Stories for February 2014

Friday, February 28

Bitium Raises $6.5 Million in Series A Round

Santa Monica’s Bitium announced Friday it had raised $6.5 million in a series A round. The company, which develops products to help companies manage passwords for employees to access various apps, has raised nearly $9 million to date.

L.A. Council Orders Fracking Moratorium Ordinance

The Los Angeles City Council on Friday voted overwhelmingly to ban fracking at oil and gas wells in the city until it could be shown the activity would not harm the environment or public health. The vote makes Los Angeles the largest city in the nation to impose a moratorium on the controversial drilling practice.

Mattel May Challenge Lego with Mega Brands Purchase

Toymaker Mattel Inc. has agreed to purchase Montreal-based Mega Brands Inc., seller of children’s building blocks, for about $460 million including the assumption of debt.

Cemetery Settles Class-Action Suit for $35 Million

Eden Memorial Park in Mission Hills has settled a class-action lawsuit for $35 million that accused it of digging up and dumping remains in order to reuse burial sites – though when all costs are included the total could reach $80 million, according to media reports on Friday.

Rexford Industrial Acquires South Bay Complex

Rexford Industrial Realty Inc. has acquired a six-building industrial complex in the South Bay area of Los Angeles for $6.6 million.

UTi, Jakks Among Week’s Biggest Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies rose for the week.

Nasdaq Falls, Dow, S&P, LABJ Rise

In Friday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 49 points to 16,322. The Nasdaq fell 11 points to 4,308. The S&P 500 rose 5 points to 1,859. The LABJ Stock Index rose 1 point to 191.

Storm Hits Los Angeles

Hundreds of homes in the San Gabriel foothills are endangered by mudslides, and coastal communities are also facing threats from the storm, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Los Angeles Daily News reports on current conditions. And in case you've forgotten, here are some tips on how to safely drive in the rain.

Mt. Gox Files for Bankruptcy

The Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange in Tokyo filed for bankruptcy protection today and its chief executive said 850,000 bitcoins, worth several hundred million dollars, are unaccounted for, the Associated Press reports.

Bitcoin Derivatives Sprout as Regulators Play Catch-Up

The closing of a major bitcoin exchange in Japan not only focused attention on the digital currency’s risks, it also rattled a still-newer market that regulators are just starting to monitor, Bloomberg News reports: bitcoin derivatives.

Office Building Near LAX to Be Converted to Hotel

The nearly half-empty, 12-story Royal Airport Center on Century Boulevard is set to be turned into a 231-room Residence Inn by Marriott, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Council Considers Fracking Moratorium

Vowing to protect the environment, Los Angeles City Council members are considering a sweeping moratorium on fracking and other oil extraction methods, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Chauffeurs a Driving Force on Oscar Night

The Academy Awards will draw more than 1,200 cars and SUVs to the Dolby Theatre on Sunday and the drivers will be expected to keep stars' secrets close and aggressive fans at bay, the Los Angeles Times reports.

New Challenges for Pops Orchestra

Handed a series of setbacks, most significantly the failure of 20th Century Fox to provide expected support, the Golden State Pops Orchestra announced it was canceling its March studio tribute concert in San Pedro, the Daily Breeze reports.

Focus on Growth, Zell Says

The United States needs to stop taking its "eye off the ball" on economic growth, in order to stamp out the uncertainty that's preventing investors and companies from taking risk to make money, billionaire real estate mogul Sam Zell told CNBC today.

Clamoring for a Big-Screen Christ

Across the country, churches and other groups have rented out multiplexes for screenings of "Son of God," the Los Angeles Times reports.

EBay Founder Rejects Icahn's Call for PayPal Spinoff

EBay Inc. Chairman Pierre Omidyar rejected investor Carl Icahn's call to separate the company's fast-growing PayPal payments unit, saying the businesses were better off together, Reuters reports.

Will Drone Cargo Ships Sail the Seven Seas?

When a Rolls-Royce Holdings executive advocated remote-controlled cargo ships at an industry conference last May, the audience scoffed. But skeptics haven’t deterred the London-based maker of engines and turbines, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports.

Many Americans at Risk of Homelessness

The U.S. Census Bureau says that for every homeless person in the U.S., there are hundreds more impoverished Americans who shop at food pantries in lieu of grocery stores and are one more late rent check away from the street, Yahoo Finance reports.

Markets Rise

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 87 points to 16,360. The Nasdaq rose 13 points to 4,332. The S&P 500 rose 10 points to 1,864.

Thursday, February 27

Providence Approved to Take Over Saint John’s Health Center

Providence Health & Services, Southern California on Thursday said it has received approvals from church and state officials to take over Santa Monica's Saint John’s Health Center and the John Wayne Cancer Institute from SCL Health System.

Air Lease Profit Beats Wall Street Forecasts

Shares of Air Lease Corp. climbed in after-hours trading Thursday after the aircraft leasing company reported better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings and revenue.

Platinum Equity Sells Portfolio Company

Platinum Equity on Thursday said it completed the sale of fleet equipment rental company Nesco to an affiliate of Energy Capital Partners.

Sylmar Shopping Center Sells After Numerous Bidders

The Sylmar Square Shopping Center has sold for $16.8 million – the largest retail sale in the northeast San Fernando Valley in more than a year.

Markets Gain

In Thursday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 74 points to 16,273. The Nasdaq climbed 27 points to 4,319. The S&P 500 gained 9 points to 1,854. The LABJ Stock Index rose 1 point to 190.

Ukraine Warns Russia After Gunmen Seize Crimea Parliament

Armed men seized the regional government headquarters and parliament in Ukraine's Crimea today and raised the Russian flag. That alarmed Kiev's new rulers, who urged Moscow not to abuse its navy base rights on the peninsula by moving troops around, Reuters reports.

Yellen: Harsh Weather May Have Affected Economic Data

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said today that harsh winter weather may have had an impact on recent economic data, and reiterated her stance that accommodative monetary policy should remain appropriate for some time, CNBC reports.

Milken: Big Film Job Gains in New York

A new report released today by the Milken Institute could provide fresh ammunition for proponents of an expanded state film and TV tax credit program to help keep production in California, the Los Angeles Times reports.

New Downtown High-Rise Would Be One of Southland's Tallest

A local developer hopes to transform a homely corner of the city's famed downtown commercial corridor early next year by leveling a drab one-story retail center at 4th Street and Broadway to build a 34-story apartment skyscraper more than twice as tall as most other buildings in the area, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Sriracha Creator Takes ‘Save Sriracha’ Fight to Public Hearing

Days after he asked his employees if they would move out of town, Sriracha creator David Tran took on Irwindale City Hall and called out Wednesday to fans of his popular hot chili sauce asking them to help “Save Sriracha,” the Pasadena Star-News reports.

Construction to Begin on Imax Complex in Playa Vista

Big-screen cinema purveyor Imax Corp. is set to break ground today on a $45-million West Coast headquarters that will house two large screening rooms, offices and production facilities for moviemakers, the Los Angeles Times reports. Imax will move all 120 employees now housed in Santa Monica to the new building when it is completed in about a year.

Dodgers and TWC Hope to Avoid Replay of Houston Mess

The Los Angeles Dodgers are expected to have a much better season than the lackluster Houston Astros, but fans of both teams may soon have a lot in common when it comes to watching the games on television. The Los Angeles Times looks at how the new SportsNet LA could become another Comcast SportsNet Houston.

Zefr Raises $30 Million in New Financing

A Venice company, whose technology helps brands find their most passionate YouTube fans and incorporate their enthusiast videos into marketing campaigns, has attracted $30 million in new funding, the Los Angeles Times reports. Check out the Business Journal's earlier coverage of Zefr.

Tesla to Raise $2 Billion for Battery Factory

Billionaire Elon Musk's Tesla Motors Inc. plans to raise nearly $2 billion to help fund a "Gigafactory" battery factory in the Southwest that would supply the Palo Alto automaker's electric vehicles, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Food Labels Set for New Look

Food labels would have larger-font calorie counts and more realistic portion sizes under an Obama administration proposal set to be unveiled today, the Wall Street Journal reports. The proposal, which aims to highlight unhealthy ingredients, is expected to face industry resistance.

American Airlines Drops Bereavement Fares

American Airlines has ended its policy of extending special fares to passengers who must book a last-minute flight because of a relative's death. The move brings American in line with the policy at merger partner US Airways, which does not offer bereavement fares, the Associated Press reports.

Some Companies Altering the Bonus Playbook

U.S. companies increasingly are using unconventional earnings measures in determining bonuses, making it easier for them to appear more profitable when they reward executives with big paydays, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Nowhere to Hide From Extreme Weather

Whether there are blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes or mudslides, every place is getting a taste of Mother Nature's wrath these days, USA Today reports.

Some Say 'Zero Tip' If Minimum Wage Rises

There's a surprise side order of sourpuss getting served up in the national argument over raising the minimum wage: Some say they'll stop tipping when they go out to eat, CNBC reports.

Markets Rise

In Thursday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 48 points to 16,246. The Nasdaq rose 15 points to 4,307. The S&P 500 rose 6 points to 1,851.

Wednesday, February 26

Developer Evoq Properties Considering Sale of Business

Downtown L.A. developer Evoq Properties Inc. announced today that it was exploring “strategic alternatives,” including a possible sale of the company.

Jakks Pacific Expects to Turn Profitable This Year

Shares of Jakks Pacific Inc. jumped 23 percent on Wednesday after the toymaker reported a smaller-than-expected fourth quarter loss and said it expects a return to profitability this year.

Shorewood Realtors Sold to Denver Investor

South Bay residential real estate brokerage Shorewood Realtors Inc. has been acquired by Denver real estate holding company Herman Group for an undisclosed price.

UTi Worldwide Breaches Debt Covenants

Shares of UTi Worldwide Inc. sank nearly 30 percent Wednesday after the logistics company said it had breached debt covenants and expected to report a fourth quarter loss.

DineEquity Quarter Better Than Expected

DineEquity Inc. reported fourth quarter earnings on Wednesday in line with analysts’ estimates, but announced the departure of an executive at its Applebee’s chain, which saw same-store sales fall.

Mercedes-Benz to Turn Former Boeing Plant into Regional HQ

Mercedes-Benz USA plans to use a leased 1.1 million-square-foot former Boeing facility in Long Beach for a training center, vehicle preparation facility and its western U.S. regional office.

Dow, Nasdaq, S&P Rise, LABJ Falls

In Wednesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 19 points to 16,198. The Nasdaq rose 4 points to 4,292. The S&P 500 rose less than 1 point to 1,845. The LABJ Stock Index fell less than 1 point to 188.

Obama to Propose Highway-Repair Program

President Barack Obama today is set to propose a four-year, $302 billion program to support rebuilding and repairing roads and bridges during a visit to a historic railroad station in St. Paul, Minn., the Wall Street Journal reports.

Controller Reveals Massive Increase in City Overtime

In his most comprehensive review of city salary costs, L.A. Controller Ron Galperin reported Tuesday that 2013 overtime costs were up by $70 million over 2012 due to a combination of staff vacancies and greater demand for services, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

How Mt. Gox Went Down

How did the once-largest Bitcoin exchange lose hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of the digital currency? Two words, says Bloomberg BusinessWeek: transaction malleability. Mt. Gox's closure has triggered a massive sell-off and may have scared investors away from bitcoins for good, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Fewer Options for Customers as Small Banks Decline

Since the financial crisis, U.S. banking assets and deposits have continued to consolidate in a handful of large banks. The National Review looks at the implications for small banks, whose share of domestic deposits has fallen from more than 40 percent to 23 percent since early 2000.

Film Exposes Troubled Business of Rhythm & Hues

An emotional new documentary traces the fall of leading visual-effects house Rhythm & Hues and is packed with information that explains the problematic VFX business model, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Dated Marina del Rey to Get Makeover

Fisherman's Village and other parts of Marina del Rey remain trapped in era when kitschy nautical and Polynesian themes were in vogue. Now county planners are pushing to make it relevant once more, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Case-Shiller: Home Prices Slowing

Home prices nationally posted their best year since 2005, but the latest S&P;/Case-Shiller index suggests that the housing rebound has stalled, the Los Angeles Times reports.

T-Mobile’s Renegade Chief Is Crushing His Rivals

Being a renegade can be a lot of fun — but it isn’t cheap. That was the message of T-Mobile’s recent quarterly earnings report, Time reports. The company essentially is buying customers from rivals.

P&G in Target's Cross Hairs

When word got out several months ago that Procter & Gamble Co. had allowed to set up shop inside its warehouses, Target retaliated by giving some P&G; products less-prominent placement in stores, among other actions, the Wall Street Journal reports. The New York Times looks at the discount chain's dismal earnings report.

Senate to Grill Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse's chief executive today is expected to hit back at allegations that the Swiss bank was a willing accomplice in U.S. tax evasion, blaming instead a small group of its private bankers for helping Americans conceal their wealth, Reuters reports.

J. Crew May Go Public

Retailer J. Crew could go public this year with a $5 billion valuation target, sources tell Bloomberg News.

Solar Industry Hopes to Jump-Start a Revival

The effects of a growing solar cluster at Oakland's Jack London Square aims to create a place that inspires “creative collisions," the New York Times reports.

Americans Rethinking How They Buy Cars

A new study suggests that fewer tires are being kicked these days as consumers worldwide change their car-buying habits, CNBC reports.

Stocks Rise

In Wednesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 51 points to 16,230. The Nasdaq rose 26 points to 4,314. The S&P 500 rose 6 points to 1,851.

Tuesday, February 25

Demand Media’s Fourth-Quarter Earnings Meet Expectations

Web content publisher Demand Media on Tuesdays reported fourth quarter earnings that were in line with analysts’ expectations.

Compromise Reached on Arts District BID

Two battling business groups in downtown L.A.’s Art District have reached a compromise to create a new business improvement district for the neighborhood, ending a long-running legal dispute.

DreamWorks Takes 'Turbo' Write-Down

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. missed analysts’ earnings forecasts by a wide margin on Tuesday after the studio took a large write-down for its flop “Turbo.”

Earnings Roundup: Edison, Tutor Perini

Edison International moved to a profit in the fourth quarter as the company nears completion of the sale of its money-losing power-generation unit.

ImmunoCellular Drug Gets “Orphan’ Status in Europe

Shares of ImmunoCellular Therapeutics Ltd. jumped 14 percent on Tuesday after the Woodland Hills biotech said European drug regulators granted “orphan” status to its experimental brain cancer drug.

Stocks Decline

In Tuesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 27 points to 16,180. The Nasdaq fell 5 points to 4,288. The S&P 500 fell 2 points to 1,845. The LABJ Stock Index fell less than 1 point to 189.

Bitcoin Exchange Shuts Amid Allegations of $350 Million Hack

Mt. Gox, once the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, has gone offline, apparently after losing hundreds of millions of dollars due to a years-long hacking effort that went unnoticed by the company, according to Wired. Check out a recent Business Journal report on a local bitcoin broker and an explanation of how the virtual currency works.

Disney to Introduce iTunes Tie-In

As consumers display increased interest in owning movies digitally – a habit considered crucial to Hollywood’s future – Walt Disney Studios unveiled a service today that is intended to make collecting its films easier, the New York Times reports.

LAX Police Issue Citations to Two Ride-Shares Services

Police at Los Angeles International Airport have begun to enforce rules that make it more difficult for two of the most popular ride-sharing services UberBlack and UberSUV to pick up fares, the Daily Breeze reports.

Bill Would Undo California's 'Glove Law'

The chairman of the Assembly's Health Committee has introduced "emergency legislation" to undo a law that has angered the restaurant and bar industries by requiring food preparers to use gloves or utensils when handling ready-to-eat food, Southern California Public Radio reports.

Growth to Gain Steam in L.A. County, Study Says

Los Angeles County can expect to add more than 150,000 jobs in the next two years, according to an upbeat local forecast released today, the Business Journal reports.

More Conventions Coming to L.A.

Teen volleyball players, firefighters and female engineers are among the Los Angeles visitors who are expected to make 2014 one of the biggest years for the L.A. Convention Center in decades, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Calderon Given a Week to Step Down

State Senate leaders said Monday they will give Sen. Ronald S. Calderon (D-Montebello) until March 3 to either resign or take a leave of absence, after which he will face a possible Senate vote to suspend him from office, the Los Angeles Times reports. Calderon, who indicted last week on corruption charges and accused of taking $100,000 in bribes, pleaded not guilty in federal court yesterday afternoon.

High Court Declines to Hear Tennis Channel-Comcast Case

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up the Tennis Channel's petition to overturn an appeals court ruling that Comcast Corp. had operated within its rights when it placed the Santa Monica-based cable channel in a sports package with limited distribution, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Many Fans Shut Out of Dodger Channel

Today will be a landmark day for the Los Angeles Dodgers because their new cable network will debut. But as the Los Angeles Times reports, so far only Time Warner Cable -- which is partnering with the team on SportsNet LA -- is carrying the channel in this region. Read the Business Journal’s earlier story.

Co-Founder: TPG Considering Going Public

David Bonderman, co-founder of the private equity firm TPG Capital, said today that his firm was considering going public but had not committed to doing so, the New York Times reports. Check out the Business Journal's coverage of TPG's latest local acquisition.

Olympics Drew Smaller Audience Than in 2010

NBC's two-week broadcast of the Sochi Winter Olympics drew 12 percent fewer viewers than the last winter games in Vancouver, but 6 percent more than the 2006 event in Turin, the Wall Street Journal reports.

How Film Flight Has Affected Angelenos

California is still a global leader in film, TV and video production jobs, generating approximately 60 percent of the labor income in this sector nationwide. But these so-called Hollywood jobs have become a battleground with other states offering enticing tax incentives. Southern California Public Radio looks at how this trend has affected Southern Californians.

Uproar at Pimco

Public shouting matches. A tense working atmosphere. A man at the top running amok. That’s the scene at Pimco, the world's largest bond manager, as depicted in a scathing profile in today's Wall Street Journal chronicling the turmoil related to the recent departure of Chief Executive Mohamed El-Erian.

Stocks Rise

In Tuesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 30 points to 16,237. The Nasdaq rose 12 points to 4,305. The S&P 500 rose 4 points to 1,851.

Forecast: Growth to Gain Steam in L.A. County

L.A. County can expect to add more than 150,000 jobs over the next two years, according to an upbeat local forecast released today.

Monday, February 24

Doremi Labs Sold to Dolby in $112 Million Deal

San Francisco’s Dolby Laboratories signed an agreement Monday to acquire Burbank’s Doremi Labs for $92.5 million in cash with an additional $20 million in contingent considerations that may be earned over the next four years.

Phone Power Becomes Broadvoice

Telecommunications company Phone Power announced Monday it had rebranded itself as BroadVoice.

DreamWorks Licenses ‘Shrek’ for Themed Attraction

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. on Monday said that it has licensed characters from its hit film franchise “Shrek” to a British theme park operator that will create attractions based on the green orge and his companions.

Losses Narrow for Live Nation

Live Nation Entertainment Inc. on Monday reported a smaller fourth-quarter operating loss as revenue from concerts and other business segments offset lower revenue at its Artist Nation management business.

ReachLocal Releases Open-Source Code for Apps

ReachLocal Inc. on Monday released open-source software code that it said should help other developers create cross-platform mobile apps.

HandsOn3 to Acquire Dallas Firm

HandsOn3 on Monday said that one of its affiliated funds has signed an agreement to acquire BancTec Inc., a Dallas firm that provides financial transaction automation and document management services to companies.

Stocks Gain

In Monday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 104 points to 16,207. The Nasdaq rose 30 points to 4,293. The S&P 500 rose 11 points to 1,848. The LABJ Stock Index rose more than 1 point to 190.

Tenants Could Pay Quake Retrofit Costs

Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks wants the city to explore exempting certain apartment owners from the city's rent-control law as part of a larger effort to strengthen thousands of buildings vulnerable to collapse during a major earthquake. The measure would allow landlords to pass on the cost of retrofits to their tenants, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Steinberg Proposes 'Carbon Tax' on Motor Vehicle Fuels

Californians, who already pay some of the highest gasoline prices in the nation, could soon be asked to pay more, the Los Angeles Times reports. State Senate leader Darrell Steinberg wants to add a carbon tax of 15 cents a gallon on fuels next year.

Poll: Most Americans Haven't Watched a Best-Picture Nominee Yet

It may be one of the best years in recent memory for high-quality Hollywood film, but two-thirds of Americans have yet to see any of the movies nominated for the best picture Oscar, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Netflix to Pay Comcast for Speed

Netflix has agreed to pay Comcast to ensure Netflix movies and TV shows stream smoothly to Comcast customers, a landmark agreement that could set a precedent, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Does Hillary Clinton-Univision Deal Cross a Line?

Univision, the country's top Spanish-language network, has entered into a multiyear deal with Hillary Clinton to promote the health, education and well-being of young children, USA Today reports. But is it right for a major network to get so chummy with a presumptive presidential candidate?

Expert: Robots Will Be Smarter Than Us All by 2029

Google’s director of engineering, Ray Kurzweil, predicts that by 2029, computers will be able to understand our language, learn from experience and outsmart even the most intelligent humans, the U.K's Independent reports.

Study: Strong L.A. Economy Boosts Income Inequality

Los Angeles has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the nation, due in part to a relatively strong local economy that's stoking the fortunes of higher-income people, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Heavy Rain Expected in Southland

Two storms expected in Los Angeles later this week could bring a “very impressive” volume of rain, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Former Woolworth Store Downtown to Sell at Auction

The former F.W. Woolworth Co. store on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles will be sold at auction next month, the Los Angeles Times reports. Bidding will start at $4 million, according to broker

Tourism Keeps Long Beach Workforce Humming

The Long Beach Press-Telegram looks at how tourism became Long Beach’s biggest industry behind manufacturing, generating nearly 7,000 jobs with a payroll of $171 million.

Activist Hedge Fund Pressures Tribune to Sell More Assets

Clifton S. Robbins, whose Blue Harbour Group has taken a 2.5 percent stake in in Los Angeles Times owner Tribune Co., is discussing with its management strategic moves the fund believes will boost the media company's shares, sources tell the Wall Street Journal.

Icahn Rips eBay Board

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who also disclosed a 2.15 percent stake in the e-commerce giant eBay, has accused Chief Executive John Donahoe of failing to spot — or ignoring — conflicts of interest on the company's board and called again for the spinoff of its fast-growing PayPal division, CNBC reports.

BlackBerry Bets on Windows, Nokia

Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry has launched its messaging service on the Windows Phone and brand new Nokia X handset in an attempt to battle its way back into the telecoms market, CNBC reports.

Men's Wearhouse Boosts Offer for Jos. A. Bank

Men's Wearhouse Inc. has boosted its takeover bid for Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. to about $1.78 billion, with the condition that its rival end its deal to buy Eddie Bauer, Bloomberg News reports.

High Fashion Stakes on Oscars' Red Carpet

Success on the red carpet can buy cachet that no advertising can — both for designers and stars — and profits for luxury brands for years to come. More established houses are raising their game and leaving little room for newcomers to make a splash, like they might have a decade ago, Reuters reports.

Steve Jobs to Grace Postage Stamp in 2015

Apple Inc.'s late co-founder Steve Jobs will join the ranks of celebrated names to be on U.S. postage stamps next year, CNet reports.

'Coffee Renaissance' Hits L.A.

Coffee lovers converged on downtown Los Angeles over the weekend for the western region competition of the U.S. Coffee Championships. Coffee makers talked up L.A.'s surge into the top ranks of cities with specialty coffee markets, Southern California Public Radio reports.

Stocks Rise

In Monday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 140 points, or 1 percent, to 16,243. The Nasdaq rose 38 points, or 1 percent, to 4,302. The S&P 500 rose 17 points, or 1 percent, to 1,853.

Big Role to Play

Theater critic debuts review site to fill void in L.A.

LA Weekly critic acts to revive local theater reviews with new website Stage Raw.

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regional report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

On Target: Ducommun Inc., a Carson aerospace and defense contractor, has received a follow-on award to support a weapon system built by Raytheon Co., a Waltham, Mass., defense contractor.

Bitcoin Broker Bets on Digital Change

INTERNET: ExpressCoin sees real returns from virtual currency.

Brokerage ExpressCoin seeks to make real money by handling digital trades for bitcoins.

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Shine of Times

Metals: Dealers see rise in silver sales while once-high-flying gold brought low by stock market’s recovery.

Dealers have taken a shine to silver as gold’s investment luster has waned.

Temporary Message App Speaks to Another Exec

INTERNET: Snapchat lands another high-quality hire with ex-Google engineer.

Former Google engineer is the latest high-quality exec to click with messaging platform Snapchat.

Restaurants Gag On Deficit Bills

InSURANCE: Self-insured group in $80 million hole.

INSURANCE – Member restaurants in self-insured group find it tough to stomach surprise payments to cover debt.

Clothes Maker’s Stock Out of Fashion on Wall Street

CLOTHING: Shares of American Apparel plunge amid restructuring talk.

American Apparel stock tumbles as the company reportedly looks to button up a restructuring plan.

Winning Pitch to Aid Non-Profit

When Gene Urcan, a managing director of Santa Monica investment firm Cappello Group, was boarding a plane for a business trip to Las Vegas in November, he was surprised to find he was seated next his childhood hero, former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre.

Will ’60s Cartoon Still Draw Kids?

film: DreamWorks shares dip over ‘Mr. Peabody’s’ appeal.

FILM – DreamWorks shares fall as investors worry today’s kids won’t make time for its “Mr. Sherman & Peabody” movie.

Bitcoin at a Glance

Quick rundown on the controversial cryptocurrency.

Getting In Sink on Cleanliness

Hyginex’s wristbands keep track of wearer’s hand-washing.

HEALTH CARE – Hyginex looks to clean up at hospitals and eateries with its wristbands that track users’ hand-washing.

Bitcoin Begins

Digital dollars for illicit deals? A cutting-edge investment vehicle? Or just an everyday currency option? Bitcoins have generated a lot of controversy and confusion since their inception. So the B

Digital dollars for illicit deals? A cutting-edge investment vehicle? Or just an everyday currency option?

Right Climate for Incentives

COMMENT – The markets can help L.A. weather climate change, writes Matthew Kahn.

Serial Seller May Be Picking Up Purchasing Pace

ACQUISITION: $50 million property deal Jamison’s biggest since 2008.

After a year spent selling more properties than it acquired, Jamison Services Inc. seems to be back in buying mode.

Flexibility And Variety

We provide growth capital financing to leading lower-middle-market companies, especially businesses with expanding global operations.

Going Beyond Low Cash Flow

Ten years ago, when Jeff Friedman and Mark Zytko were trying to secure their first deal, they had a nearly empty office, one employee and no track record.

Offering Quick Decisions – Along With Patience

What kind of loans do you make and to whom? Multiyear term loans to equity-backed growth companies.

Working With Banks And Even Competitors

We invest $5 million to 20 million in well-established, privately owned, lower-middle-market companies.

‘Dress British, Think Yiddish’

What kind of loans do you make and to whom? Mezzanine debt loans with equity components to companies under the radar of Wall Street and the banks.

Big Solution for Big Problem

What kind of loans do you make and to whom?

Closing Loans More Quickly

We are a bridge lender making first trust deed loans on most any real estate, including land and construction.

Catering to Companies Too Small for Bonds

“There’s always money available,” says Howard Levkowitz, “but not always for what people want.”

The Un-Bankers

Special Report: Who’s Who in Banking & Finance

Business Journal spotlights nonbank execs who provide business loans that institutions can’t or won’t.

Data Bank Conventions

Upcoming Local Conventions

Data Bank Calendar

Calendar of Events

News of the Week

Last week’s major news from and other sources

After nearly a century in Los Angeles, Westwood oil giant Occidental Petroleum Corp. has announced that it will move its headquarters to Houston and spin off its California operation.

Logistics Company Continues Down Growth Path

ACQUISITION: Allen Lund picks up Northern Freight for sixth deal in 16 months.

Third-party transportation broker Allen Lund Co. said it acquired Northern Freight Services of Middleton, Wis., last month, the latest move in the La Canada Flintridge company’s ongoing expansion effort.

Chicago Expands L.A. Outpost, Narrows Search

EMPLOYMENT: Kirkland limits hunt to corporate, private equity hires.

Chicago’s Winston & Strawn has been on a hiring spree in Los Angeles, netting a dozen attorneys in the last year.

Cannery Makes Eatery’s Waffles Pop Up at Home

FOOD: Dolores’ plans to develop Roscoe’s chicken have yet to take wing.

Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles is open almost around the clock: 8 a.m. until midnight on weekdays and until 4 a.m. on weekends.

Image of Scanner Maker Improves With Investors

MANUFACTURING: Shares of OSI Systems rise as loss of contract downplayed.

MANUFACTURING – OSI Systems looks good to investors as the scanner maker rebounds from the loss of a government contract.

Mayor to Take Run at Speeding Permit Process

DEVELOPMENT: Business groups approve but want to see more from Garcetti.

DEVELOPMENT – Eric Garcetti is the latest L.A. mayor trying to build momentum behind streamlining the permit process.

Historic High-Rise Reaches Top Sustainability Level

REAL ESTATE: Pac Mutual rated Platinum after Rising’s $25 million renovation.

REAL ESTATE – Rising Realty’s $25 million renovation takes Pac Mutual to top of sustainability scale.

Making It Work for Chief Execs

Conference to rely on networking to connect with CEOs.

NON-PROFIT – Young Presidents Organization plans to take charge of its executive conference with networking events.

Scoring a Scoop on Kitty Litter

Boxiecat relies on own pet to create cleaner clumping clay.

PETS – Boxiecat hopes to get drop on competitors with dust-free kitty litter.

Friday, February 21

Calderon Brothers Indicted in Corruption Probe

Federal authorities today announced multiple indictments against state Sen. Ron Calderon and his brother, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon, related to the senator’s alleged acceptance of about $100,000 in bribes.

Blackstone Foundation Makes Entrepreneurship Grants

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation on Friday announced it was making a $3.5 million grant to three local universities to set up an entrepreneur support program.

Xencor, United Online Among Week’s Biggest Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies rose slightly for the week.

Dow, Nasdaq, S&P Decline, LABJ Gains

In Friday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 30 points to 16,103. The Nasdaq fell 4 points to 4,263. The S&P 500 fell 4 points to 1,836. The LABJ Stock Index rose less than 1 point to 188.

DirecTV CEO Criticizes Comcast-TWC Deal

DirecTV Chief Executive Mike White on Thursday voiced his opposition to Comcast Corp.'s proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable Inc., saying the deal would create "unprecedented media concentration in one company." the Wall Street Journal reports.

Film Financier Sues Hollywood Reporter for Defamation

The Hollywood Reporter and parent Prometheus Global Media have been sued by film financier David Bergstein for $150 million in damages for defamation, conspiracy and business interference, TheWrap reports.

California Farmers Brace for Little or No Water

Federal officials plan to announce today how much water they can release this year through a vast system of rivers, canals and reservoirs. Central Valley farmers on the front lines of California's historic drought expect to get little, if anything, the Associated Press reports.

Ackman Accuses Herbalife Director of Misleading Recruits

Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman continued his attack on Herbalife Thursday, accusing a millionaire Herbalife distributor of misleading other new distributors, the Los Angeles Times reports. With Herbalife's shares holding strong, CNBC looks at how much Ackman's short has cost his Pershing Square firm so far.

San Pedro’s Oldest Business to Close Next Week

Seaside Pharmacy, founded in San Pedro in 1889, has survived two world wars and the Great Depression. But what it could not survive are changes in the pharmacy industry that have prompted many independent community pharmacies to shutter their doors, the Daily Breeze reports.

Audit: LB Harbor Department Lacked Proper Oversight of Travel Budget

Long Beach City Auditor Laura Doud has called for corrections of what she contends is the Harbor Department’s lack of proper oversight involving its travel budget, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports.

Anthem Widens Lead on Exchange Enrollments

Insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross has stretched its lead over rival Blue Shield of California in the state's health care exchange, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Port of L.A. Aims to Compete with Rivals

Facing future competition from ports as close as Mexico, Port of Los Angeles officials on Thursday outlined business strategies they said would be needed to ensure the port retains and expands its role as a global shipping hub, the Daily Breeze reports.

Fannie Mae Reports $84 Billion Annual Profit

Fannie Mae today reported an annual profit of $84 billion for 2013, a banner year in which strong home-price gains in U.S. housing markets powered the mortgage-finance giant to a rebound, the Wall Street Journal reports.

FDA to Revamp OTC Approval Path

The Food and Drug Administration plans to overhaul the way it approves over-the-counter medical products, a move that should change how medicines and personal care items reach U.S. store shelves, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Hedge Funds Test Waters on 'Ads'

Years of lackluster performance and growing competition for institutional investors like pension funds have made hedge funds warm to the idea of branding. Just don't call it advertising, the New York Times reports.

Markets Rise

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 38 points to 16,171. The Nasdaq rose 14 points to 4,281. The S&P 500 rose 4 points to 1,844.

Thursday, February 20

United to Add Non-Stop Australia Service from LAX

United Airlines on Thursday said that will add nonstop service from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia in October.

United Online Beats Expectations

Shares of United Online Inc. jumped more than 29 percent on Thursday after the Internet services company beat analyst estimates on revenue for the fourth quarter.

Indictments in Movie Finance Scheme

Three San Fernando Valley residents were indicted Thursday on charges related to running fraudulent telemarketing schemes that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.said solicited investments in movies with false promises of high returns and little risk.

Earnings Roundup: On Assignment, Reliance Steel, LTC

Shares of On Assignment Inc. rose more than 7 percent on Thursday, after the staffing company reported strong fourth quarter results.

Markets Rise

In Thursday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 93 points to 16,133. The Nasdaq rose 30 points to 4,268. The S&P 500 rose 11 points to 1,840. The LABJ Stock Index rose more than 1 point to 188.

Developer Bets on Hollywood Revival

Longtime L.A. developer Jerry Snyder has begun building a $138 million office development in Hollywood's Media District, despite having no confirmed tenants, the Los Angeles Times reports.

'Six Californias' Measure Gets OK to Gather Signatures

Secretary of State Debra Bowen said supporters of a ballot measure to divide California into six states can begin collecting signatures to get the proposal on the ballot, CBS San Francisco reports.

DirecTV Plans $3.5 Billion Buyback

El Segundo's DirecTV, the largest U.S. satellite-TV provider, said today it will buy back $3.5 billion of stock after fourth-quarter sales exceeded analysts’ estimates on stronger than expected U.S. subscriber growth, Bloomberg News reports.

Food Stamp Cuts Dampen Wal-Mart's Forecast

Wal-Mart Stores today forecast a lower full-year profit than analysts expected, as fewer food stamps, higher taxes and tighter credit erode its sales, CNBC reports. Even so, Bloomberg News reports that the retail giant might actually support an increase to the federal minimum wage.

Facebook to Buy Messaging Start-Up in $16 Billion Deal

The frenzy to acquire fast-growing technology start-ups reached new heights on Wednesday as Facebook announced its largest acquisition ever, saying it would pay at least $16 billion for WhatsApp, a text messaging application with 450 million users around the world, the New York Times reports.

Audit Raises Questions About Noguez Appraisals

A new audit raised questions about at least five appraisals made by the Assessor’s Office during a period when John Noguez was still in charge and accused of taking bribes from property owners seeking to pay lower taxes, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Aerospace Corridor a Cash Cow for School District

The Centinela Valley Union High School District serves a low-income population, but thanks to a quirky boundary line that juts into an unpopulated portion of El Segundo, the district has rare access to a gargantuan cash cow, the Daily Breeze reports.

Owners Again Borrowing Against Homes

After a home equity credit binge during the housing bubble, banks restricted the loans as home prices crashed. But second mortgages now are back in vogue in the Southland as home values recover, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Aereo Suffers Court Defeat

A federal court in Utah on Wednesday placed an injunction on Aereo Inc. covering states in the Tenth Circuit, giving television broadcasters their first legal victory over the online video service, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Google Pushes Fiber Rollout into Comcast's Turf

Google Inc. is considering expanding its fiber network to nine more metropolitan areas, intensifying the competitive threat the Web giant could pose to broadband-offering cable operators, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Twin Service Stations Corner the Market

The sight of two Chevron stations at the busy corner of La Brea Avenue and Beverly Boulevard often prompt passing Fairfax area motorists to do a double take. The Los Angeles Times looks at how the duplication came about.

Markets Rebound

In Thursday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 73 points to 16,114. The Nasdaq rose 13 points to 4,251. The S&P 500 rose 6 points to 1,835.

Wednesday, February 19

Assemblymen Introduce Expanded Film Tax Credit Bill

Two Los Angeles assemblymen on Wednesday introduced a bill to ramp up California’s efforts to hold onto film and TV production.

January Traffic Declines at Port of Long Beach

Traffic at the Port of Long Beach declined 1.4 percent in January compared with the same month last year, according to figures released Tuesday.

TPG Closes Acquisition of Gelson’s Parent

Arden Group Inc. said Wednesday that investment firm TPG had completed its acquisition of the company, which operates the Gelson’s Markets chain.

Markets Decline

In Wednesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 80 points to 16,041. The Nasdaq fell 35 points to 4,238. The S&P 500 fell 12 points to 1,839. The LABJ Stock Index fell more than 1 point to 187.

Snapchat Hires Engineering Director from Google

Picture messaging service Snapchat said Tuesday it had hired Peter Magnusson as senior vice president of engineering.

Shopzilla Acquires Automated Media Buyer Connexity

Los Angeles e-commerce company Shopzilla Inc. announced Wednesday it had acquired Ventura automated media buying firm Connexity.

Council Wants Study Before L.A. Minimum-Wage Hike

Los Angeles City Council members have opted to seek an economic study before moving to enact one of the highest minimum wages in the country — $15.37 for workers at big hotels — a review that opponents hope will slow or stop the proposal, the Los Angeles Times reports.

CBO: Federal Minimum-Wage Hike Could Kill Jobs

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says President Obama’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would increase earnings for 16.5 million low-wage Americans but cost the nation about 500,000 jobs, the Washington Post reports.

Modest L.A. Job Growth Expected This Year and Next

The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. in its latest forecast says L.A. County will continue to add jobs, but at a frustratingly slow pace, the Business Journal reports.

Bad Weather Hammers Housing Starts

Housing starts fell sharply in January for the second straight month as cold and stormy weather continued to batter the recovering housing market, USA Today reports.

Tribune Expects Big Dividend from Newspaper Spinoff

In spinning off its publishing business, Tribune Co. will pick up a dividend that could be about $325 million from the new public company, which would consist of the Los Angeles Times and seven other daily newspapers, the Los Angeles Times reports.

State Lawmakers Look at Credit Card Hacking

Personal information collected from credit card shoppers could best be protected by upgrading the country's entire payment system, the head of the state retailers association testified at a joint California legislative hearing Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Wall Street Fights to Keep Young, Restless Analysts

As fewer and fewer of the best and brightest college and MBA graduates opt for careers in investment banking, Wall Street finds that it must change or face getting left behind, CNBC reports.

KFI Ratings Steady in First Limbaugh-less Month

It's early yet, but losing Rush Limbaugh to another Clear Channel station didn't seem to hurt ratings for KFI-AM, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Health Law's Impact Has Only Begun

Companies worry about the expense of providing new policies, some hospitals aren't seeing the influx of patients they expected to balance new costs and entrepreneurs say they may hire more part-time workers to avoid offering coverage, the Wall Street Journal reports. These are among the early effects of Obamacare.

Tesla Closes at Record After Apple Rumor Surfaces

Rumors of a possible acquisition by Apple and expectations for a strong fourth quarter drove shares of Tesla Motors to more than $203 Tuesday, a new closing high for the electric car company, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Barbie's Latest Gig: Entrepreneur

Hot off a modeling gig for Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition, Mattel Inc.'s Barbie is coming out this summer, in four ethnicities, as an entrepreneur equipped with smartphone and tablet, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Blackstone Thrives in Ireland

Crippled by bad loans and regulatory restraints, European banks are ceding ground to firms like Blackstone and others that can lend money like a bank but are not scrutinized as such, the New York Times reports.

Radisson to Launch Hotel for Millennials

Radisson, often considered a reliable, no-frills choice, intends its new millennial-oriented Radisson Red hotels to be more daring, the Wall Street Journal reports. They will have more modern design and the ability for guests to personalize their rooms on an a-la-carte basis to a larger degree than many of its peers.

Andrew Weitz to Start Style Consultancy

Hollywood agent Andrew Weitz, who has repped Rob Lowe and Ricky Gervais, is leaving WME and tells the Hollywood Reporter that his new business, The Weitz Effect, will "educate men on style to look and feel good."

Dow and S&P Up; Nasdaq Down

In Wednesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 62 points to 16,192. The Nasdaq fell 3 points to 4,270. The S&P 500 rose 4 points to 1,844.

Forecast: Modest L.A. Job Growth This Year and Next

L.A. County will continue to add jobs, but at a frustratingly slow pace, according to a forecast the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. released today.

Tuesday, February 18

Mayor Takes Steps to Cut Permit Red Tape

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday ordered the city’s planning and building and safety departments to consolidate key functions and take other steps to cut red tape for developers.

Better-Than-Expected Quarter for Herbalife

Herbalife Ltd. on Tuesday reported a 10 percent rise in fourth quarter profit and raised its guidance based on strong sales of its weight loss products.

KCRW Buys Santa Barbara Radio Station

Santa Monica public radio station KCRW-FM (89.9) announced Tuesday it has acquired a station in Santa Barbara to increase its reach up the coast.

Group to Spur Job Creation in Innovation Industries

Leaders from L.A.’s tech, venture capital and entrepreneur communities and the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. on Tuesday announced they will join forces to promote the region as an innovation center and spur job creation.

MannKind Loss Smaller Than Expected

MannKind Corp. on Tuesday reported another quarterly loss, but shares held steady as investors look forward to possible FDA approval of the company’s inhalable insulin in April.

Permira Completes LegalZoom Investment

London private equity firm Permira has a $200 million investment Inc., making it the largest shareholder of the Glendale legal services company.

Arrowhead Plans Stock Offering

Arrowhead Research Corp. on Tuesday announced plans to sell an undisclosed number of common shares to raise money for clinical drug trials.

Nasdaq, S&P and LABJ Rise, Dow Falls

In Tuesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 24 points to 16,130. The Nasdaq rose 29 points to 4,273. The S&P 500 rose 2 points to 1,841. The LABJ Stock Index rose more than 1 point to 188.

Hulu Taps Microsoft Veteran as CTO

Tian Lim has been named chief technology officer at Santa Monica video streaming service Hulu, the company announced Tuesday.

Council to Consider Hotel Minimum Wage Hike

The minimum wage ordinance calling for $15 an hour at the city’s big hotels is due to be introduced at this morning's City Council meeting, the Los Angeles Times reports. Check out the Business Journal’s most recent report.

Stinking Rose Site Hits Market for $18.3 Million

The building housing the famed Stinking Rose restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard’s Restaurant Row is for sale for nearly $18.3 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. The building hasn’t changed hands for nearly 70 years, and the restaurant's future is unclear.

State Ballot Measure on Pot Legalization Delayed

A coalition of investors and strategists has decided not to put a pot initiative on the ballot in California until 2016, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Southbound Jamzilla Ahead

Jamzilla, which ended early this morning, was the final extended closure of the northbound lanes on the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass. Only one more two-day shutdown is needed on the southbound lanes at a date that's as yet undecided, Southern California Public Radio reports.

U.S. Olive Oil Pushes for Testing of Imports

The tiny California olive industry says European olive oil filling U.S. shelves often is mislabeled and lower-grade oil, and they're pushing the federal government to give more scrutiny to imported varieties, the Associated Press reports.

'Eastside' Open to Debate

For more than a decade, the argument about what constitutes the Eastside has embroiled two clusters of L.A.'s oldest neighborhoods. The Los Angeles Times examines the latest development in the debate.

Actavis to Buy Forest Labs for $25 Billion

Dublin's Actavis has agreed to acquire rival New York drug maker Forest Laboratories Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal that values Forest at about $25 billion. The Wall Street Journal reports that the proposed combination is partly designed to position the resulting company to deal with the changing health-care landscape in the United States.

'Candy Crush' Maker Files for IPO

King Digital Entertainment, maker of the popular "Candy Crush Saga" smartphone game, said it filed for an initial public offering of up to $500 million, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Univision Launches Digital Content House

Univision is launching a new digital content house called La Fabrica UCI, with the goal of creating, scripting and producing original video for new digital brands and Univision digital platforms, Variety reports.

Regulators and Hackers Put Bitcoin to the Test

Bitcoin is facing significant growing pains as it struggles to move beyond a stormy adolescence, the New York Times reports.

Jimmy Fallon's 'Tonight Show' Strangely Muted

With a few notable exceptions, the debut of "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" was conspicuously low-energy, the Los Angeles Times reports.

New Master's Program to Breed Business-Savvy Social Entrepreneurs

A new USC master’s degree program aims to create a different breed of entrepreneur — one that can turn social causes into money makers, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Technology Bringing Legal Advice to the Masses

Many tech startups are helping shake up the $200-billion legal field. They include developers of apps that help people write contracts and websites linking them to attorneys, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Nasdaq and S&P Up, Dow Down

In Tuesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 1 point to 16,153. The Nasdaq rose 26 points to 4,270. The S&P 500 rose 3 points to 1,842.

Monday, February 17

Lenders Group to Acquire Classic Party Rentals

Inglewood event rental and services provider Classic Party Rentals Inc. has said it signed an agreement to sell most of its business to a newly established entity owned by the company’s lenders.

Saban Signs Julius Jr. Publishing Deal

Saban Brands has signed global publishing deal with Random House Children's Books for an interactive collection of books inspired by its preschool television series featuring the popular Julius Jr. monkey character.

Markets Closed Today

The stock markets are closed today for the President's Day federal holiday.

Multi-Channel Networks Form Trade Group

Several Los Angeles multi-channel networks are joining the Global Online Video Association, a newly formed nonprofit trade group that aims bring more advertisers to online video.

'Jamzilla' Nearing End

Two of five northbound lanes on the 405 Freeway closed during "Jamzilla" reopened to commuters early Monday, officials said. The Los Angeles Times reports that the entire freeway is on schedule to reopen Tuesday at 6 a.m.

Writers Guild, Studios Suspend Talks

The Writers Guild of America and the major studios and networks are taking a break from the bargaining table after two weeks of negotiations, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Kickstarter Says It Was Hacked

The popular crowd-funding site Kickstarter has urged users to change their passwords after announcing that it had been hacked, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Workers Set Concrete Pouring World Record

Work crews on downtown's new Wilshire Grand set a record Sunday by laying 21,200 cubic yards of concrete continuously into a massive construction site, where the tallest building west of Chicago is set to be built, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Tennessee Defeat Has Labor Leaders Thinking Inward

Labor leaders gathering in Houston this week to plot strategy for the year will have much of their focus almost 700 miles away, where workers on Friday rejected the United Auto Workers' attempt to organize a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., the Wall Street Journal reports.

Older Americans Early Winners Under Health Law

Many older Americans who lost jobs during the recession have emerged as early winners under the nation's new health insurance system, the Associated Press reports.

Live Music Adds Fuel to Downtown's Revival

The new Theatre at Ace and the coming Regent Theatre appear geared to the growing central city population while also offering a haven to music fans citywide, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Some Shippers Spinning Wheels This Winter

Snowstorms and frigid temperatures across much of the nation the past six weeks have stalled shipments, forcing some manufacturers to shut down for days and delaying deliveries to some retailers, USA Today reports.

Intellectually Disabled Struggle to Find Work

Most Americans with intellectual or developmental disabilities remain shut out of the workforce, despite changing attitudes and billions spent on government programs to help them, the Associated Press reports.

'Red Alert' Sounded Over Sochi Hotel Delays Last Fall

The International Olympic Committee's chief coordinator for the Sochi Games said Monday the organization sounded a "red alert" in September because delays in hotel construction were posing a serious threat to the event, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Untouchable Profits of Fannie and Freddie

A just-disclosed internal Treasury memo from 2010 describes how the future earnings of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were off limits to their shareholders, the New York Times reports.

Carmakers on Verge of Incentives War

When General Motors said it would offer more than $7,000 in discounts on some Silverado pickups, the news not only sent many shoppers rushing to showrooms but also shivers down the spines of automotive investors, worried that slowing sales may trigger the sort of incentive wars that trashed industry profits in the run-up to the recent recession, CNBC reports.

Markets Closed Today

The stock markets are closed today for the President's Day federal holiday.

Gay Exec Now Tackling NFL

PR: Howard Bragman guided Michael Sam’s coming out.

When Michael Sam sat down with ESPN and the New York Times to announce that he was gay, the Missouri football star and NFL draft prospect certainly got attention.

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Fishery Tenant Surfaces To Take L.A. Port Space

FISHING: Squid processor inks deal for three empty Fish Harbor buildings.

FISHING: Port of Los Angeles reels in a squid processing tenant for some of its languishing Fish Harbor buildings.

Historic Pasadena Site Touts Creative Appeal

LISTING: Disney Store’s lease may boost sale price of former laundry building.

The three-building creative office complex in Pasadena that is home to Disney Store’s western region headquarters was put up for sale earlier this month.

Tech Toys With Dolls Market

COMMENT: Charles Crumpley asks if lower sales figures for Barbie mean the doll is the latest victim of Internet disruption.

Home Range

The local real estate market has continued to rebound from recessionary lows, but the price-rise has shown a sign of slowing. So the Business Journal asks: Where will housing prices go this year?

The local real estate market has continued to rebound from recessionary lows, but the price-rise has shown a sign of slowing.

Pretzel Supplier Alleges Twisted Tale

FOOD: Middleman says he was boxed out by Trader Joe’s.

Broker of peanut butter-filled pretzels claims he’s left holding bags after Trader Joe’s conspired with supplier.

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Data Bank Calendar

Upcoming calendar of events

Data Bank Conventions

Upcoming local conventions

News of the Week

Last week’s major news from and other sources

Last week’s major news from and other sources

Refocused Shoemaker Shoos Away Investor Doubt

FOOTWEAR: Skechers’ stock climbs after new lines send income soaring.

FOOTWEAR: Shoemaker Skechers gets a leg up on Wall Street with its renewed focus on affordable products.

Building Interest

Investor moves crowdfunding model into real estate

It may have seemed unremarkable when Beverly Hills real estate company Realty Mogul Co. invested in five Baldwin Hills apartment buildings last month in deals that totaled $15 million. But it was remarkable because of this: They were financed through crowdfunding.

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Investment Bank OKs Buyer With Stake in State

ACQUISITION: De La Rosa sees pickup by Stifel boosting its public bond business.

The partners at Century City investment bank and bond underwriter De La Rosa & Co. had wanted to sell to a bigger firm for a few years, and they’d had offers.

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Internet Platform Seeks Lift From New HQ, Exec

EXPANSION: Airpush adds Google vet Matt Shaw to newly opened Venice office.

Mobile advertising platform Airpush Inc. continues its growth with the opening of its Venice headquarters and the hiring of former Google Inc. exec Matt Shaw.

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Health Plan Nurses Expansion With Doctor Deal

INSURANCE: L.A. Care adds HealthCare physicians to Covered California plan.

L.A. Care Health Plan has added Los Angeles County’s largest operator of physician practices to its plan on the California health exchange.

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Lifting The Lids

DINING: L.A. Underground Market lets cooks test dishes at invite-only event.

DINING: L.A. Underground Market event throws a lot of cooks into the mix when they come to test dishes.

regional report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Pasadena’s Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has acquired Houston-based Eagleton Engineering. Eagleton specializes in pipeline engineering and field surveying services.

Chef May Add Reality To Her Plate

Loretta Jones looks to serve up own show on Food Network.

DINING: Chef Loretta Jones pursues her own show on the Food Network after getting a taste of reality TV.

Deal For Building Sign Looking Up

Developer expects to get rise out of buyers for Hollywood space.

REAL ESTATE: Owner of building-side ad space in Hollywood expects a few bidders to sign up for property.

Overseas Factory Out Of Fashion

Reformation owner brings work home to L.A. from China.

FASHION: Reformation makes a clean break with China factory to make eco-conscious apparel in Los Angeles.

The River and the Money Manager

Last summer, Bryan Brown took 100 days off work and did what he says no human has ever done before: paddled the entirety of the Colorado River watershed by himself in a kayak.

Hoteliers Have No Reservations About Koreatown

hospitality: Three new boutique hotels look to tap neighborhood’s nightlife.

HOSPITALITY: Booming nightlife has spurred boutique hotel developers to check into Koreatown.

PE Firms Turning to Industry Vets for Board Seats

INVESTMENT: Market experience trumps M.B.A.s in company board picks.

INVESTMENT: Private equity firms increasingly place stock in industry vets over M.B.A.s when naming board members.

Still No Takers For Dodgers TV

TELEVISION: Time Warner wants rivals on channel’s team.

Less than two weeks before the high-stakes launch of SportsNet LA, the all-Dodgers channel last week still had not reached carriage deals with any pay-TV companies aside from its operator, Time Warner Cable.

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All Hands on Deck

OP-ED: Local, state leaders must work with L.A., Long Beach ports to battle rising cargo rivals.

SHIPPING: John McLaurin calls on local and state governments to buoy the L.A. and Long Beach ports against competitors.

Private, Public Sectors Could Deliver More Together


NON-PROFIT: David A. Schwarz touts the civic value of well-balanced private-public collaboration.

Friday, February 14

L.A. Port Traffic Rises

Traffic at the Port of Los Angeles increased 2.5 percent in January compared with the same month last year, according to figures released Friday.

Big Concrete Pour Makes Use of High Tech

When concrete pourers start rolling into downtown L.A. Saturday to participate in the record-setting 21,200 cubic yard concrete pour at the Wilshire Grand construction site, an app will be used to make things run smoothly.

Jukin Names Two Executives

Culver City’s Jukin Media on Friday named Lee Essner as president and chief operating officer and Jeff Levin as director of talent.

Occidental Leaving Westwood for Houston

After nearly a century here, Westwood oil giant Occidental Petroleum Corp. is moving its headquarters to Houston.

Medbox Shares Jump on U.S. Banking Ruling

Shares of West Hollywood marijuana services provider Medbox Inc., jumped 27 percent on Friday after U.S. officials took steps that could lead to banks being able serve marijuana-selling businesses.

Qualstar, Arrowhead Among Week’s Biggest Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed higher for the week.

Stocks Gain

In Friday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 127 points to 16,154. The Nasdaq fell 3 points to 4,244. The S&P 500 rose 9 points to 1,839. The LABJ Stock Index rose more than 1 point to 187.

Oxy to Separate California Business

Occidental Petroleum Corp. said today it will split its operations in California into a separate publicly traded company in one of the final steps of its breakup plan, Bloomberg News reports.

Pershing Square Increases Short Position on Herbalife

Hedge-fund activist Bill Ackman has increased his bet on Herbalife’s demise, the New York Post reports.

Chinese Join Winklevosses in L.A. Luxury Home Hedges

L.A.'s cliffside properties may seem perfectly perched for a Hollywood disaster movie, but they’re the equivalent of “safety deposit boxes” for wealthy global investors, Bloomberg News reports.

Santa Monica Targets Quake Safety

Santa Monica will become the first city in California to inspect concrete, steel and wood-frame buildings and require seismic retrofitting for those deemed vulnerable during a major earthquake, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Airlines Scrap Record Number of Flights

This winter's relentless snow and ice storms have led to the highest number of flight cancellations in more than 25 years, according to an Associated Press analysis. The Northeastern U.S. today is digging out of its latest storm, CNN reports.

Have Economists Become Snow Blind?

Interpreting U.S. economic figures in the last couple of months has taken on a familiar pattern: wonder about possible weakness in demand, and then shrug and dismiss it all as a product of bad weather, Reuters reports.

Comcast-TWC Merger Outrages Consumers

Comcast and Time Warner Cable regularly rank at the bottom of the pay TV industry when it comes to customer satisfaction. So it didn't take long after Thursday's merger announcement for customers to vent frustrations. Associated Press reports. The New York Times reports that the deal solidifies Comcast’s reputation as an enterprise with grand, even audacious, ambitions.

Jos. A. Bank to Buy Eddie Bauer

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. which itself is being pursued by rival Men's Wearhouse Inc. said Friday it is buying the parent company of Eddie Bauer in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $825 million, the Associated Press reports.

Foundation’s Former Leader Arrested in Embezzlement Case

Jiah Rhea Chung is suspected of embezzling nearly $140,000 from a foundation set up to help needy students at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Japan Display Plans $4 Billion IPO

Japan Display Inc., the world’s biggest maker of displays for smartphones and a key Apple Inc. supplier, is aiming to raise up to $4 billion in what would be Asia’s biggest initial public offering so far this year, the Wall Street Journal reports.

TheWrap Bolsters Editorial Team

Entertainment industry site TheWrap announced it has expanded its editorial team with several key hires and promotions.

Which California Freeway Has the Most Gridlock?

Despite this weekend's Jamzilla, it's not the 405. The California Department of Transportation, which calculates time wasted in "heavy congestion" using sensors under the pavement, says the dubious honor again goes to Interstate 5 through Los Angeles County, the Associated Press reports.

Dow and S&P Rise, Nasdaq Slips

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 65 points to 16,092. The Nasdaq fell 4 points to 4,237. The S&P 500 rose 4 points to 1,834.

Thursday, February 13

Rexford Industrial Buys Ontario Industrial Park

Rexford Industrial Realty Inc. on Thursday said it acquired Ontario Airport Business Park next to LA/Ontario International Airport for $8.55 million.

Easton-Bell to Sell Baseball Business

Struggling Easton-Bell Sports Inc. has reached an agreement to sell its baseball and softball business to a Canadian firm for $330 million, the Van Nuys sporting goods manufacturer announced on Thursday.

Occidental Sells Natural Gas Field

Occidental Petroleum Corp on Thursday said it signed a deal to sell its interests in a natural gas field that sprawls across three states to an unnamed buyer for a pretax price of $1.4 billion.

Disney Makes 'Star Wars' Streaming Deal with Nexflix

The Disney/ABC Television Group on Thursday said it signed an agreement to stream the final season of its “Star Wars” animated series on Netflix Inc.

Earnings Roundup: J2 Global, Oaktree, VCA Antech

J2 Global Inc. shares jumped 19 percent in after-hours trading Thursday after the Hollywood company reported better-than-expected adjusted profit and gave optimistic future guidance. Oaktree Capital Group on Thursday said its fourth-quarter profit rose 65 percent. VCA Antech Inc. said that it moved to profit in its fourth quarter as revenue from its veterinary clinics and laboratories grew.

Stocks Gain

In Thursday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 64 points to 16,028. The Nasdaq rose 39 points, or 1 percent, to 4,241. The S&P 500 rose 11 points to 1,830. The LABJ Stock Index rose more than 1 point to 186.

Comcast to Buy Time Warner Cable

Comcast Corp. has agreed to acquire Time Warner Cable Inc. for $45.2 billion in stock, combining the two largest U.S. cable companies and creating a bulwark against competition from phone and satellite providers, Bloomberg News reports. The Wall Street Journal says the surprise deal firmly entrenches Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts as the dominant force in the U.S. entertainment industry.

Daily Journal Lifts Curtain of Secrecy on Investments

Investors now know what stocks Charles Munger picked for the portfolio of Daily Journal Corp., the Los Angeles legal publisher that counts him as chairman. Bloomberg News took a look at new regulatory filings, and concluded that Warren Buffett's longtime business pal runs a pretty weird company.

Policy on Trash Truck Driver Breaks Could Prove Costly

L.A. officials, wanting to make sure the city's trash truck drivers would not get caught sleeping in their trucks, several years ago laid down a set of break time rules prohibiting naps. Now the city may have to pay out millions in a class action lawsuit, the Los Angeles Times reports. By begin forced to stay awake, the drivers argued they were effectively on duty during their breaks.

Carson Residents Leery of Oxy Drilling Proposal

Carson residents this week lashed out at the Planning and Environmental commission meetings this week over Occidental Petroleum Corp.'s proposed oil-and-gas production facility, which could begin construction later this year, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports.

Chinese Visitors Turn San Gabriel Into Boomtown

San Gabriel's growing reputation for Chinese food and services has made it a destination for visitors from China, boosting revenue for the city and creating some hassles for residents, the Los Angeles Times reports.

L.A. Takes First Step Toward Urban Beekeeping

The L.A. City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to begin the process of granting bees being kept by homeowners in the city legal status, and also supported a motion to relocate wild hives when possible instead of destroying them, the Associated Press reports.

Ban on Sale of Microbead-Filled Cosmetics to Be Proposed

California is lining up to become the largest state to ban the sale of cosmetic products, such as facial scrubs, containing tiny plastic beads that find their way into waterways and the ocean, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Univision Fourth-Quarter Revenue Rises

Spanish-language media giant Univision posted revenue gains in its TV unit, but radio and online revenue declined, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Californians Urged to Prepare for Climate Change

Like saving for retirement or hoarding food and water for The Big One, Californians should get ready for the effects of global climate change, state and federal policymakers said Wednesday, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Groundbreaking Comedian Sid Ceasar Dies

Sid Caesar, a comedic force of nature who became one of television’s first stars in the early 1950s and influenced generations of comedians and comedy writers, died on Wednesday at his home in Beverly Hills, the New York Times reports. He was 91.

PUC San Onofre Proposal Wins Praise

Much if not all of the electric power once provided by the San Onofre nuclear power plant could be replaced with energy from non-fossil-fuel sources, says a proposed decision pending at the California Public Utilities Commission, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Animosity Between AIDS Group Head and County Supervisor Emerges

Long-simmering animosity between AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein about L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky reached new heights this week when their bad blood surfaced in a footnote attached to a federal judge's ruling, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Jamzilla Debuts This Weekend

What's more complicated than Carmageddon and could seriously mess with the flow of Angelenos' long Presidents' Day weekend? Jamzilla, the latest monster-evoking moniker adopted for 80 hours of 405 Freeway lane closures slated to begin late Friday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Paula Deen Gets Private Equity Revival

Embattled celebrity chef Paula Deen on Wednesday announced formation of a new enterprise, Paula Deen Ventures, backed by a private equity operation in Phoenix that is slated to pour $75 million to $100 million into the venture. Bloomberg BusinessWeek looks at how the new business model may differ from Deen's previous licensing-laden one.

Stocks Rise

In Thursday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 34 points to 15,998. The Nasdaq rose 19 points to 4,220. The S&P 500 rose 5 points to 1,824.

Wednesday, February 12

Skechers Reports Better-Than-Expected Quarter

Shares of Skechers USA Inc. jumped than 13 percent in after-market trading on Wednesday after the trendy shoemaker reported fourth-quarter profit that soared past Wall Street estimates.

Disney to Launch Business Accelerator

Walt Disney Co. said Wednesday that it will invest $1.2 million in early-stage entertainment and media technology through a new business accelerator.

Earnings Roundup: Cheesecake, ReachLocal

Cheesecake Factory Inc. posted rising fourth quarter profit on Wednesday but said extreme winter weather cut into its same-store sales. Shares of ReachLocal Inc. dropped nearly 15 percent following the announcement of widening losses in the quarter.

Cinedigm, Wizard World to Create Digital Channel

Cinedigm Corp. on Wednesday said it will partner with convention organizer Wizard World Inc. to create a new digital network aimed at sci-fi, fantasy and anime fans.

Dow and S&P Decline, Nasdaq and LABJ Gain

In Wednesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 31 points to 15,964. The Nasdaq rose 10 points to 4,201. The S&P 500 fell less than 1 point to 1,819. The LABJ Stock Index rose less than 1 point to 184.

Tapiture Taps Jump Investors in Seed Round

Venice e-commerce and social media company Tapiture announced Wednesday it completed a $2.25 million seed round led by West Los Angeles capital venture firm Jump Investors.

Virtual Piggy Oinks Deal with Discover

Virtual Piggy Inc. on Wednesday announced a deal with Discover Network enabling transactions at its teen-friendly Oink payment system to take place over the the credit card company's network.

CIM Buys Two California Plaza

One of the tallest office buildings in downtown Los Angeles has been acquired by Hollywood developer CIM Group in an unusual portfolio sale that also included a regional shopping center in Montclair, a high-rise in Anaheim and hotels in Bakersfield, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Washington Battles over California Drought Solution

California's drought is becoming a hot issue on Capitol Hill, where bills from Senate Democrats and House Republicans offer rival solutions on how to best aid water-starved farmers, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Republican Wins San Diego Mayor Special Election

A city councilman has won the special election to become San Diego’s mayor and will serve out the term started by Bob Filner, a Democrat who resigned last year amid sexual harassment accusations, the New York Times reports. Kevin Faulconer's victory will make San Diego the largest city run by a Republican.

Ice Storm Whacks Parts of the South

An ice storm gripped the winter-weary South on Wednesday, knocking out power to a wide swath of the region as the outages nearly doubled by the hour, the Associated Press reports. Forecasters warn the worst of the potentially "catastrophic" storm is yet to come.

Toyota to Recall 1.9 Million Prius Hybrids

Toyota Motor Corp. on Wednesday said it will recall 1.9 million of its flagship Prius hybrid vehicles to fix faulty software in the hybrid system, hinting at the challenges ahead for the world's biggest car maker and others as they expand their fleets of hybrid vehicles, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Bitcoin Hit by Denial of Service Attacks

Bitcoin is being hit by attacks from unknown computer hackers who are sending "mutated" lines of code into the program that runs the virtual currency, Reuters reports.

Sushi Chefs Plead Guilty in Whale Meat Case

Two sushi chefs who formerly worked at the Hump Restaurant at the Santa Monica Airport have pleaded guilty to charges relating to serving whale meat, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Car Reliability Drops

Vehicle dependability has fallen for the first time since 1998, according a J.D. Power and Associates study that measures how Americans feel about their 3-year-old cars, trucks and SUVs, CNBC reports

Yellen Rebuffs Fed Critics, Pleases Investors

Janet Yellen pursued a simple strategy Tuesday for handling a battery of lawmakers who came armed with skepticism about the Federal Reserve, the Associated Press reports: Politely stand your ground. Be consistent. Signal continuity at the top.

Liquid-Cooled Supercomputers Could Trim Power Bills

Some operators of supercomputers are submerging their machines in liquids, without causing any apparent damage, to keep them from overheating. Advocates say so-called immersion or submersion cooling could solve one of the biggest challenges of the digital economy, the New York Times reports.

Expect Splashier Storytelling on Bloomberg TV gets a preview from Justin Smith, new chief executive of Bloomberg Media Group, who is wrapping up a 100-day review of the company that will offer recommendations on the future of the global media conglomerate's TV division and digital and print operations.

Private Jets Bet on America for Big Orders

While Asia may be the hot spot for economic growth, private jet manufactures are looking to the U.S. to drive big orders as the world's largest economy turns a corner, CNBC reports.

Unapologetic Barbie to Pose in Swimsuit Issue

There's going to be a new, more plasticky model posing alongside the flesh-and-blood ones in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue next week, reports.

Dow and S&P Down, Nasdaq Rises

In Wednesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 35 points to 15,960. The Nasdaq rose 8 points to 4,199. The S&P 500 fell less than 1 point to 1,819.

Tuesday, February 11

Puma Prices Stock Offering

Puma Biotechnology Inc. early Tuesday priced a public offering of 979,592 common shares at $122.50 a share, 2.6 percent below its later closing price.

Obamacare Prep Hits Health Net's Quarter

Health Net Inc. reported fourth quarter earnings Tuesday that missed Wall Street expectations, as the company saw a bump in costs associated with the new Affordable Care Act.

Molina Slips to Loss

Shares of Molina Healthcare Inc. fell more than 5 percent on Tuesday, a day after the Medicaid managed care provider said it moved to a loss in the fourth quarter on increased expenses and a retroactive rate reduction in Washington state.

Head of Valley Financial Firm Sentenced in Loan Scam

The chief executive of a Westlake Village financial firm was sentenced to more than three years in federal prison Monday for orchestrating a fraudulent loan scheme that caused $10.3 million in losses.

Jacobs Acquires Houston Engineering Firm

Pasadena’s Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has expanded its presence in Houston and the energy market with the acquisition of oil and gas pipeline specialist Eagleton Engineering.

Markets Rise

In Tuesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 193 points to 15,995. The Nasdaq climbed 43 points to 4,191. The S&P 500 was up 20 points to 1,820. The LABJ Stock Index rose more than 1 point to 184.

Laffster Rebrands in Effort to Expand User Base

Santa Monica’s Laffster Inc., which connects comedians and entertainers with fans through live streaming events, changed its name Tuesday to Cogo as part of a rebranding effort.

L.A. Firms Take Home Tech Awards

Los Angeles tech companies took home several Crunchies Monday night as part of website TechCrunch’s annual award show in San Francisco.

Complaint Planned Against Cal/OSHA

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility plans to file a federal complaint alleging that staffing levels threaten the health and safety of California workers, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Yellen Pledges Continuity at Fed

In her first public remarks as chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen plans to tell Congress today that the central bank maintains its optimistic view of the economy and its determination to retreat slowly from its stimulus campaign, the New York Times reports.

Shirley Temple Black Dies at 85

Child star and diplomat Shirley Temple Black died Monday night at her home in California, the New York Times reports. The Los Angeles Daily News posts five of her cutest dance numbers from the 1930s for your coffee break enjoyment.

Employer Mandate Delayed Again

Most employers won't face a fine next year if they fail to offer workers health insurance, the Obama administration announced Monday in the latest big delay of the health-law rollout, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Payroll Company Leaves Clients Hanging

LA Payroll for years dealt with the financial necessities that can be a perennial headache for small business people. Now its clients have learned that the company's owner is missing along with the money he should have been paying for their taxes, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Comedy Central Lawyers Approved 'Dumb Starbucks' Stunt

Comedy Central's Nathan Fielder has been revealed as the individual behind the "Dumb Starbucks" pop-up shop in Los Feliz, with the network's parent company saying the stunt constitutes "protected free expression," the Hollywood Reporter says.

Garcetti Names New Film Czar

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has named legal entertainment industry attorney Ken Ziffren as his new film czar, succeeding Tom Sherak who recently died from cancer, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Univision to Develop Merchandise Featuring Iconic Mexican Star

Univision intends to sell products branded with the name and image of Pedro Infante, a beloved Mexican film and music star who died in a 1957 plane crash, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Toymakers Hope to Build on Success of 'Lego'

Films based on the Ouija board game and Hot Wheels toy car line are among those hoping for the same results as "Lego Movie," which opened last weekend with a $69 million box office, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Virgin Atlantic Dons Google Glass

Virgin Atlantic has launched a pilot scheme involving wearable technology that will see some of its staff wear Google Glass to speed the check-in process, CNBC reports.

What Really Happened to Flappy Bird?

The rise and fall of Flappy Bird — a simple game for touchscreen devices that was downloaded about 50 million times before its developer took it down — is a guide to the app economy's promise and pitfalls, Bloomberg News reports.

China Going for the Gold Bar

China is poised to snag the title of the world's biggest gold buyer, a feat that could support prices of the precious metal as well as accelerate the global bullion market's shift eastward, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Markets Rise

In Tuesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 94 points to 15,896. The Nasdaq rose 13 points to 4,161. The S&P 500 rose 8 points to 1,808.

Monday, February 10

Motorcar Parts’ Quarter Beats Expectations

Shares of Motorcar Parts of America Inc. rose nearly 15 percent on Monday after the manufacturer and distributor of automotive aftermarket parts reported a better-than-expected fiscal third quarter.

Saban Signs Kids TV Deal with Cirque du Soleil

Saban Brands on Monday said it would partner with Cirque du Soleil Média to create an original, multi-platform children's media property based on the iconic circus entertainment brand.

DreamWorks Starts In-House Publishing House

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. has started an in-house printing division to release print and digital books featuring its animated characters.

Markets Gain

In Monday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 8 points to 15,802. The Nasdaq rose 22 points to 4,148. The S&P 500 rose 3 points to 1,800. The LABJ Stock Index rose more than 1 point to 183.

$12 State Minimum Wage Proposed

Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley software entrepreneur who has dabbled in state politics over the years, hopes to put a measure on the November ballot that would gradually raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2016, the Los Angeles Times reports.

EDD Ordered to Improve Service

California has announced a sweeping overhaul of its troubled Employment Development Department, following months of turmoil that left thousands of Californians struggling to get their unemployment benefits, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Is Mock Starbucks Grounds for Lawsuit?

The opening of Dumb Starbucks has created a buzz and long lines in Los Feliz, but no one knows whether it's a real business or marketing ploy, the Los Angeles Times reports. Starbucks is aware of the parody and is looking into it.

Southland Lumber to Close

Inglewood's Southland Lumber & Supply Co., a leading supplier of lumber to the entertainment industry, is shutting down this week after nearly seven decades in business, another apparent casualty of runaway production, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Millions Caught in Health Coverage Gap

Millions of Americans are caught in a mismatch of state and federal rules that's leaving them unable to qualify for federal subsidies to buy health insurance or for Medicaid, the Wall Street Journal reports.

More People Quit Their Jobs, as Optimism Grows

The percentage of workers who voluntarily left their job hit 1.8 percent in November, the highest in the recovery and up from a low of 1.2 percent in September 2009, the Wall Street Journal reports, with most apparently quitting to hunt for a new job or because they had already found one.

Sprint Rethinks Acquiring T-Mobile

Sprint Corp. executives are regrouping to decide whether trying to acquire smaller rival T-Mobile US Inc. makes sense after antitrust officials expressed strong sentiments against a deal publicly, sources tell the Wall Street Journal.

Zuckerberg Biggest Giver in 2013

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife were the most generous American philanthropists in 2013, with the donation to a Silicon Valley nonprofit of $970 million worth of Facebook stock, the Associated Press reports.

AOL Chief Reverses 401(k) Changes

Chief Executive Tim Armstrong has reversed his decision to cut employee retirement benefits and apologized for remarks linking two women at the company with "distressed babies" to its rising health care costs that set off a fire storm of criticism, Reuters reports.

Transit Turning Point for Leimert Park Village

Plans for a commuter rail station in what was once known as the West Coast Harlem are stirring hopes of a resurgence, but also worries that the change will be more commercial than cultural, the Los Angeles Times reports.

HLN Recasts Itself as Curator of Trending Stories

The former CNN Headline News, which has become known for its tabloidy gavel-to-gavel coverage of court cases, plans to transform itself into a TV network for younger adults, Variety reports.

Welders to Women: We Want You!

Six years after the start of a deep recession and a growing call for more middle-class manufacturing jobs, one American industry is tackling workforce development in a unique way. CNBC reports that welding is courting fresh recruits — women in particular.

Dow and S&P Drop, Nasdaq Rises

In Monday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 35 points to 15,759. The Nasdaq was up 7 points to 4,133. The S&P 500 fell 3 points to 1,794.

Mixed Match

Banks never loaned to tech startups – until now

LENDING: Commercial banks hook up with tech startups through venture loans to be repaid after future funding rounds.

Wage Creep

COMMENT: Nice aim by L.A. labor in targeting the spread of “living wage” to hotels beyond the airport, Charles Crumpley writes.

Fresh Take On Making Bread

Trashy Gourmet hopes sandwiches made with doughnuts hold up.

DINING: Trashy Gourmet takes sandwiches in a hole new direction by replacing bread with doughnuts.

Bubble Links Floated For Mobile Users

LeadBolt’s ‘poppable’ ads connect device users to client sites.

ADVERTISING: LeadBolt adds some pop to mobile ads with its floating bubbles that link to client websites.

When Will Space Traveler Finally Fly?

Rene Kaerskov is hoping the Federal Aviation Administration will soon clear Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic to take tourists to space.

regional report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Oil Chief Exec May Field Longer Term of Service

ENERGY: Analysts see Stephen Chazen staying in Oxy job beyond this year.

ENERGY: Occidental CEO Stephen Chazen may be looking to pump up the length of his term atop the gas and oil giant.

Packaging Maker Taps Into Beer, Wine Business

MANUFACTURING: Plastic kegs by Rehrig Pacific can be rented, cleaned and reused.

MANUFACTURING: Plastic packaging maker Rehrig Pacific rolls out rentable, reusable kegs for wine and beer businesses.

Winemaker Takes Off With Airline

Le Grand Courtage gets big lift from Virgin America deal.

Le Grand Courtage was on board early with the idea of getting its bottles on Virgin America flights.

Tycoon Courts U.S. in China Fight

ENERGY: Former oil exec tries to make case to recover billions.

U.S. courts may be powerless to help oil magnate Tiangang Sun recover billions he claims he is owed by China.

Higher Volume

INTERNET: WhisperText signs up viral-story wizard to help expand the anonymous-confession app’s reach.

INTERNET: WhisperText hopes viral-story expert will help the anonymous-confession app speak to a broader audience.

Film Color Giant Now Seeks Image As Tech Pioneer

FILM: Technicolor looks to hew out a future as a Web pioneer with a social site to help connect filmmakers and crew members.

Former Star-News Building Turning the Page

REAL ESTATE: Beaux arts property in Pasadena bought for $16.5 million.

The historic beaux arts building that once housed the Pasadena Star-News was sold last week in a bankruptcy auction for more than $16.5 million.

Port Truckers in Drive to Run ’Round the Clock

SHIPPING: Plan to reduce traffic dismissed as too costly by terminal operators.

SHIPPING: Trucking companies try to get ports on board with traffic-easing plan to keep terminals open 24 hours.

News of the Week

Last week’s major news from and other sources

The St. Louis Rams confirmed a Business Journal report that team owner Stan Kroenke bought a 60-acre vacant lot in Inglewood from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., fueling speculation that the site might one day become home to a National Football League stadium.

Love Fest

Some high-end L.A. hotels have unleashed pricey packages to woo guests this Valentine’s Day. So the Business Journal asks: How will you celebrate Valentine’s Day this year?

My plan is to get out of the city, away from the kids, and spend a quiet evening with just my wife and a bottle of wine – probably in Temecula, wine country.

Data Bank Calendar

This week's calendar of events.

Data Bank Conventions

Upcoming conventions

Tire Maker Treads Lightly Into Factory in SoCal

AUTOMOTIVE: Coker picks Industry despite county, state costs of doing business.

Coker Tire Co., a Chattanooga, Tenn., maker of vintage-style tires and wheels, consolidated its manufacturing operations in City of Industry with the opening last month of an 80,000-square-foot factory that will also serve as its West Coast distribution center.

Philadelphia Firm Doubles Up on L.A. Pickups

EMPLOYMENT: Move by Blank Rome adds 15 lawyers to its Century City office.

Philadelphia’s Blank Rome has absorbed two boutique L.A. firms, its biggest hiring move here since opening an office in Century City nearly five years ago.

Satellite Rivals Circle Politics

tv: DirecTV, Dish team up on ‘addressable ad’ project.

TV: DirecTV and Dish team up on ad platform to get more money from political campaigns.

Playa Vista In Home Stretch

Real Estate: Developers launch the project’s final phase.

REAL ESTATE: Developers home in on Phase 2’s range of residential projects in Playa Vista.

Friday, February 7

Rams Owner May Bring Soccer to Inglewood Site

Stan Kroenke may be bringing a soccer team called L.A. Gunners to the 60-acre site he recently purchased in Inglewood, according to British news reports.

Green Dot, RealD Among Week’s Biggest Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed up for the week.

Markets Rise

In Friday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 166 points, or more than 1 percent, to 15,794. The Nasdaq rose 69 points, or more than 1 percent, to 4,126. The S&P 500 rose 24 points, or more than 1 percent, to 1,797. The LABJ Stock Index rose nearly 3 points, or more than 1 percent, to 181.

Jobs Report Too Weird to Just Blame the Weather

A second month of surprisingly weak job growth and a lower unemployment rate reported today is sending inconclusive messages about how much the economy is being impacted by weather or just slowing for some other reason, CNBC reports.

Entertainment Industry Sheds 9,000 Jobs in L.A.

A Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. study that measures California’s “creative economy” shows that film and television production employment in Los Angeles County has fallen by 6.6 percent in five years, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Smartphone 'Kill Switch’ Proposed

Officials in California today are set to outline proposed state legislation requiring smartphones and other mobile devices to have a “kill switch” that would render them inoperable if lost or stolen, the Associated Press reports.

Covered California Pulls Error-Ridden Physician List, Again

Admitting it gave some consumers bad information, California's health insurance exchange again pulled its physician directory for having too many errors, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Groups Push for Herbalife Investigation

Several Latino and consumer groups continue to pressure federal regulators to investigate Herbalife, Southern California Public Radio reports.

Waxman Still Concerned About Tribune Spinoff

After a meeting with Tribune Co.’s chief executive, Rep. Henry A. Waxman tells the Los Angeles Times that he's still was concerned about plans to spin off the Times and seven other newspapers into a separate unit, the Times reports.

BMW's Ultimate Bobsled Machine

A state-of-the-art two-man sled, designed at BMW's Designworks facility outside Los Angeles, is poised for Olympic gold, the Hollywood Reporter says.

How Did Immigration Reform Get Scuttled?

Reaching any agreement has become appreciably harder because of a deep Republican reluctance to get caught up in an internal party feud, the New York Times reports.

Secret to Homemade Coke: Instant Cold, No Canisters

Coca-Cola Co. is teaming up with the maker of the Keurig single-serve coffee brewers to develop a do-it-yourself countertop Coke machine, the Wall Street Journal reports.

AOL Blames Costly Pregnancies, Obamacare for 401(k) Cuts

Can a coworker’s pregnancy hurt your retirement savings? If you work at AOL, the answer appears to be yes, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports.

Attack on Electric Grid Raises Alarm

Shooters armed with assault rifles and some knowledge of electrical utilities have prompted new worries on the vulnerability of California's vast power grid, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Apple’s iPhone: The New International Currency

Unlocked, highly desired iPhone 5s phones are more like gold bars than communication devices overseas, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports.

Markets Gain

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 56 points to 15,684. The Nasdaq rose 35 points to 4,092. The S&P 500 rose 10 points to 1,783.

Thursday, February 6

Lions Gate Beats Expectations

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. on Thursday reported a better-than-expected fiscal third quarter profit, boosted by a strong box office for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire."

Better-than-Expected Quarter for Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard Inc. rose nearly 8 percent in after-hours trading Thursday after the video game maker reported adjusted fourth quarter profit that beat Wall Street expectations.

Conversant Acquires Digital-Video Tech Companny

Westlake Village Internet ad firm Conversant Inc. has acquired SET Media, a San Francisco digital-video technology company.

Santa Ana Firm Acquires Agoura Hills' Interthink

Interthink Inc., an Agoura Hills mortgage services company, has been acquired for $155 million by First American Financial Corp., a provider of real estate transaction services based in Santa Ana.

Markets Rise

In Thursday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 188 points, or more than 1 percent, to 15,629. The Nasdaq rose 46 points, or more than 1 percent, to 4,057. The S&P 500 rose 22 points, or more than 1 percent, to 1,773. The LABJ Stock Index rose more than 3 points, or 1 percent, to 175.

Flipagram Rumored To Be Snapping Up Big Round

Flipagram, a popular mobile app that creates video slideshows from multiple photos, is looking to raise $50 million to $60 million in its funding round, valuing the company at $300 million, according to TechCrunch.

Crowdfunder Raises $1 Million More For Seed Round

Venice crowdfunding platform Crowdfunder announced Thursday it raised $1 million in its most recent round of seed financing.

California Considering Online Gambling Bill

Lawmakers in California and nine other states are considering bills that would allow or expand online gambling, the Los Angeles Times reports.

L.A.'s Broadway Shows Signs of Reawakening

City Councilman Jose Huizar tells the Los Angeles Times that new real estate guidelines will allow for full revitalization of historic buildings on downtown's Broadway that mostly have sat empty for decades.

YouTube to Get New CEO

With Google ad executive Susan Wojcicki, YouTube is getting a new chief executive with expertise in advertising. The appointment signals the Internet's dominant online video site has entered a new phase in its evolution, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Silver Lake: Don't Call Us 'Eastside'

The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council passed a motion last night to officially quit calling the neighborhood the Eastside. The Los Angeles Times looks at whether this vote may lay to rest a decade-long debate over where the real Eastside is in Los Angeles – east or west of the Los Angeles River.

How Long Could California's Drought Last?

Forecasters say that despite some rain here and there, it looks like California will stay dry for some time, the Los Angeles Times reports. Southern California Public Radio looks at whether the Golden State could be facing a "mega-drought" the likes of which haven't been seen here since the Middle Ages.

A Different Gates Returns to Microsoft

Though he no longer will be Microsoft's chairman, Bill Gates will be returning to a more active role in the company he co-founded. The New York Times looks at whether Gates – who has spent most of the last several years trying to eradicate polio and reduce hunger through his charitable foundation – can really be helpful as product and technology adviser to new Chief Executive Satya Nadella.

Leno Ready to Hit the Road

Tonight Show host Jay Leno reflects to the Los Angeles Times on his planned exit tonight after 22 years behind his talk-show desk and return to doing more live comedy again.

Harsh Winter Stings Retail Sales

A harsh winter generally chilled retailers' sales in January as stores tried to clear excess holiday inventory, though Costco managed to buck the negative trend, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Sony Hopes Fourth Overhaul Will Be One That Counts

Japanese electronics and entertainment giant Sony, which today predicted that it would lose about $1.1 billion in its current fiscal year, is restructuring again. This time it may mean business, the New York Times reports.

Will U.S. Become a 'Renter Nation'?

Real estate attorney and author Shari Olefson told Yahoo's Breakout blog that we may soon become a nation of renters with Wall Street playing landlord. The culprit, in part, is expiration of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act.

The Super Bowl's Real Results

You may have loved Budweiser’s Super Bowl puppy ads, but probably aren't thinking about buying Bud more than before. M&M;'s, on the other hand, has significantly increased its odds on your next shopping trip, Ad Age reports.

Markets Rebound

In Thursday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average jumped 144 points, or 1 percent, to 15,584. The Nasdaq was up 48 points, or 1 percent, to 4,060. The S&P 500 rose 17 points, or 1 percent, to 1,768.

Wednesday, February 5

Disney's Quarter Beats Expectations

Walt Disney Co. on Wednesday beat Wall Street forecasts on revenue and earnings per share for its fiscal first quarter.

Long Beach Hikes Wages for Airport, Convention Center Workers

The Long Beach City Council has approved an ordinance to raise the pay of airport and Convention Center workers to $13.26 an hour.

Earnings Roundup: CBRE, Macerich, PennyMac

CBRE Group Inc. and Macerich Co. reported adjusted fourth quarter results that beat Wall Street forecasts, but PennyMac Financial Services came in below expectations. PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust also reported quarterly results.

Thomas Properties Veterans Form New Firm

Three former senior executives at recently acquired Thomas Properties Group Inc. have formed Coretrust Capital Partners, an investment management firm with dual headquarters in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

Amgen, Merck to Collaborate on Cancer Drugs

Clinical trials will begin this fall for an advanced melanoma drug developed in a collaboration of Amgen Inc. and Merck & Co. Inc.

Markets Slip

In Wednesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 5 points to 15,441. The Nasdaq fell 20 points to 4,012. The S&P 500 fell 4 points to 1,752. The LABJ Stock Index fell less than 1 point to 175.

Garcetti to Propose Eliminating Business Tax

In an attempt to make Los Angeles more competitive with neighboring municipalities, Mayor Eric Garcetti will propose phasing out the city’s business tax as part of his first budget, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Magic Johnson, Others, to Own Sparks

Magic Johnson and Los Angeles Dodgers chairman Mark Walter are in a group to buy the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, saving the struggling franchise from relocation or contraction, ESPN reports.

Probation Chief Warns About Inmate Release

Warning that it could trigger a spike in crime, Chief Probation Officer Jerry Powers said about 15,000 inmates diverted from state prisons to Los Angeles county jails have served their sentences and returned to the community without being required to report to a probation officer or seek essential follow-up services, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Health Law to Cut into Labor Force

A nonpartisan congressional report projects that the national health law is projected to reduce the total number of hours Americans work by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time jobs in 2021, a bigger impact than previously expected, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Senators Urge Pipeline Approval

A bipartisan group of senators and House members stepped up pressure on the White House Tuesday to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, the Wall Street Journal reports.

CVS to Kick the Habit

CVS/Caremark, the country’s largest drugstore chain, plans to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products by October, the New York Times reports.

Private Companies Create Fewer Jobs Than Expected

rivate companies created 175,000 new positions in January, a bit lower than expected but in keeping with the pace of job creation over the past two years, CNBC reports.

Regulator Warns About Gaps in Ride-Sharing Coverage

Ride-sharing companies such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar say their insurance is sufficient, but California Public Utilities Commission officials say a recent deadly accident shows the murky legal terrain in which these services operate, the Los Angeles Times reports.

DWP Has New Plan for Collecting Overdue Bills

Acknowledging the ongoing problems with its new computerized billing system, Department of Water and Power officials said Tuesday they are developing a new plan to improve its collections, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Onetime Critic of Health Law May Yet Profit

Wellpoint, the parent of Anthem Blue Cross and early critic of Obamacare, could end up benefiting most from the new federal law, the New York Times reports.

Garcetti Names City's First Official Tech Czar

Mayor Eric Garcetti has named Peter Marx, a former tech executive at Qualcomm Labs and Mattel, as L.A.'s first tech czar, charged with bolstering technological capabilities to make city services more efficient, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

U.S. Small Banks Face TARP Hit

Small banks across the nation are facing a crunch-time decision over federal aid received during the financial crisis, the Wall Street Journal reports: repay the funds soon or face a steeper interest-rate bill.

Microsoft Names New CEO and Chairman

When it named longtime company insider Satya Nadella its new chief executive on Tuesday, Microsoft made a second, less-noticed appointment, the San Jose Mercury News reports. To replace the legendary Bill Gates, John Thompson, a former CEO of Symantec, will become only the second chairman in Microsoft's history.

NLRB Wants to Streamline Union-Organizing Elections

The National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday proposed a rule that could speed union-organizing elections at private-sector companies, positioning the federal agency for a fight with business groups, the Wall Street Journal reports.

California Drought as Seen from Space

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a photo that starkly illustrates what a year of drought conditions have wrought on the state's landscape, the National Journal reports.

Markets Fall

In Wednesday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 48 points to 15,397. The Nasdaq fell 48 points to 3,984. The S&P 500 fell 12 points to 1,743.

Tuesday, February 4

Rubicon Project Files for $100 Million Public Offering

Rubicon Project has officially kicked-off its long-expected march toward going public.

Disney to Cut 200 Jobs

Walt Disney Co. will cut 200 jobs from in its interactive division as part of a continuing reorganization, according to media reports.

Kilroy Earnings Beat Analysts’ Expectations

Kilroy Realty Corp. yesterday reported earnings that rose in concert with the overall improvement to the commercial real estate market.

Aecom Reports Strong First Quarter Earnings

Downtown L.A. engineering and technical services firm Aecom Technology Corp. Tuesday reported better-than-expected earnings for its first fiscal quarter, ended Dec. 31.

Teledyne Scores $60 Million NASA Contract

A subsidiary of Teledyne Technologies Inc. received a $60 million contract from NASA to build a section of the space agency’s new Orion launch vehicle for deep space missions, the company announced Tuesday.

Great American Secures $35 Million Credit Facility

GA Capital, a division of Great American Group Inc., said Tuesday it closed a $35 million financing facility for its client Reichhold, a chemical manufacturer.

Stocks Up

In Tuesday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 72 points, or 0.5 percent, to 15,445. The Nasdaq rose 35 points, or 0.9 percent, to 4,032. The S&P 500 ticked up 13 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,755. The LABJ Stock Index rose 1 point to 175.

Stocks Stabilize

U.S. stocks opened higher today and European indexes were recovering after Wall Street had its worst day of the year on Monday, The New York Times reports.

WME Merger Gives CAA a Formidable Challenger

Industry talk has it that Creative Artists Agency in Century City is facing a real challenge from WME in Beverly Hills, which acquired IMG in December, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Two L.A. Men Charged With $33 Million Bank Fraud Flee To Israel

The FBI says two U.S. citizens have fled to Israel as the feds were investigating their part in a $33 million bank fraud, CBS Los Angeles reports.

Writers Guild, TV and Film Producers Open Talks on New Contract

The Writers Guild of America is expected to focus on making gains in cable TV, which has grown significantly since the last deal was reached in 2011, the Wrap reports.

Injunction Targets Dwindling Echo Park Gangs

Displaced by trendy coffee shops and rising rents, many gang members have been forced out of Echo Park, returning to their old turf on weekends. A new injunction targets those who remain, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Changing Times Test Venice's Tolerance for Homeless

Venice long has been a magnet for transients. Now that gang crime is on the wane and new business ventures are bringing in jobs and hiking property values, gentrification is going strong. But homelessness is also on the rise, leading to increased tensions, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Hot Dog on a Stick Files for Bankruptcy

HDOS Enterprises, the employee-owned Hot Dog on a Stick snack shack chain ubiquitous in malls, filed for bankruptcy protection Monday, citing expensive lease costs among other factors, the Los Angeles Times reports.

While Asking for Help, Detroit Sells a Comeback

At the same time that beleaguered Detroit is emphasizing its desperate need for financial support, it is pitching itself as the city of the future, The New York Times reports.

Use of Heroin on Rise in U.S.

Hundreds of thousands Americans have been turning to heroin more and more in recent years, and officials across the country are sounding the alarm as fatal heroin overdoses have more than doubled in some states over the last decade, the Los Angeles Times reports.

American Apparel Wins Cheers, Jeers for 62-year-old Lingerie Model

American Apparel isn’t a stranger to whipping up controversy over its advertising. Usually, though, the hullaballoo is over its racy depictions of young women, not a 62-year-old, grey-haired model, CBS News reports.

Stocks Rise

In Tuesday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial average rose 35 points, or 0.2 percent, to 15,408. The Nasdaq was up 20 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,017. The S&P 500 ticked up 6 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,748.

Monday, February 3

Herbalife Increases Share Buyback

Herbalife announced early Monday it is increasing its share buyback program by $500 million, to $1.5 billion. The buyback is being financed by selling $1 billion of convertible bonds.

Sport Chalet Turns Surprise Profit

Sport Chalet Inc. reported its most profitable quarter in seven years Monday because of lower costs and a spike in online sales during the holiday season.

United Online Shares Fall After Suspending Dividends

Shares of United Online Inc. fell 12 percent after the company announced it will stop making cash dividend payments to shareholders so it can invest the money in long-term growth.

Stocks Drop

In Monday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 326 points, or 2.1 percent, to 15,373. The Nasdaq fell 107 points, or 2.6 percent, to 3,997. The S&P 500 lost 41 points, or 2.3 percent, to 1,742. The LABJ Stock Index was down 4 points to 174.

The Middle Class Is Steadily Eroding. Just Ask the Business World.

As politicians and pundits in Washington continue to spar over whether economic inequality is in fact deepening, in corporate America there really is no debate at all, The New York Times reports.

Chinese Developer Buys Major Lot in Downtown L.A.

A wave of Chinese investment continues to sweep through downtown Los Angeles as buyers from Shanghai have paid nearly $150 million for land near the 110 Freeway where a billion-dollar mixed-use complex is on the drawing board, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Los Angeles Weighs Mandate on Earthquake Retrofits

The Los Angeles City Council is reviewing a huge list of at-risk apartment buildings for potential required seismic retrofits, the Daily News reports.

Testimony Begins in Trial over California Teachers' Job Protections

Arguments begin Monday in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of laws that govern California’s teacher tenure rules, seniority policies and the dismissal process -- an overhaul of which could upend controversial job security for instructors, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Jerry Brown's Austerity Kick Unpopular With Advocates for Poor

Gov. Jerry Brown, once perceived as a paragon of California liberalism, finds himself accused of disregarding California's impoverished at a time when President Obama is warning of the expanding inequality between rich and poor in America, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Dan Schnur Makes a Nonpartisan Pitch

Dan Schnur, a former Republican strategist and spokesman, is running for California secretary of state, or chief elections officer, the Los Angeles Times reports. He's waging an independent run for secretary of state, hoping to capitalize on voter discontent with the major parties.

AMC Networks Completes $1 Billion Acquisition of Liberty Global's Chellomedia

AMC Networks early Monday said it has completed its acquisition of Chellomedia, the international channels unit of John Malone's pan-European cable giant Liberty Global, for about $1 billion, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Super Bowl Underscores the Big Business of Must-See, Live TV

At a time of atomization in which we all end up down the hobbit holes of our special interests, big live events have managed to escape the broad loss of audience in network television, The New York Times reports.

Imax Faces a Threat in China

For months, Imax has been quietly trying to settle a bitter dispute with Chinese officials over misappropriated technology, The New York Times reports.

Philip Seymour Hoffman Remembered

Over the course of an astonishing career cut devastatingly short, Philip Seymour Hoffman made an art of playing aggressively, defiantly unlovable characters, Variety says.

Markets Fall

In Monday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 151 points, or 1 percent, to 15,548. The Nasdaq dropped 44 points, or 1.1 percent, to 4,060. The S&P 500 lost 17 points, or 1 percent, to 1,765.

Hotels Seek Say On Worker Pay

Politics: Minimum-wage increase seemed like done deal.

Politics: Hotel owners launch lobby effort to head off measure to nearly double the minimum wage for their workers.

Hearing Aid Patents Deliver High-Volume Payout

Health care: Mann wins $131 million for implant devices.

Health care: Alfred E. Mann Foundation sees its victory in a patent case over implantable hearing devices as a sound judgment.

City Has Work to Do on Jobs

EMPLOYMENT: Los Angeles needs to get to work on job creation, according to Michael Kelly and Kevin Klowden.

L.A.’s Dysfunction Hits Home

Property owner’s dream house falls afoul of city’s permitting problems, politics and naysaying neighbors.

DEVELOPMENT: Ellia Thompson rips city of L.A. as inhospitable to homeowner’s big plans.

Cameras Rolling

The California Film Commission has published a glossy magazine to tout the state’s locations as part of its battle to stem the loss of entertainment production. So the Business Journal asks:

It definitely seems like Los Angeles is going to lose a lot of revenue because film clients are going to look elsewhere – to states that give better tax treatments or better incentives.