Stories for May 2015

Sunday, May 31

L.A. Agencies Hiring Like Mad Men

ADVERTISING: Firms search beyond industry in staffing spree.

Experience outside the industry can be a plus for job candidates as agencies compete to add talent.

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Friday, May 29

L.A. Launch List: May 29

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

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L.A. Tech Deal Flow: May 29

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

Amgen, Merck Expand Cancer Research

Amgen Inc. will expand its collaboration with Merck on research seeking a cure for a special type of head and neck cancer, the company announced Friday.

L.A. Food Distributor Transferred Millions from Iran to U.S.

The owner of Primex International Trading Company, Inc., or Pitco, a food distribution company located near Los Angeles International Airport, has pleaded guilty to tax fraud and federal charges of operating an unlicensed business through which more than $17 million was transferred between the United States and Iran.

Friday Rundown: Puma Report On Tap, LAX Traffic Takeoff Continues, Zipcar and Metro Team Up

Puma to Unpack Drug Study Puma Biotechnology Inc. on Monday morning will reveal additional details from a pivotal study of its breast cancer drug at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting in Chicago.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Century City’s Breakaway Capital announced Friday that it has joined with Charlotte, N.C., firm Plexus Capital to provide $15 million in financing for IC Real Tech Inc., a Pompano Beach, Fla., video surveillance product manufacturer, which will use the money to fund the production of a new camera.

Second Sight, Ceres Among this Week’s Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies rose slightly for the week. The weighted LABJ index ticked up about 1 percent to close at 232, with losers outpacing gainers 86 to 63. Six companies closed the week unchanged.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 115 points in Friday trading to close at 18,011. The S&P 500 fell 13 points to 2,107. The Nasdaq fell 28 points to 5,070. The LABJ Stock Index fell one point to 232.

Snapchat Raises $538 Million

Days after declaring its intent to IPO, Snapchat disclosed it has raised a $538 million round from a group of 35 private investors.

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Plea for Change of Heart

After Toyota Motor Corp. announced plans to eliminate 95 jobs in Long Beach, Representative Janice Hahn has reached out to one of the company’s top execs, asking him to reconsider the move, the Press-Telegram reports.

Tale of the Tape

A 56-year-old man who was arrested in connection to last year’s fire at downtown’s DaVinci apartments was caught on camera, the Los Angeles Times reports.

‘Insufficient’ Response

The reaction of Texas’ Plain All American Pipeline in the aftermath of the Santa Barbara oil spill was “insufficient,” according to three U.S. Senators, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Ex-Mayor in Hot Water

The City of Industry is cracking down on former Mayor David Perez, his companies and a handful of his family members, filing a lawsuit against him for allegedly misappropriating public funds, the Los Angeles Times reports.

JP Morgan Plans Layoffs

Cuts are coming to JP Morgan Chase as the company has announced it will lay off about 5,000 workers over the next year, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Economy Shrinks

The nation’s economy put on the brakes earlier this year with the gross domestic product shrinking at a 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted annual rate in the first quarter, according to the Commerce Department, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Lehman’s Fuld: ‘Bite Me’

A feisty and unrepentant Richard Fuld, former chief executive of Lehman Brothers, made a rare public appearance Thursday and said he has no regrets, the Wall Street Journal reports.

FIFA’s Fiasco

After this week’s arrest of several FIFA officials, some corporate sponsors are wondering whether they should cut ties with the soccer governing body, the Wall Street Journal reports.

OC’s Broadcom Headed Out

Southern California is set to lose yet another big corporate headquarters, this time that of Irvine tech giant Broadcom, which is set to be acquired by rival Avago, which has offices in San Jose and Singapore, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Bob Schieffer Says Goodbye

After 46 years on CBS, Bob Schieffer of the network’s “Face the Nation” is preparing to hang ‘em up, marking his last show on Sunday, the New York Times reports.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 55 points in early trading Friday to 18,070. The S&P 500 was down six points to 2,115. The Nasdaq was down 13 points to 5,085. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 232.

Thursday, May 28

AdTech Firm GumGum Raises Round, Eyes IPO

First Rubicon Project, now GumGum. Another L.A. advertising technology firm is eyeing an IPO.

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Princely Asking Price for King of Pop’s Former Kingdom

Michael Jackson’s former ranch home, Neverland, is up for sale at $100 million by billionaire Tom Barrack’s investment firm Colony Capital, which has a stake in the property.

Report: Kavanaugh’s Relativity Axes Board Members

Billionaire Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media has removed two members from its board of directors after the company accused them of spreading false rumors to gain control of the firm, according to a report from the Hollywood Reporter. (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/relativity-removes-pair-board-as-798350)

Study Finds California Rebounds as Film Location

California rebounded as a filming location for live action and animated feature films released last year, a report Thursday from FilmL.A. shows.

Thursday Rundown: Monster Props For Sale, Big Bang Launches Scholarship

Hollywood Creatures Under the Hammer Special effects icon Rick Baker will tomorrow auction off memorabilia from a storied Hollywood career which has brought him seven Academy Awards.

Stocks Fall; InterGroup Soars, Ceres Tanks

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 37 points in Thursday trading to close at 18,126. The S&P 500 fell three points to 2,121. The Nasdaq fell nine points to 5,098. The LABJ Stock Index fell one point to 233.

Business Tweets of the Week

Suster Hates Hype, Eisner Likes Cake and other L.A. Business Tweets.

Snapchat IPO: Bubble Now or Bubble Later?

Snapchat has an exit plan, the question is just whether investors will get in on the way up or the way down.

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Manhattan Beach Closed

As if the Santa Barbara oil spill weren't enough, now Manhattan Beach's coastline is closed to the public as investigators have found an oil-like substance on its shores, the Daily Breeze reports.

The Clean Up

And who's responsible for cleaning up that messy oil spill in Santa Barbara? Houston's Plains All American Pipeline, according to federal authorities who have ordered the company submit a work plan by June 6, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Arrest in DaVinci Fire

An arrest has finally come as a 56-year-old man is now in custody on suspicion of arson in connection with last year's fire that destroyed the seven-story Da Vinci apartment complex downtown, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Is El Nino Coming?

Drought relief may be on the way as scientists say El Nino weather seems to be picking up steam, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Smile, You're on Camera

Staples Center wants to put fans on camera at Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Kings games next season. Fans’ reactions will be captured on 12 robotic cameras as part of a partnership between the arena and San Diego's Fanpics. See the Los Angeles Business Journal's coverage here.

Jenner Fights Back

Bruce Jenner, responding to the wrongful death lawsuit filed against him, says he owes no money to the adult stepchildren of wealthy philanthropist Kim Howe, who was killed in a Malibu crash when Jenner rear-ended her last year, the Los Angeles Times reports.

New Rules for Yard Sales

The Board of Supervisors is cracking down on yard sales, voting that those who live in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County can only have yard sales on the last weekend of every month, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Avago to Buy Broadcom

Singapore’s Avago Technologies Ltd. has announced it will buy rival Irvine semiconductor maker Broadcom in a deal worth $37 billion, CNBC reports.

Pataki Enters Presidential Race

As if we needed another entrant, ex-New York Governor George Pataki is expected to throw his hat in the ring to run for the Republican presidential nomination, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Blame the IRS Hack on Russia?

The huge IRS data hack in which thieves stole the tax returns of more than 100,000 people may have stemmed from Russia, according to sources, CNN reports.

Good News for Uber

It's finally a win for Uber in Nevada as the state legislature has voted to allow the ride-sharing service and similar ones to operate there, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Putin Says Butt Out

FIFA's affairs are none of America’s business, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin who is accusing the United States of trying to take the 2018 World Cup away from his country after federal authorities arrested FIFA officials on corruption charges, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Obama's Clout on Capitol Hill Tested

A proposal over a trade deal with 12 Pacific Rim nations is testing President Obama's influence on Capitol Hill especially with fellow Democrats who are giving him the most opposition, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Amazon Launches New Service

How about free, same-day delivery from Amazon? Now some Prime members can take advantage of the new service the company is offering as it attempts to one-up the competition in the online delivery wars, CNBC reports.

More Floods Coming

As if the news couldn't get any worse, the death toll is climbing in Texas as more towns brace to face floods, USA Today reports.

It's Your Fault, CEO says

Offiicials at JP Morgan Chase are "lazy" and not doing enough to show how well the company is run, says Chairman and Chief Executive Jamie Dimon after one-third of shareholders disapproved his pay last week, CNBC reports.

Star-Studded Birthday Bash

Nothing like turning 92 if you're billionaire Sumner Redstone. Heavy hitters from CBS chief Leslie Moonves to former studio exec Sherry Lansing surrounded him, and Tony Bennett serenaded him at the Bel Air party thrown by both his ex-girlfriend and his current one, the Hollywood Reporter reports.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 68 points in early trading Thursday to 18,095. The S&P 500 was down eight points to 2,116. The Nasdaq was down 23 points to 5,084. The LABJ Stock Index was down two points to 232.

Staples Center Cameras Eye Fans’ Data

If you attend a Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Kings game next season, Big Brother will be watching – and sending you the photos.

Wednesday, May 27

Soylent Tastes Bad and Doesn’t Care

Meal replacement manufacturer Soylent is getting strange looks from the media these days, but it doesn’t mind.

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Businesses Join Up to Protest Street Vending

More than 600 small businesses have formed a coalition to protest a Los Angeles city proposal that aims to legalize street vending.

State OKs Farmers Insurance for Rideshare Drivers

A new Farmers Insurance product that fills a gap in coverage for Uber and Lyft drivers was approved on Wednesday by California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

United Online Settles Classmates Inc. Suit

United Online Inc. subsidiary Classmates Inc. has agreed to pay part of an $11 million penalty to settle allegations of deceptive advertising.

SpaceX Certified for National Security Missions

After a two-year approval process, Elon Musk’s SpaceX is now officially eligible to launch national security satellites, which could steer hundreds of millions of dollars to the Hawthorne company.

Stocks Rise; Ceres Spikes, U.S. Auto Parts Stalls

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 121 points in Wednesday trading to close at 18,163. The S&P 500 rose 19 points to 2,123. The Nasdaq rose 74 points to 5,107. The LABJ Stock Index rose two points to 234.

L.A. Tech Events Calendar 5/26-6/7

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

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FIFA Officials Arrested

Authorities conducted an extraordinary early-morning sweep Wednesday to arrest several top soccer officials on federal corruption charges, the New York Times reports.

Good news, Dodgers fans!

The TV shut out is about to end for thousands as Charter Communications plans to televise Dodgers games to its local subscribers beginning within the next few weeks as the company gets steps closer to buying Time Warner Cable, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Macy’s Top-down Makeover

The former Macy’s Plaza downtown is getting a $180-million facelift as it’s being transformed into an outdoor plaza, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Snapchat’s Founder: Correction Coming

Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s chief executive, says in a rare interview that there is an asset bubble now and a correction is coming, which he is already factoring into his company’s business decisions, CNBC reports.

Breaking Records

Could a Bel-Air mansion sell for a record high $500 million? Film producer and real estate developer Nile Niami has put that price on a 100,000 square foot mansion, LAist reports.

New Rules

Labor leaders, who were in favor of the minimum wage increase, now want an exemption for companies that have union workers, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Gas Tax Hike?

This may be the year California officials hike the gas tax to help pay for repairs to the state’s crumbling bridges and roads, the Daily Breeze reports.

Layoffs at San Diego Union-Tribune

Just five days after Tribune Publishing Co., owner of the Los Angeles Times, completed its purchase of the San Diego Union-Tribune, it announced it will lay off 30 percent of the newspaper's staff, which adds up to 178 employees, the Los Angeles Times reports.

More Turf

With the drought worsening and efforts to remove grass increasing, the Metropolitan Water District agreed Monday to spend $350 million more to help homeowners and businesses replace their turf, the Los Angeles Times reports.

War with China?

A war with China could be "inevitable" if federal officials don't drop their demands over disputed islands in the South China Sea, according to a state-run Chinese newspaper, the Telegraph reports.

IRS Theft

If you thought your personal information with the IRS was safe, think again as more than 100,000 taxpayers have had theirs stolen from an IRS website, the Associated Press reports.

Another Shut Down

Century City private equity firm OpenGate Capital, which was behind Friday’s abrupt shut down of PennySaver USA, also closed a Wisconsin dairy in a similar way, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Extreme Overtime

Has the Los Angeles Department of Transportation's Traffic, Paint and Sign division been billing overtime at twice the average rate citywide? That's what a city audit has found, and it's been costing taxpayers millions of dollars, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Big Purchase

A Miracle Mile office tower at 6300 Wilshire Blvd. just sold in a $150 million deal to a joint venture between San Francisco’s Swig Co. and Boston’s Intercontinental Real Estate Corp. See the Los Angeles Business Journal's coverage here.

High Court to Debate Political Districts

Two cases set to go before the Supreme Court may possibly redraw California's state and local voting districts, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Irvine May Buck Minimum Wage Trend

Forget about following the trend, Irvine City Council members are expected to vote Wednesday to repeal its living wage ordinance, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Yacht Eclipses All

The world’s largest "gigayacht," which features nine decks and two helicopter pads and is owned by the president of the United Arab Emirates could be yours for a whopping $770 million, the Daily Mail reports.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 92 points in early trading Wednesday to 18,133. The S&P 500 was up 10 points to 2,115. The Nasdaq was up 34 points to 5,067. The LABJ Stock Index was up one point to 233.

Tuesday, May 26

Miracle Mile Office Tower Trades for $150 Million

A joint venture of San Francisco’s Swig Co. and Boston’s Intercontinental Real Estate Corp. has purchased 6300 Wilshire Blvd. in the Miracle Mile in a $150 million deal, or roughly $371 a square foot.

HelloTech’s College Kids Explain Wi-Fi to the Over-40 Set

Staffed by college techies, HelloTech wants to serve up older generations with tech support and the latest and greatest in technology.

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City to Property Owners: Fix Your Own Sidewalks

The City of Los Angeles has taken on the responsibility for repairing sidewalks buckling under the force of tree roots for more than 40 years, but that may change soon.

Suicide Concerns Dissolve Amgen Partnership

Amgen Inc. will end a partnership to develop a drug for psoriasis because it could face restrictive labeling due to concerns from regulatory agencies that it might lead to suicidal thoughts.

Tuesday Rundown: Hot Topic Buys Geeknet, Legion Partners Claims Victory, 99 Cents Chief Resigns

City of Industry teen retailer Hot Topic Inc. announced Tuesday that it has agreed to buy Geeknet Inc. in Fairfax, Va. for $122 million in cash and stock.

Who’s On Adweek’s New Power List?

Adweek has unveiled its first ever Power List, ranking the 100 most influential, innovative and effective leaders controlling media, marketing and technology.

Buzzfeed Inks Hollywood Office Deal in Ongoing L.A. Expansion

Buzzfeed, a New York media and entertainment company, has moved some of its employees into the Sunset Media Center in Hollywood as it expands its L.A. team.

'Tomorrowland': Disney Money Loser?

“Tomorrowland, the sci-fi action adventure movie from Walt Disney Co., was the highest grossing film over the Memorial Day weekend, but that may not mean much given the lackluster box office take over the holiday.

Stocks Down; MannKind Climbs, Nova LifeStyle Falls

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 190 points in Tuesday trading to close at 18,042. The S&P 500 fell 22 points to 2,104. The Nasdaq fell 57 points to 5,033. The LABJ Stock Index fell two points to 232. Gainers and Losers: Tuesday’s biggest local gainer was Valencia diabetes drug developer MannKind Corp. Shares rose six percent on the day, closing at $4.81. Shares have been climbing since an analysts’ report suggested doctors might prescribe Afrezza, the company’s inhalable insulin treatment, at rates higher than initially expected. Tuesday’s biggest loser was Commerce furniture designer and manufacturer Nova LifeStyle Inc. Shares fell 15 percent on the day, closing at $2.83 and continuing what’s been a volatile six months for the company’s stock.

Charter to Buy Time Warner Cable

Charter Communications Inc. is poised to become the largest pay-TV provider in Southern California. That is, if it’s successful in its attempt to buy Time Warner Cable in a deal that’s expected to be announced Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reports. And the deal could allow more viewers to watch Los Angeles Dodgers games.

More Taxes?

Gov. Jerry Brown has held a tight grip on the state's budget, but now some unions and grass-roots organizations are hoping to change that with a series of tax-related proposals, including extending higher taxes, the Los Angeles Times reports.

PennySaver Shuts Down

The advertising newsletter PennySaver USA has abruptly shut its doors without explanation, leaving hundreds of employees without jobs, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Georgia on Hollywood's Mind

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal wants to keep his state on Hollywood's mind and aimed to do just that by throwing a party recently in Hollywood for producers and studio executives, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Redwoods Biting the Dust

People are not the only ones hurt by the drought. Redwood trees in Southern California are also suffering with many of them dying as a result, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Taco Bell, Pizza Hut Scrapping Artificial Ingredients

No more Yellow Dye No. 8 in my nachos? Taco Bell and Pizza Hut are just saying no to artificial ingredients as the two have announced they will become the latest chains to give the ingredients the boot, the Associated Press reports.

Hopes to Ditch Hook-up Rep

When you think Tinder, do you think of a hook up? If so, the company now wants to change all that by expanding the app into a go-to social network, CNBC reports.

High-Jumping Skechers

It may be happening under the radar, but Skechers USA Inc.'s stock has jumped 89 percent this year, making the Manhattan Beach shoe company the third-best performer in the S&P; 1500 index, CNBC reports.

Edging Out the Competition

If a stadium plan is approved by the NFL, the city of Carson may have an edge when it comes to securing financing: Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the Los Angeles Times reports.

Sewage Water on Tap?

Could sewage be turned into drinking water to help combat the drought? Some California environmentalists hope so as they are urging adoption of a water recycling policy known as direct potable reuse, the Los Angeles Times reports.

How Do You Spell Relief?

Good news for local property owners who have waited, in some cases, up to three years for their tax bills to be appealed. They may now get relief, thanks to a new budget proposal, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Box Office: 'Tomorrowland' Weekend Hit

"Tomorrowland," a futuristic fantasy movie starring George Clooney, dominated a slow weekend box office, taking in $41.7 million from its debut in the United States and Canada, the Los Angeles Times reports. "Pitch Perfect 2," which continued its extraordinary box office run by grossing $38.5 million, took the No. 2 spot, beating out a pair of big-budget movies: "Mad Max: Fury Road" and Marvel's "Avengers: Age of Ultron."

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 124 points in early trading Tuesday to 18,108. The S&P 500 was down 14 points to 2,111. The Nasdaq was down 46 points to 5,044. The LABJ Stock Index was down two points to 232.

Monday, May 25

Business Can Make Splash in Water Conservation

Business leaders can take the lead in employing conservation measures, writes Arthur F. Rothberg.

Trickle Down

New ways to cut back on water use are drying up, writes Charles Crumpley, as homeowners make sacrifices.

Anchorman Still Making Local News After 37 Years

TV: Steve Edwards reports social media has fed shift in focus to entertaining stories.

Anchorman Steve Edwards still shows up for his desk job as he nears 40 years of covering L.A. news.

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Creating Space

DEVELOPMENT: Meta Housing paints new affordable units as artists colony in bid to boost San Pedro district.

Meta Housing gets creative by framing a San Pedro affordable-housing project as an artists colony.

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TrueCar Buckles Up for New Clash With Dealers

AUTOMOTIVE: Association’s latest effort called ‘last-ditch’ attempt to curb expansion.

Dealers’ suit looks to put the brakes on TrueCar, accusing the shopping site of brokering sales.

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Aging Workers Key to Future

MANUFACTURING: ACE tapes skills to mold new staff.

ACE Clearwater looks to video to capture skills needed to form its next generation of workers.

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Babies Nurse Milk Firm’s Growth

HEALTH CARE: Prolacta expects feeding preemies to pump up sales.

Human milk company Prolacta’s expansion plan tied to bottling up more business.

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Court to Make Call on On Call

SECURITY: Ruling on guards’ breaks may pinch all industries.

Employers fear a ruling against breaks during which workers remain on call could bust their businesses.

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Thanks for Your Information

Proposed laws to protect consumer data could wall off small firms from competing with tech giants.

Kellie Hartwell says proposed laws to safeguard user data will jeopardize her company.

Online Media Firm Clicks With Hollywood Center

LEASE: Buzzfeed deal might be temporary as firm on lookout for larger space.

Buzzfeed, a New York media and entertainment company, has moved some of its employees into the Sunset Media Center in Hollywood as it expands its L.A. team.

Conventions

Upcoming conventions

Calendar

Calendar of events

Amid ETF Boom, Managers Prepare for Selloffs

INVESTMENT: Firms stock up on credit in case ETF investors want out fast.

Exchange-traded funds just can’t stop reeling in assets and it’s not hard to see why.

Medical Center Likes Prognosis for L.A. Growth

EXPANSION: Eisner buys five Valley practices; sets up clinic at Lynwood location.

Eisner Pediatric and Family Medical Center has been busy bulking up and expanding its reach.

Car Parts Maker Rediscovers Acquisition Drive

AUTOMOTIVE: Motorcar Parts buys OE Plus; deal for Fenco crashed, burned.

If you fail, try, try again.

Former Film Exec Recasts Career to Establish Charity

NONPROFIT: Hollywood vet helps throw book at Kim Kardashian on philanthropy.

A Hollywood executive who gave up his million-dollar salary to move to Cambodia and establish a charity, clinic and school is telling his story in a new book.

Neighbor Cities May Also Pay for L.A. Wage Hike

POLITICS: West Hollywood, Santa Monica leaders mull impact of following suit.

City of L.A.’s wage hike plan may raise pressure on neighbors to do same.

Survey of Doctors Has MannKind Breathing Easy

BIOTECH: Study finds more physicians willing to prescribe inhalable insulin.

Physicians’ willingness to prescribe MannKind’s inhalable insulin gives company shares a rush.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

WWE Studios, the Santa Monica movie production arm of Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment Inc., has closed on a $35 million revolving credit facility with Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Sizing Up His Role as Superhero

Just when he thought he had done it all in his Hollywood career, Michael Douglas is doing something new: He’s starring in a Marvel superhero film.

App Links Daters’ Fate To Stars

Align relies on zodiac to find promising signs of romantic potential.

Users’ zodiac signs star in app Align’s astrology-based approach to match-making.

Music Class Has It Made With Shades

Instructor says color code helps notes stick better with students.

Conservatory of Performing Arts helps students scale musical notes with a color-coded system.

Sunday, May 24

Facebook Orders Up Food Shows

Tastemade signs deal to whip up videos for new Anthology service.

Video maker Tastemade looks to fill up Facebook’s Anthology with food programming.

Data Feast

Bridg hopes to serve up old, new customers to eateries

Bridg taps a range of customer data to serve up business strategies for restaurants.

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Investors Jump to Score Piece of E-Sports Firms

INTERNET: AlphaDraft offers fantasy league play; Mobcrush moves on mobile.

Watching other people play video games is becoming a huge business. Really.

Angel Investor Hopes Venture Firm Takes Wing

INVESTMENT: Ex-Marine Paige Craig enlists others’ money for seed funding.

Angel investor Paige Craig looks to spread his wings with his new venture firm, Arena.

Friday, May 22

L.A. Launch List: May 22

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

L.A. Tech Deal Flow: May 22

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

Mattel Inks Deal for Mobile Games Based on Its Characters

In a move to link more of its traditional toys to technology, El Segundo toy maker Mattel Inc. has struck a deal with Hong Kong mobile games developer Animoca to create games based on the toy company’s brands.

Dockworkers, Employers OK Contract

Importers and exporters whose business depends on the L.A.’s twin ports and other West Coast harbors can breathe a sigh of relief: A tentative labor contract, reached in late February between dockworkers and terminal operators after months of work slowdowns and near gridlock, has been approved by both sides.

Holiday Weekend Travel Up, Summer Travel Expected to Climb

If you’re traveling this weekend, you may want to get to Los Angeles International Airport early.

NoHo Commons Retail Center Sells for $43 Million

The NoHo Commons retail center, a seminal North Hollywood development, has been acquired by an Orange County investment firm for $43 million, or about $681 a square foot, according to real estate data provider CoStar Group Inc.

E.U. Panel Backs Amgen Cholesterol Drug

Amgen Inc. announced Friday that a European Union committee has recommended approval of its drug Repatha to treat high cholesterol.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Beverly Hills firm Levine Leichtman Capital Partners announced Wednesday that it has made an investment in Tampa, Fla., foam manufacturer Allied Aerofoam Products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

MannKind, Qualstar 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 rose less than 1 percent to close at 234, with gainers outpacing losers 88 to 61. Seven companies closed the week unchanged.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 54 points in Friday trading to close at 18,232. The S&P 500 fell five points to 2,126. The Nasdaq fell one point to 5,089. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 234.

County Unemployment Holds Steady Amid Modest Job Gains

L.A. County’s unemployment rate was unchanged in April at 7.6 percent amid modest job gains that left the county just short of its all-time payroll jobs peak, state figures released Friday show.

Rams Not Returning – Yet

The NFL is not preparing to announce that the St. Louis Rams are moving back to Los Angeles despite reports to the contrary, the Daily Breeze reports.

Paper Deal Done

The deal made by Tribune Publishing, the owner of the Los Angeles Times, to buy U-T San Diego for $85 million is now complete, the Los Angeles Times reports.

New Condos Downtown?

A luxury condo high-rise may be headed downtown as a Chinese developer has unveiled plans for a $100-million luxury high-rise residential tower to be built near Staples Center, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Casino in Hot Water

Gardena's Normandie Casino is the subject of a federal grand jury probe after the business allegedly allowed some players to avoid reporting their transactions and possibly launder money, Yahoo News reports.

More Moving In

Things are continuing to look up for California’s economy, and more people are moving here as a result with Los Angeles ranking No. 2 to New York in largest population growth between 2010 and July 1, 2014, according to the Census Bureau, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

No Tuition Hike for Now

After student protests and appeals, the University of California’s Board of Regents has voted unanimously to not raise in-state tuition for the next two years, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Trade Bill a Go?

After a showdown vote, the Senate has advanced a measure giving President Barack Obama fast-track authority to complete the pending 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Associated Press reports.

Weakening Dodd-Frank

In an effort to fulfill a GOP promise, Senate Republicans are now taking strides to roll back some of the financial regulations imposed by the Democratic-sponsored Dodd-Frank law, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Power Plant to Be Replaced

A 1950s natural gas power plant in northern San Diego County will be replaced with a new version now that the California Public Utilities Commission has voted to allow the San Diego Gas and Electric Co. to buy power from the proposed Carlsbad Energy Center, the Los Angeles Times reports.

‘Entourage’ House on the Market

Did you always admire that Santa Monica mansion from “Entourage?” Now is your chance to own it – if you’re willing to fork over $28.5 million, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Dow Making History?

If the current trend continues until the end of the quarter, it will mark the narrowest first-half trading range for the Dow Jones industrial average ever, CNBC reports.

Water Thieves

Is the drought coming to this? Oakland police say thieves stole a 500-gallon water tanker from a landscaping site in the Oakland hills, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Did they want the tanker or the water inside?

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 20 points in early trading Friday to 18,267. The S&P 500 was down one point to 2,130. The Nasdaq was up eight points to 5,099. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 235.

Thursday, May 21

Motorcar Parts Engages Gears with Purchase

If you fail, try, try again. That is what Torrance-based Motorcar Parts of America Inc. is doing with its announced acquisition of OE Plus Ltd., a remanufacturer of alternators and starters based in North Dighton, Mass. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Convention Center Designs Go on Display

After years of talk about the need for an improved and expanded Los Angeles Convention Center, Angelenos can now get a glimpse at what an updated center might look like.

Judge OKs $275 Million Activision Settlement

A Delaware judge has approved a $275 million shareholder settlement that ends a shareholder lawsuit against Santa Monica videogame publisher Activision Blizzard Inc.

Briefs: Lions Gate Posts Bigger Profit, L.A. Foreclosures Rise

Lions Gate Roars Lions Gate today reported strong financial results for its fiscal 2015, boosted by the performance of hit movies such as “Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” and TV successes such as “Orange is the New Black.”

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average was flat in Thursday trading to close at 18,286. The S&P 500 rose five points to 2,131. The Nasdaq rose 19 points to 5,091. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 235.

Feds Investigate Oil Spill

The Santa Barbara oil spill is adding up to trouble for the Texas owner of the pipe that ruptured as federal investigators have launched an investigation, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

The Next Minimum Wage Debate

Now that the minimum wage is officially going up to $15 an hour, a provision in the hike which ties future increases to inflation isn’t sitting well with local business owners, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Farmers with Ancient Rights Facing Water Cuts

State-mandated water restrictions may, for the first time, impact California farmers who have rights to water dating back as far as the Gold Rush, the Associated Press reports.

Hotel Indigo Headed Downtown

The hip Hotel Indigo is coming to downtown Los Angeles as part of the $1 billion Metropolis development a few blocks from the Los Angeles Convention Center, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Viacom Investors Ponder Future

Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone’s faltering health has some questioning the future of CBS Corp. and Viacom since the 91-year-old is the controlling shareholder of both companies, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Money Well Spent?

After spending more than $6 million on three seats in the race for the Los Angeles Unified school board, not much has changed. The teachers union and groups in favor of charter schools each successfully elected challengers while losing incumbents they wanted to re-elect, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Six Workers Injured

A downtown Los Angeles construction site turned hazardous late Wednesday after the second floor of a building collapsed, injuring six workers who were pouring concrete there, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Stones Play Small Hollywood Venue

Some fans got a treat Wednesday night when the Rolling Stones stopped by the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood for a performance to kick off the band’s North American tour, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Lumber Liquidators’ CEO Quits

More problems for Lumber Liquidators as its Chief Executive Robert Lynch has suddenly resigned in the wake of dozens of lawsuits that have been filed against the company over the safety of some of its laminate flooring, CNBC reports.

Five Banks Charged

As part of an investigation into the manipulation of currency markets, the Justice Department has announced a $5.7-billion settlement that includes rare criminal charges against five banks, including Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase and Co., the Los Angeles Times reports.

Back to the Drawing Board

Now that the city of Carson has spent about $100,000 trying unsuccessfully to woo foreign investors to set up local businesses, the City Council voted Tuesday to cancel the contract of a consultant, the Daily Breeze reports.

Woes over WiFi?

Watch out for WiFi as some now claim it’s making people sick, and they don’t even know it, CBS New York reports.

Mark Cuban Speaks

What’s the next big thing, according to Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks? Health-care technologies, CNBC reports.

Holiday Travel Up

Headed out of town this weekend? Join the club. The AAA is expecting the largest jump in travel over the Memorial Day weekend since 2010, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports.

Letterman’s Last Hurrah

After spending 33 years of late nights on TV, David Letterman bid adieu Wednesday night, going out in his usual cool fashion, Variety reports.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 14 points in early trading Thursday to 18,299. The S&P 500 was up three points to 2,129. The Nasdaq was up five points to 5,081. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 234.

Wednesday, May 20

Big Time for Little Labs?

What will it take for smartwatch app developer Little Labs of Venice to succeed?

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Seed Round Streams into Mobcrush

Mobcrush, an iOS app that streams video of people playing mobile games, has raised a $4.9 million seed investment round.

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Auto Dealers Take on TrueCar, Again

A Sacramento trade group representing more than 1,100 of the state’s new car dealers has accused Santa Monica’s TrueCar Inc. of operating as an auto dealer and broker without a license.

Port of Long Beach to Shell Out for Chassis Fleet

The more truck chassis, the merrier – that’s why the Port of Long Beach is going to build its own fleet of the truck trailers used to haul shipping containers to and from the port and the Port of Los Angeles.

Ryu Tops Business-Backed Ramsay in Council Race

In Tuesday’s District 4 L.A. City Council election, political newcomer David Ryu beat Carolyn Ramsay, the candidate backed by most business organizations, in the race to replace Councilman Tom LaBonge, according to provisional results released Wednesday.

Disney Opens Behemoth Shanghai Store

The biggest Walt Disney Co. store in the world isn’t at the company’s landmark Disneyland theme park in Anaheim or its sprawling Disney World resort in Florida: It’s in Shanghai’s financial district.

Markets Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 27 points in Wednesday trading to close at 18,285. The S&P 500 fell two points to 2,126. The Nasdaq rose two points to 5,072. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 235.

Outsider Ryu Beats Ramsay

In a surprise win, outsider David Ryu defeated Carolyn Ramsay to take Councilman Tom LaBonge's seat, making Ryu the first Korean American to hold a City Council seat in Los Angeles, NBC Los Angeles reports. Ramsay was favored by business groups.

School Board Incumbents Defeated

In unofficial election results Tuesday for seats on the Los Angeles Board of Education, challenger Ref Rodriguez defeated incumbent Bennett Kayser while Scott Schmerelson came out ahead of two-term incumbent Tamar Galatzan, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Might Minimum Wage Hike ‘Set Off a Wave’?

L.A.’s decision Tuesday to raise the minimum wage could have reverberations across Southern California and maybe the country, the New York Times believes.

Me? Cut Back More?

Yes, the statewide drought is serious, but it may be difficult for Californians to cut back much more on their water use. That is the sentiment of about 44 percent of homeowners, according to the latest Field Poll, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

DWP to Raise Rates?

It looks like higher rates may soon be on the way as a new Los Angeles Department of Water and Power analysis that came out Tuesday estimates the DWP will need $270 million in additional revenue in each of the next five years mainly to replace aging water pipes, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Oil Spill in Santa Barbara

If you were thinking of heading to the pristine beaches of Santa Barbara for the holiday weekend, think again as a 21,000-gallon oil spill has flowed into the ocean and coated the beaches with tar, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Greek Troubles Bad News for Euro

After Greek officials said the country may not be able to make an upcoming repayment to the International Monetary Fund, the euro slid to a two-week low and a rally in European shares stalled Wednesday, Reuters reports.

Bruce Springsteen's Selling L.A. Mansion

Interested in buying property once owned by the Boss? Now's your chance as Bruce Springsteen has quietly put his Benedict Canyon compound on the market and is asking up to $70 million, Variety reports.

Beer Worth the Challenge?

"Entourage" actor Adrian Grenier may want to make it harder to open a beer in Los Angeles as he is introducing his Portland-based Churchkey Can Co. beer, which requires an old fashioned can opener, like your parents or grandparents used, LAist reports.

Never Too Old

Who said retirement age is for kicking back? An Israeli woman is just getting started as she gave birth – her first – to a baby boy this week at the age of 65, making her the oldest woman in Israel to give birth, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 10 points in early trading Wednesday to 18,323. The S&P 500 was flat at 2,127. The Nasdaq was down six points to 5,064. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 235.

Tuesday, May 19

L.A.’s Wage Will Rise

Consider L.A.’s minimum wage hiked.

Business Group Takes on CARB over Cap and Trade

Calling California’s cap-and-trade emissions auctions a form of extortion, the National Federal of Independent Business’ Small Business Legal Center has filed a brief in the Third District California Court of Appeals, saying the auctions are a burden to small business and that the California Air Resources Board lacks the legal authority to sell emission allowances.

DaVita Consolidates in Large El Segundo Lease Deal

DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. wanted to “DaVita-ize” its California presence.

Briefs: Ducommun Expands Relationship with Gulfstream, Brown Signs Climate Change Agreement

Ducommon, Gulfstream Expand Relationship Carson aerospace manufacturer Ducommun Inc. is expanding its business with business-jet maker Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. to make parts for two new business jets models.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 14 points in Tuesday trading to close at 18,312. The S&P 500 fell one point to 2,128. The Nasdaq fell eight points to 5,070. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 234.

Investors Bet on Fantasy E-sports Startup

Eager to get a slice of the next thing in fantasy sports, over a dozen investors have taken a stake in Venice’s AlphaDraft, an online fantasy contest for video game competitions.

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NFL Stadium Plans Unveiled in San Diego

Don't give up on San Diego yet. That is the message a San Diego mayoral committee has for the Chargers as the group unveiled plans on Monday for a $1.1-billion NFL stadium with major public contributions but no increase in taxes, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Good Business News

Business owners in Los Angeles County have an optimistic outlook about conditions but are concerned about taxes and regulations, according to a study released Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Business Federation, or BizFed. See the Los Angeles Business Journal's coverage here.

Teachers Union May Get Boost in Today’s Election

The teachers union may have an edge in the election Tuesday if the predicted low voter turnout pans out, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The union is vying for majority support on the Los Angeles Unified School District's board.

Film Here

Expanding tax credits for filming in California is paying off as TV shows are flocking to take advantage of them, according to the California Film Commission. See the Los Angeles Business Journal's coverage here.

Bet Gone Bad?

Are George Stephanopoulos and his $105-million contract with ABC now in danger? Possibly now that his credibility has been called into question after he confessed that he had donated $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation since 2011, Page Six reports.

High Court Rules for Retirement Plans

Good news for your retirement savings as the Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that employers must keep watch over 401(k) plans to guard against high fees that can eat away at retirement savings, the Los Angeles Times reports. The case involved employees at Edison International in Rosemead.

Disneyland's Big Celebration

In anticipation of its 60th anniversary Disney-style, Disneyland is preparing this week to host big crowds for the kickoff of its diamond anniversary, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Congress: Not So Fast on Internet Handover

The Obama administration’s plan to give up control of the Internet to stakeholders worldwide isn't sitting well with Republicans who want to review any handover agreement, Roll Call reports.

Cautious Investors

With confidence in corporate profits fading, investors worldwide are cutting back on American stocks with holdings tumbling to levels not seen since before the crash, CNBC reports.

Stock Forecast

The market is not going anywhere for the next 12 months, according to Goldman Sachs analysts who believe it holds little prospect for gain, CNBC reports.

Opposition Grows

A diverse coalition, which includes politicians but also teachers, senior citizens and Internet freedom groups, is hoping to defeat President Barack Obama's trade deal, Bloomberg reports.

POTUS on Twitter

"Hello, Twitter! It's Barack, really," so says the first tweet from President Barack Obama who is officially on Twitter, LAist reports.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 10 points in early trading Tuesday to 18,289. The S&P 500 was down two points to 2,127. The Nasdaq was down one point to 5,078. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 235.

TV Shows Tune In to Tax Credits

TV shows are rushing to take advantage of expanded tax credits for filming in California.

Looming Wage Hike Tamps Down Business Confidence

L.A. area businesses are optimistic about business conditions this year and plan to sharply ramp up capital spending, according to a survey to be released today from the Los Angeles County Business Federation, or BizFed.

Monday, May 18

Lewis Brisbois To Stay at U.S. Bank Tower

Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith is staying put.

Soccer Club Heads for USC

L.A.’s new soccer franchise plans to build a new stadium at the site of the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena near USC, team officials announce Monday.

Protests Planned at L.A. Water Bottling Plant

Activists are planning to show up by the busload outside of Nestle Waters North America’s bottling facilities in downtown Los Angeles and Sacramento on Wednesday.

Long Beach Cargo Up in April

In contrast to the neighboring Port of Los Angeles, where container cargo volumes fell last month, Port of Long Beach officials reported a nearly 8 percent increase in April container cargo volume compared to the same month last year.

High Court Rules in Favor of Edison Employees

Weighing in on a dispute brought by employees of Rosemead utility Edison International, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled Monday that retirement plans have to monitor the investment options they offer, a move that could make it easier for employees to file lawsuits in the future over funds that charge high fees.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 26 points in Monday trading to close at 18,299. The S&P 500 rose six points to 2,129. The Nasdaq rose 30 points to 5,078. The LABJ Stock Index rose one point to 234.

Zealot Buys Small Publisher, Hints at Future

Hinting at its ambitions original to enter the publishing realm, digital agency Zealot Networks of Venice has purchased Hutch Media, a small network of websites, for an undisclosed amount of cash and equity.

Not Football, But Soccer

A new soccer stadium is likely headed to town as the Los Angeles Football Club expects to announce today that it plans to build one on the site of the Sports Arena in Exposition Park. It would be the first open-air professional sports venue built here since Dodger Stadium in 1962, the Los Angeles Times reports. It will cost $250 million and include restaurants, a conference center, a soccer museum and a 22,000-seat stadium.

Bottlenecks at Port

Ongoing congestion problems at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have left some cargo containers sitting for up to a month in truck yards and many businesses having to resort to shipping their goods by air or through other ports, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The West Coast ports contribute nearly $2 billion a day to the nation’s economy, according to a study by the National Retail Federation and the National Association of Manufacturers.

Time-off Mandate Put Aside

Pressured by business groups and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Los Angeles City Council has agreed to separate a controversial paid time off mandate from the minimum wage hike it plans to consider this week. The time-off mandate may be considered later. See the Los Angeles Business Journal's coverage here.

Clippers Cursed?

It appears the Clippers are a team that just can't get around its "cursed" existence as they lost the deciding Game Seven of the Western Conference semifinals to the Houston Rockets on Sunday, blowing a three-games-to-one lead, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Glendale May Lift Ban on Artificial Turf

Tough times call for tough measures as Glendale is now considering lifting its ban on fake grass, as a way to conserve water, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Fight to Shield Donors

Will the Supreme Court step in to shield major donors? A conservative group in Virginia wants to have its list of major donors blocked from California Attorney General Kamala Harris, saying disclosure to her would violate its donors' privacy, the Los Angeles Times reports. The group sued Harris last year after she threatened to end its tax-exempt status in California if she couldn't see the list.

Los Angeles vs. St. Louis

A debate in St. Louis over what say taxpayers should have regarding how their money is used for a new football stadium could increase the odds that the St. Louis Rams will move to Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Deadly Biker Brawl

A brawl at a restaurant among possibly five rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas, on Sunday has left at least nine people dead, CNN reports.

Trouble for Condo Owners?

Will condo buyers soon face higher interest rates and underwriting when applying for a mortgage? That could be the case for the nearly 67 million Americans who live in communities run by homeowner associations in states where laws give the associations "super-priority liens" on condos whose owners have not paid their assessments, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Dirty Dentists?

Are hundreds of California dentists who are treating children overcharging Medicaid? The answer is yes, according to a federal report to be released Monday which says about eight percent of dentists statewide are guilty, the Associated Press reports.

Time is Running out for Greece

Greek banks are now running short on the collateral they need to stay solvent which could force Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to compromise on some of his key demands which he said last week he would not do, Bloomberg reports.

Dropping Out

An entire class of University of Southern California M.F.A. art students are saying adios to the campus, citing "unethical treatment" and broken promises on the part of administrators, LAist reports.

Box Office: 'Pitch Perfect 2' Beats 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

"Pitch Perfect 2," a musical comedy about an all-female a cappella, singing group, dominated the weekend box office, taking in more than $70 million from its debut, the Los Angeles Times reports. "Mad Max: Fury Road" was left in the dust, grossing $44.4 million. The Disney/Marvel movie, "Avengers: Age of Ultron" took the No. 3 spot, grossing $38.8 million over the weekend and $372.2 million in overall domestic ticket sales since its release.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 15 points in early trading Monday to 18,257. The S&P 500 was down one point to 2,122. The Nasdaq was down one point to 5,047. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 234.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 28, Michael Eisner

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Suit Supporters Court Criticism

LAW: Third-party funders say money can level playing field.

Some third-party funders of plaintiffs’ suits have courted controversy by staking large recovery claims.

Workspace Makes Room For Women

Jen Mojo launched Paper Dolls to host female entrepreneurs.

Jen Mojo started Paper Dolls to provide office space that works for women entrepreneurs.

Father Goes To Bat for Baseball

Richard Murad fields complex for son with $2 million tune-up.

Baseball facility proves a diamond-in-the-rough investment for skin care executive.

Fight for Ticket Goes His Way

Adrian Watson had been thinking of attending the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight since the matchup was first floated years ago.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Mole-Richardson Co., a nearly 90-year-old maker of lighting for the entertainment industry, is moving its headquarters from Hollywood to Pacoima.

Medicaid, Obamacare Nurse Healthy First Quarter

HEALTH CARE: Molina’s shares rise after enrollment fuels big earnings jump.

Investment Bank B. Riley sets up subsidiary to give asset-rich borrowers the credit banks can’t or won’t.

Developer of Video Slide-Show App Will Go Dark

INTERNET: Slipp only latest iteration of business that began as shopping website.

Video focus fails to sustain Slipp as it tries several business strategies under various names.

Studios Look to Canadian Policy to Chill Pirates

FILM: Independent firms team up to push tougher approach to enforcement.

Small movie studios have cast their eyes north to Canada’s enforcement system in their battle against Internet pirates.

Previous Departures Pave Way for Further Exits

EMPLOYMENT: Pair of partners ditch O’Melveny to sign on at Irell & Manella.

O’Melveny & Myers continues to be a fertile hunting ground.

Ridesharing Services Hope to Deliver for Parents

INTERNET: HopSkipDrive, Sloop in drive for kid fares not covered by Uber, Lyft.

Need to get your kids from school to soccer practice in Santa Monica while you’re at work? There are now a pair of services for that – and they’re not named Uber or Lyft, since it is the policy of those companies not to carry passengers under the age of 18.

Hunt for Maternity Clothes Gives Birth to Business

RESALE: Owner launches Mama San Boutique to let expectant moms try on items.

April Lawrence didn’t want to compromise her budget or style just because she was pregnant.

Business Groups Hope to Work With City Hall Vet

POLITICS: Carolyn Ramsay piles up endorsments in race for seat on City Council.

Business groups are overwhelmingly supporting City Hall veteran Carolyn Ramsay in this week’s election to replace Tom LaBonge on the Los Angeles City Council.

Future Came Too Early for Some Tech Startups

Sector survived the dot-com crash to boot up a new generation of startups and entrepreneurs.

Yield-Seeking Investors Look to Corporate Debt

Some of L.A.’s wealthiest look to secure yields from assets such as corporate debt.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 1, Patrick Soon-Shiong

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 2, Elon Musk

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 3, Eli Broad

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 4, David Geffen

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 5, Do Won “Don” & Jin Sook Chang

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 7, John Tu

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 8, Sumner Redstone

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 9, Sean Parker

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 10, Edward P. Roski Jr.

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 11, Stewart & Lynda Resnick

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 12, Steven Ferencz Udvar-Hazy

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 13, Tamara Hughes Gustavson

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 14, William Barron Hilton

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 15, Haim Saban

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 16, Steven Spielberg

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 17, A. Jerrold Perenchio

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 18, Anthony “Tony” Pritzker

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 19, Donald & Rochelle Sterling

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 20, Marion Anderson & Family

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 21, Jeffrey Skoll

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 22, Rick J. Caruso

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 23, David Murdock

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 24, Tom Gores

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 25, Don Hankey

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 26, Michael Milken

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 27, Alec Gores

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 29, Bruce A. Karsh

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 30, Eric Smidt

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 31, Gary Michelson

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 32, Bradley Wayne Hughes Jr.

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 33, Neil Kadisha

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 34, George Joseph

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 35, Antony Ressler

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 36, Ryan Kavanaugh

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 37, Thomas Barrack

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 38, Nicolas Berggruen

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 39, Bobby Murphy

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 39, Evan Spiegel

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 41, Marc Nathanson

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 42, Charlie Munger

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 43, Aubrey Chernick

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 44, Ray R. Irani

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 45, John F. Shea

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 46, Lowell Milken

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 47, Alan Auerbach

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 48, Jeffrey Gundlach

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 49, Richard “Ric” Kayne

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Wealthiest Angelenos: 50, Vera S. Guerin

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Calendar

Calendar of events

Conventions

Upcoming conventions

Seismic Shift for Safety

Tax breaks, grants can help pay for earthquake safety retrofits without cracking wallets of renters.

James B. Clarke says tax breaks and grants would give tenants and landlords a fair shake on paying for seismic improvements.

L.A. City Attorney Defends Case Against Wells Fargo

City Attorney Mike Feuer defends going after Wells Fargo as part of his public brief.

Wealth is Good

The fact that Los Angeles now has more than 50 billionaires is a good thing, Charles Crumpley writes.

Assets a Plus

FINANCE: New B. Riley lending arm cares little about cash flow.

Investment Bank B. Riley sets up subsidiary to give asset-rich borrowers the credit banks can’t or won’t.

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Online Video Maker Sees Featured Role for Movies

ENTERTAINMENT: Stable of Internet talent to star in AwesomenessTV films.

Online video creator AwesomenessTV pictures a future as a feature film producer.

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Water Worries Circle Catalina

TOURISM: Businesses feel cuts as summer season nears.

Business owners fear water restrictions could sink Catalina’s busy summer season.

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Phones in Line For Power Play

TECHNOLOGY: Wireless rivals battle to take charge of market.

UBeam’s battle for the wireless phone-charging market dials up talk of the VHS-Betamax war.

Law Firm Won’t Keep It Brief With Relocation

Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith is staying put.

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Wealthiest Angelenos: 6, Kirk Kerkorian

Business Journal sums up L.A. biggest fortunes.

Maker of Tablets for Kids Sizes Up Future Strategy

TECHNOLOGY: Fuhu sees bigger screens as means to connect with whole family.

Kids’ tablet maker Fuhu is making a play for the whole family with new and larger devices.

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Wealthiest Angelenos: Rise of the Tech Billionaires

The tech sector – epitomized by Snapchat’s familiar ghost logo – suddenly dominates the ranks of L.A.’s wealthiest. And a new generation now has the opportunity to reshape the region.

Change has come on line as tech reshapes the list of Wealthiest Angelenos and L.A.’s business scene.

Hacked Off

LAX-dependent cabbies hem in area businesses

LAX-area businesses say cabbies waiting for airport pickups are driving off customers.

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Friday, May 15

Council Separates Paid Time Off from Minimum Wage Hike Plan

Responding to an outcry from local business groups and from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Council leaders late on Friday agreed to separate a controversial paid time off mandate from the minimum wage hike it plans to consider next week.

L.A. Launch List: May 15

The Los Angeles Business Journal brings you a weekly roundup of L.A. tech company and product launches.

Port of L.A. Cargo Traffic Falls in April

April’s container cargo numbers for the Port of Los Angeles fell more than 6 percent from a year ago, port officials announced Friday.

NantPharma Buys Sorrento Unit for Up to $1.3 Billion

NantPharma has acquired Igdrasol Inc., a division of San Diego biopharmaceutical firm Sorrento Therapeutics Inc., for $1.3 billion.

Molina Continues Expansion with Michigan Buy

Long Beach’s fast-growing managed care provider Molina Healthcare Inc. plans to add to its Medicaid contract holdings, announcing plans Friday to acquire the Medicaid contract businesses of HealthPlus of Michigan Inc. and its subsidiary, HealthPlus Partners Inc. through Molina’s Michigan subsidiary.

Social Media Ad Startup Shift Bought by Rival

Santa Monica’s Shift, a startup that helps marketers manage advertisements on social media platforms, sold Thursday for $50 million in cash and equity to its Boston rival Brand Networks.

Genting Hong Kong Completes Purchase of Crystal Cruises

Genting Hong Kong announced Friday it has completed its $550 million acquisition of Crystal Cruises in West Los Angeles.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Beverly Hills firm Platinum Equity announced Monday that it has completed the acquisition of acquisition of Irving, Texas, construction fastener maker PrimeSource Building Products Inc. from Japan’s Itochu Corp. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

On Assignment, Nova Lifestyle Among This Week’s Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies rose slightly for the week. The weighted LABJ index rose 1 percent to close at 234, with gainers outpacing losers 96 to 52. Eight companies closed the week unchanged.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 20 points in Friday trading to close at 18,273. The S&P 500 rose two points to 2,123. The Nasdaq fell three points to 5,048. The LABJ Stock Index rose one point to 234.

Tanaka Indicted

Paul Tanaka, the former undersheriff of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, along with a former captain, were indicted Thursday on obstruction of justice charges, following a long federal investigation, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Tanaka also is taking leave as mayor of Gardena, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Paying for Time Off

Will employers have to pay minimum wage workers for time off? The answer is yes, at least according to the minimum wage hike proposal approved this week by the Los Angeles City Council's economic development committee. See the Los Angeles Business Journal's coverage here.

Drought Relief?

Things may be looking up for drought-stricken California as El Niño conditions in the Pacific are picking up, meaning next winter could be a wet one, according to federal scientists, the Los Angeles Times reports.

On-Air Apology

George Stephanopolous, the chief anchor of ABC News and a former communications director in President Bill Clinton’s administration, apologized on “Good Morning America” Friday for not disclosing a donation he made to the Clinton Global Foundation even as he reported on both former president and Hillary Clinton, Yahoo News reports.

U.S. Losing Control of the Internet?

The head of the U.S. nonprofit that oversees Internet addresses worldwide said that by the end of the year, the Internet will be in private hands and out of government control, Yahoo reports.

Sumner Redstone to Miss Annual Meeting

Billionaire Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone says he will be a no-show at next week's annual shareholders meeting in New York because of his declining health, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Carl Icahn Bets on Lyft

Activist investor Carl Icahn has invested $100 million in ridesharing service Lyft Inc., the Wall Street Journal reports. The three-year-old company is valued at $2.5 billion, and the latest investment is an extension of a round of funding the company announced in March.

Tech Women Take Stand

More than 50 female founders and executives of tech companies said in an open letter on tech blog Re/Code that it's time to open dialogue, especially among women and the media, on the “missing perspective on women in tech," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Costly Penalty

Anaplex Corp. of Paramount must now pay $142,000 to settle allegations the plating company had violated hazardous waste rules, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. See the Los Angeles Business Journal's coverage here.

Business as Usual?

After being slapped with two lawsuits, including one by the city of Los Angeles that alleges Wells Fargo Bank opened unauthorized customer accounts and made customers pay bogus fees, the bank’s investors seem to be shrugging off the claims, the Los Angeles Times reports.

More Pimco Problems

Newport Beach's Pacific Investment Management Co.'s move to abruptly close funds under two of its main stock investment strategies, and the fact the company's equities investment chief is leaving, indicates more difficulties for the company, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Lashing Out

The Greek finance minister spoke out against the head of the European Central Bank on Thursday, saying he is afraid to give Greece a break on its debts because of how some Germans might react, the New York Times reports.

Johnny Depp in the Doghouse

Will it be death row for Johnny Depp's dogs? The actor is in hot water with the Australian government for smuggling his two Yorkshire terriers into the country on a private jet, and officials say if he doesn't send his dogs back home by Saturday, they'll be euthanized, LAist reports.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 32 points in early trading Friday to 18,220. The S&P 500 was down four points to 2,118. The Nasdaq was down eight points to 5,042. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 233.

Thursday, May 14

Paid Time Off Part of Minimum Wage Proposal?

The minimum wage hike proposal approved by an L.A. City Council committee this week might require employers to pay minimum wage workers for time off.

Paramount Firm Pays $142,000 Penalty for Waste Violations

Anaplex Corp. of Paramount has agreed to pay $142,000 to settle allegations that the plating company had violated hazardous waste rules, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced late Thursday.

Kubota Chooses Texas Over Torrance

Japanese equipment manufacturer Kubota Tractor Corp. and its financing arm Kubota Credit Corp. are leaving Torrance. And like a handful of other companies that have left the area lately, Kubota is decamping for the Lone Star State.

Puma Shares Fall on Study Results

Puma Biotechnology Inc. shares took a nosedive on Thursday in the wake of newly released data from a clinical trial for its breast cancer drug neratinib.

Sidley Austin to Open Century City Office

Chicago law firm Sidley Austin revealed plans Thursday to open an office in Century City – its second in Los Angeles – and increase its focus on the media and entertainment industry.

Daily News No Longer For Sale

Digital First Media, owner of the Los Angeles Daily News and other local dailies, has taken itself off the market and its chief executive is stepping down, according to a memo sent Thursday to employees.

Iger Sells Disney Shares Valued at $21.7 Million

Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger gave himself a big pay day this week as he sold off 200,000 shares in the Burbank company valued at $21.7 million.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 192 points in Thursday trading to close at 18,252. The S&P 500 rose 23 points to 2,121. The Nasdaq rose 69 points to 5,051. The LABJ Stock Index rose three points to 233.

Science Inc. Startup FameBit Buys Refame

Two Science Inc. portfolio companies came together today, as FameBit, an online marketplace where advertisers buy endorsements from popular YouTube video creators, acquired social media marketing agency Refame.

Wage Hike Gets Go-Ahead

The city's minimum wage should be hiked to $15 an hour, according to a Los Angeles City Council Committee which voted unanimously on the measure on Wednesday. But it also allowed for businesses to have more time to comply. See the Los Angeles Business Journal's coverage here.

Big Gift for Anderson School

UCLA's Anderson School of Management is about to get $100 million richer, thanks to a gift from the widow of its namesake, businessman John Anderson, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Long Beach to Get Cheaper Taxis

How do Long Beach officials plan to help taxi drivers compete with ridesharing services, including Uber and Lyft? Try lowering cab fares. That is what the Long Beach City Council has voted to do, making it the first big city in the nation to relax restrictions on taxis, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Leaner Times for Obamacare

California's Obamacare exchange is preparing to cut back after using most of its $1 billion in federal start-up money, according to Covered California's proposed budget which was released Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Goodbye, Springfield?

Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner and Ned Flanders may be leaving Springfield for good as Harry Shearer, the voice behind all of those Simpsons characters, said he's been canned from the Fox show, the Daily Beast reports.

Big Banks Face Charges

Five banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Barclays, are expected to plead guilty by next week to fraud and antitrust violations for rigging the price of foreign currencies after facing charges brought by the Justice Department, the New York Times reports.

Saudis Declare Victory in Oil Price War

Saudi Arabia says it's victorious in its strategy of beating rivals, including shale producers in the United States, as the world’s largest crude exporter aims to recapture its dominant position in the global oil market, the Financial Times reports.

Not so Fast, Saudi Arabia

Oil billionaire Harold Hamm said Saudi Arabia's claims it is squeezing out American crude oil producers are premature, CNBC reports.

Cautious Consumers

There weren't many big spenders in April, despite Easter and the warmer weather which often give stores a boost. Retail sales were flat last month compared to March, according to the Commerce Department, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Change of Heart

Senate Democrats no longer plan to block a vote they originally filibustered in response to President Obama's request to expedite a major trade deal, the Los Angeles Times reports. The move makes it more likely the Senate will pass legislation giving Obama the authority he said he needs to help complete negotiations with Pacific Rim nations over the free-trade agreement.

Trouble in the Beehive

Managed honeybee colonies faced yearly losses of 42 percent with declines during the summer outstripping losses in the winter for the first time, according to the Department of Agriculture, the Los Angeles Times reports. As a result, prices for crop pollination services are expected to go up.

How Firm’s Your Handshake?

Could the grip of your handshake predict your risk of getting a heart attack or even a stroke? A major study in the Lancet says yes and claims it could be a stronger predictor of death than checking your blood pressure, the Telegraph reports.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 156 points in early trading Thursday to 18,215. The S&P 500 was up 15 points to 2,113. The Nasdaq was up 36 points to 5,018. The LABJ Stock Index was up one point to 231.

Wednesday, May 13

Wage Hike Moves Forward, Gives Businesses More Time

A Los Angeles City Council Committee on Wednesday voted to hike the citywide minimum wage to $15 an hour, but also to give more time for businesses to comply.

Slipp, Formerly Digital Magazine Platform Glossi, Shuts Down

After nearly a decade of changing products and chief executives, video embedding slide show app company Slipp of Santa Monica told users via email that it “is going away.”

Health Net Shifts 2,000 Employees to Contractor

More than 2,000 employees are being laid off Health Net Inc. but will be offered jobs with information technology contractor Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. as part of a multi-year agreement, the health insurer said Wednesday.

‘Live Nation Music Awards’ to Debut This Fall

Another music awards show? Yes, entertainment giant Live Nation Entertainment Inc. is teaming up with talent and marketing agency IMG Worldwide and Santa Monica’s Dick Clark Productions for a new “Live Nation Music Awards.”

AT&T Says Hello To Hulu

AT&T Inc. has reached a deal to provide its customers with access to popular streaming service Hulu starting later this year.

Premium Price Paid for Burbank Shopping Center

A Burbank shopping center near the 5 freeway and Alameda Avenue has sold for $48.6 million, or about $650 a square foot. The sale far exceeded the $272-a-square-foot average sale price for the submarket, according to CoStar Group Inc.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average fell eight points in Wednesday trading to close at 18,060. The S&P 500 fell one point to 2,098. The Nasdaq rose six points to 4,982. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 230.

Music Video Streaming Service Lands Former Sony Executive

As part of a growing effort to take market share from YouTube, music video streaming company Vadio yesterday appointed former Sony Pictures Entertainment Vice Chairman Yair Landau as chairman and chief operating officer.

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No to Short-Term Rentals

Even a rally held by supporters of short-term rentals could not stop the Santa Monica City Council from voting unanimously Tuesday to crack down on Airbnb and other short-term rental sites, the Los Angeles Times reports.

'Colossal' Water Main Break

What is being described as a "colossal" water main break flooded streets and caused a sinkhole in Beverly Grove Tuesday with one resident saying a geyser of water that shot into the air was as tall as a tree, NBC Los Angeles reports.

SEC vs. ITT

Are executives with for-profit ITT Educational Services Inc. guilty of fraud? The Securities and Exchange Commission is charging them, saying they failed to disclose to investors the failure of two student loan programs, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Obama Trade Deal Blocked

So much for solidarity as Democrats in the Senate filibustered an Obama-backed measure Tuesday which would give the President the authority he said is necessary to complete the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Credit Downgrade for the Windy City

Bad news for Chicago as Moodys, citing a recent Illinois court ruling voiding state pension reforms, has downgraded the city's credit rating to "junk" and says it sees a negative outlook for Chicago's credit, CNBC reports.

A 'Titanic' Problem?

HSBC's chief economist Stephen King has a stark warning for the economy: if another recession hits, the world could be facing a "titanic" problem, Business Insider reports, because monetary policymakers will have little ammo.

Clock Keeps Ticking for Greece

Greece needs to raise at least $3.4 billion by the end of the year in order to meet budget targets that will be acceptable to creditors, according to an official, Bloomberg reports.

Talk About Sour Grapes

Milk may do a body good, but downing it almost made a couple of Maryland women sick after their roommate contaminated their milk with her foot shavings, LAist reports. She is now facing felony charges.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 53 points in early trading Wednesday to 18,121. The S&P 500 was up six points to 2,105. The Nasdaq was up 32 points to 5,008. The LABJ Stock Index was up one point to 231.

Tuesday, May 12

Carsharing Coming to a Parking Meter Near You?

Carsharing could soon become much more common in Los Angeles – as common as parking meters, in fact.

Soon-Shiong’s NantWorks Unit Gets $100 Million Infusion

A subsidiary of billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong’s NantWorks health care technology company has secured $100 million in equity funding, according to regulatory filings.

Housing, Office Tower Proposed for Warner Center

A Van Nuys developer wants to put up a 369,000-square-foot, mixed-use project in Woodland Hills that would include 170 residential units and a 19-story office tower.

Boeckmann Family Parks $7 Million in San Fernando Office

Boeckmann Family Trust, a trust connected to the family that owns the 10 Galpin auto dealerships in the region, has purchased a 74,072-square-foot, two-story Class B warehouse on a 5-acre lot in San Fernando. The reason: Its Galpin Honda needed extra space to park cars.

Report: Regulators Likely to OK AT&T-DirecTV Deal

AT&T’s proposed $49 billion purchase of El Segundo satellite TV giant DirecTV likely won’t be blocked by federal regulators, according to unnamed sources cited by the Wall Street Journal.

Amid Growing Losses, American Apparel Announces $10 Million Offering

Just as it announced a big loss in its most recent quarter, Downtown L.A. apparel maker American Apparel Inc. said it plans to raise up to $10 million by selling new shares.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 37 points in Tuesday trading to close at 18,068. The S&P 500 fell six points to 2,099. The Nasdaq fell 17 points to 4,976. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 230.

Zealot Buys Digital Studio Lord Danger

Digital studio Zealot Networks of Venice is buying again.

Gay Men’s Dating App Grindr May Be on Block

Grindr, the pioneering dating app for gay men, is reported to have hired an investment bank to advise it on a possible sale.

Growth in Homeless

The plight for those living on the street has worsened recently as the number of homeless has jumped 12 percent in the last two years in both Los Angeles and the County, according to a new report which blames the problem on high rents, unemployment and low wages for workers, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Swan Song for 'American Idol'

The once ratings juggernaut will soon be no more as Fox executives have decided to give "American Idol" the ax after its 2016 season, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Selling the Country Club

The Beverly Hills Country Club, a fixture where the rich and famous have played together for nearly 90 years, has been sold to Chicago investment firm Singerman Real Estate and a Boulder-based hospitality company, Meriwether Cos., which promise to spend $10 million to renovate it, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Movie Drama

Are big movie chains using their market influence to block smaller, independent theaters from getting first-run movies? That is what the Justice Department is now investigating as it has ordered AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., Regal Entertainment Group and Cinemark Holdings Inc. to turn over documents as part of an investigation to find out if the chains have violated federal antitrust laws, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Verizon Buys AOL

Verizon Communications Inc. is shelling out $4.4 billion in cash to buy AOL in a move to help Verizon grow in mobile video and advertising, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Republicans Aiding Obama’s Trade Bill

President Obama’s trade agenda may face major hurdles in Congress during a procedural vote Tuesday, including from his own party, the Hill reports.

Goodwill or Advertising Deal?

Some agreements between NFL teams and the National Guard are raising eyebrows about whether both should become more transparent about when they are paying for an advertisement or simply honoring the troops, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Greece Makes Payment

In a desperate move, Greece used emergency reserves in its holding account at the International Monetary Fund to pay $839 million to the IMF Monday, according to government officials, Reuters reports.

Picasso Breaks Record

How much would you pay for a Picasso? Try $160 million. That is what his oil painting, Women of Algiers, just sold for at Christie's in New York, making it the most expensive painting to ever sell at an auction, BBC News reports.

Dance On

Fed up with jaywalking tickets? One group of activists is taking their anger to the streets as they plan to protest jaywalking tickets by dancing next month in downtown crosswalks, LAist reports.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 123 points in Tuesday trading to 17,982. The S&P 500 was down 14 points to 2,091. The Nasdaq was down 47 points to 4,947. The LABJ Stock Index was down three points to 228.

Monday, May 11

Police Body Camera Manufacturers Merge

Citing a consolidating market, police body camera manufacturer Wolfcom of Hollywood has merged with competitor HD Protech of Houston.

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DTZ to Buy Cushman & Wakefield

Cushman & Wakefield Inc., one of the biggest real estate firms in the world, will be acquired by DTZ, a global real estate services firm backed by private equity firm TPG Capital, in a deal valued at about $2 billion.

Jones Lang LaSalle Acquires Westside Retail Brokerage

Chicago real estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. acquired Brentwood retail brokerage and capital markets firm Wilson Retail Group for an undisclosed sum in a deal that closed May 7.

On Assignment To Purchase Creative Circle

On Assignment Inc., the publicly traded Calabasas staffing firm, said Monday it had agreed to acquire Mid-Wilshire staffing company Creative Circle for $570 million in cash and stock. Another $30 million could be thrown into the pot if certain performance benchmarks were met.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 86 points in Monday trading to close at 18,105. The S&P 500 fell 11 points to 2,105. The Nasdaq fell 10 points to 4,994. The LABJ Stock Index fell two points to 230.

Suitor Has Grocery-Focused Brokerage in Bag

ACQUISITION: JLL buys Wilson Retail Group, long targeted by rival firms.

Chicago real estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. acquired Brentwood retail brokerage and capital markets firm Wilson Retail Group for an undisclosed sum in a deal that closed May 7.

No Show of Support

It is a tough sell for small business owners as not all of them are warming up to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s minimum wage plan, with some saying he is turning his back on mom and pop businesses, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Rents in California: High and Getting Higher

If you’re renting in California, prepare to pay up. That is what a report from Apartmentlist.com has found as rents statewide are among the highest in the nation with the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment going for $1,350 in March, up 6.5 percent from a year ago, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports.

Stricter Water Rules

Things may get tougher in Newport Beach when it comes to conserving water as the City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to require homeowners to restrict their water use in each billing period to 75 percent of their base amount or three-year average, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Volvo’s $500 Million Bet

Volvo Car Corp. is racing into South Carolina with plans to build a $500 million plant near the Port of Charleston, the Los Angeles Times reports.

No More Green

The lush, green lawn at the landmark Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Temple in Westwood is now a dusty brown as church officials are letting the lawn go in an effort to save water, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Greeks Having Their Say?

Should Greeks have a say in the country's bailout program? Germany's finance minister says it may be a good idea to bring the matter up for a referendum, the Wall Street Journal reports.

‘Avengers’ Reigns Again

For the second weekend in a row, the Marvel film, “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” dominated the weekend box office, taking in $77.2 million, making it one of the highest second-weekend grosses ever, the Los Angeles Times reports. “Hot Pursuit,” the Reese Witherspoon- Sofia Vergara comedy, took the No. 2 spot, beating "The Age of Adeline" and "Furious 7."

An Eye on Selfies

If you thought selfies were only self-taught, think again. Both USC and UCLA are now offering classes that take an up close and personal look at selfies, LAist reports.

Mixed Message?

In this time of water cut backs, the California Department of Transportation had its sprinklers going full blast, watering hillsides off the 101 Freeway in Universal City after Thursday night's rain, and it was all captured on a cell phone video, CBS News reports.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was down four points in Monday trading to 18,187. The S&P 500 was up one point to 2,117. The Nasdaq was up 13 points to 5,016. The LABJ Stock Index was up one point to 232.

Acquisitions Forged Metals Business

MANUFACTURING: Departing CEO set Reliance’s pickup pace.

Analysts say departing CEO Dave Hannah showed steely resolve in Reliance’s unusually successful acquisition strategy.

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Medical Firms Providing Shot in Arm to Job Seekers

BIOTECH: Companies join colleges, schools to prepare students for positions.

Companies get to work on filling new positions by teaming with community colleges on training programs.

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Small Business Administration Makes Big Gains

LENDING: East West among banks seeing more demand for loans backed by agency.

Many small businesses still find it hard to get a traditional bank loan, as tightened regulations and higher capital requirements have made lending to those companies less profitable for banks.

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Checking Back In

Hotelier Sam Nazarian loses partners in rough return

Sam Nazarian has no reservations about returning to his business and focusing SBE’s future on hotel branding and management.

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Stepping In, Up

RETAIL: Warehouse Shoe Sale prepares expansion plan based on setting up in low-cost properties in working-class locations.

Warehouse Shoe Sale has stepped past malls to set up standalone shops in working-class neighborhoods.

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Below-Street Retail Space Leaves Developer in Hole

REAL ESTATE: Sign-ups for shops lag residential leases at Medallion project.

Medallion’s developer has had a tough time selling tenants on his below-street-level retail space.

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Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Insurance brokerage Sullivan Group has renewed its 28,668-square-foot lease at the Pacific Financial Center office building in downtown Los Angeles at 800 W. Sixth St. Sullivan will continue to occupy the top two floors in a deal valued at $9.5 million. The firm has called the building home since 1987.

Bank Will Give In Order to Get

LENDING: City National hopes concessions ease RBC merger.

City National spends time with community activist coalition to help ease union with a Canadian bank.

Green Space Taken To New Height

Downtown building grows profile with 80-foot ‘living wall.’

Rising Realty Partners looks to elevate the status of its PacMutual Campus with a towering “living wall.”

Retail Website All Broken Up Over Content

Never Liked It Anyway lets exes sell items left over from relationship.

Never Liked It Anyway puts a price on romance by letting former boyfriends and girlfriends sell off exes’ stuff.

Rocking Seats Look for Role

FILM: MediaMation sees most movement in overseas theaters.

MediaMation hopes to shake up cinemagoing but its moving seats are only rolling in one U.S. theater, in Oxnard.

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City Attorney Has Better Case to Make

Charles Crumpley wonders why L.A’s city attorney has vaulted into a fight between a bank and its customers.

Educator Gets His Message Out

Words come easily to Jim Tetreau, who is something of a writer. But they didn’t come to him much at all one evening early this month when he greeted about 140 supporters and well-wishers at Strive in Watts, a private after-school program for inner-city youths.

Plumber Aims To Seal Deals With Valves

Cesar Balbin plugs toilet flappers as way to cut water usage.

Reliance Home Services takes the plunger on giving away toilet flappers to win customers.

Conventions

Upcoming conventions

Calendar

Calendar of events

Rocket Maker Hopes to Make Splash at L.A. Port

AEROSPACE: Interorbital to use shipyard as staging area to launch satellites.

Container and cruise ships will soon not be the only things taking off from the Port of Los Angeles.

HMO Sees ‘Lean’ Model as Good Fit for Business

OPERATION: Toyota’s take on efficiency provides road map for Kaiser Permanente.

Kaiser Permanente is trying to cut fat, but not from its patients waistlines.

State Credits Give Movies, TV Blockbuster Boost

PRODUCTION: Expanded program aims to keep more projects in California.

The local movie and TV production community is in a buoyant mood about increased filming opportunities in Los Angeles now that the new California Film & TV Tax Credit Program is passed and open for applications.

Area Advocate Discusses 25 Years in Downtown

NONPROFIT: Carol Schatz praises housing, restaurants; homelessness still concern.

Carol Schatz talks downtown L.A.’s revival during her 25 years at Central City Association.

Clinical Trials Help Revive Drug Developer’s Stock

HEALTH CARE: CytRx’s shares bounce back some after poor quarterly report.

CytRx receives rough treatment from investors after the drug developer’s losses widen.

Ex-Chief Exec Looks to Steer Retailer Into Sale

INTERNET: Mehran Nia says U.S. Auto Parts too small to be publicly held.

Co-founder and ex-CEO of U.S. Auto Parts looks to drive the online retailer into a sale.

Friday, May 8

L.A. Launch List: May 8

The Los Angeles Business Journal brings you a weekly roundup of L.A. tech company and product launches.

Insurance Commissioner Urges Work Comp Rate Cut

State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones on Friday announced he has recommended a 10 percent cut in the workers’ comp premium rate that insurers charge employers, the first such recommended cut in four years.

Appeals Court Tosses FCC Request for Programming Contracts

In a move that could impact AT&T Inc.’s proposed acquisition of El Segundo satellite TV giant DirecTV, a Federal Appeals Court on Friday threw out a request by the Federal Communications Commission that media companies disclose their programming deals with cable television providers.

Hollywood Lighting Company Plans Move to Valley

Entertainment industry lighting manufacturer Mole-Richardson Co. is moving its headquarters and factory to Pacoima from Hollywood.

Interactive Nintendo Rides Coming to Universal Studios

Universal Parks & Resorts is partnering with Japanese video game company Nintendo Co. Ltd. to build interactive rides at its theme parks.

U.S. Auto Parts Network Inc., Stamps.com 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 rose 1 percent to close at 232, with gainers outpacing losers 83 to 67. Six companies closed the week unchanged.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 267 points in Friday trading to close at 18,191. The S&P 500 rose 28 points to 2,116. The Nasdaq rose 58 points to 5,004. The LABJ Stock Index rose three points to 232.

L.A Times Parent to Buy San Diego Newspaper

Tribune Publishing, owner of the Los Angeles Times, agree to to pay $85 million to buy San Diego’s flagship newspaper, U-T San Diego. See the Los Angeles Business Journal’s coverage here.

Dov Charney Sues, Again

Charney, founder and ousted chief executive of downtown’s American Apparel, says the New York private equity firm that is the controlling shareholder in the apparel maker has defamed him. See the Los Angeles Business Journal’s coverage here.

New Post. New Products?

Walt Disney Co. tapped Leslie Ferraro as the new head of its consumer products division. The New York Times reports she shifts from her role as executive vice president for global marketing, sales and travel operations.

More Questions in Industry

An investigation has found that 97 percent of registered voters in City of Industry live in housing companies controlled by former Mayor Dave Perez or the municipal housing authority. That’s just 86 people, but it still raises questions, the Whittier Daily News reports.

Los Angeles Platinum Triangle of Anaheim?

A Chinese developer plans to build a nearly $500 million retail, residential and hotel complex, to be called the Platinum Triangle near Angel Stadium in Anaheim, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Good Jobs News

Job numbers were up in April as employers added 223,000 positions, according to the Labor Department, and the unemployment rate decreased to 5.4 percent, the New York Times reports.

Surprise Win, at Least to Pollsters

He’s back. British Prime Minister David Cameron won yesterday’s general election as his Conservative Party defeated Ed Miliband’s Labour Party and secure a majority in Parliament, Bloomberg reports.

Don’t Manners Count?

A Virginia man who stole a bag full money from a Virginia Beach bank says there’s no way he could be a bank robber: he asked for the money politely, the Daily Caller reports. He also posted the crime on Instagram, leading to his arrest 20 minutes later.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 255 points in Friday trading to 18,178. The S&P 500 was up 26 points to 2,114. The Nasdaq was up 59 points to 5,005. The LABJ Stock Index was up two points to 230.

Thursday, May 7

Charney Sues American Apparel Investor

Dov Charney, founder of American Apparel Inc. who was ousted as chief executive last year, has sued Standard General, a New York private equity firm that helped Charney amass shares of the downtown L.A. apparel maker but then failed to support him as he tried to mount a comeback as chief executive.

L.A. Times Owner Buys San Diego Paper

Los Angeles Times owner Tribune Publishing has expanded its reach in Southern California with an $85 million purchase of San Diego’s flagship newspaper.

MarketShare Receives $8 Million to Finance Recent Purchase

Marketing attribution company MarketShare of Westwood has raised an $8 million investment round to finance its April purchase of fellow marketing attribution company DataSong.

Sumner Redstone Addresses Succession, Sort Of

With his 92nd birthday approaching on May 27, entertainment titan Sumner Redstone has issued a statement about his succession plan – and it says he hasn’t made one.

Amgen Granted Novartis Injunction

An appeals court has blocked sales of Zarxio, a copycat version of Amgen Inc.’s blockbuster drug Neupogen.

Garcetti Signs Agreement to Fund Storm Water Treatment Project

Trying to address both the drought and the cleanup of Santa Monica Bay, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an agreement on Thursday finalizing an estimated $40 million storm water treatment project to clean polluted runoff from Los Angeles International Airport before it runs into the bay.

Briefs: Tutor Perini Wins New York Contract, Molina Tops Estimates

Tutor Perini Corp. Gets $56.3 Million Contract Tutor Perini Corp. has won a $56.3 million contract from Amtrak for the Hudson Yards project in New York City.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 82 points in Thursday trading to close at 17,924. The S&P 500 rose eight points to 2,088. The Nasdaq rose 26 points to 4,946. The LABJ Stock Index rose one point to 229.

Science Inc. Sells Off Mobile Ad Network PlayHaven

After just eight months of ownership, startup studio Science Inc. of Santa Monica announced yesterday that it had sold off its mobile advertising network PlayHaven to mobile game publisher RockYou of San Francisco for an undisclosed amount.

No New Water Cuts for Now

Los Angeles Department of Water & Power customers will not be forced to reduce their water use for now since L.A. officials were able to persuade state regulators to lower the mandated water reductions from 25 percent to 16 percent, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. However, city officials are preparing for new restrictions just in case.

Change of Heart

The nonprofit Berkeley Greenlining Institute, which advocates for ethnic minorities, will no longer oppose City National Bank’s Community Reinvestment Act plan, which should help ease the bank’s planned merger with Toronto’s Royal Bank of Canada. See the Los Angeles Business Journal’s coverage here.

Phone Records? NSA Should Not Collect

The controversial collection of millions of Americans’ phone records by the National Security Agency isn't authorized by the Patriot Act, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Trouble for Tiered Water Rates

Since a tiered rate system was struck down last month in one city by an appeals court, now water agencies across the state will have to scramble to prove high water rates they charge are not meant to punish heavy users, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Kale on the Menu

It looks like McDonald's is about to join the kale craze as some of its Southern California locations will soon add the vegetable to its breakfast offerings, the Associated Press reports.

Oracle or Hypocrite?

Not one to mince words, hedge fund mogul Daniel Loeb is now taking aim at billionaire Warren Buffett, referring to him as a hypocrite, CNBC reports.

Can’t Get a Break

Cable execs should be warned: do not stifle your competition. That is the message FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler had for industry insiders on Wednesday at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association Convention, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Tesla on Track?

Tesla Motors reported a larger first-quarter loss compared with 2014, but the company said it will still hit its target of selling a record 55,000 vehicles this year, the New York Times reports.

Crisis Again?

Enjoy the stable economy while you can. Former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said a financial crisis will happen again, but he doesn’t expect it to be as devastating as it was in 2008, CNBC reports.

Uncertain Election

It’s too close to call in Britian as people head to the polls Thursday because polls are showing that neither Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron nor Ed Miliband, his Labor opponent, will come close to getting enough seats in Parliament to be able to govern by themselves, Bloomberg reports.

Many Tinder Users Already Tied Knot

If you already have a partner, should you be on a dating site? A new survey found that 42 percent of the people who use the dating app Tinder are already married or in a relationship, the Guardian reports.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was down six points in Thursday trading to 17,836. The S&P 500 was down three points to 2,077. The Nasdaq was up eight points to 4,927. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 228.

Greenlining Institute Withdraws Opposition to City National CRA Plan

Berkeley’s Greenlining Institute, a nonprofit organization that advocates for economic opportunity for ethnic minority communities, has withdrawn its opposition to downtown L.A.’s City National Bank’s Community Reinvestment Act plan and proposed merger with Toronto’s Royal Bank of Canada. That should help ease the merger.

Wednesday, May 6

Zealot Networks Hires Google Creative Director

Google Creative Director Jeben Berg has reunited with Danny Zappin, his former boss at Maker Studios. Zappin has lured Berg back down to Los Angeles to join his Zealot Networks as head of creative and marketing solutions.

Activision Beats Estimates, Lowers Full-Year Guidance

Santa Monica video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. beat first quarter earnings projections, posting adjusted net income of $116 million (16 cents a share) on revenue of $1.28 billion.

Playboy Signs New Licensing Deal in China

Playboy Enterprises Inc. in Beverly Hills is expanding its presence in China by way of a new decade-long licensing deal with Handong United.

Superior Industries to Move Headquarters to Michigan

Superior Industries International Inc. is relocating its headquarters from Van Nuys to a Detroit suburb, a move that will end the aluminum-wheel manufacturer’s presence in the San Fernando Valley and put it closer to its Detroit customers.

Big Gift for Research Institute

The Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute announced Wednesday it had received its biggest ever donation: a $3 million contribution to help build a new research facility.

Long-Delayed Sale of South L.A. Retail Center Closes

Century City real estate investment firm Optimus Properties has dropped $24.3 million on a South L.A. shopping center it had been eyeing since 2001.

Ramsay Garners Endorsement from VICA

The political action committee of the Valley Industry & Commerce Association has endorsed Carolyn Ramsay in the May 19 race for City Council District 4 representative.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 86 points in Wednesday trading to close at 17,842. The S&P 500 fell nine points to 2,080. The Nasdaq fell 20 points to 4,920. The LABJ Stock Index fell one point to 228.

Upfront Most Active Investor in L.A. Tech Companies

Upfront Ventures was the most active investor in Los Angeles tech companies over the last six years with over 30 deals done, according to a report released today by venture capital database CB Insights.

More Water Cuts

Ready to say goodbye to your lush landscaping? State regulators just approved new water cuts of up to 36 percent to help fight the drought, KPCC reports.

State Audit for City of Industry?

After reports that the City of Industry had questionable dealings involving companies owned by the city's former mayor and his family, California's State Controller Betty Yee has confirmed she is now looking into the matter, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Anger Mounts

After the city's filing of a lawsuit against Wells Fargo, now customers of the bank are voicing their anger over bank employees' allegedly aggressive sales tactics that left customers with unwanted accounts and unnecessary fees, the Los Angeles Times reports.

No Time for Delay

In an effort to put the construction of the NFL stadium on the fast track, Carson City Councilmembers voted unanimously Tuesday to set up financing for an environmental cleanup of the 168-acre former landfill to ensure the site is ready for immediate construction if the project is approved later this year, the Daily Breeze reports.

Where Are the Jobs?

Companies nationwide added just 169,000 jobs last month, below economists' expectations and the fewest number since January 2014, Reuters reports.

Wynn: Recovery is ‘Fiction’

Steve Wynn, the founder of Wynn Resorts who's known for expanding the Las Vegas Strip, says any talk of a nationwide economic recovery is "pure fiction," the WND reports.

Too Close to Call in Britain

As the closest election in a generation goes into its final day, neither British Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party nor his rival, Ed Miliband's Labour party, has a clear lead, Yahoo News reports.

Cashing In

The new royal baby may not even be five days old, but apparently it’s not too early for people to start making money off of her as someone just bought charlotteelizabethdiana.com for $200,000 and is now selling it on eBay, the Daily Caller reports.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 79 points in Wednesday trading to 17,850. The S&P 500 was down seven points to 2,082. The Nasdaq was down 17 points to 4,992. The LABJ Stock Index was down one point to 228.

Tuesday, May 5

U.S. Auto Parts Founder Wants Company to Sell

Mehran Nia, the co-founder and former chief executive of Carson online parts retailer U.S. Auto Parts Network Inc., is calling on the company to explore a sale.

Netflix to FCC: AT&T-DirecTV Deal Could Prevent ‘Cord-Cutting’

Netflix does not want the Federal Communications Commission to approve AT&T’s proposed purchase of El Segundo-based satellite TV giant DirecTV unless changes are made to the merger.

Earnings: Disney, Herbalife Beat Street

Walt Disney Co. on Tuesday beat Wall Street earnings forecasts for its fiscal second quarter as it benefited from strong advertising sales and the continuing popularity of merchandise from the film “Frozen.”

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 142 points in Tuesday trading to close at 17,928. The S&P 500 fell 25 points to 2,089. The Nasdaq fell 78 points to 4,939. The LABJ Stock Index fell three points to 229.

Fullscreen Buys Social Media Promotion Company

Fullscreen, the Playa Vista video creator and YouTube multichannel network, has acquired social media promotion company McBeard Media. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but all of McBeard’s 100-plus employees will join Fullscreen, according to Alan Beard, the firm’s chief executive.

L.A. Tourism Breaks Records in 2014

Last year was a record-setter for L.A. tourism, with 2014 breaking previous records for the number of visitors, visitor spending, hotel occupancy and number of rooms sold in the county, the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board announced Tuesday.

SLS Sale

Torrance multilevel marketing and hotel firm Sunrider International is adding to its portfolio by buying Sam Nazarian’s SLS Beverly Hills hotel for $195 million, the Los Angeles Times reports.

$50 Million Cleanup

They voted unanimously to approve a new NFL stadium in Carson, now Carson's City Council members may vote Tuesday on whether to spend $50.5 million to clean up the old landfill where the stadium is to be built, the Los Angeles Times reports.

All May Not Be Well

Did Wells Fargo Bank employees, desperate to meet sales quotas, open unauthorized customer accounts, damaging their credit and making customers pay bogus fees? The city of Los Angeles thinks so and is slapping the company with a lawsuit as a result, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Failure in Fighting Obesity

Despite state laws making it harder for elementary school kids in California to chow down on junk food, the laws have failed to put a dent in the obesity problem among children from lower-income neighborhoods, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Ride-sharing at LAX?

Airport police used to crack down on ride-sharing services at Los Angeles International Airport, but how times have changed. Now city officials are pushing regulators to legalize Uber and Lyft, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Gas Still Rising

Hoping for gasoline prices that begin with a “2”? You can forget about that; gas prices statewide are on the rise and outpacing the national average, thanks to refinery problems and rising crude oil prices, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Trade Gap Widens

The nation's trade gap for the month of March was the largest it has been in nearly 20 years, suggesting that international commerce was a drag on economic growth at the beginning of this year, according to the Commerce Department, the Wall Street Journal reports.

‘Market Bloodbath’ Looming?

The outlook doesn't look good for investors as higher interest rates and evaporating liquidity will trigger big market swings that could prove catastrophic, according to the Institute of International Finance, the Telegraph reports.

College to Farm Center: Get Out

The privately run Pierce College Farm Center missed last year's deadline to vacate the college campus, so now Los Angeles Community College District officials are taking legal steps to ensure the business leaves the property, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Smart Meters

Goodbye traditional water meters, and hello smart meters. Some utilities are installing the new technology to provide customers with real-time data about water consumption rates, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Maybe Diplomacy Will Help

The situation in Greece hasn’t improved. Now it is stepping up diplomacy talks with Euro Zone leaders in the hope of avoiding a cash crunch this month as the deadline for a big debt payment to the International Monetary Fund approaches, Reuters reports.

Chirping for a New Snack?

If the thought of crunching on crickets tickles your fancy, your prayers may be answered. A 25-year-old entrepreneur is opening an edible cricket farm in the San Fernando Valley that he says will be the first of its kind in the state, LAist reports.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 34 points in Tuesday trading to 18,036. The S&P 500 was down eight points to 2,106. The Nasdaq was down 42 points to 4,975. The LABJ Stock Index was down one point to 230.

Monday, May 4

Pushed by Activists, Macerich Adds Independent Directors

Santa Monica mall operator Macerich Co. announced Monday the company is adding two independent directors to its board and ending its stockholder rights plan or “poison pill” in a move aimed at placating activist investors.

Universal Reaches Home-Video Royalties Settlement

Universal Pictures has reached a $26 million settlement in a class action lawsuit over underpayment of royalties to creative professionals who worked on home-video releases.

L.A. Restaurateurs Want Tips to Count Toward Minimum Wage

As Los Angeles city officials consider hiking the minimum wage to as much as $15.25 an hour, local restaurant owners on Monday proposed a lower wage level for servers who receive tips.

Local Factoring Firms to Combine

Calabasas specialty finance firm Fast A/R Funding announced Monday that it has acquired Continental Business Credit in Woodland Hills, a fellow specialty finance firm and asset-based lender. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

CBRE Acquires South Carolina Affiliate

Downtown L.A. commercial real estate giant CBRE Group Inc. has acquired one of its affiliates, CBRE Columbia, a commercial real estate services firm in South Carolina.

Snyder Signs First Tenant at Hollywood Development

Miracle Mile developer J.H. Snyder Co. has signed its first lease for a creative office campus it is building in Hollywood.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 46 points in Monday trading to close at 18,070. The S&P 500 rose six points to 2,114. The Nasdaq rose 12 points to 5,017. The LABJ stock index rose one point to 232.

Honor System

Golf courses in Coachella Valley and other parts of the state rely on private wells to keep their courses lush and green, so while they will have to cut water usage by 25 percent, they will not have to report it. That means their water use is largely on the honor system, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Ahead of the Pack

I Fei Chang, chief executive of Greenland USA, a Chinese development firm, is spearheading $6 billion worth of real estate development in the United States, including the $1-billion Metropolis hotel, shopping and condominium complex downtown, making her one of the biggest developers in the nation, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Off-Screen Drama

Movie theater owners and Walt Disney Co. are battling it out over new conditions the studio has set on theaters wanting to show “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Fiorina’s Hat Thrown

Former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Carly Fiorina officially launched her bid for the White House Monday as a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, becoming the first female to seek the nomination, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Management Shuffle

Chuck Robbins is the new chief executive at Tech giant Cisco Systems Inc. effective July 26, the Wall Street Journal reports. He will replace John Chambers who will become the executive chairman and continue to serve as chairman.

Fight Over Piracy

While some shelled out big bucks to watch Saturday's Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight, others bragged on social media that they got to watch it for free, thanks to some video-sharing apps, leaving the president of fight promoter Top Rank Inc. poised to pursue legal action, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Divide and Conquer

In an effort to fight a sales slump, McDonald's is revamping its leadership by restructuring into four different segments: U.S., International Lead Markets, High-Growth Markets and Foundational Markets, company officials are expected to announce to investors Monday, Bloomberg reports.

Perfect Timing

It's being billed as the “selfie of all selfies” after a Dodgers' fan recorded himself catching a home run ball at Saturday night's game, LAist reports.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 84 points in Monday trading to 18,108. The S&P 500 was up seven points to 2,115. The Nasdaq was up 30 points to 5,035. The LABJ Stock Index was up one point to 231.

Dov Charney’s Fight to Finish?

CLOTHING: Legal, labor actions linked to ousted exec.

Some believe that ousted American Apparel founder Dov Charney backs legal and labor moves that could hurt the firm he longs to reclaim.

Checking In

REAL ESTATE: Developers see more rooms for extended-stay hotel projects as market picks up in Los Angeles.

Developers like the long-term prospects of extended-stay hotels in Los Angeles.

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Restaurant Suppliers Hope to Pick Rivals’ Plate

FOOD: Smaller companies plan to compete on service if Syscom, US Foods merge.

Smaller restaurant suppliers hope to feast on new clients if a merger of the industry’s largest companies goes through.

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Hospital CEO Nurses Stability as Payments Fall

HEALTH CARE: Donors help Cedars cope with research funding falloff.

Chief Exec Tom Priselac shares his prognosis for Cedars-Sinai in a time of sinking reimbursements.

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Student Program Circles ‘Sharks’

Manhattan Beach chamber runs pitch competition for middle, high schoolers.

It’s sink-or-swim time for middle and high schoolers competing in a “Shark Tank”-style pitch competition.

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Film Maker Takes Lead Role at Hollywood Site

LEASE: Broad Green first tenant for J.H. Snyder’s creative office project.

Miracle Mile developer J.H. Snyder Co. has signed its first lease for a creative office campus it is building in Hollywood.

Conventions

Upcoming conventions

Calendar of Events

Upcoming events

Viral Video Firm’s Focus Limits Options on Office

REAL ESTATE: Expanded Jukin’s need for production space complicates hunt.

A year ago, Culver City viral video licensor and distributor Jukin Media employed fewer than 40 people and made do in its 6,500-square-foot headquarters on Jefferson Boulevard.

California Hopes Incentives Work to Create Jobs

DEVELOPMENT: State to hand out $69 million in tax credits to 94 companies.

The headlines are full of other states offering incentives for local companies to set up shop there, either by moving entirely or expanding.

Ex-Employee’s Loss May Work in Bosses’ Favor

LITIGATION: Ellen Pao case could spur employers to take more battles to court.

The business community let out a sigh of relief when Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers defeated discrimination and retaliation allegations from former employee Ellen Pao after a high-profile jury trial.

Furniture Dealer Pulls Up Chair in Los Angeles

INTERNET: Viyet.com offers owners of high-end items marketplace to sell online.

Viyet.com, an online consignment shop for designer furnishings, is hitting up a new market – Los Angeles.

Support Lean for Maker Of Chin Fat-Cutting Drug

BIOTECH: Kythera shares decline despite treatment receiving FDA’s approval.

Investors’ support thinned out for Kythera shares despite the FDA’s OK for the firm’s drug that cuts chin fat.

Java Maker Follows Pot of Gold to Lone Star State

COFFEE: Incentives light fire under Farmer Bros. to ditch L.A. for Dallas.

Texas brews up a range of incentives to spur Farmer Bros.’ relocation to the Lone Star State.

Design Team Gives Shoemaker Leg Up in Sales

FOOTWEAR: Skechers’ finance chief credits new items for record quarter.

Skechers credits its design team for stepping up and helping deliver the shoemaker’s best earnings ever.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Digital Cinema Systems Inc., a Santa Monica digital distribution business for movie theaters, has been acquired by Hollywood Software, a Woodland Hills provider of digital storage services for theaters.

Dad Goes to Bat for Fairness

Andrew Kugler just wanted to coach his daughter in a softball league. He never expected it would turn into a legal fight.

LAX’s Slurpee Runneth Over

International terminal lands only 7-Eleven store inside airport in United States.

LAX looks to have more in store for international travelers with the first 7-Eleven in a U.S. airport.

Lawyers Facing Test on Appeal

LAW: Quinn Emanuel judging associates on marketing efforts.

Quinn Emanuel may have established an industry precedent by requiring marketing projects from associates.

L.A. Rides Chinese Wave

Los Angeles is being transformed by an unprecedented wave of wealthy Chinese immigrants, Charles Crumpley notes, even if some decision makers haven’t much noticed.

Power Play

Stan Lee’s Pow looks overseas after end of Disney deal

Comic-book legend Stan Lee looks to take on overseas projects as the new “Avengers” film is set to conquer the world.

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Sunday, May 3

Social Media Firm Ready To Speak With Advertisers

INTERNET: Whisper brings in Green Dot veteran to help monetize 10 million users.

Anonymous social media app Whisper is ready to make a name for itself as a money-generating venture.

Lender Hits Road With Rideshare

LENDING: Westlake Financial puts Uber’s drivers behind wheels.

Westlake Financial Services gets on board with Uber by providing loans to the ridesharing service’s low-credit drivers.

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Friday, May 1

Harbor Truckers Back to Work

A five-day strike by truck drivers at trucking companies’ headquarters, truck yards and at terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is over after drivers returned to work Friday.

L.A. Launch List: May 1

The Los Angeles Business Journal brings you a weekly roundup of L.A. tech company and product launches.

Asian Manufacturers Reach Milestones

Two Asian transportation companies that recently built manufacturing plants in the Antelope Valley reported major progress this week fulfilling orders from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Beverly Hills firm Platinum Equity announced Monday that it has acquired Ying Shing Enterprises Ltd., a Hong Kong injection molding and metal stamping company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tetra Tech, Big 5 Among This Week’s 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 2 percent to close at 230, with losers outpacing gainers 113 to 37. Seven companies closed the week unchanged.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 184 points in Friday trading to close at 18,024. The S&P 500 rose 23 points to 2,108. The Nasdaq rose 64 points to 5,005. The LABJ Stock Index rose two points to 230.

Downtown’s Ace Hotel Sold, Buyer Keeping Brand

The Ace Hotel in downtown L.A.’s Broadway Theater District has been sold for $103 million to Chesapeake Lodging Trust. The Annapolis, Md., real estate investment trust entered into a new management agreement with Ace Hotel Group to continue to operate the hotel.

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Judge Stops Millennium Hollywood

The Millennium Hollywood is a no go for now. Plans for the two controversial skyscrapers to be built near the iconic Capitol Records building have been halted by a state judge who ruled Thursday that Los Angeles failed to properly assess the $1 billion project’s impact on local traffic and area neighborhoods. See the Los Angeles Business Journal's coverage here.

Steak Dinner, On Us

Big salaries, trips to Sin City and, of course, steak dinners: All were paid for with water ratepayers’ money by employees of two trusts created by L.A.’s Department of Water and Power, according to city audits released Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Oaktree's Possible Purchase

Downtown Los Angeles money manager Oaktree Capital Group is eyeing parts of General Electric Co.’s finance business, which the manufacturing giant has said it wants to sell off, Bloomberg reports. Another L.A. outfit, private equity and debt firm Ares Management, is rumored to be interested, too.

Musk’s Tesla Wants to Power Your House

Billionaire Elon Musk isn’t stopping at electric cars: His auto maker Tesla plans to expand into designing battery systems called Powerwalls for use at homes and businesses, the New York Times reports.

Port Police Chief Indicted

Port of Los Angeles Police Chief Ronald Jerome Boyd was indicted on tax evasion and corruption charges Thursday for allegedly plotting a kickback scheme involving a software company he was helping get a port contract, the Long Beach Press Telegram reports.

Gas Prices Going Up

Pain at the pump? It’s not your imagination: California gas prices shot up this week because of problems at some refineries in the state, the Los Angeles Times reports.

A Piece of the Action

South Korea’s sovereign-wealth fund wants to buy a minority stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Wall Street Journal reports.

May March

It’s May Day, also known as International Workers’ Day, and to mark the occasion, thousands are expected to hit the streets of downtown Los Angeles to push for immigrants’ rights, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 116 points in Friday trading to 17,957. The S&P 500 was up 13 points to 2,098. The Nasdaq was up 35 points to 4,977. The LABJ Stock Index was up two points to 230.