NEW EDITOR: Janice Min, who turned Us Weekly into a publishing powerhouse, has joined show business trade publication Hollywood Reporter as editorial director. Min quit Us last year, apparently after failing to agree on contractual terms with magazine owner Jann Wenner. Hollywood Reporter was just acquired by e5 Global Media, with Richard Beckman at the helm and lots of private-equity money behind it. Formed in late 2009, e5 is backed by private-equity firm Pluribus Capital Management and Guggenheim Partners. Min said that despite her strengths in celebrity coverage, Hollywood Reporter would “stay focused on the business side.” She and her family were already thinking of relocating to California, largely for the weather, she said, and they will soon move to Los Angeles.
BANK SAVED: A South Korean financial conglomerate has agreed to purchase a majority stake in Hanmi Bank, ending the troubled institution’s lengthy search for capital. Woori Finance Holdings Co. Ltd., the third largest banking firm in South Korea, will purchase a minimum of $210 million of Hanmi’s stock at $1.20 a share, with an option to buy an additional $30 million shares. The deal which is expected to close later this summer pending regulatory approval. Hanmi, owned by Koreatown’s Hanmi Financial Corp., had been on the hunt for fresh capital for more than six months. The bank received a pair of regulatory enforcement orders in November directing it to raise at least $100 million.
SHREK TROUBLE: DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. shares slid after the fourth and last film in the “Shrek” series turned in a so-so box office performance. The $71.3 million take for the opening weekend of “Shrek Forever After” was well below previous sequels. The fourth “Shrek” was expected to bring in more money from being released on a large number of 3-D screens; tickets for 3-D screenings cost more. Pacific Crest analyst Evan Wilson, who expected $115 million in ticket sales, downgraded DreamWorks shares from “outperform” to “sector perform. “With receipts so low, it is pretty easy to see that everything – quality, aging franchise, etc. – went wrong,” Wilson said in an investor note.
BILLBOARD RULING: The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed a major victory to the city of Los Angeles in its fight against the proliferation of unpermitted billboards, reversing a federal judge’s ruling that struck down a ban on new supergraphics, billboards and freeway-facing signs. The panel of three judges found that the City Council did not violate the First Amendment right to free speech when it allowed exceptions to its citywide ban. The court also reversed injunctions that blocked the city from seeking the removal of unpermitted signs at nearly 40 locations.
NEW CFO: KB Home appointed Jeff Kaminski chief financial officer. Kaminski, 48, also will hold the title of executive vice president at the L.A. homebuilder. He most recently was CFO and senior vice president at Federal-Mogul Corp., a Southfield, Mich., supplier of automotive power train and safety technologies, and a Fortune 500 company, where he had worked for 20 years. KB Home’s previous CFO, Raymond Silcock, left the company in December after less than three months on the job.
GOING PRIVATE: Emmis Communications Corp., owner of Los Angeles magazine and KPWR-FM (105.9), will go private in a buyout led by Chief Executive Jeffrey Smulyan. The deal is technically a merger with JS Acquisition LLC, a company Smulyan owns. JS Acquisition will pay Emmis shareholders $2.40 per share for common stock, while Emmis will exchange its preferred stock for debt notes. The merger plan, including the tender offer for stock and the debt swap, were approved by the Emmis board. Alden Global Capital, a private asset management company in New York, will provide financing for the deal. The deal values Indianapolis-based Emmis at $90 million.
NEW CEO: L.A. media veteran Monica Lozano has been named chief executive of ImpreMedia, the nation’s largest Spanish-language newspaper company and owner of L.A. daily La Opinión. Lozano will retain her post as publisher of La Opinión, a newspaper that was founded by her grandfather and which became a part of ImpreMedia in 2004. Based in New York, ImpreMedia also publishes El Diario La Prensa, the largest Spanish-language paper in the Big Apple, as well as El Mensajero in San Francisco. While daily newspapers remain a critical component of ImpreMedia, which serves a largely Latino readership, Lozano plans to beef up digital content.
JOB NUMBERS: Los Angeles County’s April unemployment rate was unchanged from March at 12.3 percent in April, according to the state Employment Development Department. In April 2009, the unemployment rate was 11.2 percent. While 20,000 more county residents reported finding work in April, nearly as many people also resumed looking for work, thus adding numbers to unemployment. The county’s two largest cities, Los Angeles and Long Beach, reported unemployment rates topping 13 percent. California’s unemployment rate was also unchanged in April at 11.9 percent, while the national unemployment rate rose in April to 9.9 percent from 9.7 percent.
EARNINGS: 99 Cents Only Stores reported net income of $16.9 million for the quarter ended March 27, compared with net income of $7 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 3 percent to $339 million.
CORRECTION: The article headlined “Cemetery’s Landscaping to Die For” in the May 17 issue should have stated that the starting price for a two-casket plot is $40,000 at the Garden of Solomon section of Hillside Memorial Park & Mortuary.
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