NEW CEO: MPG Office Trust Inc. named David L. Weinstein as chief executive. The real estate investment trust formerly known as Maguire Properties Inc., whose previous CEO, Nelson Rising, resigned after a dispute with the board, also announced that it had hired a restructuring adviser, Atalon Management Group LLC. Weinstein is a partner at New York real estate investment firm Belvedere Capital and has been an independent director of the company since August 2008. MPG, with main holdings in Los Angeles and Orange counties, said Weinstein will lead a new phase of restructuring focusing on its downtown L.A. properties.
RECALL: Advanced Bionics, which makes advanced hearing systems, launched a voluntary recall of its latest cochlear implant, the HiRes 90K, and is retrieving all unimplanted devices. The Valencia company informed the Food & Drug Administration of two confirmed instances where malfunctioning required removal of the device. Affected patients experienced severe pain, overly loud sounds or shocking sensations several days after the device was implanted and activated. Medical device billionaire Alfred Mann last year sold Advanced Bionics to Swiss hearing-aid maker Sonova Holding AG.
JOBS REPORT: Seasonal hiring at public and private schools helped propel the county to a net gain of 30,000 jobs in October. The gains were not enough to move the county’s unemployment rate, which remained stuck at 12.6 percent – the highest level in decades – due to continuing job losses in manufacturing and construction. The film and TV industry gained 12,000 jobs over the past year, followed by the leisure and hospitality sector at 7,000 jobs. Those gains were offset by a steep drop of 23,000 jobs on local government payrolls.
INVESTMENT: West L.A. 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 $2.86 billion. J. Crew, which gained a higher profile as one of first lady Michelle Obama’s favorite clothing lines, agreed to be acquired by funds controlled by Leonard Green and TPG Capital, a San Francisco leveraged buyout firm. Leonard Green’s other retail investments have included Sports Authority, Container Store and Whole Foods.
SHAREHOLDERS EXIT: Obagi Medical Products Inc.’s two largest shareholders are selling off their stakes in a combination stock sale and share repurchase by the company. The Long Beach developer of skin care products sold in doctor’s offices said the secondary offering includes 2.69 million shares held by a Stonington Capital Partners LLC fund and by the Zein and Samar Obagi Family Trust. The company also will take 3.56 million shares though a buyback program. Stonington is a Toronto investment firm that helped take the company public in 2005. Dr. Zein Obagi, who has been embroiled in a legal dispute with the company since January, is the company’s second largest shareholder.
REDUCING STAKE: Tutor Perini Corp. Chief Executive Ronald N. Tutor is selling nearly one-quarter of his stake in the Sylmar construction contractor. The construction company priced the 4.5 million-share secondary offering at $19.50 per share. The shares come from a trust controlled by Tutor, who is also the company’s chairman. Tutor merged his construction company with publicly held construction giant Perini in 2008. The shares to be sold represent nearly 10 percent of the company’s shares outstanding, leaving the trust with 14.7 million shares.
SECONDARY OFFERING: RealD Inc. filed a registration statement with regulators that would enable longtime shareholders to sell more than 7.8 million shares of common stock. The Los Angeles 3-D movie technology company, which went public in July, said it would not be offering any shares itself.
REJECTION: State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner rejected an insurance industry recommendation for a 28 percent increase in workers’ compensation premiums. Poizner said insurance companies have not implemented many of the cost-saving measures in the 2004 reforms passed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau, an industry group, had recommended a 28 percent increase in basic workers’ compensation premium rates, citing rising medical costs and recent court rulings that give more latitude to doctors to prescribe expensive treatments for workplace injuries.
RENTAL DEAL: Coda Automotive and rental car giant Hertz Corp. signed an agreement to offer the Santa Monica automaker’s all-electric cars at certain Hertz locations in Southern California next year. The companies did not disclose terms or the number of Hertz locations and cars to be purchased by Hertz for its Hertz Global EV rental program. Coda vehicles, with components made in China and assembled in California, are designed to be plugged into household units or commercial charging stations. The sedan has a range of 90 to 120 miles per charge.
DIED: 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. Katz was a partner at the West L.A. CPA firm of Katz Fram and Co. In addition to the Business Journal, Katz wrote opinion pieces for the Century City News community newspaper and the CityWatch online site. He was also a founding director of the Century City Chamber of Commerce.
EARNINGS: Guess Inc. reported third quarter net income of $69.1 million, 8 percent higher than a year earlier. Revenue rose 17 percent to nearly $614 million. … Dole Food Co. Inc. reported a third quarter net loss of $53 million compared with net income of $31 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 3 percent to $1.99 billion.
CORRECTION: The item headlined “Healthy Medical Office” in the Nov. 22 real estate column misidentified whom broker Tom Gilmer represented in the sale of a Northridge medical office building. He represented the seller.
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