Stories for September 2014

Tuesday, September 30

Update: DreamWorks' Suitor Eyes Legendary

Talks were reportedly cooling between DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. and SoftBank Corp. But the Japanese telecom and Internet company may invest in another Valley film and television production company, according to media reports on Tuesday.

L.A. Economic Recovery Lagging

The economic recovery in Los Angeles has been uneven and lags behind the rest of the state and nation, according to a report released Tuesday.

Research Solutions Posts Loss

Research Solutions Inc. reported falling revenue and net income in its fiscal fourth quarter, as the company struggles with a transition from print to cloud-based distribution.

Monday, September 29

DreamWorks Shares Rise Amid Buyout Skepticism

Shares in DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. rose 26 percent on Monday following the announcement of its possible acquisition by a Japanese telecommunications and Internet company in a deal valued at $3.4 billion.

Will L.A. High-Rises Pierce the Sky?

Los Angeles will no longer require tall buildings in the city to have flat roofs and helipads, a change that means the city’s skyline could one day include the kind of narrow tops and grand spires seen in other big cities.

Briefs: Tutor Perini, Grease Bill, Qualstar

Tutor Perini wins Chumash casino contract. Gov. Brown signs grease theft bill. Qualstar reports earnings.

Sunday, September 28

Japan's SoftBank Bids for DreamWorks

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. is in discussions to be acquired by a Japanese telecommunications and Internet company in a deal valued at $3.4 billion, according to weekend media reports.

Friday, September 26

Marvel Settles Superheroes Battle

The family of comic book artist Jack Kirby and Marvel Entertainment said Friday they have settled a lawsuit over ownership rights to some of the Hollywood’s most popular superheroes, including the Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man.

Changes at Burbank's Hub Network

Discovery Communications Inc. is increasing its stake in Burbank cable channel Hub Network, which will be renamed to reflect broader family programming.

Pierce College Farm Stand to Close

The Pierce College Farm Center, which operates a vegetable stand and other attractions, will close by end of the year, according to a Friday media report

Briefs: Metric Holdings, American Homes

Tarzana real estate firm buys Hawaiian industrial park. American Homes completes offering.

Thursday, September 25

FAA Approves Hollywood Drone Use

Two San Fernando Valley aerial photography companies were among six that received approval on Thursday from the Federal Aviation Administration to use drones for film and television production.

California United Gets Regulatory Approvals

CU Bancorp is one step closer to completing its acquisition of 1st Enterprise Bank after announcing Thursday it has received all approvals from government regulators.

Briefs: IPC, Ryland Group

IPC makes another acquisition. Ryland opens subdivision.

Wednesday, September 24

L.A. Council Approves Hotel Wage Hike

Over strenuous objections from business groups, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday voted to hike the minimum wage for workers at large nonunion hotels to $15.37 an hour.

MannKind Closes Sanofi Deal

MannKind Corp. announced on Wednesday that it has closed its worldwide marketing deal for its Afreeza inhalable insulin and will receive a $150 million payment from French drug maker Sanofi.

Cinedigm Sells Woodland Hills Unit

A Woodland Hills division of entertainment content distributor Cinedigm Corp. has been sold to a group of private investors, the company announced on Wednesday.

Disney Toy Deal Excludes Mattel

Walt Disney Co. announced on Wednesday that it reached a deal to have Hasbro Inc. manufacture its Disney Princess and “Frozen” lines of dolls, a blow to current manufacturer and L.A. toy maker Mattel Inc.

Briefs: AeroVironment, Teledyne, Ixia, L.A. Zoo

AerovVironment receives contract. Teledyne raising $125 million. Ixia appoints CFO. Public-private partnership for L.A. Zoo.

Tuesday, September 23

Valley Groups Blitz on Hotel Wage Vote

Valley business groups were lobbying hard on Tuesday to turn back a proposed ordinance that would raise the minimum wage of workers at large Los Angeles hotels to more than $15 an hour.

Home Sales Decline

Home sales in the San Fernando Valley were down in August, as prospective home buyers continue to grapple with rising prices.

L.A. Register Ceases Publication

The Los Angeles Register, a daily newspaper that launched in April, ceased publication on Tuesday.

Monday, September 22

FAA Moving on Helicopter Noise Problem

The Federal Aviation Administration is setting up a system to take complaints from the Valley and elsewhere in Los Angeles County about helicopter noise, a problem that has generated political pressure on the agency.

Amgen Seeks Approval for Leukemia Drug

Amgen Inc. announced on Monday that it is seeking FDA approval to sell a drug for treating a rare and particularly deadly form of leukemia.

Research Solutions Closes French Business

Research Solutions Inc. announced on Monday it has closed a subsidiary company in France and hired an investor relations firm to reposition the company as digital-only operation.

Warner Bros. Restructures Labor Office

Warner Bros. Entertainment announced on Monday a restructuring of the office handling the studio’s relations with trade unions and guilds.

ObamaCare Regulations Create Market Niche

Insurance: Woodland Hills firm automates reporting of worker-coverage status.

Insurance: New reporting requirements for health reform have brokers and HR companies scrambling.


Business group in underdog role as it pulls for MLS team.

Sports: A campaign to bring a Major League Soccer team to the Valley runs into obstacles.

A.V. Plant Off Track?

Manufacturing: Labor dispute threatens planned rail facility.

Manufacturing: A union dispute could delay – or even derail – Kinkisharyo’s Palmdale plant.

Snack Maker Faces Crunch

Finance: Westlake Village firm files for bankruptcy.

Finance: Despite soaring sales, snack food maker Crunchies has declared bankruptcy.

Old School Texas Firm Buys Online Marketer

Internet: Alliance benefiting from Westlake Village’s Conversant.

Internet: The hunger among marketers for big data explains Conversant’s $2.3 billion acquisition.

Gathering Up That Loose Change

Mall kiosk exchanges foreign currency for gift cards, charity.

Retail: Spare change in a foreign currency could buy gift cards at a Northridge mall kiosk.

Avery’s New Address In Fashion

Forget office labels, Glendale firm opens ‘cool’ design hub.

Fashion: Avery Dennison opens a design studio for clothing labels in the L.A. Fashion District.

When the Sun Bears Down Hard

Chatsworth business uses high-tech supports for large solar project.

Innovation: Chatsworth manufacturer tries a new method for attaching solar panels on the roof.

The Number

The Number: Hollywood’s lowest summer box office in years particularly hurt Valley studios.

More Than A Jingle

Media: Cutbacks at radio stations have created a demand for Benztown’s ‘aural branding.’

Media: Benztown produces the identifying sound signature that radio stations feature in promos.

Fallow Future for Camarillo Farmland Project?

Development: Council vote kills current housing plan but downsizing possible.

After nearly 10 years of hearings and drama, a development proposal for nearly 900 acres of Camarillo farmland looks to be on its last legs – at least in its current form.

around the valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley

The Los Angeles Daily News is among the newspapers that could be sold as parent company Digital First Media reviews strategic alternatives for its business.


Calendar of Events


Market Watch Summary

Stocks remained nearly flat in the two-week period ended Sept. 17.

Can the Valley Score in Futbol?

From the Newsroom: Scoring MLS in the Valley.

Valley Classrooms Get Stocked Up for First Day

Giving: Campaign by Honda sends paper and other supplies to district.

Honda’s ubiquitous Random Acts of Helpfulness campaign may be marketing at heart, but that doesn’t mean real people and institutions aren’t benefiting.

Social Media Lawsuit Not So Funny for Wayans

Law: Tweet spurs complaint, offers firms lessons in medium’s limits.

An odd suit filed by actor Pierre Daniel against comedian Marlon Wayans holds several not-so-funny lessons for business owners about the Brave New World of social media.

Organizers Plan Encore for Calabasas Film Festival

Entertainment: Nearly 1,000 attend event that should be back next year with bigger lineup.

Calabasas got back in the film fest business earlier this month.

Entrepreneur Scores Birdie With Old Snack Bar

Retail & Hospitality: Former waitress upgrades eatery at Verdugo Hills course.

Growing up in Tujunga, Tiffany Casper worked at the snack bar at nearby Verdugo Hills Golf Course, dispensing nachos, drinks and frozen burgers.

Digging Ever Deeper into the Hole?

The planned high-speed rail line has been compromised by politics. An unfunded tunnel won’t fix it.

Op-Ed: Dwindling viability of high-speed rail.

A Call for L.A. River Open Space

Op-Ed: a park on the L.A. River.

Friday, September 19

L.A. County Unemployment Rate Steady

L.A. County’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.1 percent in August even as the area gained nearly 18,000 jobs, according to state figures released Friday

Metro Intervening in Kinkisharyo Union Dispute

A Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority committee gave its support to Japanese rail car manufacturer Kinkisharyo International LCC in its dispute with the electrical workers union over the company’s plans to build a manufacturing plant in Palmdale.

Could Valley Host MLS Soccer Team?

Local business leaders are trying to bring a Major League Soccer team to the Valley, but the effort could be a longshot.

Northrop's Triton Takes Flight

A newly developed unmanned aircraft built by Northrop Grumman Corp. in Palmdale completed a flight to Maryland where it will undergo further testing.

Thursday, September 18

Warner Bros. Eyeing 1,000 Layoffs

Warner Bros. Entertainment this fall may cut between 900 and 1,000 positions worldwide, according to media reports.

Gov. Brown Signs Film Tax Credit Bill

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed a bill to more than triple funding for California's film and TV tax-credit program. to $330 million.

Management Shuffle at Interlink

Howard Goldberg is stepping down as president and chief operating officer of Interlink Electronics Inc., which has hired a new executive to lead its Asian expansion.

Wednesday, September 17

Anthem to Compete in HMO Market

Anthem Blue Cross announced a joint venture with hospitals to offer employers a new health maintenance organization in the Southern California market.

Antelope Valley Gold Mine Finds Funding

Golden Queen Mining Co. Ltd. closed this week on a joint venture investment for its gold mine in the Antelope Valley.

Briefs: Tutor Perini, Ceres, Valencia Lease

PPG secures Valencia lease,

Tuesday, September 16

Ixia Files Reports, Avoids Delisting

Ixia staved off potential delisting from the Nasdaq after it became current with quarterly filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Burbank Airport to Test Screening Shoes

Passengers at Burbank Bob Hope Airport will be the first in the country to test out new “flightfeet,” a lightweight plastic shoe aimed at expediting the security checkpoint process.

Clear Channel Changes Name to iHeartMedia

Clear Channel Communications Inc. announced on Tuesday it has changed its name to iHeartMedia Inc. to better reflect its multi-platform approach.

LAX Redevelopment Breaks Ground

Southwest Airlines on Tuesday kicked off the $508 million redevelopment of Terminal 1 at Los Angeles International Airport.

Boeing, SpaceX Win NASA Contract

Hawthorne rocket maker SpaceX and Chicago aerospace giant Boeing Co. will share a contract to ferry U.S. astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

Chamber Opposes Minimum Wage Increase

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors has voted to oppose Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s plan to hike the minimum wage in the city to $13.25 an hour by 2017.

Monday, September 15

Chatsworth Electric Truck Plant Closes

Boulder Electric Vehicle has shut down its Chatsworth assembly plant and laid off about 50 workers, according to media reports.

Report Finds Real Estate Drives State Economic Growth

The real estate and leasing industries accounted for nearly a quarter of California’s economic growth in the second quarter, according to a report released Monday.

Briefs: Northrop, Rexford

Northrop Grumman wins a $354 million contract and Rexford Industrial buys a Chatsworth building.

Friday, September 12

L.A. Daily News Could Be Sold

The Los Angeles Daily News is among the newspapers that could be sold as parent company Digital First Media said Friday it was reviewing strategic alternatives for its business.

DTS Acquires Software Developer

Audio technology company DTS Inc. is acquiring Manzanita Systems, a Poway software developer for digital television, video-on-demand and other platforms.

Deluxe Acquires German Cloud Company

Post-production company Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc. is acquiring Mediapeers, a German cloud-software provider for the entertainment industry.

NetSol Reports Poor Earnings

NetSol Technologies Inc. – already facing litigation over the slow rollout of its new vehicle-leasing software –reported sharply lower revenue and a net loss on Friday that it blamed on the launch of the platform.

Update: Texas Firm Acquires Conversant for $2.3 Billion

Online advertising firm Conversant Inc. agreed on Thursday to be acquired for $2.3 billion in cash and stock by Alliance Data Systems Corp., a data marketing service provider in Plano, Texas.

Thursday, September 11

Foreclosures, Home Sales Fall

Even as foreclosures fell to more normal levels, home sales in Southern California slipped to a four-year low in August as would-be buyers faced inventory and affordability challenges, according to separate reports released Thursday.

UCLA Forecasts ‘Plodding’ Recovery

The UCLA Anderson Forecast predicts a continued “painfully plodding” economic recovery for the state and an uncertain outcome for Los Angeles if the minimum wage is raised.

Westlake Village Insurer Acquired

Peterson Milaney Insurance Associates in Westlake Village was purchased by Hub International Limited, the company announced Thursday.

Former Avery Dennison Chairman Passes

H. Russell Smith, former chairman of Avery Dennison Corp., passed away on Sept. 7. He was 100 years old.

Briefs: BioSolar, American Homes, Ixia, Cherokee

Photovoltaic panel designer BioSolar Inc. announced on Thursday a partnership with UC Santa Barbara to develop a new method of storing the energy of the sun.

Wednesday, September 10

KCET Auctioning Off Spectrum

Burbank public television station KCET has entered into a partnership with public educational station KLCS to auction off unused spectrum and share a single over-the-air broadcast channel.

Feds Raid L.A. Fashion District Over Cartel Ties

Thousands of federal agents raided businesses in downtown L.A.’s Fashion District on Wednesday and seized an estimated $65 million as part of a crackdown on alleged sophisticated money-laundering operations by Mexican drug cartels.

Brown Signs Sick Leave Bill

Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed a bill that requires employees be given three paid sick days – legislation that was opposed by business groups as a job killer.

Tuesday, September 9

Virgin Galactic Receives NASA Contract

Two aerospace companies at the Mojave Air & Space Port, including Virgin Galactic, have received three-year contracts from NASA to take scientific payloads into sub-orbital space.

Insurance Scam Targeted Contractors

The California Department of Insurance announced on Tuesday the arrest of a Pacoima commercial insurance agent for allegedly stealing more than $100,000 in customer premiums.

Toy Industry Veteran Joins Universal

Vince Klaseus has joined Universal Pictures as the studio seeks to grow its family and children’s business.

Update: Colossus Coaster Damaged in Fire

Monday’s fire on the closed Colossus roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain will not delay plans for the ride’s transformation into the Twisted Colossus, officials said Tuesday

Briefs: IPC, Warner Bros. Pictures

IPC The Hospitalist Co. Inc. acquires Florida doctors group. Warner Bros. Pictures promotes executive.

Monday, September 8

Disney, DreamWorks Named in Suit

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. and Walt Disney Co. are among a handful of animation studios named in a class action lawsuit alleging they conspired to suppress the wages of visual effects workers by agreeing not to hire from each other.

AFEX Buys Toronto Firm

AFEX, a Woodland Hills provider of cross-border payment services for businesses, has purchased GFX Partners in Toronto, the company announced Monday.

Bioness Releases Positive Clinical Study

Bioness Inc. released on Monday the results from a long-term study of its L300 Foot Drop System on patients who had suffered a stroke and lost some foot movement.

Briefs: Princess Cruises, Tix Corp.

Princess Cruises is partnering with the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks to draw team fans to the cruise line, following similar agreements it has reached with other NFL teams.

Charged All the Way

Technology: Technocel moves to bigger offices as cell-phone accessories sales grow.

Technology: Tylt hopes to upend the electronic accessories market with wireless chargers.

NetSol Scores Sweet Deal for Its Leasing Software

Automotive: Calabasas firm hopes $16 million contract will put troubles behind it.

Automotive: Despite a rash of lawsuits, NetSol’s fortunes turn a corner.

West Coast Cool

Former Fannie Mae CEO Mike Williams left the Washington D.C. maelstrom behind to lead Valley lender Prospect Mortgage.

Q&A: Mike Williams, former chief exectutive at Fannie Mae, now runs Prospect Mortgage in Sherman Oaks.

Fireman’s Brew Burning Up Prime Time TV

Retail & Hospitality: Canoga Park brewer lands placement in ‘Ray Donovan’ drama.

After appearing on “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mike & Molly” last season, Fireman’s Brew Inc. beer is heading to Showtime’s hit crime drama “Ray Donovan.”

Putting Quick Back in the Urgent Care Concept

Health Care: Northridge clinic works out deal to see business employees faster.

In a health care system where even a slight injury or sickness can wipe out an entire workday, Dr. Bardia Anvar decided to find a way to recoup some of that lost productivity.

Comedy Duo Smiling Over Move to East Valley

RealL Estate: Tim & Eric of Adult Swim get office near Burbank Media District.

A well-known comedy duo responsible for several shows on Cartoon Network’s late night Adult Swim series have relocated from Hollywood to Glendale.

around the valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley

AmaWaterways has added two vessels, the AmaSerena and AmaVista, to its fleet.


Calendar of Events


Market Watch Summary

Stocks showed modest gains in the two-week period ended Sept. 3 as the U.S. economy showed signs of improvement with high demand for autos and aircraft.

Jump On the Bullet Train?

From the Newsroom: Skepticism wanes for high-speed rail.

Minimum Wage, Maximum Job Losses

Op-Ed: warnings for minimum wage hikes.

The Corporate Neighbor Next Door

Advocacy group argues that rise of corporate landlords in single-family neighborhoods creates new risks.

Op-Ed: Rise of the corporate landlords.

Par for the Course?

Sports complex in Studio City eyed for senior housing.

Development: Will the Weddington Golf and Tennis Club become a senior living facility or a park?

Tease photo

The Number

The Number: How the Law of Large Numbers applies to local unemployment figures.

When All Natural Is High Tech

Derma E says its ‘full spectrum’ Vitamin E is real skin pleaser.

Innovation: “Full spectrum” Vitamin E is the key to Derma E’s new skincare line.

Doctors Bills Are Tough – For Doctors

New book aims to assist physicians with paperwork nightmare.

Health Care: Medical bills pose a problem for doctors as much as for their patients.

No FX. Something Truly Special

Autistic young adults gain experience on graphics, visual effects.

Education: A Valley vocational school for autistic young adults proves a hit in Hollywood.

Business Groups All Aboard on Mountain Tunnel

Transportation: An alternate route for high-speed rail would tunnel under the San Gabriel Mountains.

Taking a Chomp Out of Child Labor

Supply chain: Executive at Nestle’s Glendale offices helps lead initiative.

Supply Chain: Nestle USA in Glendale has a plan to grow a sustainable cocoa supply.

Alfred Mann Selling Off Valley-Area Business Parks

Real Estate: Biotech billionaire cashing out in Sylmar, Valencia.

Real Estate: Billionaire Alfred Mann is selling off his industrial parks in Santa Clarita and Sylmar.

Friday, September 5

Simi Valley Target of Chinese Investors

Simi Valley is one of the first development targets by a Chinese firm that is moving into the U.S. housing market with $1 billion to invest.

Update: Buyouts, Layoffs Loom at Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. Entertainment Chief Executive Kevin Tsujihara has confirmed that layoffs are planned for the Burbank studio.

Senior Housing Planned for Weddington

Once again the Weddington Golf and Tennis complex in Studio City is the subject of a development proposal - this time a plan to raze its tennis courts and build 200 senior condos.

Mann Cashing Out

Alfred Mann is divesting of his commercial real estate assets in the greater Valley: the 120-acre Mann Biomedical Park in Valencia and the nearly 10-acre Sylmar Biomedical Park, the Business Journal has learned.

Thursday, September 4

Investors Punish AeroVironment

Shares in AeroVironment Inc. closed down nearly 10 percent on Thursday a day after the company missed profit forecasts for the fiscal first quarter.

Briefs: Electro Rent, Teledyne

Electr Rent declares dividend. Teledyne accelerates $100 million share repurchase.

Wednesday, September 3

L.A. Hotel Room Rates Rise

Visitors to Los Angeles paid an average of $162 a night for hotel accommodations during the first six months of 2014, an increase of 6 percent compared to the same period in 2013.

Teledyne Acquires Marine Equipment Firm

Teledyne Technologies Inc. announced Wednesday it will acquire Bolt Technology Corp., a manufacturer of marine equipment used in energy exploration and other purposes, in a deal valued at $171 million.

Aligned TeleHealth Secures Funding

Telemedicine and health care management firm Aligned TeleHealth Inc. announced Wednesday it has secured private funding from two investors.

Briefs: Rexford, PennyMac Financial, Simulations Plus

Rexford Industrial buys San Fernando building, PennyMac Financial expands credit line and Simulations Plus completes acquisition.

Tuesday, September 2

Malabar Acquires Aviation Tool Maker DAE Industries

Ground-support equipment maker Malabar International announced Monday the acquisition of DAE Industries, a manufacturer specializing in engine transport and aircraft maintenance stands.

VICA Voices Concerns for Minimum Wage Proposal

A proposal by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti to raise the minimum wage to up to $13.25 per hour drew a lukewarm response Tuesday from the Valley Industry & Commerce Association.

Briefs: Sick Leave, Adult Filming, Amgen

New law mandates three sick days, the adult film moratorium is lifted and Amgen Inc. submits two drugs for approval in Europe.