Stories for May 2012

Thursday, May 31

Disney Hires Warner Bros. Veteran to Run Film Studio

Walt Disney Co. said that Alan Horn, most recently president and chief operating officer at Warner Bros. Entertainment, has been named chairman of Walt Disney Studios, effective June 11.

SpaceX Dragon Ends Historic Trip to Space Station

Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s Dragon capsule splashed down off the Baja California coast this morning after successfully completing a supply mission to the International Space Station.

Teledyne to Buy Marine Instrument Company

A subsidiary of Teledyne Technologies Inc. plans to acquire a Seattle maker of compact high-resolution acoustic imaging and measurement systems used by the marine industry.

Largest IHOP Franchisee Buys Applebee's Locations

Summit Restaurant Group LLC, the nation’s largest IHOP franchisee, said that an affiliate had acquired 50 franchised Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar restaurants in Florida and the rights to develop additional locations.

Wednesday, May 30

School District Sues to Stop Subway Under Beverly Hills High

The Beverly Hills Unified School District has filed a lawsuit asking a judge to overturn the county transportation agency’s approval of a plan to dig a subway tunnel under Beverly Hills High School.

Leonard Green Closes $6.25 Billion Fund

Leonard Green & Partners L.P. has closed its sixth private equity investment fund, this one funded at $6.25 billion.

Thomas Properties to Make $50 Million Private Placement

Shares of Thomas Properties Group jumped more than 20 percent Wednesday morning after the company said that it will make a private placement of about 8.7 million shares of common stock to institutional investors, priced at a significant premium that will gain the investors a seat on the board.

Activision Signs Toy Licensing Deal

Activision Publishing Inc. has entered into a multi-year global licensing partnership with Mega Brands Inc. to develop toys and puzzles inspired by Activision’s Skylanders Spyro's Adventure video game franchise.

Tuesday, May 29

Qualstar Proxy Battle Escalates

Qualstar Corp. has urged shareholders to reject an effort by its largest institutional shareholder to replace the current board of directors with its own slate.

DineEquity Sells More Restaurants to Franchisees

DineEquity Inc. has agreed to sell 33 company-operated Applebee's restaurants in the Midwest to American Franchise Capital LLC.

SpaceX Signs Rocket Contract with Intelsat

Space Exploration Technologies has signed the first commercial contract for its large Falcon Heavy rocket with satellite services giant Intelsat.

Teledyne to Buy Test Instrument Maker

Teledyne Technologies Inc. said it will acquire test equipment maker LeCroy Corp. in a deal valued at about $291 million.

Monday, May 28

Downtown Neighborhood Homes In on High End

Luxury residences make comeback in L.A.’s South Park.

The first new luxury apartment development since 2008 in downtown L.A.’s South Park neighborhood broke ground last week.

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Disc Maker Has Hope for Future of Flying Saucers

Former competitor looks to find green in golf-like sport.

Maker of throwing discs sees more than just positive spin in future of golf-like sport.

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Calendar of Events

Calendar of Events

Cool Reaction to Solar Panel Tariffs?

Some local firms see benefit in action against China.

Many solar energy companies don’t expect to feel heat from U.S. tariffs on China-made solar panels.

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Competition Grows More Ruff

Pooch Hotel hopes to collar some canine customers despite opening near a pair of rival stores.

China’s Banks May Have Growth Market in L.A.

Local lenders could face competition for Chinese-Americans.

China-owned banks’ expansion plans could squeeze L.A.’s Chinese-American institutions.

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Encore on Cue

Migratory hopes more venues, artists take note of its kiosks that offer concert recordings to fans immediately after shows.

Migratory Music makes concerted effort to launch its kiosks that offer immediate recordings after live shows.

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Relying On Nose For Business

Family raises curtain on scent-dispensing product for shower.

Peter Friis looks to nose his way into your bathroom with his aromatherapy shower attachment.

Fitness Service Gets Heavyweight Partner

Healthcare & Biotech FitOrbit pulls in support and funding from insurer WellPoint.

Fitness guru Jake Steinfeld has scored a significant new corporate partner for his FitOrbit subscription service, which provides people online access to a personal trainer and other fitness and nutrition resources.

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Tighter Focus

Video sites tap niches to take aim at YouTube

Two local video sites rely on a niche focus and social approach to click with users.

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State Ban on Foie Gras Tough to Swallow for Some Chefs

Restaurants hope fans of bird liver flock to farewell deals.

Some local chefs are helping the looming ban on foie gras go down easier by offering special servings of the delicacy.

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Medical Technology Companies Face Dire Prognosis

Charlie Chi diagnoses some big challenges for medical technology companies in the United States.

Making Clean Getaway From Oil

State’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard has helped drive innovative biofuels businesses and create jobs.

The state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard is helping California make a clean break with dirty energy, write Erica Morehouse and Alexander Gershenson.

Maker of Video Game-Based Shows to Aim Higher

Fresh investment for Machinima spurs plan to branch out.

Maker of gamer-targeted online videos Machinima trains its guns on more platforms and markets.

Heated Courtship For Top Lawyers

Rivals rush in to grab high-profile talent from flopped firms.

Collapsed firms can offer rivals their pick of top legal talent and sometimes entry into the tight L.A. market.

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Hanging Out With the Girls

Neferteri Shepherd has had two careers - one as a real estate marketer, the other as a Playboy model.

Green Dot Makes Deals

Wal-Mart, Dollar Tree, PayPal sign with prepaid card firm.

Green Dot Corp., the nation’s largest issuer of prepaid debit cards, announced last week that it has signed deals with several major national retailers that will bolster its already substantial distribution network.

Fortunate L.A.

Los Angeles County is pretty fortunate to still have 14 companies on the Fortune 500 list, Charles Crumpley opines.

Research Firm Makes Move in Mobile

Bovitz expands service in niche with pickup of Resolve.

Market research firm Bovitz in Encino has acquired Resolve Market Research, a mobile-focused research shop in Hollywood. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Retrying Documentary

Granddaughter of Pat Brown finances film with charitable donations.

When Sascha Rice decided almost a decade ago to make a documentary about her grandfather, former California Gov. Pat Brown, she used a lesson from her previous efforts making a romantic comedy: Profits in independent film can be elusive.

New Video Rental Chain Backs Away From Big Box

Small shops planned by Movie Q to rein in expenses.

Point.360 looks to raise the curtain on a chain of scaled-down movie rental shops

Parts Distributor Hopes to Take Off in New Markets

Wesco eyes Asian, high-tech business after Interfast acquisition.

Parts distributor hopes to take wing into Asia and high-tech markets with Interfast acquisition.

Quick Reversal for Owner of Fast-Food Chains?

CKE plans IPO almost two years after company went private.

Burger chain operator CKE seeks some sizzle from IPO almost two years after going private.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Tackling Rugby In America

New owner hopes pro league can score points with fans in U.S.

Grand Prix seeks to get rugby’s ball rolling in the United States with a professional league

Friday, May 25

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed up for the week, even as concerns about Europe’s economy made investors cautious going into the Memorial Day weekend.

SpaceX Dragon Makes Historic Arrival at Space Station

An unmanned Dragon capsule built by Space Exploration Technologies Corp. arrived at the International Space Station on Friday, the first private space craft to do so.

Thursday, May 24

Acquisition Charges Hurt Semtech’s Quarter

Semtech Corp.’s fiscal first-quarter net income plunged 90 percent as the specialty semiconductor maker took charges related to the largest acquisition in its history. But shares rose in after-hours trading Thursday after company provided slightly better-than-expected guidance for the current quarter.

Wesco to Acquire Canadian Aircraft Parts Company

Wesco Aircraft Holdings Inc. has signed an agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Interfast Inc. for more than $130 million.

On Assignment Appoints COO

On Assignment Inc. said that Michael McGowan has been promoted to chief operating officer of the specialty staffing company, effective June 1.

Wednesday, May 23

Cyberdefender to Lay Off Up to 307 Workers

CyberDefender Corp., which is being sold to infomercial marketer Guthy-Renker Corp., has filed its intention to lay off most of its work force.

L.A. City Council Approves Plastic Shopping Bag Ban

Plastic bag manufacturers took a hit Wednesday as the Los Angeles City Council voted to ban single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and other retailers in the city.

Rubicon Project Makes Mobile Acquisition

The online advertising optimization company Rubicon Project announced the acquisition of Mobsmith, a mobile advertising product developer.

Tuesday, May 22

Lower Guess Profit Still Better Than Expected

Guess Inc. shares rose in after-hours trading Tuesday after the apparel company reported better-than-expected first quarter profit and learned that it would have to pay rival Gucci much less than sought in a patent lawsuit.

Florida Company Acquires Audiolife

Audiolife, a Van Nuys startup that provides product fulfillment for the music industry, has been acquired by Alliance Entertainment LLC, a Florida company.

SpaceX Spacecraft Heading to Space Station

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. early Tuesday launched a long-awaited mission to send the first private space craft to the International Space Station.

Machinima Raises $35 Million for Expansion

Machinima, a Los Angeles online video entertainment company targeting computer gamers, said it has raised $35 million in a financing round led by search engine giant Google.

Reznick Group, J.H. Cohn Plan Merger

J.H. Cohn LLP and Reznick Group P.C., two national accounting firms with Los Angeles offices, said that they will merge. The deal is expected to create the nation’s 11th largest accounting firm.

Monday, May 21

SpaceX Reschedules Space Station Run to Tuesday

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. said it will try again tomorrow to send the first private space craft on a cargo run to the International Space Station, after a Saturday launch was scrubbed for technical reasons.

DaVita to Buy HealthCare Partners

DaVita Inc. the nation’s largest operator of dialysis clinics, plans to buy HealthCare Partners, Los Angeles County’s largest operator of physician practices, in a deal valued at more than $4.4 billion.

50 Wealthiest: Charles Munger #37

Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman is giving away some of fortune in twilight years.

Looking to Clean Up in Solar Energy

Company hopes panel makers take shine to its scrubbing robots.

Greenbotics hopes to feel the warmth for its solar panel-cleaning robots.

Finding Out What’s in Store

Clothing manufacturer makes production site into retail shop.

Clothing maker Yellow 108 refashions production site to include retail shop.

Learning From the Books

Parham Nabatian last year read Keith Ferrazzi’s book “Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time.” He was struck by a story in the book about a business support group created by Henry Ford, Roy Firestone and Thomas Edison.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Publisher Gets Good News With Investment Gains

Portfolio of Daily Journal rises under Charles Munger’s guidance.

Daily Journal has been making headlines with healthy returns from its investment portfolio

Bioresin Business Buffeted by Busted Euro Sales

Stock of Cereplast tumbles after extent of fallout revealed.

Stock of bioresin company Cereplast knocked flat by fallout from flopped European deals.

Deals for Rivals Could Work for HR-Focused Firm

Human resources software firm could benefit from acquisition of two rivals by tech giants.

Jeans Maker Buttons Up

Pulling back from South Korea boosts shares of True Religion.

Jeans maker True Religion proves a better fit with investors after hemming in its South Korean business.

Firm Grows Roster of Former Government Officials

Mickey Kantor helps Mayer Brown

Since ending his tenure as California’s attorney general in 1991, John Van de Kamp had worked as an attorney at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP’s downtown L.A. office. But when the New York firm’s financial troubles began making headlines, friends at other law firms reached out to offer him a place to land.

Lightweight Plane Maker Takes Workers Under Wing

Icon boosts employment as it prepares for production of aircraft.

West L.A. startup Icon Aircraft has been hiring over the past few months as it prepares to start producing its lightweight airplanes by the end of the year.

Brick and Mortar Clicks With Technology Vendor

Belkin opens first store to sell computer gear, mobile accessories.

Playa Vista computer hardware manufacturer Belkin International Inc. is working to get a better signal from customers.

News of the Week

Last week’s major news from and other sources

50 Wealthiest: Steven Udvar-Hazy #11

Net worth gained altitude this year along with the fortunes of Air Lease Corp., the company he launched in 2010 and took public in 2011.

50 Wealthiest: A. Jerrold Perenchio #12

Weak capital markets and Perenchio’s philanthropy limited former media mogul’s gains.

50 Wealthiest: Tamara Hughes Gustavson #13

Largest shareholder of self-storage giant Public Storage Co. benefited from rising share price of firm founded by father. New valuation of her vast real estate portfolio also pumped up wealth.

50 Wealthiest: David Murdock #14

The octogenarian produce mogul saw wealth decline as majority stake in Dole Food Co. took stock market hit.

50 Wealthiest: Tom Gores #15

Even in sluggish economy, Gores is realizing value in holdings of his Platinum Equity.

50 Wealthiest: William Barron Hilton #16

Since cashing out of hotel business in 2007, much of wealth has been in funds holding blue-chip stocks, which had single-digit gains

50 Wealthiest: Jeffrey Skoll #18

anadian native made billions from stock grants as first employee of eBay but has been giving away close to $100 million annually in ambitious effort to solve world problems.

Price for Downtown L.A. High-Rise Scrapes Sky

Real Estate: Deal for $240 million by CBRE unit is area’s biggest since 2008.

In what would be the largest sale of a downtown L.A. office building since 2008, CBRE Global Investors, an affiliate of CBRE Group Inc., is under contract to buy a property at 400 S. Hope St. for $240 million, sources told the Business Journal.

50 Wealthiest: Anthony Pritzker #19

In December, Pritzker family concluded 10-year project to break up family fortune, resulting in big payouts for 11 cousins, including Anthony.

50 Wealthiest: Edward Roski Jr. #20

Chairman and chief executive of industrial developer Majestic Realty saw modest recovery in real estate market.

50 Wealthiest: Alec Gores #21

Strong year for private equity boosted fortune of Gores as rising portfolio values helped his Westwood investment firm, Gores Group.

Council Redefines ‘Responsible’


The Los Angeles City Council last week passed a “Responsible Banking” ordinance. Banks will now be required to disclose lending and foreclosure activity in the city if they want to get city business.

50 Wealthiest: Rick Caruso #22

Developer behind Grove and Americana at Brand retail complexes saw healthy appreciation of ultra-Class A retail portfolio.

50 Wealthiest: Andrew & Peggy Cherng #23

Sales of Panda Restaurant Group, No. 3 fast-casual restaurant chain in United States, rose to more than $1.5 billion last year, augmenting co-owners’ net worth.

50 Wealthiest: Elon Musk #24

The multitalented South Africa native joins our list based on 20 percent increase in value of publicly traded electric-car manufacturer Tesla Motors.

Poor Strategy to Tax Wealthy

Oped: Gov. Jerry Brown’s push to raise rates will only drive owners and their businesses out of California.

I recently wrote an open letter to Gov. Jerry Brown regarding his plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest individuals living, working and spending money in California.

50 Wealthiest: David Whitmire Hearst Jr. #25

Grandson of legendary publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst shares in family trusts, most notably controlling stake in private media conglomerate Hearst Corp. Company benefiting from recovery in advertising.

‘Security’ Comes at Steep Price


Visiting a downtown Los Angeles high-rise recently, I was reminded of the extraordinary steps many such buildings have taken since 9/11 to provide security.

50 Wealthiest: Stewart & Lynda Resnick #26

Performance varied across Resnicks’ diverse agricultural and retail empire, which saw a rebound in floral industry while pomegranate juice struggled to compete against coconut water and other specialty drinks.

50 Wealthiest: John Tu #27

Computer memory-chip maker saw wealth recede from all-time high as sales at his Kingston Technology Co. fell 35 percent to $4.3 billion due to lower memory prices.

50 Wealthiest: Gary Michelson #28

Spinal surgeon and medical device inventor’s wealth built on more than $1.3 billion patent settlement from Medtronic for surgery innovations.

50 Wealthiest: George Joseph #29

Founder of Mercury General saw wealth appreciate as insurer’s stock performed well. Continues to benefit from hefty annual dividends.

50 Wealthiest: Bruce Karsh #30

Oaktree Capital Group president earned $73 million from asset management firm’s recent IPO.

50 Wealthiest: Howard Marks #31

Oaktree Capital Group had weak IPO but firm co-founder still benefited, with shares valued at roughly $900 million.

50 Wealthiest: Alan Casden #32

Bitter, high-profile breakup with former partner Cerberus Capital Management has both shaken and shed harsh light on Casden’s finances.

50 Wealthiest: Michael Milken #33

Former Wall Street financier saw drop in shares of online school operator K12, which is facing criticism of its educational standards.

50 Wealthiest: Neil Kadisha #34

Former Qualcomm board member saw fortunes rise along with those of San Diego telecom giant.

50 Wealthiest: Thomas Barrack Jr. #35

Not a great year for the private-equity titan. His Colony Capital saw hefty stake in European retailer Carrefour lose half its value, while holdings in Accor hotel brand are also down.

50 Wealthiest: Marc Nathanson #36

Diversified but conservative investments that include stocks, commodities, real estate, and oil and gas limited partnerships were up about 10 percent in the past year.

50 Wealthiest: Michael Eisner #38

Former Disney chief believed to still have majority of fortune in Mouse House stock, which made healthy gains.

50 Wealthiest: Frank McCourt #39

It may be tough for fans to swallow, but L.A. Dodgers’ historic $2.15 billion sales price catapults McCourt back on list even after accounting for huge divorce settlement, banker and attorney fees, taxes and debt.

50 Wealthiest: John Shea #40

Value of family company J.F. Shea Co. rebounded along with stock prices of rival public homebuilders.

50 Wealthiest: Lowell Milken #41

Shares of online school operator K12, in which he holds large stake with brother, Michael, have dropped amid criticism of company.

50 Wealthiest: Frederick ‘Ted’ Field #42

Field’s Radar Pictures didn’t release any films this year, but has invested in more than a half-dozen, including upcoming sequel “Chronicles of Riddick” and thriller “Havana Heat.” Has yet to see returns.

50 Wealthiest: Jeffrey Katzenberg #43

DreamWorks Animation boss saw stake in studio lose one-third of value as profit nose-dived.

50 Wealthiest: Robert Maguire #44

Veteran developer took some hits. Maguire is underwater on his most valuable property, 900-acre Solana business park in Texas, and has yet to benefit from natural gas partnership in state’s Barnett Shale field.

50 Wealthiest: Aubrey Chernick #45

National Center for Crisis and Continuity Coordination, the secretive Canadian entrepreneur’s security company, likely saw minimal growth given budget constraints on military and public safety customers.

50 Wealthiest: Ray Irani #46

Despite $50 million compensation package, chairman of Occidental Petroleum saw his net worth decline as company’s falling share price took its toll.

50 Wealthiest: Robert Day Jr. #47

Quiet year for founder of downtown L.A. money management firm TCW Group, which saw average fund fall more than 2 percent.

50 Wealthiest: Peter Lowy #48

Value of mall magnate’s shares in family-founded Westfield Group and Westfield Retail Trust spinoff were up slightly.

50 Wealthiest: Jerry Bruckheimer #49

King of blockbusters reappears on list after one-year absence following fourth installment of “Pirates of the Caribbean” series that generated $1 billion-plus at worldwide box office.

50 Wealthiest: James Cameron #50

“Avatar” director joins the list based on his estimated $350 million take from the film that redefined 3-D.

Oil Firm Digs In For Drilling Fight

Oxy to battle activists over Dominguez Hills project.

Occidental gears up to punch a hole in activist opposition to company’s planned oil drilling in Dominguez Hills.

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Brazil Acquisition To Crack Market?

Tetra Tech hopes to mine growing economy.

Tetra Tech looks to acquisitions to get business picking up in Brazil.

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Santa Monica Developers Rush to Get Line on Expo Stations

Mixed-use and residential projects targeted at stops.

Developers are making tracks to build projects around future Expo Line stops in Santa Monica.

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Algae Firm Dives Into Deals but Revenue Trickles In

OriginOil relies on investors as it develops oil-producing technology.

Algae-to-oil company OriginOil has piled up partnerships but has generated little revenue.

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Studios Seek Extended Run for Online Talk Shows

Producers switch to longer content to draw viewers and ad dollars.

Long-form talk shows are having their say as producers pursue online viewers and ad dollars

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50 Wealthiest: Patrick Soon-Shiong #1

SPECIAL SECTION: Wealthiest Angelenos 2012

For the fourth consecutive year, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is atop the Business Journal's Wealthiest Angelenos list,

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L.A.’s Part-Time Billionaires

SPECIAL SECTION: Wealthiest Angelenos 2012 They don’t live in L.A. but invest in our companies, influence the economy and own some of the priciest real estate.

For many wealthy business people, Los Angeles is a nice place to visit, but they wouldn’t want to live here.

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SPECIAL SECTION: Wealthiest Angelenos 2012

Some of the nation’s wealthiest residents have significant business interests in Los Angeles, but not their primary residence.

Pulling Up Roots

SPECIAL SECTION: Wealthiest Angelenos 2012 - L.A. Hair care mogul Talks about moving to Texas

Hair care billionaire and Texas resident John Paul DeJoria says keeping his business in L.A. is a “family” issue.

Marginal Returns

SPECIAL SECTION: Wealthiest Angelenos 2012 - L.A.’s wealthiest residents saw their fortunes sway with the stock market this year. In the end, they reaped some ‘small’ million-dollar gains.

L.A.’s wealthiest saw modest gains after years of wild swings.

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50 Wealthiest: Kirk Kerkorian #3

SPECIAL SECTION: Wealthiest Angelenos 2012

Sold off nearly $500 million of MGM Resorts International stock, but still holds 91 million shares, which fell.

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50 Wealthiest: Eli Broad #2

SPECIAL SECTION: Wealthiest Angelenos 2012

L.A.’s most prominent philanthropist and civic leader saw across-the-board appreciation in diversified investment portfolio.

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50 Wealthiest: David Geffen #4

SPECIAL SECTION: Wealthiest Angelenos 2012

The richest man in Hollywood is presumed to have gained from large bond and real estate holdings, despite loss in value of DreamWorks Animation shares.

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50 Wealthiest: Ron Burkle #5

SPECIAL SECTION: Wealthiest Angelenos 2012

Self-made supermarket mogul continues to diversify with more than $7 billion in global holdings through L.A. investment company Yucaipa Cos.

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50 Wealthiest: Sumner Redstone #6

SPECIAL SECTION: Wealthiest Angelenos 2012

CBS stock has risen substantially over year, increasing value of his 45 million shares by $400 million, but his 41 million Viacom shares went down, tempering gains.

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50 Wealthiest: Do Won ‘Don’ & Jin Sook Chang #7

SPECIAL SECTION: Wealthiest Angelenos 2012

Fortune of Forever 21 co-owners Do Won and Jin Sook Chang sharply boosted by $700-million plus leap in sales at fast-fashion company, thanks to aggressive expansion strategy during the downturn.

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50 Wealthiest: Haim Saban #8

SPECIAL SECTION: Wealthiest Angelenos 2012

Wealth took a write-down due to lower value of Univision, which Saban and partners bought for $13.7 billion in 2007.

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50 Wealthiest: Steven Spielberg #9

SPECIAL SECTION: Wealthiest Angelenos 2012

Declining value of 5.2 million DreamWorks Animation shares shaved a bit off legendary director’s fortune, but handsome residuals and new projects more than made up the difference.

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50 Wealthiest: Donald Sterling #10

SPECIAL SECTION: Wealthiest Angelenos 2012

Mega apartment owner had banner year along with L.A. Clippers basketball team, now estimated to be worth $500 million or more.

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50 Wealthiest: Marion Anderson & Family #17

SPECIAL SECTION: Wealthiest Angelenos 2012

After July death of John Anderson, the Business Journal is keeping wife Marion and family on list at last year’s valuation, pending more information about ownership stakes in Topa Equities, the clan’s L.A. holding company.

Getting Food to Go With Web

ChowNow sets up eateries to serve up online takeout orders.

ChowNow’s online service helps eateries get a line on takeout customers.

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Fit for Framing?

Instacanvas reformats Instagram photos into large-scale art to be hung in buyers’ homes.

Instacanvas co-founders take shot at turning Instagram photos into art for the home.

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Friday, May 18

Signatures Submitted for Health Insurance Rate Initiative

Proponents of an initiative that would give California regulators the power to regulate health insurance rates submitted 800,000 voter signatures on Friday in hopes of qualifying the measure for the November ballot.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed down for the week as concerns about Europe’s economy sent the markets lower during the week.

Unemployment Rate Improves but L.A. Loses Jobs

Los Angeles County’s unemployment rate dipped to 11.6 percent in April, but the county lost 7,000 payroll jobs, according to state figures.

Power-One Shares Fall on Downgrade

Shares of Power-One Inc. fell nearly 9 percent Friday morning following an analyst’s downgrade.

Thursday, May 17

CKE Files for IPO

Fast-food restaurant operator CKE Inc., which was taken private about two years ago, has filed with regulators to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering.

Western Asset Mortgage Capital Shares Fall After IPO

Shares of Western Asset Mortgage Capital Corp. fell in their first day of trading on Thursday, after the real estate investment trust initial raised $160 million in its initial public offering.

Kythera Files for IPO

Kythera Biopharmaceutical Inc., which is developing prescription treatments for the aesthetic market, has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise up to $86 million in an initial public offering.

Wednesday, May 16

‘Hunger Games’ Boosts Hot Topic’s Quarter

Like “Twilight” before it, merchandise tied to the hit film “Hunger Games,” turned Hot Topic Inc. to a profit in first quarter.

Skechers to Pay $45 Million in Deceptive Advertising Case

Skechers USA Inc. has agreed to pay about $45 million to settle charges by federal and state regulators that the company made overhyped advertising claims that its Shape-ups shoes would help people lose weight and tone muscles faster.

Tuesday, May 15

Council Passes Bank Disclosure Rules

The Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance requiring banks that do business in the city to disclose their lending practices to communities.

L.A. Port Sees Strong April Activity

April saw a boom in cargo traffic at the Port of Los Angeles, with nearly 15 percent more goods passing through than the same month a year ago.

CytRx Plans Reverse Stock Split

Cancer drug developer CytRx Corp. announced a reverse split of its common stock that should help the company become compliant with Nasdaq listing requirements.

Monday, May 14

Hudson Pacific Properties to Sell Stock, Buy Buildings

Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. said that it plans to buy two office-retail complexes in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The deals will be financed as part of an offering of 10 million shares of stock.

Cereplast Signs Receivables Deal with Indian Firm

Shares of Cereplast Inc. jumped 18 percent on Monday after the bioplastics company announced a deal with an Indian firm that will distribute products now in the hands of European customers that haven’t paid their bills.

Kennedy Wilson Acquires Sacramento Apartment Community

Kennedy Wilson and partners have acquired an apartment community in Sacramento in a $64 million deal.

News of the Week

Last week’s major news from and other sources

Real Deal

Triptrotting aims to provide authentic cultural experiences by lining up volunteer hosts in foreign countries.

Triptrotting aims to get real by providing vacations that deliver authentic cultural experiences.

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Clerks Might Pull Plug on Internet

Labor fight over tracking cargo could tie up ports.

Clerk union’s fight to pull plug on online tracking of cargo could lock up ports.

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Dodgers Neighbors Beginning to Score

Team’s new ownership inspires developers.

New Dodgers ownership a hit with stadium neighbors looking to swing sales and development deals.

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Lingerie Company No Longer Conceals Problems

Frederick’s of Hollywood hires adviser to pursue possible sale.

Frederick’s of Hollywood sheds inhibition about nakedly pursuing a buyer.

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Charting Medical Course

Retired doctor serves as consultant advising patients on treatments.

Retired doctor’s advocacy service speaks to patients looking to navigate medical process.

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Hollywood Might Have New Starring Roll for Pedicabs

Local leaders gear up to launch program.

Parking lot operator peddles plan for pedicabs to hit the streets of Hollywood.

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Gaining Ground

CEO Bill McMorrow looks to expand Kennedy-Wilson’s real estate holdings with moves into the United Kingdom.

Kennedy-Wilson’s Bill McMorrow credits the structure that comes with being raised in a large family for his work ethic and discipline.

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Rising Bids

‘Storage Wars’ stokes interest in wholesaler’s auctioned goods

Wholesaler says storage-unit reality shows have unlocked interest in bidding for his palettes of goods.

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Data Bank - Calendar

Calendar of events

Chilling Out With Some Booze

SnoBar’s ice cream and frozen treats put alcohol in deep freeze.

SnoBar hopes drinkers are willing to chill out with its alcoholic ice cream and frozen treats.

Charity Got Down To Business

Mission’s panel event pulled in former president of Mexico.

Small charity’s first business panel scores big-name speaker: former Mexican President Vicente Fox.

Patently Elite Group

With more than 45 inventions to his credit, Kumar Patel joined an exclusive club this month when he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Regional Reports

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Concert Company Seeks Jolt From Electronic Music

Live Nation acquisition to add electronic music to the concert company’s circuit.

Hotel Company Talks Turkey in Global Expansion

Viceroy checks into Europe with Istanbul, Bodrum outposts.

Viceroy Hotel Group has no reservations about opening a five-star resort in Turkey.

Maker of Solar Film Seeks Warmer Reception in Asia

Biosolar pursues overseas partnerships as domestic industry falters.

Cooling domestic market spurs maker of solar panel film to seek Asian partners.

Couple of L.A. Institutions Clash Over Buyout Offer

First California rejects PacWest bid, may consider other suitors.

First California signals it’s ready to play the field after spurning suitor PacWest.

Wal-Mart Hits Opposition While Stepping Into Stores

Foes in Burbank and L.A.’s Chinatown try to trip up retailer’s strategy.

Wal-Mart’s strategy to move into existing stores has courted a lawsuit from opponents in Burbank and challenges in L.A.’s Chinatown.

Local Firm Links Up Overseas to Score Customer

Trio of agencies to plug computer parts website

Pollack PR Marketing Group in Century City has won a major account by partnering with agencies in France and England.

New Parent to Close West L.A. Office of Online Bank

Capital One to shutter ING Direct, end indirect mortgage loans.

Three months after it received regulatory approval to buy ING Direct USA, Capital One Financial Corp. confirmed that it plans to close the online bank’s West L.A. office and lay off about 280 employees.

Long Beach Port Looks to Take Plunge on New HQ

Officials eye eight sites of various sizes for move-in later this year.

Property negotiators for the Port of Long Beach are looking at eight office buildings that could become the port’s new headquarters later this year.

TV Station Owner Sees Picture Improve for Deals

New Vision sells 17 properties, plans big market acquisitions.

When L.A. broadcast company New Vision Television sold 17 TV stations last week, it was evidence of an improving outlook for local TV markets.

Only the Good Drop Out

COMMENT – Charles Crumpley worries about the shortage of business-friendly mayoral candidates now that Austin Beutner’s dropped out.

Latinos Should Give Philanthropy Some Thought

Within the next 10 years, Los Angeles will see one of the single largest transfers of wealth of any major metropolitan area in the country, according to a new report by the California Community Foundation.

Time and Time Again

Proposal to make Measure R tax permanent would give transportation officials a ‘Forever Blank Check.’

John Mirisch wants time to expire on a plan to convert Measure R’s levy into a “Forever Tax.”

Investment Firm Sold on San Pedro Retail Center

ACQUISITION: Park Plaza taken by First Washington in $62 million deal.

A 200,000-square-foot San Pedro retail complex known as Park Plaza was the first shopping center to trade hands this year when it sold for $62 million last month.

Data Bank - Conventions


Friday, May 11

Platinum Equity to Buy Part of Caterpillar’s Logistics Business

Platinum Equity LLC has agreed to acquire a 65 percent stake in Caterpillar Logistics Services LLC, the third-party logistics division of Caterpillar Inc., for about $750 million.

Caruso Named Ernst & Young LLP Master Entrepreneur of the Year

Ernst & Young LLP said that Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso will receive the 2012 Master Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Greater Los Angeles.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies declined for the week as the woes in the nation’s finance sector dragged down Wall Street for the second straight week.

LegalZoom Files for IPO, which provides online legal services, has filed with regulators to raise up to $120 million in an initial public offering.

Thursday, May 10

Forecast Sees Pick Up in L.A. Job Growth

Job growth in Los Angeles County and the region should pick up this year and accelerate next year, according to a forecast released by California State University Long Beach.

Tutor Perini Wins Contract to Build Arizona Indian Casino

An Arizona Indian community has selected Perini Building Company Inc. to develop and construct a new $135 million casino and resort hotel at the tribe’s Vee Quiva Casino near Phoenix.

Wednesday, May 9

Qualstar Appoints CEO

Qualstar Corp. has appointed Lawrence D. Firestone as chief executive officer and president. He will succeed William J. Gervais, who is retiring next month.

First California Rejects PacWest Buyout Offer

First California Financial Group Inc. has turned down an offer to be acquired by Century City’s PacWest Bancorp for $212 million in stock.

CBRE’s CEO to Retire

CBRE Group Inc. announced that Chief Executive Brett White would retire at the end of the year. He will be succeeded by the company's president, Robert Sulentic.

Live Nation Buys British Concert Promoter

Live Nation Entertainment Inc. announced the acquisition of Cream Holdings Ltd., a British promoter of live electronic music events.

Tuesday, May 8

Beutner Drops Out of L.A. Mayor's Race

Austin Beutner, the businessman-turned-jobs czar, dropped out of the L.A. Mayor’s race on Tuesday.

Disney’s Quarter Beats Expectations

The Walt Disney Co. said that its fiscal second-quarter profit jumped 21 percent, with stronger revenue from its theme parks and pay TV networks offsetting losses at the film studio unit.

Burbank Sued to Stop Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is facing a new roadblock in its effort to open a store in Burbank, with three residents filing a lawsuit to force the city to conduct an environmental impact report.

Wesco Aircraft Lowers Guidance After Profit Falls

Shares of Wesco Aircraft Holdings Inc. fell more than 15 percent Tuesday morning, a day after the aircraft parts provider reported a drop in fiscal second-quarter profit and lowered its full-year guidance.

Latin American Growth Drives Higher DirecTV Profit

DirecTV Inc.’s first quarter profit rose 8.5 percent, as better-than-expected subscriber growth in Latin America more than offset lower-than-expected growth in the United States.

Monday, May 7

PennyMac Announces 10-Million Share Offering

PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust said late Monday that it will offer 10 million common shares in an underwritten public offering.

American States Water’s Quarter Beats Expectations

American States Water Co. reported first quarter revenue and profit that beat Wall Street forecasts.

Frederick's of Hollywood to Explore Strategic Alternatives

Frederick's of Hollywood Group Inc. has retained New York investment bank Allen & Co. to assist the directors in evaluating strategic alternatives that could include a sale or merger of the company.

Ixia to Buy Competitor

Ixia said that it will buy Anue Systems Inc. for $145 million in cash.

Slow Business Chipped Away at Mexican Eatery

Parent company Real Mex closes Acapulco restaurant in Westwood.

Margarita Mondays came to an end in Westwood Village near UCLA when the Acapulco Mexican Restaurant and Cantina there closed its doors for good after 33 years.

News of the Week

Last week’s major news from and other sources

Shaking It Up

Theater chain hopes to make move on rivals with motion seats

Regency Theatres looks to raise the curtain on the “fourth dimension” with seats that vibrate or move in sync with on-screen action.

Tease photo

Twenty in Their Twenties

From the co-founders of a social planning startup to the creator of an online service that helps family members take care of the elderly, the Business Journal spotlights young entrepreneurs getting a jump on the working world.

Twenties: Fei Xiao & Anna Sergeeva


Twenties: Jorian Goes

Ticket Snipers

Twenties: Tanner Martty & Luke Sniewski

Leaf Lifestyle Inc.

Twenties: Tim Sae Koo


Twenties: Meridith Valiando & Chris Rojas


Twenties: Jonathan Shriftman & Jake Medwell

Solé Bicycles

Twenties: Ryan Morris

Salute the Brave

Twenties: Kelley Coughlan & Jenn Deese

Melrose PR

Twenties: Daniel Pourbaba

SoCal Student Mattress

Twenties: Zach Schau, Austin Stoffers, Jordan Schau, Michael Fishman

Pure Fix Cycles

Twenties: Eran Weinberg


Talent Agency Scores Callback in Beverly Hills


As Beverly Hills and Los Angeles fight over keeping businesses within their city limits, United Talent Agency Inc. has struck a clever deal.

P-Word Hangs Over Herbalife

COMMENT – Charles Crumpley doesn’t think it’s healthy for Herbalife to stay with its multilevel marketing arrangement

Meetings Could Mean Business for L.A.

TOURISM – Meetings are a cornerstone of the travel industry

Plowed Under by Subway

Commentary: Metro continues to ignore outside

Let’s set the record straight: The city of Beverly Hills enthusiastically supports the Westside subway extension.

Rolling Dice on Gambling

Commentary: Proposed bill on gaming industry

California is hurting. Each month we see new and painful reminders that our economy – both at the state and local level – is faltering.

Homebuilder’s Shares Raise Roof With Investors

Investors throw out welcome mat for shares of resurgent homebuilder Ryland.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities across Los Angeles County

Still Making Waves

Few people publish their autobiographies when they’re 90. But that’s exactly what John B. Kilroy Sr. is doing.

Social Media May Hold The Answer

Carnac app is just one way firm plans to tap Johnny Carson library.

MediaMine channels Johnny Carson’s TV episodes into social media offerings.

Bringing Internet to Your Door

Craigslist competitor Hipswap offers buyers $5 same-day delivery.

Online marketplace Hipswap hopes its delivery service hits home with potential customers.

Shoppers Not Sold on ‘Made in U.S.A.’?

Low-cost TV maker’s label fails to fuel sales.

TV maker turns to China for assembly after its ‘Made in U.S.’ sets get poor reception from consumers.

Drawn-Out Death of Gross Receipts Tax Disappoints Business

Business groups back city of L.A.’s phase-out of gross receipts levy, but don’t like the 15-year timetable.

Developer Homes In On West Hollywood

Monarch’s two projects add to apartment boom.

Developer Monarch doubles down on West Hollywood bet with two mixed-use projects. It’s the latest in an ongoing boomlet in that area.

Technology Hookups

Group arranges events for entrepreneurs to find co-founders.

Group holds events to forge co-founder connections for local startups.

Yogurt Chain Looks to Indian Culture for Growth

Yogurt chain Pinkberry looks to scoop up sales by swooping into India.

Online Ad Company Reaches Improved Earnings

ReachLocal’s stock climbs on foreign growth, added revenue.

ReachLocal clicks with Wall Street as online ad company’s stock soars.

Parking Lot Company Battles Downtown Eviction

Two downtown L.A. operators clash over parking lots.

'Wildest Police Videos' Ready to Hit Road Again

Online video proves boon, burden to revival of former Fox reality show.

The last time a new episode of “World’s Wildest Police Videos” hit the air on Fox in 2001, the show had no real competition from Internet videos and for a time it was one of the broadcast network’s highest-rated shows.

Questions, Answers

Mention Mobile founder’s shot-in-the-dark e-mail to Mark Cuban results in billionaire’s backing.

Mention Mobile’s biggest score so far has been signing up billionaire Mark Cuban as an investor.

Twenties: Brent Freeman

Friday, May 4

Electric Delivery Van Maker Plans L.A. Assembly Plant

A Colorado start-up plans to assemble electric delivery vans in Los Angeles, joining several other electric-vehicle makers in the city.

Long Beach 'Living Wage' Backers File Signatures for November Ballot

Backers of a proposal for a “living wage” on major hotels in Long Beach filed more than 31,000 signatures on Friday to qualify their measure for the November ballot.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed down for the week, as worries about private-sector hiring trends triggered a late-week decline.

Physicians Formula’s Quarter Beat Wall Street Forecasts

Shares of Physicians Formula Holdings Inc. jumped 22 percent on Friday, a day after the cosmetics company reported first-quarter profit that significantly beat analysts’ expectations. The company also raised its full-year guidance.

Wednesday, May 2

‘Puss’ Boosts DreamWorks Animation’s Quarter

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. said that its first-quarter profit rose slightly, largely driven by home video and overseas theatrical revenue from its hit movie “Puss In Boots.”

True Religion’s Quarter Beats Wall Street’s Forecast

Shares of True Religion Apparel Inc. rose 6 percent Wednesday morning after the apparel company said its first-quarter profit rose nearly 16 percent and announced it would start paying a quarterly dividend.

Tuesday, May 1

Dodgers Sale to Magic Johnson Group Completed

The $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers to Guggenheim Baseball Management, a group that includes former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson, was completed today, the team announced.

Jacobs’s Quarter Misses Expectations

Shares of Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. fell 5 percent on Tuesday after the company reported fiscal second-quarter profit and revenue that missed Wall Street forecasts and trimmed its full-year guidance.

Kodak Theater Now Dolby Theater; Oscars to Remain

The Kodak Theatre will be renamed Dolby Theatre and the Academy Awards show will continue to be held there for the next 20 years, under agreements announced Tuesday by the owner of the Hollywood & Highland Center.

Herbalife Shares Plunge on Outlook, Analyst’s Questions

Herbalife Ltd. reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as it sold more products across all its regions. But shares plummeted 20 percent Tuesday after the company forecast second-quarter earnings below estimates and a noted hedge fund investor questioned some of the company’s disclosures.

L.A. Tourism Board Chief to Retire

Mark S. Liberman, president and chief executive of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, announced that he plans to retire by the end of the year.

DineEquity’s Quarterly Profit Rises on Lower Costs

Shares of DineEquity Inc. jumped more than 10 percent Tuesday morning after the restaurant operator said first-quarter profit rose 6 percent as the company benefited from lower interest expenses and impairment charges.