Stories for December 2001

Monday, December 31

LETTERS

Weekly Feature

OC INSIDER: Land Grant Provides Common Ground for Former Combatants

Some folks were surprised at all of the nice things Joan Irvine Smith had to say about Donald Bren for his recent decision to set aside 11,000 acres for permanent open space. They shouldn't have been.

Radiance Shuffles Board, Pushes on With U.S. Device Trial

The past couple of months have been busy for Radiance Medical Systems Inc., an Irvine-based medical device maker.

Toshiba Computer Unit Puts Notebook Account Up for Grabs

Irvine-based Toshiba America Information Systems Inc.'s computer notebook division is on the hunt for a new ad shop for its $20 million to $30 million creative and media work after cutting ties with Santa Ana-based DGWB.

John Wayne Sees Slower Holiday Travel

The busy holiday travel season has been a lot less busy at John Wayne Airport amid tighter security and a slowdown in air travel.

Election Year Politics: El Toro, Urban Runoff, Budget Cuts

In the past few years, a key issue facing governments across Orange County was how to spend money coming in from the surging economy. In 2002, they may have to ask themselves what they can live without.

THIS WEEK'S Headlines

Summary of news headlines.

GOVERNMENT: Person to Watch; Agency to Watch

In a political year likely to be dominated on the local level by issues (airports, transportation, no-growth debates), Lou Correa is one individual who is likely to raise his countywide profile. PLUS: The Orange County Transportation Authority could be

A Question of Severity

The county's economy has succumbed to a national slowdown. The question set to be answered in coming months is one of severity: is OC lagging the nation with more pain to come,as in the early 1990s,or will it skate by with growth, albeit slow, in 2002?

RETAIL: People to Watch; Company to Watch

Anaheim-based CKE Restaurants Inc. has turned a corner with Chairman William Foley and Chief Executive Andrew Puzder directing the course. PLUS: Ambiguous Industries is big among teens and the mid-20s set and could go wider next year.

TOURISM: Person to Watch; Venue to Watch

Last spring, all tourism eyes were turned toward Disneyland in the hopes that the new California Adventure amusement park would increase Orange County's visitor numbers, even with a softening economy. PLUS: When Newport Beach-based Capital Pacific Holdin

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Summary of other recent news

Defense a Bright Spot for Otherwise Down Manufacturing Sector

2002 is set to be a mixed bag for Orange County manufacturers, with defense contractors keeping busy and others awaiting an economic turnaround.

ARGUS

Humor by Argus

REAL ESTATE: Person to Watch; Company to Watch

Don Koll, one of Orange County's most prominent developers, no longer is with the original company that bears his name. But don't count him out of OC real estate. PLUS: Sam Zell's Chicago-based Equity Office Properties Trust made a big move in Orange Co

Predictions: PEERING THROUGH A MARTINI GLASS INTO 2002:

COMMENTARY

Look for More Banking Deals, Venture Money in Play

2002 brings a key question for Orange County: which local bank will get acquired?

PEOPLE:

Weekly Column - People in the News

Fragile Licensing Deals Vital for Struggling Interplay

In the summer, officials at Irvine video game maker Interplay Entertainment Corp. thought they were driving the company toward a sale. Now they're hoping they keep their license.

Tenants Set to Rule Commercial, Housing a Bright Spot

Most real estate industry players are starting out 2002 wondering whether the industry will improve in coming months.

Higher Healthcare Costs, New Devices, Drugs on Tap

Orange County's healthcare industry has had a busy past couple of years, and the pace of events might stay just as frenzied in 2002.

TECHNOLOGY: Person To Watch; Company to watch

In October, Paul Gigg took the reins as chief executive of Access360, one of OC's hottest startups. PLUS: Lake Forest-based VSK Photonics Inc. is full of intrigue.

Tower Still in the Plans

Weekly Real Estate Column

Drink Pump Maker Shurflo Expanding in Cypress

Shurflo Pump Manufacturing Co., a Santa Ana maker of beverage pumps and other equipment, plans to expand into 231,670 square feet of new office, production and distribution space in Cypress by March.

MANUFACTURING: Person to Watch; Company to Watch

Joel Moskowitz, chief executive of Costa Mesa industrial ceramics maker Ceradyne Inc., has had a frenetic year and 2002 promises more of the same. PLUS: Huntington Beach-based C & D; Aero-9space makes a product that stands to be in demand in 2002: fortified

TRADE: Slumping Economies Set To Slow OC Export Growth

Mexico has seen better times. By one account, Japan in 2000 managed to regain its title from Mexico as Orange County's top export market.

Retailers Face Tough Start, Could See Second-Half Revival

Orange County retailers face a tough first half in 2002. A shopping pickup isn't projected until at least mid-year. Still, local retail sales are projected to grow by 4.4% next year, down from 2001's 6.1% clip and 2000's 12% rate. Come the holiday

Stadium Gateway Adds Countrywide, Others in the Works

Anaheim's Stadium Gateway has landed an office of Calabasas-based Countrywide Home Loan Inc. and has more deals in the works, real estate sources say.

HEALTHCARE: Person to Watch; Company to Watch

Michael Mussallem has steered a generally smooth course since becoming chief executive of Edwards Lifesciences Corp. upon its 2000 spinoff from Baxter International Inc. PLUS: Irvine-based Cardiac Science Inc. may get a jolt in 2002 from selling machines

FINANCE: Person to Watch; Firm to Watch

After building Newport Beach-based Pacific Investment Management Co.'s U.S. operations, Bill Thompson has his sights on Europe and Asia,markets he believes are ripe for growth. PLUS: Versant Ventures heads into 2002 flush with $400 million in recently rai

Wireless Could Drive Awaited Tech Turnaround

Orange County technology companies stand to see changing fortunes in 2002 with corporate executives and economists projecting economic recovery.

Western Digital Offshoot Aristos Raises $15.5M

Aristos Logic Corp., a Foothill Ranch-based chip designer that came out of Western Digital Corp. in 2000, has raised $15.5 million to see it through next year and launch its first product by June.

Closing the Books: InSight Joins Others in Going Private

The promise of a big cash infusion and the creation of a currency for expansion and acquisitions are the siren songs of going public. But for some companies, the case for going private can prove just as compelling.

Hotel Boom Could Give Way to Financial Workouts in 2002

Orange County's tourism industry starts 2002 on its head. Starting in the summer, rosy projections for 2001 gave way to a softening economy.

Cisco Offers Some Holiday Cheer for Local Networking Players

Networking kingpin Cisco Systems Inc. has been singing a yuletide song that's music to the ears of Orange County communications chip and gear makers. It begins with the word "stabilized."

Local Bakeries Offer Desserts for the Holidays and Beyond

If you are hosting a special event at home, or are invited to someone else's home and want to bring along dessert, here are two of my suggestions for this particularly heavy party season and beyond.

Monday, December 17

Real Estate Deals

Weekly Column

PEOPLE:

People in business news.

CLIP AND MORTAR; Dot-Com Tries New Online Coupon Angle

Kurt Lohse has a new take on the online coupon business,a slippery segment that's already claimed a lot of lives.

OC INSIDER: UCI Searching for New Rainmaker; Oral Roberts Sighted

After four years as UCI's chief rainmaker, Tom Moebus has set up a consulting business out of his Laguna Beach home.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Summary of past week's top news stories.

Orange County's Share of State's Exports Slipped in 2000

It's official. Orange County exported $10.9 billion worth of goods in 2000, a 17% jump from 1999. That's according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, which issued the 2000 export figures last week and lags by about a year in tracking local shipments.

Venture Firm Raises $400M for Healthcare Fund

Who says raising money for a venture fund is hard? Ask Barbara Lubash and Donald Milder, partners at the Newport Beach office of Versant Ventures. After three months, their firm raised $400 million to invest in healthcare companies.

TECHNOLOGY: ThinkTank Hires Former Microsoft Executive

Just after Scott Blum got shareholder approval to buy Internet retailer buy.com Inc., his other company, Aliso Viejo-based ThinkTank Holdings LLC, got a boost to its ranks.

Irvine Company Adjusts to Changed Real Estate Market

The Irvine Company is shifting strategy in a bid to weather the sluggish economy and rising vacancies.

2001 - HOW THEY FARED

The Business Journal Looks Back at Its 2001 Picks to Watch

TENDING THE GROVE; Sun Theatre Changes Name, Courts Businesses, Parties

The Sun Theatre in Anaheim has undergone another rebirth. Owner SMG, a joint venture of Hyatt Corp. and Aramark Corp., has changed the venue's name to The Grove of Anaheim and says it is looking to land more corporate meetings and private parties.

YEAR IN REVIEW: 2001; A Year to Remember, Though Many Would Like to Forget

A look back at the Business Journal's people and companies to watch for 2001

LETTERS:

Readers comments

Going Offline: RedChip Buys DigitalOffering For Broker License, Not Internet Stock Sales

Newport Beach-based DigitalOffering Inc., which formed in early 2000 to conduct online stock offerings, has been sold, for undisclosed terms, to Spokane, Wash.-based RedChip Cos.

British Engineer Pulls Off Buyout of Racal Instruments

The deal of Gordon Taylor's career came down to a napkin,a Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel bar napkin to be precise.

Endevco's Power Woes: First SDG & E;, Now Enron

Enron Corp.'s woes are fueling uncertainty at San Juan Capistrano-based Endevco Corp., a maker of vibration measurement gear that has gotten low-cost electricity from the collapsed Houston company for most of this year.

FileNET Plans One-Week Shutdown

A slower-than-expected fourth quarter is prompting Costa Mesa-based business software maker FileNET Corp. to send employees off on vacation.

MARKETING and MEDIA: Johnson/Ukropina Gets on the Bus With Quirky OCTA Ads

The Orange County Transportation Authority is taking a new route to try and lure more riders. OCTA's latest ad campaign uses a little bit more attitude and fun to reach broader segments of bus riders.

EXECUTIVE DINING: $500 Hunt on for Cannery's Landmark Plaque

As most people know, veteran restaurateur Ron Salisbury (El Cholo restaurants), partner Steve Herbert and property owner Jack Croul are working toward a re-opening of Newport's historic Cannery restaurant about the end of January.

Edwards Lifesciences Makes Move Into Stent Market

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. said last week that it plans to launch more products to treat vascular diseases as part of a bid to expand beyond its core heart-valve business.

COMMENT: by Rick Reiff

Getting Educated. IF IT ISN'T BAD ENOUGH THAT THE IMPLOSION OF ENRON IS AN EMBARRASSMENT TO the cause of capitalism, the company has added insult to injury with corporate doublespeak:

Surf's Up For Anaheim

Orange County basketball fans who don't want a wallet hit the size of Shaquille O'Neal's sneakers are getting a lower-cost option from a group of area businessmen.

Microsemi Gets Nod From Fund Manager

Irvine chipmaker Microsemi Corp. got some positive comments last week from officials at Minneapolis-based Sit Investment Associates Inc., manager of Sit Mutual Funds.

HEALTHCARE: Employers Face Rising Healthcare Premiums Again in 2002

With the New Year approaching, employee benefits consultants are busy issuing previews and reviews of how healthcare costs behaved in 2001.

ARGUS:

Humor and Commentary

Monday, December 10

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Top Stories of this past week.

LETTERS:

The Economy, Cont'd

Baxter Alums Head, Fund Cardiac Device Startup

Since spinning off Irvine-based Edwards Lifesciences Corp. two years ago, Baxter International Inc. no longer is a big part of Orange County's medical device industry.

OC Builders Tapped for Del Mar Hotels

Two Orange County construction companies will have lead roles in a hotel project in Del Mar next year.

OC Chipmakers Hope Cisco's Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

Technology business is in the chips, pal.

Enfrastructure Lands New Tenant, and It's Not a Law Firm Mindset Reports October Profits; EMachines Goes Direct, Among Other Changes

It may look like just another tenant, but this one is a bona fide dot-com. Aliso Viejo-based Enfrastructure Inc., a business technology and office provider, recently rolled out the red carpet for WomansWallStreet.com, a financial services site for women t

Eaton Runs Aerospace Empire From Irvine

Before Sept. 11, attorney Dan Alexander said he didn't think twice about Eaton Aerospace, which is located three floors below his Irvine-based firm, Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald LLP. But since then, he said he's more conscious of his neighbor.

Suite Company Bankrupt; Others Vie For Its Space

Executive suites operator American Office Centers LLC filed for bankruptcy in September and is planning a reorganization that would allow it to keep its Orange County locations. But real estate brokers said they already are fielding inquiries from other s

E-JACK BE NIMBLE: E-Commerce Companies Turn to Corporate America, Credit Cards

The big dreams of the e-commerce era may be dead in the water, but the companies that once gave life to them haven't drowned yet.

Industrial Market Still Among the Tightest

Like the rest of our nation, the North Orange County Industrial submarket has felt the effects of a depressed business environment made worse by the tragic events of Sept. 11. Business owners and tenants are taking a very conservative approach to real est

The Best of ARGUS

HUMOR

BEYOND THE BUBBLE; With Glitz Gone, Web Designers Turn to Basics

Web design hasn't gone away. But the sector has seen its share of casualties. "There have been a lot of Web companies that have gone out of business because they couldn't take the drastic shift from the dot-com era to the dot-bomb era," ...

OC INSIDER: Chapman Pals Get George to Spain; Riordan's Rosy Ride

Was Loretta Sanchez's appointment last week to the Chapman U board of trustees a "thank you" for her help in getting Chapman benefactor George Argyros confirmed as ambassador to Spain?

Parks: Split Was "Right"; Weighs Next Move Over Crosswords, Dog Walks

For Sue Parks, the decision to leave Gateway Inc. was an all-or-nothing deal.

VIEWPOINT: Feathers and Other Warnings

All is well on the World Trek, Part Whatever. So far we've swapped the beaches and bikinis of Rio for the streets of Buenos Aires. You think I would have learned something by now.

Standard Pacific's November Orders Mixed: Southern California Strong, North Sees Drop

Irvine-based homebuilder Standard Pacific Corp. reported a strong increase in November new home orders in Southern California and a sharp decline in the north part of the state.

Afghanistan's Impact on "Guns and Underwear"

The war in Afghanistan could drive demand for military consumables,known in the business as "guns and underwear." Consumables are the nuts and bolts needed during a war to outfit soldiers and maintain equipment.

Gigante Plans Five New Southland Stores

At a time when many other retailers are pulling in their horns, Grupo Gigante SA de CV is making plans to open five new supermarkets in the Southland next year.

Boeing Backs Safety Gear From Local Companies

Two Orange County aerospace companies have been tapped by Boeing Co. to help bolster security on commercial jets.

In This Week's Breakaway Ad Agency News: Surf City The Latest on Hyundai's Media Review; NeoBrands Tapped by Aston Group

It's the newest craze. And it's not Microsoft Corp.'s new Xbox or Ginger, the mysterious "it" scooter.

Big Projects Bolster OC Defense Contractors

After years of retrenchment, Orange County defense contractors are seeing an upswing in business. And Afghanistan has little to do with it.

Qureshey Named in NextCard Suits

Safi Qureshey has seen his investment in San Francisco-based NextCard Inc. go from bad to worse.

After Setbacks, Straders Vow to Push Projects

Tim Strader Sr. and Jr. have taken hits of late, but the father-son developers say they aren't giving up on plans for two big projects: Koll Center Newport and Campus Centre in Irvine.

PEOPLE

People in the News

Allergan's Botox Goes Over Big in South Korea, Too

Botox, the flagship product of Irvine-based Allergan Inc., isn't just big in Newport Beach and other affluent areas of the U.S. It's also gaining fans overseas. Global news service Reuters recently reported that a growing number of South Koreans are shell

EXECUTIVE DINING: Holiday Gifts From the World of Food and Wine

I promised you a list of things that would make ideal gifts this season, what to give this year that will be both useful and appreciated.

Wet Seal Rising: Ambitious Expansion Planned

Bucking the toughest retail market in a decade, apparel retailer Wet Seal Inc. said it plans to open 90 to 100 stores across its three divisions next year, as well as revamp some older stores and weed out unprofitable ones.

Drug Hopeful Eyes Nearsightedness

Startup Irvine drug developer Valley Forge Pharmaceuticals Inc. is working on a medication that could end a source of anxiety for many school-age children and teenagers: wearing glasses for nearsightedness.

Viking Eyeing Move Back to Aliso Viejo

Viking Components Inc. could move from its trendy Rancho Santa Margarita headquarters to a smaller facility in Aliso Viejo early next year, a company spokesman said.

Real Estate Deals

Real Estate Deals

Monday, December 3

Family Foundation ORCO Block Has Built Itself by Building Walls

Rick Muth has heard the one about being a chip off the old block so many times that by now he keeps a poker face when he hears it.

Early 2001 Job Gains Drive Employers

Disney stole the show again this year,and not just with its flashy fireworks and a new theme park. Burbank-based Walt Disney Co. widened its lead as Orange County's largest employer in the past year with a 39% jump,an added 6,000 people,to 21,275 local wo

Miramar Lures Big Names to New Venture Fund

They had timing and market forces working against them. But after six months of road shows, Bruce Hallett and his team hit an initial money-raising target and put their nascent venture fund into place.

3DSP Settles for $10M in Latest Round

Irvine chip designer 3DSP Inc. recently closed on $10 million in funding,far less than the $30 million the company had hoped to close in the fourth quarter.

SEEKING FUTURE SHOCK UCI Plans Building to Study New Technology

The University of California, Irvine, plans to break ground in the spring on a $54 million, 120,000-square-foot building set to house researchers and students looking into wireless communications and other advanced technology.

Making Connections: Spouse-Owned Affinity Counts Big Customers

More than a few of Orange County's smaller biomedical companies were born of consolidation among the industry's big names. Irvine-based Affinity Medical Technologies LLC is one of them.

Ports' Cargo Flow Slows After October Spike

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach had record-breaking cargo movement in October, the result of early holiday optimism by retailers before the Sept. 11 attacks. But movement in November slowed and a further decline is expected through early 2002.

An Ad for Family Business Brices Have Grown Their shop for 17 Years

He was a TV anchor for NBC. She was a television host for a weekly magazine program on ABC. Hal and Joni Brice, founders of Heil-Brice Retail Advertising in Newport Beach, were competitors of sorts in the early days of their careers. But not for long.

Buy.com Shifts Marketing Focus for Holidays

Online retailer buy.com Inc., which made a big splash in 1998 with a high-profile Super Bowl commercial, has punted TV advertising this holiday season in favor of a venerable low-tech approach: catalogs and newspaper inserts.

Toll Road Operator Finds Light at End of Tunnel California Private Transportation Says 91 Express Lanes Now Profitable

With new financing at lower interest rates and higher toll charges, California Private Transportation Co. says that its 91 Express Lanes toll road has become profitable several years ahead of its initial plan.

Keith Wins Public Works Contract

The Keith Cos., a Costa Mesa engineering firm, has won a handful of public works contracts in the Western U.S.

UCI Gets $3M to Study Energy Issues

The University of California, Irvine's advanced power and energy program last month received a $3 million grant from the California Energy Commission to research the commercial potential of alternative fuels and distributed power generation.

GETTING THE BUGS OUT

He's probably the most recognizable member of the family. Van Halen put him on concert T-shirts. 20th Century Fox used him in a scene from the film "Die Hard." And you can't miss him on billboards as you drive along Orange County freeways.

Hyundai Reportedly Putting Ad Account Up for Review

Orange County's advertising industry was buzzing last week on news that Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America Inc. reportedly put its $150 million U.S. media account up for review.

Kraft Shifting Some Production to Fullerton

Kraft Foods Inc.'s Oscar Mayer unit is moving some production from a Madison, Wis., plant to its Fullerton facility. The move could result in as many as 110 layoffs in Madison, according to the company.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Top Stories of the week, in brief.

WirelessCar Planning HQ Move to Irvine

WirelessCar Corp., a venture of LM Ericsson Telephone Co. and Volvo AB, plans to relocate its global headquarters from Sweden to Irvine.

PEOPLE:

Weekly Column.

The Physicist Turned Venture Capitalist

Heiner Sussner left a big fish,H & Q; Asia Pacific, a private equity fund with $1.8 billion under management,to join upstart Miramar Venture Partners.

Chapman Moving Forecast Venue, Offering State Projections

When it comes to economic forecasting conferences, few universities go as all-out as Orange-based Chapman University. This time around, Chapman has changes in store for its 2002 forecast.

OC INSIDER: Mac's Man: Bev Hills Architect Now Stars in OC, Too

Aleck Dugally has discovered Orange County. The Bel Air architect, who has built or redone spectacular homes in Beverly Hills for Sly Stallone, Denzel Washington, Martin Lawrence and other Hollywood VIPs, is now doing his first mansions in OC. Dugally-Obe

Super Telescope Could Get Lift From Large Caltech Donation

Peering through the 10-meter Keck telescopes on Hawaii's Mauna Kea is like looking through a time machine: Astronomers can see faint and distant galaxies as they were a billion and a half years after the Big Bang.

Preston Gates Plans Expansion of OC Office

The Irvine office of Seattle-based Preston Gates Ellis plans to nearly triple its Orange County attorney roster from nine to 25 in the next year or so.

FDA Boosts Nexell With "Orphan Drug" Designation

Shares of Nexell Therapeutics Inc., an Irvine-based drug developer, got a boost late last week after the Food and Drug Administration granted "orphan drug" status to one of the company's experimental compounds.

Adding Polish to the Family Business: Meguiar's Didn't Start With Cars, but Now Is Tied to Them

At a recent family gathering, Barry Meguiar's 3-year old grandson Jordan was given a toy car to entertain himself during dinner. But instead of playing with it, the boy unfolded his napkin and began to wipe the toy down with great care, burnishing the car