Stories for March 2014

Monday, March 31

Apollo Secures $12 Million Investment

Apollo Medical Holdings Inc. announced on Monday it has secured up to $12 million in capital from Fresenius Medical Care North America.

Briefs: IPC, Axonics, Intermedia

IPC makes acquisition, Axonics announces funding, Intermedia hires executive.

Friday, March 28

FDA Could Limit MannKind Insulin Inhaler

Shares of MannKind Corp. fell 7 percent on Friday after the FDA staff raised safety questions about the company’s inhalable insulin device, which could limit its use for certain patients.

DMV Signs Granada Hills Lease

A state Department of Motor Vehicles branch will open in Granada Hills, where the agency signed a five-year lease for about 35,000 square feet at a shopping center.

Thursday, March 27

Long Beach Transit Cancels BYD Contract

The board of Long Beach Transit – without opposition from BYD Motors Inc. – voted on Thursday to cancel the transit agency's contract for 10 of the Chinese company’s electric buses.

L.A. Chamber Endorses Shriver for Supervisor

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday announced its endorsement of Bobby Shriver for the sprawling supervisorial district that ranges from the Westside to Calabasas and Sherman Oaks.

CSUN Biz School Receives $10 Million Gift

Cal State Northridge has named its business school after David Nazarian following a gift of $10 million by the L.A. investor.

Superior Industries Names Co-CEOs

Two executive vice presidents have been named as interim co-chief executives at Superior Industries International Inc., the aluminum wheel manufacturer announced on Thursday.

NBCUniversal Shuts Down Websites

NBCUniversal is shutting down two websites in April after failing to find buyers for either property, according to media reports on Thursday.

Update: PennyMac Stockholder Sells Shares

Shares of a previously announced offering of PennyMac Financial Services Inc. stock have been priced at $16.50.

Wednesday, March 26

Lancaster Announces Second Solar Project

With construction now completed on a 16-acre solar farm in Lancaster, officials from that city, US Topco and SolarCity Corp. announced Wednesday a second solar project.

Briefs: Universal Studios, Qualstar

American Express signs expanded marketing deal with Universal Studios; Qualstar hires executive vice president.

Tuesday, March 25

Committee Approves Film Incentive Bill

A California Assembly committee on Tuesday approved a measure aimed at improving the state’s tax incentive program for the entertainment industry.

Hilton Foundation CEO to Step Down

Steven Hilton announced Tuesday he will step down as chief executive of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation at the end of 2015.

Wesco Extends GKN Contract

Wesco Aircraft Holdings Inc. on Tuesday announced the extension of a contract with a British aerospace and engine products manufacturer.

Monday, March 24

Sherwood to Lead Disney/ABC Television

ABC News executive Ben Sherwood has been named the next president of Disney/ABC Television Group and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks.

ReachLocal Acquires New Zealand Distributor

Shares of ReachLocal Inc. jumped Monday after the company announced its acquisition of the small-business division of SureFire Search Limited, the exclusive distributor of ReachLocal products in New Zealand.

Aerospace Dynamics Sold for $625 Million

Precision Castparts Corp. has acquired Aerospace Dynamics International in Valencia for $625 million in cash.

Talon Delivers Turnaround Quarter, Year

Talon International Inc. reported a turnaround from loss to profit in both the fourth quarter and full year of 2013.

New Disney Service Is No Fairytale

Wrist band with RFID technology replaces paper tickets at resort.

Amusements: Disney’s plan for ID wristband still has some kinks.

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VALLEY BIZ SEEN - March 24, 2014

Photographs of recent business-related events in the valleys, including parties, awards dinners, benefits and other celebrations.

TAKE TWO - Editorial Cartoon SFVBJ - March 24, 2014

TAKE TWO - This week's Editorial Cartoon by Steve Greenberg

Taxing Problem, Simple Solution


Op-Ed: L.A.’s gross receipts tax is overdue for an overhaul. Valley Business Issues That Matter


Market Watch Summary

The stock market turned down during the two-week period ended March 19 as the weakening Chinese economy, continuing tensions between Russia and Ukraine and anticipation over the next moves by the Federal Reserve dimmed investor confidence.


Calendar of Events

around the valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley

Apollo Medical Holdings Inc. has started a business that will operate doctor clinics.

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Multifamily Development Is Shopping Haven

Real Estate: Builder plans 72 homes adjacent to Tarzana retail center.

An upscale retail center in Tarzana is set to get its final amenity: residential units.

Guitar Center Rumors Striking Wrong Chord

Retail & Hospitality: Westlake Village company dismisses reports that it’s in financial trouble.

Reports that Guitar Center Inc. is on the auction block – or could file for bankruptcy – are being dismissed by the Westlake Village retailer as nothing more than the same old song and dance.

Insulin Pump Pact Boosts Medtronic Division

Health Care: Aetna links up with Northridge unit to study effects of treatment.

Aetna Inc. and Medtronic Inc. have embarked on a two-year collaboration to help diabetics adopt insulin pumps.

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Planned Propeller Park Back in the Rotation

Aviation: Pacific Aviation renews work at 30-acre Van Nuys facility.

A change in management at Pacific Aviation Development LLC has put the construction of a dedicated area for propeller aircraft at Van Nuys Airport back on track.

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Horror show

Practical special effects firms struggle in digital era.

Hollywood’s love of computer graphics has put old-fashioned visual effects companies on the hunt for new customers.

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A New Dimension

Legacy Effects is thriving in its tough entertainment niche through its pioneering use of 3-D printing technology.

Profile: 3-D printing helps Legacy Effects compete with computer graphics.

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Latest Special Effect: Producing Indie Feature

Production: A Kickstarter campaign promises to make an indie horror film without digital trickery.

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A Real Trooper

Katherine McCune’s late husband worked on ‘Star Wars.’ She’s taken his firm in directions he never would have imagined.

Q&A: Katherine McCune is moving her company from movie making to fine art creation.

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Lloyd’s Group Buys Into Encino Insurance Firm

Finance: Tokio Marine spends $37 million for 49 percent stake in NAS.

Insurance: Lloyd’s of London company buys 49 percent of Encino firm.

A New Spin On Surgery Giving It a New Spin

Medical Devices: ECA’s drivers and other surgical tools are cheaper and disposable.

Medical Devices: Disposable surgical tools could spell long-term growth for Thousand Oaks firm.

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Best Eateries In Paris? Ask In Topanga.

Local concierge startup offers global travel tips.

Travel: Sonia Frieder gives personalized travel advice for a price.

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Real Life Story Better Than Fiction?

Retired businessman writes first novel at 95, film version in works.

Publishing: At 95, former businessman Wendell Ware has a story to tell.

Tennis Star Serves Up Slice of Pie

Polish player Tweets way to Cheesecake tour sponsorship.

Marketing: Tennis player Agnieszka Radwanska eats and tweets Cheesecake.

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Creative Office Gets on Track

Development: Two projects boost Burbank’s weak market.

Development: Office renters like Burbank’s rehabbed industrial buildings.

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Bruins Go On Offense

Health Care: UCLA’s health system expanding in Valley.

Health Care: New clinics bring UCLA’s academic medicine to the Valley.

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Moorpark Brewer Crafting Expansion Beyond City

Beverages: Enegren Brewing Co. moving, adding production capacity.

Beverages: Moorpark’s only craft brewer moves to larger location.

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Friday, March 21

L.A. County Jobless Rate Falls

L.A. County's unemployment picture continued to brighten in February as the jobless rate fell to 8.7 percent and employers added nearly 28,000 jobs to their payrolls.

Report: Film Tax Credits Working

The state’s $100 million film and television tax credit program more than paid for itself in its first three years, according to an economic analysis by the Southern California Association of Governments.

Thursday, March 20

Appeals Court Sides With Newhall Ranch Developer

A state appeals court on Thursday overturned a lower court ruling that found environmental review of the planned Newhall Ranch development in the Santa Clarita Valley was inadequate.

DreamWorks Unveils Shanghai Resort Plans

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. unveiled design plans in China on Thursday for its entertainment complex to be built in Shanghai.

Westfield Settles Warner Center Lawsuit

A lawsuit brought by the Woodland Hills Homeowners Association that sought to slow down the $335 million Westfield Village development has been settled.

Valley Home Prices Stabilizing

San Fernando Valley home prices continued their upward trajectory in February, with the median price gaining more than 12 percent to $475,000, according to a report by the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.

Westlake Village Building Sells for $7.7 Million

The North Ranch Office Building in Westlake Village has sold for $7.7 Million.

Wednesday, March 19

Couple Sentenced in Retirement, Tax Scam

The owners of a Glendale post-production house were sentenced to 18 months in prison after embezzling from their employees’ retirement plan and failing to pay taxes.

National Technical Acquires Wyle Labs Testing Business

National Technical Systems Inc. announced Wednesday the acquisition of the testing business of Wyle Laboratories Inc. that serves the nuclear, aerospace, and defense industries.

Tuesday, March 18

Update: DineEquity CEO Cashes In Stock Options

Julia Stewart, the chairwoman and chief executive of DineEquity Inc., exercised stock options that netted her $5.7 million in two separate transactions this month, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

KCET Chief Jerome Retiring

Al Jerome, the longtime chief executive at public broadcaster KCET of Burbank, announced Tuesday he will retire within six months.

Apollo Signs Rite Aid Pact

Apollo Medical Holdings Inc. announced on Tuesday that it is partnering with Rite Aid Corp. to help manage the health of patients with chronic conditions.

Briefs: Simulations Plus, Superior Industries

Simulations Plus signs Chinese pact, Superior declares dividend.

Monday, March 17

Grossman Burn Center Founder Dies

Dr. A. Richard Grossman, 81, founder of the Grossman Burn Center, died March 13 at his home in Thousand Oaks.

MRV to Resume Nasdaq Trading

Telecommunications component manufacturer MRV Communications Inc. announced Monday it will begin trading this week on the Nasdaq Global Markets.

Reseda Apartments Sell for $6.7 Million

A four-property apartment portfolio in Reseda has sold for $6.7 million.

Briefs: Ixia, IHOP, DTS

Ixia receives Nasdaq non-compliance notice, IHOP opens in Bahrain, DTS earnings.

Friday, March 14

Burbank High Rise Sells for $109 Million

Worthe Real Estate Group is under contract to buy the nearly vacant Tower Burbank for $109 million, a significant discount to when it last traded hands, the Los Angeles Business Journal reported on Friday.

Rocketdyne Vacating Canoga Park Site This Month

Rocket engine manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne Inc. will be moved out of its Canoga Park facility by March 31, a company representative said Thursday.

American Homes Widens Loss

Shares of American Homes 4 Rent fell slightly on Friday after the single-family-home landlord missed analysts’ funds from operations estimates for the fourth quarter.

Third Simi Valley Wal-Mart Opens

The first Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market opened its doors Friday in Simi Valley.

Foreclosures Fall in Valley Region

Home foreclosures continued to drop in Southern California in February, with rates in the greater Valley varying widely, according to a report released Thursday.

Reseda Home Park Sells for $13 Million

A 108-space mobile home park in Reseda has sold for $13.1 million.

Thursday, March 13

Chase Lays Off More Mortgage Workers

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is eliminating 165 workers from its Chatsworth mortgage-processing office, the bank said Thursday.

BYD Closes Labor Case

Fines levied against Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD Co. Ltd. for violations of state labor requirements were cut by almost two thirds by a California Labor Commissioner Hearing Officer, the company announced Thursday

Briefs: Hallmark Movie Channel, Princess Cruises

Hallmark Movie Channel is changing its name. A Princess Cruises ship is getting a $30 million makeover.

Wednesday, March 12

Burbank City Council OKs Ikea

The Burbank City Council in a unanimous vote on Tuesday night approved a planned Ikea that would be twice the size of the city’s current outlet – and the retailer’s largest store in the United States.

North Hollywood Apartments Sell for $28 Million

A 236-unit apartment building in North Hollywood has sold for $27.5 million in one of the area’s largest real estate transactions in the past year and a half.

Briefs: Amgen, Disney, PizzaRev, CSUN

Amgen Inc. has appointed David Piacquad to the new position of senior vice president for business development, the company announced Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 11

Dole No Longer Biggest Banana Brand

Dole Food Co. was replaced as the world’s largest banana supplier when Chiquita Brands International Inc. announced Monday it will join with Fyffes Plc by the end of the year.

Apollo Medical Launches Clinics

Apollo Medical Holdings Inc. announced the launch of a new business that will own doctor clinics.

WB Invests in Machinima

Video entertainment network Machinima announced Tuesday an $18 million in financing led by Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Marcus & Millichap Hit with Quarterly Costs

Marcus & Millichap Inc. reported a net loss in its fourth quarter Tuesday as the company had costs rise as a result of its IPO last fall.

Disney Could Buy Maker Studios

Walt Disney Co. is said to be in talks to acquire YouTube network Maker Studios for $500 million.

Briefs: Kythera, USEI Cannabis, TV Academy

Kythera signs Bayer agreement, USEI Cannabis buys wireless operator and the Television Academy launches a fundraising campaign.

Monday, March 10

Ceres Completes $23 Million Offering

Agricultural biotech Ceres Inc. said Monday that it has completed secondary stock offering totaling $23 million.

Legislator Proposes Pot Shop Regulations

Medical marijuana clinics and growing operations would come under closer state scrutiny under a bill now making its way through the California Senate.

Valley Health Insurers Rank Low in Satisfaction

Health insurers in the San Fernando Valley ranked poorly in customer satisfaction compared to state competitors, according to a report released Monday.

Santa Clarita Announces Business Incentives

The Santa Clarita Valley is offering new economic incentives to attract more industries to the region

County Jobless Rate Hits Six-Year Low

L.A. County's jobless rate dipped below 9 percent in January for the first time in nearly six years.

Judgment Day for Church?

Tony Alamo ministry lists Canyon Country compound for sale.

Apparel: Fashionista preacher Tony Alamo could divest his compound.

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TAKE TWO - Editorial Cartoon SFVBJ - March 10, 2014

TAKE TWO - This week's Editorial Cartoon by Steve Greenberg

Something in the Desert Air?

From the Newsroom

Editor: Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris and KB Home show how to collarborate.


Calendar of Events


Market Watch Summary

The stock market made steady gains in the two-week period ended March 5.

Around The Valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley

Walt Disney Co. is offering 400 movie titles through a new cloud-based streaming service, Disney Movies Anywhere.

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Glendale Brushes Off Critics of Arts Complex

Real Estate: Low-income units with artist preference win narrow approval.

In an effort to address both affordable housing needs and a desire for a more vibrant downtown, Glendale has approved a $30 million low-income apartment building – with a catch.

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Franchise Tax Board Gives Credit Where It’s Due

Finance: New state program lowers back taxes owed by firms.

Since staring his consulting firm four years ago, Brady Bryan has worked with accounting firms to help companies throughout Southern California take advantage of a tax incentive programs.

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Dole Chief Donates $10 Million to Area YMCA

Giving: David Murdock helping fund Westlake Village project.

Billionaire and Dole Food Co. chief David Murdock recently gave $10 million to the planned Westlake Village Park and YMCA, bringing the donation total to $18.7 million.

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Doctors Draw Blood in Dispute With Health Net

Law: Partner at Michelman & Robinson wins insurance case.

Emergency rooms are known as big money-losers for hospitals, but when the losses extend to individual doctors, attorney Andrew Selesnick thinks enough is enough.

Aging Sherman Oaks Mall Gets Needed Facelift

Retail & Hospitality: Westfield fixing up interiors, landscaping at mall last updated in 1981.

The big mall news in the Valley is the massive Village at Topanga project that will improve and connect Westfield Group’s two malls along Topanga Canyon Boulevard.

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Essia Health Writes Up Prescription for Success

Health Care: Medical scribe firm hires local CEO and opens West Valley office.

Health Care: Medical scribes and software support fuel growth at Essia Health.

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Camarillo Oil and Gas Firm Digs Deep in Poland

Energy: BNK Petroleum announces completion of promising gas well.

Energy: BNK Petroleum drills horizontal well in Poland.

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Healthy Deliveries

Food: A Calabasas service brings organic fruits and vegetables to your doorstep – at a price.

Food: Organic food delivered to your door is the order at Out of the Box Collective.

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Capri Sun? Not Inside This Pouch.

Moorpark firm develops new carrier for premium wine.

Retail: Jason Carignan hopes wine in a pouch will appeal to Gen X.

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Kids Act Grows Up At City Walk

Side gig by PR exec scores residence at Lovitz Comedy Club.

Entertainment: Children’s show Shushybye finds a home in Universal City.

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One Long Vacation for Casa Cabo

Was Burbank eatery victim of Jay Leno, KNBC departures?

Restaurant: Casa Cabo closes as customer base leaves Burbank.

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Outdoor Firms Stand Up Against Billboard Take-Down

Advertising: Metro, Santa Clarita plan removal along rail right-of-way.

Advertising: Small businesses oppose billboard removal in Santa Clarita.

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Microbeads, Max Problem

Cosmetics: Valley firms taking plastic beads out of products.

Cosmetics: Microscopic plastic particles cause headaches for manufacturers.

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Countrywide Offices Sold

Real Estate: L.A. developer spends $200 million on portfolio.

Real Estate: New owner takes over 10 former Countrywide office buildings.

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A Gold Mine... For Real

Firm developing desert’s first new gold mine in decades.

Mining: The Golden Queen mine could unearth $1 billion in yellow metal.

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Sunday, March 9

VALLEY BIZ SEEN - March 10, 2014

Photographs of recent business-related events in the valleys, including parties, awards dinners, benefits and other celebrations.

Friday, March 7

More Hurdles for Newhall Ranch Project

The Newhall Ranch development hit yet another snag this week as environmentalists filed a federal lawsuit to halt construction.

Safeway Settles False Advertising Suit

Safeway Inc. has reached a $2.25 million settlement with nine California counties, including Ventura County, over alleged false advertising and unfair competition.

Valley Village Hospital Sells for $15 Million

The Chandler Convalescent Hospital in Valley Village has sold for $14.8 million dollars.

Briefs: IPC, Semtech, Superior, Burbank Airport

IPC buys a doctors group, Semtech names new general counsel and Superior Industry reports quarterly results and traffic increases at Burbank Bob Hope Airport.

Thursday, March 6

Job Cuts Continue at Disney Interactive

Continued restructuring in the interactive division of Walt Disney Co. will result in the firing of about a quarter of its workforce, according to media reports on Thursday.

Study: California Ranks Fourth in Film Spending

California ranks fourth in the nation when it comes to feature film production and the jobs and spending these films bring, a report released Thursday by FilmL.A. concluded.

Staples, Radio Shack to Close Stores

Staples Inc. of Framingham, Mass. and RadioShack Corp. of Fort Worth, Texas each announced multiple store closures this week, but the Valley impact is unclear.

Briefs: Cheesecake, Talon

Cheesecake Factory President David Gordon sold nearly 3,500 shares, while Talon International has appointed Nancy Agger-Nielsen as chief financial officer.

Wednesday, March 5

Mann Foundation Launches Medical Device Firm

The Alfred Mann Foundation announced Wednesday it will create a new medical device company called Medallion Therapeutics Inc.

Ixia Investigation Sets Stage for Nasdaq Compliance

An internal investigation of accounting practices at Ixia shows that the company’s officers did not engage in widespread fraud, setting the stage for the company to regain Nasdaq compliance.

Secondary Offering Sends Ceres Lower

Shares of agricultural biotech Ceres Inc. fell more than 20 percent Wednesday on news of a low pricing for its secondary offering.

Briefs: Semtech, Capstone, Simulations Plus, Electro Rent

Earnings and contracts from Semtech, Capstone, Simulations Plus and Electro Rent.

Tuesday, March 4

Report: Guitar Center May Be Sold

Ares Management LLC, a Los Angeles investment advisor, is in talks to buy Guitar Center Holdings Inc. from its private equity owners, according to a media report on Tuesday

Tax Breaks Approved for Westfield Topanga Project

The L.A. City Council approved on Tuesday for a set of tax breaks for the Village at Topanga project despite a decision by mall developer Westfield Group to hold off on a planned hotel.

AeroVironment's Profit Nearly Triples

Shares of AeroVironment Inc. rose nearly 5 percent in after-hours trading Tuesday on a strong earnings report.

Monday, March 3

Westfield Pulls Back on Topanga Hotel

Australian mall developer Westfield Group LLC will hold off on its plans to build a business hotel as part of its Village at Topanga development.

Disney Cuts Off Boy Scouts

Walt Disney Co. will no longer donate to Boy Scouts of America local troops and packs starting next year in response to the organization not allowing gay adult leaders, according to media reports

Wesco Closes $550 Million Acquisition

Wesco Aircraft Holdings Inc. has closed on its acquisition of a supply-chain management firm serving the aerospace industry in a deal valued at $550 million.

Briefs: IPC, Simulations Plus

IPC The Hospitalist Co. Inc. has named John Cassin as executive director of its Colorado region.

Business Events Calendar

Business Events throughout the Valleys.