Stories for August 2005

Wednesday, August 31

Sunstone Set to Sell $194M in Stock

San Clemente-based Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. said Wednesday it plans to sell about $194 million worth of stock to help fund its buy of the Century Plaza Hotel & Spa in Century City.

Birtcher Closes Deal For Showrooms

Birtcher Development & Investment Co. has acquired the former Costa Mesa regional headquarters of State Farm Insurance Cos. for $29 million, the developer said Tuesday.

Fluor Up on Hurricane Speculation

Shares of Aliso Viejo-based Fluor Corp. rose nearly 6% Wednesday on speculation that it might gain possible engineering and construction work to rebuild parts of the Gulf Coast shoreline in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

QLogic Volleyball: Citigroup Upgrades

Citigroup called shares of Aliso Viejo-based QLogic Corp. a "buy," saying Tuesday's 6% drop in the stock was "backward-looking."

Experian Buying Software Company

Costa Mesa-based Experian Information Solutions Inc., best known for its credit reporting business, said Wednesday it has purchased Carmel, Ind.-based Baker Hill Corp., a software company.

Q2 Growth Revised Down

Economic growth was weaker in the second quarter than thought as consumers spent less and businesses built inventories, the government said Wednesday.

Boeing, Machinists Brace for Strike

Boeing Co. and the workers who assemble its planes are bracing for a strike as the machinists' union told members to reject the company's latest contract offer on Wednesday.

Shareholders OK Cardiac, Quinton Deal

Shareholders on Wednesday approved the combination of Irvine-based Cardiac Science Inc. and Bothell, Wash.-based Quinton Cardiology Systems Inc.

Bush to tap Petroleum Reserve

The White House has approved releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to offset production cuts caused by Hurricane Katrina, Secretary of Energy Sam Bodman said on Wednesday.

MasterCard Plans Going Public in 2006

MasterCard Inc., the world's No. 2 credit card association, said on Wednesday that it plans to go public early next year, ending four decades as a private association owned by card-issuing banks.

Flash Memory Chip Demand to Explode

Demand for flash memory chips, used in music players and digital cameras, will accelerate later this year, but prices will stay weak as industry leader Samsung holds prices down.

PacSun, Quiksilver Up on Wachovia Note

Shares of teen clothing chains Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. and Quiksilver Inc. jumped Wednesday, lifted by positive comments from Wachovia Securities forecasting strong sales for both retailers, driven by the trendiness of their skateboard and surf

Tuesday, August 30

Commodities Sky High After Katrina

Prices for energy, cotton copper and grains surged on Tuesday, as skies began clearing on stunning losses to homeowners, business and commodity production a day after Hurricane Katrina devastated coastal areas of three Gulf states.

Fed in August Saw Inflation Risks

Most policy-makers at the U.S. Federal Reserve in August worried that inflation risks had "ticked up" recently, with some fretting that price increases were already at the upper end of their comfort zone.

QLogic Hit on Unit Sale

Shares of Aliso Viejo-based QLogic Corp. fell 6% on Tuesday after a couple of downgrades from Wall Street analysts.

Stage Set for Second Vioxx Trial

Pretrial motions continued on Tuesday for the upcoming second product-liability trial involving Merck & Co.'s withdrawn arthritis drug, Vioxx, this time in a New Jersey state court.

Survey: Consumer Confidence Up

The mood of consumers brightened unexpectedly in August as an improving job market outweighed rising gasoline prices, a survey showed on Tuesday.

Katrina Among Costliest Storms

Hurricane Katrina could prove for insurers to be one of the costliest storms in U.S. history, though its late shift away from New Orleans may have kept losses from being even higher.

Comarco Nabs Call Box Pact

Irvine-based Comarco Inc. landed contracts worth $4.3 million to upgrade road-side call boxes in Southern California, the company said Tuesday.

Factory Orders Off 1.9% in July

New orders at factories fell 1.9% in July, the largest drop since April 2004 but not as sharp as expected, as demand for a wide array of long-lasting manufactured goods plunged, the government said on Tuesday.

Bella Terra Mall Selling for $224M

GMAC Institutional Advisors and a partner are paying $224 million for the Bella Terra Shopping Center in Huntington Beach, which is undergoing a major facelift.

Monday, August 29

Gateway's Uphill Battle: Prices Falling on Portable PCs

Gateway faces a tough battle as prices fall on laptop computers, in the Technology column

Shea Properties Planning Condos at Aliso Viejo's Vantis

Shea Properties is planning to build condominiums at its Vantis project in Aliso Viejo, in the Real Estate column

Wet Seal Narrows Loss

Foothill Ranch-based retailer Wet Seal Inc. took another step in its turnaround Monday by reporting a smaller second-quarter operating loss and higher sales.

High Gas Prices Filter Down

The hot topic at a meeting of yard managers and owners of Anaheim's Ganahl Lumber Co. last week: gas. The company isn't alone as oil flirts with $70 a barrel. High oil prices are working their way through everyday life at businesses across the county.

NDCHealth Being Acquired by Per-Se

Healthcare software developer NDCHealth Corp. said on Monday it would be acquired by rival Per-Se Technologies, with a portion of the business spun off to Dutch publisher Wolters Kluwer in a combined transaction of about $1 billion.

Electronics Maker Elpac Sold

Irvine-based Elpac Electronics Inc., a maker of power supplies and other electronics, has been acquired, the company said on Monday.

Shoes to Rule at ASR Show in San Diego Next Month

Shoes are expected to be the star at next month's Action Sports Retailer show, in the Media & Marketing column

Chancellor Making Rounds, Thinking Law School

UC Irvine's new chancellor is settling in

QLogic Selling Slumping Business

Aliso Viejo-based QLogic Corp. agreed to sell its struggling disk drive controller business for $225 million to Sunnyvale-based Marvell Technology Group Ltd., the company said Monday.

Retooled Rip Curl's Here, Eyeing Growth

Rip Curl USA has made the move to Costa Mesa from Carlsbad

Shareholder Mounts Fight at Quality

It seems hard to believe any Quality Systems Inc. investor would have much to gripe about, given that shares of the Irvine healthcare software company have doubled in the past year.

Bush May Release Stockpile Oil

The White House said Monday it was willing to use the government's emergency oil stockpile to help refiners hurt by Hurricane Katrina's rampage through the Gulf of Mexico, but that it was too early to decide if or how much crude should be released.

Stradling, Yocca Backing UCI's Yearly Business Plan Contest

The yearly business plan competition at the University of California, Irvine, now has a name sponsor.

Donahue Schriber CEO Stepping Down

Thomas Schriber, cofounder of Costa Mesa-based Donahue Schriber Realty Corp., is stepping down as chief executive at the end of the year, the company said Monday.

PEOPLE

Orange County Businesspeople in the news, on the move. Plus: Toyota Material Names Two Executives

Mouthful of Money

Unmasking a shiny smile, a Viewpoint by Dr. Michael Arnold Glueck.

Housing Projects Transform the Industrial Landscape

Housing Projects Transform the Industrial Landscape

LETTERS

Travelers are looking for alternative airports to avoid traffic and security issues

French 75 Brasserie: American Sensibility Meets France

At French 75 Brasserie, American sensibility meets French cuisine, in the Executive Dining column

Big Lease for Growing Cashcall

Growing Cashcall has struck a big lease in Irvine

MARKET WATCH

Week's Best, Worst Performers; Roth OC50, Billion Dollar Club, OC Tech; Index Watch, 52-week Performance

Juane & #324;o Indians Eye Federal Land for Possible Development

San Juan Capistrano's Juane & #324;o Band of Mission Indians is taking steps that could lead to gaining federal land to develop

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Employee Discounts Boost Dealers Before Fizzling Out

The interest in auto dealers' employee discounts is tapering off, in the Marketplace column

Allergan's Q2 Results Bolster Analyst's View on Stock

Allergan's second-quarter results kept a Morgan Stanley analyst bullish, in the Healthcare column

Katrina May Cost Insurers $26 Billion

Hurricane Katrina may be the most expensive hurricane ever to hit the United States, costing insurers up to $26 billion, storm modelers said on Monday.

CommerceWest Closes $4.8M Funding

CommerceWest Bank said Monday it closed a stock sale and plans to use the proceeds to fund growth.

KPMG to Pay $456M in Tax Case

Accounting firm KPMG on Monday agreed to pay $456 million to settle accusations it sold fraudulent tax shelters, as it sealed a deal with the government to avoid a criminal indictment that might have crippled the firm.

Intelsat Buying PanAmSat for $3.2B

Communications satellite operator Intelsat Ltd. has agreed to buy rival PanAmSat Holding Corp. for $3.2 billion, creating the largest commercial satellite fleet, the companies said on Monday.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Summaries of other business news and top stories by industry; Economic Indicators

Oil Leaps Above $70 on Katrina

Oil prices surged to a record above $70 a barrel on Monday as one of the biggest hurricanes in U.S. history disrupted oil and gas production in Gulf of Mexico.

Dissident Mounts Proxy Fight at Software Maker

A dissident shareholder has mounted a fight at healthcare software maker Quality Systems

Lumber, Plastic, Asian Pears: Added Oil Costs Filter Down

Higher oil prices are filtering down to local businesses,

Heart Valve Startup Raises $20M for Device Trial

Heart valve maker Arbor Surgical nabbed $20 million in venture funding

Employment Firms Post Revenue Gain on Economy Pickup

Employment agencies posted revenue growth in the past year

REAL ESTATE DEALS

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

Friday, August 26

Merck May Settle Some Suits

Merck & Co. said it may consider settling some of the nearly 5,000 pending Vioxx-related lawsuits, according to media reports early Friday.

Consumer Optimism Dips

U.S. consumer optimism fell more than expected in August from July due to record gasoline prices at the height of the summer driving season, a report said on Friday.

Greenspan Warns on Home Prices

In his sharpest words to date about rising home prices, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan described the housing boom as an economic imbalance that could end badly.

Ventura Wraps Up Dean Unit Buy

Brea-based Ventura Foods LLC said Friday that it wrapped up its $198 million buy of two businesses from Dallas-based Dean Foods Co.

Thursday, August 25

GM Extends Employee Discounts

General Motors Corp. on Thursday said it was extending through Sept. 30 the discount program under which it is selling anybody a new car or truck at the same low price a GM employee would pay.

Attorney General Sues Drug Makers

Two drug companies with Orange County operations were among 39 sued Thursday by state Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

Sunstone Buying Century Plaza Hotel

San Clemente-based Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. said it plans to buy the landmark Century Plaza Hotel & Spa in Century City for $293 million.

New CEO for Western Digital

Western Digital Corp. Chief Executive Matt Massengill is stepping aside to make way for his longtime right-hand man.

PacifiCare Deal Examined

PacifiCare Health Systems Inc. and UnitedHealth Group Inc. made their case for UnitedHealth's proposed $8.1 billion buy of Cypress-based PacifiCare during a public hearing Thursday at Santa Ana City Hall.

EU Oks J & J;'s Guidant Buy

Healthcare company Johnson & Johnson conditionally won European Commission approval on Thursday to buy rival medical device maker Guidant Corp. for $25.4 billion in cash and stock.

Acacia Shares Up on Sony Pact

Shares of Newport Beach-based Acacia Research Corp. rose 5% Thursday after the company said it inked licensing deals with Sony Corp.

Lennar Ups Triangle Plans

Lennar Corp. officially has upped its Platinum Triangle housing plans to 3,800 condominiums and apartments, according to the city.

Six Flags to Pursue Possible Sale

Six Flags Inc. on Thursday said it put itself up for sale and invited Washington Redskins owner and dissident investor Daniel Snyder to join the bidding, but opposed Snyder's attempts to take control of the company outside this process.

Maguire Portfolio Finds Heavy Bidding

Maguire Properties Inc. has two Australian real estate investment trusts bidding heavily on a $1.1 billion portfolio it is selling.

Starwood to Acquire Le Meridien

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Inc. said on Thursday it and investment bank Lehman Brothers had finalized a deal to buy the Le Meridien chain of high end hotels.

Wednesday, August 24

Auto Financier Shifting Jobs to Texas

Huntington Beach-based Triad Financial Corp. plans to move much of its West Coast call center to a Dallas-area suburb.

Durable Goods Orders Dip 4.9% in July

New orders for durable goods tumbled by a larger-than-expected 4.9% in July, the biggest drop since January 2004, as demand for most manufactured items fell, a government report showed on Wednesday.

Bankruptcies Up as Law Takes Effect

Bankruptcy filings in U.S. federal courts jumped 16% in the quarter ended June 30 from the previous period as individuals rushed to file before a tougher law takes effect, a report from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Court showed on Wednesday.

Ceradyne Gets $5.6M in Pentagon Orders

Costa Mesa-based Ceradyne, Inc. said it got two Pentagon orders totaling $5.6 million for its lightweight ceramic armor systems.

Hyundai Motor Faces Strikes

Union workers at South Korea's top automaker Hyundai Motor Co. will hold brief strikes this week, although analysts said inventory levels should provide a buffer for exports that make up 70% of the company's sales.

Toll Bros. Profit Doubles, Stock Slips

Toll Brothers Inc. on Thursday said quarterly profit more than doubled as improved pricing offset higher costs and the luxury home builder raised its 2005 earnings outlook on hopes a rebounding economy would lift housing demand.

Bed Liner Maker Line-X Sold

Santa Ana-based Line-X, a maker of spray-on truck bed liners, has been acquired for undisclosed terms by private equity firm Graham Partners of suburban Philadelphia.

DDi Slumps on Offering Plan

Shares of Anaheim-based DDi Corp. slumped nearly 30% on Wednesday, a day after the contract circuit board maker said it was offering up to 100 million shares to stockholders.

Tuesday, August 23

Gateway Looking for Factory Site

Irvine-based Gateway Inc. said Tuesday that it plans to open a plant at a U.S. site that it hasn't picked yet.

Corinthian Restating Years of Sales

Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges Inc. said Tuesday it will restate revenue for the year ended June 2001 through the quarter ended March 31.

July Home Sales Drop, Supply Up

Sales of existing U.S. homes dropped 2.6% in July as the pace of both condominium and single-family home purchases slowed across nearly the entire country, a trade group said on Tuesday.

OC Home Price Rises in July

The median price of a house in Orange County was $706,820 in July, up 9% from a year earlier, the California Association of Realtors said Tuesday.

Oil Edges Up Near $66 a Barrel

Oil prices inched up toward $66 on Tuesday as fears over persistent global supply disruptions countered recovering output from Ecuador and an expected slight increase in U.S. crude stocks.

Fluor Settles Venezuela Dispute

Aliso Viejo-based Fluor Corp. said Tuesday it settled all outstanding disputes with an owners' group on the Hamaca oil project in Venezuela.

Global Unions to Target Wal-Mart

Labor leaders plan to coordinate work stoppages at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. outside the United States, starting with a campaign to organize workers at its South Korean stores, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

SEC Charges Former Kmart Execs

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday charged two former top Kmart executives with misleading investors about the company's financial condition in the months preceding its bankruptcy.

Hospira to Shut Irish Plant, Lay Off 550

Medical products maker Hospira Inc. said Tuesday it will close a manufacturing plant in Donegal, Ireland, and cut about 550 jobs there in the next 18 months.

Westcorp in Sale Talks

Irvine-based Westcorp said Tuesday it's in talks about a possible "business combination" as its own plan to restructure the finance company is stalled at the hands of regulators.

Allergan Names New CFO

Irvine drug maker Allergan Inc. on Tuesday promoted Jeffrey L. Edwards as its new chief financial officer after his predecessor said he is leaving to join a San Diego company.

Monday, August 22

Northwest Shares Up in Strike's 3rd Day

With a strike by thousands of mechanics in its third day, Northwest Airlines Corp. on Monday faced its biggest test yet to keep operating, but its stock rallied as investors bet the carrier would prevail.

REAL ESTATE DEALS

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Summaries of other business news and top stories by industry; Economic Indicators

NetGuru Sells Unit, Could Go Private

Yorba Linda-based netGuru Inc. plans to sell its Research Engineers International business,nearly 70% of its annual sales,for $23.5 million.

Boeing Wins $50M Drone Contract

Boeing's new Irvine unit won a $50 million pact to develop its Hummingbird drone

Folino, Doti Bed Down in Print Ads for Local Mattress Maker

Emulex Corp.'s Paul Folino and Chapman University's Jim Doti are pitching mattresses

Broadcom, Linksys Feel Fallout From Cisco's Outlook

Cisco's sales warning makes an impact on Broadcom, in the Technology column

Heart Valve Maker Raises $20M

Arbor Surgical Technologies Inc., an Irvine-based heart valve maker, said Monday that it closed a $20 million second round of venture financing.

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

MARKET WATCH

Week's Best, Worst Performers; Roth OC50, Billion Dollar Club, OC Tech; Index Watch, 52-week Performance

Blizzard's Irvine HQ is Virtual Hub for Online Fantasy Game

Blizzard runs a global online game from Irvine

Travel Agencies Post Pickup in Revenue as Economy Rebounds

Travel Agencies Post Pickup in Revenue as Economy Rebounds

Real Estate Watch: Low-Rise Office Space

The low-rise office sector saw lease rates rise in the second quarter as vacancy fell. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Pharma Investors Wary After Vioxx

Investors turned wary on pharmaceutical stocks on Monday after a $253 million award against Merck & Co. over its withdrawn painkiller Vioxx.

Disneyland Helped Cultivate Anaheim Convention Activity

Disneyland Helped Cultivate Anaheim Convention Activity

You Can Feel Good About Dining at Mr. Stox This Week

There are lots of reasons to talk about Mr. Stox in Anaheim, in the Executive Dining column

MTI Raising $20M

Tustin-based MTI Technology Corp. said Monday it would raise $20 million in financing through a private placement led by Boston-based investment firm Advent International Corp.

Raytheon Swelling Ranks at Fullerton Site

Raytheon's ranks have swelled at its Fullerton radar systems and air traffic control operations

PEOPLE

Orange County Businesspeople in the news, on the move

Game On: Ducks Looking to Net Sponsors, Fans

The Mighty Ducks have their work cut out in bringing back sponsors and fans

LETTERS

Sen. Joe Dunn says Sen. John Campbell was off base in his criticism; Plus: CAFTA; Energy Loans

OSI Pharma to Buy Eyetech for $935M

OSI Pharmaceuticals said it agreed to buy eye disease treatment maker Eyetech Pharmaceuticals Inc. for around $935 million in cash and stock.

UnitedHealth to Keep PacifiCare's 'Delegated Model'

UnitedHealth plans to maintain PacifiCare's "delegated" model, in the Healthcare column

Whirlpool in Pact to Buy Maytag

Whirlpool Corp. and Maytag Corp. on Monday said they have signed a definitive agreement under which Maytag will be acquired by its larger rival for $1.7 billion in cash and stock, a deal that would create the world's largest appliance maker.

Tourism PowWow Coming to Anaheim in 2007

Tourism PowWow Coming to Anaheim in 2007

AMO Kicks Off 'The O.C.' Campaign

It's all about "The O.C." for Advanced Medical Optics Inc.'s latest marketing campaign.

Convention Center Helped Turn San Diego Into a Destination

Convention Center Helped Turn San Diego Into a Destination

Opus West Going Condo on Planned Irvine Apartments

Opus West is going condo on its planned Irvine apartment development, in the Real Estate column

Oil Holds Above $65 on Supply Jitters

Oil held above $65 a barrel on Monday after fears of potential supply disruptions in the volatile Middle East drove prices higher late last week.

China, India to Bid for PetroKazakhstan

China and India on Monday began the next major battle over Asian energy assets, as Chinese state oil firm CNPC launched a $4.18 billion bid for PetroKazakhstan and Indian state-run company ONGC immediately said it was preparing a counter-bid.

Car Star: Automaker Plays Up 1970 Mercedes From OC

A 1970 Mercedes from Orange County has become an icon for the automaker, in the Marketplace column

Meetings Industry Looks for Rebound in Slow Fall Season

Meetings Industry Looks for Rebound in Slow Fall Season

Changes in Business, City Redevelopment Prompt APW's Move

A manufacturer is shuttering one of its Anaheim plants where housing is planned

SURVEY SAYS

SARBANES-OXLEY IMPACT

Golf Clubs Boost Meetings Business to Make Up for Slow Rounds

Golf Clubs Boost Meetings Business to Make Up for Slow Rounds

Developer Bringing Large Retailers to Tustin Base Center

The developer of a mall at the former Tustin Marine base is luring big retailers,not just entertainment,as key anchors

Real Mex Plans El Torito Expansion, Chevys Makeover

Real-Mex Restaurants unveiled some expansion plans after moving to OC, in the Media & Marketing column

Nicholas Cage, The Donald Stir Up Coast; PBS Rivals

Nicholas Cage, The Donald Stir Up Coast; PBS Rivals

Westcorp Mulls Options as Makeover Bid Stalls

Blizzard runs a global online game from Irvine

Friday, August 19

Morgan Changes Institutional Business

Morgan Stanley unveiled a reorganization of its main institutional business late Thursday, the investment bank's latest step in a plan to revive profitability.

County Posts Seasonal Job Loss

Orange County lost workers for the first time in six months, according to a report from the state Employment Development Department on Friday.

Jury: Merck at Fault in Man's Death

A jury in the first civil trial against Merck & Co.'s popular painkiller Vioxx on Friday found the pharmaceutical company liable for the 2001 death of a Texas man, awarding his widow a total of more than $250 million.

T. Boone Pickens Company in Legal Fight

A public bus agency in eastern Riverside County is seeking "millions of dollars" in damages from Seal Beach-based Clean Energy, an alternative fuels provider founded eight years ago by Texas oil magnate T. Boone Pickens.

Boeing, Airbus Orders Soared in Q2

Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS, the world's two largest aircraft builders, booked orders for a combined total of 529 large airliners in the second quarter, up sharply from 161 in the previous three-month period, an industry trade group said Friday.

Disney to Probe Claims in Factories

Walt Disney Co said it will investigate claims by a labor rights advocacy group of unsafe conditions at Chinese factories that make books for Disney.

Beverly Enterprises Gets New Offer

Nursing home operator Beverly Enterprises Inc. said on Friday it received an unsolicited takeover offer from a group of investors that it deemed superior to its $1.9 billion acquisition pact with North American Senior Care.

Investor Sues Pimco

Newport Beach-based Pacific Investment Management Co. was sued by an investor alleging that the bond fund manager tried to corner the price on billions of dollars worth of 10-year Treasury futures contracts.

Billabong Disappoints, Tempers View

Australia's Billabong International Ltd., parent of Irvine surfwear maker Billabong USA, reported lower-than-expected yearly profit Friday and predicted slower growth for the company's current 12-month period.

Thursday, August 18

County Completes Debt Refinancing

The county of Orange said Thursday it has completed refinancing its bankruptcy debt from more than a decade ago.

Campbell, Brewer Dominate, But Race for Cox's Seat Draws Broad Field of Hopefuls

The race to fill former Rep.Christopher Cox appears to be John Campbell's to lose. But the state senator still faces a broad, colorful field of rivals.

First-Time Jobless Claims Climb

The number of Americans applying for initial jobless aid rose 6,000 last week, the government said on Thursday, but jobless claims remained at levels indicative of a healthy labor market.

TDK Semi Changes Name After Sale

Irvine-based TDK Semiconductor Corp. has changed its name to Teridian Semiconductor Corp. after being sold by Japan's TDK Corp. earlier this year.

What's Next For Experian?

Now that Britain's GUS is shedding its Burberry stake, the global retailing conglomerate can turn its attention to Costa Mesa-based Experian, the largest credit reporting agency.

Google To Sell $4B of Stock

Internet search company Google Inc. on Thursday filed with regulators to sell up to 14.16 million shares of class A common stock, which would be worth $4.04 billion based on last night's closing prices.

Wednesday, August 17

Stores Gear Up for Back-to-School Season

Clothing stores are gearing up for the back-to-school shopping season amid a bit of malaise in the retail sector.

Ingram Poised as Rival Restructures

The longtime rivalry between Santa Ana's Ingram Micro Inc. and Florida's Tech Data Corp. is pitching toward Ingram these days.

Merck Hid Vioxx Dangers, Lawyer Says

Merck & Co. Inc. for years hid clinical evidence that showed Vioxx posed a heart attack risk, the lawyer for the plaintiff told a jury on Wednesday in the first civil trial against the drugmaker's popular painkiller.

State Farm Wins Reversal of Verdict

Illinois' Supreme Court on Thursday reversed a $1.06 billion judgment against State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. in a case alleging the company used unsafe parts to repair damaged vehicles.

OPEC Ups forecast for '06 Oil Demand

Oil cartel OPEC nudged up its forecast for world oil demand growth in 2006 on Wednesday and predicted OPEC supplies would have to offset lower-than-expected output from non-OPEC countries.

Poll: Voters Back Measure M

A Sacramento polling company said Tuesday that 69% of likely Orange County voters would back renewing Measure M, the half-cent sales tax for transportation projects.

H-P Feeling Hurd's Impact

It is barely four months into Mark Hurd's tenure at chief executive at Hewlett-Packard Co., but following the company's third-quarter results, there is a sense on Wall Street that Hurd's management style has quickly improved H-P's culture and set it on a

Hot Topic Q2 Profit Falls Sharply

Teen retailer Hot Topic Inc. on Wednesday said its second-quarter profit declined sharply as same-store sales fizzled, and guided its third and fourth-quarter estimates below Wall Street expectations.

Leading Economic Indicators Rise in July

A key measure of future U.S. economic strength edged up 0.1% to a record level in July, a private research group said on Thursday, saying this indicated solid growth into the latter part of the year.

July Producer Prices Jump on Energy

Producer prices rose twice as fast as expected last month on soaring energy costs, government data showed on Wednesday, while prices excluding food and energy also topped forecasts in a sign of building inflation pressures.

Tuesday, August 16

Deal Clears Way for South County Project

Rancho Mission Viejo LLC, environmentalists and the county on Tuesday detailed a pact that should clear the way for development of the largest vacant swath of land left in Orange County.

Gateway Disappoints, Slumps on Outlook

Shares of Irvine-based Gateway Inc. slumped 21% Tuesday following a dimmer-than-expected outlook from the personal computer maker.

Inflation in Check Despite Gas Bump

Surging energy costs drove U.S. consumer prices up in July at the sharpest rate in three months but aside from energy, inflation pressures remained muted, according a government report on Tuesday.

Wal-Mart Falls on Outlook

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Tuesday posted its smallest quarterly profit gain in four years and gave a disappointing forecast for the current period, sending its stock down, as rising oil prices curbed sales and drove up costs.

JPMorgan Settling Enron Case

JPMorgan Chase & Co. on Tuesday said it will pay $350 million in cash to resolve claims it helped Enron Corp. commit accounting fraud, leading to the energy trader's 2001 bankruptcy.

Monday, August 15

At Last, Powerwave Remec Buy at Hand

Powerwave Technology's contested buy of Del Mar-based Remec's wireless unit finally could be coming to a close

Impac Hires M & A; Executive

Newport Beach's Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc. may be gearing up for some acquisitions. The real estate investment trust, which invests in mortgages, said Monday it filled a new position: executive vice president of mergers and acquisitions. Impac hired Wil

Icahn Demands Time Warner Split

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn on Monday demanded Time Warner Inc. separate its cable business and buy back at least $20 billion worth of its stock to boost shareholder value.

Blizzard Expands HQ, Others Follow Online Game Lead

Blizzard Entertainment resembles the old Interplay in its video game-making growth, in the Technology column

Freedom Launching Weekly Magazine for Savvy Youth

Freedom is launching a new weekly called "SqueezeOC," in the Media & Marketing column

MARKET WATCH

Week's Best, Worst Performers; Roth OC50, Billion Dollar Club, OC Tech; Index Watch, 52-week Performance

With Few Options, Mitsubishi Dealers Stay Course

For all of Mitsubishi's recent woes, local dealers are staying the course

Jellyfish Aside, Back-to-School Looks OK

Some retailers are nervous as the back-to-school shopping season heats up

Raytheon to Boeing Workers Eyeing Move: 'Stay'

Raytheon Co. is trying to keep some Boeing Co. workers from moving to Denver, where Boeing is combining some satellite operations with Lockheed Martin Corp.

Union, Non-Union Nurses Differ on Depth of Problems, Fixes

Union, Non-Union Nurses Differ on Depth of Problems, Fixes

Ward's '05 List: Fletcher No. 2; Crevier Debuts at No. 8

Ward's 2005 list of largest U.S. dealers is out: Fletcher Jones Motor Cars of Newport Beach is No. 2 by sales, in the Marketplace column

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Summaries of other business news and top stories by industry; Economic Indicators

Oil Fades From $67 Record High

Oil faded from its $67 high on Monday but the U.S. refusal to rule out force against Iran, OPEC's second biggest producer, kept prices bubbling.

Alteer Nabs Venture Round

Alteer Corp., an Irvine-based maker of medical practice management software, has raised $16.5 million in venture funding.

Raytheon to Boeing Workers: 'Stay'

Boeing Co.'s Huntington Beach-based Delta rocket workers may not need to call a real estate agent after all.

Real Estate Deals

The high-rise office vacancy rate plummeted in the second quarter. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

LETTERS

Local politicians vent about state issues

Harrah Raises Funds in Santa Ana Office Building Sale

Developer Michael Harrah has raised some funds with a Santa Ana office building sale, in the Real Estate column

Vitriol As Foreign Policy

Guarding precious U.S. assets from China is folly

Faulty Pricing a Factor in Rise of Expensive Treatments

Faulty pricing is a factor in the rising cost of expensive treatments, in the Healthcare column

Yard House USA Plans Expansion to Brea, 3 States

The Yard House is expanding to Brea and three states

Commerce National Bank Using $18M Stock Sale to Open Branches, Boost Loans

Fullerton's Commerce National Bank raised $18 million to fund branch openings and loan growth

Mixed Housing Picture in July

There is some evidence that Orange County's housing market is letting up on the accelerator, according to a report Monday.

HMO, PPO Operators Post Slim Enrollment Gain in Past Year

HMO, PPO Operators Post Slim Enrollment Gain in Past Year

Dental Insurers Post Member Gain; SafeGuard Leads on Buys

Dental Insurers Post Member Gain; SafeGuard Leads on Buys

Emilia-Romagna Inspires Bertolino to Do It His Way

Italy's Emilia-Romagna region is the inspiration for a Newport Coast restaurant, in the Executive Dining column

Revived Santa Ana Lobbies for State Enterprise Zone Renewal

Santa Ana wants to renew its carrot for businesses: the city's enterprise zone status

Ingram Micro Poised as Rival Restructures

The longtime rivalry between Ingram Micro and Tech Data is pitching toward Ingram these days

Coming to OC: High School Inc., Chicago Hot Dogs

Coming to OC: High School Inc., Chicago Hot Dogs

Real Estate Watch: High-Rise Office Market

The high-rise office vacancy rate plummeted in the second quarter. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Plaza Bank Raising Up to $15M in Startup Funds

Plaza Bank is looking to attract up to $15 million in startup funds

Gov. Sets Vote for Cox Seat

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday set Dec. 6 for a special election to fill the Orange County congressional seat vacated by Christopher Cox.

Reliant Settles with California Utilities

A group of California utilities on Monday said they have reached a settlement with Reliant Energy Inc. resolving claims of overcharging during the state's 2000-2001 power crisis.

Economists Up '05 Growth Forecasts

Private sector economists have raised their forecasts for U.S. economic growth in 2005 compared with three months ago, a Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia survey showed on Monday.

PEOPLE

Orange County Businesspeople in the news, on the move

MEDICARE TREATMENT

Some Health Plan Operators See Promise in Medicare Drug Benefit Coming Soon

Friday, August 12

Cardiac Science Wins Device Pact

Cardiac Science Inc. said Friday that Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has bought more than 150 of its Powerheart G3 automatic defibrillators.

British Airways: Workers Coming Back

Two-thirds of the British Airways staff who took part in an unofficial strike which crippled flights at Heathrow airport have agreed to return to work, the airline says.

Trade Deficit Widened in June

The U.S. trade deficit widened 6.1% in June to $58.8 billion, as exports held roughly flat while petroleum purchases drove total imports to a new high, a government report showed on Friday.

Oil charges to $67 on capacity worries

Oil prices raced to record highs of $67 a barrel on Friday as investors fretted over the world's strained capacity to refine and pump crude oil.

Santa Ana Vies for Tax Credit Extension

Santa Ana doesn't have the corporate cachet of Irvine or Anaheim's tourism. But Orange County's most populous city does have a carrot for businesses: state tax credits under California's enterprise zone program.

Mortgage Company ECC Posts Loss

Irvine-based subprime lender ECC Capital Corp. reported a second-quarter loss of $39 million on Friday.

Thursday, August 11

Qualcomm to Buy Flarion for $600M

Qualcomm Inc. said on Thursday it would buy wireless broadband technology firm Flarion Technologies to expand its own wireless technology portfolio in a cash and stock deal worth about $600 million.

Irvine Co. to Manage Four Seasons

The Irvine Company said Thursday that it plans to take over management of the 295-room Four Seasons Hotel Newport Beach at the end of October.

Mellon 1st Planning 2nd OC Branch

Los Angeles-based Mellon 1st Business Bank plans to open a second local branch in Anaheim or Orange by early 2006, said Christopher D. Myers, chairman and chief executive, on Thursday.

Emulex Posts Strong Quarter

Costa Mesa-based Emulex Corp. posted a double-digit sales increase and a profit for the company's June quarter.

July Retail Sales Surge on Auto Buying

Retail sales surged 1.8% last month as buyer incentives led to the biggest gain in auto sales since just after the 2001 terrorist attacks, when automakers flying the flag put in place zero percent financing deals, a government report showed on Thursday.

Elizabeth Arden Quarterly Loss Narrows

Elizabeth Arden Inc. posted a narrower quarterly loss on Thursday, topping analysts' expectations, as expanded distribution of the popular Curious by Britney Spears fragrance boosted sales.

Oil Holds at $65 Near Record High

Oil stayed within striking distance of Thursday's $65 record high after a top energy body said non-OPEC output was falling short of expectations.

Kia Plans Auto Factory in U.S.

Irvine-based Kia Motors America is planning to build its first auto factory in the U.S.

PacSun Unveils New Chain

Anaheim-based retailer Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. reported strong second-quarter results and took the wraps off a planned third chain of stores on Thursday.

Yard House Expanding With Openings

Irvine-based Yard House USA LLC plans to open four restaurants in four states in 2006, the company said Thursday.

Dell Profit Rises on Notebook Strength

Dell Inc., the world's largest maker of personal computers, on Thursday posted a higher quarterly profit fueled by a surge in U.S. notebook computer demand and market share gains against rivals.

Downey's Loan Business Slows

Newport Beach-based Downey Financial Corp. saw its assets slip and mortgage activity decline in July, the savings and loan operator reported Thursday.

Consumer Sentiment Falls

U.S. consumer sentiment eased in early August, weighted down by soaring gasoline prices, a report said on Friday.

OC Home Affordability Index Holds

Orange County's low affordability index for a home was unchanged in June, while the statewide index dropped, the California Association of Realtors said Thursday.

Target Q2 Profit Beats Forecasts

Target Corp. on Thursday posted a bigger-than-expected 50% jump in quarterly profit as a hot summer drove demand for clothing and outdoor gear.

Wednesday, August 10

Interchange Slumps on Results, Outlook

Shares of Irvine-based Interchange Corp. took a beating in afterhours trading Wednesday after the company reported lower second-quarter profits and third-quarter guidance below what Wall Street had expected.

Whirlpool Again Sweetens Maytag Offer

Appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. on Wednesday raised its takeover offer for Maytag Corp. a third time, to nearly $1.7 billion in cash and stock.

FDA Approves AMO Cataract Lens

Advanced Medical Optics Inc. said Wednesday that the Food and Drug Administration approved its Tecnis intraocular lens for cataract patients.

Lenovo Profit Up After IBM PC Buy

Top Chinese personal computer maker Lenovo Group Ltd. posted a better-than-expected 6% rise in quarterly profit on Wednesday after including for the first time the struggling PC business bought in May from IBM Corp.

Wet Seal CFO Resigning

Teen retailer Wet Seal Inc. said Wednesday that its chief financial officer plans to resign at the end of August for personal reasons.

July's Federal Deficit Falls

The budget deficit shrank to $52.8 billion in July from $69 billion a year ago, the Treasury Department said Wednesday.

Impac Posts Q2 Loss

Shares of Irvine's Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc. dropped 14.6% Wednesday after the company reported a loss in the second quarter.

Tommy Hilfiger to Settle Tax Probe

Tommy Hilfiger Corporation said on Wednesday it will pay more than $18 million in additional taxes and interest to settle a federal probe into whether payments among its subsidiaries artificially lowered the company's tax rate.

Yahoo Paying $1B for Alibaba Stake

Yahoo Inc. is close to paying $1 billion and forking over its China operations for a 35% stake of China's second-largest e-commerce operator, Alibaba.com, a source close to the discussions said on Wednesday.

Federated Q2 Profit Jumps

Federated Department Stores Inc., parent of Macy's and Bloomingdale's, on Wednesday said quarterly profit jumped 90%, meeting Wall Street forecasts.

Valeant Sells Hungary Operations

Costa Mesa-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International said Wednesday it sold off its operations in Hungary in what it called the "final piece" of a three-year refocusing of the company.

Tuesday, August 9

Appeal of Botox Case Dropped

A high-profile battle over Botox officially is over. Irvine-based Allergan Inc. said Tuesday that Irena Medavoy, wife of Hollywood mogul Michael Medavoy, has dropped her appeal of a Botox verdict that went against her.

Productivity Growth Slow in Q2

Business productivity growth slowed in the second quarter but an easing in the pace of compensation gains kept labor costs in check, a government report showed on Tuesday.

Fed Raises Rates for 10th Time

The Federal Reserve raised a key interest rate a quarter-percentage point on Tuesday and offered no signal after a 10th straight rise that its campaign of increases was nearing an end.

Beckman Ups Profit, Outlook

Beckman Coulter Inc.,just two weeks after announcing disappointing financial results,did an about-face on Tuesday.

Volcom Shares Turn Lower

Surf and skatewear maker Volcom Inc. saw its shares fall 8% Tuesday, a day after posting its second-quarter earnings results.

Cisco Posts Higher Net

Cisco Systems Inc., the biggest maker of Internet equipment, on Tuesday posted a quarterly profit that rose by 12%, helped by steady demand for its routers and other gear in key segments.

Unisys Expands in Mission Viejo

Unisys Corp. stands to boost its Orange County operations for the first time in years in a consolidation of its North San Diego County unit.

E*Trade to Buy Kobren

Online brokerage E*Trade Financial Corp. said on Tuesday it would buy mutual fund adviser Kobren Insight Management to bolster its wealth management business and become a full-service financial services firm.

MCI Posts Q2 Profit

MCI Corp., the long-distance phone company being acquired by Verizon Communications Inc., on Tuesday said it returned to profitability in the second quarter, as cost-cutting helped offset a decline in revenue.

Disney Quarterly Profit Up

Walt Disney Co. on Tuesday reported an increase in third quarter profit fueled by stronger results from its broadcast and cable television networks.

Monday, August 8

Steroids

Give the future Hall of Famers an asterisk, an Editorial by Rick Reiff

E*Trade Buying HarrisDirect

Online broker E*Trade Financial Corp. said on Monday it will buy U.S. rival HarrisDirect from BMO Financial Group for $700 million in cash to strengthen its position in the consolidating online brokerage industry.

OTHER CENTIMILLIONAIRES

Here's a list of other wealthy Orange County residents or people who've made fortunes here and are believed to be worth around $100 million or more.

Conexant, Spinoff Mindspeed Gain on Comeback Trail

Conexant and its spinoff Mindspeed showed some progress on the comeback trail in the past quarter, in the Technology column

Raj Manufacturing Tapped to Design, Make Tommy Hilfiger Swimwear Line

Raj Manufacturing won a pact to design, make and distribute Tommy Hilfiger's swimwear

Eight Billionaires; Entrepreneurs, Philanthropists, a Crusader

OC's Wealthiest,Coverage includes a list and analysis of the county's wealthiest people

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Disney-Driven Boom Plays Out

Disneyland's 50th birthday has been a kick in the pants for OC tourism

Merage, Others Made Fortunes Elsewhere, Giving Away Here

Many of Orange County's wealthiest are homegrown, having started companies here or amassed local real estate empires.

L.A. Officially Reigns; Bren Ranks High

A piece on the richest in Los Angeles and San Diego

William Lyon Profit Up, Raises Outlook

Newport Beach-based William Lyon Homes Inc. reported Monday a second-quarter profit of $73 million before taxes, up 40% from a year earlier, and home sales of $362 million, down 1%.

OC No. 5 on Business Ranking

Orange County is the fifth biggest county in the U.S. by number of businesses, according to a Census Bureau report released Monday.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Summaries of other business news and top stories by industry; Economic Indicators

Chapman: Positive Job Growth in Q3

California should see steady job growth in the third quarter, according to a survey released Monday by Chapman University's A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research in Orange.

Delts Taking Over; Arnold's Friends Party with Koontz

Delts Taking Over; Arnold's Friends Party with Koontz

Subprime Lender Lines Up Funds to Build Portfolio

Resmae got $100 million to back its strategy of holding the loans it makes

Let It Out

Bob Novak - a Commentary by Rick Reiff

U.S. Open Surf Fest Draws Thousands, OC Sponsors

The U.S. Open of Surfing sported a number of familiar faces, in the Media & Marketing column

Comerica Files Suit Over Bank's Hiring Grab

Comerica has fired back at Commercial Capital over a hiring bid

Real Estate Watch: Construction

Commercial Construction Keeps Pace in Q2. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

OC's Money, Moderation Bankrolls Schwarzenegger

A report on OC's penchant for filling Gov. Schwarzenegger's fund-raising coffers

Forever 21 Tries to Expand Youth Appeal With Buy; Wet Seal Adjusting

Wet Seal rival Forever 21's acquisition of Gadzooks is paying off so far

The Weekend Wealthy

OC is a second (or even third or fourth) home for many rich folks.

Priceline's Profit Up on Bookings

Online travel company Priceline.com Inc. said on Monday its quarterly profit rose on growth in travel bookings.

REAL ESTATE DEALS

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

THEY SAY

The new reality for labor

Richest Here Estimated at $28B; 8 Billionaires

The Irvine Company's Donald Bren continues his reign as the county's wealthiest person. The list has some new faces this year

Targus Suit Over Embezzling CFO Set for Trial

A trial pitting Targus against its former accountant, KPMG, is set for next month

Oil Hits New Record

Oil soared above $63 a barrel to a new record high on Monday on fears of militant attacks in the world's biggest oil exporter Saudi Arabia and a possible gasoline shortage in the United States.

Kerr-McGee to Sell North Sea Oil Fields

U.S. oil and gas producer Kerr-McGee Corp. has agreed to sell all of its British North Sea oil and gas interests to help pay for a share buyback designed to fend off a challenge from corporate raider Carl Icahn.

Booming Market Has Made Millions for Homebuilding Execs

Booming Market Has Made Millions for Homebuilding Execs

PEOPLE

Orange County Businesspeople in the news, on the move

Family Classic Makes a Splash With Showroom Debut

A Shelby, and a 1962 Corvette are among those that found a new home via Family Classic's San Juan Capistrano move, in the Marketplace column

Whirlpool Sweetens Bid for Maytag

Whirlpool Corp. on Monday raised its offer for Maytag Corp. by $2 a share to $1.6 billion, making a formal bid to acquire its smaller rival for $20 a share in a deal that would create the world's largest appliance maker

Comerica, Commercial Capital Hiring Spat Spawns Legal Fight Between Banks

The fallout has started over Irvine-based Commercial Capital Bancorp Inc.'s hiring of a Comerica Inc. real estate services team. Round one: Comerica won a temporary restraining order last week, which Commercial Capital plans to challenge.

WAVES OF WEALTH

Surfwear Brings Fortunes, Safaris to Fiji, Bali

Koll's Spectrum Project Sells Out Ahead of Completion

One of the last developers of small buildings for sale in the Irvine Spectrum is in escrow to sell all 27 properties under construction there, in the Real Estate column

Delphi: Bankruptcy Is Possible

Delphi Corp. on Monday posted a second-quarter loss on production cuts by major customer General Motors Corp. and said it may have to file for bankruptcy if it cannot cut high wage and benefit costs.

Fluor Dinged on Court Defeat

A costly court loss ate into Fluor Corp.'s profit in the second quarter, the Aliso Viejo-based company said on Monday.

MARKET WATCH

Week's Best, Worst Performers; Roth OC50, Billion Dollar Club, OC Tech; Index Watch, 52-week Performance

Maggiano's Italian Wine Dinner: Bargain Not to Miss

Maggiano's Italian dinner features Antinori wines, in the Executive Dining column

Saigon National Looking to Join Ethnic Bank Rush

A new bank targeting Vietnamese-Americans is in organization in Westminster

Friday, August 5

Subprime Lender Lines Up Financing

A subprime lender in Brea has received $100 million in financing,its second big cash infusion since its founding two years ago.

Traders Predict China Yuan Gains

China's yuan eased on Friday, retracing after a week of gains, but traders stuck to predictions that the currency would strengthen over coming weeks.

South Korean Bank Opens in Buena Park

South Korea's Chohung Bank opened a branch in Buena Park that will target the city's Korean-American community, the company said Friday.

Delphi in Restructuring Talks

Delphi Corp. said on Friday it is in talks with former parent General Motors Corp. and its main unions about a restructuring of its unprofitable operations, and shares of the auto parts supplier fell almost 19% in premarket trading.

Job Growth Strong in July

U.S. job growth picked up last month as employers added 207,000 workers to their payrolls, a healthy gain that outstripped Wall Street expectations, a government report showed on Friday.

Cherokee's Slump Continues

Tustin-based Cherokee International Corp., a maker of power supplies for computers and other electronics, reported a loss and a sharp drop in second-quarter sales on Friday.

OC's Wealthiest: $28B; 8 Billionaires

The 25 wealthiest people in Orange County,including eight billionaires,count a collective $28 billion in estimated worth, according to the Business Journal's fifth annual list out next week.

Thursday, August 4

Retailers Miss; Heat Hurts Fall Sales

Top retailers ranging from Gap Inc. to Nordstrom Inc. reported worse-than-expected July sales on Thursday as a heat wave curbed demand for fall back-to-school fashions.

Valeant Gains on Product Sales

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International swung to an operating profit in the second quarter, the company said Thursday.

Quest Results Up, Shares Fall

Irvine-based Quest Software Inc. posted gains in sales and earnings in the second quarter, the company said Thursday afternoon.

Broadcom Loses Round in LSI Fight

Irvine-based Broadcom Corp. can't use workers hired from Milpitas-based competitor LSI Logic Corp. on projects where they could use information from their old jobs, a Colorado judge ruled this week.

New Century Profit Slumps

Irvine-based subprime lender New Century Financial Corp.'s earnings before taxes slumped 42% to $93 million in the second quarter, the company said Thursday.

OPEC Output Highest Since 1979

OPEC oil production rose 290,000 barrels per day in July to the highest level since December 1979 as Iraq boosted exports and the UAE restored output at oilfields after maintenance, a Reuters survey showed.

America Online Buys Xdrive

America Online, the world's largest online company, said on Thursday it had purchased online storage and backup company Xdrive for an undisclosed sum.

Jobless Claims Dip Slightly Last Week

The number of Americans filing initial claims for jobless aid dipped 1,000 last week, due in part to fewer claims from autoworkers and other manufacturers, the government said on Thursday.

Wet Seal Surges, PacSun Up Modestly

Foothill Ranch-based Wet Seal Inc. continued its turnaround with a 51% rise in July sales at stores open at least a year, while Anaheim-based Pacific Sunwear of California saw a 4% gain in same-store sales for the month.

Exxon CEO to Retire

Lee Raymond, the tough-talking chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp. who built the nation's largest oil producer into the world's most valuable company, on Thursday said he would retire at the end of the year.

Microsoft Hires Ex-Wal-Mart Exec

Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker, said on Thursday that it has appointed Kevin Turner, the former chief executive of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Sam's Club Warehouse store sales, as its new Chief Operation Officer.

California First National Profit Rises

Irvine-based California First National Bancorp reported a 14% increase in profit in the June quarter on a rise in lease volume and higher interest rates, the bank said Wednesday.

Wednesday, August 3

M-Flex: Sales Up, Profit Down

Sales to wireless phone makers helped drive a sales increase at Anaheim-based Multi-Fineline Electronix Inc., known as M-Flex, in the most recent quarter.

RemedyTemp Revenue Slides

Aliso Viejo-based RemedyTemp Inc. said Wednesday that industry softness and its trimming of low-profit contracts hit revenue in the past quarter.

Adidas to buy Reebok for $3.8B

Germany's sporting goods maker Adidas-Salomon has agreed to buy U.S. rival Reebok for $3.8 billion, closing the gap on Nike and promising a profit jump by expanding in the U.S. and entering new markets.

Beech Street Being Bought for $165M

Lake Forest-based Beech Street Corp. said Wednesday that it's being bought for $165 million by Concentra Operating Corp. of Addison, Texas.

Toyota Profit Slips, Outlook Solid

Toyota Motor Corp. reported a surprise 9.7% fall in quarterly operating profit on Wednesday on rising spending on research and new factories, but projected another year of earnings growth backed by brisk global sales and a weaker yen.

Service Sector Growth Slips in July

Growth in the vast U.S. services sector slowed in July but was still robust as new orders rose, an industry report showed on Wednesday, adding to evidence that the U.S. economy is on a solid growth path.

Time Warner Settles Suit, Posts Loss

Time Warner Inc., the world's largest media company, on Wednesday said it would pay $2.4 billion to settle charges it overstated revenue and posted a second quarter net loss as a result of the settlement.

Treasury Brings Back 30-Year Bonds

The Treasury Department said Wednesday it would resume selling 30-year bonds in early 2006, and said it would offer a smaller-than-expected $44 billion in its quarterly refunding auctions next week.

Tuesday, August 2

Universal Electronics Sales Surge

Cypress-based Universal Electronics Inc. posted record sales in the second quarter, the company said Tuesday.

Hyundai, Kia, Suzuki Top July Gainers

Orange County automakers posted solid sales gains in July,for the most part.

Sybron Jumps on Earnings Rise

Shares of Orange-based Sybron Dental Specialties Inc. jumped 10% on Tuesday, a day after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly results.

Commerce Energy Names Boss

Costa Mesa-based Commerce Energy Group Inc. named Steven S. Boss chief executive on Tuesday.

Micro Therapeutics Narrows Losses in Q2

Micro Therapeutics Inc., an Irvine-based medical device company, posted improved financial results in the second quarter.

CIBC Settles Enron Suit for $2.4B

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce agreed Tuesday to pay $2.4 billion to Enron investors who had sued the banking company for its part in the massive accounting fraud that led to the collapse of the failed energy giant.

CNOOC Kills Unocal Bid

China's CNOOC Ltd. on Tuesday abandoned its $18.5 billion offer to acquire U.S. oil and gas producer Unocal Corp. in the face of strident political opposition, clearing the way for Unocal to conclude a deal with U.S. oil major Chevron Corp.

Detroit's Big Three See Surge in Sales

General Motors, Ford and Chrysler posted stronger-than-expected double-digit U.S. sales gains for July on Tuesday as hefty discounts delivered blowout results for the traditional Big Three car companies.

Consumer Spending Jumps in June

U.S. consumer spending advanced a robust 0.8% in June as shoppers took to auto showrooms to enjoy sales incentives that helped keep inflation steady, a government report showed on Tuesday.

Tenet Q2 Loss Narrows

Hospital operator Tenet Healthcare Corp., which is under investigation by U.S. securities regulators, on Tuesday reported a narrower second-quarter loss than a year ago, when it took hefty one-time charges.

Tyco Warns on Higher Steel Prices

Tyco International Ltd. on Tuesday said earnings through next year would miss analysts' estimates as rising steel prices crimp profits at its industrial businesses, sending its shares down 9%.

Monday, August 1

Standard Pacific Selling Bonds

Irvine-based homebuilder Standard Pacific Corp. said Monday that it plans to sell $350 million in company-backed bonds.

LETTERS

Letters to the Editors - Eminent Domain, Then Euthanasia; Housing Bonds

Blizzard Growing Irvine HQ

Videogame maker Blizzard Entertainment Corp. plans to boost the size of its Irvine headquarters, the company said Monday.

Struggling Noodle Maker Gets New Owners, Another Chance

A struggling ramen noodle maker has new owners and another chance

Raytheon Unit Gets $130M from Army

Fullerton-based ThalesRaytheonSystems Co. has landed a $130 million contract under a previously won Army deal, the company said Monday.

Benchmark Yields at 3 1/2-Month High

Treasury prices fell Monday, tugging benchmark yields to their highest in more than three months, as U.S. economic data continue to paint a picture of solid growth accompanied by more Federal Reserve interest-rate hikes.

CAFTA Passes

CAFTA Passes. Commentary by Rick Reiff

Forget Last Summer,Software Makers Sizzle

Business software makers were on a roll in the second quarter

Kallasvuo: New Nokia CEO

Finland's Nokia has picked Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo to take over as chief executive next year from Jorma Ollila, who transformed the company from a maker of rubber boots into the world's biggest cellphone producer.

Pelican May Shoot For Pebble Prices; Scalia at Chapman

Pelican May Shoot For Pebble Prices; Scalia at Chapman

Jesus Film Project Closing OC Unit, Shifting Workers

The Jesus Film Project is closing its doors in San Clemente for a new home in Florida,

Oil Rises as Saudi King Dies

Oil prices climbed above $61 a barrel on Monday after the death of Saudi Arabia's King Fahd, but expectations that the new king would keep oil policy unchanged stemmed the rise.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Summaries of other business news and top stories by industry; Economic Indicators

REAL ESTATE DEALS

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

PEOPLE

Orange County Businesspeople in the news, on the move

Local Thrift Rattles Comerica With Hirings

Commercial Capital scored a coup when it lured a big banking unit from Comerica

Irvine May See Apartment High-Rises

Count another developer with a high-rise housing vision in Irvine,this one with a twist.

Medical Device Makers Eyeing Dollar U-Turn

Device makers have benefited from the falling dollar in the past few years. Now they're tweaking currency strategies as the U.S. greenback rallies

Beauty, Health Lead P & G; Growth

Procter & Gamble Co., whose product lineup includes Crest toothpaste and Pampers diapers, on Monday reported a 9 & increase in quarterly profit, led by strong growth in its beauty and health care units.

Lennar's Sports Center Housing Bet Goes Beyond OC

Lennar's big bet on housing near sports complexes goes beyond OC, in the Real Estate column

Manufacturing Picks Up in July

U.S. manufacturing grew more quickly in July with a rise in new orders and a decrease in prices paid, according to a survey.

Proxy Firm Backs Chevron's Unocal Bid

An influential proxy services firm on Monday threw its weight behind Chevron Corp.'s $17 billion-plus offer to buy Unocal Corp., dealing another setback to rival Chinese bidder CNOOC Ltd.

Commerce National Raises $18M

Fullerton-based Commerce National Bank said it completed an $18 million stock sale to fund growth in Orange County.

PacSun's Urban-Style Unit Regroups as Sales Slow

Pacific Sunwear's d.e.m.o chain has a new leader to revive the unit's stagnating sales

Cardiac Deal Moves Ahead

The acquisition of Irvine-based Cardiac Science Inc. is a step closer to wrapping up after the company set an Aug. 31 date for a shareholder vote on the deal.

UCI's Eye Institute Taking Shape

The UCI Eye Institute hopes to raise $50 million and build links to the county's device and drug industries

Valeant Has High Hopes for Epilepsy Drug Retigabine

Valeant thinks its epilepsy drug Retigabine will be big, in the Healthcare column

Ambassador Tuttle Moves to London, Honors Victims

Ambassador Tuttle has moved to London, in the Marketplace column

Olen Apartment Plan Could Include Some High-Rise Buildings

Olen Properties is planning to build some high-rise apartment buildings,rarities in the county

Chinatown: Eye-Catching Chinese Food At a Bargain

Chinatown's Shanghai and Beijing focus is perfect pairing with a great wine list, in the Executive Dining column

STATE OF THE STATE

Business interests are growing concerned over Gov. Schwarzenegger's popularity dip, in State of the State

QLogic Hit on Diversification as Controller Sales Fall

QLogic is getting dinged on lower sales of its controller chips for hard drives, in the Technology column

CAFTA's Passing More Symbol Than Substance

CAFTA passed after heated debate in Washington, D.C. Reaction here has been much quieter

Real Estate Watch: Los Angeles County

Los Angeles' office market improved in the second quarter, with the industrial sector posting mixed results

MARKET WATCH

Week's Best, Worst Performers; Roth OC50, Billion Dollar Club, OC Tech; Index Watch, 52-week Performance

Y & R; Brands Wins a (Paris-Free) Hilton Hotels Account

Irvine's Y & R; Brands won a Hilton Hotels ad account, in the Media & Marketing column