Stories for March 2011

Thursday, March 31

American Apparel Moves to Loss

American Apparel Inc. said that it swung to a loss last year and warned that may have to seek bankruptcy protection.

HCP Completes Stock Offering

HCP Inc. has completed its nearly $1.3 billion secondary stock offering. The proceeds will help pay for a pending acquisition of nursing homes and rehabilitation hospitals.

Colony Financial to Offer Shares

Colony Financial Inc. shares fell more than 6 percent Thursday after the real estate investment trust announced a secondary offering of nearly 12.4 million shares.

IndyMac Borrowed Heavily Before Collapse

Faced with a sudden and serious liquidity crisis, IndyMac Bank borrowed nearly $1 billion from the Federal Reserve in the days leading up to its July 2008 failure, according to new documents released by the central bank.

ILFC Refinances Debt, Makes Promotions

International Lease Finance Corp. has received commitments for a $1.3 billion loan which it will use to refinance debt. The company also announced that its chief financial officer had been promoted to president.

Wednesday, March 30

FDA Inside Trader Targeted MannKind

MannKind Inc. was among 19 small drug developers targeted by an FDA chemist, who allegedly used advance knowledge of the regulator's decisions to profit from sharp fluctuations in the companies’ stock.

Sofitel 'Copter Landings Have Residents Making Noise


The Sofitel wants to start having commercial helicopter landings on the hotel's rooftop but neighbors are worried about sound and safety.

Report: Bertelsmann, KKR Eye Warner Music

German media company Bertelsmann AG and New York private equity firm KKR & Co. are partners in a potential $3 billion bid to acquire Warner Music Group Corp., sources told a German newspaper.

Barington Claims Victory in Ameron Vote

Barington Capital Group L.P., which has been agitating for a management shakeup at pipe maker Ameron International Corp., has convinced fellow shareholders to elect the fund’s CEO to Ameron’s board.

Amgen-Takeda Drug for Lung Cancer Fails Trial

Amgen Inc. and partner Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. said an experimental drug had not met their goal of improving overall survival of patients with advanced lung cancer.

Tuesday, March 29

Wilshire Grand Redevelopment Plan Approved

The Los Angeles City Council has approved the $1.2 billion high-rise redevelopment of downtown’s Wilshire Grand hotel site, as well as controversial plans to light up the new towers with digital advertising.

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Bernard Roth Dies at 95

Bernard Roth, a Los Angeles oil magnate and pioneer of the self-serve gas station, died at his home in Beverly Hills over the weekend. He was 95.

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Bad Weather, Middle East Unrest Hurt Oxy's Production


Occidental Petroleum Corp. cut its first-quarter production forecast, citing disruptions in Libya and Yemen and slower capital spending in Iraq.

Man Accused of Selling AeroVironment Spy Plane on Ebay


A Philippine man was arrested and charged with illegally selling an unmanned U.S. spy plane known as the Raven, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa, Fla.

Jacobs Wins Air Force Contract

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has won a contract to provide research operations and support services for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base.

Aecom Wins Navy Contract

Aecom Technology Corp.'s Aecom-Envirocon joint venture was among six contractors that will share in a large environmental remediation contract awarded by the U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command.

Monday, March 28

Hot Topic Plans Restructuring

Teen clothing and accessories retailer Hot Topic Inc. plans to discontinue some operations, including its money-losing online music store, as part of its turnaround plan under a new chief executive

Charney Adds to American Apparel Holdings

American Apparel Inc.'s share price jumped 12 percent Monday morning after the struggling Los Angeles apparel company disclosed that Chief Executive Dov Charney had increased his stake to 54 percent.

Kennedy-Wilson to Offer Senior Notes

Kennedy-Wilson Inc. plans to privately sell $200 million in senior notes, proceeds of which will be used to pay down its credit facility and other debt.

Crewmember Missing from Disney Cruise Ship


Family members of a 24-year-old British employee reported missing from a Disney cruise ship last week met with investigators Sunday after the vessel returned to its home port in Los Angeles.

Regional Reports

Regional Reports

Two L.A. REITs Pursue Healthy Equity Infusions

HEALTH CARE & BIOTECH: HCP takes in $1.1 billion in stock sale; LTC expects $104 million.

HCP Inc. and LTC Properties Inc., two local real estate investment trusts specializing in health care properties, went to the equity markets last week, riding continued investor appetite for a piece of the real estate recovery.

Downtown’s Quarterback


AEG’s Tim Leiweke has won over Los Angeles with his downtown vision, which now includes a pro football stadium.

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Local Firm Fills Coffers To Grow Internationally

ADVERTISING & PR: SocialVibe in West Los Angeles rings up $20 million in capital.

SocialVibe, a West L.A. online advertising company, has secured $20 million in venture capital to expand its overseas operations.

First Means ‘Worst’

DirecTV, Ticketmaster make cut in consumer website competition.

Consumer website drafts DirecTV and Ticketmaster into a competition to be crowned ‘Worst Company.’

Enforcing Statue of Limitations

Beverly Hills goes after Michael Ovitz over a donated artwork.

Ex-superagent Mike Ovitz insists he didn’t chisel Beverly Hills out of a $61,000 bronze statue.

L.A.’s High Approval Rate

City has top percentage of entrepreneurs, according to study.

Los Angeles rates No. 1 in a report on the percentage of entrepreneurs in big cities.

Los Angeles Gives Businesses a Positive Sign

City prefers fee to tighter rules on signage.

Business groups and sign makers hail the city of L.A. for backing down from sign rules.

Hungry Investors Gobble Up IPO

Cornerstone stock makes year’s best debut.

Software firm Cornerstone builds a banner IPO on the back of investors anxious for new stocks.

Shine Comes Off Clean Tech Hub

City sells parcel slated for green corridor.

The city of Los Angeles has sold off a downtown parcel as its goal for a green corridor seems to be wilting.

Law Firm Makes the Case for Century City Office

REAL ESTATE: DLA Piper signs for 15 years at home of Creative Artists Agency.

Bucking a trend of law firms moving to downtown Los Angeles, DLA Piper LLP is maintaining its offices in Century City, where it has signed a 15-year lease.

Calendar & Events


Potholes Sink to New Depths


Charles Crumpley sees a hole lot of problems with L.A.’s busted streets.

Hotels Game for Anything

Some hotels make room for casual competition to score customers.

Local hotels are making a play for more customers by hosting game nights.

U.S. China Mining Its Business

Chinese company sets up City of Industry headquarters to raise capital for coal operations back home.

U.S. China Mining has opened a City of Industry headquarters to unearth some investors.

‘Card-Check’ Corners Hotel Workers


Randy Gordon sees room for secret-ballot voting for union-pressured hotel workers.

Keeping Community in Development

OPED: Governor’s proposal to ax CRAs would harm poor neighborhoods with few private-sector options.

A plan to scuttle CRAs would impact the poor the hardest, writes Alvaro Huerta.

Unmanned Aircraft May Give County Jobs a Lift

Northrop’s X-47B jet for the Navy passes several flight tests.

A Northrop carrier-based drone could provide some lift to the local industry.

Former Reverse-Mortgage Giant Is Stepping Back

Pasadena-based Financial Freedom to exit sector it led under IndyMac.

One-time reverse-mortgage giant Financial Freedom is backing out of the lending sector it once dominated.

Business Journal Receives Honors for Three Stories

National group Sabew praises reporting on bank, stem cells, developer.

A national business editors group honors the Business Journal with awards for three stories covering banking, biotech and real estate.

L.A. Firm Looks to Shape New Class of Employees

Venice’s 72andSunny launches $1,000-a-month ‘university.’

Venice firm makes a classy move with its program to teach the industry to potential hires.

Kids’ Clothing Chief Exec Moves Into Teen Market

Lisa Harper aims to replicate Gymboree success at Hot Topic.

Teen-targeted Hot Topic tries on a former kids’ clothing CEO for size.

Downtown L.A. to Make Room for Another Hotel

AEG project tied to its plan for pro football stadium.

AEG sees room in downtown Los Angeles for a new hotel near its proposed football stadium.

Proxy Battle Nears an End for Pasadena Pipe Maker

Two seats on Ameron’s board to be decided Wednesday.

The votes are almost in to decide the fate of pipe maker Ameron’s embattled chief.

Regional Report

Regional Report

Riding the ‘Train’ Track


When your father is Don Cornelius – the man who created “Soul Train” – following him into the entertainment industry might lead to some identity issues.

Sunday, March 27

In Hollywood, a Decade of Hits Is No Longer Enough


For the last 12 years, Alan F. Horn’s movie operation has printed money for Warner Brothers, the largest of Hollywood’s studios.

Friday, March 25

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies rose for the week as investors reacted to a better-than-expected U.S. gross domestic product report for the fourth quarter.

County Jobless Rate Drops Slightly

L.A. County’s jobs picture improved in February as the unemployment rate dipped to 12.6 percent and the county gained 45,000 payroll jobs.

Gensler Selected to Design Farmers Field


Anschutz Entertainment Group has selected architecture and design giant Gensler to design and prepare environmental studies for the proposed $1 billion football stadium and events center in downtown Los Angeles.

American Apparel CEO Fights Back in 'Sex Slave' Suit


A woman who accused American Apparel Chief Executive Dov Charney of keeping her as a teenage sex slave could be forced to take her case to arbitration, rather than pursue it in court.

Amgen Completes Sale of Plant

Amgen Inc. has completed the sale of a development and manufacturing facility in the San Francisco area to German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim.

Thursday, March 24

Report: Amgen May Be Prepping Dividend


Amgen Inc. may introduce its first dividend next month, rewarding investors whose stock in the world’s largest biotechnology company has fallen 33 percent since 2006, even as its cash hoard grew to $17.4 billion.

Barry Minkow Charged in Fraud Against Lennar


Federal prosecutors have charged Barry Minkow, a former Ponzi scheme swindler turned fraud investigator, with conspiracy to commit securities fraud by disseminating false information in 2009 about homebuilder Lennar Corp.

Better UTi Quarter Still Misses Expectations

UTi Worldwide Inc. said higher expenses contributed to fourth quarter earnings that were below Wall Street forecasts. It warned that the crisis in Japan and high fuel costs may hurt its current quarter.

American Apparel CEO Faces Second Harassment Suit


A former American Apparel sales associate filed a lawsuit on Wednesday alleging she was sexually harassed by Dov Charney, the company’s unconventional chief executive and founder best known for promoting his American-made T-shirts and leggings in provocative ads that feature young women.

Wednesday, March 23

American Apparel Hires Biz Development Exec.

American Apparel Inc. has brought in another industry veteran to help turn around the struggling company.

Jobs Remains on Disney’s Board

Shareholders re-elected Walt Disney Co.’s board slate, including ailing Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs, whose inclusion had been criticized by proxy adviser firms and union pension funds.

Accordent Technologies Acquired for $50M

A Bay Area videoconferencing company has bought El Segundo’s Accordent Technologies Inc., a developer of webcasting software for businesses.

Health Care REITs Price Stock Offerings

HCP Inc. and LTC Properties Inc. have priced secondary offerings of stock, which both of the real estate investment trusts plan to use to help them acquire nursing homes and other care facilities.

Amgen Licenses Lung Cancer Technology

Tesaro Inc., a Boston cancer drug start-up, has signed an exclusive licensing deal with Amgen Inc. to develop some of the Thousand Oaks biotech giant’s technology into a potential lung cancer drug.

Film Legend Elizabeth Taylor Dies at 79 in L.A.


Elizabeth Taylor, the violet-eyed film goddess whose sultry screen persona, stormy personal life and enduring fame and glamour made her one of the last of the classic movie stars and a template for the modern celebrity, died Wednesday at age 79.

Tuesday, March 22

Leonard Green Weighs Bid for BJ’s Wholesale


West Los Angeles private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners LP is weighing a possible acquisition of BJ’s Wholesale Club, in which it has a large stake.

Viceroy Santa Monica Hotel Sold


LaSalle Hotel Properties Inc. has paid $80.1 million for the Viceroy Santa Monica hotel.

HCP Plans Another Stock Offering

HCP Inc. will sell 24 million shares of stock to help fund its $6.1 billion acquisition of HCR ManorCare’s real estate assets, rather than give HCR’s owners some HCP stock as originally planned.

j2 Global Sued

In the latest volley of a more than three-year-old patent dispute, EasyLink Services International Corp. filed a suit against j2 Global Communications Inc., alleging that j2’s digital faxing technology infringed on its patents.

Samsung Invests in Hollywood 3-D Company

MasterImage 3-D Inc. said that the venture capital unit of Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics Co. is investing $15 million in the company’s 3-D technology.

Monday, March 21

Pico Rivera Faces Paying Rent on Soon-to-Close Borders


The city spent $1.6 million in federal grant money to bring Borders into the Pico Rivera Towne Center and to help pay its rent for nearly eight years.

LTC To Sell Stock, Adds Credit Line

LTC Properties Inc. plans to offer 3.5 million shares of common stock, proceeds of which will be used for acquisitions and to pay down debt. The REIT also announced a new $200 million credit facility.

Hot Topic Replaces CEO

Hot Topic Inc., which earlier this month hired a consultant to review its struggling teen retail business, said that Betsy McLaughlin had resigned as chief executive and a board member was appointed to permanently replace her.

WellPoint To Cut, Delay Premium Hike in California


Health insurer WellPoint Inc. has reduced its proposed premium increase for individual policy holders in California and will delay co-pay and deductible increases until Jan. 1.

HCP CFO to Leave

HCP Inc. said that Chief Financial Officer Thomas Herzog will resign from the company as of May 15.

Cameron Schavee Brushes Teeth

This is the tease of the story.

Condo-Hotel Owner Sees Complex as Half-Full

REAL ESTATE: Residential deal is the 10th for two-year-old Montage Beverly Hills.

The 10th condominium was sold this month at the Montage Beverly Hills, putting the luxury hotel and condominium complex, which opened more than two years ago, at 50 percent capacity.

Howard Murad: Doctor Is In

Q&A: Iraqi immigrant made his name in America with his infomercial-supported line of branded skin care products.

Dermatologist Howard Murad has found success that’s more than skin deep with his branded line of products.

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Hollywood Reporter: Costs to Cover

Lack of ad pages in high-gloss Hollywood Reporter has show biz industry buzzing.

High cost and lack of ads share top billing in the story of the Hollywood Reporter’s magazine makeover.

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Important Lesson for Business

OP-ED: Preparing tomorrow’s work force requires putting kids on the right path at a preschool stage.

High-quality preschool education is key to a strong work force, writes Celia C. Ayala.

Plan? Get to an ATM Fast


Charles Crumpley decides not to anticipate the unexpected.

A Bitter ‘Taste’ for Beverly Hills

Organizer drops city’s name from food fest, adds Hollywood site.

Beverly Hills officials have a bad taste after a dining event drops city’s name.

L.A. Newsstands Seek to Extend Shelf Life

Newsstand operators go beyond print for products that will boost sales.

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Sidewalk Slip

Santa Monica serves eateries steep rent hike

The outdoors isn’t looking so great as Santa Monica hikes the sidewalk rental rates for restaurants that seat outside.

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Regional Reports

Regional Reports

Relaxed Rules Open Vault for El Segundo Firm


Troubled banks provide opportunities for new ventures.

Bankrupt Bank Cornerstone of New Venture


Troubled banks provide opportunities for new ventures.

Industry Veteran Working on His Magnum Opus


Troubled banks provide opportunities for new ventures.

Financier Busts Piggy Bank for Beverly Park House

CHIEF DWELLINGS: $14.9 million hacienda home picked up by Alex Von Furstenberg.

Listings and sales of executive homes.

Calendar & Events


News of the Week

News of the Week

Superior Court Shuts Book On Suit Against Dole Food

MANUFACTURING: Ruling vacated in case over alleged pesticide use back in the 1970s.

Dole Food Co. finally closed the chapter this week on a notorious lawsuit that involved its Nicaraguan operations and dated back to the 1970s.

Firm’s Notification Systems Put Through Paces in Japan

TECHNOLOGY: Quake and tsunami spike use of Everbridge messages.

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan have put a Glendale company’s technology to the test.

CBS Connects With Tracker of Online Video Content

Network’s deal for Clicker shows move into digital distribution.

Recently acquired online video tracker Clicker pushed the right buttons for new parent CBS.

Wheel Maker Sees Positive Spin in Surging Sales

Van Nuys’ Superior looks for ways to boost production capacity.

Sales of its aluminum wheels are driving Van Nuys’ Superior to increase production.

Going to the Dog


As managing partner in an accounting firm, Joel Anik is used to hearing requests from his employees.

Joining the Paper Fold

Long Beach Post news website to branch out into print edition.

Long Beach Post publisher hopes his online site clicks with readers in print.

Downtown Space Has Full Plate

Daily Grill restaurant shares home with new late-night bar concept.

Daily Grill in downtown L.A. has something new on the menu: a whole other restaurant concept that opens at night.

Latest Indictment is No Joke for Lampoon

Fraud case against top execs could complicate sale of comedy company National Lampoon.

Fraud allegations against National Lampoon’s top execs could impede the sale of the comedy company.

Playa Vista Office Complex OK With Google Link

Developer Wayne Ratkovich’s project apes Web giant’s HQ.

Wayne Ratkovich designed his new office complex after Google’s HQ in order to click with tenants.

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Tough Times Force Vernon T-Shirt Maker to Fold

Fortune Fashions becomes unit of Van Nuys’ Jerry Leigh.

Clothing company Jerry Leigh sees a good fit in its recent acquisition of T-shirt maker Fortune Fashions.

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Investors Making a Safe Bet?


Private equity firms lead the charge of investors picking up banks on the cheap.

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Dark Skies for Flight Schools?

L.A. may move to shut Santa Monica Airport.

Flight school owners fear L.A. City Council members are looking to permanently ground Santa Monica Airport.

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Sunday, March 20

Writers, Studios Agree on New Contract


The Writers Guild of America surprised the biz Sunday evening by informing members that it has reached a tentative agreement for a three-year master contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

Saturday, March 19

Warren Christopher Dies in Los Angeles at 85


Warren M. Christopher, the courtly and reserved secretary of state in President Bill Clinton’s first term and the chief negotiator for the 1981 release of American hostages in Iran, has died in Los Angeles. He was 85.

Friday, March 18

Companies Assessed Tax Judgment

Los Angeles city prosecutors have won judgments ordering a former parking lot operator and a Koreatown hotel owner to pay a total $7.8 million in unpaid taxes.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies fell slightly for the week as investors continued to worry about the economic impact of the crisis in Japan.

Teledyne Invests in Solvang Company

A subsidiary of Teledyne Technologies Inc. has acquired a majority interest in Nova Research Inc., a Central Coast developer of camera electronics.

Private Equity Firm Takes Bite of Taco Bell

Los Angeles private equity investment firm Brentwood Associates has acquired K-MAC Holdings Corp., one of the largest Taco Bell franchisees in the United States.

Thursday, March 17

Disney Temporarily Suspends Operations in Tokyo


Walt Disney Co. has suspended all administrative and store operations in Tokyo in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

L.A. Port OKs Project Labor Agreement

In a setback for non-union contractors, the Los Angeles Harbor Commission approved an agreement requiring contractors to use union labor on $1.5 billion in port construction projects over the next five years.

IPO Prices Higher Than Expected

Shares of Cornerstone OnDemand Inc. jumped Thursday after the initial public offering of the human resources software company priced higher than expected.

Hythiam Changes Name

Hythiam Inc., which markets a proprietary treatment program for alcoholism and stimulant dependence, said that it had changed its name to Catasys Inc.

Wednesday, March 16

Prominent Long Beach Developers Killed in Plane Crash


A Wednesday morning twin-engine plane crash killed five of the six people aboard, including Long Beach developer Tom Dean and his partner at Studebaker Properties, Jeff Berger.

Blue Shield Retreats on Raising Rates


Blue Shield of California, a nonprofit health insurer, said that it would no longer seek a rate increase this year for individuals who buy coverage on their own rather than through an employer.

Profits Up, Forecast Down at Guess

Guess Inc. reported better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings, but the apparel chain said some same-store sale slipped slightly and its outlook for the current quarter was lower than analysts expected.

Americana Lures Nordstrom from Galleria

Caruso Affiliated plans to build a Nordstrom department store at Americana at Brand shopping center on recently acquired land that now contains a hotel. The store will replace the Nordstrom at the nearby Glendale Galleria.

Barry Minkow To Plead Guilty in Insider-Trading Case


Barry Minkow, a convicted con man who became a minister and anti-fraud crusader, is in talks with U.S. prosecutors in Miami to plead guilty to insider trading of Lennar Corp.

National Lampoon CEO Indicted

National Lampoon Chief Executive Timothy Durham has been indicated by a Indiana grand jury on securities and wire fraud charges in connection with another company.

Superior May Increase Production

Superior Industries International Inc.’s shares jumped 15 percent Wednesday morning after reporting that a recovering automotive industry enabled it to move from a loss to a profit in the fourth quarter.

Tuesday, March 15

Choctal Inc. Acquired by Florida Firm

Pasadena gourmet ice cream maker Choctal Inc. has been acquired by Ben Stanley Holdings, a Florida holding company.

Port Traffic Continues to Grow

The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles continued to see higher year-over-year container traffic in February, although the growth was somewhat slower compared with the stronger gains seen much of last year.

Vernon Businesses Fight Disincorporation

The Vernon Chamber of Commerce is protesting a bill in the state legislature that would disincorporate the city of Vernon and leave it open to be annexed by another city.

HCP Brightens Outlook

Healthcare facility landlord HCP Inc. raised its guidance for this year, in part because of gains from early repayment of debt. It also entered into a $1.5 billion unsecured credit facility.

Many Culprits in Fall of Family Film 'Mars Needs Moms'


In the movie business, sometimes a flop is just a flop. Then there are misses so disastrous that they send signals to broad swaths of Hollywood. “Mars Needs Moms” is shaping up as the second type.

Monday, March 14

Saban To Take Wider Role at Univision


Univision Communications Inc., owner of the most-watched Spanish language TV network in the U.S., said Executive Chairman Haim Saban will assume added duties after the resignation of Chief Executive Officer Joe Uva.

LAT Publisher Wants Quick Approval of Bankruptcy Plan


Eddy Hartenstein, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, wants a judge to approve his parent company's plan to emerge from bankruptcy protection as soon as possible.

Paramount Citrus Expands into Lime Business

Los Angeles billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick’s Paramount Citrus company said that it is entering the Persian lime market with the acquisition of 9,500 acres of lime orchards in the state of Tabasco, Mexico.

Higher Costs Increase Dole’s Loss

Dole Food Co Inc. moved to a loss in the fourth quarter, hurt by higher restructuring costs and lower banana prices in Asia.

'Tori & Dean' TV Profits Target Of Agency Lawsuit


United Talent Agency filed in Los Angeles a breach of contract and fraud lawsuit against World Of Wonder Productions over the packaging of the hit Oxygen TV series, Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood.

SpaceX Signs Satellite Launch Deal

Hawthorne commercial rocket firm Space Exploration Technologies signed another satellite launch agreement, this time with European telecommunications satellite giant SES.

Broad Sells Manhattan Co-Op for Lower $8 Million


Eli Broad, the billionaire philanthropist and co-founder of KB Home, sold a co-op on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan for $8 million, more than two years after listing it for almost twice as much.

Entrepreneur Claims GRID is Solution to Gridlock

Electric freight trains, not trucks would move port containers.

A bold new rail plan is taking shape, but will it go anywhere?

Election Results Favorable to L.A. Business Interests

Incumbents win new terms; Beverly Hills oil tax goes down in defeat.

Last week’s election outcomes favored local business interests, notably the defeat of a Beverly Hills oil tax.

Slowing Global Recovery Trumps L.A Pump Prices

Shareholders sell off two energy stocks after lengthy price run-up.

Shareholders take profits from oil company stocks, driving down the share prices of BNK and BreitBurn Energy Partners.

‘Son of Dracula’ Meets Chilean Miners


Anyone who wants to turn last year’s saga of the trapped Chilean miners into a movie or book will have to go through Bela G. Lugosi.

Tour to Take Tawdry Turn With Stars

Starline teams up with TMZ to spotlight some infamous locations.

Starline is adding a tabloid touch to its celebrity tours courtesy of new partner TMZ.

Proud to Be Shoe-Race Runner-Up

Skechers steps out with promotion of its No. 2 footwear status.

Shoemaker Skechers likes the look and fit of “No. 2 footwear brand” in its marketing.

Meruelo Is Center of Nasty Court Battle

REAL ESTATE: Minority shareholders seek control of downtown's largest landlord.

It’s been two years since Richard Meruelo’s Meruelo Maddux Property Inc. – the largest landlord in downtown Los Angeles – filed Chapter 11.

Ads by Subtracting

Virtual agency Thought Bubble cuts costs by foregoing office and full-time staff.

Virtual ad agencies have become popular because they save customers money. But some wonder if they can deliver.

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Regional Reports

Regional Reports

Positives, Negatives

PROFILE: A counseling program helped Richard Klein to recharge and eventually grow his battery business.

A Goldman Sachs counseling program helped Richard Klein recharge his battery business.

News of the Week

News of the Week

Japanese Drug Firm Gets Under Skin in Good Way

HEALTH CARE & BIOTECH: Torrance’s Hisamitsu finds success with transdermal patch.

Hisamitsu America Inc. is among many U.S. subsidiaries of Japanese companies that have set up shop over the years in Torrance, a popular enclave for Japanese expatriates.

Phelps Group Spins Off Multicultural Company

ADVERTISING & PR: Formation of Total Market designed to reach ethnic consumers.

Phelps Group, an advertising and PR firm in Santa Monica, has spun off a new company, Phelps Total Market LLC, to reach ethnic consumers.

Sheen’s Fall Strains Reach of PR


Public relations exec Michael Levine raps industry members for enabling clients’ poor behavior.

Concentrating the ‘War’ Effort

OP-ED: Los Angeles would be a good home for a proposed Center for Cures that would bring together medical research.

Robert Kotler proposes Los Angeles as the home for a new center concentrating on medical research.

Time Has Come to Take Responsibility


P. Jacob Yadegar wants to recall elected leaders’ approach to deficits and the economy.

Preventive Medicine

OP-ED: Cooperation between employers and workers is the only way to control the spiraling costs of health care.

Employers and employees must work together to stop hemorrhaging insurance costs, writes Patricia A. Moore.

Larry, Moe and Curly Go to College


The runaway costs at the local community college district shouldn’t be a surprise, Charles Crumpley writes. No business people were in charge.

Long Beach Port Saves Millions on Lower Steel Costs

TRADE & TRASNPORT: New Gerald Desmond Bridge is $200 million cheaper.

The economic meltdown has had an upside at the Port of Long Beach: The replacement of the Gerald Desmond Bridge looks to have become noticeably cheaper.

Red Building Gets Green Light for Leasing to Start

Design Center in West Hollywood asks $5 per square foot.

The Red Building at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood is opening at a challenging time for office leasing.

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L.A. Legal Firms Renewing Appeal

Strong financial results may be verdict for recovery.

L.A.’s legal industry looks like it’s in full recovery mode.

Yul Ku: In His Jeans

Praise puts off humble Koos chief executive, who prefers to let his work ethic speak for itself.

Jeans maker Yul Ku even avoids having his own office to keep the focus on work.

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Catching Some Z’s

Marketer targets the problems of loud sleep with 1-800-Snoring.

The founder of 1-800-Dentist tries the same trick to sell treatments for snoring.

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Edison Profits Falling as Utility Contracts Expire

Natural gas glut drags down value of new deals for power generation.

Cheaper natural gas prices have drawn down profits at Edison.

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Easing the Way to Vernon’s Demise?

Perez wants to grandfather in low business costs.

Proposed legislation dissolving Vernon may be changed to protect existing businesses there, but the opposition isn’t placated.

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On and Offline

L.A. apparel makers building real and virtual stores

Despite the Internet shopping boom, L.A. apparel companies such as Joe’s Jeans are opening more real world stores.

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Startups Take a Sheen to Charlie

Two L.A. companies hitting ‘tweet’ spot.

Beverly Hills company is making good money thanks to Charlie’s Sheen bad-boy antics.

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Calendar & Events


KCET Viewership Turned Off and Dropped Out

Ratings slid when PBS programs pulled, but chief says ‘It’s up from here.’

Despite plummeting ratings and an exodus of memberships, KCET’s chief executive believes things can be turned around.

Friday, March 11

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies edged down slightly for the week, as the prospect of lower oil consumption in Japan following its massive earthquake reduced earlier losses driven by rising oil prices.

Nazarian To Close Sahara

Sam Nazarian’s SBE Entertainment Group plans to shutter the Sahara Hotel & Casino on May 16, saying it’s no longer economically viable to operate the aging Las Vegas resort.

99 Cents Only Gets Buyout Offer

99 Cents Only Stores has received a bid from the family that runs the company along with Leonard Green & Partners L.P. to take the company private for $1.34 billion.

L.A. Takes Tsunami Precautions

Los Angeles air and sea traffic were affected Friday by the major earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan overnight, with the Port of Los Angeles and other entities taking precautionary measures.

Thursday, March 10

Tetra Tech CFO to Leave

David King has resigned as chief financial officer of Tetra Tech Inc. to accept a position with a solar company based in China.

Barrack: U.S. Gov't Actions Averted Financial 'Tsunami'


Actions by the U.S. government and Federal Reserve in the wake of the financial crisis diminished opportunities for distressed investors to make deals, Colony Capital LLC Chairman Thomas Barrack said.

DirecTV Closes Large Debt Sale

DirecTV Holdings LLC has closed the sale of roughly $4 billion of senior notes, some of which may be used for share repurchases and a distribution to its parent.

GameSalad Names CEO

GameSalad, a developer of software that makes it easier to create games for the iPhone and other Apple devices, has appointed Steve Felter as chief executive to take over from the company’s founder.

Wednesday, March 9

Qaddafi Money Casts a Shadow in Hollywood


Things have gotten chilly here for Natural Selection, the film production company backed by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s son Saadi.

Companies Reach Superfund Settlements

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached settlements with five companies that agreed to pay more than $3 million to help clean up contaminated groundwater at Superfund sites in the San Fernando Valley.

Ms. Bubbles Penalized for Jacket Drawstrings

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said that Los Angeles apparel manufacturing company Ms. Bubbles Inc. has agreed to pay a $40,000 civil penalty related to potentially dangerous hooded jackets for children.

With $1 Flights, Spirit Sparks L.A.-Las Vegas Fare War


Spirit Airlines sparked a fare war Tuesday as it announced it would enter the crowded Los Angeles-Las Vegas market on May 5.

BreitBurn Loss Widens

BreitBurn Energy Partners L.P. reported a larger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss because of big losses in derivative instruments it uses to manage price volatility.

Profit Gains at Korn/Ferry

Korn/Ferry International Inc.'s third quarter earnings met Wall Street forecasts but revenues exceeded expectations as the company showed strong growth in fees for its executive recruiting and staffing services.

Tuesday, March 8

Soon-Shiong Invests in Video Game Company


Fourth Wall Studios, a Culver City company that creates massively multiplayer online games, augmented-reality worlds and other forms of experiential entertainment, has secured an investment worth as much as $215 million from Los Angeles' richest man, billionaire entrepreneur Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong.

American Apparel Founder Sued in Forced Sex Claim


The founder of the American Apparel clothing line allegedly held a teen worker captive and forced her to perform sex acts, she charges in an suit filed New York.

Skechers Sues Sears Over Shape-ups

Skechers USA Inc. said it has filed suit against Sears Holdings Corp., accusing it of selling knock-off footwear that infringes on patents and trademarks for its Shape-up toning shoes and other lines.

AeroVironment’s Quarter Beats Forecasts

AeroVironment Inc. shares jumped 13 percent in after-hours trading Tuesday when the drone aircraft maker reported higher quarterly sales and profit that beat Wall Street expectations.

Caruso Buys Glendale Hotel Property for Americana


Glendale's Golden Key Hotel will close at the end of the year, paving the way for developer Rick Caruso to expand his Americana at Brand.

Hot Topic Reports Loss, Hires Consultant

Hot Topic Inc. swung to a loss in its fiscal fourth quarter, largely due to expenses related a cost-reduction plan.

Warner Bros. to Rent Movies via Facebook

Warner Bros.has reached a deal with Facebook to test a system to rent its movies on the popular social networking site.

LAX Concession Bidding Restarted


A conflict of interest did creep into an effort to seek out qualifying companies to bid on the latest round of retail and dining contracts at Los Angeles International Airport.

Monday, March 7

IPC Profit Rises

IPC The Hospitalist Co. Inc.'s fourth-quarter earnings rose 31 percent as its physician groups treated more inpatients.

Barbie Packs Bags as Shanghai Dream House Closes


Barbie moved out of her Shanghai dream house today after Mattel Inc., the world’s biggest toymaker, closed the only store in China dedicated to its bestselling doll.

Buffett: Wesco Deal May Be Disadvantageous to Berkshire


Warren Buffett said shareholders of his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. may have their financial interests harmed by the company’s planned stock-and-cash deal to take a 100 percent stake in Pasadena-based Wesco Financial Corp.

New CFO at Crown

Crown Media Holdings Inc. said that Andrew Rooke has been appointed chief financial officer.

Bankruptcy of LA Times Parent Nears Finish Line


After 27 months of legal wrangling, Tribune Co. and its creditors are finally headed into what could be the deciding chapter of the company's tangled bankruptcy saga.

Stock Should Rise At Flash-Sale Site

New parent Nordstrom likes outlook for HauteLook.

New parent Nordstrom should extend the shelf life of flash-sales site HauteLook as more rivals enter the sector.

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David Angelo: Big Shot

David&Goliath chairman now faces the giant task of taking over the racy ad campaign for Carl’s Jr.

David&Goliath Chairman David Angelo has a tall order taking over the racy ad campaign for Carl’s Jr.

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Hiking Image

As insurers scrimmage on TV, Farmers takes to field

Farmers has turned to sports sponsorships to compete with rivals in an increasingly crowded ad field.

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Bankruptcy, Sale May Steady Agency Conglomerate

Emak CEO sees sale of toy unit as a way to focus on core businesses.

Ad conglomerate Emak’s bankruptcy plan and sale of its toy business may end the fight for control of the company.

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Regional Reports

Regional Reports

Home Sales Slide; Prices Hit ’09 Levels

Some properties on L.A.’s Westside buck trend and see hefty gains.

Home sales slowed in February as prices also tumbled to 2009 lows.

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Demand Media Heating Things Up

Santa Monica Internet company signs up celebrity cook Rachael Ray to boost sites.

Demand Media hopes to heat up its how-to website by signing Food Network star and talk show host Rachael Ray.

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Playing by the Rules

OP-ED: L.A.’s City Council must boost the chances for a downtown stadium while protecting public funds.

Wayne Avrashow advises L.A. City Council members to keep their heads in the game while pursuing a downtown stadium.

Pot Calls the Kettle ‘Shady’


Since city and state lawmakers live in glass houses, maybe they shouldn’t throw stones at Vernon, Charles Crumpley writes.

Gaining Access

Hollywood’s Film Fresh aims to deliver its movies across a range of devices in order to compete with larger rivals.

Film Fresh hopes to boost its Hollywood role by accessing a variety of playback platforms for its movie content.

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Message to Swiss: Cease and Desist

L.A. e-mail firm fights postal service again over patents.

E-mail services firm RPost alleges the Swiss postal service isn’t minding the letter of a patent violation settlement.

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Chinese Logistics Company Lands Local Outpost

REAL ESTATE: F.C.C. pays $5.3 million for property in Rancho Dominguez.

In a sign of the rebound in trade activity at the ports, a Chinese logistics company has purchased a vacant industrial building in Rancho Dominguez for $5.3 million.

Putting Reality on The Menu

Local fast-food joint adds healthy items with help from TV guru.

Dino Perris of Patra’s Burgers got a taste of reality TV with a visit from health crusader Jamie Oliver.

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It’s Taking a Village to Raise a BID

Westwood businesses want to see its return.

Westwood Village is getting down to business on reviving its improvement district.

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SEC Filing Proves Costly for Debit Card Company

Concern for Green Dot’s revenue drops company’s share value.

Debit card company Green Dot paid dearly in stock value for SEC filing disclosures.

Founder of Ten West Is Ready to Move His Home

CHIEF DWELLINGS: Art Kleinman puts $6.3 million price on house above Sunset Strip.

Listings and sales of executive homes.

Calendar & Events


L.A. Nightlife Entrepreneur Rolls Dice on Vegas Club

RETAIL & APPAREL: SBE’s Sam Nazarian to launch a Hyde Lounge in Sin City.

Sam Nazarian is placing his bets on Las Vegas – again.

Century City Job Brings Justice to L.A. Full Time

LAW: Carlos Moreno commuted to San Francisco for 10 years.

When former California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno starts his job at Irell & Manella LLP next week, he’ll take on duties different from the ones he had for the previous 10 years.

Local App Maker Is Ready To Push the Hiring Button

TECHNOLOGY: Recent funding round to help pay for more staff at Gogii.

Gogii Inc., a Marina del Rey mobile communication company that recently completed its third financing round, is gearing up to nearly double its staff.

City of Industry Institution Sheds Enforcement Order

BANKING & FINANCE: Improved capital level boosts outlook for American Continental.

Federal regulators have lifted an enforcement order against American Continental Bank after the small City of Industry institution made strides in improving its financial condition.

Ontario, Businesses Vie to Land Control of Airport

City is in talks with L.A. agency to take over struggling facility.

Ontario looks to edge out businesses to land control of its local airport from the city of Los Angeles.

Ex-Northrop Subsidiary Expands Presence in L.A.

Separation from parent boosts TASC’s ability to pursue contracts.

Defense contractor TASC is beefing up its L.A. presence as former parent Northrop is scaling back.

Speaking Up for the Naked Truth


Andrea Herz Payne has done some gutsy things.

Casting A Wide ’Net

Online firm helps companies line up models and actors.

GotCast takes an online social-network tack to line up models and actors for companies.

Racking Up Skills in Retail

Non-profit’s shop helps special-needs youths get job experience.

A Sherman Oaks non-profit is sold on helping special-needs youths acquire retail sale skills.

Friday, March 4

CBS To Buy Web Video Guide

CBS Corp. said that it is buying the Los Angeles-based online video guide Clicker Media Inc. and will make the company’s co-founder president of its CBS Interactive unit.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies edged up only slightly for the week as economic concerns over high gas prices slowed gains by local stocks.

Local Jobs Picture Is Mixed

Los Angeles’ jobs picture darkened in January as employers slashed 77,000 jobs from their payrolls, mostly from post-holiday layoffs. But the county is still doing better than last year, with a gain of 6,000 jobs.

Demand Media Makes Canadian Acquisition

Demand Media Inc. has acquired CoveritLive, a popular live blogging tool that may eventually be integrated into its eHow, Livestrong and other specialty interest sites.

Plans for 10000 Santa Monica Blvd. Are Unveiled


Miami developer Crescent Heights has submitted paperwork to the City of Los Angeles Planning Department for a 283-unit condo tower in Century City.

Thursday, March 3

The Billionaire Who Is Planning His 125th Birthday


One morning in early January, healthy eating disciple David Murdock awoke to an unsettling sensation. Incredibly, infuriatingly, he had a sore throat.

Cornerstone IPO May Raise More than $105M

Cornerstone OnDemand, a developer of online learning and employee management software, expects its initial public offering will price between $9 and $11 a share.

Public Storage Buys Out JV Partners

Public Storage Inc. said that its Shurgard Europe self-storage business has paid more than $238 million to acquire all of two joint ventures that operate in several European countries.

Solid Quarter for Crown Media

Crown Media Holdings Inc. reported fourth quarter growth as the cable company saw more viewers tuning into its new Martha Stewart shows and holiday programming.

Reducing Debt Widens DineEquity’s Loss

DineEquity Inc. reported a larger loss for the fourth quarter as it reduced debt and saw fewer patrons at its IHOP and Applebee's restaurants.

Ralph's Fined for Overcharging L.A. Customers


Ralphs Grocery Co. has been fined nearly $68,000 and placed on three years' probation for overcharging customers for prepackaged and weighed products at stores throughout Los Angeles.

Wednesday, March 2

MPG Narrows Loss Again

MPG Office Trust Inc. reported a smaller net loss for a fourth consecutive quarter as the Los Angeles office landlord continued to dispose of non-core properties, including another large office complex in Orange County.

Disney, Other Blockbuster Creditors Agree To Standstill


Blockbuster Inc.’s creditors agreed to a standstill on their opposition to a sale process for the bankrupt movie renter that a judge called “aggressive.”

Staar Narrows Quarterly Loss

Staar Surgical Co. reduced its fourth-quarter loss and said that 2010 was the first time in 11 years that it had a profitable year.

Aecom Pulls Out of Libya

Aecom Technology Corp., which provides technical and management support services around the world, said that it has withdrawn its employees and their families from Libya and was not sure if or when they would return.

Tuesday, March 1

Molina Named to Fed Board

John Molina, chief financial officer for Molina Healthcare Inc., has been appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s board for the Los Angeles branch.

Dodd Named MPAA Chief

The Motion Picture Association of America said that former Connecticut senator Christopher Dodd will become the new chairman and chief executive of the film and television studio lobbying group.

Yucaipa Invests in Designer Water Company

Billionaire Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. has invested $10 million in AquaHydrate Inc., a bottled enhanced-water company based in San Bernardino County.

Local SBA Gets Federal Funding

The Small Business Administration’s Los Angeles office has received $1.6 million to expand its seven small business development centers in Los Angeles County.

Live Nation’s Loss Balloons

Live Nation Entertainment Inc. said a particularly poor fourth quarter nearly tripled its annual loss last year, as concert attendance slumped and ticket sales for other events declined.

Rachael Ray to Partner with Demand Media

Demand Media Inc. has inked a deal with another celebrity, announcing that cooking and lifestyle TV personality Rachael Ray will anchor the food channel on its flagship eHow online site.

DTS Reports Higher Quarterly Profit

DTS Inc. beat Wall Street expectations for the fourth quarter as increased Blu-ray sales created a growing market for the company’s audio format.