Stories for August 2014

Friday, August 29

BofA Appeals Countrywide Verdict

Bank of America Corp. has asked for a federal judge to overturn a jury verdict that found it liable for thousands of bad mortgages sold by its Countrywide unit, leading to a $1.3 billion judgment.

Adult Moratorium in Effect

A moratorium on adult film production remained in effect on Friday after a testing center reported a possible positive HIV test for an adult performer

Thursday, August 28

Crunchies Files for Bankruptcy

Crunchies Food Co. LLC has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in response to what it said was a small group of investor-creditors taking hostile and aggressive actions.

Magic Mountain Announces New Coaster

Six Flags Magic Mountain unveiled plans Thursday to revamp its famous Colossus roller coaster and turn it into a hybrid coaster, Twisted Colossus, which will open next spring

Amgen Seeking Cholesterol Drug Approval

Amgen Inc. announced on Thursday that it will seek U.S. government approval to sell pipeline drug evolocumab that has significantly reduced cholesterol for patients in clinical trials.

L.A. County Property Values Hit Record

The value of L.A. County taxable property rose 6 percent this year to its highest valuation ever.

Briefs: AmaWaterways, Capstone

AmaWaterways adds to fleet. Capstone Turbine secures Russian contract.

Wednesday, August 27

Brown OKs Raising Film Tax Credit

Gov. Jerry Brown worked out a deal with the Legislature on Wednesday that would more than triple funding for California’s film and TV tax-credit program to stem runaway production.

Glendale Adventist Settles 'Patient Dumping' Suit

Glendale Adventist Hospital reached an agreement on Wednesday to pay $700,000 to settle a city lawsuit accusing it of discharging patients from its emergency room to L.A.'s Skid Row.

Contract Boosts NetSol Shares

Shares of NetSol Technologies Inc. rose 40 percent on Wednesday after the software developer secured a $16 million contract.

Briefs: Amgen, Vitesse

Amgen heart drug gets priority review. Vitesse Semiconductor appoints director.

Tuesday, August 26

Talaria Approved by Burbank Planning Board

The $150 million Talaria at Burbank mixed-used development was unanimously approved on Monday night.

Briefs: PDC, Disney Stores

PDC names president. Disney Stores headquarters acquired.

Monday, August 25

Disney Files Drone Patents

Walt Disney Co. has filed three patents to use unmanned aircraft in entertainment productions at its theme parks.

Homes Sales Rise as Prices Flatten

Stabilizing home prices and increased inventory fueled more San Fernando Valley homes to close escrow in July in more than a year, according to a report released Monday by the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.

Briefs: MRV, Ixia, Children's Museum

MRV names CFO. Ixia receives another warning letter. Discovery Cube museum names director.

Peanuts? Nah, I Want The Tri-Tip

Pilot invests in cable show on best vittles at community airports.

Aviation: A new cable TV show features restaurants at small airports across the country.

DreamWorks Conjuring Up Glendale Offices

Real Estate: Animation studio leases in highrise for growing television unit.

Despite a falling share price and some serious box office bombs, DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. has increased its office space in Glendale.

Making Waves

Valencia offices playing key role in resurgent Cunard Line

Tourism: Historic cruise line Cunard proves an old company can learn new marketing tricks.

Tease photo

The Valley’s Start: When Guns Boomed

Op-Ed: Watershed year of 1914.

The Valley’s Future: Aging but Wealthy

The War on Poverty was won by senior citizens, who will continue to move here and change our economy.

Op-ed: The aging Valley.

Not So Young Anymore

From the Newsroom: Baby boomers need to face reality.


Market Watch Summary

Stocks showed a rebound in the two-week period ended Aug. 20 as a quarterly earnings period ended and international tensions eased in the Ukraine and Middle East.


Calendar of Events

around the valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley

The physician operator of an Encino medical clinic was arrested earlier this month for selling narcotics at his business while awaiting trial on another narcotics charge.

On the Farm

The community of Chatsworth is noted for its rocky peaks and equine neighborhoods, where residents still board and ride horses as if it were a century ago.

Pawn Pioneer

Diane Taylor is a rarity in the pawn industry: a female shop owner – who also happens to head the state’s trade group.

Q&A: When banks are leery, pawnshop owner Diane Taylor becomes lender of last resort.

Rocky Startup Forces Mutual Fund Closure

Finance: Veteran financial manager shuts Rocky Peak fund.

Veteran financial manager Tom Kerr took a shot at going out on his own – and it didn’t work out.

Startups Go to Summer Camp – at Warner Bros.

Entertainment: Early stage tech-oriented media firms received studio mentoring.

The principals of six start-up tech companies came to Burbank this summer to attend camp but it wasn’t filled with canoeing, crafts time or roasting hot dogs around a bonfire.

Curtain Rises on Thousand Oaks Theater Group

Giving: Local businesses, residents save season for Cabrillo Musical Theatre.

Back in April, Cabrillo Musical Theatre wasn’t sure if it would see the opening of another show.

Second Sight Eyes IPO Despite Little Revenue

Biotech: Al Mann firm tapping public markets to advance bionic eye.

Biotech: Second Sight Medical Products, maker of the “bionic eye,” files for an IPO.

A Novel Approach

Retail: Michelle Schwabe is profitably operating brick-and-mortar bookstores in an industry dominated by

Retail: One local chain sees future profits in opening old-fashioned bookstores.

The Numbers

The Numbers: What is the potential return on investment for sports tickets?

This Drone Perfect for The Storm

Palmdale’s Northrop plant makes seaworthy surveillance craft.

Innovation: Northrop Grumman refits a drone to find submarines.

How ‘Queer.’ Oxnard a Top Gay City

Ventura County city surprises with high score on LGBT index.

Hospitality: Oxnard wins recognition as a gay-friendly tourist destination.

Mixed-Use With City of San Fernando Twist

Development: A mixed-use project in San Fernando draws mixed reviews from city officials.

FX Startup Defies Reality

Entertainment: Industry veteran bucks closure trend.

Entertainment: Origin Digital Studios hopes to defy the trend of closures among FX firms.

ReachLocal Grabs CEO

Internet: Woodland Hills marketer gets turnaround exec.

Internet: The evolution of online marketing has left ReachLocal playing catch-up.

Friday, August 22

Ixia Hires HP Exec as CEO

Ixia has named a technology industry veteran Bethany Mayer as its chief executive and president.

Luxury Warner Center Apartments Sold

A $75 million Warner Center luxury apartment building that opened less than a year ago has been sold to an undisclosed institutional investor.

Briefs: Restaurant Dog Bill, IPC Acquisition

Governor signs bill allowing dogs on eatery patios. IPC acquires two more doctors' groups.

Thursday, August 21

BofA Agrees to $16.7 Billion Mortgage Settlement

Bank of America has agreed on the largest settlement ever reached between the government and a company, largely due to its acquisition of Countrywide Financial.

Local Cities Cited as Business Friendly

Three cities in the greater Valley were among 10 named on Thursday by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. as finalists for its award given to most business-friendly cities.

Nestle USA Signs Animal Pledge

Nestle USA pledged on Thursday to improve the welfare of the farm animals in its supply chain by implementing stricter standards on its 7,300 suppliers.

Update: Superior Wins Proxy Battle

Superior Industries International Inc. announced final proxy vote results, with the company’s slate of four candidates elected to the board of directors.

Valley Audio Book Producer Passes

Bob Deyan, who grew his San Fernando Valley business into one of the largest independent audiobooks producers, died on Tuesday in Santa Monica from complications of ALS. He was 56.

Briefs: Semtech, LTC

Semtech shares rise on earnings. LTC sells notes.

Wednesday, August 20

Avery Dennison to Embellish Chinese Apparel

Avery Dennison Inc.’s Retail Branding and Information Solutions announced a joint venture for the company to provide embellishments and labels to a Chinese knitwear manufacturer.

Burbank Airport Reports Slight Passenger Decline

The number of passengers using Burbank Bob Hope Airport decreased about 1 percent in June compared to the same month a year ago, the airport announced on Wednesday.

Briefs: Apollo Medical, Ryland

Apollo Medical reports 56 percent revenue growth; Ryland announces new development.

Tuesday, August 19

Intuit Lays Off 120 in Woodland Hills

Financial services provider Intuit Inc. will lay off employees at its Woodland Hills location as it moves to cloud-based services.

Briefs:Teledyne, Home Prices

Teledyne subsidiary makes acquisition. L.A. Metro home prices.

Monday, August 18

Drug Fraud Earns Glendale Clinic Owner Prison

The owner of a Glendale medical clinic was sentenced on Monday to eight years in federal prison for orchestrating a prescription drug fraud that bilked the government out of more than $9 million.

DreamWorks Gains on New CFO

Shares of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. closed up nearly 10 percent on Monday after the company appointed a new chief financial officer and saw its latest movie open strong in China.

Shareholders Approve Sport Chalet Sale

Sport Chalet Inc. shareholders have approved a $70 million acquisition of the La Canada Flintridge retailer by a Connecticut sporting goods company, the companies announced Monday.

Friday, August 15

L.A. County Unemployment Rate Steady

Unemployment in Los Angeles County held steady at 8.1 percent in July even as the county lost 58,000 jobs due to schools letting out for summer, according to state figures released Friday.

Albertsons Reports Data Breach

Customers at Albertsons supermarkets in Los Angeles County may have had their credit and debit card information comprised by a wide data breach, the chain's owners said Friday.

Condom Bills Dies in Senate

A bill requiring mandatory condom usage on adult film sets in California died Thursday in the Senate Appropriations Committee, but backers plan to re-introduce it next year.

Clinic Owner Arrested on Narcotics Charge

The 69-year-old physician operator of an Encino medical clinic has been arrested for selling hydrocodone at his business while awaiting trial on another narcotics charge, officials said.

Thursday, August 14

Senate Panel Approves Hollywood Tax Credit

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted on Thursday to approve a bill that would extend and sharply expand California’s film and television tax credit program.

American Homes Prices Offering

Shares of American Homes fell Thursday after the single-family home landlord priced its $230 million public offering.

L.A. County Foreclosures Up in July

L.A. County foreclosures rose in July after falling for more than two years, according to a report released Thursday.

Update: Amgen Announces Trial Setback, Recall

Shares of Amgen Inc. rise despite a double dose of bad news in the form of a trial setback and a recall.

Workers' Comp Rates Could Climb 11 Percent

Workers’ compensation insurance rates may go up 11 percent next year from current levels following a vote by a key state board.

Briefs: Apartments Sale, Cunard, Talon, Conversant

Valley Village apartments sell. Cunard refits ship. Talon executive agreements. Conversant hires VP.

Wednesday, August 13

Second Sight Eyes IPO

Second Sight, a Sylmar company founded by billionaire Alfred Mann to develop an artificial retina for blind patients, filed paperwork for a $32 million initial public offering on Tuesday.

Disney Selling Off Most Radio Stations

Walt Disney Co. is selling off 23 of its Radio Disney stations and laying off about 200 employees as it moves to digital distribution of its radio content, according to media reports on Wednesday.

American Homes Announces Offering

American Homes 4 Rent announced on Wednesday a public offering of shares as it continues to acquire rental homes across the country.

WellPoint to Change Name to Anthem

The brand name established by WellPoint Health Networks Inc. in Thousand Oaks is disappearing from the corporate landscape.

DineEquity Refinances $1.4 Billion in Debt

DineEquity Inc. announced Wednesday plans to refinance $1.4 billion of debt and credit, as the company looks to take advantage of low interest rates.

July Home Sales Slow

Home sales in Southern California fell to their lowest number for a July in three years, as affordability issues and weak supply slowed the market, according to a report released Wednesday by real estate data firm DataQuick.

Tuesday, August 12

Clippers Sale to Ballmer Closes

The sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has closed, the National Basketball Association announced Tuesday.

Antelope Valley Tax Credit Bill Advances

The Assembly has approved a bill offering tax credits to Northrop Grumman Corp. should the company build an advanced bomber for the Air Force – and do some work in the Antelope Valley.

Sunkist Leaving Sherman Oaks Next Month

More than a year after selling its landmark Sherman Oaks office building, Sunkist Growers Inc. announced Tuesday it will begin moving to its new home in Santa Clarita in September.

Briefs: Tylt, Northrop, Interlink, Mission Valley, Electro Rent

Tylt opens headquarters. Northrop Grumman wins contract. Interlink, Mission Valley and Electro Rent report earnings.

Monday, August 11

MannKind Signs Global Marketing Deal With Sanofi

MannKind Corp. announced on Monday it has signed a $925 million agreement with French drug company Sanofi to market and sell is Afrezza inhalable insulin worldwide.

Surf Air Orders 15 More Planes

Private membership airline Surf Air has ordered 15 new Pilatus PC-12 aircraft in a deal valued at $65 million.

Beutner Named L.A. Times Publisher

Austin Beutner, a former investment banker and Los Angeles deputy mayor, was named publisher and chief executive of the Los Angeles Times Media Group, the Times announced Monday.

Briefs: Disney, United Online, DTS, Talon

DisneyToon layoffs. United Online accounting issue. DTS and Talon earnings.

Westlake Village Center Hits the Bullseye

Retail: Target, other stores tone down logos at Shoppes outdoor mall.

Retail: Shoppes at Westlake Village brings Santa Barbara style to the Conejo Valley.

Waging a Manufacturing Campaign

Trade group seeks to reverse trend that has seen state regain only a fraction of jobs lost since recession.

OP-ED: Let’s boost California manufacturing

Who Will Do the Heavy Lifting?

Editor: Nobody wants to make stuff anymore.


Calendar of Events


Market Watch Summary

The seasonal wave of earnings reports and tensions in the Ukraine and Middle East contributed to a drop in the stock market during the two-week period ended Aug. 6.

around the valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley

A coalition formed to bring light rail projects to the San Fernando Valley has added a significant number of members.

Double-Chin Drug Company Doubling – Offices

Real Estate: Kythera moves from Calabasas to larger space in Westlake Village.

As Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc. waits on the Food and Drug Administration to make a decision on its new drug to eliminate chin fat, the biotech is expanding its office footprint.

Company Adds Layers and Layers of Complexity

Technology: At Solid Concepts, 3-D printing only makes sense when making big-dollar items.

Old Shop, New Tricks

Aviation: Frazier Aviation uses state-of-the-art technology to machine new parts for old airplanes.

Natel Takes Hands-Off Approach to Assembly

Defense: Natal EMS has built a hands-free assembly line to produce microscopically small parts.

Getting Productive

A manufacturing rebound has helped the recovery despite little job growth. One answer to the riddle can be found in new technologies boosting shop-floor efficiency.

Productivity: Sophisticated machines and few workers is the new business model for manufacturing.

Late Bloomer

Bill Watkins went back to school in his 40s to earn his Ph.D and now leads Cal Lutheran’s economic forecast – when he’s not playing blues or climbing rocks.

Q&A: Cal Lutheran Professor Bill Watkins left banking to become an economic forecaster.

Burbank Attorneys Drop Unusual Union Bid

Law: City legal staff had tried to organize after dissatisfaction over pay.

An 18-month campaign to unionize lawyers at the Burbank City Attorney’s Office came to an end last month as the group announced it would disband.

New Table Etiquette: Snap While You Eat Please

Retail & Hospitality: Applebee’s asks diners to post their own pics on firm’s Instagram.

Applebee’s International Inc. is letting its customers get behind the camera and be the sole source of photos to its Instagram account for the next year.

Amgen in Talks to Sell Buildings After Layoffs

Real estate: Biotech leaders say bigger firms may fit on headquarters campus.

Real Estate: As Amgen downsizes, what will happen with its Thousand Oaks campus?

Plant and Shift Closures Hit Valley Manufacturers

Employment: Up to 600 workers could lose jobs at St. Jude and Nestle USA.

Employment: Nestle and St. Jude Medical announce layoffs at local manufacturing plants.

True Conversions

Transportation: Ron Weaver and his staff at Automotive Design and Fabrication turn heads transforming plain Sprinter vans.

Transportation: Ron Weaver performs high-end remodels on Sprinter Vans.

The Numbers

The Numbers: Oil is the highest-paying manufacturing sector in L.A. County.

Solar Car Wraps Up Victory

Winning team makes use of slick covering by Avery Dennison.

Innovation: Solar-powered car gets the aerodynamic treatment from Avery Dennison.

Horror Firm Unfazed by ‘Shark Tank’

Sherman Oaks outfit scores show’s biggest- ever investment.

Entertainment: Spooky-attraction production house scares up $2 million on “Shark Tank.”

Getting a Startup Started Up

Business-plan event in Burbank attracts eager entrepreneurs.

Events: Would-be entrepreneurs aired their ideas at Startup Weekend.

Residents Sour On Sunkist Plan

Development: Big plans for the former Sunkist headquarters may get squeezed down by neighborhood groups.

Industrial Park Blooms in Valley

Real Estate: Developer about to break ground in Chatsworth.

Real Estate: One developer thinks the Valley market is ripe for new industrial projects.

Billionaire Takes Superior for Ride

Investments: Mario Gabelli seeks voice at wheelmaker.

Investments: Factory executives face off against Wall Street financiers in Superior Industries’ proxy battle.

Sparking Growth

Focus On Manufacturing

Hollywood Glamour? Visit the Bayou

OP-ED: Hollywood needs help

Friday, August 8

Prison Time for Disney Inside Trader

A San Francisco man has been sentenced to three months in prison for insider trading connected to Walt Disney Co.’s acquisition of Marvel Entertainment Inc.

Steep Decline in Adult Film Production

Adult film production has sharply declined in the Valley and Los Angeles County in the two years since the passage of a law requiring the use of condoms on set.

Earnings Roundup: Kythera, Salem, Signature

Kythera shares pop. Acquisitions cut Salem income. Signature reduces losses.

Thursday, August 7

BofA Mortgage Settlement Could Hit $17 Billion

Bank of America is close to reaching a record $16 billion to $17 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over toxic mortgages issued by its Countrywide Financial unit and other mortgage lenders it acquired.

Marcus & Millichap Posts Strong Quarter

The Calabasas commercial real estate brokerage reported on Thursday soaring first quarter revenue, citing a substantial increase in brokerage commissions

Briefs: IPC, Capstone Turbine

IPC completes acquisition. Capstone Turbine reports earnings.

Wednesday, August 6

Health Net Beats Earnings Estimate

Health Net Inc. on Wednesday announced quarterly earnings nearly triple what analysts expected, sending the stock higher.

Real Estate Briefs: PennyMac, LTC

PennyMac Financial beats earnings estimates, PennyMac Mortgage grows its loan portfolio and LTC increases revenue.

Tech Briefs: ReachLocal, Conversant, Vitesse

ReachLocal widens its losses, Conversant misses estimates and Vitesse boosts new product sales

Study Finds $1.2 Billion Impact of Filmed Drama in L.A.

The loss of 29 one-hour dramas over a two-year period has cost the Los Angeles region up to $1.2 billion in production spending, a new report from FilmL.A. Inc. released on Wednesday concluded.

Tuesday, August 5

Update: Nestle Closing Chatsworth Plant

Up to 360 workers could lose their jobs after Nestle USA announced on Tuesday that it is shutting down its Chatsworth Hot Pockets plant and moving operations to Kentucky.

21st Century Fox Ends Time Warner Bid

21st Century Fox on Tuesday formally withdrew its offer to acquire Time Warner Inc., parent of Warner Bros. Entertainment in Burbank.

Disney Scores With World Cup

The World Cup soccer games gave a kick to Walt Disney Co. earnings in the second quarter as results outperformed analyst estimates.

Ceres Founder and Chairman Dies

Dr. Walter De Logi, co-founder and chairman of Ceres Inc., has died unexpectedly, the company announced Tuesday.

Briefs: Mannkind, Tutor Perini, DineEquity

MannKind discloses insulin manufacturing pact. Tutor Perini reports mixed earnings. DineEquity declares dividend.

American Homes Pleases Street

American Homes 4 Rent reported late Monday second-quarter funds from operations in line with Wall Street expectations, as the company remains aggressive in expanding its housing portfolio.

L.A. Nearly Fails Business Friendliness Survey

Los Angeles once again received a grade of D for its overall friendliness to small business, according to a report to be released Tuesday.

Monday, August 4

Sport Chalet Tender Offer Extended

Sport Chalet Inc. shareholders received a deadline extension until midnight Aug. 15 to approve the sale of the sporting goods retailer at the highest price being offered by a Connecticut sporting goods company.

Amgen Gains on Drug Study

Amgen Inc. announced on Monday positive human trial results for a cancer drug that was the focus of a multibillion dollar acquisition last year.

T.O. Shopping Center Sells for $13.5 Million

The Terrace, a 40,000-square-foot shopping center in Thousand Oaks, has sold for $13.5 million.

Briefs: Disney, Wesco, Tix

Disney scores at box office. Wesco and Tix report earnings.

Friday, August 1

Valley Rail Coalition on Track

A coalition formed to bring light rail projects to the San Fernando Valley has added a significant number of members, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association announced.

'Sharknado 2' Has Bite

Low-budget Burbank production company The Asylum scored a big hit this week as its “Sharknado 2: The Second One” drew in a viewership of 3.9 million.

Briefs: Crown Media, Public Storage, Cherokee

Crown Media and Public Storage release earnings. Cherokee declares dividend.