SELL OFF: American International Group has announced that it will sell a majority stake in International Lease Finance Corp. to Chinese investors in a deal valued at $5.28 billion. New York insurance giant AIG has been selling noncore assets to help pay off $125 billion in government bailout money, but has held off selling the Century City aircraft leasing company in an effort to get a better price. It will still keep a 10 percent stake in ILFC. The deal faces regulatory scrutiny in both the United States and China.
GENETICS BUY: Amgen Inc. plans to buy Decode Genetics, an Icelandic company that can help Amgen better develop personalized drug therapies, for $415 million. The Reykjavik human genetics research firm has developed technology to better understand the link between an individual’s genetic code and their susceptibility to certain diseases. It has discovered genetic risk factors for dozens of diseases ranging from cardiovascular disease to cancer.
FINED: A federal jury in Los Angeles has handed down a $169 million judgment against three former IndyMac Bancorp Inc. executives for their role in the Pasadena thrift’s 2008 collapse. The suit, filed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., accused former executives Scott Van Dellen, Richard Koon and Kenneth Shellem of violating bank safety standards and negligently approving dozens of bad commercial loans.
TAKE DOWN: The Second District Court of Appeal has ruled that roughly 100 digital billboards installed around Los Angeles by CBS Outdoor and Clear Channel Communications must be removed. The three-judge panel said the companies should not have been allowed to convert existing billboards to a digital format, which have been widely criticized by neighborhood groups and others. Clear Channel Outdoor said that it is reviewing its legal options.
LAWSUIT: A former cast member of the A&E Network’s reality show “Storage Wars” is suing the cable network and the show’s producers, alleging he was fired after complaining of fraudulent conduct in producing the program. The show follows auctioneers and buyers as they bid on abandoned storage units in effort to find treasures. Dave Hester, an experienced buyer who said he gave up a retail business to participate in the show, alleges in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit that he complained to producers that storage sheds were being salted with great finds in order to add drama to the show.
FOR SALE: Santa Monica retail real estate investment trust Macerich Corp. reportedly has put at least 17 noncore Class B shopping malls around the country on the market in an effort to streamline its portfolio and boost its attractiveness to investors. Class B malls command lower rents because they tend to be located in smaller markets or less desirable neighborhoods, and tenants usually generate lower sales per square foot. Properties being marketed include Northridge Mall in Salinas and California Capitola Mall in Capitola. Macerich would not confirm that the properties were up for sale.
STRATEGIC BUY: L.A. brand licensing company Sequential Brands Group Inc. has agreed to buy Dallas sports footwear company Heelys Inc. for about $63.2 million. Heelys is best known for sneakers that house wheels in the heel. It will be the fourth brand in the company’s portfolio, which includes the People’s Liberation designer denim label and Justin Timberlake’s apparel brand William Rast.
DUAL DEALS: Gores Group has announced that an affiliate has agreed to acquire video technology company Harris Broadcast Communications for $225 million. Harris Broadcast is an Englewood, Colo., supplier of hardware and software that creates, distributes and monetizes video content. In addition, Clark Group Inc. of Trenton, N.J, a Gores-owned logistics services provider for the print media, said that it completed acquisition of Preprint Logistics Management, a Bloomfield, Conn., logistics provider for retailers, commercial printers and direct mailers.
ARIZONA BUY: Ryland Group Inc. has acquired operations and assets of Trend Homes, a Phoenix residential developer. The Westlake Village homebuilder, which is buying controlling interest in Trend from Phoenix private investment firm Najafi Investments, did not disclose financial terms of the deal. Trend has seven development communities.
SALE CLOSES: Markwins International Corp. has completed its acquisition of Azusa cosmetics company Physicians Formula Holdings Inc. in a $75 million deal. Markwins, a private cosmetics and accessories company in City of Industry, paid investors $4.90 a share in cash, a 33 percent premium over the stock’s price Aug. 14 before the deal was announced.
HIRING TRENDS: Hiring in Los Angeles and Orange counties is expected to slow next quarter, according to a survey from Milwaukee staffing firm Manpower Inc. The quarterly study found that 14 percent of the companies interviewed plan to hire more employees during the first quarter of next year, down from 17 percent during the current quarter and 18 percent during the first quarter of this year.
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