Stories for January 2006

Tuesday, January 31

Countrywide Says It Could Go Shopping

Countrywide Financial Corp. CEO Angelo Mozilo this morning told analysts that the company would consider possible acquisitions to take advantage of an expected consolidation in the mortgage industry.

Image Entertainment and Capital Sports & Entertainment distributing Austin City Limits Music Festival

Image Entertainment, Inc., a Chatsworth-based independent licensee, producer and distributor of home entertainment programming has announced plans to license and distribute the 2005 Austin City Limits Music Festival on DVD and CD with Capital Sports & Ent

Monday, January 30

Investment Banking Firm Buys Stonecutter

Xnergy LLC, a Century City-based boutique investment banking firm, announced that it has acquired the Stonecutter Group, a Santa Clarita-based management and finance consulting firm.

Designs on Technology

Moorpark-based firm uses proprietary software to make the homebuilding

Blue Shield Pulls Out of Providence Facilities

Jonathan D. Colburn reports that Blue Shield will no longer

Semiconductor Firm Moving To Michigan

Advanced Photonix Inc. is moving its corporate headquarters from Camarillo

Home Health Firms Watch Developments in Overtime Case

Home health care businesses in the Valley are nervously waiting to see how the federal court system will address an important question of overtime pay for home health care workers.

NAI to Open in Valencia

NAI Capital has opened a Valencia office, the 14th for the Encino-based commercial real estate brokerage.

Newsrack Removal, At Last, Getting Underway

I fought for nearly three years to get a city ordinance on the books to clean up the blight of masses of unsightly, disorganized newsracks cluttering streets and sidewalks.

Stable Business Plans

A newly energized community of horse lovers is buying up the ranches in the Valley, refurbishing the stables and the trails and thwarting efforts to develop the region further.

Playing Hard

Prior to becoming the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Calabasas Hills-based video game publisher THQ Inc., Brian Farrell had never been the CEO of a major corporation, as most of the former CPA's time in the business world had been on t

Family Business Center Needs Help From Family Businesses

The California State University, Northridge, Family Business Center is at a crossroads. But with all our help I think it can choose the right path to follow.

First Quarter Results for Optical Communication Products, Inc.

Optical Communication Products, Inc., a Woodland Hills-based manufacturer of fiber optic subsystems and modules reported their first quarter results for the period ending December 31, 2005. The fiscal year ends September 20, 2006.

Apartment Rental Rates Increase 5.1 Percent Across Valley

Senior Reporter Shelly Garcia reports that apartment rental

CPAs Flock to Meetings on New Tax Code

Professional tax preparers by the hundreds are going to city-sponsored meetings where this year's changes in L.A's Business tax code are being explained.

Slowed by U.S. Automakers, Superior Refocuses Strategy

Amid hard times by its major client, the U.S. auto industry, Superior Industries refocuses.

As World Gets More Visual, Attorneys Turn to Multimedia

Attorneys are finding that they need more visual tools when they enter a courtroom.

Xirrus Gets Funding, Announces Deals

Westlake Village-based wireless networking company Xirrus Inc., has announced that it has received venture funding and a new major OEM agreement for the firm.

Unlike Other Media Firms, Vivid Chooses Both HD Formats

Adult industry powerhouse Vivid Entertainment has picked sides in the war between the rival next generation DVD formats, Blu-ray and HD-DVD: both.

High School Classroom Turns Into Business Laboratory

Students at Chatsworth High set up a business.

Ovrom: City Needs to Make Building Easier

The L.A. mayor's office says the city needs to work on making it easier

DIC Undertaking Global Strategy in Acquisition Spree

DIC Entertainment is on the prowl for acquisitions as it attempts to diversify into a multimedia company.

Officials Will Try To Help Victims Of Bank Layoffs

Valley economic officials are planning to meet with Washington Mutual executives

Be Resolute in Helping Valley Business

January is the month to take stock of how we fared in 2005 (pretty darn good in our Valley, according to the San Fernando Valley Research Center at CSUN and others), and to delude ourselves about how well our businesses will do in 2006.

Merchants Jittery as Changes Speed Up in NoHo District

NoHo Arts District merchants fear gentrification will bring demise of

Local Health Insurers Battle Medicare Program Woes

Locally based health insurers grapple internally with the huge number of problems associated with the rollout of the new Medicare drug plan.

Wal-Mart Supercenters Unit Set To Open in Santa Clarita

Wal-Mart plans to open new Supercenters unit in Santa Clarita this week.

Friday, January 27

New Director Appointed at Qualstar

Stanley W. Corker was appointed a position on the Board of Directors at Qualstar Corp., a manufacturer of automated tape storage solutions in Simi Valley. Due to the death of Jose M. Miyer last October, Mr. Corker the open position the Board. He will also

Pfizer Approval Could Pave Way for MannKind

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved the first version of inhalable insulin called "Exubera," which was developed by Pfizer Inc. along with Sanofi-Aventis and Nektar Therapeutics.

Thursday, January 26

Development of 26 New IHOP Restaurants in Works

IHOP Corp., the family owned restaurant chain headquartered in Glendale, has announced agreements during the fourth-quarter of 2005 for its franchisees to build 19 new IHOP restaurants over the next five-and-a-half years. Developments are planned for Colo

Digital Insight Corp. Contracted by Arizona State Savings & Credit Union

Digital Insight Corp., Calabasas-based online banking provider, will be providing its consumer Internet Banking and Bill Payment and Presentment to Arizona State Savings & Credit Union, the largest state-chartered federally insured credit union in Arizona

Amgen Profit Rises in Fourth Quarter

Amgen Inc., the leading global biotechnology company, released their fourth-quarter results Thursday, reporting a 20 percent increase in profit. The company earned $824 million, or 66 cents per share compared with $689 million, or 53 cents a share, a year

Wednesday, January 25

St. Jude Shares Drop in the Fourth-Quarter

After reports of a 96 percent drop in the fourth-quarter profit, shares of St. Jude Medical Inc., a heart device maker, dropped $3.27, 6.1 percent. The shares closed at $50.03 on the New York Stock Exchange.

WellPoint Triples Income for Fourth-Quarter

Leading national health insurer, WellPoint Inc. more than tripled its income in the fourth quarter and membership growth as a result of Anthem Inc. acquiring WellPoint Health Networks Inc. in 2004.

Tuesday, January 24

Amgen Investing in Manufacturing, R & D; and Commercial Operation Expansion

Amgen, a lead global biotechnology company, revealed plans to expand their commercial operations by investing in additional manufacturing and R & D; operation in the United States and Europe.

Ixia in Agreement to Purchase Test Tool Product Line of Dilithium Network

Ixia, leading, global provider of IP network testing solutions announced it is in agreement with Dilithium Networks to purchase their mobile video and multimedia test product lines for $5.1 million in cash. The acquisition of the product lines is expecte

Walt Disney to Purchase Pixar Animation Studios for $7.4 Billion

The Walt Disney Co. is buying Pixar Animation Studios for $7.4 Billion. Pixar produced "Toy Story" and "Finding Nemo", and has been partners with Disney for the past 12 years.

Monday, January 23

Paula Madison Named One of Most Powerful Women in Black Enterprise Magazine

Paula Madison, KNBC President & General Manager and NBC/Telemundo Los Angeles Regional General Manager, was named one of the top 50 most powerful women in business by Black Enterprise magazine.

Thursday, January 19

Valley Architects to Honor Julius Shulman at Annual Banquet

This Saturday, the San Fernando Valley Chapter of the American Institute of Architects will celebrate a year of its members' achievements, and will honor architectural photographer Julius Shulman.

Bert Boeckman Named Auto Dealer Association President

The California Motor Car Dealers Association has announced that Bert Boeckmann is the 2006 chairman of CMCDA. Boeckmann is the president of Galpin Ford in North Hills. In addition, CMCDA installed four new directors at their recent board of directors meet

WaMu to Move 1,000 Jobs Out of Valley

Washington Mutual Inc. has told 1,000 of its Chatsworth call-center workers that their jobs will be moved to San Antonio and Costa Rica, in an attempt to cut costs.

Monday, January 16

Spanish a Required Subject At Many Valley Companies

More companies pushing knowledge of Spanish by supervisors

Customized Training Courses Offered at Local Colleges

Local community colleges customize many different job training courses for companies.

Federal Budget Changes Worry Officials at ONEgeneration

Federal budget changes are worrying officials at ONEgeneration adult day care services.

Services Set for Steve Shuken

Memorial services will be held on Thursday, Jan. 19 for Steve Shuken, founder and president of the Vista Automotive Group of dealerships.

Westlake Residents Voice Objections to Lowe's Project

Westlake Village residents slam a proposed Lowe's retail project at a hearing to discuss the environmental impact report.

Second Investor Gets Involved in Hospital Sale

The new owner of Sherman Oaks Hospital sells facility then leases it back.

L.A.'s New Planning Director Leaves Some Good References

Senior Reporter Shelly Garcia talks to L.A.'s new chief planner and gets a read on whether she's up for the job.

Hotels Face Expensive Challenges to Attract Guests

Hotels face challenges depsite increases in rates, occupancy.

Wal-Mart Pulls Out of Northridge

Wal-Mart has withdrawn its application to build a store at Nordhoff Street and Tampa Avenue in Northridge, according to city officials and the area's neighborhood council.

Mission College Plans Rankle Homeowners

Elements of Mission College's expansion plans come under fire from nearby homeowners.

Firms Hook Up to Courses

Job training programs are plentiful in the Valley, but not all company executives know they are available.

Jewish Home Center Nears Completion

A new center is nearing completion at Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging as another capital campaign is readied.

Founder Goes Full Time on Tech Site, Plans Expansion

Jeff Weiss reports that the founder of a popular technology Web site plans expansion of the brand.

Shoe Pavilion Headquarters Moves to Valley

Shoe Pavilion moves its headquarters to Sherman Oaks.

There Are 8 Exit Strategies for Owners - But Know the Steps

Eight exit strategies for business owners

Purchase of Taiwanese Firm Boosts Diodes Product Line

Diodes Inc. caps year of growth with acquisition of Taiwanese firm.

"Bioconvergence" Seen as Benefitting Area

The trend toward "bioconvergence" is expected to benefit Ventura County according to a nationally known economist.

Empire Center Purchased for $160 Million

The Burbank Empire Center, considered a trophy property in that city, is purchased for $160 million.

Discount Strategy Wins Holiday Race

Retailers who had an early discount strategy did better over rivals this holiday season.

Thursday, January 12

Guitar Center Reports Sales Increases

Sales at Guitar Center Inc. rose nearly 20 percent to $562 million on a consolidated basis for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, the company said.

Tuesday, January 10

Blue Cross Launches New Vision Plan

Blue Cross of California announced it is offering Blue View Vision to small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and large businesses with up to 4,999 employees.

IHOP Same Store Sales Up in Fourth Quarter

Glendale-based IHOP Corp. said that sales in stores open for at least a year were up 5.4 percent, as traffic and the average bill both increased. For the year ended Dec. 31 it reported a 2.9 percent increase in same-store sales.

Thursday, January 5

Health Net to Purchase Universal Care in Long Beach

Health Net announced on Thursday that it has agreed to purchase the assets of Universal Care Inc., a health care company based in Long Beach.

Shoe Pavilion Sales Increase

Shoe Pavilion Inc. today reported comparable store net sales for the 13 weeks ended Dec. 31 rose 5.5 percent.

Judi Rose Leaving Economic Alliance

Judi Rose, Director of Resource Development for the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley, announced Thursday she was leaving the organization to pursue other opportunities.

Wednesday, January 4

State Farm Wants to Cut $500 Million in Rates

State Farm Insurance Co. is looking to

Monday, January 2

Consumers, Housing Hold Keys to Economic Future

Slow and steady are the two words best describing the Valley-area economy in the new year.

City Council Plays Hardball With Housing Developers

City Council vote on Warner Center may signal new tough attitude toward developers at city hall.

On the Front Page: It was a Year of Changes for Valley Firms

A look at 2005 month by month.

Valley Advocate

Bob Scott, the new chairman of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, will try to help local businesses better compete in a global economy.

Jobs Picture is Bright Spot as Area Greets New Year

Job growth is expected to be good in several industries locally in 2006.

VEDC Chief Won't Fill Lending Position Because of Cutbacks

The head of the Valley Economic Development Center will not fill the open director of lending position at the agency due to budget cutbacks.

In Their Own Words: Experts Talk About Local Economy

Experts talk about the new year locally

VICA's Herman Resigns for Non-Profit Post

Bonny Herman, longtime head of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, resigns.

Health Insurers Finally Settle Long-Standing Class Action Suits

Jonathan D. Colburn reports on the major developments locally in the health care industry in 2005.

Studios Forced to Face Reality From All Sides

Jeff Weiss reports on the Valley-based studios' struggle to confront technology in 2005.

Discount Shopper

Access Purchasing Network is in the business of saving other companies money.

Looking Ahead at Key Valley Business Sectors

Breakouts on Valley industry sectors.

Firms to Watch: Companies on the Move as Year Begins

Firms to watch in the new year.

Mission Valley Starting New Lending Unit

Young Mission Valley Bank has established a new lending division headed up by the former lending chief of the Valley Economic Development Center.