April 11 - 17
Earnings Roundup: Hughes Electronics Corp., owner of the DirecTV satellite service, reported a first-quarter net loss of $50.9 million, compared with a loss of $837.7 million for the like period a year ago. Revenue at the El Segundo-based company rose 10 percent, to $2.23 billion. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has agreed to acquire 34 percent of Hughes from General Motors Corp. and other investors for $6.6 billion. City National Corp. reported first-quarter net income of $43.7 million, compared with $44.2 million for the like period a year ago. The Beverly Hills-based financial institution charged off $12.5 million in loans. Mattel Inc. reported first-quarter net income of $32.8 million, compared with a loss of $256.2 million for the like period a year ago. Revenue for the El Segundo-based toy maker rose less than 1 percent, to $745.3 million. Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. reported second-quarter net income of $31.5 million, compared with $26.9 million for the like period a year ago. Revenue for the Pasadena-based engineering company increased 4.9 percent, to $1.2 billion.
Insider Suit: AOL Time Warner Inc. Chairman Stephen Case and other executives were accused in a lawsuit of making $936 million through insider trading when America Online Inc. and Time Warner Inc. combined two years ago to form the world's largest media company. The University of California originally filed a federal class-action suit against the company but wound up filing in Los Angeles Superior Court, where it would be easier for investors to recover damages. A spokeswoman for AOL Time Warner had no immediate comment.
Show Biz Vote: A plan to fold Hollywood's two major performers' unions into a single umbrella group has been approved by the boards of both organizations. The new Alliance of International Media Artists would be made up of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and operate in much the way as the AFL-CIO. Members of both guilds are expected to vote on the proposal by summer.
Gray's Blues: California Gov. Gray Davis, faced with a record budget deficit and faltering economy, is more unpopular with the state's voters than any incumbent governor in half a century, according to a Field poll. The survey found that 65 percent had an unfavorable opinion of the governor, compared with 40 percent last September
Gas Update: It's still going down but hardly to the levels that many expected when the price of oil plummeted to the mid-$20s per barrel. The latest survey from the Energy Department for the week ended April 14 shows Los Angeles prices dropping 2.7 cents for an average gallon of regular, to $2.085. In San Francisco, the average was $2.104, down 4.2 cents from the previous week.
Sealed and Delivered: Leslie Moonves signed a new contract to remain chief executive of top-rated CBS. Moonves, who was given the additional title of chairman, has overseen a turnaround in audience ratings and profit by cutting costs, buying rights to pro football games and airing more shows aimed at younger viewers that CBS, a unit of Viacom Inc., traditionally lacked. Moonves will continue to report to Viacom President and Chief Operating Officer Mel Karmazin.
Label Inquiry: Avery Dennison Corp. said the Justice Department has started a criminal investigation into competitive practices in the label industry. The investigation comes after the Justice Department said it would oppose UPM-Kymmene Oyj's $420 million purchase of Bemis Co.'s sticker unit because it would trim competition and drive up prices.
Angels Sale: Walt Disney Co. has agreed to sell its Anaheim Angels baseball franchise to Phoenix businessman Arturo Moreno for slightly more than $180 million. The deal must be approved by Major League Baseball's 30 team owners.
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