Stories for February 2006

Tuesday, February 28

Teva Profit Up, Sees Good 2006

Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., which has big operations in Irvine, posted a 9% rise in fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday, helped by further strong sales of multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone as it prepares launches of generic drugs in 200

Detached Home Median: $699,060

The median price for a detached Orange County home was $699,060 in January, down a hair,0.5%,from December and up 10% from a year earlier, the California Association of Realtors said Tuesday.

Report: Google Sees Growth Slowing

The chief financial officer of Google Inc. on Tuesday said overall growth is slowing and is largely organic, according to cable network CNBC.

Apple Unveils iPod Home Stereo Box

Apple Computer Inc. on Tuesday introduced an iPod "Hi-Fi" home stereo system shaped like a speaker set on its side as it seeks to broaden the reach of its market-leading portable music player.

Economists Predict Q1 Rebound

The economy, which stubbed its toe in the final quarter of 2005, is probably back on firm footing in the opening quarter of this year despite a cooling housing market and somewhat skittish consumers.

PacSun: Solid Gains, Cautious Outlook

Anaheim-based retailer Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. reported solid profit and sales gains for the quarter ended Jan. 28 but said it is "cautious" about the current quarter.

Valeant Narrows Q4 Loss

Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International closed up nearly 5% Tuesday after the drug maker reported a narrower fourth-quarter loss.

Consumer Confidence Drops

Americans in February became less optimistic about the overall economy, especially the short-term prospects for the job market, sending a widely followed barometer of consumer sentiment below analysts' estimates.

Chemical Company Moving to NYSE

Newport Beach-based American Vanguard Corp., a seller of pesticides, antibiotics, weed killers and other chemicals, said Tuesday its shares are moving to the New York Stock Exchange from the American Stock Exchange.

Intel Plans $605M Vietnam Chip Plant

Vietnam has approved the issue of a license to Intel Corp, the largest chip maker, to build a $605 million plant to produce chips and computer parts in a deal that officials hope could help draw more investors.

Japan's Terumo Buying Device Maker

Aliso Viejo-based medical device maker MicroVention Inc. is being bought by Japan's Terumo Corp., the companies said Tuesday.

Home Orders Fall at Standard Pacific

Irvine-based Standard Pacific Corp. said that its new-home orders are down 13% to 1,431 this year. The homebuilder said in a statement that it's seeing lower demand in some markets "from the unsustainable pace of the past few years."

Monday, February 27

Allergan Makes Rounds to Address Botox Growth Issue

Allergan is making the rounds to make the case for more growth of Botox, in the Healthcare column

Brings Back Memories: French-Style Sunday Dinners

French-style Sunday dinners are a treat at Culinary Adventures' restaurants, in the Executive Dining column

Mortgage Lender Scraps Dividend

Irvine-based ECC Capital Corp., parent company of mortgage financier Encore Credit, said Monday it won't pay a first-quarter dividend in another sign of shrinking profits for subprime mortgage lenders.

Whittier Bank Sets Sights on North OC

Startup Friendly Hills Bank aims to go after business in North Orange County

Nationwide Health Moves Beyond Nursing Homes With Office Deal

Nationwide Health Properties is moving beyond nursing homes by buying medical offices

'MBA Mafia': Business Deans Go Way Back

'MBA Mafia': Business Deans Go Way Back

Electronics Drive Storage Makers

Disk drive makers are pushing their products for consumer electronics devices

REAL ESTATE DEALS

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Startup Bank Eyes North Orange County

Jeffrey K. Ball has banking in his blood. Now the 20-year banker is starting a business bank from scratch just over the county line in Whittier.

Western Digital Expects to Hit Targets

Lake Forest-based Western Digital Corp. said Monday it's on track to meet sales and profit expectations for the quarter, according to a regulatory filing.

Folino Eyes New Markets, Acquisitions; Moonlighting as Confidant to Governor

Emulex has plans to pick up the sales and profit pace in its battle with cross-county rival QLogic

Qwest Eyeing Buys Outside Telecom

Qwest Communications International Inc. is eyeing a range of potential acquisitions and would consider companies outside of the traditional telecommunications market, Chief Executive Richard Notebaert said on Monday.

GIVING

Fund-raisers and charitable donations from companies and people

GE to Sell Genworth stake Worth $2.8B

General Electric Co. on Monday said it plans to sell its remaining stake in Genworth Financial Inc. for about $2.8 billion, less than two years after it took the life and mortgage insurance unit public.

Japanese Cool: Retailer Plans Hip Convenience Stores Here

One of Japan's largest convenience store operators plans to come to OC, in the Marketplace column

Sun Healthcare Gains; Medicare Cuts Loom

Medicare has been a gift for rebounding Sun Healthcare Group

New Home Sales: Slowest in a Year

Sales of new homes fell 5% in January to their slowest pace in a year while the number of homes on the market hit a record high, according to a government report on Monday that signaled further cooling in the housing market.

EXECUTIVE BRIEFCASE

A funny, poignant play tackles unease amid the new world order, an Executive Briefcase

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Engineering Firms Report Gains From Housing, Roadwork

The county's biggest environmental consulting companies reported billings gains in 2005

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Fund-raisers and charitable donations from companies and people

Y & R;'s Playing Ball With L.A.'s Other Baseball Team

Y & R; nabbed its first account under its new local leader, in the Media & Marketing column

Real Estate Watch: Low-Rise Office Space

There's no sign of a letdown in the pace of low-rise office leasing. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Hotels Engineer Energy Savings, Conservation

Hotels engineer energy savings, conservation

Survey: Jobs, Housing Gains in '06

Most chief financial officers in Orange County believe their companies will add workers this year, according to a survey released Monday.

Lost Bid Doesn't Faze Wet Seal Investors

There's not much fallout on Wall Street from Wet Seal's failed bid to buy G+G

RadioShack CEO Resigns

RadioShack said on Monday that its board accepted the resignation of David Edmondson from his posts of president, chief executive and director.

Lowe's Tops Estimates on Strong Sales

Lowe's Cos. Inc., the second-largest home improvement retailer, on Monday reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings and gave a bullish outlook as renovations and commercial business fueled its strongest sales increase in years.

Irvine Co. Office Spree: $1B in Two Months

The Irvine Company's recent shopping spree has upped the ante in the high-rise office market

UCI Real Estate School Taking Shape, Seeking Money

UC Irvine's real estate school is taking shape as it looks to raise money, in the Real Estate column

GM to Invest $500M in Toledo plant

General Motors Corp. on Monday said it will invest $500 million in its Toledo, Ohio, transmission plant to produce a new type of automatic transmission for full-size trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Cox: Press Subpoenas 'Highly Unusual'

Chris Cox, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said on Monday that top agency officials were not informed before a regional office took the "highly unusual" step of issuing subpoenas to two journalists in a stock manipulation investigation

With Margins on Rise, Sales Focus Sharpens at Ingram

Look for Ingram Micro to emphasize a sales push this year, in the Technology column

LETTERS

Toll roads are a critical element in solving the state's transportation woes, in Letters

MARKET WATCH

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

Friday, February 24

Toshiba Dominates Drives for Gadgets

Toshiba Corp. led the market for tiny disk drives that go into digital music players, phones and other gadgets in the second half of 2005.

Oryxe Raises VC Round to $27M

Irvine-based Oryxe Energy International Inc. has boosted its third round of venture funding to $27 million.

Judge Delays BlackBerry Cutoff

A judge on Friday stopped short of ordering an immediate shutdown of millions of BlackBerry devices, but reminded manufacturer Research In Motion Ltd. it had already been found to have infringed the patents of NTP Inc.

Real Mex Posts Sales, Profit Gain

Cypress-based Real Mex Restaurants Inc. said profit more than doubled last year as same-store sales rose 2.9%. The company said earlier this year its owners are looking to sell the chain.

Firms Set to Bid for VNU

A group of private equity firms that has expressed an interest in buying market research giant VNU for as much as $8.7 billion is close to making a firm bid, a person familiar with the situation said on Friday.

Thursday, February 23

CBS Records $9B Loss

CBS Corp. reported a loss of $9.1 billion in the fourth quarter on hefty charges to write down the value of its radio and television businesses, the media company reported Thursday.

Irvine Software Maker Bought

Irvine-based RiverOne Inc., a maker of supply chain software that's raised $50 million in funding, has been acquired by Dallas-based rival I2 Technologies Inc.

KLA-Tencor Buys ADE Corp. for $488M

KLA-Tencor Corp., the No .2 U.S. chip-equipment maker, is buying ADE Corp. for about $488 million in stock, the companies said Thursday.

Pizza Chain Beats Forecast in Q4

Huntington Beach-based BJ's Restaurants Inc. backed up its recent stock surge with fourth-quarter results that slightly beat expectations.

Drug Maker Deal Includes Investment

Irvine drug maker Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Thursday it signed a distribution deal and landed an investment from Par Pharmaceutical Cos. of New Jersey.

Probe Points to Ex-Fannie Mae Execs

An extensive investigation of embattled Fannie Mae points to its former finance chief and controller as mainly responsible for the accounting failures at the mortgage giant now struggling to emerge from an $11 billion scandal, said a report released Thurs

Toll Brothers Profit Rises

Toll Brothers Inc., one of the nation's top luxury home builders, on Thursday said its first-quarter earnings rose 49% on revenue growth, topping Wall Street expectations, but contracts fell.

Wednesday, February 22

Server Sales Fall, First Since 2003

Sales of servers for businesses slipped for the first time in nearly three years as customers switched to less-expensive systems in the fourth quarter, market researcher IDC reported on Wednesday.

Valeant Wins Better Regulations for Drug

Regulators have signed off on a less-restrictive label for Valeant Pharmaceuticals International's Parkinson's disease drug, the Costa Mesa drug maker said Wednesday.

Quiksilver Surges on Analyst Comments

Reassuring words from Quiksilver Inc. sent shares of the Huntington Beach-based surfwear maker up nearly 12% at the close of trading Wednesday.

First American Taps Lehman for CFO

Santa Ana-based title insurer First American Corp. named a Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. executive as its chief financial officer Wednesday, filling a gap created by a death in January.

Carlyle Eyes Renewable Energy

The Carlyle Group is set to boost its investment in the renewable energy sector as demand is rising, the firm's founder and managing director, David Rubenstein, said on Wednesday.

Microsoft Rivals File EU Complaint

A group of Microsoft Corp.'s rivals filed a complaint with the European Commission on Wednesday, alleging its business practices threatened to deny real choice among competing software products.

Hovnanian Orders Climb 12%

Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. said Wednesday preliminary net contracts rose 12% from last year in the fiscal first quarter and stuck to its earlier quarterly profit forecast.

Tuesday, February 21

Leading Indicators Post Surprise

A key U.S. economic gauge rose a sharp 1.1% in January, its largest jump in seven months, to a record 140.1, the New York-based Conference Board said on Tuesday.

Fed: Door Open to Interest Rate Hike

Federal Reserve policymakers last month indicated that interest-rate decisions could become less predictable, relying more heavily on short-term economic prospects than on more sweeping monetary strategy, according to minutes released on Tuesday of the Fe

Leading Economic Indicators Rise in Jan.

A closely watched gauge of future economic activity rose sharply in January, suggesting the nation's economy could see robust growth in the spring, a private research group said Tuesday.

Wal-Mart Wary of Interest Rates

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Tuesday posted a 12.5% rise in quarterly profit as an aggressive holiday advertising campaign drove demand for laptop computers and gift cards, but it said rising interest costs would restrain results this year.

Moody's Cuts GM's Rating Deeper

Moody's Investors Service on Tuesday cut its debt rating on General Motors Corp. deeper into junk territory, saying it is increasingly concerned that high wage and benefit costs are making it difficult for the automaker to compete outside of bankruptcy.

Interchange Results Fall Short

Shares of Interchange Corp. took a hit after the company posted quarterly results Tuesday that fell short of Wall Street expectations and reported a weak outlook for the first quarter.

Micron Files Suit Against Rambus

Micron Technology Inc. said on Tuesday it filed a lawsuit against Rambus Inc., marking the latest legal shot in a long-running battle over the $30 billion market for computer and graphics memory chips.

Marvell Buys Avago Business for $240M

Computer-chip maker Marvell Technology Group Ltd. Tuesday said it is buying the printer-chip business of Avago Technologies for $240 million in cash, its third acquisition in the past six months.

Blackstone to Buy Hotel Operator

Hotel real estate investment trust MeriStar Hospitality Corp. said on Tuesday it agreed to be bought by private equity firm Blackstone Group for about $2.6 billion, making it the latest deal in a spate of mergers in the lodging industry.

Monday, February 20

Forget New York, L.A.:Y & R;'s Boss Targets Local Ad Market

The new boss at Young & Rubicam's Irvine office comes in at a critical time for the ad shop

Anaheim's Lawyer Shrugs Off Critics, Predicts Late Rally

Anaheim's Lawyer Shrugs Off Critics, Predicts Late Rally

Oakley Reshuffles, Changes Marketing

Look for Oakley's marketing to change as it restructures some of its operations, in the Media & Marketing column

Housing Prices Slide in Los Angeles

Housing Prices Slide in Los Angeles

Some Homebuilders Working Affordable Homes into Mix

Some Homebuilders Working Affordable Homes into Mix

PlayStation 3 Could Be Delayed

Sony Corp.'s launch of its next-generation PlayStation 3 video game console could be delayed if industry specifications for some of its technology are not finalized soon, although it is still aiming for a spring rollout, it said on Monday.

Squeezing OC: Low Vacancy, Supply to Push Apartment Rents

Squeezing OC: Low Vacancy, Supply to Push Apartment Rents

Japanese Retailer Plans OC Stores

Famima Corp., the U.S. arm of Japan's FamilyMart Co., plans to open several of its high-end convenience stores in Orange County by early next year.

Netifice Gets $35M, Acquires Rival

Costa Mesa-based Netifice Communications Inc. has raised $35 million in funding and is buying rival MegaPath Networks Inc. of Pleasanton, the company said Tuesday.

Is Orange County a City?

Is Orange County a City? A Viewpoint by Joel Kotkin, a Southern Californian and noted urbanologist

Samsung Spending $635M on Production

Samsung Electronics Co., the biggest memory chipmaker, said on Monday it would invest $635.1 million on memory chip research and flat-screen production.

Hotel Trolley Nears 2M Riders

Anaheim's fleet of tourist buses is reaching beyond its borders

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Real Estate Watch: High-Rise Office Market

The office market continued to post improving results in the fourth quarter. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Roth Adds Oft-Quoted Economist

Former Merrill Lynch & Co. chief economist Donald Straszheim has joined Newport Beach-based Roth Capital Partners LLC as vice chairman.

Anaheim Medical Device Show Exceeds Attendee Expectations

The Medical Design & Manufacturing show saw attendance at its Anaheim show grow 17% this year

Landscaping More Than Good Looks for OC's Big Apartment Landlord

A look at The Irvine Company's landscaping efforts

Boeing Radio Contract Gets Back on Track

A Boeing contract the Pentagon threatened to scale back last year is back on track

Gift Bottle Queen Tries Hand at Luxury Liquors

Shonfeld's is making a move into specialty liquor

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

Lack of Space Continues to Hinder Home Sales; El Toro, Tustin Bases Future Factors

ABOUT THE LIST - Lack of Space Continues to Hinder Home Sales; El Toro, Tustin Bases Future Factors

Bingham Hires From Stradling for OC Office

Boston-based Bingham McCutchen's local office has hired several lawyers from Stradling Yocca

Mercedes Set to Open Classic Center for Vintage Models

Mercedes-Benz is opening a showroom for classic car lovers, in the Marketplace column

BNC Mortgage Cuts Nearly 100 Workers

BNC Mortgage Inc., part of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., has laid off about 100 Orange County workers in another sign of contraction for the local subprime mortgage sector.

MARKET WATCH

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

Quiet Device Maker Sells for $75 Million

Pump maker bought for 14 times operating profit

Henkel to buy Gillette Brands for $420M

Henkel's U.S.-based Dial Corp. subsidiary has acquired antiperspirant and deodorant brands from Gillette, a subsidiary of Procter & Gamble, for $420 million.

Microsemi's Quiet Gains

Microsemi has quietly put together some impressive profit and sales gains

Mastro's Steakhouse Has the Chops to Make Circuit

Mastro's Steakhouse stakes its claim as one of OC's glamorous restaurants, in the Executive Dining column

BNC Latest Subprime Lender to Cull Ranks

Lehman Brothers' BNC Mortgage unit cut workers in Irvine

KUDOS

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

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

REAL ESTATE DEALS

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

Flash War: Toshiba Spending More to Combat Hynix

The fight for the flash memory market is heating up, in the Technology column

Experts Mixed on San Diego Housing

Experts Mixed on San Diego Housing

Hoag Buys Struggling Tech Center for Medical Space

An affiliate of Hoag Memorial bought the Newport Technology Center office Park, in the Healthcare column

LBA Expanding With $435M Buy of Bedford Property

LBA Realty's latest buy is another in a string of big acquisitions, in the Real Estate column

In Support of Arnold

A defense of the governor, a Viewpoint by James L. Doti, president of Chapman University and a member of Gov. Schwarzenegger's Council of Economic Advisors.

LETTERS

Anaheim is a backwater in a bigger media market, in Letters to the Editors

MySpace: Big Hopes, Parents' Bane

Rupert Murdoch saw a Web site with monster growth potential in MySpace.com, the online music and dating phenomenon that makes it easy for teens to find friends and express themselves.

Y & R; Wins Dodgers Account

Young & Rubicam Brands in Irvine, Orange County's largest advertising shop, has won its first account under new boss Rick Eiserman: the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Friday, February 17

CEOs Hold Judgment on Bernanke

Chief executives of large multinationals are hopeful new Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will continue Alan Greenspan's inflation-fighting record, but most expect only one or two more rate increases before a pause, executives said this week.

Newport Game Developer for Sale

Newport Beach video game maker Shiny Studios is up for sale by struggling parent Atari Inc. of New York.

New Century Rejects Board Bid

Irvine-based New Century Financial Corp. on Friday rejected a bid by a hedge fund shareholder to gain three seats on its 10-member board.

Time Warner Looking at Univision

Time Warner Inc. Chief Executive Richard Parsons is looking at Univision Communications Inc. as the Spanish-language broadcaster considers a sale, according to an interview published in the Wall Street Journal on Friday.

Irvine Co. Closes Tower Buys

The Irvine Company has finalized the buy of two downtown San Diego buildings, including the city's marquee One America Plaza.

Roth Confab: Stocks, Snoop, Pussycats

Newport Beach-based Roth Capital Partners LLC is set to hold its yearly stock conference,with plenty of afterhours partying and musical entertainment,next week.

Sirius Loses Money, Gains Stern Fans

Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. on Friday posted a wider quarterly loss as costs increased, but subscribers rose sharply in the run-up to the launch of a new show by ribald radio host Howard Stern.

Leases Impact Beckman Revenue

Fullerton-based Beckman Coulter Inc. said sales and profit fell in the fourth quarter as the company's shift to leasing of its medical devices took hold, the company said Friday.

Thursday, February 16

First American: Profits, Cautious Words

Santa Ana-based title insurer First American Corp. beat Wall Street expectations with its fourth-quarter profits but spooked some investors with cautious words about this year.

Amazon in Advanced Music Talks

Online retailer Amazon.com Inc. is in advanced talks with four major music companies on starting a digital music service as early as this summer to compete with Apple Computer Inc., sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Bank of OC Parent Making $175M Buy

The parent company of Bank of Orange County on Thursday said it's buying Carlsbad-based Southwest Community Bancorp for $175 million.

Housing Starts Near 33-Year High

Economic data on Thursday pointed to unexpected strength in the housing market thanks to mild winter weather in January, while import prices surged and weekly jobless claims rose more than expected.

Dell Profit Up as Business Sales Grow

Dell Inc., the largest PC maker, on Thursday said quarterly profit rose 52% as it increased sales outside the U.S. and sold more computers to businesses.

Cooper Hit With Shareholder Suit

Cooper Cos., a Lake Forest maker of contact lenses, got hit with a lawsuit after saying it plans to restate results last month.

Sony Ericsson Eyes Top 3 Spot

The No. 5 mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson said it has its eyes firmly set on a top three position as it launched a new range of phones, including a $50 model for the mass market which plugs a hole in its line-up.

Earnings Improves; HP Helps Tech

Fourth-quarter earnings growth projections improved slightly this week, with results from Hewlett-Packard Co. and Applied Materials Inc. providing a more upbeat outlook for the technology sector.

Wednesday, February 15

Bernanke to Play Hawk on Capitol Hill

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will seek to establish his anti-inflation credentials when he delivers the central bank's semi-annual report to Congress on Wednesday after just two weeks on the job.

LG Sees Handset Growth this year

South Korea's LG Electronics aims to increase its global shipments of mobile phones by as much as 30% in 2006 as it gets ready to launch much cheaper phones, its handset technology chief said on Wednesday.

OC Home Prices, Sales Dip

Orange County housing prices and sales slipped noticeably in January. The median price of a home sold in OC was $582,000 in January, up 9% from a year earlier but 6% below the record high of $621,000 set just a month earlier.

H-P Profit up on Notebooks

Hewlett-Packard Co. on Wednesday posted a 23% rise in quarterly profit that topped Wall Street estimates, spurred by sales of notebook computers and printer supplies.

Merrill, BlackRock Combining

Merrill Lynch & Co. said on Wednesday it will merge its asset management unit with money manager BlackRock Inc., creating one of the world's largest asset management firms.

QLogic Buying PathScale for $109M

Aliso Viejo-based QLogic Corp. plans to pay about $109 million to buy Sunnyvale-based PathScale Inc., which makes software and devices that connect storage systems, the companies said Wednesday.

Bernanke Warns on Inflation

In his Capitol Hill debut as Federal Reserve chief, Ben Bernanke on Wednesday said the U.S. economy was running so near capacity that higher interest rates may be needed to quell the risk of inflation.

Wet Seal Loses Bid for Bankrupt G+G

Foothill Ranch-based Wet Seal Inc. said Wednesday it lost out in bidding for G+G Retail Inc., a bankrupt clothing chain it had sought to buy for $15.2 million.

Tuesday, February 14

Ingram Q4 Profit Tops Estimates

Santa Ana-based Ingram Micro Inc. topped estimates in a record-setting fourth quarter as the company saw sales growth across the globe.

Marsh Profit Disappoints in Q4

Marsh & McLennan Cos., the world's largest insurance broker, on Tuesday posted a weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter profit as insurance premiums declined and revenue dropped at its Putnam mutual fund business.

Volcom Off on Q1 Outlook

Costa Mesa-based apparel designer Volcom Inc. reported strong fourth-quarter results but warned that spending on stores and a European expansion stands to impact profits for the current quarter.

GM to Invest $545M in Plants

General Motors Corp. said Tuesday that it will hire almost 300 workers and invest $545 million in five Michigan plants.

Retail Sales Surge in January

U.S. retail sales soared in January as warm weather and gift card redemptions spurred shoppers, setting the stage for a first-quarter rebound in economic growth and possibly more interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.

Cisco Sells $6.5B of Debt

Cisco Systems Inc. sold $6.5 billion of debt on Tuesday, $1 billion more than initially planned, as investors snapped up the Internet equipment maker's first bond issue, the largest debt debut by any U.S. company.

Starbucks: Strong Growth, China Push

Starbucks Corp. said on Tuesday it would meet market forecasts by delivering annual earnings growth of at least 20% over the next three to five years as China becomes a focus for its global strategy.

Fed: Inflation Won't Raise "Ugly Head"

The Federal Reserve is committed to pursuit of monetary policy that supports economic growth without higher inflation, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher said on Tuesday.

Monday, February 13

Giant RV Touring County for Dealership Site

Giant RV is looking for dealership space in Anaheim

Inouye's Gateway Exit: Retail Wasn't Enough

Wayne Inouye's departure from Gateway shines a light on one of the company's shortcomings: sales to businesses

Lennar Likes Bay Area Mayors, Too; Brit Visits Pulido

Lennar Likes Bay Area Mayors, Too; Brit Visits Pulido

Linksys Push: Network Gear for Non-Techies

Move brings company new, big competitors,Sony, Samsung. Linksys is pushing its electronics products geared to a non-techie crowd

EXECUTIVE BRIEFCASE

Harlem Globetrotters at Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, a review by Michael Lyster

Local Portillo's Hot Dogs Cashes In on Chicago Roots

Portillo's Chicago dogs are a hit in OC, in the Executive Dining column

COMMERCIAL CRUSH

ABOUT THE LIST 2 - Deposits Grew at Banks for Fifth Year in a Row; Beating National Average

MARKET WATCH

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

GIVING

Fund-raisers and charitable donations from companies and people

Buena Park Downtown Manager Working on Leases, Eyes Big Retailers

Buena Park Downtown's manager is eyeing big retailers

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Shea Properties Pays $150M For Denver Buildings, Land

Hager Pacific Stepping Up Investing After Sale; New Century Surprises With Q4,Will It Hold? Shea Properties made a big investment in Denver, in the Real Estate column

NOT-SO-THRIFTY GAIN

ABOUT THE LIST - Local Thrifts See Deposit Rise Outstrip National Average

REAL ESTATE DEALS

Hager Pacific Stepping Up Investing After Sale; New Century Surprises With Q4,Will It Hold? Shea Properties made a big investment in Denver, in the Real Estate column

GM Reviewing Sale of Finance Arm

General Motors Corp. may cut its dividend for the first time in more than 13 years, and will likely review bids for a majority stake in its finance arm, analysts said, as its board of directors meets on Monday.

HP To Set Up Portable Device Unit

Hewlett-Packard Co. will announce plans on Monday to make its hand-held device business a standalone entity, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing company executives.

Angels Aftermath

Arte Moreno won big. Now, what to do with his victory.

OUTLOOK FOR BANKS

Bankers on Expansion, Interest Rates, Ethnic-Targeted Services and Challenges

Developer Plans Lake Elsinore Project Near Troubled Stadium

An OC developer and the owner of Lake Elsinore's minor league baseball team are planning a hotel, restaurants and stores around the stadium

EMBRACING ALIENS

Wells Fargo's Pilot Mortgage Program for Illegals, Foreigners in OC Could Gain Traction

Sky Didn't Fall

NAFTA's fallout is under the microscope, a Viewpoint by Charles Crumpley, editor of the Los Angeles Business Journal

Bernanke: Stable Prices, Jobs Key

In his first address as Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke on Monday said that the central bank's dual mission of keeping prices stable and promoting growth and jobs serves America well.

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Toshiba Buying Westinghouse for $5.4B

Japan's Toshiba Corp. has agreed to buy Westinghouse, the U.S. power plant arm of British Nuclear Fuels, for $5.4 billion to bolster its position in the world's resurgent nuclear power industry.

Changing Beckman To Weigh in With Results

A reorganized Beckman Coulter is ready to weigh in with its results. Q4 Expectations are low on Wall Street; Surprises on tap?

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

HIGH DOLLAR DEL

Del Coronado Refi Puts High Price on Hotel; Ample Backing Available for Deals

Challenges for Whirlpool-Maytag Deal

Whirlpool Corp.'s proposed $1.79 billion acquisition of Maytag Corp. may face a legal challenge from federal regulators, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. Shares of both companies slumped on the report.

Report: St. John Courting Wang

First Angelina Jolie. Now Vera Wang? Irvine-based St. John Knits International Inc. is said to be in talks with Wang to become creative director of the women's clothier, according to trade publication Women's Wear Daily.

Investor Sentiment Sours on Google

Google Inc.'s stock price dropped by more than 4 percent Monday, accelerating a recent shift in sentiment that has caused once-ebullient investors to become more circumspect about the online search engine leader.

REAL ESTATE WATCH - CONSTRUCTION

The office market is leading OC's construction activity. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Arts School Draws Creative Types, Business Backers

A Santa Ana arts school draws creative types and business backers

Irvine Co. May Corner Downtown San Diego

The Irvine Company is said to be gobbling up office towers in downtown San Diego

Regulators OK $4B Westcorp, WFS Sale

Wachovia Corp.'s $4 billion acquisition of Irvine-based Westcorp Inc. and affiliate WFS Financial Inc. moved a step closer after the nation's bank regulatory agency approved the deal, the companies said Monday.

LETTER

Pittsburgh's brawn beat Seattle's brains in the Super Bowl, a Letter to the Editors

BlackRock Up Amid Merrill Deal Talk

Shares of BlackRock Inc. shot higher on Monday in thin, pre-market trading amid speculation the money management firm was involved in a deal with Merrill Lynch & Co.

Device Startups Meet Big Companies at Irvine Confab

An investor conference is set to shine light on more than 40 medical device startups, in the Healthcare column

Busy Start for Y & R; Boss

Y & R;'s new boss already has a lot on his plate, in the Media & Marketing column

Beckman Q4 Views Low on Wall Street

Early signs on how a reorganization is playing out at Fullerton-based Beckman Coulter Inc. are due later this week.

CREDIT SCORES

Dearth of Key Credit Employees Causes Banks to Sweeten Pot for Loan Executives

Worldlink Gets Investment From Former Unisys CEO

Irvine-based Worldlink Integration got an investment from Unisys' former chief executive, in the Technology column

Regrouping Rusty Goes Back to Surf Roots

Rusty Apparel is going back to its surfing roots in a bid to rekindle its sales

Permits Allow Underground, Some Ground Work to Start on Irvine Tower

Grading has started on the first high-rise office tower set for Irvine in several years

Wanted: Hospital Chief, Delicate Crisis Manager

UCI Medical Center's search for a permanent chief executive stands to take a while

Shareholders to Vote on DPAC Buy

Garden Grove-based DPAC Technologies Corp. said Monday its proposed buy of Hudson, Ohio-based QuaTech Inc. finally is set to go to a shareholder vote.

Nike Not Eyeing Puma

Nike Inc., the biggest athletic shoe company, dispelled market speculation on Monday it might buy rival Puma, saying it was not seeking any significant acquisitions at the moment.

Friday, February 10

Small Setback for Broadcom Case

Irvine-based Broadcom Corp. recorded a small setback in its ongoing patent dispute with San Diego's Qualcomm Inc., the companies said Friday.

VW Could Cut 20,000 Workers

Volkswagen may cut up to 20,000 jobs in the next three years at its core VW brand in a sweeping restructuring program that could also lead to a reduction in production capacity, it said on Friday.

Local Developer Eyes Lake Elsinore

An Orange County developer and the owner of Lake Elsinore's minor league baseball team hope to develop an area around the city's baseball stadium with a hotel, restaurants and stores.

Trade Gap Widened in Dec.

The U.S. trade gap widened slightly in December to the third-highest level on record and pushed the annual deficit to a record $725.8 billion, up 17.5% from 2004, the Commerce Department said on Friday.

Pfizer Forecast Disappoints

Pfizer Inc., the world's largest drugmaker, on Friday forecast slightly lower 2006 earnings and possibly disappointing sales of its biggest product, the cholesterol fighter Lipitor.

Quality Down, TriZetto Up on Results

Two Orange County healthcare technology companies took divergent paths Friday on Wall Street.

Thursday, February 9

Labor Markets Tighten

U.S. jobless claims rose less than expected last week in the latest sign of tightening labor markets, which may prompt the Federal Reserve to hoist interest rates to 5% before pausing.

Best Buy Boosts Profit Forecast

Best Buy Co. Inc. on Thursday said profits would be bigger than expected in the current quarter on strong demand for flat-panel televisions and MP3 players in the period that includes the holiday shopping season and Super Bowl Sunday.

AIG Settles Fraud Charges

American International Group Inc., one of the world's largest insurance companies, has agreed to pay $1.64 billion to resolve allegations that it used deceptive accounting practices to mislead investors and regulatory agencies.

Marriott profit Up 25% on Room Rates

Marriott International Inc. on Thursday said quarterly profit rose 25% as strong demand allowed it to increase room rates, and the top U.S. hotel operator raised its outlook for 2006.

RIM Has Plan to Keep BlackBerrys Alive

Research In Motion Ltd. on Thursday unveiled a plan that it says will let its addictive BlackBerry e-mail device work even if it loses a patent dispute, and said the workaround will prevent a shutdown of service in the U.S.

Moreno Prevails in Angels Name Case

The jury deliberating the Angels name change case has sided with owner Arte Moreno in his controversial switch of the baseball team's name to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

AIG May Agree to $1.6B Settlement

American International Group Inc., the world's largest insurer, has agreed to a record $1.6 billion settlement over federal and state charges of fraud and other misconduct, the Wall Street Journal said on Thursday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Inouye Out at Gateway

Wayne Inouye, who brought Irvine-based Gateway Inc. to Orange County after emerging as the computer maker's leader in 2004, resigned Thursday amid continuing troubles at the company.

Wednesday, February 8

Apria: More Medicare Pain

Lower Medicare payments again dinged Lake Forest-based Apria Healthcare Group Inc. as the home healthcare provider said Wednesday its fourth-quarter profit fell 28%.

News Corp. Profit Nearly Triples

Rupert Murdoch-controlled media conglomerate News Corp. on Wednesday said its fiscal second-quarter profit nearly tripled, boosted by gains from the sale of an education supplement publishing unit.

Vonage Files for $250M IPO

Internet telephone service provider Vonage Holdings Corp. may raise up to $250 million in an initial public offering to fund efforts to expand its subscriber base, according to a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

Borland To Buy Segue for $100M

Borland Software Corp. said on Wednesday it would buy Segue Software Inc., a maker of software quality and testing systems, in an all-cash deal valued at about $100 million.

Univision Board Explores Possible Sale

Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications Inc. said Wednesday that its board of directors has decided to explore a possible sale of the company.

Broadcom Sees Mixed Patent Ruling

Irvine-based Broadcom Corp. saw a mixed ruling Wednesday in its patent dispute with San Diego-based Qualcomm Inc.

Glaxo Beats Views, Will Look at Buys

GlaxoSmithKline PLC beat forecasts for 2005 profit on Wednesday and predicted earnings growth of about 10% this year, with momentum building in its well-stocked pipeline of new drugs.

IBM Buys Irvine's Viacore

IBM Corp. has bought Irvine's Viacore Inc. for undisclosed terms, the companies said Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 7

Bank Moving Regional HQ to Anaheim

The California arm of Banco Popular North America plans to move its regional headquarters to Anaheim from Santa Fe Springs by March.

Lazard Urges Time Warner to Break Up

Lazard Ltd., on behalf of corporate raider Carl Icahn, on Tuesday called for the breakup of Time Warner Inc. into four companies and stock buybacks totaling about $20 billion.

Conexant Loses Legal Round

A New Jersey jury has ruled against Conexant Systems Inc. and told the Newport Beach chipmaker to pay $112 million in damages.

Sybron Misses Views on Charges

Shares of Sybron Dental Specialties Inc., a Newport Beach-based maker of dental products, were off about 6% on Tuesday after the company missed Wall Street estimates because of stock compensation expenses and other charges.

Boston Scientific Net Up, Sales Slow

Medical device maker Boston Scientific Corp. on Tuesday said quarterly net earnings rose 12% despite slower sales of its heart stents to treat clogged arteries.

GM Slashes Dividend, Top Salaries

General Motors Corp. halved its dividend on Tuesday, the first reduction in more than 13 years, and slashed executive pay, cutting costs and seeking leverage for sweeping, long-term changes in its labor contracts.

Dell Testing Google Software Package

Dell Inc. and Google Inc. confirmed on Tuesday they are testing a pre-installed package of Google software on Dell computers, in a potential blow to Microsoft Corp.'s dominance of desktop software.

Cisco Posts Slight Drop in Profit

Communications equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc. on Tuesday posted a 1.8% fall in quarterly net profit from stock options expensing, but revenue rose as business customers spent more money on network and security upgrades.

Monday, February 6

REAL ESTATE DEALS

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

Anaheim, AT & T; Talks First Salvo in Latest Telco Battle With Cable

AT & T; says it is in talks with other Southern California cities about offering TV service over the Internet and phone lines

Upscale Boutique All The Rage Baby Plans 2nd Store

Upscale clothing boutique All the Rage Baby is planning a second OC store, in the Marketplace column

Buchanan Street, CIP Sink $30M Into Vegas Complex

A Vegas deal is Buchanan Street Partners' biggest so far, in the Real Estate column

Banco Popular Moves State HQ to Anaheim

The California arm of Banco Popular North America plans to move its headquarters to Anaheim

Quiksilver Unveils DC Shoes Revamp

Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc. made the restucturing of its DC Shoes executive ranks official on Monday with the naming of Nick Adcock to head the unit.

Lucy Love Loves Local Production, Despite High Costs

Lucy Love isn't looking to ship manufacturing of its clothes and bathing suits offshore, despite high costs in California, in the Media & Marketing column

Ambiguous Bought, Refocusing

Big changes have played out at Irvine-based Ambiguous Industries, one of Orange County's "buzz" clothing makers

Real Estate Watch: Los Angeles County

Los Angeles County's office market recorded a positive fourth quarter though the industrial sector was mixed. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Push to Undo Workers' Comp Reform

Even as California employers are enjoying sharp reductions in their workers' compensation premiums, efforts are now under way in Sacramento to undo substantial portions of the reforms that generated those savings.

Nissan Drops Healthcare for Retirees

Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. is dropping company-sponsored health-care coverage for its retired manufacturing employees in the United States and will instead pay them an annual stipend.

Doti, OCBJ Star In Angels Trial; French Connection

Doti, OCBJ Star In Angels Trial; French Connection

Campus Construction: Hospitals Ramp Up Expansions

Hospital building projects in the planning stages, under construction or recently completed.

LETTERS

The politics of business, in Letters to the Editors

Boeing Internet Unit Faces Verizon Challenge

Connexion by Boeing may shake up its game plan as it faces fresh competition

SURVEY SAYS; THEY SAY

The challenges of leading a company, in Survey Says

Domain Moves South, But Bergheim Staying

A former partner with Domain Associates is starting his own venture investment company in OC

REHABBING

Former Tenet Hospitals Post Mixed Results Under New Owner

AIG Nears $1.5B Settlement

American International Group Inc., the world's largest insurer, is on the verge of settling federal and state charges of fraud and other misconduct for a record payment of at least $1.5 billion, sources close to the case said on Monday.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

Valentine Specials: Caviar, Sea Bass and Diamonds?

Love is in the air: Fifi's Valentine's Day tips, in the Executive Dining column

Allergan Extends Inamed Offer

Allergan Inc. said Monday that it again extended its $3.2 billion buyout offer for Inamed Corp. for two more weeks after federal antitrust approval was delayed.

KUDOS

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

Measures Would Undo Workers' Comp Reforms

Efforts are under way in Sacramento to undo substantial portions of the workers' compensation reforms

Investors Cheering Electronics Chip Gains

Broadcom continues to surge on Wall Street thanks to a booming electronics trade

Broadcom, Conexant Surge, Mindspeed Awaits Profits

Several chip stocks continued their surge following a spate of quarterly earnings releases, in the Technology column

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Disney Q1 Profit Rises

The Walt Disney Co. on Monday posted a higher quarterly profit, due to growth in its parks and resorts, media networks and consumer products units.

EXECUTIVE BRIEFCASE

Music Review - Robert Pollard's "From A Compound Eye"

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Part of the Deal: Allergan Getting Into Implant Business

Allergan could benefit from the comeback of silicone gel breast implants when its buy of Inamed closes, in the Healthcare column

MARKET WATCH

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

Halford Planning New Venture as Principal

Bill Halford, the former head of The Irvine Company's office unit, is planning to start a new venture

ROLLING ALONG

ABOUT THE LIST - Hospitals Posted Revenue and Income Gains During Past Year

Friday, February 3

Jobless Rate Hits Recent Low

U.S. employers added a smaller-than-forecast 193,000 new jobs in January but job growth in each of the five prior months was revised upwards and last month's unemployment rate fell to a 4-1/2-year low of 4.7%, the government reported on Friday.

Halford Planning New Venture

William "Bill" Halford, who left as head of The Irvine Company's growing office empire this week, has a new venture in the works where he'll have a leading role and likely a financial stake.

Pyott Names Allergan President

Irvine-based Allergan Inc. on Friday appointed F. Michael Ball as its president, succeeding David Pyott, who retains his chief executive and chairman titles.

Consumer Sentiment Dips Slightly

U.S. consumers were not quite as upbeat in January as they were at the end of last year as higher oil prices offset some of the positive impact of a strong stock market and job market, according to data released on Friday.

Venture Firm Moves, Another Starts Up

Domain Associates LLC, a key source of funding for Orange County medical device and drug startups, is moving its West Coast offices from Laguna Niguel to Carmel Valley in San Diego County. One notable name isn't making the move.

Factory Orders Beat Forecasts

New orders at U.S. factories rose 1.1% in December, slightly ahead of forecast, as strong demand for machinery and durable goods offset weakness in civilian aircraft, a government report showed on Friday.

Thursday, February 2

Gateway Sales Fall Short of Views

Irvine-based Gateway Inc. Thursday reported disappointing sales in the fourth quarter, sending its shares down nearly 7% in afterhours trading.

New Century: Big Profit Gain, New CEO

Irvine-based New Century Financial Corp. offered some good news for the beleaguered subprime mortgage lending industry on Thursday.

Amazon's Q4 Profit Falls

Amazon.com Inc. said on Thursday its net profit fell in its critical fourth quarter.

Electronic Arts To Cut Hundreds of Jobs

Video game maker Electronic Arts will lay off several hundred employees as it grapples with a transition to new consoles, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Tyco Profit Falls, Outlook Soft

Tyco International Ltd. on Thursday reported lower quarterly profit and forecast disappointing earnings for the current period on weakness in its healthcare and fire and security divisions.

Fed Warns on Risky Mortgages

Regulators are concerned about heavy commercial real estate exposures and risky mortgage lending practices at banks, Federal Reserve Board Governor Susan Bies said on Thursday.

Buy.com Sees Profit, Thanks to Sale

Aliso Viejo-based Buy.com Inc., which nixed a public offering bid late last year, said it turned a profit in the fourth quarter, thanks to an investment sale.

Productivity Off, Jobless Claims Improve

Business productivity fell unexpectedly in the fourth quarter and labor costs accelerated sharply in what could be an early sign of wage inflation, a government report showed on Thursday.

Allergan, Edwards Report Q4 Results

Irvine-based Allergan Inc. said Thursday that its fourth-quarter profit rose about 8%, driven by double-digit sales growth of its core Botox wrinkle reducing drug.

Gift Cards, Weather Boost Retailers

Top retailers posted better-than-expected January sales on Thursday as shoppers redeemed gift cards to buy discounted winter gear and early spring fashions in one of the warmest Januarys on record.

Wednesday, February 1

Exec: Enron Manipulated Earnings

Former Enron Corp. chief executives Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were so intent on boosting the stock price that at least twice the company tampered with quarterly earnings reports to meet or beat Wall Street forecasts, a former Enron executive testified

UCI Woes Hit UCSD Transplant Doc

A transplant specialist who had worked part time at UCI Medical Center's troubled liver transplant program is being asked to step down as director of the University of California, San Diego's abdominal transplant program.

Automakers Jan. Sales Up

Detroit's Big Three automakers on Wednesday reported surprising increases in January U.S. vehicle sales, breaking losing streaks that began in the fall of last year as their aggressive discounting lost steam.

Home Sales Index Falls

Pending sales of U.S. homes dropped in December, extending a months-long slide as the housing market shows signs of sustained cooling, the National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday.

Mitsubishi Up, OC Automakers Cheer Jan.

Cypress-based Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. said its U.S. sales were up 2.8% in January versus a year earlier.

MSC Sells Japanese Unit

Santa Ana-based MSC.Software Corp. said Wednesday it plans to sell its Japanese services unit to Information Services International-Dentsu Ltd.

Factory Growth Dips in January

U.S. manufacturing growth slowed in January for a third straight month amid weaker employment, higher costs and fewer new orders, according to a survey published on Wednesday.

RIM Wins BlackBerry Round

The Patent and Trademark Office has sided with BlackBerry portable e-mail device maker Research in Motion Ltd. by issuing a non-final rejection of a fifth patent at the center of its legal battle with patent holding company NTP Inc.

Construction Spending on the Rise

U.S. construction spending rose a stronger-than-expected 1% in December, closing out a record year on a robust note as homebuilding activity bounced back from a weak November, a government report on Wednesday showed.