Stories for December 2012

Friday, December 28

Kennedy Wilson Buys Van Nuys Property

Real estate investment trust Kennedy Wilson Holdings Inc. purchased a Van Nuys office building from Jamison Services Inc. as part of a $78.5 million three-property deal, the company said Friday.

Thursday, December 27

Hobbit Reaches $500 Million in Global Box Office

The Warner Bros. movie “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” has earned more than $500 million in worldwide box office.

Health Net Terminates Six Tenet Hospital Contracts

Health Net Inc. announced that its subsidiaries have terminated agreements with all six of Tenet Healthcare Corp.’s Southern California hospitals after the two companies failed to renegotiate reimbursement rates.

LBI Media Restructures Debt

LBI Media Holdings Inc., the parent company of Spanish-language station KRCA-TV (Channel 62) in Burbank, announced plans to refinance its debt based on private exchanges approved by note holders.

Wednesday, December 26

Henry’s Tacos Still Cooking

Two longtime patrons are seeking to buy Henry’s Tacos, a Studio City landmark that was expected to close Dec. 31, allowing the stand to remain open for at least 10 more days in January.

Winnie the Pooh, Star Wars Boost Disney

Walt Disney Co. got its second piece of good news over the holidays when a federal appeals court upheld its trademarks surrounding Winnie-the-Pooh and the other popular characters in British author A. A. Milne’s books.

Monday, December 24

Politicians and the Christmas Spirit

VICA has a wish for St. Nick. Elected officials should put personal gain behind solving real problems.

As the year comes to a close, it is time to pause and reflect on what we would like for the upcoming year.

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Firm Predicts Success No Matter How Wind Blows

Wind: Camarillo startup is making wind turbines that can be mounted on roofs.

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VALLEY BIZ SEEN - December 24, 2012

Photographs of recent business-related events in the valleys, including parties, awards dinners, benefits and other celebrations.

In the Rough

Contractor in dispute with city faces eviction.

Golf: The operator of hitting range and pro shop at the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area faces eviction by the city.

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Editorial Cartoon - December 24, 2012

This week's Editorial Cartoon by Steve Greenberg

Taking a Seat and Breaking the Glass Ceiling

According to the latest 2020 Women on Boards Gender Diversity Index of Fortune 1000 companies, women hold only 15.6 percent of the boardroom seats of America’s largest public companies.

Photo Essay: Best Pictures of the Year

When It Clicks

Best Pictures of the Year: Photos by DAVID SPRAGUE and THOMAS WASPER

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Wells Fargo Banks on Solar Power

BANKS: Wells Fargo installs solar panels on branch roofs.

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Flexible Solar-Panel Maker Squeezes into Market

Solar: Valley company spins off developer of spray-on photovoltaic technology.

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Rays of Light

Local alternative energy firms are starting to shine despite a cloudy outlook for incentives.

Main: Local alternative energy firms are starting to heat up despite challenges.

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Playing Defense

Second-generation Northrop employee Mike Jones directs the plant where the B-2 bomber and other legendary aircraft were made.

Q&A: One-on-one with Northrop Grumman’s Mike Jones.

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Local Couple Keeps Tabs on Parenting Title

Publishing: Woodland Hills firm buys L.A. Parent from Virginia company.

PUBLISHING: Valley publisher buys L.A. Parent magazine in first acquisition.

Investors Easily Swallow Amgen Drug Charges

Biotech: Shares of firm barely fall despite criminal penalty related to Aranesp.

BIOTECH: Amgen pays $762 million fine for illegally marketing an anemia drug.

THQ Aims Its Sights on Quick Chapter 11 Exit

Video Games: Santa Monica private equity firm makes $60 million offer for assets.

Video Games: Video game maker THQ is in Chapter 11 but already drawing interest from buyers.

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Hands On Strategy

Apparel: Mechanix Wear extends its reach into niche markets like other local rivals.

APPAREL: Valencia glove manufacturer partners with print company to make camouflage gloves for hunters.

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Last Stand For Historical Taco Spot?

Battle with landlord could mean end for 51-year-old Henry’s.

FOOD: Studio City taco shop to close causing outpouring of support.

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Luxury Gets Behind Wheel In T.O.

O’Gara Coach to fill former Chevy lot with Bentleys and Rolls.

LUXURY: New Bentley and Rolls Royce dealership opens in Thousand Oaks.

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Road Runs Back To Automotive

Ex-Petersen Publishing employee now to steer car museum’s PR.

MUSEUM: Local PR exec comes full circle with his representation of the Petersen Automotive Museum.

Printer Fudges a Lot For Holidays

G-2 annually cooks up chocolate confections as treat for clients.

Printing: G2 Graphic Services has a charming tradition of 43 years: making fudge for clients.

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Special Report: Alternative Energy

Rays of Light

Some make windmills.

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Local Shares Dodge Down Economy

Stocks: Walt Disney, others surprise with standout gains in turbulent year.

STOCKS: Local companies surprise investors in what was supposed to be a down year.

Post House Girds For Data Deluge

DIGITAL: Burbank firm invests $12 million in new building.

DIGITAL: Visual Data Media Services spent $11 million on its Burbank facility to handle comingwave of digital data.

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Japanese Firm Gets on Track

Rail: Kinkisharyo looks at Palmdale space for factory.

Rail: Japan’s Kinkisharyo International is looking to establish a rail car factory in Palmdale, where it would build MTA cars.

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Market Watch Summary

Stocks were up across the board for the two-week period ended Dec. 19.

One Industry That Just Won’t Go

I wasn’t surprised when the adult film industry threatened this month to file a lawsuit to block implementation of Measure B.

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Around the Valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley area

Channel Islands Aviation added a Cessna Citation CJ3 jet to its charter fleet flying out of the Camarillo Airport.

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Valley Health Insurer Shapes Up With Exchange

Insurance: SeeChange starts private platform as it readies for ObamaCare.

While state and federal officials work to establish a health insurance exchange, SeeChange Health LLC thinks there’s room in the market for an alternative.

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Fixed-Base Operator on Board with Customs

Flight: Signature leads effort to bring U.S. agents back to Van Nuys Airport.

Representatives of Signature Flight Support, Van Nuys Airport and U.S. Customs and Border Protection met this month to finalize the return of customs agents to the San Fernando Valley airport.

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Santa Hitches Charter Ride on Van Nuys Chopper

Charity: Group 3 donates helicopter ride to MEND event in lieu of cash.

Santa Claus goes by a lot of names: Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, Pere Noel, to name a few.

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Blackstone Makes Reservations at the Hilton

Transaction: New York private equity firm buys Glendale’s biggest lodge.

New York private equity firm Blackstone Group LP has acquired the largest hotel in Glendale after foreclosing on the previous owners, adding to its growing property investment in the city.

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Friday, December 21

H2Scan Signs Sales Deal for Hydrogen Detection Gear

H2Scan Corp. announced that its hydrogen detection equipment will be incorporated into monitoring systems made by Parker Hannifin Corp. based on an agreement between the two companies.

Valley Cities Beat State Average in Unemployment Report

November unemployment figures show the economy in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Conejo valleys are doing better than the state average, while the Antelope Valley lags.

Thursday, December 20

Valley Investment Adviser Indicted on Fraud Charges

A former San Fernando Valley investment adviser was scheduled to appear in Los Angeles federal court Thursday on charges of scamming investors of $3.75 million.

IPC Purchases St. Louis Critical Care Group

IPC The Hospitalist Co. Inc. has purchased a critical care doctors group in St. Louis, the latest in a string of acquisitions this year.

Glendale REIT Buys Texas Buildings

PS Business Parks Inc. has purchased three multitenant flex buildings in Austin for $14.9 million.

Wednesday, December 19

Kythera Announces Lock-up of Shares

Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc. announced Tuesday that it is releasing a lock-up restriction on more than 7,500 of its shares in order to make a donation to a nonprofit.

THQ Files for Bankruptcy, Plans for Sale

Shares in video game developer THQ Inc. plummeted on Wednesday after the Agoura Hills-based company filed for voluntary bankruptcy protection.

Tuesday, December 18

LTC Acquires Six Properties

LTC Properties Inc., a real estate investment trust that owns long-term care and health care facilities, announced on Tuesday that it is purchasing six additional properties for $94 million.

Amgen Pleads Guilty, Pays $762 Million in Penalties

Amgen Inc. will pay $762 million after it accepted criminal liability on Tuesday to illegally marketing its anemia drug Aranesp.

Hulu Grows Revenue 65 Percent

Online video service Hulu expects its revenue will increase by 65 percent this year when its books close, a rise attributed to more advertisers and subscribers of its Hulu Plus premium service.

Monday, December 17

Glendale Startup Sold to Azusa Firm

ClimateMinder, a Glendale startup that has developed a wireless crop-monitoring system, was sold to Azusa irrigation company Rainbird Corp. for an undisclosed sum.

Apollo Reports Third Quarter Loss

Warrant costs and higher administrative expenses pushed Apollo Medical Holdings Inc. to a loss in its fiscal third quarter, according to a regulatory filing Monday.

Friday, December 14

Helinet Buys Aerial Camera Company

Helinet Aviation Services has acquired a New Zealand company that makes camera systems to shoot aerial footage in the ultra-high definition format

Amgen Names Eckert to Board of Directors

Robert Eckert, the former Mattel Inc. chief executive who successfully grew sales at the El Segundo toy giant but stumbled in litigation against a competitor, has been named to Amgen Inc.’s board.

CrowdGather Reports Another Loss

CrowdGather Inc. reported a continuing quarterly loss, but management said it expects the company to do better as its new online advertising network starts to bring in revenue.

Thursday, December 13

Amgen Announces $2 Billion Share Buyback, Ups Dividend

Amgen Inc. said Thursday it will increase its dividend 31 percent for the first quarter of 2013 while also buying back $2 billion in shares

EPA Finds Excessive Radiation at Boeing Site

The site of a nuclear reactor in the Santa Susana Mountains that partially melted down more than 50 years ago has soil radiation that exceeds standard limits, according to new data released by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Developer of Cochlear Implant Dies

Dr. William F. House, an ear specialist who helped develop and promote a radically new hearing aid technology commercialized by Valencia’s Advanced Bionics and other companies, has died. He was 89

ReachLocal to Buy Back More Shares

Internet advertising company ReachLocal announced on Thursday a $6 million expansion of its share buyback program.

Wednesday, December 12

Superior Industries Declares Early Dividend

Superior Industries International Inc. declared an early dividend for investors on Tuesday, after its board approved to accelerate the payout to occur this year instead of next.

Report: Manwin Founder Arrested on Tax Charges

Fabian Thylmann, founder of international pornography publisher Manwin, has been arrested in Brussels on suspicion of tax evasion, according to media reports.

Hasbro Studios Consolidates Production

Hasbro Studios in Burbank has consolidated its television, film and short-from content creation under a new president.

Tuesday, December 11

Billboard Company Weighs Appeal of Removal Order

Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc. is considering whether to appeal a ruling by a state appellate court that would force it and another company to remove more than 100 digital billboards throughout Los Angeles, including in the Valley.

National Technical Systems Swings to Profit

National Technical Systems Inc. announced on Tuesday it swung to a profit in its fiscal third quarter, citing an acquisition and growth in its aerospace, energy and defense businesses.

Everbridge Acquires Chinese Software Firm

Glendale tech company Everbridge Inc. announced on Tuesday that it has acquired Beijing software engineering firm Hypersun Group Ltd.

Cool Planet Biofuels Names CFO

Biofuels startup Cool Planet Energy Systems Inc. announced on Tuesday that it has named Barry Rowan as its new financial officer as it moves to commercialize its “carbon-negative” gasoline.

Monday, December 10

Ryland Group Acquires Phoenix Homebuilder

Ryland Group Inc. announced on Monday that it purchased the operations of Trend Homes from Phoenix investment firm Najafi Investments LLC

DreamWorks Animation Adds Chief Global Brand Officer

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. has hired former retail industry executive Michael Francis as its new chief global brand officer to handle worldwide branding, licensing and consumer product initiativesmar

Amgen to Acquire Icelandic Genome Company

Amgen Inc. announced Monday that it is purchasing deCODE Genetics Inc., an Icelandic company that does genetic research used in biopharmaceutical development, for $415 million.

Biotech Firms Face Lower Tech Generic Future

BIOTECH: Cost-cutting reforms will favor generic drugs and less expensive drug research, a challenge for Amgen Inc.

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Reform Taxing to Medical Device Manufacturer

MEDICAL DEVICES: A new tax will put one Pacoima manufacturer in a financial squeeze.

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Insurer Snowed Under by Regulatory Blizzard

INSURANCE: State-run exchanges and new regulations send insurers running for coverage.

CEO Sees Promise to Fill Empty Hospital Beds

HOSPITAL: Reform could plug two financial drains: Medicare and emergency rooms.

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Doctors’ Group Receives Healthful Dose of Reform

DOCTORS: Will a flood of new patients benefit physicians groups?

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Health Care Reform At-A-Glance

Requires that U.S. citizens and legal aliens have health insurance.

Wal-Mart Won’t Back Down in Burbank Fight

RETAIL: Wal-Mart wants to start construction of its new Burbank store, but a court injunction stands in the way.

Clear Future for Glass-Door Maker

Manufacturing: Anthony International sold for $603 million to Illinois firm.

Manufacturing: Anthony International, a maker of energy-saving glass in Sylmar, is purchased for $603 million.

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Dole Investors Hunger for Returns After Big Sale

Investment: Shares of Westlake Village produce giant appear ripe for gains.

INVESTMENT: Shareholders wonder what Dole Food Co. will do with a $1.7 billion windfall.

Virtual Grooming

Education: Animal Behavior College brings real bark to online training of veterinary techs.

EDUCATION: Animal Behavior College combines online classes and in-the-field practice to teach animal care and grooming.

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Letting Phone Take The Wheel offers app to help drivers steer clear of trouble.

LEGAL: helps people beat traffic infractions by arguing their case – over their mobile phone.

Will Tarzan Still Swing In Valley?

Author hopes readers go ape for book on Tarzana namesake.

MEDIA: Tarzan, the fictional jungle-dweller who inspired the name Tarzana, celebrates his first century with a new book.

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Journal Appoints Editor

PUBLISHING: The San Fernando Valley Business Journal appoints Laurence Darmiento as its editor.

Giving Props to Hollywood and History

Movie memorabilia, historical papers share auction spotlight.

AUCTION: A Calabasas auction house is selling personal scribbles by George Patton, Albert Einstein and Joe DiMaggio.

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Haircare Business Sets Rival Straight

Beauty: Mixed Chicks’ legal victory could nix copycats.

BEAUTY: Valley startup Mixed Chicks wins a trademark infringement suit against a giant competitor that copied its packaging.

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Telephone Firm Says Internet Right Call

Communications: Phone Power got early line on online voice services.

Communications: Two entrepreneurs have started three companies, all in the evolving telecommunication sector.

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around the valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley area

Santa Clarita was chosen as one of two northern L.A. County cities to host next year’s Amgen Tour of California.

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Turning Down Digital Billboards

Digital signs must come down so smaller outdoor ad firms can compete.

Recently, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) added its voice to the propaganda campaign surrounding digital billboards with an opinion piece in the Nov. 12 issue, “Talking Big on Billboards,” riddled with factual errors and faulty reasoning.

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Studio City Filmmaker Trailblazes Path to Profits

production: John Putch bypasses studio system by self distributing feature.

Studio City filmmaker John Putch had a bigger budget for his second film in a planned trilogy set in rural Pennsylvania, but the same eccentric characters.

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Special Report Health Care

Shock to the system

After all the lawsuits and politicking, Obamacare is about to become a reality.

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Shock to the System

Some will win, some will lose under Obamacare, but this is for sure: the local health care industry will be transformed.

HEALTH CARE: An overhaul of the nation’s health system brings perils and opportunities to the Valley’s medical companies.

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Prognosis for Medical Testing Lab: Demolition

Development: Joint venture plans industrial buildings at vacant Van Nuys site.

A large lot in Van Nuys, vacated more than a year ago by Quest Diagnostics Inc., will soon get a massive overhaul as new owners plan to demolish the buildings and replace them with three warehouses.

Glendale Company Walks Streets for Homeless

Charity: ACCO raises $26,500 for United Way countywide campaign.

ACCO Engineered Systems, a manufacturer of heating, ventilation and cooling equipment, helped warm up the United Way of Greater Los Angeles HomeWalk at Exposition Park, which raised $700,000 for the chapter’s Home for Good program that fights chronic homelessness.

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Hospitals Slowly Recuperating from Long Recession

LIST: Revenue falls at Valley-area facilities as patient rolls thin out.

STORY: Hospitals pick a niche and specialize services to grow revenue. Includes SFVBJ's 2012 VALLEY'S HOSPITALS list for download (pdf)

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Broker Puts Faith In Health Trust

BROKERAGE: Woodland Hills firms doesn’t want to trust its future to the new state insurance exchange.

Q&A: Compliance Key Issue for Employers

Q&A: The cost and benefit analysis of health care reform still eludes employers.

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Market Watch Summary

Friday, December 7

Bank Branches Sold in Portfolio Deal

Four Valley-area buildings leased by Bank of America Corp. for branch locations have been sold as part of a larger 115-property portfolio sale worth $485 million.

Vitesse Offering 10 Million Shares

Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. looks to raise $16.1 million from a secondary public offering of 10 million shares of its common stock.

Ryland Declares Dividend

Surging Ryland Group Inc. announced a quarterly dividend on Friday of 3 cents a share, which will be paid Jan. 30 to shareholders of record Jan. 15

Thursday, December 6

Dole CEO Resigns, Murdock Returns to Position

The chief executive of Dole Food Co. Inc. is leaving the Westlake Village produce company, prompting 89-year-old Chairman David Murdock to return as chief executive in a dual role.

Cherokee Profit Rises on Target Sales

Cherokee Inc. said Thursday that its profit more than doubled in its fiscal third quarter thanks in part to strong sales at Target stores.

Glendale Memorial Names New President

Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center has hired veteran hospital executive Jack Ivie as its new president

Bank of America Closing Glendale Office

Bank of America is closing a regional office in Glendale at the end of the month with the potential for more than 100 layoffs.

Wednesday, December 5

UCLA Forecast Sees Rise in State Employment

Employment in California will grow in the next two years and bring the jobless rate to 8.4 percent by 2014, according to the latest forecast from the ULCA Anderson School of Management.

Fresh & Easy CEO Resigns, Stores May Close

British supermarket giant Tesco Plc announced Wednesday that Tim Mason, chief executive of the American segment of its company, Fresh & Easy Marketplace Inc., has resigned.

Disney Shares Rise on Netflix Deal

Shares in The Walt Disney Co. went up Wednesday, the day after the entertainment and media conglomerate announced a new deal to stream live action and animated feature films exclusively through Netflix.

ValueClick Gets New Chief Executive

Digital marketing company ValueClick Inc. announced Wednesday that John Giuliani will become the firm’s new chief executive.

Tuesday, December 4

Disney Loses Appeal of $320 Million Game Show Verdict

Walt Disney Co. and its ABC television subsidiary were denied a new trial in federal court in a case stemming from licensing rights to the game show, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”

AeroVironment Beats Quarterly Estimates

AeroVironment Inc. beat analysts’ estimates for earnings and revenue in its fiscal second quarter, helped by international sales of small unmanned aircraft.

Tutor Perini Awarded NYC Bridge Contract

Tutor Perini Corp. said Tuesday it was awarded a $235 million contract by New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority to replace the upper level deck of the Verrazano-Narrows bridge in New York.

Simi Valley Company Acquired for $20 Million

Simi Valley lighting company Seesmart Technologies Inc. has been acquired by a Florida information technologies consulting firm in a half-cash, half-stock deal valued at $20 million.

Monday, December 3

Electro Rent Declares Special Dividend

Electo Rent Corp. has declared a special cash dividend, joining other Valley and national companies who have awarded investors this month to avoid possible tax hikes next year.

Rocketdyne Receives Grants for Gas Turbine Projects

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne received $5 million in contracts from the U.S. Department of Energy for projects to improve efficiency in gas turbines used in commercial-scale power plants.