ICAHN INVADES: Activist shareholder Carl Icahn has more than doubled his stake in Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., the Santa Monica independent film and TV studio. Icahn said in a regulatory filing that he spent $86.3 million acquiring Lions Gate shares, boosting his three-year-old stake in the firm to 9.2 percent. That makes him the fourth-largest investor in Lions Gate behind MHR Fund Management, Steinberg Asset Management and Capital Research Global Investors.
CLEAN TRUCKS: The U.S. Department of Justice appears to be siding with the American Trucking Association in its lawsuit against a portion of the Clean Trucks Program, launched this month by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The department, in a court brief, agreed with the trucking group's claims that the ports are attempting to regulate the trucking business by requiring freight haulers to obtain so-called "concession contracts" to access port terminals. The department said U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder erred when she ruled the ports were exempt from federal pre-emption laws because portions of the concession agreements dealt with safety and security interests.
REDSTONE DIVORCES: Media magnate Sumner Redstone has filed for divorce from his wife of five years, Paula Fortunato, citing longtime irreconcilable differences. The split comes as the 85-year-old chairman of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. faces financial difficulties as his family-owned holding company, National Amusements Inc., scrambles to restructure $1.6 billion in debt after violating the covenants of bank agreements. Despite the financial problems, Redstone said in an interview that there's "not a chance" he'd sell his Viacom or CBS stakes.
GUARDIAN INVESTS: Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America said it will acquire a 10 percent interest in Beverly Hills real estate investment firm Kennedy Wilson Inc.. The deal calls for New York-based Guardian to purchase $30 million of convertible subordinated debt in Kennedy Wilson, with current management still retaining 54 percent ownership. The new capital will enable Kennedy Wilson to take advantage of opportunities created by the current real estate market turmoil.
JOBLESS RATE: L.A. County's unemployment rate dropped to 7.8 percent in September from 7.9 percent in August. About 29,000 payroll jobs were created, mostly in the education sector. Even so, the state Employment Development Department shows unemployment still at nearly the highest point in 12 years. It's also higher than the 7.7 percent statewide average, and 6.1 percent national rate. The jobs picture is expected to worsen in coming months as the full impact of the recent credit crunch and financial turmoil on Wall Street is felt.
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