Stories for January 2006

Tuesday, January 31

Y & R; Names Head of Irvine Office

Young & Rubicam Brands in Irvine, the county's largest advertising agency, has a new chief.

Fed Meeting: Rate Hike Expected

Federal Reserve officials, meeting one last time under Alan Greenspan's guiding hand, are expected on Tuesday to raise U.S. interest rates for a 14th straight time, while signaling uncertainty about the future.

Halford Leaves Irvine Company

William "Bill" Halford, president of The Irvine Company's office division, has left. Halford moved on to pursue other business opportunities, according to Irvine Co. officials.

Cygan Resigns From UCI Medical

The University of California, Irvine Medical Center is looking for a new chief executive following the resignation of Ralph Cygan on Tuesday.

Fed Raises Rates; Cycle Near End

The Federal Reserve on Tuesday raised U.S. interest rates for a 14th straight time, cautioning that borrowing costs may still need to move up while suggesting a 19-month rate rise campaign was near an end.

Google 4Q Profit Misses Views

Google Inc.'s fourth-quarter profit nearly doubled, but fell well below the high expectations for the online search engine leader.

Flextronics' Q3 Profit Declines

Flextronics International Ltd., the world's biggest electronics contract manufacturer, on Tuesday reported lower quarterly profit as revenue declined and it booked more charges and expenses.

Gross: Bernanke Has Leeway on Rates

The future of interest rates now rest with Ben Bernanke, said Bill Gross of Newport Beach-based Pacific Investment Management Co. on Tuesday.

Consumer Confidence at 3-Year High

U.S. consumer confidence improved in January to its highest in more than three years, driven by consumers' more upbeat view of the job market, a survey showed on Tuesday.

Worker Costs Below Forecasts

U.S. employment costs rose 0.8% in the fourth quarter, just below market forecasts, as wage growth picked up and the increase in benefit costs slowed, but inflation once again outpaced the increase in worker paychecks, a government report showed on Tuesda

DispenseSource Raises $13.7M

Irvine-based DispenseSource Inc. on Tuesday said it recently closed a $13.7 million financing round.

Monday, January 30

REAL ESTATE DEALS

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

Absorption Climbs, Vacancy Declines, Lease Rates Rise

Strong economic essentials such as a diverse labor pool and central Southern California location continue to attract both new and expanding companies to the region.

Sutton Readies for 2007 Retirement; Studying Physics

Pacific Life Chief Executive Thomas Sutton contemplates retirement next year

Apple Alums Start Company

Three former Apple Computer Inc. executives have started a Newport Beach company that's looking to raise more than $100 million through an initial public offering with a twist.

Anaheim Corporate Plaza Sale Leads in Q4

Biggest office building sales in the fourth quarter

Real Estate Watch: Inland Empire

Job Growth Drives Inland Empire; real estate continues to surge. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Arab-American Group Taps OCer; Political 'Kumbaya' in Laguna

Arab-American Group Taps OCer; Political 'Kumbaya' in Laguna

Insurance Brokerage Opens in Aliso Viejo

Insurance Brokerage Opens in Aliso Viejo

Fairmont Hotels Selling for $4B

Investment groups Kingdom Hotels International and Colony Capital have agreed to pay $3.9 billion for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Inc., which will be combined with Raffles hotels to create an expanded international luxury chain.

Fed to Raise Funds Rate Again

Alan Greenspan, the nation's economic guardian for 18 1/2 years, and his colleagues are poised to raise borrowing costs yet again at his final Federal Reserve meeting Tuesday.

GIVING

Fund-raisers and charitable donations from companies and people

Dell: 4th India Call Center, Plans Plant

Dell Inc., the largest computer maker, said on Monday it will set up its fourth call center in India and scout for land for a planned manufacturing plant in Asia's third-largest economy.

Task for Nature's Best: Find Expansion Space

Nature's Best might have to scramble to come up with expansion space in OC,

Adieu to a Worthy Liberal

The demise of "The West Wing" leaves few intelligent D.C. dramas

Fullerton Home to Biggest Q4 Industrial Lease

Largest OC industrial leases in the fourth quarter

Vacancy Declines, Absorption Gains, Lease Rates Drop

The Orange County retail market posted a stable fourth quarter with the overall vacancy rate falling by 6% to 3%.

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Bet on Empty Tustin Commons Pays Off for Stonewood

Stonewood's first investment and redevelopment project looks like a winner, in the Real Estate column

AFTER INAMED

Allergan is taking a big step into medical cosmetics. Pyott Pledges Focus on Specialty Eye, Skin Drugs

BACK FROM NAMM

BACK FROM NAMM - The NAMM show drew thousands of musicians and deal makers,

Foreign Cos.: Thales Gains, Toshiba Wanes

Foreign-owned companies recorded a jobs gain during the past year

Southern California Industrial Markets

The Orange County industrial market has illustrated the economic law of supply and demand, with demand far outweighing supply.

Exxon Profit Tops $10B

Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil company, reported a quarterly profit of $10.7 billion on Monday, rounding out the most profitable year in U.S. corporate history.

WESTERN SUBMARKET

Six Denver submarkets saw a slight overall uptick in vacancy during 2005, with only two submarkets posting significant declines in available space compared to a year ago.

Laser Maker BioLase Expands in Headquarters Move

Dental laser maker BioLase is expanding in a move of its headquarters to Irvine, in the Healthcare column,

Jury Selection in Enron Trial

Jury selection was set to begin on Monday in the long-awaited trial of former Enron Corp. chief executives Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling for their roles in the spectacular 2001 collapse of the former energy trading giant.

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

DEAL BAROMETER

Office Market Continues to Tighten

Apani Networks Signs Biggest Q4 Office Lease

Largest OC office leases in the fourth quarter

Ahead of Gateway Financials: Higher PC Shipments

Gateway's PC shipments rose in the fourth quarter, in the Technology column

Kraft to Cut Up to 8,000 Jobs

Kraft Foods Inc. on Monday said it would cut up to 8,000 more jobs, or 10% of its work force, through 2008 as the food company, hammered by higher commodity costs and sluggish sales volume, looks to save more money.

Nature's Best Expanding, But in OC?

Brea-based health drink and vitamin seller Nature's Best has quietly built itself into one of Orange County's larger private companies. Now the company, which has yearly sales of about $300 million and is looking to consolidate under one roof, may have to

EASTERN INDUSTRIAL MARKET

The greater Boston industrial market recorded a flat quarter with 57,181 square feet of negative absorption, resulting in a 20 basis point increase in vacancy to 14.2%.

Medtronic to Pay Edwards $37.5 Million

Irvine-based Edwards Lifesciences Corp. last week said it settled a patent lawsuit with Minneapolis-based Medtronic Inc. and Medtronic Vascular Inc.

Availability Drops, Absorption Rises, Lease Rates Gain

Orange County's industrial sector had a promising 2005 marked by consistently strong levels of activity.

ICU Misses Sales Target, Shares Slump

Medical device maker ICU Medical Inc. of San Clemente met fourth-quarter profit expectations but fell short on sales, sending its shares down in afterhours trading.

Dealers: Ford Cuts a Start; Cars That Sell are Needed

Auto dealers say that while Ford's recently announced cuts are a beginning, it's better cars they want, in the Marketplace column

Credit Union Fights Rivals, Another Tax Bid

Orange County Teachers Federal Credit Union is seeing rivals emerge on its turf

Business Council Hires Lobbyist

Business Council Hires Lobbyist

MARKET WATCH

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

LETTERS

Letters to the Editors: A theory on Arte Moreno's team name change; GOP Scandals

Amelio, Wozniak Seek to Raise $100M, Buy Technology Company

Three former Apple Computer executives have started a Newport Beach company that's looking to raise more than $100 million through a public offering

Mold Company Files for IPO, Eyeing Gulf

Builders are customers; exec left tech company. A company that fights mold hopes to raise at least $12 million in an initial public stock offering

TOP CONSTRUCTION

Biggest industrial and office construction under way in the fourth quarter

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

El Pollo Loco Hires Operations Executive for Expansion

El Pollo Loco made a move in its bid to expand beyond Southern California

Scanlan Kemper Picks Up Tustin Business Park in Biggest Q4 Deal

Biggest industrial building sales in the fourth quarter

ASR's Sober Side: Surfboard Blanks Issue, Quiksilver Skis

The Action Sports Retailer show gave the surf industry a chance to focus on board issues

MOMENTUM PLAY

Industrial Market Conditions Are Spectacular by Most Measures; 'Bubble' Forming?

Fifi's Big Game Eats: Wings and Ribs, Italian Brunch

Planning a Super Bowl party? Don't forget Wingnuts, in the Executive Dining column

Friday, January 27

GDP Growth Weakest in Three Years

Economic growth slowed sharply in the fourth quarter to the weakest pace in three years as consumers spent less robustly, growth in homebuilding eased and businesses were less eager to boost investments, a government report on Friday showed.

Emulex Slumps on Results, Outlook

The price of Emulex Corp.'s lower outlook for the current quarter: nearly $200 million in market value.

Broadcom Keeps Soaring

Shares of Broadcom Corp. were up more than 20% near the close of trading Friday, a day after the Irvine chipmaker beat quarterly expectations and upped its outlook for the current quarter. The gain pushed Broadcom's market value to $24 billion, the highes

Another Experian Acquisition

Experian Group in Costa Mesa is making yet another acquisition with the buy of a British company for $152 million.

P & G; Profit Beats View with Gillette

Procter & Gamble Co. posted higher-than-expected quarterly profit and sales on Friday, driven by strength in its household and beauty lines and the Gillette businesses it acquired in October.

Boeing Reworks Defense Business

Boeing Co. said on Friday that it planned to restructure its defense business by creating three centers that will focus on customer needs in those particular areas.

Guidant Profit, Defibrillator Sales Off

Guidant Corp., the heart device company that agreed this week to be acquired by Boston Scientific Corp., on Friday posted weaker quarterly earnings as sales of its profitable implantable defibrillators dropped 19%, sending its shares lower.

Thursday, January 26

Amgen Q4 Profit Rises

Amgen Inc. on Thursday said its fourth-quarter earnings rose nearly 20%, but the company's stock plummeted after it said data from a trial of its highly anticipated new cancer drug will be released later than expected.

FileNet, WD Beat, Emulex Falls Short

Software developer FileNet Corp. and disk drive maker Western Digital Corp. beat expectations with results for the recently ended quarter, while networking products maker Emulex Corp. fell short.

Mexican Chain Chipotle Prices IPO

The initial public offering of Chipotle Mexican Grill, the burrito chain owned by McDonald's Corp., priced at $22 a share Wednesday evening, well above the expected range of $18 to $20 a share.

Sunstone Buying Times Square Hilton

San Clemente-based Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. on Thursday said it's buying the Hilton Times Square hotel in New York City for $242.5 million.

Microsoft Quarterly Profit Edges Higher

Microsoft Corp. posted a 5% rise in quarterly profit on Thursday, boosted in part by the launch of the Xbox 360 game console and SQL Server 2005 corporate database software program.

Linksys, Yahoo! Unveil Music Device

Linksys, an Irvine-based unit of Cisco Systems Inc., on Thursday unveiled a device with Yahoo! Inc. for playing digital music throughout the house.

Wednesday, January 25

WellPoint Profit, Membership Up

WellPoint Inc., the largest U.S. health insurer, on Wednesday said profit rose sharply, helped by an increase in membership, and boosted its 2006 profit outlook, though it was below Wall Street estimates.

Conexant Beats Estimates, Shares Surge

Chipmaker Conexant Systems Inc. on Wednesday beat estimates for sales and adjusted earnings for the recently ended quarter, sending its surging stock even higher in afterhours trading.

Boston Beats J & J; for Guidant

Heart device maker Guidant Corp. on Wednesday agreed to be bought by Boston Scientific Corp. for $80 per share, or about $27 billion, and terminated a pact to be acquired by Johnson & Johnson.

Dec. Existing Home Sales Fall

Home resales in the United States fell 5.7% in December to the lowest level since March 2004 as the market cooled on the back of slowing Midwest economies and the loss of investors, a trade group said on Wednesday.

Qualcomm Posts Higher Q1 Profit

Wireless technology company Qualcomm Inc. posted a higher fiscal first-quarter profit on Wednesday as revenue rose on strong cellphone demand.

Device Maker's Court Win Upheld

A federal appeals court has upheld a $64.5 million judgment in favor of Rancho Santa Margarita-based Applied Medical Resources Corp. against Tyco International Ltd.'s U.S. Surgical Corp. unit.

Fluor Sees Record Orders in 2005

The top executive of Aliso Viejo-based Fluor Corp. said Wednesday he expects the pipeline of new business for 2005 to come in on par with a year earlier, the engineering services company's "best year ever."

Microsoft to License Source code

Microsoft Corp.'s top lawyer said on Wednesday that the company would take new compliance steps to meet requirements set by the European Commission.

Tuesday, January 24

Dover Moves $1.5B Unit to Tustin

New York-based manufacturing conglomerate Dover Corp. has moved the headquarters of its electronics unit from upstate New York to Tustin with the promotion of a rising star with local roots.

CBS, Warner to Form New Network

Television viewers will have one less commercial broadcast network to choose from next fall, as the struggling WB and UPN networks merge to form a single new entity aimed at capturing younger viewers.

Network Plan Moves TV Station Owner

Shares of little Santa Ana-based TV station operator Acme Communications Inc. got a big boost Tuesday on the network plans of Viacom Inc.'s CBS Corp. and Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Companies Signal Slowing Earnings

With diversified manufacturer 3M Co. offering a disappointing forecast on Tuesday, strategists shifted the corporate earnings focus to how profits in the current quarter may shape up.

Toshiba Bets on China With Westinghouse

Japanese electronics conglomerate Toshiba Corp. is betting heavily that its plans to buy Westinghouse, a leader in the Chinese nuclear power market, will be justified by strong growth, analysts said on Tuesday.

Heart Valve Hopeful Bought for $58M

Irvine-based medical device maker 3F Therapeutics Inc. said Tuesday it is being bought by ATS Medical Inc. of Plymouth, Minn.

Disney to Buy Pixar for $7.4B

Walt Disney Co. on Tuesday said it has agreed to acquire Pixar Animation Studios in a $7.4 billion all-stock transaction that brings the leader in computer animation under the banner of the world's most famous name in cartoons.

OC Arts Center Names President

The Orange County Performing Arts Center named Terrence W. Dwyer as president and chief operating officer on Tuesday.

J & J; Sales Slip, Profit Up

Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday posted an unexpected fall in quarterly revenue, sending shares lower, as a drop in prescription drug sales overshadowed gains in medical devices and consumer products such as Band-Aids.

Disney Board OK's Pixar Takeover

The board of Walt Disney Co. has authorized Chief Executive Robert Iger to make an offer to buy Pixar Animation Studios Inc. and is expected to do so by Today.

Monday, January 23

Broadcom Hits $20B Market Value, First Since 2001

Broadcom hit $20 billion in market value for the first time since 2001, in the Technology column

Night at the Fights Mastermind Plans Boxing Promoter U

A boxing promoter is looking to teach the business to others

Group to Buy Albertson's for $9.8B

An investor group led by Supervalu Inc. agreed on Monday to buy struggling grocery chain Albertson's Inc. for $9.8 billion in cash and stock, ending an intense auction that only weeks before had fallen apart.

Ameriquest Announces Settlement

The parent company of Orange-based mortgage lender Ameriquest Mortgage Co. said Monday it has come to terms with attorneys general in a long expected settlement of an investigation into its lending practices.

Medtronic to Pay Edwards $37.5M

Irvine-based Edwards Lifesciences Corp. on Monday said it settled a patent lawsuit with Minneapolis-based Medtronic Inc. and Medtronic Vascular Inc.

M-Flex Soars With Sales to Motorola; Eyes New Buyers

One of America's hottest companies is tucked away in Anaheim's industrial corridor

Clarient Shifting Lab, Headquarters to Aliso

A medical testing company is moving its headquarters and lab to Aliso Viejo

Quiksilver Looking to Clothes to Spur DC Shoes Unit

Quiksilver's looking to boost its DC Shoes unit with clothes, in the Media & Marketing column

Broadcom Paying $80M for Chipmaker

Broadcom Corp. is paying $80 million for Sandburst Corp., an Andover, Mass.-based designer of chips for networks run by telecommunications companies.

Toshiba to Buy Westinghouse for $5B

oshiba Corp. is set to buy Westinghouse, the U.S. power plant arm of British Nuclear Fuels, for almost $5 billion, a source familiar with the situation said on Monday, a higher-than-expected price in a move that will expand its overseas operations.

Conexant President Leaving

The No. 2 man at chipmaker Conexant Systems Inc. is leaving the Newport Beach company to find a job running a chip company on his own.

REAL ESTATE DEALS

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

KEEPING THE DOOR AJAR

Attorneys Have to Work Harder to Get Foreign Tech Workers Into U.S.

Survey Says

CEO CONFIDENCE

New Year, Same Issues: Acquisitions, Safety Big in '06

Medical device analysts say 2006 could mean more acquisitions and a stronger focus on safety issues, in the Healthcare column

2005 Venture Investing Surges

Venture capital investing in Orange County companies reversed a three-year slide in 2005 as spending rose 73%, according to a report released by Ernst & Young LLP and Venture One.

Irvine Dealership Set to Get Mazda's 'Retail Revolution'

The "retail revolution" is hitting Irvine Mazda, in the Marketplace column

Wet Seal's Next Test: Profits, Adding Stores

Wet Seal may have picked up its pace, but profits and margins still are an issue

LETTERS

Illegal Immigration; El Toro. Letters to the Editors

Philips Beats Forecasts

Strong sales of flat TVs, shavers and chips helped Philips Electronics beat fourth-quarter profit and sales forecasts despite one-off charges, and the company reiterated its 2006 targets and raised its dividend.

Valeant's Drug Buy: Hedging or Expanding?

A recent drug buy could be a backup for Valeant if its hepatitis C candidate fails

Qualcomm, Flarion Pass Antitrust Review

Qualcomm Inc., a supplier of wireless chips and technology licenses, said on Monday that its proposed purchase of wireless broadband technology firm Flarion Technologies passed an antitrust review and the deal was expected to close in the 'next few days'.

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Real Estate Watch: Mid-Counties

Industrial leasing and sales in the Mid-Counties area set a record in the third quarter. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Irvine Co. Could Grab Key San Diego Towers

The Irvine Company is said to be in escrow on another San Diego office building, with an eye to the city's premier tower

They Say

The Over-Rated Small Business. Adapted from a study by Veronique de Rugy, research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. (www.aei.org).

Ring in Year of Dog With Chinese Feasts

Local restaurants are ready to ring in the Chinese New Year, in the Executive Dining column

IN-HOUSE RESISTANCE

Revolt in the Suites: Corporate Counsel Take Steps to Hold Down Firms' Rates

The Agenda: Legislators Line Up 2006 Business Goals

Local firms increased the number of lawyers

Moreno At Odds With Anaheim But Loves OC

Moreno At Odds With Anaheim But Loves OC

Economy Propels Firms to Third Year of Gains

A strong local economy again fueled modest growth at local law firms

Conexant Towers Sold Again, for $136M

Two Newport Beach office towers are changing hands again.

Helping Companies Go Global

As a growing economy fills company coffers with extra cash, many executives are thinking globally to stoke growth or cut costs.

LOCAL OFFICES, NATIONAL WORK

Law Firms Came Here to Tap Market, Now Do Work Beyond

Doubletree Caps Long Run for Anaheim Hotelier

The opening of the Doubletree Guest Suites hotel in Anaheim highlights a 40-year career for a hotelier

Nike CEO Resigns

Nike Inc. Chief Executive William Perez has resigned following disagreements with founder and Chairman Philip Knight over how to lead the world's largest athletic shoe company, Nike said on Monday.

Executive Brings $1.5B Dover Division to Tustin

A New York-based manufacturing conglomerate has moved its electronics unit to Tustin, following the unit's chief executive

Ford to Cut Up to 30,000 Workers

Ford Motor Co. on Monday said it will cut 25,000 to 30,000 jobs in North America and idle 14 manufacturing facilities through 2012, hoping to turn around the money-losing unit.

AEW Bets on Rising Industrial Rents With $32.5M Buy

AEW Capital first bought Bayview Corporate Center, now it's turning its attention to OC's industrial market, in the Real Estate column

Chipmaker Towers Sold Again

Two Newport Beach office towers that are home to a pair of chipmakers are changing hands again.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

Friday, January 20

Meade CEO To Retire

Meade Instruments Corp. said on Friday Chief Executive Steven Murdock is stepping down once a successor is found to run the Irvine maker of telescopes.

Albertson's Begins New Buyout Talks

Grocery chain Albertson's Inc. on Friday said it received a new takeover offer from a consortium seeking to buy the entire company, less than a month after rejecting a deal said to be worth around $9.6 billion.

Lacker: Fed Not Done Raising Rates

The Federal Reserve has at least one more rate hike up its sleeve and will worry about any uptick in core inflation that could turn out to be lasting, one of its top policy-makers said on Friday.

GE Earnings In Line, Sales Soft

General Electric Co. on Friday reported a slightly higher fourth-quarter profit and raised the low end of its 2006 earnings forecast, citing strong order growth, but quarterly revenues fell short of Wall Street expectations.

Unemployment Down in December

Orange County's unemployment rate fell to 3.2% in December, the state Employment Development Department said Friday.

Thursday, January 19

Apparel Makers Gearing Up for ASR

Orange County skate and surf apparel makers are getting ready to show their garb at the San Diego Convention Center this weekend for the Action Sports Retailer Trade Expo.

UnitedHealth Profit Rises on Premiums

UnitedHealth Group Inc., which recently bought Cypress-based PacifiCare Health Systems, on Thursday posted an 18% jump in fourth-quarter profit and boosted its 2006 forecast, as the health insurer kept premium increases ahead of escalating medical costs.

Boeing Laying Off 80 Workers

Boeing on Thursday said it will issue 60-day layoff notices to 84 employees at its Wichita site on Jan 20, citing Department of Defense program delays and budget issues.

Imation to Buy Memorex for $330M

Data storage maker Imation Corp. on Thursday said it would acquire Memorex International Inc. for $330 million cash, plus future cash considerations of up to $45 million.

Wachovia Profit Rises 18% on Fees

Wachovia Corp., which is buying Irvine's Westcorp Inc., on Thursday said fourth-quarter profit rose 18%, helped by growth in fees and lending income, although expenses increased faster than revenue.

Irvine Co. Buys Irvine Center Towers

The Irvine Company has acquired the 900,000-square-foot Irvine Center Towers office complex near John Wayne Airport.

Motorola Posts Rise in Profit

Motorola Inc. on Thursday said its fourth-quarter earnings rose, helped by strong sales of its Razr mobile phones.

Higby Joins William Lyon Board

Lawrence "Larry" Higby, chief executive of Lake Forest-based Apria Healthcare Group Inc., has another side gig.

Report: Disney in Talks to Buy Pixar

Walt Disney Co. is in serious talks about an acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

Homebuilding Tumbles, Jobs Solid

New home construction tumbled in December, pointing to further cooling in the U.S. real-estate boom, but other figures on Thursday showed a robust labor market as new jobless claims fell to a six-year low.

Wednesday, January 18

QLogic Tops Estimates

Shares of Aliso Viejo-based QLogic Corp. rose 2.5% in afterhours trading after the company beat estimates for the quarter ended Jan. 1.

Nigeria Militants: Oil Producers at Risk

Militants behind a string of attacks aimed at disrupting the Nigerian oil industry said they intended to target all producers in the country in a message where they singled out Chevron.

Reliance Buying Earle M. Jorgensen

Los Angeles-based Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. is buying buying Earle M. Jorgensen Co., a metal distributor that moved from Brea to Lynwood a few years ago, for nearly $650 million.

Consumer Prices Fall

Consumer prices fell unexpectedly in December but matched market forecasts when energy and food costs were excluded, while chain store sales slipped last week, separate reports showed on Wednesday.

Record Median Home Price; Sales Off

The median price of a home sold in Orange County jumped to a record $621,000 in December, up 13% from a year earlier.

Apple Profit Nearly Doubles

Apple Computer Inc.'s quarterly profit nearly doubled as the company sold more than 14 million of its market-leading iPod digital music players in the holiday-sales-fueled period.

Former SF Fed Chief: Rates Could Hit 5%

The Federal Reserve could raise interest rates to as much as 5%, former San Francisco Fed boss Robert Parry said in Newport Beach on Wednesday.

J & J; May Raise Bid for Guidant

Johnson & Johnson is weighing a higher takeover offer for medical-device maker Guidant Corp. in a move to thwart a $25 billion bid from rival suitor Boston Scientific Corp., a source familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.

Real Mex Considers Possible Sale

Cypress-based Real Mex Restaurants Inc., operator of El Torito, Acapulco and Chevys Fresh Mex chains, said Wednesday it plans to hire an adviser to look at "strategic alternatives" that could lead to a sale of the company.

Innovation Sports Bought for $38.4M

Ossur HF, an Icelandic medical device company with North American headquarters in Aliso Viejo, said Wednesday that it bought Foothill Ranch-based Innovation Sports Inc. for $38.4 million.

Seagate Net Up on Consumer Electronics

Seagate Technology, the biggest U.S. hard-disk drive maker, on Wednesday said quarterly profit climbed amid growing demand for consumer electronics and notebook computers.

Tuesday, January 17

Hyundai Replaces Top Executive

Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America Inc. on Tuesday replaced its top executive with an official from the automaker's parent company in South Korea.

Microsoft Aims To Lure Lotus Users

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday said it plans to offer a variety of analytical and data transfer tools, aimed at luring customers of IBM Corp.'s rival Lotus Notes e-mail software to its own system that allows business to collaborate on projects via the Web.

Airbus Surge Tops Boeing in Orders

Airbus SAS booked a record 1,055 plane orders in 2005 after a December surge that drove it past Boeing Co. for a fifth straight year, but it still lagged in sales of larger, more expensive models.

Google Buying dMarc for up to $1.2B

Newport Beach's Chad and Ryan Steelberg have done it again. The brothers are selling their Newport Beach-based dMarc Broadcasting Inc. to Google Inc. for $102 million plus additional payments of up to $1.1 billion in the next three years, the companies sa

Bidding War Revives Takeover Talk

The bidding war for heart device maker Guidant Corp. has revived speculation that St. Jude Medical Inc. will be the next takeover target in the medical technology sector, analysts said Tuesday.

Intel Profit Weaker Than Expected

Intel Corp. on Tuesday posted a 25% jump in quarterly profit, below expectations, as the world's top microchip maker saw weak demand for processors used in desktop computers.

IBM Profit Gains on Services

IBM, the world's biggest computer company, said on Tuesday that quarterly profit rose, helped by its consulting business and sales of large computers to businesses.

Boston Hikes Guidant Offer Again

Boston Scientific Corp. on Tuesday hiked its offer to buy Guidant Corp. to about $27 billion, escalating a bidding war with Johnson & Johnson for the maker of cardiac devices and raising concerns among analysts that the price may be too high.

Monday, January 16

CODE RED

The convention industry prepares for disasters

Real Estate Watch: West Orange County

West County rents are up, despite a decline in vacancy. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Gateway Moves Q4, Yearly Results Date

Irvine-based personal computer maker Gateway Inc. has changed the date it plans to release its yearly and fourth-quarter results, the company said Monday.

Conexant Could See More U.S. Hiring, But India Rules

Conexant may be hot for India, but it still has plans for its U.S. operations, in the Technology column

Chapman Provost Outdoes Doti; Exec Job Postings

Chapman Provost Outdoes Doti; Exec Job Postings

Q1 Conventions Bring 470,000 Visitors, $400M in Spending

Conventions taking place in the first quarter are set to bring 470,000 people to Anaheim

Newly Formed Xytis Raises $24.5M for Clinical Drug Trials

A newly formed drug developer has raised $24.5 million in funding

Pills, Politics Set to Intersect at Annual UC Irvine Confab

Politics and healthcare are the focus of a UC Irvine conference, in the Healthcare column

Not a December to Remember for PacSun's d.e.m.o.

Pacific Sunwear's d.e.m.o. chain struggled during the holidays, in the Media & Marketing column

MARKET WATCH

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

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

Getting Educated

The Professional Convention Management Association addressed risk management issues during its annual convention

Government Auditor Joins Mayer Hoffman

The audit arm of an Irvine accounting firm has been bought

Roth Capital Passed Around PIPEs in '05

Roth Capital's PIPE business dipped last year as competition took hold

Private Equity Firms Offer $8B for VNU

VNU NV, the Dutch publisher and operator of the ASR surfwear trade show, is in talks to be acquired by a group of the biggest private equity firms, which have offered to buy the market research company for as much as $8.8 billion.

Ford Sees Record China Sales

Ford Motor Co. said on Monday it had sold 82,225 of its own-brand vehicles in China in 2005, up 46% on the previous year as it rode an expanded line-up of models.

2005 Big for Healthcare; More Deals in the Cards?

Are more healthcare deals on tap for this year

Companies Step Up CES; Targus Goes Tab & #250;

Local companies increased their presence at the International Consumer Electronics Show

Report: "Subdued" Retail Sales Growth

Rising energy costs and a slowdown in the housing market could translate into subdued retail sales growth in 2006, industry trade group the National Retail Federation said in its quarterly retail sales forecast released on Monday.

Marketer Goes Beyond Booths; Samurai Chefs, Tailgate Parties

Exhibit Works is glitzing up the images of automakers and others

The Sporting Scene

The Mighty Ducks and Angels dominate the local sports scene but the county is home to many other sports events.

Germany, Spain Clear Allergan Deal

Irvine-based Allergan Inc. on Monday said it received approvals from antitrust authorities in Germany and Spain for its buy of Santa Barbara's Inamed Corp.

EXECUTIVE BRIEFCASE

"The Matador" may just be the best 2006 film in theaters yet. A REVIEW by Michael Lyster

Thanks Boeing: Seal Beach Site Ready for Construction

Overton Moore's ready to go forward with plans for former Boeing land, in the Real Estate column

Analysts Awaiting Next Chapter in Quiksilver's 'Show-Me' Turnaround

Quiksilver's reaffirmation of sales and profit expectations doesn't have everyone satisfied

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Arcelor Ups Dofasco Bid

Steel giant Arcelor trumped ThyssenKrupp's latest bid for Dofasco on Monday by raising its offer to $4.74 billion, in one of Europe's fiercest takeover battles.

Makeovers, Lack of Openings Yield Meeting Space Dip

Hotel meeting rooms saw little growth in the past year

Real Estate Deals

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

Herd Mentality: Anaheim's Top Conventions Gear Up

The biggest conventions coming to Orange County

Segerstrom: South Coast Sales to Hit $1.5B

South Coast Plaza's growth could reach $1.5 billion this year, in the Marketplace column

Low-Key Mollies Deftly Mixes Mexican, American Fare

Mollies Country Kitchen is serving up Mexican and American specialties, in the Executive Dining column

Quiksilver: No Surprises for Wall Street

Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc. isn't planning to hand Wall Street any big surprises.

Hijacking Healthcare

Three foundations with $5.5 billion won't stop until California has universal, government-run, and fully unionized healthcare. OPINION by Chuck DeVore, the Republican Assemblyman from Irvine.

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

QLogic Bests Emulex in Q3 Adapter Sales

Aliso Viejo-based QLogic Corp. gained a notch on rival Emulex Corp. of Costa Mesa in third-quarter sales of host bus adapters.

Once Neglected, OC a Push for KB Home

KB Home's Irvine unit is looking to join the local housing party

Broadcom Hedges Bets With DVD Player Chip

Broadcom's in the middle of a battle for the next generation of DVD players and discs

Friday, January 13

AIG May Pay $1.5B in Settlement

American International Group Inc. may pay as much as $1.5 billion to settle civil investigations by state and federal authorities into an accounting scandal, The Wall Street Journal said Friday, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Guidant May Deem Boston Deal Superior

Guidant Corp. will likely deem a sweetened $25 billion bid from Boston Scientific superior to its existing $23 billion takeover offer from Johnson & Johnson, setting in motion the next phase of the bidding war for the medical-device maker, analysts said o

Cisco Investment Has Linksys In Mind

Cisco Systems Inc. has made an undisclosed investment in New Jersey's Zensys Inc. with an eye toward working the company's home automation offerings into products from Irvine-based Linksys.

Drug Developer Raises $24.5M

Xytis Inc., a newly formed drug developer based in Irvine, has raised $24.5 million in a second round of venture financing

Endocare Sells Unit for $10M

Irvine-based Endocare Inc. said Friday it's selling its Timm Medical Technologies Inc. unit for $9.5 million to Britain's Plethora Solutions Holdings PLC.

Thursday, January 12

Home Affordability Stays Low

Only 11% of Orange County households could afford a median priced home here in November, the same as in October and down 13% from a year ago, the California Association of Realtors reported Thursday.

Oil Stays Above $64 on Iran Fears

Oil prices finished steady near $64 a barrel Thursday, with jitters over Iran's nuclear ambitions and traders' expectations of rising energy demand offset by above-normal temperatures in the U.S. and signs of growing supplies.

IBM, Toshiba, Sony Renew Chip Pact

IBM Corp., Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp. said they will renew a 5-year partnership that produced the Cell microprocessor, the heart of Sony's PlayStation 3 video gaming console.

QLogic Gets Nod in Emulex Rivalry

An analyst gave QLogic Corp. the edge over rival and former parent company Emulex Corp. in fourth-quarter sales of host bus adapters.

Ball in Boston's Court on Guidant

The ball now is in Boston Scientific Corp.'s court in the battle to woo cardiovascular device maker Guidant Corp. away from Johnson & Johnson, which sweetened its bid to acquire Guidant, analysts said on Thursday.

Calif. Regulator OKs Solar Program

Hoping to make California a world leader in solar power, state energy regulators Thursday approved some $3 billion in customer rebates over the next decade to encourage people to install solar panels on their roofs.

Acquisitions Drive Experian

Costa Mesa-based Experian Group posted sales growth of 20% for the quarter ended Dec. 31, London-based parent company GUS PLC said Thursday.

Report: SEC Probes Home Depot

The Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an informal investigation into charges that Home Depot Inc. inflated profits through supplier payments meant to cover the cost of damaged merchandise, the New York Post reported on Thursday.

SEC Opens Formal Investigation of IBM

Federal investigators have racheted up their probe of how International Business Machines Corp. advised Wall Street about stock option expenses in the first quarter of 2005, the technology giant disclosed Thursday.

Wednesday, January 11

Mortgage Applications Increase

Mortgage applications rose for the first time in five weeks as interest rates on fixed loans fell to more than a two-month low, spurring a surge in demand for home loans, an industry trade group said on Wednesday.

DuPont Slashes Q4 outlook

DuPont, the No. 2 U.S. chemicals maker, on Wednesday slashed its profit outlook for the fourth quarter on a mixture of hurricane-related operational disruptions as well as weak sales and higher costs in three of its businesses.

3Com CEO to Retire

Data networking equipment maker 3Com Corp. said on Wednesday that Chief Executive Bruce Claflin will retire when a new chief is named, consistent with a succession plan already in place.

IPods Fuel Broadcom Surge

Shares of Broadcom Corp. surged Wednesday on expected gains from sales of chips for Apple Computer Inc.'s video iPod.

Boeing To Invest $185M in India

Boeing Co. will invest $185 million in facilities in India and source $1.9 billion in products and services over a period of 10 years, India's civil aviation minister said on Wednesday.

Los Alamitos: Big Time Horse Racing

Los Alamitos Race Course is moving on plans to join the big leagues of horse racing.

Quest Seen Gaining From Microsoft

Shares of Aliso Viejo-based Quest Software Inc. climbed about 3% Wednesday after an analyst with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. upgraded the stock.

Boeing Satellite Pact: Up to $1B

Boeing Co.'s long-stagnant commercial satellite business got a boost Wednesday with the announcement of the unit's largest order in nine years a contract to build three satellites and associated ground systems for Mobile Satellite Ventures Corp.

China's 2005 Trade Surplus Hits $102B

China's trade surplus more than tripled to $102 billion in 2005, data showed on Wednesday, but December figures also reinforced a more recent trend of weakening export growth.

Tuesday, January 10

Guidant To Consider Boston Offer

The board of Guidant Corp., the target of a bidding war between Johnson & Johnson and Boston Scientific Corp., was expected to meet on Tuesday to weigh Boston Scientific's formal offer, said one source familiar with the situation.

Toyota Chief: U.S. Could Back GM

The U.S. government would probably step in to support General Motors Corp. if the world's No.1 auto maker fell into further difficulty, Hiroshi Okuda, chairman of Toyota Motor Corp., said on Tuesday.

Cox, SEC Detail Executive Pay Disclosure

Companies would have to disclose senior managers' current pay in a "single figure" and put other pay in tables with better explanations in their proxy statements, under a draft Securities and Exchange Commission plan, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said on

Automakers See '06 U.S. Sales Lower

U.S. sales of cars and trucks will fall modestly this year but intense competition in the market will put pressure on vehicle prices, economists from Detroit's traditional Big Three automakers said on Tuesday.

Xerox Centre Sold for $77.5M

Newport Beach-based real estate investor WCB Properties LP has bought Santa Ana's premier office tower, Xerox Centre, for $77.5 million.

UCI Raises $72M in Second Half of '05

The University of California, Irvine, raised $72 million in the second half of 2005, beating its total raised for the entire year earlier.

Opus Looking to Build Industrial Project

The Irvine office of Phoenix-based Opus West Corp. is considering building three large warehouses in a move that would mark the first development geared to big industrial tenants in Orange County since the start of the decade.

Governor To Roll Out Budget Today

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed additional spending to cover medical services for 300,000 uninsured children, the latest glimpse of the state budget he will present today.

De Agostini To Pay $4B for GTech

Italy's De Agostini SPA is set to buy U.S. lottery operator GTech Holdings Corp in a deal worth more than $4 billion, a financial source said on Tuesday.

Monday, January 9

Opus Planning Big Anaheim Industrial Project

Opus West is considering building three large warehouses in a move that would mark the first development geared to big industrial tenants in OC since the start of the decade

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

Boston Scientific: Guidant Profits in '09

Medical device maker Boston Scientific Corp. on Monday warned its potential deal to acquire Guidant Corp. will not boost earnings until 2009, which is about a year later than was expected.

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Irvine's Plaza Bank Latest Startup Targeting Small, Midsize Business

Irvine's Plaza Bank became Orange County's latest business bank to open its doors last week.

Airport Office Towers Could Go to Irvine Co.

The Irvine Company is reportedly close to finalizing a deal to buy twin Newport Beach office towers near John Wayne Airport

Competition From Acer Factors in Gateway Downgrade

Gateway shares were downgraded as competition from Acer heats up, in the Technology column

Sage Acquires Software Maker

Britain's Sage Group PLC, whose Sage Software Inc. in Irvine is Orange County's largest software maker, is making a $325 million acquisition and folding it into the local operation.

Bain Buying TI Chip Unit for $3B

Texas Instruments Inc. on Monday said it will sell its sensors and controls business to Bain Capital LLC for $3 billion in cash.

Tyco Eyes Possible Breakup

Tyco International Ltd. is closely examining a breakup of the $60 billion conglomerate pieced together by former chief executive Dennis Kozlowski, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

A War on Complexity

Securities and Exchange Chairman Christopher Cox wants to make regulatory filings more friendly for readers, a Viewpoint.

Tarsadia Targets Wealthy for Second Homes at Hotel Condo Project

Tarsadia is teaming with Hard Rock for its first condominium hotel

New Century Loan Volume Exceeds

Shares of Irvine-based New Century Financial Corp. closed more than 4% higher on Monday after the subprime mortgage lender reported higher than expected growth in loan production for 2005.

Orange-Drop Bomb: Promoter Throws Bash, Posts Bail

Orange-Drop Bomb: Promoter Throws Bash, Posts Bail

Il Fornaio to Expand Bakery Operations at Former Bimbo Plant

Il Fornaio leased Bimbo Bakeries' former plant in La Mirada

Eyeonics Raises $16.5M, Eyes Offering

Eyeonics' latest venture funding round has the company looking ahead to a possible initial public offering

Martin Diedrich is Back With Newport's K & #233;an Coffee

Martin Diedrich has surfaced with a new coffee shop, in the Marketplace column

PacifiCare Hitting Stores With Medicare Drug Plan

PacifiCare is going retail with its Medicare drug plan, in the Healthcare column

Real Estate Watch: Research & Development

The recovering research and development sector recorded positive absorption in the third quarter. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Lincoln Property Buys in Laguna Hills, More to Come?

Lincoln Property's buy in Laguna Hills could be the start of more local investments in OC for the nationally active company, in the Real Estate column

Volcom Highlights Slow Year Locally for Public Stock Launches

Volcom was the blockbuster offering in a slow year overall

Executive Expectations Perk Up in First Quarter

Business expectations are rosier than they've been in a few quarters

Private Equity and Corporate Buyers Look to Steal Show

Private equity and corporate buyouts stole the show last year

Market Science

Commentary by Rick Reiff

BioLase Jumps on Sales Outlook

San Clemente-based BioLase Technology Inc. said Monday that it expects fourth-quarter revenue to be higher than expected.

Fishbone Marketing Throws Line to Account Executives

Fishbone Marketing has added a couple of account executives, in the Media & Marketing column

LETTERS

Reflections on the past year and predictions for 2006, in Letters

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Toshiba Chip Unit Is Back; Rivals Loom

Toshiba's Irvine-based electronics unit shows how consumer goods are driving growth at technology companies

Mitsubishi Looks to Gain Back Share

Japan's Mitsubishi Motors Corp., which has its North American base in Cypress, is hoping for a 2% slice of the U.S. auto market, its top official here said Monday.

REAL ESTATE DEALS

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

MARKET WATCH

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

Newport's Wildfish an Early Catch for Seafood Crowd

Wildfish is a catch in Newport Beach, in the Executive Dining column

Out of the Pool

A true condo hotel isn't a traditional real estate play

Sunday, January 8

Kia Sets Ambitious 2006 Growth Target

The Irvine-based U.S. arm of South Korea's Kia Motors is aiming for a double-digit percentage rise in sales this year driven by six new autos.

Caremark Rejects Express Scripts Bid

Pharmacy benefit manager Caremark Rx said late on Sunday it had rejected a roughly $26 billion takeover bid from rival Express Scripts, saying it favored an offer of about $22.2 billion from drugstore chain CVS Corp.

United Surgical Going Private in $1.8 Billion Deal

United Surgical Partners International Inc., which runs short-stay surgery centers, has agreed to be bought out by a private equity firm for $1.8 billion, the company said on Monday.

GE Buying Oil Services Company in $1.9B Deal

In a bid to boost its presence in the oil and gas sector, diversified conglomerate General Electric Co. said on Monday it will buy Vetco Gray, for roughly $1.9 billion.

Friday, January 6

Aerospace Company Sale Concluded

Portland, Ore.-based Precision Castparts Corp. has wrapped up its $110 million buy of Shur-Lok Group, an Irvine maker of aerospace fasteners, the companies said Friday.

Job Growth Short of Forecasts

U.S. employers added a smaller-than-expected 108,000 new jobs in December but that followed a much stronger wave of hiring than previously thought in November when rebuilding after hurricanes was getting under way, a government report on Friday showed.

Schwarzenegger Calls for Investment

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday laid out a bold agenda for public investment in the state's highways, ports, water systems, hospitals and schools.

Impac Slumps on Dividend Cut

Shares of Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc. were down sharply Friday after the Newport Beach-based real estate investment trust reduced its fourth-quarter dividend, the result of continued pressure on earnings.

Fed: Pace of Rate Moves Unclear

The U.S. has entered a period in which Federal Reserve policy changes are increasingly dependent on current readings of the economy, Boston Federal Reserve President Cathy Minehan said on Friday.

Executive Sentiment Up

Business expectations for the first quarter rebounded from hurricanes and higher interest rates. But rising labor costs stand to be a factor in 2006, according to a survey of Orange County chief executives, business owners and managers.

Thursday, January 5

HP, Blackstone Eye Computer Sciences

Hewlett-Packard Co. and Blackstone Group, the private equity firm, are examining a possible purchase of Computer Sciences Corp., the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Quest Acquires Kiwi Software Maker

Aliso Viejo's Quest Software Inc. said Thursday it acquired a New Zealand software maker for $15 million now and up to $30 million more during the next three years.

Conexant Spending $250M in India

Newport Beach chipmaker Conexant Systems Inc. plans to invest $250 million in India in the next five years as part of its ongoing expansion there.

Boeing Plane Orders Triple in 2005

Boeing Co.'s commercial plane orders more than tripled to a record 1,002 for 2005, the top U.S. planemaker said on Thursday, signaling that it will probably reclaim the lead from European rival Airbus for the first time since 2001.

Retailers Hit Dec. Goals; Profits a Worry

Retailers met modest December sales goals on Thursday as deep discounts drew budget-conscious holiday shoppers, but a disappointing profit forecast from Wal-Mart raised concerns about the vital fourth quarter.

Seal Beach Land Sold for Development

Gardena's Overton Moore Properties is buying a 50.3-acre site in Seal Beach where 13 industrial buildings are planned.

Housing Market: Strong, But Cooler

The housing market will remain strong but begin to slow in 2006 after five record-breaking years, banking and housing economists said on Thursday.

Wet Seal Beats Views, PacSun Misses

Anaheim-based Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. saw a modest rise in December same-store sales while Foothill Ranch's Wet Seal Inc. beat expectations for the month.

Dell: More Than 10M PCs Sold in Q4

Dell Inc., the world's No. 1 personal computer maker, sold over 10 million PCs in its fourth quarter, the company's chief executive said on Thursday.

Gov. Unveils $200B Building Plan

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called for spending more than $200 billion on public works over the next two decades, proposing to rebuild the state as he seeks re-election.

Jobless Claims Fall

The nation's service sector grew more rapidly in December and the number of workers filing new claims for jobless benefits fell to the lowest level in five years, signs the economy enters the new year on fairly strong footing.

Wednesday, January 4

Mortgage Applications Fall for 4th Week

Mortgage applications fell for a fourth straight week as a robust rebound in loan refinancings failed to lift activity from more than a 3.5-year low, an industry trade group said on Wednesday.

Aetna CEO to Retire, Successor Named

Health insurer Aetna Inc. said on Wednesday that Chairman and Chief Executive John Rowe will retire by the end of 2006 and President Ronald Williams will become chief executive effective February 14.

Allergan Wins Restraining Order

Allergan Inc. said on Wednesday a federal court granted the Irvine drug maker a temporary restraining order against a Canadian rival seeking to sell a generic version of its treatment for itchy eyes.

Abercrombie Sues Wet Seal

Foothill Ranch-based teen retailer Wet Seal Inc. has been sued for trademark infringement by New Albany, Ohio-based Abercrombie & Fitch Co., the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Suzuki, Hyundai Lead Dec. Sales

It was a mixed bag for Orange County-based automaking units in December, with sales gains at Suzuki, Hyundai and Mazda offsetting declines at a trio of others.

Gadgets and Partying at CES

The yearly International Consumer Electronics Show gets under way Thursday in Las Vegas,where technology companies from Orange County and around the world will show off their latest products and do a little partying.

Automakers Post Lower Dec. Sales

Automakers posted lower December sales on Wednesday, capping a tumultuous year in which Detroit's Big Three struggled to come to terms with changing consumer tastes and high gas prices.

Auto Incentives Down in December

The average incentive by automakers fell 4% last month from the previous year, according to automotive Web site Edmunds.com

AMO Down on Lens Delay, Rival Alcon Rises

Advanced Medical Optics Inc. saw its shares hit a new low Thursday, a day after the Santa Ana-based contact lens and eye device maker said the launch of a new lens could be delayed because of regulatory concerns.

Consumer Electronics Sales Seen Up 8%

Driven by demand for digital televisions and MP3 players, consumer electronics sales are expected to grow to a record $135.4 billion in 2006, an industry group said on Tuesday.

Scrushy to Repay $47.8M in Bonuses

Fired HealthSouth Corp. CEO Richard Scrushy must repay more than $47 million in bonuses he received while running the medical rehabilitation chain, a judge ruled.

Dec. Jobs Higher on Reconstruction

Healthy new U.S. job growth likely continued into December as rebuilding after last year's hurricanes gained steam and steady economic growth laid a foundation for more job gains, analysts said.

William Lyon Home Orders Dip

Newport Beach-based William Lyon Homes Inc. Wednesday reported lower fourth-quarter home orders in California and companywide.

Tuesday, January 3

Valeant Completes Drug Buy

Costa Mesa-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International on Tuesday wrapped up its buy of a hepatitis C drug from Northern California's InterMune Inc. for $113.5 million plus $20 million in milestone payments through 2009.

Credit Union Wescom: Anaheim Expansion

Pasadena-based Wescom Credit Union plans to open an administration center in Anaheim later this year that could employ up to 500 workers.

Anaheim Company Acquired

J.A.M. Plastics Inc., an Anaheim maker of badge holders and other products, is being bought by Brady Corp. of Milwaukee, the companies said Tuesday.

Viacom splits; CBS Rises in Trading

Who's sluggish now? With the official split of Viacom Inc.'s fast-moving MTV Networks and Paramount film studios from CBS Corp. completed on Tuesday, CBS stock jumped 5% even as shares of the newly independent Viacom Inc. were flat early on.

Oil Jumps $2 on Russia Gas Row

Oil prices shot up more than $2 on Tuesday as big money funds flooded commodity markets and consumers feared a row over Russia's natural gas price to Ukraine could crimp European supplies.

Fed: Rate Rises Likely Nearing End

The Federal Reserve on Tuesday said it thinks its 1.5 year long campaign of raising interest rates is nearing an end, saying a statement after its December meeting aimed to signal only a few more increases were likely.

Cap Maker New Era Moves Unit to Surf, Skate Hub

A maker of baseball and other caps is moving a division here to be part of the county's surf and skate hub.

Motorola: iRadio, New Home Gagdets

Motorola Inc., the No. 2 cell phone maker, on Tuesday revealed details of its plans for iRadio, a subscription music service that will go on sale this year. It also unveiled a new home phone that consumers could link with cell-phone and Web phone services

Irvine Sensors Makes Military Buy

Costa Mesa-based Irvine Sensors Corp. has bought Richardson, Texas-based Optex Systems Inc. in a deal that could be worth more than $24 million, the company said Tuesday.

Stocks Higher Ahead of Fed Minutes

Stocks opened higher on Tuesday, the first trading day of 2006, after brokerages improved their views of Johnson & Johnson , a Dow component, and Google Inc.

Walgreen Profit Rises 5%

Drugstore chain Walgreen Co. on Tuesday said quarterly profit rose 5 percent, helped by strong demand for prescriptions and growing sales of higher-margin generic drugs.

Monday, January 2

Paying Doctors for Performance More Common in OC

Performance pay is more common for doctors in OC than elsewhere in the U.S., in the Healthcare column

Billion-Dollar Stock Club Swells

Orange County's stock of companies with market values of at least $1 billion have more than doubled since the technology downturn

Liver Program Woes Early Distraction for Drake

Michael Drake's first few months as UCI's chancellor have seen some headaches

MARKET WATCH

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

Duo Laid Plans for Years of Development

The Business Journal's Businesspersons of the Year: Lennar's Jon Jaffe and Emile Haddad

BUSINESSPERSON OF THE YEAR

OC Businessperson of the Year: Jury's out,Seth Johnson of Pacific Sunwear of California

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

PREDICTIONS

Stories you might,or might not,read in 2006, an Editorial by Rick Reiff

Kiwi Software Maker Relocates to Newport After Venture Round

Econz has moved its headquarters from New Zealand to Newport Beach

Jazz Semi Reportedly Eyeing LSI's Portland Foundry

Jazz Semiconductor is reportedly in the running to buy a chip foundry near Portland, in the Technology column,

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Wescom Buys Anaheim Site, Up to 500 Workers Planned

Wescom Credit Union plans to open an administration complex in Anaheim that could have up to 500 workers

Leases in Works for PacSun's One Thousand Steps Chain

Pacific Sunwear is getting ready to open several One Thousand Steps shoe stores in the first half of the year, in the Marketplace column

KUDOS

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

Young & Rubicam to Name New Chief for Local Office

Y & R; is set to name a local leader in wake of David Murphy's departure, in the Media & Marketing column

Job One for Shea Properties Boss: Double Development

Family-owned J.F. Shea went outside to find a leader for its Shea Properties unit, in the Real Estate column

LETTERS

Letters to the Editors - El Toro; Baxter Bunch

A Trip Down Memory Lane Yields Fifi's 'Best' Choices

Fifi names some of the best dishes and restaurants she enjoyed during the past year, in the Executive Dining column

EXECUTIVE BRIEFCASE

A look at the Pirates Dinner Adventure in Buena Park, a Review

New 2006 Laws: What's In That Blush?

California businesses face few new bills as 2006 gets under way

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Cox Declares 'War On Complexity'; Carol's new Name

Cox Declares 'War On Complexity'; Carol's new Name

Quality Systems Top Stock; Small Caps, Techs Higher

Quality Systems led a good year for local stocks

REAL ESTATE DEALS

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases