NEW BOSS: Ben Sherwood, who had been president of ABC News since late 2010, was named the next president of Disney/ABC Television Group and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks. Sherwood will start his new role for the Burbank entertainment and media giant in February, replacing Anne Sweeney, who is leaving to enter TV production. A former producer with ABC News and NBC News, Sherwood is also a best-selling author and digital media entrepreneur.
MAKER BUY: Walt Disney Co. has agreed to purchase Culver City YouTube network Maker Studios in a $500 million deal. The price could hit $950 million should the company meet goals. Maker’s youth-oriented network operates more than 55,000 YouTube channels, and it claims more than 380 million subscribers and 5.5 billion views per month.
SOLD: Precision Castparts Corp. in Portland, Ore., has acquired Aerospace Dynamics International in Valencia for $625 million in cash. Aerospace Dynamics, with more than 600 employees, had been part of Inglewood’s Marvin Group, a privately held aerospace and defense engineering and manufacturing company. ADI makes structural pieces as well as wing and fuselage panels for Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS.
UNEMPLOYMENT: Los Angeles County’s jobs picture continued to brighten in February as employers added nearly 28,000 jobs to their payrolls and the jobless rate fell to 8.7 percent. The countywide unemployment rate dropped from 8.9 percent in January to reach its lowest level since October 2008; a year ago, the rate was 10.2 percent. Despite the gains, the county still was higher than the February statewide unemployment rate of 8 percent and remained well above the national 6.7 percent rate.
BIG STAKE: Beverly Hills investment firm Winnick & Co. has acquired a majority stake in T+ink. The company has technology that enables so-called “smart ads” that allow brands to integrate interactive components to print ads. Winnick & Co. founder Gary Winnick, formerly of Global Crossing, will become T+ink’s chief executive, and Kent Kresa, a former chief executive of Northrup Grumman, will join the company as vice chairman.
NEW DIRECTOR: USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism has named veteran broadcaster Willow Bay director of its school of journalism. Bay, 50, most recently was a senior editor at Huffington Post, and a special correspondent and host for Bloomberg TV. She also has been co-anchor on ABC’s “Good Morning America/Sunday” and on CNN’s “Moneyline News Hour.” She is the wife of Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger.
ROADBLOCK: Occidental Petroleum Corp.’s sale of a stake in its Middle East business to a single investor group for $8 billion has been stymied by controversy among potential buyers over the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar, one of the parties in the deal, has come under criticism for its support of the Islamist organization. As a result, Oxy might need to break up its energy assets and sell them to individual countries.
NEW HQ: Oprah Winfrey Network will move from the Miracle Mile to West Hollywood. The three-year-old network’s lease for 52,000 square feet at 5700 Wilshire Blvd. was set to expire this year. It will move to 1041 N. Formosa Ave., a CIM Group project known as the Lot. OWN will take over three floors in the newly constructed five-story building, or about 60,500 square feet.
BIG PROJECT: A $3 billion development was announced for the site of Rocketdyne’s former headquarters in Canoga Park. The project will sprawl over 47 acres and include commercial, residential and high-rise buildings. The site was home to design and construction of engines for the Apollo program and the space shuttle.
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