DEPARTURE: Pepperdine University School of Law Dean Kenneth Starr, the former special prosecutor who took on President Clinton over the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky scandals, is leaving his post this spring to become president of Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Starr, who wants to return to his home state, has led the Malibu-based law school since 2004.
OUTLOOK: After a horrible 2009 for the Los Angeles County economy, 2010 will be only slightly better, according to the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp., whose latest forecast predicts a jobs recovery won’t take hold until 2011. While declaring the recession officially over, the forecast calls for a net loss of 20,000 payroll jobs this year in the county. That’s not as steep as the 155,000-job drop in 2009, but it will still keep the unemployment rate above 12 percent for most of the year. The forecast calls for modest job growth in health care services; the information sector, which includes motion picture and television production; and private education.
STOCK BID: Carl Icahn said that he’s willing to pay roughly $79 million to increase his stake in Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. It is the activist investor’s latest attempt to gain greater control over the Santa Monica independent movie studio. Icahn is offering $6 per share in cash to take his stake from 19 percent to 30 percent. Lions Gate, which has operations in Santa Monica but whose corporate headquarters are in Vancouver, British Columbia, said its board would review the proposal, but management and directors in the past have resisted Icahn’s efforts to gain influence.
PORTS: The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach reported that combined January traffic was up slightly for the second straight month, but individual port activity was mixed. Combined activity, including shipping of empty containers, rose 1.6 percent, with combined outbound traffic up nearly 32 percent. Imported cargo at the Long Beach port rose nearly 9 percent compared with January 2008, with exports up 28 percent. Los Angeles inbound traffic was down more than 6.7 percent with outbound traffic jumping 35 percent.
EXTENSION: Tribune Co. was granted until March 31 to file a plan of reorganization, avoiding the immediate threat of litigation over the legality of its 2007 leveraged buyout. The Chicago owner of the Los Angeles Times, KTLA-TV (Channel 5) and the Chicago Tribune had sought a June extension. A major issue is the extent to which the structure of the $8.2 billion leveraged buyout led by Sam Zell made a Chapter 11 filing inevitable as the economy soured.
ACQUISITION: Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has acquired a 500-person professional services firm in Atlanta called Jordan Jones and Goulding Inc. The Pasadena engineering company said the acquisition would expand its capabilities in the North American water and wastewater markets, and broaden its position in the global aviation, transit and transportation infrastructure markets. Jacobs did not disclose the terms of the transaction.
EXPANSION: CKE Restaurants Inc. signed a development agreement granting Mesa Group, a Vietnamese company, exclusive franchise development rights to open at least 25 Carl’s Jr. restaurants in the Southeast Asian country. The first location is scheduled to open in April in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. The deal is part of a wider development plan that the Carpinteria fast-food chain has for the Asia region. Carl’s Jr. already has restaurants in China, Singapore, Malaysia and American Samoa.
PURCHASE: Radio station operator Salem Communications has acquired HotAir.com, a popular blog showcasing the news, analysis and commentary of conservative commentators such as Michelle Malkin and Ed Morrissey. The Camarillo media company, known for Christian music and conservative talk radio formats, said the online acquisition will augment its own Internet offerings.
EARNINGS: DirecTV Group Inc. reported a fourth quarter net loss of $32 million compared with a profit of $332 million a year earlier. Revenue rose nearly 13 percent to $5.98 billion. … United Online Inc. reported fourth quarter net income of $16.5 million compared with a net loss of nearly $138 million a year earlier. Revenue fell 2.6 percent to less than $250 million. … ValueClick Inc. reported fourth quarter net income of $15.5 million compared with a net loss of nearly $252 million a year earlier. Revenue rose less than 1 percent to $110 million. … Skechers USA Inc. reported fourth quarter net income of $27.9 million compared with a net loss of $20.4 million a year earlier. Net sales rose 30 percent to more than $388 million.
An article in the Feb. 15 issue headlined “Taking Flights” incorrectly stated the year that the Long Beach Airport terminal opened. It was 1941.
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An article in the Jan. 25 issue headlined “South Bay Galleria Seeks Help From Neighbor” incorrectly identified the owner of the South Bay Galleria. The owner is Forest City Commercial Group, a subsidiary of Forest City Enterprises Inc. in Cleveland.
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In an article headlined “Democrats Revive Vetoed Withholding Tax Proposal” in the Feb. 15 issue, Marc Burgat, vice president of government affairs for the California Chamber of Commerce, was misquoted. The quote should have read, “This is a state-mandated no-interest loan on the backs of this state’s small businesses.”
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An article in the Feb. 15 issue headlined “Consultancy Applies Advice on How to Branch Out,” gave incorrect titles for Jane Pak and Terrence Payne. Pak is chief executive and chair of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. She is also the founding chair of Score-Women. Payne is district director for the Los Angeles region for Score, which recently changed its name to Score: Counselors to America’s Small Businesses. While the article incorrectly said, “Nawbo is primarily a networking organization and does not have the resources to provide expert training,” Pak said Nawbo-LA is primarily an education and advocacy organization, not a networking organization, and it does have resources to provide expert training.
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