MEDIA SPIN-OFF: Liberty Media Corp. plans to split off into a publicly traded company several of its television and communications businesses, including its 50 percent stake in El Segundo-based satellite television provider DirecTV Group Inc. The new Liberty Entertainment Inc. would be responsible for paying off roughly $2 billion in debt incurred when Englewood, Colo.-based Liberty Media acquired its DirecTV stake from News Corp. in a stock swap and then bought additional shares.
HOLLYWOOD VOTE: The Los Angeles City Council has endorsed Hollywood property owners' vote to renew and expand the Hollywood Entertainment District for a 10-year period through the end of 2018. Property assessments will fund a $3.4 million-a-year budget for an expanded business improvement district, with the number of parcels increasing from 441 to 529. The district handles security, maintenance and marketing services that have helped drive Hollywood's revitalization efforts.
DRUG WARNINGS: The Food and Drug Administration has ordered stronger warnings on four widely used rheumatoid arthritis medications including Amgen Inc.'s Enbrel. The other drugs are Remicade, Humira and Cimzia, and all four work by suppressing the immune system to keep it from attacking the body and providing relief from swollen and painful joints for arthritis patients. But the FDA now has evidence that some doctors were overlooking the potential for the drug to increase the risk of a potentially fatal fungal infection.
PIPELINE ADDITION: Abraxis BioScience Inc. has signed agreements with ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. to develop and commercialize four of the Canadian biotech's products that target underserved medical conditions. The deal represents worldwide market opportunities exceeding $600 million in annual revenue for Los Angeles-based Abraxis, which makes the breast cancer drug Abraxane. The transaction includes an initial $7 million strategic investment in Montreal-based ProMetic, with potential of additional investments of up to $25 million. The first product is expected to reach the commercial stage by 2011.
SEC SETTLEMENT: Los Angeles billionaire Kirk Kerkorian's private investment firm Tracinda Corp. has settled a regulator's allegations that it was misleading about its plan to cut its stake in General Motors Corp. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Tracinda had a plan in November 2006 to sell 28 million GM shares but only sold half because the bid offered by the broker-dealer was much lower than Kerkorian had expected. When Tracinda reported a sale of 14 million shares, it failed to disclose that it had initially planned to sell 28 million shares, which the SEC considered material information and a violation of disclosure rules. In settling the case, Tracinda did not admit any wrongdoing.
BUSINESS SOLD: North American Scientific Inc. is selling its remaining non-medical product line to a German company for $6 million. The Chatsworth therapeutics company said Eckert & Ziegler Isotope Products Inc. of Berlin will buy products that include radiation sources used for calibration, measurement, analysis and control in a variety of industries. North American now will focus solely on its innovative "brachiotherapy" treatment, which involves the use of radioactive "seeds" to treat prostate and breast cancer tumors.
SUBWAY ROUTES: The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority unveiled two potential routes for its long-delayed "subway to the sea," despite having no money to build it. Though $4 billion of the route is slated to be funded from a proposed half-percent sales-tax increase, it's unclear whether the measure will make it onto the November ballot.
NEW FUND: Billionaire Tom Gores' Platinum Equity has closed a new $2.75 billion leveraged buyout fund, indicating investors have not given up on private equity firms with a solid track record. Platinum initially had a $1.5 billion target for Platinum Equity Capital Partners II, but Gores said strong investor demand and new opportunities encouraged the Los Angeles firm to increase the fund size. Platinum has committed to make a substantial co-investment that will increase the new fund's available capital to more than $3 billion.
PLAY TIME: Malibu toy maker Jakks Pacific Inc. has signed licensing agreements with two mixed martial arts organizations to launch a line of action figures and play sets. The line is expected to launch in the spring of 2010, and will be based on fighters of the World Extreme Cage Fighting and Pride organizations. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
TOWER SOLD: In its second large transaction in Orange County in recent weeks, Los Angeles-based Maguire Properties Inc. sold City Plaza tower in Orange to an entity owned by Miami-based Hudson Capital LLC. The downtown L.A. office real estate investment trust, which wants to reduce its debt load, did not disclose the purchase price. The 327,000-square-foot tower is only about 45 percent full.
EXPORTS UP: Officials at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach say exports jumped about 23 percent from January to July, compared with the same period a year ago. The export boom at the nation's two busiest container ports is a contrast with a deep pullback in U.S. consumer spending that is driving down imports at ports all along the West Coast. The decline is almost 13 percent at the Long Beach port alone.
EARNINGS: Cherokee Inc.'s second-quarter net income fell 18 percent on lower sales and licensee royalties of its clothing brands. Net income for the Van Nuys clothing brands licensor dropped to $4 million for the quarter ended Aug. 2, and revenue fell 12 percent to $10.5 million. UTi Worldwide Inc.'s second-quarter net income and its revenue each increased 21 percent. The Long Beach freight logistics company reported net income of $33.7 million for the quarter ended July 31. Total revenue rose to $1.26 billion.
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