ECONOMIC GROWTH: Economists at California State University Long Beach expect Los Angeles County’s recovery will pick up steam over the next 18 months as the county sees a gain of 41,000 payroll jobs this year and an additional 63,000 jobs next year. CSU Long Beach’s new forecast says every major employment sector except government will grow. Entertainment-related employment is expected to grow 5 percent this year, after 12 percent growth last year.
DAILY DEALS: PC Mall Inc. is entering the online coupon business by leveraging its existing OnSale.com site, which will offer Groupon-style daily deals beyond the company’s traditional tech base. The Torrance company is better known as a direct marketer of technology products and services to corporate, institutional and individual customers via targeted websites. Chief Executive Frank Khulusi said that despite the huge presence of Groupon and a growing number of competitors, PC Mall can make money in the daily deals world.
FUNDING DELAY: Clean biofuels developer Rentech Inc. announced its loan guarantee application for a proposed renewable energy center in Florida was put on hold by the U.S. Department of Energy due to a lack of appropriations. The company’s biomass conversion facility remains under construction in Rialto, and Rentech also recently announced plans for a project in Ontario, Canada.
NO DEAL: The board of Studio City discount ticket seller Tix Corp. has rejected an offer by one of its largest shareholders to take the company private. Brentwood-based Baker Street Capital LP had offered $2.10 a share – a 57 percent premium over its closing price when announced March 30. Shortly after the offer was made, directors approved a shareholder rights plan designed to discourage anyone from accumulating more than 15 percent of the company’s shares without the board’s approval. Baker Street owns 8.4 percent of the company’s shares and is the fourth largest shareholder.
CARUSO SPEECH: Speaking at a Town Hall Los Angeles luncheon, Rick Caruso declined to say whether he'll be running for mayor of Los Angeles in 2013. But he took shots at the city's leadership void. “What's happening in Los Angeles is frankly painful to me,” the shopping center developer said. He spoke disparagingly of LAX and criticized the city's business tax holiday. Caruso decided not to run against Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in 2008.
PORT NUMBERS: April numbers were up at the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles. Long Beach reported a 12 percent increase in inbound traffic compared with a year earlier, and a 10 percent increase in outbound traffic. Los Angeles was up 3.3 percent for inbound traffic and 5.7 percent for outbound.
ONLINE DEAL: Live Nation Entertainment Inc.’s Ticketmaster operation and online deal site Groupon Inc. have announced a partnership to develop online ticketing deal website GrouponLive. The Beverly Hills concert promoter said GrouponLive is expected to launch before the summer concert season. It will serve as a local resource for Live Nation events and Ticketmaster clients, and enable consumers to find lower-cost, high-value tickets to concerts, and sporting, theater, arts and other events. The deal with Chicago-based Groupon builds on recent efforts by Live Nation to fill seats at its events by booking fewer shows and cutting prices for seats farther from the stage.
SETTLEMENT: Playdom, an online game developer acquired by Walt Disney Co. last year, agreed to pay $3 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it had operated sites that illegally collected and disclosed personal information from children under age 13 without their parents’ consent. Playdom acquired the sites when it bought developer Acclaim Games Inc. last May. Most of the affected sites had been shut down or sold by the time Disney acquired Playdom in August. Disney took a $34 million accounting charge related to the acquisition in its fiscal second quarter, but did not say whether the settlement amount was included.
WARNER SALE: Access Industries has reached an agreement to buy Warner Music Group Corp. in a deal valued at $3.3 billion. Warner, considered the world’s third largest recording company, is based in New York, but has significant operations in Burbank and Santa Monica. Access will pay $8.25 a share, a 4.4 percent premium to the preannouncement closing price, and take on about $1.9 billion in debt. Access, founded by Russian-born billionaire and former Warner board member Len Blavatnik, has interests in natural resources and chemicals, media and telecomm.
SOLAR HOMES: KB Home has bought 43 finished lots from Newhall Land in Valencia and plans to build solar-powered homes on the properties as part of a recently announced solar initiative. The L.A.-based homebuilder plans to break ground on the homes in the West Hills Village development in June. KB Home recently announced plans to open 10 Southern California communities in which all of the residences will be built with photovoltaic solar systems and other energy-efficient features.
EARNINGS: Walt Disney Co. reported fiscal second quarter net income of $942 million, 1 percent lower than a year earlier. Revenue rose 6 percent to $9.08 billion. … Aecom Technology Corp. reported first quarter net income of $58 million, 1.7 percent lower than a year earlier. Revenue rose 21 percent to $1.9 billion. … Macerich Co. reported first quarter net income of $34,000, 99 percent down from a year earlier. Funds from operations were up 1.5 percent to $73.7 million and revenue rose 5 percent to $191 million. … Superior Industries International Inc. reported first quarter net income of $8.1 million, up 9 percent from than a year earlier. Revenue rose 26 percent to more than $189 million. … American Apparel Inc. reported a first quarter net loss of $20.7 million, 53 percent narrower than a year earlier. Revenue fell 5 percent to $116 million. … Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. reported a first quarter net loss of $2.5 million compared with net income of $700,000 a year earlier. Revenue rose 244 percent to $34.8 million. … Demand Media Inc. reported a first quarter net loss of $5.6 million, 36 percent wider than a year earlier. Revenue rose 50 percent to $76.3 million. … K-Swiss Inc. reported a first quarter net loss of $9.8 million, 108 percent wider than a year earlier. Revenue rose 10 percent to $72.6 million. … Obagi Medical Products Inc. reported a first quarter net loss of $2.4 million compared with net income of $1.9 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 3 percent to $26.5 million.
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