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Friday, Jan 27, 2023
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Around the Valleys

ANTELOPE VALLEY MOJAVE Former Pentagon official Jay Gibson has been named chief executive of XCOR Aerospace, developer of a space vehicle at the Mojave Air & Space Port. Gibson replaces Jeff Greason, a founder of XCOR, who will remain as chief technology officer and chairman. Gibson joins the aerospace startup from Wichita, Kan. aircraft maker Beechcraft Corp., where he served in executive positions. Gibson previously served at the Pentagon during the George W. Bush administration as deputy undersecretary of defense and as assistant secretary of the United States Air Force. CONEJO VALLEY THOUSAND OAKS In a move to consolidate its workforce, Amgen Inc. will lay off 300 workers and close its Onyx subsidiary in South San Francisco late this year. Other employees will be transferred to the company’s Thousand Oaks headquarters and to another Amgen facility in the Bay Area. Amgen bought Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc., a South San Francisco company, in 2013 for $10.4 billion – largely to acquire its Kyprolis treatment for multiple myeloma blood cancer. A clinical study released this month showed positive results from patients with relapsed multiple myeloma who took Kyprolis. Amgen Inc. will face new competition after Novartis AG secured the first-ever FDA approval to sell a “biosimilar” drug – provided it can overcome a legal challenge by the Thousand Oaks company. The Food and Drug Administration ruled that the Swiss drug company may sell a copycat version of Neupogen, one of Amgen’s best-selling drugs with revenue last year of about $1.16 billion. Neupogen’s patent expired last year. The drug stimulates production of white blood cells in patients undergoing radiation or chemotherapy. SAN FERNANDO VALLEY Business-backed candidates Carolyn Ramsay and David Ryu received the most votes in the March 3 primary to fill the L.A. Council District 4 seat vacated by termed-out Councilman Tom LaBonge. Ramsay got 15.3 percent of the vote while Ryu had 14.6 percent. They will face off in the May 19 general election. They were among four “preferred” candidates in the race chosen by BizFedPAC, a political action committee affiliated with the Los Angeles County Business Federation. BURBANK At its annual shareholder meeting in San Francisco, Walt Disney Co. announced a sequel to its hit film “Frozen” and announced release dates next year and in 2017 for its first two “Star Wars” films. “Frozen 2” follows up on the Oscar-winning original, the highest-grossing animated movie ever, with $1.3 billion worldwide box office. The film became a merchandising phenomenon and helped push company stock to a 15-year high. Passenger traffic at Burbank Bob Hope Airport dipped nearly 2 percent in January compared to the same month last year. The airport served 297,209 passengers, a drop of 1.7 percent from the 302,389 passengers served in January 2014. It was the second month in a row for passenger numbers to decline at the San Fernando Valley’s only commercial airport, which experienced increases from July through November. Seven airlines serve the airport, which has struggled in the past few years as flight traffic and passenger counts dwindled amid consolidation in the industry at larger airfields. ENCINO Real estate brokerage NAI Capital named veteran broker Timothy P. Foutz as its chief executive officer. He replaces Bob Scullin, who left after what Foutz called a “philosophical difference” among the partners. Foutz described the brokerage as “in transition,” with its long-time chairman Mike Zugsmith retiring recently due to ill health. Foutz has brokered many large local transactions, including selling Eaton Corp.’s Westlake Village property for the development of Calvary Community Church and Oaks Christian High School. GLENDALE The Glendale campus of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. is back on the market after being sold for $185 million, or $467 a square foot, to the investment arm of SunTrust Banks Inc., an Atlanta bank holding company. The animation studio won’t be affected, as it has a 20-year lease for the 14-acre, 400,000-square-foot property that comprises 10 buildings. DreamWorks has been hard hit financially following the release of several films that have failed to perform at the box office. The YouTube networks of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. will produce 200 hours of original programming for mobile streaming to customers of Verizon Communications. AwesomenessTV will program a channel of scripted and unscripted content for teens and young millennials, while DreamWorksTV will feature family-oriented live-action and animated short-form content. The Glendale studio acquired Los Angeles-based AwesomenessTV almost two years ago for $33 million. DreamWorksTV was launched last June. VAN NUYS ColorNet Press is relocating from Santa Monica to an 18,000-square-foot building that traded hands near Van Nuys Airport. The commercial printing firm is expanding operations at its new Valley location, 6855 Hayvenhurst Ave. The property was purchased for $3.7 million by Kearta LLC in Los Angeles in a deal financed by City National Bank. NAI Capital’s David Young and Chad Gahr, both senior vice presidents in the Encino office, represented the seller in the deal. WOODLAND HILLS Westfield Corp. acquired the Sears Brands LLC store at its Westfield Topanga mall and will redevelop the 160,000-square-foot space into an entertainment complex to complement its Village at Topanga development, opening in September. The Century City mall owner also said that the $350 million Village mall, which will connect the company’s Topanga and Promenade malls, will feature an REI sporting goods store, Sur La Table, Jonathan Adler, Z-Gallerie and Bassett Furniture outlets. Private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC is close to buying Digital First Media, owner of the Los Angeles Daily News. The New York firm would pay $400 million for Digital First, the second-largest newspaper company in the U.S. by circulation. Digital First owns 800 daily and weekly papers and news websites that serve 15 states. The Daily News is part of the company’s Los Angeles News Group, which includes the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News and Torrance Daily Breeze. SANTA CLARITA VALLEY VALENCIA Mission Valley Bancorp will close a 4,000-square-foot Valencia branch this month. The closure leaves the Sun Valley-based community bank with one branch in Santa Clarita and one in Sun Valley. Four positions will be eliminated with the closure, which coincides with the bank’s five-year lease expiring. The decision to let the lease lapse reflects technological advances in the banking industry that have decreased teller visits as customers conduct most transactions online or on mobile phones, according to Mission Valley. – Compiled by Karen E. Klein

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