Stories for December 2006

Saturday, December 30

Arden Buys Foothill Ranch Offices From Layton Belling

Los Angeles-based office landlord Arden Realty Inc. said on Thursday it bought Towne Centre Plaza, a three-building office complex in Foothill Ranch.

CorVel, SimpleTech 2006 Stock Winners

Irvine-based CorVel Corp., which helps employers and insurers check workers' compensation costs, is Orange County's top stock of 2006.

Friday, December 29

Power Corp. To Buy Putnam Unit

Financial services firm Marsh & McLennan Cos. has agreed in principle to sell its Putnam Investments unit for $3.9 billion to Montreal-based holding company Power Corp. of Canada, The Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site on Friday.

Shareholders Approve Microsemi Acquisition

Shareholders of Israeli chipmaker PowerDsine Ltd. have approved a $245 million buyout by Irvine-based Microsemi Corp.

Disney Studios Sees $3.3B Box Office in 2006

The Walt Disney Co. said on Thursday its studio division generated $3.3 billion in global box office revenue in 2006 and claimed the year's top two box office and top three DVD domestic releases for the first time.

Sunstone Adds Second Times Square Hotel

San Clemente-based hotel owner Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. is paying $68.5 million to buy a Times Square hotel as part of a venture with the real estate investment arm of Goldman Sachs & Co.

Apple's Options Probe: Clears CEO Jobs

Apple Computer Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs received a vote of confidence from his company on Friday in an eagerly awaited filing with U.S. regulators that included the disclosure that Apple would expense $84 million to cover misdated stock options.

Thursday, December 28

Eaton Will Buy Aerospace Firm for $695M

U.S. industrial goods manufacturer Eaton Corp. said on Thursday it will buy AT Holdings Corp., the parent of Argo-Tech Corp., for $695 million in a move to expand its aerospace business.

Existing Home Sales, Consumer Confidence Up

U.S. existing home sales rose in November for a second straight month and consumer confidence hit an eight-month high in December, according to reports on Thursday showing the economy ending the year on a solid note.

Nasdaq: Closed Jan. 2 To Mark President Ford's Death

The Nasdaq stock market will be closed on January 2 to mark the death of former U.S. President Gerald Ford after the date was deemed a national day of mourning, the market said on Thursday.

Consumer Confidence: Eight-Month High

U.S. consumer confidence rebounded in December, rising to an eight-month high as consumers' view of the labor market improved, a survey showed on Thursday.

Wednesday, December 27

Ford, Toyota Chiefs: No Discussion of Alliance

The chairman of Toyota Motor Corp. met with the chief executive of Ford Motor Co. but they did not discuss the possibility of forming any alliance, Japan's top auto maker said on Wednesday.

Dow Hits New High

Wall Street surged higher Wednesday, hurtling the Dow Jones industrials past 12,500 for the first time as year-end bargain hunters picked up stocks across a variety of sectors.

Oil: Down More Than $1 on Weather

Oil and natural gas prices fell Tuesday amid mild winter weather that depressed demand for home-heating fuels.

Singapore Regulators Reject M-Flex Bid to Nix Acquisition

Regulators in Singapore have rejected Multi-Fineline Electronix Inc.'s bid to pull out of an acquisition of a sister company based there.

Pre-Christmas Sales Fall Short

Retail sales surged in the last days before Christmas but not as much as expected, two reports confirmed Wednesday, putting more pressure on stores to get shoppers to open their wallets in the final days of December.

New Homes Sales Up in November

Sales of new U.S. homes rose a higher-than-expected 3.4% in November, but they were down 15.3% from a year ago, a government report on Wednesday showed.

Acacia Splitting Off Biotech Subsidiary

Newport Beach-based Acacia Research Corp., an owner and licensor of technology and other patents, plans to fully spin off its biotechnology subsidiary CombiMatrix Corp.

Tuesday, December 26

Coming Soon: the Business Journal's Businessperson of the Year

The Business Journal is set to unveil its businessperson of the year for 2006 in Monday's edition.

Equity Upping Rents Amid Blackstone Buy

Equity Office Properties Trust, the county's second largest office landlord, has upped asking rents at its buildings here in the past few weeks.

Anadarko will Sell Louisiana Gas Fields for $1.6B

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. said on Tuesday it agreed to sell two gas fields in Louisiana to EXCO Resources Inc. for $1.6 billion in cash.

Alcoa: Tentative Deal With Union

Aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. on Sunday said it reached a tentative deal with United Auto Workers Local 1050 for a new labor contract at the company's Cleveland facility, potentially ending a 7-week old strike.

Level 3 to buy Savvis Assets

Level 3 Communications Inc. on Tuesday said it will spend $135 million in cash to buy from Savvis Inc. assets used to help deliver video and online games to Internet customers.

UnitedHealth: Formal Stock-Options Probe

UnitedHealth Group Inc. has received a formal order of investigation about its stock-option practices from Securities and Exchange Commission staff, according to a Tuesday regulatory filing.

Monday, December 25

OC Home Prices Up From Oct., Slight Rise From Year Ago

The price of an Orange County detached home in November rebounded from October, but still was only 0.5% above prices seen a year ago, the California Association of Realtors said Thursday.

Bitfone: Buyout Deal After All

Turns out Bitfone Corp.'s Chief Executive Gene Wang landed a big one. Privately-held Bitfone is set to be bought by Palo Alto-based Hewlett-Packard Co., the companies said Wednesday.

Thursday, December 21

UCI Names Health Affairs Vice Chancellor

The University of California, Irvine, on Thursday named David Bailey its vice chancellor for health affairs, effective April 1.

Raytheon's Aircraft Unit to Sell for $3.3 Billion

Raytheon Co. said on Thursday it will sell its aircraft business, which makes Hawker and Beechcraft business jets, to a unit of investment bank Goldman Sachs and Canadian buyout firm Onex Partners for about $3.3 billion.

Bristol-Myers: $499M to Settle Probe

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. has agreed to pay $499 million under a tentative settlement with U.S. prosecutors over probes into its pricing, sales and marketing practices, the drug maker said on Thursday.

Highland Proposes $4.7B Delphi Plan

Highland Capital Management L.P. on Thursday proposed a $4.7-billion reorganization plan for Delphi Corp., setting the stage for a fight for control of the auto parts supplier between its two largest investors as Delphi emerges from bankruptcy.

Wednesday, December 20

Autobytel To Get $20M in Legal Settlement

Irvine-based online auto marketer Autobytel Inc. is set to get $20 million as part of a settled lawsuit with Dealix Corp. of Redwood City.

Ericsson Will Buy Redback for $2.1B

Ericsson, the world's largest maker of mobile-phone networks, agreed to buy Redback Networks Inc. for $2.1 billion in cash to gain expertise in IP-routing technology and more directly challenge Cisco Systems.

FedEx: Profit Up, Outlook Disappoints

FedEx Corp.'s second-quarter earnings rose more than expected as fuel costs eased and the package-delivery giant recorded gains both at its FedEx Ground unit and from hurricane insurance payments, the company reported Wednesday.

Nike Profit Up

Nike Inc., the world's largest maker of athletic footwear and clothing, said on Wednesday that quarterly net profit rose nearly 8%, helped by a tax benefit and global sales growth.

Netlist Executive Sells Shares After Going Public

The chief executive of Irvine-based memory products maker Netlist Inc. sold $3.7 million worth of stock just weeks after the company's impressive initial public offering, according to a government filing Wednesday.

CarMax Profit Nearly Doubles

CarMax Inc., the largest U.S. retailer of used cars, posted a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, and boosted its fiscal 2007 earnings outlook, sending its shares up nearly 13%.

NYSE Group Backs Euronext Merger

NYSE Group Inc. shareholders on Wednesday approved a $14 billion plan to merge the New York Stock Exchange with Paris-based Euronext, a major step in the Big Board's drive to become global.

Turnaround Darling Wet Seal Warns About December Sales

The dramatic turnaround at Wet Seal Inc. saw a hiccup on Wednesday as the Foothill Ranch-based retailer lowered its projected growth in December same-store sales.

Tuesday, December 19

Wholesale Prices Surge

Inflation at the wholesale level surged by the largest amount in more than three decades in November, reflecting higher prices for gasoline and a host of other items.

Alliance Imaging Cuts 2007 on Medicare

Anaheim's Alliance Imaging Inc., a provider of medical scanning services, said Tuesday its 2007 earnings would be hit by Medicare reimbursement changes.

UnitedHealth Expects $79.5B in 2007 Revenue

UnitedHealth Group Inc., which is trying to emerge from a stock options scandal, forecast 2007 net earnings of between $4.7 billion and $4.75 billion on Tuesday, a rise of about 14 percent on better-than-expected revenue.

New Century Chairman Steps Aside

Irvine-based New Century Financial Corp. on Tuesday said cofounder Robert Cole is retiring as executive chairman of the subprime mortgage lender at the end of the year.

Nortel: $2B Supply Deal With Verizon

Canadian telecom equipment giant Nortel Networks Corp. has signed a $2 billion supply deal with Verizon Wireless to help the carrier cope with an explosion in demand for broadband Internet access.

Agnellis: Majority Stake in Cushman

A holding company for Italy's Agnelli family, which controls automaker Fiat SpA, said Tuesday it is paying $563 million for a 67.5% stake in New York-based real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield.

Delta Rejects US Airways Bid

Delta Air Lines Inc. formally rejected a bid by smaller rival US Airways Group Inc. on Tuesday and filed its own long-awaited plan to emerge from bankruptcy that would value the carrier at up to $12 billion.

Harrah's Accepts $17.1B Buyout

The board of Harrah's Entertainment Inc. has accepted a $90-per-share buyout bid from private equity groups Apollo Management and Texas Pacific Group, the casino operator said on Tuesday.

Monday, December 18

Lee Joins Business Journal Covering Small Business, Other

Lee Joins Business Journal Covering Small Business, Other

Employee Screener Expanding in Irvine

HireRight's doubling its headquarters in a move to Irvine's University Research Park

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This past week's news from www.ocbj.com and other sources

Washington, State Politics Top Watch List

Orange County healthcare looks to Washington and Sacramento as Democrats are set to take control of the Senate and House. Advanced Medical Optics' Jim Mazzo is the person to watch and UCI Medical Center is the hospital to watch

Equity Upping Rents Amid Blackstone Buy

Equity Office Properties has been upping rents less than a month after news it's being bought

Consumer Electronics Rule; Vista Could Drive PC Sales

Consumer electronics are expected to keep up the sales pace of the past couple of years, boosting the demand for chips. Irvine computer maker Gateway is the company to watch and Emulex's new boss Jim McCluney is the person to watch

AROUND THE COUNTY

Project developments and other activity in cities across OC

MARKET WATCH

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

Exports Set To Grow, Though More Slowly

Solid markets and a cheap dollar should drive OC exports in the coming year. Vietnam is the country to watch

REAL ESTATE DEALS

Sales and leases of offices, industrial buildings, retail space and apartments

Housing Shift Now Certain; Office Market Could Offset

The highly anticipated housing shift should finally come to fruition. ACC Capital Holdings is the company to watch and Lennar Chief Investment Officer Emile Haddad is the person to watch

LA Fitness Subleases Ameriquest Space

LA Fitness Inc. is leaving the Spectrum for more space at another Irvine tower

Corinthian Cofounder Moore Steps Down as Chairman

David G. Moore, cofounder of Corinthian Colleges Inc., said Monday he's stepping down as chairman of the Santa Ana-based operator of vocational colleges.

Real Estate Watch: North/Central County

Vacancy levels remain in the single digits in North and Central Orange County markets. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

KUDOS

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

Banking: More Asset Growth, Competition; Acquisitions?

Banks should see growth in assets and deposits next year, in addition to steeper competition. Orange County Teachers' Federal Credit Union is the company to watch and Pacific Mercantile Bank's Raymond Dellerba is the person to watch

Prez Quits Sperry Van Ness Over Company Differences

Management changes are under way at Sperry Van Ness, in the Real Estate column

Year Later, PacifiCare Stays Above Scandal

A year after being bought by UnitedHealth, PacifiCare's become fully integrated

Express Scripts: $26B for Caremark

U.S. pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts Inc. said on Monday it was offering to buy rival Caremark RX for about $26 billion, threatening to break up a deal struck last month with drugstore chain CVS Corp.

Oracle's Quarterly Profit Up

Oracle Corp. on Monday posted a 21% rise in quarterly profit, helped by sales of business software licenses to the customers of acquired rivals like Siebel Systems and PeopleSoft.

Biomet bought by private equity group

Orthopedic device maker Biomet Inc. said on Monday it will be acquired by a private equity consortium for about $10.9 billion, eight months after putting itself on the auction block.

VIEWPOINT

TRANSPORTATION. A guest column by Robert Poole, of transportation studies at the Reason Foundation in Los Angeles.

Valeant Drug's Effectiveness Highlighted in Study

New research released shows that Valeant Pharmaceuticals International's Cesamet, a synthetic version of marijuana's active ingredient, helps relieve symptoms such as pain, anxiety and depression.

Retailer Nabbing Sales, Shoppers With Hip Clothes

Wet Seal's chief executive is thanking fashionistas

FedEx buys Britain's ANC for $234M

Package delivery company FedEx Corp. said on Monday it has acquired British express transportation company ANC Holdings Ltd. for $234 million.

Bren Joins McCain Team; Gross Sheds, Campbell Adds Hair

Bren Joins McCain Team; Gross Sheds, Campbell Adds Hair

2006 Brought Restaurant Comings, Goings; Best of List

The Orange County dining scene in 2006 saw some bests, changes and sad goodbyes, in the Executive Dining column

Sector Cools After Boom, But Spending, Activity To Grow

OC's tourism industry is likely to see slow going next year. Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle is the person to watch and Huntington Beach is the city to watch

Military's Weapons Overhaul Boost for Meggitt

A local unit of Britain's Meggitt PLC is getting a boost from the military's push to overhaul and repair older weapons

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Back in OC: Our New Technology Guy Dan Anderson

Broadcom said it has avoided a feared buildup of unsold chips, according to Chief Executive Scott McGregor, in the Technology column

Tustin Auto Center: Flowers, Landscaping Keep Posh Feel

Tustin Auto Center uses flowers and landscaping to keep a posh feel, in the Marketplace column

Growth Seen Flat, Though Good Luck Finding Workers

Expect to see manufacturing jobs hold steady or post a slight gain. Kimberly-Clark Corp. in fullerton is the company to watch

Housing To Temper Retail Growth, Which Could Lag Nation

A weaker housing market is expected to bite into national retail sales. Teen clothing retailer Pacific Sunwear of California is the company to watch and South Coast Plaza is the mall to watch

County Supervisor Race, New Councils Set Tone for 2007

Governments across the county are set to deal with the results of November's election. Central Orange County Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is the person to watch and transportation is the issue to watch

EVENTS CALENDAR

A listing of events happening all around Orange County

360 Business Hits 2006 Goal: Nabbing 100 New Clients

Mission Viejo's 360 Business Consulting met its goal of 100 clients this year, in the Media & Marketing column

Hoops: Managed Care Changed Insurer Relationship

Health maintenance organizations and managed care have had a dramatic impact on healthcare, according to one industry veteran, in the Healthcare column

Broadcom Ends Options Probe; SEC Starts Formal Inquiry

Irvine-based chipmaker Broadcom Corp. said Monday it has finished its look into backdated options and will restate nearly five years of earnings at a cost of $1.5 billion.

READER LETTERS

Thoughts on the GOP split on Iraq, in Letters

Friday, December 15

Bernanke Urges China to Let Yuan Rise

Chinese policy-makers risk losing control of their economy unless they let the yuan rise in value and strengthen their financial system, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Friday.

Consumer Prices Flat in November

Consumer prices were unexpectedly flat in November on a drop in energy costs and prices were also unchanged from the previous month when volatile food and energy costs were stripped out, defying forecasts of an uptick in core prices, a government report s

Subprime Homeowners Spark Regret for Lenders

A rush to profit by funding home purchases for Americans with poor credit records has come back to bite the hands that fed the movement.

Storage Products Company Procom Goes Private

Irvine-based Procom Technology Inc., a maker of data storage devices, goes private today by combining with a company set up by its chief executive.

Folino Joins Board of Chip Startup Solarflare

Emulex Corp. Executive Chairman Paul Folino has joined the board of Irvine's Solarflare Communications Inc., a maker of networking chips and one of the county's best-funded startups.

HireRight Plans to Double HQ Space

Irvine-based HireRight Inc., which does employee background checks and drug screening for other employers, said it plans to expand and move its headquarters to Irvine's University Research Park.

Thursday, December 14

Sony Keeps PS3, Profit Targets

Sony Corp. said on Thursday it has no plans to change its targets for shipments of its hot-selling PlayStation 3 and operating profit margin, signaling its recovery is on track despite drawbacks such as battery recalls.

Merci Rossignol: Quiksilver Profits Surge, Revenue Tops Views

Surfwear maker Quiksilver Inc. saw a big jump in earnings and sales that topped forecasts for the quarter ended Oct. 28, thanks to Skis Rossignol, which it acquired in late 2005.

Korean-American Insurance Brokerages Acquired

Hanmi Bank, the largest Korean bank in Los Angeles, is buying two insurance brokerages in Garden Grove.

Drug Maker Spectrum, German Partner at Odds

Irvine drug maker Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Thursday that it is seeking arbitration in a dispute with its German partner.

Nestle Buys Novartis Medical Food Unit for $2.5B

Nestle SA is buying the medical nutrition business of Swiss pharmaceutical group Novartis AG for $2.5 billion, the companies said on Thursday.

Wall Street Pleased With Earnings, Jobless Data

Wall Street resumed its fourth-quarter rally Thursday, pushing the Dow Jones industrials to its first close above 12,400 after a series of strong company earnings and a drop in unemployment claims revived investors' confidence in the economy.

Bear Stearns Profits Rise

Bear Stearns Cos. said on Thursday quarterly net income soared 38%, helped by gains from fees for merger advice and underwriting debt.

AMD Sees Strong 2007

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. gave a strong 2007 outlook for gross margins on Thursday and said its microprocessor sales would grow twice as fast as the industry average of 10% due to market share gains.

Honeywell Sees Higher 2007 Profit

Honeywell International Inc. expects earnings to rise 13% to 17% in 2007, but high commodity and energy costs will keep margins under pressure, the diversified manufacturer said on Thursday.

Wednesday, December 13

United, Continental: Early Merger Talks

United Airlines' parent UAL Corp. and Continental Airlines Inc. are in preliminary talks about a merger that would create the largest airline in the world, sources familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.

Diamondbacks' Moorad Joins Oakley Board

Jeff Moorad, chief executive, general partner and part owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks, has joined the board of Foothill Ranch-based Oakley Inc.

Danaher: Double-Digit 2007 Growth

Diversified manufacturer Danaher Corp. said on Wednesday it expects double-digit earnings growth next year, citing demand for of professional tools and growth in emerging markets.

Retail Sales Up in November

The holiday shopping season may not be so bad after all. Consumers came surging back into stores in November, revving retail sales at the fastest pace in four months.

Qantas Agrees to $8.6B Offer: Report

Australian airline Qantas Airways has agreed to an $8.65 billion takeover offer from a consortium led by Macquarie Bank after it sweetened its initial bid by 10 cents a share, the newspaper Australian reported in its Thursday edition, citing an unnamed so

Citizens Banking, Republic Merger OK'ed

Citizens Banking Corp. and Republic Bancorp Inc. said Wednesday that the Federal Reserve has approved Citizens' proposed acquisition of Republic.

Merck Wins Latest Federal Vioxx Trial

A New Orleans jury handed Merck & Co. a victory Wednesday in the latest federal Vioxx product liability trial, finding that the drug maker adequately warned of the heart risks associated with the medicine.

Valeant Sells Drug Candidate for $19M, Future Payments

Costa Mesa-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International and a partner said Wednesday they are selling the worldwide rights to a hepatitis B drug to Schering-Plough Corp.

Mazzo Joining Beckman's Board

Two of Orange County's larger healthcare companies saw a bit of cross pollination Wednesday as Fullerton-based Beckman Coulter Inc. named Jim Mazzo as a new member of its board of directors.

Tuesday, December 12

Fed Holds Rates For Fourth Time

The Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged Tuesday for the fourth straight time as worries about inflation continued to trump concerns about the slowing economy.

Cooper's Shares Fall 10% Day After Earnings

Shares of Cooper Cos. fell nearly 10% Wednesday, a day after it said its quarterly profit fell short of analysts' expectations because of production and shipping delays and other problems.

OCBJ SUPPLEMENTS and GUIDES

EXECUTIVE HEALTH & FITNESS GUIDE

Silverlake and TPG Buy Sabre for $5B

Sabre Holdings said Tuesday it agreed to be acquired by Silver Lake Partners and Texas Pacific Group in a $5 billion dollar private equity buyout that is just the latest such deal to be announced in the travel and leisure sector.

Valeant Begins Fourth Phase Infergen Trials

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International said Tuesday that it started a fourth-phase clinical trial of hepatitis C drug Infergen in combination with ribavirin for treating patients who didn't respond to previous treatments.

Goldman Q4 Net Income Up 93%

A convergence of advisory-business strength, shrewd investments and rising capital markets produced Goldman Sachs' most profitable quarter in history and once again set the bar high for rivals reporting in the coming days.

Irvine Co. Makes Second San Diego Apartment Buy

The Irvine Company made its second big apartment buy this year in San Diego, picking up the Torrey Villas Apartments for a reported $172.5 million.

Trade Deficit Falls as Oil Prices Drop

The trade deficit posted a dramatic decline in October, falling to the lowest level in 14 months as the price of crude oil plunged by a record amount.

Monday, December 11

OC Post Stepping Up Marketing for Automotive Section

OC Post has started a marketing push to promote a weekly automotive section called Drive, in the Media & Marketing column

LG.Philips: Investigated by Korea, Japan, U.S.

South Korean flat screen maker LG.Philips LCD Co. Ltd. on Monday said it was being investigated by fair trade watchdogs from Korea and Japan and had received a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Pajama Maker Hollywood Hit; Bedding, Accessories Up Next

Irvine pajama maker P.J. Salvage is a hit in Hollywood

Quest Software's Options Probe Renews Takeover Talk

Quest Software's stock options probe renews talk of a potential takeover, in the Technology column

REVIEW

"It's Only Time" CD by Drake Bell. A Review

Dubai Ports Sells US Operations

Dubai Ports World, the company whose planned takeover of major U.S. port operations ignited a political firestorm earlier this year, has agreed to sell those operations to AIG Global Investment Group.

Airport Commission Delays, But Doesn't Kill, Condos

An unexpected airport issue temporarily grounded plans for five high-rise condominium towers in Costa Mesa last month, in the Real Estate column

MARKET WATCH

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

Ford's Aston Martin Could Sell for $1.2B

Ford Motor Co.'s Aston Martin, which has its U.S. base in Irvine, could sell for more than $1.2 billion, according to a report out of London over the weekend.

How We Did

The Business Journal Assesses its 2006 Picks to Watch

New Venture for Ex-PacifiCare Leader

Alan Hoops, a key figure in Orange County's managed care sector, is back at a new company

Alteer Looks to Grow in Already Hot Market For Medical Software

Irvine's Alteer Corp. is in a hot segment: helping doctors lose the paper trail

Local Alcoa Unit Isn't Cutting,It's Adding Jobs, if It Only Could

Fullerton's Alcoa Fastening Systems has big hiring plans,if it can find the workerstrail

Harrah: One Broadway Will Start in Early 2007

A planned Santa Ana office tower that's seen little outward progress since being approved by voters in early 2005, could start construction early next year

SAC to Fight Phelps Deal: NY Post

Hedge fund SAC Capital is planning to fight the proposed buyout of mining giant Phelps Dodge Corp. by Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. and seek a higher price, the New York Post reported on its Web site on Monday.

Britain's Tesco Plans Fullerton, Laguna Hills Stores

Britain's Tesco PLC plans to open stores in Fullerton and Laguna Hills and is looking at several other Orange County spots as part of its U.S. push.

Holiday Gift Clueless? Fifi Offers Last-Minute Thoughts

Fifi offers her advice on last-minute holiday gifts, in the Executive Dining column

Real Estate Watch: South County

The South Orange County market sees low vacancy rates and higher rents. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Former Daily News Business Editor Joins OCBJ

Former Daily News Business Editor Joins OCBJ

Siemens Hires Attorneys for Compliance

Siemens AG said its audit committee has instructed attorneys to conduct an independent and comprehensive investigation of its compliance and control system. A report speculated the company fears that Nokia will pull out of their joint venture due to alleg

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This past week's news from www.ocbj.com and other sources

Edwards Sells Stake in Heart Drug Development Effort

Irvine's Edwards Lifesciences is getting out of a biotechnology play, in the Healthcare column

READER LETTERS

Thoughts on plastic surgery and more on the recent election, in Letters

GIVING

Fund-raisers and charitable donations from companies and people

REAL ESTATE DEALS

Sales and leases of offices, industrial buildings, retail space and apartments

CALENDAR

A listing of events happening all around Orange County

Business Ventures Bankroll Tustin Church's Gospel

Business ventures help fund a Tustin church's gospel

Realtors See Drop in Existing Home Sales

Next year will likely bring a second annual decline in existing home sales, the National Association of Realtors predicted on Monday. Sales of existing homes are expected to decline 8.6 percent to 6.47 million for 2006 and contract another 1 percent to 6.

DuPont Cuts 1,500 Jobs in Restructuring

Chemical maker DuPont Co. is cutting 1,500 jobs as it restructures its agriculture and nutrition division, putting the $100 million it expects to save into its seeds business, where it is in an increasingly tough battle with rival Monsanto.

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Judge Upholds Qualcomm Infringement of Broadcom Patent

The International Trade Commission has upheld an initial ruling that San Diego's Qualcomm Inc. infringed a patent of Broadcom Corp., the Irvine chipmaker said Monday.

Dunn Laments; Meet Jim Morris,Both of 'Em

Dunn Laments; Meet Jim Morris,Both of 'Em

Military Supplier Leaving Anaheim for Florida

An Anaheim military supplier is shuttering operations here and moving to Florida

Britain's Tesco Plans First Stores in County

Britain's Tesco PLC plans to open stores in Fullerton and Laguna Hills and is looking at several other Orange County spots

Sunday, December 10

OC Investment Properties For Sale

Orange County Investment Properties For Sale - December 11, 2006

Friday, December 8

New Century's November Loans Off 12%

Irvine-based mortgage lender New Century Financial Corp. said Friday it did nearly 12% fewer loans in November than a year earlier.

December Consumer Confidence Dips

Consumer sentiment ebbed in December as consumers pared back their view of their future financial conditions, raising concerns on the outlook for spending.

Hiring Surprisingly Strong in November

A stronger-than-forecast 132,000 jobs were created in November, according to a government report on Friday that implied the economy had more underlying resilience than previously realized.

Wal-Mart To Reopen Ad Account Review

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said on Thursday it would reopen bidding for its $580 million advertising account just days after the departure of an executive who led the retailer's change of ad agencies.

Beckman's French Unit Cited in Oil-for-Food Report

A French unit of Fullerton-based Beckman Coulter Inc. has come up in a U.N. report looking at corruption in the oil-for-food scandal in Iraq during the 1990s.

Heart Valve Maker Edwards Ups 2007 Forecast

Edwards Lifesciences Corp., the Irvine-based heart valve maker, said late Thursday that it expects double-digit earnings growth for 2007, driven by higher gross margins and new product sales.

Thursday, December 7

NBC Universal: Master Growth Plan

Studio owner NBC Universal unveiled an ambitious plan to revamp its 390-acre Universal City complex that includes movie sets, office space and a theme park.

Jobless Claims Fell 34,000 Last Week

The number of workers seeking first-time jobless claims plunged last week, as expected, after surging the prior week during the start of the holiday season, a government report showed on Thursday.

Delta Sells 38 Boeing Planes

Delta Air Lines Inc. said on Thursday that as part of its bankruptcy, it will sell 38 Boeing airplanes, which includes 15 planes to Aviation Capital Group, the airplane leasing company unit of Pacific LifeCorp.

Broadcom: Inventory Near

Broadcom Corp.'s stockpile of chips could close the quarter at "an ideal level," Chief Executive Scott McGregor said on Thursday.

Circuit Board Maker TTM Closing Oregon Plant

Santa Ana circuit board maker TTM Technologies Inc. said Thursday it plans to close an Oregon factory it acquired in October's buy of Tyco International Ltd.'s printed circuit board business.

Chapman: 2007 Job Growth to Be Slowest in Years, Falling Home Prices

Orange County job growth is expected to slow to its lowest level in five years, with housing prices here seeing their first dip in years, according to Chapman University's 2007 forecast released Thursday.

Murdoch Buys Back News Corp. Stock

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. will transfer its controlling stake in satellite broadcaster DirecTV Group Inc. to Liberty Media Corp. as part of a deal to buy News Corp. stock back from Liberty, according to a published report.

HP to Pay $14.5M to Settle Suit

Hewlett-Packard Co. agreed Thursday to pay $14.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by state attorney general Bill Lockyer accusing the company of unfair business practices in its crusade to unmask the source of boardroom leaks to the news media.

Supreme Court to Hear Stocks Lawsuit

The Supreme Court agreed Thursday to consider a lawsuit against major Wall Street firms accused of conspiring to manipulate prices on newly issued shares during the stock market boom of the 1990s.

Wednesday, December 6

China Firms: New Digital Players

China's top electronics makers on Wednesday unveiled dozens of video players made with a homegrown DVD format in a campaign to promote a Chinese alternative to foreign technology.

Slumping Yahoo Has Executive Shake-Up

Yahoo Inc. announced its biggest executive shake-up in more than five years, including placing chief financial officer Susan Decker in charge of ad sales in a move that may signal her anointment as successor to the company's top job.

ECC's $26M Sale to Bear Stearns Delayed

Irvine mortgage lender ECC Capital Corp. on Wednesday said it $26 million sale to Bear Stearns Cos. has hit some snags.

Icahn Ends Bid for Reckson

Financier Carl Icahn said on Wednesday he ended his bid for Reckson Associates Realty Corp., because he ran out of time after his partners dropped out, and investors balked at accepting an offer that included less cash.

Gateway, Shareholder Agree on Board Expansion

Irvine computer maker Gateway Inc. said Wednesday it added a director and plans to add another as part of an agreement with a shareholder that threatened to run its own board candidates for the struggling company's board.

EU Backs Airbus in Boeing Spat

The European Union on Wednesday backed Airbus in a row over state subsidies with U.S. rival Boeing Co. while yet another client of the European planemaker threatened to cancel orders for the A380 superjumbo.

Cisco: India Globalization Center

Networking company Cisco Systems Inc. Wednesday reaffirmed it will invest $1.1 billion in India over the next three years and said the country will become a globalization center for its operations.

Data Raise Hopes for Payrolls Boost

A spike in private-sector jobs in November tentatively raised hopes of improvement in the labor market on Wednesday while a jump in mortgage applications offered some light in the dimming housing sector.

Standard Pacific Up on Improved Q4 Home Orders

Irvine-based Standard Pacific Corp. saw its stock approach a six-month high on Wednesday, after executives noted improved fourth-quarter housing trends.

Tuesday, December 5

LSI Logic to buy Agere for $3.5 billion in stock

LSI Logic Corp., a maker of chips used in DVD recorders and hard drives, has agreed to buy Agere Systems Inc. in an all-stock deal worth about $3.5 billion, bolstering its position in the data storage market.

Can Condos Save Triangle Square?

Finding Costa Mesa mall Triangle Square isn't a problem. Getting tenants and drawing shoppers is another story.

HSBC hit by U.S. housing, investment bank slowdown

Europe's biggest bank, HSBC Holdings, said its growth has slowed since the first half of the year due to a weak U.S. housing market and a slowdown at its investment bank arm, sending its shares to a 6-month low.

Qualcomm jumps on China 3G expectations

Qualcomm Inc. shares jumped more than 4% on Tuesday after China said it may grant a license for a next-generation cellphone network that would boost royalties to the wireless technology and chip supplier.

Euro Regulators OK Euronext/NYSE Merge

European regulators said in an expected move on Tuesday they have no objections to the proposed $13.8 billion merger between Euronext and NYSE, removing a hurdle for the first transatlantic stock exchange.

Edwards Cutting Workers, Product; $16M Charge in Q4

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. said Tuesday that it will cut 70 jobs and take a $16 million charge in the fourth quarter because of reorganization and discontinuing a product.

Service sector stronger than expected

Growth in the U.S. services sector accelerated unexpectedly in November and third-quarter labor costs grew more slowly than forecast, suggesting the economy may be weathering a manufacturing slowdown with wage-driven inflation coming under control.

Toll Bros. Q4 Profit Down 44%

Luxury home builder Toll Brothers Inc. reported a 44% drop in quarterly earnings on Tuesday, but said the slumping housing market--which has weighed heavily on its results--might be bottoming out.

Telescope Maker Meade Closing Plant, Cutting Jobs

Struggling Irvine telescope maker Meade Instruments Corp. said Tuesday it's closing a Georgia plant and cutting 20 jobs.

Reckson Board Rejects $4.3B Icahn Bid

Reckson Associates Realty Corp. on Tuesday said its board voted against a $4.3 billon takeover offer from billionaire financier Carl Icahn, saying the bid wasn't better than an offer from rival office landlord SL Green Realty Corp.

Monday, December 4

Irvine Device Maker Relocating to Seattle

SpaceLabs Healthcare is set to cut 43 jobs and close a business it owns in Irvine

JPMorgan Signs Costa Mesa Lease for OC Headquarters

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has picked Costa Mesa for its new Orange County offices, in the Real Estate column

Viewpoint

FRENCH LESSONS - A discussion of France's recent adoption of a class action law, by Gregory S. Taylor, a class action defense lawyer with Hansen & Taylor LLP in Irvine.

Wahoo's Eyes Potential Baja Fresh Leases

Wahoo's Fish Taco is watching its competition a little more closely these days

International Row: Hotel Apologizes To UC Irvine Prof

International Row: Hotel Apologizes To UC Irvine Prof

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This past week's news from www.ocbj.com and other sources

Reader Letters

Some thoughts on Michael Richards' outburst and Christmas in prose, in Letters

Manufacturing Sector Shrinks in November

For the first time in almost four years, the nation's manufacturing sector has shrunk, and its fall is firing warning flares for the job market, economists said on Friday.

TriZetto Exploring Other Offerings for Health Insurers

Newport Beach's TriZetto Group is sticking with its mainstay customers for growth, in the Healthcare column

SimpleTech Ups Q4 Forecast

Flash memory products maker SimpleTech Inc. upped its projected fourth-quarter earnings and revenue on stronger-than-expected sales at the Santa Ana-based company.

AROUND THE COUNTY

Project developments and other activity in cities across OC

REVIEW

Management book by Rosa Say. Ho'ohana Publishing

Real Estate Watch: Airport/Central Coast Area

Vacancy for office space in the John Wayne Airport area increased again for the third straight quarter. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Can Condos Save Triangle Square?

Triangle Square's new owner is looking to breathe some life into the Costa Mesa mall

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Rockwell Collins Culls Programs for Airlines

Rockwell Collins is looking to provide digital news, movies and TV shows for airlines and executive jets

Irvine Device Maker Moving to Seattle

SpaceLabs Healthcare Inc., a maker of medical monitoring devices, is set to cut 43 jobs and close a business it owns in Irvine.

Ayres' Le Chateau Charms With Old World Ambiance

Le Chateau's Old World ambiance is reminiscent of the celebrated restaurants that dot Europe, in the Executive Dining column

Paper Products Maker Cuts in Garden Grove

MeadWestvaco plans to cut about 70 jobs at its Garden Grove plant

LSI to Buy Agere in $4B Stock Swap

LSI Logic Corp. said Monday it will purchase rival chip and storage systems maker Agere Systems Inc. for $4 billion in stock.

Airbus Formally Launches A350

Airbus kicked off a $13.2 billion plan Monday to build its A350 XWB wide-bodied jet, which is designed to compete with Boeing's successful 787 and boost the fortunes of the troubled European planemaker.

Office Backer Betting on Platinum Triangle

A proposed office tower may bring airport-area rents to Anaheim

Qualcomm Buys Two Wireless Technology Businesses

Wireless technology firm Qualcomm Inc. said on Monday it will buy two micro-chip businesses to boost its expertise in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless technology for mobile Internet access.

Chipmaker Raises $30M to Produce Mobile TV Chips

Allergan's acquisition of Santa Barbara's Inamed has brought more work for Costa Mesa's Pacific Communications, in the Media & Marketing column

Advanced Medical: Recall Strategy, Fallout

Advanced Medical Optics is taking stock of a situation no consumer products maker wants to deal with: a recall

OCBJ SUPPLEMENTS and GUIDES

HUMAN RESOURCES GUIDE

Master of Arts

The Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters just wrapped up one of its best years

Apria: Q3, Medicare Fuel Comeback

It looks like Lake Forest's Apria Healthcare Group dodged a bullet

REAL ESTATE DEALS

Sales and leases of offices, industrial buildings, retail space and apartments

Europe Bets on Weathering a US Downturn

Currency traders have become convinced over the past two weeks that something big is afoot in the global economy. They are not convinced by the sanguine noises coming from the Federal Reserve and think the risks of a "hard landing" in the US economy have

Heart Valve Maker Edwards Sells Off Drug Program

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. said Monday that it's selling a gene-based drug program that aims to treat heart disease for $7.5 million in stock and royalties.

CALENDAR

A listing of events happening all around Orange County

KUDOS

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

First Botox, Now Juv & #233;derm for Pacific Communications

Allergan's acquisition of Santa Barbara's Inamed has brought more work for Costa Mesa's Pacific Communications, in the Media & Marketing column

Bank of N.Y. Buys Mellon for $16.5B

Bank of New York Co. has agreed to take over Mellon Financial Corp. in a $16.5 billion all-stock deal that will create the world's largest securities servicing company and one of the biggest asset managers.

South Coast Busy on Black Friday, Up Next: New Look

South Coast Plaza was busy on Black Friday, in the Marketplace column

Friday, December 1

Another Advanced Medical Downgrade, New Low for Shares

Shares of Santa Ana-based Advanced Medical Optics Inc. hit a new 52-week low Friday after another analyst downgraded the contact lens care and eye device maker after it announced a recall.

Manufacturing Shrinks for First Time in 3.5 Years

Factory activity shrank in November for the first time in 3.5 years as new orders, production and employment fell and prices paid rose, according to a survey published on Friday.

Apria Rebounds on Favorable Medicare Move

Looks like Lake Forest-based Apria Healthcare Group Inc. dodged a bullet. The home healthcare provider's seeing a comeback on Wall Street after thwarting possible Medicare payment cuts last month.

Boeing Eyes $15B in Indian Work

Boeing Co. said it may bid for $15 billion of Indian military orders in the next decade, as it seeks to benefit from closer ties between the U.S. and India, a Bloomberg report said on Friday.

McDonald's Supplier Golden State Buys Distribution Centers

Golden State Foods, one of the largest distributors to McDonald's Corp. and one of Orange County's largest privately held companies, is buying two distribution centers in a Midwest expansion.

UnitedHealth Names Hemsley CEO

UnitedHealth Group Inc. said on Friday Stephen J. Hemsley, president and chief operating officer, has officially assumed the role of chief executive officer and announced a number of executive changes.