SALE: An affiliate of Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. in Los Angeles agreed to purchase the Fresh & Easy grocery chain in El Segundo from British supermarket firm Tesco. Terms were not disclosed, but Tesco reportedly will lend Yucaipa at least $126 million to revamp about 150 of Fresh & Easy’s more than 200 stores.
MOVING HERE: Kinkisharyo International Inc., which is opening a Palmdale factory to build light rail cars, announced it also will move its U.S. headquarters to El Segundo from Massachusetts. The company is a subsidiary of Kinki Sharyo Co. of Osaka, Japan. The move follows a deal with the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to build 97 new light rail vehicles for the Crenshaw/LAX Line and to replace older Metro cars.
SHOT DOWN: The state Assembly killed a measure that would have granted stronger enforcement powers to the California Coastal Commission. The bill would have given the agency the authority to impose fines on violators of the California Coastal Act without court approval. Opponents of the measure said the current procedure is a necessary check on the commission’s powers.
UNIVERSAL CHANGE: Universal Pictures chairman Adam Fogelson was replaced as part of a management shakeup that put NBCUniversal International president Jeff Shell in charge of worldwide operations for the studio’s motion picture group. Shell, who becomes chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, will also oversee Universal’s global theatrical and home entertainment businesses. A top lieutenant to NBCU Chief Executive Steve Burke, Shell was previously a Comcast Corp. executive prior to the company’s takeover of NBCU, and since the acquisition had been overseeing NBCU’s international television operations in London.
FORECAST: Economists at the UCLA Anderson Forecast expect the pace of job growth to continue to slow in California, particularly in hard-hit inland areas such as the Central Valley and Inland Empire. A healthier recovery will continue in coastal urban areas, particularly the San Francisco Bay Area, where the tech sector has been leading the state’s economic recovery. The state’s unemployment rate, currently 8.7 percent, is expected to fall to 8.5 percent by the end of this year and to 7.4 percent by the end of next year, eventually dropping to 6.7 percent by the end of 2015.
OBITUARY: Cal Worthington, the folksy car dealer whose quirky commercials featuring his “dog Spot” dominated local airwaves for decades, died of natural causes at age 92 at his home in Northern California. Worthington rose to prominence in the 1960s and early 1970s, and at the height of his fame owned 23 dealerships in five states. He still ran several dealerships, including one in Long Beach, until he died.
PARTNERSHIP: Radio station owner Clear Channel and Warner Music Group announced a strategic alliance with revenue-sharing elements. WMG will share in revenue from all Clear Channel platforms and get “unprecedented opportunities” to promote the music of its artists at Clear Channel’s radio stations, digital music properties and outdoor advertising properties. Financial details were not disclosed.
NEW ADVISER: Herbalife Ltd. has appointed former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as a senior adviser to Chief Executive Michael O. Johnson and the company’s board. The Los Angeles nutritional products company, which has been battling allegations that it operates as an illegal pyramid scheme, said Villaraigosa will counsel Herbalife on strategic business development and global community outreach. It did not disclose how much he will be paid.
SETTLEMENT STANDS: A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has ruled that Jamie McCourt has no legal basis to force her ex-husband to share his profit from the sale of the Dodgers. Judge Scott Gordon dismissed Jamie McCourt’s claim that she was unaware of the potential value of the Dodgers and of a regional sports network. Frank McCourt sold the Dodgers to Guggenheim Baseball Management for $2.15 billion last year, five months after Jamie McCourt accepted $131 million in a divorce settlement.
HIRING STEADY: Los Angeles area employers are expected to continue hiring workers at a modest pace during the fourth quarter, according to a survey from employment agency giant Manpower Inc. During the fourth quarter, 15 percent of employers in Los Angeles and Orange counties said they expected to hire workers, while 9 percent expected to lay off workers. Nearly three-fourths of employers said they would maintain current staff levels, according to the Milwaukee employment firm’s survey. However, the job market in Los Angeles lags behind the rest of the county as Manpower’s nationwide survey found 22 percent of employers expected to hire workers and 6 percent said they would lay off workers.
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