Stories for June 2006

Friday, June 30

May Core Inflation Up Slightly

A key gauge of core consumer prices rose a moderate 0.2% last month, but inflation-adjusted spending advanced just 0.1% as energy prices pressured shoppers, a government report showed on Friday.

November Ballot Big for Business

California's November ballot is shaping up to be one of the most crucial in years for business.

Oakley's Tweaks Make Way to Stores

Foothill Ranch-based Oakley Inc.'s tweaks are starting to play out in stores, with new displays and packaging for women's sunglasses and plans for more sports shades.

CorVel Misses SEC Report Deadline

Irvine-based CorVel Corp. said Friday that it failed to file its annual report on time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"Irregularities" in Apple Options Probe

Apple Computer Inc. said on Thursday an internal probe uncovered irregularities related to the company's issuance of stock option grants between 1997 and 2001, and its shares fell 3%.

Cendant To Sell Travel Unit for $4.3B

Cendant Corp. has agreed to sell its travel services division to an affiliate of private equity firm the Blackstone Group for about $4.3 billion in cash, scrapping plans to spin off the unit.

Thursday, June 29

PacSun Lays Plans to Reverse Slump

Anaheim-based Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. can feel the heat. The once highflying teen clothing retailer now finds itself answering tough questions about why the company has cooled as competitors keep coming on strong.

Fed Could Raise Rates Again

The Federal Reserve is wrapping up a two-day meeting today, and analysts say there is little doubt the central bank will raise rates for the 17th consecutive time.

Fed Raises Rates, More May Come

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for a 17th straight time on Thursday and said more rises may be needed to curb inflation even after the now two-year run of credit-tightening.

Boeing to Take Up to $1.1B in Charges

Boeing Co. said on Thursday it will take up to $1.1 billion in charges to cover the costs of delayed surveillance aircraft for Australia and Turkey and the previously announced settlement of two U.S. government investigations into its defense unit.

BioLase, P & G; Developing Products

Irvine-based BioLase Technology Inc. said Thursday that it is going to license some of its laser technology to consumer products maker Procter & Gamble Co.

Mitsubishi Boss Retiring

The head of Cypress-based Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. for the past year and a half is retiring, leaving the challenged automaker solely in the hands of an executive from its parent company in Japan.

Wednesday, June 28

Familiar Face Behind Stem Cell Startup

The face behind one of Orange County's few stem cell startups is a familiar one: computer entrepreneur Thomas Yuen.

Applied Micro: Subpoena on Options

Applied Micro Circuits Corp. on Tuesday said it has received a subpoena from a U.S. district attorney requesting documents relating to its historical stock option practices.

Democrats Drafting Hedge Fund Bill

House Democrats plan to introduce a bill to reverse last week's court decision that invalidated a Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring hedge fund advisers to register with the agency, said a top lawmaker on Wednesday.

Lantronix Settling With SEC

Irvine-based Lantronix Inc. said Wednesday that it's reached a preliminary settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over a financial restatement in 2002.

EMI, Warner Locked in $4.6B Battle

EMI and Warner Music were locked in a two-way $4.6 billion takeover battle on Wednesday, with each trying to acquire the other to create a combined company that would shrink the industry to three dominant players.

ConAgra Profit Rises

Packaged food company ConAgra Foods Inc. on Wednesday posted a 6.6% rise in quarterly profit as it cut costs, sold off some businesses, and stepped up marketing spending behind key brands.

Fed Meets, Rate Hike Expected

Federal Reserve policy-makers started a two-day meeting on Wednesday that markets expect will yield a quarter-percentage point rise in the overnight federal funds rate to 5.25%.

Bullish Report on QLogic

Shares of Aliso Viejo-based QLogic Corp. rose about 5% in premarket trading Wednesday and closed flat for the day after Merrill Lynch & Co. started covering the company with a "buy" rating.

Kodak Health Unit Seen Sold in Pieces

After years of trying to compete in the health imaging market, Eastman Kodak Co. is poised to shed its health imaging business, which some analysts expect to be dismantled and resold in pieces.

Tuesday, June 27

May Home Prices Off Record

Orange County home prices inched down from a record high in May, though the number of sales in the county showed a modest increase from a month ago, according to a report Tuesday.

GM Sees Weaker Auto Market

General Motors Corp. on Tuesday cautioned that overall 2006 U.S. auto sales could fall short of last year's total because of higher interest rates and volatile gas prices.

Nortel Networks to Cut 1,100 Jobs

Telecommunications equipment maker Nortel Networks Corp., which has slimmed down significantly in recent years, said Tuesday it will cut about 1,100 positions globally and change its pension program to improve operating margins and save money.

Consumer Confidence Higher in June

Consumer confidence increased modestly in June but uncertainty about the near future suggested the economy may be poised to slow in the months ahead, a survey showed on Tuesday.

Univision Accepts $12.3B Bid

Los Angeles-based Univision Communications Inc. said on Tuesday it accepted a $12.3 billion buyout offer from an investor group led by media mogul Haim Saban, sending its shares 6% higher and ending a tense auction for the Hispanic broadcaster.

Existing Home Sales Fall 1.2%

The pace of sales of existing homes fell 1.2% in May, roughly in line with expectations, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors said on Tuesday.

Nike Q4 Net Profit Falls 5%

Nike Inc., the world's top athletic shoe maker, said on Tuesday that fourth quarter net profit fell 5% due to a one-time charge related to a Converse brand arbitration ruling.

Quiksilver Forms Russian Venture

Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc. has formed a venture with Moscow's Sprandi International Ltd. to sell its surf-inspired Quiksilver and Roxy clothes in Russia.

Bolsa Chica Peace Offering: Big Dividend

Irvine's California Coastal Communities Inc., under fire from shareholders over its plans to build homes at Bolsa Chica, made a peace offering Tuesday: an $11 to $13 per share dividend.

Monday, June 26

Boutique Hotelier Survives Rough 2001 Start, Eyes Expansion

Boutique hotelier Larry Broughton eyes an expansion after a tough start out of the gate

Lennar Q2 Up, Cuts 2006 Outlook

Homebuilder Lennar Corp. said Monday its second-quarter profit surged 33% on sharply higher sales, but the company lowered its full-year earnings outlook on an anticipated slowdown on new orders.

SeaCliff Packages Cosmetics for Cindy Crawford, Others

SeaCliff Packages Cosmetics for Cindy Crawford, Others

More Hotels Planned for OC, Though the Pace Is Slow

Orange County hotel development has picked up in the past year, but still lags the pace in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Bernardino.

Yuen's Latest Venture is Personal: Stem Cells

One of the county's few stem cell startups is run by a familiar face: computer entrepreneur Thomas Yuen

$3M an Acre for Medical Offices in Irvine

A developer is planning a medical office complex at the Irvine Spectrum

Another Hospital Tower Starting, This Time at St. Jude

Swinerton Builders started work on a patient tower at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, in the Healthcare column

BUILDING UP

Construction Spikes on Office Towers, Industrial Buildings and Hospitals

Anaheim Site Drove WCB's ProLogis Buy

WCB Properties still see some good real estate buys in OC, in the Real Estate column

ALL TOGETHER NOW

Low vacancy and rising lease rates have spurred a pickup in commercial development.

J & J; Buying Pfizer Consumer for $17B

Johnson & Johnson said on Monday it would buy Pfizer Inc.'s consumer healthcare business for $16.6 billion in cash to increase its lead in the market for non-prescription health products.

New Home Sales rise 4.65

Sales of new single-family U.S. homes again defied predictions of a slowdown in May and rose 4.6%, according to a government report on Monday that signaled lingering pockets of strength in the critically important housing sector.

Literature Meets Venture Capital at New Sail Fund

Literary romantic and investor Walter Schindler has raised $16 million for his new venture fund,

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements

Display Boys' Work for Reebok: Logos, Silver Coating

Irvine's Display Boys picked up work from Reebok International, in the Media & Marketing column

Mindspeed Heads to Dubai for Chip Work

Mindspeed Technologies isn't looking to India or China to offshore some work. It's setting up shop in Dubai

REAL ESTATE DEALS

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

UCI Research Funding: $305M

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, won $305 million in funding during the recently ended school year, with more than half coming from medicine and biological sciences.

Phelps to Buy Inco, Falconbridge

Phelps Dodge Corp. on Monday said it would acquire Canada's Inco Ltd. and Falconbridge Ltd. for about $40 billion in a blockbuster deal to create the world's largest nickel miner and largest publicly-listed copper producer.

Sunstone Buys San Diego's W Hotel

San Clemente-based Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. has bought the W Hotel San Diego for $96 million.

Whirlpool Draws Interest in Brea Unit

Whirlpool expects to sell luxury appliance maker Jade Products in Brea by the end of the year

J & J; Wins Pfizer Consumer Unit

Johnson & Johnson said on Monday it would buy Pfizer Inc.'s consumer health-care business for $16.6 billion in cash to increase its lead in the market for non-prescription health products.

Pickup in Development to Play Out Over Several Years

Buoyant office and industrial markets translated into a big upswing in commercial development starts in 2005, though few of those projects were finished during the year.

Analyst: Ingram Could See Market Share, Profit Gains

An Ingram Micro analyst sees more market share and bigger profits in its future, in the Technology column

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

Mears Won't Run Unless ...; Allergan's 'Commander Crutch'

Mears Won't Run Unless ...; Allergan's 'Commander Crutch'

Pacific Sunwear Courts Girls to Reverse Slump

Once highflying retailer Pacific Sunwear is feeling the heat

GE to Buy $1.4B in Senior Housing

An arm of General Electric Co. on Monday said it planned to acquire six senior housing portfolios worth $1.4 billion from Formation Capital LLC.

Shopping at Mardo's: Fine Jewelry, Ferrari Next Door

Mardo's Fine Jewelry opens its expanded space on Pacific Coast Highway, in the Marketplace column

LETTERS

Saving KOCE and gas prices; Fuel taxes; Toll roads... in Letters.

MARKET WATCH

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

Real Estate Watch: Manufacturing and Warehouse

Lease Rates Steady, Vacancy Declines in Q1. The vacancy rate for manufacturing and warehouse space dropped to 3.2% in the first quarter. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

County's Great Chefs Show Off at Premier Dining Event

An upcoming benefit is a eye-catcher with great chefs and premier wines, in the Executive Dining column

Friday, June 23

Enterprise Makes Medical Land Buy

More medical space is coming to central Orange County. Enterprise Commercial Development Inc. of Lake Forest has paid $13 million for 4.2 acres of land zoned for medical office space in the Irvine Spectrum.

Allergan Glaucoma Drop Approved

Irvine drug maker Allergan Inc. said Friday that regulators cleared Lumigan, its prescription eye drop, as a treatment for an eye condition that's associated with glaucoma or ocular hypertension.

Oracle: Shopping Spree Pays Off

Oracle Corp., which has spent $20 billion snapping up competitors over the past 18 months, asserted its financial case for the shopping spree with a 27 percent hike in its quarterly income.

Whirlpool Draws Interest for Brea Unit

Whirlpool Corp., the new owner of Maytag Corp.'s Jade Products Co. in Brea, could end up selling the luxury appliance maker for $50 million or more, according to analysts.

May Durable Goods Orders Fall

New orders for durable goods unexpectedly fell 0.3% in May as aircraft orders dived, according to a government report on Friday that nonetheless showed healthy spending in other sectors.

Univision Cool to $10.7B Bid

Univision Communications Inc. opened the door to potential buyers this week, but so far the company has drawn one bid it deemed too low while a last-minute shakeup within a second investor group has clouded prospects for another offer.

Thursday, June 22

WSJ: Boeing Could Close Connexion

Connexion by Boeing, Boeing Co.'s Irvine-based in-flight Internet unit, could be sold or shut down, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal Thursday.

AT & T; Revises Privacy Policy

AT & T; Inc. said on Wednesday it was revising its privacy policy, explaining to customers that it owns their phone records and can hand them over to law enforcers if necessary.

Allianz Cuts 7,500 Jobs

Allianz will cut some 7,500 jobs or 4% of its global workforce as part of a far-reaching revamp designed to boost earnings, Germany's largest insurance group said on Thursday.

Michaels: 2 bids as Carlyle Drops Out

Arts and crafts retailer Michaels Stores Inc. received two takeover bids from private equity buyers offering more than $40 per share, a source close to the deal said on Thursday.

Blackstone, KKR Drop Univision Bid

Two more private equity firms dropped out of the bidding for Univision Communications Inc., adding another twist to the lively auction for the Hispanic broadcaster a day after offers were due.

Oracle Profit Rises on Software Sales

Oracle Corp. on Thursday posted a higher quarterly profit, helped by stronger-than-expected new software license revenue.

Broadcom Exec Joins Nortel

A top technology chief at Broadcom Corp. has left the chipmaker to join Canada's Nortel Networks Corp. as the networking gear maker's new chief technology officer.

Quack, Quack: Ducks Debut Jersey

A new era for the Ducks took flight Thursday, with the Anaheim-based team debuting a revamped name, logo and jersey.

Televisa Still Planning Univision Bid

Mexico's Televisa on Thursday said it was still preparing a bid with investment partners for Univision Communications Inc., despite signs that an auction for the U.S. Hispanic broadcaster might unravel.

Wednesday, June 21

Morgan Stanley Up on Earnings

Morgan Stanley Inc. on Wednesday took another step closer to fulfilling Chief Executive John Mack's pledge of a financial turnaround, posting second-quarter profit that more than doubled on stronger trading, underwriting and investment gains. The company'

Ford Committed to '08 Profitability

Ford Motor Co. remains "committed" to its turnaround target of making its auto business profitable again by 2008 and is on track to meet that goal, a senior executive said on Wednesday.

College District Considers KOCE's Fate

Orange County's TV war is set to come to a head tonight. Coast Community College District plans to vote Wednesday night on whether to appeal a court decision invalidating the sale of KOCE-TV to the public station's foundation.

Cortex Wakefulness Drug Fails Study

Shares of Cortex Pharmaceuticals Inc., an Irvine-based drug developer, fell about 16% Wednesday after it said that its flagship drug fell short of expectations.

Report: Irvine Co. Buying in SF

The Irvine Company could be paying top dollar to acquire its first office building in San Francisco.

H & R; Block: Break-Up 'Not in the Cards'

H & R; Block Inc. has no plans to break itself up or sell some businesses to private equity firms to improve the company's value to shareholders, Chief Financial Officer William Trubeck said on Wednesday.

Philips to Sell Off Chip Unit

Royal Philips Electronics NV said on Wednesday it will spin off or sell its chip business by the end of the year, keeping only a minority stake.

Chapman: Jobs Growing, Housing Stable

Orange County jobs are seen growing faster than expected while home prices are seen holding steady this year, according to Chapman University's updated 2006 forecast released Wednesday.

Stearns Taking Ameriquest Space

Santa Ana-based mortgage lender Stearns Lending Inc. is finalizing a deal to lease about 23,000 square feet of Irvine office space being vacated by another lender, the Orange-based parent of Ameriquest Mortgage Co.

Private Equity Bid For Univision

An investor group including billionaire Haim Saban and four private equity firms submitted an offer for Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications Inc. while the fate of a rival bid remained unclear, sources familiar with the deal said on Wedne

Tuesday, June 20

Lego to Cut 1,200 Jobs

Lego Group, whose iconic plastic building blocks have entertained millions of children for more than 70 years, said Tuesday it will be shedding 1,200 of its worldwide jobs to remold itself in an era when kids prefer playing with electronic gadgets.

Irvine May Raise Fees for Homes

Homebuilders are nervously eyeing an Irvine proposal that would more than double city fees for putting up homes in the area around John Wayne Airport to nearly $70,000 per home.

GE Healthcare Bids for Biacore

GE Healthcare said on Tuesday it had made a recommended $436.3 million cash offer for Swedish medical instruments maker Biacore.

Housing Starts Rise 5%

The pace of housing construction rose more than expected in May after three months of declines as groundbreaking on both single-family and apartments and condominiums jumped but permits for future projects fell, a government report showed on Tuesday.

May Home Prices: New High, Sales Fall

Orange County homes prices hit another record in May, even as sales for the month dropped to their lowest level in more than 20 years.

GM's Ratings Cut Deeper

Two major rating agencies cut General Motors Corp.'s debt rating deeper into junk territory on Tuesday after the automaker said it was offering banks collateral to renew a credit facility.

Time Warner Probes CFO Spending

Time Warner Inc. on Tuesday said it was looking into whether company funds were used by its chief financial officer for gifts he allegedly gave an accused prostitution ringleader.

Rockwell Auto to Sell Units

Manufacturer Rockwell Automation Inc. on Tuesday said it plans to sell off two industrial components units representing nearly one fifth its revenue as it shifts from making gears and motors to high-tech factory automation systems.

Monday, June 19

Irvine Considers Hike in Homebuilding Fees

The city of Irvine is considering a big increase in its housing development fees for the area around John Wayne Airport

Real Estate Watch: North/Central County

The industrial market in North/Central OC continues to improve with some big leases. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Startup SyncVoice Raises First $4M for Software Sales

A maker of telecommunications software has landed some venture funding, in the Technology column

Nestle Buys Jenny Craig for $600M

Switzerland's Nestle bought U.S. weight-loss company Jenny Craig for around $600 million, it said on Monday, expanding its high-margin nutrition and health business.

Shady Hot but Forecast Cool; Dunn v. Umberg?

Shady Hot but Forecast Cool; Dunn v. Umberg?

Senate Approves Kohn as Vice Chairman

The U.S. Senate on Monday approved the nomination of Federal Reserve Board Governor Donald Kohn, a monetary policy veteran, to be vice chairman at the central bank.

Homebuilder Sentiment Falls in June

Homebuilder sentiment sank to its lowest in more than 11 years in June as rising interest rates made houses less affordable and sent speculators fleeing, an industry group said on Monday.

Local Venture Investing Surged in '05

Venture funding by local investors turned around in OC last year

INVESTMENT BANKS

A directory of investment banks in OC

INDEPENDENT REAL ESTATE LENDERS

A directory to Independent Real Estate Lenders in OC

DUFFER DUDS

Alstyle Apparel has nabbed a golf clothes contract for Reebok International

Online Ad Targeter Nabs $10M in Funding

SpecificMedia nabbed $10 million in venture funds to grow its online advertising business

Niche Publisher Starts Web Site to Catch 'Tokyo Drift'

Niche magazine publisher Action Pursuit Group is turning to the Web, in the Media & Marketing column

Construction, Recent Buys Priority for Irvine Co. Office Chief

The Irvine Company made it official: Richard Gilchrist is head of its office unit

Nokia, Siemens to Merge Units

Nokia and Siemens have agreed to combine the bulk of their telecom equipment businesses to create one of the biggest players in the industry, sending shares in both firms higher.

Sale, Condos May Be in Store for Troubled Triangle Square Mall

A sale of Triangle Square could be in the works

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Wipeout: Techs Battered on Bad News, Downdraft

It's been a bloodbath for local technology companies during the past few months

3M Shutters Irvine Plant

3M Co. has moved a unit that makes tape used in casting broken bones from Irvine to Poland.

SAVINGS & LOANS

A directory of savings and loans in OC

Targus Offshoot Targets Women, Hipsters With Stylish Bags

Mobile Edge is taking on Targus with stylish computer bags

Circuit City's Profit Tops Views

Circuit City Stores Inc. on Monday posted better-than-expected quarterly profit, boosted by strong sales of big-ticket items like flat-panel televisions.

Costa Mesa Counts Most Retail Sales Per Capita in County

Costa Mesa has the highest retail sales per person in OC, in the Marketplace column

LETTERS

The immigration debate continues, in Letters

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements

GIVING

Fund-raisers and charitable donations from companies and people

Freedom Buys Albany TV Station

Irvine-based Freedom Communications Inc. has made its first deal under Chief Executive Scott Flanders, paying $17 million for an upstate New York TV station.

REAL ESTATE DEALS

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

COMMERCIAL BANKS

Where local companies go to bank.

Stick a Fork In It: Melting Pot Sets Fondue Wine Finds

The Melting Pot's dinner series melds fondue to wine, in the Executive Dining column

Ford: Workers to Accept Buyouts

Ford Motor Co. said on Monday it expects 10,000 to 11,000 unionized hourly workers to accept early retirement and buyout offers by the end of the year.

Triangle Square: Possible Sale

A new owner could be in the works for one of Orange County's most troubled shopping centers, Costa Mesa's Triangle Square.

HR Outsourcer Raises $8M

Costa Mesa-based Secova Inc., a human resources and benefits outsourcing company, has landed $8 million in funding.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Orange County's top news of the week

Going Rental: Planned Condos Could Go Apartment

Some planned condo projects could turn into apartments as the housing market slows, in the Real Estate column

FACTORING COMPANIES

Factoring companies in OC

EQUIPMENT LEASING, FINANCING

Equipment leasing and financing in OC

3M Consolidates Irvine Tape Operation at Polish Factory

3M has consolidated a former Irvine medical tape-making operation at a plant in Poland

INDEPENDENT SBA LENDERS

Independent Small Business Administration lenders in OC

Iraq Amputees Shine Light on Prosthetic Cos.

A couple of local prosthetic companies make limbs for war amputees

Cramer on Allergan: Vanity is Dependable Bull Market

Quirky stock guru Jim Cramer says Allergan's appeal to vanity makes it a good investment, in the Healthcare column

CAR SALES U

A Costa Mesa school recruits and trains salespeople for auto dealers

Nokia, Siemens to Merge Phone Units

Nokia and Siemens have agreed to combine the bulk of their telecom networks businesses to create one of the biggest players in the industry, sending shares in both companies higher.

Quiksilver's Other Revival Project: DC Shoes

Quiksilver looks to boost its DC Shoes unit

INTELLIGENT DESIGN

The Otis School of Art & Design has tight ties with OC's apparel industry

Early Stage Focus for VC Network

Tech Coast Venture Network is aiming to push more investment funds to the smallest of companies

MOVIES

Movie Reviews of "An Inconvenient Truth" and "Cars,"

Friday, June 16

OC Employment Solid in May

Orange County's unemployment rate fell to 3.2% in May, according to a report from the state Employment Development Department on Friday.

Consumer Sentiment Rises

Consumer sentiment improved unexpectedly in early June, but inflation expectations have fallen since May, a report showed on Friday.

Energy Partners in $1.4B Bid to Stone

Energy Partners Ltd. said on Friday it delivered a firm agreement to the board of Stone Energy Corp. to acquire Stone for $1.4 billion plus the assumption of debt.

Ingram Picks Up European Distributor

Santa Ana-based Ingram Micro Inc. has bought a European technology products distributor that expands its retail and inventory management operations, the company said Friday.

Online Ad Targeter Raises $10M

Irvine-based SpecificMedia Inc., an Internet advertising company, has landed a $10 million first round of funding, which it plans to spend on sales and marketing, among other uses.

Boston Scientific Shares Up on Ruling

Boston Scientific Corp. shares, which sank to a 3-1/2 year low earlier this week, rose by as much as 5% on Friday after a favorable court ruling in a long-standing patent battle with archrival Johnson & Johnson.

Thursday, June 15

First American Loses $41M Judgment

Santa Ana-based First American Corp. said Thursday that it plans to take a $25 million charge in the second quarter to account for a lawsuit against one of its title insurance units.

Bernanke Says Eyeing Inflation

U.S. inflation developments "bear watching," but the impact of high energy costs on other prices has been limited and the economy will adjust over time, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke declared on Thursday.

Microsoft's Gates Stepping Back

Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates said Thursday he will transition out of a day-to-day role at the company he co-founded to spend more time on global health and education work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Fall

The number of workers claiming an initial week of jobless claims unexpectedly fell by 8,000 last week to the lowest level in nearly four months, a government report showed on Thursday.

M & A; Banker Perella Starts Finance Firm

Veteran Wall Street dealmaker Joseph Perella on Thursday announced the long-awaited launch of Perella Weinberg Partners, a corporate adviser and investment firm that enticed a string of senior bankers from big investment banks.

Pfizer Undecided on Consumer Unit

Pfizer Inc.'s chief executive said on Thursday he was not leaning either way on whether the world's top drug maker would spin-off or sell its consumer products business.

Rubbermaid to Close Iowa Plant

About 525 workers at the Newell Rubbermaid Inc. plant in Centerville will lose their jobs when the consumer products maker closes the plant after 21 years of operation.

Valeant Gets OK for Parkinson's Drug

Costa Mesa-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International said Thursday that the Food and Drug Administration approved Zelapar, a pill to use in combination with others to treat Parkinson's disease.

Comarco Drops After Results

Shares of wireless testing gear maker Comarco Inc. fell about 6% in afterhours trading Thursday after the Irvine-based company reported first-quarter results.

Wednesday, June 14

Constellation Energy Files for IPO

U.S. power company Constellation Energy Group Inc. said on Wednesday it will sell part of a natural gas exploration and production business in an initial public offering in an attempt to take advantage of high gas prices.

Bayer Wins Control of Schering

Bayer finally won control of Schering on Wednesday for an increased price of almost $22 billion as Merck KGaA bowed out and sold its stake to the larger drugs and chemicals group.

IBM Launches R & D; Consulting Unit

IBM, the world's biggest computer services provider, is selling its experience running research programs to other companies as it expands its consulting business, it said on Wednesday.

Rising Rents Boost Inflation

Rising rents pushed up U.S. core prices an unexpectedly steep 0.3% for a third straight month in May, according to a government report on Wednesday that cemented expectations of higher interest rates.

Fed Won't Raise Rates Too Fast

Federal Reserve officials said on Wednesday they wanted to avoid undermining growth by raising interest rates too fast, a clear hint that a half-percentage-point hike was not on the table for June.

Boeing Gains on Airbus Delay

Boeing Co. shares surged on Wednesday after European rival Airbus announced a delay in its new superjumbo plane, potentially losing orders to Boeing, and the U.S. aircraft maker scored a key contract to sell 20 of its popular new midsized 787 jetliners.

Nexus Starts on Santa Ana Condo Towers

Nexus Cos. has started construction on a two-tower, $350 million condominium project in Santa Ana.

Tuesday, June 13

United Plastics Closing Anaheim Plant

Illinois-based United Plastics Group Inc. plans to close its Anaheim plant and shift work to a new Tijuana plant, laying off about 140 people in the process.

Best Buy Shares Up on Q1 Profit

Best Buy Co. Inc., the nation's largest consumer electronics retailer, said Tuesday that cost-cutting and sales of big-ticket items powered a fiscal first-quarter profit increase of nearly 38%.

Retail Sales: Weak Gain in May

Consumers, battered by surging gasoline prices and rising interest rates, cut back sharply on their spending in May, providing further evidence suggesting the economy is slowing.

Qualcomm Raises Quarterly Outlook

Wireless technology company Qualcomm Inc. on Tuesday raised its quarterly revenue forecast above market expectations, citing strong growth in its shipments of microchips for advanced mobile phones.

William Lyon Homes Trading Halted

The New York Stock Exchange halted trading of William Lyon Homes Inc. on Tuesday, and said it plans to have the stock delisted amid a dearth of shares available to trade.

Irvine Co. Names Office Boss

The Irvine Company made official a public secret in real estate circles on Tuesday by announcing the hiring of former Maguire Properties Inc. executive Richard Gilchrist as head of its office division.

Fannie, Freddie Could See Limits

The Treasury Department is reviewing the procedure for approving debt issues of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in response to accounting scandals at both companies.

Autobytel Cutting Staff By 10%

Irvine-based Autobytel Inc. said Tuesday it's cutting 10% of its workers. The online marketing company, which had 426 people as of December, will cut about 40 jobs.

Core Producer Prices Up in May

U.S. producer prices rose modestly last month, but core producer prices climbed more than expected and retail sales excluding gasoline slowed, according to government reports released on Tuesday that signal possible inflation pressures.

Monday, June 12

Medical Device Maker Grows in Irvine

Isotis Orthobiologics, a developer of bone graft substitutes, is adding more workers and space in Irvine

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses. Chipmaker Names Senior Executives

Vessia Teaming With J. Lohr Winery on Italian Dinner

Vessia and J. Lohr Winery are readying for a special Italian dinner, in the Executive Dining column

REAL ESTATE DEALS

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

Battle Lines Clearly Drawn in Governor Race

It's Arnold versus the anti-Arnold in the fall

ASR Debuts Holiday Show

A wrap-up from Action Sports Retailer's first holiday trade show, in the Media & Marketing column

Quarterly Checkup on Emulex: 'Potential for Upside'

An analyst is expecting some good news in Emulex's quarterly report, in the Technology column

Allergan Gets OK for Wrinkle Smoother From Inamed

Its Inamed buy is paying off for Allergan after FDA approval, in the Healthcare column

Fletcher Nation's No. 2 Dealer

Fletcher Jones is the nation's No. 2 auto seller, in the Marketplace column

County Set to Consider Biggest Budget Yet, With Some Hiring

The county could hear some rumblings as it gets set to consider its biggest budget ever

Acquisitions, Spending Spur Sales Gains at Software Makers

Acquisitions, Spending Spur Sales Gains at Software Makers

Real Estate Watch: South County

South County's industrial market continued to gain in the first quarter. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

J & J; Buys San Juan Capo Device Startup

J & J; has reached into Orange County to add another medical device company to its portfolio

Good Guys Won

The good guys won the election, an Editorial by Rick Reiff

SEC Looking at Broadcom Options

The Securities and Exchange Commission has asked Broadcom Corp. for documents relating to the chipmaker's granting of options, making it the second Orange County company to be probed on the timing of options grants.

LETTERS

Deep thoughts on The OC; Plus Pension Politics, in Letters

STATUS REPORT

A Look at How Five Key Tech Companies Fared Since 2000

Arnold-Doti Duo; Brother, Bruin Help Troubled Trojan

Arnold-Doti Duo; Brother, Bruin Help Troubled Trojan

Irvine Bank Eyes $28M for Launch

Richard Ganulin is organizing Pacific Business Bank in Irvine

Fed's Pianalto: Troubled by Inflation

Recent news on inflation has been troubling, but if the economy moderates as forecast, a federal funds rate of 5% is near a point that will gradually improve the inflation outlook, a top Federal Reserve official said on Monday.

Monster.com Under Options Review

Three new companies, including online job site Monster Worldwide Inc. on Monday disclosed inquiries into their stock options grants in a scandal that has widened to some 40 companies.

Powerwave In $340M Filtronic Buy

Santa Ana-based Powerwave Technologies Inc. said Monday it plans to buy a majority of British-based Filtronic PLC's wireless infrastructure unit for about $340 million in cash and stock.

CITY BUSINESS

If office building landlords are right, the buoyant market has a ways to go

Bren: $1M for Santa Ana Schools

Donald Bren, chairman of The Irvine Company, went off "the ranch" for his latest donation: $1 million for after-school programs in Santa Ana.

MARKET WATCH

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

Mirant Withdraws $8B Bid for NRG

Power generator Mirant Corp. withdrew its $8 billion unsolicited bid for NRG Energy Inc. on Monday under pressure from Mirant shareholders, who said they could make more money if Mirant sold itself instead.

Qualcomm, Nokia Fight On Patents Again

Wireless technology company Qualcomm said on Monday it had filed a complaint against mobile phone maker Nokia over six patents, the latest volley in their battle over intellectual property.

Computer Device Makers See Some Local Employment Gains

Computer Device Makers See Some Local Employment Gains

Broadcom, FileNet: What to Do With All That Cash?

Technology companies are wondering what to do with all that cash

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Orange County's top news of the week

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements

Hahn: Positively Bullish About Local Housing Market

Consultant Walter Hahn is a long-term bull on the housing market, in the Real Estate column

DEVICE DEBUTS

A couple of local medical device makers are hoping Wall Street casts a favorable eye on them,profits or not

KUDOS

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

Plastics Maker Closing in Anaheim for Mexico

United Plastics plans to close its Anaheim plant and shift work to a new Tijuana plant, laying off about 140 people in the process

BOB THE BUILDER

R.D. Olson has done plenty of hotel development and building for Marriott, Hilton, Ritz-Carlton and others

An Employer on Immigration

Cheap Mexican labor is a myth in the landscape industry, a Viewpoint by Robert Wade, president of Laguna Beach-based Wade Landscape and chairman of the California Landscape Contractors Association's Legislative Committee.

BBVA to Buy Texas Banks for $2.64B

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, Spain's No. 2 bank, on Monday agreed to buy two Texas banks, Texas Regional Bancshares Inc. and State National Bancshares Inc., for $2.64 billion to triple its retail presence in the state and reach more Hispanic customers

Friday, June 9

Trade Gap Widens Less

The trade deficit widened less than expected in April to $63.4 billion, as oil import prices surged close to historic highs and exports turned in a near record performance, a government report showed on Friday.

Quiksilver Shares Surge

Shares of Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc. rose more than 8% Friday, a day after the surfwear maker reported results that analysts interpreted as good news.

Bernanke: Productivity Has "Legs"

The revival in business productivity since the mid-1990s still has a ways to run, since it takes time to fully tap the potential of new technologies, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Friday.

PacSun Plans Kansas Warehouse

Anaheim-based retailer Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. is planning a 400,000-square-foot warehouse near Kansas City, Mo., to serve its stores in the central and eastern parts of the country.

Device Maker Expands in Irvine

Isotis Orthobiologics Inc., a developer of bone graft substitutes, is adding more workers and space in Irvine.

SEC Proposal to Cover Options

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox said the agency will consider adjusting its executive-pay disclosure proposal to deal with the issue of backdating stock-option awards.

Thursday, June 8

Tech Bellwether Ingram Reaffirms

Ingram Micro Inc. said Thursday it expects to meet its guidance for the current quarter, despite challenges in Europe.

How Al-Zarqawi Was Found, Killed

A man described as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's "spiritual adviser" inadvertently led US forces to the spot where the militant leader was finally located and killed, the US military says.

Cisco Names Chambers Chairman

Cisco Systems Inc. on Thursday said its board has approved a management succession plan that designates John T. Chambers as future chairman of the company in addition to his role as chief executive.

Landlords: No Office Market Letup

Orange County's largest office landlords expect the tight office market and healthy lease rates to continue for the next several years, despite some uncertainty in one of the county's big group of office workers,the mortgage industry.

Fed's Kohn: Inflation "Warning Flag"

Federal Reserve Board Governor Donald Kohn, the nominee to be No. 2 at the central bank, said elevated inflation readings had raised a "warning flag" that demanded the attention of policy-makers.

Jobless Claims Fall More Than Expected

The number of workers claiming an initial week of jobless aid tumbled by a greater-than-expected 35,000 last week to the lowest level in two months, a government report showed on Thursday.

Advanced Medical Ups Profit Outlook

Santa Ana-based Advanced Medical Optics Inc. on Thursday upped its profit outlook for 2006 and next year, thanks to a share buyback and debt retirement.

Lawmaker: Option Backdating "Fraud"

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby on Thursday said stock option backdating, the focus of a widening federal investigation, is a serious offense that undermines investor confidence.

Wednesday, June 7

New Century Loans Up in May

Irvine-based mortgage lender New Century Financial Corp. said Wednesday it did $5.5 billion in loans in May, up 28% from a year earlier.

Economic Growth Forecasts Cut

Economists have raised their forecasts for U.S. growth in the first half of 2006 but have cut forecasts for the second half against a backdrop of rising inflation pressures, according to a survey conducted by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank released

ConAgra Leaving Park Place Office

ConAgra Foods Inc.'s restructuring has resulted in a sizable chunk of vacant space coming up for grabs at the Park Place office complex in Irvine.

Moorlach, Street Easily Win

John Moorlach and Chriss Street, who worked as a tag team calling the county's early 1990s bankruptcy, prevailed by wide margins in Tuesday's voting over intense opposition from public employee unions.

Spectrum Settles Licensing Dispute

Irvine-based Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc. agreed to grant stock worth $550,000 to Reno, Nev.-based Altair Nanotechnologies Inc. to resolve a licensing dispute between the drug developers, Altair said Wednesday.

L-3 Takeover Speculation Mounts

L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Frank Lanza died unexpectedly late on Tuesday, leaving the mid-tier U.S. defense contractor without a designated leader and prey to acquisition-hungry rivals.

Credit Spending, Auto Loans Up

Americans increased their borrowing in April at the fastest pace in 10 months as credit card spending and auto loans both picked up.

Chip Outlook Raised for 2006

Stronger-than-expected semiconductor demand for cellular phones and other consumer electronics prompted the Semiconductor Industry Association to boost its projection of chip sales in 2006 to growth of 9.8% from a previous forecast of 7.9%.

Survey: Good Business Climate

Despite rising prices for energy and other materials, America's chief executives feel pretty good about the business climate and are bullish about their sales prospects, according to a survey released Wednesday.

Motorola to Build India Plant

Motorola Inc., the world's second-largest handset maker, said on Wednesday it will spend $100 million in India in stages to boost sales in one of the world's hottest mobile markets.

Tuesday, June 6

IBM to Invest $6B in India

IBM Corp., the largest computer services company, announced on Tuesday plans to invest nearly $6 billion in India over three years, underscoring the country's growing importance as a global hub for information technology expertise.

Cooper Falls Short, Warns

Lake Forest-based contact lens and surgical products maker Cooper Cos. reported a lower quarterly profit Tuesday and warned about results for the rest of this year and next.

BAA Accepts $19B Ferrovial Bid

BAA PLC, the world's biggest airport operator, accepted a sweetened $19 billion takeover bid from a consortium led by Spain's Grupo Ferrovial SA on Tuesday, rejecting a higher offer from a group led by Goldman Sachs.

Stocks Rattled by Bernanke's Remarks

Stocks closed lower Tuesday, following a second day of negative price action after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's fighting talk on inflation increased the likelihood of further interest rate increases, while his remarks that economic growth is sl

Intel Eyes Communications Chip Sale

Chip maker Intel Corp. is looking to sell parts of its communications chip business according to a report on the Wall Street Journal Web site on Monday.

Fewer Workers Hired in April

Employers hired fewer workers during April, while the number of jobs that opened rose for the fourth straight month, a government report showed on Thursday.

Software Maker Raises $10M

An Irvine company that makes products for managing software on corporate computers has landed $10 million in a second round of funding.

Wife of Carl's Jr. Founder Dies

Margaret Karcher, the wife of Carl's Jr. founder Carl N. Karcher, died Tuesday at 91 from liver cancer.

Hewlett-Packard Revises Q2 Profit Up

Hewlett-Packard Co. on Tuesday said it reached a favorable tax settlement with the U.S. government that will cause it to restate second-quarter profits upward by $443 million.

Monday, June 5

Ameriquest Parent to Sublease Space

Orange-based ACC Capital Holdings Corp., parent of lender Ameriquest Mortgage Co., is putting as much as 600,000 square feet of office space on the market.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Orange County's top news of the week

Bawag: $675M to Settle Refco Charges

Austria's Bawag PSK bank will pay at least $675 million to avoid prosecution and to settle bankruptcy claims after admitting its role in the collapse of commodities brokerage Refco Inc., U.S. authorities announced Monday.

Level 3 to Buy Looking Glass Networks

Telecommunications company Level 3 Communications Inc. said on Monday it agreed to buy Looking Glass Networks Inc., a privately held provider of metropolitan fiber optic networks, for $96 million in stock and cash.

Real Estate Watch: Airport Area/Central Coast

Office vacancy fell sharply in the JWA area in the first quarter, with construction picking up steam. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements

STAGE AND SOCIETY

Charity fund-raiser and public relations adviser Gloria Zigner

State Looking to Clamp Down on Forklift Emissions

The Air Resources Board wants to crack down on forklift emission standards, in Regulation Watch

$10M Venture Round for Software Maker Integrien

An Irvine software maker has landed $10 million in funding

REAL ESTATE DEALS

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

Expect Supes Battle If Moorlach Wins; CC Packs Them In

Expect Supes Battle If Moorlach Wins; CC Packs Them In

JEWELRY MOM

Irvine jewelry seller Cookie Lee

Fifi Does the Rounds at the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Course

Fifi samples the fare at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Course, in the Executive Dining column

Dunn Singing New Tune as Leader of Business Council

Orange County Business Council leader Lucy Dunn

Standard Pacific Slumps on Warning

Shares of Irvine-based Standard Pacific Corp. sunk Monday after the homebuilder said it plans to lower its outlook for profits and homes sold for 2006, following a steep drop in new home orders in the past two months.

FAR FROM PLAIN

Consulting company owner Camille Jayne

Device Maker SenoRx Files for $86M Public Offering

SenoRx has filed to raise $86 million in an IPO, in the Healthcare column

LETTERS

Reaction to Irvine Mayor Beth Krom's comments on the proposed tunnel linking Orange County to the Inland Empire

Riverside Targets OC, Other Tech Companies With Incentives

Riverside is targeting OC companies with incentives

Bernanke: Worried About inflation

Even though the once barreling U.S. economy is now slowing down, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Monday called recent increases in inflation unwelcome and pledged to make sure surging energy prices don't make things worse.

Wanted: ConAgra Sub at Park Place

ConAgra Foods' restructuring has put a sizable chunk of vacant space up for grabs at the Park Place office complex in Irvine

Danaher CEO Ups Q2 Profit Outlook

Diversified manufacturer Danaher Corp., which recently bought Newport Beach's Sybron Dental, upped the low end of its profit guidance for the second quarter, Chief Executive Officer Lawrence Culp said in a statement on Monday.

GIVING

Fund-raisers and charitable donations from companies and people

Brookfield Properties Buys Trizec

Brookfield Properties Corp. said Monday it will acquire Trizec Properties and its Canadian arm for $4.8 billion in a commercial real estate deal creating one of North America's largest landlords.

Printers Upgrade,With Eyes on Returns

Commercial printers are playing it safe when it comes to investing in technology, in the Media & Marketing column

MARKET WATCH

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

BEHIND JOHN LAING DEAL

John Laing Homes is sold

Ameriquest Parent Puts Big Chunk of Space on Market

Ameriquest's parent is putting as much as 650,000 square feet of space up for sublease as lending slows

Sales Rise at Women-Owned Companies

OC's biggest women-owned businesses saw sales rise in the past year

Allergan Gets FDA OK on Skin Filler

Allergan Inc. said Monday that the Food and Drug Administration signed off on Juv & #269;derm, a line of skin fillers used on the lower part of the face to smooth out wrinkles and folds.

Micron, Lexar Amend Deal Terms

Micron Technology Inc. and Lexar Media Inc. on Monday said the boards of both companies approved an increased share swap ratio for their proposed combination deal, despite opposition from a major shareholder.

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Decker, Others Back Startup Fund

A local venture fund with big-name backers aims to fill a gaping hole in the local funding scene

KUDOS

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

Single Mom Turned to Locks to Support Kids

Women in Business award winners: locksmith Ruth Beardsley

Cramer's 'Mad Money' Love for Conexant Turns Cold

Jim Cramer's cooing over Conexant has cooled, in the Technology column

Avanir Pharma Sets San Diego-to-OC Move

Publicly traded Avanir is moving from San Diego to Aliso Viejo under its chief executive,a former Allergan chief financial officer

HOTEL OUTLOOK

The hotel boom is seen lasting at least through 2008

Deloitte Signs Lease at Segerstrom South Coast Tower

OC's largest accounting firm is staying put at Park Tower in Costa Mesa, in the Real Estate column

Friday, June 2

Drug Maker Moves to OC from San Diego

Avanir Pharmaceuticals, a publicly traded drug maker in San Diego headed by a former Allergan Inc. executive, plans to move its headquarters to Aliso Viejo.

NYSE Buying Euronext for $10B

NYSE unveiled plans to buy Euronext for $10 billion, putting pressure on other exchanges to seek partnerships to catch up with what will be the world's largest financial marketplace.

Behind John Laing Sale

John Laing Homes had been looking for an investor to infuse the Newport Beach-based homebuilder with cash to expand. Emaar Properties, a developer of futuristic masterplanned cities in the Middle East and Asia, was looking for a way to break into the U.S.

Allergan Boosted by Upgrade

Shares of Irvine-based Allergan Inc. rose over 2% in midday trading Friday after an analyst upgraded the stock based on sales potential for the drug maker's new European glaucoma treatment and other pending pipeline products.

Job Growth Weak, Unemployment Low

Employers added only 75,000 new jobs in May, far fewer than expected, but the unemployment rate slipped to a five-year low of 4.6%, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Glaxo To Bid on Pfizer Unit

GlaxoSmithKline PLC is to bid more than $15 billion for the consumer healthcare business of U.S. rival Pfizer Inc , people familiar with the situation said on Friday.

Thursday, June 1

Quest Receives SEC Options Inquiry

Irvine-based Quest Software Inc. said Thursday it has received an inquiry from the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding past stock option grants, an issue that has dogged the company for a few weeks.

Endologix to Raise $20M

Irvine-based medical device maker Endologix Inc. said Thursday that it plans to raise about $20 million in a stock sale in a move that could mute concern about its past losses.

Dubai's Emaar Buys John Laing Homes

Emaar Properties of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has bought Newport Beach-based homebuilder John Laing Homes for $1 billion.

Manufacturing Slowed in May

Recent expansion in the U.S. manufacturing sector lost some momentum last month as growth in new orders and employment retreated, but industrial costs jumped, according to data published on Thursday.

Retail Sales Up Despite Gas Prices

U.S. apparel chains and department stores on Thursday posted higher May same-store sales that largely trounced analyst forecasts, though No. 1 retailer Wal-Mart warned high energy prices could slow growth.

Labor Costs Tame, Productivity Up

U.S. business productivity was stronger than first thought in the first quarter and labor costs were much better contained, the government said on Thursday in a report that tempered inflation jitters in financial markets.

CorVel Up on Profit, Sales Results

Shares of CorVel Corp. rose 6% after the Irvine-based healthcare services company posted results for the quarter ended March 31 that beat Wall Street estimates.

GM, Ford Lose Ground to Toyota

With high gas prices taking center stage yet again, General Motors Corp. on Thursday reported a 12.5% decline in May U.S. vehicle sales, losing even more ground to foreign rivals than analysts had initially predicted.

May Sales Down at OC Retailers

Orange County's biggest clothing retailers recorded lower same-store sales results in May, with Anaheim-based Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. off 2.6% and Foothill Ranch-based Wet Seal Inc. down 8.3%.

SEC Suit Nixed Vs. Ex-Gateway CEO

Irvine-based Gateway Inc.'s former chief executive Jeffrey Weitzen won dismissal of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit accusing him of inflating revenue to meet analysts' expectations in 2000.