Stories for July 2014

Thursday, July 31

L.A. Billionaire Joins Providence Health

Biotech entrepreneur Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, L.A.'s wealthiest man, will become the global director for cancer services and bioinformatics at Providence Health & Services, the hospital chain announced on Thursday.

Bank of America's Countrywide to Pay $1.3 Billion

The Countrywide Financial mortgage lender unit owned by Bank of America has been ordered to pay $1.3 billion in damages for selling thousands of defective loans.

Earnings: Superior, Ryland, PS Business Parks

Superior Industries reports lower income, Ryland misses on a one-time tax benefit and PS Business Park beats expectations.

Wednesday, July 30

Superior Industries Closing Plant

Van Nuys aluminum wheel manufacturer Superior Industries announced Wednesday it would close its Arkansas plant – laying off 500 – as it prepares to open another in Mexico.

Amgen Shares Up, DreamWorks Down

Wall Street applauded Amgen Inc.'s plan to cut up to 2,900 jobs, while investors were once more disappointed in DreamWorks' earnings.

Princess Cruises Orders $800 Million Ship

Princess Cruises announced Wednesday it will add a third ship to its Royal Princess fleet, a 3,560-passenger vessel expected to set sail in 2017.

Briefs: Burbank Airport, Warner Bros.

SeaPort Airlines adds service to San Diego from Burbank. Warner Bros. creates Harry Potter unit.

Tuesday, July 29

Amgen Announces Big Layoffs

Amgen Inc. announced on Tuesday that it would cut up to 2,900 jobs, close plants and consolidate its offices at its sprawling Thousand Oaks headquarters complex.

'Dragon' Drags Down DreamWorks

Weak box office results for “How to Train Your Dragon 2” put a drag on DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. second quarter earnings, which failed to match analysts’ expectations.

Disney Creates Asian Management Position

Walt Disney Co. on Tuesday announced the creation of an executive position to coordinate business efforts in Asia, a move that underscores the importance of the region to Disney’s growth strategy.

Briefs: DineEquity, Avery Dennison, Glendale Sale

DineEquity shares rise. Avery Dennison declares dividend. Glendale office building sold.

Monday, July 28

Marriott Warner Center Sold

The Marriott Warner Center, one of the Valley’s largest hotels, has been acquired by Laurus Corp., a Century City real estate investment and development company, the company announced on Monday.

Brazil Awards Ceres $39 Million

Energy crop developer Ceres Inc. will receive nearly $39 million in financing from the Brazilian government to expand its product development program, the company announced Monday.

Briefs: DreamWorks, MRV, Ryland

DreamWorks reconfigures its executive team, MRV Communications brings on a new board member, and Ryland opens a new housing development.

Hitting Pay Dirt

A tight county industrial market has sent builders scurrying to develop warehouses and offices in the Santa Clarita Valley, where land is cheaper and firms are migrating.

Developers plan to build three major industrial parks in Santa Clarita. But is there demand?

Life Coach Goes to Mat For Clients

Author taps wrestling experience for tips on grappling with success.

Publishing: Olympic coach Leo Frincu offers life advice in his new book.

An Old Game in Modern Times

From the newsroom: Football’s uncertain future

around the valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley

Beau Boeckmann has been named president and chief operating officer at Galpin Motors.


Market Watch Summary

Stocks remained nearly flat during the two-week period ended July 23, during which tensions in the Middle East and Ukraine tempered the market.

Japanese Railcar Maker May Help Industrial Market Get on Track

Major office and industrial deals in Antelope Valley.

Tenants Calling Shots as Landlords Still Forced to Sweeten Pot

Major office and industrial deals in Santa Clarita Valley.

Landlords May Have Shot Themselves in Foot With Rent Raises

Major office and industrial deals in Conejo Valley.

Burbank Remains Swamped With Space; Glendale Maintains Pace

Major office and industrial deals in Burbank and Glendale.

East Valley Shines as Traditionally Strong Central Returns Space

Major office and industrial deals in San Fernando Valley.

Ball Bearing Company Rolls Into New Offices

Distribution: Next Point Bearing Group found lower rents and newer buildings in Santa Clarita.

B-2 Program Still Flying

Aerospace: Stealth aircraft built 25 years ago returns for regular maintenance.

A B-2 Spirit stealth bomber appeared in the skies above Palmdale this month as part of a commemoration marking the 25th anniversary of the aircraft’s first flight.

Study Could Boost Medtronic Insulin Pump Sales

Medical Devices: Better blood-sugar control found among Type 2 pump users.

A new study shows that Medtronic Inc. insulin pumps achieve better blood sugar control than multiple daily insulin injections for Type 2 diabetics – a conclusion that should help the device gain further market penetration.

Universal City TV Station Spreading the Love

Corporate: KNBC starts comedy fundraising series with serious purpose.

KNBC (Channel 4) has been feeling generous this summer.

Animal Hospital Chain Snagged by L.A. Firm

Investments: NVA is bought by Ares, which also acquired Guitar Center.

Investments: Ares Management purchases pet hospital chain NVA in Agoura Hills.

Looney? Not Really

Education: Woodland Hills tablet maker scores big success with Warner Bros. characters.

Education: Looney Tunes characters help sell children’s tablets at $99 apiece.

The Numbers

The Numbers: The price for a knee surgery can vary by more than $60,000.

Bar Mitzvah Invitations Come of Age

Mitzvites offers digital missives including use of video.

Innovation: With Mitzvite, you can send Bar Mitzvah invitations with video.

Auctioneer Revs Up Car Lot

Auctions America set to steer more than 400 vehicles before bidders.

Automotive: A classic car auction in Burbank will sell vehicles for as much as $1 million.

Investors See Double Over Chin Drug

Biotech: Kythera reaches milestone as FDA to review anti-fat compound.

Biotech: A drug that can dissolve fat has inspired shareholders to back Kythera Biopharmaceuticals.

Tech Transfer Enters CSUN

Technology: Northridge school begins new program.

Technology: Cal State Northridge sets up a tech transfer office to commercialize research.

Marriott Sale Checking Out

hospitality: L.A. firm buying large Warner Center property.

Hospitality: The Warner Center Marriott is being sold and upgraded.

crunch time

Concussion furor, rivals rattle helmet-maker Riddell

SPORTS: Concussion controversy has engulfed the NFL, but helmet supplier Riddell remains committed to football.

Friday, July 25

Valley Home Prices Hit Eight-Year High

Home prices in the San Fernando Valley hit an eight-year high in June, though the price gains appear to be leveling off as market activity slows, according to a report by the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.

Chatsworth Industrial Park Sells for $16.8 Million

A fully leased Chatsworth industrial property was acquired for $16.8 million by Rexford Industrial Realty Inc., the Los Angeles real estate investment trust announced on Friday.

Briefs: Avery, Amgen, Ryland, Teledyne

Avery Dennison misses expectations, Amgen and Ryland declare dividends, and Teledyne appoints new board member.

Metro Board Approves Light Rail Study

The board of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority unanimously approved Thursday doing a feasibility study on converting the Orange Line busway into a light rail line.


Calendar of Events

Thursday, July 24

FDA Agrees to Review Rival Neupogen Drug

The Food and Drug Administration accepted an application on Thursday by a rival drug maker to approve a copy-cat version of Neupogen, one of the biggest money-makers for Amgen Inc.

Layoffs at St. Jude Medical

St. Jude Medical Inc. will lay off up to 270 employees at its Sylmar heart-device manufacturing facility following a corporate restructuring.

Simulations Plus Acquires Competitor

Simulations Plus Inc. announced on Thursday a $7 million acquisition of a New York company that helps drug makers seek approval for their products.

DreamWorks Heads to the Mall

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. has created holiday attraction that will debut later this year at seven malls around the country, the company announced Thursday.

Briefs: Teledyne, Mission Valley

Teledyne reports mixed earnings. Mission Valley joins OTCQX.

Wednesday, July 23

Metro Board to Decide Light Rail Plan

The board of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will take up on Thursday the question of whether to conduct a feasibility study on converting the Orange Line busway into a light rail line.

Alarcon Convicted of Voter Fraud

Former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife were convicted Wednesday of voter fraud and perjury in a case involving allegations they lied about their residence in order for him to qualify for office.

Calabasas Biotech Signs License Agreement

ArmaGen, a private biotech firm, has signed a licensing agreement to fund development of AGT-182, an investigational enzyme to treat degenerative nerve disorder Hunter syndrome.

Film Tax Program Should Expand, Study Finds

Demand for film and television tax credits in California exceeds the supply resulting in the state losing out as those productions head elsewhere to film, a study released Wednesday by the California Film Commission concluded.

Briefs: Guitar Center, Cheesecake Factory

Guitar Centers opens in Times Square, Cheesecake Factory reports quarterly earnings.

Tuesday, July 22

Provision Deal Will Put 3D Kiosks in Stores

Provision Interactive Technologies Inc. will receive up to $50 million to bring its 3-D holographic kiosks to retail stores, starting with a national pharmacy chain, the company announced Tuesday.

Time Warner Board Tightens Bylaws

The board of directors at Time Warner Inc. made a change Monday to the company’s bylaws to prevent potential hostile takeovers by dissident shareholders.

Monday, July 21

Bribes Send Bank Employee to Prison

A former Bank of America employee in Simi Valley received 30 months in federal prison on Monday for approving artificially low prices for property short sales in exchange for $1.2 million in bribes.

Metro Railcar Assembly Starts in Palmdale

The first light-rail vehicle from Japanese transit manufacturer Kinki Sharyo Co. Ltd. arrived this month and was delivered to the final assembly plant in Palmdale.

Briefs: Exelis, Bank of Santa Clarita, United Online

Exelis receives Saudi contract. Bank of Santa Clarita reports earnings. United Online appoints board member.

Friday, July 18

Local Venture Capital Investment Skyrockets

L.A. County companies raised $472 million in venture capital in the second quarter, a 52 percent increase from the prior quarter, according to the latest Money Tree Report released Friday.

L.A. County Unemployment Rate Falls

The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent in June as employers added 4,800 jobs, according to figures released Friday.

Update: Six Flags’ Ninja Cleared to Reopen

Following an accident that injured four riders last week, Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Ninja roller coaster was cleared to reopen Friday.

Briefs: AmaWaterways, Fireman's Brew

AmaWaterways debuts three ships. Fireman's Brew enters Michigan market.

Thursday, July 17

Agoura Hills Veterinary Chain Acquired

National Veterinary Associates was bought by Ares Management, a Century City private equity group, in a deal announced Thursday.

June Home Foreclosures Down

Home foreclosures fell in Southern California in June, continuing a trend to a more normal market, according to a report released Thursday.

Briefs: Cheesecake Factory, Capstone Turbine

Cheesecake opens first Mexican location. Capstone snags Indonesian order.

Wednesday, July 16

Warner Bros. Owner Rejects Murdoch Takeover

Time Warner Inc. said on Wednesday that it had rejected an unsolicited $80 billion bid by media mogul Rupert Murdoch that would have given shareholders a significant premium and created a media-and-entertainment behemoth.

On-Location Filming Up in Second Quarter

Despite concerns over runaway production, on-location television filming and total on-location production increased in Los Angeles in the second quarter, but the industry group that tracks filming said the data was somewhat misleading.

Briefs: Tutor Perini, Ontic

Tutor Perini, a Sylmar construction company, and Ontic, a Chatsworth supplier of aerospace parts, both announced new contracts.

Tuesday, July 15

Possible Strike Raises Port Volume

Traffic at the Port of Los Angeles increased by nearly 14 percent in June compared to a year earlier as shippers moved up their cargo due to the possibility of a work stoppage at the nation’s busiest seaport.

Mojave Space Plane Startup Gets Defense Contract

Masten Space Systems was one of three companies chosen by the government on Tuesday to develop a space plane to take small satellites into low-earth orbit.

PennyMac Reaches $550 Million Funding Deal

PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust has entered into an agreement with Bank of America to fund up to $550 million in new mortgages.

Monday, July 14

GrowLife Moves Headquarters to Seattle

GrowLife Inc., a Woodland Hills seller of supplies to the marijuana growing industry, has relocated its corporate headquarters to Washington state, where voters have approved recreational pot use.

Chatsworth Aerospace Company Signs French Deal

Ontic, a Valley supplier of aftermarket aerospace parts, has signed two licenses with Safran Power Systems to service military and commercial aircraft.

Prizes Come to Business Journal

L.A. Press Club honors staff for best design and reporting.

Awards: The Business Journal wins top honors from the L.A. Press Club.

Food, Not Drink, Drives Deli Traffic

Owner decides to close the bar and sell the liquor license.

Rstaurants: Jerry’s Deli isn’t making money at its bar, so it decided to sell the liquor license.


Calendar of Events

Stop & SHOP?

Outlets at Tejon Ranch hopes drivers will exit from all directions

Development: Outlets at Tejon Ranch are opening next month after years of planning.

Rail Proposal Stirs Memory

Transportation: Supporters believe opinion has changed.

Transportation: Supporters believe opinion has changed.

Doctors Like Rite Aid Pilot

Health Care: Program helps compliance with reform law.

Health Care: Rite Aid has signed agreements to work with two Valley doctors groups.

Pro Soccer in the Valley a Real Goal

Op-Ed: Pro Soccer in the Valley.


Market Watch Summary

Stocks ended nearly flat during the two-week period ended July 9.

around the valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley

St. Jude Medical Inc. has received an all-clear from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over previous issues at the company’s Sylmar facility.

Hilton Heads List of Large Non-Profits

Philanthropy: New Agoura Hills office is first of four-phase project.

Philanthropy: Hilton Foundation is the largest non-profit in the region after moving to Agoura Hills.

After Spinoff, Internet Firm Shrinks Footprint

Real Estate: United Online will downsize its offices now FTD sale is complete.

United Online Inc. wants to get back to its roots.

Big Dig in The Desert

High in the Antelope Valley, U.S. Borax runs the largest open pit mine in California at ‘one of the richest borate deposits on the planet.’

Mining: A look at the open pit U.S. Borax mine in Boron.

Can Catering Work for Customized Dishes?

Retail & Hospitality: PizzaRev says customers want its do-it-yourself entrees on site.

PizzaRev is dishing up a new recipe for business: catering.

Minority Investors in Love-Hate Relationship

Entertainment: Crown Media shareholders like growth, question Hallmark stake.

Minority investors in Crown Media Holdings Inc. once again are raising questions about the company’s future and whether it should be sold off to a larger media corporation.

Sporting Goods Chain Looks to Recover in Private

Retail: New owner Vestis plans to take Sport Chalet’s stock out of public sector.

Acquisition: Sport Chalet Inc. was sold earlier this month to a private equity firm for $70 million.

Ready to Give At Offices

Real Estate: Buyer confident time, money commitments will polish up business park.

Real Estate: A Santa Monica developer paid $11 million for a vacant Camarillo office park.

The Numbers

The Numbers: Filming continues to rise in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Youth Quest Reaches to Fingertips

Polish maker launches new product to smooth and brighten nails.

Innovation: Orly International in Van Nuys wants to preserve your nails.

Friday, July 11

Beau Boeckmann Named President of Galpin Motors

Beau Boeckmann has been named president and chief operating officer at Galpin Motors, the North Hills auto group announced this week.

Dodgers Partly Liable for Stow Beating

A Los Angeles jury ruled on Wednesday that the Dodgers organization was negligent in the 2011 beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow and will need to pay Stow’s family millions of dollars in damages.

Ixia to Stay on Nasdaq, Panel Decides

Ixia announced Friday a Nasdaq hearings panel has determined to continue listing the company on the exchange if certain conditions are met.

FDA Accepts Kythera Drug for Review

Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc. announced that the Food and Drug Administration has accepted its application for ATX-101, an experimental drug that dissolves chin fat.

Interlink Board Members Resign

Sensor technology development company Interlink Electronics Inc. announced Friday the resignation of two members of its board of directors.

Thursday, July 10

Ceres Narrows Losses, Beats Estimate

Energy crop developer Ceres Inc. on Thursday reported yet another quarterly loss, though the company did better than analysts expected.

Pest Contractors Charged With Elder Fraud

Two pest and home ventilation contractors were charged Wednesday in a scheme to defraud elderly customers in the Valley and elsewhere in L.A. County.

Wednesday, July 9

Brown Signs Valley Light Rail Bill

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed a bill into law that repeals legislation prohibiting above ground light rail across the San Fernando Valley.

Van Nuys LA Fitness Fetches $23 Million

The 53,000 square-foot LA Fitness in Van Nuys has traded hands for about $23.5 million.

AeroVironment Shares Soar on Earnings

Shares in AeroVironment Inc. jumped more than 13 percent on Wednesday after reporting better than expected fourth quarter earnings.

Tuesday, July 8

Proxy Battle Brews at Superior

Superior Industries International Inc. faces a proxy battle at its upcoming annual meeting against a New York private investment firm.

Ceres Licenses Software to Bayer

Thousand Oaks agricultural biotech Ceres Inc. announced Tuesday it has licensed its genome visualization application to Bayer CropScience.

Briefs: LegalZoom, CrowdGather, IPC

LegalZoom hires chief marketer, CrowdGather licenses casino games and IPC hires a top executive.

Monday, July 7

Disney Announces Accelerator Startups

Walt Disney Co. announced on Monday the 11 early-stage entertainment and media technology companies chosen to participate in its new business accelerator.

Amgen, Bind Therapeutics End Collaboration

Amgen Inc. has opted out of a collaborative agreement with Bind Therapeutics Inc., a company developing tiny particles that adhere to medicines and help the drugs circulate longer in the bloodstream and enter cells.

Briefs: DineEquity, Ryland

DineEquity announces Middle East expansion plans, Ryland launches new Texas development.

Thursday, July 3

Lawmakers Approve Bomber Tax Credit

State lawmakers on Thursday approved expedited legislation designed to give the state the upper hand in landing subcontracts for a strategic bomber project.

Simulations Plus Revenue Climbs 21 Percent

Simulations Plus Inc. reported higher quarterly revenue and earnings Thursday as it gained new customers and expanded sales in Asia.

Rocketdyne to Build Engines for NASA

A $2.8 billion contract for Boeing Co. to build NASA’s next generation rocket is good news for Aerojet Rocketdyne in Chatsworth.

Interlink Adds Private Equity Investors to Board

Interlink Electronics Inc. has expanded its board of directors by two seats and appointed private equity investors to fill them.

Wednesday, July 2

Teledyne Invests in Maker of Surface-Submarine Vessel

Teledyne Technologies Inc. has invested in Ocean Aero Inc., a manufacturer of unmanned marine vehicles for scientific and energy-sector customers.

Amgen Leukemia Drug Receives Breakthrough Status

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given Breakthrough Therapy Designation status to blinatumomab, a drug in development at Amgen Inc. for treating certain cancers.

XCOR Buys Flight Booking Firm

XCOR Aerospace has acquired a Dutch company that will handle the sales for upcoming suborbital flights aboard the Lynx space vehicle, it was announced Monday.

St. Jude Resolves FDA Warning for Sylmar Facility

St. Jude Medical Inc. received notice from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Tuesday that it has addressed issues at the company’s Sylmar manufacturing facility outlined in a warning letter received last year.

Nestle Mixes Coffee-Mate with Keurig Brew

Nestle USA’s Coffee-Mate has made a multiyear agreement to sell branded coffee and creamer for Keurig coffee makers.

Tuesday, July 1

Sport Chalet Sold for $70 Million

Sport Chalet Inc. will be acquired by Vestis Retail Group for about $70 million, the company announced Tuesday.

American Homes to Acquire Beazer Rentals

American Homes 4 Rent on Tuesday announced it will acquire Beazer Pre-Owned Rental Homes Inc. for a little more than $260 million in debt and stock.

Local Film, TV Projects Get Tax Incentives

A television series from Warner Bros. Pictures and two others that film in Santa Clarita were among the 26 projects receiving tax incentives from the California Film Commission, the agency announced Tuesday.