SHOES: Bain Capital has bought a 50 percent stake in Toms, a Venice shoe company that became famous for its pledge to donate one pair of shoes every time a customer spends money on a pair. The company plans to use income from the Bain transaction to develop additional product lines that can be adapted to its donation model, and expand its retail and international operations. Company founder Blake Mycoskie also plans to use half of the money from the Bain investment to create a fund supporting social entrepreneurship. Reuters reported the deal gives Toms a valuation of about $625 million.
GREASY: The California Legislature has approved a bill making it a crime to steal old kitchen grease from fast-food restaurants. If signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the bill would create penalties for thieves and allow police to impound vehicles that officers suspect were used in such crimes. Grease might seem like an unlikely target for criminals, but the potential to use the kitchen waste as a biofuel ingredient means thieves can score about $600 from a truckload. Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, authored the bill.
DEFENSE: Downtown L.A. stock brokerage Wedbush Securities has denied an industry group’s allegations that the company failed to abide by proper market access rules over a period of some five years. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s had filed a complaint accusing Wedbush of allowing illegal and improper deals. In its reply, Wedbush said it is confident in its current controls and that it had blocked suspect trading companies from the brokerage nearly two years ago. Wedbush also said it is unaware of any losses suffered as a result of improper activities relevant to the complaint. The Securities and Exchange Commission has also accused Wedbush of lacking proper monitoring and risk controls.
PLAY BALL: Sport Chalet shareholders have approved the company’s $70 million sale to a Meriden, Conn., retail firm. Vestis Retail Group, which owns two other sporting goods retailers, offered to buy Sport Chalet for $1.20 a share. The company’s initial bid did not get enough shareholder votes to be approved, but Vestis had its way after the bid was extended to Aug. 15. Sport Chalet will keep its La Canada Flintridge offices and Chief Executive Craig Levra will keep his leadership position.
RESOLVED: Superior Industries International Inc., a Van Nuys company that makes aluminum car wheels, appears to be victorious in a proxy battle with a major shareholder. That shareholder, billionaire Mario Gabelli’s GAMCO Asset Management Inc., put up a slate of three director candidates on the basis that they were better qualified to enhance shareholder value. Shareholders, however, voted to install the company’s slate.
STICK DEAL: Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, a private equity firm in Beverly Hills, announced it has bought the Hot Dog on a Stick chain. The chain was purchased by Global Franchise Group, a Levine Leichtman portfolio company. Terms were not disclosed. Since its founding in Santa Monica in 1946, Hot Dog on a Stick has served its namesake product and lemonade. It now has 92 locations in the United States and several countries. The company’s headquarters are in Carlsbad. The firm plans to bring Hot Dog on a Stick to new territories and markets.
MEMORIAL: Longtime water district official Ed Little died at 87, shortly after retiring from his fifth term on the West Basin Municipal Water District’s board. Little founded Ed Little Auto Service in Culver City in 1951, a business that is still running, one year after graduating from USC. In 1954, Little advocated for water wholesaler West Basin to provide water to Culver City. He was appointed to the district’s board in 1989 and supported water recycling and desalination. Little also served as a Culver City councilman during the 1960s and is survived by his wife, three children, his wife’s daughter and other relations, including several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
BILLIONS: Private spaceflight firm Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX, is worth an estimated $10 billion, according to a report in TechCrunch. Hawthorne’s SpaceX, however, subsequently told TechCrunch that the company has not received an external valuation nor is in the midst of any fundraising. If SpaceX is indeed worth $10 billion, its valuation would be roughly on par with the reported valuation of Snapchat, the Venice company behind a smartphone app that allows users to share photos.
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