Disney to Sell Discover Magazine to Guccione Jr.

The Walt Disney Co. will sell its Discover consumer science magazine to Spin magazine founder Bob Guccione Jr. and a group of investors, The New York Times reported. Disney said it will stop publishing Discover after 15 years because the magazine no longer fits the company's strategy. The company declined to provide the value of the transaction. Two undisclosed private equity firms are said to be backing Guccione. Founded in 1980, Discover has been published since 1991 by Buena Vista Magazines, a subsidiary of Disney Publishing Worldwide.

Legislature Approves Wage Hike
Joined by three defections from a previously solid Republican wall of opposition, the Democrat-controlled California Legislature voted Wednesday to increase the state's minimum wage by $1 an hour over the next two years, the Los Angeles Times reported. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger indicated that he was likely to veto the measure, as he did last year over a minimum wage increase. The Democratic measure would raise California's minimum wage to $7.25 an hour beginning in July. It would add another 50 cents to the rate starting in July 2007. California's $6.75-an-hour minimum wage was at one time the highest on the West Coast but now lags behind Oregon's and Washington's.

Council Is Urged to OK Hotel Deal
The L.A. City Council's top two advisors recommended that it approve $266 million in public subsidies and loans for the developers of a 55-story hotel next to the Convention Center, a much higher amount than previously disclosed. The proposal from City Administrative Officer Bill Fujioka and Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller sets the stage for the council to adopt a financial package that includes allowing the hotel to keep $246 million in hotel bed taxes that it is expected to generate in its first 25 years. The two city officials, however, characterized the bed-tax rebate as a $62-million subsidy because that is the amount the developers can raise immediately for construction by borrowing against the 25-year flow of tax receipts, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Fight to Keep 310 in Play Nearly Up
The days of the 310 area code are numbered. Lawmakers refused to intervene in the seven-year feud Wednesday, rejecting legislation that could have slowed the march to a 424 overlay in the South Bay. The measure would have required the state Public Utilities Commission to undertake a new accounting of number availability before a 424 overlay could be put in place. But the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee voted down the bill unanimously. Barring a reprieve, carriers will be free to issue 424 numbers starting in August 2006, creating California's first overlay area code after years of relying on geographical splits to increase supply.


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