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Tuesday, Dec 6, 2022
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Around the Valleys: News and notes from the greater San Fernando Valley

CONEJO VALLEY AGOURA HILLS Hixme Insurance Solutions Inc. raised $14.1 million in a series B funding. The Agoura Hills health benefits consulting firm has now raised a total of $26.6 million. The money will help the company promote its products and increase its sales and geographic presence. The funding round was led by Propel Venture Partners of San Francisco and included Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley, as well as Transamerica Ventures and Rosemark Capital. Hixme offers a technology-enabled platform to help employers move from employer-owned group benefits programs to market-based programs where the employees can tailor coverage to fit their needs. Dan Peate co-founded the company in 2013, and co-founder of insuer Wellpoint Inc. Denny Weinberg serves as chief executive. CAMARILLO Salem Media Group has acquired the product line of investment strategist Mike Turner. The publisher and broadcaster of conservative Christian content, based in Camarillo, will add Turner’s offerings to its financial services arm, Eagle Financial Publications. “Mike’s ‘TurnerTrends Tools’ is an amazing product that uses 2.8 million lines of proprietary software code to rank more than 6,000 stocks and ETFs,” Roger Michalski, vice president and publisher of Eagle, said in a prepared statement. The acquisition includes his website TurnerTrends.com, publications Signal Investor and Quick Hit Trader and algorithmic trading software program TurnerTrends Tools. In Salem’s quarterly report released Nov. 7, the company reported it paid about $400,000 for the Turner acquisition. THOUSAND OAKS Amgen Inc. reported third-quarter financial results that exceeded Wall Street’s expectations. The Thousand Oaks biotech giant reported adjusted net income of $2.3 billion ($3.02 a share), compared to $2.1 billion ($2.72) for the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue increased 2 percent to $5.8 billion, compared to the third quarter of 2015. Analysts on average expected earnings of $2.79 a share on revenue of $5.73 billion, according to Thomson Financial Network. On an adjusted basis, the company improved its cost of sales margin by half a percent, its research and development expenses by 11 percent and its total operating expenses by 5 percent. California Lutheran University’s Center for Economic Research and Forecasting Executive Director Bill Watkins has retired after presenting his final outlook for Ventura County’s economy on Nov. 10. He has served the college seven years. Watkins and his colleague, Dan Hamilton, founded the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting when they joined Cal Lutheran’s faculty in 2009. They met in 2000 while working together on the Economic Forecast Project at the University of California – Santa Barbara. In September, the center placed second in the National Association for Business Economics’ annual Outlook Award competition based on the accuracy of its forecasts. SAN FERNANDO VALLEY CALABASAS CheapAir.com has added 280 weekly Cuba flights to its product offerings. The Calabasas online travel agency can now book passage to Cuba on eight major airlines, as well as a charter service from Miami. Direct commercial flights originate from 11 cities, including Los Angeles. “Last year, when the rule changes for travel to Cuba opened up a historic opportunity, we jumped on it,” Jeff Klee, chief executive of CheapAir.com, said in a statement. “We haven’t had enough inventory to accommodate the demand, so we’re thrilled to have all these new flights.” The travel agency can arrange flights to 10 Cuban cities, including Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Camaguey. CANOGA PARK Park Place Apartments in Canoga Park sold to a Los Angeles individual investor for $15.5 million. Dr. Il Young Kim bought the 61-unit complex at 8700 De Soto Ave. from BCE Park Place Holdings in Tarzana, according to CoStar Group Inc. The two-story complex is a mix of one- and two-bedroom units on just less than 2 acres and was built in 1990. It underwent some renovations in 2011. Ronald Harris, Michael DiSimone and Matt Ziegler of Marcus & Millichap Inc. in Calabasas brokered the deal for the buyer and the seller. NORTH HOLLYWOOD The Academy Tower office building in North Hollywood has sold for $61.5 million, sources close to the deal said. Swift Real Estate Partners, a real estate investment firm in San Francisco, bought the 174,000-square-foot Class A office building at 5200 Lankershim Blvd. Kennedy-Wilson Inc. of Beverly Hills sold the building for a 28 percent increase over what it paid four years ago, according to CoStar. The eight-story building on the visible corner of Lankershim and West Magnolia boulevards is in the heart of the walkable NoHo Arts District, and near the Burbank Media District. Studio 77, a year-old North Hollywood apartment complex, sold for $72 million to a Virginia real estate investment trust, according to the company. AvalonBay Communities Inc. in Arlington bought the 156-unit complex at 5077 Lankershim Blvd. in the heart of the NoHo Arts District for about $462,000 a unit from Chandler Pratt & Partners in Burbank and Amstar in Denver. Studio 77 has five stories and is a mix of studios and one- and two-bedroom units. The complex also includes about 11,000 square feet of retail space and sits about four blocks from the public train station. SHERMAN OAKS Sherman Oaks real estate company IMT Capital has sold another apartment complex, its third since August. IMT sold IMT on the Boulevard at 6940 Sepulveda Blvd. in Van Nuys for $33 million, or $336,734 a unit, a record for the Van Nuys area, according to commercial real estate brokerage Berkadia, a joint venture between Berkshire Hathaway and Leucadia National Corp. The buyer was Kort & Scott Financial Group in Anaheim, according to CoStar. In October, IMT sold its Thousand Oaks complex for $67 million, and in August, IMT sold its Westlake Village community for $88.3 million. SYLMAR L.A. City Councilmember Mitchell Englander feels it’s time for the city to find a backup landfill for its solid waste, considering the continual complaints against the Sunshine Canyon Landfill in Sylmar. On Oct. 28, Englander, whose district includes Granada Hills which borders Sylmar, formally asked the City Council to start the hunt for an alternate landfill and to start developing a legal strategy to address the surrounding community’s related health issues. The landfill at 14747 San Fernando Road, owned and operated by Republic Services Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Browning-Ferris Industries of California Inc., has incurred several thousand complaints over the past seven years, Englander said. Shareholders of St. Jude Medical Inc. approved the $25 billion deal for pharmaceutical giant Abbott to acquire the medical device maker, which has a manufacturing plant in Sylmar. The decision is based on preliminary voting results, where approximately 99 percent of participating shareholders elected in favor of the acquisition, which is expected to close by the end of the year. SANTA CLARITA VALLEY VALENCIA Nearly 200,000 square feet of industrial space has just become available for lease in Valencia. NAI Capital Inc.’s Executive Managing Director Chris Jackson and Executive Vice President Todd Lorber in the Encino office are handling the leasing of 28545 Livingston Ave. W., a 173,000-square-foot industrial building off Witherspoon Parkway and in the Vista Business Park. The building is currently leased by Balboa Water Group, which told the state’s Employment Development Department in September that it plans to close its operations on or around Jan. 6 and relocate to Tijuana, Mexico. According to the notice, 245 people will be laid off, although they have been offered jobs at the new site. – Compiled by Stephanie Henkel

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