MUSEUM PROPOSAL: Billionaire art collector and philanthropist Eli Broad said he wants to build a public museum in Beverly Hills. The gallery would display works from his charitable foundation and personal collection, according to a letter by a Broad representative sent to Beverly Hills City Manager Roderick Wood. The proposal includes offices for Broad's art foundation, which along with another Broad foundation has assets of $2.5 billion. The proposed museum would be near the corner of Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards, where a Starbucks Corp. coffee shop is now housed.
BANK WARNING: Alliance Bancshares California said it could be placed into government receivership if it cannot raise additional capital. The Culver City-based parent of Alliance Bank, which has $1.1 billion in assets and six local branches, was hurt by construction loans gone bad, particularly for tract projects and single homes. The bank said it applied for funds under the U.S. Treasury Department's rescue program, but regulators indicated the application would not be accepted except in connection with a merger or capital financing. Alliance said it is considering those options. The bank last week reported a third quarter net loss of $13.9 million compared with earnings of $2 million for the same period last year.
RATE HIKE: State Compensation Insurance Fund, the state's largest workers' compensation insurer, said it will hike employer premiums an average of 9 percent starting Jan. 1. The hike is expected to slam the insurer of last resort's more than 200,000 employer policyholders amid a worsening economy. Some policyholders in high-risk industries or with a bad claims history can expect rate hikes well into the double digits. State Fund, a San Francisco-based quasipublic organization, filed its first rate increase in five years shortly after state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner recommended a 5 percent increase in premiums because of rising medical costs.
FRIENDLY PLACES: Santa Clarita and Vernon were named Los Angeles County's most business-friendly cities by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. LAEDC officials selected Santa Clarita as the large-city winner for its expedited permit processing, site selection assistance, lack of a utility tax and its layout of industry clusters. Vernon was honored in the small-city category for its low electric utility rates, a one-stop service counter for business at City Hall and the work of its redevelopment agency. LAEDC chose the two cities from among 10 finalists and made the announcement at its annual Eddy Awards ceremony. Also receiving awards were Rick Caruso, shopping center developer, and Anne Sweeney, president of Walt Disney Co.'s ABC Network Television unit.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees' agreement to a three-year contract with the major Hollywood studios puts further pressure on the Screen Actors Guild, which continues to hold out for a better deal on revenue related to new media. IATSE, which represents 35,000 crafts employees, is the fifth union this year to strike a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The contract is similar to pacts negotiated by writers, directors and a union representing broadcast artists. Also last week, SAG's negotiating committee resumed the first face-to-face meetings with studio representatives in four months.
STUDY SUSPENDED: Amgen Inc. and Japanese partner Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. said they have suspended a clinical trial of their experimental cancer drug motesanib after seeing a trend of higher deaths among lung cancer patients getting the drug, compared with those receiving a placebo. Amgen had hoped to market motesanib for use with chemotherapy to treat a type of lung cancer. The Thousand Oaks biotech company noted similar death risks had been seen in other drugs in the same class as motesanib, which is designed to block a protein involved in the growth of blood vessels that feed tumors.
NASDAQ WARNING: SouthWest Water Co. said it received a deficiency letter from Nasdaq staff warning that the Los Angeles-based water services company is subject to delisting for being late in filing its quarterly report. SouthWest Water has delayed filing the report to the Securities and Exchange Commission because it is correcting errors in reports that date back to fiscal 2005. The company said it will submit a plan to Nasdaq to regain compliance.
NEW CEO: Aspyra Inc. said Rodney Schutt has joined the company as chief executive officer of the Calabasas maker of clinical and diagnostic information systems. Schutt has more than 22 years of experience and most recently was chief operating officer for Luminetx, a Memphis, Tenn.-based provider of bioscience technologies. Aspyra earlier said cost cutting and improved marketing enabled it to narrow its third quarter net loss by 52 percent to $719,462 compared with a year ago, even as revenues fell 24 percent to $2.2 million.
GO AHEAD: The Los Angeles Planning Commission unanimously approved plans by mall operator Westfield to expand the Century City shopping
center after the company agreed to slash 10 stories off a condominium tower. The panel heard testimony from supporters and detractors before approving the project, which calls for moving Bloomingdale's, adding parking and building a 39-story mixed-use building with 262 condos. A nearby homeowners association had protested the original 49-story plan for the tower due to concerns about traffic and other growth issues. The commission approved the environmental report for the project.
EARNINGS: Hot Topic Inc. reported third quarter net income rose 11 percent to $7.4 million compared with a year ago. Revenue for the City of Industry-based teen retailer rose 5 percent to $197 million. Semtech Corp. reported third quarter net income fell 28 percent to $11.5 million compared with a year ago. Revenue for the Camarillo chipmaker rose 1.5 percent to $79.7 million.
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