BANK BOUGHT: City National Corp. regained its status as the largest locally based bank by acquiring for $3.4 billion the assets of Imperial Capital Bank, a La Jolla institution closed by regulators before Christmas. The L.A. bank holding company received $2.6 billion in loans and the right to assume $2.2 billion of Imperial Capital’s deposits. Eight of Imperial’s nine locations are in communities City National already serves, deepening its penetration in those markets. City National’s assets now exceed $21 billion.
EXEC COMP: Walt Disney Co. disclosed in a proxy statement for its March shareholders’ meeting that Chief Executive Bob Iger received total compensation valued at $29 million in 2009. That’s about 5 percent less than he made in 2008, though his base salary of $2.04 million was essentially unchanged. The company’s chief financial officer, Tom Staggs, received total compensation of $9.28 million, up from $9.2 million a year earlier.
BANK CLOSED: FirstFed Financial Corp., one of L.A.’s oldest and largest savings associations, was closed by regulators and its assets purchased by Pasadena’s OneWest Bank, itself the reincarnation of failed IndyMac Bank. Like IndyMac, FirstFed fell victim to risky mortgage lending policies. OneWest now has 72 branches in the L.A. area and becomes the largest depository institution in the county, with assets exceeding $24 billion.
NEW FIRM: DoubleLine LLC received regulatory permission to be a financial adviser, nine days after being founded by Jeffrey Gundlach, fired last month as TCW Group’s former investment chief in a management shakeup. The firm plans to launch its DoubleLine funds early in 2010, with founders estimating the L.A. startup could have $50 billion under management by the end of the year. Gundlach and several TCW colleagues started DoubleLine with financial backing from L.A.’s Oaktree Capital Management, whose chairman, Howard Marks, is a former TCW manager.
COURT VICTORY: A U.S. district court in Boston issued a final injunction that bars Swiss drug maker Roche Group from selling its anemia drug Mircera in the United States for nearly five years. The ruling brings to an end a five-year patent infringement dispute with Amgen Inc. The court ruled Mircera infringed on five patents underlying the Thousand Oaks biotech’s flagship drugs, Aranesp and Epogen.
HOLIDAY HIRING: Los Angeles County’s unemployment rate, while still up significantly from a year ago, fell slightly in November from the previous month as employers added 12,000 jobs to their payrolls. The county’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 12.4 percent from a revised 12.7 percent for October 2009. The rate in November 2008 was 8.9 percent. Trade, transportation and utility companies added 5,300 jobs compared with the previous month, while the manufacturing and construction industries continued to contract.
MEDIA IPO: ReachLocal Inc., an online advertising agency targeting small to medium-size business, has filed for a $100 million initial public offering. The Woodland Hills company, founded in 2003, has enjoyed explosive growth by carving out a niche market. ReachLocal employs hundreds of salespeople who go door to door to convince mom-and-pop stores to buy online advertising. ReachLocal assists the businesses in placing the ads on Web sites and monitoring performance.
3-D TV: Satellite TV provider DirecTV may launch the first 3-D high-definition television channel in the United States early this year. The El Segundo company reportedly will make an announcement this week at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, according to a trade publication. To view programs on the new service, customers will need one of the 3-D televisions about to hit the market as well as compatible glasses. DirecTV has not confirmed the report, but did announce an expansion of its capabilities with the successful launch of a satellite manufactured by Boeing’s Space and Intelligence Systems division in El Segundo.
STOCK SALE: Thomas Properties Group Inc. signed an agreement with some institutional investors to sell 5.14 million shares of its common stock, with proceeds to pay down debt. The L.A. real estate investment company said the negotiated price of the stock was $2.55 per share with expected proceeds of about $13.1 million. Thomas Properties, which acquires, develops and manages office, mixed-use and residential properties, said the transaction improves the company’s liquidity as the real estate market continues to struggle. The company also suspended regular quarterly dividends to conserve money.
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