COMIC ACQUISITION: Walt Disney Co. completed its $4.3 billion cash-and-stock acquisition of Marvel Entertainment. The Burbank entertainment giant gets New York City-based Marvel’s catalog of more than 5,000 characters, such as Spider-Man and the X-Men. Marvel shareholders received $30 cash and 0.745 shares of Disney stock for every share of Marvel stock. It was Disney’s largest deal since 2006, when the company bought Pixar Animation Studios Inc. for $7.4 billion in stock.
ENTREPRENEUR DIES: Patsy Flanigan, president and chief executive of Flanigan Farms Natural Foods, died after a brain hemorrhage. She was 78. Flanigan and her husband Owen established the Culver City company in 1970, concentrating on making natural foods available at supermarkets. After Owen’s death in 1992, Patsy ran Flanigan Farms with her daughters, and was active as a community leader and philanthropist. She wrote opinion articles about her areas of interest, such as farming and natural foods, for publications that included the Business Journal.
3D MANIA: Several Los Angeles-area media and technology companies announced during the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that they were jumping on the 3D bandwagon in partnership with makers of the next-generation television sets. El Segundo’s DirecTV will offer three HD 3D channels later this year to its satellite TV subscribers, using Beverly Hills’ RealD 3D conversion technology. Set maker Panasonic will be the channels’ exclusive sponsor for the first year. Glendale’s DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. has formed a partnership with Hollywood’s Technicolor to produce exclusive 3D Blu-ray content promoted with Samsung sets.
CHAPTER 11: International Aluminum Corp. filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition and entered into a restructuring agreement with holders of about 72 percent of its senior debt. The private Monterey Park company, which makes aluminum and vinyl products such as windows, doors and framing, was hurt by the construction downturn. The company has 1,000 employees in 24 facilities throughout the United States and Canada, including 226 employees in Los Angeles County.
SUCCESSION: Cerrell Associates Inc. said that longtime president Hal Dash has been named chairman and chief executive. He succeeds Joe Cerrell, who becomes chairman emeritus of the Los Angeles public relations firm he founded in 1966. Dash, who joined the firm in 1977, helped guide Cerrell Associates’ evolution from a largely Democratic campaign consultant to a full-service public affairs, advocacy and issues management agency. Executive Vice Presidents Matt Klink and Lisa Gritzner have been named company presidents, and Executive Vice President Kristen Lonner was named a principal.
PASSING PIZZA: California Pizza Kitchen Inc. said its licensing agreement for Kraft Foods Inc. to produce grocery-store versions of its gourmet pizza will shift to Nestle USA. The Los Angeles casual dining chain said the switch results from longtime licensee Kraft selling its North American pizza business to Nestle for $3.7 billion to help finance a $16.5 billion bid to acquire British candy maker Cadbury PLC. Nestle USA, a Glendale-based division of Swiss food giant Nestle SA, said that the frozen pizza business compliments its own frozen prepared food brands.
DIGITAL MEDIA: Walt Disney Co. unveiled a technology called KeyChest that it said will make it easier for consumers to buy films or television shows from various distributors, store them on remote servers, and play them on multiple platforms ranging from TVs to computers and phones. Negotiations with content distributors, cable companies and telecommunications services have been ongoing for several months. Disney plans to deploy the technology before the end of 2010.
TRAFFIC TECH: TV and radio programming syndicator Westwood One Inc. has acquired the popular Sigalert service, which provides on-air, online and mobile traffic information. The deal with Sigalert owner Jaytu Technologies LLC of San Diego gives the New York syndicator control of Sigalert’s digital system for collecting and distributing traffic information in Southern California, Northern California and Arizona. Westwood plans to expand the service to other markets.
PRODUCER DIES: Prolific television producer/executive David Gerber, whose wide-ranging career included the award-winning “George Washington” miniseries, “Police Story” and the stylized series drama “thirtysomething,” died of heart failure in Los Angeles. He was 86. Gerber was a producer and senior studio executive in the television divisions of Twentieth Century-Fox and Columbia Pictures Television. Lauded for his work in promoting multiracial projects, he was responsible for numerous groundbreaking television series, television movies, and miniseries in the 1970s and 1980s.
LIQUIDATION: Pacific Energy Resources Ltd. has turned over its remaining oil and gas businesses in California to entities formed by its secured lenders. The value of the debt exchanged for the assets was not announced. The Long Beach oil and gas developer was hurt by oil price volatility and last year’s credit crunch. It filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in March, but eventually was forced to liquidate assets. The company earlier last month sold its remaining Alaska energy assets to Cook Inlet Energy LLC for $2.25 million.
CONSULTANT ACQUIRED: Korn/Ferry International Inc. has acquired Sensa Solutions, a Washington D.C.-area management consultant that primarily serves U.S. government agencies. The acquisition opens a new market for Korn/Ferry, which has been hurt as corporate clients cut hiring during the recession. The Los Angeles staffing company said it expects the deal to add to its earnings within 12 to 18 months. Terms were not disclosed. Sensa is based in McLean, Va. and provides strategic planning, executive coaching, training and human resources development.
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