Stories for April 2015

Thursday, April 30

DreamWorks Posts Higher Loss

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. reported a wider first-quarter loss on Thursday due to restructuring charges as it continues to downsize

Briefs: Interlink, Aerovironment

Interlink Electronics completes move to Westlake Village. AeroVironment announces several management changes.

Earnings Roundup: DineEquity, Teledyne, Ryland

DineEquity Inc. enjoys higher same-store sales Strong dollar hurts Teledyne Technologies. Ryland Group benefits from improving housing market.

Wednesday, April 29

Kythera Drug Wins FDA Approval

A fat-dissolving drug from Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc. that reduces double chins was approved by the Food and Drug Administration Wednesday.

Universal City Building Sells for $3.9 Million

A Universal City office building has sold for $3.9 million in an off-market, all-cash transaction that illustrates investor demand for office properties.

Pierce President May Take District Job

Pierce College President Kathleen Burke is in discussions to take a position with the Los Angeles Community College District.

Earnings: Avery Dennison, On Assignment

Avery Dennison Corp. beat earnings expectations in the first quarter, while On Assignment missed because of poor weather.

Tuesday, April 28

AwesomenessTV, Google to Produce Feature Films

DreamWorks Animation’s AwesomenessTV online teen network is getting into the feature film business with YouTube, the companies announced on Tuesday.

Former Pot Shop Owners Arrested for Insurance Fraud

The owners of a defunct Palmdale marijuana dispensary have been arrested after refusing to provide workers' compensation for a guard shot and injured in robberies, the L.A. County District Attorney’s office announced on Tuesday.

Briefs: Vitesse Acquisition, Albertsons Property Sale, PS Business Parks

Microsemi Corp. closed its acquisition of Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. on Tuesday in a deal valued at $389 million. Albertsons Inc. has sold the 10-acre Quartz Hill Plaza in Palmdale for $13.6 million to a Scottsdale real estate investment trust. PS Business Parks Earnings

Monday, April 27

Apollo Announces Stock Split, Nasdaq Bid

Apollo Medical Holdings Inc. has announced a 1-for-10 reverse stock split as part of a plan to join the Nasdaq.

Anthem Completes $1.1 Million Drought-Tolerant Landscaping

Anthem Blue Cross on Monday showed off a $1.1 million landscaping project at its Woodland Hills offices that replaced an expansive lawn with drought-tolerant plants.

Briefs: High-Speed Rail Station, Rocketdyne

Palmdale and the California High-Speed Rail Authority announced agreement to begin planning for a rail station in the Antelope Valley. Aerospace giant GenCorp Inc. changed its name to Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. to highlight the importance of its San Fernando Valley subsidiary.

Friday, April 24

Warner Bros. Releasing Female Superhero Toys

Warner Bros. is partnering with toymaker Mattel Inc. to launch a product line based on female superheroes and villains from the studio's DC Comics division.

New CFO at Wesco Aircraft

Richard J. Weller has been appointed chief financial officer and executive vice president at Wesco Aircraft Holdings Inc.

Planning Commission OKs Sun Valley Studio Complex

The Los Angeles Planning Commission unanimously recommended on Thursday that a proposed sound stage complex in Sun Valley receive a conditional use permit and required variances from zoning rules.

Proxy Advisory Firm Sides With Superior

Superior Industries International Inc. announced on Friday that a major proxy advisory firm has recommended that Superior shareholders vote for the company’s slate of directors.

Thursday, April 23

Technicolor, Deluxe Create Digital Joint Venture

Technicolor S.A. and Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc. announced Thursday an agreement to create a digital cinema joint venture.

Santa Clarita Project Clears Environmental Hurdle

A state appeals court has upheld an L.A. County environmental review for a portion of the mammoth Newhall Ranch community in the Santa Clarita Valley.

AwesomenessTV to Launch Channel for Moms

DreamWorks Animation’s AwesomenessTV online teen network will launch a second network later this year aimed at mothers in the millennial generation.

Disney Won't Show Verizon TV Ads

Television ads for Verizon’s new pay-TV package service, FiOS Custom TV, have been pulled from channels owned by Walt Disney Co. in Burbank.

Wednesday, April 22

Cheesecake Profit Beats Expectations

Cheesecake Factory Inc. on Wednesday reported fiscal first quarter profit that exceeded analyst estimates, while missing on revenue.

Englander Declares for Antonovich Seat

Valley Councilman Mitch Englander announced on Wednesday that he is running to replace County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who is termed out.

Insurance Commissioner Calls Anthem Rates ‘Unjustified’

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones on Wednesday called on Anthem Blue Cross to lower rate hikes for some certain individual policyholders, calling the company’s recent rate changes “unjustified and unreasonable.”

Report: L.A. Private Equity Titan Buys Hawks

Antony Ressler, the chief executive of Century City private equity and debt firm Ares Management, has agreed to buy the National Basketball Association’s Atlanta Hawks for about $850 million, sources told ESPN.

Briefs: Hollywood Software, Burt Rutan Startup, Valley Home Sales

Hollywood Software makes acquisition. Aviation pioneer Burt Rutan founds startup for remote-controlled planes. Another report finds Valley homes sales up in March.

Tuesday, April 21

Amgen Beats Expectations, Raises Outlook

Amgen Inc.’s first quarter results beat analyst expectations Monday and the company raised its guidance for the rest of the year.

Agoura Shopping Center Sells for $27.8 Million

An Agoura Hills shopping center off the 101 freeway near Kanan Road has sold for $27.8 million, or about $768 a square foot.

Briefs: High-Speed Rail, Capstone

Valley builders qualify for bullet train bidding; Capstone sells turbine in Colombia.

Monday, April 20

Warner Bros. Extends IMAX Pact

Warner Bros. Pictures and Imax Corp. have extended their partnership for five years with a deal to release up to 30 of the Burbank studio’s biggest upcoming films in the large-screen format.

LANG Newspaper Wins Pultizer

The Daily Breeze, the daily newspaper coving Los Angeles County’s South Bay, has won a Pulitzer Prize for local reporting.

Briefs: Judge Rules Against Disney, Cook's New Media Firm

A federal judge ruled in favor of a filmmaker suing Walt Disney Co. for copyright infringement involving the trailer for Disney’s animated hit, “Frozen.” Former Walt Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook has started a media production company with a $150 million investment from a Chinese conglomerate.

Mickey Mouse to House Bet

Feeling sorry for Walt Disney.

Stratolaunch Taxis to Runway

AEROSPACE: Work nearing end in Mojave on world’s largest jet plane.

The world’s largest plane will soon taxi down a runway in Mojave.

Startup Sees Stock Vaporize

INVESTMENT: Dilution takes toll on vaping company.

Vapor Hub’s products may replace cigarettes, but its finances could still go up in smoke.

Golf Complex Operator Wins Round

Mike Bernback fears more litigation from city in contract feud.

Ready Golf prevails in a four-year lawsuit against the city.

Golden State Opportunity For Florida?

Gov. Rick Scott visits Valley group to talk business friendliness.

Why a local business group provided a podium to Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

The Number

Desert neighborhoods look to conserve water.

In the Sweet Spot

FOOD: The Candy Factory has leveraged its Hollywood appeal, serving award shows and making celebrity-branded chocolates.

When movie stars want a chocolate, they call NoHo’s Candy Factory.

Disney Makes Big Bet on Fantasy Draft Website

TRANSACTION: Media giant gets in on action with $250 million stake in DraftKings.

The investment by Walt Disney Co. in fantasy sports betting startup DraftKings Inc. may not be huge, but it offers to attract the younger online demographic that most media companies and advertisers seek.

DIY Trend Blossoms at Westlake Village ‘Bar’

EXPANSION: Shop for do-it-yourself florists opens at revamped shopping center.

Luna Garden Events, an event-planning company, will open its first retail outlet this summer in Westlake Village following the “do-it-yourself” trend now popular in retail.


L.A.’s growing Latino population has more buying power than many realize. But developers are catching up with a trend changing retail.

Latino supermarkets have become anchors at cross-cultural centers across the greater Valley.

SPECIAL REPORT: Bilingual Consultant Works Both Sides of Deals

Roberto Litwak helps Latin American retailers connect with U.S. shoppers.

Mom and Pops Play Catch Up as Larger Firms Make Big Moves

Morton Capital Management exemplifies the Conejo Valley office market.

Pickup in Leasing Finally Absorbing Glendale Office Surplus

Burbank and Glendale’s office markets continued their recovery, highlighted by large deals completed last quarter.

Suburban Market Grows as Area Attracts Outside Companies

With several of the Santa Clarita Valley’s leading industries recovering, the office market made incremental progress last quarter that appears to be setting the stage for future gains.

Tenants High and Dry in High-Desert Market Lacking Choices

There was little activity in the Antelope Valley industrial market during the quarter despite the economic recovery – for good reason. There simply is little desirable product available.

Around the Valleys

News and notes from the greater San Fernando Valley

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service said that a snail found at a proposed gold and silver mine may warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act, possibly slowing the opening of Golden Queen Mining Co. Ltd.’s Soledad Mountain project.


Calendar of events

The New Reality in Southern California

Customers will face a mix of surcharges and incentives to reduce water consumption permanently.

Will free markets or government regulation solve the drought?

An Alternative View: Let the Market Rule

Will free markets or government regulation solve the drought?

Rising Vacancy Rate Belies Busy Start to Year Across Valley

Several large deals got the year off to a bright start in the San Fernando Valley, despite a surprising jump in the vacancy rate.

Sign On, Tune In

L.A. Talk Radio finds ‘broadcast’ success online

Want to speak your mind behind the microphone? L.A. Talk Radio will provide the air.

Tease photo

Electronics Firm Powers Accelerator

NEO Tech puts together Make In L.A. to focus on manufacturing.

Micro manufacturer NEO Tech sets up an in-house accelerator.

Valley Pot Delivery Delivers Cash

CANNABIS: Speed Weed still in business despite city’s crackdown.

Logistics software powers Speed Weed’s system for delivering pot.

Friday, April 17

County Unemployment Falls on Government Hiring

Los Angeles County’s unemployment rate fell to 7.6 percent in March as the county added 28,400 jobs, according to state figures released Friday.

L.A. Venture Capital Investment Up Sharply

Venture capital investment in Los Angeles and Orange counties nearly tripled to $1.6 billion in the first quarter, according to the Money Tree report released Friday by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and the National Venture Capital Association.

Valley Home-Buying Season Starts Strong

San Fernando Valley home and condominium sales surged in March as the traditional home-buying season got off to an unexpectedly strong start, according to a Southland Regional Association of Realtors report released on Friday.

Developer Planning Sherman Oaks Small-Lot Subdivision

A Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council committee gave an informal thumbs up on Thursday night to plans by Beverly Hills developer Raffi Cohen to build an eight-unit, small-lot subdivision in the community

Local Businesses Receive State Tax Credits

Japanese light-rail manufacturer Kinkisharyo USA Inc., aerospace giant Northrop Grumman Corp. and financial software developer Blackline Systems Inc. were among companies with Valley-area operations receiving state job tax credits this week.

Issue Preview: Stratolaunch Taxis to Runway

The world’s largest plane could be completed before year’s end at the Mojave Air & Space Port in a new space race to launch satellites at lower cost

Issue Preview: Latino Power

Developers and lenders are finally seeing the opportunity to serve the growing Latino retail market, a heartening trend highlighted in our Real Estate Quarterly Special Report.

Thursday, April 16

Katzenberg Takes Big Pay Cut

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg took a 53 percent cut in his salary in 2014 after not receiving performance-based incentives, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Home Sales, Foreclosures Rise

The month of March brought a familiar seasonal surge in Southern California home sales – but it also saw a sharp increase in foreclosures in L.A. County, according to two reports released on Thursday.

Briefs: Cherokee, Amgen

Cherokee Global Brands beats Wall Street expectations, Amgen heart drug gains approval.

Wednesday, April 15

Appeals Court Approves Walmart Superstore

A state appeals court panel has decided in favor of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s proposal to build a superstore in Burbank.

Talon CEO Resigns

Talon International Inc. announced the resignation of its chief executive officer of 15 years on Tuesday.

Semtech Completes Sell-Off

Semtech Corp. announced Wednesday it has completed the sale of its defense and microwave communications business.

Tuesday, April 14

Anthem California Chief Resigns

The president of Anthem Blue Cross in California is leaving the insurer for a different job in the health care industry.

Location Filming Declines in Quarter

Location filming in the Los Angeles area dropped 3 percent in the first quarter of 2015, according to a report released Tuesday by FilmL.A.

Briefs: Tutor Perini, Merex Group

Tutor Perini wins $117 million contract, Merex Group reorganizes its portfolio companies.

Monday, April 13

Metro Report: Orange Line Conversion Too Pricey

Converting the Orange Line busway into light rail would cost at least $1.2 billion and should not be pursued until ridership grows, according to a study done by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Capstone Turbine Shakes Up Management

Struggling Capstone Turbine Corp. has eliminated three executive positions in a move expected to reduce expenses.

Briefs: Surf Air, Signature Group, Van Nuys Lease

Surf Air adds Burbank flights. Signature Group Holdings changes name. Prop company signs Van Nuys warehouse lease.

Friday, April 10

Ikea Paid $46 Million for Burbank Property

Home furnishing retailer Ikea paid $46 million for the 22-acre Burbank site where it has begun demolition in preparation for constructing its largest U.S. store.

Briefs: RadioShack, Natel, Electro Rent

Joint Radio Shack-Sprint stores open in the greater Valley. Natel Engineering Co. changes its name to NEO Tech following merger. Electro Rent Corp. posted lower profit and revenue in the fiscal third quarter.

Thursday, April 9

Endangered Species Found at Planned Gold Mine

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday that a snail found at a proposed $1 billion gold and silver mine in the Antelope Valley may warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act – possibly slowing the opening of the mine.

Ceres Conducts Reverse Stock Split

Shares of Ceres Inc. rose more than 600 percent on Thursday – despite a quarterly loss – following an eight-for-one reverse stock split by the energy crops developer.

Wednesday, April 8

Former Northridge Cadillac Property Sold for Development

A Reseda Boulevard property that housed a long-time San Fernando Valley Cadillac dealership has been sold for $5.7 million to a Beverly Hills developer.

Regulators Decline to Review Vitesse Deal

Federal antitrust regulators have declined to review the proposed $489 million acquisition of Camarillo’s Vitesse Semiconductor by Orange County competitor Microsemi Corp.

Garcetti Announces Aggressive Green Jobs Goals

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday announced a plan to make the city more environmentally sustainable and to create 15,000 more “green” jobs by 2017.

Tuesday, April 7

Van Nuys Jet Charter Service Acquired

TWC Aviation in Van Nuys has been acquired by a Houston rival, creating one of the largest private charter fleets operating out of the United States.

Proxy Fights Heats Up at Superior

Superior Industries International Inc. has issued a letter to shareholders urging them to vote for the company’s slate of directors in an ongoing proxy fight.

Caruso Buying Glendale's Masonic Temple

Caruso Affiliated is purchasing the former Masonic Temple in Glendale and plans to repurpose it as a mixed-use building next door to its Americana at Brand shopping center.

Loan Broker Changes Name, Management

Business Partners LLC, a Northridge company that brokers loans and provides risk-management services for credit unions in 40 states, has brought in a new leadership team and changed its brand identity.

Strong Growth Forecast for L.A. Economy

The Los Angeles County economy will continue its strong growth this year and beyond, according to a forecast to be released this morning from Loyola Marymount University and Beacon Economics.

Rocketdyne Awarded $18 Million Space Flight Contract

Aerojet Rocketdyne received an $18 million NASA contract to develop an electric propulsion thruster that can be used on future unmanned deep-space missions.

Monday, April 6

Disney, DreamWorks Antitrust Case Dismissed

A federal court judge has dismissed a lawsuit against DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., Walt Disney Co. and several other media companies over allegations they broke antitrust laws by conspiring to not hire each other’s employees in order to keep salaries down.

Passenger Traffic Inches Up at Burbank Airport

Passenger traffic at Burbank Bob Hope Airport improved by a little over 2 percent in February compared to the same month last year.

Briefs: Wesco, Amgen, IPC

Wesco names CEO. IPC acquires doctors group. Amgen drug approved for new uses in Europe.


Calendar of events

Gritty Newsroom Making Way for Luxury Residences

REAL ESTATE: Old Daily News site slated for 379 apartments, offices.

The former offices of the Daily News are scheduled for mixed-use development.

Drilling Down To the Truth About Fillings

Newbury Park dentist removes amalgam, a controversial practice.

Newbury Park dentist specializes in removing amalgam fillings.

When the Bell Tolls In Dubai

Chatsworth firm delivers trolley car to Middle East city.

Chatsworth trolley maker lays new track in Dubai.

See Spot Eat Less, Lose Weight

Camarillo man’s diet app for dogs snapped up for $2 million.

Pet obesity inspires one entrepreneur to write a $2 million app.

The Number

Valley oil producer lowers its San Joaquin reserve estimate.

Care Bears Clawing Back

TOYS: American Greetings revives teddy franchise with apps, dolls and Netflix series.

American Greetings plans a digital comeback for the Care Bears.

Streaming Audio Developer Slips to New Owners

TRANSACTION: San Francisco private equity firm wants to speed growth at Triton.

Digital audio software developer Triton Digital was sold last month by its private equity backers to a technology-focused investment firm in San Francisco.

Amgen Facing Down New ‘Biosimilar’ Upstarts

PHARMACEUTICALS: Biotech pursuing its own strategy to develop copycat drugs.

At first glance, it seems that Amgen Inc. might be the poster child for established biotechs about to get their business models upended by the new world of “biosimilars.”

Art Therapy Group Draws Up Valley Expansion

SERVICES: Topanga Terrace partnering with non-profit founded by accident victim.

Recovering from a traumatic injury is not merely a physical journey, but requires healing from mental and emotional trauma as well.

A Mann’s Man

Hakan Edstrom has taken over as MannKind’s CEO and is leading commercialization of its breakthrough Afrezza insulin inhaler.

Hakan Edstrom runs MannKind Corp. thanks to a phone call from billionaire Alfred Mann.

NFL Owner Scores Big With Northridge Deal

RETAIL: Stan Kroenke picks up Nordhoff Plaza center for $115 million.

Sports mogul Stan Kroenke has just picked up a prime piece of Southern California real estate – but it’s not in Inglewood where he wants to move his St. Louis Rams NFL team.

Around the Valleys

News and notes from the greater San Fernando Valley

Haggen Food & Pharmacy Grocery store has opened its first local outlet at a former Albertsons at 5038 West Ave.

Why State Funded Child Care Pays Off

Businesses benefit when the state supports child care.

Lies, Damn Lies ... and Economic Studies

The limitations of the dismal science are exposed by three reports on L.A.’s proposed minimum wage.

Why economics is an unreliable science

Playing a Very Rough Sport

We all know what ultimately drives developers – or at least what accounts for their willingness to endure all sorts of abuse heaped on them from critics: money.

Glendale Wins State Lawsuit

REDEVELOPMENT: Ruling could return millions to California cities.

A lawsuit victory by Glendale could boost the budgets of cities across the state.

Chips Stack Up In Vitesse Deal

TECHNOLOGY: Acquisition by Microsemi beefs up companies.

The buyout of Vitesse Semiconductors by Microsemi anticipates the “Internet of Things.”

Opening Pitch

New owners of Class A club update park, offerings.

New owners of the Lancaster Jethawks hope to make the team a winner on and off the field.

Friday, April 3

Disney Bets $250 Million on Sports Gambling Site

Walt Disney Co. is getting into the sports-betting business with a $250 million investment in Boston startup DraftKings Inc., according to media reports on Friday.

Expedia Buys Amgen Offices in Seattle

Online travel company Expedia Inc. will buy Amgen Inc.’s offices in Seattle for $229 million, the company announced Thursday.

Issue Preview: Opening Pitch

New owners of Class A club update park, offerings.

Issue Preview: Glendale Wins State Lawsuit

Court ruling could return millions to California cities.

Briefs: DreamWorks, Kythera, LTC

DreamWorks prevails in court, Kythera CEO sells shares and LTC declares a dividend.

Thursday, April 2

Survey: L.A. Companies Expect to Boost Hiring

Prospects for job seekers in Los Angeles look promising for the next six months.

Large North Hollywood Mixed-Use Project Proposed

Plans have been submitted for a redevelopment of the 25-acre Laurel Plaza shopping center into a 300,000-square-foot mixed-use property called NoHo West.

Legendary Entertainment Seeking $700 Million Refinancing

Independent production company Legendary Entertainment wants $700 million to strengthen its film-financing business, according to media reports on Thursday.

Burbank Filtration Firm Makes Acquisition

Ryan Herco Flow Solutions expanded its product line with the acquisition of distributor Engineered Machinery Inc.

Wednesday, April 1

FAA to Track Helicopter Noise

The Federal Aviation Administration launched on Wednesday a new system for logging complaints about helicopter noise in Los Angeles County.

Burbank Passes ‘McMansion’ Limits

The Burbank City Council unanimously approved a temporary ordinance tightening restrictions on single-family home construction Tuesday after a contentious public hearing that stretched past midnight.

Ventura County Star in Spinoff Deal

The Ventura County Star newspaper has a new owner in Journal Media Group Inc., a spin-off of prior owner E.W. Scripps Co., it was announced Wednesday.