'I'LL BE BACK': Robert F. Maguire III said he increased his ownership in Maguire Properties Inc. to more than 19 percent and intends to become more active in the company. Maguire, who last year was forced out of the chief executive job of the company he founded after he failed to take the real estate investment trust private, reported in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that he bought about 1.6 million common shares of the REIT between Dec. 9 to Jan. 13 for about $3 million. Maguire said he is considering acquiring more, or even all, outstanding shares of the company's common stock.
PLANT CLOSURE: Auto parts supplier Superior Industries International Inc. said it will close its original manufacturing facility in Van Nuys, cutting about 290 jobs, in order to shrink costs amid a strong decline in demand for new vehicles. Van Nuys-based Superior, which supplies aluminum wheels to most major U.S. and foreign automakers, said the cuts will reduce its workforce by 9 percent and save about $16.5 million annually in labor costs. The plant is expected to close during the second quarter and result in severance and other costs of about $2.1 million. The plant closing is the second by Superior in as many months.
MAJORITY STAKE: Daum Commercial Real Estate Services said Platinum Equity has purchased a majority stake in the Los Angeles real estate services company. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Founded in 1904, Daum has 10 offices throughout Southern California and Arizona and provides commercial real estate brokerage, consulting, leasing, sales and property management services. Platinum, the Beverly Hills investment vehicle of billionaire Tom Gores, in September completed raising $2.75 billion for a new leveraged buyout fund.
ASSET CHALLENGE: The trustee overseeing the liquidation of holding company IndyMac Bancorp Inc. has challenged the $1.3 billion sale of the company's banking unit and is seeking documents from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Alfred Siegel requested an order in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles forcing the government agency to turn over papers related to the intended sale and produce some employees for questioning. The FDIC this month sold the assets of IndyMac Bank to a group of private-equity investors led by Steven Mnuchin of Dune Capital Management LP. The deal is expected to close in February.
REBRAND: JPMorgan Chase & Co., which acquired Seattle-based thrift Washington Mutual after it was seized by federal regulators in September, announced plans to rename the thrift's 708 California branches Chase Bank on March 30. New York-based JPMorgan announced plans to open 20 additional Chase branches in California in 2009. Chief Executive Jaime Dimon said JPMorgan will spend $375 million to refurbish existing WaMu locations, open the new branches and promote the Chase Bank name in the state.
SHIPMENTS DROP: The Port of Los Angeles suffered a 6 percent decline in cargo shipments in 2008, ending more than two decades of steady growth. Nearly 7.85 million cargo containers passed through the port in 2008, compared with 8.4
million containers in 2007. Shipments are expected to decline even further this year as the national recession
deepens, port officials
predicted. Port of Long Beach officials said traffic dropped 11 percent year-over-year.
PRODUCTION: Regional film and commercial production in Los Angeles fell to its lowest level in 15 years by the end of 2008. The decline was blamed mostly on loss of projects to other locations. FilmLA, which provides film-permit services on location shoots, said film production dropped 8 percent in the fourth quarter and slid close to 2 percent on the year. On-location commercial production days dropped more than 17 percent in the quarter and 11 percent for the year. The writers' strike played a role, but industry and economic development officials say state and local officials still aren't offering enough incentives to compete with other regions. A bright spot was in TV production, which rose more than 14 percent in the quarter and nearly 8.5 percent for the year, with the most growth in reality TV productions.
ACQUISITION: Wedbush Morgan Securities plans to acquire the assets of Pacific Growth Equities LLC, a San Francisco investment banking and institutional brokerage specializing in emerging growth companies in life science and technology. The transaction is expected to close next month and marks the third acquisition in six months for Los Angeles-based Wedbush, the largest securities broker-dealer headquartered on the West Coast. Pacific Growth Equities has more than 75 investment banking, sales, trading and research professionals, most of whom are expected to join Wedbush's Capital Markets Group.
BOND SALE: Amgen Inc. is selling $2 billion in debt in a two-part sale that will be split evenly between 10- and 30-year bonds, which have been given high ratings. The sale by the Thousand Oaks biotech includes $1 billion in 10-year notes and $1 billion in 30-year bonds, both expecting to yield 3.45 percentage points over U.S. Treasury bonds. Amgen is expected to use proceeds to refinance old debt and other general corporate purposes such as working capital and share repurchases.
EARNINGS: KB Home reported a loss of more than $307 million for the quarter ended Nov. 30, compared with a loss of nearly $773 million a year earlier. Sales for the Westwood-based homebuilder fell 57 percent to $919 million. Hi-Shear Technology Corp. reported net income rose 38 percent to $1.84 million for the quarter ended Nov. 30, compared with a year ago. Revenue for the Torrance aerospace contractor rose 7.6 percent to $7.07 million.
An article in the Jan. 12 issue headlined "Electric Car Maker Gets Big Buzz" gave the incorrect name of the car maker. It is Miles Electric Vehicles Inc. Also, the Naval Air Station in Fort Worth, Texas, uses Miles' low-speed electric vehicles, not the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
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