ONLINE ACQUISITION: Online betting service YouBet.com Inc. has agreed to be acquired by Churchill Downs Inc. in a stock-and-cash deal valued at nearly $127 million. Shareholders of YouBet, based in Burbank, would receive about 0.06 shares of Churchill Downs’ common stock and 97 cents in cash for each share of YouBet common stock. Churchill Downs, based in Louisville, Ky., owns four race tracks, and owns or has interests in other racing businesses. After the close of the transaction, YouBet shareholders are expected to own about 16 percent of publicly held Churchill Downs.
UNIT SOLD: Northrop Grumman Corp. has agreed to sell its TASC government-consulting unit for $1.65 billion to an investor group led by General Atlantic and affiliates of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. The L.A. defense contractor plans to use the proceeds to increase its stock buyback program. The unit was acquired by Northrop in 2001 as part of a $5 billion takeover of Litton Industries. The sale was made to comply with federal rules designed to prevent conflicts of interest by barring defense contractors that advise government agencies on weapons systems from bidding for contracts on them.
NAME CHANGE: World Poker Tour Enterprises, which recently completed the sale of its World Poker Tour to an international gaming company, said that it has changed its name to Ante4 Inc. Company founder Steve Lipscomb said he plans to buy or merge with another operating company in the future. The new British operator of the World Poker Tour franchise, PartyGaming Media, plans to continue producing poker tournaments with the same L.A.-based personnel.
FOR SALE? There was speculation last week that two Hollywood institutions were close to being sold. Variety cited sources who expect the assets of struggling film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. would be auctioned off within the next few weeks. Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, who has already bought and sold MGM twice, might buy the logo once again, with the studio’s film library and its United Artists arm going to other entities. Separately, entertainment news site TheWrap.com predicted that the Hollywood Reporter and several other Nielsen entertainment titles would be sold to James Finkelstein’s News Communications Inc., owner of “Who’s Who” publications and the political trade paper the Hill.
CONTRACTING: Aecom Technology Corp. has acquired a Pittsburgh logistics and management firm. The downtown L.A. provider of technical and management support services said SSI Inc. was acquired from a private Pittsburgh technical services firm, Vanadium Group, for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition was expected to boost the company’s ability to win government contracts.
BANK EXPANDS: Pasadena’s East West Bancorp Inc. nearly doubled in size after acquiring San Francisco’s United Commercial Bank, which was closed by regulators. East West, with branches that largely cater to the Chinese-American community, purchased $10.2 billion in United Commercial assets, including 63 branches located mostly in California, and all $7.5 billion of its deposits. United Commercial had been struggling for months with losses on souring real estate loans. The acquisition boosts East West’s assets to more than $22 billion, making it the largest bank headquartered in Southern California, surpassing City National Corp. and its $18 billion in assets.
SETTLEMENT MADE: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said that Cheesecake Factory Inc. will pay $345,000 to settle a lawsuit accusing it of allowing male kitchen staffers to sexually harass other male workers in a restaurant near Phoenix. The settlement requires the Calabasas restaurant chain to improve training and appoint an ombudsman to address sexual harassment claims by employees. The company denied the EEOC’s allegations, and settled solely to avoid the expense and inconvenience of further investigation and litigation, according to the judge in the case.
TIME SERVED: A federal judge sentenced “Girls Gone Wild” founder Joe Francis to 301 days already served and a year of probation after the soft-porn mogul pleaded guilty to filing false income tax returns and bribing jail workers. Francis, 36, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of filing false tax returns in which he didn’t declare $500,000 in interest income and another of bribing jail workers for food by giving them as much as $5,000 in goods. He was ordered to pay nearly $250,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.
SUCCESSOR NAMED: Ducommun Inc. said that its board named Anthony J. Reardon chief executive effective Jan. 1. Reardon is now president and chief operating officer of the Carson aerospace and defense-engineering firm. He will replace retiring Chief Executive Joseph C. Berenato, who will remain as chairman. Reardon will also become a member of the board. Reardon has been with the company since 2003 and was named to his current position in January 2008.
EARNINGS: American Apparel Inc. reported third quarter net income of $4.2 million, 78 percent higher than a year ago. Revenue fell 3 percent to $150 million. … Live Nation Inc. reported third quarter net income of $69 million, 50 percent lower than a year ago. Revenue rose 14 percent to $1.81 billion. … Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. reported third quarter net income of $13.1 million, 36 percent higher than a year ago. Revenue rose 3 percent to $348 million. … Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. reported second quarter net income of $31.7 million, compared with a net loss of $51.8 million a year ago. Revenue rose 3 percent to $394 million. … Activision Blizzard Inc. reported third quarter net income of $15 million, compared with a net loss of $108 million a year ago. Revenue fell 1 percent to $703 million. … California Pizza Kitchen Inc. reported third quarter net income of $5.8 million, 17 percent higher than a year ago. Revenue fell 5.3 percent to $165 million.
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