BIG APPLE: SBE Entertainment LLC announced plans for its first hotel in New York, an $85 million project. SLS Hotel New York will be the L.A. company’s third SLS hotel after its locations in Beverly Hills and Miami. The company also owns the Redbury in Hollywood. The new hotel will be in New York’s midtown area on Park Avenue. SBE, led by Sam Nazarian, also owns nightclubs and restaurants in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Houston, and San Diego. The New York hotel will have nearly 200 rooms upon completion. It will be similar in décor to its Beverly Hills and Miami sisters but will also feature some Manhattan influence.
ONLINE EXPANSION: American Apparel Inc., a downtown L.A. clothing company, announced the launch of an online store serving Singapore: store.americanapparel.sg. Singapore is second to Hong Kong as a market in Southeast Asia for the trendy apparel company, which the company said made it a prime candidate for its own web store.
GAME SALE: Paris-based media and telecommunications conglomerate Vivendi SA has hired two investment banks to explore a sale of its majority stake in Santa Monica video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. The Wall Street Journal reported that the banks, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Barclays PLC, have approached prospective buyers that include video game makers and private-equity firms. Vivendi was rumored to be trying to sell Activision for weeks. The news was confirmed for the first time last week by the company’s chairman, Jean-Rene Fourtou, at the Allen & Co. media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.
PLANS OFF: NBCUniversal is abandoning controversial plans to build thousands of residences on its Universal City back lot. The company had planned to build 2,937 units as part of a larger $3 billion proposal to expand and update its 391-acre property, where it has its movie studio, theme park attraction and CityWalk entertainment complex. However, new plans released as part of a final environmental impact report instead call for adding more studio space, theme park attractions, hotels and other entertainment space. Specifically, NBCUniversal plans to add 1.45 million square feet of movie production space, 327,000 square feet of attractions to Universal Studios, more shops and restaurants to CityWalk and two instead of one 500-room hotel.
SPORTS GUYS: Supermarket magnate Ron Burkle has teamed up with Hollywood financier Ryan Kavanaugh to launch a sports agency that represents professional athletes, coaches and broadcasters. The venture, called Relativity Sports, is a partnership of Burkle’s holding company, Yucaipa Cos., and Kavanaugh’s independent studio, Relativity Media. Earlier this year, Burkle bought an undisclosed stake in the studio from private-equity firm Elliot Management.
PORT TRAFFIC: Cargo volumes at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach rose in June, according to figures released last week. About 9 percent more cargo containers passed through the L.A. port last month than in the same month a year ago, thanks in part to a big increase in the number of empty containers bound for Asia. The port handled about 697,000 containers, up from 641,000 in June of last year. For the year, cargo volumes at the port are up 6.5 percent. But at the neighboring Port of Long Beach, despite solid growth of imports and exports, the total container count grew just two-tenths of a percent due to a 10 percent dip in the number of empty containers leaving the port.
SALES OFF: The market for small-business sales in the L.A. area softened in the second quarter in yet another indicator of a weakening economy, according to data from website BizBuySell.com. The median asking prices for businesses in Los Angeles and Orange counties listed on the website was $210,000 in the second quarter, down 8.7 percent from a year earlier. “That would suggest to me that in the greater L.A. economy, small businesses are still struggling,” said Mike Handelsman, group general manager at BizBuySell, based in San Francisco. “Owners are lowering their prices in order to try to create opportunities for sales.”
SHARE SALE: Kennedy-Wilson Holdings Inc. announced plans to sell 7.5 million shares in a public offering. The Beverly Hills real estate company said that it expects to use net proceeds from the offering to repay all borrowings under its revolving credit facility. Any money left over will be used for working capital and general corporate purposes, including potential acquisitions and co-investments. Kennedy-Wilson, which invests in commercial and multifamily properties in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland and Japan, said it will grant underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 1.13 million additional shares to cover any overallotments.
HOLLYWOOD SALE: A building fully occupied by film equipment maker Panavision Inc. has traded hands for $8.12 million in Hollywood’s largest office sale this year. West L.A.’s JMS Ventures Inc. bought the 24,000-square-foot building at 6735 Selma Ave. on June 11. The seller was L.A. developer Bob Champion, whose Selma Venture LLC purchased the building last year for $20 million as part of an eight-property portfolio, according to CoStar Group Inc. Panavision, headquartered in Woodland Hills, has five years left on its lease at the building, constructed for the company in the late 1990s.
AIRPORT STORES: The current operator of duty-free shops at Los Angeles International Airport has been recommended by airport staff to continue in that role over seven competitors. Staff at Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that runs LAX, awarded a score of 93 out of 100 to DFS, the world’s largest duty-free retailer and a unit of Paris fashion and spirits company LVMH Möet Hennessy Louis Vuitton S.A. The airport plans to award a 10-year contract for 38,000 square feet of duty-free and duty-paid retail space across all airport terminals, including a 14,000-square-foot shop in the new Tom Bradley International Terminal. Over the 10-year contract term, duty-free sales at LAX could total $2 billion.
OVERSEAS ORDERS: Chatsworth microturbine manufacturer Capstone Turbine Corp. said it has received multiple orders from two natural gas service companies in Colombia that total two megawatts of prime power generation. The units are expected to be installed later this year.
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