeles Times reports. More than 1,000 residents have been temporarily displaced from their homes as a result, according to Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander.

Blight be Gone

Those rundown, foreclosed homes left vacant around Los Angeles may soon be taken over by the city, which plans to repair and sell them, the Los Angeles Times reports. The plan was just approved by the Los Angeles City Council.

U2 Guitarist’s Malibu Pads Get Approval

U2 guitarist the Edge has finally received approval from the California Coastal Commission to build his controversial five houses on an undeveloped ridge in Malibu, the Los Angeles Times reports. Each is slated to be more than 10,000 square feet and have its own swimming pool.

Flipagram Lengthens Videos

Popular photo and video-editing app Flipagram of Century City will expand the length of its videos to 60 seconds, the longest duration of any social media app, CNBC reports.

No “Han Solo” Spinoff for Harrison Ford

Actor Harrison Ford, who reprises his iconic role of Han Solo in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” says he will not be involved in an upcoming movie based on the character, Yahoo News reports. Walt Disney Co. has announced the space hero will get his own film scheduled for release in May 2018.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 256 points in early trading Friday to 17,318. The S&P 500 was down 29 points to 2,024. The Nasdaq was down 64 points to 4,981. The LABJ Stock Index was down three points to 234.

Thursday, December 10

Kitson Closing All Stores

The curtains are drawing to a close for iconic West Hollywood boutique Kitson.

Settlement in ‘Happy Birthday’ Lawsuit

A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit over whether “Happy Birthday to You” belongs in the public domain, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 82 points in trading Thursday to close at 17,575. The S&P 500 was up five points to 2,052. The Nasdaq was up 22 points to 5,045. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 237.

Medbox Founder Sells Shares and Cuts Ties

Medbox Inc. founder Vincent Mehdizadeh is done with his old company.

Kirk Douglas Donates to Alzheimer's Facility

Three-time Academy Award nominee Kirk Douglas donated $15 million toward a new $35 million care center at the Motion Picture Television Fund in Woodland Hills on Wednesday, which was also the actor’s 99th birthday.

Factual Raises $35 Million to Push Expansion

Location data provider Factual of Century City has raised a $35 million Series B round.

Koreatown’s Galleria to Be Redeveloped

Mid-Wilshire developer Harridge Development Group has purchased Koreatown’s most well-known mall, the Wilshire Galleria, for $49 million with an intention to rebuild it.

DataScience Raises $22 Million

Data analysis consultancy DataScience has raised $22 million, an extension of a $4.5 million Series A round raised in June.

Faraday’s Big Plant Going to Nevada

Executives of Faraday Future, an electric-car company in Gardena modeling itself after Tesla Motors, announced Thursday that they have chosen North Las Vegas to build the company’s $1 billion production facility, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Expo Line Racing to the Finish

Progress is being made on the Expo Line Phase II, which will extend from Culver City to downtown Santa Monica, Curbed Los Angeles reports.

Tourism Chief Dies

Brad Burlingame, chief executive of Visit West Hollywood, died Tuesday of pancreatic cancer.

SteelHouse Raises $49 million

SteelHouse, a Los Angeles-based advertising software company, announced Thursday that it raised $49 million in a Series C funding.

Nation’s Busiest Airport This Holiday? LAX

Los Angeles International airport is expected to be America’s busiest airport this holiday season, according to Expedia.

Instacart Expands to South Bay

Instacart, the retail delivery service which has been valued at $2 billion, announced that it has expanded into the South Bay.

Times Sale Not Likely, Tribune Chief Says

Tribune Publishing’s Chief Executive Jack Griffin shot down rumors of the company possibly selling off the Los Angeles Times during a speech Wednesday at a media conference in New York, LA Observed reports.

Golden Globe Nominations Announced

The Weinstein Co.’s “Carol” led the list of nominees for the Golden Globes which were announced Thursday morning, Variety reports. The film received five nods while Legendary Pictures “Steve Jobs,” Paramount Pictures “The Big Short” and Twentieth Century Fox's “The Revenant,” starring Leonardo Dicaprio, each had four.

High Cost of Living

As if rents weren’t expensive enough in L.A., they seem to be creeping up, according to a new Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies report. It states that 58.5 percent of renters in L.A. and Orange Counties spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing last year, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Safety Meeting Date Set

The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board that is investigating the February explosion at the Exxon Mobil Corp. refinery in Torrance has set a January date for a public hearing, the Daily Breeze reports. Another hazardous materials leak occurred at the refinery in Torrance Wednesday, the same day the announcement was made.

Call for Action

Environmental activist Erin Brokovich hosted a meeting Wednesday that drew more than 2,000 residents interested in discussing safety issues as a result of the natural gas leak near Porter Ranch, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Hotel Makeover

Downtown’s Cecil Hotel may be known as a horror hotel – having housed a pair of notorious serial killers in the past – but a New York mogul plans to change that image by overhauling it and adding new bars, restaurants, and a rooftop wading pool, LAist reports.

Advance Movie Tickets in Demand

With the Walt Disney Co.’s new “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” film already racking up more than $50 million in domestic pre-sales, it is raising the bar on the movie industry’s aim to entice movie fans to buy tickets in advance, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Charging Talent

Hoping for fame and fortune, many aspiring actors are being taken advantage of by some talent firms that are forcing them to pay high fees up front, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 136 points in early trading Thursday to 17,627. The S&P 500 was up 14 points to 2,061. The Nasdaq was up 32 points to 5,056. The LABJ Stock Index was up one point to 238.

Wednesday, December 9

Bitcoin Startup GoCoin Merges with Ziftr

Bitcoin payment platform GoCoin of Santa Monica and loyalty points and credit card processing company Ziftr of Milford, N.H. have merged.

SGN Buys Two Small Gaming Studios

Mobile gaming studio SGN of Culver City has purchased two small gaming studios: Fat Rascal Games Inc. of Seattle and Kiwi Inc. of Palo Alto.

Tribune May Bid on OC Register

Tribune Publishing, the Chicago owner of the Los Angeles Times, has indicated it intends to file a bid for the bankrupt owner of the Orange County Register.

American Apparel CEO Aims to Rebuild

Paula Schneider, chief executive of downtown L.A.’s American Apparel Inc., has spent the past year restructuring the company and is now working on revitalizing the brand, Forbes reports.

EcoSense Lighting Acquires Journee Lighting

EcoSense Lighting, a Los Angeles-based LED lighting manufacturer, announced Tuesday that it has acquired Journee, a privately-owned lighting company in Westlake Village. Financial terms of the acquisition were not announced.

Wireless Companies Sued for Allegedly Overcharging

Telecommunications companies Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are being sued by more than 40 California government entities for allegedly overcharging them by $100 million, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

L.A. Restaurant Chain to Pay for Labor Violations

A two-year Labor Department investigation found that 3 Amigos Fresh Mexican Grill restaurants did not pay employees the required amount of 1.5 times regular pay for overtime work, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Herbalife’s Attorney Threatens Ackman

The legal team at L.A.’s Herbalife is escalating its battle with Bill Ackman and his Pershing Square Capital Management, Fox Business News reports.

Disney Invests Another $200 Million in Vice Media

Walt Disney Co. of Burbank has invested another $200 million into Vice Media Inc., on top of the $200 million it invested last month, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Record Price on Rodeo Drive

France’s high fashion retailer Chanel just paid a luxury price to buy retail space it had been leasing on Rodeo Drive, breaking records in the three-block Beverly Hills corridor, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Reader Poll

Retailers have reported lukewarm sales this Christmas shopping season. How would you characterize your holiday purchases?

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 76 points in trading Wednesday to close at 17,492. The S&P 500 was down16 points to 2,048. The Nasdaq was down 75 points to 5,023. The LABJ Stock Index was down two points to 237.

‘No Deal in Works’ for Times, Broad Says

Billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad says he is in no talks to buy the Los Angeles Times despite a tweet two weeks ago by Rupert Murdoch to the contrary, the Chicago Tribune reports. But if there were a deal, how much would the Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune be worth? Only about $200 million, the International Business Times reports, way below The Times’ purchase price of $8.3 billion in 2000.

Next Stop: Cuba

The first weekly nonstop flight from Los Angeles to Havana, Cuba, is scheduled to take off Saturday on American Airlines, the Los Angeles Times reports. It will be the first such flight from the West Coast.

Snapchat Snaps Back

Venice’s Snapchat, the social-networking startup, is back online after sustaining a sweeping outage Tuesday that lasted for hours, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Few Making Money on Obamacare

California’s biggest health insurance companies, Blue Shield of California, Kaiser Permanente and Anthem Blue Cross, are among the few nationwide to have seen profits last year from Obamacare, the Los Angeles Times reports. Blue Shield of California led the country with $107 million in profits from individual policies.

Century Plaza Overhaul Set

The long-anticipated makeover of the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel is scheduled to begin on March 1 with the goal of making it a five-star property, the Los Angeles Times reports. The plan includes the addition of two 46-story residential towers as well as restaurants and retail space.

Torrance Refinery Leaks Again

Another hazardous materials leak has occurred at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, coming just hours after a public meeting was announced to address such safety issues, the Daily Breeze reports. A state hearing is also scheduled soon regarding the company’s appeal of the $560,000 fine levied against it as a result of a February explosion.

County May Join Lawsuit Against SoCalGas

Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich wants the county to join the lawsuit filed Monday by L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer against Southern California Gas Co. over the gas leak near Porter Ranch, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Antonovich is expected to report back to the Board of Supervisors in two weeks on the possibility.

Security Breach at Elephant Bar

The Elephant Bar restaurant chain has reported its security system was breached which may have compromised the credit and debit card payments made by its customers in half a dozen locations in Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Lining Up for ‘Star Wars’ – 10 Days Early

The movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” does not open until Dec. 18, but that’s not stopping the most dedicated fans from lining up at the TCL Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard to secure their spots in line, the New York Times reports. More than 100 are already there.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 145 points in early trading Wednesday to 17,712. The S&P 500 was up 11 points to 2,075. The Nasdaq was up two points to 5,100. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 239.

Tuesday, December 8

Hyperloop Finds Land for Test Track

Vacuum tube transportation company Hyperloop Technologies Inc. will locate its first test track on about 50 acres in North Las Vegas, Nev.

Google Fiber Looking at Expanding to Los Angeles

Alphabet Inc. announced in a blog post that it is looking at expanding its high-speed Internet network Google Fiber to Los Angeles.

Kite Pharma Planning Stock Sale

Shares of Santa Monica cancer drug developer Kite Pharma Inc. were up Tuesday after the company announced it plans to sell up to $250 million worth of common stock.

SoCalGas Responds to Leak

Southern California Gas Co. executives say they are doing what they can to ameliorate the effects of the gas leak near Porter Ranch that has been ongoing since late October and appears likely to continue for several months.

MGM Leads Investment in Interlude

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. has raised $18.2 million from investors, including Warner Music Group, Samsung Electronics Co., Menlo Park's Sequoia Capital and Santa Clara’s Intel Capital, to fund New York interactive media startup Interlude, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Universal Announces Harry Potter's Opening Date

Universal Studios Hollywood announced Tuesday that its attraction “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” will open on April 7.

Shoes of Prey Raises $15 million

Shoes of Prey, a Los Angeles fashion startup that allows women to order shoes to their specifications, has raised $15 million in a Series B funding round, according to the company.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 163 points in trading Tuesday to close at 17,568. The S&P 500 was down 13 points to 2,064. The Nasdaq was down four points to 5,098. The LABJ Stock Index was down one point to 239.

L.A. Hiring Forecast Up Slightly

Employers in Los Angeles are expecting modest hiring during the first quarter of next year with 15 percent planning to increase staff, according to a survey released Tuesday by Milwaukee staffing giant ManPower Inc. See the Los Angeles Business Journal’s coverage here.

Quicker Internet Coming

With 1-gigabit-per-second Internet speed, you could download a TV show in three seconds or 25 songs in one second. AT&T; is starting to offer just such service in Los Angeles, beginning with two high-end apartment complexes downtown, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The rest of the city should get the service next year.

Docstoc Closed

Financial and tax software developer Intuit Inc. shut down Santa Monica document sharing company Docstoc Inc. last week, the Los Angeles Times reports. The closure came two years after Intuit acquired the company for about $50 million. Founder Jason Nazar said he tried buying Docstoc back, but to no avail.

New ‘Star Wars’ is Top Secret

The plot of the new Walt Disney movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has been so under wraps that at least one of the film’s stars was initially sworn to secrecy that she had even been cast in the movie, Yahoo News reports. With just a week before its Dec. 14 premiere, some of the actors have not yet even seen the film.

Change in Policy

The California Endowment has announced it will no longer invest in companies that make money from operating private prisons, jails and correctional facilities, the Street Insider reports.

Abrupt Departure

Bill Lee, the chief executive of Alchemy – formerly known as Millennium Entertainment – is stepping down, the Los Angeles Times reports. He bought the film distributor last year with a team of investors.

Joe Jonas Sells Hollywood Hills Home

Singer and actor Joe Jonas is saying goodbye to his traditional, Hollywood Hills home, selling it for $2.88 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. The 2,900-square-foot house was built in 1923 and has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a swimming pool and an atrium.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 166 points in early trading Tuesday to 17,563. The S&P 500 was down 16 points to 2,061. The Nasdaq was down 31 points to 5,071. The LABJ Stock Index was down two points to 238.

Survey: L.A. Hiring Up a Bit in First Quarter

Los Angeles employers say they plan modest hiring during the first quarter of next year, according to a survey to be released Tuesday from Manpower Inc.

Monday, December 7

L.A. Tech Events Calendar: Dec. 7 - Dec. 20

Roundup of L.A. tech events in the next two weeks.

Fuhu Inc. Files for Bankruptcy Protection; Mattel Inc. to the Rescue

In just a year, El Segundo’s Fuhu Inc. has gone from the nation’s reported fastest growing company to one applying for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in advance of a possible sale for less than $10 million.

Hanmi Upset at Proposed BBCN-Wilshire Merger

The announcement Monday morning that BBCN Bancorp, which primarily caters to the Korean-American community, plans to acquire its rival Wilshire Bancorp in a deal valued at about $1 billion is not sitting well with Hanmi Financial, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Sarkisian Sues USC

Former USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian filed a lawsuit Monday against the university, saying he was wrongfully terminated in October, ESPN reports.

Redstone Does Have Succession Plan

Despite recent reports to the contrary, Sumner Redstone, who is chairman of both Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp., has a succession plan in place, according to Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman, the Los Angeles Times reports. Dauman said that Redstone, 92, has established a trust to be overseen by seven trustees, including two of his family members and Dauman, once Redstone dies or is found to be mentally incompetent.

City Attorney Sues SoCalGas

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Monday that he has filed a lawsuit against the Southern California Gas Co. over the natural gas leak that has been going on since October at its facility near Porter Ranch, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

LegalZoom Acquires British Law Firm for International Expansion

LegalZoom of Glendale has agreed to buy British law firm Beaumont Legal for an undisclosed amount, as part of its planned 2016 expansion into the United Kingdom.

Petersen Re-opens to Mixed Reviews

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles re-opened to the public Monday, boasting a red exterior of aluminum and stainless steel and an extensive gallery of approximately 150 vehicles.

Markets Down

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 117 points in trading Monday to close at 17,731. The S&P 500 declined 15 points to 2,077. The Nasdaq slid 41 points to 5,102. The LABJ Stock Index was down two points to 240.

Reader Poll

Climate change/global warming has become a hot topic lately, given the world conference in Paris. Where do you place climate change on your ranking of big concerns?

BBCN to Buy Wilshire Bancorp

BBCN Bancorp, which primarily caters to the Korean-American community, announced Monday morning it plans to buy its rival Wilshire Bancorp in a deal valued at around $1 billion, Reuters reports. The move comes just a couple of weeks after Hanmi Financial proposed to merge with BBCN for about $1.6 billion. A BBCN-Wilshire combination would create L.A.’s fifth-biggest bank.

City to Sue Over Gas Leak

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has called a press conference for 10:30 a.m. today and is expected to announce the city has filed a lawsuit against Southern California Gas Co. The company’s field near Porter Ranch has been leaking natural gas since late October; more than 200 families have temporarily relocated.

Kite Drug Wins FDA Designation

Kite Pharma of Santa Monica announced Monday morning that its lead product candidate for the treatment of Non Hodgkin Lymphoma has been given a so-called breakthrough therapy designation from the FDA.

New VICA Chairman

The Valley Industry Association voted Kevin Tamaki in as the business group’s chairman during its annual meeting over the weekend, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Tamaki will serve a two-year term and wants the organization to stay focused on transportation issues and creating jobs, especially in the tech field.

Digital to Overtake TV Ads

TV advertising revenue has fallen year-over-year for the first time in history. At the same time, revenue from digital ads is soaring, raising expectations that digital could overtake TV advertising in the United States by next year and globally by the end of 2017, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Betting on Grapefruit

Billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick, who own the company behind Fiji Water and Pom Wonderful, have decided the grapefruit will be their next celebrity product, Bloomberg reports. The couple’s Wonderful Co. has purchased grapefruit groves in Texas as well as a processing plant.

LAX is No. 1 for Veggie Meals

Los Angeles International Airport is tops when it comes to offering options for vegetarians, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Refinery Safety Meeting in Torrance

Torrance has been chosen by CalEPA as one of four locations for public workshops to be held this month to talk about enforcing more stringent refinery regulations in light of the February explosion at ExxonMobil’s Torrance refinery, the Daily Breeze reports. A meeting is scheduled for Dec. 16.

Box Office: 'Hunger Games' Remains No. 1

"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part Two," the Lions Gate Entertainment film starring Jennifer Lawrence, still dominated the box office in its third week, making $18.6 million, the Hollywood Reporter says. Universal Studio's and Legendary Pictures’ “Krampus,” came in at No. 2, grossing $16 million.

Kerry Washington Puts House on the Market

Star of NBC’s “Scandal” Kerry Washington and her husband, ex-NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha, have listed their Hollywood Hills house for $2.7 million and had an interested buyer within days, the Los Angeles Times reports. The 3,855-square-foot house, which has views of the Hollywood sign, features a gym, chauffeur's quarters and a swimming pool.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 115 points in early trading Monday to 17,733. The S&P 500 was down 13 points to 2,078. The Nasdaq was down 30 points to 5,113. The LABJ Stock Index was down two points to 240.

Happiness Committee’s Focus No Laughing Matter

MARKETING: Troika sees panel as means to retain, inspire firm’s employees.

Marketing agency Troika has formed a Happiness Committee to keep its 45 staffers enthusiastic about coming to work.

Burger Chain Wants Bite Of L.A. Market

Checkers & Rally’s set to drive sales with focus on low-price fast food.

Burger chain Checkers & Rally’s sees a window in the market for its low-price fare.

Conventions

Upcoming conventions

Calendar

Calendar of events

Business Group Pitches Plan to Assist Homeless

Central City Association, which represents property owners and businesses in downtown Los Angeles, has put forth its recommendations on what needs to be done to address homelessness, especially around Skid Row.

Security Firm Locks Down Ukraine Deal

Worldwide Aeros lands contract for airships, surveillance systems.

Worldwide Aeros’ surveillance systems and airships will help Ukraine draw the line with Russia in their border battle.

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Peddle Meddle

Share programs have challenged businesses eager to ride new enthusiasm for bicycles.

Some bike vendors are spinning their wheels as share programs have undercut business.

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New Wave

Old shops washed out by Venice’s tech scene

Influx of tech firms is helping pull the plug on older shops along Venice’s Rose Avenue.

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Hotel’s Rooms for Dessert

Federico Fernandez, executive pastry chef at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, has tackled plenty of sugar-related challenges in his time – including a seven-tiered wedding cake.

Expert Witness Sees Hefty Pay

LAW: Richard Marks in high demand in show-biz disputes.

Richard Marks has secured some high-paying gigs by being cast as an expert witness in entertainment disputes.

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Affordable Fee May Be Costly

DEVELOPMENT: Some say housing ‘tax’ will kill projects.

Some businesses say L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s proposed affordable housing fee could cost the city projects.

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New Wave

How to make millions flipping in Venice

Designer Kim Gordon has homed in on turning aged Venice houses into multimillion-dollar properties.

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Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Downtown L.A.’s Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co., the largest metals processor and distributor in the country, has reached an agreement to purchase all of the outstanding capital stock of Tubular Steel Inc., a metal distributor in St. Louis.

Knocking On Door

REAL ESTATE: Westside Rentals aims to move beyond paid listing to home sales.

Listings site Westside Rentals will open the door to home sales with its new brokerage division.

Suspended Distribution Further Sinks Oil Firm

ENERGY: Breitburn shares have shed 90 percent of value over last 52 weeks.

Breitburn’s stock hole widens after the oil and gas firm suspends shareholder distributions.

Exec Search Firm May Have Found Good Match

STAFFING: Korn Ferry’s shares rise as Hay Group pickup expands services.

Acquisition of Hay Group could give Korn Ferry a higher profile beyond executive search services.

Casino Sees Added Hotel As Good Bet for Business

GAMBLING: Bell Gardens’ Bicycle looks to get in gear as luxury destination.

Bicycle Casino puts its money on hospitality with the addition of a seven-story luxury boutique hotel.

Business Groups See Project Moratorium as DOA

DEVELOPMENT: Initiative by activists draws ire as hurdle to housing needs.

Local business groups, led by downtown L.A.’s Central City Association, have begun a campaign against a likely ballot measure next year that would make it tougher to get approvals for development projects in the city of Los Angeles.

Little Tokyo Gets City to Hit Brake on Subway Plan

GOVERNMENT: Metro to delay project to preserve New Year’s Day sales.

Japanese businesses in Little Tokyo have avoided a catastrophe in the weeks leading up to New Year’s Day – the most lucrative shopping season of the year for the area’s shops.

Philanthropic Execs Invest in Legacies

Baruch Littman has some advice for business leaders on how their charitable legacies will outlive their legends as executives.

And the Award Goes to ...

‘Oscar Season’ returns to once again show Hollywood leads all industries when it comes to self-adulation.

Michael Levine offers kudos to Hollywood’s narcissism as “Oscar Season” and its nods, noms and wins begin.

Lakers’ Woes? It’s the Owner, Stupid

Who’s most to blame for the Lakers’ woes? Charles Crumpley slams the guy at the top.

Brokerage Founder Credits Star for Guiding Career

SALES: Tami Pardee says working for Sharon Stone taught her how to succeed.

When she worked as Sharon Stone’s personal assistant, the first instructions Tami Pardee heard from her famous boss were, “I never want to hear the word ‘no’ from you.”

Friday, December 4

Silicon Beach Deal Flow: Dec. 4

A weekly roundup of must-read L.A. tech investments and acquisitions.

Silicon Beach Launch List: Dec. 4

A weekly roundup of L.A. tech company and product launch.

3PL Central Raises $17.5 million

3PL Central, a developer of warehouse management software in Manhattan Beach, announced Thursday that it has received its first outside capital in the form of a $17.5 million investment from Mainsail Partners.

Surf Air Raises Prices

Subscription airline Surf Air will raise its all-you-can-fly price Jan. 1. to $1,950 a month, rising from $1,750 a month.

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Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 370 points in trading Friday to 17,847. The S&P 500 was up 42 points to 2,091. The Nasdaq was up 105 points to 5,142. The LABJ Stock Index was up six points to 242.

Charney: Fight With American Apparel Not Over

If you thought the saga between downtown L.A. apparel maker American Apparel Inc. and its founder and former chief executive Dov Charney was finished, think again.

Broadway Financial and Cadiz Among This Week’s Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies was down for the week. The weighted LABJ index fell 1 percent to close at 242, with losers outpacing gainers 93 to 54. Seven companies closed the week unchanged.

Gabelli Advises Viacom to Sell Part of Paramount

Investor Mario Gabelli, the second-largest shareholder of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp., is urging Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone to sell a stake in Paramount Pictures to Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, the Financial Times reports.

Export-Import Bank is Back

Months after its charter expired, the federal Export-Import Bank has been revived, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Little Tokyo Hits Brake on Subway Plan

The Little Tokyo Community Council has gotten a temporary halt to subway construction to prevent disruption to the important shopping days leading up to New Year’s Day.

Saban’s Univision Postpones IPO

Univision Communications Inc., the Spanish-language media company owned by Los Angeles billionaire Haim Saban, has postponed plans for a 2015 initial public offering due to the disappointing performance of media-company stocks and a sluggish market for first-time share sales, according to the Wall Street Journal.

What to Watch this Weekend

Entertainment reporter Sandro Monetti’s business take on this weekend’s new movie releases.

Deal for Hospitals Approved

California Attorney General Kamala Harris late Thursday gave conditional approval to a deal to transfer control of the Daughters of Charity Health System’s six struggling hospitals, including two in Los Angeles, to New York private investment firm BlueMountain Capital Management. See the Los Angeles Business Journal's coverage here.

‘No’ to Olympics in Griffith Park

The Los Angeles bid to host the 2024 Olympics includes plans for Griffith Park to be used for off-road bicycling events. But park officials are not in favor of that idea, saying biking on trails is against the rules, Curbed Los Angeles reports. They claim the event could harm the park’s ecosystem.

Petersen Museum Races to the Finish

The Petersen Automotive Museum is set to reopen to the public Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reports. The museum has gone through a renovation that includes an added floor, new interactive technology and galleries with displays of 100 automobiles, 23 motorcycles, a bobsled and four scooters. And, of course, there’s that dramatic exterior.

Job Numbers Beat Estimates

The private sector added 211,000 jobs in November, higher than the 200,000 expected, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in a report released this morning, CNBC reports. The unemployment rate held at 5 percent. The news may give the Federal Reserve cover to raise interest rates later this month.

Taraji P. Henson Lists Hollywood Hills House

Oscar-nominated actress and star of TV’s “Empire” Taraji P. Henson has put her mansion in Beachwood Canyon on the market for $3.25 million, Curbed Los Angeles reports. There are four bedrooms in the tri-level house – one of which was converted into a dressing room – as well as a wine cellar that can hold more than 600 bottles, a home theater and outdoor entertaining areas.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 190 points in early trading Friday to 17,668. The S&P 500 was up 20 points to 2,069. The Nasdaq was up 50 points to 5,087. The LABJ Stock Index was up four points to 239.

Deal Approved for Daughters of Charity hospitals

California Attorney General Kamala Harris late Thursday granted conditional approval of Daughters of Charity Health System’s deal to transfer control of its six ailing hospitals, including two in Los Angeles County, to New York private investment firm BlueMountain Capital Management, along with a long list of conditions.

Thursday, December 3

SunPac Merger Delayed

State and federal banking regulators are still deciding whether to approve the proposed merger of Los Angeles-based SunPac Financial with Fresno’s Security First Bank, The Fresno Bee reports.

Stocks Fall; Cadiz Climbs, Xencor Tanks

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 252 points in Thursday trading to close at 17,478. The S&P 500 fell 30 points to 2,050. The Nasdaq fell 86 points to 5,038. The LABJ Stock Index fell two points to 236.

Rogers & Cowan Names New Leadership

Rogers & Cowan has named two presidents to lead the Los Angeles public relations and marketing agency. Alan Nierob and Fran Curtis will now lead Entertainment Worldwide, according to a press release.

Last Nude for Playboy: Pamela Anderson

Actress Pamela Anderson will be the last person to pose nude for Playboy, CNBC reports. The former "Baywatch" star will appear on the cover of the magazine’s January/February 2016 edition which is scheduled to hit newsstands next week.

Kobe Bryant Making Business Moves

Kobe Bryant is only starting to finish his basketball career but he’s already turning his attention to business Bryant's company, Kobe Inc., has filed for various trademarks that are linked to a marketing campaign for his last year as a professional basketball player, ESPN reports.

Historic DTLA Hotel Holding Garage Sale

The Hotel Figueroa, one of the oldest hotels downtown, is undergoing a big renovation and, as a result, will be selling off its vintage Moroccan décor, beginning Thursday, LAist reports.

State Fines Edison $16.7 Million

The California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday penalized Southern California Edison $16.7 million for failing to report communications between Edison executives and the commission regarding the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant.

‘Star Wars’ Premiere Shrouded in Secrecy

Walt Disney Co. is striving to keep the location of the premiere of its J.J. Abrams-directed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” under wraps, the Hollywood Reporter says.

American Homes Buys Rival

Agoura Hills-based American Homes 4 Rent, the country’s largest publicly traded single-family home landlord, announced Thursday that it will acquire American Residential Properties Inc., a real estate investment trust based in Scottsdale, Ariz., in a transaction valued at $1.5 billion.

Jason Nazar Raises $5.2 Million for Stealth Startup

Jason Nazar has closed a $5.2 million seed round for a new startup named Crew32, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Hollar Raises $12 Million, A Few Months After Seed Round

Online discount store Hollar of Santa Monica has closed a $12 million Series A round just four months after raising a $5.5 million seed round.

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Newhall Ranch Developer: We’ll Keep Pushing

Even though the state Supreme Court rejected an environmental impact report for the Newhall Ranch development near Santa Clarita – a huge setback for what would be a small city that would be home for nearly 60,000 people – its developer said it remains committed to the project, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

So How is Redstone’s Health, Really?

Famed investor Mario Gabelli, the second-largest shareholder of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp., called on directors of both companies to be honest about the health of Sumner Redstone, the 92-year-old chairman of both companies, the Los Angeles Times reports. “Where are the boards of Viacom and CBS?” Gabelli asked.

Getting Closer to an NFL Decision

National Football League owners have scheduled a special meeting for next month that could determine whether a team – or two – will move to Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reports. The NFL also has set a Dec. 28 deadline for three current home cities to make their final offers for keeping their teams.

Getting the Shaft

Some actors say Los Angeles authorities are indifferent when it comes to talent agents ripping them off, the Los Angeles Times reports. While local and state officials say there can be problems, they say civil court may be the best venue.

Rate Hike – Finally – This Month?

It seems more likely there will be an interest rate hike later this month, judging from remarks made by Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen in Washington Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reports. There’s been talk of a Fed rate hike for months, years even.

November Layoffs Way Down

Layoffs nationwide in November fell to about 31,000, a 14-month low, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, CNBC reports. On the other hand, this year could be the worst for job cuts in six years.

Mayor Garcetti Lists Echo Park Home

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and his wife, Amy Wakeland, have put their Echo Park mid-century home on the market for $1.65 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. The house features walls of floor-to-ceiling glass. The couple currently lives at the Getty House in Windsor Square, the mayor’s official residence.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 75 points in early trading Thursday to 17,657. The S&P 500 was down eight points to 2,073. The Nasdaq was down 14 points to 5,110. The LABJ Stock Index was down two points to 239.

Wednesday, December 2

CIM to Build Tallest Condo Tower in West

CIM Group of Los Angeles appears set to build the tallest residential tower west of the Mississippi River. CIM has closed on a $14.5 million purchase of nearly 2 acres in downtown Austin, Texas, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

Universal Studios Claims Record Year Already

There is still a month left in the year, but Universal Studios already has had a bigger year at the box office than any studio in history.

UCLA Anderson Forecast: More Jobs

The state unemployment rate is expected to continue dropping over the next two years, and California will outpace the nation in job growth, according to a UCLA Anderson Forecast released Wednesday, CBS Los Angeles reports.

L.A. on Agenda Today for NFL Owners

National Football League owners are meeting Wednesday to talk about the possibility of bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reports. No decision is expected.

LeBron James’s Company Gets Warner Investment

NBA star LeBron James’s new multimedia company, Uninterrupted, has secured a $15.8 million investment from Warner Bros. Entertainment and Turner Sports, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Marcus & Millichap Getting into Industrial Sales

Calabasas brokerage Marcus & Millichap, best known for selling apartment buildings, is expanding into the office and industrial properties sector. The firm’s Institutional Property Advisory service will add an office and industrial division, headed up by Senior Vice President Alan L. Pontius, the company announced Wednesday.

Stocks Fall; Second Sight is Up, BreitBurn Sinks Again

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 159 points in Wednesday trading to close at 17,730. The S&P 500 fell 23 points to 2,080. The Nasdaq fell 33 points to 5,123. The LABJ Stock Index fell three points to 241.

New Service Lets Shoppers Test Drive Cars 3 Days

Car Harmony has launched an online car shopping service for customers in Los Angeles, the company announced Wednesday.

Put on Those Ears: Dating Site for Disney Fans Debuts

What is being billed as the first dating website for Disney fans launched this week.

EPA Eyeing Exxon Mobil

The Environmental Protection Agency is investigating Exxon Mobil Corp. for possibly downplaying the potential impact of an industrial disaster at its Torrance refinery, the Daily Breeze reports. Two South Bay congress members also accused ExxonMobil earlier this year of failing to cooperate fully with a federal investigation in the wake of an explosion last February.

Maxine Waters Fights for Export-Import Bank

Rep. Maxine Waters, a Democrat, recently became the deciding vote in a measure that would revive the controversial Export-Import Bank despite her past criticism of big corporations, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Tackling Gender Bias in Hollywood

At a two-day meeting in the fall, a group of 44 industry leaders in entertainment came together to talk about the lack of women in front of and behind the camera, the Los Angeles Times reports. The meeting was one of the first efforts by the power players to discuss alleged gender bias.

Pain at the Pump

Drivers in Los Angeles are paying an average 75 cents more a gallon than the national average, the Los Angeles Times reports. That is compared with a 30-cent difference a year ago. The higher prices are due to lower fuel production at California refineries, mainly the still-crippled Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance.

Private Sector Added 217,000 Jobs

The private sector added 217,000 jobs in November, according to an ADP report, CNBC reports. Previous estimates were for 190,000 new jobs.

Jack Carter’s House Sells

Actor and comedian Jack Carter’s Beverly Hills home has sold for $5.82 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Spanish-style, nearly 4,500-square-foot house features beamed ceilings, six bedrooms, five bathrooms and a swimming pool. Carter died earlier this year at the age of 93.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 11 points in early trading Wednesday to 17,878. The S&P 500 was down one point to 2,102. The Nasdaq was up 11 points to 5,167. The LABJ Stock Index was down one point to 243.

Tuesday, December 1

Breitburn Stops Distributions; Shares Plunge

Shares of Breitburn Energy Partners plunged more than 20 percent on Tuesday after the Los Angeles oil and gas drilling partnership made a long-expected announcement it is suspending shareholder distributions, effective immediately.

Nant Health Postpones IPO

Nant Health is postponing its planned initial public offering, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. Billionaire biotech entrepreneur Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong told the publication that he was delaying the IPO, only five months after he said that he planned to take the company public by year’s end.

Regent Properties Sees Luxury Homes in Ventura

The Ventura City Council has given a Los Angeles developer the OK to submit an application to build a luxury housing development in the hills above the city, the Ventura County Star reports.

Seinfeld Apartment Moves to Melrose

Hulu, the Los Angeles streaming service, will open a “Seinfeld: The Apartment” experience on Melrose Avenue, the LAist reports.

UberEntrepreneurs Launches in Southern California

UberArtist recognized musicians and artists who drive with Uber to pay the bills. UberMentor paired leaders in science and technology in the backseat with riders. And UberEats partnered with local restaurants to deliver food.

CIM Group Signs Lease with Munger, Tolles & Olson

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP has signed a long-term lease with L.A.’s CIM Group to move the law firm’s headquarters to 150,500 square feet at 2 Cal, an office building at 350 S. Grand Ave. in Bunker Hill.

SoCal Gas President Apologizes for Leak

In the wake of the natural gas leak in Porter Ranch that has caused more than 200 families to temporarily relocate, the president of the Southern California Gas Co. issued a public apology on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Greycroft Raises $200 Million Fund

Downtown L.A. venture capital firm Greycroft Partners has closed a $200 million investment fund.

Korn Ferry Completes Acquisition

Century City executive search company Korn/Ferry International announced Tuesday that it has completed its acquisition of the Hay Group, a similar firm.

Another Acquisition for L.A.’s Reliance Steel

Downtown Los Angeles-based metals service provider Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. said it has agreed to buy Tubular Steel Inc. of St. Louis, which processes and distributes metal pipe, tubing and bars. The transaction amount was not disclosed.

Mixed-Use Building Could Tower Over Hollywood

A newly released environmental report for a skyscraper that is proposed to be built near Hollywood’s famed Capitol Records building is revealing more details about the project, Curbed Los Angeles reports.

Stocks Rise; Emcore Corp. Soars, BreitBurn Tanks

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 168 points in Tuesday trading to close at 17,888. The S&P 500 rose 22 points to 2,103. The Nasdaq rose 48 points to 5,156. The LABJ Stock Index rose three points to 243.

Newhall Ranch Set Way Back

The Newhall Ranch development near Santa Clarita – which was approved 12 years ago and would house nearly 60,000 people – was dealt a stunning setback Monday, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Los California Supreme Court rejected its 5,800 page environmental impact report because it did not address greenhouse gas emissions and how a little fish, the unarmored threespine stickleback, would be protected.

Gas Will Leak Four More Months

That natural gas leak near Porter Ranch may take up to four months to plug, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. So far, more than 280 families have been forced to evacuate. Executives of the Southern California Gas Co. are to appear before the Los Angeles City Council to provide a progress report and explain why their community outreach fell short. “Their crisis communication plan ... if they had one at all, has failed miserably,” said City Councilman Mitch Englander.

Judge: No Urgency to Determine Redstone’s Competency

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Monday denied the request from Sumner Redstone’s ex-girlfriend to have Redstone take medical tests immediately, the Los Angeles Times reports. The judge said there is no “urgency” to determine his mental competence since Redstone, who is chairman of both Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp., is not facing any “critical health issues” except for his advanced age of 92.

Violating Wage Rules?

Build Your Dreams — known as BYD — a Chinese-owned company downtown that makes electric vehicles is being accused by Jobs to Move America, a coalition of labor and groups, of violating its agreement with the city, the Los Angeles Times reports. The organization claims the company failed to pay a living wage to its employees. The city gave $1.6 million to BYD five years ago in an effort to create new jobs and green technology.

Wells Fargo Under Fire

First, City Attorney Mike Feuer filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo Bank earlier this year, claiming it mistreated customers. But now the federal government apparently is also investigating the bank’s practices, the Los Angeles Times reports, citing a Wall Street Journal story. The San Francisco bank is being accused of using aggressive sales tactics that encourage employees to engage in illegal behavior.

Fundraising on Snapchat

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation plans to donate $3 to the nonprofit group RED every time a “World AIDS Day” digital banner is used on Tuesday on Venice's Snapchat, the social-networking startup, the Los Angeles Times reports. RED was founded by singer and U2 front man Bono and Bobby Shriver to raise awareness about AIDS.

LAX Traffic Rises

The number of travelers through Los Angeles International Airport was up nearly 9 percent last month than the same period a year ago, LAX officials reported Monday. See the Los Angeles Business Journal’s coverage here.

Wahlberg’s Former House on the Market

Actor Mark Wahlberg’s one time Beverly Hills estate is now on the market for $30 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. He sold it for less than $13 million two years ago. The compound includes a professional boxing ring and a two-story guest house.

New Tarantino Film is Three Hours

You might want to bring a meal to see Quentin Tarantino’s new film, “The Hateful Eight.” It is three hours long, Showbiz411 reports. Also, the movie was shot on 70 mm film, so the producer had to search for theaters with the right projection equipment and eventually found about 100 of them.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 72 points in early trading Tuesday to 17,792. The S&P 500 was up seven points to 2,087. The Nasdaq was up 12 points to 5,121. The LABJ Stock Index was up two points to 243.

Jump in Traffic at LAX

More passengers – nearly 9 percent more – traveled through Los Angeles International Airport in October than did in the same month last year, officials with the Los Angeles World Airports reported Monday.