INVESTMENT: Hanmi Financial Corp. announced March 12 that it wasn’t sure it could raise additional capital as required by federal regulators, a development that “raises substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.” Six days later, the Koreatown bank revealed that talks with GWI Enterprises, a potential investor, had ended without a deal. GWI, a Brazilian investment firm, offered to buy a controlling share in the bank but backed out after preliminary discussion and conducting due diligence. Regulators have told Hanmi it needs to raise $100 million by July 31 due to losses in its commercial real estate loan portfolio.
ACQUISITION: Skyview Capital LLC in Beverly Hills has completed the acquisition of Traxcom Technologies, which processes online transactions for credit card companies. Financial details were not disclosed. Based in Bensenville, Ill., Traxcom was formerly the Ras/Trax business unit of UTStarcom. It processes more than 1.5 billion transactions per month, mostly for credit card companies’ merchant networks. Skyview, a private investment firm, doesn’t plan to change the operations or staff of the company. Traxcom is the ninth company in Skyview’s portfolio.
ENERGY: CB Richard Ellis Group, a real estate management firm headquartered in West Los Angeles, plans to open a service called CBRE Solar to help commercial building owners use more solar energy. Services will include solar power purchase agreements, roof leases, solar project development services and solar investment opportunities. CBRE Solar will work with Smart Energy Capital, a solar finance and advisory firm. Initially, clients will come from CB Richard Ellis’ list of managed and owned buildings in the United States and Canada.
MEDICINE: Abraxis BioScience announced successful results of a Phase 3 trial for its cancer drug Abraxane. Although Abraxane is sold as a breast cancer treatment, Abraxis has asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve it for lung cancer as well. The FDA previously approved the design of the Phase 3 trial, which compared Abraxane to Taxol, a lung cancer drug currently on the market. Based on the trial study’s results, Abraxis expects to secure FDA permission to use Abraxane for lung cancer in 2011. The approval sent the company’s stock up, meaning that Abraxis’ owner, Patrick Soon-Shiong, the richest man in Los Angeles, added to his net worth.
BUILDING: Real estate investment trust Maguire Properties has completed the sale of the Griffin Towers project in Costa Mesa to a joint venture of Lincoln Property Co. and Angelo Gordon & Co. The purchase price was not disclosed, but Maguire said that the sale allowed it to convert a $22 million mortgage payment due May 1 into an unsecured term loan. The sale is part of Maguire’s strategy to unload assets in order to shore up the downtown L.A. REIT’s balance sheet, which has been hit hard by high office vacancies. The Griffin Towers project consists of twin 14-story buildings with a total of 540,000 square feet of office space and a parking structure with room for 1,800 vehicles.
BATTLE: Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. announced it has rejected Carl Icahn’s unsolicited bid to increase his stake in the Santa Monica film studio. The Lions Gate board also adopted a poison-pill shareholder rights plan to discourage further takeover attempts by the billionaire activist investor. Icahn already owns 19 percent of outstanding shares and wanted to buy an additional 13 million shares at $6 per share, in line with current market price. The additional shares would have increased Icahn’s stake to about 30 percent and would have made him the company’s largest single shareholder. The company called Icahn’s offer “financially inadequate and coercive and is not in the best interests of Lions Gate and its shareholders.”
LOBBYING: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and 200 local business leaders visited the nation’s capital March 15-17 to ask for help in jumpstarting the local economy. The annual trip, organized by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, this year carried the theme “Southern California is America’s Recovery Engine.” Issues on the group’s agenda included modernization of the Los Angeles International Airport, freeway and rail transportation funding, solutions to the water shortage, immigration reform and education spending. The three-day schedule featured a breakfast with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein; a Republican luncheon hosted by Sen. John McCain; numerous chats with the California congressional delegation; and a meeting with Valerie Jarrett, White House senior adviser.
EARNINGS: Medical clinic chain RadNet Inc. reported net income of $637,000 for fourth quarter 2009, compared with a loss of $5.4 million a year earlier. Revenue increased 3.4 percent to $132 million. ... Tix Corp. reported fourth quarter net income of $1.3 million, compared with a loss of $33 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 24 percent to $25.7 million. … Real estate investment firm Kennedy Wilson reported a fourth quarter loss of $9.1 million. The company went public in 2009. … 1st Century Bank reported a fourth quarter net loss of $3.5 million, compared with a $1.9 million loss in fourth quarter 2008.
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