Stories for June 2012

Friday, June 29

The Week's Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed up strongly during a week when the overall market also advanced on news of a bailout and stimulus plan in Europe.

KB Home Narrows Losses

KB Home reported quarterly results that beat analyst expectations thanks to increased housing sales and higher home prices.

ValueClick Surges on Guidance Update

Shares of ValueClick gained nearly 15 percent after the company announced its second-quarter financial results will come in at the top of expectations.

Thursday, June 28

Jakks Disappoints Investors in Stock Buy-Back

Shares of Jakks Pacific fell more than 10 percent after the company said it will purchase only about 16 percent of the shares tendered in a stock buy-back offer.

Overhill Farms Avoids Class Action in Employee Lawsuit

Overhill Farms announced that a judge has denied class action status for a lawsuit by former employees.

Wednesday, June 27

Analyst Upgrades DreamWorks on ‘Madagascar’ Results

The stock of DreamWorks Animation gained 5 percent following an upgrade by an analyst.

Korn/Ferry Hires Former Hedge Fund Manager

Shares of executive recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International rose after the company announced a new hire who will head up the firm’s hedge fund recruiting practice.

Villaraigosa Creates Growth Council

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced the formation of a task force of local technology company executives, entrepreneurs and academic leaders to boost the region’s growth industries.

Tuesday, June 26

KB Home Buys Lots in Irvine

KB Home has purchased 174 finished home sites from the Irvine Co. in Orange County.

ValueClick Falls on Downgrade

Shares of ValueClick fell 10 percent after an analyst downgraded the stock and said one subsidiary now determines the company’s future.

Derycz Wins GSA Contract

Shares of Derycz Scientific jumped after the company announced a contract with the federal government’s General Services Administration.

Monday, June 25

CytRx Shares Boosted From ‘Milestone’ Cancer Drug

Shares of CytRx rose nearly 6 percent after the company announced positive preliminary data in tests on its cancer treatment.

Activision, Disney to Collaborate on ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ Game

Activision Publishing and Disney Interactive will collaborate to produce and distribute a videogame that ties in with Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph” movie set for release Nov. 2.

Managed Care Provider Pursues Medicaid Infusion

Managed care provider Molina could get shot in the arm from further Medicaid expansion.

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Lawyer Still Game for Olympics

When Santa Monica-born Maidie Oliveau was a student at Georgetown University, she and some other California girls wanted to play volleyball competitively. But the Washington, D.C., school didn’t have a team in 1970, so she had to help start one, getting school approval and even overcoming some sartorial complications.

Doggie Bags Made to Go

Eco Dog unleashes biodegradable product for pooch poop.

Eco Dog has the scoop on poop with a line of biodegradable waste bags

Shoemaker’s Shares Take Step in Right Direction

K-Swiss stock up but remains way below last year’s level.

K-Swiss is stumbling as it takes steps toward producing athletic shoes

Regional Reports

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Cupcake Chain Looks to Add Middle East to Mix

Sprinkles signs deal to open 34 shops in five years across region.

Sprinkles Cupcakes plan to open shops in the Middle East may pan out.

Radio Host Talking Up Trinkets

Dr. Laura Schlessinger hopes to sells fans on her handmade items.

Talk radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger hopes her handmade items speak to buyers.

Was Piano Fit for The King?

Collector to auction baby grand possibly played by Elvis.

Warren Liu wants his piano to hit the right notes at auction. After all, Elvis might’ve played it.

Investors Drink Up Natural Soda Company Profit

Shares of Reed’s slide despite pair of business-expanding deals.

Natural soda bottler Reed’s blames recent share decline on investors thirsty for profit-taking.

New Owner Tries to Deal With Two Poker Leagues

Pinnacle paid $4.5 million at auction for Federated properties.

New owner places bets on two TV poker leagues.

Trailer Company Hitches Future to Video Games

Hammer uses movie-style method to promote titles.

A trailer that went viral last week features “A Game of Thrones” actor James Cosmo saying his last prayers to a group of congregants huddled inside an ancient church.

L.A. CEOs Can’t Always Bank on Big Paychecks

Execs rank among lowest and highest paid in nation.

Los Angeles County is home to many of the highest paid bank chief executives in the country, according to a new report. But the area has one of the lowest paid bank leaders, too.

New Agency Elects to Take Political Approach

Steve Caplan’s Message hopes to use core ideas to benefit clients.

A new PR agency with a political agenda has opened in Hollywood.

Storage Case Maker Checks Into Medical Market

Pelican launches line to transport pharmaceutical products.

Pelican Products Inc., a Torrance company that makes heavy-duty flashlights as well as bomb-proof storage cases for everything from laptops and iPods to guns and oil drilling equipment, is branching out into the medical market.

News of the Week

Last week’s major news from and other sources

Kadisha Company Makes Big Buy in Long Beach

Omninet affiliate pays $69 million for Freeway Business Center.

In the largest office sale in Long Beach this year, a 490,000-square-foot building was purchased by billionaire Neil Kadisha’s investment vehicle for $69 million in an all-cash transaction.

Hollywood Clicks With Microsoft

Charles Crumpley sees Microsoft’s recent moves as the curtain-raiser for the tech-giant’s deeper relationship with Hollywood.

Banking on Transparency

Financial institutions should invest in reassuring the public about their community commitments.

Casey Boggs urges banks to take account of their ties to the communities they serve.

Space Is Limited

Agents look to overcome out-of-this-world prices while selling seats on Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.

Agents for Virgin Galactic’s space flights hope to unearth deep-pocketed customers.

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L.A. Legacy

Karen Hathaway upholds family tradition by running Los Angeles Athletic Club and helping guide Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

L.A. boosterism is a family tradition for Laaco CEO Karen Hathaway.

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Digital Firm Levels Executive System

Ciplex axes titles, retools pay and hours to spur staff.

Internet firm Ciplex looks to reshape the industry business model by scrapping hierarchy and titles.

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Pollution Credits A Smoke Screen?

Business rips ‘cap and trade’ as $1 billion tax.

Local businesses enlist in bid to block state’s cap-and-trade emission credits auction.

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Pier Pressure

Redondo Beach tourism ebbs at faded waterfront

Redondo Beach looks to buoy business with a major facelift for city’s pier and waterfront.

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Dole Chair Says Aloha to Lanai

Hawaiian island sold as his IPO loan deadline looms.

David Murdock sells Lanai to Larry Ellison – will he use the cash to keep control of Dole?

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Lender Takes Borrowers’ Receivables Into Account

FastPay adapts apparel industry model for web company clients.

Borrowers’ invoices are the main factor in FastPay’s loans to web companies

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Friday, June 22

Jacobs Partnership to Make Moroccan Acquisition

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. and joint venture partner OCP S.A plan to acquire all the shares of Team Maroc, a full-service engineering and management consultancy firm in Morocco's capital city.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed down slightly for the week, as agreement on a euro stimulus plan in Europe took the edge off a U.S. stock selloff earlier in the week.

ILFC Chairman Demoted After Affair

International Lease Finance Corp. Chief Executive Henri Courpron has lost his chairman title and is being docked $1 million in annual salary after the company determined he had had an affair with an employee under his supervision.

Thursday, June 21

David Murdock Sells Hawaiian Island to Larry Ellison

Oracle Corp. Chief Executive Larry Ellison plans to buy most of the Hawaiian island of Lanai from Los Angeles billionaire David Murdock’s real estate company, according to news reports.

Former National Lampoon CEO Convicted of Fraud

Timothy S. Durham, the former chief executive of National Lampoon Inc., has been found guilty of defrauding investors in an Indiana investment company he partially controlled.

Ryland Makes North Carolina Acquisition

Ryland Group Inc. has signed an agreement to acquire the Charlotte and Raleigh operations and assets of Timberstone Homes in North Carolina.

Wednesday, June 20

Qualstar Claims Victory at Shareholders Meeting

Qualstar Corp. said that preliminary results at Wednesday’s special shareholder meeting shows that dissident shareholder BKF Capital Group failed to replace the current board with its own slate of directors.

Ernst & Young Honors Top Entrepreneurs in Los Angeles

Ernst & Young LLP has honored Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso and eight other business executives at its annual Entrepreneur of the Year event for Greater Los Angeles.

THQ Shares Fall on Video Game Delay

Shares of THQ Inc. fell more than 4 percent Wednesday after the struggling video game developer said it would delay a planned expansion pack for its "Saints Row: The Third" series and instead incorporate it into the next sequel.

Forecast: More Slow Growth for L.A. Economy

L.A.’s economy will continue its frustratingly slow recovery for the next two years, with the local unemployment rate remaining in double digits through 2015, according to a new forecast from Beacon Economics.

Tuesday, June 19

Sprinkles Cupcakes to Franchise in Middle East

Sprinkles Cupcakes has signed a franchise agreement to open 34 locations in the Middle East. It will be the trendy Beverly Hills bakery’s first overseas expansion.

HCP to Sell Stock to Pay Down Debt

HCP Inc. shares fell slightly Tuesday morning after the health care real estate investment trust said it would sell 7.8 million shares of its common stock in a public offering.

Monday, June 18

Jakks, Oaktree Takeover Talks Collapse

Jakks Pacific Inc. said that Oaktree Capital Management LP had ended negotiations related to a $250 million potential takeover of the Malibu toymaker.

Loews Completes Acquisition of Renaissance Hotel

Loews Hotels & Resorts has closed its purchase of the Renaissance Hotel and Spa at Hollywood & Highland Center. The 632-room facility has been rebranded Loews Hollywood Hotel.

Kennedy-Wilson Makes Local Multi-Family Acquisition

Kennedy Wilson Holdings Inc. and partners had acquired Torrey Pines, a 251-unit apartment community in West Covina.

Bob Hope Isn’t Joking

Local airport mulls putting ‘Burbank’ back on marquee.

Plan could take off to add host city Burbank’s name to Bob Hope Airport moniker.

Brands Look to Put Their Names on Rodeo Drive

Current tenants plan renovations along swanky strip.

A flurry of activity has swept across Rodeo Drive, and it’s not the paparazzi. Retailers are sprucing up and even expanding their spaces, and new tenants are moving in.

Funny Business

Smaller special-effects shops have a big role i

Small visual effects firm Level 256 often gets a look from studios seeking a quick touch-up of their comedies.

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Trio to Travel Century City-to-Downtown Route

Katten’s new partners to launch second L.A. outpost.

The Century City office of Chicago’s Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP just landed three new partners – but they won’t be there long.

High-Flying Wi-Fi Company Spreading Its Wings

Row 44 gets $45 million to hire more workers, expand market.

In-flight Internet service provider Row 44 is flying high after a $45 million funding round.

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Mall Owner Sold On Century City

Westfield plans expansion, new HQ.

Developer Westfield homes in on its expanding Century City mall for its new U.S. headquarters.

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Upper Crust

Pizza places vie to spin artisan pie into dough

Restaurateurs hope to be rolling in dough by serving up artisanal pizza.

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Ex-Medical Student Stages Career in Event Planning

Barcelona owner makes inroads with luxury car dealerships.

Alan Semsar didn’t rely on a fixed approach to growing his upscale event-planning business.

Signing Up for Duty

Eight companies are seeking the concession to operate duty-free shops at LAX.

Rivals Hope to Land LAX Duty Free

Big names line up local backers to aid concession bids.

International chains forge local links to support their bids for LAX’s lucrative duty-free concession.

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Pool Cleaner Dives Into Franchising

Vivo bets on customers taking plunge on higher-price service.

Former Yahoo exec hopes to make waves with his pool-cleaning franchise.

News of the Week

Last week’s major news from and other sources

Indoor Tent Works to Keep Privacy Zipped Up

Eric Mear’s pop-up product inspired by roommate.

Lessons learned from a noisy college roommate spurred USC grad to create indoor privacy tent.

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Reverse Stock Split Gives Shot in Arm to Drug Firm

CytRx also sees good signs in product clinical trials.

What a difference a reverse stock split and some good news have made for cancer drug developer CytRx Corp.

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Postage Company Looks to Address Stock Slide still hopes to benefit from post office cutbacks. shares have taken a licking as Postal Service backs off plan to shutter offices.

Landlords Don’t Dig Subway Plan

Pair tap CEQA to bury Metro project.

Downtown L.A. property owners court controversy by filing CEQA suits to challenge Metro subway project.

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Awash in Cash

L.A.’s private equity firms are sitting on tens of billions of dollars. Why? They can’t find companies to invest in.

Private-equity firms have piled up billions as they wait for proper pickup opportunities.

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Music Merchandiser in Tune With Private Equity

Brandon Hance recently faced a critical problem.

Flexible Clip Might Work In Pinch

SnapLNX product aims to get hold on ties, sleeves, money.

SnapLNX hopes its tie clip/money clip/cuff link accessory takes hold with consumers

Skin Care Firm Investors Won’t Bite on Poison Pill

Activist shareholder wants Obagi to be open to takeover.

Investors fail to swallow poison-pill provision of skin care company Obagi.

Developer to Raise Curtain on Hollywood Offices

J.H. Snyder plans $120 million, two-building project.

Developer Jerry Snyder is preparing to break ground on Hollywood’s first new office building since the Great Recession.

Regional Reports

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Burying Hatchet With Trump

Almost six years ago, when Richard “Skip” Bronson, 67, began writing about his development war with Donald Trump, he was looking for catharsis rather than a book deal – though he ended up with both.

Street Vendors Lack Curb Appeal

You may have seen the article in the Los Angeles Times last week about the unusual audition in New York.

Investors Get a Taste of ‘Hunger Games’ Success

Stock of Lions Gate claws back after recent earnings dip.

Investors rush to get their paws on Lions Gate shares despite surprise quarterly loss.

Friday, June 15

L.A. Businessman Appointed to Air Quality Board

Los Angeles businessman Clark Parker has been named to the board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the region’s air pollution control agency.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed up for the week, as hopeful news on the European debt crisis offset weak U.S. economic data.

L.A.'s Jobless Rate Falls to 11.4 Percent

Los Angeles County’s jobs picture improved in May as the unemployment rate dipped to 11.4 percent and the county added nearly 12,000 jobs, according to state figures.

Molina Names New President for Texas Unit

Molina Healthcare Inc. said that Craig Bass, the head of its Michigan health plan, has been named president of its struggling Texas unit.

Thursday, June 14

Pacific Commerce Bank Names Chief Executive

Pacific Commerce Bank said that Scott Andrews had been named chief executive.

Demand Media Names New Chief Financial Officer

Demand Media Inc. said that Chief Financial Officer Charles Hilliard was leaving and would be replaced by Mel Tang, the online media company’s treasurer. The change is effective Aug. 16.

Port Activity Up in Los Angeles, Down in Long Beach

The story of feast and famine at Southern California’s twin port complex continued last month, with the Port of Los Angeles reporting its best May ever and the Port of Long Beach reporting another decline, according to new statistics.

GraphEffect Receives $12 Million Financing

Los Angeles software developer GraphEffect has raised $12 million to expand its business for social marketers.

Wednesday, June 13

Thomas Barrack Jr. Elected USC Trustee

Thomas Barrack Jr., founder of Los Angeles private equity firm Colony Capital LLC, has been elected to the board of trustees at University of Southern California.

MGM’s Content Added to Amazon Prime

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. and Inc. said they signed a licensing agreement that will make MGM’s extensive film and TV catalog available on Amazon’s Internet video service.

Tuesday, June 12

Report Finds TV Drama Pilots Leaving L.A.

Television pilot production in Los Angeles rose this year, but the most economically significant productions – dramas – continued their flight out of the area.

Amgen Completes Acquisition of Turkish Drugmaker

Amgen Inc. has completed its acquisition of Turkish generic drug maker Mustafa Nevzat Pharmaceuticals.

Grandpoint Capital to Acquire NCal

The holding companies of Grandpoint Bank and the National Bank of California said they have signed a definitive merger agreement in which Grandpoint Capital will acquire NCal Bancorp.

National Technical Systems Buys Competitor

National Technical Systems Inc. has acquired Garwood Laboratories, a Pico Rivera product certification laboratory, for an undisclosed amount.

Survey: Local Employers More Optimistic on Hiring Prospects

Local companies are expected to step up their hiring during the third quarter, according to a new survey from Manpower Group.

Monday, June 11

Row 44 Completes $45 Million Financing Round

Row 44, a provider of in-flight WiFi, has closed a $45 million financing round.

United Online Buys Social Media Company

United Online Inc. said that its Memory Lane Inc. subsidiary has acquired Northern California social media company SchoolFeed Inc. for an undisclosed price.

Is IPO Market Hot or Cold?

Recent public pain may stop companies from pursuing IPO gain, writes Charles Crumpley.

Disk Business Slips Into More Space in Burbank

Deluxe Digital takes over entire building in $60 million deal.

In one of the largest lease deals in Burbank this year, a division of Hollywood postproduction house Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc. will expand into an entire 130,000-square-foot building at Burbank Empire Center.

Blog Network Cues Up Electronic Music Website

Buzzmedia hopes to expand portal with offline opportunities.

When blog network Buzzmedia bought electronic music website XLR8R a couple of weeks ago, the Hollywood online media company gained access to loyal electronic music fans.

Jet-Leasing Company Expands Further Into China

Air Lease hits new heights on back of two new carrier deals.

Air Lease Corp. gets big lift from a pair of deals with Chinese airlines.

Retail Touch-Up

United Future pitches interactive screens for storefront windows.

United Future thinks it has a finger on the pulse of retail with touch-screen window displays.

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Networking Easier To Digest?

Grubwithus serves up restaurant rendezvous at a discount.

Grubwithus wants a seat at the table as an organizer of networking meetings at restaurants.

Sunset Strip Has Room for Marriott

Hotelier loses reservations about luxury brand.

Marriott looks to check into the hot Westside market with hip, upscale hotel named Edition.

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Special Interest

INTERVIEW: Film industry veteran Scott Ross believes Hollywood needs to get creative to hold on to the visual effects business.

Scott Ross is pushing Hollywood to focus on the big picture and keep visual effects jobs in the U.S.

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Earning Her Wings

Girl entrepreneur turns angel drawings into line of dolls.

Angel line of dolls takes wing under the eye of 11-year-old entrepreneur Ally Mollo.

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Sporting Goods Chain Looks to Get Ball Rolling

Sport Chalet taps downtown L.A. for first new store since 2008.

Sport Chalet scores its first new location since 2008 with a store at downtown L.A.’s Fig at 7th shopping center.

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L.A. Cleaning Bill Scares Businesses

City’s debt overshadows green subsidy plan.

Some L.A. businesses wonder where the city will find the green to pay for a proposed clean-up program.

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Outsized Pay Not Reserved for the Corner Office

SPECIAL REPORT: Executive Compensation

Pair of local non-CEOs bring in the highest executive pay.

A Fine Day At the Office

SPECIAL REPORT: Executive Compensation

Most CEOs of local companies are taking home more even as shareholders look to rein in pay.

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City of L.A. Needs to Field Conventions

Kevin James believes the city of L.A. should be making a play for more conventions, not tackling the NFL.

Not Just Phoning It In

Victoria Thomas makes the call in favor of working from home.

Data Bank

Calendar of Events

News of the Week

Last week’s major news from and other sources

Digital Agency Takes Credit for Tracking Shoppers

Dedicated Media will use loan to develop behavior formulas.

Dedicated Media, a digital ad agency in El Segundo, has secured a $5 million credit line that it will use to develop technology that tracks consumer shopping online.

Web Network Tries to Click With Pay for Performance

W4 quick to pull nonperforming ads in order to dodge debt.

W4 gives clients a short leash and is quick to yank nonperforming Internet ads.

Ups, Downs In Shakeup

Ducommun shares rise and fall in wake of management transition.

Ducommun stock hits some turbulence in wake of management overhaul.

Private Equity Firm’s Prints All Over Touch Screen

Gores pays $380 million to get hands on Elo’s product lines.

Gores Group puts a hand in touch-screen market with acquisition of Elo.

New Broadcaster Accents Latinos

Spanish network MundoFox to take on Univision, Telemundo.

New broadcaster MundoFox hopes Latino viewers will flip for the Spanish-speaking network.

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See Worthy?

Catalina Hopes to Catch High-End Wave

Catalina’s largest commercial landlord adding high-end attractions to float the boats of more visitors.

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San Pedro Looks to Set Sales With Arts and Crafts

Port town hopes to pull in tourists with marketplace for trinkets.

San Pedro hopes its new arts and crafts marketplace will be a high-profile anchor tenant for the portside town.

Lingerie Company Could Be Stripped of Its Name

Frederick’s puts up brand trademark to secure big credit line.

Frederick’s of Hollywood literally puts its name on the line in deal to secure credit.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Father and Son Take Stock

Louis Perry, who built a reputation as one of the top security providers in Southern California and runs his own company, seems to have an innate feel for the business world. And that apparently runs in the family.

A Note to Our Readers

Beginning with this issue, the Los Angeles Business Journal will be printed on high-gloss paper.

Friday, June 8

The Week’s Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed up for the week, in line with the S&P 500 having its best week this year.

Molina Healthcare Shares Rebound on Win in Ohio

Shares of Molina Healthcare Inc. on Friday recovered much the previous day’s losses after the Medicaid managed care company said it had won its appeal to continue as a carrier in Ohio, one of its largest markets.

Anderson School's Self-Sufficiency Plan Progresses

The UCLA Academic Senate has approved a proposal to convert the Anderson School of Management M.B.A. program to a self-supporting institution.

San Onofre Problems Likely to Lead to Power Shortages

Executives with the parent of the Southern California Edison utility said that the troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant will remain shut down at least through August, leaving the region facing potential power shortages this summer.

Thursday, June 7

Molina Healthcare Withdraws Guidance Over Texas Concerns

Shares of Molina Healthcare Inc. plunged more than 30 percent on Thursday after the Medicaid managed care provider withdrew its full-year earnings forecast because costs in its large Texas market were exceeding premiums. Shares recovered somewhat in after-hours trading after the company announced it had won an appeal to continue as a carrier in Ohio.

Air Freight Environment Hurts UTi Worldwide Profit

UTi Worldwide Inc. reported lower-than-expected earnings in its fiscal first quarter as air-freight volumes declined.

Wednesday, June 6

Albertsons Plans Layoffs in California, Nevada

Supermarket chain Albertsons announced that it will reduce its store workforce by about 2,200 to 2,500 positions across all 247 Albertsons stores in California and Nevada.

Tetra Tech Buys Company with Shale Oil Expertise

Tetra Tech Inc. has acquired Rooney Engineering Inc., a Colorado oil and gas pipeline planning and engineering firm, for an undisclosed amount.

Frederick’s Gets $24 Million Loan

Frederick’s of Hollywood Group Inc. said that it has secured a $24 million loan from Salus Capital Partners LLC in Boston.

Air Lease Signs Two Big Transactions

Air Lease Corp. has entered into lease agreements to supply China Southern Airlines with 18 jet aircraft over the next three to four years, its largest such deal to date. The company also has ordered 36 jetliners from a major manufacturer.

Tuesday, June 5

LAX Hilton Settles Lawsuit with Workers

The Hilton Los Angeles Airport Hotel has agreed to pay its workers $2.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit over alleged failure to fully pay workers and give them adequate meal and rest breaks.

Brentwood Associates Sells Two Portfolio Companies

Brentwood Associates said that it has completed the sales of Filson Holdings Inc., an maker of premium outdoor apparel and accessories, and Array Marketing Group, a maker of retail merchandising systems.

THQ Gives Up UFC Video Game Rights

THQ Inc. and partner Zuffa LLC, which owns and operates the Ultimate Fighting Championship franchise, said that they have agreed to transfer the licensing rights to publish videogames based on the mixed martial arts franchise to rival publisher Electronic Arts Inc.

Monday, June 4

Gores Group Acquires Touch-Screen Maker

The Gores Group said that an affiliate had completed the acquisition of Elo Touch Solutions for $380 million in cash.

Data Bank

Calendar of Events

Clippers Owner Plays Pickup Game in Koreatown

Donald Sterling pays $16.2 million for apartment property.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is expanding his already colossal apartment portfolio.

Another Rank Survey

Another survey says L.A. is not a good place for business, but Charles Crumpley wonders if anyone is listening.

In the Bag

Lori Raya worked her way up from assisting cashiers and collecting shopping carts to become Vons’ first woman president.

Lori Raya made the jump from collegiate hoops player to calling the shots at grocery chain Vons.

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No Breaks for L.A.’s Handicapped-Parking Scofflaws

Ted Lux questions what drives motorists to use illegal handicapped placards.

Tool Maker Says Fix Is In at Rival

Harbor Freight alleges lumber business stole trade secrets.

Harbor Freight Tools hopes to build case against alleged employee-poaching flooring company.

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State Breathes Life Into CRA Projects

City of L.A. scores $318 million in funding.

State Department of Finance to pay $318 million to projects marooned by loss of CRA funding.

Fallout From Bratz Hits Bald Dolls?

Mattel, MGA make own lines for sick kids.

MGA and Mattel follow up Bratz feud with friction over making bald dolls for sick children.

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New CEO Facing Proxy Fight at Data Company

Largest shareholder seeks vote on Qualstar leadership.

Big shareholder looks to pull plug on new CEO of computer products and services company Qualstar

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Local Leaders Hope Patent Office Pending for L.A.

City faces intrastate challenge from Silicon Valley for outpost.

Local boosters get inventive as they try to lure a patent office to Los Angeles.

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Learning Lessons

Improving early education efforts will benefit future work force and give working parents peace of mind.

Improving preschool education will benefit tomorrow’s work force and today’s parents, according to Celia C. Ayala.

Going Overseas

Urinal Maker Rebrands for Foreign Sales

Waterless urinal maker Falcon hopes to make splash overseas by letting foreign partners rebrand its products.

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From Mars to Earth

Imagin’Labs looks to turn tech for NASA into construction jobs

Imagin’Labs adapts NASA-used technology for more Earthbound building projects.

Sky’s the Limit for Data-Tapping ‘Smart Irrigation’

Controller from Cyber Rain checks weather while running system.

Cyber Rain’s controllers tap actual weather data to regulate irrigation systems.

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Parking App Is Getting By On Its Timely Street Smarts

Data on open spaces fuels two partnerships for ParkMe.

Two recent partnerships have driven up interest in ParkMe’s street parking guidance app.

Ad Firm Set To Move On Clients

Let There Be Dragons hopes tour bus HQ makes industry inroads.

New agency Let There Be Dragons hopes to get business rolling with a tour bus as its headquarters.

Road to Victory

Local company steers veteran trucker into competing and winning state driving competition.

Sounds and Sights With the Beatles

Not many people achieve their childhood dream just a week after entering the work force. But that’s exactly what British ex-pat and local resident Ken Scott did.

Regional Reports

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Property Owner’s REIT Plan, Stock Value on Rise

Thomas Properties sells $50 million in shares to Madison.

Thomas Properties knocking on door of becoming REIT after private stock sale.

Applebee’s Franchisee Swallows More Locations

Analyst sees extra helping of stores as boost to parent DineEquity.

Parent DineEquity served up some good news as its Applebee’s locations scooped up by franchisee.

In a Twist, Pretzel Vendors Will Try Selling Pizza

Wetzels to launch Blaze Fast-Fire’d concept with two SoCal locations.

Wetzel’s Pretzels co-founders Rick and Elise Wetzel are now rolling their dough into the pizza business.

L.A., Long Beach to Dive Into Pollution Subsidies

Ports split on how to pay companies to use cleaner-burning ships.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach next month plan to start paying shipping companies to bring cargo to Southern California on cleaner-burning ships, part of an ongoing push by both ports to cut air pollution.

News of the Week

Last week’s major news from and other sources

Hear and Now

DreamWorks builds sound-recording studio at Glendale campus in move to lower movie production costs.

DreamWorks hopes to make some noise on the cost-saving front with its new on-campus recording studio.

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Friday, June 1

Endangered CRA Projects Get Some Funding

Several hundred projects in the city of Los Angeles halted by the death of redevelopment agencies will move forward anyway, apparently giving them a reprieve, at least for now.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed down for the week, as a weak national jobs report scared investors on Friday.

Manhattan Bancorp Completes Bank Acquisition

Manhattan Bancorp has completed its stock acquisition of Professional Business Bank.