LIFE LEARNING: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has appointed Bonnie Reiss, a Santa Monica private equity adviser, as secretary of education. Reiss, 54, served as Schwarzenegger’s senior adviser from his 2003 gubernatorial campaign until 2007. She has also since served on the University of California Board of Regents. After leaving the Schwarzenegger administration, Reiss joined Pegasus Capital Management as an adviser on investments in sustainable resource technologies. Before she joined Schwarzenegger’s campaign, Reiss was an entertainment lawyer and founder of Earth Communications Office, an environmental project.
TRUCKIN’: The Clean Truck Program at the Port of Los Angeles gained traction when an appeals court tentatively approved most of the program’s concession agreements. Under the most controversial aspect of the plan, truck drivers who enter the port must be employees of truck companies. The American Trucking Association, which opposes that aspect of the Clean Truck Program, had filed suit. The ATA argues that the plan is disadvantageous to small truckers who own and operate their own rigs. The L.A. Port’s truck plan has been criticized as a union-friendly measure because the drivers can be organized when they are employees but not when they are independent owner-operators.
TANKER TIME: The Pentagon unveiled final terms for what it hopes is a fair $35 billion refueling plane competition between Northrop Grumman Corp. and Boeing Co. Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn said most of the 230 changes made to draft rules released in September were technical in nature, but the contract pricing structure was also adjusted to make the deal less risky for industry. Lawmakers said the changes were minor ones that Northrop and its European partner Eads said they needed to stay in the competition. Northrop and Eads said they would study the final competition terms before making any decisions.
HIT PARADE: Pop music station KIIS-FM (102.7) reclaimed the top spot in local radio ratings after spending two months in second place. The perennial radio powerhouse claimed a 5.4 percent share of listeners in January, according to the latest local rankings released by Arbitron Inc. That was well ahead of second-place classic hits station KRTH-FM (101.1), which had a 4.7 percent share. News-talk station KFI-AM (640) was third with a 4.1 percent share; adult contemporary station KOST-FM (103.5) was fourth with 3.9 percent; and Spanish music station KLVE-FM (107.5) was fifth with 3.6 percent.
TAXING MAN: State Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, has postponed his plan for a 3 percent withholding tax on payments that companies make to independent contractors. The plan had galvanized opposition from business interests. In comments at a Sacramento Press Club meeting, Steinberg said the proposal would not be acted upon immediately as he had originally planned, but “will remain a live option come June or July,” when the 2010-11 state budget is set to be debated. The withholding tax, which could generate up to $2 billion in one-time revenues for the state, would be a problem for independent contractors, especially those in low-margin industries.
MONEY MOVE: Pasadena savings and loan OneWest Bank acquired the assets of La Jolla Bank after it was closed Feb. 19. This is the second acquisition in as many months for OneWest, which was created last year from the ashes of failed IndyMac Bank. In December, the thrift bought FirstFed Financial Corp. after it was closed by the Office of Thrift Supervision. OneWest acquired $3.31 billion of La Jolla Bank’s assets, including all 10 of its branches. OneWest also acquired all $2.8 billion of the failed institution’s deposits.
RADAR CONTRACT: Northrop Grumman Corp. and Lockheed Martin said that their joint venture was awarded an $86 million contract to develop and repair radar systems for Apache helicopters. The venture, Longbow LLC, was awarded a four-year contract by Agusta Westland to provide engineering services, integrated logistics and repairs for the all-weather radar systems. The work will be performed at Northrop facilities in Baltimore; Lockheed Martin facilities in Ocala and Orlando, Fla.; and Wattisham Airfield in the United Kingdom.
JOB LOSS: Image Entertainment Inc. announced layoffs of roughly one-third of its work force and other cost cutting as the company reorganizes under new management and investors. The Chatsworth distributor of DVD, CD and digital download home entertainment had roughly 110 employees before the cuts. The company also is reducing the cost of its headquarters’ lease and renegotiating vendor contracts. “While these changes are difficult overall, they are needed for the long-term viability of the company,” said Chief Executive Ted Green, who came on board in January after JH Partners became company’s majority stockholder.
ASSETS UP: Clients of TCW Group Inc., a unit of French banking giant Societe Generale, pulled about $25 billion after the December firing of Jeffrey Gundlach as investment chief. The number was announced at a Societe Generale press conference in Paris. Meanwhile, TCW completed the acquisition of fixed-income manager Metropolitan West Asset Management LLC. The deal, announced at the same time as Gundlach’s dismissal, added about $30 billion, bringing net assets to $115 billion. The firm had $110 billion before the shakeup.
EARNINGS: Herbalife Ltd. reported net income of $55.7 million, compared with $33.7 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 23 percent to nearly $631 million. … DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. reported net income of $43.6 million, compared with $51.6 million a year earlier. Revenue fell nearly 3 percent to $194 million. … Ixia reported a net loss of $31.3 million, compared with $18.3 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 37 percent to $56.1 million.
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