Stories for February 2015

Friday, February 27

L.A. Launch List: Feb. 27

On this week's Launch List: texting for businesses and consumers, a personal concierge service and the Clippers.

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LAX Cargo, Passenger Traffic Grows

Los Angeles International Airport started 2015 with a modest increase in passenger traffic, with the number of people passing through the airport in January rising less than 1 percent over the same month the year before.

Nasty Gal Raises $16 Million

Nasty Gal, the downtown Los Angeles women’s clothing retailer, has closed a $16 million Series C funding round to help fuel growth and expansion.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Century City private equity and debt firm Breakaway Capital Partners announced Wednesday that it has provided a senior credit facility to Wave Technology Solutions Group Inc., an IT consulting firm in Irvine. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Medbox, Second Sight Among Week’s Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies fell slightly for the week. The weighted LABJ index fell less than 1 percent to close at 225, with losers just outpacing gainers 77 to 73. Eight companies closed the week unchanged.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 82 points and closed at 18,133. The S&P 500 fell six points to 2,105. The Nasdaq fell 24 points to 4,964. The LABJ Stock Index fell eight points to 225.

Demand Media Sells Pluck

Demand Media has sold social media tool developer Pluck to New York marketing software company Sprinklr.

J2 Global Extends Carbonite Offer, Again

J2 Global just won’t quit.

Oil Prices on Track for Best Monthly Gain Since 2009

Crude oil prices are poised for the biggest monthly gain since 2009, CNBC reports. U.S. crude oil was set to end February with its first monthly rise in eight months.

Teachers, Threatening to Strike, Rally in Downtown Los Angeles

Thousands of teachers and their supporters rallied downtown yesterday demanding higher salaries and smaller classes, the Los Angeles Times reports.

American Express Aims to Return Focus to Affluent

American Express has failed to renew key partnerships with Costco and JetBlue and may be facing a court case, but the company hopes a renewed focus on wealthy clients will help turn things around, the New York Times reports.

Economic Outlook is Favorable Despite Slow Fourth-Quarter Growth

While U.S. economic growth slowed during the fourth quarter, thanks to a wider trade deficit and a slow stock pace, there is still good news, Reuters reports.

State issues 110,000 Driver’s Licenses to Illegal Immigrants

California has issued 110,000 driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants in the seven weeks since the enactment of a new law, AB 60, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Ports Prepare for Homeland Security Shutdown

In the event of a shutdown by the Department of Homeland Security, officials say both the Los Angeles and Long Beach Ports are prepared with contingency plans, City News Service reports.

Sony Pictures Digital Chief is Out

Sony Pictures Digital President Bob Osher has been fired, Variety reports, part of an ongoing restructuring at Culver City's Sony Pictures Entertainment.

CIT Group and OneWest Bank Officials say Merger Good for Poor Neighbors

At a hearing with federal regulators in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday, the chief executives of CIT Group and OneWest Bank say their proposed combined bank, which would be the largest in Los Angeles County, would benefit poor neighborhoods and increase small business lending, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Chemical-Laden Waste Water Being Dumped into Pits in Kern County

Oil producers in Kern County are dumpling contaminated wastewater into hundreds of unlined pits currently operating without the proper permits, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 23 points in Friday morning trading to 18,191. The S&P 500 was down two points to 2,109. The Nasdaq was down six points to 4,982. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 225.

Thursday, February 26

Net Neutrality Wins; What L.A. Tech Has to Say

L.A. tech leaders who spoke to the Business Journal on Thursday offered nearly unanimous support of the FCC’s vote, although some with reservations. What follows is a sampling of their reaction.

Herbalife's Fourth-Quarter Earnings Prove Disappointing

Herbalife Ltd., the embattled downtown Los Angeles nutritional supplement company, reported its fourth quarter earnings, with some disappointing results, after markets closed Thursday.

National Technical Acquires Trace Laboratories

National Technical Systems Inc., a Calabasas engineering and testing company, announced Thursday it has acquired Trace Laboratories in Baltimore.

L.A. Cargo Volumes Fall in January

The Port of Los Angeles saw January cargo volumes fall nearly 23 percent compared with the same month a year ago, a result of the slowdowns and partial shutdowns that gripped the local ports during contentions contract negotiations between shipping lines and dockworkers. Those negotiations wrapped up last week.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 10 points in Thursday trading to close at 18,214. The S&P 500 fell three points to 2,111. The Nasdaq rose 21 points to 4,988. The LABJ stock index fell one point to 226.

Twenty20 Launches Photo Catalog With $8 Million

Twenty20, a crowdsourced commercial image catalog, has launched out of beta with $8 million in Series A funding.

Net Neutrality Up for Vote Today

The new net neutrality rules are set for a vote today and are expected to be approved by a three-to-two vote along partisan lines, CNBC reports. Those in favor of net neutrality say it would ensure Internet providers are not able to interfere with access to the Web. Opponents say it’ll stifle innovation.

Paramount Pictures Film Group President Leaving

Adam Goodman, Paramount Pictures’ film group president, is expected to leave the studio, the Los Angeles Times reports. He has more than a year left in his contract. Paramount Pictures is not yet commenting.

Latino Leaders Seek a Senate Candidate to Replace Villaraigosa

Local Latino leaders are now scrambling to find another Senate candidate to replace former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who bowed out of the race to replace Barbara Boxer yesterday. Members of the Legislative Latino Caucus discussed possible candidates at their retreat in Napa, the Los Angeles Times reports.

After Posting Loss, Sears Announces Split

After posting a $159 million loss over the holidays as its sales plunged, Sears said today in a letter accompanying the company’ earnings report that it would split off up to 300 of its best stores into a separate company by June, advancing the dismantling of the struggling retailer by hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Truck Driver in Metrolink Derailment in Court

The driver of the pick-up truck hit by a Metrolink train earlier this week, causing a derailment in Oxnard that injured dozens of people, will make a court appearance today, the Los Angeles Times reports. The driver faces possible felony hit-and-run charges.

Finance and Thrift Company Buys Pan American Bank

Porterville-based Finance and Thrift Company has agreed to purchase Pan American Bank, California's oldest Latino bank, in an all-stock deal, the Los Angeles Times reports. Finance and Thrift Company will take Pan American’s name and move its headquarters to East Los Angeles. Regulatory approval of the purchase is expected in the coming months.

Consumer Prices Make Record Drop

Consumer prices in January posted their biggest drop since 2008 as gasoline prices went down, CNBC reports. The news may cause the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates lower for the time being. The Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index fell 0.7 percent last month which was the largest decline since December 2008 and the third straight month of decline for the index.

Two New Executives Appointed at Port of Long Beach

The Port of Long Beach has appointed two new executives. Michael Christensen, the former deputy executive director for the Port of Los Angeles, will have the title of Senior Executive for Supply Chain Optimization while Glen Farren, who has been a general manager for Hapag-Lloyd America, a container shipping company, will serve in a newly-created role that will focus on improving relationships with companies that do business at the port, the Daily Breeze reports.

CheapAir.com First to Offer Direct Booking to Havana

If travel plans to Havana are on the horizon, CheapAir.com will soon be the place to book them, CNBC reports. The California-based, discount travel agency is the first company in the country to offer commercial flights to Havana. The agency began today providing customers with an easy way to book a trip directly to Cuba online by allowing them to buy two tickets through one interface.

STOCKS DOWN

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 25 points in Thursday morning trading to 18,199. The S&P 500 was down five points to 2,109. The Nasdaq was down three points to 4,964. The LABJ Stock Index was down one point to 225.

Wednesday, February 25

Iconic Mountaintop Broadcast Tower Site for Sale

One of America’s most historic and iconic broadcasting landmarks is for sale.

Markets Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 15 points in Wednesday trading to close at 18,225. The S&P 500 fell two points to 2,114. The Nasdaq fell one point to 4,967. The LABJ stock index rose one point to 226.

Garcetti Calls for Net Neutrality

Eric Garcetti has thrown one more jab in the country’s net neutrality fight.

Jakks Shares Plunge Despite Strong Earnings

Malibu toy maker Jakks Pacific Inc. is back in the black, reporting its first profitable year since 2011.

Work/Life: Leslie Gallin

The president of footwear at event and convention producer UBM Advanstar on multi-tasking, Beverly Glen and blending work with her personal life.

Leslie Gallin, president of footwear at UBM Advanstar in Santa Monica, oversees all of the company’s footwear trade shows, including FN Platform, which she singlehandedly launched in 2010, and Magic, a big forum for fashion brands and buyers that takes place annually in Las Vegas. Gallin was vice president of footwear for Advanstar until she was promoted last August. Before joining the company, she was director of the collections at the World Shoe Association and Sole Commerce. Gallin spoke with the Business Journal about maintaining a sense of humor despite a heavy workload.

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Poll: Should business people start something entrepreneurial after 50?

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

Cushman & Wakefield to Be Put Up for Sale

Exor SpA, the Italian company that owns Cushman & Wakefield, one of the world’s largest real estate services firms, is putting the company up for sale as rising property prices push up the value of rivals, sources told the Wall Street Journal. Exor has approved the management’s hiring of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to help look for a buyer for Cushman, sources said.

Inglewood Approves NFL Stadium Plan

Inglewood’s City Council Tuesday night approved a proposal for an 80,000-seat NFL stadium, voting to greenlight it outright instead of putting it on the ballot this summer, KPCC reports. The developer said construction will begin by the end of the year.

Villaraigosa Will Not Run

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will not run for Barbara Boxer’s United States Senate seat, the Los Angeles Times reports. Attorney General Kamala Harris is the only major candidate who has so far announced her bid.

DreamWorks to Sell and Lease Back Glendale Campus

DreamWorks Animation plans to sell and lease back its Glendale campus as the struggling studio continues to deal with the fallout from a string of box office bombs, Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg disclosed on Tuesday during a conference call to discuss the company's fourth-quarter earnings, which missed analysts' estimates, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports.

Gundlach Has Highest Bond ETF Debut Ever

There’s a new bond king. L.A.’s Jeffrey Gundlach has launched a fund, DoubleLine Total Return Bond Fund (ticker symbol: TOTL), a collaboration between his DoubleLine Capital and veteran ETF provider State Street Global Advisors, and it had the highest ever first-day volume of any new exchange-traded bond fund, CNBC reports.

Dutch National Indicted on Charges of Computer Hacking and Identity Theft

A Dutch national is facing aggravated identity theft and federal hacking charges related to the theft of digital copies of three Hollywood films, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports.

Supervisors Vote to Reconfigure Governance Structure

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to reconfigure the governance structure of the county’s top layer of management, a first step toward rolling back a 2007 decision that gave more power to the county’s chief executive, though the exact details of the new structure remain to be hashed out, the Los Angeles Times reports.

State Controller Wants Details About Edison Pay After San Onofre Deal

California State Controller Betty Yee wants information from Southern California Edison executives about their pay. She notes that over the past two years, the executives gave themselves pay raises at the same time Edison faced increasing costs as a result of closing its San Onofre nuclear power plant, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Judge Rejects Redistricting Challenge

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a three-year-old legal challenge to the boundaries drawn for L.A.’s 15 City Council districts, saying she found no evidence that race was the predominant factor in creating the new maps, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was down three points in Wednesday morning trading to 18,205. The S&P 500 was down two points to 2,114. The Nasdaq was up two points to 4,970. The LABJ Stock Index rose one point to 226.

Tuesday, February 24

Dutchman Indicted on Identity Theft, Hacking Charges Related to Film Thefts

A Dutch national was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on aggravated identity theft and federal hacking charges related to the 2010 theft of three Hollywood movies, the Department of Justice said.

Machinima and Vimeo Join Forces

Machinima, a West Hollywood online gamer network, has partnered with Vimeo to produce exclusive content for the New York firm’s video-on-demand platform.

Lions Gate Invests in Telltale Games

Lions Gate has invested in San Rafael developer and publisher Telltale Games to further the Santa Monica studio’s brand expansion into gaming.

DreamWorks Selling, Leasing Back Campus in Glendale

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. plans to sell and lease back its Glendale campus as the struggling studio continues to deal with the fallout from a string of box office bombs.

State Plastic Bag Ban Put on Hold as Ballot Referendum Qualifies

Plastic bag manufacturers and other opponents of a statewide ban on plastic bags have qualified a referendum for the November 2016 ballot, thereby putting the ban on hold, the California Secretary of State’s office said Tuesday.

Briefs

Restraining Order Closes Collective, Shareholders Approve Pacific Commerce Bank Purchase, Blackline Hires CFO, Lion to List on Nasdaq

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 92 points in Tuesday trading to close at 18,209. The S&P 500 rose six points to 2,115. The Nasdaq rose seven points to 4,968. The LABJ Stock Index fell one point to 225.

San Dimas Man Arrested in $9 Million Scheme to Defraud East West Bank

The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that it has arrested Chung Yu “Louis” Yeung of San Dimas for his alleged role in a scheme that Pasadena’s East West Bank said cost it more than $9 million. Yeung’s alleged co-conspirator, Guo Xiang “David” Fan, remains at large.

Sony Names Rothman as Pascal’s Replacement

Sony Pictures Entertainment has turned to veteran Hollywood executive Tom Rothman to chair its motion picture group following the departure of Amy Pascal.

Florida Developer Lands Downtown L.A. Site

South Florida residential developer Crescent Heights has purchased a half-acre development site in downtown Los Angeles for $11.5 million. The property, at 1045 S. Olive St., at the corner of 11th Street, is four blocks east of the L.A. Live entertainment complex.

City Approval for Inglewood Stadium Could Come Today

An 80,000-seat NFL stadium in Inglewood proposed by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke could be approved today by the City Council, or it could call for a special election, the Daily News reports.

Lions Gate Invests in Game Developer

Santa Monica’s Lions Gate, looking to expand its business beyond movies and television, and has invested in Telltale Games, developer of games based on AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” Variety reports.

Pressure Overload Led to Torrance Gas Explosion

The explosion at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance last Wednesday, which sent ash into nearby neighborhoods, was caused by too much pressure on a piece of equipment, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Request Denied: 70-Foot-Tall Lights Will Stay in Malibu

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has denied a request by Malibu residents to block 70-foot-tall athletic field lights at Malibu High School, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Malibu Community Preservation Alliance argued in the lawsuit that the lights would disturb the neighborhood’s natural environment.

Best Winter, Worst Winter

With an average temperature of 47.8 degrees, 5.1 degrees warmer than the 20th century average, California is having one of its warmest winters on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Meanwhile, Boston is close to setting a record for the snowiest winter, and today’s forecast is predicting below-zero lows for the city, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 58 points in Tuesday morning trading to 18,174. The S&P 500 was up three points to 2,112. The Nasdaq was up one point to 4,961. The LABJ Stock Index was down one point to 225.

Monday, February 23

State Agrees to Pay $24 Million to California First Investors

The state of California has agreed to pay $24 million to investors to settle a four-year legal battle over a proposed deal to sell $2.3 billion in state properties, officials announced Sunday.

Storied PCH Property May Be Resurrected

A storied property along Pacific Coast Highway that has seen its share of monkey business is about to take on a new role.

Employee Gets 5 Years for Embezzling From Long Beach Trucking Firm

A federal judge on Monday sentenced a Huntington Beach woman to more than five years in prison for embezzling $3.5 million from a Long Beach trucking company, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles announced Monday.

Port City Leaders Pledge Cooperation to Boost Competitiveness

Amid a backlog of shipping containers that have amassed during recent congestion at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, mayors of both cities say they will work together rather than compete on new efforts aimed at addressing how changes in ocean trade affect the ports.

Disney Names New Parks Chief

Bob Chapek, a veteran Walt Disney Co. executive with broad experience, was named Monday as chief of the company’s sprawling parks and resorts division.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 24 points in Monday trading to close at 18,117. The S&P 500 fell one point to 2,110. The Nasdaq rose five points to 4,961. The LABJ Stock Index rose one point to 226.

Machinima Lays Off 13 Employees

Online gamer network Machinima has laid off 13 full-time employees, about 10 percent of its staff, in an effort to “focus its resources on high-growth opportunities.”

Unified Grocers Takes Over Raley’s Health, Wellness Operations

Unified Grocers Inc. in Commerce, the largest wholesale grocery distributor in the western United States, announced Monday that it has reached an agreement with Sacramento grocery chain Raley’s to take over its general merchandise, health, beauty and wellness operations. Unified will become Raley’s third-party provider for products related to those operations.

West Coast Ports Resume Operations, Face Backlog

Full operations resumed at West Coast ports Saturday evening, after the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association came to a tentative agreement on a five-year labor contract on Friday that now must be ratified by members, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to port officials and logistics experts, it will likely take months for the backlog to clear.

Oscars Protest Canceled at ‘Selma’ Director’s Request

Protests that were planned for Sunday over the lack of diversity among Academy Award nominees were canceled at the request of “Selma” director Ava DuVernay, the Los Angeles Times reports.

L.A. Forecast: Rain, Snow

A cold front brings rain and snow to Southern California for a second day today, with the National Weather Service forecasting the chance of rain this morning at 50 percent along the coast, in metropolitan Los Angeles, and in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys, the Daily News reports. In the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, the storm is expected to generate snowfall through this afternoon, most of which is predicted to fall in areas above 6,000 feet, where between four and seven inches of accumulation are expected.

California Plans to Spend $20 Million on Fuel Stations for Hydrogen Cars

Part of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s dream of a “hydrogen highway” might come true: the California Energy Commission reports that it is spending $20 million to build nearly half of the approximately 100 stations needed to give a driver of a hydrogen car enough range to travel freely through most parts of California, the Los Angeles Times reports.

L.A.’s Small Theater Community Speaks Out Against Wage Hike

An impassioned meeting about the future of Los Angeles County's small-theater community Saturday at the Renberg Theatre at the Los Angeles LGBT Center in Hollywood drew an overflow crowd of well over 200 theater folks, as the dozens of speakers, including Tim Robbins, expressed concerns that the proposed $9 an hour wage hike will negatively impact small venues, which typically pay actors $7 to $15 per performance, and nothing for rehearsals, the Los Angeles Times reports.

HSBC Chief Responds to Reports of $7.7 Million Swiss Bank Account

Stuart Gulliver, the chief executive of HSBC responded today to news reports over the weekend that he kept almost $7.7 million in a Swiss bank account through a Panamanian company until 2003, defending the account as legal and saying that he paid all taxes on the money that he put in it, the New York Times reports. Details of the bank account, reported by the Guardian, came from leaked files stolen by an HSBC whistle-blower and came to light at the end of a week of new revelations of how HSBC reportedly helped clients evade taxes before 2007.

Selma Would Win Best Picture Oscar if Chosen By Social Media

A digital marketing firm studied 600,000 websites in addition to countless tweets and Facebook postings, and found that the Martin Luther King Jr. drama “Selma” was the public's choice for the best picture category at the Academy Awards last night, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “Birdman,” the film that actually won the award, was the public’s third choice according to the study by Amobee Brand Intelligence.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 42 points in Monday morning trading to 18,100. The S&P 500 was down three points to 2,107. The Nasdaq was down nine points to 4,947. The LABJ Stock index was flat at 225.

Value of Affordability

High-quality projects can overcome neighbors’ opposition to creation of more low-cost housing.

Wade Killefer warns Los Angeles will end up paying for its lack of low-cost housing.

Electric Shock

Charles Crumpley wonders why he’s still shocked by new costly proposals at the state level on regulating energy.

Hearing Execs Speak Volumes on Trip

Steven Sawalich, senior director of global media and philanthropy at Starkey Hearing Foundation in Playa Vista, has traveled to 75 countries during his time at the non-profit, which delivers hearing aids to people in need.

SAT Tutoring Business Tests Lower-Price Product

EDUCATION: Arbor Bridge offers pared-down, more affordable progam.

A Santa Monica test-prep company has launched a product aimed at making it easier and cheaper for high school students to get one-on-one SAT tutoring.

Moving In

INTERNET: RadPad hopes to click in rental listings space with mobile app that lets renters make their monthly payments.

RadPad looks to make a move in the rental listings market with its app that processes payments.

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Future of Landmark Property on PCH a Mystery

ACQUISITION: Hayman pays $6 million for café owned by Thelma Todd.

A storied property along Pacific Coast Highway that has seen its share of monkey business is about to take on a new role.

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Clearing Away Pile-Up at Ports May Be Tall Order

SHIPPING: Struggles to move cargo may remain after labor dispute resolved.

Ports are likely to be flooded with containers for a while after a labor deal is struck.

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Ports’ Backlog Sinks Schedules

SHIPPING: Executives discuss how they fight to stay afloat.

Execs at port-dependent businesses discuss being left high and dry by ongoing labor negotiations.

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Bank Activists Get Say on Deal

LENDING: Hearing set on CIT’s acquisition offer for OneWest.

Community coalition achieves goal of getting CIT and OneWest to defend their merger.

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Tight Market

Small-lot homes boom despite boos from neighbors

Small-lot homes have taken off in a big way, aided by cost savings versus condos and townhomes.

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Shelf Life

Yummy.com has dodged problems that have taken down other online groceries in part by adhering to a slow-growth plan. So the Business Journal asks:

Do you order groceries online?

Execs Say Cargo Situation Stacked Against Them

How has port congestion affected your business? How long are the delays?

conventions

Upcoming local conventions

calendar 2-23.15

Upcoming local events

News of the Week

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

In its annual forecast, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. predicted sunny skies for the local economy, estimating that the county will add a total of 150,000 payroll jobs over the course of this year and the next, bringing employment to record levels.

Fashion Forward

clothing: Paula Schneider looks to retailor performance, image of American Apparel after Dov Charney’s firing.

New CEO Paula Schneider looks to fashion a future for American Apparel after the firing of controversial founder Dov Charney.

Business Groups Provide Election Endorsements

POLITICS: Jose Huizar earns consensus support for Los Angeles City Council.

Believe it or not, next Tuesday, March 3, is Election Day in Los Angeles and 28 other cities around Los Angeles County.

Graffiti Artists Paint Fashion Brand as Scofflaw

fashion: Muralists add retailers to suit over alleged use of work in products.

Italian fashion brand Roberto Cavalli, as well as retailers Amazon.com, Nordstrom and Zappos.com, are headed to court to face off against some unlikely opponents: a group of L.A. graffiti artists.

Show-Biz Attorneys Thrive With Expanded Roles

ENTERTAINMENT: Stroock’s Schuyler Moore looks to China to generate deals.

Entertainment law for years was defined by negotiations over production deals, actors’ contracts, rights options and the occasional high-profile litigation.

Mag Editor Turns Page With Show-Biz Podcast

MEDIA: Bonnie Fuller looks to tap female readership of her HollywoodLife.com.

Magazine reviver Bonnie Fuller pages show-business fans with her new “HollywoodLife” podcast.

Hoteliers See More Room for Incentives to Build

DEVELOPMENT: Business leaders say L.A.’s moves won’t bring projects to city.

Hotel execs welcome city of L.A.’s incentives but say they won’t inspire new projects to check in.

Distributor Enters New Stage With Producer Deal

ENTERTAINMENT: EOne steps into content with pickup of Mark Gordon Co.

Distributor Entertainment One seeks a starring role in production with its acquisition of Mark Gordon Co.

Pair of Acquisitions Delivers for Postage Business

ONLINE: Stamps.com has investors in bag with hefty quarterly performance.

Stamps.com proves a popular address on Wall Street after strong fourth quarter.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Sherman Oaks developer IMT Capital has sold a 120-unit luxury apartment complex in Encino for $44 million to a private investor.

Chinese City Opens Doors To L.A.

Coastal city Zhuhai sets up local office to raise business profile.

Chinese city of Zhuhai gets down to business at its new office in downtown Los Angeles.

Streetball Arrives With Flash

Alternative basketball tour places priority on wowing audience.

Backers of Ball Up tour look to score hoops fans with their athletic, crowd-wowing streetball.

Friday, February 20

It’s Official: Attorney General Approves Sale of Daughters of Charity Health System to Prime Healthcare Services

California Attorney General Kamala Harris handed down a hotly anticipated verdict on Friday.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

West L.A. private debt firm Crescent Capital announced Monday that it has provided a credit facility for the recapitalization of Interfloor Group Ltd., a Lancashire, England, flooring accessories company. Loan terms were not disclosed.

Briefs: Live Nation Suit Dismissed, Engel & Völkers Opens in Beverly Hills, Guess Settles Suit

Court Rules in Favor of Live Nation: A federal court in Maryland yesterday ruled in favor of Beverly Hills concert giant Live Nation Entertainment Inc. and dismissed all claims in a lawsuit filed in 2009 by It’s My Party Inc. and It’s My Amphitheatre Inc., whose principal is concert promoter Seth Hurwitz. The lawsuit had alleged violations of federal and state antitrust laws.

Nova Lifestyle, United Online Among Week’s Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies rose slightly for the week. The weighted LABJ index edged up less than 1 percent to close at 225, with gainers outpacing losers 85 to 64. Nine companies closed the week unchanged.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 155 points in Friday trading to close at 18,140. The S&P 500 rose 13 points to 2,110. The Nasdaq rose 31 points to 4,956. The LABJ Stock Index rose one point to 225.

L.A. Launch List: Feb. 20

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

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Labor Secretary: Deadline for Port Talks is Today

Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez on Thursday issued a deadline to the the two sides battling it out at the West Coast ports, telling them that if they don’t reach an agreement by the end of today, they'll have to leave California and negotiate in Washington, the Associated Press reports.

Local and State Leaders Frustrated That Port Negotiations Held Up by Fate of One Arbitrator

California political leaders including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti voiced growing frustration Thursday with the labor standoff that has clogged West Coast ports, as word spread that the main sticking point in negotiations has been the fate of a single low-level arbitrator, David Miller, who the union wants to fire against the wishes of the Pacific Maritime Assn., the Los Angeles Times reports.

Chargers-Raiders Proposal Met With Mixed Reviews

News Thursday night that the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders plan to share a stadium to be built in Carson was met with mixed reviews, with the Mayor of San Diego expressing disappointment that the Chargers are jumping ship, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Los Angeles Business Journal reported in December that multiple NFL teams were interested in building a stadium on the site of Carson’s 172-acre Victoria Regional Park and golf course.

FDA Issues Warning Against Medical Device After CRE Outbreak

The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning Thursday for a type of endoscope that is widely used in hospitals and has been linked to an outbreak of the drug-resistant bacterial disease CRE because it is hard to clean, the Wall Street Journal reports. The tubular device may have contributed to the deaths of two patients and the possible infection of as many as 179 others at UCLA Medical Center.

Frederick’s of Hollywood to Close a Third of Stores

The Los Angeles lingerie company Frederick’s of Hollywood has hired liquidators to help close at least a third of its 93 stores as the lingerie retailer works to turn itself around, the Wall Street Journal reports. L.A.’s Great American Group is handling going-out-of-business sales at 31 of the chain’s locations while Consensus Advisors works with Frederick’s to explore strategic options.

Merrill Awarded Record Hiring Bonuses to L.A. Team, Sources Say

Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch wealth management unit is said to have awarded a possible record-breaking hiring bonus to a Los Angeles team of financial advisers headed by Bruce Munster, sources told Fox Business Network. Merrill structured a deal that could pay Munster and his team more than $20 million to jump ship from Morgan Stanley, sources said.

Clippers Sign Sponsorship Deal With American Airlines

The Los Angeles Clippers and American Airlines are planning to announce a major, multi-year agreement today, marking one of the largest corporate partnerships in the team’s history, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports.

Report: NSA and British Intelligence Hacked Dutch SIM-Card Provider

Dutch digital-security firm Gemalto NV is investigating a report that U.S. and British intelligence agencies hacked into the company, which is one of the world’s biggest cellphone SIM-card providers, with customers that include Verizon Communications Inc., the Wall Street Journal reports. The Intercept, a news site set up by Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who has been a principal disseminator of classified material from Edward Snowden, broke the story, citing top-secret documents provided by Snowden.

Oscars: The Man with the Most Oscars, Cocaine Statue

As we near the Sunday awards show, Bloomberg interviewed visual effects artist Dennis Muren, who has nine Oscars, more than any other living person. Meanwhile, street artist Plastic Jesus also played into the festivities, placing a human-size Oscar statue on Hollywood Boulevard at La Brea Avenue on Thursday morning, according to Hollywood Reporter. The statue is crouched on all fours and appears to be snorting two lines of cocaine.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 15 points in Friday morning trading to 17,970. The S&P 500 was down three points to 2,094. The Nasdaq was up three points to 4,928. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 224.

Clippers Ink Sponsorship Deal with American Airlines

The Los Angeles Clippers and American Airlines are planning to announce a major, multi-year agreement on Friday, marking one of the largest corporate partnerships in the team’s history.

Thursday, February 19

Daqri Buys Smart Headband Maker Melon

Daqri, an enterprise augmented reality company in downtown Los Angeles, has acquired Melon, a Venice wearable tech company, for an undisclosed sum.

J2 Global Buys Two More Companies

Internet services provider J2 Global continued its buying spree, acquiring two more companies this week to bring its February haul to three companies.

Kite Signs Lease in El Segundo

Santa Monica biotech firm Kite Pharma Inc. has signed a lease for a commercial manufacturing facility in El Segundo near Los Angeles International Airport.

Krekorian Opposes Weddington Complex

Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian announced his formal opposition to a proposed senior condominium development at the Weddington Golf & Tennis complex in Studio City along the L.A. River.

Briefs: TrueCar Revs, Motorcar Parts Sued, Commonwealth Splits, City National Expands

TrueCar Shares Rise Shares of Santa Monica car-buying site TrueCar Inc. climbed more than 6 percent in Thursday trading in advance of the company’s latest earnings announcement. After markets closed, TrueCar reported fourth-quarter earnings that were in line with analysts’ expectations: Revenue of $55.5 million and a net loss of $9.8 million (13 cents a share). Shares rose 6.4 percent Thursday before the announcement, closing at $20.77, but fell 2 percent to $20.36 in after-hours trading.

Air China to Add Third Daily L.A.-Beijing Flight

Beijing airline Air China Ltd. will increase its nonstop service between Beijing and Los Angeles by adding a third daily nonstop flight each way, airline representatives announced Thursday.

Markets Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 44 points in Thursday trading to close at 17,986. The S&P 500 fell two points to 2,097. The Nasdaq rose 18 points to 4,925. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 224.

Labor Fight Cuts Into Long Beach Cargo Numbers

The amount of cargo that moved through the Port of Long Beach in January took a nearly 19 percent nosedive compared to the same month last year because of ongoing congestion and labor strife, officials said late Wednesday.

2 Dead, 170 Potentially Exposed to Superbug at UCLA Hospital

Two patients at UCLA's Ronald Reagan Medical Center died after being exposed to the drug-resistant superbug known as CRE, a potentially deadly bacteria from contaminated medical scopes, and they were among seven patients that UCLA found were infected, the Los Angeles Times reports. Nearly 180 other patients may have been exposed to CRE at UCLA.

Wal-Mart to Raise Pay of U.S. Workers Above Minimum Wage

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, plans to boost the pay of all its U.S. employees to at least $9 an hour by April, a raise that will top the federal minimum wage by 24 percent and cut into the company’s profit this year, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Shipping Companies and Dockworkers Union Set to Continue Negotiations

Contract talks between shipping companies and the dockworkers union are expected to continue today, after Labor Secretary Tom Perez met with representatives of both sides on Wednesday, stressing the importance of reaching “an immediate agreement before the dispute causes further economic damage,” a Labor Department official said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Teachers Union Takes Step Toward Strike That Could Close LAUSD Schools

After seven months and 18 rounds of contract talks, United Teachers Los Angeles made its first legally required step toward a strike, declaring an impasse, the Daily News reports. The Los Angeles Unified School District greeted the move as a path toward resolving the conflict before a mediator.

USC Leases More Space in AT&T Center Complex

USC signed a lease for an additional 30,000 square feet in the AT&T; Center complex, which will make it the major tenant in the landmark office tower at 1150 Olive St. near Staples Center that will soon say USC on top instead of AT&T;, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Shortcomings of L.A. Convention Center Cost it $5 Billion in Business

Los Angeles lost nearly $5 billion in business in four years because of the shortcomings of its convention center, which was either too small or lacked enough hotel rooms within walking distance for 271 of the conventions that passed it up, according to Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board chief Ernest Wooden Jr. He made a pitch on Wednesday for a greater investment in the city to draw more tourists and conventions in the next few years, the Los Angeles Times reports.

L.A. Council Candidate Served With Lawsuit During Debate

Sheila Irani of Hollywood Hills, a candidate for the Los Angeles City Council, was served with a lawsuit during a debate Wednesday night by her neighbor, who alleges that Irani cut down and pruned trees on his land in order to improve the view from her multimillion-dollar home, NBC reports.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 40 points in Thursday morning trading to 17,990. The S&P 500 was down two points to 2,098. The Nasdaq was up 15 points to 4,921. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 224.

Wednesday, February 18

Culver City’s DataPop Sold to French Firm

Culver City ad tech firm DataPop has been acquired by Criteo, a marketing analytics firm in Paris, according to the French company’s fourth quarter earnings report released Wednesday. The terms were not disclosed.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 18 points in Wednesday trading to close at 18,030. The S&P 500 fell one point to 2,100. The Nasdaq rose seven points to 4,906. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 224.

Poll: What do you think Paula Schneider’s biggest challenge is in stepping into the top management role at American Apparel?

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

L.A. Firm to Buy Fresno’s Security First Bank

Downtown Los Angeles investment company SunPac Financial announced Wednesday that it has agreed to acquire Security First Bank in Fresno, its first step in establishing a new bank serving Los Angeles.

Downtown Developer Buys Site of Popular USC Watering Hole

The site of popular USC hangout 901 Bar & Grill has been sold, and the deal might portend changes coming to the corner of South Figueroa and 30th streets.

Air Advisory Issued After Torrance Refinery Blast, Gas Prices Rise

A Wednesday morning explosion at the Exxon Mobil Corp. refinery in Torrance injured four workers and pushed up the local price of wholesale gasoline. The workers suffered only minor injuries, according to an Exxon spokesperson.

Jukin Media Launches Newsfeed for Publishers

Culver City’s Jukin Media, which acquires and licenses user-generated viral videos, has launched a product that makes it easier for digital publishers to find and upload its content to their websites.

Water Main Break Submerges Cars in Hollywood

An 18-inch main burst in Hollywood this morning, and water flowed down residential streets and submerged cars in an underground garage, KPCC reports. Crews are trying to shut off a series of valves in a specific sequence to avoid causing another rupture.

Snapchat’s Valuation Could Reach $19 Billion

Snapchat is seeking a new round of funding that would value the company as high as $19 billion, sources told Bloomberg, making it the third-most valuable venture-backed company in the world.

Forecast: More Jobs in L.A.

Los Angeles County should add a total of 150,000 payroll jobs over the course of this year and next, bringing employment to record levels, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. said in its annual forecast released this morning, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports. The forecast, from the LAEDC’s Kyser Center for Economic Research, also predicted that the unemployment rate will dip to 6.6 percent by the end of next year, its lowest level in eight years.

DWP Struggles With $1 Billion Pipe Problem

About one-fifth of the city's water pipes were installed before 1931, and these aged pipes are responsible for close to half of all water main leaks, the Los Angeles Times reports. The DWP has a $1.3 billion plan to replace 435 miles of deteriorating pipe in the next 10 years, but difficult questions remain about how the agency will find the money, how much it will inconvenience commuters and whether the utility can ever catch up with its aging infrastructure.

Cheaper Oil Prices Push Down Business Inflation

A gauge of U.S. business prices fell in January, the Labor Department said today, which is a sign that cheaper gasoline is helping push annual inflation gauges toward negative territory for the first time since the recession’s immediate aftermath, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Los Angeles Times Partners With Openly Undocumented Immigrant

The Los Angeles Times is partnering with Jose Vargas, an undocumented immigrant and veteran journalist who is an activist for immigration reform, on a multimedia project that will “explore the evolving American identity in the 21st century,” according to a release, the Washington Examiner reports.

Importers of Chinese New Year Gifts Feel Slowdown at Ports

L.A. businesses that import lanterns, posters, and other decorations from China are feeling the slowdown at West Coast ports, because their items won’t arrive in time for the Chinese New Year celebration on Thursday, KPCC reports.

L.A. Gets Broad Museum Preview

Hundreds of people poured into downtown Los Angeles over the weekend for a one-day sneak peek of the Broad Museum, which is recognizable by architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s honeycomb veil, and is scheduled to open officially in September, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 39 points in Wednesday morning trading to 18,008. The S&P 500 fell five points to 2,095. The Nasdaq fell three points to 4,896. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 224.

L.A. Economy to Grow, See Record Employment Level this Year

The good times should continue to roll for the local economy.

Tuesday, February 17

Demand Media’s President Resigns

Santa Monica Web publisher Demand Media said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Tuesday that co-founder and President Shawn Colo had resigned.

Freeplay Music Accuses YouTube Networks of Copyright Infringement

New York music rights holder Freeplay Music has sued two local multichannel networks, claiming the companies illegally used its copyrighted songs in YouTube videos.

Zealot Networks Buys Two Creative Marketing Companies

Venice digital media firm Zealot Networks has continued its recent string of acquisitions by purchasing two local creative marketing companies for an undisclosed sum.

Mattel, Needing a Hit, Introduces Siri-Like Barbie

Mattel has been in desperate need of a hit toy. After reporting that Barbie sales had plunged, again, in the final quarter of last year, the El Segundo toymaker’s interim Chief Executive Christopher Sinclair told investors the company would make changes “with a heightened sense of urgency.”

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Air China Likely to Expand LAX Service

Beijing-based airline Air China Ltd. on Thursday will announced changes to its nonstop service between Beijing and Los Angeles – likely the addition of more flights – at a press conference that will be attended by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 28 points in Tuesday trading to close at 18,048. The S&P 500 rose three points to 2,100. The Nasdaq rose five points to 4,899. The LABJ Stock Index rose one point to 224.

CIM Turns Big Profit in Off-Market Deal

The former Beverly Grove home of the pension and health fund for the Directors Guild of America has been sold for $24 million by CIM Group Inc.

Work/Life: Lisa Hirsch

Owner of the Studio (MDR) on privacy, leaving the entertainment industry and owning a business.

Lisa Hirsch, the 43-year-old owner of the Studio (MDR), a boutique fitness operation with studios in Marina del Rey and Culver City, spent 15 years as a music industry executive, working for the likes of Virgin Records and Sirius Satellite and dealing with artists that included Janet Jackson and Courtney Love. After years of splitting her time between her native New York and Los Angeles, Hirsch relocated to Venice in 2007 to focus on a longtime passion that sat latent during her music career: fitness. Eight years later, she has two popular studios and a third slated to open this spring in Playa Vista. We spoke with her about how she finds balance as a relatively new business owner.

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Gas Prices Expected to Rise as Torrance Refinery Shuts Down

A mechanical issue that hit on Monday is expected to keep the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance offline for two weeks. The shutdown will cause gasoline prices in Los Angeles to spike at least 15 cents a gallon, Bob van der Valk, senior editor for the Bakken Oil Business Journal, predicts, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

Congestion Continues as West Coast Ports Await Talks

Cargo ships continue to line up off the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports as Labor Secretary Thomas Perez prepares to meet with shipping companies and dockworkers to revive stalled contract talks today, the Los Angeles Times reports. On Monday morning, 33 vessels were anchored off the ports, unable to dock, three more than on Sunday, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California, while an additional 55 ships waited at port berths.

Economists: NFL Team Would Have Little Economic Impact on Region

Developers of an NFL stadium in Inglewood have promised hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity, but economists largely believe that the economic impact of sports stadiums is miniscule, KPCC reports. A 2003 analysis on Staples Center commissioned by the Los Angeles City Controller found that economic activity in Inglewood actually increased when the Lakers left town.

Success of ‘Fifty Shades’ Could Alter Hollywood’s Approach to Winter Movies

The film business is used to making its money by targeting films to young males, but “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which has taken in $94 million in domestic box office since it opened on Friday and has a viewership that is 70 percent female and mostly over the age of 26, is flipping that approach on its head, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Study: Income Equality Has Not Risen Since Financial Crisis

A new analysis says income equality has not risen since the financial crisis began, mostly because the crisis reduced the pre-tax incomes of the wealthiest more than the incomes of any other group, while the steps the federal government took in response to the crisis have helped the non-wealthy, the New York Times reports.

Beverly Hills Mansion Is Up for Lease at $475,000 a month

A Mediterranean-style villa in Beverly Hills offered for sale for $195 million by real estate entrepreneur Jeff Greene has been put up for lease at $475,000 a month, the Los Angeles Times reports. A 50-seat theater, a bowling alley, a game room and a ballroom with a revolving dance floor, DJ booth and laser-light system are among the amenities.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 45 points in Tuesday trading to 17,974. The S&P 500 was down five points to 2,092. The Nasdaq was down eight points to 2,886. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 223.

Monday, February 16

Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO Resigns

Warren Boley has abruptly resigned as the president of the Aerojet Rocketdyne, the rocket engine manufacturer with facilities in Chatsworth.

James Frost Promoted to COO of Tutor Perini

Tutor Perini Corp. has promoted longtime company executive James Frost to president and chief operating officer.

Coronal Group Buys Virginia Solar Development Firm

Glendale solar development firm Coronal Group has acquired a majority of the assets of HelioSage Energy of Charlottesville, Va., a builder of utility-scale solar projects across the country.

Herbalife’s Fifth-Largest Shareholder Sells

New York hedge fund manager Richard Perry, who recently became the fifth-largest shareholder of multi-level marketer Herbalife Ltd., liquidated his 5.6 million share stake in the company during the fourth-quarter, according to a Feb. 13 Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Larsen, Leading Downtown Broker, Lands at Avison Young

Jonathan Larsen, the former regional managing partner at DTZ/Cassidy Turley’s downtown L.A. office, has assumed the role of managing director and principal at Avison Young.

Hackman Sells Beats HQ in Culver City

Hackman Capital Partners, a West L.A. real estate investment and development firm that wagered on creative office space in Culver City nearly a decade ago, has seen its bet pay off.

White House to Intervene in Port Dispute

The White House said Saturday it would intervene in stalled labor talks at West Coast ports, sending Secretary of Labor Tom Perez to meet with the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and urge them to complete a new contract and avoid further slowdowns, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFL Stadium Developer Donated $100,000 to Inglewood Officials’ Campaigns

Hollywood Park Land Co., the development company that is on a fast track to build a professional football stadium in Inglewood, has poured more than $100,000 in campaign contributions to the city's mayor and two Inglewood city councilmen, according to campaign finance reports, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Hollywood Block Closed for Oscars Prep

A block of Hollywood Boulevard between Highland Avenue and Orange Drive was closed to traffic on Sunday night, and will remain closed until the morning of Feb. 24, the Los Angeles Times reports. It is among the many road and subway closures expected before next week's 87th Academy Awards.

California Inmates Killed at Rate Double National Average

California state prison inmates are killed at a rate that is double the national average and sex offenders account for a disproportionate number of victims, according to an Associated Press analysis of corrections records, the Daily News reports.

Hollyhock Houses Reopens

Hollyhock House, one of architect Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpieces and his first project in Los Angeles, reopened Friday to the public after three years of major renovation and nearly a century from when it first was built, KPCC reports. Thousands flocked to Barnsdall Art Park while the house remained open to the public for 24 hours.

Superrich Real-Estate Wishlist: L.A. Makes Top Ten

New data from a study of “ultra-high-net-worth individuals,” who are wealthier than the top 0.1 percent, show that their swelling ranks are increasingly storing wealth in multimillion-dollar mansions around the world, and that in 2014, they liked nowhere better than the United States, the Wall Street Journal reports. New York and Aspen were first and second on a list of the 100 global locations featured in Knight Frank’s Prime International Residential Index; Los Angeles was No. 10.

Jobs Return to New York City, But Without Wall Street

New York City has created more jobs over the past five years than during any five-year period in the last half century, yet the securities industry has contributed less than 1 percent, the New York Times reports.

‘Grand Budapest Hotel,’ ‘Imitation Game’ Win Writers Guild Awards

Oscar nominees “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “The Imitation Game” were the big winners at the Writers Guild of America’s awards on Saturday, taking home trophies for best original and adapted screenplays, respectively, the Wall Street Journal reports. WGA held simultaneous ceremonies in New York and Los Angeles over the weekend, with actress Lisa Kudrow hosting the West ceremony and Larry Wilmore of “The Nightly Show” leading the program in New York.

Box Office: ‘Fifty Shades’ Breaks Records

“Fifty Shades of Gray” shattered records at the box office on Presidents Day weekend, taking in $94.4 million during its debut over the four-day holiday, Variety reports. The spy thriller “Kingsman: The Secret Service” trailed behind with $42 million.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 47 points in Monday morning trading to 18,019. The S&P 500 was up nine points to 2,097. The Nasdaq was up 36 points to 4,894. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 223.

News of the Week

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

everly Hills startup CurbStand, which offers on-demand valet parking services through its app, has acquired Santa Monica competitor Curby. CurbStand will integrate Curby’s technology into a future product release.

Marketers Cue Up Hit Catalog

MediaHorse sounds out TV, film deals for tunes by Kiss, others.

MediaHorse looks to saddle up films and TV shows with hit songs from Kiss, Marilyn Manson and others.

Event Firm Turns Outpost Into Big Show

Done + Dusted’s new L.A. office quickly scored award work.

Done + Dusted’s office scores string of victories with work on local awards shows.

More ‘Wars’ Than ‘Star’ at Event Bar

JJ Abrams spent the past year in a galaxy far, far away directing the new “Star Wars” film, and it appears he might no longer be recognized in his hometown of Los Angeles.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Zealot Networks, a Venice talent management firm, has acquired New York’s Converge Media Group, a comedy-focused talent management firm co-founded by comedian JB Smoove.

Mobile Container, Office Firm Makes Right Moves

LEASING: Surprisingly strong earnings report lifts stock of General Finance.

Investors go with mobile container and office business General Finance after strong quarter.

Fund Manager Puts Money on Fee-Free Product

INVESTMENT: Cambria hopes cutting management costs will draw customers.

Cambria hopes its new exchange-traded fund without a management fee pays off in new business.

Chief Exec’s Departure, Death Revealed After Deal

lENDING: Manhattan also sold mortgage loan division in wake of pickup by Plaza.

At first glance, Irvine lender Plaza Bank’s agreement to buy El Segundo’s Bank of Manhattan last month seemed like just the latest deal between two small Southern California institutions, as many of them have been feeling the pressure from a more expensive regulatory environment.

Scientists Look to Weed Out Pot Luck for Users

MARIJUANA: Werc Shop works to snuff out instability to ensure strain consistency.

The hallmark of successful brands is consistency. Consumers keep coming back to Advil, for instance, because its effects are known and trusted.

calendar

Upcoming calendar of local events

conventions

Upcoming local conventions

special report WHO’S WHO IN BANKING & FINANCE: L.A.’s Assets

Execs for out-of-town banks detail market’s advantages

Business Journal homes in on the local leaders of nine large banks with out-of-town headquarters.

Who’s Who in Banking & Finance: Investing Time in Community

I am the regional president and head of commercial banking for U.S. Bank in Southern California, based in Los Angeles.

Who’s Who in Banking & Finance: Contending With Competitive Market

Commercial banking for the western markets, which include California, Oregon and Washington state.

Who’s Who in Banking & Finance: Valuing Diverse Business Community

I lead a team of more than 5,000 community bank team members in the greater Los Angeles region, which includes Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, and the Coachella Valley.

Who’s Who in Banking & Finance: Scaling Range Of Business Sizes

I directly oversee the middle-market team throughout greater Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.

Who’s Who in Banking & Finance: Capitalizing On L.A.-Centric Sectors

We have every line of business here in Los Angeles. From small-business banking, commercial banking and investment banking to consumer, mortgage and wealth management.

Who’s Who in Banking & Finance: Serving Middle Market

I am the head of our middle-market commercial banking business serving the greater Los Angeles market, which includes Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Kern counties.

Who’s Who in Banking & Finance: Getting Early Jump On Workday

Citi Private Bank is a unit of Citigroup which works with ultra-high-net-worth clients. My region covers the western United States from Seattle to Southern California and east to Arizona.

Who’s Who in Banking & Finance: At Home With Region’s Appeal

I lead the syndication division of Bank of the West’s commercial banking group, raising capital by coordinating syndicated deals to help fuel growing businesses in Los Angeles and across the United States.

Will School Board Ever Learn?

Charles Crumpley wonders why the L.A. school board, which could use management help, keeps telling businesses how to operate.

Clocking In

Businesses and the Teamsters continue to wrangle over the classification of contract and full-time workers down at the ports, So the Business Journal asks:

If you were able, would you hire contract workers instead of full-timers?

Who’s Who in Banking & Finance: Banking on Past Careers

Betty Rengifo Uribe’s customers range from startup entrepreneurs to corporate executives to second-generation family-business owners.

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New Chamber Chair Not Worked Up About Labor

Politics: William Caswell talks minimum-wage hikes, pace of business reform.

Kaiser Permanente’s William Caswell talks how he will nurse business goals as chairman of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

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Smooth Operator

BEAUTY: Nicci Levy looks to move needle on Botox injections with storefront clinic offering salon-style service.

Nicci Levy hopes lines form for her quick, salon-style approach to Botox and other facial treatments.

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Hot Java Firm Cools on L.A.

COFFEE: Sweeteners draw Farmer Bros. out of California.

Out-of-state opportunities prompt Farmer Bros. to perk up and pull plug on L.A. HQ.

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Hackman Drums Up Buyer for Beats HQ Site

Sale: Blue-chip tenant helps net $90 million deal for Hayden Tract buildings.

Hackman Capital Partners, a West L.A. real estate investment and development firm that wagered on creative office space in Culver City nearly a decade ago, has seen its bet pay off.

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12-Year Film Production Unlikely to Stick Around

MOVIES: But executive who financed ‘Boyhood’ ready to bankroll 12-year sequel.

Backers of Oscar contender “Boyhood” say its 12-year financial model is unlikely to play a regular role in Hollywood.

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Food Drive

Online grocery Yummy sweet on slow growth

Online grocery Yummy relies on a slow-growth plan to avoid biting off more than it can chew.

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Making the Connection

technology: Local business leaders discuss Pasadena’s growing pull with sector’s startups and city’s advantages as steady alternative to Silicon Beach.

Business Journal speaks with industry boosters in Pasadena on drive to present the city as a startup alternative to Silicon Beach.

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Business Deal Bounces Lakers Legend into Court

SPORTS: Auctioneer sues to settle score with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s post-Lakers life was on the rebound until he claims he was fouled by a jilted auction house.

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Friday, February 13

Clearlake Capital Acquires FrontRange Solutions

Santa Monica private equity firm Clearlake Capital Group has acquired IT service management FrontRange Solutions.

NetSol, Stamps.com Among Week’s Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies rose for the week. The weighted LABJ index rose 1.3 percent to close at 223, with gainers outpacing losers 96 to 56. Six companies closed the week unchanged.

Mattel Partners With Google to Bring Back View-Master

Struggling El Segundo toymaker Mattel Inc. is partnering with Google Inc. to bring back a retro children’s gadget with a high-tech upgrade.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Beverly Hills PE firm Platinum Equity announced Tuesday that it has completed the sale of Fishing Holdings, a Flippin, Ark., boat manufacturer to Bass Pro Group, the Springfield, Mo., outdoor gear retailer. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 47 points in Friday trading to close at 18,019. The S&P 500 rose nine points to 2,097. The Nasdaq rose 36 points to 4,894. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 223.

L.A. Launch List: Feb. 13

On this week's list: a family history search, a dating app from VH1 matchmakers and VR.

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L.A. Importer Pays $2.3 Million to Settle Duty-Evasion Case

The Department of Justice announced Thursday that architectural glass and railings supplier C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. of Los Angeles will pay $2.3 million to settle a federal lawsuit alleging the manufacturer avoided paying certain customs duties on aluminum products it imported from China.

Approval for NFL Stadium Could Happen This Month

Plans to build an NFL-caliber stadium in Inglewood are moving at lightning speed and could get approval from city leaders as soon as at a Feb. 24 council meeting, the Los Angeles Times reports. Election officials confirmed Thursday there are more than enough valid signatures to put the project on the June ballot, but the Inglewood City Council also has the option to approve the plan for an 80,000-seat venue outright, a course that appears likely.

State Film Commission Targets New TV Productions

A flood of new TV shows could be filmed in Los Angeles this summer under new incentives being rushed through by the California Film Commission, which voted Thursday to try and speed up implementation of the television regulations in the state’s new production credit program, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports.

Virgin Galactic to Build Satellite Launcher in Long Beach

Commercial spaceflight firm Virgin Galactic announced that it will design and build its LauncherOne satellite launch vehicles in Long Beach, a move that is expected to create at least 100 jobs initially, with an expansion planned to hire local talent, sources told the Long Beach Press Telegram.

DWP Audit Stalls after Auditors Take Too Many Notes, City Hall Sources Say

City Hall Sources told the Los Angeles Times that an audit of two ratepayer-funded nonprofit groups co-run by the Department of Water and Power and its powerful union has stalled after the groups’ administrators objected to the volume of notes being taken by auditors. Administrators last year agreed to an audit, but with a catch: Auditors were not allowed to take or copy documents, leaving note-taking as their only option.

Lawmakers Want Port Gridlock Solved

Members of the House of Representatives, Republicans and Democrats alike, on Thursday called for a swift resolution to the ongoing contract negotiations between shipping companies and West Coast dockworkers, which have tied up operations at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for months. The group representing shippers has called for a halt to ship unloading over the coming three-day weekend, a move dockworkers say is aimed at pressuring them into accepting a deal, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Alibaba’s Ma to Employees: ‘Be at Ease’ About U.S. Lawsuits

Jack Ma, chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, which went public in the United States last year, has told Alibaba employees not to worry about a series of U.S. lawsuits regarding a lack of disclosure to investors, Reuters reports. In a letter to employees posted on his blog in advance of the Lunar New Year holiday, Ma said, “As for the lawsuits that came about from recent events, I ask that Alibaba employees be at ease.”

Emile Hirsch Charged in Assault of Paramount Exec

Actor Emile Hirsch was charged with aggravated assault on Thursday after police said he put a studio executive in a chokehold and dragged her across a nightclub table while he was in Utah for the Sundance Film Festival, the Associated Press reports. Summit County prosecutor Ryan Stack confirmed that the woman, Daniele Bernfeld, is an executive for Insurge Pictures, a Paramount Pictures subsidiary.

Marines Injured During Twentynine Palms Training

Twenty-two Marines were injured Thursday while in an amphibious assault vehicle when a fire extinguisher system “inadvertently discharged” during training at the Marine Corps base at Twentynine Palms, causing the Marines to inhale gas from the extinguisher, the Los Angeles Times reports.

SoCal Cops on Lookout for Cardboard Theft

Authorities in San Bernardino County are cracking down on bandits who steal used cardboard, which can sell for $100 or more a ton, the Associated Press reports. Cardboard theft is a problem for trash-hauling companies, which bring in extra revenue by selling cardboard to recyclers.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 52 points in Friday morning trading to 18,022. The S&P 500 was up six points to 2,094. The Nasdaq was up 16 points to 4,874. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 223.

Thursday, February 12

State Film Commission Targets New TV Productions

A flood of new TV shows could be filmed in Los Angeles this summer under new incentives being rushed through by the California Film Commission.

Virgin Galactic to Manufacture Rocket in Long Beach

Virgin Galactic is moving the development and manufacturing of its LauncherOne satellite-carrier rocket from the Mojave Air & Space Port to Long Beach.

Reports: Anthem Hack Affected Past Customers

The data breach at Anthem Inc. was broader than initially thought and could affect customers as far back as 2004, according to media reports on Thursday.

Jakks Pacific Obtains Warcraft Licensing Rights

Malibu toymaker Jakks Pacific Inc. has obtained the licensing rights to create toys, costumes and other items for the upcoming movie Warcraft.

Baggage Theft Suspect Arrested at LAX

An airport police task force at Los Angeles International Airport has arrested a man who may have a history of baggage theft.

Hollywood Company Plans Sun Valley Studio Complex

A Hollywood film and television production and rental company is proposing to build a 220,000-square-foot studio complex on 10 acres in Sun Valley.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 110 points in Thursday trading to close at 17,972. The S&P 500 rose 20 points to 2,088. The Nasdaq rose 56 points to 4,858. The LABJ Stock Index rose two points to 223.

Laurel & Wolf Secures $4.4 Million

Laurel & Wolf has raised $4.4 million in Series A funding to grow its team and expand its online interior design marketplace.

L.A. Halts Review of DWP Nonprofits, Cites Lack of Cooperation

An audit to determine what two controversial Department of Water and Power nonprofit trusts did with more than $40 million in public money has ground to a halt, and Controller Ron Galperin's office blames a lack of cooperation from leaders of the nonprofits, City Hall sources told the Los Angeles Times.

Consumer Spending Down Again

U.S. retail sales fell 0.8 percent in January, slumping for a second straight month, the Commerce Department announced today. The drop indicates that sluggish consumer spending over the holidays continued into early 2015 despite the savings from sharply lower gasoline prices, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A Billion Records Were Compromised by Hacks in 2014

Over a billion personal data records were compromised by cyberattacks in 2014, a new report has revealed, driven by high-profile breaches on Home Depot, JPMorgan and eBay, a 78 percent surge in the number of personal data records compromised compared to 2013, CNBC reports.

Officials Investigate Fire at Pierce Brosnan’s Malibu Home

Officials are investigating what caused a fire inside actor Pierce Brosnan’s beachfront home in Malibu late Wednesday and could have answers this morning, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Koreatown Karaoke Bar Denied Alcohol Permit

The five-member Central Area Planning Commission voted Tuesday night to reject the request from Koreatown karaoke bar La Defence to continue selling alcohol, the Los Angeles Times reports. The troubled bar, which a city zoning administrator concluded is a drain on police resources, had become an election issue for City Council President Herb Wesson, who initially supported the club, and did not turn against it quickly enough, according to his opponent, Grace Yoo.

Expedia to Buy Orbitz for $1.3 Billion

Expedia agreed to buy Orbitz for about $1.3 billion, further consolidating the online travel industry, the Wall Street Journal reports. Orbitz shares surged on the news.

Obit: Jerry Tarkanian

Hall of Fame coach Jerry Tarkanian, college basketball legend and pioneer of Long Beach State basketball, who also built a basketball dynasty at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, died Wednesday after several years of health issues, the Daily News reports. He was 84.

Why Valentine’s Chocolate Costs More This Year

The price of cocoa, the main ingredient in most chocolate, soared last year, forcing chocolate producers to raise prices and shrink packages, the New York Times reports. A growing demand in Asian markets for dark chocolate, which requires more cocoa, is the primary cause, commodity analysts say.

Facebook to Let You Choose Who Manages Your Account After You Die

Facebook will begin allowing its members to designate someone, whom they call a “legacy contact,” to manage parts of their accounts when they die, the Wall Street Journal reports. Members can also choose to have their presence deleted entirely.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 42 points in Thursday morning trading to 17,904. The S&P 500 was up 11 points to 2,079. The Nasdaq was up 33 points to 4,835. The LABJ Stock Index was up one point to 222.

Wednesday, February 11

Council Rejects Live Nation’s Bid for Greek Theatre

The battle for control of the Greek Theatre took a new twist today when the Los Angeles City Council rejected a recommendation for entertainment giant Live Nation to assume control of the iconic venue.

PMA to Suspend Weekend and Holiday Activity at Ports

After halting the loading and unloading of ships last weekend at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, shippers and terminal operators are upping the ante by suspending upcoming weekend and holiday activity, denying higher weekend and holiday pay to longshore workers.

Merrill Lynch Hires Wealth Manager Bruce Munster from Morgan Stanley

Merrill Lynch, the private wealth and investment banking arm of Bank of America Corp. in Charlotte, N.C., announced Wednesday that it has hired local money manager Bruce Munster and his nine-person wealth management team from New York investment bank Morgan Stanley.

Two L.A. Hospitals Fined by CDPH

Two Los Angeles-area hospitals were among 10 fined by the California Department of Public Health today after investigations found the facilities had not complied with licensing requirements. And their actions caused, or were likely to cause, serious injury or death to patients.

Garcetti Signs Law Reducing Top Business Tax Rates

Delivering some relief to local businesses, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday signed into law a reduction in the top rates businesses pay in gross-receipts taxes to the city.

Markets Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average fell seven points in Wednesday trading to close at 17,862. The S&P 500 was flat at 2,069. The Nasdaq rose 14 points to 4,801. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 221.

Poll: Do you order groceries online?

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

J2 Global Acquires Firstway Digital Limited

J2 Global has acquired Firstway Digital Limited, a Dublin distributor of digital fax services.

House Subcommittee Slams VA Officials for Commercial Leases

A congressional subcommittee on Tuesday criticized the Department of Veterans Affairs for issuing commercial leases on its West Los Angeles campus, focusing on a scathing report in September which found that the VA had failed to collect rent from commercial leaseholders at its 387-acre West Los Angeles campus, and that delinquent leaseholders were not immediately evicted, the Los Angeles Times reports. A federal judge in 2013 struck down the leases, saying they had nothing to do with medical care for veterans.

Airbnb Negotiating With L.A. Over Taxes

A spokesman for Airbnb said the company is in negotiations with the city of Los Angeles over collecting occupancy taxes for short-term rentals, KPCC reports.

Apple is First $700 Billion Company

Shares of Apple rose almost 2 percent to $122.02 on Tuesday, raising its market capitalization to just under $711 billion, making it the first U.S. company with a market value above $700 billion, Fortune reports.

Bank of America’s Government-backed Subsidiary Financed Tax Trades

For years, Bank of America used its government-backed U.S. banking subsidiary to finance billions of dollars in controversial trades that helped hedge funds and other clients avoid taxes, according to internal documents reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.

SoCal Edison’s Plans to Hire Foreign Workers Criticized

More than 300 members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers rallied in Irvine in support of their fellow Southern California Edison employees, while the company’s plans to lay off hundreds of employees and replace them with foreign workers is coming under attack from lawmakers in Congress as well, the Los Angeles Times reports.

L.A. Unified Sides With Farmworkers Union in Labor Dispute

The Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday sided with United Farm Workers in its dispute with the Fresno agricultural firm Gerawan Farming, calling on the company to honor a labor contract, the Los Angeles Times reports. The company denied any wrongdoing and challenged the validity of the contract.

John Malone Gets Stake in Lions Gate, Board Seat

Cable pioneer John Malone will swap a portion of his Starz shares for a 3.43 percent stake in Santa Monica’s Lions Gate Entertainment and a seat on the company’s board, setting the stage for collaboration between the two media companies, the Wall Street Journal reports.

L.A. City Workers Protest Service Cuts

Los Angeles city workers staged a series of demonstrations Tuesday at job sites around Los Angeles to protest proposed wage freezes and reductions in pension and health care benefits, even as Mayor Eric Garcetti touted progress in labor negotiations with employee unions, CBS reports.

City Council to Weigh in on Greek Theatre

The Los Angeles City Council will weigh in today in the battle for control of the Greek Theatre, with longtime venue operator Nederlander hoping to keep its job and concert promoter Live Nation hoping to take over, City News Service reports.

Magic Johnson Interested in Los Angeles NFL Team

Magic Johnson told USA Today Sports on Tuesday that he can envision becoming involved with bringing an NFL team to Los Angeles.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 37 points in Wednesday trading to close at 17,833. The S&P 500 was flat at 2,069. The Nasdaq was up 19 points to 4,806. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 221.

Tuesday, February 10

Machinima, Collective Digital Studio Fight ‘Copyright Troll’

Machinima and Collective Digital Studio have filed separate suits in federal court against online music library Freeplay, claiming the New York company engages in a “bait and switch” copyright scheme to extort money from multichannel networks and their talent.

Cerritos Industrial Site Trades for Premium Price

Newport Beach investor Alere Property Group bought the 17.5-acre Cerritos West Industrial Park late last month, banking on its ability to take advantage of a tight industrial market by raising rents.

Acquisition Costs Hurt Aecom Earnings

Downtown Los Angeles engineering and construction firm Aecom Technology Corp. on Tuesday reported a larger-than-expected loss for the fiscal first quarter of 2015.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 140 points in Tuesday trading to close at 17,869. The S&P 500 rose 22 points to 2,069. The Nasdaq rose 62 percent to 4,788. The LABJ Stock Index rose two points to 221.

Dockworkers Resume Ship Unloading at West Coast Ports

Dockworkers resumed unloading ships at West Coast ports Monday after employers suspended operations over the weekend amid an ongoing labor dispute, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Pascal to Join ‘Spider-Man’ Team

Amy Pascal, who will step down as Sony Picture’s co-chairwoman in May, will join the producing team for the studio’s most important film property, the “Spider-Man” series, ranking her alongside Hollywood’s most prominent producers, the New York Times reports.

Now Unionized, Port Truckers OK First Contract

Newly unionized truckers working for Shippers Transport Express, a Carson company that services the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, have ratified their first contract. The pact, which includes increased hourly wages, was announced Monday, the Long Beach Press Telegram reports.

Hollywood Employment Surges on Web Programming

A surge in jobs generated by production of original content for Amazon, YouTube and other outlets has pushed employment in Hollywood to the highest level in a decade, with 8,000 jobs added to the entertainment sector in Los Angeles County last year, according to state jobs data, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Obituary: Architect Jon Jerde

Architect Jon Jerde, famous for “experience” malls like L.A.’s Universal CityWalk and overseeing design for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, died Monday at his home in Brentwood, according to an announcement from his wife, architect Janice Ambry Jerde, the Los Angeles Times reports. He was 75.

Consolidation: Curbstand Buys Curby

Curbstand, a Los Angeles startup that lets people pay for valet parking through their smartphones, acquired Curby, another Los Angeles startup that serves the same purpose, the Los Angeles Times reports.

No Surprise: L.A., Orange Counties Have Worst Bottlenecks in State

According to Caltrans, Los Angeles and Orange counties are home to the five worst highway bottlenecks in the state, with commuters traveling those routes experiencing a combined 2.5 million hours of delay a year, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Heinz to Sell Sriracha-Flavored Ketchup

H.J. Heinz said Monday that it would start selling a new ketchup flavor this month that includes Sriracha, the Associated Press reports.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 45 points in Tuesday morning trading to 17,774. The S&P 500 was up seven points to 2,054. The Nasdaq was up 24 points to 4,751. The LABJ Stock Index was up one point to 359.

New Matter Raises $6.5 Million for 3D Printers

New Matter, an Idealab startup that has created a low-priced 3D printer, has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding to bring its production online and staff up.

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Monday, February 9

CurbStand Acquires On-Demand Valet Competitor Curby

CurbStand, the app for on-demand valet parking services, has acquired competitor Curby to offer a new enterprise-facing solution for valet companies.

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Cinedigm and TV4 Partner to Launch Online Channels

Film distributor Cinedigm and online video aggregator TV4 Entertainment have partnered to offer over-the-top niche channels that target preschool, kids and tween viewers.

Airport Authority Pushes for New Burbank Airport Terminal

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority Commission is aggressively trying to jump start plans this month to build a new terminal at Burbank Bob Hope Airport.

Credits Roll on Gigapix Movie Scam as Two Are Sentenced

Two L.A. men who led a scheme to defraud hundreds of investors in a company called Gigapix Studios were sentenced on Monday, receiving up to eight years in federal prison.

Oaktree Capital Reports Smaller Fourth-Quarter Profit

Downtown Los Angeles money manager Oaktree Capital Group reported fourth-quarter earnings that fell short of the previous year’s numbers, citing lower investment and incentive income in a challenging environment for distressed investing, the firm’s bread and butter.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 95 points in Monday trading to close at 17,729. The S&P 500 fell nine points to 2,047. The Nasdaq fell 18 points to 4,726. The LABJ Stock Index fell one point to 219.

Laurus Pays Top Dollar for Pasadena Office Property

Century City real estate investment and development firm Laurus Corp. has purchased a 163,000-square-foot, eight-story building in Pasadena for $52.5 million.

Inglewood Football Stadium Developers Try to Slice Through Red Tape

Developers, eager to break ground on the 80,000-seat, billion-dollar-plus stadium at the former Hollywood Park racetrack in Inglewood by the end of the year, have proposed zoning changes for the stadium through a ballot initiative, which would allow them to skip lengthy reviews that civic and environmental activists say protect surrounding neighborhoods, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Biggest Grammy Moments Differ on Facebook, Twitter

Millions of viewers of CBS’s telecast of the 57th Annual Grammy Awards followed along on Facebook and Twitter, though the top social moments on the two platforms differed, Variety reports. The biggest moments on Facebook were Sam Smith winning Record of the Year, AC/DC opening the show, and Madonna’s performance of “Living for Love.” On Twitter, the moment that sparked the top tweets-per-minute peak was when Beck won Album of the Year, beating out Beyonce — and Kanye West jumped on stage in protest.

Report: HSBC Helped Drug Traffickers, Celebrities Dodge Taxes

HSBC's Swiss private bank helped hide millions of dollars for drug traffickers, arms dealers and celebrities as it assisted wealthy people around the world in dodging taxes, according to a report from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and several news organizations, based on leaked documents that relate to accounts worth about $100 billion, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Months After Sony Hack, Employees Still Deal With Identity Theft

Three months after the massive hack that disabled Sony Pictures Entertainment's computers, employees told KPCC they are still dealing with a litany of problems, including their identities being stolen by strangers who open credit accounts in their names.

Troubled Koreatown Karaoke Bar an Election Issue

Even City Council President Herb Wesson, a longtime advocate for Koreatown's bar and restaurant scene, has recently turned against La Defence, a Wilshire Boulevard nightclub that a city zoning administrator concluded is a drain on police resources, citing two rape reports and a handful of assault cases. Wesson’s initial support of the club is an issue in the March 3 election, because Koreatown activist Grace Yoo, now running against Wesson, said her opponent should have spoken out much sooner against La Defence, the Los Angeles Times reports.

How Accurate Are Zillow ‘Zestimates’?

When Spencer Rascoff, the chief executive of Zillow, was asked recently about the accuracy of the website's property value estimates, he answered that nationwide the Zestimates have a “median error rate” of about 8 percent. But localized median error rates on Zillow, the most popular online real estate information site, sometimes far exceed the national median, raising the odds that sellers and buyers using the site will have conflicts over pricing, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Blake Griffin Sidelined, Having Elbow Surgery

Los Angeles Clippers star forward Blake Griffin will undergo surgery today for a staph infection in his right elbow and will be sidelined at least through the All-Star break, when he will be re-evaluated, ESPN reports.

Box Office: ‘SpongeBob’ Weekend Hit, ‘Sniper’ Continues Spree

“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water,” based on the cartoon series that premiered in 1999, dominated the weekend box office, taking in $56 million from its debut in the United States and Canada, the Wall Street Journal reports. “American Sniper,” which continued its extraordinary box office run by grossing $24.2 million, took the No. 2 spot, beating out a pair of big-budget movies: “Jupiter Ascending” and “Seventh Son.”

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 79 points in Monday morning trading to 17,745. The S&P 500 was down six points to 2,049. The Nasdaq was down 19 points to 4,725.

Pro Athletes Add Up for Accountant

Steve Piascik fields Beverly Hills office to cover roster of clients.

Steve Piascik looks to score points with his pro athlete clients thanks to his new office in Beverly Hills.

Beer Maker Hops on Solar Energy Bandwagon

ALCOHOL: MillerCoors uncorks massive array at facility in Irwindale.

Beer maker MillerCoors looks to tap the sun with a massive solar panel array at its Irwindale plant.

Gear Shift

Why TrueCar’s Scott Painter traded in 20% of his staff

TrueCar’s Scott Painter said a hefty staff shuffle has revved up the vehicle-shopping website.

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L.A. Scrambles to Defend Air Base

POLITICS: Lawmakers, business leaders fear facility in cross hairs.

Elected officials and business leaders link arms to guard Los Angeles Air Force Base from closure.

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Cosmetics Firm Takes Shine to Lip Gloss Brands

BEAUTY: Markwins buys Lip Smacker, Bonne Bell lines with plans for revival.

Markwins International expands its cosmetics coverage by buying two youth-oriented brands.

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DWP Powers Up Solar Company

ENERGY: PermaCity’s business heats up with multibuilding deal.

Solar panel installer PermaCity raises the roof with multibuilding Department of Water & Power contract.

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Port Truckers Turn to Courts

Truckers turn to worker lawsuits to drive unionization efforts at port companies.

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Importers Told to Avoid Ports as Talks Flounder

SHIPPING: Congestion, labor strife seen weighing on ability to move goods.

Port businesses tell clients to batten down hatches out of fear of shutdown.

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Medical Benefits

DESIGN: Karten expanded focus on health care devices to meet demand for more functional, elegant equipment.

Karten has seen a healthy boost in business by focusing on industrial devices for the medical industry.

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Property Pickup Pumps Up Pasadena’s Prospects

ACQUISITION: Laurus’ $52.5 million deal seen as sign of blooming market.

Century City real estate investment and development firm Laurus Corp. has purchased a 163,000-square-foot, eight-story building in Pasadena for $52.5 million.

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News of the Week

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

Many were heartbroken when Santa Monica video rental store Vidiots, home to many out-of-print and obscure films, announced it was closing.

Tough to Swallow? Business Model Goes Vegan

MARKETING: Scout 22 says it expects steady diet of clients with new restricted focus.

It’s common for public relations and marketing firms to have a specialty, but new firm Scout 22 is taking things to an incredibly specific level: The firm bills itself as the first vegan public relations and marketing agency in Los Angeles.

Boutique Firm Looks to Turn Art Into Business

FOUNDING: Spencer Kerr to focus on growing niche with L.A., New York offices.

Art sales worldwide are booming and lawyers are flocking to the industry in hopes of capitalizing on the growth.

Publicity Vet Looks to Get Word Out on Own Career

PR: Elliot Mintz launches site to share lessons learned from big-name clients.

Elliot Mintz’s latest project: spreading the word about his decades of working with big-name clients.

Service Shift Leaves Debit Card Business at Loss

FINANCE: Move to scrap MoneyPak sends shares of Green Dot tumbling.

Green Dot’s shift away from MoneyPak debit card service leaves investors and prison gang in lurch.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Wealth Management: B. Riley Financial Inc., a West L.A. brokerage and investment bank, has acquired MK Capital Advisors, a New York financial advisory firm that caters to ultra-high-net-worth clients.

Exec Makes Waves During Meetings

Alex Boylan, season-two co-winner of CBS’ “The Amazing Race,” likes to take his work to the water.

Old Maker of Food Learned New Trick

Marco Giannini’s move into retail unleashed growing pet chain.

Former food maker Marco Giannini has found a new leash on life with his retail chain.

Designer’s Plans Guided By Stars

Christopher Guy holds show-biz parties to draw celeb customers.

Furniture designer Christopher Guy hopes to host celebs at his store parties to help get his star on the rise.

Tourism Would Welcome Development Connection

Robert Newsom calls on developers to help build Los Angeles into a top destination city

Retiring Megapensions

Placing $100,000 limit on payouts will help California governments rein in benefits rising exponentially.

Lanny Ebenstein warns California will pay if public employees’ pensions aren’t capped at $100,000 a year.

License to Thrive?

Retailer Kitson has clashed with the operator of two branded airport shops over what the boutique chain claims is a name-damaging performance. So the Business Journal asks:

Would you license your name for greater exposure of your business if it meant giving up quality control?

Taxing Concerns

Charles Crumpley says that putting levies on services can be a taxing matter.

Friday, February 6

Regulators to Hold Hearing on CIT-OneWest Deal

The Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced Friday that they would hold a public hearing on the proposed acquisition of Pasadena’s OneWest Bank by lending company CIT Group in Livingston, N.J., responding to pressure from community groups opposing the union.

Air Board Upholds Approval of Carson Refinery Upgrade

Local air regulators on Friday upheld their approval of a major refinery upgrade in Carson, despite vociferous community and environmental opposition.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Marlin Equity Partners of Hermosa Beach announced Monday that it has acquired Pendum, an Elmhurst, Ill., ATM service provider. Pendum will be combined with another Marlin portfolio company, payments processing technology firm Burroughs Inc. of Plymouth, Mich. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Nova LifeStyle, BreitBurn Energy Among Week's Big Movers

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

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 61 points in Friday trading to close at 17,824. The S&P 500 fell seven points to 2,055. The Nasdaq fell 21 points to 4,744. The LABJ Stock Index fell two points to 220.

L.A. Launch List: Feb. 6

On this week's Launch List: a non-QM loan startup, a "Hispennial"-facing MCN and "Uber for dog walking."

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Jobs Report: Promising

U.S. nonfarm payrolls grew by a seasonally adjusted 257,000 jobs in January, the Labor Department said today. Job creation was far stronger in prior months than previously estimated, with the government raising its estimates of new jobs in November and December by a combined 147,000, bringing November’s reading to 423,000 jobs added and making it the strongest month of private-sector hiring since 1997, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Merchants Bank Ends Service, Cuts Off Transfers to Somalia

Pressured by the U.S. government's anti-terrorism crackdown, Carson’s Merchants Bank of California has said it will stop wiring money from Somali immigrants in the United States to their families in their war-ravaged home country, the Los Angeles Times reports. Merchants Bank had started the process of cutting off Somali money transfers in the middle of last year, as the Los Angeles Business Journal reported.

Verizon to Sell Wireline Assets in California, Texas

Verizon Communications Inc. has reached an agreement to sell its wireline operations that serve customers in California, Florida and Texas to Frontier Communications Corp. for about $10.5 billion in cash and assumed debt, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports.

L.A. Unified Food Director Accused of Mismanagement, Conflicts of Interest

David Binkle, food services director for the Los Angeles Unified School District, has been suspended pending an investigation into alleged conflicts of interest and mismanagement, the Los Angeles Times reports. The district’s Office of the Inspector General alleges Binkle failed to report payments from food vendors and an ownership stake in a private consulting firm.

Ryan Seacrest’s Keyboard Company Ordered to Pay Blackberry $860k

Typo Products, the Los Angeles keyboard company founded by entertainer Ryan Seacrest, was ordered to pay Blackberry Ltd. $860,000 in sanctions after Typo continued to sell products despite a court order barring it from doing so, Bloomberg reports.

Shuttle Drivers for Tech Companies to Vote on Joining Teamsters

Drivers who serve Apple, eBay,Genentech, Yahoo and Zynga in Northern California will vote late this month on representation by the Teamsters Union, the union said Thursday, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Former Siemens CFO Commits Suicide

Heinz-Joachim Neubuerger, a former Siemens finance chief, has committed suicide, two months after agreeing to a settlement with the company over his role in one of Germany's biggest corporate bribery scandals, a friend told Reuters.

RadioShack Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Radioshack, the struggling 94-year-old electronics chain, filed for bankruptcy protection on Thursday after making a deal to sell up to 2,400 of its stores to Sprint and Standard General, a hedge fund that is its biggest shareholder, the New York Times reports. Standard General is the same hedge fund that owns a large stake in downtown L.A.’s American Apparel Inc.

Endangered Sumatran Tiger Joins Los Angeles Zoo

A 250-pound endangered Sumatran tiger named Castro Jr., or C.J. for short, is the newest addition to the Los Angeles Zoo and makes his debut today, ABC reports.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 43 points in Friday trading to 17,928. The S&P 500 was up eight points to 2,071. The Nasdaq was up 17 points to 4,782. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 222.

Thursday, February 5

Vivendi May Sell Remaining $856 Million Stake in Activision

Santa Monica video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. said in a regulatory filing today that Vivendi, its former French owner, may now sell its remaining $856 million stake in the company.

Anthem Officials Investigate How California Members Fared in Hack

Officials with Anthem Blue Cross Inc. in Thousand Oaks were still determining Thursday how many of its California members may have had personal information compromised by a huge security breach at its parent company.

Disney Names Staggs COO, Potential Iger Successor

Studio veteran Thomas Staggs was named Thursday as chief operating officer at Walt Disney Co. – a promotion that puts him in line to succeed Robert Iger as the next leader of the Burbank media and entertainment giant.

Farmer Bros. to Close Torrance Headquarters, Leave California

South Bay coffee roaster Farmer Bros. Co. announced Thursday that it will close its Torrance headquarters and move out of state, setting up shop in either Oklahoma City or the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 212 points in Thursday trading to close at 17,885. The S&P 500 rose 21 points to 2,063. The Nasdaq rose 48 points to 4,765. The LABJ Stock Index rose three points to 222.

Disney Sets Aside $198 Million for Maker Studios

Walt Disney Co. has earmarked $198 million in potential payouts to Maker Studios’ former shareholders, according to the Burbank media house’s 2014 earnings report.

Sony Studio Chief Steps Down

Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal is stepping down in the wake of the hack attack on the studio that became a global incident. She will remain on the studio’s Culver City lot to start her own production company, which is to be financed by Sony.

Playa Vista’s Reserve Sells for $316 Million

The Reserve, a nearly 400,000-square-foot creative office campus in Playa Vista, was sold last week to Atlanta real estate fund Invesco for $316 million. At about $790 a square foot, the price was among the highest paid for an office property in the region.

Zealot Networks Acquires Converge Media

Zealot Networks has picked up another talent management firm, acquiring comedy-focused Converge Media Group for an undisclosed amount.

Cyberattack on Anthem Comprises Data of Millions

Anthem, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, said late Wednesday that hackers were able to breach a database that contained as many as 80 million records of current and former customers as well as employees, the New York Times reports. The information accessed includes names, birthdays, Social Security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, including income data.

Pfizer to Buy Hospira for $16 Billion

Pfizer Inc. has agreed to buy Hospira Inc. in a $16 billion, all-cash deal that would expand the New York pharmaceutical company’s sales of injectable drugs and lower-priced, copycat versions of expensive biotech drugs, the Wall Street Journal reports. Hospira, based in Lake Forest, Ill., is among the leading companies selling injectable drugs and copycat drugs, known as biosimilars.

Shippers Threaten Shutdown at Ports

Frustrated after more than nine months of contract negotiations with the West Coast dockworkers’ union, the chief executive of the shippers bargaining group Pacific Maritime Association on Wednesday took the association’s most public step yet in its long-running negotiations, revealing details of its offer to the union in a conference call and threatening a shutdown of operations at West Coast ports, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports.

Outflows at Pimco Continue

Pacific Investment Management Co. said its flagship Total Return Fund saw outflows of an additional $11.6 billion in January as the Newport Beach mutual fund company continues to try to steady itself four months after the abrupt departure of Bill Gross, the Los Angeles Times reports.

EHarmony’s Westwood Move is Official

The Los Angeles Business Journal reported in November that online dating service eHarmony Inc. was expected to move its headquarters from Santa Monica to Westwood. Now, that deal is finalized, and the company will take the top four floors of 10900 Wilshire Blvd., a prominent Westwood office tower that was purchased by New York real estate company Tishman Speyer for a reported $125 million last year, under a 10-year lease, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Deal Between Twitter and Google Brings Tweets to Google Search

Twitter Inc. has struck a deal with Google Inc. to make its 140-character updates visible in Google’s search results as soon as they’re posted, Bloomberg reports. The deal gives Google access to Twitter’s firehose, the stream of data generated by the microblogging service’s 284 million users.

Obama Proposes Subsidizing Earthquake Warning Network

President Obama has proposed spending $5 million in the upcoming federal budget on the West Coast’s earthquake early warning network, the Los Angeles Times reports.

May Co. Makeover Could Revive Broadway

The owners of the landmark former May Co. department store in downtown Los Angeles have unveiled plans for an ambitious makeover that could lift the surrounding blocks the way Staples Center did for its neighborhood more than a decade ago, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 149 points in Thursday morning trading to 17,823. The S&P 500 was up 17 points to 2,058. The Nasdaq was up 29 points to 4,746. The LABJ Stock Index was up two points to 221.

Wednesday, February 4

Shippers Threaten Port Lockout

Frustrated after more than nine months of contract negotiations with the West Coast dockworkers’ union, the chief executive of the shippers bargaining group Pacific Maritime Association on Wednesday revealed details of its offer to the union in a conference call and threatened a shutdown of operations at West Coast ports.

Disney Shares Hit All-Time High

Shares in Walt Disney Co. hit a new all-time high Wednesday, the day after the reporting strong quarterly earnings.

Hotel Manager Warnick Merges with CHM

Century City hotel management firm Warnick + Co. has merged with competitor CHM of Beverly, Mass., to form CHMWarnick, the companies announced Tuesday. The combined company has a client portfolio of 54 properties with 23,000 rooms, representing roughly $8 billion in hotel assets.

Markets Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average rose seven points in Wednesday trading to close at 17,673. The S&P 500 fell nine points to 2,042. The Nasdaq fell 11 points to 4,717. The LABJ Stock Index rose four points to 220.

Downtown L.A.’s Biggest Landlord Seeks to Hack Through Vacancies

One way to address a whopping large vacancy in your office building is to dress it up a little. That’s what Brookfield Property Partners, the largest office landlord in downtown Los Angeles, will be doing for two of its properties. The company has set up a competition of sorts among six downtown architecture firms, asking them to design the office of the near future, with only budgets and time lines as the ground rules.

Work/Life: Andrea Robinson

The founder and director of Arc Sustainability on time management, mantras and raising twins

Andrea Robinson is the founder and director of Arc Sustainability in Los Angeles, an environmental and corporate social responsibility consulting firm that specializes in designing and implementing sustainability programs, as well as event-planning for high-profile organizations. Robinson managed the “greening” of several venues during Al Gore’s Live Earth concert series, while also serving as the series’ international NGO director, and was the first-ever “director of greening” at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, charged with making the convention as sustainable as possible. Over the course of two decades working in the environmental field, Robinson has contributed to the Clinton Global Initiative and the environmental campaigns of each of the last three Democratic presidential tickets. In 2006, she worked with Madeline Albright on environmental messaging for Proposition 87, California’s alternative energy initiative. Robinson recently had twin daughters. We spoke with her about how that has changed her approach to work.

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Poll: If you were able, would you hire contract workers instead of full-timers?

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

Sony Says Hack Cost Company $15 Million

Sony Corp. today provided the figure for damages from the hack on Sony Pictures Entertainment: $15 million. The company is forecasting a loss of $1.4 billion for the fiscal year, an improvement from its earlier forecast, the Associated Press reports.

Staples to Buy Office Depot for $6 Billion

Staples Inc., the No. 1 U.S. office supplies retailer, agreed to buy No. 2 Office Depot Inc. in a $6.3 billion deal designed to help it better compete against Walmart and Amazon.com, Reuters reports.

Crude Prices Rise, Doubts Remain

Crude prices rose to the highest level this year on Tuesday, and continue to rise today, amid signs that there will be an eventual slowdown in production. But some investors and analysts say the worst may not be over, the Wall Street Journal reports.

State Senators to Propose Changes to Vaccination Law

As the number of measles cases in California nears 100, two state senators – Dr. Richard Pan, a pediatrician who represents Sacramento, and Ben Allen, the former president of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District – are expected to announce legislation later today to change the current immunization requirements in schools, the Daily News reports. They would not say in advance what changes their bill proposes, but it would alter the current law which allows parents to skip vaccinating their children under what is called a personal belief exemption.

Stretch of PCH Reopens After Mudslide Closure

Nearly six of the nine miles of the Pacific Coast Highway that have been closed between Las Posas Road and Yerba Buena Road are finally open for public access, the California Department of Transportation announced Tuesday, the Santa Monica Mirror reports.

L.A. County Authorizes Study of Recreation Needs

Three months after Los Angeles County voters narrowly defeated a parcel tax for parks, the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously authorized a $3.5 million survey of recreation facilities and needs throughout the county, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Number of Billionaires Hits Record High

The number of billionaires in the world grew by 222 in 2014, bringing the total to a record 2,089, according to a new report, CNBC reports.

Megan Ellison Prevents Vidiots From Closing

Many were heartbroken when Santa Monica’s Vidiots announced it was closing. Among them was Megan Ellison, independent producer and daughter of Oracle Corp. founder Larry Ellison, who donated enough money to Vidiots to keep its lights on “for many years,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 28 points in Wednesday morning trading to 17,696. The S&P 500 was down five points to 2,045. The Nasdaq was down 17 points to 4,710. The LABJ Stock Index rose three points to 218

MiTu Captures $15 Million Series B Round

MiTu has closed $15 million in Series B financing to invest in tech and grow its editorial team.

Tuesday, February 3

Ouya Plays for Chinese Market with Games, Not Consoles

Instead of selling its $99 console in China, which last year lifted a 14-year ban on foreign game consoles, Ouya has pivoted its strategy to focus on distributing its 1,000-plus game library through partners overseas.

OpenGate Portfolio Company PennySaver USA Cuts Distribution

Brea discount mailer company PennySaver USA, a portfolio company of Century City private equity firm OpenGate Capital, announced Monday that it would cease distribution to several areas, mainly in Northern California’s East Bay and South Bay regions.

Afrezza Now Available in U.S.

MannKind Corp. announced on Tuesday that its Afrezza brand of inhalable insulin is now available by prescription at U.S. pharmacies.

Disney Earnings Beat Estimates

The financial bonanza to Walt Disney Co. from its blockbuster animated hit “Frozen” appears not to be melting anytime soon.

Epoxy Partners with Maker, Fullscreen, AwesomenessTV, Others

Epoxy has closed deals with major multichannel networks to provide video management tools for YouTube creators to better operate across multiple platforms.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 305 points in Tuesday trading to close at 17,666. The S&P 500 rose 29 points to 2,050. The Nasdaq rose 51 points to 4,728. The LABJ Stock Index rose three points to 215.

Airport Exec Lindsey to Retire

Gina Marie Lindsey, who’s led Los Angeles World Airports for nearly eight years as executive director, said she will retire this spring "to move on to other adventures."

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Obama’s Budget Earmarks $330 Million for L.A. Transit

The budget proposal unveiled by President Obama on Monday dedicates more than $1 billion for California transportation and construction projects, including $330 million that Los Angeles officials called crucial to extending the Purple Line from the Mid-City area to Century City, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Refinery Strike Raises Gas Prices

Gasoline traders reacted quickly to labor stoppages at nine oil refineries, including one in Carson, that began Monday, raising wholesale prices to their highest level in more than a month, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Shell Oil Shells Out $90 Million to Settle Carson Claims

Shell Oil Co. will pay $90 million to settle a dispute with residents of the Carousel neighborhood in Carson, which was built atop a contaminated former oil storage site, KPCC reports. Dole Food Co., which acquired the developer of the site, is disputing its liability. Read more about the Carson cleanup in the Los Angeles Business Journal.

‘Smart’ Development? Some Residents Say Chinatown Project Skirts the Rules

Downtown L.A. developer Atlas Capital has proposed building two towers with up to 685 apartments for its College Station project, which would become the tallest buildings in Chinatown, much to the chagrin of some of the area’s residents, KPCC reports.

S&P Will Pay $1.4 Billion to Settle Litigation Over Role in Financial Crisis

Standard & Poor’s Financial Services has agreed to pay roughly $1.4 billion to settle a lawsuit led by the Justice Department that alleges the firm issued inflated ratings in the years preceding the financial crisis, Fortune reports.

LAEDC Saved or Attracted 200,000 Jobs for L.A. County

The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. said Monday that it has saved or attracted more than 200,000 jobs in L.A. County since the organization’s business assistance program began in 1996, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports.

Robin Williams’ Widow and Children Battle Over Estate, Memorabilia

The widow of Robin Williams and his three children from two previous marriages have engaged in a legal dispute over his estate, with both sides displaying keen interest in his memorabilia such as his collections of fossils and toys, the New York Times reports.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 184 points in Tuesday trading to 17,545. The S&P 500 was up 14 points to 2,034. The Nasdaq was up 12 points to 4,688. The LABJ Stock Index was up one point to 213.

Monday, February 2

L.A. County Disputes AHF Allegations

Los Angeles County is disputing allegations by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation that it is failing to enforce Measure B, which requires mandatory condom usage on adult film shoots, by not collecting permit fees from production companies.

B. Riley Enters Wealth Management Business With Acquisition

West L.A. brokerage and investment bank B. Riley Financial Inc. announced Monday that it has acquired MK Capital Advisors, a New York financial advisory firm that caters to ultra-high net worth clients. It’s B. Riley’s first foray into the wealth-management business. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

L.A. Multifamily Properties Lure Out-of-Town Investors

Laguna Niguel real estate investor Raintree Partners significantly boosted its L.A. presence at the end of the year, snapping up a two-property multifamily package that added 327 units to its portfolio.

San Gabriel Valley Partnership Launches Marketing Website

The San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership announced Monday the launch of a new regional economic development website aimed at companies considering relocating or expanding in the San Gabriel Valley.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 196 points in Monday trading to close at 17,361. The S&P 500 rose 26 points to 2,021. The Nasdaq rose 41 points to 4,677. The LABJ Stock Index rose one point to 212.

Guess Wins Trademark Battle Against Gucci in French Court

For years, Gucci has been accusing Guess Inc. of trademark violations, claiming that the downtown L.A. retailer and fashion brand sold products, including wallets and shoes, which imitated Gucci designs.

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Izea Acquires Freelancer Marketplace Ebyline

Izea Inc., an influencer marketing firm in Orlando, Fla., has acquired Sherman Oaks’ Ebyline Inc., an online marketplace for freelancers, for an initial price of $1.2 million.

Patriots Beat Seahawks, 28-24, After Coaching Blunder

The decision by Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll to throw the ball on second-and-goal from the 1-yard line, trailing the Patriots by 4 in the closing seconds of the Super Bowl on Sunday, will go down as an infamous coaching blunder, the New York Times reports. Carroll took responsibility for the call after the game.

Refinery Workers Strike at Carson Plant

The United Steelworkers union said about 3,800 workers went on strike Sunday at nine U.S. refineries in four states including two in California – Carson and Martinez, which is in the Bay Area. Contract negotiations broke down with Shell Oil Co. when the oil giant did not meet the union’s demands regarding safety and health insurance issues, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Plummeting Oil Prices Force Long Beach to Curb Budget

Oil prices plummeting 60 percent in six months is forcing Long Beach, which has projects funded by oil revenues, to curb its budget plans, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports. The City Council will prioritize Tuesday larger projects planned along the coastline.

Obama to Explain $4 Trillion Budget for Fiscal 2016

President Barack Obama will lay out the details later today of a nearly $4 trillion fiscal 2016 budget, which would run a $474 billion deficit, senior administration officials said Sunday on a conference call previewing the document. The budget is aimed at improving the nation’s infrastructure and boosting middle-class Americans, but at a cost of tax increases and spending above caps set in a bipartisan deficit-reduction agreement, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Obama to Propose Tax on Overseas Earnings

As part of the budget plan, the White House said Sunday that the President will propose a one-time 14 percent tax on the overseas earnings U.S. companies have accumulated and a 19 percent minimum tax on future foreign profits, the Wall Street Journal reports. Companies could reinvest those funds in the U.S. without paying additional tax.

Egyptian Court Sentences 183 People to Death

An Egyptian court sentenced 183 supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to death today on charges of killing police officers, Reuters reports.

Consumer Spending Declined in December by Most in 5 Years

After consumers responded to early promotions by doing most of their holiday shopping in October and November, consumer spending fell in December as household purchases declined 0.3 percent, the biggest decline since September 2009, Commerce Department figures showed today, Bloomberg reports.

Box Office: ‘American Sniper’ Sets Super Bowl Record

Clint Eastwood's “American Sniper” took in the biggest Super Bowl weekend gross of all time, bringing in $31.85 million and beating out the previous record of $31.1 million held by 2008's “Hanna Montana/Miley Cyrus: The Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour.” The family film “Paddington” trailed far behind to claim the No. 2 slot at the box office with $8.5 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down three points in Monday morning trading to 17,163. The S&P 500 was down two points to 1,993. The Nasdaq was down 11 points to 4,625. The LABJ Stock Index was down one point to 210.

Exercise’s New Spheres Of Influence

Pair of doctors weigh into health sector with Gravity Balls products.

Gravity Ball Fitness offers customers hand-held spheres to round out their routines.

Drinking in French Wineries’ Appeal

Plenty of L.A. lawyers claim to be into wine. Then there’s Matt Kanin.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Black Tux, an online suit and tuxedo rental business in Santa Monica, has raised $10 million in a Series A round to scale up production and add products.

Surging Shoemaker Gets in Step With Investors

FOOTWEAR: European expansion, strong quarter boost shares of Skechers.

Shoemaker Skechers gets a leg up on Wall Street with a strong quarter and Euro expansion.

History Cuts Recent Bank Pickup Down to Size

M&A: RBC-City National transaction trails mammoth acquisitions of late ’90s.

RBC’s hefty bid for City National comes up short when compared to the massive bank deals of the late ’90s.

World Cup Vet Has High Goal for L.A. Promotion

TOURISM: Alan Rothenberg says an improved LAX will give city a lift from Asia.

World Cup proponent Alan Rothenberg hopes to get the ball rolling on Los Angeles as a destination city.

Former Xbox Executive Deals With New Focus

ENTERTAINMENT: Elan Lee fuses together team to make Exploding Kittens card game.

There is life after tech.

Deal’s Paper Trail Points to Document Processor

TECHNOLOGY: Pickup of Cetera by RCS followed acquisition of Docupace.

When RCS Capital Corp. in New York acquired El Segundo independent brokerage firm Cetera Financial Holdings Inc. in April for $1.2 billion, it came as a big surprise to many industry observers.

Medical Providers Put Together Bundled Approach

PAYMENT: Reimbursement model aims to improve care while holding down costs.

The notion of paying medical providers based on the quality of their care instead of the volume of their services got a boost last week when Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced goals for implementing the shift at warp speed.

News of the Week

Hawthorne manufacturer OSI Systems Inc. plans to ditch its Camarillo plant by April 30 and lay off 118 workers as it consolidates to its headquarters in Hawthorne, according to documents the company filed with the state.

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Upcoming local events

Licensor Will Take Off From LAX

RETAIL: Kitson says operator of shops running stores into ground.

Kitson’s deal for two LAX shops has resulted in nothing but turbulence with store operator Hudson.

Producer Looks to Link With Latinos on Internet

Entertainment: Latin Everywhere buys platform for Spanish-language fare.

Latin Everywhere hopes its new Internet platform will help its content click with a bigger audience.

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Airport Shops a Tough Sell

Other than Chicago Dogs at Midway Airport, terminal concourse shops don’t sell much that Charles Crumpley wants to buy.

Money Well Spent?

Focus on boosting minimum wage ignores better alternatives to helping employees take home more pay.

Tracy Rafter worries that raising the minimum wage at the city level will only work against employers.

Internet May Lower Curtain on Movie Theaters

Online streaming could lower the curtain on movie theaters, writes Nelson F. Granados

Driving Concerns

Developers are working on adding retail to downtown L.A.’s list of attractions. So the Business Journal asks:

What is the biggest impediment to shopping downtown?

conventions

Upcoming local conventions

New Owner Shakes Up Staff at Cassidy Turley

EMPLOYMENT: Local vet Jonathan Larsen among those let go by DTZ.

Fallout from the year-end purchase of real estate brokerage Cassidy Turley by an affiliate of DTZ Investment Holdings has hit Los Angeles.

Stadium Plays Into Jobs Plan

investment: New project may boost green-card bidders.

The redevelopment plan at Hollywood Park, now including an NFL stadium, could help foreign investors score green cards through the EB-5 program.

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New Deal

Warren Woo back in business after bad breakup

Dealmaker Warren Woo is ready to invest time in his new firm after resolving a rough exit from his last employer.

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Tax on Services May Take Toll

Politics: Homebuyers face new costs under state proposal.

State lawmaker’s plan to extend the sales tax to services could particularly squeeze first-time homebuyers.

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TV, Film Costume Vendor Gives Props to New Shop

Retail: It’s a Wrap hopes to make scene with location for more production items.

TV and film costume vendor It’s a Wrap sees a shop selling other items from productions as the next stage.

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Moving Up

INTERNET: Mobile Majority takes run at growing online ad sector with acquisition of data analysis firm Elastic.

Mobile Majority hopes to keep pace with the growth of online ads with its pickup of data analyzer Elastic.

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‘Shades’ Tea Bound to Get Little Steamy

Paul McCartney’s stepmom seeks heat from film adaptation.

Mrs. McCartney’s Teas submits 50 Shades of Earl Grey for the pleasure of fans of the books and film.

Dating App Exec Puts Power in Women’s Hands

internet: Whitney Wolfe holds reins at Bumble after Tinder departure, lawsuit.

Ex-exec who says harassment drove her from dating app Tinder now calls the shots at rival Bumble.

Game Firm Makes Play For TV Idea

Red Interactive turns ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ joke into reality.

Red Interactive Agency channels TV show’s fictional Kwazy Cupcakes! into real-world app.