Stories for January 2015

Friday, January 30

Report: Ouya Receives $10 Million Alibaba Investment

Ouya, a Santa Monica video game console creator, received a $10 million investment from Alibaba last month, according the Wall Street Journal.

HelloTech Raises $2.5 Million

HelloTech has raised $2.5 million in seed funding to create an on-demand network of IT technicians to help consumers with their electronics problems.

California Resources Corp., BreitBurn Among the Week’s Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies fell for the week. The weighted LABJ Index fell 3 percent to close at 211, with losers outpacing gainers 110 to 39. Nine companies closed the week unchanged.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 252 points in Friday trading to close at 17,165. The S&P 500 fell 26 points to 1,995. The Nasdaq fell 48 points to 4,635. The LABJ Stock Index fell four points to 211.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Video advertising company Imagine Communications in Frisco, Texas, a portfolio company of Beverly Hills firm Gores Group, announced Monday that it has agreed to acquire RGB Networks Inc., a multiscreen video technology company in Sunnyvale. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

New Mattel Chief Promises ‘Urgency’ After Weak Earnings Report

Mattel Inc.’s Interim Chief Executive Christopher Sinclair told investors Friday the El Segundo toymaker will make needed changes “with a heightened sense of urgency” as the company reported weak sales and earnings for the final quarter of last year.

DTZ Shakes Up Staff at Downtown L.A. Offices

Fallout from the year-end purchase of real estate brokerage Cassidy Turley by an affiliate of DTZ Investment Holdings has hit Los Angeles.

L.A. Launch List: Jan. 30

On this week's list: a peer-to-peer marketplace for event space rentals, children's mobile games and a grocery savings app.

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Ending 2 Year Legal Battle, Judge Rules Port Truck Drivers are Employees

In a coup for labor activists and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a Superior Court judge on Thursday ruled that drivers for harbor trucking firm Pacer Cartage are employees, not independent contractors, and that seven of them are owed more than $2 million in damages, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports. The Teamsters have argued for years that most harbor truckers are effectively employees, not contractors, and are therefore eligible to unionize.

Court Upholds Deceptive Ad Charge Against Resnicks’ POM Wonderful

A federal appeals court has upheld the Federal Trade Commission’s ban on deceptive advertising by pomegranate juice brand POM Wonderful, a unit of West L.A. agriculture giant Roll Global, Bloomberg reports. Roll and POM, owned by local billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick, have been fighting with the FTC for years over claims about the health benefits of pomegranate juice.

Sumner Redstone Absent from Viacom Call

Billionaire Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone, No. 3 on the Los Angeles Business Journal’s list of the 50 Wealthiest Angelenos, is in declining health, and did not participate in Viacom’s earnings call with Wall Street analysts on Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Long Beach Port Chief Talks Congestion, Projects

In his first State of the Port address Thursday, Port of Long Beach Chief Executive Jon Slangerup spoke of solving problems that have led to crippling congestion in recent months and of projects underway that will allow the port to accommodate bigger ships, the Long Beach Press Telegram reports.

Patients Evacuated After Fire at Culver City Hospital

A fire at Culver City’s Brontman Medical Center prompted the partial evacuation of the hospital Thursday afternoon, with about 120 patients and 220 staff members evacuated from seven floors, KTLA reports.

Bollore Wants to Expand Electric-Car Sharing Service to L.A.

French billionaire Vincent Bollore is looking to Los Angeles and Singapore as the next markets for his electric-car sharing service, which debuts later this year in London and Indianapolis, and is looking for partners to expand the venture, Bloomberg reports.

Google Inc. Hurt by Rising Dollar

The rising dollar hurt Google Inc.’s fourth quarter revenue, which rose 17 percent to 14.5 billion, while net income rose 41 percent to $4.8 billion ($6.91 a share), the Wall Street Journal reports.

Vidiots Closing

Vidiots movie rental store in Santa Monica survived the shift to streaming services and internet rentals far longer than most, but after 30 years of operation, the store will close in April due to a steep drop in rentals, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 124 points in Friday morning trading to 17,296. The S&P 500 was down 15 points to 2,006. The Nasdaq was down 20 points to 4,663. The LABJ Stock Index was down three points to 212.

Thursday, January 29

AHF Demands L.A. County Enforce Condom Law

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation sent a letter this week to Los Angeles County officials asking that the county begin enforcing mandatory condom usage for adult film shoots – or face legal action.

Detectives Arrest 15 L.A. Residents in Bust of Insurance Fraud Ring

Fifteen residents of Los Angeles County were arrested Thursday for allegedly staging auto collisions and filing for half a million dollars in bogus claims.

Downtown Businesses Fined for Selling Tainted Jewelry

State regulators announced Thursday they have levied more than $200,000 in penalties against four downtown retailers for selling jewelry tainted with lead and other toxic metals.

Ryland Beats Wall Street Estimates

Ryland Group Inc. reported fourth-quarter and full-year earnings on Thursday that beat Wall Street estimates as the company benefited from higher home sales and pricing.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 225 points in Thursday trading to close at 17,417. The S&P 500 rose 19 points to 2,021. The Nasdaq rose 45 points to 4,683. The LABJ Stock Index rose two points to 215.

Work/Life: Ross Resnick

The chief executive of Roaming Hunger on cuddling, food trucks and humorist David Sedaris.

In 2009, with the Los Angeles food truck obsession spreading nationwide, Ross Resnick, 30, created a company in Santa Monica to serve as a one-stop resource for food trucks. Roaming Hunger, which moved to West Hollywood last year, is a service that books food trucks for events and a smartphone app that helps people find the real-time location of grub trucks. Recently, the company has grown to take on catering, matching up event planners with trucks that fit their demands. Resnick spends most of his time working with developers and staying on top of food-truck culture, an enviously delicious task. Resnick spends his time away from work with his wife, who is a reporter for a local news station, and his new daughter. We spoke with Resnick about how he manages his time.

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Whitney Wolfe Says Goodbye Tinder, Hello Bumble

Whitney Wolfe is more than ready to leave the Tinder drama behind.

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Cargomatic Hauls in $8 Million

Cargomatic, which connects shippers with local truckers to eliminate unused cargo space via an Uber-like app, has raised $8 million to scale and expand into new markets.

Report: California Facing Financial Relapse?

A report released Wednesday from Standard & Poor's questioned how sustainable California’s recovery is, warning that the budget could be dramatically hurt if the stock market shifts from gains to losses because about half of the state’s revenue comes from the wealthiest 1 percent in California, the Los Angeles Times reports.

L.A. Convention Center Profits for First Time in Years

After years of running at a deficit, the Los Angeles Convention Center today reported a profit of $3.3 million in the first year that the facility has been run by a private-sector operator, Anschutz Entertainment Group, the Daily News reports.

‘First Karaoke Bar’ to Close in Burbank

The iconic Burbank karaoke bar Dimples, which Sal Ferraro opened across from the Warner Bros. building in 1982, is preparing to close in order to make way for the $165 million Talaria at Burbank, a mixed-use project, the Daily News reports. Dimples bills itself as America’s first karaoke bar.

Hollywood’s Historic Taft Building Restored

The Taft Building on Hollywood and Vine, which was Hollywood's first high-rise office building and has been home to major film studios, has undergone a $15 million renovation by owner DLJ Capital Partners that made it more earthquake safe and uncovered historic architectural details, including concrete ceilings and brick walls, that were under wraps for decades, the Los Angeles Times reports.

OneWest Bank CEO Fights Protesters With Unusual Campaign

After protesters called for regulators to scrutinize the $3.4 billion purchase of OneWest Bank more closely and hold public-benefit hearings, the bank's chief executive, Joseph Otting, took up an unusual response. He started an email campaign through the bank's website that prompted 1,900 form letters backing the merger to be sent to federal regulators this month, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Fed Won’t Raise Rates Before June

Federal Reserve policymakers on Wednesday kept their benchmark interest rate near zero, indicating no increase is coming until at least June, the New York Times reports.

Jobless Claims in Steep Decline

The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits plunged last week, falling to the lowest level since April 2000, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Nickelodeon Jumps on Over-the-top Service Bandwagon

Burbank children’s studio Nickelodeon will follow in the footsteps of HBO, CBS and other companies when it launches a direct-to-consumers platform that allows people to watch Nickelodeon programs without a cable subscription, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Recording Academy Fights Grammy Ticket Scalping

The National Academy of Recording Arts And Sciences is cracking down on ticket scalping to this year’s Grammy awards show, which will be held on Feb. 8 at the Staples Center, and has filed a lawsuit against Craig Banaszewski, who is allegedly a repeat offender, the Hollywood Reporter says.

California Declares Electronic Cigarettes a Health Threat

In a report released Wednesday, California health officials said electronic cigarettes are a health threat, especially to children, and should be strictly regulated like tobacco products, KPCC reports.

Romney May Sell Revamped La Jolla Home

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has hired a real estate broker to start showing his oceanfront La Jolla home, despite nearing the completion of a controversial renovation project that took years and involved tearing down what was a 3,009 square foot ranch house to build a two-story, 11,062 square foot structure, UT San Diego reports.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down nine points in Thursday morning trading to 17,182. The S&P 500 was down eight points to 1,995. The Nasdaq was down 18 points to 4,620. The LABJ Stock Index was down one point to 212.

Wednesday, January 28

State Cites Vernon Exide Plant for Waste Violations

State regulators on Wednesday issued eight violations of state hazardous waste laws against Exide Technologies’ battery recycling plant in Vernon.

Investments Keep Daily Journal in Black

Daily Journal Corp. saw its operating income slide into the red in its last quarter, but eeked out a profit thanks to its investment portfolio.

OSI Moving Camarillo Operations to Hawthorne

Hawthorne manufacturer OSI Systems Inc. will vacate its Camarillo plant by April 30 to consolidate operations at its headquarters, company officials reported to the state’s Employment Development Department earlier this month.

Lions Gate in Talks with Chinese Broadcaster About $1.5 Billion Deal

Santa Monica’s Lions Gate Entertainment is in advanced talks with China’s second-largest broadcaster, Hunan TV & Broadcast Intermediary Co., about a deal that would see the companies invest a combined $1.5 billion in film production and distribution over a three-year period.

LAX Sees Record 2014

Last year was the busiest ever for Los Angeles International Airport, breaking the record it set all the way back in 2000, airport officials said Tuesday.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 196 points in Wednesday trading to close at 17,191. The S&P 500 fell 27 points to 2,002. The Nasdaq fell 44 points to 4,638. The LABJ Stock Index fell three points to 213.

L.A. County Sees Record VC Funding

L.A. County set a record for VC funding last quarter, buoyed by Snapchat’s $485 million round that closed out the year.

Poll: Would you license your business name for greater exposure if it meant giving up some quality control?

Every week the Los Angeles Business Journal asks readers their views on a variety of business and economic issues. A running tally is available on the site and later will be published in the Commentary section of our print edition. Our latest poll is available on the bottom right column of our home page.

Apple Profits Skyrocket, Set Global Record

Apple Inc. surpassed even the most bullish of analysts’ expectations for its holiday quarter, selling more iPhones at higher prices and earning more on each sale, Reuters reports. Profit of $18 billion was the biggest ever reported by a public company, worldwide.

Layoffs at UTi Include Senior Positions

Struggling Long Beach logistics company UTi Worldwide Inc. announced Tuesday night that it would cut several senior positions and other jobs worldwide, Reuters reports.

Historic Preservation in L.A.’s Unincorporated Areas Gets Initial Approval

For the first time, historic sites and buildings in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County will be eligible for legal protections, and owners will be eligible for tax breaks, under a measure that won initial approval from the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Yahoo to Spin Off Stake in Alibaba

Yahoo announced late Tuesday it would spin off its stake in China's Alibaba Group directly to shareholders in a tax-free transaction. The stake is worth about $40 per Yahoo share and accounts for the bulk of the company's valuation, CNBC reports.

Chinese Government Criticizes Alibaba for Selling Fake Goods

Meanwhile, a powerful Chinese government agency accused Alibaba of failing to crack down on the sale of fake goods, bribery and other illegal activity on its site, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Government Settles Suit Over Misuse of West L.A. Veterans Campus

The federal government has agreed to settle a lawsuit accusing the Department of Veterans Affairs of misusing its West Los Angeles health campus, sources told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday. Under the settlement, the VA will develop a master land-use plan for the campus that identifies sites for housing homeless veterans.

S&P and Justice Department Near Settlement

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services could reach a deal as early as Thursday to pay more than $1.37 billion to resolve lawsuits with the Justice Department and more than a dozen states which allege that S&P; knowingly misled investors by issuing inaccurate mortgage grades, sources told the Wall Street Journal.

L.A. Homeless Services Gets $92 Million in Federal Funding

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority on Tuesday announced it will receive $91.9 million in funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Daily News reports.

USC Ranked 3rd in Nation for Fundraising

USC, which received almost $732 million in gifts in 2014, was once again ranked third among U.S. universities for its fundraising successes, bested only by Harvard and Stanford, according to a national survey released today, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Mr. Incredible Convicted in Hollywood Fight with Batgirl

A man who dresses as the superhero character Mr. Incredible was convicted of assaulting a woman who dresses as Batgirl in a fight outside the Hollywood & Highland Center, prosecutors said on Tuesday, the Daily News Reports.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 18 points in Wednesday morning trading to 17,370. The S&P 500 was down four points to 2,025. The Nasdaq was up one point to 4,683. The LABJ Stock Index was down two points to 215.

Lootsie Raises $3.5 Million

The Culver City startup incentivizes users to engage with an app by awarding points that are redeemed for real-life prizes.

Tuesday, January 27

HookLogic Sets Up Santa Monica Office

HookLogic, a New York commerce search advertising company, has established its West Coast office in Santa Monica.

J2 Global Extends Carbonite Offer

Internet software and service provider J2 Global has extended its $415 million bid to acquire backup storage firm Carbonite.

Decision on Fate of Daughters of Charity Sale Delayed

The contentious fight over the fate of six Daughters of Charity hospitals, including two in Los Angeles County, has been extended by another two weeks. The deadline by which Attorney General Kamala Harris must review and approve the sale of Daughters’ medical centers to Prime Healthcare Services has been pushed to Feb. 20.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 291 points in Tuesday trading to close at 17,387. The S&P 500 fell 28 points to 2,030. The Nasdaq fell 90 points to 4,682. The LABJ Stock Index fell one point to 216.

Snapchat Helps Users ‘Discover’ News

Snapchat’s long-rumored Discover feature has been unveiled.

Amgen Beats Estimates

Amgen Inc. reported fourth-quarter and full-year financial results on Tuesday that topped analysts’ estimates as the company reaped the benefits of previously announced layoffs, a tax credit and strong drug sales.

Voice Media Selling OC Weekly, Keeping LA Weekly

Voice Media Group, which publishes LA Weekly, OC Weekly and other alt-weekly properties, hired Santa Fe, N.M., investment bank Dirks Van Essen & Murray to “explore new strategies,” including the sale or acquisition of its publications, the company announced Tuesday afternoon.

Injunction Seeks to Block L.A. From Implementing Hotel Wage Law

Two trade groups representing large hotels in Los Angeles announced they have filed for a preliminary injunction to block the city from implementing its hotel wage hike until their lawsuit against the city is resolved.

Nova Lifestyle Assembles Bigger Ikea Deal

Commerce furniture designer and manufacturer Nova LifeStyle Inc. says it will expand the number of products it sells to Swedish retail giant Ikea Group.

Budget Committee Approves Tax Reduction

L.A. officials moved closer to lowering the business tax on gross receipts Monday when City Council’s budget committee approved Mayor Eric Garcetti’s proposed reduction. The measure, which would lower the rate in 2016 to $4.75 for each $1,000 of gross receipts from the current $5.07, was sent to the full council for a vote, the Los Angeles Times reports. Read more about the battle over the gross receipts tax in the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Westward Bound?: Rams Tell St. Louis They Want Year-to-Year Lease

The Rams took a step toward lame-duck status in St. Louis and a possible move back to the West Coast by notifying the city’s Convention and Visitors Commission on Monday that they intend to switch to a year-to-year lease agreement for their use of the Edward Jones Dome, the Associated Press reports.

NFL Stadium Moves Closer to Inglewood Ballot

Meanwhile, Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s plan to build an 80,000-seat NFL stadium in Inglewood came closer to getting on the city’s ballot by this summer after developers submitted almost three times as many signatures than needed for a voter initiative, KPCC reports.

Council Panel Rejects Live Nation Takeover of Greek Theatre

A City Council committee went against the recommendation of the Parks Commission Monday, rejecting its recommendation to hand over management of the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park to Live Nation in favor of keeping it with the existing operator Nederlander group, the Daily News reports. Nederlander has partnered with Staples Center developer AEG in a bid to keep running the Greek.

Tentative Port Agreement Reached

The employer group representing shipping lines and West Coast port terminal operators said it reached a tentative agreement with the dockworkers union over repairing and maintaining chassis, the trailers that truckers use to haul containers in and out of the the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Long Beach Press Telegram reports.

L.A. Neighborhood Among Most Expensive in U.S. for Car Insurance

East Hollywood’s 90029 is one of Top 10 most expensive ZIP codes to live in if you’re buying car insurance, according to a study noted by the Los Angeles Times. In that neighborhood, the average premium to insure a 2014 Honda accord for a year is $2,416.

Strong Market Makes for Bidding Wars at Sundance

Dealmaking at Sundance Film Festival, the first movie market of the year, is fiercer than it has been in years as distribution rights to about a half-dozen high-profile movies have been picked up, Bloomberg reports.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 357 points in Tuesday morning trading to 17,321. The S&P 500 was down 31 points to 2,026. The Nasdaq was down 90 points to 4,681. The LABJ Stock Index was down two points to 216.

Monday, January 26

Mattel Falls on CEO Resignation, Sales Estimates

Mattel Inc. shares dropped 5 percent Monday after the El Segundo toy maker announced that Bryan Stockton resigned as chairman and chief executive, and that early estimates of recent quarterly sales and net income fell off sharply from last year.

Jakks Scores Deal to Make “Halo” Toys

Malibu toymaker Jakks Pacific Inc. announced today that it has secured a licensing deal to make toys and costumes based on the Microsoft Studios video game “Halo.”

Fullscreen Establishes Sales HQ with Hires

Multichannel network and digital media company Fullscreen has established its sales headquarters in its New York office with two executive hires there.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose six points in Monday trading to close at 17,679. The S&P 500 rose five points to 2,057. The Nasdaq rose 14 points to 4,772. The LABJ Stock Index rose one point to 218.

California Resources Drops Massive Carson Oil Drilling Plan

California Resources Corp. announced Monday that it has dropped plans for a major drilling project in Carson because of low oil prices.

Mattel CEO Resigns

El Segundo toymaker Mattel Inc. announced today that Bryan Stockton has resigned as chief executive after the struggling company posted disappointing preliminary results for its fourth quarter that were far below analysts’ expectations, the Wall Street Journal reports. Christopher A. Sinclair, who has served on the toy company’s board since 1996, was named chairman and interim chief executive. Also, read how Lego has overtaken Mattel in the Los Angeles Business Journal.

More Than 3,550 Flights Canceled as Storm Hits East Coast

Airlines reacted to a major snowstorm expected to hit parts of the Northeast by cancelling more than 3,550 flights before the first snowflakes even began to fall, USA Today reports.

Sold: Office Building Erected by One of L.A.’s Oldest Real Estate Companies

An eight-story office building just west of downtown at 1200 Wilshire Boulevard has been sold to Sharp Capital, a Beverly Hills investment fund, in an off-market deal that experts valued at about $20 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. The office was built 44 years ago to house the Charles Dunn Co., a commercial real estate firm established in 1921.

Unpermitted Billboards Promote Huizar

Outdoor advertising company Lamar erected 100 free billboards last week to promote Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar’s March 3 reelection campaign, the Los Angeles Times reports. Ironically, many of the ads for Huizar, who heads the council committee that is weighing whether to legalize as many as 951 billboards that lack city permits, appear on billboards with outstanding permit issues. Read more about the measure to legalize unpermitted billboards in the Los Angeles Business Journal.

European Officials: Greece Must Repay Debt

Europe’s establishment today intentionally extinguished hopes that it would relax the terms of Greece’s bailout following the commanding victory by anti-austerity leftists in its election, insisting that Greece repay its debt, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Box Inc. CEO Explains Why He Left L.A.

Box Inc., an online file storage startup that originally launched at an apartment north of USC before moving to Los Altos in Santa Clara County, went public on Friday, issuing shares on the New York Stock Exchange to raise $175 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. The CEO said that he believed the company would do better out of Los Angeles.

Hollywood Sign Tourists Disrupt Nearby Neighborhood

Thousands of people hike up to the Hollywood sign each weekend, a trek which requires traversing a hillside neighborhood of 20,000 people who are often less than thrilled by the influx of selfie-takers on their streets, the Daily News reports.

Disney Offers ‘Frozen’ Cruise

Walt Disney Co. announced that its Disney Cruise Line will start running “Frozen” themed cruises this summer, headed to icy northern destinations including Norway, Iceland, Scotland and Alaska, CNN reports.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was up two points in Monday morning trading to 17,675. The S&P 500 was down 12 points to 2,051. The Nasdaq was up three points to 4,761. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 217.

Denim Maker Forges Links To Greens

AG Jeans swings for golf wear market with new line for men.

AG Jeans joins golf club with its new sportswear line for the links.

Production Executive Sees Starring Role for Diversity

ENTERTAINMENT: Charles King discusses opportunities in multicultural projects.

Show-biz vet Charles King sees a big role for multicultural projects at his Macro production firm.

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Travel Site Maps Out Plan For Apparel

Luxury Link teams up with Gilt to fashion clothes collaboration.

Travel website Luxury Link heads into the fashion business through a partnership with Gilt Groupe.

Lego Strategy Taking Shape

ENTERTAINMENT: Toymaker follows Disney’s footsteps in film.

Movies could prove the missing piece that puts toymaker Lego on the same footing as Disney.

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LAX Hotels Aim To Land Events

LAX-area hotels hope business will take off with the addition of new event spaces.

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Protein Engineer Sees Software as Building Block

biotech: Protabit hopes for boost from licensees’ work with its program.

Protabit looks to sell its protein-design software in the hopes of pumping up its own research business.

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Whole New Drill

ENERGY: Drop in oil prices has left some oil-related businesses in hole.

Steep drop in prices is not going well for oil-related businesses.

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Discretion Paid In Bank Deal

lending: City National touts reserve in pickup by RBC.

Discretion paid off for City National in its surprise acquisition by Royal Bank of Canada.

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Real estate quarterly:Selling Shopping

Downtown Los Angeles hopes to broaden its draw as area’s retail moves beyond bars and eateries to soft goods, including fashion.

Downtown Los Angeles hopes to register as a shopping destination as projects take shape.

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Los Angeles Can’t Coast on Silicon Beach Transit

Joel Epstein wants the public and private sectors to get moving on easing Silicon Beach traffic.

Double Talk

Scam artists exploit language barrier to take advantage of business owners with limited English skills.

Steve McFarland speaks up in defense of business owners who are victimized for their lack of English-language skills.

Handy At Home

Belkin International Inc. is looking to expand its smart-home offerings to products that gauge energy and water usage. So the Business Journal asks:

Have you purchased any “Internet of Things” products to control home functions through an app?

Will Lack of Parking Stall Retail?

Downtown’s new quest to develop a bigger retail sector may be stalled by lack of parking, Charles Crumpley writes.


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Industrial Vacancy Rate Declines More Than Half Year to Year

The fourth quarter was a picture of continued health for the South Bay’s strong industrial market, less so for office properties.

Submarket Boosted by Pasadena’s First-of-Year Positive Absorption

The Tri-Cities office submarket showed notable improvement in the fourth quarter as Pasadena reported positive net absorption for the first time all year.

Aerospace, Medical Device, Entertainment Sectors Power Up Area

The industrial-flex market continued to command the spotlight in the Santa Clarita Valley in 2014, while the office sector turned in another steady performance to close out the year.

Pomona Project Already Drawing Interest in Packed Submarket

As 2014 came to an end, the San Gabriel Valley industrial market continued to profit from low vacancies and little availability, a one-two punch expected to place upward pressure on rental rates and sale prices throughout this year.

Lease Activity Looking Up as Acquisition Properties Drying Up

Vacancies remained steady at 13.4 percent across the San Fernando Valley in the fourth quarter, just north of the 13.3 percent recorded the previous period and down from 14.8 percent last year.

Miracle Mile Records Only Large Lease Deals in Steady Quarter

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Tight Beverly Hills, Santa Monica Bolster Adjacent Submarkets

The Westside closed out 2014 with the highest average asking rents in Los Angeles County.

Tenants Continue to Snap Up Office Space as Rental Rates Rise

The heat was still on in Hollywood’s office submarket last quarter.

Several Large Lease Deals Help Point Submarket Toward Recovery

Some landmark deals defined the downtown L.A. office submarket last year as it began to swing to recovery.

Vacancies Down Across Area as Market Rebounds

Main events in L.A.’s submarkets in the fourth quarter.

Parking Space Could Prove Tight Fit for Retailers

DEVELOPMENT: Building near mass transit could help with city’s requirements.

City requirements could put stores in a tough spot.

News of the Week

Last week’s major news from and other sources

A two-decade development feud in Malibu came to an abrupt close when developer Trancas PCH dropped its lawsuit against the city.

U.S. Supreme Court Passes on Labor Code Suits

Employment: Companies had sought clarification on class-action certification.

To the dismay of California employers and labor-and-employment attorneys, the U.S. Supreme Court last week refused to take a case that could have gutted a controversial state law that businesses often complain is widely abused.

Businesses See New Notices as Hazardous to Health

CHEMICALS: Coalition says proposed changes to state rules will spur lawsuits.

State regulators have proposed new rules for posting toxic chemical warning notices in workplaces and other public places, stirring opposition from a coalition of chemical industry and business groups that contend the rules will spur a new round of frivolous lawsuits.

Downtown L.A.’s Draw Continues for Investors

REAL ESTATE: Rising’s deal for office park seen as first of two hefty pickups in area.

Acquisition of office park could be the first in a pair of pricey deals in downtown Los Angeles.

Chinatown Lender Looks To East in Expansion Plan

BANKING: Cathay General shells out $126 million for New York’s Asia Bancshares.

Cathay General expands in east with its pickup of New York’s Asia Bancshares.

Businesses Shrug Off Break on Fuel Costs

Some companies dig the cut in gas costs but are unsure how much it will drive business.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

The historic Proud Bird restaurant at the Los Angeles International Airport, which had been rumored to be closing after failing to agree to a long-term lease with airport operator Los Angeles World Airports, isn’t taking off after all.

Chilly Reception for Packers Fan

Donald Bizub is such an avid Green Bay Packers football fan that he purposefully seeks out advisory clients in cities where the Packers will be playing in a given season.

Window Opens for Bank Tellers

Job training program puts participants on front line of finance.

Vocational program sees bank teller training as a solid investment for job seekers.

More Dark Clouds for Rainmaker

law: Now, creditors may get most of payout to Clippers dealmaker.

Pierce O’Donnell’s past legal trouble and bills could cost him almost all of his $2.3 million payday for handling the Clippers deal.

Friday, January 23

Fullscreen Forms Feature Film Division

The Culver City multichannel network and digital media company today said it would launch a division to develop and produce original feature-length movies using its online talent base.

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Joe’s Jeans Sheds CEO, Chairman Steps In on Interim Basis

Commerce jeans maker Joe’s Jeans Inc. announced today that Marc Crossman had resigned as president and chief executive and would become a consultant to the company.

L.A. Launch List: Jan. 23

On this week's Launch List: $5 Wi-Fi, another valet app and funny weather.

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City National, Medbox Among Week’s Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies rose for the week. The weighted LABJ Index rose less than 1 percent to close at 217, with gainers outpacing losers 80 to 72. Seven companies closed the week unchanged.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Packaged meat producer AdvancePierre Foods Inc. in Cincinnati, a portfolio company of downtown PE giant Oaktree Capital Management, announced Tuesday that it has agreed to acquire Landshire Inc. of Caseyville, Ill., a manufacturer of sandwich products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Markets Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 141 points in Friday trading to close at 17,673. The S&P 500 fell 11 points to 2,052. The Nasdaq rose seven points to 4,758. The LABJ Stock Index fell one point to 217.

City Charges Music Manager in Talent Scam

Los Angeles is moving to crack down on talent scams against aspiring entertainers being charged outrageous amounts for Hollywood representation.

Work/Life: Bryson Reaume

The chief executive of City Constructors Inc. on downtown L.A., 40-hour weeks, and not missing the milestones

Bryson Reaume, the 34-year-old president and chief executive of downtown L.A. firm City Constructors Inc. co-founded the company in 2003 with several partners, including his dad. Reaume and his father had a hand in the early stages of downtown L.A.’s flirtation with loft culture, completing the Douglas Lofts, one of the first loft conversions in the area, followed by the conversion of the Rowan and the El Dorado loft buildings. Reaume eventually took over the company with his business partner and Vice President Evan Richardson, growing it into a full-service general contracting and construction management firm. These days, he oversees projects ranging from renovating the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood to constructing brick-and-mortar Warby Parker stores and tenant improvements in downtown apartment buildings. We spoke with Reaume about how he keeps up the juggle.

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L.A. Unemployment Rate Dips Below 8 Percent for First Time in Six Years

L.A. County’s unemployment rate fell to 7.9 percent in December, the first time it was below 8 percent since mid-2008, state figures released Friday show.

Sony Hack Delays Earnings Report

Sony Corp. said today it will miss the deadline for issuing third quarter results due to the hacking attacks that hit Sony Pictures, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Customers Filed 2 Class-action Lawsuits Against DWP

Problems with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s computer billing system have led customers to file two class-action lawsuits claiming they were overcharged, the Daily News reports.

Longshore Workers March in San Pedro

About 6,000 International Longshore and Warehouse Union workers and their supporters marched Thursday in San Pedro in a show of union solidarity amid contentious contract talks with employers and a slowdown at the West Coast ports, the Daily News reports.

Metro Moves to Bring Bike-sharing to L.A.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is collecting contract proposals to be awarded in June for the first-ever countywide bike-sharing system. The plan would allows users to rent a bike from a rack, ride it to their destination and drop it off at the nearest docking station, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports.

Will Saudi King’s Death Affect Oil Prices?

The death of Saudi King Abdullah yesterday is unlikely to deter the kingdom from maintaining high oil production rates despite the recent plummet of prices, analysts told the New York Times. U.S. officials worry that Abdullah’s death may usher in a period of uncertainty in a key relationship that was already tense, the Wall Street Journal reports.

UPS Plummets on Disappointing Earnings

United Parcel Service Inc. said higher-than-expected seasonal expenses dragged down its earnings in the fourth quarter, the Wall Street Journal reports. Stocks began to drop in early trading today on the news.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 55 points in Friday morning trading to 17,760. The S&P 500 was down six points to 2,057. The Nasdaq was up two points to 4,753. The LABJ Stock Index was down one point to 216.

Thursday, January 22

DreamWorks Lays Off 500, Top Execs Leave

Two top executives are leaving and 500 employees are being laid off at DreamWorks Animation SKG after yet another poor box office showing, the studio disclosed in a regulatory filing on Thursday.

Commerce Escrow and RPM Investments Acquired

Downtown L.A.’s Commerce Escrow Co. and affiliate RPM Investments Inc. have been acquired by Opus Bank of Irvine in a cash-and-stock deal.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 260 points in Thursday trading to close at 17,814. The S&P 500 rose 31 points to 2,063. The Nasdaq rose 83 points to 4,750. The LABJ Stock Index rose three points to 217.

Woven Digital Scores Dime Magazine

Online publisher Woven Digital of Culver City has acquired basketball news publication Dime Magazine to help expand the sports division of its biggest web property Uproxx.

City National Acquired for $5.4 Billion

City National Bank of Los Angeles has been acquired by Royal Bank of Canada for $5.4 billion, or $93.80 a share, in a cash-and-stock deal, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports. The deal lets L.A.’s largest locally headquartered bank operate as a separate entity while giving its new Canadian parent a stronger U.S. foothold. City National, long known as the banker to the stars, lent Frank Sinatra $100,000 to pay ransom for his kidnapped son in 1963.

ECB Announces Stimulus Plan

The European Central Bank said Thursday it will purchase $69 billion a month in government bonds until September 2016 to stimulate spending in Eurozone countries, the Wall Street Journal reports. Both U.S. and European stocks and bonds are up following the announcement while the euro fell to an 11-year low.

Bill Gross Invests $700 Million in Janus Fund

Bond fund manager Bill Gross has put $700 million of his personal money into his new mutual fund, the Wall Street Journal reports. Janus Capital Group’s shares rose more 9 percent and are up 37 percent over the past year.

U.S. Jobless Claims Fall

Fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week for the first time in seven months, citing improved labor market conditions, the New York Times reports. The Labor Department said jobless claims fell to a seasonally adjusted 307,000 for the week ending Jan. 17.

AmEx Cuts 4,000 Jobs

American Express said it would cut more than 4,000 jobs, or 6 percent of it workforce, this year, USA Today reports. The layoffs come despite an 11 percent increase in fourth-quarter profits for the New York credit card company.

EBay Also Cuts 2,400 Jobs

Internet e-commerce site EBay plans to cut 2,400 jobs, or 7 percent of its employees, while it continues to explore spinning off its payment service PayPal, the Wall Street Journal reports. The San Jose company hopes the split will make its two units more attractive for takeovers.

Lakers Declared Most Valuable Franchise

The Los Angeles Lakers might be last in the Western Conference with a 12-31 record, but the team can take solace in knowing it’s ranked No. 1 on Forbes’ most valuable franchise list, the Los Angeles Times reports. The purple-and-gold franchise is worth $2.6 billion, a whopping 93 percent jump from the previous year.

Paddle Boarder Swims (And Films) Orcas

A Laguna Beach paddle boarder can now say he has swum with killer whales – and has the video footage to prove it, the Los Angeles Times reports. The video, which has gone viral, shows Rich German meeting a calm yet curious pod of five Orcas.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 104 points in Thursday morning trading to 17,658. The S&P 500 was up 13 points to 2,045. The Nasdaq was up 40 points to 4,709.

City National Sells for $5.4 Billion

City National Bank of Los Angeles has been acquired by Royal Bank of Canada for $5.4 billion, or $93.80 a share, in a cash-and-stock deal, the two firms announced Thursday.

Evolve Media Acquires DogTime

Online publisher Evolve Media has acquired DogTime Media and its two pet-enthusiast properties, and

Wednesday, January 21

FreedomPop Offers Unlimited Wi-Fi for $5 a Month

FreedomPop is offering unlimited voice, text and data through 10 million Wi-Fi hotspots across the country for a fraction of what mobile carriers charge for similar contracts.

Judge Rejects Mercury Suit Against Insurance Commissioner

A Sacramento judge has ruled that California’s Insurance Commissioner has the legal authority to lower insurance industry premiums in an effort to stop certain advertising costs from being passed on to consumers through higher premiums.

Skechers to Launch Subsidiary in Central Eastern Europe

Skechers USA Inc. announced Wednesday that the company is launching a subsidiary in Central Eastern Europe called Skechers CEE Kft.

Two Execs Plead Guilty to $100 Million Ponzi Scheme

The president of a Calabasas company accused of orchestrating a 13-year-long Ponzi scheme that defrauded nearly 2,000 investors of more than $100 million pleaded guilty Wednesday.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 39 points in Wednesday trading to close at 17,554. The S&P 500 rose 10 points to 2,032. The Nasdaq rose 13 points to 4,667. The LABJ Stock Index fell one point to 214.

Poll: The retail sector is taking root in downtown Los Angeles. What is the biggest impediment to you shopping downtown now?

Every week the Los Angeles Business Journal asks readers their views on a variety of business and economic issues. A running tally is available on the site and later will be published in the Commentary section of our print edition. Our latest poll is available on the bottom right column of our home page.

Black Tux Suits Up with $10 Million Investment

Black Tux has tapped VC funding to make suiting up affordable and easy.

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Cathay to Acquire New York Bank

Chinatown’s Cathay General Bancorp announced Wednesday that it has agreed to purchase fellow Chinese-American bank Asia Bancshares Inc. in Flushing, N.Y. for about $126 million in cash and stock.

State of the Union: Obama’s 2015 Agenda

Delivering his sixth State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama faced a Congress that's now controlled by his Republican opponents and delivered a speech that laid out an agenda of tax proposals, calls for a new approach to immigration, and a push for free education at community colleges, NPR reports. Obama also called on Congress to pass a resolution to authorize using military force against ISIS.

Study: Obama Has Second-Worst State of the Union Record

President Obama has the worst record of getting his State of the Union policy requests enacted into law of any president in the last five decades except for the two-year term of Gerald Ford, according to an analysis by two political scientists who have tracked State of the Union speeches going back to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1965 speech, the Washington Times reports.

Google and Fidelity Invest $1 Billion in SpaceX

Google, along with Fidelity, has invested $1 billion in Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the New York Times reports.

Rising Realty Partners Acquires Figueroa Courtyard

Downtown Los Angeles real estate developer Rising Realty Partners has acquired the Figueroa Courtyard, a five-building low-rise office park in downtown Los Angeles, for an undisclosed purchase price, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports.

S&P to Pay $77 Million to Settle Charges Over Ratings

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has agreed to pay more than $77 million to settle federal and state charges that it loosened its ratings criteria to win business and did not disclose those changes to investors, the Wall Street Journal reports.

ECB Proposes Stimulus of 50 Billion Euros a Month

A proposal from the European Central Bank’s executive board calls for bond purchases of roughly €50 billion ($58 billion) a month that would last for a minimum of one year, sources told the Wall Street Journal. The proposal indicates that officials are weighing a large stimulus to aid the eurozone’s fragile economy and boost inflation.

Real Estate Mogul Shot in Rolls-Royce is Too Injured to Speak to Police

Los Angeles police detectives are hoping that real estate mogul Kameron Segal, who was shot in the face while sitting in his Rolls-Royce in Hollywood on Friday, can help them determine who would have the motive to commit the crime, the Los Angeles Times reports. The problem: Segal, who is the chief executive of William Holdings Inc., is in critical condition and cannot yet speak.

Pasadena Fires Executives in Embezzlement Case

Two department heads who were in charge of overseeing a fund from which $6.4 million was allegedly embezzled have been fired, Pasadena officials announced Tuesday, the Pasadena Star News reports.

Port of Long Beach Had a Busy 2014

The Port of Long Beach saw its third-busiest year in 2014, as cargo container volume rose 1.3 percent over the previous year, and more than 6.8 million containers moved through the port, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports.

Billboard Firm to Advertise Council Candidates

A billboard company challenging L.A.’s restrictions on digital signs has disclosed plans to donate tens of thousands of dollars in advertising to help Councilman Jose Huizar and five other candidates in the March 3 election, the Los Angeles Times reports. Read more about the conflict between billboard companies and city officials in the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 67 points in Wednesday morning trading to 17,582. The S&P 500 was up 14 points to 2,037. The Nasdaq was up 33 points to 4,688. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 215

Tuesday, January 20

Cargo up in Long Beach Last Year

Last year was the Port of Long Beach’s third-busiest, port officials said late Tuesday, as cargo container volume rose 1.3 percent over 2013.

Rising Realty Partners Buys Figueroa Courtyard

Downtown Los Angeles real estate developer Rising Realty Partners has acquired the Figueroa Courtyard, a five-building low-rise office park in downtown Los Angeles. The purchase price was not disclosed.

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HopSkipDrive Carpools Parenting and Tech

The DTLA startup has beta-launched as a ride-sharing app for parents who struggle to find safe carpools for their children.

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Developer Drops Trancas Town Lawsuit, Ending Malibu Feud

A two-decade long development battle in Malibu came to an abrupt close last week when developer Trancas PCH dropped its lawsuit against the city.

Global Eagle’s Wi-Fi Can Now be Built into Boeing 737s

When airlines purchase Boeing 737 airplanes, the most popular jetliner in the world in terms of orders, they will now have the option to include Global Eagle Entertainment Inc.’s pre-installed satellite system.

Hayden’s Sculpture to Shine Again in L.A.’s Jewelry District

Michael Hayden’s critically acclaimed 270-foot light sculpture “Generators of the Cylinder” will be re-lit Thursday in downtown L.A.’s jewelry district for the first time since 2008.

TetraTech Engineers Lease Renewal for Corporate HQ

Pasadena engineering and construction management company Tetra Tech Inc. closed 2014 by committing to keeping its headquarters in the San Gabriel Valley.

Alliant Acquires Earthquake Insurance Firm

Glendale insurance firm SIU Managers, which specializes in the earthquake market, has been acquired by Newport Beach-based Alliant Insurance Services Inc. as part of a larger, $300 million international insurance deal expected to close next month.

Mandalay Leaves California

Mandalay Digital Inc.’s stock began trading under the ticker symbol “APPS” on Tuesday as the company settled into its new headquarters in Texas.

On Assignment Sells Staffing Segment for $123 Million

On Assignment Inc. announced Tuesday that it will sell its physician staffing segment, Vista Staffing Solutions Inc., for $123 million.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average rose four points in Tuesday trading to close at 17,515. The S&P 500 rose three points to 2,023. The Nasdaq rose 20 points to 4,655. The LABJ Stock Index fell one point to 215.

Snapchat’s Money VP Leaves

Mike Randall, the Venice app’s vice president of business and marketing partnerships, has left the company after just seven months.

DreamWorks May Cut Up to 400 Jobs

After a series of disappointing releases, DreamWorks Animation SKG is planning to cut up to 400 jobs, or about 20 percent of its California workforce, under plans still being finalized, sources told the Los Angeles Times.

Amazon Takes on Film

Amazon announced Monday that it would take on the big screen, producing and acquiring films for theatrical release and early distribution on its Prime Instant Video service, the New York Times reports.

Manufacturing Growth Much Slower in California

While the United States as a whole has seen a remarkable turnaround in manufacturing employment in recent years, California has been among the slowest to recover jobs in the sector, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Port Employers Under Fire for Suspending Ship Unloading

In the latest chapter of the labor battle at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents shipping companies in their dealings with port labor, is under fire after it prevented dockworkers from unloading ships Monday. The PMA said it issued the order to clear out cargo containers from congested terminal yards, but the move left nine container ships languishing at sea as they waited to be unloaded, the Long Beach Press Telegram reports.

How the Ban on Foie Gras Increased its Popularity

California’s ban on foie gras, since overturned by a federal judge, increased consumer interest for the product, which is now appearing in strange and creative dishes — including foie gras ice cream, the New York Times reports.

Analyst Downgrades Entertainment Sector

A Morgan Stanley analyst downgraded his rating on the entertainment sector today from “overweight” to “cautious,” and specifically lowered his ratings on Viacom and Time Warner, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Stocks Drop With Oil Prices

U.S. stocks fell today as crude-oil futures slumped almost 5 percent to $46.84 a barrel, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Alhambra Police Get on WeChat

The Alhambra Police Department recently opened an account on WeChat, China’s biggest mobile messaging service, in an effort to improve communication with the estimated 30,000 Chinese immigrants in the city who prefer Chinese social media platforms to American ones, KPCC reports.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 95 points in Tuesday morning trading to 17,416. The S&P 500 was down eight points to 2,011. The Nasdaq was down 15 points to 4,619. The LABJ Stock Index was down two points to 214.

Monday, January 19

Google Said Investing in SpaceX’s Satellite Internet

SpaceX is in talks to receive an investment from Google that would finance an ambitious plan to provide high-speed Internet access through hundreds of satellites.

VXI Global Solutions Acquires Symbio

VXI Global Solutions, a downtown L.A. business processes and information technology services company, has acquired software product developer Symbio. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

B. Riley Provides Financing to Bankrupt Wet Seal

West L.A. investment bank B. Riley Financial Inc. announced Friday that it has reached an agreement to provide $20 million in debtor-in-possession financing to beleaguered teen retailer Wet Seal Inc.

Glendale Office Garners Highest Post-Recession Price

A 16-story office building in Glendale sold last month for more than $83 million, a price not seen in the city since before the recession.

Paging Internet Ads

YP, formerly Yellow Pages, has been hiring in a bid to boost its Internet advertising business. So the Business Journal asks:

Is hiring sales reps to sell online ads an outdated way to compete in 2015?

Before Sony Hack, NSA Breached North Korea

Long before the Sony hack, in 2010, the National Security Agency breached the Chinese networks that connect North Korea to the outside world, hiding malware to track the activity of the country’s hackers, the New York Times reports. The evidence gathered by the hidden software was critical in convincing President Barack Obama to accuse the government of Kim Jong-un of ordering the attack on Sony Pictures.

L.A. Taxis Must Use Uber-esque Apps by August

All taxicab drivers in Los Angeles will be required to use mobile apps similar to Uber and Lyft by this summer, according to a measure passed by the Los Angeles Taxicab Commission this week, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Industry Reps Warn of Catastrophe if Ports Seize Up

Representatives of the footwear and meat industries have warned that the risk to the U.S. economy would be catastrophic if the current labor dispute leads to a full-blown work stoppage at the West Coast ports, the Financial Times reports.

China Stocks Plunge After Regulatory Crackdown

China stocks collapsed in morning trading today after Chinese regulators disciplined three major brokers for violating rules on margin lending that have been blamed for fuelling excessive market speculation over the past three months, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Audit: L.A. Overstated Worth of Ontario Airport

An audit conducted as part of Ontario's legal battle to gain control over LA/Ontario International Airport, which has been operated by Los Angeles World Airports since 1967, found that L.A.’s asking price is inflated by at least $181 million, the Los Angeles Times reports.

European Stocks Rise on Anticipation of ECB Stimulus

European stocks rose for a third day today, reaching their highest level since 2008, due to investors’ anticipation that the European Central Bank will announce a plan for quantitative easing this week, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

Swiss Franc Continues to Soar

The Swiss franc remains high today, hovering around one-to-one against the euro after last week’s decision by the Swiss National Bank to allow its currency to climb freely, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Officials Consider L.A. River Project

L.A. City Council members appeared eager last week to explore the steps needed to form the state's first Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District, which would be focused on projects to restore and improve a 31-mile portion of the Los Angeles River, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Box Office: ‘American Sniper’ Hits Target

Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” topped the North American box office in its debut weekend, taking in $90 million, while “The Wedding Ringer” trailed far behind, taking the No. 2 slot with $21 million, Variety reports.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 191 points in Monday morning trading to 17,512. The S&P 500 was up 27 points to 2,019. The Nasdaq was up 64 points to 4,634. The LABJ Stock Index was up four points to 216.


Upcoming local events

Yellow Pages Calls In Staff

ADVERTISING: Firm prefers personal touch for online ads.

YP, formerly Yellow Pages, believes online ad placement still calls for a human sales staff.

Hotel Gets Into Act With Short Film

JW Marriott stages action movie to help produce more business.

L.A. Live’s JW Marriott heads in a new promotional direction with action film “Two Bellhops.”

Hospital Unit Weighs In On Baby Fat

Measurement device at Cedars-Sinai aims to nurture kids’ health.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center looks to scale infant nutrition issues with its device measuring baby fat.

Model Guest Plans Stay at Ocean Liner

Queen Mary to host toymaker’s miniature take on fabled ship.

Model of the Queen Mary prepares to drop anchor at its life-size inspiration in Long Beach.

Expectant Dad to Feel Heat

Barry Knudson is expecting his first child in March with his wife, Kelsi. But before the baby arrives, Knudson, a beer enthusiast and casual home-brewer, concocted one more memorable batch: a spicy India pale ale.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Design Award: Pasadena’s Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has been honored with the Army Corp of Engineers’ highest award for its design of the Mission Training Complex at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

Stilled Drilling Rigs Don’t Work for Oil Investors

energy: Shares tumble after California Resources plans production cutbacks.

Report of idled derricks doesn’t sit well with investors in California Resources Corp.

Home-Loan Lawyers May Pay for Upfront Fees

LAW: California requires attorneys to charge clients after modifications obtained.

Some attorneys still wrongly seek upfront fees while courting customers for home-loan modifications.

L.A. Firm Branches Into Small, Midcap Stocks

INVESTMENTS: Aristotle Capital signs up veteran duo to operate Boston outpost.

West L.A. money management firm Aristotle Capital Management wanted to add a team to lead its expansion into small- and midcap stocks, and it went about as far as possible in the continental United States to find one.

Restaurateurs Plan to Fill Plate With More Eateries

DINING: Blackhouse’s two co-founders look to pick up pace on new locations.

Since starting their Blackhouse Hospitality restaurant group in Los Angeles three years ago, chef Tin Vuong and business partner Jed Sanford have opened four restaurants, with one passing the test of famed Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold.

News of the Week

Last week’s major news from and other sources

Investors think chewable food is overrated. Or at least that is what can be gleaned from the news that downtown L.A. food tech company Soylent raised $20 million in a Series A funding round, led by Andreessen Horowitz, to expand operations.


Upcoming local conventions

Making Right Moves for Business

Goldline’s Brian R. Crumbaker says the city of L.A.’s business incentives tipped the scales for the relocating precious metals dealer.

Lots of Restriction

City Councilman Paul Koretz looks to open door to unwelcome curbs on residential construction.

Meir Kroll warns City Councilman Paul Koretz could fence in home development across the Westside.

PR Veteran Broke Ground in Real Estate Coverage

Benjamin Cole salutes the late Dick Lewis for turning local real estate deals into big news.

Shareholders’Suit Risks Rise

law: Class-action attorney shifts focus to only wealthy investors.

Recent rulings limiting shareholder lawsuits spur class-action attorney to change focus.

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Off the Leash

veterinary: VCA expands health care offerings for pets as owners shell out more for treatments postrecession.

Owners’ increased spending on pets has treated VCA to a sharp rise in stock price.

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Port Firms Move to Buoy Business

SHIPPING: Megaships mean less revenue for per-ship servicers.

Larger ships are cutting down their trips to the ports and the revenue of businesses that charge by the trip.

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Online Security Firm Likes Social Media Sector

INTERNET: Soteria says it has lock on evaluating risk of threats to celebrities.

Soteria Intelligence looks to help clients play it safe with the company’s online-threat assessment service.

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Smart-Home Business Sees Utility in Water, Power

TECHNOLOGY: Chet Pipkin talks Belkin International’s expanded offerings.

Belkin International’s Chet Pipkin discusses how he connects customers to smart homes

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Condo Tower Developer High on Downtown

DEVELOPMENT: Trumark Urban sees area as ripe for $100 million project.

San Francisco’s Trumark Urban last week broke ground on a $100 million condominium project at 1050 S. Grand Ave., the first high-rise condo development to be built in the area in more than seven years.

Homebuilder’s Earnings Unwelcome on Wall Street

construction: Shares of KB Home tumble on poor fourth-quarter report.

Investors move out of KB Home after poor fourth-quarter earnings report.

Marketer Helped ‘Abbey’ Merchandise Find Homes

TV: Brad Wald details his role in scoring ‘Downton’ branding opportunities.

Marketing exec Brad Wald knew “Downton Abbey”-branded merchandise would prove a class act.

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Battle Ready

PR exec looks to revive career after prison stint

Once-hard-charging Doug Dowie looks to get his career and life back on track after prison sentence for fraud.

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Friday, January 16

L.A. Launch List: Jan. 16

On this week's Launch List: "Tinder for Seniors," a wearable-integrated iBeacon and an online wholesale clothing marketplace.

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Health One to Stop Producing Unapproved Supplements and Drugs

Health One Pharmaceuticals Inc., a City of Industry manufacturer of dietary supplements and drugs, has been shut down as part of a consent decree reached with the Department of Justice.

Oil Company Drops Plan to Expand Drilling in South L.A.

Oil company Freeport McMoran is dropping its controversial plan to expand its drilling operation near USC, blaming the recent oil price collapse.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

This week: Breakaway Capital, Gores Group, Riordan Lewis & Haden and Corridor Capital.

Port Numbers Up Despite Cargo Diversion

Despite congestion at the harbor and reports of cargo being diverted to other West Coast ports, the Port of Los Angeles saw a slight uptick in cargo traffic last month over the same month a year earlier.

Manhattan Bancorp, Ducommun Inc. Among Week’s Biggest Gainers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies rose for the week. The weighted LABJ index climbed 1 percent to close at 216, despite losers outpacing gainers 98 to 53. Nine companies closed the week unchanged.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 191 points in Friday trading to close at 17,512. The S&P 500 rose 27 points to 2,019. The Nasdaq rose 64 points to 4,634. The LABJ Stock Index rose four points to 216.

Work/Life: Ryan Meyer

The Los Angeles director of education firm General Assembly on attention spans, ocean swimming and humor as a coping mechanism.

Ryan Meyer, the 38-year-old regional director of General Assembly, spends most days driving from Santa Monica to downtown L.A., overseeing the company’s three Los Angeles campuses. General Assembly offers short-term and one-off classes that exist outside of the college model, and help people “hack” into the “new economy” by, for example, learning how to code.

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European Police Arrest Two Dozen

Police in France, Belgium and Germany today arrested at least two dozen people believed to be supportive of last week’s terrorist attacks against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the Washington Post reports. Officials said firearms, explosives and police uniforms recovered in Belgian raids indicated that militants were planning to kill police.

L.A. and Long Beach Port Workers to Protest

Hundreds of port workers are expected to rally Thursday and protest employers’ decisions to halt unloading night shifts at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports following slowed union negotiations, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports. The loss of shifts has affected 1,000 workers, according to a International Longshore and Warehouse Union representative. Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Buscaino said on Facebook he would participate in the march.

California Says No to UnitedHealth

The board of Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, rejected UnitedHealth Group’s bid to sell coverage statewide through the exchange next year, the Los Angeles Times reports. The move could help the four biggest health insurers already included in the exchange, which together made up 94 percent of the first year’s enrollment.

U.S. Consumer Prices Drop

U.S. consumer prices fell 0.4 percent in December, the largest decline in six years, due to lower gas prices and proof of falling inflation pressures, the New York Times reports. Overall inflation was just 0.8 percent last year, the smallest annual increase since 2008.

Obama Pushes for Paid Leave

President Obama on Thursday signed an order to grant up to six weeks of paid family leave for all federal employees after the birth of a new child, the Los Angeles Times reports. He also asked Congress to pass a law guaranteeing all Americans workers receive at least seven days of paid sick leave annually.

You Need $34 an Hour to Afford Average L.A. Apartment

To afford the average Los Angeles apartment, which now goes for more than $1,700 a month, a lone worker would have to earn $34 an hour, or $68,640 a year, KPCC reports. That is more than double the highest minimum wage level currently proposed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, who wants to raise the rate to $13.25 by 2017.

PUC Chief Vows Transparency

The state Public Utilities Commission’s newly elected president, Michael Picker, promised Thursday to restore public trust after recent emails showed former president Michael Peevey was on overly friendly terms with the power industry, the Los Angeles Times reports.

CA’s Economy is Bigger Than Brazil’s

California has passed Brazil to become No. 7 on the list of the world’s largest economies thanks to increases in employment, home prices and individual and corporate incomes, Bloomberg reports.

Austin Rivers Says What’s Up, Papa Doc

Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers is about to get some quality father-son time after the NBA team acquired his son Austin Rivers in a three-team deal, ESPN reports. The 22-year-old will make league history by being the first son to play for his father.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 57 points in Friday morning trading to 17,377. The S&P 500 was up 11 points to 2,004. The Nasdaq was up 28 points to 4,599. The LABJ Stock Index was up two points to 214.

Thursday, January 15

Maker Studios to Produce for Vimeo, Too

The partnership with the online video platform is not intended to move the Culver City network off YouTube, according to a source, who said the deal is an “experiment” and that the Vimeo competitor will still be Maker’s primary partner.

Schiff Opposing High Speed Rail Tunnel Route Through Forest

Rep. Adam Schiff came out in opposition on Thursday to a proposed alignment of the state’s high-speed rail project that would require a tunnel beneath the Angeles National Forest – damaging chances the plan will be carried out.

Forecloses Jump in December, Fall in 2014

Foreclosures in Los Angeles County jumped significantly in December, up 44 percent from November. But despite the month-over-month increase, the 2014 foreclosure rate countywide was down 18 percent from 2013, according to a report released Thursday.

Soon-Shiong’s NantWorks Targeted by Former Employees Alleging Fraud

Two former employees of billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong’s health care technology company NantHealth have alleged the firm and its Culver City holding company NantWorks had engaged in a multitude of fraudulent activities.

Local Federal Reserve Branch Appoints Executive Director of SAG-AFTRA

The Federal Reserve of San Francisco named a new chairman and made three other appointments to the board of its Los Angeles Branch, including Panda Express co-founder Peggy Tsiang Cherng.

Proud Bird at LAX Signs 20-Year Lease Extension

The historic Proud Bird restaurant at the Los Angeles International Airport, which had been rumored to be closing after failing to agree to a long-term lease with airport operator Los Angeles World Airports, isn’t taking off after all.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 106 points in Thursday trading to close at 17,321. The S&P 500 fell 19 points to 1,993. The Nasdaq fell 69 points to 4,571. The LABJ Stock index fell two points to 212.

U.S. to Loosen Embargo on Cuba

The Obama administration will chip away at the U.S. embargo on Cuba on Friday, significantly loosening restrictions on American trade and investment and opening up the island to greater American travel, the Washington Post reports. The new rules will allow U.S. citizens to start bringing home small amounts of Cuban cigars after more than a half-century ban.

‘Birdman’ and ‘Grand Budapest’ Top Oscar Nominations

The nominations for the 87th Academy Awards were revealed this morning in a two-part announcement at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” cleaned up with nine nominations, as did Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Birdman.”

Switzerland Abandons Euro Cap

Switzerland’s central bank caused turmoil today when it unexpectedly scrapped a cap on the franc-euro rate, prompting a 20 percent collapse in the euro versus the franc, the biggest single-day move in a developed market that traders could remember, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Oil Prices: Morning Surge Reversed

Oil prices fell back into the red on Thursday after surging more than $2 as the dollar weakened, Reuters reports.

L.A. Cargo Diverted to Oakland

The Port of Oakland has reached an all-time high in cargo volume last year, and that’s largely because the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles diverted some of their cargo north, the Sacramento Bee reports. In December, the Southern California ports rerouted a total of 74,356 containers to Oakland.

Will Historical Designation Save Norms Restaurant?

L.A.’s Cultural Heritage Commission will decide today whether to start the process of designating Norms restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard, which is slated for demolition by its owners, as a historical monument, the Los Angeles Times reports.

California Farmers Face Nation’s Strictest Pesticide Rules

California farmers are now required to follow the nation's strictest rules for chloropicrin, a widely used pesticide injected into the ground before planting crops such as strawberries, tomatoes and almond orchards, the Associated Press reports. The change, designed to protect farm workers and people who live and work near agricultural fields, is likely to raise the price of produce.

Key Figure in Corruption Scheme Kills Himself Before Trial

Alfred Villalobos, whose health was failing as he faced up to 30 years in prison for his role in the CalPERS bribery scandal, apparently committed suicide Tuesday, weeks before he was scheduled to go on trial, the Sacramento Bee reports.

San Diego Mayor Promises to Prevent Chargers From Moving to L.A.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer promised in a speech on Wednesday night that by this fall a plan will be ready for building a new Chargers stadium and for keeping the team from moving to Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Climbers Complete World’s Most Difficult Free Climb

After 19 days of climbing, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson reached the summit of the 3,000-foot rock known as El Capitan in Yosemite National Park on Wednesday, marking the first free ascent of a notoriously difficult section called the Dawn Wall, National Geographic reports.

Van Nuys Homeowners Keep Big Alligator

Animal officials said Wednesday that an 8-foot alligator found in a box with two cat carcasses in a Van Nuys backyard might have been living at the home for as long as 40 years, the Associated Press reports. It is illegal in Los Angeles to keep wildlife without a permit, and charges will be filed against the homeowners for keeping the gator as a pet.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 17 points in Thursday morning trading to 17,444. The S&P 500 was down one point to 2,010. The Nasdaq was down 12 points to 4,628. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 214.

Sense360 Turns Out $2.75 Million Investment

Whether you like it or not, your smartphone is keeping tabs on you. And Sense360 wants to give developers a sneak peek at your data diary.

Wednesday, January 14

Whisper Editor Says Goodbye

Neetzan Zimmerman is no longer with Whisper, the company confirmed Wednesday.

Irvine Lender to Acquire El Segundo’s Bank of Manhattan

Plaza Bank in Irvine announced Wednesday that it had reached an agreement to acquire El Segundo lender Bank of Manhattan, marking the L.A. area’s first bank merger announced this year.

BizFed Opposes L.A. Minimum Wage Hike, Berkeley Study

The Los Angeles County Business Federation, or BizFed, on Wednesday formally announced its opposition to proposals to hike the minimum wage in the city of Los Angeles to at least $13.25 an hour.

NantWorks Subsidiary Inks Licensing Deal With Amgen

NantWorks, billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong’s Culver City holding company, has launched an immuno-oncology company and inked a deal with Amgen Inc. of Thousand Oaks to license an oncology antibody.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 187 points in Wednesday trading to close at 17,427. The S&P 500 fell 12 points to 2,011. The Nasdaq fell 22 points to 4,639. The LABJ Stock Index fell one point to 214.

Honest Co. Asks Judge to Settle Slippery Trademark Dispute

Jessica Alba’s non-toxic beauty company is defending its $1 billion “Honest” name.

Venice Office to Return to Retail Roots

A small Class C office building, along with an adjacent parking lot, at the west end of Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice sold last month for $15.5 million.

Poll: Have you purchased any “Internet of Things” products to control home functions through an app?

Every week the Los Angeles Business Journal asks readers their views on a variety of business and economic issues. A running tally is available on the site and later will be published in the Commentary section of our print edition. Our latest poll is available on the bottom right column of our home page.

Charlie Hebdo a Hot Seller; Al Qaeda Claims Responsibility

The first issue of Charlie Hebdo since last week’s attack sold out in France within hours, NPR reports. Meanwhile, the militant group Al Qaeda, based in Yemen, took responsibility today for the attack in Paris, which killed 12 people, the New York Times reports.

Gender Neutral Single-Stall Restrooms Now Required in WeHo

A West Hollywood law requiring all single-stall restrooms in businesses and public places to be gender-neutral, meaning they cannot be restricted to a specific sex, will go into effect this week, and businesses will have 60 days to comply by replacing existing signs, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Gallup: More Businesses Dying Than Starting

A Gallup report released Tuesday revealed that, for the first time in 35 years, more American businesses are dying than are starting, Breitbart reports.

Dodd-Frank Slowly Being Changed in Congress

The Republican-controlled House is expected to pass a package of bills making changes that weaken 2010’s Dodd-Frank law, chipping away at regulations that Democrats say were intended to help lessen the risk of another financial crisis but Republicans say is harming the economy, the New York Times reports.

Caesars Largest Unit to File for Bankruptcy

Caesars Entertainment Corp.’s largest unit is preparing to file for its own bankruptcy protection as soon as Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reports. The move comes after group of hedge fund creditors, including L.A.’s Oaktree Capital Management, sought on Monday to force the unit into bankruptcy and to appoint an independent examiner to investigate what they allege was the plundering of the company.

Ray Bradbury’s House Being Demolished

“Farenheight 451” author Ray Bradbury’s Cheviot Hills house, which hit the market when he died in 2012, was purchased in June for $1.77 million and is currently being demolished by the buyers: architect Thom Mayne and his wife, Blythe Alison-Mayne, Curbed reports.

L.A. Takes Step Toward Consolidating Health Departments

Los Angeles County supervisors took a first step Tuesday toward consolidating the departments of Public Health, Mental Health and Health Services into one county health agency with a unanimous vote to get a cost analysis and collect information over the next 60 days, the Daily News reports. The vote angered hundreds of mental health advocates, who attended a public meeting to oppose the move.

J.P. Morgan’s Profit Falls on Legal Costs

J.P. Morgan’s fourth-quarter profit fell almost 7 percent as the bank posted higher-than-expected legal expenses and climbing reserves for loans that could sour, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Apple, Google Offer Bigger Settlement in Antitrust Case

Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe have offered an increased settlement of $415 million, up from the $325 million they offered in the spring, in an attempt to bury an embarrassing class-action antitrust lawsuit, the New York Times reports. The suit accuses the companies of making illegal agreements not to directly solicit one another’s employees, conspiratorially limiting their engineers’ mobility and pay.

Dread Pirate Roberts Concedes Involvement in Silk Road

Lawyers for Ross Ulbricht, otherwise known as “Dread Pirate Roberts,” conceded for the first time Tuesday that he was involved in setting up the online drug marketplace Silk Road, but argued he was “lured” back to the site after abandoning it by a villain who might still be on the loose, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 182 points in Wednesday morning trading to 17,431. The S&P 500 was down 17 points to 2,007. The Nasdaq was down 26 points to 4,637. The LABJ Stock Index was down one point to 213.

Soylent Sees Green with $20 Million Raise

Soylent, the producer of an engineered meal substitute, has raised $20 million in Series A funding to expand operations and scale production.

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Tuesday, January 13

J2 Global’s Carbonite Bid Rejected, Separately Announces Exec Death

J2 Global’s $415 million bid to acquire Boston cloud storage firm Carbonite at $15 a share has been rejected, according to a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Location Filming in L.A. Rose 10 Percent Last Year

On-location filming in the Los Angeles area increased 9.6 percent last year with television dramas showing the biggest leap, according to a report released Tuesday by FilmL.A.

Tinder Buys Tappy Creators

The dating app has acquired West Hollywood startup Chill, the maker of Snapchat-like mobile messaging app Tappy, in a deal that could potentially build out Tinder’s photo posting feature Moments.

KB Home Plunges After Warning of Lower Margins

Despite reporting a year-end surge in profits, Los Angeles homebuilder KB Homes saw its stock plummet 16 percent Tuesday after its chief executive said the company expected a drop in gross margins in the current quarter.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 27 points in Tuesday trading to close at 17,614. The S&P 500 fell five points to 2,023. The Nasdaq fell three points to 4,662. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 214.

PMA to Reduce Night Work at Ports

The Pacific Maritime Association will stop calling on longshore workers to load and unload ships at night at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as of Tuesday night, the organization said in a statement to the Business Journal.

Infineon Closes Purchase of International Rectifier

Infineon, a German semiconductor giant, on Tuesday announced that it had finalized its purchase of El Segundo power management technology company International Rectifier. The deal, which was for about $3 billion, was announced Aug. 20.

NFL Stadium Developers Expect $100 Million in Tax Breaks

The developers of an NFL stadium in Inglewood, including a company controlled by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, expect to recoup up to $100 million in tax rebates in the first five years that the stadium is open, an Associated Press review has found.

Tinder Acquires Disappearing Photo App Tappy

Tinder closed its first acquisition, buying Chill, the creator of Tappy, a disappearing message app where conversations must be started with a photo and all messages disappear after 24 hours, TechCrunch reports.

California Seeks to Suspend Ocwen Financial

The State of California filed an action seeking to suspend the mortgage license of Ocwen Financial Corp., one of the country’s biggest mortgage servicers, saying the firm failed to turn over documentation showing that it complies with California laws protecting homeowners, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Teamsters Authorize Strike That Would Stop Commercial Production in L.A.

Teamsters Local 399 voted to reject a contract proposed by commercial producers, authorizing their leaders to stage a walkout should they fail to reach an agreement by the end of the month. The action raised the prospect of the first Hollywood strike by the union in nearly two decades, the Los Angeles Times reports.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris to Enter Senate Race

California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced this morning that she is entering the race to replace Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate., KPCC reports.

Oil Falls Below $45

Oil prices continued to decline this morning, falling below $45 a barrel for the first time since April 2009. The drop came after the United Arab Emirates’ oil minister said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would stand firm on its decision to keep output unchanged, CNBC reports.

Heritage Provider Network Partners With Trinity Health

Heritage Provider Network in Marina del Rey is forming a joint venture with Trinity Health, the nation’s second-largest nonprofit hospital system, to build networks in different markets that coordinate the fragmented care many patients receive from multiple providers, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Kabam Buys Two L.A. Gaming Startups

Free-to-play gaming company Kabam has acquired two Los Angeles gaming outfits, TapZen and Magic Pixel, and is opening a Culver City office to house them, Re/code reports.

Former LAUSD Chief Deasy Starting Over at Broad Academy

Former Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy will join the Broad Academy, a branch of the training academy funded by philanthropist and long-time Deasy supporter Eli Broad. Deasy will serve as a consultant and superintendent-in-residence, KPCC reports.

Industry Experts: Porn Business Still Thriving in Valley

Despite condom laws, piracy and falling DVD sales, the adult entertainment industry as a whole is thriving as diverse sex toys and more interactive technology come into play, and the San Fernando Valley is still the center of it all, the Daily News reports.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 218 points in Tuesday morning trading to 17,860. The S&P 500 rose 22 points to 2,049. The Nasdaq rose 72 points to 4,737. The LABJ Stock Index rose three points to 218.

TapZen and Magic Pixel Acquired by Kabam

Mobile gaming startups TapZen and Magic Pixel have been acquired by San Francisco studio Kabam in separate cash-and-stock deals. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Monday, January 12

Burbank Airport Marriott Sells for More Than $100 Million

The Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport hotel, the second-largest in the Valley at 488 rooms, has changed hands for more than $100 million, the buyer announced on Monday.

Mercury Insurance Hit With $27.5 Million Fine Over Broker Fees

State Insurance Commissioner David Jones on Monday ordered Mercury Insurance to pay a $27.5 million fine for charging policyholders unauthorized broker fees.

Arrowhead Falls After FDA Alters Drug Trial

Arrowhead Research Corp. saw its stock plummet 24 percent Monday after the Food and Drug Administration placed a partial clinical hold on one of its drugs.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 97 points in Monday trading to close at 17,641. The S&P 500 fell 17 points to 2,028. The Nasdaq fell 39 points to 4,665. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 215.

Beachbody Bulks Up in Santa Monica

Santa Monica multilevel marketing firm Beachbody, best known for infomercials selling its exercise and body-sculpting DVD programs Insanity and P90X, is bulking up at the beach.

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Nasty Gal CEO Steps Down

Sophia Amoruso is giving up her official #GirlBoss title. The Nasty Gal founder and author of the book “#GirlBoss,” which details her experience in launching the online fashion retailer, announced Monday that she will be stepping down as chief executive.

MannKind Appoints New CEO as Al Mann Steps Back

MannKind Corp. announced today that its board named Hakan Edstrom chief executive as founder Alfred Mann stepped aside to become executive chairman, the Wall Street Journal reports. Read more about Alfred Mann in the Los Angeles Business Journal.

How Will Oil Affect Earnings Season?

Oil prices tumbled to fresh lows today, trading down 3.5 percent to $46.66 a barrel as major banks continued to cut their forecasts for this year, citing oversupply concerns, the Wall Street Journal reports. Investors are bracing for the effect of collapsing oil prices on fourth-quarter earnings, CNBC reports.

‘Boyhood’, ‘Transparent’ Take Home Golden Globes

At the 2015 Golden Globes, broadcast live from the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Richard Linklater's “Boyhood” won for best motion picture drama and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” won for best comedy, according to the Hollywood Reporter. In Television, Showtime's “The Affair” won for best drama series and Amazon's “Transparent” won best comedy series with its star, Jeffrey Tambor, taking home the best comedy actor trophy for his portrayal of the transgender character Maura as she comes out to her family in Los Angeles.

Kaiser’s Mental Health Workers to Strike in L.A., Woodland Hills

Most of Kaiser Permanente’s 2,600 mental health professionals, who are members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, are expected to start a weeklong strike this morning, with 65 picket lines in West Los Angeles, Woodland Hills, and other locations throughout the state, the Daily News reports. The union alleges that Kaiser does not hire enough clinicians on its behavioral health staff to treat the growing number of patients, in violation of state mandates and industry standards.

Samuel Goldwyn Jr. Dies

Producer Samuel Goldwyn Jr., who was known for giving Julia Roberts her big break in “Mystic Pizza” and for backing budding directors, such as Ang Lee, on their early films, died Friday of congestive heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, the Wrap reports. He was 88.

Downtown Developer Buys Pasadena’s Rialto Theatre

Izek Shomof, a prominent redeveloper of older buildings in downtown Los Angeles, purchased the historic Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena for an undisclosed price and hopes to turn it into an entertainment venue that could include a bar and screenings of old movies, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Cartels Push Heroin

Mexican traffickers are sending more heroin and methamphetamine across the U.S. border instead of marijuana, which is harder to sell now that it is legal or quasi-legal in so many places, the latest drug seizure statistics show, the Washington Post reports.

Beverly Hills Man Pays $2.6 Million for a Penny

At an auction last Thursday, Beverly Hills resident Kevin Lipton spent $2.6 million to acquire the Birch Cent, a penny made in 1792 that is named after its engraver, Robert Birch, the Los Angeles Times reports. It's the most money ever paid for a one-cent piece.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 81 points in Monday morning trading to 17,655. The S&P 500 was down 15 points to 2,030. The Nasdaq was down 33 points to 4,671. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 215.

Tech Vet Changes Focus With Photos co-founder Scott Dudelson exited the company in July after it received a $60 million investment.

Coming to End?

INTERNET: Marketing firm brings in domain vet Page Howe to spread gospel of dot-la to businesses in Los Angeles.

Domain-name vet Page Howe is working to get dot-la to click with local businesses.

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Box-Office Win Had for a Song

film: Low-cost ‘Woods’ may sow seeds for more musicals.

Box-office strength of Disney’s “Into the Woods” could change Hollywood’s tune on producing musicals.

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Exercise Company Bulks Up in Santa Monica

LEASE: Beachbody takes more space in 10-year deal valued at $90 million.

Santa Monica multilevel marketing firm Beachbody, best known for infomercials selling its exercise and body-sculpting DVD programs Insanity and P90X, is bulking up at the beach.

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Insurer to Test TV Boundaries

Why Mercury General’s new TV commercials will air in states it’s not licensed to operate in.

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Carpet Company Rolls Into New Sections, Sector

Manufacturing: Owner of Bentley Mills puts money into producing tile products.

Bentley Mills now has carpet tiles covered after a refocus of its business.

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Divided Diagnosis for Hospital Sale

HEALTH CARE: Daughters backs bidder despite union opposition.

Deal for Daughters of Charity Health System’s hospitals results in second opinion from union.

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Biggest Deals of the Year

Aecom engineers biggest M&A transaction of 2014

The Business Journal provides the how and why of L.A.’s 10 biggest deals of 2014.

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Time to Rethink Political Approach to Problems

Bill Watkins clocks in against elected short-timers guiding California’s long-term future.

Fat Lady Singing?

Stall of tunnel-boring Big Bertha in Seattle raises more questions about drilling under Beverly Hills High.

Stall of Seattle’s subway tunneling gives John A. Mirisch more reasons not to dig plans for L.A.’s Westside.

Backed Up

Backlogs at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach hurt the holiday season for some local companies, which are now struggling with continued delays. So the Business Journal asks:

Do you think ongoing congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will have a lasting negative effect on the local economy?

Bundles of Joy?

Dish’s new Sling offering has Charles Crumpley wondering if L.A.’s television producers face a hazier future.


Upcoming local conventions


Upcoming Local Events

News of the Week

Last week’s major news from and other sources

Maker Studios will be Dish Network’s programming partner for its new online streaming service Sling TV, which targets a young audience of “cord cutters” who don’t hold cable subscriptions.

City of L.A. Expands Piracy War to New Front

ENTERTAINMENT: Filing launches crackdown on use of computer memory cards.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has decided to take music and movie pirates to court.

High-Stakes Divorces Pay Off for Funding Firm

FINANCE: Balance Point’s business came together with focus on acrimonious splits.

When Stacey Napp founded Balance Point Divorce Funding in Beverly Hills six years ago, she couldn’t catch a break. Today, business is booming.

Cleanup Costs Could Be Bitter Pill for Food Giant

DEVELOPMENT: Dole faces exposure from acquisition of homebuilder in 1969.

Dole Food faces eating the partial cost for cleanup of a neighborhood built a company it later aquired.

Storage Business Secures Support for Growth Plan

real estate: Shares of Public Storage rise on analysts’ ratings boost.

Investors lock up shares of Public Storage after upgraded analyst ratings for the sector giant.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Xencor Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company in Monrovia, has entered into a new lease for its 25,000 square feet of office and lab space at 111 W. Lemon St.

Studio Offers Choice in Music Videos

Blind’s interactive process lets viewers control storyline.

Design studio Blind looks to increase bands’ options by giving viewers choose-your-own-adventure videos.

Stars Peddle Autographs, Nostalgia

Hollywood Show event brings fans together with veteran celebs.

Hollywood Show plays matchmaker between stars of yesteryear and autograph collectors.

Website Bids To Track Auctions

PriceRealized looks to keep stats on sports items for collectors. aims to let bidders know the score on the value and history of sports memorabilia.

Positive Signs For Billboards

ADVERTISing: City of L.A. may flatout forgive scofflaws.

ADVERTISING: City of Los Angeles appears ready to sign off on giving a pass to rule-breaking billboards.

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Internet Business Owns Up to Acquisitive Reputation

ONLINE: J2 Global’s pace picks up with closure of eight deals in December.

Internet software and service provider J2 Global picked up its acquisition pace with eight in December.

Friday, January 9

L.A. Launch List: Jan. 9

On this week's list: luxury iPhone 6 cases, a celebrity news podcast and a workflow solution for TV/film set decorators.

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Mehdizadeh to Replace Medbox Execs, Board

Vincent Mehdizadeh, founder and majority shareholder of West Hollywood’s Medbox Inc., notified investors Friday that he will replace the marijuana dispensing company’s board of directors, its chief executive and its chief financial officer.

Kite Pharma, CytRx Among Week’s Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies fell for the week. The weighted LABJ index fell 1 percent to close at 215, with losers outpacing gainers 96 to 58. Seven companies closed the week unchanged.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 171 points in Friday trading to close at 17,737. The S&P 500 fell 17 points to 2,045. The Nasdaq fell 32 points to 4,704. The LABJ Stock Index fell one point to 215.

Tiger Pistol Bangs Out $3.1 Million Raise

Tiger Pistol, an Australian startup that recently relocated its base to Los Angeles, announced it raised $3.1 million late last year to fund its social media marketing platform and further expand into Asia and the United States.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

West L.A. private equity firm Brentwood Associates announced Tuesday that it had acquired Excelligence Learning Corp. in Monterey, which manufactures and sells children’s educational products such as arts and crafts sets to schools and parents. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

French Police Face Two Hostage Situations

Hundreds of French security forces today converged on an industrial park northeast of Paris where Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, the suspects in Wednesday’s attack at magazine Charlie Hebdo, were barricaded with at least one hostage at a printing business, the New York Times reports. French police also responded today to a siege at a kosher supermarket on the eastern edge of the capital where two people had been killed and at least five taken hostage by suspect Amedy Coulibaly, who was believed to have joined the same jihadist group as the Kouachi brothers.

L.A. Snubbed by USOC

The United States Olympic Committee chose Boston to represent the U.S. among the finalists bidding to host the 2024 Olympics, beating out Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, KPCC reports.

Court Rules On-Call Workers Should be Paid for All Hours Spent on Job

The California Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that employees who are on call and are required to stay on the worksite should be paid for all the hours, including those spent sleeping or surfing the internet, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Veterans Agency Ordered to Stop Amphitheater Construction

Extending a court order issued last month, a federal judge on Thursday ordered the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to stop construction on its West Los Angeles campus, ruling that officials had acted “in excess of their authority” by authorizing construction of an amphitheater on the property, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Gov. Brown Plans Record Budget

Gov. Jerry Brown plans to unveil today a record $113 billion state spending plan that gives more money to schools and pays down debt but also rejects the University of California's demand for more money to avert tuition hikes, the Associated Press reports.

Tribune to Redevelop Los Angeles Times Site

Tribune Media announced on Thursday that it wants to redevelop the 1930s Los Angeles Times building in downtown Los Angeles, which the media company owns and the newspaper rents, as well as newer buildings nearby, L.A. Observed reports.

Hollywood Roosevelt Owners to Redevelop Park Plaza

DCGG Park Plaza, the owners of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, have entered into a joint venture with Wilshire Park Plaza, the owner’s of the Park Plaza Hotel that overlooks MacArthur Park in Westlake, buying an interest in the 1925 building and planning to redevelop the property, which has been vacant for years aside from occasional parties or film shoots, Curbed reports.

Rod Taylor Dies at 84

Rod Taylor, the Australian actor who starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” has died in Los Angeles, Bloomberg reports. He was 84.

Bandits in Monkey and Gorilla Masks Steal Sneakers

Two men ﹘ one wearing a gorilla mask, the other wearing a monkey mask ﹘ stole several pairs of Nike shoes from a Los Angeles boutique in the Fairfax District on Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 139 points in Friday morning trading to 17,768. The S&P 500 was down 14 points to 2,049. The Nasdaq was down 27 points to 4,709. The LABJ Stock Index was down one point to 215.

Thursday, January 8

Zealot Networks Acquires Premier Sports & Entertainment

Venice digital media company Zealot Networks has acquired Premier Sports & Entertainment to boost its talent management offerings.

New Trial Results Propel CytRx Shares

CytRx Corp. saw its stock rise 7 percent on Thursday following more good news from clinical trials. The West L.A. biopharmaceutical firm announced positive results from a study of a potential treatment for HIV-related skin cancer. Shares rose 25 cents to close at $3.64.

Labor Unions Take On El Super Grocery Chain

Labor unions in Los Angeles are going head to head with Paramount-based grocery chain El Super, again.

PETA Protests the Return of Foie Gras; Hot’s Kitchen Undeterred

Roughly 20 PETA protestors gathered outside Hot’s Kitchen in Hawthorne on Thursday to protest the return of foie gras to the restaurant’s menu, as well as the chef who cooks it up.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 323 points in Thursday trading to close at 17,908. The S&P 500 rose 36 points to 2,062. The Nasdaq rose 86 points to 4,736. The LABJ Stock Index rose two points to 216.

Work/Life: Robert Blatt

The chief executive of MomentFeed on surfing, leaving San Francisco and refusing to wear a suit.

Robert Blatt, the 54-year-old chairman and chief executive of mobile marketing platform MomentFeed in Santa Monica, has three lively daughters, a surfing addiction and a yoga habit. He’s maintained an active lifestyle throughout the 25 years that he’s worked in senior management positions, employed previously as senior vice president of product development at Ascent Media, vice president and general manager of personal media at AOL and chief executive of Outcome. We spoke with Blatt about how to avoid stress – even when you’re the chief executive of a startup.

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One Suspect Detained as Manhunt Continues in France

French authorities are continuing a manhunt for Said and Chérif Kouachi, brothers suspected of killing 12 people yesterday in a terrorist attack on the office of the newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, the New York Times reports. A third suspect, Hamyd Mourad, 18, turned himself in at a police station in Charleville-Mézières, about 145 miles northeast of Paris.

L.A.’s Office Market: Vacancy Falls, Rents Rise

Growing companies in Los Angeles County increased the demand for office space in the fourth quarter, reducing vacancy by 16 percent as rents increased by 5 percent, suggesting that recovery is finally reaching most of the L.A. area, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Janus Money Came From Brokerage Tied to ‘Bond King’

More than 60 percent of the roughly $1.1 billion raised by Bill Gross for Janus Capital came from a Morgan Stanley wealth management office in La Jolla, which employs one of Gross’s personal financial advisors, sources told the Wall Street Journal.

California Court Leaders Spent ‘Questionable’ $30 million

California's Judicial Council spent $30 million over four years on “questionable” expenses and salaries, leaving less money for cash-strapped trial courts, a state audit said Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Nine People Infected With Measles at Disneyland

At least nine people contracted measles after visiting Disneyland or the adjoining Disney California Adventure Park last month, Bloomberg reports.

Foie Gras Now Legal in California

After taking effect in 2012, California's foie gras ban was officially overturned on Wednesday when a U.S. District Court judge struck down the law, citing the pro-foie gras lobby, CNBC reports.

Energy Plan Could Boost Solar, Wind Industries

Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal this week to significantly boost the amount of energy California derives from renewable sources, a goal he stressed in his inaugural address, could reinvigorate the state's solar and wind industries, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Officials Investigate Giant Snake in Office Toilet

Officials in San Diego are trying determine how an almost six-foot snake wound up in a toilet at an office building, scaring the daylights out of the woman who discovered it, the Associated Press reports.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 305 points in Thursday morning trading to 17,890. The S&P 500 was up 35 points to 2,060. The Nasdaq was up 87 points to 4,737. The LABJ Stock Index was up two points to 216.

Wednesday, January 7

All Day ‘Pics’ Up $2 Million

All Day Media, the company behind the popular HistoryinPics and EarthPix Twitter accounts, has raised $2 million in seed funding.

FDA Panel Approves Rival Neupogen Drug

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Wednesday unanimously recommended the agency approve a “biosimilar” version of Amgen Inc.’s cancer drug Neupogen. The FDA panel concluded that Zarzio, a drug sold by the generic drug division of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis Group, is highly similar to the Thousand Oak’s biopharmaceutical company’s Neupogen.

L.A. City Attorney Targets Memory Card Music Pirate

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced today that his office has filed a civil lawsuit against a man who allegedly peddled over $280,000 in pirated movies, videogames and music in downtown L.A.’s fashion district.

Poll: Is hiring sales reps to sell online ads an outdated way to compete in 2015?

Every week the Los Angeles Business Journal asks readers their views on a variety of business and economic issues. A running tally is available on the site and later will be published in the Commentary section of our print edition. Our latest poll is available on the bottom right column of our home page.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 213 points in Wednesday trading to close at 17,585. The S&P 500 rose 23 points to 2,026. The Nasdaq rose 58 points to 4,650. The LABJ Stock Index rose three points to 214.

Gunmen Kill 12 at Paris Newspaper

A manhunt is underway today in Paris after gunmen with automatic weapons opened fire in the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper, killing 12 people and then escaping in a car, according to police, the New York Times reports. The publication has been attacked in the past for its portrayal of the Prophet Mohammed. The French president, François Hollande, described it as “a terrorist attack, without a doubt.”

MTA Chief to Step Down in April

Art Leahy, the chief executive of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said Tuesday that he would step down in April, when his contract is up for renewal. Metro’s directors have been confidentially reviewing Leahy’s performance for more than six months, and a majority of board members were ready to let his contract expire, sources told the Los Angeles Times.

Eurozone Consumer Prices Drop for First Time Since 2009

Consumer prices in the eurozone fell on an annual basis in December for the first time since the financial crisis more than five years ago, data released today showed. The euro reached a nine-year low in response to the data, the Wall Street Journal reports. If sustained, the fall in prices could mark a significant deterioration in the eurozone’s economic situation.

Monster Sues Beats

Audio-equipment maker Monster sued Apple Inc.’s Beats Electronics, its co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, and Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp. for allegedly conspiring to dupe Monster out of a deal with Santa Monica’s Beats before the company was sold to Apple for $3.2 billion last year, the Wall Street Journal reports. Read more about Beats in the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Debt Keeps Oil Companies Pumping

American oil and gas companies went heavily into debt during the energy boom, increasing their borrowings by 55 percent since 2010, which helps explain why U.S. producers insist on continuing to pump oil, even as crude trades for less than $50 a barrel, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Gov. Jerry Brown Marks Start of Legacy Project

California Gov. Jerry Brown led a ceremony Tuesday in downtown Fresno marking the start of construction on the high-speed rail project, though no ground was literally broken. Instead, Brown and other dignitaries signed pieces of rail tracks and tires, the Fresno Bee reports.

All Clear on the PCH After Caltrans Removes Boulders

Caltrans climbers rappelled 150 feet down the face of a hillside Tuesday to clear loose boulders that has left a nine-mile stretch of Pacific Coast Highway, between Las Posas and Yerba Buena roads, closed since December, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Tail of AirAsia Plane Found in Java Sea

Part of the tail of crashed AirAsia plane has been found in the Java Sea, according to Indonesian searchers, BBC News reports.

Police Recover O.J. Simpson’s Stolen Trophy

Los Angeles police say they have recovered O.J. Simpson's 1968 Heisman Trophy that was stolen from a display case at USC more than 20 years ago, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 137 points in Wednesday trading to 17,509. The S&P 500 was up 17 points to 2,019. The Nasdaq was up 39 points to 4,631. The LABJ Stock Index was up two points to 213.

Tuesday, January 6

Maker Studios Shows on Dish's Sling TV

Dish Network has announced that Maker Studios will be a programming partner for its new online streaming service Sling TV.

L.A. Breaks Tourism Record in 2014

More than 43 million tourists visited Los Angeles County in 2014, the fourth year in a row the county has broken its tourism record, according to figures released Tuesday. Los Angeles International Airport is also expected to report record numbers for the prior year later this month.

Herbalife Continues to Plummet

Herbalife’s stock took a dive on Tuesday for the second consecutive day, indicating more bad news for the embattled Los Angeles nutritional supplement company and more good news for hedge fund manager Bill Ackman.

CytRx Rises on Cancer Drug Trials

CytRx Corp. saw its stock rise 16 percent on Tuesday after the West L.A. biopharmaceutical firm announced positive results from a study of a potential treatment for a form of brain cancer. Shares rose 45 cents to close at $3.30.

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Breitburn Halves Distributions to Shareholders Amid Oil Price Collapse

Rocked by the oil price crash and its own plummeting stock price, Breitburn Energy Partners has sliced its distributions to shareholders by just over 50 percent.

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Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial index fell 130 points in Tuesday trading to close at 17,372. The S&P 500 fell 18 points to 2,003. The Nasdaq fell 60 points to 4,593. The LABJ Stock Index fell three points to 211.

99 Cents Only Chain to Pay $2.3 Million in Waste Disposal Settlement

Discount chain 99 Cents Only Stores of Commerce is opening up its register to pay out more than $2.3 million in penalties to settle a hazardous waste disposal suit brought by more than two dozen county district attorneys and city attorneys throughout the state.

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Feds Intervene in Dispute at Ports of L.A., Long Beach

U.S. mediators agreed to join labor talks at West Coast ports to help revive stalled negotiations between between shippers and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents the port workers, Bloomberg reports.

Oil Prices Continue to Drop

Oil prices continued to slide today, with the price of a barrel falling below $50 in the U.S. after indications that Saudi Arabia was unwilling to cut production to reduce a global surplus, the Wall Street Journal reports.

SpaceX Delays Rocket Launch

SpaceX’s unmanned Falcon rocket was supposed to blast off before sunrise today, but the launch was called off at the very last minute due to motor trouble, KPCC reports. The soonest the launch could take place is Friday.

Inglewood Stadium May Not Bring Rams to L.A.

St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s plan to build a stadium on the site of the Hollywood Park racetrack is not a guarantee that the Rams will come to Los Angeles, nor has it deterred the developers vying for the chance to host a pro football franchise in downtown Los Angeles and City of Industry, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Rams will be weighing the potential Inglewood venue against a counterproposal to keep the team in St. Louis.

CytRx Drug Shows Promise in Brain Cancer Study

West L.A. biopharmaceutical firm CytRx Corp. reported positive results today from a study of a potential treatment for a form of brain cancer, the Wall Street Journal reports. The news sent shares up 42 cents, nearly 15 percent, in early trading.

Prime Healthcare Supporters, Opponents Face Off Over Hospital Sale

Hundreds attended on Monday the first in a series hearings over the proposed sale of six nonprofit Daughters of Charity hospitals to the for-profit firm Prime Healthcare, KPCC reports. Opponents arguing that the sale could lead to service and staff cuts, while supporters said that if the deal doesn’t go through, it could lead to shutdowns.

Charles King to Leave WME and Launch Diverse Content Company

Charles King, one of Hollywood’s most prominent black talent representatives, announced Monday that he is leaving WME to launch Macro, a company focused on content and brands designed to appeal to multicultural audiences, Variety reports.

After Green Light, L.A. Developers Ignore Conditions

Many neighborhood activists complain that once the city gives the green light to developers, the promises they made to community groups and city officials in order to get the go-ahead are overlooked, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Former Regional Water District Manager Fined Over Gifts

Arthur J. Aguilar, a former top staff member at the Commerce-based Central Basin Municipal Water District, has agreed to pay a $30,000 fine for violating conflict-of-interest laws in awarding lucrative contracts, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 91 points in Tuesday morning trading to 17,411. The S&P 500 was down 10 point to 2,010. The Nasdaq was down 36 points to 4,616. The LABJ Stock Index was down one point to 213.

Monday, January 5

J2 Global Makes Eight Acquisitions in One Month

J2 Global has announced it closed eight acquisitions in December as the Internet software and service provider further expands its global reach.

Developers Fight Malibu Measure with Federal Lawsuit

Two property developers on Monday filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Malibu to block a ballot measure voters approved in November to limit chain stores and large commercial projects.

Former Disney Exec to Lead KCET

A former Walt Disney Co. executive was named on Monday as chief executive of KCETLink Media Group, owner of independent public television station KCET.

DreamWorks Names New Animation Chiefs

The producers of two of the most successful film franchises at DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. have been named as co-presidents of feature animation, replacing the former animation chief at the Glendale studio, which has suffered poor box-office results.

Cambrian Buys Majority Stake in Dallas Plant

Downtown L.A.’s Cambrian Energy Development, a landfill gas-to-energy developer, has purchased a majority stake in a Dallas biomethane production facility for $40.6 million.

Stocks Fall

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 331 points in Monday trading to close at 17,502. The S&P 500 fell 38 points to 2,021. The Nasdaq fell 74 points to 4,653. The LABJ Stock Index fell three points to 213.

Rams Owner to Build NFL Stadium in Inglewood

Stan Kroenke, the owner of the St. Louis Rams, plans to build an NFL stadium in Inglewood, the Los Angeles Times reports, potentially paving the way for the league’s return to Los Angeles.

Amgen, Kite Pharma Strike Deal

Thousand Oaks biotechnology company Amgen Inc. and Santa Monica cancer drug developer Kite Pharma Inc. announced today that they entered into a deal to develop and market cancer immunotherapies using Amgen's cancer targets and Kite's technology platform, Reuters reports. Read more about Kite Pharma’s recent endeavors in the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Bullet Train Construction Begins This Week

After two years of court challenges to the project, the California High-Speed Rail Authority will begin construction in Fresno this week on the first 29-mile segment of the $68 billion bullet train, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Gas Prices Rise for First Time in Months

After 92 days of decreases, the average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in Los Angeles County rose eight-tenths of a cent on Friday to $2.65, the Daily News reports.

Sony Hack: North Korea Not Happy About Sanctions

North Korea criticized the United States on Sunday, calling a new set of recently levied economic sanctions, issued in response to the cyberattack on Sony Pictures, repugnant and hostile, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

SpaceX Will Attempt to Land Rocket on Earth

Elon Musk’s SpaceX will send one of its Falcon 9 rockets into orbit on Tuesday and then try to land it, intact, on a barge floating in the Atlantic Ocean, the New York Times reports. The goal is to reduce the waste that occurs when rockets return to the Earth in pieces, their multimillion dollar engines reduced to ocean litter.

Residents’ Lawsuit Seeks to Stop Exit Closure

A group of angry residents calling itself Keep the Barham Ramp Association filed suit against NBCUniversal and Caltrans on New Year’s Eve, alleging that the entities broke state law by inadequately studying the environmental effect of a plan to permanently close the Barham Boulevard exit ramp from the 101 Freeway in order to expand the Universal Studios theme park, the Los Angeles Times reports.

2014 Was Biggest Year for IPOs Since 2010

Investors bought into almost $250 billion in global initial public offerings in 2014, prompting some analysts to question whether investors and start-ups are jumping the gun and potentially overinflating the markets, the New York Times reports.

Euro Hits Nine-Year Low

The euro hit a near nine-year low today after indications that the European Central Bank could launch quantitative easing, Reuters reports.

Pasadena City Manager to be Questioned About Embezzlement

Members of the Pasadena City Council plan to grill City Manager Michael Beck today about the $6.4 million that was allegedly embezzled from a public works fund by a former city employee, asking why the employee was given so much responsibility and authority without supervision, the Pasadena Star News reports.

The Rise of ‘Dead Malls’

Since 2010, more than two dozen enclosed shopping malls have been closed, and an additional 60 are on the brink, according to Green Street Advisors, which tracks the mall industry, the New York Times reports.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 214 points in Monday morning trading to 17,619. The S&P 500 was down 26 points to 2,033. The Nasdaq was down 41 points to 4,686. The LABJ Stock Index was down two points to 214.

News of the Week

The California Department of Public Health has issued an alert after finding “very strong evidence” that an adult film actor became infected with HIV and infected at least one other performer during a Nevada film shoot.

Buyout Talk Gives Shot in Arm to Drug Developer

BIOTECH: Arrowhead’s RNA treatment reportedly draws Gilead’s attention.

Arrowhead Research moves into investors’ bull’s-eye on talk of an acquisition by a larger competitor.

Former Best Western Shores Up Seaside Appeal

RENOVATION: Owner pays $13 million to upgrade look of Redondo Beach Hotel.

The Redondo Beach Hotel has reopened its doors after wrapping up a $13 million facelift.

Russian Emigre Looks to Build on Rubble of Ruble

INVESTMENT: Hedge fund partner sees opportunities in exports, purchasing.

Ilya Kuntsevich left Russia in search of a more lucrative career path in the United States.

Online Vendor Aims to Click In Europe

ESalon launches sites specifically to handle overseas markets.

ESalon heads overseas with websites tailored to sell its hair-color kits in specific Euro markets.

Hotel Raises Curtain on Renovation

London pictures bright future for its high-end screening room.

Hotel London West Hollywood has checked in with a new screening room to attract show-biz events.

Snow Jobs Fall Through

Born and raised in Southern California, Roy Jimenez has never had a “White Christmas.” In fact, he’s never even seen snow fall.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Serviz, an on-demand home-services provider in Sherman Oaks, has received $12.5 million in Series B funding led by Menlo Park’s PointGuard Ventures.

Connecting With Future

SoCal’s ability to compete in business hinges on region’s success in boosting wireless broadband networks.

Jonathan Adelstein sees a boosted broadband infrastructure as a key link to Southern California’s future.

Less Is More

The new year arrives, bringing more opportunities and challenges to L.A.’s business leaders. So the Business Journal asks:

What would L.A.’s business operators most like to see reduced in 2015?

Businesses Should Get In on Arts Act

CEOs could learn from arts organizations on how to stage a successful business, according to Ritch K. Eich.


Upcoming local conventions


Upcoming local events

Fast Track

Banc of California valued SoCal native Steve Sugarman enough to hand him the reins before his 40th birthday.

Youthful CEO Steve Sugarman has led Banc of California into an age of expansion.

Homed In

Bel Air residents head to court to restrict big mansions

Homeowners have united to pull up the welcome mat on new large mansions in Bel Air.

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Outside Box

MANUFACTURING: Avery Dennison looks to stick out with design center to help customers create labels.

Label maker Avery Dennison aims to box up more customers with its downtown L.A. design center.

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Port Delays Sink Importers’ Plans

SHIPPING: Backlogs that bruised holiday sales carry into new year.

Delays at the ports have set sales plans back for manufacturer MegaToys and other importers.

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Drug Firm Eyes Healthy Future

Kite Pharma has reaped another healthy capital investment as it pursues its cancer-fighting therapy.

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Year Ushers Out on Towering Deal in Downtown

REAL ESTATE: $242 million purchase of high-rise seen as proof of market’s strength.

Downtown L.A. deals close on a high note with the $242 million purchase of high-rise KPMG Center.

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Hedge Fund Looks to Capitalize on Peer-to-Peer

FINANCE: Direct Lending commits $250 million to back loans by Biz2Credit.

Hedge fund Direct Lending puts its money on the peer-to-peer practice with a $250 million commitment.

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Who’s Who in Los Angeles Business

Top executives of L.A.’s biggest companies and organizations.

From aerospace/defense to software industries, top executives at L.A.’s biggest companies and organizations.

Vegan Shares His Beef With Cheese

Vromage owner hopes to fill customers with nut-based product.

Vromage hopes to make the cut with vegetarian cheese fans with its nut-based vegan items.

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Disney Grandkids Clash Over Trust, Competence

INVESTMENT: Twins fight over control of fund as large inheritance payout nears.

Walt Disney’s twin grandkids clash over their competence as a large inheritance payout looms.

Future of Sci-Fi Museum Will Hinge on Financing

ENTERTAINMENT: Set of ‘Star Trek’ show found in trash helped launch plan.

Huston Huddleston hopes to beam up the bucks to turn his science-fiction museum into reality.

Friday, January 2

YouTube Stars At Play in Suit

INTERNET: Fullscreen alleges ex-exec tried to poach talent.

Fullscreen’s lawsuit against a former exec spotlights the growing value of YouTube stars.

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Snapchat Closes Out Monster Funding Round

Venice ephemeral messaging app Snapchat closed out 2014 with a monster round of financing.

Ports of L.A., Long Beach May Drastically Cut Number of Overnight Workers

The number of longshore workers called to work overnight at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach may be cut by two-thirds, the latest twist in the months-long contract negotiations between dockworkers and shipping lines at West Coast ports.

Arrowhead, RadNet Among Week’s Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of the largest local public companies fell for the week. The weighted LABJ index fell 1 percent to close at 216, with losers outpacing gainers 86 to 64. Ten companies closed the week unchanged.

Markets Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 10 points in Friday trading to close at 17,833. The S&P 500 fell one point to 2,058. The Nasdaq fell nine points to 4,727. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 216.

Freeze Warning in Effect for Most of Southland

A freeze warning took effect in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational areas and the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys this morning, indicating an expectation of temperatures between 29 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit for two or more consecutive hours, the Daily News reports.

Guilford Glazer Dies at 93

Multimillionaire businessman Guilford Glazer, the entrepreneur who oversaw Torrance's Del Amo Fashion Center, which was once the nation’s largest mall, died last week in his Beverly Hills home, the Daily Breeze reports. He was 93. Read more about Glazer in the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Snapchat Raises $485.6 Million

Venice’s disappearing-message service Snapchat Inc., which was among the few technology startups to attain a valuation of $10 billion or more, ended 2014 with a filing that disclosed it raised $485.6 million, Bloomberg reports.

Pasadena Kicks Off College Football Playoff Semifinals

At the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Thursday, the Oregon Ducks dusted Florida State 59-20, ESPN reports. At the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans later that night, Ohio State beat Alabama 42-35.

California Lawyer Who Inherited Client’s Fortune Used ‘Undue Influence’

A judge ordered California lawyer Carl Dimeff to pay four non-profit groups a total of $4.3 million for using “undue influence” in arranging to inherit money from a mentally unstable client who had originally meant to leave it for charity, Reuters reports.

Box Office Weak in 2014

The box office reached an estimated $10.3 billion in 2014, down about 5 percent from 2013's record of