Stories for July 2009

Friday, July 31

RXi Pharmaceuticals Has Secondary Offering

RXi Pharmaceuticals Corp., a Worcester, Mass. subsidiary of Los Angeles' Cytrx Corp., said that it had raised $8.3 million in a follow-on public offering of common stock.

International Rectifier to Settle Class Action Lawsuit

International Rectifier Corp. said that it reached an agreement in principle to pay $90 million to some shareholders to settle a 2007 securities class action lawsuit.

This Week's Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies closed flat for the week ended July 31 as gains among industrial and banking stocks were offset with losses in the consumer and entertainment sectors.

Update: Maritime Commission Drops Clean Trucks Fight

The Federal Maritime Commission is dropping all opposition to the Clean Truck Program at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach given the slowdown in trade and modifications to the program.

Grocery Worker Ordinance Blocked

A state appellate panel has upheld a lower court ruling that overturned a Los Angeles ordinance requiring new owners of grocery stores to retain existing workers for 90 days.

Cheap Concert Tickets? Rock On

Unemployment is up and consumer confidence is down, but one silver lining of the recession is that last-minute tickets to hear big acts like Coldplay and Bruce Springsteen are as little as $1.

Thursday, July 30

Avery Dennison Halves Dividend

Avery Dennison Corp. said that it would cut its second-quarter dividend in half as profit plunged 57 percent on lower sales. The company also ploughed money into speeding up its debt payoff.

Slow Economy Batters Disney's Profits

Walt Disney Co. said that the impact of the tough economy on its cash-strapped entertainment customers caused third-quarter net income to drop 26 percent.

Poor Commercial Market Pushes CB Richard Ellis to Loss

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. reported a loss in the second quarter as leasing and sales in the commercial real estate market sharply declined.

Coffeepot Maker Vents

Costly housing, heavy traffic, skewed spending priorities are a bitter brew for Montebello's Wilbur Curtis Co. Only its deep roots in the state keep it from moving.

Wednesday, July 29

THQ Outlook Disappoints

THQ Inc reported a stronger-than-expected first quarter profit, but shares fell 19 percent after the video game maker provided a lukewarm outlook and announced it planned to sell $90 million in potentially diluting convertible notes.

Updated: PennyMac Falls in First Day After IPO

PennyMac, the company started by former Countrywide Financial Corp. executives, raised $320 million in an initial public offering that was 20 percent less than originally planned. Shares fell 4.5 percent on Thursday, its first trading day following the IP

Updated: Ryland Narrows Loss

Ryland Group Inc. said that its second-quarter loss narrowed significantly as the home builder took fewer charges related to the continued soft housing market. Even so, the results fell below Wall Street's expectations.

Countrywide Alumni Seek Profits From Housing Collapse

PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust, which plans to raise $400 million in a stock offering Wednesday, is betting that the people who helped create the housing crisis will know how to profit from the cleanup.

Another Redstone Family Feud Airs in Court

As if a tough earnings report for Viacom Inc. and the looming debt issues of National Amusements Inc. weren't enough of a headache for Sumner Redstone this week, he's also dealing with the latest legal fight with his fractious family.

Avery Pays $500,000 to Settle SEC Case

Avery Dennison Corp. has agreed to pay more than $500,000 in fines and other costs to settle a U.S. regulator's claim it bribed foreign government officials to win contracts.

Tetra Tech's Profit Rises

Tetra Tech Inc. said that its third quarter net income jumped 93 percent on improved operating margin, tax benefits and strong cash generation.

Jakks Reports Loss, Will Cut Jobs

Jakks Pacific Inc. reported a second-quarter loss due to one-time charges and the poor economy, and lowered its full-year guidance. The Malibu toy maker announced it would be lowering its headcount to compensate.

Villaraigosa Proposes Business Tax Cut

In a bid to repair the city's image as a place unfriendly to business, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is calling on the City Council to enact a 10 percent cut in the city business tax rates as part of a reform effort.

Tuesday, July 28

Film, TV Projects Line Up for Incentives

California's month-old tax-incentive program appears to be keeping some Los Angeles film and TV productions from fleeing the Golden State, officials say.

Marciano Loses Defamation Suit

A Los Angeles jury has determined damages of $370 million against Georges Marciano in a defamation lawsuit brought by five former employees.

Updated: Platinum Loses Delphi Auction

Platinum Equity has lost in its bid to acquire bankrupt auto parts supplier Delphi Corp., which is set to be awarded to creditors under a plan accepted late Monday.

Updated: Long Legs of 'Panda' Boosts DreamWorks' Quarter

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc reported lower, but still better-than-expected second quarter earnings as an older animated film, "Kung Fu Panda," did well on pay TV, DVDs and licensed video games.

DineEquity's Quarter Exceeds Expectations

DineEquity Inc. reported higher-than-expected quarterly net income, but shares fell 14 percent after the restaurant chain said it had filed a statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell up to $200 million of securities.

Jacobs' Profits Fall 13 Percent

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. said its fiscal third-quarter profit fell 13 percent as its government business failed to offset a drop in private sector contracts.

Governor Signs Budget-Balancing Bills

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a 27-bill "good, bad and ugly" budget-balancing package that imposes deeper cuts in programs that range from operating state parks to preventing AIDS and puts aside a relatively paltry $500 million reserve.

Forecast Sees L.A. Unemployment Rising

The next 18 months appear bleak for the Los Angeles economy as unemployment tops out at 13 percent, according to a grim forecast by Beacon Economics prepared for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

Companies For Sale Sit on the Shelves

Buyers face a shortage of available cash, so owners of California businesses are accepting lowball offers or trying to wait out the recession.

Monday, July 27

Startup's Satellite Launch Finally Comes at a Price

Nearly 10 months after its first successful rocket launch, aerospace startup Space Exploration Technologies Inc. hit another milestone two weeks ago: It put a satellite into orbit for a paying customer.

Spic-and-Span Pickup for Spac?

A local liquidation firm's booming business has made it a candidate to go public through a special-purpose acquisition company.

Vacancies Rise But Brokers See Reasons for Optimism

The Los Angeles County office market suffered through yet another rough quarter, but some optimistic brokers said they are seeing signs that a bottom is near.

Local Firm to Make Case For West L.A. Attorneys

Levine Communications Office, the public relations firm long associated with Hollywood stars, has signed up to represent the law firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp in West Los Angeles.

Veteran Researcher Will Take Reins at Non-Profit


The board of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute knew it would have large shoes to fill after longtime Chief Executive Ken Trevett announced last fall that he had accepted a new position in Texas.

Power-One Lays Off More Workers

Power-One Inc., which makes power supplies and power conversion products, disclosed in a regulatory filing that it reduced its head count by another 300 employees during the second quarter.

Special Report: Won't Back Down

The credit crunch and an aggressive expansion plan have torpedoed Richard Meruelo, downtown L.A.'s biggest landowner.

Redstone's Media Empire Faces Uncertain Future

The future of the family-owned National Amusements hinges on an auction of about three-fourths of its 118 theaters. If the sale fails, Redstone may be forced to unload other holdings.


Madame Tussauds Hollywood wax museum has opened at the Hollywood Orange Building.

Movie, Television Production Give Burbank a Lift

Name another Los Angeles County submarket where vacancy rates soared more than 13 percentage points in a single quarter and landlords didn't even break a sweat.

Rents Tumble as Space Floods Market

While few recession-slammed markets in L.A. County have had good news to report, the San Fernando Valley seems to be hurting more than most.

Residential Developer Homes in on Newhall Ranch

Miami homebuilder Lennar hopes to get the Newhall Ranch project rolling again.

County Drained Of Payroll Jobs

Since 1990, L.A. County has not added payroll jobs but has seen growth of freelance and other nonpayroll jobs.

Amgen Reports Better-Than-Expected Quarter

Amgen Inc. said that despite lagging sales of its largest anemia drug, second quarter net income grew 40 percent, boosted by earlier restructuring and cost-cutting.

Nothing Cooking

The global recession and swine-flu fears have deflated hopes for a surge in South Korean visitors to L.A.'s Koreatown.

Minority-Owned TV, Radio Stations Dial Up D.C.

Minority-owned TV and radio broadcasters are seeking federal dollars to offset a drop in ad revenues.

Lease At Summit Oaks Buoys Valencia

Statistics indicate the Valencia office market treaded water in the second quarter, absorbing some space as the vacancy rate stayed virtually flat.

Have Confidence, Will Travel

As the economy steadies, people are expanding their travel plans, writes


Los Angeles County's unemployment rate dipped to 11.3 percent in June from a record 11.6 percent the prior month.

Silverman Out at NBC

Ben Silverman will be leaving his job as co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Movie Studios to head a new venture with Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp focusing on producing and distributing multimedia content.

Streetcar Desire

A local group looks back to the future with a plan to return streetcars to downtown Los Angeles.

L.A. Has Work to Do on Jobs

Charles Crumpley says if you look at the numbers, you can almost see businesses fleeing L.A.

Steep Drops Draw in Tenants Seeking Real Deals

As companies continue to tighten their belts, the Hollywood-West Hollywood office market has been declining just as rapidly as it shot up over the past few years.

Update: Northrop Grumman Plans Larger Debt Sale

Northrop Grumman Inc. plans to sell up to $850 million in debt in two parts in order to repay older debt, finance acquisitions and other corporate uses, according to regulatory filings and media reports.

Three-Ring Appeal For Kids

A local gymnastics instructor doesn't clown around when it comes to teaching circus-style tricks.

Lawmakers Want Ticketmaster/Live Nation Probe

A growing chorus of lawmakers want closer antitrust scrutiny of the proposed merger of Los Angeles live entertainment giants Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. and Live Nation Inc.

Painter Expands Canvass

Painter Luc Leestemaker spends more time marketing his art since the economy and sales have slowed.

Media, Ad Firms Exit and Return Space

Vacancy rates climbed higher along the Wilshire Corridor during the second quarter as the prolonged slump in the media and advertising sectors took its toll on tenants.

Namvar Loans Fueled Portfolio's Growth

Loans from Ezri Namvar's Namco Capital helped Meruelo Maddux pick up properties.

Know When To Hold 'Em

The CEO of a sporting goods retailer passed out poker chips to get employees to bet on the chain's future.

Decline in Imports Pushes Up Vacancies

Activity in the San Gabriel Valley industrial market remained slow last quarter, reflecting the state of the region's ports, not to mention the economy.

SoCal Firms Fear Fremont Car Plant at End of Road

Southern California auto suppliers, already battered by the downturn in car sales, are not happy about the possible closure of a joint Toyota-General Motors plant in Fremont.

Politics of PR

Journalism led to Gail Becker's work for the Clinton campaign and later public relations.

Budget Mess Has Dimmed Golden State's Shine

Michael Levine laments how the state budget crisis has sullied California's golden reputation.

Prices Actually Rise In Beverly Hills and Westwood

Nearly every submarket on the Westside experienced a vacancy increase last quarter, but the exodus seems to be slowing down.

Making a Clean Cut

Lawn care equipment maker Lehr flexes its "green" thumb with a propane-fueled weed whacker.

Arbitrator Sides with THQ in Jakks Dispute

THQ Inc. said that an arbitrator has determined that partner Jakks Pacific Inc is entitled to a lesser payment rate from their joint venture World Wrestling Entertainment video games than the rate sought by Jakks.


Events of interest to Los Angeles' business community.

California Will Be Very Accepting of Its Own IOUs

Vendors and contractors who got paid this month with state-backed IOUs are getting a break: They can submit IOUs as payment of their taxes on sales and use.

Resilient Landlords Hang Tough on Asking Rents

The downtown L.A. submarket may be in flux when it comes to space, but one thing has held relatively firm: rents.

Talk About a Hot Seat

You won't catch Josh Holdeman sitting around much. He got busy and found a chair that he sold in February for $28 million.

Ripple Effect From Slowdown at Ports

The recession hit the vast South Bay and Mid-Cities industrial markets hard last quarter as companies in the area that serve the region's twin ports either pressed for lease deals, closed shop or consolidated operations.

Saturday, July 25

Google Apps Can Work for L.A. Just Mind the Passwords

Should the city of Los Angeles ditch much of its current information-technology infrastructure for a bundle of e-mail and office-software services supplied by Google?

The Web Is Pouncing on Hollywood's Ratings

The way studios rate movies is coming under fresh attack via independent ratings organizations on the Web.

Friday, July 24

7-Eleven Plans to Slurp Up SoCal Real Estate

Dallas convenience store chain 7-Eleven said it will add 600 stores over the next seven years in Southern California, a move that could save it millions because of the weak commercial land market.

The Week's Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies closed up for the week ended July 24 as better-than-expected earnings reports fueled a continuing rally in most markets.

Cheesecake Factory Profit Falls

The Cheesecake Factory Inc. said that its second-quarter net income fell 13 percent as cash-strapped customers ate out less, but the results were still better than Wall Street expected.

Update: CytRx Hopes Offering Will Raise $18.3 Million

CytRx Corp. said that it will sell around 15.3 million common shares and 3.8 million warrants in a secondary offering to raise money for its drug development programs.

KB Home to Sell Senior Notes

KB Home said that it has begun a public offering of $265 million in senior notes, with proceeds being used for general corporate purposes and to retire old debt.

Legislature Approves Budget

California's State Assembly passed a plan to erase a $26 billion deficit that pushed the nation's most-populous state to the brink of insolvency.

Teledyne Profits Fall Sharply

Teledyne Technologies Inc. reported that its second quarter profit fell 23 percent on lower sales. The company also forecast third-quarter earnings below Wall Street expectations.

Thursday, July 23

Occidental Profits Plunge on Lower Prices

Occidental Petroleum Corp. said that its second quarter net income dropped 70 percent largely due to lower oil and natural gas prices. However, its results still exceeded Wall Street expectations.

LAX Passenger Traffic Drops Again

Airline passenger traffic dropped for a 15th consecutive month at Los Angeles International Airport, which handled 9 percent fewer travelers in June compared with the same period last year, according to Los Angeles World Airports.

Big Drop in L.A. Production Days

On-location film and TV production slid 31 percent in the second quarter for a nearly 25 percent drop in production days in the first half of this year, according to the agency that provides production-permit services in Los Angeles.

Reliance Steel Reports Loss

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. said that it fell to a net loss in the second quarter due to weak demand for its metals products and a larger-than-expected drop in steel prices related to the weak economy.

Northrop Profit Falls on Higher Expenses

Northrop Grumman Corp. said that its second-quarter net income fell 20 percent as the defense and aerospace contractor reported higher pension charges and saw weaker results at its shipbuilding unit.

Financier Danny Pang is Indicted

An Orange County federal grand jury returned a two-count criminal indictment accusing Newport Beach financier Danny Pang of evading currency reporting laws.

Disney Developing Subscription Web Product

Walt Disney Co. is developing a subscription-based product for the Internet, according to Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger

Wednesday, July 22

TV Guide Network Picks Up 'Ugly Betty'

TV Guide Network said that it signed a deal with Disney-ABC Domestic Television to acquire exclusive basic cable rights to the hit television series "Ugly Betty," which will be the first scripted series to appear on the network.

Oxy Strikes Oil in Central Valley

Occidental Petroleum Corp said that it believes it has found the largest oil and gas reserves in the state in 35 years on its Kern County property.

Same-Store Sales Fall at CKE

Fast food operator CKE Restaurants Inc. said that its combined same-store sales dropped 5 percent for the four-week period ended July 13 as the recession continued to dampen consumer's eating-out activity.

Skechers Has Smaller-Than-Expected Loss

Casual shoemaker Skechers USA Inc. reported a smaller-than-expected loss in the second quarter, saying it had benefitted from better inventory management and tighter cost controls. The company said it expects to be profitable in the second half of the yea

Economic Headwinds to Continue in L.A.

The Los Angeles economy has deteriorated more sharply than expected this year, pushing any hope for economic recovery well into 2010, according to the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.'s mid-year economic forecast.

Is Hollywood Big Enough for Two Wax Museums?

Some locals and observers worry that business will melt away for the aging Hollywood Wax Museum with the opening of a Madame Tussauds. But representatives of both play down any rivalry.

Tuesday, July 21

Venture Capitalists Not Adventurous in L.A.

Venture capital funding in Los Angeles County tailed off sharply in the second quarter, hitting lows not seen in nearly 12 years, according to a new report.

Lennar Buys Back Newhall Ranch Stake

A bankruptcy judge has cleared the way for home builder Lennar Corp. to buy back, at a substantial discount, a chunk of the Newhall Ranch development that it sold for nearly $1 billion to the California state retirement system in 2007.

Qwest Extends Strategic Alliance with DirecTV

DirecTV Group Inc. said that it had signed a five-year extension of its bundled television, phone and broadband service distribution deal with Qwest Communications International Inc.

Update: East West Bancorp Prices Offering

East West Bancorp Inc. said that it plans to sell at least 11 million shares of stock for net proceeds of $66.4 million. The sale will provide a further cushion in the economic downturn and enable the bank to jump on growth opportunities.

Saban Sued in Tax Shelter Dispute

Matthew Krane, the former longtime tax attorney of Haim Saban, has filed a lawsuit against the media mogul over $36 million in fees related to an Isle of Man tax shelter that was declared invalid.

Joe's Jeans Makes License Deal for Belts

Joe's Jeans Inc. said that it has signed a license agreement with Vogue Trimmings Inc. to manufacture and distribute Joe's branded belts for men, women, girls and boys.

Budget Cuts Would Hit L.A. Redevelopment Projects

Officials estimate that a $1.7-billion cut in redevelopment funds as part of the state budget agreement would result in Los Angeles' redevelopment agency losing $72 million this year, potentially putting 2,300 construction jobs at risk.

Hollywood Prop House Closing After 40 Years

Hollywood's second-largest prop house is going out of business with its owner saying he has fallen victim to film and TV production leaving California for other U.S. states that lure producers with tax incentives and fewer restrictions.

Monday, July 20

West L.A. Firm Adds Pair to Litigation Practice

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP has continued to expand its West L.A. office with the recent addition of Deborah Drooz and Barry Langberg as shareholders.

L.A. Car Dealers See Green in Clunkers Program

Although a federal program that gives rebates for trading in old gas guzzlers for new fuel-efficient vehicles doesn't start until this weekend, some L.A.-area dealers have jumped the green flag.

City National Moves Its Headquarters Downtown

L.A.'s largest bank has a new home sorta.

Dana Point Resort Turned Over to Citigroup

The St. Regis Monarch Beach resort, the site of a maligned retreat last fall for top sales performers of bailed-out insurer American International Group Inc., has been turned over to Citigroup Inc., its mezzanine lender.

Historically Fit

Online linen vendor has brought fans of historical costumes into its fold.

Pasadena Stadium's Profile Blossoms With Busy Year

The Rose Bowl in Pasadena is in the midst of its biggest year for special events since 1994, when the World Cup came to the United States.

Financial Education More Than Just Child's Play

A Junior Achievement financial education program designed for kids has become a hit with adults.

Horsing Around

Commerce Casino is first out of the gate in a state program to allow remote wagering on horse races.

Survey Says: L.A. a Pricey Place to Run Business

An L.A. economic analyst fears the city's tax plans will make it even more business unfriendly.

Tech Firm Clicks With Former Video Game Space

REOTrans LLC, a growing technology company that provides services to financial institutions selling foreclosed homes, has signed a 49,570-square-foot sublease in Westchester.

Online Jewelry Auctioneer Sports Most Profitable Crown

Online auctioneer has lots to crow about.

BreitBurn Sells Non-Core Assets in Permian Basin

BreitBurn Energy Partners L.P. said that it had sold its Lazy JL Field in the Permian Basin of West Texas for $23 million, with net proceeds to be used to pay down debt.

USC Looks To Clean Up

USC's engineering school has introduced four master's degrees with an emphasis on "green" technology.

Health Insurer Left Defenseless

The loss of a big Defense Department contract could lead to insurer Health Net's acquisition.


Pepperdine University in Malibu has named Michelle Hiepler, Dennis Lewis and Danny Phillips to the board of regents.

Panavision's Future in Need of Focus

The Woodland Hills camera maker's bright past has been overshadowed by heavy debt, CEO shake-ups and decreasing demand for its equipment as many filmmakers switch to digital technology.

Credit Debate Needs to Get Down to Businesses

Credit debate should focus on backing small businesses not banks, according to Mike Mitchell and Richard Hastings.

Could Jackson Deal Be a Cool Move for Hot Topic?

A merchandising deal with the late Michael Jackson could heat things up for clothing vendor Hot Topic.

County Gets Something to Chew On

The county's attempt to crack down on taco trucks has only resulted in a bigger fleet of mobile meal servers, writes Charles Crumpley.


Events of interest to L.A.'s business community

UnitedHealth Group Inc. to Acquire Health Net's Northeast Business

Health Net Inc. said that UnitedHealth Group Inc. has agreed to acquire its northeast U.S. health insurance operations for about $510 million.

Immigration Enforcement by the Letter

Pamela Hartman applauds ICE's new focus on employer audits over workplace raids.

Room for Flexibility

A local architect sees live/work properties as a priority in L.A.'s urban future.

Situation Would Prove Too Taxing

Jack Stewart warns that there couldn't be a worse time to consider hiking taxes in California.

Putting Finger on Their Anger

A new iPhone video game helps players with a pressing need to squash Wall Street bankers.


Vintage Real Estate has purchased shopping mall South Bay Pavilion in Carson for $50 million from Hopkins Real Estate Group.

Tax Shelter Leaves High-Powered Lawyer Out in Cold

Tax fraud allegations have clipped the wings of a formerly high-flying, Harvard-educated attorney.

Best Buys Into Abu Dhabi Through Reality TV

Culver City architect Richard Best always wanted to work in the Middle East. Now, he'll do so, but it won't be in architecture.

Interior Designer's Career Generates a Positive Return

Naomi Asai always had designs on working in a creative field. The only trouble for the L.A. native was narrowing down her options.

Un-Taco Trucks

Traditional taco trucks are fighting for curb space as vendors selling sushi, Korean barbecue and cupcakes have hit the road.


Director Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Studios could receive $825 million in film financing to begin producing movies starting this year, according to an Indian company involved in deal talks.

Special Report: Taking Stock in L.A.

Biotech titan Amgen paced the field of L.A. companies that boosted their market cap despite the recession.

Not So Fast

Andrew Puzder gave up a Midwestern law career to sling burgers as chief exec of Carl's Jr. parent CKE.

Sunday, July 19

Jackson Assets Draw Investors' Gaze

As the world sorts through the pieces of the late Michael Jackson's life, so, too, does Wall Street. Colony Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Los Angeles media mogul Haim Saban are said to have made inquiries about acquiring some of the pop star's asse

Saturday, July 18

Univision Prevails Against Grupo Televisa

A federal judge in Los Angeles rules that a programming agreement the companies struck in 1992 gives Univision exclusive rights to broadcast the Spanish-language soap operas in the U.S.

Venture Capital Investment Still Sluggish

The venture capital market bounced back from a dreadful first quarter, but investments in Southern California were still sluggish in the second quarter.

Friday, July 17

A Hollywood Blogger Feared by Executives

Right now, there's a good chance a Hollywood executive is leaning into a colleague's office and quietly asking, "Did you see what Nikki just wrote?"

Editor's Note

The Business Journal's offices will be closed and its computer systems will be shut down Friday afternoon for scheduled repairs and upgrades. As a result, no e-mail newsletter will be sent Friday afternoon.

County's Jobless Rate Falls Slightly

Los Angeles County's unemployment rate fell slightly in June to 11.3 percent from a record 11.6 percent in May, but the drop was attributed not to increased employment but because more residents grew discouraged and left the workforce, according to new st

Cost-Cutting Boosts Mattel's Profit

Mattel Inc. said that cutting expenses in the second quarter enabled it to increase net income by 82 percent, despite a larger-than-expected drop in sales of its Barbie and other toys.

City National Moves HQ Downtown

City National Corp., parent of Los Angeles County's largest locally based bank, said it has moved its headquarters and that of City National Bank from Beverly Hills to downtown Los Angeles.

L.A. Port Traffic Continues to Fall

The Port of Los Angeles reported that cargo movement was down by 13 percent in June compared to the same month last year, according to new port data.

Thursday, July 16

Foreclosure Scams Targeted

Under Operation Loan Lies, 189 lawsuits, cease-and-desist orders and other legal actions have been filed in 20 states. In Southern California, prosecutors have moved against 14 firms and 21 people.

Report: Platinum Loses Delphi

Delphi, the long-struggling auto parts maker, has reached a deal with its lenders and onetime parent General Motors over a new plan that would lift the company out of bankruptcy, people briefed on the matter say.

Update: Contract To Boost Boeing's L.A. County Operations

Boeing Co. said that it has signed a contract to build at least four satellites for telecommunications giant Intelsat Ltd., a deal that could preserve jobs at the company's El Segundo campus and create work for local suppliers.

East West Loss Widens on Charges

East West Bancorp Inc. said its second quarter net loss jumped 347 percent due to charges for loan losses and investment securities that had fallen in value. It share price rose Thursday on the bank's more optimistic outlook.

Wednesday, July 15

Nazarian Appointed to Airport Board

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has appointed entrepreneur and nightclub impresario Sam Nazarian to the Board of Airport Commissioners.

TVN-Avail Media Merger Closes

The merger of Sherman Oaks video-on-demand company TVN Entertainment Corp. with Avail Media in Reston, Va., has been completed.

MGA Entertainment Wins Ruling Against Insurers

MGA Entertainment said that a judge has ruled that two insurance companies that earlier refused to pay for its defense in its Bratz legal battle with Mattel Inc. are legally bound to do so.

Stations Battle for L.A.'s Top Radio Spot

After a four-month climb up the L.A. radio ratings, Top 40 music station KLSX-FM (97.1) may finally be running out of momentum.

75 Years of the Original Farmers Market

At the Original Farmers Market, time moves a little slower at the much-loved gathering spot at 3rd and Fairfax. For longtime merchants and old friends, it's a respite from a hurried world.

DreamWorks Could Get $825 Million Financing

Director Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Studios could receive $825 million in

Tuesday, July 14

Jacobs Gets India Refinery Contract

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. said it received a contract to provide engineering and design work for a coking facility at an Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. refinery.

Capstone Gets Boost from U.S. Recovery Program

Capstone Turbine Corp. said that purchasers of its low-emission microturbine systems and similar products would eligible for reimbursement from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Live Nation CEO Says Ticket Sales Strong

U.S. concert ticket sales this summer were surprisingly strong despite a weaker economy, the head of concert promoter Live Nation Inc. said.

Northrop Receives $276 Million Defense Contract

Northrop Grumman Corp. said that it received a $276 million U.S. Air Force contract to upgrade communications systems on fighter jets and other aircraft.

Long Beach Port Traffic Decline Continues

Cargo shipments coming through the Port of Long Beach fell 29 percent in June compared with a year ago, according to new figures.

Health Net Loses Major Defense Contract

Health Net Inc. said it may appeal a U.S. Department of Defense decision to award Aetna Inc. its longtime $2.8 billion annual contract to provide health care to active and retired military personnel and their families.

British Analysts Rate California as High Risk

Let's look at the bright side: California is more creditworthy than Kazakhstan, according to one private analysis. But not by much.

Monday, July 13

State's IOUs Good on Paper At Local Banks

L.A. County institutions will continue to accept state IOUs but with varying restrictions.


Rentech Inc., an alternative energy development company, has completed the acquisition of SilvaGas Corp. and its commercial-scale biomass gas technology.

Grim Reminder of L.A.'s Heyday

Michael Jackson's funeral was a reminder of how Los Angeles used to be the center of the entertainment industry, writes Charles Crumpley.

Lively Up Yourself

A son of late reggae legend Bob Marley has brewed up his own coffee business.


Events of interest to Los Angeles' business community.

Energizing Non-Profits With Tires

It's all in the wrist for a sibling team's bracelets that raise money for various charities.

Northrop Wins 'Space Fence' Contract

Northrop Grumman Corp. has been awarded a $30 million contract from the U.S. Air Force for development of what's called the Space Fence a ground radar system that keeps track of junk in orbit.

For Many, Visit to L.A. Is a 'Reality' Trip

Move over, Grauman's Chinese Theatre. The hot new Southern California tourist attractions are the restaurants, boutiques and tattoo parlors where some of reality television's most popular shows are filmed.

Larger Facility in the Bag for Packaging Company

A Pico Rivera bag company has sold one industrial building and bought another in the midsize working-class community.

Investment Firm Swallowed by Wells Fargo

Brentwood's Barrington Associates has cut staff and shed its name as it becomes part of Wells Fargo.

Charter Company Getting Wi-Fi Off Ground

Charter plane company Clay Lacy has sky-high hopes of putting wireless Internet service in its aircraft.

Palau's Man in La Canada-Flintridge

Andrew Leeka is used to getting calls at 3 a.m. on his cell phone. But they tend to have more to do with the tiny Pacific island of Palau than his day job as president of Good Samaritan Hospital.

Future Takes Off

A small Marina del Rey company hopes to bring flying right to customers' front doors with its small, versatile "light sport aircraft."

Study: Ports Can Cruise Into Prosperity

A new report analyzing trends in cruise-ship travel originating out of San Pedro Bay contends Los Angeles County has rapidly emerged as one of the nation's fastest-growing and most lucrative ports of call.

Network Server

P.R. expert Carl Terzian credits his first big break to an appearance on Groucho Marx's game show.

Business Gets L.A. to Back Down on Planning Fees

Developers and business groups have made some headway in pushing to head off steep increases in L.A. city planning fees.

Team One Wins at Cannes For Its Custom Magazine

Team One ad agency has won two coveted Cannes Lions awards for an unusual advertising campaign that allowed consumers to create their own personalized magazine.

Learning on the Job

Small businesses, rather than the federal stimulus, will likely be at the forefront in reviving the job market, according to David M. Smith.

Battery Plant Expected to Jolt County Employment

Last week's announcement that Sylmar-based battery manufacturer Quallion LLC selected Palmdale for its new $220 million plant gave a shot in the arm to the diminishing manufacturing sector in Los Angeles.

Groovin' on That Laser Show Again

Light show Laserium has beamed down to Hollywood from Griffith Park Observatory.

Golden Arches

Apartment investor Gene Bramson homes in on properties with distinctive architecture.


Ernst & Young LLP has announced the 2009 Greater Los Angeles recipients of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.


Dole Food Co. Inc. filed a defamation suit against a Swedish filmmaker over his controversial documentary chronicling the legal battles between an L.A. plaintiff's attorney and the Westlake Village food giant.

California Can't Afford to Let Cities Slide on Housing

Benjamin M. Reznick believes that California cities are skirting affordable housing mandates

Home Sales Climb as Buyers Finally Step Up

Sales boomed in June as buyers lined up for homes in the lower price ranges.

Aecom Technology Gets Two Middle East Contracts

Aecom Technology Corp. said it won two contracts totaling $60 million to work on multi-use real estate development projects in the Middle East.

Lingering Chorus

Michael Jackson's passing has fueled booms for many L.A. businesses from law firms to hotels.

Art Director Is Always Asking 'What's the Story Here?'

In his second year at NYU, Stan Lim decided he wouldn't pursue a career as a dentist, and try other avenues instead.

CytRx Rises on Cancer Drug Study

CytRx Corp. shares jumped Monday after the drug developer said its experimental treatment for breast cancer caused a "dramatic destruction" of implanted tumors in an animal model.

Lancaster Software Developer Gets With Program

The bottom line might not fully show it, but tiny Lancaster software developer Simulations Plus Inc. isn't much feeling the recession expect perhaps in its sub-$2 stock price.

Malibu Developer Alleges Scheme in Hotel Deal

A company owned by prominent developer Richard Weintraub has sued embattled Brentwood businessman Ezri Namvar.

Saturday, July 11

Countrywide, Bank of America Sued by MBIA Insurance

Claiming that it lost $1 billion on fraudulent mortgage-backed securities, a giant insurer filed a lawsuit seeking to recover damages from Countrywide Financial Corp. and Bank of America Corp., which acquired Countrywide last year.

Friday, July 10

Abraxis Changes CFOs

Abraxis BioScience Inc. said that chief financial officer David O'Toole was leaving the company. Rick Rodgers, a former finance executive at another pharmaceutical company, will replace him.

This Week's Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies closed down for the week ended July 10, but continued worries over the economy keep many investors out of overall markets.

UTi Replaces Credit Facility

Freight logistics company UTi Worldwide Inc. said that it had replaced its $250 million credit facility by issuing notes and making agreements with lenders to provide new working capital.

MySpace to Take Entertainment Tack

News Corp. plans to position its Santa Monica MySpace unit as a Web site for accessing entertainment and related information.

J & J; Completes Cougar Biotech Acquisition

Johnson & Johnson said that it completed its $894 million acquisition of Los Angeles cancer drug developer Cougar Biotechnology Inc.

Arrowhead Announces Private Placement, CFO's Departure

Arrowhead Research Corp. said its chief financial officer was resigning. The Pasadena nanotechnology holding company also announced a $2 million private placement.

NTS Announces Stock Repurchase Program

National Technical Systems Inc. said that its directors had approved repurchase of up to 200,000 shares of its common stock.

Brand Barbie Gets a Makeover

Pushing 50, the iconic doll had lost her mojo. New General Manager Richard Dickson is making her hot again.

Thursday, July 9

Recession Takes Toll on Assessments

Assessed property values last year in Los Angeles County registered their first decline in 12 years according to a report from the Los Angeles County Assessor's office.

Broadcom Abandons Emulex Bid

Broadcom Corp. has abandoned its two-month campaign to acquire Emulex Corp. after the target's board rejected its latest offer as inadequate. Emulex fell the most in five years.

Lions Gate to Nominate Rachesky to Board

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. said it would name Mark Rachesky, its largest shareholder and a supporter of management, to its slate of board nominees as it faces continued pressure from billionaire investor Carl Icahn.

Hollywood Park Conversion Approved

The Inglewood City Council has approved Hollywood Park Tomorrow, a controversial $2.1 billion mixed-use development at the site of the iconic horse racing track.

June Sales Fall at L.A. Companies

Despite reporting lower same-store sales, restaurant chain California Pizza Kitchen Inc., and retailers American Apparel Inc. and Hot Topic Inc. saw their share prices rise slightly Thursday on the mostly better-than-expected reports.

Amgen Soars on Comparision Study Results

Amgen Inc. shares hit a four-year high Wednesday after the biotech said its experimental osteoporosis drug denosumab not only met a key goal of preventing bone injuries in breast-cancer patients but also performed better than a competing drug.

Ticketmaster, Form Partnership

Ticketmaster and Inc. announced a partnership in which will give Ticketmaster's online customers travel services for events they attend.

Banks Turn the Screws on California

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and state legislators are slugging it out over how to fix California's $26.3 billion budget gap. Now, some of the nation's biggest banks are sending them a message: You're on your own.

L.A. Commercial Real Estate Owners Struggling

Los Angeles commercial real estate continues to spiral downward, according to a report by Real Capital Analytics Inc.

Wednesday, July 8

Update: Amgen Soars on Comparision Study Results

Amgen Inc. shares hit a four-year high Wednesday after the biotech said its experimental osteoporosis drug denosumab not only met a key goal of preventing bone injuries in breast-cancer patients but also performed better than a competing drug.

Voters' Ire Fails to Fire Up Budget Process

If the May 19 special election scared Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers into action, they aren't showing it.

Skechers Gets $250 Million Credit Facility

Skechers USA Inc. said it closed on a $250 million credit facility that will put the Manhattan Beach casual shoemaker in a "stronger position" to fund growth initiatives.

Forget the Script

In response to the Internet's demand for quick hits, Los Angeles' pornographic movie industry is focusing even less on narrative arcs these days.

Regulators Shut Down Alleged Insurance Scheme

California regulators said they had shut down a labor union health insurance scheme that put hundreds of consumers at risk of losing coverage.

Dole Files Defamation Suit Against Filmmaker

Dole Food Co. Inc. has sued the maker of a controversial documentary that chronicles the legal battles between an L.A. attorney and the food giant over its use of pesticides at Nicaraguan banana plantations.

Cougar Shareholders Tender Shares to J

Johnson & Johnson said 84.4 percent of the outstanding shares of Los Angeles biotech Cougar Biotechnology Inc, were tendered during an initial offering that ended last week. A follow-on offering period during which remaining shares can be tendered will re

OpenGate Capital Sells Canadian Tech Company

Beverly Hills private equity firm OpenGate Capital said Monday that it sold one of its portfolio companies, Global Star Solutions, to a management-led buyout team.

Move Names New CFO

Real estate Web site operator Move Inc. said that its board has appointed Robert Krolik as chief financial officer, effective July 20

Update: Note to Readers

The Business Journal's Web site was off line on Tuesday and for several hours today because of technical problems. The editors apologize; your understanding is appreciated.

Poizner Balks at Workers' Comp Hike

State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has rejected an industry request to increase workers' compensation insurance rates by nearly a quarter, saying insurers could do much more to contain soaring costs.

Cord Blood America Secures $7.5 Million Investment

Cord Blood America Inc. said that it entered into a definitive agreement with a health care fund for a $7.5 million capital commitment to be drawn down by selling preferred stock and warrants.

Monday, July 6

California May Drill Into Oxy Expansion

Occidental Petroleum Corp. wants more oil from California even as the state Legislature is debating whether to slap a big tax on oil extraction.


American International Group Inc. closed the sale of its Woodland Hills-based 21st Century Insurance Group unit to L.A.-based Farmers Group for $1.9 billion.

Helping Los Angeles Hold Its Own

Bob Potter, who poaches SoCal businesses for a living, offers tips on how the region can keep its companies.

Low-Cost Mexican Airline Touches Down in L.A.

Volaris, Mexico's leading low-fare air carrier, has landed north of the border at Los Angeles International Airport.

Studio Artist's Movie Career Had Hollywood Beginning

When Syd Dutton, 64, talks about viewing the silent film "Metropolis" as a boy in San Francisco, he uses the term "feverish" to describe the experience.

Newsmakers & Kudos

Alan Dickson, a partner in the downtown L.A. office Holland & Knight LLP, has been honored with the Charles A. Dana Distinguished Service Award by the National Contract Management Association.

How Does Your Kid Stack Up?

A popular test at Korea-town medical clinics helps parents size up their kids' likely height.

All Dolled Up

Mattel's Robert Eckert admits there's still fun and games to be had as a toy company CEO in a down economy.

Booked for Future Travel

A USC professor has been booking a lot of flights to build libraries around the world.

Shipyard Plan Afloat at L.A. Port

An L.A. councilwoman has buoyed shipbuilder Gambol's plan to purchase a port facility.

Divided Over Taking Both Sides

Charles Crumpley digs deep and decides he's divided over a proposed oil extraction tax for California.

Tipping the Scale

The owners of a Hawthorne gym set in a former airplane hangar offer members plenty of elbow room.

Calendar of Events

Events of interest t Los Angeles' business community

Burgers Add Sizzle To the Joint

Some local high-end eateries have cooked up a way to boost sales: cut prices.


The Housing and Economic Development Department of Santa Monica has purchased a retail building for $5 million from the Ralph Karesjian Family Trust.

Hard Line Taking Shape Against Cement Company

Roy Disney's Shamrock Holdings hopes to remold the board at cement company Texas Industries.

Lender's Fall Smacks Hard In Koreatown

Occidental looks to expand its oil-drilling operations in California while lawmakers mull an oil severance tax.

L.A. Agency Takes Stand With Fatburger Deal

After being first listed more than two years ago, the South Los Angeles site of the original Fatburger stand has been sold.

L.A. Investor Holds Reins of Jackson Ranch

Owners of the Neverland Ranch may make over the late Michael Jackson's former home as a Graceland-style attraction.

Business Litigators Score Victory in Criminal Case

Mike Amir hesitated before defending a former Ralphs executive under federal indictment for allegedly using fake Social Security numbers to hire locked-out workers during the supermarket strike of five years ago.

Tarrant Apparel Sets Shareholder Meeting Over Acquisition

Tarrant Apparel Group said it will hold a special meeting of shareholders on August 20 to vote on a plan by two of its founders to take the Los Angeles apparel company private.

Another L.A. Equity Firm Likes Auto Parts Supplier

With the automotive industry on life support, two local private equity firms are positioning themselves to cash in on what they view as the inevitable recovery.

Real Estate Broker in Overdrive

Think you're stuck in traffic too much? Consider that commercial broker Matthew May often drives 170 miles across L.A.'s congested roadways on a given day.

Beverage Battle

A healthy beverage battle is brewing now that Sunny Delight's parent company has picked up L.A.'s Bossa Nova.

Business Journal, Reporters Fill Their Trophy Cases

A national award for best local weekly newspaper is among the honors recently bestowed upon the Business Journal and its staff.

Workers' Comp Has Carrier Ducking, Covering

Employers Direct has placed a moratorium on new policies in order to weather the storm forecast to hit the industry.

Stick a Cork in It

Local high-end nightclubs still see a flood of patrons but orders have dried up for VIP bottle service.

Stimulus Plan Prompts Pasadena Firm's Pickups

Tetra Tech has gone on an acquisition streak to improve its chances to win federally funded projects.

Giving Health Care Reform a Shot in the Arm

Local small businesses offer President Obama the perfect lab to test health care reform plans, according to Fernando Torres-Gil, Gilbert Vasquez and Jorge Corralejo.

Thursday, July 2

City National Will Accept State's IOUs

City National Corp., the parent of Los Angeles' largest locally based bank, said that it will accept IOUs issued by the state from its clients.

Schwarzenegger Hopes IOUs Sway Budget Debate

If the stigma of issuing IOUs triggers a budget deal in the coming days, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger might find redemption in his strategy of quashing a stopgap solution that would have avoided those non-cash payments.

Fraud Charges Filed Against Van Nuys Companies

A Federal Trade Commission crackdown dubbed "Operation Short Change" alleges that five Van Nuys companies bilked consumers out of $300 million by selling fraudulent programs related to real estate or online businesses.

21st Century Insurance Group Sales Closes

American International Group Inc. said it has closed the sale of 21st Century Insurance Group to Farmers Group Inc. for $1.9 billion.

Pacific Office Properties CEO to Leave Company

Pacific Office Properties Trust Inc. said Chief Executive Dallas Lucas will leave the struggling Los Angeles real estate investment trust at the end of August.

Wednesday, July 1

Jakks, THQ in Dispute Over WWE Partnership

Jakks Pacific Inc said that it had entered into arbitration with joint-venture partner THQ Inc. over the Malibu toymaker's decision to extend its videogame licensing with World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.

Immigration Status Problems Found at American Apparel

American Apparel Inc. shares lost 9 percent Wednesday after the apparel maker admitted that the government found 1,800 of its employees were either unauthorized to work in the United States or their immigration status could not be verified.

VCA Antech Acquires Veterinary Technology Company

VCA Antech Inc. said that it has acquired Eklin Medical Systems Inc., a Santa Clara maker of digital radiology, ultrasound and practice management software for the veterinary market.

International Rectifier Settles with Vishay

International Rectifier Corp. said that it had agreed to refund $30 million to settle disputes related to Vishay Intertechnology Inc.'s acquisition of its power-control business in 2007.

Dispute Over Former Shipyard Site On Hold

A Los Angeles historical group, the Port of Los Angeles and a Long Beach firm agree to a truce brokered by Councilwoman Janice Hahn. The accord allows a plan for dredging the harbor to move forward.

State's Budget Hole Gets $3.3 Billion Deeper

California is on the brink of issuing IOUs and state workers will take a third unpaid furlough day in July after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers failed to strike a budget compromise by the end of June.