MEGA BUY: Mattel Inc. has agreed to purchase Canada’s Mega Brands Inc., a seller of children’s building blocks, for about $460 million including the assumption of debt. Mega’s line of Mega Bloks construction toys is considered a direct competitor to Danish building toy giant Lego Group. El Segundo-based Mattel, known for its Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels toys, said the purchase will allow it to expand into construction sets as well as arts and craft toys. It plans to keep Mega’s head office in Montreal.
NEW RESTRICTIONS: The Los Angeles City Council voted to ban smoking of electronic cigarettes at all public buildings and restaurants as well as at parks, playgrounds, beaches, libraries and public schools in the city. The ordinance places the same restrictions on the use of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, as on the smoking of traditional cigarettes. It does allow the smoking of e-cigs at so-called vaping lounges and by performers during theatrical productions. Long Beach also adopted restrictions.
BUSINESS EXIT: Rentech Inc. has signed an agreement to sell its alternative energy technologies and equipment to Sunshine Kaidi New Energy Group Co., a renewable energy company in Wuhan, China. The Westwood company last year abandoned its green fuel development efforts, primarily synthetic diesel for aircraft, in order to focus on its wood chip processing and nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing businesses. Sunshine has agreed to an initial $15.3 million payment to Rentech, with a potential additional payment of up to $16.2 million upon the successful completion of a demonstration plant in China.
NO STRINGS: L.A. investment adviser Ares Management LLC reportedly is in talks to buy Guitar Center Holdings Inc. from its private equity owners. Ares, the largest debt holder of the Westlake Village musical instrument retailer, is negotiating with Boston’s Bain Capital, which took Guitar Center private in 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported. The retailer of guitars, other instruments and recording equipment has more than $1.5 billion in debt. Ares, Bain and Guitar Center did not comment on the report.
MEDICAL STARTUP: The Alfred Mann Foundation has announced the creation of medical device company Medallion Therapeutics Inc., which will develop targeted delivery for pharmaceuticals and biotherapies. Medallion’s product line centers on its recently introduced drug delivery infusion pump, designed to deliver small doses of concentrated medication to a targeted site in the body for pain relief. The company launched about two weeks ago and is operating from an existing Mann building in Valencia. The foundation was launched in 1985 by Alfred Mann.
NEW OWNERS: Lehman Bros. Holdings has reached an agreement to sell historic independent studio Culver Studios to Hackman Capital Partners, an L.A. real estate investment firm, for $85 million, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Culver City studio, where “Gone With the Wind” and “Citizen Kane” were filmed, currently is home to ABC TV productions “Cougar Town” and “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” It is among Lehman assets being sold off as part of the investment firm’s bankruptcy process. Lehman and other investors bought the property from Sony Pictures Entertainment about 10 years ago.
CFO LEAVES: Ixia Chief Financial Officer Tom Miller resigned last week after the completion of an internal investigation into accounting practices at the Calabasas maker of computer networking software. The investigation determined that Miller did not engage in intentional misconduct. The probe was prompted by last year’s resignation of Chief Executive Vic Alston after it was discovered he had falsified his resume. The investigative committee found that while Alston had misstated his academic credentials and employment history, he had not lied about the company’s financial results. Even so, insufficient financial reporting controls led to errors in revenue results, according to the company, and some restatements will be necessary.
PROGRAMMING DEAL: Walt Disney Co. and Dish Network Corp. have reached a programming deal that allows the Denver satellite TV operator to carry Burbank-based Disney’s networks such as ABC and ESPN. It also grants Dish rights to include Disney programming in a Web-based service. Disney also agreed to end its lawsuit against Dish over the AutoHop service, which allows viewers to more easily skip commercials. In return, Dish will disable AutoHop for ABC programs until three days after a show airs.
FUNDING CUT: Disney reportedly will stop funding Boy Scouts of America troops next year due to the youth organization’s policy of banning adult leaders who are gay. Disney does not provide direct funding to the Scouts organization, but donates money to some troops that employees work with. Disney has not commented on the decision.
EARNINGS: AeroVironment Inc. reported fiscal third quarter net income of $11.2 million, compared with $3.9 million in the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 47 percent to $69.2 million.
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