Stories for September 2005

Friday, September 30

Airlines Look to Cut Flights, Up Fares

American Airlines plans to cancel 15 daily round-trip domestic flights from its two largest hub airports because of the skyrocketing price of jet fuel, the No. 1 U.S. air carrier said on Friday.

Consumer Spending Dips

Hurricane Katrina has knocked the economy for a loop, and whether it revives or slips into recession depends on whether nervous consumers are willing to spend more.

Wal-Mart Shifting Executives

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Friday said the heads of its U.S. and international operations would switch roles, and both men were promoted to the post of vice chairman.

Cities Press Time Warner, Comcast

Some cities aren't exactly putting out the welcome mat for Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Inc., which plan to take over the regional operations of bankrupt Adelphia Communications.

Thales Tapped for Boeing Dreamliner

Boeing Co. said Friday that it will recommend buyers of its 787 Dreamliner airplane use an inflight entertainment system made by Thales in Irvine.

OC: Most Million-Dollar Homes

Orange County is tops in the nation in million-dollar homes, according to a recent Census report.

Adelphia Accountants Charged

U.S. securities regulators said on Friday they have charged two accountants over their roles auditing the financial statements of bankrupt cable company Adelphia Communications Corp.

Consumer Spending Falls

U.S. consumer spending fell an unexpectedly steep 0.5% in August, the biggest drop since November 2001, according to a government report on Friday that also showed a surprise income decline potentially caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Thursday, September 29

Economy Grew at 3.3% Rate in Q2

The economy expanded at a steady 3.3% annual rate in the second quarter, the same as previously estimated despite slightly stronger consumer spending and business investment than previously thought, the Commerce Department said on Thursday.

E*Trade Buying BrownCo for $1.6B

Online brokerage E*Trade Financial Corp. said on Thursday it would buy BrownCo from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. for $1.6 billion, its second major acquisition in the rapidly consolidating discount brokerage business since August.

GE Buying IDX for $1.2B

General Electric Co. will pay $1.2 billion to acquire IDX Systems Corp., a healthcare technology vendor, the companies said Thursday.

Diedrich Quarterly Loss Widens

Irvine-based coffeehouse chain Diedrich Coffee Inc. said Thursday that its loss in the quarter ended June 29 widened versus a year earlier.

Manufacturers Cut Growth Outlook

A manufacturing group on Thursday cut its outlook for 2005 growth and factory output due to the destruction of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, but said economic expansion should rebound in 2006 as rebuilding begins.

Allergan in Eye Treatment Partnership

Irvine-based Allergan Inc. said Thursday it has partnered with Sirna Therapeutics Inc. to develop treatments for age-related blindness.

Ford to Cut Suppliers

Ford Motor Co. on Thursday said it will cut its suppliers by about half and award key parts makers larger, long-term contracts in a move to reduce costs globally and stem losses in North America.

Valeant Gets S & P; Reprieve

Costa Mesa-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International got a debt rating boost from Standard & Poor's on Thursday, marking another step in the drug maker's transformation.

Economy Solid Before Hurricanes

The economy was growing solidly before hurricanes Katrina and Rita, whose double blow is expected to make for rocky business activity in the months ahead.

Poll: Californians Outlook Negative

Californians have turned pessimistic about the outlook for the state's economy.

Wednesday, September 28

Home Mortgages Fell Last Week

Applications for home mortgages fell last week as rising interest rates deterred borrowers from refinancing their existing home loans and taking out new ones, an industry trade group said on Wednesday.

El Pollo Loco Selling

Irvine-based El Pollo Loco Inc. is being sold three months after the Mexican fast-food chain's owner put it on the block.

Chapman: $13M for Real Estate Study

Two donors have given $13 million toward the creation of an institute for real estate at Chapman University, the school said Wednesday.

Resources Posts Sales, Profit Gain

Costa Mesa-based Resources Connection Inc. said Wednesday that work related to Sarbanes-Oxley accounting reform helped spur revenue and profits in the quarter ended Aug. 31.

Durable Goods Orders Jump in August

Orders for durable goods jumped more than expected in August, suggesting the economy was on a firm footing before two hurricanes devastated the Gulf Coast in late August and September.

SEC Inquires on TriZetto Accounting

Newport Beach-based TriZetto Group Inc. said Wednesday that the Securities and Exchange Commission has inquired into its accounting practices.

DaimlerChrysler to Cut 8,500 Jobs

Automaker DaimlerChrysler AG said Wednesday it will cut 8,500 jobs in Germany at its Mercedes Car Group in a bid to return the troubled brand to profitability.

White House Expects 3Q Slowdown

White House economist Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday that the administration expects the hurricanes that battered the Gulf Coast to shave up to 1% from the U.S. growth rate in the third quarter, but that there was little chance of a recession.

Tribune to Appeal $1B Tax Court Ruling

Newspaper publisher Tribune Co. on Wednesday said it would appeal a federal court ruling against it for approximately $1 billion in tax deficiencies.

Lenovo Eyes More China PC Share

Lenovo, the third-largest maker of personal computers, aims to expand its share of China's fiercely competitive PC market to 35% by the end of 2005, a senior executive said on Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 27

WellPoint Buying WellChoice for $6.5B

Health insurer WellPoint Inc. on Tuesday said it has agreed to buy WellChoice Inc. for nearly $6.5 billion in cash and stock, in a deal that would give WellPoint a stronger presence in the U.S. Northeast.

Crude Eases as Refiners Under Gun

Crude oil slipped toward $65 on Tuesday after Saudi Arabia said there were no takers for OPEC's spare barrels with hurricane-battered U.S. refineries still closed and a strike at one of Europe's biggest plants.

Consumer Confidence Sinks

Consumer confidence suffered its biggest drop in 15 years in September as Hurricane Katrina made Americans anxious about the rising costs of heating their homes and filling their gas tanks. The decline raised questions about consumer spending for the rest

No Timeline Set for Burger King IPO

Burger King Corp. has not set the timing for an initial public offering, though one is likely in the next few years, Chairman and Chief Executive Greg Brenneman said on Tuesday at the Reuters Consumer and Retail Summit, held at Reuters U.S. headquarters i

Asian Plant Problems Hurt Meade

Irvine-based Meade Instruments Corp. said Tuesday that problems at an Asian plant led to a drop in sales and a wider loss for the quarter ended August 31.

Chain Store Sales Slow

Chain store sales slowed in the fourth week of September, as retailers complained of sluggish sales due to weather, a report said on Tuesday.

Greenspan: Economy Needs to be Flexible

Asset prices "invariably" fall after long periods of high risk taking in markets, and a flexible economy is better able to withstand the inevitable blow, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Tuesday.

Subprime Pain: ECC Cuts Dividend

Irvine-based ECC Capital Corp., parent company of mortgage financer Encore Credit, said Tuesday it's cutting its third-quarter dividend by 18% from the second in another sign of trouble for subprime lenders.

Diedrich Restates Results for 2002-04

Irvine-based coffeehouse chain Diedrich Coffee Inc. filed restated annual reports on Tuesday for 2002 through 2004 that reflect changes in its accounting for leases.

Toshiba Buys Danka Unit

Irvine-based Toshiba America Business Solutions Inc. bought the Latin American unit of Danka Business Systems PLC, the companies said Tuesday.

Greenspan: Economy Flexible

In a speech that seemed to warn of a pending correction in housing prices, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Tuesday that asset prices "invariably" fall after long periods of big credit risk taking, and a flexible economy is better able to w

Apria Sale Could Be Drawn Out

Lake Forest-based home healthcare provider Apria Healthcare Group Inc. has seen buyer interest, but a sale could be drawn out because of a lawsuit, debt and Medicare issues, analysts said.

Monday, September 26

Business Backers of Governor Showing Concern

Business supporters of the governor are showing some concern about his re-election bid

Porsche Drops on VW Stake Bid

Porsche shares fell on concern its plan to take a 20% stake in Volkswagen would wipe out cash that the world's most profitable carmaker might have given investors.

Quantum Fuel Unit Buys Limo Builder

Tecstar Automotive Group, a unit of Irvine-based Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide Inc., acquired a limousine builder for $600,000.

Martin: New Fund, New Apprentices

A retired venture investor has launched a hedge fund

Volcom Revives on Upgrade

Shares of Volcom Inc. regained a little past glory on Monday as shares of the surfwear maker surged 9% on an upgrade from Wachovia Securities.

Boeing Reaches Deal to End Strike

Boeing Co. has reached a tentative pact with workers at its commercial plan division that could end a three-week strike that threatened to impact scores of local suppliers.

Fluor: $100M Gulf Pact May Be Part of Billions

A $100 million contract awarded to Fluor could be the start of billions of dollars in work stemming from Hurricane Katrina

Web Growth Drives Multimedia Services; an Eye on Tinseltown

A look at what demands multimedia companies are seeing from their clients

LETTERS

Arthritis has set into the joints of the once powerful CIA, in Letters

OC Film Commission Gets Funding Elsewhere, Activity Picking Up

The Orange County Film Commission has hustled to get funding

Women's Pavilion Ushers in 10-Year Hoag Expansion

Hoag Memorial's new chief executive starts the job as the Women's Pavilion opens, in the Healthcare column

Amp'd Inks $67M Funding, Leaves Aliso Viejo

An Aliso Viejo startup moved to Los Angeles to be closer to the region's entertainment hub

KUDOS

A look at people, companies and institutions receiving awards, accolades, grants and other honors

Eyeing Move-ups With Million-Dollar Tustin Homes

Two homebuilders are putting up million-dollar homes at the former Tustin Marine base, in the Real Estate column

Walgreen Hurt by Katrina Charge

No. 1 drugstore chain Walgreen Co. on Monday said fourth-quarter profit rose slightly as it took a $54.7 million charge for expenses tied to Hurricane Katrina damage.

FileNet to Pay $11M for Software Maker

FileNet to Pay $11M for Software Maker

August Median Home Price Up 10%

The median price of a house in Orange County was $716,300 in August, up 10.3% from a year earlier, the California Association of Realtors said Monday.

Existing Home Sales Rise

Sales of existing U.S. homes rose 2% in August to the second highest level on record, the National Association of Realtors said on Monday.

THEY SAY: Learning from Katrina

Leadership starts with the president's administration; from Mark Lacter's Commentary in the Sept. 12 Los Angeles Business Journal:

Bren Has Plans For Harbor Island; Nguyen's Journeys

Bren Has Plans For Harbor Island; Nguyen's Journeys

Real Estate Watch: Manufacturing and Warehouse

Industrial Dips in Q2, But Gains Expected. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

Suppliers Watch, Wait as Jet Strike Plays Out at Boeing

Suppliers to Boeing are watching and waiting to see how production will be affected amid a machinists strike

Delphi: Possible Bankruptcy

Shares of Delphi Corp., the largest U.S. auto-parts maker, sank Monday following more comments by the company's top executive indicating Delphi may file for bankruptcy protection soon.

PEOPLE

Orange County Businesspeople in the news, on the move

Gov. Urges Support for Reform Bid

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger urged support Monday for his government reform package before hundreds of attendees at an Orange County Forum event.

Newport Lexus Plans Puck; Training at Four Seasons

Fletcher Jones may have Starbucks, but Newport Lexus is signing on Wolfgang Puck, in the Marketplace column

Cox Recuses From Frist Probe

Christopher Cox is sitting out a probe of a stock sale by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

Spectrum Center: From Movie Hub to Department Stores

Talking with the president of Irvine Co.'s Retail Properties unit on the Irvine Spectrum

Bush: U.S. May Tap Petroleum Reserve

President Bush said Monday that the government is prepared to again tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to alleviate any new pain at the pump caused by Hurricane Rita's assault on the center of the nation's energy industry, and he asked Americans not to d

Amp'd Mobile Moves HQ to L.A.

An Aliso Viejo startup that recently inked a $67 million venture funding deal has packed up for Los Angeles.

Taylor Takes Over Toshiba's Copier Unit, Plans on Buying

Toshiba America Business Solutions in Irvine named a new chief executive

Minimal Rita Refinery Damage

Hurricane Rita caused minimal damage to refineries in its path, the acting director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said on Sunday.

TRADE SHOW OUTLOOK

A recent report shows that the outlook for trade shows is picking up

Robert Readies Experian for Split from UK Parent; OC or Britain for HQ?

Donald Robert, chief executive of Costa Mesa credit bureau Experian Group, is readying for a split from the company's British parent, GUS PLC.

Gateway Plows on as Takeover Talk Heats Up,Again

Gateway Plows on as Takeover Talk Heats Up,Again

Oracle Again Spurs Quest Buyout Talk, Futile or Not

Oracle's planned buy of Siebel brings chatter of Quest Software as an acquisition target, in the Technology column

Retail Groups Sue Visa, MasterCard

Several retail groups have filed an antitrust lawsuit against Visa USA, MasterCard International and dozens of major U.S. banks, saying they acted together to set excessive credit card fees.

GIVING

Fund-raisers and charitable donations from companies and people

First American Buys Appraiser

Santa Ana-based First American Corp. said Monday it bought Chicago's Urban Appraisal Inc.

Avo's Bistro: Taking Diner on a Mediterranean Cruise

Avo's Bistro offers Mediterranean-flavored food, in the Executive Dining column

Astea International Buys Irvine-Based Software Maker

Irvine-based FieldCentrix has found a suitor the second time around

MARKET WATCH

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

PUC Passes Energy Discounts

The California PUC is offering companies a discount on electricity costs

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Apria Sale May Rely on Debt, Suit

Analysts say a sale of Apria could be drawn out

Fluor Building Trailer City, Down to Phones, Electricity

Talking with Fluor's government group president

Friday, September 23

DDi Closes $75M Stock Sale

Struggling circuit board maker DDi Corp. of Anaheim said on Friday it wrapped up a $75 million stock sale.

Oil Falls on Rita Uncertainty

Crude oil and gasoline prices fell on Friday as Hurricane Rita lost some intensity and hopes built that Texas refineries would escape catastrophic damage.

PacifiCare Up on Drug Plan

Federal regulators signed off on PacifiCare Health Systems Inc.'s plans to market a Medicare drug plan to seniors as part of the government's effort to insure seniors' prescriptions.

China Widens Yuan Trade Band

China's central bank on Friday widened the yuan's trading band against non-dollar currencies in a move analysts said was aimed at responding to overseas pressure for greater flexibility while keeping the yuan on a tight leash against the dollar.

New Century Slumps on Forecast Cut

Shares of New Century Financial Corp. slumped 9% Friday after the subprime lender and investor warned that its 2005 profit would fall short of expectations.

Wal-Mart Shuts 72 Stores in Rita's Path

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. closed 72 stores in the path of Hurricane Rita as of Friday morning, the company said on its Web site.

Wall Streets Turns as Rita Weakens

Stocks edged higher on Friday, erasing earlier losses, as signs that Hurricane Katrina weakened before it approached landfall sent oil prices down more than $2 a barrel and helped improve investor sentiment.

Rita Floods New Orleans

Fast-rising water brought by the outer edge of Hurricane Rita spilled over a freshly patched levee in New Orleans on Friday and flooded a deserted neighborhood of the already devastated city.

Gov. to Speak at OC Forum Monday

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is set discuss a slate of measures set for the Nov. 8 election at an Orange County Forum event on Monday.

Nearly 30% of U.S. Refining Idled

A vast part of the oil industry was paralyzed on Friday hours before powerful Hurricane Rita's expected landfall on the Texas coast.

Thursday, September 22

InSight Completes $300M Refinancing

InSight Health Services Corp. said Thursday that it wrapped up a $300 million loan refinancing in a private offering.

Exxon Closing Texas Refineries

Exxon Mobil on Thursday said it is shutting two Texas oil refineries with a combined production capacity of about 1 million barrels per day.

Astea Buys Irvine's FieldCentrix

Irvine-based FieldCentrix Inc. has another suitor. Horsham, Pa.-based Astea International Inc., a software management company, said Thursday it bought FieldCentrix for $3.3 million in stock.

Edwards' Valve Hits Europe

Irvine-based Edwards Lifesciences Corp. said Thursday it started selling its Carpentier-Edwards Perimount Magna heart valve in Europe.

Delta to Cut Up to 9,000 Jobs

Delta Air Lines Inc. said on Thursday it plans to cut up to 9,000 jobs, or 17% of its work force, as part of cost cuts aimed at returning the bankrupt airline to profitability.

Jobless Claims Surge in Katrina Wake

Hurricane Katrina's onslaught and its aftermath fueled a surge in initial U.S. claims for jobless aid last week to 432,000, the highest level in more than two years, the government said on Thursday.

Sony Cutting 10,000 Jobs

Struggling electronics and entertainment conglomerate Sony Corp. said on Thursday it would cut about 7% of its global work force, sell more than $1 billion in assets and post a loss this year.

Corinthian Selling Canadian Unit

Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges Inc. said Thursday it plans to sell its corporate training unit in Canada for about $16 million.

Rita to Seriously Disrupt Oil Patch: API

A total of 21 U.S. oil refineries that together account for 27.5 percent of the nation's refining capacity lie in the potential path of Hurricane Rita, the American Petroleum Institute said Thursday.

Wednesday, September 21

Drama Marks Quality Meeting

Quality Systems Inc.'s shareholder meeting Wednesday saw verbal sniping and a shareholder vote on a contentious battle for directors at the medical software maker.

Lennar Ups View to Calm Investors

Miami-based Lennar Corp., which has its California base in Aliso Viejo and is one of the county's biggest homebuilders, on Wednesday said third-quarter earnings would exceed Wall Street estimates.

Homebuilder Standard Pacific Downgraded

J.P. Morgan & Chase Co. downgraded shares of Irvine-based Standard Pacific Corp. on Wednesday, in a sign of Wall Street's skittishness on homebuilders.

Qualcomm Ups Outlook

Wireless technology company Qualcomm Inc. said on Wednesday it raised its earnings and revenue outlook for the fiscal fourth quarter.

Report: FCB Irvine Scaled Back

Advertising shop Foote Cone & Belding Inc. is cutting 20 people from its Irvine operation and putting it under its San Francisco office, according to trade publication Adweek.

Judge: WorldCom Settlement OK

A U.S. judge on Wednesday gave final approval to a $3.6 billion legal settlement between investment banks and WorldCom Inc. investors.

PacSun Sticks to Views

Anaheim-based Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. backed its quarterly earnings outlook late Tuesday amid Wall Street fears about September sales.

McDonald's Plans to File Chipotle IPO

McDonald's Corp., the world's largest fast-food company, said Wednesday it plans to file for an initial public offering of a minority stake in its Chipotle Mexican Grill brand.

Tuesday, September 20

Ceradyne Wins $14.6M Military Pact

Costa Mesa-based Ceradyne Inc. has landed $14.6 million in military orders for its ceramic body armor gear, the company said Tuesday.

Store Sales Drop

Chain store retail sales dropped significantly in the latest week, as a result of high gasoline prices, ripple effects of Hurricane Katrina and increased consumer concern about the future of the economy, a retail report said on Tuesday.

Fed Hikes Key Rate

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates again Tuesday, saying Hurricane Katrina could fuel inflationary pressures but does not pose a persistent threat to the U.S. economy.

Goldman Sachs Q3 Profits Leap

While the stock market may be flat for the year and bonds remain volatile, Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs had no problem finding ways to make money as it posted a 83 percent surge in quarterly earnings Tuesday.

Housing Starts Off, Small Katrina Impact

Housing starts dropped by a larger-than-expected 1.3% in August as a 9.4% slide in apartment and condominium construction offset a slight increase in groundbreaking on single-family homes, a Commerce Department report showed on Tuesday.

Fed Starts Meeting, Rate Hike on Tap

Federal Reserve policy-makers began a meeting on Tuesday that economists expect will yield an 11th straight interest-rate hike to keep consumer prices tame despite Hurricane Katrina.

Microsoft Reorganizes Business Units

Microsoft Corp. is reorganizing its corporate structure and giving one of its newest executives broader powers in an effort to better compete against its rivals, including Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc.

Jannard Stepping Down as Oakley CEO

Jim Jannard, colorful founder of Oakley Inc., is stepping down as chief executive of the sunglasses maker.

Conexant's Cramer Effect

Shares of Newport Beach chipmaker Conexant Systems Inc. closed up 17% Tuesday after being named "stock of the week" on Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" show a day earlier.

Quality Fight Coming to Head

Shareholders of Irvine-based Quality Systems Inc. are set to meet Wednesday in the wake of a contentious proxy fight between the medical software maker and a major shareholder.

Monday, September 19

Court Upholds Big Masimo Jury Award Against Tyco

An Irvine medical device maker won another round in a patent spat, in the Healthcare column

Fluor Leading $860M UK Road Pact

Aliso Viejo-based Fluor Corp. said it and a team of subcontractors won an $860 million contract from the U.K. Highways Agency to modernize England's highways with new telecommunications systems and gear.

Thaifoon Getting a Name Change, Enhancing Its Menu

Thaifoon at the Irvine Spectrum is set to see some changes, in the Executive Dining column

OC: Tightest Second-Quarter Office Market in the U.S.

OC became the tightest office market in the U.S. in the second quarter, in the Real Estate column

Container Maker Shifting Depot to Inland Empire

Snapware already has moved its headquarters out of OC, now it's looking to move its warehouse

TriZetto Benefits as Complexity of Health Record-Keeping Grows

TriZetto's benefiting from the growth of healthcare record-keeping

Buyout Bid Dropped, William Lyon Shares Roar to New Heights

Shares of William Lyon Homes have been climbing after its chief executive's buyout bid

LETTERS

The Orange County Taxpayers Association supports the completion of the Foothill Toll Road, in Letters

Quality Claims Round in Proxy Fight

Quality Systems won a round in its proxy fight

LOOKING UP

They're high. They're bold. They're modern. They're different. High-Rise condo towers are shaking the architectural landscape.

Real Estate Watch: South County

South County commercial real estate was hot in the second quarter. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

REAL ESTATE DEALS

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

Diedrich Shares Perk Up; Chain Plans Slow Expansion

Diedrich Coffee's move to scale back its international operations seems to be paying off

Crude Prices Rise Over $4 a Barrel

Crude-oil futures surged more than $4 , the biggest one-day price jump ever , amid worries that Tropical Storm Rita strengthening off the Bahamas could hit U.S. oil facilities in the Gulf of Mexico later this week, striking another blow at an industry str

Analysts Tour Asia, Return Home Touting Broadcom

A trip to Asia has analysts touting Broadcom, in the Technology column

Placentia Catheter Maker Acquired by Investor Group

A Placentia-based maker of plastic tubes for medical devices has been bought by a group of investors

GIVING

Fund-raisers and charitable donations from companies and people

Drug, Device Companies Require Product, Trial Policies

Insurance for drug and medical device companies has gotten more costly,

Montecito to Sell at Trio of Condo Complexes in OC

A developer is selling condos it converted at former apartment complexes

FileNet Paying $11M for Software Maker

Costa Mesa-based FileNet Corp. is paying $11 million for Canada's Yaletown Technology Group, a maker of software that helps companies comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other regulations.

New Century Toys With Idea of Spinoff

Irvine's New Century Financial Corp. has a card up its sleeve if its stock price continues to languish: split the company in two.

Gas Storage Squeezed as Cargo Dominates Southland Sea Ports

A shortage of storage capacity for gas in Southern California might be looming

Oil Prices up on Hurricane Fears, OPEC

Oil prices climbed more than 1% on Monday as a new storm system appeared to be headed for the Gulf Coast, and as OPEC ministers appeared to favor leaving crude output unchanged for now.

MARKET WATCH

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

Volvo's Female Car: Don't Bother Looking Under Hood

Volvo's latest concept vehicle is geared toward females, in the Marketplace column

Software Maker Being Acquired

Huntington Beach-based MenuLink Computer Solutions Inc., a software maker for restaurants and others, is being bought by Atlanta's Radiant Systems Inc., the companies said Monday.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

Ex-Tyco Execs Get Up to 25 Years

Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz, the former chief executive and chief financial officer of Tyco International Ltd. who were found guilty of stealing more than $150 million, were each sentenced on Monday to up to 25 years in prison.

Mindspeed Ups Outlook

A Newport Beach maker of networking chips said it expects higher than expected quarterly sales

Device and Drug Startups Active on the Venture Financing Front

Medical device companies and drug makers are having a good year attracting venture funding

Back From Condoland

An editor's recent trip to Toronto gave a glimpse into OC's high-rise future, an Editor's Notebook

KUDOS

A look at people, companies and institutions receiving awards, accolades, grants and other honors

Chapman, UCI Dig Real Estate; Correa May Face Umberg

Chapman, UCI Dig Real Estate; Correa May Face Umberg

Fluor's Planned Departure Aside, Engineering Sector Posts Gains

ENGINEERING GROWTH: the top engineering companies

PEOPLE

Orange County Businesspeople in the news, on the move

High Diesel Prices Are a Hit, Though Surcharges Help

Truckers are using fuel surcharges to offset diesel price hikes

Harrah Builds Lavish Theater ,With Office Tower in Mind

Mike Harrah's posh OC Pavilion venue is all part of his master plan

Subprime Lender New Century Broaches Issue of Splitting in Two

New Century could consider a spinoff if its stock continues to slide

Office, Housing, Retail Developments Drive Architect Growth

The boom in housing, commercial development and school construction yielded big gains for Orange County's largest architectural firms in the past year.

American Suzuki Hits Air With Grand Vitara Redesign

American Suzuki is hitting television to promote its Grand Vitara SUV, in the Media & Marketing column

Acacia Targets Film, Media Companies Over Alleged Patent Infringement

Acacia's patent infringement lawsuits now are being aimed at Hollywood,

Paying Tribute

A speech about Augustine "Augie" Nieto by Charles "Chip" Baird Jr., founder of North Castle Partners LLC, a private equity firm focused on the health industry.

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Spectrum Raises $42M in Stock Sale

Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc., Irvine, said Monday that it raised $42 million in a stock sale.

Summer Visitors Came, Just Not Necessarily Through LAX

Summer travelers visited Southern California, though traffic fell at LAX

Fewer 'Job Kill' Bills Make it to Governor

Fewer "job killer" bills have made it to the governor's desk this year

Taiwan's Acer Aims for No.3 spot

Taiwan's Acer Inc. said on Monday it aimed to become the world's third-largest PC vendor with a 10% share in three years as it tried to replicate its success in Europe in the U.S. and Chinese markets.

EXECUTIVE BRIEFCASE

South Coast Repertory's "Caucasian Chalk Circle" would delight playwright Bertolt Brecht, an Executive Briefcase

PacifiCare Readies for Medicare Drug Program Program

PacifiCare is readying to market its Medicare prescription drug coverage program

Manufactured Home, Trailer Stocks Rise

Manufactured housing and travel trailer stocks have jumped since the White House told Congress it might need hundreds of thousands of units for Hurricane Katrina evacuees. But several industry officials Thursday called the federal efforts confusing.

Friday, September 16

Gold Prices Hit 17-Year Peak

U.S. benchmark gold futures stretched to a fresh 17-year high at the open Friday as worries about inflation and U.S. economic growth sparked hefty fund buying for a second straight session.

Schwarzenegger to Seek Re-election

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will run for re-election next year, a top aide said Friday. Schwarzenegger "felt it was very important to let the people of California know this governor plans to be around for the long haul," campaign spokesman Todd Harris said

Fluor Gets New Trial

A U.S. judge ordered a new trial late Thursday of a court case that ate away Aliso Viejo-based Fluor's Corp.'s second-quarter profits.

Consumer Sentiment Tumbles

U.S. consumer sentiment plunged in early September as the fallout from Hurricane Katrina made Americans nervous about an economic slowdown, a report said on Friday.

OC Unemployment Falls to 3.8%

Orange County's unemployment rate was 3.8% in August, down from a revised 3.9% in July and 4.2% a year ago, the Employment Development Department said Friday.

Southwest Eyes Growth Amid Bankruptcies

Leading U.S. low-fares carrier Southwest Airlines Co. said on Friday it might expand its services if bankrupt rivals Delta Air Lines Inc. and Northwest Airlines Corp. scale back operations.

Katrina Costs to Raise Deficit

President George W. Bush's advisers said on Friday billions of dollars needed to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast will be borrowed and will raise the deficit but Bush still wants to extend tax cuts.

Montecito Property to Sell Condos

Montecito Property Co. is set to begin selling condominiums at three former Orange County apartment complexes the company bought.

Downey Sees Mortgage, Asset Uptick

Newport Beach-based Downey Financial Corp. saw its assets grow and mortgage activity pick up in August, reversing a several month decline that began last spring, the savings and loan operator reported Friday.

US Airways to Exit Bankruptcy

A federal judge on Friday approved US Airways' plan to emerge from bankruptcy and merge with America West Airlines Inc., capping US Airways' second bankruptcy restructuring in three years.

Acacia Selling Stake in Biotech Unit

Acacia Research Corp. said Friday it plans to sell $10.5 million worth of shares in its CombiMatrix unit.

Thursday, September 15

MasterCard Files for $2.45B IPO

MasterCard Inc. may raise up to $2.45 billion in an initial public offering of stock, according to a regulatory filing on Thursday.

State GOP Converging on Anaheim

The California Republican Party's three-day fall convention starts Friday in Anaheim and could be the first stop for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger after declaring his re-election bid.

Philips Stands by Growth Targets

Philips Electronics NV is sticking to its financial goals for its consumer electronics and chip units, grappling with weak consumer demand and overcapacity in chips, and aims to slash costs at its volatile chip unit, the company said on Thursday.

Spectrum to Raise $42M in Offering

Irvine-based Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Thursday that it planned to raise up to $42 million in a stock offering.

Canada's Stantec Closes Keith Buy

Canada's Stantec Inc. said Thursday it wrapped up its $197 million buy of Irvine-based Keith Cos.

$200M Credit Line for PacSun

Teen clothing retailer Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. on Thursday said it secured a five-year, $200 million credit line with several banks.

Report: Microsoft Eyes AOL

Time Warner Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are in advanced talks over Microsoft buying a stake in Time Warner's America Online unit, the New York Post reported on Thursday.

Quality Claims Round in Proxy Fight

Quality Systems Inc. claimed a small win Thursday in its ongoing proxy fight with a major shareholder.

Inflation Jumps on Energy in August

Consumer prices jumped 0.5% last month as gasoline prices soared, but prices outside of energy barely budged, the government said on Thursday in a report largely unaffected by Hurricane Katrina.

Printronix Warns on Sales

Irvine printer maker Printronix Inc. warned Thursday that sales for the quarter ending Sept. 23 could come in 5% to 10% below the year-ago period.

Sunstone Prices $163M Stock Sale

San Clemente-based Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. priced a $163 million stock offering that will be used to help pay for its buy of the Century Plaza Hotel & Spa in Los Angeles, the company said Thursday.

Marsh & McLennan Executives Indicted

Eight former executives at Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. were charged with felonies in indictments unsealed Thursday in New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's investigation of bid rigging and price fixing in the insurance industry.

Wet Seal Shareholder Suits Nixed

Foothill Ranch-based Wet Seal Inc. said Thursday that a judge dismissed a shareholder lawuit against the teen apparel maker and some of its former directors and executives.

Katrina's Economic Hit Palpable: Adviser

Hurricane Katrina will hurt the U.S. economy in the short run but bright long-term prospects mean the Bush administration can push ahead with its reform agenda, a top White House economic adviser said on Thursday.

Wednesday, September 14

Valeant Selling Off Ohio Plant

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, the Costa Mesa drug maker, said Wednesday that it was selling a plant in Bryan, Ohio, to Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., a drug maker based in Mumbai, India.

Sales Slump as Auto Buying Dives

Retail sales suffered an unexpectedly steep decline last month after a record fall in car sales, government data showed on Wednesday, but demand outside of autos showed the economy was strong before Katrina.

St. Jolie Knits?

Irvine-based St. John Knits International Inc. is moving on to a new signature model, and a big one at that.

P & G; Selling Toothbrush Unit

Church & Dwight Co. Inc. on Wednesday said it has agreed to buy the SpinBrush toothbrush business from Procter & Gamble Co., a sale P & G; hopes will help lead to antitrust approval of its multibillion dollar acquisition of Gillette Co.

Delta to File for Bankruptcy

Delta Air Lines Inc. is expected to seek bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, a source familiar with the situation said, as rival Northwest Airlines Corp. considers doing the same

Delta Air to File for Bankruptcy

Delta Air Lines Inc. is expected to seek bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, a source familiar with the situation said, as rival Northwest Airlines Corp. considers doing the same.

SoCal Drives Standard Orders

Boosted by Southern California, Irvine-based homebuilder Standard Pacific Corp. reported an 18% increase in orders for new homes in July and August versus a year earlier.

Google to Start $4B Stock Sale

Google Inc., the world's most popular Internet search engine, on Wednesday is set to begin a stock sale that could net more than $4 billion in proceeds, according to data provider Dealogic.

Comarco Posts Profit

Irvine-based Comarco Inc.'s stock jumped more than 6% Wednesday after the company reported it returned to profitability during the quarter ended July 31.

Kia Eyes 500,000 Auto Sales in Europe

South Korea's Kia Motors Corp., the fastest-growing car brand in Europe, aims to sell half a million vehicles in the region by 2008, helped by the opening of a new plant in Slovakia, it said on Wednesday.

First American Credit Unit Sale Closes

The sale of Santa Ana-based First American Corp.'s credit information group to affiliate First Advantage Corp. has closed, the companies said Wednesday.

Mortgage Applications Off Last Week

Applications for home mortgages fell last week as higher interest rates deterred borrowers from refinancing their existing home loans, an industry trade group's figures showed on Wednesday.

Edwards Ups Share Buyback

Irvine heart valve maker Edwards Lifesciences Corp. said on Wednesday it plans to buy back up an extra 2 million of its shares.

Tuesday, September 13

Gates Pushes Software Upgrades

Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates pitched software developers to build programs for the next versions of Windows and Office software and showed off features on Tuesday that he said would drive a new wave of personal computer upgrades.

Mindspeed Ups Sales Forecast

Mindspeed Technologies Inc., the Newport Beach maker of networking chips, said it expects sales to come in higher than expected for the current quarter.

Kia Motors, Union Agree to Wage Deal

Kia Motors Corp., which has its U.S. headquarters in Irvine, reached a tentative wage deal with its labor union on Tuesday after a dispute that South Korea's second-biggest car maker estimates has cost it more than $400 million in lost production.

Nokia Lifts Powerwave Shares

Santa Ana-based Powerwave Technologies Inc. saw its stock soar 10% at midday Tuesday after Nokia Corp., a Powerwave key customer, raised its guidance for the third quarter.

Nokia Raises Views on Strong Demand

Mobile phone maker Nokia raised its third-quarter sales and profit forecasts on Tuesday, saying demand was strong and average sale prices for its handsets were holding up better than it had expected.

America West Holders OK Merger

Shareholders of America West Airlines' parent company on Tuesday approved the carrier's proposed acquisition of US Airways, one of the last milestones in the plan to wed the two geographically distinct airlines.

Katrina to Boost Home Demand, Prices

Hurricane Katrina, which battered the U.S. Gulf Coast two weeks ago, will have long-term consequences for the housing market and economy, boosting both home prices and construction costs as rebuilding gets underway, a trade group said on Tuesday.

Gates Pushes New Windows, Office

Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates pitched software developers to build programs for the next versions of Windows and Office software and showed off features on Tuesday that he said would drive a new wave of personal computer upgrades.

Another High for OC Home Prices

The median price of a home sold in Orange County reached a new high in August of $617,000, up 13.6% from a year ago.

Report: Trouble for Boeing-Lockheed

A plan to combine the space rocket businesses of Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. has run into unexpected financial and political hurdles, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Monday, September 12

Oil Falls as Demand Growth Slows

Oil prices slid below $64 a barrel on Monday as signs emerged of a slowdown in global demand growth. But the struggle to restart U.S. oilfields and refineries after Hurricane Katrina underpinned markets.

Gateway Selling at UK Staples

Irvine-based Gateway Inc. has started selling its eMachines computers in the United Kingdom at Staples Inc. stores.

Convention Center in Anaheim, Fluor See Katrina Fallout

Hurricane Katrina's havoc stands to touch some OC operations

Real Estate Deals

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

Buy.com Cuts Book Prices

Aliso Viejo-based Buy.com has launched what it called a price war with Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc., the online retailer said Monday.

Ford to Sell Hertz for $5.6B

Ford Motor Co. said on Monday it has agreed to sell its auto rental subsidiary, Hertz Corp., to a group of private equity firms for $5.6 billion.

Printed Circuit Board Makers Hope Doldrums Over

OC's printed circuit board makers are hoping the second half of 2005 will be better than the first

Ford Selling Hertz for $5.6B

Ford Motor Co. said on Monday it would sell its rental subsidiary Hertz Corp. to a private equity group for $5.6 billion, allowing the auto maker to strengthen its finances as it struggles with stiffening competition and rising costs.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

Analyst on AMO: Keeping Eye on J & J; Ambition

The competitive contact lens market might get tighter if J & J; enters, in the Healthcare column

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Amid Turmoil, Commerce Energy Looks to Rebound Under New CEO

Commerce Energy has endured another round of challenges in the past few months

Irvine Co.: More Housing at Spectrum?

The Irvine Company is in talks with the city of Irvine on a sweeping plan to add 6,000 homes, condominiums and apartments around the Irvine Spectrum.

LETTERS

Before you whip out your checkbook to help Katrina victims, do some research

EBay Paying Up to $4.1B for Skype

EBay has agreed to buy fast-growing Internet start-up Skype for up to $4.1 billion in cash and shares, in a move to tap new sources of growth and add free Web telephone calls to its online auctions.

Delta to File for Bankruptcy

Delta Air Lines Inc., the nation's third-largest carrier, plans to file for bankruptcy protection in New York as early as Wednesday, according to an industry consultant who has been informed of the company's plans.

'Tweeners

OC doesn't boast many huge companies, but the midsize talent's here, an Editorial by Rick Reiff

Consolidation Dominated Telecom Sector

Telecommunications companies saw an increase in local employment in the past year

Real Estate Watch: Retail

Retail Rates Rise as Vacancy Falls. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

MARKET WATCH

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

Irvine Co. in Talks for More Housing at Irvine Spectrum

The Irvine Co. is talking to the city of Irvine about some residential plans

Fitness Pioneer Faces Another Test of His Strength; Laguna Woes

Fitness Pioneer Faces Another Test of His Strength; Laguna Woes

Pacific Premier Weathers Lean Times, Now Eyes Growth

Pacific Premier Bancorp has a new lease on life

Hotel Construction Pipeline Begins to Fill; No Openings

OC's hotel construction pipeline is picking up

RREEF Funds Set to Buy Fluor's Campus in Aliso Viejo

RREEF Funds is set to buy Fluor's old Aliso Viejo headquarters, in the Real Estate column

Digital Ink's 'Affliction' Clothing Sports Daggers, Blood and Skulls

A logo and art designer that's helped surfwear companies take off is looking to push its own line of clothing

Hoag CEO Takes Hospital Helm

A new chief executive at Hoag Memorial has taken the helm at a critical time

BofA's Former Chief Now Running Sunwest

A former local top bank official has been tapped to run Sunwest Bank

Wachovia Buying Westcorp in $3.9B Deal

Charlotte, N.C.-based Wachovia Corp. said it plans to buy Irvine-based auto lender Westcorp for $3.4 billion. Wachovia also will buy the 16% of Irvine's WFS Financial Inc. that Westcorp doesn't own for $490 million.

Oracle Buying Siebel for $5.9B

Oracle Corp. on Monday said it will buy rival software company Siebel Systems Inc., which has been long-mentioned as a possible takeover target, for $10.66 a share in a deal that valued Siebel at $5.85 billion.

QLogic Controller Unit Sale Trips Investors, Analysts

QLogic's sale of its hard-disk drive controller business has investors scratching their heads, in the Technology column

PEOPLE

Orange County Businesspeople in the news, on the move

Newport's Tarsadia Goes From Motels to Hotels, Now Looking at Condominiums, Timeshare Plans

Tarsadia Hotels' founder breaks the mold with hotel buys and condominium and timeshare plans

Friday, September 9

Oil Up on Slow Katrina Recovery

Oil prices rose to $65 a barrel on Friday, after steep losses earlier in the week, as oil rigs and refineries in the U.S. Gulf recovered less quickly than expected from Hurricane Katrina's rampage.

Boeing May Pay to Avoid Prosecution

Boeing Co. is negotiating a settlement in which the aircraft maker could pay up to $500 million to the U.S. government and avoid prosecution in two federal probes, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Circuit Board Makers Eye Growth

Orange County's printed circuit board makers are hoping the second half of 2005 is better than the first.

La. Real Estate Booms After Katrina

Hurricane Katrina has created a real estate boom in Louisiana's usually sedate state capital, now bursting at the seams as rescue workers arrive and evacuees scramble to get on with their lives.

Snow: Brief Katrina Hit to GDP

U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow told Bloomberg Television on Friday that U.S. economic growth would probably dip by closer to 1/2 percentage point in the second half of this year because of the Hurricane Katrina.

'We're Coming Back,' Says Port CEO

The Port of New Orleans plans to resume commercial operations by Wednesday after being shut nearly two weeks by Hurricane Katrina, but it could take six months for the country's fourth-largest port to be fully operational.

Hurricane Relief Efforts

Several companies in Orange County are donating to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Sutura Inks $7M Financing

Sutura Inc., a Fountain Valley medical device maker that recently began trading on the over-the-counter bulletin board, said it closed a $7 million round of financing with Whitebox Advisors LLC of Minneapolis.

Greenspan to Exit Jan 31, Fed Says

The Federal Reserve dropped a clear hint on Friday that Chairman Alan Greenspan will retire on Jan. 31, ending talk he may stay on longer and reinforcing market concern that time is running out to name a successor.

Peregrine Posts Wider Loss

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

Japan's Access Buying PalmSource

Japanese software developer Access Co. on Friday said it would buy handheld computer software maker PalmSource Inc. for about $324 million in cash, in a deal that strengthens Access' roster of products for mobile phones.

Thursday, September 8

Vue Technology Bought by VC Investors

Aliso Viejo-based Vue Technology, an inventory tracking software company, said it was bought by two venture capital investors for an undisclosed amount.

Fluor Gets $100M Katrina Pact

Aliso Viejo-based Fluor Corp. said Thursday it received a contract of up to $100 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to build temporary housing and provide communications gear in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

US Files Antitrust Suit Against Realtors

The US Justice Department filed an antitrust suit against the National Association of Realtors, the largest group of real estate brokers, claiming that it stifled competition in the sector.

Homebuilders Fall on Hovnanian Results

Shares of local homebuilders Standard Pacific Corp. and William Lyon Homes Inc. fell on Thursday, a day after Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. said that its most recent earnings missed Wall Street expectations.

Europe, Asia Drive Quiksilver Results

Strong European and Asian gains drove sales and profit growth for Quiksilver Inc. in the quarter ended July 31, the company said Thursday.

Ebay Falls on Skype Speculation

Shares of eBay Inc. were down 4.5% on Thursday following published reports the online auction company was in talks to buy online telephone company Skype Technologies SA.

First of Katrina Jobless Claims Filed

An estimated 10,000 workers who lost their jobs because of Hurricane Katrina filed for unemployment benefits last week, the first wave of what is expected to be hundreds of thousands of displaced workers seeking benefits.

Katrina May Slow Housing: Freddie Mac

Average U.S. interest rates on 30-year mortgages were unchanged in the latest week, but mortgage finance company Freddie Mac said on Thursday that housing growth could slow in the near-term as the impact of Hurricane Katrina ripples throughout the industr

Irwin Financial Opening Costa Mesa Unit

Indiana-based Irwin Financial Corp. said Thursday it plans to open an independent bank unit in Orange County.

Ford Reportedly Selling Hertz

Ford Motor Co. will sell its car-rental firm Hertz to a group of corporate-buyout firms, including Clayton Dubilier & Rice, Carlyle Group and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity, for $5.5 billion to $6 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday

OC Home Affordability Index Holds

Orange County's home affordability index was unchanged in July, while the statewide index fell, the California Association of Realtors said Thursday.

Jobless Claims Dip With Caveat

The number of Americans making initial claims for jobless aid fell 1,000 last week, but an upward revision is expected as hurricane-stricken states on the U.S. Gulf Coast process applications, the government said on Thursday.

Boeing Names SoCal Operations Chief

William "Bill" Collopy Jr. is retiring as head of operations for Boeing Co.'s Seal Beach-based Southern California operations. Gary Toyama, former deputy to the vice president of Boeing's St. Louis-based Integrated Defense Systems unit, was named as Collo

Wednesday, September 7

FDA Approves Advanced Medical's Laser

Advanced Medical Optics Inc., Santa Ana, said Wednesday that the Food and Drug Administration approved its latest laser medical device to treat nearsighted patients with astigmatism.

Capital One Renegotiates Hibernia Deal

Capital One Financial Corp. has renegotiated its acquisition of Louisiana's largest bank to account for the impact of Hurricane Katrina, reducing its offer for Hibernia Corp. by about 9 percent to $5 billion and delaying the closing of the deal by at leas

Economy Expanded Before Storm

Factories were chugging, cash registers were busy and jobs were growing in the late summer , fresh proof that the economy was in fine fettle before Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, spreading death and destruction.

Intralase Laser: New Use OK

Irvine-based IntraLase Corp. on Wednesday said the Food and Drug Administration approved expanded use of a laser for use in corneal transplants.

Katrina Could Cost 400K Jobs

Hurricane Katrina could cost as many as 400,000 U.S. jobs and slash economic growth by up to 1 percentage point, the Congressional Budget Office said on Wednesday.

Bush to Request $51B for Relief

President George W. Bush plans to send Congress a request for $51.8 billion for relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina, the second such request since the storm devastated the Gulf Coast last week, the White House said on Wednesday.

InSight Selling $250M Debt

Lake Forest-based InSight Health Services Corp. said on Wednesday that it plans to sell $250 million in debt in a private offering.

Cooper Profit, Sales Rise

Lake Forest-based Cooper Cos. said its profit jumped in the quarter ended July 31, assisted by a big acquisition and stronger sales of its disposable contact lenses and lenses for patients with dry eyes.

Retail Sales Mixed Post-Katrina

U.S. chain store sales were mixed last week in an early sign of how Hurricane Katrina may have held back the economy, while second-quarter productivity was revised to a slower pace of growth, data showed on Wednesday.

Bearingpoint: SEC in Formal Probe

Consulting firm BearingPoint Inc., which has been troubled by past accounting problems and a government probe, on Wednesday said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has launched a formal probe in connection with the company's business dealings.

Tuesday, September 6

Govt. Takes Bids for Emergency Oil

Hurricane-hit refiners have until Friday afternoon to submit bids for 30 million barrels of crude oil offered for sale from the government's emergency stockpile, the U.S. Energy Department said on Tuesday.

Oil Industry Advances Recovery Efforts

The U.S. energy industry's desperate push to recover from Hurricane Katrina began to pay dividends on Tuesday, as nearly half of the refineries fully or partially closed by the storm returned to service.

Katrina to Cost BellSouth Up to $600M

BellSouth Corp. on Tuesday said Hurricane Katrina and its aftereffects caused $400 million to $600 million of damage to its network, and the No. 3 U.S. local telephone company it is still surveying its problems.

Quiksilver Building Ski Center in Utah

Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc. said Tuesday it plans to consolidate its burgeoning ski operations at a new center in Park City, Utah.

CommerceWest to Open Gardena Branch

Irvine-based CommerceWest Bank said Tuesday it received regulatory approval to open a bank branch in Los Angeles County's South Bay.

FAA Probes Northwest Problems - WSJ

Federal aviation regulators are investigating possible maintenance problems at Northwest Airlines since mechanics went on strike on Aug. 20, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

New Century Loan Volume Doubles

Irvine's New Century Financial Corp. nearly doubled its loan volume in August to $6.1 billion versus a year ago, the subprime lender said Tuesday.

WD CEO Shift Surprises Some

It's been a good run for Matt Massengill as chief executive of Lake Forest-based disk drive maker Western Digital Corp. Still, the company hasn't said exactly why the 44-year-old Massengill, who's been with the company off and on since the 1980s, decided

Collectors Universe Picks Up Dealer Site

Newport Beach-based Collectors Universe Inc. said Tuesday it wrapped up its buy of Certified Coin Exchange and a related business.

Katrina Shutters 18 Wal-Mart Stores

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Tuesday maintained its September sales forecast and said 18 of its locations remained closed in areas hit by Hurricane Katrina.

KleenAir Buys Skin, Pharmaceutical Unit

Aliso Viejo-based KleenAir Systems Inc., a struggling producer of automotive emission reduction technology, said Tuesday it has bought the skin care and pharmaceutical business of Korea-based Innovay Inc., including contracts valued at $10 million.

M-Flex Expanding in China

Anaheim-based Multi-Fineline Electronix Inc. said Tuesday it plans to expand its plant in Suzhou, China by 38%.

Monday, September 5

Ingram Reaffirms Q3 Outlook

Technology bellwether Ingram Micro Inc. on Friday reaffirmed its guidance for the third quarter ending Oct. 1.

Western Digital's Exec Shuffle Surprises Some

Matt Massengill's stepping down as chief executive of Western Digital has surprised some observers

Auto Dealer Group Sees Slight Growth in '05, Soft '06

Third-quarter auto registrations are expected to bounce back in OC after falling in the second quarter, in the Marketplace column

LENS CRAFTERS

OC's Become Home to a Thriving Eyecare Industry

Urban Lucca Caf & #233; Grows Following in Suburban Mall

Lucca Caf & #233; has attracted quite a following since opening just six weeks ago, in the Executive Dining column

Scalia Visit: Face Time for Lockyer, Lunch for Aitken

Scalia Visit: Face Time for Lockyer, Lunch for Aitken

PEOPLE

Orange County Businesspeople in the news, on the move

Gateway Shares Slump on Downgrade

Shares of Irvine-based Gateway Inc. declined 9% Friday after the computer maker's stock was downgraded by investment bank Piper Jaffray amid pricing concerns.

Family Crafts Company Goes Global, Big Retail

A family crafts company has gone global

Drug Makers Quiet on Local Employment Front in Past Year

Orange County's 10 largest drug makers held steady on the job front during the past year.

REAL ESTATE DEALS

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

RiechesBaird Builds Ad Team To Oversee Key Accounts

RiechesBaird added two advertising veterans as senior brand managers, in the Media & Marketing column

MARKET WATCH

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

Bank Q2 Scorecard: Deposits Up, Loans, Assets Off

The second-quarter banking scorecard is in

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Fire and Water

New Orleans is a watery hell, an Editorial by Rick Reiff

Medical Device Makers Report 4% Growth in OC Employment

Orange County's medical device industry is a consistent cog in the county's economic engine. Last year was no exception.

Hurricane Katrina Could Impact Fluor, Taco Bell, PacSun

Local companies should see some fallout from Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina's Local Impact

While it's too early to assess the impact of Hurricane Katrina's destruction, several Orange County-based companies could see some fallout from the powerful storm that ripped through New Orleans and other cities along the Gulf Coast, shuttering oil and ga

Fairchild: Women Bikers Rock

A Tustin maker of protective clothing for motorcycle riders sees a big opportunity in launching a women's line

MTI Technology Funding to Aid Growth, Operations

MTI Technology will have some spending money after a $20 million private stock sale

Hager Pacific Hot on Stater's Freezer Space in Colton

Hager Pacific Properties of Newport Beach recently paid $30 million for the Stater Bros.' campus in Colton, in the Real Estate column

Sutura Public Via Reverse Merger, Eyes Surgery Niche

Sutura has gone public via a backdoor route, in the Healthcare column

The Helping Hand(s)

Ways to think about mentoring, a Viewpoint by Judy B. Rosener

Inflight Systems Spur Thales Hiring Binge

Inflight systems maker Thales is growing its Irvine operation

Lennar's High-Rise Pitch Taking Form

Lennar is set for the first public test of its Platinum Triangle vision

Real Estate Watch: Airport Area/Central Coast

Airport Area Poised for Big Changes. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Lennar to Go Before City of Anaheim

Lennar Corp. is set to face the first public test of its grand vision for Anaheim's Platinum Triangle when it goes before the city's Planning Commission on Wednesday.

Boeing's Anaheim Head Inherits Sprawling Operation

The new head of Boeing's sprawling Anaheim defense operation breaks the mold

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

Sunday, September 4

Mitsubishi Posts August Sales Gain

Orange County automakers posted gains in August sales,including Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc.

Friday, September 2

Europe Sending Oil to U.S.

Europe will dip into its emergency stocks of gasoline to help the U.S. through an energy crisis that began when Hurricane Katrina smashed into Gulf coast refiners, EU governments said on Friday.

Boeing Halts Production After Strike

Boeing Co., the largest U.S. plane maker, halted production after its machinists' union went on strike Friday, voting to reject the company's latest contract offer.

Katrina Seen Causing $100B Loss

Hurricane Katrina and the resulting flooding in New Orleans will cause an economic loss expected to top $100 billion, a risk modeler said on Friday.

U.S. Loses 10% Oil Consumption

The U.S. has lost production of about 42 million gallons of gasoline a day, equal to 10% of its normal consumption, because Hurricane Katrina shut down oil refineries and forced others to reduce runs, according to government estimates.

Albertsons Goes on the Block

Albertsons Inc., the No. 2 U.S. grocer, on Friday put itself up for sale as it grapples with intense competition from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other chains, sending its stock up as much as 25 percent to a 14-month high.

Job Growth Solid, Pre-Katrina

Employers created 169,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell unexpectedly to 4.9%, its lowest since August 2001. But the results that show the economy's vigor were before Hurricane Katrina.

Thursday, September 1

Airlines Face Trouble as Oil Prices Soar

Airlines, already struggling to survive high oil prices amid steep competition, have been hit hard by Hurricane Katrina, which pounded the U.S. Gulf Coast this week, crippling petroleum production and refining, and sending oil prices soaring.

Katrina May Shut Refineries for Months

Some oil refineries shut by Hurricane Katrina may be able to restart operations within one to two weeks, but others make take "several months" to resume making gasoline and other petroleum products, the Energy Information Administration said Thursday.

Corinthian Meets Views, Lowers Outlook

Vocational school operator Corinthian Colleges Inc. of Santa Ana on Thursday reported a drop in net profits for the June quarter and cut its earnings outlook for the current period.

Textiles Limited After China Talks Fail

The U.S. slapped extra curbs on imports of Chinese textiles on Thursday hours after talks on finding a formula to deal with China's surging clothing shipments ended in failure in Beijing.

Automakers Post Weak August Sales

Detroit automakers, led by a stalling General Motors Corp., posted weak U.S. sales for August on Thursday as heavily publicized discounts that delivered near-record July results lost their punch.

Cardiac Science, Quinton Close Pact

Cardiac Science Inc. and Quinton Cardiology Systems Inc. finalized their combination on Thursday.

MCI in Deal With Federal Govt.

Prosecutors said on Thursday they have agreed not to pursue criminal charges against MCI Inc. , the successor of telecommunications company WorldCom Inc.

PacSun Misses, Wet Seal Surges

Anaheim-based Pacific Sunwear of California Inc.'s August sales at stores open at least a year fell below expectation as Wet Seal Inc. of Foothill Ranch surpassed views with another month of big gains.

August Retail Sales Up, Discounts Help

Retail store sales rose modestly in August, as companies slashed prices to combat sticky weather and rising gas prices that sapped spending on fall gear.