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One of Four Marciano Brothers Will Sell Slipping Guess Shares

One of Four Marciano Brothers Will Sell Slipping Guess Shares

WALL STREET WEST

Armand Marciano, one of the four brothers who own a combined 80 percent stake in jeans maker Guess Inc., is putting his 14.9 percent stake in the Los Angeles-based company up for sale.

Last week, Guess said a trust controlled by Marciano, who is on medical leave from his role as senior vice president, has requested that the company register 6.5 million of his shares for sale.

Company officials could not be reached for comment on the sale, valued at more than $35 million.

Marciano recently placed his Beverly Hills villa up for sale for $8.9 million, to move to a newly built home.

Guess, known for its sexy jeans and provocative advertisements that once featured Anna Nicole Smith, has faded in recent years. It restated earnings for the first three quarters of 2000 and reported a net loss of $7.6 million in 2001. Guess posted a net loss of $36.7 million for the first three quarters of 2002, and its stock traded recently at $5.45 a share, down 27.3 percent for the year.

Deborah Belgum

Asian Fun

Most investors would say now is not the best time to go public, but that isn’t stopping Intra-Asia Entertainment Corp., which plans to raise up to $6.5 million in an initial public offering sometime this month.

L.A.-based Intra-Asia manages an amusement park not here but in China. The park, about 270 miles from Beijing and 400 miles from Shanghai, has an annual attendance of about 1.2 million, according to a company filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The filing said Intra-Asia plans to use the money to build an indoor water park, which it hopes will stabilize seasonal fluctuations in its business. The filing also said Intra-Asia plans to expand the park by building new rides and adding dining facilities and merchandising outlets.

Michael Demetrios, Intra-Asia’s chief executive, declined comment, citing the pending offering.

Intra-Asia announced its intention to go public late last year, but has postponed the offering date several times and reduced the size by more than $7 million.

It reported net income of $274,973 for the year ended Dec. 31, 2001, down from $585,225 a year earlier. Revenues were $8.8 million, vs. $8.6 million in 2000.

Under terms of the IPO, Intra-Asia will offer 1 million shares for up to $6.50 each. Intra-Asia is the majority owner and manager of Weifang Fuhua Amusement Park in the City of Weifang, which is in the eastern province of Shandong.

Westpark Capital Inc. is underwriting.

Conor Dougherty

New at Neuberger

Roger B. Palley has left Wells Fargo & Co. for Neuberger Berman Inc. Palley joined the Newport Beach office of New York-based Neuberger late last month as a managing director in the investment firm’s private asset management unit. Palley is managing money in his new role.

This was the second time Palley jumped ship in less than two years. He had a plum position at Wells Fargo, where he headed the bank’s value investment committee as national director of value strategy. The committee controlled $15 billion in assets.

“(Wells Fargo) gave me this opportunity to run their national strategy,” Palley said. “It was a challenge to try and stay in touch” with people around the country, he said.

Almost two years ago, Palley was in talks with Neuberger to acquire Palley-Needelman Asset Management Inc. The talks fell through and Palley joined Wells Fargo a couple of months later.

“I have known principals of (Neuberger) for over 20 years and from time-to-time we have discussed the possibility of opening an office in Orange County and specifically Newport Beach,” he said.

Palley said all of the clients he brought to Wells Fargo would move their accounts to Neuberger. “I have more than 100 clients and between $150 million and $200 million under management,” Palley said. “The next 10 years I want to be at a place where I can have some fun and grow the office.”

Orange County Business Journal

Balancing Act

American Business Bank has raised $7 million in a private placement to existing shareholders and customers. The bank said it raised the money to keep its capital to asset ratio in line with regulatory levels.

“We took a look at our growth prospects for the next two to four years and determined we’d need capital to support that,” said Robert Schack, chairman of American Business Bank in Los Angeles.

American Business Bank, a commercial lender, was founded in 1998 and had assets of $284 million as of Sept. 30, up from $224 million at the end of 2001. The company reported net income of $441,000 for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, up from $266,000 in the like period a year ago.

Conor Dougherty

Dating World

MatchNet PLC, an online dating service, has acquired sole ownership of its Australian operations and acquired the rights to its Australian Web site, domain names and trademarks. MatchNet paid $75,000 to buy out ECAT Development Capital Ltd., an Australian venture capital firm, said Joe Shapira, MatchNet’s chief executive.

“It’s kind of housecleaning,” said Shapira said. “They were supposed to market the Web site and they weren’t doing it, so we decided to take over the property and manage it like we know how.”

MatchNet has about 70 employees and is based in Beverly Hills, though its stock traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The company operates Jdate.com, a popular dating site for Jewish singles, among other dating sites.

MatchNet reported net income of $937,288 for the six months ended June 30, compared with a loss of $6.1 million in the like-year earlier period. Revenues in the first six months were up 83 percent, to $7.8 million.

Conor Dougherty

Briefly

Syncor International Corp. and Cardinal Health Inc. have extended the deadline for their proposed merger to Jan. 15 from Dec. 31. The companies began talks to revise terms of the deal after Woodland Hills-based Syncor disclosed that it had uncovered illegal payments by company officials. Dublin, Ohio-based Cardinal Health agreed to acquire Syncor last June in a stock deal valued at the time at $867 million.

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