Stories for January 1999

Wednesday, January 27


A group of Taiwanese investors led by local real estate brokerage Financial Capital Investment Co. of West L.A. purchased the Hotel Inter-Continental last week for about $40 million less than one-third the hotel's original development cost.

Cross Cultural

PACOIMA Anyone who thinks fashion is a glamorous business hasn't visited the headquarters of the women's clothing company, Juicy.

Monday, January 25

San Gabriel

Pasadena was a hotbed of activity during the fourth quarter, as the effects of tight office markets in Burbank and Glendale led to a long-predicted spillover into the neighboring city.

Porter Ranch

Ambitious plans on a drawing board are one thing, but political and economic realities are another. And that's been the problem with building the latest phase of Porter Ranch in the northwest San Fernando Valley.

Inland Empire

Stan Lee, prolific creator of such comic-book icons as Spiderman, the Incredible Hulk and the X-Men, has at the age of 76 decided to tackle the Internet.

Weekly Briefing

Billy Jack Shelton started his Culver City business, Shelton's Sheen Wave Labs, over 30 years ago. He was one of the first manufacturers of ethnic personal care products in the city of Los Angeles. Even after all these years, he still has trouble placing


Billionaire Eli Broad has agreed to back developer Ed Roski Jr. in his effort to bring a professional football team to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.


A Jan. 25 story, "Council Delays Could Kill Tax Reform Plan," misstated the title of Rick Tuttle, who is Los Angeles city controller.


The winter months are generally quiet ones in the harbor area, a respite from the heated holiday rush of the fall. But not this year.

Dot Com

The L.A.-based provider of computer equipment and services had spent much of 1998 enhancing its Internet presence, investing some $750,000 in its business-to-business e-commerce systems, and decided its name should reflect that drive. The fact that Wall S


Housing is fast becoming the new watchword for Los Angeles both planned and unplanned.


It was another strong quarter in Ventura County, where office vacancies fell and new industrial facilities came on line.

Market Column

Considering that 1998 was a pretty mediocre year for L.A.'s ad agencies, you would think that local public relations firms would have suffered from the same stagnation.

Small Biz

Each day he deals with murderers, serial killers, grifters, blackmailers, burglars, mugs, molls and plenty of gumshoes hard-boiled, smooth talkers who wear silk suits. But McArthur is no cop, no private eye, no Agent 007.

Re Clumn

With values on the rise in Hollywood, investors continue to flock there and not just to develop new retail-entertainment venues.


The career scene keeps changing. Organizations get flatter and leaner. Individuals are asked to do more with less. Your best way to stay employed is by morphing yourself into a new or improved career. But where are careers going by the year 2005?


Mark Eshman could have been a star in Los Angeles. Not the kind that's on celluloid, but one who makes deals, trades paper and creates the hubbub critical to an emerging financial center.


A funny thing happened on the fifth anniversary of the devastating Northridge earthquake: virtually nothing. Aside from a smattering of news stories marking the occasion, Los Angeles has barely looked back on that frightful early-January morning when free


As a teen-ager riding the waves on a foam board off the coast of Newport Beach, Jesse Walter first became aware of and annoyed by the fact that no one was making clothes specifically for bodyboarders like himself.

LA Newsmakers

David Kosco has been promoted to senior vice president and director of design at Bassenian/Lagoni Architects. His responsibilities will include overseeing all facets of design department operations, maintaining key client relationships, and day-to-day inv


After signing a 10-year lease and hiring an architect to help remodel his 2,100-square-foot space in Culver City, the owner of Alandales has found a comfortable spot to run his 25-year-old fine clothing store for men.

Computer Column

During the first weeks of January, shares of Walt Disney Co.'s stock shot up nearly 25 percent, but not for any of the usual reasons a company's stock rises. Indeed, most forecasters were predicting flat or only slightly higher earnings in the year ahead,

Mid Citites

The Mid-Cities area had a fourth quarter that befits a bustling economy: falling vacancy rates, steadily increasing rents and developers struggling to meet the pent-up demand for new space.


Mayor Richard Riordan's plan to cut and simplify L.A. business taxes, hailed by business leaders when it was announced last month, is suddenly in trouble.


This is in response to the article on Dec. 14 ("County Daunted by Task of Fixing Its Health System"). The piece overlooked a basic principle of the restructuring of the public health system that must be clarified to place in perspective current discussion


After decades of discussing a merger, Hollywood's two actors' unions may finally unite but not without opposition from some of the industry's best-known performers.


America Online could derail the mega-merger between AT & T; and cable giant Tele-Communications Inc. if it can persuade enough city councils across the nation to grant it "open access" to TCI's fiber-optic network.

Ahmanson Profile

Just as Ahmanson Land Co. was finally clearing the final hurdles toward getting its sprawling Ahmanson Ranch project approved, after more than a decade of efforts, another wrench was thrown into the works.


In today's global-based economy, the only constant an employee can depend upon is change. Change can be frightening and abrupt, or can be met head-on. It can mean the loss of one's job; working one day, laid off the next. According to the State of Califo


But the gamble paid off for Terces Duet, founder and president of Field Flowers Inc., a small, Healdsburg, Calif. stationery company. In 1997, Duet and her partner, graphic designer Kathy Gonzales, invested thousands of dollars to debut their line of insp


California's economy is expected to cool somewhat this year, with job growth slowing from better than 3 percent to about 2 percent.

Ent Note

Late last November, two Ventura County supervisors traveled to the L.A. County Hall of Administration to testify against the massive Newhall Ranch development project. They were unsuccessful; the Board of Supervisors approved the 21,615-home project despi


25 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK: Standard Oil Co. of California reported profits were up 94 percent while Atlantic Richfield Co. and Getty Oil Co. also reported huge fourth-quarter gains amid forecasts that the gasoline shortages plaguing the nation would ease U.


By the time the second bell rings, 30 Hollywood High School students are clustered around state-of-the-art Macintosh computers in a battered classroom that otherwise looks like it was built when the abacus was a new innovation.

Co index

America Online 12


What happens when some of the world's richest investors come together and buy into a market-leading company with tremendous growth potential?


I appreciate Frank Wiegers' comments about the use of video in marketing (Entrepreneur's Notebook, Dec. 21), but I must raise one concern. It is possible to create a 15-minute promotional video in 10 days I've done it but the quality of the production


The much-publicized Vincent van Gogh exhibition, which opened last week at the L.A. County Museum of Art, may be a cultural coup for L.A.'s arts community, but the exhibit's extensive gift shop represents a triumph of an entirely different nature the tr

10 Signs

3. You come from the divisions that aren't the fast promotion ones (where the top execs come from).

List Sum

From the Westside to the San Gabriel Valley, construction activity keeps chugging along in L.A. County. The 25 largest commercial developers report a combined total of 22.7 million square feet of commercial space under construction, compared with 17.2 mil


Outrage leading to a declaration of financial war that describes the course of action being pursued by Ken Lufkin, founder of Malibu-based Intrinsic Value Asset Management.

Newhall Ranch

Befitting what is billed as the largest planned community ever proposed in Los Angeles County, the biggest obstacle facing the 12,000-acre Newhall Ranch project hinges on a classic L.A. development issue: water.

LA Stories

If you want to make it in Hollywood, you better have a good agent. And that includes not only actors, but apparently new development projects.


A reader who doesn't want to be named asked me what the tax consequences would be if she left her Individual Retirement Account to her children instead of her husband.


Virtually everything about Playa Vista is complex, and its ownership is no exception.

NO County

Is retail getting to be too much of a good thing in the Santa Clarita Valley? That's what some experts are saying, as available space appears to be outpacing population growth.

Planning Overview

Actually, they never went away they were just mired in years of squabbles involving environmentalists, nearby homeowners and elected officials.


After more than a decade of red lights in the form of lawsuits, community opposition, government gridlock, false starts and new ownership the Ahmanson Ranch master-planned community is finally on its way.


As new president of the production company Radio With Pictures, Casey Bierer takes over a company that deals in reality-based shows and has produced programs like "Why Planes Go Down" and "Moment of Impact II" for Fox Television.

SF Valley

The breakneck pace of real estate deals that characterized most of 1998 in the San Fernando Valley cooled in the final quarter of the year, stymied by events on Wall Street and in the capital markets.


Vacancy rates continued to decline, a familiar story in what has become L.A.'s strongest business district, and development activity continued apace.

At home

As someone who did a lot of online shopping this year, I can attest that the quality of e-commerce sites varies greatly. Some sites left me feeling like the Internet was more trouble than it was worth; others made me question why anyone would shop off-lin


"It's a small world after all" is not only one of Walt Disney's Most famous anthems, it's a real theme song in the business world. The boundaries between countries and continents are continuously disappearing. To be successful you need to became more awar

Porter profile

In the early '50s, a businessman who had recently arrived in the United States from Poland met with a Los Angeles builder. The businessman brought along a taxi driver as a translator because his English wasn't yet very good.


When Lee Dudley first joined IBM in 1956, the company sold the kind of computers that used punch cards. Salesmen had to install and program the machines they sold. The Los Angeles technology community consisted almost entirely of aerospace companies.


During his State of the Union address, President Clinton outlined his plan to rescue the nation's ailing Social Security system. He proposed transferring 62 percent of the projected budget surplus over the next 15 years to Social Security, and allowing th

NewHall Profile

The difference between Newhall Land and Farming Co., which is designing the 21,600-home Newhall Ranch project for the Santa Clarita Valley, and other companies doing master-planned communities in L.A. County can be summed up in one word: Valencia.


Independent contractors (freelance journalists, software programmers, gardeners) wake up knowing that before sunset they must 1) re-prove themselves to clients and 2) learn a new wrinkle to up the odds of survival. But the self-employed are not alone. I c


Left to its own devices, DreamWorks SKG probably would not have considered locating its 21st century studio complex in the city of Los Angeles. The start-up costs would have been just too prohibitive.


The South Bay office market, which seemed to be quickly recovering during the first three quarters of the year, slipped off track in the last three months of 1998 though vacancy rates are still lower than they were a year ago.

Wednesday, January 20


Energy companies from North Carolina to Oregon are about to descend on L.A. City Hall, unleashing a lobbying blitzkrieg as they vie to be chosen as the partner of the Department of Water and Power in a future strategic alliance.


In a small Santa Monica office whose otherwise spartan atmosphere is shattered by the presence of the only genuine stuffed giraffe's head in L.A. County, Quay Hays presides over one of the greatest success stories in the local publishing industry.

Monday, January 18


They have exotic names like St. John's wort and ginkgo biloba and promise to "detoxify the body" or "harmonize the body's energies" eerily reminiscent of potions sold by traveling salesmen 100 years ago.

Company Index



As network production fees soar and profits fall, one of Hollywood's most controversial financial arrangements the talent agency packaging commission has come under attack.


Now, business and community leaders will be trying to find a replacement for a Macy's store that quietly pulled out of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza earlier this month.


Don't expect your managed care provider to start covering kava for stress or garlic pills for your digestive system. Health care companies have been slow to jump on the holistic bandwagon citing the lack of hard scientific data and regulation.

Weekly Briefing

Craig Rubin grew up in Beverly Hills in what he calls a very conservative family, with one rather liberal-minded habit: his mother and grandmother both smoked marijuana openly. Rubin became something of a campus activist for the legalization of pot while


I was buying Christmas presents for my niece and nephew when I spotted a novelty so amazing I had to get one for myself: a tiny laser pointer, just two inches long, that hung on a key ring and cost a mere $11.95.


Top executives with the always-feisty WB network, who have long traded barbs with their arch-rivals at UPN, are now needling their big brother Warner Bros. Television, a major supplier of network prime-time shows like "ER."


How do you make your small business grow, but still be able to put away towards your own retirement with tax laws constantly changing? It's not always easy, but there may be a pot of gold within reach. In 1993, the IRS added 401(a)4, better known as "Cros


After a week of compromise over charter reform, the appointed commission referred a new proposal by its elected counterpart to a joint panel for possible reconciliation.


The use of freelancers in the advertising agency business has been popular for many years. Copywriters, art directors and strategists have long been hired on an as -needed basis to contribute fresh ideas. Now, corporations and client companies of all si


In 1997, consumers in California and Hawaii spent $2.8 billion on vitamins, herbs, dietary supplements and similar alternative treatments. Studies of the effectiveness of these cures, meanwhile, have had extremely mixed results. With some people expressin


Los Angeles long has had a tradition as a haven for the health conscious, whether it's mental, physical or spiritual. Back in the 1870s, in fact, when Northern California was just beginning to recover from the Gold Rush, L.A. was experiencing what histori


I spend time talking to MBA students in their 20s and 30s. I listen to my working children, their spouses and friends in their 40s, and I converse with corporate and government executives in their 50s, 60s and 70s.


Education: Bachelor's degree in American Studies, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

Market Column

In the very bad old days, kings would sometimes have the messengers who delivered bad news beheaded. Arbitron Co. knows how they felt.


Alternative medicine is defined simply as the use of treatment, particularly drugs, that have not undergone modern scientific scrutiny. Marketed to a believing American public, sold without control for self administration as food supplements and health pr


Leading a national wave of interest in alternative medicine, Angelenos are popping pills, sucking on homeopathic medicines, putting on patches and brewing exotic herbs like never before all in the belief that natural remedies give them a better shot at


The answer to that seemingly innocuous question has the potential to reshape the entire telecommunications industry, and is at the heart of a high-stakes battle that began last week between a tiny Redondo Beach-based Internet service provider and cable gi

Security Guard List

Despite of a dramatic decline in crime, the security business continues to be a growth industry. While the number of burglaries and attempted burglaries in the city of Los Angeles last year was half the number of a decade earlier, the state's Economic Dev

Computer Column

Here's our favorite millennium bug joke: Microsoft plans to introduce the newest version of Windows, now called "Windows 2000," near the end of this year. But there may be technical problems along the way, which would delay the launch into the first quart


A caption in a Dec. 28 story on the area's economic outlook misstated growth at Southern California ports. In fact, the Port of Los Angeles has shown a 14.7 percent increase in container growth for the first 11 months of 1998.


The man who built Packard Bell is back after a brief break and ready to duplicate his previous success.


A subsidiary of JMB Realty Corp. has agreed to buy the Century City Shopping Center & Marketplace for well in excess of $280 million, according to sources close to the deal.


Carmen Dragon considers her regular visits to the Santa Monica Homeopathic Pharmacy a life-or-death excursion.


That's a put-down Angelenos have had to endure over the years from media types back East who conveniently assume that we're just a bunch of laid-back health freaks in search of the latest herbal brew. And you know something, they're right sort of.

Securietes Brokers List

The erratic stock market has made the last few months very busy for stockbrokers everywhere, and L.A. County is no exception. The 3,960 registered securities brokers at the top 25 brokerage firms have experienced early mornings and late nights trying to k


When utilized strategically for short-term projects and special assignments, temporary employees can help businesses reduce overhead, increase productivity and maintain flexibility. The key is knowing how to maximize their potential in the most e

Corp Focus

After starting out last year expecting to regain its place among the world's top aerospace companies by merging with Lockheed Martin Corp., Century City-based Northrop Grumman Corp. is back to being a second-tier contractor.


Have you ever had miscommunication with your employees or coworkers that resulted in costly errors?


Beginning March 25, Nickelodeon's popular animated TV series for young kids will arrive at Universal Amphitheater as a live musical production.

RE Column

Dr. David Y. Lee, who has more than 15 office buildings in the struggling submarket, has now acquired a six-story, class-A office building and vacant lot on Shatto Place for $3.5 million. And sources said he is purchasing two more, at 3600 and 3660 Wilshi


When you utilize the services of an executive search firm, you put a tremendous amount of trust in the capabilities of that firm, especially in the Human Resources field. The outside firm you select to assist you will bring employees to your company tha


Less than five years after its splashy debut, the theme restaurant Dive! at Century City Shopping Center & Marketplace has officially sunk.


Alternative remedies tend to fall into one of three categories: homeopathic medicine, herbal medicine and vitamin supplements. Here are the definitions of those alternative remedy classes, as well as some of the most common substances in each class.


Town Hall Los Angeles President Adrienne Medawar may have unconsciously expressed the desire of many local banking executives when she introduced BankAmerica Corp. Chairman Hugh McColl at a downtown lunch last week.

Letter Keller

Craig Benedetti has joined PricewaterhouseCoopers financial advisory services group as partner and head of the group. Prior to joining, Benedetti was an associate partner with Andersen Consulting.


Joanne Kozberg says part of her new job as president and chief operating officer of The Music Center will be to attract bigger audiences to downtown performances and art events.

Ask Lorraine

Question: My partners and I just left our firm to form our own architecture/development company in Downey. Our goal is to build small apartment complexes. We're all smart, entrepreneurial guys, but we never managed our own business. Our main concern is th


Saving for college? Want a tax break? The states are now offering two different types of tuition plans that accumulate money tax-deferred. If you don't like the plan in your own state, look for a better one somewhere else.


As the saying goes, it can be lonely at the top especially if you're an entrepreneur charting a course for your company. But you don't always have to go it alone. More and more companies are forming advisory boards to counsel them on various aspects of


Sipping an herbal elixir and looking supremely relaxed, Siri Satnam says he is already feeling better than when he first arrived at the tonic bar of the Tea Garden Herbal Emporium in West Hollywood.


10 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK: Security Pacific and Wells Fargo reported record profits, continuing the banking-industry recovery from the disastrous Third World loans made in 1987 Paramount Pictures took its first step into the television industry by agreeing


For the moment at least, it appears that the move toward Valley secession has been derailed, in part due to the attention being focused on reforming the city's charter, but also because, to put it simply, the movement is not generating much enthusiasm.


One might not lump in A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc. with giants like Merrill Lynch or Salomon Smith Barney, but the St. Louis-based brokerage has grown steadily in the '90s, and now it has the nation's fourth-largest distribution network, according to Rod Esse


A Rite Aid drugstore or Ralphs supermarket sells a bottle of 100 vitamin E pills for as little as $5 even less if it's being discounted. But drive down the street to a Whole Foods Market or a health-food store specializing in nutritional supplements, an


Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade, San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter, Old Pasadena, downtown Brea and Hollywood Boulevard.


It was in 1971, long before the widespread acceptance of natural health products, that Pharmavite Corp. began selling its line of vitamins and other nutritional supplements. But rather than going to the same health-food stores that its competitors were ta

Small Biz

Goal: To keep growing and bring professionalism to what has traditionally been a blue-collar business


If you're Michael Jordan, remaining economically viable outside professional basketball is pretty much a slam dunk.


Two L.A.-based Internet unknowns are going public in an attempt to cash in on the boom, and more are likely to follow. It's the inevitable result of an astonishing period in which the stocks of most Internet-related companies have exploded regardless of


Although it has been several years since its passage, many employers are still coming to terms with the problem of managing their workforce properly in light of the requirements of the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"). The FMLA contains a detailed regim


When there was talk recently of moving the New York Stock Exchange to New Jersey, it caused near panic among city politicians, who realized that a large portion of Manhattan's economy is tied to Wall Street.

Monday, January 11

RE Column

Pasadena, which has the lowest office vacancy rate in the Tri-Cities, has seen an increasing amount of investment activity lately.

Small Biz

Los Angeles may lead the nation in lawyers, psychoanalysts and personal fitness trainers, but one thing it lacks is equity research analysts.


About all the teeth-gnashing over the disappearance of public companies from Los Angeles in recent years...


Producer-director Irwin Winkler celebrates his 30th anniversary as a movie maker this year with his latest film, MGM's "At First Sight."


Piero Selvaggio was among the first exclusive restaurateurs who looked over the hill and tasted opportunity.

Market Column

The building now inhabited by Ground Zero Advertising is not an office. It is an advertising theme park.


L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan insists that he lacks power, but Riordan himself demonstrated last week that he can have considerable clout when he chooses to use it.


Last month, the venerable department store chain opened its latest "Main Street" concept store as a way to compete with more intimate boutiques and galleries in the thriving shopping and entertainment district.


The new and improved Hollywood Boulevard won't just consist of a few renovated blocks west of Highland Avenue, if a pair of developers succeed in their plans to extend the hub of the retail and entertainment corridor farther east.


Wall Street may have soared to record heights in 1998, but that bullishness did not extend to many Los Angeles publicly traded companies, which, on average, had an off year.


Northrop Grumman Corp. said its 1999 earnings will fall as much as 20 percent below expectations as a result of lower production rates of Boeing Co. 747 jets.


Last week's decision by the Los Angeles County Museum to extend its much-publicized Van Gogh exhibit for another six weeks met little opposition from the owner of the paintings the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam which will now have more time to finish i

Computer Column

As 1998 drew to a close, the stock of Charles Schwab & Co., the discount and Internet broker, had grown to the point where the company was worth more than Merrill Lynch, the nation's largest broker. That might make Charles Schwab an exciting stock, but th


With the announcement of the 41st annual Grammy Award nominations last week, many music fans are wondering whether hip-hop chanteuse Lauren Hill will edge out country crooner Shania Twain as artist of the year.

Company Index



Reducing expenses is never easy, but the rewards can be worth the effort. Keeping your company lean and mean can give you an edge when upgrading your computer system or your compensation and benefits programs. It can also help your business survive econom


The fledgling, low-cost air carrier debuted at Long Beach Airport on Nov. 2, touting inexpensive fares to Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Oakland and Seattle.


Orange County's manufacturing sector will slow sharply this year, the result of a still-ailing Asian economies and the softening of the domestic economy, before expanding again in 2000, analysts say.


The city of West Hollywood's specially trained Bike Enforcement Unit debuted this week. The team will patrol city streets on electric bikes capable of hitting a top speed of 30 mph, looking for parking violators.


That's the $64 question analysts and studio executives have been grappling with for more than a year. And despite anecdotal evidence of the serious downturn, especially in Korea and Japan, the extent of an Asian fallout remains unclear.


Of all the changes we've made at the Business Journal over the last two years or so, the LABJ 100 stock index has been especially well received. Expanding the index of locally based stocks from 50 to 100 and adding new features that outline the week's big


Two Southern California law firms that represented L.A. County in its lawsuit against tobacco companies each stand to pick up as much as $112 million in fees as part of the mega-settlement.


Developer Larry Taylor had grand visions last year for leading a gentrification effort in Westwood Village. With Wall Street money behind him, he wanted to upgrade several retail properties in the area.


The North American Free Trade Agreement marks its five-year anniversary this month, and despite fears that the pact would spark an exodus of working-class jobs from Los Angeles, its impact so far has been beneficial.

At Home

My husband and I had a long car drive home after New Year's weekend, and we used the time for a ritual that is part of the season each year for us.


Amid the strong recovery of Southern California, downtown Los Angeles has been the sore spot, with office vacancy rates still hovering between 15 percent and 20 percent over 30 percent in the many class B and C buildings despite the addition of over 3


If you're looking for a guy who had a red-hot year, try Hamid "Henry" Fereydouni, stockbroker and money manager with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in Santa Monica.


15 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK: Texaco Inc. moved forward with a $9.9 billion bid to take over Getty Oil Co . McDonnell Douglas Corp. announced that China would purchase 25 MD-80 jets Kirk Kerkorian withdrew a $375 million offer to buy the remaining 50 percent o


A five-year effort to overhaul economic development in L.A. comes to a head this week as the City Council considers a plan to essentially kill two big agencies and fold their operations into a new department.


You won't find harps or halos hanging around the boardroom of, a Web site founded about year ago, but you will find a few angels.

Corp Focus

The El Segundo-based creator of software systems for printers, copiers and fax machines garnered numerous accolades within the industry in 1998. Its CEO was named Southern California's "technology entrepreneur of the year" by Ernst & Young, and it was on


Warren Adler has never directed a movie, but that didn't stop the Directors Guild of America from naming him its associate national executive director.


Wholesalers see the blighted downtown produce district as little more than a venue to sell their goods to area hotels, restaurants and hospitals in the early-morning hours.


Three blocks of prime real estate on the Sunset Strip changed hands last week, setting the stage for a $250 million hotel-retail-office development in West Hollywood dubbed Sunset Millennium.

Weekly Briefing

The success of any enterprise over a long period of time depends a great deal on the flexibility of its owners. Armstrong Family Malloy-Mitten Funeral Directors has survived for over 95 years by being able to change with the times. Owner Bob Armstrong spo

Tech Talk

Stepping into the newly created position of president for Warner Bros. Online last week, Jim Moloshok voiced some major ambitions for his division.

Tuesday, January 5


When Hugh Jones announced his surprise resignation last week as business czar of the Los Angeles Unified School District, he became an instant poster boy for the LAUSD's critics who understandably rile against the district's bloated and inefficient way


H.F. Ahmanson & Co. agreed to acquire Coast Savings Financial in a $900 million deal that is expected to close in February.

Monday, January 4


In a move that sent shockwaves throughout the entertainment industry, NBC agreed to pay Warner Bros. Television $13 million per episode to renew TV's top drama, "ER" the highest price ever paid to renew a series. The three-year deal is worth $286 millio


For the better part of two years, Hilton Hotels Corp. President Stephen Bollenbach and gaming operations chief Arthur Goldberg had been looking for ways to boost the value of the company's stock, which was sagging because of intense competition in the gam


After four years in the pipeline, Newhall Ranch finally received unanimous approval from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in November.


"They ought to come out with a cell phone in the shape of a miniature ball and chain," says Michael Sherman, deal-fixing attorney with Alschuler Grossman & Pines in West Los Angeles, only half joking.

Rose Bowl

The bowl season has become a corporate wonderland, what with the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Nokia Sugar Bowl and the FedEx Orange Bowl. But the annual Rose Bowl game stood its ground in resisting a deal with a corporate sponsor.


One of the most significant deals in the health care industry this year was Catholic Healthcare West's acquisition of eight UniHealth hospitals in Los Angeles and Orange counties.


On March 31, the nation's largest attempt at electricity deregulation got underway in California. Over the next several years, deregulation is expected to completely transform the way businesses and residents pay for and use electricity.


Stock values of many Internet-related companies including several based in Los Angeles soared in the last few days of December as a growing number of individual investors jumped in to buy already-astoundingly priced shares.


It had to have been the strangest strike in L.A. history. In July of 1997, the tiny harbor pilots union at the Port of Los Angeles, whose members are responsible for steering ships to their berths, walked off the job in a dispute over pay. For six months,

Letter Higby

Joel Kotkin spotlights two very important factors regarding the long-term viability of Los Angeles as the center of film and television production ("Filming Fadeout," Dec. 7). In quoting Cody Cluff of the Entertainment Industry Development Corp., he point


It was one of the more dramatic power plays seen the tech industry this year, giving birth to a new pillar of L.A.'s new-media business.

Computer Column

This column made a lot of predictions in 1998. Many of them turned out to be wrong, as our loyal readers so thoughtfully remind us via e-mail every week. Amazingly, however, we got a couple of things right. Both involve trends that will continue to influe


1998 was yet another year of the bull, at least for those with enough blue-chip stocks in their portfolios to overcome the lagging effects of small-cap stocks. As of the middle of last week, the S & P; 500 was up 26 percent for the year, while the S & P; 100, t


As toys go high tech, Mattel Inc. is trying to reinvent itself by getting into the software business.


It was a hard-fought battle for JMB Realty Corp. this year, but it apparently has paid off. The Chicago-based real estate company won approval from the Los Angeles City Council in June to build a 704,000-square-foot, 38-story office tower on the last avai


Ronald Perelman, the billionaire owner of the Revlon line of cosmetics, acquired a majority stake in Panavision Inc., the Woodland Hills-based maker of movie cameras and other accessories.

Weekly Briefing

In an age of Supercuts, the owners of small salons and barber shops have found it tough to compete with chains that have far bigger marketing budgets and can usually offer lower prices. Ellen Sikorski, owner of Studio E Hair Salon in Santa Monica, spoke w


Following an ill-fated stint as president of Walt Disney Co., Michael Ovitz is returning to a job that he knows well: overseeing the careers of movie stars.


The former Chrysler Chairman was named chairman of the Los Angeles-based restaurant chain earlier this year in the hopes of fixing a company that had been without a profitable quarter since it went public in 1991. But in June, Koo Koo Roo agreed to be acq


A quick pass at the newspapers one day last week revealed stories about the following products:


A roller-coaster ride finally ended in October for Marina del Rey-based Quarterdeck Corp. when the utility software firm was purchased by its larger competitor, Cupertino-based Symantec Corp., for $65 million and the assumption of Quarterdeck's outstandin


Westfield America Inc. became the largest owner of regional shopping malls both in Los Angeles and statewide after its $1.4 billion acquisition of TrizecHahn Corp.'s portfolio was completed in November.


The number of companies left standing in the L.A. supermarket industry shrank further after Albertson's Inc. agreed in August to acquire American Stores Co., parent of the Lucky supermarket and Sav-on Drugs chains.


One of L.A.'s biggest publishers, Petersen Cos., agreed in mid-December to be acquired by Emap, a British-based global publishing concern, for about $1.2 billion.


After watching its former owner become hobbled by alleged accounting fraud, Torrance-based Cendant Software now boasts a healthier parent. French conglomerate Vivendi SA announced in December that it would acquire Cendant in a deal totaling nearly $1 bill


Sensing that its plan to bring NFL football back to the Memorial Coliseum was fading fast, a team led by developer Edward Roski Jr. hired architectural firm NBBJ last fall to come up with a new design for overhauling the venerable stadium.


Few, if any, Angelenos drive a harder bargain than Ronald Burkle, and Safeway Inc. learned that first-hand last year.


There were some huge deals done in Los Angeles in 1998, capped by the $18 billion purchase of SunAmerica Inc. by American International Group. But even if they weren't involved in transactions quite that big, most business people in L.A. did at least some


Those rollicking male studs in "The Full Monty," Fox Searchlight Pictures' sleeper hit of 1997, may be baring it all again. Fox's boutique arm has been discussing a sequel to the $3.5 million comedy that earned more than $300 million in worldwide box offi


After months of speculation and rumors about his future, Lakers Executive Vice President Jerry West agreed to remain with the team, signing a four-year contract extension worth a reported $3.5 million per year.

Santa Anita

Only a year ago, the Massachusetts-based real estate investment trust acquired Santa Anita racetrack, along with other properties in Arcadia, for a reported $458 million. Of that, about $175.5 million was spent for the track itself, and Meditrust pumped i


One of the year's hottest stories was Internet mania on Wall Street, and helping fuel the frenzy was GeoCities, the Marina del Rey-based Web company.


Honda Motor Co. Ltd. apparently thinks so. Last week, it introduced its four-cylinder, 240-horsepower S2000 roadster at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, touting it not only as a return to Honda's sports-car roots, but also as ideal for baby boomers want


Thanks to far-reaching federal regulatory changes voted last week, your best source for home mortgage money in the new year may be a membership organization you don't even belong to yet: A credit union in your area.


After months of delays, feuds and heated negotiations, Playa Vista hit a major milestone this fall, when DreamWorks SKG and the developers of the huge commercial and residential project near Marina del Rey signed a definitive agreement for DreamWorks' $25


All the talk about a revitalization of Hollywood finally turned to action last fall, as TrizecHahn Corp. broke ground with great fanfare on its massive Hollywood & Highland retail-entertainment project.


As the Los Angeles Business Journal enters a new year, and our 20th year of publication, I feel a tremendous sense of pride about our accomplishments over the past 12 months.


It's been a strange week. It always is during the period between Christmas and New Year's, as so much of L.A.'s business world takes a breather in preparation for the coming year. Perversely, newsrooms tend to be fairly active during this period, what wit

Market Column

L.A.'s economy may have turned a corner in 1998, but you'd never know it by looking at the advertising business.


Douglas Emmett Realty Advisors went on a tear in 1998, snapping up real estate in L.A.'s hottest office markets with a combined value of more than $425 million making the Brentwood-based firm one of the year's most active buyers, as well as one of the l


Cynthia Gaytan has joined Roth Bookstein & Zaslow LLP as a manager in the comprehensive business services department. Her practice area includes all services for small businesses, with an emphasis in auditing, tax matters, business consulting and personal

Letter Hunter

A confusion of terms in the Wall Street West column of Dec. 14 could lead to grave misunderstandings in the business community and among consumers about the role and scope of services offered by certified public accountants.

Company Index


Ahmanson Ranch

It took more than a decade of on-again, off-again negotiations, planning and false starts. But the Ahmanson Ranch housing development finally got the nod in late November, when the Ventura County Board of Supervisors approved the massive project by a 2-1


Two years after The Broadway was shuttered at the Panorama Mall in Panorama City, the discount-retailing giant took over the space last May, opening the first Wal-Mart in the Los Angeles market. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. purchased the outlet from Broadway's pa

Corp Focus

It's nail-biting time at the Santa Monica-based company because game developers typically make between 30 percent and 50 percent of the year's revenue during the three months before Christmas. While it's still too early to say how well Activision fared ov


In an effort to boost its presence on the music-retail scene, the once-bankrupt music chain purchased Dallas-based Blockbuster Music for $115 million in cash in August, in a deal that makes Torrance-based Wherehouse the nation's second-largest music retai


For the first time ever, two Hollywood studios have broken the coveted $1 billion mark in domestic box-office receipts, fueling Hollywood's biggest financial payday for a single year nearly $7 billion.


For years, Rupert Murdoch complained that his far-flung media empire was undervalued by Wall Street, as well as by overseas investors. To remedy that, Murdoch spun off News Corp.'s entertainment assets into a separate public company called Fox Entertainme


As satellite TV companies race to grab market share from cable before it's too late, Hughes Electronics Corp. moved last month to firm up its hold on the market with a $1.3 billion offer to buy St. Paul, Minn.-based U.S. Satellite Broadcasting Co.


First it was Burbank, then Santa Monica, then Culver City. Now Hollywood is venturing farther afield and to an even more unlikely area: Los Angeles International Airport.

Featured Newsmaker

After rebuffing a recent takeover bid, Mercury Air Group Inc.'s new president and chief executive is out to grow the company through acquisitions and the expansion of Mercury's airport way stations.


One of the most coveted programming posts in television has gone to Scott Sassa, who replaces Warren Littlefield as president of NBC Entertainment.


Computer Sciences Corp. made history last month by landing a much-coveted contract to overhaul the Internal Revenue Service's computer systems. The deal, valued at between $3 billion and $7 billion and extending for up to 15 years, is the biggest ever in

Farmers Market

Seven long years after securing city approval, the Gilmore family announced that it would go ahead with a plan to develop a major shopping mall alongside its historic Farmer's Market in the Fairfax district.


20 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK: Quarterly profits at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. soared 217 percent from the licensing of "Gone With the Wind" TV rights to CBS Unions representing the nation's 60,000 oil workers rejected contract offers from 21 companies Mattel In


As Gray Davis becomes California's first Democratic governor in 16 years, the state's business lobbyists are starting to exhale. In the weeks since his November landslide, all indicators point to a middle-of-the-road administration.


Dodger Blue seemed everywhere in 1998 actually, black and blue is more like it.


Consolidation in the office products industry claimed one of L.A.'s largest public companies in May, when Viking Office Products announced it would be acquired by Office Depot in a deal valued at about $3 billion.


It's been reported that Miami dominates the Spanish-language entertainment industry, but you would have a hard time proving it now that both Spanish TV networks are based in L.A.

Nations Bank

Signals have been decidedly mixed about BankAmerica Corp.'s commitment to Los Angeles following its $43 billion acquisition by NationsBank Corp. last October. Though the bank was based in San Francisco, Los Angeles long has been BofA's biggest market, and

Ask Lorraine

Question: We run a successful Internet design business. We are in good financial shape (though we can always use more capital), have great marketing people and plenty of clients. What we need to attract are young, talented designers. What are some ways we


There were plenty of highs, with massive mergers, a flood of venture capital and private investment funds, and a stock market that at times knew no bounds.


A House of Representatives investigative committee has found evidence that Hughes Space & Communications, part of El Segundo-based Hughes Electronics Corp., and Loral Space & Communications, harmed national security by transferring military technology to


Jan Dekkers loads a program on his computer to play a short MRI video of a heart pumping blood. With the click of a mouse, the gray-scale image becomes bright red and green, clearly depicting the different parts of the heart expanding and contracting.


The announcement in November that Los Angeles-based International Lease Finance Corp. would order at least 30 Airbus 318 jets valued at $1.1 billion was a vote of confidence for the European airplane maker to go forward with its plans to start making the

Inc 500

Mark Moses threw a fit when his company, Platinum Capital, was not included in this year's Inc. 500.


Talk about your culture shock. Superstar tenor Placido Domingo surprised the opera world last fall by announcing that he will become artistic director of the L.A. Opera in 2000.


Deals of all sizes and significance take place every day of the week in Los Angeles. They are the result of many things: Companies and properties change hands. Family businesses go corporate. New players appear on the scene. Long-time institutions fade in


When it comes to big deals in 1998, they don't get much bigger or more ambitious than Global Crossing Ltd.


The purchase of Los Angeles-based CalMat Co., an asphalt and ready-mix concrete producer, by Alabama-based Vulcan Materials Co. has created the nation's largest company specializing in sand, gravel and crushed stone (materials known in the industry as "ag


After two years of wrangling over a site, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles' effort to replace earthquake-damaged St. Vibiana's Cathedral finally got underway.

Daniel Taub

Adding to their growing L.A. sports empire, Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz and City of Industry developer Edward P. Roski Jr. bought a 25 percent stake in the Lakers basketball team.


After 14 years of planning, the Alameda Corridor the much-touted $2.4 billion rail expressway linking the ports of L.A. and Long Beach with the distribution centers near downtown finally became more than a dream.

Sun America

One of the more unexpected mergers of the year was between Los Angeles-based SunAmerica Inc. and American International Group Inc.


With the $9.7 billion purchase of PolyGram NV, Montreal-based Seagram Co. Ltd. became the world's largest music company. Combined with sales from Seagram's Universal Music Group, the beverage company now controls 22 percent of the world music market, over

Letter Zuckerman

Plans for the ambitious, self-contained community in Palmdale have been resurrected by a new owner who purchased the property in August.


Thomas Decker is hoping to win some respect for the beleaguered Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.


The consolidation of L.A.'s supermarket industry came to a head in October when Kroger Co. agreed to buy Fred Meyer Inc. in an $8 billion deal.


The line between television and the Internet grew increasingly fuzzy last year as media companies bought into portal sites.