Stories for November 2010

Tuesday, November 30

Jacobs Venture Wins MLK Renovation Contract

A Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. joint venture has won a $355 million contract to renovate South L.A.’s troubled Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Center, which stopped inpatient services in 2007 after a series of patient deaths.

Tetra Tech Wins Overseas Contracts

Tetra Tech Inc. has received a contract from U.S. agency to help local Afghan officials provide better municipal services, and a separate contract to help reduce deforestation in Indonesia.

Caruso Seeks to Expand Glendale's Americana at Brand


Americana at Brand developer Rick Caruso wants to expand his 15.5-acre Glendale retail center and is gunning for two adjacent properties to do it.

Monday, November 29

Update: Fiji Water Factory to Reopen


Fiji Water, which earlier closed its operations in Fiji in response to a higher water extraction tax hike proposed by the Fijian government, has changed its mind and will re-open its factory on Wednesday.

Lions Gate Squares Off Against Icahn

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. has urged shareholders to vote for its board nominees at this month’s annual meeting, rather than a rival slate that dissident shareholder Carl Icahn proposed over the weekend.

Aecom Completes Acquisition

Aecom Technology Corp. has closed its acquisition of RSW Inc., a Canadian engineering company.

Meet the Un-Mogul Reinventing TV


Steve Burke, who will become head of NBC Universal after Comcast takes over, will decide what you see and how you'll see it -- and change the ad model in the process.

Veteran L.A. Attorney Finds Balance at New Job

LAW: Steve Ellis will split time at Goodwin between two legal fields.

For most of his 17 years at Sidley Austin LLP, Steve Ellis’ practice has consisted of two kinds of work: complex commercial litigation and consumer financial services litigation.

IndyCar on Track to Add Engine Makers to the Field

SPORTS BUSINESS: Chevrolet, Lotus to join Honda as approved manufacturers.

Honda Performance Development is gearing up for some competition from Lotus and Chevrolet.

Regional Reports

Regional Report

Is Commercial Space Travel Ready for Takeoff?

First ever license from agency seen as NASA backing for SpaceX.

The FAA gave Hawthorne rocket builder SpaceX a big boost with the first ever orbital re-entry license.

Tightening Focus on Body Scans


Charles Crumpley believes OSI has been hit and miss in explaining security issues related to its airport body scanners, and he says good bye to op-ed writer Harold Katz.

Going to The Movies

Trigger builds buzz with ‘pay to play’ model for ‘Green Hornet.’

A West L.A. developer is betting on big buzz from a “Green Hornet” movie-inspired game.

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L.A. to Check Into Hotels’ Business?

Council may expand worker-retention law.

L.A. city hotels have reservations about the expansion of a worker retention ordinance when properties are sold.

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Street Smart

Venice’s funky vibe clicks with tech firms

Venice’s funky vibe and low rents have turned the Abbot Kinney neighborhood into a startup hot spot.

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News of the Week

News of the Week

Rolling Stone Eatery No Longer Gathering Moss

RETAIL & APPAREL: Management change slowed project at Hollywood & Highland.

The Rolling Stone Restaurant & Lounge finally made its Hollywood debut last week as the site for the American Music Awards after-party.

Sandy Samuels: Booked Solid

Former Countrywide Chief Legal Officer Sandy Samuels makes ‘repairing the world’ a priority as CEO of a non-profit legal service.

Ex-Countrywide Chief Legal Officer Sandy Samuels is now overseeing Bet Tzedek’s pro bono legal services.

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West Hollywood Goes to the Dogs

OP-ED: Former eatery owner says city’s vote to police pet stores doesn’t begin to capture its antibusiness practices.

Ex-restaurateur John S. Haskell says West Hollywood dished out nothing but trouble when he tried to build there.

Getting the Swing of It

El Segundo-based TGA has seen its after-school golf program take off as a franchised business model.

The El Segundo developer of an after-school golf program wants franchisees to join the club.

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Contact Lens Maker Focuses on Improving Image

HEALTH CARE & BIOTECH: Staar’s new ad campaign will tout advantages versus Lasik.

Staar Surgical Co. has launched its first direct-to-consumer marketing campaign for its innovative implantable contact lens.

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Scanners Just a Blip for OSI Revenue

Device Maker is A-OK with investors.

The stock of OSI of Hawthorne may take off despite turbulence from its full-body scanners at airports.

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Every Little Step of Every Little Gingersnap


Liane Weintraub has loved ballet since childhood.

Westside Executives Form Firm to Get Creative

REAL ESTATE: Two veterans of Lee & Associates launch Industry Partners.

Two top executives have left the West L.A. office of Lee & Associates to found Industry Partners, a commercial real estate brokerage specializing in creative space.

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Small Biz Finally Gets Some Credit From Banks

Community banks have recently checked in to boost SBA loans to local businesses.

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Calendar & Events


Looking for ’Net Gains

J.D. Power turns to the web to learn what clicks with consumers.

Westlake Village’s J.D. Power now goes online to get a line on customer opinions.

Throwing The Book at Brockovich

Journalist says crusader used ‘junk science’ in student cancer case.

Journalist throws the book at Erin Brockovich and accuses her of using “junk science” to further a lawsuit against Beverly Hills.

Getting The Max out Of Minnie

Forever 21 bases new clothing, accessory line on Mickey’s girlfriend.

Apparel chain Forever 21 hopes to grab Disney fans by the ears with its Minnie Mouse-inspired line.

Councilman Defends WeHo’s Puppy Policy


WeHo City Councilman Jeff Prang defends the city’s working relationship with business.

Wednesday, November 24

Axl Rose Sues Activision Blizzard

Guns N' Roses lead singer Axl Rose has sued Activision Blizzard Inc. for $20 million over the video game developer’s use of the song "Welcome to the Jungle" in its new game "Guitar Hero III."

Valley Banks Get Merger Approval

California United Bank and California Oaks State Bank said that they have received all regulatory approvals necessary for their previously announced merger.

Manhattan Bancorp Names New CEO

The parent of Bank of Manhattan has named Terry Robinson as chief executive and president. A new board chairman also has been elected.

Advanced Bionics Announces Voluntary Recall

Advanced Bionics, a former Alfred Mann company that makes advanced hearing systems, is launching a voluntary recall of its latest cochlear implant.

Tutor Perini CEO to Reduce Stake

Tutor Perini Corp. Chief Executive Ronald N. Tutor plans to sell nearly one-quarter of his stake in the Sylmar construction contractor.

Dispute With MPG Board Preceded CEO Exit


Nelson Rising, who stepped down as chief executive of MPG Office Trust Inc. earlier this month, butted heads with the company's board on numerous issues including raising equity, selling properties and whether the company should be put on the block, according to people familiar with the matter.

Tuesday, November 23

L.A. Council Panel Urges Easier Path to Building Permits


Streamlining red tape to cut the number of steps needed to get building permits is the goal of a proposed study recommended by the City Council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee.

Harold Katz Dies

Harold L. Katz, a certified public accountant, Westside citizen activist and frequent contributor to the Business Journal’s opinion pages, died Monday afternoon at work. He was 77.

Production Union Settles With 'Biggest Loser'


The IATSE union and producers of "The Biggest Loser" have reached a settlement agreement, ending a two-week labor battle waged against the NBC reality show by its production workers.

Most Current LAX Concessionaires Get Lease Extension


A one-year reprieve was given Monday to seven companies operating shops and restaurants at Los Angeles International Airport as officials prepare to open a new set of retail and dining options sometime during the new year.

Guess Beats Expectations

Guess Inc. shares jumped Wednesday, a day after the trendy apparel maker reported higher third-quarter profit that sharply exceeded Wall Street expectations, and raised its guidance for the rest of the year.

County Supervisors Move to Ban Medi-Pot Outlets


The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have voted to direct attorneys to write an ordinance banning medical marijuana outlets in unincorporated areas.

L.A. Firm to Buy J. Crew

West Los Angeles private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners LP and another California firm are taking New York apparel retailer J. Crew Group Inc. private in a deal valued at nearly $3 billion.

RealD Shareholders to Sell More Shares

RealD Inc. has filed a registration statement with regulators that would enable longtime shareholders to sell more than 7.8 million shares of common stock.

SpaceX Wins Key Regulatory License

The FAA has awarded Space Exploration Technologies Corp. the first-ever license for a commercially developed spacecraft to re-enter Earth's atmosphere from orbit. It’s a significant milestone for the privately financed program.

Monday, November 22

Restructuring Charges Move Dole to Loss

Dole Food Company Inc. reported a loss in the third quarter, in part due to charges related to restructuring and overseas currency fluctuations. However, shares rose Monday in after-hours trading on adjusted results.

General Tso Meets Steven Covey at Panda Express


Rosemead-based Chinese fast-food chain Panda Express is turning self-help tenets into serious cash flow,

Paula Abdul to Launch Casting Website


Former American Idol star Paula Abdul has co-founded, which aims to be the 'Hulu of casting' by connecting aspiring talents with casting directors, producers and managers.

Coda Signs Rental Deal

Coda Automotive and rental car giant Hertz Corp. on Monday said they signed an agreement to offer the Santa Monica automaker’s all-electric cars at certain Hertz locations in Southern California next year.

MPG Names New CEO

MPG Office Trust Inc. has named David Weinstein, a directors, as its chief executive. The real estate investment trust, whose previous CEO resigned after a dispute with the board, also said it hired a restructuring advisor.

Miramax Is Setting Table for Deals


Google is in talks with Filmyard Holdings, the soon-to-be owners of famed film studio Miramax, about a potential deal to gain digital rights to Miramax's archives, according to people close to the situation.

Putting Prices on the Future

Plans to disincorporate or annex Vernon are likely to mean cost increases for the city’s businesses.

#4: National Positions


Bernard May's National Positions sees marketing on mobile devices as its biggest opportunity right now.

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Masons Make No Secret of Plan to Sell Temple

REAL ESTATE: Neighbors forced Park Mile property to close in 2006 over use violations.

The Scottish Rite Masonic Temple in the Park Mile district – once the focus of a bitter dispute with neighborhood groups – was put on the market last week for $13.5 million.

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Lakers Legend Still Stands Tall


Investors and entrepreneurs packed the City Club on Bunker Hill on Monday evening to celebrate promising inner-city businesses, but it was basketball icon Earvin “Magic” Johnson who stole the show.

Falcon Flows into the Mainstream

West L.A. company soared past its waterless urinal rivals after trade groups moved to update the plumbing code.

Waterless urinal maker Falcon had to go against the flow to get plumbing codes revised for its products

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Plastic Bag Makers Look to Sack County Ban

Industry groups may file legal challenges to measure.

Plastic bag makers may turn to the courts to sack L.A. County’s new ban on their products.

Calendar & Events


News of the Week

News of the Week

Regional Reports

Regional Report

MTV Offers an Educational ‘Situation’ on Patents


Keith Fraser believes the cast of “Jersey Shore” could bring some reality to the trademarking process.

Don’t Forget to Think Big

OP-ED: Large employers would benefit from the same attention being focused on boosting small businesses.

David M. Smith and Steven E. Todd remind that L.A.’s big businesses could also use some attention.

Inter/Media Makes Special Offer

Encino company launches unit to help big brands tap infomercial model.

Encino-based Inter/Media wants to offer big companies a deal on the infomercial ad model.

#5: Lusive Decor


Jason Cooper's Lusive Deco, the Business Journal's fifth fastest-growing private company, is a custom lighting manufacturer.

#3: Hometown Telecom


David Schofield's Hometown Telecom, the Business Journal's third fastest growing private company, provides international long-distance calling plans.

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#2: Central Desktop Inc.


Isaac Garcia's Central Desktop Inc., the Business Journal's second fastest growing private company, developed an online business collaboration platform.

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Bumper Crop Blooms in L.A.


From the maker of a back orthotic to an Asian-American-focused advertising firm, some businesses are blooming in Los Angeles.

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UCLA Business School Plan May Get a Rewrite

University’s Academic Senate opposes push for self-sufficiency.

UCLA’s Academic Senate has thrown the book at the business school’s plan to forego state funding.

Food Maven’s Bel-Air Manse Slathered With Extras

CHIEF DWELLINGS: Italian villa of Kathleen Taggares goes on market for $14 million.

Listings and sales of executive homes.

Michael Levine: Image Focused

PR kingpin Michael Levine’s decades of working with celebrity clients has made him a go-to voice on Hollywood scandals.

Publicist Michael Levine uses a gift-wrapping analogy to describe how to present a client’s message.

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Solar Installers Turn Up Heat on L.A. City Rebates

REGULATION WATCH: Council to look at DWP proposal to cut installation incentives.

After intense pressure from solar panel installers and environmental groups, the Los Angeles City Council has voted to review a move by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power to slash rebates for residential and commercial solar panel installations.

Getting a Line on Luxury

Vertu in Beverly Hills rings up sales with its jewel-encrusted phones.

Vertu in Beverly Hills answers the high-priced call for customers seeking bejeweled cell phones.

Kids’ Art Gets Put in Deep Freeze

Non-profit’s project provides painting for Santa Monica ice rink.

Kids’ painting project receives an appropriately chilly reception as the artwork for a Santa Monica outdoor ice rink.

West L.A. Firm Buys Into Financial Sector Rebound

BANKING & FINANCE: Leonard Green joins group snapping up stock in Cascade Bancorp.

Leonard Green & Partners LP has become the latest local private equity firm to invest in the recovering financial sector.

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Vernon Future May Be Costly

Businesses could see steep fee increases.

Plans to disincorporate or annex Vernon are likely to mean cost increases for the city’s businesses.

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Chamber CEO Misfired Often

Gaffe was last straw in Beverly Hills.

The Beverly Hills chamber chopped its chief after a pair of revenue-boosting plans fell flat.

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Flower Power

LAX warehouse takes root as shipping hub

A local company has set up a refrigerated warehouse at LAX to stem Miami’s dominance in the flower trade.

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#1: Producer Scores Big Hit With Plastic Back Gizmo


Bing Howenstein has turned BackJoy Orthotics, which sells a plastic cradle designed to ease back pain, into the No. 1 firm on the Business Journal’s list of fastest growing companies.

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Story of Taser-like Phone Has a Shocking Conclusion

ADVERTISING & PR: Miracle Mile firm Stun Creative sees its hoax as business booster.

Stun Creative, an ad agency on the Miracle Mile, claimed remarkable success last week for a campaign to promote the Stun Fone, an accessory that turns a smart phone into a Taser-like personal defense weapon.

Taking Shot At Holidays

Toymaker hopes new line of battling cars a seasonal sales hit.

Jada’s line of battling model cars has revved up revenue for the City of Industry toymaker.

Azusa Battery Maker Takes a Look at 3-D Glasses

MANUFACTURING: Contour Energy unveils product to power spectacles for television.

An Azusa manufacturing startup has launched its first product: a 3-volt lithium battery the size of a quarter designed to power glasses for 3-D TV – a product already making its way to major retailers.

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Women’s Apparel Website All of a Sudden in Fashion

TECHNOLOGY: ThisNext CEO says he’s not worried by Google’s entry into market.

When Google launched online shopping platform last week, one local fashion site with a comparable approach saw it as a sign that its market is poised for growth.

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Ready for a Thanksgiving Feeling?


Charles Crumpley wonders if the airport security backlash could mean turbulence for body-scan maker OSI.

Friday, November 19

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed down slightly for the week amid mixed economic indicators.

Obagi Medical’s Founder Selling His Stake

Obagi Medical Products Inc.’s two largest shareholders, one a company founder, are selling their stakes in a combination stock sale and share repurchase by the company.

Poizner Rejects Rate Hike Request

State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner rejected an insurance industry recommendation for a 28 percent increase in workers’ compensation premiums, saying insurance carriers could do more to control costs.

L.A. Employers Add Jobs

Seasonal hiring at public and private schools helped propel Los Angeles County to a net gain of 30,000 jobs in October, according to new state data. But the gain didn't change the county's jobless rate.

Amgen Bone Drug Gets New Approved Use

The U.S. regulators have approved Amgen Inc.’s denosumab to help reduce fractures in patients whose solid tumor cancers have spread to their bones, expanding the market for an important drug for the company.

OC Register's Owner, Out of Chapter 11, Gets Deal Offers


The company that owns the Orange County Register is considering offers to buy its newspapers and TV stations.

Thursday, November 18

AeroVironment Gets Electric Car Contract

AeroVironment Inc. has been selected by a Houston electric utility to develop a privately funded, citywide electric vehicle charging system.

Activision's 'Call of Duty' Smashes Five-Day Sales Records


The latest first-person shooter video game, Call of Duty: Black Ops, continues to break records worldwide after going on sale late last week.

Warner Bros. Probes Online 'Potter' Leak


Warner Bros. is investigating how the first 36 minutes of the newest "Harry Potter" film came to be posted on the Internet late Monday night, four days ahead of the movie's world-wide theatrical debut on Friday

American Apparel Founder Increases Stake

American Apparel Inc. Chief Executive Dov Charney has bought shares in the struggling Los Angeles apparel company he founded, increasing his stake to 53 percent.

Wednesday, November 17

Warner Music Loss Widens

Warner Music Group Corp. said lower revenue and a large severance charge resulted in a larger fourth-quarter loss

Port to Test Zero-Emission Vehicles

Vision Motor Corp. has signed an agreement with the Port of Long Beach to develop a hydrogen fuel cell heavy-duty vehicle and a terminal tractor to test their suitability for short distance cargo-hauling.

Hot Topic to Close Stores, Cut Jobs

Lower sales and gross margins significantly hurt Hot Topic Inc.'s third-quarter earnings, but investors responded positively when the teen apparel retailer said it would close underperforming stores and cut jobs to reduce costs.

Tuesday, November 16

Los Angeles County Bans Plastic Bags


Single-use plastic bags will be banned at grocery stores, pharmacies and other shops in unincorporated Los Angeles County areas under an ordinance approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Icahn Invests in Mattel

Mattel Inc. shares rose Tuesday on news that billionaire investor Carl Icahn has acquired a small stake in the company, and that the El Segundo toymaker was expanding its share buyback and dividend programs.

Amgen Reportedly Studying Offer for Swiss Drugmaker


Amgen Inc. is studying a takeover offer for Actelion Ltd. and may approach the Swiss drugmaker as early as this week, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

Jacobs Earnings Fall

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. reported lower-than-expected fiscal fourth quarter profit. Also, the company’s backlog of new orders was down 13 percent.

Monday, November 15

Port Traffic Continues Recovery

The South Bay ports posted cargo gains again last month as retailers continued to import goods for what may be a stronger holiday season than expected.

Sam Zell to Bow Out of L.A. Times' Parent Company


Tribune Co. Chairman Sam Zell said that he doesn't see himself having an operating role in the Chicago-based parent of the Los Angeles Times after it exits bankruptcy.

Gaspin to Exit NBC Universal after Comcast Merger


NBC Universal Television Entertainment Chairman Jeff Gaspin confirmed that he will depart NBC Universal following the conclusion of the company's merger with Comcast.

Trio-Tech Makes a Profit

Trio-Tech International moved from a loss to a profit in its fiscal first quarter, boosted by a rise in product sales and testing services revenue.

Beverly Hills Chamber CEO Leaves

Dan Walsh, president and chief executive of the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce said that he is leaving his post effective immediately.

Regional Reports

Regional Report

Celebs Hypnotized by Therapist’s Jewelry


To relax, psychotherapist Valerie Johns always enjoyed painting images inspired by Buddhism and Japanese culture.

Reining In Area Planning Commissions

OP-ED: Decision against planned Brentwood restaurant -- later overturned -- shows dangers of local control.

Benjamin M. Reznik warns of how local control can go loco with L.A.’s area planning commissions.

Prop. 23 Provides Case Study on Balancing Interests


Shiraz D. Tangri says voters rejected Proposition 23 because they didn’t want to lose AB 32’s benefits.

Rubbed the Right Way

Area woman’s success with massage device yields reality TV gig.

Wendy Robbins’ massager smoothed her path to an on-screen adviser’s role on a reality TV show.

Stem Cells Take Root in Koreatown

RNL treatments find takers despite safety questions.

Patients are flocking to a Koreatown mall for a company’s stem cell treatments despite safety concerns.

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Businesses All In In Beverly Hills?

Chamber sought forced membership.

The Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce has withdrawn its proposal to make membership mandatory, but the idea has other chambers talking.

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Padding Her Resume

PROFILE: Andrea Weiss took over her father’s foam business in Burbank just as prices for materials skyrocketed.

President Andrea Weiss says it took a while to mold her business model at Burbank’s Foam Mart.

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Getting in Touch With The Future

InterPublic unleashes cutting-edge displays at retail laboratory.

InterPublic’s innovative displays put businesses and consumers in touch with the latest in technology.

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Condos Go Rental as Market Weakness Persists

REAL ESTATE: Investors buy Valley Village units in $26 million short sale.

With the housing market still weak, new upscale condominium developments are continuing to be converted into apartments.

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Russ Pillar: Change of Pace

Russ Pillar gave up a career in interactive media to run the Los Angeles Marathon – as its president.

Interactive media exec Russ Pillar saw himself as a shoo-in to run, as in manage, the L.A. Marathon.

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Why WeHo Businesses Should Howl


Charles Crumpley would like to put a collar on West Hollywood’s anti-business pet store restrictions.

She’s Got A Message For You

Elizabeth Danziger’s workplace e-mail rules value calm, courtesy.

Elizabeth Danziger’s rules of e-mail etiquette help execs avoid negative types.

Partner, Firm Merge With an Eye Toward M&A

LAW: Eric R. Reimer to split time between O’Melveny offices.

Eric R. Reimer has joined O’Melveny & Myers and is betting that its strong reputation and international presence will give him the best chance to rebuild his corporate finance practice.

News of the Week

News of the Week

Rescue Mission in West Hollywood

Pet stores must find other means of revenue after city restricts pet sales to shelter animals.

It has been dog days for West Hollywood pet stores since the city limited the shops to selling rescued animals.

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Malibu Treatment Center Sees Room for Expansion

HEALTH & BIOTECH: New backers to help facility promote its procedures and services.

Founders of the Malibu Beach Recovery Center, an exclusive drug and alcohol treatment program, don’t necessarily want to build more facilities around the country.

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Opponents Look to Tie Down Ports’ Rail Project

TRADE & TRANSPORT: Neighbors, activists fear increases in congestion and pollution.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have run into a potential stumbling block in their plans to expand a major rail yard: opposition from residents and environmental groups worried about congestion and pollution.

Downtown L.A. Stepping Into Ring With New Team

SPORTS BUSINESS: Matadors part of a team approach taken by international league.

Downtown Los Angeles is home to a new team, and the sport is … boxing?

Eyeglass Company Sees Something in Shoemaker

RETAIL & APPAREL: Signature signs up with Rough Justice to launch lifestyle line.

Michael Prince, chief executive of Signature Eyewear, met Bodo Loerke and Lee Ashworth Sr. through a mutual friend earlier this year.

Online Postage Company Isn’t Just Mailing It In beats earnings expectations three quarters in a row.

Analysts are sticking with as it has surpassed earnings expectations for three straight quarters.

Finding New Space

Myspace reborn as entertainment fan site

Myspace hopes to fan its popularity with a new focus on tracking entertainment such as bands and TV shows.

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Scrutiny Will Keep MTA Finances on Correct Path


Mark Ridley-Thomas stresses the importance of tracking MTA finances.

Calendar & Events


Culture Clash Not a Concern

Grandpoint sees growth in ethnic bank pickups.

Downtown L.A.’s Grandpoint sees ethnic institutions as ripe pickups despite the cultural challenges.

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Getting to Work on Homelessness

OP-ED: An L.A. task force applies business principles and draws up an action plan to tackle a chronic civil problem.

Renee White Fraser and Jerry Neuman share how business principles created a plan to combat homelessness.

Friday, November 12

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed down slightly for the week as investors reacted to both global economic worries and mixed local earnings reports.

MGM Reorganization Takes Another Hurdle


A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge has ruled that some last-minute modifications to its financial-reorganization plan prior to its Nov. 3 court filing have been approved, meaning the plan won’t have to go before lenders for another over vote by lenders.

Icahn Again Extends Lions Gate Offer

Carl Icahn once again has extended his $7.50-per-share tender offer for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., where he is the largest individual shareholder.

OneWest Buys Large Loan Portfolio

OneWest Bank has acquired a $1.4 billion multifamily and commercial real estate loan portfolio from Citibank NA.

Thursday, November 11

Schwarzenegger to Call Budget Special Session


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will call a budget special session starting Dec. 6 that focuses on resolving the $6.1 billion current-year deficit.

REIT’s CEO Resigns

MPG Office Trust Inc. said that Chief Executive Nelson C. Rising had resigned in a blow to the office landlord as it attempts to recover from the real estate downturn.

CB Richard Ellis Refinances Debt

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. has arranged for $1.5 billion in new credit, paid back $460 million in debt and refinanced another $650 million.

Disney’s Quarter Misses Forecasts

Walt Disney Co.'s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings fell 7 percent, mainly due to accounting issues.

California Pizza Kitchen Reports Loss

California Pizza Kitchen Inc. said it lost money in its third quarter, hurt by lower sales at established restaurants and some one-time charges.

Activision Says Black Ops First-Day Sales a Record


Activision Blizzard Inc. sold about 5.6 million copies of "Call of Duty: Black Ops" for $360 million on its first day Tuesday, setting a new record for the video game industry.

LAEDC Names 'Business-Friendly' Cities

Alhambra and Cerritos have taken top honors this year for the most business-friendly cities in Los Angeles County, according to the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

Aecom Profit Up

Aecom Technology Corp.’s fourth-quarter earnings rose 25 percent, but the company said the upcoming year might not meet analysts’ forecasts.

Wednesday, November 10

Fred Segal Starts a New Label


Fred Segal has come out of 20 years of retirement to create a new clothing label with its own boutique with his daughter Annie.

Former KB Home CEO Is Sentenced

Former KB Home chief executive Bruce Karatz has been sentenced to five years probation, including eight months of house arrest, for his conviction on charges of backdating stock options.

Internet Firms Announce Funding

Six Los Angeles tech start-ups this week announced angel and venture capital funding totaling more than $25 million, showing strength in the county’s Internet content and services sector.

Arden Earnings Decline

Upscale grocery operator Arden Group Inc. reported a 26 percent drop in third quarter profit, hurt by lower revenue and higher contributions to employee benefits programs.

Tuesday, November 9

Continued Losses at American Apparel

American Apparel Inc. reported its second straight quarterly loss as the apparel maker and retailer was hurt by a 10 percent decline in revenue. The results fell short of analyst forecasts.

Higher Costs Push Lions Gate to Loss

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp posted a fiscal second quarter loss due to costs related a higher number of new film launches and its legal battle against Carl Icahn.

Green Dot Shareholders to Sell Shares

Green Dot Corp.has filed documents for a proposed follow-on public offering of up to $100 million of its common shares.

L.A. to Buy Arizona-Made Tasers Despite Boycott


The Los Angeles City Council has voted unanimously to continue acquiring Tasers from a Scottsdale-based company despite an ongoing economic boycott of Arizona.

Sunset Media Tower For Sale


The Sunset Media Tower, one of the largest office buildings in Hollywood, has been listed for sale. The Sunset Boulevard building reportedly could fetch upward of $80 million.

Live Nation Buys French Ticketing Company

Live Nation Entertainment Inc. has acquired Ticketnet, France’s second largest ticket retailer.

Radnet Narrows Loss

RadNet Inc. reported a significantly smaller third quarter loss as revenue increased from its growing chain of medical imaging facilities. But the adjusted results still missed Wall Street expectations.

Monday, November 8

Hilton on the Market

The Beverly Hilton Hotel, site of a stalled $500 million development, has been put up for sale by owner Beny Alagem.

Coda CEO Resigns in Surprise Move

Kevin Czinger has unexpectedly resigned as chief executive of Coda Automotive, a high profile Santa Monica electric car company that hopes to start selling its first vehicle in the domestic market by the end of the year.

Aecom Partnership Wins Large U.K. Contract

Aecom Technology Corp.'s joint venture with United Kingdom construction company Galliford Try has received a contract to build one water treatment plant and revamp another.

Better-Than-Expected Profit at Motorcar Parts

Motorcar Parts of America Inc. slightly increased its earnings as the auto industry continues to slowly recover from the recession. Its profit exceeded Wall Street expectations, although revenue was less than expected.

CytRx Slips to Loss

CytRx Corp., a Los Angeles biotech with no products on the market, moved to a loss in the third quarter, which year-ago recorded some non-sales revenue.

Local Firm Chips In for Denver Savings and Loan

BANKING & FINANCE: Lovell Minnick pays $47 million in United Western infusion.

With more investors looking to capitalize on the recovering banking sector, Lovell Minnick Partners LLC, an El Segundo private equity firm focused on the financial services industry, has invested in a beleaguered Denver savings and loan.

Home Price Fall a First Since Tax Credit End

HOME SALES: mMedian slips to $346,000, but has bottom been reached?

L.A. County home prices fell in October for the first time since the end of the federal tax credit.

Putting a Price on Park Place

Los Angeles comes in third place nationally in hourly rate.

National study says L.A. is among the leaders of the pack when it comes to hourly parking rates.

Getting Their Hands On Games

Local firm’s software lets amateurs develop titles for iPhone, iPad.

Transplanted Texas company’s software comes in handy for designing games for the iPhone and iPad.

Love Story That’s Fit To Print

Local business turns couples’ nuptials into coffee table book.

Couples can book a Manhattan Beach firm to turn their nuptials into a glossy coffee table tome.

Tunnel Vision on Subway Stop

Beverly Hills officials, business split on location for Metro stop.

Century City factions are digging in over rival plans for placement of the Purple Line subway stop.

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Alan Buckelew: Cruise Control

INTERVIEW: Vietnam veteran Alan Buckelew has worked his way up the chain of command to take the helm of Princess Cruises.

Princess Cruises Chief Executive Alan B. Buckelew as a young man navigated the jungles of Vietnam in an Army reconnaissance unit.

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News of the Week

Last week’s major news from and other sources

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Chipping Away

PROFILE: Trio Tech looks to cut its dependence on the volatile semiconductor industry by widening customer base.

Van Nuys-based Trio Tech refuses to bet all of its chips on the up-and-down semiconductor industry.

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Palo Alto Firm Picks Up Downtown Apartments

REAL ESTATE: Purchase of Santee Court follows on heels of Santee Village deal.

Last week, Beverly Hills real estate firm Kennedy Wilson announced that it had purchased with a partner downtown L.A.’s Santee Village for an undisclosed price out of foreclosure.

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D.C. Firm Has Something to Say in Los Angeles

ADVERTISING & PUBLIC RELATIONS: Strauss opens office in downtown to coordinate talk show bookings.

Strauss Radio Strategies, an agency that books clients for radio interviews, has opened an office in downtown Los Angeles.

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Councilman Has Reservations About Hotel Layoffs

Koretz’s measure would require post-renovation rehiring.

L.A. councilman wants laid-off workers to have room to return when hotel renovations are done.

Counterfeiters Closer to Home?

Police raid finds suspect jeans at Lynwood site.

A recent raid at a Lynwood facility has some industry analysts suspecting that counterfeiters have moved operations onshore.

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Firm Banked on Distressed Debt

Oaktree now blossoming in upturn.

L.A.’s Oaktree has blossomed by leveraging a distressed debt strategy during the economic downturn.

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Advanced Placement

Agency cues lyricists to name-drop brands.

Consumers long ago grew accustomed to seeing name-brand products pop up in films and videos. But now, that hit song on the radio may have a paid advertisement embedded in it.

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Jeep Rolls Out Model Tied to Activision Game

SIDE BAR: Advanced Placement

When Activision Blizzard’s hot game in the “Call of Duty” series hits stores this week, players will be able to drive across virtual battlefields in a digitally animated Jeep.

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Long Beach Gets a D


Charles Crumpley wonders if Measure D, which Long Beach voters approved last week, stands for dangerous

Real Estate Mogul Offers Package Deal in Malibu

CHIEF DWELLINGS: Residence and four adjacent properties listed for $75 million.

Listings and sales of executive homes.

Billboarders Get Their Tax On West Hollywood Ballot

REGULATION WATCH: Measure also would open up parts of city to supergraphics.

A controversial tax on billboards has qualified for the March ballot in West Hollywood.

Culver City Firm Sees New Chapter for E-Books

TECHNOLOGY: Wowio seeks to patent method to insert advertising in titles.

As the market grows for e-book readers such as iPad, Kindle and Nook, a Culver City company is in the process of getting patents that would give it an advantage for placing custom advertising in e-books.

De-coding the City’s Zoning Rules


GOVERNMENT: Joel B. Miller fears foes of L.A. city’s zoning code rewrite are just out to hinder development

Oil-From-Algae Startup Partners Up Down Under

MANUFACTURING: OriginOil reaches its first paying deal with Australia-based MBD.

An L.A. startup developing a way to extract oil from algae has found its first paying customer.

Calendar and Events


Learning Our Lessons Early

OP-ED: Investing in childhood education at a preschool level will pay off in a better educated work force for L.A.

EDUCATION: Celia C. Ayala touts prekindergarten involvement as a means to ensure a better educated work force.

A Road to the White House


The death last week of JFK confidant Ted Sorensen stirred up memories for L.A.’s Carl Terzian – and thoughts of what might have been.

Friday, November 5

Regulators Close Two Local Banks

Regulators late Friday closed a pair of distressed Los Angeles County banks. They were sold to First California Bank and Grandpoint Bank, two local institutions.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed up for the week as the markets responded to the Federal Reserve's latest move to pump up the economy.

International Rectifier’s Profit Surprises Street

International Rectifier Corp. was the biggest mover on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday after reporting it moved from a loss to a better-than-expected profit in its fiscal first quarter due to increased semiconductor sales.

Superior Has Profitable Quarter

Superior Industries International Inc. said it swung from a third-quarter loss last year to a profit this year as revenue jumped 65 percent.

Activision Beats Analysts’ Expectations

Activision Blizzard Inc.'s latest video game offerings helped to more than triple its net income in the third quarter. The results exceeded Wall Street expectations.

Lawsuit Alleges MannKind Study Misconduct


MannKind Corp. fell the most in about eight months after a former executive alleged in a lawsuit that the company suppressed potential fraud in clinical trials of a diabetes treatment now pending before U.S. regulators.

Thursday, November 4

Leiweke Hopes to Bring 2016 Super Bowl to Downtown


Tim Leiweke, the politically connected head of Anschutz Entertainment Group, has laid out a vision that would bring the 2016 Super Bowl to Downtown Los Angeles, as well as the 2022 World Cup final.

Macerich Shares Rise Despite Revenue Dip

Shares of real estate investment trust Macerich Co. rose 6 percent following the company’s announcement that third-quarter funds from operations beat Wall Street expectations.

Double-Digit Gains for K Swiss Shares

K-Swiss shares rose 10 percent after the company filed its quarterly report citing a surge in future sales orders.

Bridge Replacement Gets State Approval

The California Transportation Commission has approved the Port of Long Beach’s plans to replace the Gerald Desmond Bridge, clearing the way for Caltrans and the port to seek firms to design and construct the $950 million span.

ValueClick Beats Expectations

Shares of ValueClick Inc. rose more than 7 percent after the Internet advertising company reported an increase in third quarter profit and provided a better-than-expected outlook.

Better-Than-Expected Quarter at United Online

United Online Inc. shares jumped more than 16 percent after the Internet company reported lower third quarter earnings and revenue that still beat Wall Street expectations.

Green Dot’s Quarter Beats Expectations

Green Dot Corp. shares fell as the prepaid debit card company reported third-quarter profit that beat Wall Street expectations but missed revenue estimates.

Wednesday, November 3

Live Nation Realigns Concert Executives


Under ongoing pressure from declining ticket sales, concert giant Live Nation Entertainment Inc. disclosed the departure of global music chief executive Jason Garner, who will be succeeded by a trio of executives with regional responsibilities and a mandate to reduce costs.

Disappointing Quarter for True Religion

Designer jeans maker True Religion Apparel Inc. said weaker U.S. wholesale sales reduced its third quarter profit.

Wider Quarterly Loss at THQ

THQ Inc. reported a larger loss in its fiscal second quarter as the video game developer was hurt by a lack of new releases. The results were better than Wall Street expected.

MGM Files for Chapter 11

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer filed for Chapter 11 reorganization as expected on Wednesday. The bankruptcy enables the Century City studio to eliminate more than $4 billion in debt and gives control to a group of hedge fund creditors.

RealD Reports Smaller Quarterly Loss

RealD Inc. shares gained more than 21 percent on Wednesday after the 3D technology provider reported significantly higher revenue and a smaller net loss.

Hollywood Comes Out a Midterm Winner


Hollywood woke up Wednesday morning to find that it actually might have more influence in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., than before the midterm elections.

Tuesday, November 2

Big Five Misses Expectations

Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp. released quarterly results below Wall Street forecasts, blaming a calendar shift and store openings.

HCP Moves to Profit, Increases Stock Sale

HCP Inc. moved from a loss to profit in the third quarter, boosted by higher revenue and the end of a large litigation provision. The health care REIT on Wednesday increased the size of planned stock sale designed to pay down debt.

Judge Sides with MGA in Mattel Dispute

Rivals Mattel Inc. and MGA Entertainment Inc. are set to battle another round in their long-running dispute over the Bratz fashion dolls, after a federal judge ruled that a new trial in the case should proceed.

Improvements at Applebee's Lift DineEquity

DineEquity Inc. shares gained 14 percent on Tuesday after the casual restaurant operator reported better results at its Applebee's restaurants.

Global Business Lifts Herbalife’s Quarter

Herbalife Ltd.'s third-quarter profit jumped 31 percent on better overseas sales, and the nutritional supplement company raised its earnings guidance for the year.

Editor of Daily Variety Is Pushed Out


The editor of Daily Variety has been pushed out after less than a year on the job.

Monday, November 1

MPG Narrows Loss

Shares of MPG Office Trust Inc. rose more than 8 percent Tuesday after reporting a narrower net loss for the third quarter. The REIT benefited from sale of a large office building in Orange County. Relocates to Glendale has signed a 10-year lease for headquarters space in Glendale, making good on a threat to move out of Los Angeles after a dispute over its tax rate.

Kennedy Wilson Buys Santee Village

Beverly Hills real estate firm Kennedy Wilson and a partner have purchased the remaining 167 condominiums at downtown’s Santee Village out of foreclosure.

Lions Gate's Share-Debt Swap with Board Member Upheld


Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.’s deal to increase the number of shares held by board member Mark Rachesky, a move challenged by hostile suitor Carl Icahn, was upheld by a Canadian court.

Lower Premiums Hurt Mercury’s Quarter

Mercury General Corp.'s third quarter profit fell 39 percent as the insurer collected fewer premiums and spent more on claims. But shares rose on the announcement of a higher quarterly dividend.

THQ and WWE Strengthen Ties

THQ Inc. and World Wrestling Entertainment have signed a new marketing agreement that integrates THQ’s branded video games for the professional wrestling promoter into events, pay-per view and TV sponsorships and magazines.

BofA Tries to Untangle Countrywide Files


At five offices around the U.S., hundreds of Bank of America Corp. employees are slogging through 102,000 foreclosure files related to Countrywide loans, trying to fix any problems.

Still Thinking Big

Thomas Properties moves forward on two large projects while preparing for a leadership change.

CEO Jim Thomas, 73, is in it for the long haul as developer Thomas Properties pursues multiyear real estate projects.

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News of the Week

Last week’s major news from and other sources

Doctor Makes Name With Skin-Deep Success


What’s taken for granted these days in skin treatments says a lot about the impact Dr. Howard Murad has had on dermatology.

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Calendar and Events


Online Coupon Businesses Click With Niche Focus

TECHNOLOGY: L.A. startups taking Groupon discount model one step beyond.

Local firms hope to gain an edge in the online coupon business by dealing in tightly focused niches.

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KNBC Rolling Out TV Bingo

Local channel hopes it has viewers’ number with weekly game.

KNBC (Channel 4) has taken a by-the-numbers approach to drawing viewers with a weekly bingo game.

Gunning for Something Different

THQ, Deepak Chopra plan video game as a healing experience.

Developer THQ has turned its sights on Deepak Chopra’s teachings for video game inspiration.

Australian Company Makes First Local Purchase

REAL ESTATE: Dexus Property signs $14 million deal in City of Industry.

In June, Australian real estate giant Dexus Property Group opened a Southern California office and announced its intentions to acquire hundreds of millions of dollars worth of industrial properties in the region.

Regional Reports

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

L.A. Homes In on Businesses


Comment: City of L.A.’s rules do a job on small businesses, Charles Crumpley writes.

Getting A Line on Insurance

Former homeowner’s website helps others catalog possessions.

Bradford Stanley homed in on a way to catalog possessions online after losing his Malibu house in a fire.

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Fast-Fashion Chain Makes Room for Another Brand

RETAIL & APPAREL: Divine Rights first outside label added to Forever 21 stores.

For the first time, Forever 21 is selling clothes that don’t feature the store label – a sign the retailer is looking to expand its offerings.

Century City Firm Banks on Government Client

LAW: Quateman fills hours helping FDIC with bankrupt institutions.

Quateman LLP has three major practice areas – corporate, finance and real estate – that have all been hit hard by the downturn.

Elevated Bus Maker Hopes To Raise Interest in U.S.

TRADE & TRANSPORT: Chinese company opens local office; may build here.

Americans may literally be driving under the bus if a new San Gabriel Valley company gets its way.

Some Stars Get the Picture, Others Don’t

Real estate may not be the most star-studded business, but there are certain perks to running a concert venue.

Councilwoman Rips Beverly Hills Staff Over Memo

Missing info could have bolstered medical space proposal.

A Beverly Hills councilwoman claims city staff sat on a report that would have boosted a medical office project.

Cosmetic Changes

SPECIAL SECTION: Healthcare - L.A. businesses rely on science to feed the need for the cutting-edge beauty products.

L.A.-based businesses aren’t just making it up as they use science to develop the latest in cutting-edge cosmetics.

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Fashion Forward

Jeans maker YMI looks to start clothing district at new Boyle Heights HQ.

Clothing maker YMI sees a good fit and room for growth at a Boyle Heights business park.

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Biotech Doubles Down On Chin-Thinning Drug


Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc., a Calabasas biotech, isn’t weighed down by the serious challenge of discovering the next cure for cancer or some other life-threatening disease. Rather, the company’s goal is to commercialize a nonsurgical method for dissolving chin fat.

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Fight Path

Westchester businesses fear northern expansion

Westchester businesses are looking to ground a plan to expand LAX’s North Airfield.

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Cash-Strapped Cities Face Growing ‘Red Flight’ Risk


Wayne Lusvardi sees the takeoff of “red flight” as residents flee pension-strapped cities and counties.

County Banks Vault Into Black

Strong earnings may point to industry rebound.

L.A. County-based banks have buoyed the industry’s outlook with surprisingly strong earnings reports.

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Failing Grade for PLA School Job?

Nonunion builders report many union violations.

Nonunion contractors hope to build opposition to PLAs based on a critical audit of an LAUSD high school project.

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Cosmetics Maker’s Sales Lashed to High-End Stores


Beauty magazines have been crowded for decades with ads for pricey mascara, but Chatsworth cosmetics manufacturer Lifetech Resources Inc. is trying a more sophisticated approach to achieving fuller looking lashes.

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Hard Work, Tough Lessons

OP-ED: UC scholar credits the work life of his day laborer father with inspiring him to pursue higher education.

Alvaro Huerta credits his career in academia to his hardworking day laborer father.

Chinese Shoemaker Jumps Through Hoops in U.S.

SPORTS BUSINESS: Peak Sports opens L.A. office, courts NBA player endorsements.

Chinese shoe and apparel manufacturer Peak Sports recently opened a U.S. office in Los Angeles and plans to start selling products stateside next year.

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