SOLD: Best Buy Co. sold the subscriber list and other assets of its L.A.-based Napster online music service to Rhapsody International Inc. The Minneapolis electronics retailer will receive a minority stake in Rhapsody, a Napster competitor based in Seattle. Other terms of the deal were not disclosed. Napster began as a file-sharing web site that enabled users to swap music for free, but closed in 2001 after legal challenges. It reopened two years later as a subscription music service. Best Buy acquired the company in 2008.
NOT INTERESTED: Malibu toymaker Jakks Pacific Inc. turned down Oaktree Capital Management’s proposal to take the company private, calling the $670 million bid inadequate. The L.A. investment management firm’s $20-per-share offer was a 25 percent premium to Jakks’ closing price prior to when the bid was announced last month.
SHOPPING BAGS: Hilex Poly Co., the nation’s largest plastic bag maker, and other plaintiffs filed suit against Los Angeles County to overturn an ordinance that bans plastic shopping bags and requires retailers in unincorporated areas to charge 10 cents for each paper bag they give to customers. Hilex of Hartsville, S.C., claims the charge on paper bags violates a requirement under state Proposition 26 that fees and taxes be approved by a two-thirds vote of the people. The county Board of Supervisors approved the ordinance earlier this year.
ENDOWMENT: Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong’s Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation has endowed a professor chair at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, which will support health care research that may involve computer science, mobile vision or robotics. The endowment will help further the work of such USC programs as the school’s Brain-Body Dynamics Lab and the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Systems. The size of the gift was not disclosed.
ACQUIRED: Houston’s National Oilwell Varco has completed its acquisition of Pasadena industrial pipe maker Ameron International Corp. in a deal valued at roughly $777 million. NAV, considered the nation’s largest maker of oil field equipment, was particularly interested in Ameron’s large fiberglass pipe business for oil field applications. It has no immediate plans to move operations.
SPANISH VIDEO: Streaming video service Hulu LLC has signed a deal to carry shows from Spanish-language TV giant Univision Communication Inc. on the Hulu website. The L.A. new-media company said the multiyear agreement would make it the first online distributor of long-form video content for the nation’s Hispanic community. Univision is based in New York, but has significant operations in Los Angeles. A portion of new Univision shows will be available free on an advertiser-supported portion of Hulu the day after they air. Paid subscribers to the Hulu Plus service will have access to more programming.
EXPANSION CAPITAL: Veggie Grill, a seven-location restaurant chain offering a vegetarian take on American comfort food, has completed a third round of equity funding to support expansion. The $11 million came from new and current shareholders. As part of the raise, the Santa Monica company, which moved from Orange County last month, has partnered with Brentwood Associates, a West L.A. private-equity firm with experience in restaurant ventures.
THINK TANK: Rand Corp. has named one of its senior managers, Michael Rich, chief executive and president after a nationwide search. He is replacing James Thomson, who stepped down in April after leading the Santa Monica institute for 22 years. Rich, a 58-year-old L.A. native, will lead an institution with 1,700 research associates in 11 offices around the globe and an annual budget of about $250 million.
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