Stories for November 2014

Wednesday, November 26

Camarillo Center Fetches $54.5 Million

A two-building industrial park in Camarillo has traded hands for $54.5 million.

Amgen Skin Drug Shows Promise

An experimental drug from Amgen Inc. has proven successful in treating moderate to severe psoriasis, the company announced Tuesday.

Simulations Plus Reports Lower Earnings

Simulations Plus Inc. reported lower net income in the fiscal fourth quarter, blaming one-time costs associated with an acquisition.

Tuesday, November 25

Kinkisharyo to Keep Jobs in Palmdale

Kinkisharyo International reached an agreement on Tuesday with labor and community groups that will keep light rail manufacturing jobs in Palmdale and not take them out of state.

AeroVironment Falls on Sales Slump

AeroVironment Inc. missed analyst estimates on revenue and earnings per share as sales of its unmanned aircraft decreased in the fiscal second quarter.

'Frozen' Replaces Barbie as Top Toy

Shoppers polled for the National Retail Federation’s annual Holiday Top Toys Survey have chosen dolls from Walt Disney Co.’s “Frozen” as their top gift choice for girls.

Monday, November 24

CSUN Business School Receives Gifts

Cal State Northridge has received an additional $6 million in donations toward its $25 million fundraising campaign for its business school.

Deaths Halt Amgen Drug Trial

Amgen Inc. announced on Monday it has ended two clinical studies on an experimental cancer drug after a preliminary review showed increased deaths among one group of patients.

Report: Valley Home Prices Mixed

Home prices in the San Fernando Valley rose by 12 percent in October compared to a year earlier but were down since September, according to report released Monday by the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.

Tutor Perini Gets Big Dig Settlement

Tutor Perini Corp. and two joint venture partners reached a $88.7 million settlement with the state of Massachusetts over litigation on the “Big Dig” project through central Boston.

Briefs: PS Business, Second Sight

PS Business Parks sells property. Second Sight underwriter exercises overallotment.

Friday, November 21

L.A. County Jobs Grow in October

Los Angeles County employers added 35,000 jobs to their payrolls in October but that was not enough to reduce the area’s unemployment rate, which held steady at 8 percent, according to state figures released Friday.

Disney Expands Chinese Content Partnership

Walt Disney Co. has expanded its partnership with Shanghai Media Group to create content for the Chinese market, the company announced Friday.

Corporate Briefs: American Homes, Ryland, Public Storage, Wesco

American Homes, Ryland Group and Public Storage raise capital. Wesco CFO retires.

Thursday, November 20

Update: Mann Sells Two Local Biomedical Parks

The Mann Biomedical Park in Valencia and Sylmar Biomedical Park in the San Fernando Valley, both owned by Alfred Mann, have been sold to Intertex Cos. in Valencia with financial backing from L.A. investment firm Oaktree Capital Management.

Update: Amgen Completes Singapore Plant

Amgen Inc. announced on Thursday the completion of its Next-Generation Biomanufacturing facility in Singapore, which it said would provide a model for future plants.

Garcetti Speeding Building Inspections

Acting on a promise to cut bureaucratic red tape at City Hall, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday announced a measure to speed up building inspections for major projects and restaurants.

PUC Allocates San Onofre Shut-Down Costs

The California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday approved a settlement between utilities and ratepayer advocates over who should pay the $4.7 billion cost to date of shutting down the troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant.

Briefs: Tutor Perini, Wesco, Ceres

Tutor Perini wins contract. Earnings lag at Westco Aircraft Holdings Inc. and Ceres Inc.

Wednesday, November 19

Second Sight Makes Smash Trading Debut

Shares of Second Sight Medical Products Inc. – the latest Alfred Mann company to go public – more than doubled Wednesday in its initial public offering.

Valley Ambulance Operator Merges

PRN Ambulance in North Hills has reached an agreement to merge with Pro Transport-1, a major ambulance operator in Northern California.

Entertainment Wrap Up: DreamWorks, Warner Bros.

DreamWorks Animation delays film release. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to distribute WWE programming.

Briefs: Cherokee Deal, Industrial Sale

Cherokee announces India retail partnership. Chatsworth industrial sale.

Tuesday, November 18

Gallagher Acquires Woodland Hills Brokerage

SGB-NIA Insurance Brokers in Woodland Hills has been acquired by Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., a publicly traded company that is the Valley’s leading brokerage.

Boxer Proposes Santa Clarita Mine Settlement

California Sen. Barbara Boxer has re-introduced legislation to solve a long-standing dispute over a sand-and-gravel mine in Santa Clarita.

Rocket Explosion Delays ATK Merger

The explosion last month of an unmanned rocket made by Orbital Sciences Corp. is delaying its planned merger with Alliant Techsystems Inc.

Disney, Wal-Mart Reach Streaming Deal

Walt Disney Co. announced on Tuesday it is making its cloud-based movie streaming service available to film titles purchased at Wal-mart stores or through the retail chain’s VUDU on-demand service.

Update: Second Sight IPO Delayed

Second Sight Medical Products Inc., a maker of an artificial retina for blind patients, delayed its planned $30 million IPO until Wednesday.

Earnings: Apollo, Mission Valley

Apollo Medical Holdings swings to profit. Net earnings soar at Mission Valley Bancorp.

Monday, November 17

DreamWorks Tanks as Hasbro Talks End

Shares in DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. fell more than 14 percent on Monday, the first trading day since reported merger talks with Hasbro Inc. ended.

Universal Pictures Opens Beijing Distribution Office

Universal Pictures opened its first office in Beijing on Monday to handle production and distribution of films and consumer products in the lucrative Chinese market.

Princess Cruises Outbreak Investigated

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday was investigating the cause of a Norovirus outbreak on a Princess Cruises ship that caused 170 people to fall ill.

CU Bancorp Shareholders Approve Merger

The operator of California United Bank has received shareholder approval for its merger with downtown L.A. lender 1st Enterprise Bank.

Briefs: Superior Industries, Santa Clara Valley Bank

Superior Industries Chief Executive named to Snap-on Inc. board. Sierra Bancorp completes its acquisition of Santa Clara Valley Bank.


Market Watch Summary

Stocks reacted positively to good economic news during the two-week period ended Nov. 12.

Legal Zooms In On Sam’s Club

Retail: Glendale online legal firm in alliance with Wal-Mart.

Retail: LegalZoom signs an agreement with the world’s largest retailer to reach small business owners.

Ticket Holders Staying in Seats

Aerospace: No rush for exits after Galactic crash.

Aerospace: The crash of Virgin Galactic’s spaceship hasn’t deterred ticket-buyer Edwin Sahakian.

Economy Up, MBAs Down

List: Enrollment is falling, but new accreditation could increase the value of local MBA degrees.

Delayed Delivery?

While much of the news coverage of the Oct. 31 Virgin Galactic crash focused on the effect on space tourism, the tragedy actually had broader commercial implications.

No Diamonds For These Lodgings

Hovelstay a hit with travelers into garages, lofts, even hammocks.

Hospitality: Adventurous travelers can skip hotels and go to

Can You Text Lancaster In Mandarin?

Antelope Valley city promotes itself on Chinese social media.

Development: Lancaster uses social media to reach business executives in China.

Knees Are Not Meant For Knocking

USC starts clinical trial to study stem cell treatment on joints.

Innovation: A stem cell study in the Antelope Valley could lead to new therapies for knee pain.

The Number

The Number: Voter turnout reached an historic low for the Nov. 4 election.

Seeing Double Profit?

Ecommerce: Made Eyewear allows customers to order custom glasses – and return them.

Ecommerce: Online retailer Made Eyewear lets customers try the merchandise before buying.

Digital Audio Firm Picks Up Video Counterpart

Theaters: Dolby acquires Doremi Labs in Burbank for at least $92.5 million.

Technology: Dolby’s acquisition of Doremi Labs will try to marry audio and video gear.

Valencia Hospital Plans Towering Expansion

Health Care & Biotech: New patient building will add 116 beds to non-profit facility.

Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital recently hired an architectural firm and builder to construct a 160,000-square-foot, six-story tower on its Valencia campus.

Tipalti Investors Like What They See in the Cloud

Finance: Agoura Hills firm looking to expand after receiving $13 million.

With $13 million in new funding, Tipalti is looking to grow in employees and services.

Hollywood Software Founder Lives Second Act

Entertainment: David Gajda buys back Woodland Hills firm he sold to Cinedigm.

When Cinedigm Corp. was looking to sell its Woodland Hills-based Hollywood Software division, David Gajda saw an opportunity to get back into the entertainment industry with a business he was already familiar with.

Second Luxury Ranch Set for Northwest Valley

Real Estate: Developers plan up to 314 homes, some on half-acre lots for horses.

After a decade of waiting, a major housing development in the San Fernando Valley is finally ready to move forward – though not quite as large as initially envisioned.

Desert Beauty

Lancaster wants to be the first “net zero” city in the world, meaning it produces at least as much energy as it consumes.

around the valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley

A Chatsworth man has been sentenced to more than 10 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $4.6 million in restitution after being convicted of running a Ponzi scheme that cost 82 victims about $7 million.


Calendar of Events

An Election That’s Not Over

From the newsroom: A sudden crash to Earth.

When Money Talks, Voters Listen

Group behind Propositions 45 and 46 to continue seeking insurance-rate regulation, malpractice law changes.

Op-Ed: Money talks in elections.

ObamaCare: The Gift That Keeps Giving

Op-Ed: Health reform costs start adding up.

The Beer Engineer

Luis Cayo’s mechanical engineering degree got him jobs running Budweiser breweries worldwide, and now Van Nuys.

Q&A: Brew master Luis Cayo traveled the world for a good beer and found it in Van Nuys.

Tuned Out

Disney unloading radio stations amid digital revolution

Entertainment: Disney is selling 23 stations, but the Radio Disney format will live on.

Tease photo

Friday, November 14

Update: DreamWorks, Hasbro End Merger Talks

Merger talks between DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. and Hasbro Inc. have ended, according to media reports late Frida

Glendale Named Business Friendliest

Glendale was named the most business-friendly large city in the county Thursday night by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

Businessman Keeping Virgin Galactic Ticket

Valley businessman Edwin Sahakian doesn't plan to give up his $200,000 ticket to fly into space on Virgin Galactic despite the crash that killed a test pilot.

Legal Zoom Partners With Sam's Club

A strategic alliance between Inc. and Sam’s Club will merge online and in-store marketing strategies to sell legal services to small business owners.

Briefs: IPC, Talon

IPC acquires Michigan practice. Talon's profit falls sharply.

Thursday, November 13

Virgin Galactic Pilot Recounts Fall

The pilot of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo was still strapped to his seat as the vehicle broke apart around him during a test flight in the Antelope Valley last month, according to media reports

Burbank Apartments Sell for $8.5 Million

A 30-unit apartment building in Burbank has traded hands for about $8.5 million.

Wednesday, November 12

Sylmar Apartments Fetch $14 million

Vista Ridge Apartment Homes, an 81-unit apartment complex in Sylmar, has traded hands for $14.3 million.

‘Sub-Par Month’ for Homes Sales

Southern California home sales slowed in October as prices have begun to stabilize, according to a report released Wednesday.

Earnings: Capstone, Interlink

Capstone sells turbine to Italian pasta maker; Interlink Electronics swings to profit.

Tuesday, November 11

AHF Spearheading Statewide Condom Initiative

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has formed a campaign committee to collect signatures for a ballot initiative that would require condom usage in adult films made in California.

Chatsworth Man Gets 10 Years for Ponzi Scheme

A Chatsworth man has been sentenced to more than 10 years in federal prison after being convicted of running a Ponzi scheme that cost 82 victims about $7 million.

Canadian Businessmen Buy Lancaster Baseball Team

A pair of Canadian businessmen is set to become the new owners of the Lancaster JetHawks minor league baseball team.

Monday, November 10

More Housing Planned for Panavision Site

A portion of the former Panavision headquarters site in Warner Center has been sold to a local builder that plans a development of 232 multifamily units.

Northridge Business Park Sold

A 44-acre office-and-industrial park in Northridge has been purchased by a joint partnership of Shubin Nadal Realty Investors of Newport Beach and DRA Advisors LLC in New York.

Briefs: Amgen, Qualstar, Unico American

FDA accepts Amgen cholesterol drug application. Qualstar and Unico American report earnings.

Friday, November 7

Obit: Former Trader Joe's CEO

Thousand Oaks resident John Shields, who shepherded grocer Trader Joe’s through a major national expansion, died Oct. 31 after a long illness. He was 82.

Profits, Revenue Up at Crown Media

Higher advertising revenue contributed to Crown Media Holdings Inc. reporting strong third-quarter earnings on Friday

Thursday, November 6

'Guardians' Boosts Disney Earnings

Walt Disney Co. beat analysts’ profit estimates by a penny in its fiscal fourth quarter, helped along by a strong box office showing of “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Farm Center Backers Demand Investigation

Supporters of the Pierce College Farm Center attended a Los Angeles Community College District board meeting Thursday afternoon, demanding an investigation into the school’s eviction of the Pierce College Farm Center.

Canyon Country Finance Manager Sentenced in Embezzlement

A former finance manager at a prominent reality TV production studio was sentenced to two years in federal prison on Thursday for embezzling $2.5 million from his former employer, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

Earnings Roundup: Marcus & Millichap, Capstone, Netsol

Marcus & Millichap enjoys real estate rebound. Capstone Turbine sales lose power. Netsol's wider losses beat estimates.

Wednesday, November 5

Santa Clarita Rejects Billboard Plan

Measure S, a controversial ballot measure on billboards in Santa Clarita, was defeated by city voters on Tuesday.

Studio City Firm Announces Financing, Acquisition

Studio City entertainment and media-software developer FilmTrack has acquired music-rights management firm Dashbox Inc and scored $10 million in financing.

Accounting Startup Raises Money

A North Hollywood startup that helps accountants close the books has received $1.3 million in financing.

Update: Glendale Approves Downtown Development

The Glendale City Council voted to give design approval for a $105 million mixed-use development in the city’s downtown.

L.A. Launches Small Business Assistance Network

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced on Wednesday the launch of an initiative to connect small-business owners with experts who can give them advice over the phone, via video chats or in person.

Earnings Roundup: Ixia, Tutor Perini, Penny Mac

Ixia misses analysts' estimates. Construction projects boost Tutor Perini. Sister Penny Macs report rising income.

Tuesday, November 4

Warner Bros. Starts Layoffs

Warner Bros. Entertainment began on Tuesday making staffing cuts that are expected to hit about 10 percent of the company’s employees.

Earnings Roundup: ReachLocal, United Online

Reach Local reports widening losses. United Online misses on profit.

Monday, November 3

Update: Galactic Crash Investigators Focusing on Descent Mechanism

Federal investigators were focusing Monday on a descent mechanism as the possible cause of the crash of a Virgin Galactic space vehicle in the Mojave Desert that killed one pilot and injured a second.

Superior Hit by Proxy Battle, Plant Closure

Aluminum wheel manufacturer Superior Industries International Inc. said Monday it swung to a loss in its fiscal third quarter, blaming a plant closure and proxy battle for its weak results.

IT Expenses Hurt Health Net

Health Net Inc. reported a third quarter loss on Monday after the health insurer incurred big expenses associated with a new information technology system that will allow the company to handle more clients and process more claims.

Burbank Company Acquired by Dolby

Doremi Labs, a Burbank digital cinema equipment company, was acquired by Dolby Laboratories Inc., in a $92.5 million deal that closed on Monday.

Earnings Roundup: MannKind, American Homes, LTC

Losses narrow at MannKind. American Homes misses on FFO. Mortgage loan originations boost LTC.

Power Tool Trio

Distribution: Burbank industrial-tool and supply company run by three sisters.

Distribution: Three sisters run a tool supplier that ranks among the Valley’s fastest growing companies.

Debt Holder Gains Majority Stake in Crunchies

Finance: Snack maker reaches deal with Chaucer to emerge from Chapter 11.

Finance: A bankruptcy and hostile takeover attempt end in peace for Crunchies.

A Revolution in Alternative Dispute Resolution

Law: Startup settles small claims suits online via algorithm and credit cards.

A new website could help settle small-claims cases.

Sharky’s Has the Right Ingredients for Success

Restaurants: Casual eatery serves local, organic fare on plates with silverware.

Restaurants: Sharky’s serves upscale Mexican food for the health conscious.

Supplement Maker Bulks Up on Contract Deals

Manufacturing: Lief Labs makes protein powers, vitamins for brands.

Manufacturing: The burgeoning nutrition supplement market puts three companies on the fast growth list.

Parents Warming Up to Really Cool Company

Retail: Target sells PackIt freezable gel bags for lunches and other uses.

Retail: When her children didn’t eat their school lunches, Melissa Kieling got the idea for her business.

Staying Centered

Fiona Hutton has built one of the Valley’s most successful PR firms by avoiding partisan politics and not getting too big.

Q&A: Fiona Hutton has moved from politics and PR to find her niche in public affairs.

Trust Dispute Leads to Local Ownership Change

Real Estate: Receiver sells two Valley-area hotels after apparent family rift.

The last three properties of a five-hotel portfolio mostly located in the Valley area have been sold out of receivership.

around the valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley Inc. has joined with Sam’s Club in a strategic sales agreement that will broaden how the Glendale company sells its do-it-yourself legal documents and services.


Calendar of Events


Stock prices enjoyed an upswing in the two-week period ended Oct. 29.

A ‘Feel Good’ Plastic Bag Ban That Hurts

Op-Ed: Why plastic bags aren’t so bad.

Keeping Jobs at Bay With CEQA

Labor’s ‘greenmail’ tactics are halting development up and down state, not just in the Antelope Valley.

Op-Ed: Kinkisharyo, poster child for CEQA reform.

Their Tube

Music-licensing firm has big presence on video website

Entertainment: AudioMicro has found a way to make money on YouTube.

Tease photo

Wages of Pain For Non-Profits

Economy: Groups feel higher minimum pay will reduce services.

Economy: L.A.’s proposed minimum wage could hurt charity groups.

Winners and Losers at Amgen

It was almost inevitable.

Conejo Valley Bracing for Amgen Layoffs

Biotech: Amgen’s cost-cutting draws applause on Wall Street and worries on Main Street.

Fast Get Faster Amid Recovery

Fastest: Digital technology and online companies lead the charge for fast growth.

When the Lunch Room Is a Billboard

California labor law notices demand artsy touch in the cafeteria.

Regulatory: California leads the nation when it comes to employee posters.

Luxe Developer Eyeing Glendale

Housing: Fifield Cos. takes over Amidi project downtown.

Housing: The developer of a large apartment complex in Glendale has pulled out. A Chicago luxury firm is in.

Swag Firm Has Lots of Swagger

Valley mother founded rapidly expanding company on laptop.

Events: Anything 2 Everything produces get-togethers for a high-tech clientele.

Keeping An Eye On The Trash

Optical sensors detect plastics for recycling at Sun Valley plant.

Innovation: Optical sensors sort plastic at a new recycling center in Sun Valley.

The Number

The NUumber: Cable operators have the highest profit margins in the media sector.