HISTORIC BUILDING: Santa Monica real estate company MJW Investments has sold the landmark Sears Roebuck & Co. tower in Boyle Heights. Downtown L.A. multifamily real estate developer Izek Shomof bought the 23-acre property, at 2650 E. Olympic Blvd., for $29 million. MJW, which acquired the property for $32.1 million in 2004, had planned a $500 million mixed-use project on the property, but those plans stalled. The 1.8 million-square-foot property, built in 1927, served for decades as a mail-order fulfillment center, but its ground-floor retail store remains one of Sears’ best performing on the West Coast.
APPROVED: Shareholders of National Technical Systems Inc. have approved the Calabasas engineering and test services company’s acquisition by private investment firm Aurora Capital Group. The deal between NTS and the L.A. investment firm is valued at about $267 million.
BURGER BUY: Private equity firm Roark Capital Group has signed a deal to acquire Carpinteria restaurant group CKE Inc., parent of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s fast-food chains. CKE, which was taken private by New York private equity firm Apollo Global Management in 2010, operates 3,400 restaurants in 42 states and 29 countries. Atlanta-based Roark has invested in more than a dozen casual-dining and fast-food chains over the years, including Arby’s, Corner Bakery and Cinnabon. CKE senior management, including Chief Executive Andy Puzder, will retain a minority stake. Financial terms were not disclosed.
STOCK SALE: Three private equity backers of Air Lease Corp. are selling off part of their stakes in an underwritten public offering of more than 10.1 million shares. The shares are owned by affiliates of Ares Management, Leonard Green & Partners and WL Ross & Co. Century City’s Air Lease, founded by billionaire Steven Udvar-Hazy, said that it is not selling any shares itself and will not receive any proceeds from the sale. The company acquires and leases jetliners to airlines around the world.
HERBALIFE MAN: William Stiritz, head of Midwest cereal giant Post Holdings, has increased his stake in Herbalife Ltd. to 6.4 percent. He wants to help grow the L.A. nutrition company and defend it against hedge fund investor William Ackman. Stiritz, who is based in Belleville, Ill., and is a veteran in the consumer packaged goods industry, plans to offer his views to Herbalife’s management with an eye toward potential financing or recapitalization strategies and potential stock repurchases. Stiritz in interviews said he would be willing to participate in a potential leveraged buyout of the company.
DISNEY DAUGHTER: Diane Disney Miller, the only surviving child of Walt and Lillian Disney, died at 79 at her home in the Napa Valley. The philanthropist worked hard to preserve her father’s memory apart from the corporate image of Burbank-based entertainment giant Walt Disney Co. She also played a key role in ensuring that architect Frank Gehry’s design was completed for downtown L.A.’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, which was launched with a $50 million gift from her mother.
CUTS: Tribune Co., Chicago-based parent of the Los Angeles Times, announced a restructuring plan that will cut nearly 700 jobs over the next year. The company cited a continuing decline in print advertising. The 6 percent staff reduction will come primarily from the company’s newspaper publishing unit but will largely target operations staff rather than editorial workers at its eight daily papers, the company said.
ROLL CREDITS: Syd Field, a university instructor, film consultant and screenwriter who helped teach thousands of aspiring movie scribes, died at 77 at his home in Beverly Hills. While he never had a hit of his own, Field’s 1979 book, “Screen-play: The Foundations of Screenwriting,” became known as a bible of screenwriting, popularizing the use of “plot points” in drafting a screenplay.
SETTLED: Beverly Hills studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Santa Monica production company Danjaq said they have completed the acquisition of all rights to the character of James Bond held by the estate and family of the late Kevin McClory. McClory, an Irish screenwriter who died in 2006, is credited with co-writing and producing 1965’s “Thunderball” and 1983’s “Never Say Never Again.” He successfully sued for credit on Ian Fleming’s novel “Thunderball,” proving it was based on the script he had co-written with Fleming and another writer.
PORT ACTIVITY: Cargo volume at the Port of Los Angeles slipped and Long Beach traffic was up in October compared with last year, the two ports announced. Cargo volume at Los Angeles dropped 4.8 percent compared with the same month last year. About 684,000 containers moved through the port. Imports declined 5.1 percent and exports dipped 5.7 percent. Long Beach traffic was up 8.7 percent. About 577,000 containers moved through the Port of Long Beach.
DOWNTOWN HOTEL: SBE head Sam Nazarian – who made his name with posh L.A. nightclubs that cater to celebrities – is in talks to open another iteration of his splashy SLS
hotel near Grand Avenue’s Walt Disney Concert Hall and Eli Broad’s planned museum, according to the Hollywood Reporter. SBE already has two Philippe Starck-designed SLS hotels, one on La Cienega Boulev-ard, the other in Miami’s South Beach.
EARNINGS: Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. reported fiscal fourth quarter net income of nearly $111 million, 1 percent higher than in the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 22 percent to $3.14 billion. ... American Apparel Inc. reported a third quarter net loss of $1.5 million, 92 percent lower. Revenue rose 1 percent to $164 million.
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