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Review

February 21-27

Earnings News: Edison International, parent of Southern California Edison, reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $24 million, compared with net income of $2.2 billion for the like period a year ago. The most recent loss included charges at a power plant unit and write-offs of airplane leases while the year-ago income figure included a large gain from a settlement with the California Public Utilities Commission. Revenue for the Rosemead-based energy company was $2.5 billion, down from $2.9 billion. Korn/Ferry International reported a third-quarter loss of $2.6 million, compared with a loss of $7.2 million for the like period a year ago. Revenue for the Los Angeles-based executive search firm fell 13 percent, to $80.7 million. IHOP Corp. reported fourth-quarter net income of $11.9 million, compared with $11.6 million for the like period a year ago. Revenue for the Glendale-based operator of International House of Pancakes restaurants rose to $107.4 million from $90.4 million. Guess Inc. reported a fourth-quarter loss of $4.6 million, compared with net income of $1.4 million for the like period a year ago. Revenue for the Los Angeles-based apparel company fell 8.7 percent, to $167.4 million.

Growth Projection: Amgen Inc. said annual sales might grow by as much as 32 percent through 2005, largely due to demand for Enbrel, an anti-inflammatory drug, as well as medications to treat anemia and chemotherapy-related infections. The Thousand Oaks-based biotech company also said per share earnings would grow by 25 percent to 27 percent annually.

Purchase Approved: Univision Communications Inc. said it received approval from regulators in the acquisition of Hispanic Broadcasting if it reduces a stake in another media company. The Department of Justice asked L.A.-based Univision to lower its 27 percent stake in Santa Monica-based Entravision Communications Corp. to less than 15 percent within three years and 10 percent at the end of six years. Entravision’s radio stations compete with Dallas-based Hispanic Broadcasting.

Fast Track: L.A. Mayor James Hahn’s plan for a $10 billion overhaul of Los Angeles International Airport received a major boost last Thursday (27th) from the Bush Administration. Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta named the airport plan as one of 13 major infrastructure projects across the nation to be placed on a priority list for expedited environmental review. Mineta chairs a Cabinet-level task force that will review the projects; the task force also includes the secretaries of defense, interior and commerce, and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Reality Wins: News Corp.’s Fox network claimed victory in the February sweeps by drawing the biggest audiences in the coveted 18-49 age bracket much of it based on the success of reality shows “American Idol” and “Joe Millionaire.” It was the first time Fox finished first in sweeps. NBC, after 11 consecutive sweeps wins in the 18-49 bracket, placed second and CBS was third.

Global News: IDT Corp. was prepared to submit a late bid to acquire Global Crossing out of bankruptcy for $255 million, slightly higher than the $250 bid from Hutchison Whampoa and Singapore Technologies Telemedia that has been approved by a judge overseeing the company’s bankruptcy filing. Newark, N.J.-based IDT provides international long-distance service and is known for buying the assets of distressed telecom properties. Meanwhile, Bloomberg News reported that the U.S. government demanded assurances that the Hutchison deal would not compromise national security.

At the Pump: Gasoline prices continued to edge higher, reaching $2 a gallon and more at many stations in Los Angeles. As of last week, pump prices in California average $1.922, up 17 cents from two weeks earlier. The nationwide average was $1.658.

Preview

March 3-9

Wiesel Talk: Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and winner of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize, will headline the Distinguished Speaker Series on Monday (3rd) at Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Program begins at 8 p.m. Individual tickets range from $30-$50. For information: 626-449-7360.

Election Day: Voters in several L.A. County cities go to the polls on Tuesday (4th) to decide council races, school board contests, utility tax increases and other measures. In the Los Angeles, seven City Council seats are up for election, including the hotly contested primary for the 14th Council District between incumbent Nick Pacheco and challenger Antonio Villaraigosa. Meanwhile, Los Angeles Unified School District board member David Tokofsky fights for his political life against a trio of candidates, including one backed by former Mayor Richard Riordan and billionaire Eli Broad.

Furniture Salute: L.A. Mayor James Hahn and City Councilwoman Jan Perry are on hand Wednesday (5th) from noon to 1 p.m. to launch downtown’s Furniture & Decorative Arts District in the lobby of the L.A. Mart (1933 South Broadway).

Interior Design Fete: Thousands of commercial interior designers, architects and office managers are expected to attend Neocon West on Wednesday and Thursday (5th-6th) at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The two-day event spotlights commercial interior design. For information: 312-527-4141.

Economic Indicators: Busy week for government data, starting with the February national jobless numbers due out on Friday (7th). Unemployment in January fell to 5.7 percent from 6 percent the month before, but economists suspect that January might have been anomalous. Also this week is personal spending and personal income on Monday (3rd).

Awards Season: This week it’s the Writers Guild of America Awards on Saturday (8th) at the Beverly Hilton. Ceremonies get underway at 7 p.m. That same night is the 34th annual NAACP Image Awards at the Universal Amphitheatre (and airing on the 13th on Fox). On Sunday (9th), the Screen Actors Guild has its awards ceremony at the Shrine Exposition Center.

SUV Chat: Political maverick Arianna Huffington discusses corporate greed and SUVs in a lecture on Tuesday (4th) at the Skirball Cultural Center in a program presented by the Writers Bloc. Reservations required. For information: 310-335-0917.

Sports Beat: An important home stretch for the Lakers. They play Indiana on Wednesday (5th), Minnesota on Friday (7th) and Philadelphia on Sunday (9th). The Clippers are home on Monday (3rd) against New Orleans. The Kings are home on Tuesday (4th) against Anaheim, Thursday (6th) against Edmonton and Saturday (8th) against Montreal.

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