Stories for December 2005

Saturday, December 31

Lennar Gets $500M El Toro Financing

Lennar Corp. and development partner LNR Property Corp. have secured $500 million in financing for the redevelopment of the former El Toro Marine base.

ARI Buyers Emerge

Two possible buyers have emerged to take over bankrupt auto parts maker American Remanufacturers Inc. of Anaheim, according to court records.

FDA Rejects Valeant Label Bid

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International said Friday that the Food and Drug Administration quashed its request for a labeling change for Cesamet, delaying the launch of the anti-vomiting drug.

Friday, December 30

Citi Prevails for Coveted China Bank

A Citigroup-led consortium has won the right to buy 85% of China's Guangdong Development Bank for $3.2 billion, beating rival groups led by ABN AMRO and Societe Generale, three sources close to the deal said.

Firm But Slower U.S. Growth in 2006

Growth in the U.S. is seen easing next year as higher interest rates cool consumer spending, but a recovery in the German economy should support expansion in the euro zone, a Reuters poll shows.

Intel Unveils New Logo

The biggest chipmaker said it will scrap its 37-year-old logo and well-known tagline as part of a major rebranding that will emphasize its shift away from its core PC business and into consumer products.

Thursday, December 29

Guidant Reports More Device Failures

Guidant Corp. has reported 18 additional failures of its implantable heart devices, including one patient death, according to regulators.

Jobless Claims Rose 3,000 Last Week

New claims for jobless pay rose by 3,000 last week while a separate gauge of longer-term unemployment posted a third successive weekly increase, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.

Home Sales Fall

Sales of existing homes fell 1.7% in November as inventories climbed, indicating a rally in the housing market has begun to wane, a trade group said on Thursday.

Economists Ho-Hum on Inverted Curve

It long has been one of the most accurate and closely watched harbingers of the business cycle. But now that it is signaling economic danger ahead, it is being widely dismissed. The "it" in this case is the Treasury yield curve, the spread between short-

Hilton Buys Hotels From UK Namesake

Hilton Hotels Corp. on Thursday said it would buy its British namesake's hotels for $5.7 billion, in a deal to boost its international footprint to catch up with larger U.S. rivals.

Inverted Curve to Cool Housing Market

Homebuyers who can only afford to buy homes with lower adjustable-rate mortgages, those who can scrape into a house with more "exotic" loans with low teaser rates, and some investors contemplating second home purchases could be soon shut out as short-term

Multi-Fineline Soars

Shares of Multi-Fineline Electronix Inc., an Anaheim maker of circuit boards for wireless phones and other devices, soared more than 20% early Thursday after the company upped its profit outlook for the quarter ending on Saturday.

Wednesday, December 28

Cherokee Raises Q4 Expectations

Tustin-based Cherokee International Corp., a maker of power supplies and other electronics, upped its fourth-quarter outlook on Wednesday.

Consumer Confidence, Holiday Sales Up

Americans said goodbye to 2005 on a more cheerful note, with consumer confidence and expectations for next year both picking up in December and holiday sales improving just before Christmas.

Guidant Holders to Vote on J & J; Deal

Guidant Corp. shareholders will vote on January 31 on whether to approve a proposed $21.5 billion takeover by Johnson & Johnson, the company said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing made on Wednesday.

Ambassadors Buying Cruise Ships

Newport Beach-based Ambassadors International Inc. said Wednesday it plans to buy American West Steamboat Company LLC from Oregon Rail Holdings LLC.

Kia: Sweet Plant Alabama?

Alabama is courting Irvine-based Kia Motors America Inc. in a bid to be home to the automaker's first U.S. plant.

Automakers to Post Drop in Dec. Sales

Detroit's traditional Big Three automakers are expected to post another slide in U.S. vehicle sales in December despite aggressive incentives, analysts said in a recent note.

Tuesday, December 27

Pimco's McCulley on Rates, Yield Curve

The Federal Reserve will cap its policy of hiking interest rates with one more quarter-point increase at the end of January, according to Paul McCulley, managing director of Newport Beach-based Pacific Investment Management Co., who was interviewed Tuesda

Retailers Wrap Up Decent Season

Retailers rolled out the post-Christmas clearance sales and bet on throngs of shoppers bearing gift cards to provide a sales rush as they wrapped up a decent but unspectacular holiday selling season.

Yield Curve Inverts, Treasuries Off

Treasury debt prices eased on Tuesday in exceedingly light trade that followed a number of brief inversions of the closely watched spread between two- and 10-year note yields.

Consumer Confidence Up in Dec.

Consumer confidence improved in December to the highest level since August, before Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf and sent gasoline to record highs, a survey showed on Wednesday.

Retailers Record Decent Season

U.S. retailers rolled out the post-Christmas clearance sales and bet on throngs of shoppers bearing gift cards to provide a sales rush as they wrapped up a decent but unspectacular holiday selling season.

On Deck: Businessperson of the Year

Happy Holidays from the Orange County Business Journal. We're out with our next paper on Jan. 2. The issue features our annual businessperson of the year honoree.

Sunstone Sells Utah Hotel

San Clemente-based Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. has sold a 78-room Holiday Inn in Provo, Utah.

Boston Scientific Sticking with Guidant

Boston Scientific Corp. said on Tuesday it will continue with its plans to acquire rival medical device maker Guidant Corp. despite Guidant's issuance last week of a profit warning.

Disneyland Marketing Pays Off

Walt Disney Co.'s marketing push for Disneyland's 50th anniversary paid off with an 8.5% surge in 2005 visitors, the biggest gain of any amusement park in the past year.

Plea for Enron Accounting Chief

Enron Corp.'s former chief accounting officer will plead guilty on Wednesday to a security fraud charge related to the energy trader's collapse, a source familiar with the investigation said.

In-N-Out's Tug-of-War

A vice president and board member at Irvine-based In-N-Out Burgers Inc. claims that the hamburger chain's top management conspired to oust him as part of a broader plan to take control of the company from cofounder Esther Snyder.

Mortgage Applications at 3.5 Year Low

Mortgage applications fell to a more than 3.5 year low last week amid a sharp drop in demand for loan refinancing even as interest rates held steady, an industry trade group said on Wednesday.

PacifiCare: Retailers to Market Drug Plan

PacifiCare Health Systems Inc., a Cypress-based unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc., said Tuesday that it will work with six major supermarkets and drugstores to market its new Medicare prescription drug plans.

Treasuries Hit by Yield Curve Inversion

Treasury debt prices jumped for a second straight day on Friday as a slide in new home sales and weak elements in the durable goods orders data for November sparked fresh doubt about the economic outlook.

Thursday, December 22

Ford Workers OK Health Cuts

Union workers at Ford Motor Co. narrowly ratified a deal that will help the automaker save $850 million annually in healthcare expenses.

AstraZeneca: $1B Heart Drug Deal

AstraZeneca PLC signed a heart drug deal worth up to $1 billion with biotechnology company AtheroGenics Inc. on Thursday, as it stepped up efforts to restock a pipeline depleted by past product setbacks.

Detached Homes Sales Slip

The median sales price for a stand-alone Orange County home was $695,000 in November, a 1% dip from October but up 10% from a year earlier, according to the California Association of Realtors.

Nov. Spending Up, Inflation Scarce

U.S. consumer spending rose a moderate 0.3% in November but a big drop in energy costs and scant inflation elsewhere boosted shoppers' buying power sharply, the government said on Thursday.

EU: Microsoft Faces Daily Fines

Europe's competition regulator threatened U.S. software maker Microsoft Corp. with daily fines on Thursday for failing to comply with antitrust sanctions a year after a top European Union court ruled it must obey.

New Century Buying Warehouse Lender

Irvine-based New Century Financial Corp., a mortgage lender to borrowers with imperfect credit, is paying $10 million plus future payments for Access Lending Corp., a funder of home loans generated by brokers.

GE Buying Arden Realty for $3.2B

General Electric Co. said on Thursday it agreed to buy Arden Realty Inc. for about $3.2 billion in cash, a major buy in the hot commercial real estate market of Southern California. The deal includes several buildings in Orange County.

Microsoft Contesting EU Move

Microsoft said on Thursday it would contest what it called an unjustified European Commission decision to impose backdated daily fines if it fails to comply with European Union antitrust sanctions.

Meade Slowed By Asia Supply Issue

Telescope maker Meade Instruments Corp. said Thursday that problems at an Asian supplier slowed sales and led to a lower profit in the quarter ended Nov. 30.

Wednesday, December 21

Western Digital Soars

Shares of Western Digital Corp. rallied to eight-year highs Wednesday after two of its biggest competitors said they are joining forces.

Q3 Growth Cut, Still Best Since '04

The economy grew a bit less robustly in the third quarter than previously thought and prices picked up, the government said Wednesday in a report that showed consumers beginning to rein in their spending.

OC Construction Pioneer Snyder Dies

Don C. Snyder, cofounder and former president of Irvine-based Snyder Langston, died of heart disease on Dec. 5. He was 84.

3Com Posts Narrower Loss

Communications network equipment maker 3Com Corp. on Wednesday posted a narrower quarterly loss, helped by strong sales in North America.

UnitedHealth Wraps Up PacifiCare Buy

Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group completed its $9.2 billion buy of Cypress-based PacifiCare Health Systems Inc. The deal, the largest yet for Orange County, wrapped up earlier than expected.

Allergan, Inamed Strike Formal Deal

Irvine-based Allergan Inc. set formal terms late Tuesday for buying Santa Barbara's Inamed Corp. for $3.2 billion.

Tuesday, December 20

Morgan Stanley Profit Up

Wall Street investment firm Morgan Stanley saw its fourth-quarter earnings climb 49%, the company said Tuesday, due to strong investment banking revenues and a surge in fixed-income trading.

Nike's Net Profit Jumps 15%

Nike Inc., the world's largest athletic shoe company, on Tuesday said its quarterly profit increased 15 percent on strong U.S. demand for its high-end athletic footwear, despite slowed growth in Europe and Japan.

Toyota Ups Outlook, GM in sight

Toyota Motor Corp. said on Tuesday it expects its group-wide auto output to rise 10% next year to a record 9.06 million vehicles, a figure that some say could nudge the Japanese firm past General Motors Corp. as the biggest producer of cars.

Y & R; Irvine Set to Name New Leader

Young & Rubicam Brands in Irvine is set to announce a replacement for former leader David Murphy after the first of the year, according to the advertising agency.

Sprint to Buy Nextel Partners for $6.5B

Sprint Nextel Corp. said on Tuesday it plans to buy its biggest affiliate Nextel Partners Inc. for $6.5 billion, or $28.50 a share in cash, ending months of bitter dispute between the pair.

IBM Buys Business Software Maker

IBM Corp., the biggest computer company, said on Tuesday it bought privately held Bowstreet Inc. to make it easier for business customers to gather and view business information from different sources.

Irvine Political Consultant Dornan Dies

Ed Dornan, a political consultant, former Irvine Councilman and longtime ally of Larry Agran, died Monday, according to the city of Irvine.

Buy.com Shelves Offering

Aliso Viejo-based online retailer Buy.com Inc. has postponed its initial public offering after failing to attract enough investors with a reduced price for its shares, according to IPOHome.com.

Housing Starts Up, Inflation Down

Housing starts rose 5.3% in November, defying Wall Street expectations for a slowdown, as construction on both single-family and multifamily units climbed, the Commerce Department reported on Tuesday.

Monday, December 19

Crevier BMW Under Way With Showroom Expansion

Crevier BMW's $33 million expansion is under way, in the Marketplace column

Pressing Ahead: ColorGraphics' Move Doubles its Size

ColorGraphics has doubled its size in a move to Costa Mesa, in the Media & Marketing column

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Season's Greetings

The executive editor goes soft.

2006 PREVIEW

A soft, yet inevitable tempering awaits Orange County in 2006.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

Control Over In-N-Out at Stake in Board Brawl

In-N-Out is embroiled in a fight over its succession plan

Alcon to Pay $213M to Advanced Medical

Advanced Medical Optics Inc. said Monday that a district court judge upheld a patent judgment against rival Alcon Inc. that entitles the Santa Ana-based company to $213.9 million in damages.

Anaheim, Developers Plan Condos Next to Canyon Train Station

Anaheim is set to see a four-story condominium building built next to the Metrolink train station in the city's The Canyon business park

US Fines ABN AMRO Bank $80M

Bank regulators and supervisors announced on Monday that ABN AMRO Bank N.V. will have to pay an $80 million penalty in connection with findings the bank failed to comply with U.S. anti-money laundering laws.

Report: Buy.com IPO Delayed

Aliso Viejo-based online retailer Buy.com Inc. has delayed its initial public offering planned for Tuesday, according to a report from Associated Press.

Insurers Pay About Half U.S. Rate for Hospital Care in OC

OC is a cheap market for health insurers, in the Healthcare column

Real Estate Deals

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

MARKET WATCH

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

LETTERS

A Christmas poem by Michael P. Ridley

FPL, Constellation Deal Approved

The boards of FPL Group Inc. and Constellation Energy Group Inc. have approved FPL's $11 billion acquisition of Constellation, a source familiar with the situation said on Sunday. A formal announcement of the deal was expected Monday, the source said.

Growth in Asia, Europe Expected to Spur Surge in Exports

Exports are expected to record a big gain next year. Japan is the country to watch

Attention Last-Minute Shoppers: Fifi's Got Gift Ideas

Fifi Chao's last-minute gift ideas, in the Executive Dining column

Burnham Warms to Industrial Again With Orange Buy

Burnham's $11 million buy of the Batavia Business Park near Angel Stadium signals the company's renewed interest in industrial, in the Real Estate column

Real Estate Watch: North/Central County

The industrial market continues to thrive despite whispers of a slowdown. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Terms for PacifiCare Sale Set

UnitedHealth Group Inc. of Minnesota jumped a big hurdle in its bid to buy Cypress-based PacifiCare Health Systems Inc. when state Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi gave conditional approval for the deal Monday.

Manufacturing Set for Another Narrow Gain in Workers

The sector's modest turn around should continue on the job front. St. John Knits is the company to watch

Upbeat Outlook for Spending, Visitor, Hotel Gains in '06

The outlook is upbeat for visitor and spending levels. The Irvine Company is the company to watch and Mighty Ducks owner Henry Samueli is the person to watch

Year for Housing Shift? Office Resurgent

Broken record: Next year could see a housing shift. Homebuilder Standard Pacific is the company to watch and Hines Interests' Douglas Holte is the person to watch

Gadgets Spurring Demand; Tough Going for PCs

Chipmakers could be the fastest-growing sector in the tech industry next year. Bitfone is the company to watch and Conexant Chief Executive Dwight Decker is the person to watch

Deals Bring Company Shifts, Demographics Drive Growth

Deals and demographics stand to play out at OC healthcare companies next year. Heart device startup Devax is the company to watch and Allergan's David Pyott is the person to watch

Developers Plan Condos Near Train Hub

Developers are planning a four-story condominium building next to the Metrolink train station in Anaheim's The Canyon business park.

UCI Chancellor Acts,and Talks; Enron 'Dunned'

UCI Chancellor Acts,and Talks; Enron 'Dunned'

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Lipitor Patent Win Boosts Pfizer Shares

A patent victory on its biggest selling drug Lipitor boosted Pfizer Inc.'s shares nearly 8% Monday as a major uncertainty was eliminated, even though other significant challenges remain.

Stage set for Election Drama; Tunnel Fight

It'll be another big year at the polls with several key local races joining the governor battle on the state front. Government consulting firm Forde and Mollrich is the company to watch and county treasurer John Moorlach is the person to watch

Modest Growth on Tap, Yield Curve a Worry

Banks should see asset and deposit growth slow amid higher interest rates.

Pressures Could Temper Strong Retail Sales Expectations

A slowing economy could temper retail sales growth next year, though solid gains are expected

Epicor's CRS Buy: Bold, Long-Term Play

Epicor Software made a bold move in its big buy, in the Technology column

Entrepreneurs Give $1M to Coastline

Real estate developer Frank Jao and sandwich shop entrepreneur Chieu Le gave a combined $1 million to kickstart a fund raising bid by Coastline Community College's foundation.

Friday, December 16

J & J; To Buy Insulin Deliverer Animas

Johnson & Johnson on Friday said it agreed to acquire Animas Corp., a maker of insulin delivery systems, for $518 million in cash.

Sprint Nextel Buying Enterprise

Sprint Nextel Corp. on Friday said it will buy wireless affiliate Enterprise Communications partnership, which provides Sprint PCS services in Alabama and Georgia, for about $98 million, including debt.

Report: Cerberus to Get Albertsons

A group made up of Cerberus Capital, Kimco Realty Corp and grocer Supervalu Inc. is poised to win the auction for grocery retailer Albertsons Inc. with a bid of about $9.6 billion, or $26 a share, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Buy.com Lowers IPO Price

Aliso Viejo-based Internet retailer Buy.com Inc. cut the expected price for its initial public offering shares to $8, down from $11 to $13.

OC Unemployment Rate at 3.7%

Orange County's unemployment rate fell to 3.7% in November, the state Employment Development Department said Friday.

Quiksilver Sales, Profit Jump in Q4

Huntington Beach surfwear maker Quiksilver Inc. said Friday it saw a fourth-quarter sales bang from a big ski and golf acquisition earlier this year.

Thursday, December 15

Philips Explores Options for Chip Unit

Royal Philips Electronics NV said Thursday it will consider merger and acquisition options for its semiconductor business, formerly headed by Broadcom Corp. Chief Executive Scott McGregor.

Inamed OKs Allergan Offer

Irvine-based Allergan Inc. saw its $3.2 billion offer for Santa Barbara's Inamed Corp. approved by directors of the cosmetic surgery products maker on Thursday.

Goldman, Bear Earnings Rise

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on Thursday capped a record year with a 37% rise in quarterly profit, but its shares slipped as the Wall Street powerhouse fell shy of estimates and revenue dropped from the previous quarter.

State Senate Vote Set for June 6

An election to fill John Campbell's former state senate seat will be held June 6, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Thursday.

November Home Median Near High

The median price of a home sold in Orange County hit $616,000 in November, up 14% from a year ago. November's median is $10,000 more than October and just $1,000 below the record high for the county, set in August.

Consumer Prices Fall on Energy Drop

Consumer prices fell 0.6% in November, the largest decline in 56 years, as energy prices posted a record 8% drop, the government said on Thursday in a report that eased inflation concerns.

Fed OKs Bank of America's MBNA Buy

The Federal Reserve on Thursday approved Bank of America Corp.'s proposed $35 billion takeover of MBNA Corp., the largest independent U.S. credit card lender.

Sale of Auto Parts Maker on Tap

A buyer of bankrupt auto parts maker American Remanufacturers Inc. of Anaheim could be known as early as Friday.

Merck Ups Cost-Cut Estimate

Merck & Co. on Thursday said it now expects cost savings of $4.5 billion to $5 billion through 2010, about $1 billion more than the savings it had recently projected through elimination of 7,000 jobs and manufacturing improvements.

Court Reverses $10B Altria Verdict

The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday reversed a $10.1 billion verdict against Philip Morris USA, ordering a lower court to dismiss the case in which the company was accused of defrauding customers into thinking "light" cigarettes were safer than regular

Bolsa Chica Developer Gets Permit

Irvine-based developer California Coastal Communities Inc. said Thursday it gained approval from the California Coastal Commission to build 349 homes on the upper portion of the Bolsa Chica Mesa in Huntington Beach.

Wednesday, December 14

Seagate to buy Maxtor for $1.9B in stock

Seagate Technology on Wednesday said it would buy rival computer disk-drive maker Maxtor Corp. for $1.9 billion in stock, aiming to cut combined costs and drive development of new products.

General Dynamics Buys Anteon for $2.1B

Defense contractor General Dynamics Corp. on Wednesday agreed to buy Anteon International Corp. for about $2.1 billion in cash, in a move to expand its technology services to the government and military.

Mortgage Applications Fall

Mortgage applications fell to an 11-month low last week on a drop in demand for loans to buy homes, suggesting a slowdown in the housing market, according to industry data on Wednesday.

Experian Pays $500M for Shopping Site

Costa Mesa-based Experian Information Solutions Inc. has paid nearly $500 million for a Los Angeles-based comparison shopping Web site, its biggest acquisition since 1998, the company said Wednesday.

Diedrich Coffee Taps Coffey as CEO

Diedrich Coffee Inc. said late Tuesday that Roger M. Laverty is out as chief executive of the coffee house chain. Stephen V. Coffey was named chief executive.

GE, Partners in Talks to Buy Arden Realty

General Electric Co. and other investors are in advanced talks to buy real estate investment trust Arden Realty Inc. in what would be one of the company's largest real estate purchases, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Report: 3 Deaths Linked to Guidant

Guidant Corp. has filed reports with the Food and Drug Administration about three new deaths associated with short circuits in its heart devices, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Seagate to Buy Maxtor for $1.9B

Seagate Technology on Wednesday said it would buy rival computer disk-drive maker Maxtor Corp. for $1.9 billion in stock, aiming to cut combined costs and drive development of new products.

Honeywell Eyes 2006 Growth

Industrial and aerospace conglomerate Honeywell International Inc. said on Wednesday it expects earnings to increase by up to 30% in 2006 on the back of a robust aircraft demand, sending its shares up nearly 4%.

Edwards Names CFO, Global President

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. on Wednesday named Thomas Abate as its chief financial officer and treasurer.

Report: Ameriquest Could Pay $325M

Ameriquest Mortgage Co.'s pending settlement with 33 states could have the Orange-based subprime mortgage lender pay $325 million and overhaul its business practices, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

GE, Partners in Talks to Buy Arden

General Electric Co. and other investors are in advanced talks to buy real estate investment trust Arden Realty Inc. in what would be one of the company's largest real estate purchases, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 13

Gross: One More Rate Hike

A shift in the housing market could cause the Federal Reserve to cap its rate hiking at one more quarter-point increase, Bill Gross of Newport Beach-based Pacific Investment Management Co. said Tuesday on CNBC.

Sybron Falls After Earnings, Outlook

Shares of Newport Beach-based Sybron Dental Specialties Inc. slumped Tuesday after the company reported financial results for its most recent quarter and gave its outlook for 2006.

Cox Sees Corporate Penalties Pact

Seeking to settle a long-running debate within the Securities and Exchange Commission, Chairman Christopher Cox said on Wednesday he expects formal agreement soon on when the SEC should use its power to slap corporations with large monetary fines.

Nov. Retail Sales Rise Slightly

Retail sales posted a moderate increase in November as plunging gasoline prices left consumers with money to spend at the mall.

Medicis Bows Out for Inamed

Irvine-based Allergan Inc.'s $3.2 billion takeover bid for Inamed Corp. moved a bit closer to fruition Tuesday.

Viacom To Sell Theme Parks

Viacom Inc. is ready to sell theme parks owned by its Paramount Pictures division, as well as book publisher Simon & Schuster, chairman Sumner Redstone said on Tuesday.

Amgen to Buy Abgenix for $2.2B

Amgen Inc., the world's largest biotechnology company, said on Wednesday that it plans to acquire Abgenix Inc. for about for $22.50 per share, or about $2.2 billion, in cash, plus assumption of debt.

October Business Inventories Rise

Business inventories rose a smaller-than-expected 0.3% in October, remaining at historically lean levels, a Commerce Department report showed on Tuesday.

Fed Raises Rate, Drops Reference to 'Accommodation'

Federal Reserve policy makers raised the main U.S. interest rate to 4.25%, the 13th rate boost in a row, and signaled they may soon end their run of increases.

Fed Set To Raise Rates, Could Be Done

Federal Reserve officials gathered on Tuesday for a meeting that seemed certain to end with a 13th straight interest-rate hike and possibly a signal that a 1-1/2 year rate-rise campaign was winding down.

Trade Gap Hits Record

The U.S. trade deficit widened unexpectedly in October to a record $68.9 billion, government data showed on Wednesday, setting the stage for a sharp slowdown in economic growth in the fourth quarter.

HP Sees Strong Profit

Hewlett-Packard Co., the world's No. 2 computer maker, on Tuesday forecast earnings above Wall Street forecasts for the current fiscal year, but revenue could miss expectations.

Sage Boosts UK Parent

Orange County's largest software company, Sage Software Inc. in Irvine, brought added annual sales and profits to its parent company in the past year.

Monday, December 12

Epicor Pays $121M For Software Maker Aimed at Retailers

Irvine business software maker Epicor Software Corp. said last week it bought Newburgh, N.Y.-based CRS Retail Systems Inc. for $121 million in cash.

Lennar Courting Anaheim's Top Restaurants

Lennar is looking to woo some landmark restaurants to its Platinum Triangle development in Anaheim

Cooper Profit Falls on Acquisition

Lake Forest-based Cooper Cos. said Monday that costs from its buy of Ocular Sciences hurt profits in the quarter ended Oct. 31.

KEEPING TABS

The Business Journal looks back on its picks to watch in 2005 on the technology, healthcare, government, finance, manufacturing, tourism, trade and real estate beats

GIVING

Fund-raisers and charitable donations from companies and people

Maloofs-to-Anaheim Rumors Hot; Higby Rankled Deep Throat

Maloofs-to-Anaheim Rumors Hot; Higby Rankled Deep Throat

Congress, Immigration

Politicians beware: The immigration issue isn't going away. By Rick Reiff

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Federal Vioxx Case to Be Retried

The nation's first federal Vioxx trial ended Monday with a hung jury, but the case involving the 2001 death of a Florida man who took the once-popular painkiller for a month will be retried, a judge said.

Lennar Looking to Lure Top Restaurants

Homebuilder Lennar Corp. is courting two legendary Anaheim restaurants to move to the city's Platinum Triangle redevelopment area.

Bowers Lands $1M for Asian Gallery

Santa Ana's Bowers Museum has landed a big donation toward an art gallery

LETTERS

Reaction to last week's El Toro airport battle recap; OCTax; JWA, in Letters

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

Whirlpool to Lay Off 730 Workers

Appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. announced Monday it plans to lay off 730 workers at its refrigerator plant in Fort Smith, Ark.

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

That Time Already? ASR Readies for January Show

The Action Sports Retailer Trade Expo is ramping up for its January show, in the Media & Marketing column

WD Shares Jump on Industry Outlook, Share Buyback

Western Digital is seeing the love from Wall Street, in the Technology column

Sage Lifts UK Parent; Small-Business Sales a Concern

Sage Software's North American unit had a pretty healthy year

Allergan Opens $60M Drug, Disease Research Center

Allergan has opened its $60 million Herbert Research Center, in the Healthcare column

Mina Opening Stonehill Tavern at Old Aqua in St. Regis

Fifi charts the changes coming to the former Aqua space at the Montage Resort, in the Executive Dining column

Delta, Pilots Reach Tentative Deal

Bankrupt Delta Air Lines Inc., the third largest U.S. airline, said it reached a tentative interim agreement with the union representing its more than 6,000 pilots that will cut hourly wages by at least 14%.

MARKET WATCH

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

Buena Park Downtown Gets Tower Records, Others

Buena Park Downtown has three big stores set to debut next year, in the Marketplace column

Challenge for New Sunwest Boss: Spotty Growth

Sunwest Bank has a new chief executive charged with improving its spotty growth

MAI's Going MIA From Public Markets

MAI Systems cited costs to maintain its public listing for a move to go private

ConocoPhillips To Buy Burlington

Oil major ConocoPhillips is in talks to buy independent natural gas producer Burlington Resources Inc. for more than $30 billion, sources familiar with the situation said on Monday.

Court Rejects Appeal in Sandisk Case

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by digital media manufacturers that are battling a patent infringement lawsuit filed by flash data storage card maker SanDisk Corp.

REAL ESTATE WATCH - South County

South County is running out of office space. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Real Estate Acquisition: Mueller Joins Business Journal

Shea Properties hired a key executive, in the Real Estate column

Baxter, Its Acquisitions Spanned Fraternity of Healthcare Executives

Baxter has cut an incredibly long shadow over OC's device sector

D.C. Transplant Joins Business Journal as Real Estate Reporter

The Business Journal's next real estate reporter hails from the Washington, D.C., area

Friday, December 9

Electronic Arts Buying JAMDAT for $680M

Electronic Arts Inc. said on Thursday it had agreed to buy JAMDAT Mobile Inc. for $27 a share in cash and also assume outstanding stock options for a total of about $680 million.

MAI Moving to Go Private

Lake Forest-based MAI Systems Corp. recently pulled the plug on its stock listing on the over-the-counter stock exchange.

Alltel Spinning Off Unit in $4.9B Deal

Alltel Corp. on Friday said it would spin off to shareholders its local-telephone unit and company the business with Valor Communications Group Inc. in a deal worth $4.9 billion.

Buy.com IPO Could Be This Week

Aliso Viejo-based Internet retailer Buy.com Inc. is expected to price and sell shares in its initial public offering this week.

Report: Paramount Bidding for DreamWorks

Viacom Inc. unit Paramount Pictures is preparing to bid for live action film studio DreamWorks SKG, which already is in talks with General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

New Reporter For Business Journal

Real estate and financial reporter Mark Mueller has joined the Orange County Business Journal.

Peregrine Loss Up on R & D; Costs

Tustin-based drug developer Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Friday that higher research and staffing costs led to a larger loss in the quarter ended Oct. 31.

Thursday, December 8

Two Firms to Bid for Dunkin' Donuts

Two groups of private-equity firms plan to submit bids Thursday to buy Dunkin' Donuts, the nation's biggest coffee-and-doughnut chain, from the French company that acquired it as part of a bigger deal last summer, two people familiar with the groups' plan

Intel Narrows Revenue Forecast

Intel Corp., the world's biggest chipmaker, on Thursday narrowed the range of its current-quarter revenue forecast toward the middle of its previous guidance.

SAC Capital: Undecided on Allergan Bid

A hedge fund manager with a 9.5% stake in Inamed Corp. said Thursday it hadn't decided whether to support Allergan Inc.'s $3.2 billion offer for the company.

House Passes Tax Cut Retaining Rates

The House voted Thursday to preserve tax cuts for investors through the rest of the decade, safeguarding the centerpiece of the Republican tax agenda in a $56 billion package of tax breaks.

Chapman's 2006 Forecast: Job Growth to Slow, Housing Prices to Fall 4.2%

Orange County job growth is expected to slow next year, with housing prices taking their first dip in years, according to Chapman University's 2006 forecast released Thursday.

Bron Cutting United PanAm Stake

Pan American Financial LP, which is largely controlled by investor Guillermo "Bill" Bron, plans to sell a $74 million stake in Newport Beach-based United PanAm Financial Corp., the company said Thursday.

Micro Therapeutics Buy Near

A deal to buy Irvine-based Micro Therapeutics Inc. for some $115 million is set to wrap up in early January, acquirer Ev3 Inc. said Thursday.

Living Costs Seen as Threat to Growth

Growth for small-businesses could be held back by service sector "exhaustion" and rising living costs in the region, according to a Wells Fargo & Co. survey of small business owners in Orange and Los Angeles counties released Wednesday.

Boston Scientific Recalls Device

Boston Scientific Corp. said on Thursday it was voluntarily recalling all of its Flextome Cutting Balloon systems, products used to help cut through fatty deposits in diseased arteries, because of a malfunction that could require additional surgery.

Texas Instruments Upbeat

Texas Instruments Inc. lifted the low end of its fourth-quarter earnings forecast range while narrowing its sales forecast range.

Wednesday, December 7

Ingram Affirms Quarterly Outlook

Santa Ana's Ingram Micro Inc., the largest distributor of technology products, reaffirmed its sales and earnings projections for the current quarter.

Boston Scientific Sees Q1 Guidant Deal

Boston Scientific Corp. said on Wednesday it expects to sign a definitive merger agreement with Guidant Corp. by the end of December and to close the deal in the first quarter of 2006.

November Layoff Plans Rise: Survey

Planned layoffs in November were the highest since July as the automotive sector led all industries in job cuts, a report said on Wednesday.

Calpine Fights Default Notice

Debt trustees have served Calpine Corp. with a notice saying the company faces default on $3 billion in notes unless it immediately repays almost $312 million that it improperly spent to buy fuel.

Clean Energy Buys Texas Plant

Seal Beach-based Clean Energy Fuels Inc. said Wednesday that it paid more than $14 million to buy a liquefied natural gas plant from Applied LNG Technologies USA LLC.

Microsoft to Invest $1.7B in India

Microsoft Corp. plans to invest $1.7 billion in India over four years to deepen its presence in the fast-growing software powerhouse, Chairman Bill Gates said on Wednesday.

Consumer Borrowing Falls

Consumer borrowing plunged in October by a record amount in dollar terms, reflecting a big drop in demand for auto loans.

Campbell Handily Wins Runoff

John Campbell, a Republican state senator out of Irvine, handily won the special election for Chris Cox's former House of Representatives seat.

New Century: Rates, Loan Volume Up

Subprime mortgage lender New Century Financial Corp.'s loan volume was $5.1 billion in November, up 42% from a year ago, the company reported Wednesday. The Irvine-based lender said it has been boosting the interest rate on the loans it makes to protect p

Tuesday, December 6

J & J; Seen Walking Away from Guidant

Johnson & Johnson, facing a rival bid for Guidant Corp., on Tuesday said it was committed to the transaction but failed to raise its offering price, signaling to many on Wall Street that it may walk away from the deal.

Boston Bid No Shock to Guidant, J

Boston Scientific Corp.'s bold attempt to snatch Guidant Corp. from Johnson & Johnson may have surprised Wall Street, but J & J; knew about overtures from its rival last month and still pressed for a better price, a regulatory filing said.

Epicor: $121M for Retail Software Maker

Irvine business software maker Epicor Software Corp. said Tuesday it bought Newburgh, N.Y.-based CRS Retail Systems Inc. for $121 million in cash.

Boeing Sees Plane Orders Dipping in '06

Boeing Co. expects a dip in commercial plane orders next year after a record-setting surge in 2005, a senior executive at the plane maker said on Tuesday.

Campbell Poised to Win Tuesday Vote

GOP state lawmaker John Campbell was the odds-on favorite to win a special election Tuesday to fill the congressional seat left vacant when Republican Christopher Cox resigned to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Productivity Strong, Factory Orders Up

U.S. business productivity grew swiftly in the third quarter and factory orders rebounded in October, the government said on Tuesday, suggesting a robust economy with little price pressure outside of energy costs.

Cooper Expands in Pacific Rim

Lake Forest-based Cooper Cos. said Tuesday that its CooperVision contact lens unit has set up marketing, distribution and administrative operations in Singapore and Malaysia.

SimpleTech Down on Outlook

Santa Ana-based SimpleTech Inc. said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter sales and profit would be lower than expected.

Inamed Calls Allergan Offer Superior

Irvine-based Allergan Inc. has finalized terms to buy breast implant maker Inamed Corp. in a deal Inamed's board calls superior to a lesser offer from Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp.

Productivity Up, Inflation Tame

Business productivity advanced at a strong 4.7% annual rate in the third quarter, more swiftly than first reported, according to a report on Tuesday that showed little inflation pressure.

Monday, December 5

LA Times Revisits OC; Tunnel May Fly; Henry's Vision

LA Times Revisits OC; Tunnel May Fly; Henry's Vision

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

Liberty Media Buying Provide for $477M

Media conglomerate Liberty Media Corp. on Monday said it would buy online shopping sites company Provide Commerce Inc. for $477 million, a move that expands Liberty's QVC home shopping network.

REAL ESTATE DEALS

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

Gilchrist Gears up for Tuesday Vote

Jim Gilchrist, the cofounder of the Minuteman Project of armed citizen border patrols, stepped up campaigning Monday for a special congressional election.

Gateway-HP Spat Is Finally Coming to a Head

Gateway's patent battle with HP has moved ahead on a few legal fronts

Ford To Close More Than 8 Plants

Ford Motor Co plans to close more than eight North American assembly and parts plants in a drive to revive faltering operations on the continent, industry paper Automotive News reported on Monday.

Ambulance Operators Face Medicare Rate Cuts

Ambulance operators fear next year's cuts to Medicare reimbursement rates

Austin Taylor's Going Metro, Planning South County Move

Men's tailor Austin Taylor plans to open a boutique within Irvine's Metro For Men, in the Marketplace column

Alliance Imaging: Guarded 2006 Outlook

Medical scanning company Alliance Imaging Inc. of Anaheim on Monday gave a guarded outlook for 2006, citing soft business from hospitals, cost management efforts by insurers, an oversupply of imaging services and even "the lingering effects of Hurricanes

The Grounding of El Toro

A key anti-airport leader looks back on the battle. Commentary by Leonard Kranser, editor of the El Toro Info Site, www.eltoroairport.org

Rubio's Opening at Pond

Carlsbad-based Rubio's Restaurants Inc. is taking a high-profile step into the back yard of rival Wahoo's Fish Taco with plans to open two restaurants inside the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim early next year.

Covering OC Real Estate Is a Blast,But Will it Blow?

It's been a wild ride for the Business Journal's former real estate reporter, in the Real Estate column

Volcom Names Euro Chief, Tightens Grip on International Unit

Volcom hired a new European chief and brought its Swiss distribution operations in-house

Buy.com Ratchets Back Size of Planned Stock Offering

Buy.com has cut the size of its planned stock offering, in the Technology column

Banks Post Solid Deposit Growth in Q3

The biggest banks and thrifts here recorded deposit growth and flat employment in the third quarter

Back to El Toro, Ahead to El Tunnel

Tunnel backers could learn from the El Toro airport fight, an Editorial by Rick Reiff

Verizon Weighs Sale of Directories

Verizon Communications said it would look at selling or spinning off its domestic directories publishing unit as it focuses on its wireless, high-speed data and corporate customers.

Southland Boards Count Few Female Members

Women hold relatively few directors' seats in the Southland

Ad Spending Seen Rising in 2006

Global and U.S. advertising spending is expected to rise next year, driven by emerging markets such as China, online ad sales and the advertising surge created by the Winter Olympics and political spending, two media industry forecasters said on Monday.

Boston Scientific: Not Worried by Recalls

Top executives at Boston Scientific Corp. said on Monday they are confident their deal to buy Guidant Corp. for about $25 billion will go through despite Guidant's recall of some products and an existing takeover offer from Johnson & Johnson.

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Sluggish Medicare Drug Enrollment Could Spur Shakeout

Sluggish enrollment for Medicare prescription coverage could lead to a shakeout among companies offering plans

Healthcare Cost Cuts at Center of TriZetto's Buy

TriZetto recently played a business relationship into an acquisition, in the Healthcare column

McGregor: Channeling Communications Boom

Broadcom Chief Executive Scott McGregor is nearing his first anniversary at the chipmaker

REAL ESTATE WATCH - RETAIL

The county's retail real estate sector was fairly strong in the third quarter. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Becker Tweaking Web Site for Holiday Season

Becker Surfboards has a few promotions on its Web site to lure holiday shoppers, in the Media & Marketing column

Capriccio Italiano Ristorante's a Fifi Rave for Decades

Capriccio Italiano Ristorante has been a Fifi Chao favorite for decades, in the Executive Dining column

Home Depot Boosts Orange Call Center Operations for Expo

Home Depot has set up a call center in Orange for its Western region Expo Design Centers

Home Depot Boosts Orange Call Center

Home Depot Inc. has set up a major customer service center at its Western division headquarters in Orange.

MARKET WATCH

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

Friday, December 2

Ceradyne Slumps on Offering Concerns

Shares of Costa Mesa-based Ceradyne Inc. slumped about 7% early Friday on concerns about a debt and stock offering by the maker of bulletproof vests and other industrial ceramics.

Banks: Higher Deposits, Flat Assets

The largest Orange County-based banks and thrifts saw a 7% gain in deposits in the third quarter, with overall lending and employment flat.

Valeant Soars on Report

Shares of Costa Mesa-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International jumped more than 10% Friday after an analyst raised revenue expectations on the drug maker in the wake of an acquisition earlier this week.

Abbott: No Interest in Boston Scientific

Abbott Laboratories Inc. on Friday said it has no interest in acquiring medical device maker Boston Scientific Corp., whose shares rallied to their highest price since August on takeover talk.

Fed Official Hints at More Rate Rises

The Federal Reserve probably is not yet finished raising interest rates and must monitor price gains to prevent an "unacceptable rise" in inflation, a top central bank official said on Friday.

Allergan, Inspire Pursuing Drug

Irvine-based Allergan Inc. said Friday it plans to continue working with Inspire Pharmaceuticals Inc. in its bid to get regulatory approval for a dry-eye treatment.

Steakhouse Morton's Files To Go Public

Morton's Restaurant Group Inc., which owns and operates 69 upscale steakhouses and four Italian restaurants, said on Friday that it and stockholders plan to sell shares in an initial public offering of common stock.

Job Growth Rebounds After Storms

The U.S. job market sprung back last month from a hurricane-induced slowdown as nonfarm employers added 215,000 workers, according to a government report on Friday that showed the economy on solid ground.

First Big SEC Fines Under Cox

The Securities and Exchange Commission has imposed its first large fines under new Chairman Christopher Cox.

Ford Likely to Close Five plants

Ford Motor Co. is likely to close five plants that employ about 7,500 workers, or about 6% of the company's North American workforce, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Inflation Pressures Fall in Nov.

U.S. inflation pressures slipped in November, influenced by data on jobs, loans, input prices and vendor performance, according to a report on Friday.

Thursday, December 1

GM, Ford, Chrysler: Lower Sales

General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group on Thursday reported lower sales in November, led by big declines in sales of profitable but fuel-thirsty sport utility vehicles.

Ceradyne Plans Stock, Bond Sale

Costa Mesa-based Ceradyne Inc. said Thursday it plans to raise about $185 million in stock and debt offerings.

Buyout Trio Mulls Knight Ridder Bid

Three private equity firms have formed an alliance to consider buying newspaper publisher Knight Ridder Inc., sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

FDA OKs Edwards Trial Restart

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. said Thursday that the Food and Drug Administration has conditionally approved its plans to restart a clinical trial for the company's less-invasive Cribier-Edwards heart valve that is inserted without open-heart surgery.

PacSun, Wet Seal Sales Up

Foothill Ranch-based Wet Seal Inc. and Anaheim's Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. reported same-store sales gains in November.

Yum: Earnings in Line With Estimates

Yum Brands Inc., parent of the KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut restaurant chains, on Thursday forecast 2006 earnings in line with Wall Street expectations and said it would no longer provide quarterly profit outlooks.

Retailers Eye Dec. After Slow Start

Retailers looked to December to salvage the critical holiday season after posting smaller-than-expected sales growth in November, despite deep discounts that lured throngs of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers, chain stores reported on Thursday.

Data: Solid Growth, Tame Inflation

Consumer spending rose in October and factory output also was robust in November, though this growth failed to stoke significant inflation, according to reports on Thursday.

Spending Up, Jobless Claims Fall

U.S. consumer spending rose 0.2% in October, driving the personal saving rate into negative territory for the fifth straight month, while jobless claims fell last week, government reports showed on Thursday.

Most Local Automakers Cheer Nov.

It was a positive November on the sales front for all but two locally-based automaker units.

Digital River buying Commerce5

A Minneapolis-based e-commerce company is buying Aliso Viejo-based Commerce5 Inc. in a $45 million deal, the companies said Thursday.

Sunwest Bank Names New CEO

Tustin-based Sunwest Bank said Thursday it hired Glenn E. Gray as president and chief executive. Gray joins Sunwest after a decade-long career with Scottsdale-based Finova Group Inc., where he most recently was chief operating officer.

Factory Activity Slows in November

Growth in U.S. manufacturing slowed in November but remained comparatively robust, while a cut in prices paid by companies signaled tamer inflationary pressures, according to a survey published on Thursday.