CLEAN TRUCKS: A ban on old and dirty diesel rigs at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports went into effect, with port officials reporting they did not have to turn away many trucks. The $1.6 billion Clean Trucks Program aims to reduce diesel by 80 percent within five years, starting with a ban on trucks built before 1989. By 2012, all trucks entering the ports will be required to meet 2007 vehicle emission standards. The American Trucking Association continues to pursue a lawsuit against the ports on some provisions of the program, but failed to get an injunction stopping it from going into effect Oct. 1.
CLEARANCE: Aegis BPO said the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act for its proposed $250 million merger with PeopleSupport Inc. has expired without a request for further information by the Federal Trade Commission. Mumbai-based Aegis plans to pay shareholders $12.25 a share in cash for Los Angeles-based PeopleSupport, an offshore business process outsourcing company that would become part of its Essar Services subsidiary.
UP AND AWAY: The fourth time was the charm for Space Exploration Technologies Inc., as the Hawthorne company became the first to get a privately built and funded rocket into orbit. Its Falcon 1 rocket, carrying a 364-pound dummy payload, reached orbit after launching from the South Pacific. It was a milestone for the fledgling aerospace corporation, which is bankrolled by former PayPal co-founder Elon Musk and is competing for a multimillion dollar NASA contract to re-supply the International Space Station in 2010.
EXPANSION: Hilton Hotels Corp. announced plans to quadruple its presence in the Caribbean and Latin America by adding 150 hotels to its portfolio over the next five years. The Beverly Hill-based hotel chain currently has 51 hotels throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, another 42 properties in its development pipeline and has identified a number of potential locations. After going private last October in a $26 billion acquisition by the Blackstone Group, Hilton set a goal of adding 1,000 hotels to its international portfolio in 10 years.
PROXY WAR: International Rectifier Corp. officials are urging shareholders to ignore a sweetened $23 a share tender offer launched last week by rival chip maker Vishay Intertechnology Inc. The cash offer values the El Segundo power management chipmaker at about $1.7 billion. Vishay, based in Malvern, Pa., also has nominated a slate of directors for election at the company's annual meeting on Oct. 10. International Rectifier said that Vishay has yet to secure commitments to fund the takeover.
MOVING: MagTek Inc. said it plans to move its corporate headquarters from Carson to a newer, larger facility it has purchased in Seal Beach. MagTek, founded in 1972, develops readers and other magnetic stripe technologies used in credit cards, checks, ID cards and the like. The new property will double the company's space for research and development, offices, showrooms, warehouse storage and manufacturing operations.
DOLL FIGHT: Mattel Inc. has asked a federal court judge in Riverside to ban rival MGA Entertainment Inc. from making and selling Bratz dolls or using the Bratz name and trademark. The El Segundo toymaker asked U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Larson to issue the injunction after mediation talks between officials of each company broke down last month. A Riverside federal jury earlier found that Mattel owned all but four of the original drawings upon which the Bratz dolls were based, and awarded Mattel up to $100 million in damages and lost profits.
LABOR STRIFE: The Screen Actors Guild negotiating committee voted to support a strike authorization vote, a tactic meant to break stalled contract talks with Hollywood studios. The recommendation now goes to the guild's national board for review, and would ultimately need approval of 75 percent of 120,000 voting guild members. Contract talks dealing with prime-time TV shows and movies have been at a standstill since the previous contract expired June 30. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers urged actors not to strike given the state of the
ANTI-COPY: Hollywood studios including Walt Disney Co. and News Corp. plan to file a lawsuit to block RealNetworks Inc. from distributing new software that enables consumers to copy DVDs to computer hard drives. The Motion Picture Association of America contends the Seattle-based RealNetworks's RealDVD program will facilitate piracy. RealNetworks said it will seek a ruling that the product is legal. It contends the program falls within the law because encoded protections prevent the film from being transferred to blank DVDs.
OFFICE NEWS: Maguire Properties Inc. said it completed a $100 million financing, which includes a new mortgage on its Plaza Las Fuentes hotel and retail development in Pasadena. The financing also paid down $33 million on another loan and extended the maturity on a construction loan until next September at a recently completed office tower in its Park Place complex in Irvine. Maguire signed Hyundai Motor Finance Co. to take space there starting in the second quarter of 2009.
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