Review & Preview
Secession News: LAFCO, the state agency charged with studying the secession issue voted to deny a request by the city of Los Angeles to reconsider putting the matter before voters in November. The Local Agency formation Commission also turned down the city’s claim that the $127.1 million annual “alimony” payment from the Valley to the city to compensate L.A. for the breakup should be raised to $299 million. Separately, there were reports that pro- and anti-secession sides have been exploring a compromise plan that involve a boroughs-type remake of the city and no secession vote.
Jeans Buy: Jones Apparel Group Inc. has agreed to pay $310 million for Los Angeles-based RSV Sport Inc., parent of the popular l.e.i. brand of jeans for girls and young women. This year, RSV sales are projected to top $300 million, compared with $248 million in 2001.
Toy Story: Mattel Inc. won a multiyear license to design and make dolls, playsets, plush toys and other products based on the Warner Bros. characters, including Batman and Superman. The El Segundo-based toymaker, which also will produce toys based on Warner Bros. Looney Tunes characters, has the rights to related movies or television shows made during the contract period. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed but the Wall Street Journal, citing people close to the companies, valued the deal at between $200 million and $600 million.
Soccer Depot: Anschutz Entertainment Group announced a 10-year, $70 million agreement with Home Depot for naming rights the National Training Center in Carson. Scheduled to open in June 2003 on the campus of Cal State Dominguez Hills, the $130 million complex will include a 27,000-seat soccer stadium for Philip Anschutz’ Los Angeles Galaxy, a 13,000 seat tennis stadium, a track and field facility and a cycling velodrome.
Hot Power: California’s electric-grid operator ordered some of the state’s largest power users to close offices to prevent system-wide blackouts during a shortage caused by the hot weather. The first Stage 2 emergency in more than a year came as hot weather throughout the West prompted residents to run air conditioners flat out and sent electricity demand close to record levels, reducing the amount that California was able to import from neighboring states. Electricity prices had doubled in the past week after regulators declared a supply shortage and triggered a drop in a price cap imposed by federal regulators.
Saban Plays: Haim Saban, the billionaire L.A. investor, said he’s talking to German media companies and hinted that he may raise his 2.4 billion-euro bid to purchase the assets of Kirch Holding GmbH’s media business. Two German publishers have bid about 2.5 billion euros for Kirch Media GmbH, the film and television business, the Financial Times reported. Last year, Saban and partner News Corp. sold their Fox Family cable network to Walt Disney Co. for $5.2 billion. The network, now called ABC Family, owns rights to Saban’s “Power Rangers” series.
Freeman Closure: Tenet Healthcare Corp. denied that it has failed to meet public outreach and other commitments it made should it close Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital. The state Attorney General’s Office questioned the Santa Barbara-based hospital operator, which has been attacked by health care advocates for the planned closure later this summer. A Tenet spokesman said the company plans to move ahead with the closure as scheduled.
Latin Cinema: The 6th Annual Los Angeles Latino Film Festival kicks off Friday (19th) at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood with a tribute to New York victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. The 10-day festival will include more than 100 feature and short films originating in countries from Argentina to Venezuela.
Gift Season: It happens only twice a year, the California Gift Show, which entices gift store buyers from across the region to the Los Angeles Convention Center. The show, open only to retailers, starts Saturday (20th) and ends July 23. A major event in the giftware and home accessories industry, it is expected to attract 30,000 buyers looking for goods to stock their stores. At the same time the L.A. Mart and the California Market Center in downtown L.A. hold their own gift and home furnishing markets.
City Hall Meet: Members of the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce meet with councilmembers and other city officials on Thursday (18th). Program starts at 8 a.m. at City Council chambers.
Biotech Talk: Fariba Ghodsian, director of healthcare research with Roth Capital LLC, will discuss the current condition of the biotech sector and its future prospects beginning at 1 p.m. Tuesday (16th) at McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant in Beverly Hills in an event sponsored by Coffin Communications Group.
On the Road: The National Association of Recording Industry Professionals is hosting a panel discussion on concert tours starting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday (17th) at the Wyndham Bel Age in West Hollywood. “The Dynamics of Concert Tours” panel includes Brian Murphy, chief operating officer of Clear Channel Entertainment in Los Angeles, and Gary Bongiovanni, editor in chief of the concert industry trade magazine Pollstar. Reservations are required. (818) 769-7007.
Sports Beat: Granted, the season is only a little more than half over but the Dodgers continue to be one of baseball’s surprises this season. They’re at Dodger Stadium this week against the Cardinals (15th and 16th), the Padres (17th and 18th) and the Giants (19th, 20th and 21st). Also this week, the Mercedes-Benz Cup gets under way at UCLA’s Los Angeles Tennis Center, with No. 1 ranked Lleyton Hewitt, last week’s Wimbledon winner, scheduled to appear. And farther afield, Tiger Woods shoots for his third straight major championship this year at the British Open (18th-21st).