Stories for April 2005

Friday, April 29

Aussie Firm to Acquire Sizzler Parent

Worldwide Restaurant Concepts Inc., operators of Sizzler and other restaurant chains, has reached an agreement to be acquired by a private equity firm, Pacific Equity Partners, for $7 a share. Reports $1 Million First Quarter Revenue

The Woodland Hills company reached record revenues of $18.5 million for the first quarter of the year.

Thursday, April 28

IRIS International Posts 49% Revenue Growth

The Chatsworth company posted record earnings of $1.3 million, and record revenues of $14 million for the first quarter ending March 31

Buena Vista Games to Release Titles in Japan

The video game publishing arm of the Walt Disney Co. will release "Disney's Chicken Little," "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "Lilo and Stitch" and other titles.

K-Swiss Gets Traction From International Markets

K-Swiss reported an earnings increase of nearly 20 percent, while its domestic sales lag.

Wednesday, April 27

LNR Warner Center Buildings Bought for $104 million

The two, five-story buildings total 358,684 square feet. One is fully occupied, while the other is about 20 percent leased.

Greuel and Miscikowski Looking for More Cops Money

The Councilmembers co-introduced a motion aimed putting more money into the City's General Fund to hire police officers.

Image Entertainment to Release a Dozen Comedy DVDs

The Chatsworth-based company will distribute material from the Just For Laughs stand-up comedy archives -- the material includes performances by Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld and others.

Tuesday, April 26

Aramark Acquires Another Uniform Supplier

The Burbank company expects the acquisition of Associated Textile Rental Service to add $5.5 million to its annual revenues.

Burbank Goes Wi-Fi

Starting in mid-May, visitors in downtown Burbank will be able to freely access the Internet with any Wi-Fi enabled device.

Monday, April 25

Some Say Scant Resources Keep UCC From Its Potential

Officials say United Chambers of Commerce needs more resources.

Little-Known Japanase Garden Fails to Live Up to Potential

The Japanese Garden in Van Nuys is perhaps the most little-known tourist attraction in the Valley.

Chamber Professional Gives Advice on Groups' Roles

Chamber Consultant Jan Sobel

PCS Rethinks Apartment Complex as Condo Project

PCS Development has put its property in Sherman Oaks up for sale, and vacnacy rates in the Valley office market dropped in the first quarter.

Honors Given to Pacoima Firms

Pacoima Chamber honors local firms, businesspeople.

Tekelec Closing Its Operations In Calabasas

Telecommunications gear manufacturer Tekelec has announced that it is shutting down its Valley operations, moving its 45 remaining Calabasas employees to Morrisville, N.C.

ValueClick Adds Three New Clients

Westlake Village-based Internet advertising firm ValueClick announced that it has signed representation agreements with, 1-800-Schedule, and newspaper publisher Guardian Unlimited.

Businesses Create Leagues of Their Own for Amateurs

Two Valley companies are creating adult sports leagues with a degree of professionalism and business acumen.

Equity, Venture Financing Slows

Financing activity in Southern California slowed in the first quarter of the year, declining from year-ago levels, according to a report just released by Ernst & Young.

Should There Be One Chamber?

The question of whether there should be one large Valley chamber provokes strong reactions.

Buoyed by Quarter, BioSource Boosts Guidance

Income from continuing operations at BioSource International Inc. rose 14 percent to $1.1 million for the first quarter ended Mar. 31, leading the company to raise its guidance for the full year.

Portrait of a Chamber and Its Leader: Adapting to Changes

A look at one chamber and its experienced leader who has adapted to the times.

One Chamber Has Appeal In Survey

The idea of one large Valley chamber has appeal among Business Journal survey respondents.

Efforts to Bring New Life to Valley Museum Underway

The Museum of the San Fernando Valley is undergoing a makeover.

International Business Boosting Some Hotels

Some Valley sites are seeing more international tourists come to call due to the decline of the dollar.

Groups Try to Maintain Relevance

Local Chambers try to become indispensable to members.

Future of Chambers Secure if They Adapt to Changes

Chambers need to adapt to maintain their relevance.

Chambers Rethink Events to Provide Additional Value

Networking events are the core of chamber activities, and hastily throwing them together can be a disaster.

NBC Universal Synergy Seen in New Attraction

Universal Studios' planned "Fear Factor" attraction is one of othe first synergies from the NBC Universal deal completed last May.

As Businesses Expand, Extended-Stay Formats Boom

The influx of corporate and regional headquarters to the San Fernando and Conejo valleys has spurred a flurry of development of extended stay hotels in the area.

Although Tucked Away, These Businesses Boom

Business Journal readers find the best in the hospitality and recreation industries in the Valley.

Tracking Chamber Boundaries Difficult

Tracking chamber boundaries can be difficult.

Thursday, April 21

Bank of Santa Clarita Logs Significant Growth

Assets grew more than 40 percent over last year, and deposits and revenues have doubled.

Health Net Federal Services Wins $25 Million Contract for U.S. Army

Health Net Connections will operate call centers in Washington State and Illinois, providing patient appointing services to 245,000 beneficiaries.

Wednesday, April 20

101communications Buys Tech Journal Publisher

The Chatsworth-based multimedia publishing company has purchased ETC Group LLC, publisher of T.H.E Journal for technology users in education fields.

21st Century Reports Slight Drop in Net Income, Higher Revenues

Out-of-state premiums for the first quarter of 2005 more than doubled compared to the first quarter of 2004, as 21st continues to make expansion outside of California a priority.

Tuesday, April 19

Disney Online Reports Jump in Web Site Traffic

More than 19 million people visited Disney Web sites in March, a 44 percent increase over last year.

First Southern California Cough Center Opens Burbank

The center at the Institute for Better Breathing will be open to people suffering from emphysema, chronic bronchitis and other chronic coughs.

Monday, April 18

North American Scientific Reports $3.6 Million First Quarter Net Loss

The Chatsworth company filed its Form 10-Q, bringing it back in compliance with Nasdaq listing requirements, according to a company release.

Guitar Center Completes Acquisition

The Westlake Village-based chain paid $90 million for Music & Arts Center, which has 62 locations in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and Southern United States.

Friday, April 15

Blue Cross Launches New Dental Discount Program

Aimed at customers without dental insurance, SmileNet offers discounts on dental service without requiring copays, deductibles, claims or paperwork.

Chamber Gives Wal-Mart Thumbs Down

The North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce is sending its grievances to Councilman Greig Smith, claiming the store would create too much traffic.

Thursday, April 14

Bob Hertzberg Endorses Antonio Villaraigosa

The former mayoral candidate announced his support at a press conference in Sylmar. All three major candidates who were eliminated in the primary election have endorsed Villaraigosa.

John Hench Foundation Promises $1 Million to Providence St. Joseph's Cancer Center

The pledge brings Providence Saint Joseph closer to its $33.1 million goal to build its cancer center.

MGA Entertainment Sues Mattel

North Hills-based MGA is accusing its competitor of unfair competition and intellectual property infringement.

Wednesday, April 13

Schwarzenegger Announces Nurse Education Initiative

The Governor said reversing the state's nursing shortage is crucial at a time when California' elderly population is growing rapidly.

Sylmar Firm to Pay Employees Nearly $174,000 in Back Wages

RW Spears, a Sylmar-based manufacturer, has been ordered by the Department of Labor to reclassify over two dozen employees as non-exempt from overtime laws.

Tuesday, April 12

Shea Opens in Westlake Village

David Newsome will head up the new office, which will service the company's operations in Oxnard, Ventura, Simi Valley and the San Fernando Valley.

Glendale Adventist to Host Annual Fundraising Gala

Funds raised by the hospital foundation will go toward a campus expansion scheduled to be completed in 2007.

Monday, April 11

Business Owners Give Mixed Review to Calabasas Festival

While the MethodFest Film Festival's debut in Calabasas drew support from many local businesses, several merchants at the Calabasas Commons claimed that they did not see any surge in business from festival-goers.

IndyMac Bank Opens in Valley

IndyMac Bank is making an entry into the Valley

Frommer Claims He'll Fight This Time

Jonathan D. Colburn reports that Assemblyman Dario Frommer is ready to play hardball with Gov. Schwarzenegger over health care issues.

Business Groups Push for More Tax Reform

A group of more than 30 business organizations has called for the L.A. City Council to renew its efforts at business tax reform.

Implant Firm on Hiring Spree As It Moves Into New Market

Advanced Bionics is adding hundreds of new employees locally as it moves into the $500 million spinal cord stimulation market.

Despite Growth, ValueClick Faced With Lagging Stock

Online advertising firm ValueClick's stock lags despite company's growth.

Chatsworth Publisher Resuming Search for Properties

Staff Reporter Jeff Weiss writes about new ventures for a local publishing firm, legal wrangling of a local file-sharing network and the business of Valley Internet blogs.

Small and Short Becomes Big Business for Father, Son Team

Celebrities help family firm widen reach to shorter men.

Toys 'R' Them

Van Nuys company makes action figures for big boys.

Local Health Plans Buying Into New Medicare Program

Every Valley health plan will take part in Medicare's new prescription drug benefit program.

Strong Connections

United Online chief Mark Goldstein is taking the Valley company into a wider area on the Internet

Despite Turnout, Companies Say WESTEC Still Valuable

Valley-area companies disappointed in turnout at WESTEC manufacturing conference.

ISWest Leads Way as Local ISP Industry Consolidates

ISWest has taken another step in the consolidation of the local business-to-business Internet Service Provider.

Hospital Officials Expecting Sale of Encino-Tarzana

Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center is one of the last of the Tenet Healthcare Corp. hospitals which were put up for sale in 2004 to remain on the market but officials expect a deal by summer.

Flurry of Activity Puts Focus On Area Near Northridge Mall

A stretch of land that surrounds the Northridge Fashion Center has suddenly become the center of attention of developers and retailers.

A Different Kind of Auto Club

Galpin Motors' exclusive club gives VIP treatment to Aston Martin buyers.

Court's Age Ruling Moves States in Line With California

A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on age discrimination is not likely to change the outcome of lawsuits in California.

Playhouse Disney Programs to be Offered Online

The new broadband service will be targeted at preschool children and will include characters from its popular television programs.

Friday, April 8

Cherokee Fourth Quarter Earnings Rise 46%

The Van Nuys-based clothing licenser and brand management company reported fourth quarter earnings of $4 million, compared with $2.7 last year.

Vendare Announces New Board Chair, Changes Name

The Vendare Group has officially changed its name to Vendare Media

IHOP Declares Quarterly Dividend

IHOP's shareholders of record on May 2 will receive $0.25 per common share

Thursday, April 7

Salem Communications Purchases Nebraska Radio Station

The Camarillo-based company also announced it has completed the exchange of a Chicago station for three other stations.

GAB Robins Opens in Burbank

GAB, a New Jersey-based risk management firm, currently has offices in Glendale and Palmdale.

Wednesday, April 6

Wendy Greuel to Present Home Buying Fair in North Hollywood

Prospective buyers who have never owned a home will find tips on loans, real estate agents and other basic information.

Universal Amphitheatre Renamed

Gibson Guitar will provide on-site enhancements, and the theater will be renamed "The Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal Citywalk."

Tuesday, April 5

Valley Pres Will Refurbish its ER and Children's Center with $500,000 in Grants

Two grants will allow Valley Presbyterian in Van Nuys to improve its services.

Warner Bros. Inks Licensing Deal with Italian Soccer Franchise

Warner Bros. will develop licensed products for European soccer giant AC Milan.

Monday, April 4

Fulcrum Microsystems Breaks into European Market

The Calabasas company will offer sales and design services in 13 European countries.

Health Underwriters Protest Richman and Kuehl Health Plans

Both proposals lean too heavily on government involvement, according to the California Association of Health Underwriters.

Friday, April 1

Riordan Throws His Support Behind Villaraigosa

Richard Riordan and Nancy Daly Riordan said they support Villaraigosa because of his stance on education.