PLAN OK’D: The UCLA Anderson School of Management received final approval from University of California President Mark Yudof to convert its state-supported M.B.A. program into a self-supporting one. The plan allows Anderson to avoid cuts in state funding. In exchange, the school will have more flexibility in setting tuition levels and can pursue donations from foundations and other sources. So far, nearly $20 million has been pledged.
LAYOFFS: Another round of layoffs has hit the Los Angeles Times as parent Tribune Co. looks to unload the newspaper along with seven others. The cuts affected about 20 staffers, including members of the graphics department and newsroom. Meanwhile, Tribune has agreed to purchase 19 TV stations owned by Local TV Holdings in a $2.73 billion deal that is expected to make Tribune the largest television station group in the country.
FEE DROPPED: The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has killed a controversial plan to impose massive fees on developers to pay for transit projects. The agency’s board voted instead to direct staff to work with state legislators to seek alternatives to the state-mandated congestion fees, which would have been nearly $1,900 for each single-family home developed and roughly $29,000 for a new grocery store the size of a Trader Joe’s. The board had been set to approve the congestion fees in May, but opposition from developers and business groups forced the agency first to postpone consideration and then ultimately kill the plan.
TAX BREAK: The Los Angeles City Council has voted to move forward with a potential $59 million tax break for Australian developer Westfield Group LLC, billed as a way for the firm to speed up construction of its Village at Westfield Topanga project. The plan allows the company to keep 42 percent of new tax revenue generated by the project, which has an estimated cost of $750 million. The vote sends the plan to the budget and finance committee for review.
GUILTY PLEA: Former KPMG auditing partner Scott London has pleaded guilty to an insider-trading charge. London admitted in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles that he had disclosed privileged information about KPMG’s clients to a friend to be used to trade company stocks including those of nutritional supplement maker Herbalife Ltd. of Los Angeles and footwear company Skechers USA Inc. of Manhattan Beach.
LEASE DEAL: Air Lease Corp. in Century City has reached a deal to lease two planes to Monarch Airlines of London. The planes, two new Airbus A321-200 models, will be delivered to Monarch in April and May of 2015. Monarch flies internationally, including service to European vacation spots along the Mediterranean coast and the Canary Islands as well as wintertime ski destinations.
MOVIE RIGHTS: Burbank entertainment giant Walt Disney Co. has purchased distribution rights to four films from competitor studio Paramount Pictures. The movies are Marvel titles “Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor” and “Captain America.” The deal shows Disney’s strategy to further exploit Marvel comic-book franchises after their theatrical release.
IGER STAYS: Bob Iger will remain chief executive of the Walt Disney Co. through June 2016 – an extension of 15 months beyond his previously announced retirement date. Iger’s 2011 contract dictated he was to step down as chief executive in March 2015 and remain as executive chairman until the following year. But Disney’s board asked him to stay on as both chief executive and chairman until June 30, 2016.
CAMERAS ROLLING: L.A. area on-location filming increased 9 percent in the second quarter compared with the same period last year. Permitted production days for television increased 27 percent to 4,310, according to permitting agency FilmL.A. Feature film production was up 1 percent to 1,758 days.
HOLLYWOOD: Palladium owner Crescent Heights has announced plans for two towers on the parking lots behind the theater. The theater would be preserved as a landmark. The developers have submitted plans to “transform the Palladium’s existing parking lots into a transit-oriented, mixed-use development by adding residential units, street-level shops and restaurants, and a potential hotel.” In a rendering, the new buildings appear higher than 20 stories.
CITY HALL: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday named former City Councilwoman Jan Perry interim general manager of the city’s Economic Development Department. Perry will run the newly created department, which will focus on small-business support, workforce development and job creation. As a councilwoman, Perry represented the downtown area and championed development projects in her district. Garcetti also appointed Kelli Bernard as interim chief of economic development. Stephen Cheung was named director of international trade.
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