Stories for February 2011

Monday, February 28

Vitesse to Rejoin Nasdaq

Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. said it will return to Nasdaq this week after almost five years off the exchange.

Power Generation a Drag on Edison’s Quarter

Edison International reported 22 percent lower fourth-quarter profit as higher revenue at its Southern California Edison utility was offset by a write-down on its struggling wholesale power generation business.

Wesco Reports Lower Profit

Wesco Financial Corp., which is being acquired by majority shareholder Berkshire Hathaway Inc., reported 4 percent lower profit in the fourth quarter.

Breaking the Mold Fails to Pay for 'Green' Facility

LEED plant of frozen-food maker Contessa faces auction.

Contessa CEO John Blazevich’s love has not cooled for his “green” frozen-food plant.

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Firms in Hard Drive for Hires

L.A. companies offer extras to land engineers.

Local startups have added extra perks and benefits to lure hard-to-find experienced engineers.

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Getting to Work on Unemployment

OP-ED: L.A. should turn to entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in order to learn how to create jobs.

Rob Carpenter wants to put startup entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to work on solving the jobs problem.

Roski to Tackle Stadium Right Now – in Las Vegas

Developer’s firm may build UNLV venue for basketball and football.

Ed Roski Jr. is moving forward on a Las Vegas venue as he awaits word on his NFL stadium plan here.

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Outcast Is Pumped, Flexed

ADVERTISING: Santa Monica company lengthens its reach at gas stations and gyms win merger with two rivals.

Recent pickups have extended the reach of Santa Monica’s Outcast at gas stations and gyms.

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Designer Doesn’t Mail It In

Marc Friedland gets Oscar’s nod for his envelopes and cards.

Marc Friedland’s pitch to redesign the Academy Awards envelopes has a Hollywood ending.

Stepping Up Distribution

Back-support device maker enlists ex-Crocs execs to boost sales.

Former Crocs executives were shoo-ins when it came time to boost business for Backjoy Orthotics.

Bioplastics Business Makes Mark

Cereplast holds contest to create logo similar to recycling symbol.

Bioplastics maker Cereplast hopes to make a mark on the industry with a new “compostable” logo.

Hitting the Half-Century Milestone ...


Louis Perry is open about what he loves, and that’s his family, religion and business. So for his 50th birthday, he brought them all together at a big bash in downtown Los Angeles on Feb. 19.

Business Royalty Loses Regency


The upcoming closing of the Regency Club will be a royal pain, Charles Crumpley writes.

Law Firm Makes a Case for Remaining Downtown

REAL ESTATE: Holland & Knight pays $10.4 million to keep offices in city center.

Legal giant Holland & Knight LLP has chosen to keep its L.A. offices downtown, signing a seven-year, 42,000-square-foot lease at the Mellon Bank Center.

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Dean Scarborough: Sticking to It

Chief executive has spent almost his entire career working for label and office products maker Avery Dennison.

Thinking outside the box – and other places to stick labels – is a high priority for Avery Dennison CEO Dean Scarborough.

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Jumbo Jobs

Fuselages for Boeing’s big 747-8 lift aerospace industry

Orders for giant new 747 fuselages should be a big lift to the local industry.

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Regional Reports

Regional Reports

Calendar & Events


CEO Carousel for Koreatown Banks

Chief exec post is often a short-term, shifting gig.

CEOs have been playing musical chairs recently at Koreatown banks as the institutions shake up their executive suites.

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Shareholders Charged Up Over Electronics Retailer

Sales surge increases stock value of Torrance’s PC Mall.

A surge in sales has investors plugging into electronics retailer PC Mall.

Regulators, Businesses Clear the Air With Compromise


Bill La Marr sees a breath of fresh air in a recent compromise by a state board over company emissions.

Ernst & Young’s Numbers Add Up To Local Crown

New hires oust Deloitte as industry’s biggest in L.A. County.

Ernst & Young added recent hires to take the title of biggest accounting firm in the county. “green” frozen-food plant.

Online Shopping Site Fails To Connect With Women

Liquidator selling intellectual property of Glendale’s MyShape.

Online women’s clothing retailer MyShape and its personalized service failed to come together as a business.

U.S. Resources Pump Up Oil Co.

Turmoil overseas may boost Oxy’s domestic focus.

Occidental’s focus on domestic oil fields looks good amid Arab unrest.

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News of the Week

News of the Week

Friday, February 25

Public Storage Profit Rises

Public Storage reported higher profit in the fourth quarter, mostly driven by higher revenue from existing self-storage facilities and new rent from recent acquisitions.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed down for the week, as skyrocketing oil prices amid concerns about Middle East instability dampened local stocks.

Chais Estate Faces Claims in Madoff Case

A bankruptcy judge in New York ruled that the estate of Beverly Hills investment adviser Stanley Chais must face claims by the trustee liquidating Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.

Newest L.A. Luxury Properties Struggle in Lethargic Market


Prices on various high-end Los Angeles condos -- some running as high as $10 million or more -- have been slashed by as much as 30 percent.

Motion Picture Home: No Comfort for Old Men


If there were Oscars for Best Recovery from a Public Relations Debacle, or Best Suture to Stanch a Financial Hemorrhage, or Best Timing in the Making of an Announcement, the Motion Picture & Television Fund would have racked up nominations this year as prodigiously as The King’s Speech or True Grit.

International Rectifier Buys Chip Maker

International Rectifier Corp. has agreed to acquire CHiL Semiconductor Corp. for $75 million in cash.

Selig Rejects Fox's $200M Loan to McCourt, Dodgers


In search of money, Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt reportedly had planned to borrow $200 million from Fox to keep the club running. But commissioner Bud Selig rejected the proposal several weeks ago.

Gogii Completes Third Funding Round

Gogii Inc., which makes a popular social messaging app for cell phones, said that it has raised an additional $15 million in a third round of financing.

Caruso Reaches Deal to Buy Americana-Adjacent Hotel


Developer Rick Caruso has negotiated a deal to acquire the Golden Key Hotel as part of his bid to expand his 15.5-acre Americana at Brand.

Thursday, February 24

Tutor Perini Misses Estimates

Tutor Perini Corp. reported lower-than-expected quarterly results, hurt by weakness at its building construction segment.

DreamWorks Quarter Falls Short

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc said that its net income nearly doubled in the fourth quarter due to a one-time tax benefit. But the film studios revenue and adjusted earnings came in below Wall Street expectations.

Capstone Sells 24 Turbines to Oil Company

Capstone Turbine Corp. in Chatsworth announced a new order for 24 microturbines from an unnamed independent oil company.

On Assignment to Acquire European Firm

On Assignment Inc. is buying Valesta, a Belgium provider of specialized staffing in clinical research, for about $17.6 million.

Wednesday, February 23

Regency Club to Close

Billionaire David Murdock has decided to close Westwood’s storied Regency Club, a longtime haven for Los Angeles’ business elite.

United Online Revamps

United Online Inc. reported lower, but better-than-expected net income for the fourth quarter and unveiled a long-awaited remodel of its struggling social networking site.

Subscriber Growth Boosts DirecTV’s Quarter

DirecTV Group Inc. turned from a loss to a profit in the fourth quarter and said it attracted more new subscribers during the period than in the past 10 years.

Tuesday, February 22

Newly Public Demand Media Shows Profit

Demand Media Inc., which went public last month, reported a profit for the first time in the fourth quarter.

Herbalife’s Quarterly Profit Grows 46 Percent

Herbalife Ltd. showed strong earnings growth in the fourth quarter and full year, boosted by double-digit sales volume gains for its nutritional products in Mexico, China and the Asia Pacific.

Lenders Strike Deal with American Apparel

American Apparel Inc. has avoided defaulting on a key loan by amending its credit agreement with a lender, but the move came at a price: the company is now required to hit a profit target it had previously sought to eliminate.

Disney Leaker Sentenced to Home Confinement


Bonnie Hoxie, the former Walt Disney Co. employee who pleaded guilty to trying to sell confidential earnings information, was sentenced to four months’ home confinement.

PC Mall Buys Online Competitor

PC Mall Inc. plans to acquire consumer electronics retailer from parent company PFSWeb in a deal valued at $2.3 million.

Monday, February 21

Ducommun Swings to Profit

Ducommun Inc. said a slowdown in military aircraft component sales contributed to a drop in fourth quarter revenue. The company still reported a profit, but the results did not meet Wall Street expectations.

Skytronics Acquired

Phillips Service Industries Inc. has acquired Skytronics Inc., an El Segundo aircraft component manufacturer, distributor and maintenance company.

First California Takes Over Failed Bank

First California Bank over the weekend took over a small failed bank in San Luis Obispo, which will reopen Tuesday as a branch of First California.

Sporting New App

FieldLevel Team helps coaches follow NCAA recruitment rules.

FieldLevel’s new app helps college coaches play by NCAA recruitment rules.

Video Game Giant Scores New Santa Monica Deal

REAL ESTATE: 10-year renewal cuts Activision Blizzard’s space by 10 percent.

In the second major Westside tech lease deal in recent weeks, video game giant Activision Blizzard Inc. has signed a 10-year renewal for 195,000 square feet in Equity Office Properties’ Santa Monica Business Park.

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Weighing In

Obesity center expands in field rocked by recent deaths

Beverly Hills medical center opts for tact over tacky in conducting and promoting obesity treatments.

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Grossly Unfair to Older Businesses


City of L.A.’s benefits to lure new businesses do nothing to reward the ones already here, writes Charles Crumpley.

L.A. ‘Jobs Czar’ Sees ‘Winnable’ War

Beutner cites gains in first-year review.

L.A. “jobs czar” Austin Beutner in his first-year progress report sees the city making business-friendly gains.

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Hometown Industry Lures In L.A. Local

Special Report: WHO’S WHO IN BANKING

The Business Journal turns the spotlight on local bankers who lend the money to keep Hollywood rolling.

Calendar & Events


News of the Week

News of the Week

Monrovia Battery Maker Looks to Pull Plug on Rival

AeroVironment accuses Online Power of tech theft.

MANUFACTURING – AeroVironment claims stolen trade secrets could short-circuit its battery business.

Equity Firm Looks To SBA Program For Capital Idea

New fund from Levine Leichtman to boost young businesses.

Beverly Hills firm taps SBA program for an equity fund to back young companies.

Virtual Ad Company Takes Shape in Santa Monica

Double Fusion to leave San Francisco for Westside industry hub.

Santa Monica pushes the right buttons to land firm that places ads in video games.

What’s in A Name? reports a rise in domain sales despite drop in live auctions.

Auction action may be down but still has lots left in its domain name business.

Regional Reports

Regional Reports

Sweat Garage Inspired by Illness


Why did Christopher Slevin join the Guillain-Barré Syndrome CIDP International Foundation last month?

Special Treatment

Malibu rehab center focuses on lawyers, doctors, airline pilots.

Rehab center Journey Malibu aims for niche appeal by treating highly trained professionals.

Hollywood’s New Bankers

Special Report: WHO’S WHO IN BANKING

Special Report: WHO’S WHO IN BANKING

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‘Clean’ Generation

Son of steel industry family invests in energy efficiency.

Travis Putnam turned his back on the steel industry to forge connections with clean tech businesses.

Deepak Chopra: No Blueprint

Indian-born CEO came to the United States for an engineering degree but wound up staying. He eventually came to lead OSI, which makes airport security scanners.

Running a Taco Bell was once on the menu for engineering executive Deepak Chopra.

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Horror Titles Make the Cut

Special Report: WHO’S WHO IN BANKING

The Business Journal turns the spotlight on local bankers who lend the money to keep Hollywood rolling.

Raising Curtain On Reel Growth

Special Report: WHO’S WHO IN BANKING

The Business Journal turns the spotlight on local bankers who lend the money to keep Hollywood rolling.

Maintaining a Commercial Focus

Special Report: WHO’S WHO IN BANKING

The Business Journal turns the spotlight on local bankers who lend the money to keep Hollywood rolling.

Moving Furniture

PROFILE: Couple snapped up two near-bankrupt businesses to create firm that makes antique reproductions.

When the recession started, Keith and Gayle Hudson decided they needed to do something as a hedge against the deteriorating economy.

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Leading Role in Hollywood

Special Report: WHO’S WHO IN BANKING

Some of Hollywood’s biggest movies might never have been made without David Shaheen, yet his face doesn’t grace the tabloids and his name can’t be found in the end credits.

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‘The Nerdy Banker’

Special Report: WHO’S WHO IN BANKING

Christine Ball is senior vice president and leader of the entertainment finance group at Wells Fargo in downtown Los Angeles.

Blockbuster Performance

Special Report: WHO’S WHO IN BANKING

Comerica isn’t exactly a big name in L.A.’s banking industry, but in Hollywood, it’s another story. And Jeff Colvin is a big reason why.

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Banking On Studio Chief Experience

Special Report: WHO’S WHO IN BANKING

Brian Mulligan is vice chairman of the media and telecommunications investment banking group at Deutsche Bank in downtown Los Angeles,

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Presales: The Perfect Pitch

Special Report: WHO’S WHO IN BANKING

Jared Underwood is senior vice president and manager of the entertainment group at Comerica Bank in Century City.

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Joke Over for Comedy Brand?

Ponzi claim may force Lampoon sale.

An alleged Ponzi scheme by its CEO may force the sale of West Hollywood comedy company National Lampoon.

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Individual Films Take the Spotlight

Special Report: WHO’S WHO IN BANKING

The Business Journal turns the spotlight on local bankers who lend the money to keep Hollywood rolling.

Indy Gas Station Owners Afraid of Tanking

BP plan to sell Arco could destabilize low-cost pricing model.

BP’s plan to sell its Arco stations is fueling anxiety among local independent station owners.

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Environmental Act Needs Straightforward Reform


The California Environmental Quality Act requires some crucial and simple reform, according to Ed Casey.

Measure for Measure

OP-ED: Beverly Hills landlords defend their stance on 2P’s free-parking policy and rip councilman’s support of 3P.

Medical space landlords Dan Gottlieb and Steve Lebowitz foresee healthy returns from free parking for Beverly Hills.

Friday, February 18

CEO Change at Wilshire Bancorp

Jae Whan Yoo has been appointed chief executive of Koreatown's Wilshire Bancorp Inc., replacing Joanne Kim, who resigned for undisclosed reasons.

Update: UberMedia Back on Twitter

Twitter Inc. over the weekend allowed UberMedia’s three mobile phone apps to resume accessing its social media network, after banning them on Friday for violating service use policies.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed up for the week on positive earnings reports.

Criminal Probe of Mozilo Ends


Federal prosecutors have ended a criminal investigation of Angelo R. Mozilo, the former chief executive of the mortgage lender Countrywide Financial, without taking any action against him.

Developer Sonny Astani Hands Over Concerto


Astani Enterprises and Corus Construction Venture LLC announce that they have reached a settlement for the Concerto building located at 9th and Figueroa.

Aecom Creates New Unit

Aecom Technology Corp., which earlier acquired Tishman Construction Corp. last year, has created a construction service business line for North America and the Middle East to be run by Tishman's president.

Lower Quarter at Reliance Steel

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. said higher steel prices contributed to lower fourth-quarter earnings that still beat expectations.

Image Metrics Makes Acquisition

Image Metrics Inc, a Santa Monica developer of facial animation technology, has acquired Big Stage, an avatar-creation software developer.

Wednesday, February 16

Gores Surpasses Latest Fund's Goal

The Gores Group has raised $2 billion for its third private equity fund, far surpassing the Westwood investment firm's original fund raising goal.

ReachLocal’s Quarter Disappoints

The stock of ReachLocal Inc. fell Wednesday, a day after the Internet marketing firm reported guidance for the current quarter that was more cautious than expected. The company also announced an acquisition.

Ports See Big Increases in January

Both South Bay ports posted cargo gains again last month as the economy continued what appeared to be a slow march toward recovery.

LAEDC Cautious on L.A. Outlook

The local recovery is shaping up to be painfully slow as L.A. County is expected to gain only 24,000 jobs this year, with unemployment hovering near 12 percent through 2012, according to a new forecast.

Tuesday, February 15

L.A. Memorial Coliseum General Manager Resigns


The general manager of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has resigned, just hours before the stadium's governing body was set to meet in closed session to consider his fate.

Talks Delay Vote Over Hotel Property Near Americana


Glendale officials delayed action on redevelopment plans for the Golden Key Hotel after owner Ray Patel and Americana at Brand developer Rick J. Caruso entered last-minute negotiations about a sale.

Jerry Brown Orders State Hiring Freeze


Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered state agencies to freeze hiring as part of the spending reduction goals called for in his budget proposal.

HCP’s Quarter Beats Expectations

Health care facility landlord HCP Inc. said that higher rental and interest income enabled its funds from operations to nearly double in the fourth quarter, beating analysts’ estimates.

ValueClick Shares Jump on Earnings

ValueClick Inc. shares rose Wednesday, a day after the Internet advertising company reported earnings that were nearly double Wall Street expectations.

CBRE Expands Management Business

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. has agreed to acquire most of the real estate investment management business of the Netherlands’ ING Group N.V. for about $940 million.

Jakks Turns to Profit

Jakks Pacific Inc. said it returned to a profit in the fourth quarter, but shares fell after the toymaker gave a cautious outlook for the year

Blackline Comes to L.A.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced that a Calabasas financial software company is relocating to nearby Warner Center, bringing 50 jobs to the city.

Monday, February 14

AML Communications to Be Acquired

AML Communications, a Camarillo developer of components for defense electronics, has been acquired by a New York company in a deal valued at $29.3 million.

Kerkorian Gift Creates UCLA 'Dream Fund'

Kirk Kerkorian has transferred a $200 million fund created to assist Armenian earthquake victims to UCLA, where it will primarily support medical research and academic programs at the university.

CalPERS Adopts Less Risky Real Estate Investment Plan


CalPERS has moved to overhaul its battered real estate portfolio, steering away from high-risk deals.

KB Home to Lure Buyers with Energy Savings


This week, Los Angeles-based builder KB Home will start giving prospective homebuyers an estimate upfront of what their monthly gas and electric bill will be if they buy one of the company's homes.

Report: Saban, Eisner Eye Kid’s Characters

Haim Saban and Michael Eisner reportedly are among those considering a bid for the iconic children’s characters Barney the dinosaur and Thomas the Tank Engine.

MarketShare Makes Acquisition

Marketing analytics company MarketShare said that it has signed an agreement to acquire MarketingNPV, which helps marketers improve their performance.

Keeping the Focus Local

OPED: Community Redevelopment Agency in Long Beach has created jobs and improved public safety and schools.

Randy Gordon touts Long Beach as proof that CRAs create jobs and improve the community.

Pasadena Firm Hears Big ‘No’

Jacobs investors have say on pay.

Riled-up shareholders are looking to make Pasadena’s Jacobs Engineering pay for its executive salaries.

Subways Should Get a Line on Business Sponsorships


Naming-rights deals could help pave the way for L.A.’s subway to the sea, writes Joel Epstein.

Paying to Jump Start Los Angeles

OPED: Helping college graduates with their debt would ease young entrepreneurs’ move into building businesses.

L.A. should offer debt relief to college grads to spur entrepreneurship, according to Rob Carpenter.

Light at The End of The Tunnel

Union Station Subway hits milestone as 600th L.A. franchise.

Parvis Mohammadi would not be detoured from getting a Subway shop into Union Station.

Off the Tracks?

Funding cuts could derail traffic-easing crossings

A lack of funding could put the brakes on train crossings designed to ease San Gabriel Valley traffic.

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Party Life Too Much for Ad Exec

Drugs, son’s death led ‘genius’ dealmaker to tragic end.

Late ad man Mike Ramirez was a high-flier in local radio circles but his crash was swift and tragic.

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Search Engine Never Clicked turning into how-to site.

Jason Calacanis is pulling the plug on his search engine and turning into a how-to website.

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Mom’s The Word For Staffing

New L.A. firm helps mothers find part-time, temporary work.

L.A. office of Mom Corps delivers part-time and temporary employees to local businesses.

Losing the Name Game Can Prove Costly


Ritch K. Eich isn’t afraid to name names when it comes to poorly named institutions.

Joining The Club

Mossimo links to the golf game with a colorful line of gloves.

Clothing designer Mossimo Giannulli has his hand in the golfing game with a new line of gloves.

Getting Schooled During the Super Bowl


What do you do on Super Bowl Sunday if you don’t like football?

Regional Reports

Regional Report

Surgi-Centers Face Bitter Medicine

Beverly Hills may hike taxes on surgery centers that rent out space.

Beverly Hills surgery centers that rent out space face a healthy boost in taxes under a new city crackdown.

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Frosting Is Off the Cupcakes at Just-Opened Bakery

Wonderland shop at Grove shuts but owners still seek L.A. presence.

Owners of the recently shuttered Wonderland Bakery at the Grove say they still have something cooking for L.A.

ESPN Puts New Accent on Studio In Downtown L.A.

Spanish-language program at L.A. Live could lead to more local shows.

ESPN’s downtown L.A. studio scores more work with a new Spanish-language program.

Positive Cash Flow Charges Up Maker of Turbines

New management credited with boosting Capstone.

New management has Capstone Turbine spinning in the right direction with a report of positive cash flow.

News of the Week

News of the Week

Tony Buzzelli: It All Adds Up

L.A.-area Regional managing partner gets ready to retire after 40 years with accounting giant Deloitte.

Tony Buzzelli’s number is up at Deloitte after four decades at the accounting giant.

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Cappin’ Trade

Natural beverage maker Reed’s boosted its business by expanding into private-label production.

Private-label production has business bubbling again at natural beverage maker Reed’s.

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Calendar & Events


Barbie’s Former CEO Lowers Price of Dream House

CHIEF DWELLINGS: Bel-Air digs of ex-Mattel executive dropped to $12.9 million.

Listings and sales of executive homes.

Nursery Company Reaps San Gabriel Valley Deal

REAL ESTATE: Irvine-based home developer buys Glendora lots ready for construction.

A major land sale wrapped up last month in the San Gabriel Valley, as Monrovia Nursery Co. sold the final chunk of its massive local holdings to an Orange County home developer.

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Rumba Room Told to Dance Away

Popular Latino club responds to eviction from CityWalk by alleging discrimination.

The owner of a Latino nightclub at Universal CityWalk is combating an eviction suit with a counterclaim of discrimination.

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Making All the Wrong Moves


There’s a right way to signal that a company may move its headquarters, and the chief of the Carl’s Jr. chain is doing it all wrong, Charles Crumpley writes.

Friday, February 11

Gores Eyes Detroit Pistons

Billionaire Tom Gores has reached a deal with the owner of the Detroit Pistons to extend an exclusive negotiating period during which the Beverly Hills investor hopes to acquire the professional basketball team.

SEC Sues in IndyMac Collapse

Regulators have sued failed IndyMac Bancorp Inc.’s former chief executive and two other executives, accusing them of misleading investors about the Pasadena mortgage lender’s poor financial condition prior to its 2008 collapse.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies fell only slightly for the week as investors reacted to local earnings reports.

California Pizza Returns to Profit

Despite poor weather and the timing of holidays depressing customer traffic, California Pizza Kitchen Inc. reported a small profit in the fourth quarter.

Better-Than-Expected Quarter for Cheesecake

Cheesecake Factory Inc. turned to a profit in the fourth quarter, helped by cutting costs and a small increase in sales.

Thursday, February 10

Mattel Seeks Mistrial in Bratz Doll Case


Mattel Inc. asked a federal judge to declare a mistrial in its long-running copyright lawsuit against rival MGA Entertainment Inc over the popular Bratz dolls.

PennyMac Inceases Stock Offering

PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust priced a larger than originally announced secondary public offering that could raise more than $188 million to help buy two portfolios of residential mortgage loans.

MannKind Plans Big Layoffs

Mannkind Inc. reported a smaller-than-expected fourth quarter loss, but said it would lay off 41 percent of its employees as it focuses on obtaining regulatory approval for its inhaled diabetes drug Afrezza.

Report: Grand Avenue Project to Be Scaled Down


Related Companies, the developer of the long delayed, $3 billion Grand Avenue mega project, is working on plans to fast track a scaled down residential tower originally tied to a later phase.

Rentech Narrows Loss

Rentech Inc. reported a smaller fiscal first-quarter loss as the biofuels developer benefited from a rebound in fertilizer prices, an auxiliary business. However, results fell short of analysts expectations.

Judge Places Remaining Bergstein Firms in Bankruptcy


A federal judge on Wednesday granted a motion to place the three remaining companies run by producer David Bergstein into bankruptcy without any further discussion or a trial.

Wednesday, February 9

Marvel Entertainment Suit Dismissed


A federal judge has dismissed a $1 billion lawsuit against Marvel Entertainment that claimed copyright infringement, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract when Stan Lee left the company that bares his name, Stan Lee Media Inc., for Marvel.

People's Liberation Reaches Settlement

People's Liberation Inc. has settled breach-of contract litigation with its former main distributor, Charlotte Russe Holding Inc., but did not provide details.

Activision to Kill 'Guitar Hero'

Video game maker Activision Blizzard Inc. reported a smaller fourth-quarter loss, but said that it will disband its faltering "Guitar Hero" franchise.

Lions Gate Misses Profit

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. reported a smaller third-quarter loss as revenue grew 24 percent, but could have turned a profit if not for its protracted legal battle with activist investor Carl Icahn.

Jerry Brown Drops Plan To Sell State Buildings


California Gov. Jerry Brown announced Wednesday he is dropping a plan to sell at least 11 state government buildings, including two in Los Angeles, to private investors.

Lower Revenues Hurt Northrop’s Quarter

Northrop Grumman Corp.'s fourth-quarter earnings fell 9 percent mainly because of lower revenue at three of its core businesses.

Magic Johnson, Burkle Make Media Investment

Billionaire Ron Burkle is partnering with former Lakers star and entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson to take over Vibe Holdings LLC, a New York-based urban media company.

Tuesday, February 8

Ad Sales Boost Disney’s First Quarter

Walt Disney Co. reported a 54 jump in profit, as the media giant benefited from better ad sales at its ESPN cable channels and strong "Toy Story 3" video and toy sales.

Capstone Jumps on Earnings, Upgrade

Despite a larger quarterly loss, Capstone Turbine Corp. shares rose nearly 11 percent Tuesday as the company reported positive cash flow from operations for the first time in its history.

Tribeca West Complex Sold for $58 Million


Commercial real estate investment firm Ocean West Capital Partners purchased Tribeca West, the West Los Angeles entertainment office complex that is a film and television postproduction haven, for $58 million.

MGM Close to 'Bond' Distribution Deal with Sony

MGM appears to be nearing a deal with Sony Pictures to release its upcoming James Bond film after talks with Paramount broke down, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

Biz Ties Link L.A. Stadium Panel to AEG


The seasoned local business leaders picked by the mayor to analyze plans for a downtown NFL stadium on the public's behalf seem to have one thing in common: deep financial, political and civic ties with the company promoting the venue.

Northrop Drone Will Call Aircraft Carriers Home


The U.S. Navy said it made a breakthrough in drone technology with the first flight of the X-47B, a bat-winged unmanned jet, made by Northrop Grumman, that is designed to take off and land from an aircraft carrier, one of the most complex and difficult feats in aviation.

Macerich Sees Growth in Quarter

Shopping mall owner Macerich Co. reported a 17 percent growth in its funds from operations in the fourth quarter, but the company still slightly missed Wall Street earnings expectations.

Aecom Profit Up, Raises Outlook

Aecom Technology Corp.’s fiscal first quarter profit rose 24 percent, and the engineering and design company raised its full year outlook because of its prospects in emerging markets.

Monday, February 7

Tale of the Red Tape


For fledgling business owners, city hall’s complexities can cost them thousands of dollars in permits and lost revenue. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Motorcar Parts’ Quarter Exceeds Expectations

Motorcar Parts of America Inc.'s fiscal third quarter profit jumped a better-than-expected 75 percent as car owners continue to buy the company’s remanufactured parts for their older vehicles.

Berkshire Hathaway Buys Rest of Wesco

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. will buy the roughly 20 percent it does not own of Pasadena’s Wesco Financial Corp., in a cash-and-stock deal worth more than $547 million.

U.S. Rep. Jane Harman to Resign


Longtime Democratic Rep. Jane Harman plans to resign from the House and is in line to become the next president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Disasters Move Mercury General to Loss

Mercury General Corp. shares fell 8 percent Monday after the insurer said it swung to a loss due to large payouts in California and Florida, and was exiting the Florida market.

Live Nation Gains Control of Front Line

Live Nation Entertainment Inc. paid more than $116 million to acquire the remaining equity stake in artist manager Front Line Management Group Inc. In addition, Liberty Media Corp. has acquired a stake in Live Nation.

Investing in Education Pays Dividends


It’s business that will ultimately pay the price for poorly educated workers, warn Gary Mangiofico and Bill Allen.

Big Credit Unions Banking Again on RE Loans

Some of L.A.’s biggest credit unions are ready to check back into commercial real estate lending.

Hidden Drive Behind Parking Measure

OP-ED: Medical property developers in Beverly Hills fuel 2P campaign for benefit of their buildings’ tenants.

Beverly Hills Councilman John Mirisch rips medical building landlords for wanting the city to pay for their parking.

L.A. Home Prices and Sales Chill Out in January

Average of $330,000 is lowest mark since last February.

January threw a chill into the Los Angeles County home market as prices fell and sales slowed.

Strong Earnings Bolster Outlook for Local Banks

Majority of institutions see gains for second straight quarter.

Analysts are talking rebound as earnings of most local banks bounced even higher last quarter.

Clothing Maker Fashions New Management Team

Debt piles up as American Apparel works to revive slumping sales.

American Apparel is trying on a new management structure as it looks to revive slumping sales.

Expansion On Tap

Lucky Baldwin’s pub chain grows despite co-owner’s health issues.

Pub chain Lucky Baldwin’s continues to move forward even as its co-owner copes with a serious degenerative disease.

The Real Investors of Beverly Hills


Starring on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” has been good for Russell and Taylor Armstrong – and not just because they’ve become famous.

Startup Name Game

Twitter-based business UberMedia hopes new handle sticks around.

Twitter-based business thinks it may finally have a handle on the company name.

Equity Fund Has a Ball With Hoops

Shamrock sees stake in Globetrotters as a slam-dunk investment.

Burbank investment firm was willing to jump through hoops to take over the Harlem Globetrotters.

Regional Reports

Regional Report

Lane Change

The Hollywood writers strike drove JCL beyond traffic control services for movie shoots to working for special events and construction projects.

Traffic control services firm JCL Barricade looks to make inroads in industries beyond the movie business.

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Investors Bid Up the Stock of Online Auctioneer

Culver City’s sees share price increase 15 percent.

Online auctioneer has investors calling out for more.

Taking A Breather At Work

Doctor says program to reduce stress helps employee performance.

A Marina del Rey cardiologist wants workers to take his stress-reduction program to heart.

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Sink or Swim?

L.A. port plans may torpedo Terminal Island’s Fish Harbor.

Port of L.A.’s plans for Terminal Island may force local fishermen to weigh anchor.

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What’s the Deal, Governor?


Charles Crumpley believes enterprise zone businesses are getting a raw deal from Gov. Jerry Brown.

Calendar & Events


Realty Firm Looks to Raise Its Profile on the Westside

REAL ESTATE: Rodeo opens Sunset Strip office, relocates Beverly Hills headquarters.

High-end residential real estate brokerage Rodeo Realty Inc. is on a bold, countercyclical expansion drive in western Los Angeles, adding scores of agents, opening offices and moving its flagship Beverly Hills office to larger digs.

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News of the Week

News of the Week

Joe Czyzyk: Winging It

Aviation executive worked at United Air Lines and Israel’s El Al before earning the pilot’s seat at cargo handler Mercury Air Group.

Mercury Air CEO Joe Czyzyk uses the word “fly” even when he’s fishing.

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Investment Firm Digs In Over Pipe Maker’s Board

Barington looks to unseat Ameron’s CEO-chairman.

A New York equity firm thinks it has better fits for Pasadena pipe maker’s board.

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Tax Woes Build in Enterprise Zones

State may erase companies’ unused credits.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s call to kill enterprise zones could cost local businesses their stockpiled tax credits.

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Herbalife Heir Makes a Case for $400M Trust

19-year-old and his mom look to take control from trustees.

19-year-old Herbalife heir Alex Hughes doesn’t seem willing to wait until he’s 35 to tap his $400 million trust.

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Friday, February 4

Former LAEDC Head Dies

Lee K. Harrington, former chief executive of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp., died Friday while surfing near his home in Santa Barbara County.

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Report: News Corp. Could Get $200 Million for MySpace


News Corp., which paid $580 million for MySpace in 2005, may end up selling the social network for $50 million to $200 million, said the chief executive officer of a potential acquirer.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies rose slightly for the week, as the markets reacted to a fall in the national unemployment rate.

JPMorgan Wins Trustee in KB Home Vegas Project


JPMorgan Chase Bank won a court decision to appoint a trustee to oversee a $1.55 billion Las Vegas-area development managed by affiliates of builders KB Home, Beazer Homes USA Inc. and Toll Brothers Inc.

MGA Sues Mattel Again

MGA Entertainment Inc. filed an antitrust lawsuit against Mattel Inc., the latest in the two companies’ war over their fashion dolls.

Retail Center Planned Near Farmers Market

The A.F. Gilmore Co. is building a retail center called Gilmore Station at the northwest corner of Third Street and Fairfax Avenue, across from the Original Farmers Market.

Ticketmaster Makes Spanish Acquisition

Live Nation Entertainment Inc.'s Ticketmaster ticketing division plans to acquire ServiCaixa, a ticket retailer in Spain, creating the largest such service in that country.

Thursday, February 3

Santa Monica's Gensler Moves to Downtown L.A.


Gensler, a global giant in the architecture, design and planning industries, has signed a 12-year lease to move into City National Plaza in downtown Los Angeles after more than 20 years in Santa Monica.

Ralphs Pleads No Contest to Overcharging Customers


Ralphs Grocery Co. has pleaded no contest to overcharging customers for prepackaged and weighed products at stores in Los Angeles.

CBRE Quarter Beats Expectations

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc.'s adjusted fourth-quarter profit jumped 34 percent, as nearly all of the real estate services company’s units reported they were pulling up from the depths of the commercial real estate slump.

American Apparel Hires New CFO

American Apparel Inc. said that John Luttrell has been hired as chief financial officer, taking over from Adrian Kowalewski, who will become executive vice president of corporate strategy starting Monday.

Women's Conference Won't Be in Long Beach This Fall


The annual star-studded women's conference that drew thousands to Long Beach will not be held there this fall, the governor's office said.

AEG Venture Crowds Ticketmaster


Anschutz Entertainment Group said it is joining forces with a start-up technology company to sell tickets to events at 105 arenas and theaters, in what could become a broader battle with Live Nation Entertainment Inc.'s Ticketmaster.

Survey: Real Estate Investors See Recovery

A survey by UCLA Anderson Forecast economists finds increasing optimism among commercial real estate investors, despite a belief that the state’s struggling office and industrial markets will not hit a turning point until next year.

Tetra Tech Beats Expectations

Higher revenue from international and commercial clients boosted Tetra Tech Inc.’s earnings in its fiscal first quarter.

Wednesday, February 2

THQ’s Quarter Disappoints

A mixed earnings report and a more conservative outlook sent shares of Agoura Hills video game publisher THQ Inc. down in aftermarket trading Wednesday.

Soon-Shiong Acquires Wireless Health Firm

Vitality Inc., which has developed a smart pill bottle capable of calling patients to remind them take their medicine, said on Wednesday that it has been acquired by Los Angeles biotech billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong.

News Corp. Gets Ready to Say Goodbye to Myspace


News Corp. said that it was exploring a sale or other "strategic options" for Myspace, the ailing social network that has been eclipsed by Facebook.

Former Countrywide Officers Settle with State

California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced a $6.5 million settlement of a predatory lending case against former Countrywide Financial Corp. Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo and former President David Sambol.

Improved Quarter at Avery

Avery Dennison Corp.'s fourth-quarter earnings more than doubled for its labeling products.

Mattel’s 4th Quarter Better Than Expected

Mattel Inc. reported slightly lower profit, but the results were better than expected as the toymaker benefited from higher sales of its new Monster High dolls, and its familiar Barbie and American Girl lines.

BP To Sell Carson Refinery by End of 2012


BP plans to sell its Carson refinery by next year as part of a larger plan to cut by half its U.S. refining capacity.

Tuesday, February 1

CKE Pondering Texas Move

Carl’s Jr. parent CKE Restaurants Inc. is considering moving its headquarters from Carpinteria to Texas, which its chief considers to be more business friendly.

City Council Won't Change Shipyard Decision

The Los Angeles City Council has decided not to overturn the Port of Los Angeles Harbor Commissioners’ denial of a Long Beach company’s bid to build a shipyard.

American Apparel Gets Credit Waiver

Some lenders of American Apparel Inc. have agreed to extend a waiver of a covenant on a key credit agreement, but the company still faces the potential for default that could affect its ability to stay in business.

San Gabriel Valley Bank Merger Completed

First General Bank said that its merger with American Premier Bank has been completed.

Health Net Turns to Profit

Lower medical costs and the lack of large charges enabled Health Net Inc. to post a profit in the fourth-quarter compared with a loss a year ago.

Ex-eHarmony CEO Joins VC Firm

Greg Waldorf, the former chief executive of Pasadena online matchmaker eHarmony, has been named CEO-in-residence of Accel Partners, a Silicon Valley venture firm.

Farmers to Sponsor AEG's Proposed NFL Stadum


If the NFL does return to a proposed stadium in downtown Los Angeles, the league's newest venue will be called Farmers Field. AEG officials are set to announce they have reached a naming rights deal with Farmers Insurance worth $700 million over 30 years.