Stories for May 2014

Friday, May 30

Sterling Threatening Lawsuit Over Sale

The proposed sale of the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion could be complicated by current co-owner Donald Sterling, who may file a lawsuit over the deal.

Pacifica Hospital Hit in Patient Dumping Case

Pacifica Hospital of the Valley has signed an agreement with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office to change its discharge policies and pay $500,000 to homeless service providers.

Thursday, May 29

Technicolor Consolidating in Burbank

Technicolor USA Inc. is consolidating its six Los Angeles-area digital media facilities into a single Burbank location, the company announced Thursday.

RGEB Buys Insurance Lines

RGEB Employee Benefits has acquired three lines of insurance business from two firms that specialize in affordable health plans.

Briefs: Interlink, Warner Bros., DineEquity

Interlink reverse stock split. Warner Bros. announces accelerator companies. DineEquity declares dividend.

Wednesday, May 28

L.A. to Receive SBA Manufacturing Aid

Los Angeles on Wednesday was named as one of 12 metropolitan areas nationwide eligible for $1.3 billion in federal manufacturing assistance.

Film Credit Bill Passes Assembly

The California Assembly voted unanimously Wednesday to approve extending for five years the film and television tax credit program to keep production in the state.

Condom Bill Moves to Senate

A bill requiring mandatory condom usage on adult film sets has passed the California State Assembly and now moves to the Senate.

Deadline Passes for Clippers Bids

The deadline has passed for Los Angeles Clippers bidders to make offers for the NBA team, according a Bloomberg news report.

Sherman Oaks Center Fetches $16.8 Million

A more than 50-year-old Sherman Oaks shopping center has traded hands for $16.8 million.

Tuesday, May 27

Convention Center Remodel Moves Ahead Without NFL

Los Angeles city officials on Tuesday moved forward with a plan to remodel the Convention Center without a long-planned football stadium.

Bank of America Hired for Clippers Sale

Bank of America has been hired to arrange a sale of the Los Angeles Clippers and has already approached potential buyers, according to media reports.

Newhall Ranch Wins Legal Round

The environmental review of one of the neighborhoods planned for the Newhall Ranch development was upheld in a Los Angeles Superior Court decision, the developer of the project announced Tuesday.

XCOR Announces $14.2 Million Funding Round

XCOR Aerospace announced on Tuesday receiving $14.2 million in financing led by a group of Dutch investors to fund development of its suborbital space plane.

NoHo Live-Work Sells for $18.7 Million

A North Hollywood apartment building featuring 68 upscale live-work units has traded hands for $18.7 million.

Friday, May 23

Update: Ixia to Continue Trading

Ixia said Friday that a Nasdaq panel had granted the company’s request to allow it shares to trade pending a final determination regarding its listing status.

Report: Sterling's Wife to Sell Clippers

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has reportedly given the go-ahead for his wife Shelly to sell the NBA franchise.

GrowLife Chairman/CEO Steps Down

The chairman and chief executive of marijuana-growing equipment supplier GrowLife Inc. has stepped down following an SEC investigation that has hammered the company’s stock.

Lancaster Considering Auto Mall Deal

The Lancaster City Council will vote Tuesday on a deal to retain and expand one of its leading Auto Mall dealerships.

Valley Home Prices Up

San Fernando Valley home prices continued to rise in April, with the median price gaining 11 percent to $519,000, according to a report by the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.

Apollo Medical Appoints CFO

Apollo Medical Holdings Inc. has appointed a former Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center executive as its chief financial officer.

Thursday, May 22

DreamWorks Announces Manila Venture

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. will design an education entertainment attraction for a resort complex to open this year in Manila, the company announced Thursday.

Public School Restaurant Slated for Sherman Oaks

Grill Concepts Inc. plans to open its fourth Public School gastropub by the end of the year in Sherman Oaks.

Briefs: Grocery Contract, Ixia, Warner Bros.

Southern California grocery chains and union workers have reached a tentative contract deal. Ixia receives Nasdaq warning. Warner Bros. Interactive beefs up executive ranks.

Wednesday, May 21

East Coast Firm Acquires ValleyCrest

ValleyCrest Companies LLC, a leading Valley groundskeeping firm, is being acquired by an East Coast competitor in a deal that will create a company with deep nationwide reach in landscape design, construction and maintenance.

Condom Bill Advances in Assembly

A bill to make condom use mandatory during adult film shoots received approval Wednesday by the California General Assembly’s Appropriation Committee.

Aerojet to Supply Engines for A.V. Rocket

Aerojet Rocketdyne has received a contract from Stratolaunch Systems Corp. to supply engines for an unmanned space rocket being developed in the Antelope Valley, the company announced Wednesday.

Briefs: Glendale Sale, Semtech

Glendale retail property trades for $17.7 million. Sales up for Semtech.

Tuesday, May 20

Great American to Merge With Investment Bank

Great American Group Inc. has signed an agreement with West L.A. boutique investment bank B. Riley & Co. LLC to combine the companies and create a diversified financial services firm.

Briefs: Disney, Burbank airport, CrowdGather, Teledyne

Disneyland hikes prices again. Burbank's $1.8 billion airport. CrowdGather closes merger. Teledyne announces contract.

Monday, May 19

Government: Camarillo Firm Targeted by Chinese Hackers

A Camarillo solar-panel company was among the targets of hacking by Chinese military officers, the U.S. Department of Justice announced on Monday.

Cheesecake Expanding into Asia

Cheesecake Factory Inc. entered into an agreement on Monday to open at least 14 restaurants in Asia over the next 10 years.

Westfield Village Outdoor Plans Released

Outdoor design plans for Westfield Group’s $350 million mall expansion in Woodland Hills were unveiled on Monday, with the company adopting a style that pays homage to San Fernando Valley’s agricultural roots.

Warner Bros. Crushes With Godzilla

Warner Bros. Entertainment scored a monster hit over the weekend with “Godzilla” pulling in $93.2 million, the second-highest grossing opening weekend so far this year.

NBA Sets Hearing Date for Sterling

The National Basketball Association on Monday announced it was moving forward with the plan to allow team owners to decide whether Donald Sterling can keep ownership of the Clippers.

Valley Marketing Pioneer Dies

William Andrew “Bill” Feathers, a pioneer in the marketing of construction and design services, died May 10. He was 90.

Now Showing

Local studios square off in China, on YouTube

Entertainment: Rivals Disney and DreamWorks expand overseas and online.

Microcaps, Macro Goals

Investments: The Valley’s penny stocks have big ambitions, but low investor interest.

Investments: Small cap companies learn to use their stock as currency in the struggle to grow.

The Numbers

In normal times, a double-digit annual gain for a stock index would be a banner year. But these are not normal times.

Strapping In For Sweet Dreams

Hate ruffled sheets? Burbank firm says its linen promises zzz’s.

Innovation: If the sheets don’t fit the bed, it’s time to buy Smarty-BandZz.

Raising the Legal Bar On Manners

Lancaster mayor gives $2 million for training in values, ethics.

Law: R. Rex Parris bankrolls a law school program on professionalism.

Theme Parks Reflect Growth of Chinese Box Office

As with online video, China is attractive to Disney, DreamWorks and other entertainment companies based on the sheer numbers, in this case the population.

Swapping One City For Another

‘Marketplace’ opening in Moorpark after thumbs down in T.O.

Development: Swapmeet entrepreneur finds a city to host his market.

Pricing Low, Gains Large

Health Care: Health Net wins with ObamaCare cost strategy.

Health Care: Based on ObamaCare’s first year, Health Net’s fortunes are looking up.

Waiter: Pile On the Flapjacks but Hold the Bacon

Restaurants: IHOP, rivals face pitfalls with Mideast expansions.

Restaurants: DineEquity and Cheesecake Factory find new recipes for success in the Middle East.

Ripping Up the Ticket Book

Treating parking enforcement as a source of revenue punishes drivers and businesses. It’s time for reform.

Op-Ed: L.A.’s chaotic parking policies.

A Case of Legislative Malpractice

VICA Local Update

Op-Ee: Inflation from medical lawsuits.

Who Needs Silicon Valley?

From the newsroom

Editor: Public companies, parking tickets and cartoons.

stockwatch

Market Watch Summary

After hitting record highs, stocks later fell back in the two-week period ended May 14.

calendar

Calendar of Events

around the valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley

Private aircraft charter and management firm Jet Edge International has partnered with Hollywood trade publication Variety to make its fleet available to attendees of the Cannes International Film Festival.

Development Has Been Brewing for Decades

Real Estate: RY Properties finally starts on Palmdale site featuring Starbucks.

After sitting on the land for some 25 years, a developer has begun construction on a 5-acre shopping center in Palmdale.

Not Just Big; Rolling In It

Finance: Some of largest area firms are most profitable.

Finance: Some of the most profitable local companies are also among the biggest.

Anteing Up

Sanjay Sabnani spent $5 million to add social gaming to the thousands of forums run by his tiny CrowdGather Inc. Was that a bet worth making?

Q&A: Sanjay Sabnani hopes investors like his plan to combine forums and social games.

Multifamily Brokerage Getting Out of House

Real Estate: Marcus & Millichap has thrived since IPO as it eyes office market.

Real Estate: Marcus & Millichap’s stock has skyrocketed since its October IPO.

Turbine Maker Powers Way to Operating Profit

Manufacturing: Capstone raises $30 million but investors are turned off.

Manufacturing: A dilutive offering turns investors away from Capstone Turbine.

Computer Networking Company Faces Delisting

Technology: Investors seem to shrug off Nasdaq threat but Ixia seeks hearing.

Technology: Ixia must restate earnings or face Nasdaq delisting.

Friday, May 16

L.A. County Unemployment Drops in April

L.A. County’s unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent in April as 30,000 more residents found jobs during the month, according to state figures released Friday.

Amgen Tour Spins Into Valleys

The Amgen Tour of California wrapped up its sixth stage Friday as cyclists took off from Santa Clarita for a mountaintop finish in the San Gabriels.

Foreclosures Down, Bank Repo’s Up

Home foreclosures continued to drop in Southern California and the Valley in April, while banks sought to unload properties in the improving market.

Briefs: Amgen, Tix, Research Solutions

"Say on Pay" approved by Amgen shareholders. Ticket sales down at Tix Corp. Research Solutions awaits Nasdaq listing.

Thursday, May 15

'Avatar' 3-D Camera Supplier Acquired

VER, an entertainment industry equipment supply house in Glendale, has acquired Cameron-Pace Group, a Burbank joint venture that supplied 3-D cameras to “Avatar” and other James Cameron films, according to media reports on Thursday.

United Online Names CFO

United Online Inc. has appointed Edward Zinser as chief financial officer and executive vice president.

IPC Buys New York Psych Practice

IPC The Hospitalist Co. Inc. announced Thursday it has acquired a New York doctors group specializing in psychological medicine.

Wednesday, May 14

Quixote Buys Movie Movers in Sun Valley

Quixote Studios of West Hollywood has purchased Movie Movers, a Sun Valley production equipment firm, Quixote announced Wednesday.

DigiPath Raises $2.2 Million in Private Placement

DigiPath Inc., a company that provides digital equipment for life science research and production facilities, has raised $2.2 million in growth capital from individual investors.

Woodbury Business School Earns Accreditation

Woodbury University’s School of Business has earned accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.

Dodgers, Businesses Help Valley Rescue Mission

The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation is holding a donation drive to help support the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission, which experienced a severe fire this month.

Briefs: Trio-Tech, Qualstar, H2Scan, American Homes

Trio-Tech gains sales, Qualstar cuts costs, H2Scan appoints new leadership and American Homes 4 Rent prices a secondary offering.

Tuesday, May 13

Kythera Seeks Approval for Chin Treatment

Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc. has submitted a new drug application for approval of its novel treatment for the elimination of chin fat.

Fireman Brews Up Private Offering

Fireman’s Brew Inc. announced on Tuesday a private offering for accredited California investors.

Kate Mantilini in Woodland Hills to Remain Open

Kate Mantilini in Beverly Hills will be closing its doors next month after 27 years in business.

So Cal Home Prices Still Rising

Home prices in Southern California continued to rise in April, but sales have begun to slow due to growing inventory, according to San Diego real estate data firm DataQuick.

Briefs: NTS, NetSol, Mission Valley Bank

National Technical Systems wins $1.4 million contract, NetSol reports lower sales and Mission Valley Bank has strong quarterly results.

Monday, May 12

Update: Samsung Vs. Amgen in Arthritis Market

Samsung Group, the largest company in South Korea, plans to enter the drug trade by competing directly with Amgen Inc. in Thousand Oaks.

MannKind Narrows Loss, Awaits FDA Decision

MannKind Inc. reported a smaller loss for the first quarter on Monday as it awaits government approval to sell its brand of inhalable insulin.

Updated Briefs: DTS, Talon

DTS introduces new headphones, while Talon reports a profit.

Friday, May 9

Viking Adds Two Ocean Cruise Ships

Viking Cruises will launch two more ocean cruising vessels, bringing its seafaring fleet up to three ships, the company announced Friday.

Valley Groups Join Hotel Boycott

A handful of San Fernando Valley organizations are joining the list of local businesses boycotting the Beverly Hills Hotel, owned by the sultanate of Brunei.

Briefs: IPC, BNK, Signature, American Homes

IPC makes acquisition. BNK reports higher net income. Signature swings to profit. American Homes declares dividends.

Thursday, May 8

BizFed Endorse Shriver for Valley Seat

The Los Angeles County Business Federation on Thursday joined other local business groups and endorsed former Santa Monica councilman and Kennedy clan member Bobby Shriver in next month’s hotly contested election for a Valley-area supervisorial district.

Simi Approves Five-Star Resort

The Simi Valley City Council unanimously approved plans this week for the Hummingbird Nest Ranch to become a luxury resort.

Marcus & Millichap Impresses With Earnings

The Calabasas commercial real estate brokerage rides the real estate recovery with an improved first quarter.

Briefs: Jet Edge, Apollo, Ryland

Jet Edge partners with Variety. Apollo narrows loss. Ryland building luxury condos.

Wednesday, May 7

Glendale Forming Economic Development Corp.

The Glendale City Council has approved the creation of a nonprofit economic development corporation as it seeks to boost business following the elimination of local redevelopment agencies two years ago.

NBCUniversal Reaches $7.6 Billion Olympic Deal

NBCUniversal will continue broadcasting the Olympic Games in the United States through 2032 under a $7.6 billion deal announced Wednesday with the International Olympic Committee.

KCETLink Announces Management Changes

Independent public television station KCETLink announced on Wednesday promotions of three executives as part of a management organization.

Health Net Soars on ObamaCare

Health Net Inc. shares shot up nearly 10 percent on Wednesday after the company reported higher first-quarter profits and revenue largely driven by new ObamaCare enrollees.

Profits Rise at PennyMac Financial

PennyMac Financial Services on Wednesday reported first quarter profit that met Wall Street analysts, while loan servicing boosted its revenue.

Workers Vote to Approve Strike at El Super

Local 770 of the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union on Wednesday said that union members working for the El Super supermarket chain have voted to authorize contract negotiators to call a strike if negotiations break down.

Earnings: Tutor Perini, Salem, ReachLocal

Tutor weathers slowdown. Salem swings to profit. ReachLocal tanks.

Tuesday, May 6

Survey: County Businesses Optimistic

Nearly two-thirds of local companies say business conditions are improving and 36 percent say they plan to add employees, according to an annual survey from the Los Angeles County Business Federation, or BizFed.

Briefs: LTC, Teledyne, Conversant

LTC earnings meets estimates. Teledyne receives Jet Propulsion Lab deal. Conversant nearly doubles profit.

Disney Skates to Higher Earnings

Walt Disney Co. beat analyst estimates in the second quarter, buoyed by strong home entertainment sales and its box office smash “Frozen.”

Nasdaq Issues Delisting Warning to Ixia

Ixia announced on Tuesday that the Nasdaq has warned the company it could be delisted unless it presents a plan to meet the exchange's financial filing requirements.

American Homes Good on FFO

American Homes 4 Rent reported first quarter funds from operations and revenue in-line with Wall Street expectations, but the company continues to lose money.

Wesco Reports Mixed Quarter

Wesco Aircraft Holdings Inc. on Tuesday posted higher revenue ,while profits fell short of analysts’ estimates.

Monday, May 5

CrowdGather Buys Social-Gaming Firm

CrowdGather Inc., an operator of online forums, announced on Monday that is has acquired a social-gaming company for $5 million.

Briefs: Ceres, Woodbury

Ceres expands Mexican lab. Retail consultant appointed to Woodbury board.

Speeding Up the ER

Local hospitals hawk faster services via text, apps

Health Care: Billboards alert motorists to fast hospital ER wait times.

Chocolate Shop Makes Sweet Deal

French couple buys Thousand Oaks store from French founders.

Retail: French couple buys a French bakery in Thousand Oaks.

Ikea Heats Up Climate Fight

Development: Burbank faces global warming CEQA suit.

Development: Will a Burbank retail project contribute to global warming?

East Meeting West in Santa Clarita Valley Gym

Fitness: Ekata mixes hardcore training with meditation and acupuncture.

Fitness: New gym combines Eastern philosophy and Western sports training.

Home Tract Gets On Track

Residential: Simi subdivision closest yet to contaminated lab.

Residential: Builder plans homes near the former Santa Susana lab site.

Boeing: Cleanup Almost Done at Field Lab

After years of work, the cleanup at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory site is approaching completion.

Can Small Business Bear ObamaCare?

Op-Ed: Obamacare’s first round.

Harnessing the Sun’s Full Power

Yes, Los Angeles is a leader in solar energy, but it could do far more to wean our economy off fossil fuels.

Op-Ed: Solar economics.

Ikea and the Sierra Snowpack

From the Newsroom: Global warming and CEQA.

calendar

Calendar of Events

around the valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley

Nikki Rocco, president of domestic distribution at Universal Pictures, will retire in December after 47 years with the company.

stockwatch

Market Watch Summary

Stocks showed mixed results during the two-week period ended April 30.

Tilemaker Settles In With Build-to-Suit Offices

Real Estate: Sun Valley firm signs 10-year lease and moves to North Hills.

Luxury stone and tile maker Walker & Zanger Inc. has struck a deal to lease a built-to-suit headquarters in North Hills.

Web Master

Francis Lobo wants to make Internet service provider United Online relevant again in an age of broadband and social media.

Q&A: New Chief Executive Francis Lobo is looking for a game-changer at United Online.

Chinese Plant Assembles Buses One Piece at a Time

Manufacturing: BYD workers in Lancaster trained to make electric vehicles.

The BYD Motors Inc. electric bus assembly plant in Lancaster that was heralded last week by Gov. Jerry Brown and local officials is moving slowly at present – but when the orders start coming in, the Chinese company will be ready.

Indiana Drug Marketer Heads West to Conejo

Health Care: Avant opens Thousand Oaks office near client Amgen.

Avant Healthcare Communications, an Indiana-based marketing firm focused on new drugs, has opened its first West Coast office in Thousand Oaks.

Lighting Up The Market

Manufacturing: PQL in Simi Valley is growing rapidly as it seizes on LED lighting trend.

Manufacturing: Lighting company PQL sees a bright future in LEDs.

Homework Club Gets Some Help From Grant

Giving: Grossman Foundation gives $100,000 to Conejo Valley group.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley has received a $100,000 grant from the Dr. Richard Grossman Community Foundation.

GrowLife Recovery Stunted After Trading Halt

Investments: Shares fall 60 percent after SEC lifts ban following inquiry.

Investments: GrowLife stock has resumed trading at discounted prices.

The Numbers

The Numbers: Mortgage default notices have spiked in the first quarter.

A Gentler Way to Say Goodbye?

Newbury Park firm aims to modernize ‘archaic’ pet disposal.

Innovation: Water-based pet cremation service targets eco-conscious owners.

PR Veteran Proud of School Colors

Cal Lutheran founder is longest Woodbury board member.

Education: PR professional Carl Terzian has helped two local universities.

Friday, May 2

KB Home Buys Santa Clarita Lots

KB Home has purchased land to build two new subdivisions in Santa Clarita, the company announced Friday.

Costs Hit Public Storage

Shares of Public Inc. fell Friday following first quarter earnings that missed analysts’ expectation as the company continues to spend money to broaden its storage empire.

Earnings: Superior Industries, Crown Media, Bank of Santa Clarita

Superior Industries hit by falling aluminum prices. Crown Media profit slips despite higher ratings. Bank of Santa Clarita posts strong earnings.

Thursday, May 1

Capstone Raising $30.2 Million

Capstone Turbine Corp. announced on Thursday an offering of 18.8 million shares to a single institutional investor that will raise $30.2 million.

DineEquity Profits, Revenue Rise

DineEquity Inc. reported on Thursday rising net income and revenue in the first quarter, but it missed analysts’ profit estimates as its Applebee’s chain underperformed.

Camarillo Defense Firm Makes Florida Acquisition

Merex Group has acquired a Florida aerospace company providing parts, maintenance and repair to military jets, the company announced Thursday

Anheuser-Busch Reaches Teamsters Pact

Anheuser-Busch has reached a five-year contract with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters for employees at its 12 breweries, including in Van Nuys.

Report: Film Tax Credits Lose Money

State tax credits for the entertainment industry are not paying for themselves and expanding them could become an expensive race to the bottom – while not doing so could mean the state could lose its leadership in the entertainment industry, according to a report by the Legislative Analyst's Office.