STREAMING SERVICE: Burbank’s Walt Disney Co. last week began offering 400 movie titles through new cloud-based streaming service Disney Movies Anywhere. Viewers can buy live-action and animated feature films from Disney, Pixar and Marvel on iTunes for streaming on their desktop and laptop computers, and through an app on Apple mobile devices. Disney Movies Anywhere kicked off with the digital release of its hit “Frozen” three weeks before the planned DVD release.
ATTRACTION: DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. has licensed characters from its hit film franchise “Shrek” to a British theme park operator that will create attractions based on the green ogre and his companions. The Glendale animated film studio and its new partner, Merlin Entertainments, said the first of six Shrek’s Far Far Away Adventure attractions set to be built over nine years will open on London’s South Bank in summer 2015. Merlin, based in the London suburb of Poole, owns the Legoland parks and Madame Tussauds wax museum brands.
CHARGED: State Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, and his brother, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon, pleaded not guilty last week to federal charges related to the senator’s alleged acceptance of about $100,000 in bribes. Ron Calderon faces 24 charges including bribery, money laundering and tax fraud. Tom Calderon faces seven counts of money laundering. Michael Drobot, former head of Pacific Hospital in Long Beach, reached a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and is expected to testify that he paid bribes to Ron Calderon in order to promote legislation favorable to the hospital.
STUDENT GIFT: Blackstone Charitable Foundation is making a $3.5 million grant to UCLA, USC and UC Irvine to establish an entrepreneur support program. The three-year LaunchPad program will provide 110,000 students at the three schools access to venture coaches and a support system for new business ventures. It’s the sixth program of its type that the foundation, a charitable arm of the Blackstone Group investment firm in New York, has established across the country over the last four years.
OPTIONS: Evoq Properties Inc. has announced that it is exploring options that include a possible sale of the company. The downtown L.A. developer, formerly Meruelo Maddux Properties Inc., hired financial advisers Houlihan Lokey and Eastdil Secured to assist the board in evaluating options. Houlihan also has been authorized to solicit acquisition proposals. Evoq is one of the largest downtown property owners, including the 32-acre Alameda Square creative office campus, home to clothing manufacturer American Apparel Inc.
ECONOMIC OPTIMISM: Los Angeles County can expect to add more than 150,000 jobs over the next two years, according to a forecast from Beacon Economics. L.A. economists Christopher Thornberg and Jordan Levine project the county will add 72,000 payroll jobs this year for a growth rate of 1.8 percent and 85,000 jobs next year, for a growth rate topping 2 percent. The unemployment rate is projected to fall from 9.2 percent to 7.2 percent by the end of next year.
REGIONAL HQ: Mercedes-Benz USA plans to use a 1.1 million-square-foot former Boeing Co. facility in Long Beach it leased in the summer for a training center, vehicle preparation facility and its western U.S. regional office. The German automaker, which signed a 15-year lease for the property, at 4501 E. Conant St., in July, plans to start moving into the 53-acre site this month. Boeing used to make 717 commercial jets at the site and the building was sold to landlord Sares-Regis in 2012.
EARNINGS: Jakks Pacific Inc. reported a fourth quarter net loss of $16.1 million, compared with a loss of more than $119 million in the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 3 percent to more than $137 million. ... DineEquity Inc. reported net income of $18.6 million, compared with $15.5 million a year earlier. Revenue fell less than 1 percent to $159 million. ... DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. reported net income of $17.2 million, compared with a net loss of $82.7 million a year earlier. Revenue fell 22 percent to $204 million. ... Live Nation Entertainment Inc. reported an operating loss of $51 million, compared with a loss of $126 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 12 percent to $1.61 billion. ... Edison International reported net income of $301 million, compared with a net loss of $539 million a year earlier. Revenue fell 4 percent to $2.94 billion.
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