TALKS IN PROGRESS: Dole Food Co. has confirmed that it is in “advanced talks” to sell its packaged foods and Asia fresh food units to Itochu Corp., a large Tokyo trading company. The Westlake Village fruit and vegetable giant said it was responding to “market rumors” about a pending sale. No agreements have been signed and the company is continuing to talk with other interested buyers of those businesses and other units, it said.
SUGARY DRINKS: In something of a victory for restaurateurs, a judge has struck down the city of El Monte’s proposed title and summary of a sugary drinks tax measure on the November ballot as too partisan and ordered the city to change the wording. Measure H would impose a one-cent-per-ounce tax on businesses in the city that sell beverages containing sugar. Supporters claim the tax would help prevent obesity while raising money to fund vital city services. Business owners and other opponents say the tax would be nearly impossible to administer and would drive away shoppers and patrons.
SLANDER VERDICT: An L.A. jury awarded casino mogul Steve Wynn $40 million in damages in his slander suit against “Girls Gone Wild” founder Joe Francis, an outcome that Wynn lauded as a strike against an “unbelievably reckless human being.” Francis in 2010 accused Wynn of threatening to kill him and bury him in the desert. Francis plans to ask for a new trial.
HIRING OUTLOOK: The jobs picture for Los Angeles is weakening, according to a survey from Manpower Group, which said 13 percent of companies surveyed said they intend to cut staff during the fourth quarter. That’s up sharply from 5 percent in the third quarter, though it’s the same level as in the fourth quarter of last year. About 17 percent of firms responding in Los Angeles and Orange counties said that they intend to increase staffing levels during the fourth quarter, up slightly from the same period a year earlier.
ACQUISITION: CBRE Group Inc. has acquired London real estate investment firm Franc Warwick Chartered Surveyors in a deal that expands the L.A. real estate service company’s presence in the United Kingdom. Franc Warwick specializes in capital market transactions, corporate acquisitions and sales, shopping centers, hotels, industrial and retail, especially in central London. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
CELEBRITY PARTNER: NuvoTV, which targets English-speaking Latinos, has announced that singer-actress Jennifer Lopez will become a partner and executive producer at the Glendale independent television channel. Lopez and her production company, Nuyorican Productions, will develop shows for the channel as well as help shape overall strategy, distribution and marketing. NuvoTV recently announced a round of financing that brings total commitments to more than $110 million.
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