VALLEY BRIEFS Big Dog Walking Big Dog Holdings Inc. has acquired beleaguered The Walking Co. in a deal worth more than $15 million. The deal, for cash, stock and assumption of debt will give Big Dog, a Santa Barbara-based maker and retailer of novelty active wear and accessories, a new product line and greatly expand its retail holdings. Chatsworth-based The Walking Co., with sales of $65 million, operates more than 70 retail stores. The company specializes in high-end footwear brands such as Ecco, Mephisto and Birkenstock. The Walking Co. emerged from bankruptcy last summer after shedding about one-third of its retail stores. Big Dog, which is named for its signature apparel motif, a Saint Bernard breed, has seen its sales languish recently. In announcing its preliminary year-end financials, Big Dog said its net sales for the year ended Dec. 31 decreased 4.6 percent to $103.8 million. Hertzberg to Chair LAEDC The Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. (LAEDC) has elected former Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg chairman of its board of directors. Hertzberg succeeds Matt Toledo, publisher of the Los Angeles Business Journal (a sister publication to the San Fernando Valley Business Journal), whose one-year term is due to expire on March 31. Hertzberg, who served as California State Assembly Speaker from 2000 to 2002, is currently a partner in the government relations practice of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw. He has also served as a consultant to the LAEDC. Pacific Crest Acquisition Approved The planned acquisition of Pacific Crest Capital Inc. by Pacific Capital Bancorp has received the needed regulatory approvals and will be presented to shareholders for their approval this week. If shareholders give the transaction a green light, Pacific Capital will acquire Pacific Crest, one of the Valley’s only remaining independent banks, in an all cash transaction valued at $135.8 million. Agoura Hills-based Pacific Crest has three branches in Beverly Hills, Encino and San Diego. Santa Barbara-based Pacific Capital operates a number of local banks along the Central Coast totaling 41 branches. McClintock Recognized State Senator Tom McClintock received the California Legislator of the Year award from AeA, a trade association representing the high-tech industry. Woodland Hills-based AeA recognizes legislators for contributions to the success of the high tech industry. NTS Growing National Technical Systems, Inc., based in Calabasas, said it will acquire privately-held DTI Holdings LLC, headquartered in Rustburg, Va. NTS, a provider of testing services to a range of industries from aerospace and defense to IT acquired DTI for a combination of cash and common stock. “The DTI acquisition differentiates NTS as the only commercial company able to offer the Navy physical tests to qualify products for deployment on Naval vessels,” said NTS Chairman and CEO Jack Lin. Interlink Raises Expectations Thanks to improved performance from its electronic transactions segment, Camarillo-based Interlink Electronics, Inc., a manufacturer of information technology devices, said its revenues for the quarter ended Dec. 31 are expected to grow by 10 percent from the $7.8 million reported in the company’s third quarter. Power-One Reports Loss Power-One Inc., a Camarillo-based telecommunications maker, lost $10.4 million or $0.12 per diluted share on sales of $67 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. That compares with net income of $5.1 million on sales of $66 million for the like quarter of 2002. The company said its performance was impacted by investment write-down and restructuring costs of $8.8 million or about $0.10 per share. Although Power-One expects to record a loss in the first quarter of 2004 as well, the company said it expects to return to profitability later in the year. For the full year ended Dec. 31, Power-One lost $18.2 million or $0.22 per share, compared to a loss of $211 million or $2.62 per share for the same period last year. Pixar and Disney Part Ways Pixar announced that it plans to end its partnership with The Walt Disney Co. following delivery of two more animated features in 2004 and 2005. Tom Staggs, Disney senior executive vice president and CFO, said the company could not financially justify the terms of Pixar’s deal. Disney plans to continue to grow successful franchises like “Toy Story,” and “Finding Nemo,” which were created through the partnership. In addition, the company maintains the right to exploit all the characters created through the partnership in its theme parks and consumer products units.