Stories for November 2015

Monday, November 30

Diane Duke to Leave Free Speech Coalition

Diane Duke will step down at the end of December as the chief executive of Free Speech Coalition, the trade association for the adult entertainment industry.

St. Jude Launches New Spinal Stimulation System

St. Jude Medical Inc. announced on Monday the European launch of its Proclaim Elite Spinal Cord Stimulation System.

CRC Oversubscribed on $2.8 Billion Debt Swap

California Resources Corp. has announced early participation results of its private offer to exchange newly issued 8 percent notes for previously issued notes with interest rates between 5 and 6 percent.

AeroVironment Wins Drone Contract

AeroVironment Inc. received a $13 million contract to supply its Puma unmanned aircraft to the Marine Corps.

Retail-Residential Site Ready to Roll in Burbank

DEVELOPMENT: Cusumano’s $200 million project set to begin work for 2018 debut.

The Talaria at Burbank, a $200 million mixed-use residential development anchored by a Whole Foods Market, is set to break ground this week at 3401 W. Olive Ave. in the heart of the Burbank Media District.

SPECIAL REPORT: Returning Chief

Jennifer Swenson comes back to Simi Valley Hospital to assume the top job with the promise that ‘the best is yet to come.’

Simi Valley Hospital Chief Executive Jennifer Swenson talks about what led her to health care.

Car Crash May Yield Salon Smash

GROOMING: Christopher Styles intends rebuilding project to be a cut above.

An unfortunate auto accident leads to the relaunch of a Valley Village barbershop.

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Acquisitions have claimed a number of Valley-region biotechs, but another generation of companies is following fast on their heels.

With several large public companies recently acquired, new firms are growing in the Valley’s biotech corridor.

Flight-Booking Site Launches With Private Focus

INTERNET: VolJet principals put up their own money to get venture off ground.

A trio of women entrepreneurs has started an online venture to book private and commercial flights throughout the United States.

Can Al Mann Save MannKind One More Time?

BIOTECH: Chief executive resigns, founder takes over as sales disappoint.

Can MannKind founder Al Mann boost the company’s fortunes after the chief executive resigns?

Retailer Finds Room in Tight Market

Chain sells rare items at new store in Village at Westfield Topanga.

Electronics retailer bucks trend by expanding into Village at Topanga in Woodland Hills.

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SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Sector Disruption, Biotech Jobs Abound

Government reform and an aging population fuel need for administrators and technicians.

Jobs are plentiful, despite the upheaval of health reform and technology.

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Family Earns Salute for Fight Against Genocide

AWARD: Katzburg Gabriels praised by Jewish World Watch for organizational support.

Global tragedies and the loss of life should incite more than a mere grimace and sad feelings. It should mobilize people to act – at least that is the perspective of Jewish World Watch.

Homed-in Tech

Investor looks to open door to simpler real estate deals

A former investment banker thinks he can put residential real estate transactions online.

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Online Firms Click to Grow

ADVERTISING: Two Encino digital ad agencies combine to gain scale and tech advantage.

Encino ad agency Barons Media buys competitor Monarch Ads in fast-growing digital space.

The Number

California’s most accident-free city: Would you believe it’s Lancaster?

Prof Teaches Fancy to the French

Book explains how to market upscale goods, from Dior to Vuitton.

CSUN business professor contributes to award-winning book on luxury marketing.

Sunny Days for New Solar Farm

Antelope Valley project will generate 579 megawatts annually.

Antelope Valley solar generation farm owned by Berkshire Hathaway ramps up.

Rocket Engine Lands Facility

AEROSPACE: New site’s furnace could power up Mars mission.

Engineers at Aerojet Rocketdyne in Chatsworth are working on taking humans to Mars.

Investor Buys Into Chateau

Investor Zaya Younan makes his first international acquisition, a 17th Century French chateau.

What We’re Grateful For

Reflecting on what the Valley business community has to be grateful for in 2015.


Calendar of events

Around the Valleys

News and notes from the greater San Fernando Valley

A Texas hotel developer purchased a 5.7-acre land parcel along the 101 freeway between Calabasas and Westlake Village for $6.5 million. Huntington Hotel Group of Irving, Texas plans to build two connecting hotels on the Agoura Hills property, offering a total of 225 rooms, said John Battle, principal at Lee & Associates.

Wednesday, November 25

More Valley Haggen Stores To Sell

Bankruptcy court approves the sale of additional failed grocery outlets to competitors, including Stater Bros. and Albertson's.

Former Disney Employees File Complaints

Nearly two dozen IT workers laid off from Walt Disney World and forced to train their foreign replacements allege discrimination and hostile treatment.

United Online Rejects Buyout

Woodland Hills tech firm spurns $185 million offer from B. Riley Capital Management in Los Angeles.

Strong Valley Home Sales

Single-family home resale market saw a 6 percent increase in October, due to improving employment picture.

Tuesday, November 24

Aerojet Soars With Space Contract

Shares in Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. rise sharply after company wins two NASA contracts worth $1.4 billion.

Capstone Turbine Regains Nasdaq Compliance

The Encino manufacturer has regained compliance with Nasdaq’s minimum pricing requirement.

PizzaRev to Glendale

PizzaRev announces its latest location will be in Glendale.

Monday, November 23

Pfizer to Acquire Kythera Parent Allergan

Drug giant Pfizer Inc. said Monday that it is purchasing Allergan Plc for approximately $160 billion, which would create the world’s largest drug developer.

CVS Adds Amgen's Repatha to Formulary

Thousand Oaks biotech Amgen Inc. announced on Monday that CVS Health has added its cholesterol-lowering drug Repatha to its list of covered medications for private insurance plans.

Freeway Bottleneck Report Features Valley Slow Spots

A federal report on freeway bottlenecks found that four of the 30 slowest stretches of road in the nation are either in the San Fernando Valley or feed into it.

Glendale Campus Sells for $18.7 Million

Two Glendale office buildings, at 1011 and 1015 Grandview Ave., have sold to a reality television production company currently located in Van Nuys.

Friday, November 20

MannKind CEO Resigns

MannKind Corp. Chief Executive Hakan Edstrom announced his resignation from the Valencia biopharmaceutical company Friday.

Westfield Offers Free Parking in Response to Complaints

Westfield Corp. has suspended its paid meter parking at the Village at Westfield Topanga shopping mall in Woodland Hills due to problems with the meters' software, company officials said in a statement.

Conejo Valley Insurance Agent Arrested

A Newbury Park insurance agent was arrested Thursday for allegedly running a commission scam by signing up more than 20 people for multiple life insurance policies without their knowledge, according to the California Insurance Department.

County Unemployment Drops in October

L.A. County’s unemployment rate fell last month to 6.1 percent as the county added 38,000 jobs, state figures released Friday show.

Thursday, November 19

iPhone Fraudster Pleads Guilty

A Chatsworth man faces more than 8 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to fraud charges connected with his Glendale ride-sharing business.

Wesco Misses Analyst Estimates

Wesco Aircraft Holdings Inc. fell short of Wall Street expectations for revenue and net earnings in the fiscal fourth quarter.

FDA to Consider Competitor for Amgen's Neulasta

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday accepted paperwork for approval of a biosimilar version of Amgen Inc.’s Neulasta, a drug that produces white blood cells to fight infection in cancer patients.

Wednesday, November 18

B. Riley Offers to Buy United Online for $185 Million

B. Riley Capital Management in Los Angeles proposed Wednesday to purchase all of United Online Inc.’s outstanding shares for $12.50 a share, or a total of $185 million.

Feds Indict Supplement Maker Vibrant Life

The Department of Justice filed criminal charges against Sylmar-based supplement maker Vibrant Life on Tuesday.

Cancer Survivor Medved Signs Salem Contract Extension

Salem Media Group Inc. announced today that its Salem Radio Network and talk host Michael Medved reached an agreement to extend his current syndication contract to the end of 2018.

Agoura Hotels on Horizon

A 5.7-acre land parcel along the 101 freeway between Calabasas and Westlake Village has been purchased by a Texas hotel developer for $6.5 million.

L.A. County Creates Minimum Wage Enforcement Agency

Los Angeles County Supervisors voted Tuesday to set up a new division to enforce the new minimum wage law, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Tuesday, November 17

B. Riley Proposes Buyout of United Online

Los Angeles investment firm B. Riley Capital Management has proposed a negotiated transaction to purchase all of United Online Inc.’s outstanding shares, which the Internet company acknowledged on Monday.

IPC Shareholders Approve Acquisition

Shareholders of IPC Healthcare Inc. formally approved the pending $1.6 billion acquisition by Team Health Holdings Inc., the company announced Tuesday.

Apollo Medical Turns to Loss

Apollo Medical Holdings Inc. turned to a loss during the third quarter, the company announced Tuesday.

Monday, November 16

Winnetka Apartments Sell for $4.5 Million

An 18-unit apartment complex in Winnetka has changed hands for $4.53 million, or nearly $252,000 per unit. The sales price for the Chateau Winnetka, at 7315 Winnetka Ave., is one of the highest per-unit sales prices paid in the Winnetka multifamily market, according to real estate data provider CoStar Group Inc.

Court Decision Hurts Tutor Perini Results

Tutor Perini Corp. missed Wall Street expectations on earnings, and the company put the blame largely on a legal judgment.

Trio-Tech Improves in Third Quarter

Trio Tech International Inc. improved its net income during its fiscal first quarter even though revenue decreased slightly.

Cruise Line Drops Anchor in Bigger Office Space

LEASE: Viking expands HQ in Woodland Hills with 38,500 more square feet.

Woodland Hills-based Viking Cruises is having a year of expansion. The company, known for its culturally rich river tours, launched its first ocean cruises after taking delivery of the Viking Star, its first ocean-faring ship, in March.

ISP Hurt By Hang-Ups

INTERNET: Activist investors aim to revive United Online stock.

United Online loses its CEO and gains a challenge from activist shareholders, all in the same week.

Movie Cars Shift Focus

AUTOMOTIVE: Vehicles face lots of issues in driving revenue.

Valley picture car companies can’t depend on big studio films and TV shows anymore.

Cinema to Play Big Role for Mall

REAL ESTATE: Retail center puts money on high-end theater to draw crowds.

Upscale movie theater opening completes first phase of $87 million facelift at Simi Valley Town Center.

P.E. Class With Eastern Appeal

Yoga entrepreneur signs contracts with elementary schools.

Yoga instructor Kimberly Fujitaki teaches in-school and after-school classes to Valley kids.

Thrift Store Remodels for Boutique Feel

Improved sales will benefit Antelope Valley Hospital.

Lancaster thrift shop undergoes remodel to boost fundraising for Antelope Valley Hospital.

Inventor Looks Up for Inspiration

Platform automates garage storage, starting at $989.

Father-son inventors market their garage storage platform that raises and lowers.

Shot in Arm For Plaintiffs

FINANCE: Key Health picks up medical tab in exchange for potential lawsuit payout.

Westlake Village health care financing company negotiates medical prices for plaintiffs in lawsuits.

FDA’s Approval Gives Drug Maker Healthy Boost

BIOTECH: Stock analysts downplay impact on shares of skin cancer treatment.

Amgen Inc.’s new skin cancer drug fights disease with disease.

Natural Growth

Mendocino Farms’ healthful menu and rapid expansion attract the attention of strategic investor Whole Foods Market.

Mendocino Farms has a dozen storefront sandwich shops and a new partnership with Whole Foods Market.

Valley Site Doesn’t Work for Job Training Program

EDUCATION: AbilityFirst to redirect participants but employees will be let go.

AbilityFirst, an organization that works with special needs and developmentally disabled individuals on workforce training, is closing its Woodland Hills center this month.

Homeowners Give New Helicopter Rules a Whirl

TRANSPORTATION: Coalition’s opposition to aircraft grounded in noise issues.

A coalition of homeowner groups has petitioned the U.S. Department of Transportation to set new regulations regarding helicopter activity in the L.A. region.

Mall Developer Fields Sporting Goods for Neighbor

REAL ESTATE: Caruso taps Dick’s to take space left by Nordstrom’s move.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. opened its 41st California location at the Glendale Galleria last month, filling a large hole at an anchor location in the mall.

Laughs Last

Humor still drives Gary Alexander’s approach to providing educational services, from Improv Traffic School to workplace safety.

Gary Alexander, chief executive at Interactive Education Concepts Inc., gets the last laugh at his Encino firm, which dreamed up Improv Traffic School.

Innovators Pace Field of Fastest Growing Firms

LIST: Technology, Internet businesses outside spotlight continue to dominate.

What drives growth? In a word: innovation. The 50 Fastest Growing Private Companies in the greater San Fernando Valley have not just embraced that concept but applied it throughout their operations and cultures.

Around the Valleys

News and notes from the greater San Fernando Valley

Entertainment and sports ticket management firm TicketManager has received $20 million in a second round of funding that will go toward expanding into new markets.


Calendar of events

The Number

Shoppers value customer service over products and even price.

Full Bloom

Eco-conscious home remodeler Treeium rolling in green

Eco-friendly remodeling firm Treeium Inc. is No. 2 on the Business Journal’s fastest-growing list.

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No Rush on High-Speed Rail

Northeast Valley mayor goes off on the High-Speed Rail Authority.

Saturday, November 14

Narcotics Anonymous Renews HQ

Narcotics Anonymous World Services, a 12-step peer support group for individuals battling addiction, is renewing its lease in Chatsworth.

Friday, November 13

IPC Healthcare Buys Wichita Doctors Group

IPC Healthcare Inc. announced today that it has acquired Amity Health LLC in Wichita, Kan.

Preview: Full Bloom

Don’t expect to find Moty Ginsburg, chief executive of Treeium Inc., swinging a hammer at one of his clients’ home remodeling projects.

Preview: ISP Hurt by Hang-Ups

On Nov. 3, United Online Inc. Chief Executive Francis Lobo announced his resignation on a conference call with analysts.

Thursday, November 12

Earnings Roundup: Interlink, NetSol, Talon

Interlink Electronics fails to deliver. NetSol narrows loss. Talon reports loss.

Caesarstone Moving to Chatsworth

Manufacturer of quartz-surface kitchen countertops will house 70 employees in 21,500-square-foot, built-to-suit headquarters.

North Hollywood Multifamily Portfolio Sells for $49.5 Million

Transaction illustrates the strength of the multifamily residential market in and around the NoHo Arts District.

Calabasas Biotech Sponsors Novel Cancer Research

ImmunoCellular Therapeutics Ltd. enters into an agreement with University of Texas professor investigating cancer-killing white blood cells.

Wednesday, November 11

Disney CEO Will Chair NFL Joint Venture

Bob Iger will head up Carson Holdings LLC, a joint venture between two teams interested in moving to L.A., the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders.

ImmunoCellular Posts Loss

Calabasas cancer treatment firm announces third quarter results that fall short of analysts’ estimates.

Tuesday, November 10

MannKind Falls on Slow Afrezza Sales

MannKind Corp. shares had a double-digit loss after the company released its quarterly earnings.

Apollo to Launch Predictive Analysis System

Apollo Medical Holdings Inc. announced Tuesday a collaboration with data analytics firm Helynx Inc. in Pasadena to identify high-risk patients and improve their health care.

Sun Valley Lighting Firm Acquired

National stage and theatrical lighting services firm 4Wall Entertainment Lighting has acquired the assets of Entertainment Lighting Services in Sun Valley.

Monday, November 9

Report: Amgen Looking for $10 Billion Acquisition

According to media reports, Amgen Inc. is in the hunt to acquire a biotech company worth about $10 billion.

Weak Electronics Market Hurts DTS

DTS Inc. missed Wall Street expectations for earnings and revenue in the third quarter as the consumer electronics market softened.

Friday, November 6

Low Oil Prices Turn California Resources to Loss

Low oil and gas prices resulted in a significant loss for California Resources Corp. in the third quarter.

Quarter Sinks Marcus & Millichap Shares

Commercial real estate brokerage Marcus & Millichap Inc. reported third-quarter results Thursday that sent its shares lower by nearly 25 percent on Friday.

TicketManager Secures $20 Million Investment

Entertainment and sports ticket management firm TicketManager has received $20 million in a second round of funding that will go toward expanding into new markets.

American Homes Meets Street Forecast

American Homes 4 Rent met analyst expectations for income in the third quarter and exceeded Wall Street forecasts on revenue.

Anthem Partners With Castlight Health

Anthem Blue Cross in Thousand Oaks has announced a strategic relationship with Castlight Health Inc., an enterprise health care management company based in San Francisco.

Thursday, November 5

Disney Sets Revenue Record

Walt Disney Co. matched analyst expectations on revenue for the fourth quarter but missed on earnings per share.

DreamWorks Posts Loss, Beats Estimates

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. beat Wall Street expectations in earnings and revenue for the third quarter, helped by strong increases from its television and consumer products divisions.

PennyMac Financial Narrowly Misses Estimates

PennyMac Financial Services Inc. narrowly missed analyst expectations for net income and revenue Thursday.

Wednesday, November 4

PennyMac Increases Earnings, Revenue

PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust on Wednesday reported higher revenue and net income for the third quarter.

MRV Reports ‘Inflection Point’ Quarter

MRV Communications reported higher net income on lower revenue for a quarter the chief executive called an “inflection point.”

Teledyne to Buy Back Shares

Teledyne Technologies Inc. said Wednesday it will repurchase more than 1 million shares of its common stock for about $100 million.

Tuesday, November 3

United Online CEO to Step Down

United Online Inc. beat Wall Street estimates on earnings but fell short on expectations for revenue in the third quarter, even as it plans to sell another website.

Ixia Reports Record Quarter

Ixia beat analyst estimates Tuesday with third-quarter results that included record U.S. revenue.

LTC Improves Income, Beats Forecasts

LTC Properties Inc. reported an increase in its third-quarter earnings and exceeded Wall Street expectations on funds from operations.

Colliers' DeGrinis to Lead Broker Organization

John DeGrinis, an industrial properties broker in the Encino office of Colliers International, has been elected president of the Society of Industrial & Office Realtors, Greater Los Angeles chapter. His term will run for two years.

ReachLocal Misses Estimates

ReachLocal Inc. lost twice as much money in the third quarter as Wall Street analysts expected, and the company also missed on top-line revenue.

Monday, November 2

Ceres Signs Alfalfa Development Deal

Agricultural biotech Ceres Inc. announced Monday that it has signed an agreement with Forage Genetics International to develop and market improved alfalfa for livestock feed.

Revenue Rises at Crown Media

A rise in advertising sales at Crown Media Holdings Inc. resulted in an improvement in revenue for the third quarter.

Health Net Meets Expectations

Health Net Inc. announced third-quarter earnings that matched Wall Street expectations Monday, even as the company plans to finalize its planned merger early next year.

Passion for Work

CEO Sherri Murphy takes romance to heart at high-end matchmaking service Elite Connections International.

Sherri Murphy’s matchmaking service pairs professionals the old-fashioned way – with personal introductions.

Can Amgen Heart Drug Succeed Despite Setbacks?

PHARMA: Eli Lilly pulls out of race to find booster for ‘good’ cholesterol.

Last month, Anaheim pharma giant Eli Lilly & Co. announced that it will stop development of experimental cholesterol drug evacetrapib, which could mean good news for Thousand Oaks biotech Amgen Inc.

Building Business

Eileen Gould put together career as general contractor in industry with few women practitioners.

Female general contractor Eileen Gould can supervise demolition and pick out wallpaper, too.

Northrop Win Brings Assembly Jobs to Palmdale

AEROSPACE: Long-range Air Force bomber contract worth $60 billion.

Northrop’s $60 billion bomber contract could bring a jobs bonanza to Palmdale.

Power Play In Texas

ENERGY: Applied LNG invests in new plant despite price drop for liquified natural gas.

Applied LNG moves ahead with its natural gas plant in Texas, but will it find a market?

The Number

“Keep it simple” is key advice for online appliance sales.

Pope Francis Protected by Barricades

Delta Scientific’s portable road gates deployed in Philly.

Delta Scientific Corp.’s portable traffic barricades helped protect Pope Francis on his U.S. visit.

Job Tips for Veterans in New Book

Encino author thinks military training can benefit trade firms.

Encino author’s latest book advises veterans on how to get jobs.

Social Media No Pain in the Neck

Chiropractor finds time for tweets, posts to boost business.

Van Nuys chiropractor shares his social media secrets.

Martini Maker Juices Up Bars

Bartender-turned-entrepreneur Eric Tecosky helps make martinis dirty.

Buyer Takes on Towering Eyesore

REAL ESTATE: Quake-wrecked property overdue for makeover.

Longtime eyesore Panorama Tower, empty since the Northridge earthquake, prepares for a makeover.

Colorful History

Growing Lime Crime puts best face on past troubles

Woodland Hills cosmetics company Lime Crime specializes in colorful palette.

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Insurer Peddles New Online Policy

INTERNET: Hixme’s plan offers employees range of carriers.

Agoura Hills tech company Hixme gets VC backing for its suite of health insurance software.

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Disney Wades Into Streaming Content Overseas

INTERNET: Media giant aims to cast large shadow with TV, film offerings in U.K.

Walt Disney Co. is jumping into the direct-to-consumer streaming market with a new service starting next month in the United Kingdom.

Developers Hope Postal Service Properties Deliver

DEVELOPMENT: Firms think outside box in adapting mail centers to residential.

In the past few weeks, developers have filed plans with the city of Los Angeles to transform two San Fernando Valley post offices into apartment complexes.

The Legislative Scorecard

The legislative scorecard in Sacramento.


Calendar of events

Around the Valleys

News and notes from the greater San Fernando Valley

Outdoor television and digital signage manufacturer SunBriteTV of Thousand Oaks was acquired by SnapAV, a manufacturer and distributor of audio and video products.