EMPTY THREAT?: Hedge fund manager and Herbalife foe William Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management sent shares of his enemy company into a tailspin Monday when he declared on CNBC that he had evidence to prove Herbalife operates as an illegal pyramid scheme. Ackman delivered a lengthy presentation the following day, but failed to persuade the market that Herbalife is doomed and the company’s share prices bounced back and continued to rise through the week. Herbalife’s stock price stood at $65.85 on the NYSE at the close of Thursday’s trading, up more than 9 percent from its opening price Monday. Herbalife sells various nutritional products through a multilevel network of distributors and has defended the legality of its business practices.
CONVICTED: Richard Alarcon and his wife were convicted of voter fraud and perjury when a jury determined they did not actually live in the Los Angeles City Council district he was elected to represent in 2007 and 2009. Alarcon, 60, faces a maximum sentence of six years behind bars and can never again hold public office. Alarcon, who left office last year, was convicted of three voter-fraud charges and one perjury charge, but acquitted on 12 other counts. His wife, Flora Montes de Oca Alarcon, was convicted of two voter-fraud charges and one count of perjury, but acquitted on three other counts. Both are now barred from running for or holding public office.
JOBLESS: Los Angeles County’s unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent in June. The area’s jobless rate was at 10 percent one year before. The entertainment industry and leisure and hospitality sector led the way in hiring. By contrast, educational employers shed the most jobs as school let out for the summer. All in all, county employers added a net 4,800 jobs last month and job growth over the 12-month period ended in June took place at a healthy 2.2 percent clip.
LIONS GAME: Lions Gate, the studio behind young adult franchises “The Hunger Games,” “Twilight” and “Divergent,” has invested in Finnish game developer Next Games as part of its effort to move into the gaming industry. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Next Games, co-founded by former employees of Rovia, Supercell and Walt Disney Co., raised $6 million in Series A funding in March. The Helsinki startup is working on a mobile game based on TV show “The Walking Dead.”
ACTION: The panel in charge of running California’s tax credit program concluded that there are insufficient credits available to meet movie makers’ demands. The program, created in 2009, can draw upon $100 million in annual funding and is intended to prevent filmmakers from migrating to other states. The study reported that tax credits are responsible for keeping some $5.39 billion in direct spending in California since the program’s inception, but another $2.2 billion went out of state from 2010 to 2014 when producers filmed outside of California after tax credits were denied. A bill moving through the Legislature would keep the program in effect through the 2020-21 fiscal year and allow credits to be given regardless of a project’s budget size.
TOYS: El Segundo’s Mattel Inc. plans to sell Thomas & Friends toys directly to customers through a new catalog, website and network of independent retailers. Thomas & Friends toys are based on the long-running children’s television program about talking locomotives and are sold under Mattel’s Fisher-Price brand. The toymaker’s announcement followed its reporting that sales of its key Barbie and Fisher-Price brands have declined at the same time sales of American Girl dolls, which have their own catalog, have increased.
EARNINGS: Skechers USA Inc. reported net income of $34.8 million, up 390 percent from the same period a year earlier. Revenue increased 37 percent to $587 million. … Malibu toy company Jakks Pacific reported a net loss of $9.1 loss, compared with $46.9 million the previous year. Revenue rose 17 percent to $124 million. … PacWest Bancorp of Westwood reported net income of $63.8 million, up 230 percent, compared with the year before.
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