Lions Gate Entertainment Co. said June 5 that it has won a lawsuit that will require DVD distributor Image Entertainment Inc. to put all six seats on its board up for election at this year's annual meeting in October.


A Delaware judge sided with Vancouver, B.C.-based Lions Gate, which has significant operations in Santa Monica and owns 19 percent of Image Entertainment's shares. The independent movie studio earlier said that it had lost confidence in Chatsworth-based Image Entertainment board's "ability and desire to maximize stockholder value," and may run a slate of candidates for the board.


The ruling is seen as a boost for Lions Gate's takeover bid of Image Entertainment, which owns an extensive TV and film library. Lions Gate last fall offered to buy the company for $4 a share, but Image's board said the price was inadequate.


Image Entertainment changed its corporate bylaws to allow for staggered elections so that only a few seats on its board would be up for election at the 2006 annual meeting, Lions Gate said in the suit. Chancellor William B. Chandler III of Delaware's Court of Chancery ruled that the change cannot take place this year, in part because Image Entertainment couldn't prove what its shareholders could understand from the corporate documents.


An Image Entertainment spokesman declined to comment on the ruling.


Trizec to Be Acquired for $8.9 Billion
Trizec Properties Inc., which last month bought $1.63 billion in Los Angeles and San Diego office properties from Arden Realty Inc., said June 5 that it is being acquired by Brookfield Properties Corp. and the Blackstone Group for $8.9 billion.


It's considered the second-largest takeover ever of a real estate investment trust. Buyout firm Blackstone and New York-based Brookfield, which owns the World Financial Center in lower Manhattan, will pay $29.01 a share for Chicago-based Trizec, 18 percent more than its closing price the last trading day before the announcement. The partners are paying $30.97 a share in U.S. dollars for Trizec's Canadian subsidiary.


Trizec manages 61 office complexes, or 40 million square feet, including Bank of America Plaza in Los Angeles. The company had $4.7 billion in assets in 2005. Trizec Canada owns 38 percent of Trizec Properties.


The acquisition comes on the heels of Trizec expanding into Southern California. Trizec bought 13 properties, including Howard Hughes Center, from Arden Realty earlier this year, nearly doubling the size Trizec's presence in Los Angeles to more than 8.5 million square feet.


Trizec already owned several trophy downtown L.A. office towers: Ernst & Young Plaza, Figueroa at Wilshire and Bank of America Plaza.


Shareholders of both Trizec and Brookfield must approve the deal, expected to close by the fourth quarter.


Health Net Expands Latino Outreach
Health Net of California has opened an insurance service center in East Los Angeles to better promote its innovative "Salud con Health" cross-border managed care program for Latinos.


HealthNet has offered cross-border group plans for around five years, and in March expanded the program to individuals. The storefront on Whittier Boulevard targets Latino immigrants who live and work here, but prefer to get much of their health care in Mexico, where they believe doctors and hospitals are more culturally sensitive to their needs. So far, the Salud con Health plans have 19,000 members in the state.


"We know from our research that Latinos prefer personalized service," said Ana Andrade, vice president of Latino programs for Health Net of California, a subsidiary of Woodland Hills-based Health Net Inc. "They like the idea of walking into a store to have their questions answered and receive one-on-one service. Our goal is to become the community's trusted neighbor."


Staffed by two bilingual representatives, the shop, which officially opened last week, will sell insurance, provide educational material and pass along information about public programs such as Medicare and Healthy Families. The company contracted with Prof Mex, an L.A.-based educational non-profit, to develop an insurance guide that will be available to the center.


Comedian Signed to ManiaTV.com Show
ManiaTV!, an Internet-based television network, has signed shock comic and talk show host Tom Green to a weekly deal for his new show, "Tom Green Live", to be aired on www.ManiaTV.com starting next week.


The network has given the controversial Green, who hosted a show on MTV until three years ago, complete creative control over the program, which represents the first-ever live celebrity talk show online. Green signed on for 50 one-hour episodes for an undisclosed fee.


Starting June 15, the program will broadcast live from Green's Hollywood Hills home at 8 p.m. Pacific on Thursday nights both on the network's Web site and Green's own Web site. The show is available free worldwide to any viewer with an Internet connection, and will feature celebrity interviews, live viewer call-ins, and man-on-the-street video segments. Archived episodes also will be available at each site.


The deal, announced last week, was brokered by Massey, Lewis Henderson of William Morris and Howard Lapides and Jackie Stern of The Core.


Chapman Index Drops 9 Points
Faced with rising gas prices and anemic wage growth, California consumers turned bearish during the second quarter, according to a survey released on June 5.


Chapman University's statewide consumer sentiment index dropped nine points in the second quarter to 79.5 from 88.7 in the first quarter and 95.6 in the second quarter of 2005. A reading below 100 indicates a higher percentage of consumers are pessimistic about current and future economic conditions than are optimistic.


The reading of 79.5 is a far cry from the peak in the third quarter of 2004 of 110.6 and is the lowest since the first quarter of 2003, when fears surrounding the invasion of Iraq dominated the headlines.


Indeed, the survey showed a sharp drop in California consumers' future expectations. While the index measuring California consumers' attitude towards current economic conditions fell seven points to 82.5 from 89.3, the index measuring future conditions plunged to 70 from 86.6, reaching the lowest level in at least two years.


Deborah Crowe, Andy Fixmer, Anne Riley-Katz

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