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News of the Week

AUDITOR OUT: American Apparel said Deloitte & Touche had resigned as the company’s independent public accounting firm. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, American Apparel said that Deloitte had found “material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting” and told American Apparel management about the problem. “Deloitte advised the company that certain information has come to Deloitte’s attention, that if further investigated may materially impact the reliability of either its previously issued audit report or the underlying consolidated financial statements for the year ended Dec. 31, 2009.” American Apparel hired Marcum LLP as the company’s independent auditor.

TERM LIMITS: A rare partnership between the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor qualified term-limits reform for state legislators on the February 2012 ballot. The initiative would reduce the time lawmakers can serve in Sacramento from 14 years to 12, but they could serve all 12 in either house of the Legislature. Currently, lawmakers can only serve six years in the Assembly and eight in the Senate.

NOMINEE NAMED: Michael LoGrande is Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s nominee to become the new city of Los Angeles planning director. LoGrande has 13 years working in the city’s Planning Department and is currently head of the zoning administration office. LoGrande said he plans to fulfill Villaraigosa’s promise to update community plans and bring a higher level of transparency to the development process.

EATERIES GO: DineEquity Inc. said it will sell 63 company-operated Applebee’s restaurants to its largest franchisee for $32 million in order to reduce debt. The Glendale operator of the Applebee’s and IHOP chains said the restaurants being sold to Apple American Group LLC are in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Apple American, based in Independence, Ohio, now owns and operates 206 Applebee’s restaurants in California and eight other states. “This transaction furthers our strategic objective of transitioning Applebee’s into a more highly franchised restaurant system over time,” Chief Executive Julia Stewart said in a statement.

PIZZA SALE: The New York Post has reported that a private equity firm was in advanced negotiations to buy the California Pizza Kitchen chain. The Post said American Securities Capital Partners was working to borrow money to fund the takeover, although “the price could not be learned and talks could still fall apart.” The takeover sent the stock to $20, the first time it had reached that level since April, when the L.A.-based chain of 260 eateries announced its interest in finding a buyer.

RATE CUT: L.A.-based Farmers Group will cut rates and issue rebates totaling $100 million to auto insurance policyholders, based on a settlement between the insurer and state regulators. Farmers Insurance Exchange customers will receive a one-time rebate of about $50 per vehicle, for a total payout of about $32 million. Farmers Insurance Exchange customers will also receive rate cuts of about 15 percent. The deal brings Farmers Insurance Exchange into compliance with California Department of Insurance auto rating regulations.

DISNEY BUY: Walt Disney Co. in Burbank announced it will acquire Playdom, an online social game creator based in Mountain View. Disney will pay $563 million plus a performance earn-out of up to $200 million. Playdom has 42 million active players each month on games such as Social City, Sorority Life, Market Street and Bola. Disney’s strategy is to use Playdom’s game with characters from Disney, Marvel, ABC TV and ESPN productions.

SUGAR NAMED: Thousand Oaks biotech giant Amgen Inc. has named former Northrop Grumman Chief Executive Ronald Sugar to its board. Sugar, 61, headed the defense contractor from 2003 to 2009. Sugar will serve on the board’s compensation and management development committee and the governance and nominating committee.

PAYOLA CASE: Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications has paid $1 million to settle charges that it gave money to radio stations to get songs played. The practice, known as “payola” in the radio industry, involved songs published by the company’s music division, which it sold to Universal Music in 2008. Univision executives made the illegal payments in cash or to foreign bank accounts.

EARNINGS: Avery Dennison reported net income of $84 million compared with $40 million a year earlier. Revenue was up 16 percent to $1.68 billion. … Cheesecake Factory reported net income of $19.2 million, compared with $16.6 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 3 percent to almost $419 million. … City National Corp. reported net income of $41.3 million, compared with $1.3 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 39 percent to $304 million. … Wilshire Bancorp reported a $4.6 million loss, compared with net income of $12.8 million a year ago. … East West Bancorp reported net income of $36.3 million, compared with a loss of $92.1 million last year. … Nara Bancorp reported a loss of $16.9 million, compared with a loss of $7.1 million a year ago. … Occidental Petroleum reported net income of $1.1 billion, compared with $682 million a year earlier. … Jacobs Engineering Group reported net income of $19 million, compared with $94.9 million a year earlier. Revenue declined 7 percent to $2.51 billion. … Hanmi Financial Corp. reported a loss of $29.3 million or 57 cents per share, compared with a loss of $9.5 million in the same quarter a year ago.

CORRECTIONS

In a July 26 article headlined “Pet Project Unleashed Nationwide,” the cost for Zoom Room’s dog agility training was incorrect. A six-week series is $150.

• • •

In the July 19 issue, the “People” section interview with Ahmed Enany, chief executive of Southern California Biomedical Council, incorrectly stated the council had a part-time staff. The council now has one full-time employee in addition to Enany.

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