Stories for March 2006

Friday, March 31

Boston Scientific, Guidant Approve Deal

Boston Scientific Corp. and Guidant Corp. said on Friday the shareholders of each company voted overwhelmingly to approve the combination of the companies at separate special meetings.

CoreValve: From Paris to Irvine

CoreValve Inc., a French heart valve developer, is switching its headquarters from Paris to Irvine with an eye toward raising money to fund the development of its product.

Infineon Unveils Memory Maker "Qimonda"

Infineon unveiled its new memory chips company on Friday: a company named "Qimonda" worth around $3.6 billion to be carved out of its parent on May 1, two months earlier than planned.

UCI B-School Boosts Ranking

The University of California, Irvine's business school rose 11 spots to rank No. 38 on this year's U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Graduate Schools.

Anheuser-Busch, Hansen in Talks

Hansen Natural Corp., a Corona beverages maker that's riding high on sales of energy drinks, is in talks with Anheuser-Busch Cos. that could touch on an acquisition of the company by the king of beers.

Thursday, March 30

Chapman Gets $6M from Apartment King

Chapman University said Thursday that the Jerrold and Jacqueline Glass Foundation gave $6 million to build housing and fund a couple of academic positions.

Alcatel Meets to Talk Lucent Deal

The board of French telecom equipment maker Alcatel gathered on Thursday at what could be a crucial point in its plan to forge a $35 billion combination with smaller U.S. rival Lucent.

Feb. State Unemployment Rates Rise

U.S. state unemployment rates rose slightly in February, the Labor Department reported on Tuesday, with 33 states reporting increases over January and the biggest increases coming in the Northeast and Midwest.

Auto Lender Exits Investment Unit

Subprime auto lender United PanAm Financial Corp. said it has sold all of its investments and plans to focus solely on its profitable auto lending unit.

M-Flex: $500M for Singapore's MFS

Anaheim's Multi-Fineline Electronix Inc. said Thursday it's paying $500 million for Singapore's MFS Technology Ltd., boosting its business of supplying flexible circuit boards for wireless phones.

Profits Strong, But Q4 GDP Soft

Corporations pocketed their strongest increase in profits in four years during the closing months of 2005 despite a sharp slowdown in economic growth, a Commerce Department report on Thursday showed.

Wachovia Buys MetWest Capital

Wachovia Corp. expanded its presence in Orange County with the buy of a majority stake in Newport Beach-based Metropolitan West Capital Management LLC, the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank said Thursday.

Yum Same-store Sales Up 3% in March

Yum Brands Inc. on Thursday said March sales at its U.S. restaurants open at least a year rose 3%, led by strong results at Taco Bell.

Chapman: $6M from Apartment King

Chapman University said Thursday that the Jerrold and Jacqueline Glass Foundation gave $6 million to build housing and fund a couple of academic positions.

Nokia Raises Global Mobile Outlook

Nokia Corp. raised the global growth outlook for mobile devices Thursday as the world's largest cell phone maker anticipated huge demand from emerging markets in Asia and Africa.

Best Buy Posts Higher Profit

Best Buy Co. Inc. on Thursday reported higher quarterly earnings, boosted by strong sales of flat-panel televisions and digital music players.

Wednesday, March 29

Meade Expects Wider Loss

Irvine telescope maker Meade Instruments Corp. said Wednesday it is set to post a wider-than-expected loss for the 12 months through February and has reached a pact with a disgruntled shareholder.

S & P; Reviews Debt Ratings

General Motors Corp. shares fell 2.6% Wednesday and a major credit agency said it was reviewing whether to cut GM's debt ratings further after the world's biggest automaker offered an even starker picture of its numerous financial perils.

Google Buying AOL Stake

Internet search leader Google Inc. on Wednesday said it signed a definitive agreement for its planned purchase of a 5% stake in Time Warner Inc.'s AOL.

Alcatel Closer to Upping Thales Stake

Alcatel moved closer on Wednesday to raising its stake in defense electronics group Thales in a long-awaited deal being finalised alongside Alcatel's wider merger plans with U.S. rival Lucent.

Beatles, Apple Face Off in Court

The Beatles and Apple Computer Inc. faced off in court on Wednesday in a trademark dispute triggered by Apple's move into the music business through its iTunes download service.

Qualcomm Files 3rd Broadcom Suit

San Diego-based Qualcomm Inc. has filed another patent infringement case against Broadcom Corp.

Europe Pressures Microsoft on Vista

Microsoft faced fresh antitrust pressure from the European Commission on Wednesday, a day before it fights to stave off fines handed down in a previous case by EU competition regulators.

Indigita Files for Bankruptcy

The current venture of QLogic Corp.'s former chief executive has filed for bankruptcy.

Whirlpool-Maytag Deal: U.S. Approval

U.S. antitrust authorities said on Wednesday they had approved Whirlpool Corp.'s planned acquisition of rival appliance maker Maytag Corp.

Tuesday, March 28

Consumer Confidence Near 4-Year High

Consumers perked up in March, sending an index of sentiment toward the economy to its highest in almost four years, according to a report released on Tuesday.

KPMG Settles Targus Suit

KPMG LLP reportedly has agreed to pay an undisclosed amount to Anaheim-based Targus Group International Inc. to settle a case stemming from one of Orange County's largest embezzlement cases ever.

GM Cuts Hundreds of Workers

General Motors Corp. cut several hundred salaried jobs on Tuesday in its initial effort to reduce its U.S. white-collar work force by about 2,500 this year, as it tries to stem billions of dollars in losses by lowering costs.

Alcatel Talk Puts Brakes on Thales

Shares in French defense group Thales, which has operations in Irvine and Fullerton, stumbled on Thursday as uncertainty over its future crept back into the market despite earlier bets that Alcatel would abandon its courtship and leave Thales vulnerable t

Experian Split Detailed by UK Parent

British retailer GUS PLC finally revealed Tuesday it plans to separate Experian Group, which is led by Don Robert in Costa Mesa, in the next six to 12 months.

Fed Raises Interest Rates for 15th Time

In their first meeting under new chief Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve officials lifted a key U.S. interest rate on Tuesday a 15th straight time and said further moves may be needed to keep inflation at bay.

Rate Rise on Tap

Federal Reserve officials, in their first gathering under new chairman Ben Bernanke, look set to raise interest rates on Tuesday for a 15th straight time and could hint they see the increase as among the last.

Impac Reverses Course on Dividend

In a turnaround from a disappointing fourth quarter, Newport Beach-based Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc. said Tuesday that it was increasing its quarterly dividend as results improved this year.

Federated Plans Stock Split

Federated Department Stores Inc. said on Tuesday it will do a 2-for-1 stock split, if shareholders approve a plan to double the number of authorized common shares to 1 billion.

Networks In Motion Raises $10M

Irvine-based Networks In Motion, a provider of software and services that allow wireless phones to serve as navigational devices, said Tuesday it raised $10 million in a third round of venture financing.

Lennar Posts 34% Profit Gain

Lennar Corp., the third-largest homebuilder, said Tuesday first-quarter profit rose 34% on higher deliveries.

Monday, March 27

Report: Ingram Micro Considering China Buy

Ingram Micro reportedly is in talks to buy China's biggest technology products distributor

Bertelsmann To Sell Sony BMG Stake

German media group Bertelsmann plans to sell its 50% stake in music company Sony BMG and its wholly owned music publishing arm to avoid a stock market listing, newspapers reported on Monday.

RETAIL RECORD?

An Aliso Viejo shopping center has traded hands for a record price

Allergan Updates Outlook

Irvine drug maker Allergan Inc. said it sees higher than expected 2006 sales of $2.8 billion to $2.9 billion but said first-quarter results could come in slightly below analysts' expectations.

Law Would Require Hospital Training to Fight Fraud

A law requires hospitals to train workers to spot fraud, in the Healthcare column

Sold! Johnson Finds Buyers; How Drake Manages His Time

Sold! Johnson Finds Buyers; How Drake Manages His Time

Rate Hike Seen at Fed Meeting

Federal Reserve policy-makers began a meeting on Monday that economists expect will yield a 15th straight interest-rate hike and maybe a hint that a 21-month run of credit-tightening is almost over.

Cingular Plans to Spend $43M on OC Network

Cingular Wireless plans to spend $43 million building towers for wireless phone in the county

GIVING

Fund-raisers and charitable donations from companies and people

$12B Experian Bid Rejected by Parent

Private equity firms were rebuffed in their bid to buy Experian for $12.3 billion

Is That Roxy You're Wearing?

Quiksilver Inc. has enlisted France's Inter Parfums SA to develop perfumes and cosmetics for the Huntington Beach-based surfwear maker.

Real Estate Watch: Manufacturing and Warehouse

The manufacturing and warehouse sector was marked by lower vacancy and increasing lease rates and sale prices in the fourth quarter. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

QLogic Outsourcing Work to India

Count QLogic among the OC companies pushing jobs to India,though it's taking a different tack than others

Home Prices Up in February, Sales Off

Detached home prices rose again in OC, though the number of sales fell

Quality Systems Wins in Court

Tustin-based Quality Systems Inc. said Monday that a judge denied an appeal by disgruntled shareholder and board member Ahmed Hussein, who contested the company's board of directors election in October.

DELUGE OF DEALS

M & A; Volume Jumped to $28.8B; Number of Deals Near 2001 Peak

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Orange County's top news of the week

Beyond TV: Doner Does Collateral, Web Search Popups

W.B. Doner's plate goes beyond TV to brochures, catalogs and other marketing material, in the Media & Marketing column

Fifi's 'On the Road Again' for Willie, Dining at Grove

Fifi samples The Grove of Anaheim, in the Executive Dining column

Reverse Mergers Are Cheap,Though Risky,Path to Markets

Reverse Mergers Are Cheap,Though Risky,Path to Markets

PacifiCare's Role in UnitedHealth Taking Shape

PacifiCare is being melded into Minnesota's UnitedHealth Group with an eye on cutting costs and boosting business from Medicare

Jordan Transplant Takes to Surf Retailing, Eyes More

This Jordanian is a surfwear retailing natural

Report Links Lucent, Ericsson

Mobile telephone network equipment maker Ericsson said on Monday it would not comment on a report it had once looked at buying Lucent and was thinking of renewing its interest after the U.S. group started merger talks with Alcatel.

+Valeant Vows Weak Results Won't Kill Drug

Valeant is vowing to go ahead with more testing of a hepatitis C treatment that scored low marks in a recent trial

Arden's Ziman: Selling Out, But Nowhere Near the Top

Arden's Ziman is cashing out of the office market below the peak, in the Real Estate column

Broadcom's Stock Beats Intel; Chip Battles More Mixed

Broadcom and Intel are going different directions on Wall Street, in the Technology column

Life After Oprah: Tory Burch Opening at South Coast Plaza

Tory Burch is opening a store at South Coast Plaza, in the Marketplace column

LETTERS

The PGA Champions Tour and Newport Beach Country Club couldn't ask for a classier champion than it got. Plus, Medical Parable - in Letters

Inland Empire's Era of Unlimited Development Drawing to a Close

The era of unlimited development potential in the Inland Empire is nearing a close

CHINA CALLING

Reverse mergers are becoming more popular with Chinese companies looking to get a U.S. stock listing.

Timing's Key to Minimum Wage Hike

Competing bills to raise the state's minimum wage differ in a key way,their timing, in the Regulation Watch column

PEOPLE

Fund-raisers and charitable donations from companies and people

Billion-Dollar Deals Highlight L.A. M & A; Market at End of '05

Billion-Dollar Deals Highlight L.A. M & A; Market at End of '05

Bankruptcy Filing for Chip Designer

The current venture of QLogic's former chief executive has filed for bankruptcy

Lyon's Bid: New Price, Changed Circumstance

Gen. William Lyon's latest bid to take his company private comes under a whole new set of circumstances

Marblehead Project Gets Final OK

It took 33 years, but Marblehead Coastal, a 313-home development in San Clemente, has received final approval from the California Coastal Commission to begin construction.

MARKET WATCH

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

County Expected to Buy Golf Course as Part of Flood Planning

OC is looking to buy Corona's Green River Golf Club as part of a flood control plan

Sector Deals: Huge Healthcare, Big Tech; Aerospace Picks Up

Sector Deals: Huge Healthcare, Big Tech; Aerospace Picks Up

Shaky Ground

Some hospitals are backing a move to push back compliance with the state's earthquake mandate

Guilty Pleasure

"The Real Housewives of Orange County" is a guilty pleasure that's adding to the county's mystique,for better or worse. Editorials

Windows Head to Change Unit's Culture

The new head of Microsoft Corp.'s core Windows division will bring a cultural change to the business responsible for the largest portion of the software giant's revenue and profit, a senior company executive said on Sunday.

GM: Sales Outlook 'Challenging'

General Motors Corp. said on Monday its U.S. sales outlook for 2006 is "challenging" and its first-quarter market share will be slightly lower.

Friday, March 24

New-Home Sales Plunge

Sales of new U.S. homes plunged 10.5% in February, the biggest drop in nearly nine years, while prices fell and the number of homes on the market hit a record high, the government said on Friday in a report signaling significant slowing in the housing mar

Tim Hortons Soars in Debut

Tim Hortons Inc. made dough in its initial public offering Friday as shares of Canada's doughnut giant rose more than 30% in early trading.

OC Unemployment Rate at 3.6%

Orange County's unemployment rate held fairly steady in February at 3.6%, the state Employment Development Department said Friday.

Lyon Committee to Consider Buyout

William Lyon Homes Inc.'s board has formed a committee of independent directors to consider the latest buyout offer by majority owner Gen. William Lyon, the company said Friday.

Fluor's Gulf Coast Contract Safe

Aliso Viejo-based Fluor Corp.'s contract to rebuild the Gulf Coast region isn't up for grabs after all.

Alcatel, Lucent Talk Combination

Alcatel is in talks to combine with smaller U.S. rival Lucent Technologies to create the world's biggest telecoms equipment company, with combined sales of $25.33 billion.

Thursday, March 23

Wet Seal Shares Dip on Sales Outlook

Foothill Ranch-based Wet Seal Inc. swung to an operating profit in the fourth quarter, but the company's shares fell sharply after its earnings release as the teen retailer gave a lukewarm sales forecast.

Bayer Makes $19.5B Offer for Schering

German pharmaceutical and chemical company Bayer AG said Thursday it would make a $19.5 billion white-knight offer for Schering AG, bidding against a hostile takeover effort from Merck KgA.

Nationwide: $420M Assisted Living Deal

Nationwide Health Properties Inc., a Newport Beach-based owner of nursing homes and other healthcare facilities, said Thursday it's paying $419 million for 32 sites from Hearthstone Assisted Living Inc. of Houston.

Allergan Finally Closes Inamed Buy

It's a done deal. Irvine-based Allergan Inc. finally wrapped up its $3.2 billion buy of Santa Barbara-based Inamed Corp., the drug maker said Thursday.

Medtronic Wins Stent Dispute With J

Medtronic Inc. said on Thursday it won a patent dispute with Johnson & Johnson over tiny heart devices known as stents, removing a stumbling block as Medtronic seeks a larger stake in a lucrative market.

Feb. Home Prices Continue Rise

The median price for a detached Orange County home rose to $721,190 in February, a 3% increase from January and up 9% from a year earlier, the California Association of Realtors said Thursday.

GM Sells 78% of GMAC Commercial

General Motors Corp. on Thursday said an investor group has completed the acquisition of a majority interest in GMAC Commercial Holding Corp. from GM's financing arm, General Motors Acceptance Corp.

American Stock Exchange IPO Likely

American Stock Exchange chairman and chief executive officer Neal Wolkoff said on Thursday that an initial public offering was a "likely outcome" of the company's plan to demutualize.

Wednesday, March 22

Existing Home Sales Up 5.2% in Feb.

Sales of existing homes had fallen for five straight months before an unexpected increase in February, helped by unusually warm weather. But slack demand in some formally red-hot housing markets produced what one analyst called a "tale of two cities."

Airline Industry: $7.2 billion Profit in 2007

The International Air Transport Association said on Wednesday it expects the industry to post a larger profit in 2007 than it previously anticipated as demand grows and carriers benefit from leaner, more efficient operations.

FedEx profit jumps 35%

FedEx Corp., the largest air-express carrier, on Wednesday posted a higher quarterly profit on strong U.S. and global economic growth and price increases, and raised its full-year profit forecast.

GM Reaches Early Retirement Deal

General Motors Corp. and former subsidiary Delphi Corp. will offer buyouts to more than 125,000 factory workers, the companies said on Wednesday, after reaching a cost-cutting deal with the United Auto Workers union.

Microsoft: Windows Unit Shake-Up

Microsoft Corp. announced a shake-up Thursday of the unit that includes its flagship Windows operating system, two days after the company admitted it won't have its next consumer version of Windows ready for the holiday season as planned.

Interpublic Posts Loss, Restates Results

Interpublic Group of Cos., the world's No. 3 advertising services company, on Wednesday posted a fourth-quarter loss, restated another round of earnings, and announced the resignation of its chief accounting officer.

$12B Bid for Experian Not Enough

British retailer GUS PLC turned down a $12.3 billion offer for its Costa Mesa-based Experian Group unit, according to a report on Wednesday.

Home Loan Demand Falls

Consumer demand for home mortgage loan applications fell last week to the lowest level this year despite a marked drop in interest rates, an industry trade group said on Wednesday.

PC Makers to Feel Heat From Vista Delay

While Microsoft Corp. plans to put off releasing Vista, the newest version of the Windows operating system, computer industry analysts say the delay will likely have some negative effects on the main PC companies later this year.

Vista Delay Could Hurt PC, Memory Makers

Microsoft Corp.'s decision to delay the release of its Vista operating system is expected to hit makers of memory chips and computers, including Dell Inc., which had hoped Vista would boost sales late this year.

Foreclosures Fall in February

Orange County home foreclosures in February fell 29%, versus a month earlier, Irvine-based RealtyTrac Inc. said Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 21

Nike Posts Rise in Quarterly Profit

Nike Inc., owner of Costa Mesa-based Hurley International, on Tuesday posted a 19% rise in quarterly profit as robust sales of shoes and clothes in key markets offset stagnant demand for Nike goods in Europe and Japan.

Key Valeant Drug Trial Comes Up Short

Costa Mesa drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International said Tuesday a late-stage trial for its key hepatitis C drug proved the treatment safer but not as effective than the standard treatment for the liver disease.

Google Starts Financial News, Data, Blog

Google Inc. is introducing a financial news, stock quote and chat service that seeks to shake up the online finance information market now dominated by Internet media rivals and online brokers.

Report: Virgin Eyeing Bally Fitness

British billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Group is mulling an acquisition of Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp. as a way to expand the Virgin fitness club business in the U.S., the New York Post reported on Tuesday.

Microsoft To Double Xbox Shipments

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday said it plans to boost shipments of its Xbox 360 video game console by "two to three times" this week to address shortages that have crimped game sales across the industry.

France Challenges Apple

France's lower house of parliament passed a law on Tuesday that could challenge Apple Computer Inc.'s dominance of the online digital music market by making it open its iTunes store to portable music players other than Apple iPods.

Mindspeed Jumps on Cramer TV Plug

CNBC's Jim Cramer's newfound love for Newport Beach-based Mindspeed Technologies Inc. helped the chipmaker's shares rise more than 14% Tuesday.

Sunstone Closes Times Square Buy

Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. said Tuesday it closed the buy of its highest-profile hotel yet, the Hilton Times Square, just a half block west of Times Square in New York.

Producer Prices Down, Core Prices Up

Plunging food and energy costs pulled U.S. producer prices down a surprisingly steep 1.4% in February, the biggest drop in nearly three years, but rising prices elsewhere show inflation pressures bubbling.

Monday, March 20

Analysts Debate Extent of Price Cuts by Drive Makers

Analysts aren't on the same page regarding price cuts in the disk drive market, in the Technology column

PacSun's Weaver Retiring as Chairman

Greg Weaver, who headed Anaheim-based Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. during its heady growth years, plans to leave the retailer for good as of April 1.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Orange County's top news of the week

Leading Indicators Decline in Feb.

A key gauge of U.S. economic activity fell 0.2% in February, the New York-based Conference Board said on Monday in a report that suggested the economy may begin slowing later in the year.

Wal-Mart to Hire Up to 150,000 in China

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to hire up to 150,000 employees in China over the next five years, five times its current work force there, as it expands its number of stores, the company said Monday.

KUDOS

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

North County Manufacturers Plan Job Cuts

A trio of manufacturers and distributors are cutting jobs at their North County plants

Mall Offering: Botox, Hair Removal, Stem Cell Harvest

OCR Magazines has launched Orange County Kids and taken Preferred Destinations into its fold, in the Media & Marketing column

WORKING THE LAND

EXCELLENCE IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARDS: Patrick Fuscoe has his hands in some of Orange County's most high-profile projects

Dell Plans to Double India Jobs

Dell Inc., the world's top PC maker, plans to double its headcount in India to 20,000 over three years, its founder said on Monday, but there was no word on the location of a planned manufacturing unit in the country.

Historic Carl's Jr. Site Set for Redevelopment

Carl's Jr.'s historic site in Anaheim is set for redevelopment

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

THE PITCH:

Ad Shops on a 2006 Billings Rise, the Online Shift and Local Challenges

REAL ESTATE DEALS

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

Settlement Takes Patent Disputes Off Allergan's Plate

Allergan is breathing easier after recently resolving a long-running legal battle with rival Alcon, in the Healthcare column

Local Buildings Caught Up in National REIT Activity

Another office-focused real estate investment trust with strong local ties is being bought, in the Real Estate column

Oracle Q3 Profit Surpasses Expectations

Oracle Corp.'s quarterly profit rose 42%, marking the business software maker's biggest gain since it launched a high-priced shopping spree more than a year ago.

LETTERS

What to do about OC's airport problem, in Letters

Ambrosia Is Old-Time Luxury in a Real-Time Tuxedo

Mike Harrah's Ambrosia is a fashionable addition to Santa Ana, in the Executive Dining column

Real Estate Watch: North/Central County

Vacancy Falls Across Most Sectors in Q4. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Leading Economic Indicators Fall in Feb.

A closely watched gauge of future economic activity declined slightly in February following a sharp rise in January, a private research group said Monday.

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Freedom Kicks Off Kids Mag, Buys Local Tourism Pub

Solana MedSpas is a mall-based chain that offers botox injections and other cosmetic services, in the Marketplace column

OC Delegation Splits Over Dubai Ports Deal; 'Mexican' Gets Agent

OC Delegation Splits Over Dubai Ports Deal; 'Mexican' Gets Agent

Michaels Eyes Company Sale

Arts and crafts retailer Michaels Stores Inc. said on Monday it might put itself up for sale and that its chief executive was retiring.

LUBE JOBS

EXCELLENCE IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARDS: Joe Kiani of Masimo,; Rick Teasta and Mike Dobson of EZ Lube

Redevelopment in the Works for Historic Carl's Jr. Site in Anaheim

Big change is in the works for an Anaheim icon,the office and distribution campus of CKE Restaurants Inc.'s Carl's Jr., which got its start in the city in 1945.

MARKET WATCH

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

Alter Built Sunstone, Now Thinks Luxury

Business Journal's Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards: Winners were Bob Alter of Sunstone Hotel Investors

KBS Realty Hoping to Raise $2.5B for REIT

KBS Realty is looking to raise a fund of up to $2.5 billion to invest in office, industrial and retail buildings

Masimo's Kiani: Stared Down Tyco

Joe Kiani, chief executive of Irvine-based Masimo Corp., was honored at last week's Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards luncheon put on by the Business Journal.

PAYING DOCTOR

EXCELLENCE IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARDS - Marsha Besley of Marina Medical Billing Services

Smith Micro Revives

A pact with Verizon has Smith Micro Software stirring after years in the doldrums

Allergan Has Nearly All of Inamed

Irvine-based Allergan Inc. said Monday it's acquired nearly all shares of Inamed Corp. of Santa Barbara.

Large Ad Agencies Record Executive, Account Shakeout

ABOUT THE LIST - Orange County's biggest ad shops saw a lot of upheaval during the past year with total ad billings falling at local agencies

Report: Ingram in China Deal

Santa Ana-based Ingram Micro Inc. is in talks to buy a 60% stake in a Chinese distribution company for $260 million, according to media reports.

Friday, March 17

Lyon Makes Another Bid for Builder

Shares of Newport Beach-based homebuilder William Lyon Homes skyrocketed more than 30% Friday after the company's chairman and chief executive launched a second bid to buy the rest of the company he doesn't own.

Softbank Buying Vodafone Japan

Conglomerate Softbank has agreed to buy Vodafone's Japan business for $15.5 billion, realizing its dream to become a communications powerhouse with a strong foothold in Japan's $78 billion mobile market.

Companies Plan Job Cuts

A trio of manufacturing and distribution companies are trimming operations in North Orange County, with about 200 workers standing to lose their jobs.

Treasurer-Hopeful Street in Pension Fight

Chriss Street, the former investment manager running for Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector, is in a game of hardball stemming from his days as a trustee in the murky world of bankruptcy reorganization.

Consumer Sentiment Holds Steady

U.S. consumer sentiment held steady in early March, a report showed on Friday.

Bankers See Fed Rate Policy Ending

The U.S. Federal Reserve is likely to wrap up its campaign to boost interest rates by midyear at the latest as economic risks shift from inflation to slower growth, a panel of bank economists said on Friday.

Thursday, March 16

GM Daewoo to Rehire Laid Off Workers

General Motors Corp.'s South Korean unit said Thursday that it was rehiring all 1,725 assembly line workers laid off in 2001 by the defunct Daewoo Motor Co.

Promising Results for Valeant Drug

Costa Mesa-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International said Thursday that second-phase data for an oral anti-viral compound showed positive results in treating hepatitis B.

Inflation Slows Sharply in February

Inflation, after posting a big spike at the start of the year, slowed sharply in February, reflecting large declines in gasoline and other fuel prices and in the cost of clothing.

Del Monte to Acquire Kraft Brands

Del Monte Foods Co., one of the nation's largest distributors of canned fruit and vegetables, said Thursday it is adding more pet products to its business, agreeing to acquire Milk-Bone dog treats and other brands from Kraft Foods Inc. for about $580 mill

Auditor: Endologix Future a Concern

Irvine-based medical device maker Endologix Inc. said Thursday that its accountant expressed "substantial doubt" about its ability to continue operating, according to a regulatory filing.

Sunstone's Alter, Others Honored

Bob Alter, who turned a small Colorado condominium and hotel company into one of the nation's largest real estate investment trusts, was among six entrepreneurs honored at Wednesday's Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards luncheon in Irvine put on by the

Verizon May Overpay to Battle AT

Verizon is under rising pressure to take full control of its wireless venture with Vodafone to compete with larger rival AT & T;, sparking investors' fears that it may end up overpaying for the stake.

Inflation Tame, Housing Slows

Inflation was tame last month and the pace of housing construction slowed, according to government reports on Thursday that led financial markets to trim bets on how far interest rates will rise.

ConAgra cuts Dividend, Businesses

ConAgra Foods Inc. on Thursday slashed its dividend and said it planned to divest its seafood, domestic and imported cheese businesses as it boosts marketing to try to jump-start sales of its remaining brands.

Wednesday, March 15

Dubai Co. To Sell Port Assets

The state-owned Arab company whose purchase of U.S. port terminal assets unleashed a political firestorm expects to sell them within four to six months to a U.S. buyer, a company statement said on Wednesday.

Sony's PlayStation 3 Now November

Sony Corp. said on Wednesday it would delay the release of its new PlayStation 3 video game console until early November because development of some of the technology was behind schedule.

Artemis Being Bought for $27M

An Austin, Texas-based company plans to buy Newport Beach-based financial software maker Artemis International Solutions Corp. for about $27 million.

Apple Alums' IPO Rises 12%

Shares of Newport Beach-based Acquicor Technology Inc. rose 12% from the company's offering price in its first day of trading Wednesday.

Medicis Quarterly Profit Rises

Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. said on Wednesday its quarterly profit rose, helped by tax-related special items.

New Century Adds Dissident to Board

Irvine-based mortgage lender New Century Financial Corp. is expanding its board to make room for a dissident shareholder who threatened to run his own slate of candidates.

Reports: Moderate Inflation Pressures

U.S. import prices eased in February for the first time in three months as fuel prices fell, but businesses are feeling continued cost pressures, reports showed on Wednesday.

DuPont Raises Outlook, Cut Jobs

Chemicals company DuPont on Wednesday raised its first-quarter earnings forecast on broad operating strength, but said it would cut about 2.5 percent of its work force, mostly in Europe.

Kohlberg Kravis Bids $13B for GMAC

A group of investors led by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. has submitted a nonbinding bid of $12.5 billion to $13 billion for General Motors Corp.'s financing arm, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 14

U.S. Cuts Demand for Google Data

A federal judge said on Tuesday he intends to give the government some of what it wants after it scaled back the number of Google Inc. customers it wants information about, in a case seen as a major test of Internet privacy.

Oakley Buying Optical Shop of Aspen

Foothill Ranch-based Oakley Inc. made its second buy of an upscale glasses chain in as many months on Tuesday by acquiring Aliso Viejo-based Optical Shop of Aspen.

Home Prices Rebound, Sales Slow

Home prices in Orange County rebounded in February and are back near their record high, though sales volume continues to slow.

State Lawmakers Extend Bond Talks

California legislators extended talks over a plan to put a roughly $50 billion bond offering before voters in June, part of Gov.Arnold Schwarzenegger's multi-year public works proposal.

Bernanke: Trade Gap Market Driven

Government policies aimed at reducing global trade imbalances would have only a "limited" effect unless financial market views shifted, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a letter released on Tuesday.

Ex-Enron Worker: Illicit Deals Common

A former Enron Corp. employee who worked under then-chief financial officer Andrew Fastow said illicit finance deals were so common at the company that he never worried about getting caught.

Retail Drop, Current Account Widens

Retail sales fell a larger-than-expected 1.3% in February as auto sales plunged and consumers took a breather after spending big in January, a government report showed on Tuesday.

Google to Defend Subpoena Challenge

Google faces off against the Justice Department in federal court on Tuesday as the Internet company seeks to quash a subpoena for search data, including millions of user queries, in a battle over privacy issues on the Web.

Allergan, Medicis Meet Again

Irvine-based Allergan Inc. beat out Arizona's Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. in a bidding war for Inamed Corp. Now the two are set to face off in the war against wrinkles.

Monday, March 13

LETTERS

The ports security issue was mostly much ado about nothing, in Letters

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Orange County's top news of the week

GIVING

Fund-raisers and charitable donations from companies and people

Family Buys South County Nissan Dealership

Family Automotive Group has acquired a Nissan dealership in Rancho Santa Margarita, in the Marketplace column

Rvca Clothing Trades on Ultra-Cool Image

Rvca Clothing has some serious buzz in fashion circles

Fitch Cuts Ford's Ratings Deeper

Fitch Ratings on Monday cut its ratings on Ford Motor Co. deeper into junk status, citing increased potential for strikes and supply disruptions at the automaker's parts suppliers.

DISCOUNT GROWTH BID

Knott's Berry Farm is looking to boost business the old fashion way,by cutting prices

SilverCreek Triples Portfolio, Buys Wal-Mart Adjacent

Irvine developer SilverCreek Properties has made a big bet on Wal-Mart, in the Real Estate column

Watson Offers $1.9B for Andrx

Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Monday that it plans to spend $1.9 billion to buy Andrx Corp., a Davie, Fla.-based rival. The deal stands to create the third-biggest U.S. generic drug maker, Watson said.

Blizzard Helps Turn Around Vivendi's Games Business

Blizzard Entertainment has helped turn around Vivendi's gaming unit, in the Technology column

Record Lot Sale; Lay's OC Adviser; Augie's Big Bash

Record Lot Sale; Lay's OC Adviser; Augie's Big Bash

MARKET WATCH

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

Allergan Extends Offer Again

Regulators have signed off on Irvine-based Allergan Inc.'s $3.2 billion buy of Inamed Corp., but some Inamed shareholders are holding out.

Emerson Electric Unit Moves Work to Ohio

An Emerson Electric unit is moving work from Irvine to Ohio

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Lawyers Gauge Fallout From Angels Jury Win

The Angels' legal victory over the city of Anaheim is a cautionary tale for deal makers

Maguire Hits Snag in High-Rise Plans

Maguire Properties has hit a snag in its plan to build an Irvine office tower

LOUNGE ACTS

Some of the County's Best Food Is Served in the Lounge or Bar; Fifi Hits Some of Them

Apria Consolidates Sacramento Billing Center to Pare Costs

Apria Healthcare is paring costs by closing a Sacramento billing center

City National Bank Campaign Includes OC Billboards

Beverly Hills-based City National Bank is making a big ad push in the county, in the Media & Marketing column

Interchange Could Sell National Search Unit

Irvine-based Interchange Corp. is going local.

Real Estate Deals

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

KBS Looks to Raise $2.5B REIT

An affiliate of Newport Beach-based KBS Realty Advisors LLC said Monday it plans to start up a real estate investment trust that could raise $2.5 billion to buy office, industrial and retail buildings.

Republicans at Odds: Higby Rebuffs Bush Oxygen Idea

A Bush administration proposal to require Medicare home healthcare patients to own their own oxygen equipment is getting bad reviews from an OC company, in the Healthcare column

Merck Bids $17.4B for Schering

Drugs and chemicals group Merck unveiled a $17.4 billion cash bid for domestic rival Schering on Monday, marking the first big all-German move in the industry's consolidation.

Capital One to Buy North Fork for $15B

In its second major banking deal, credit-card issuer Capital One Financial Corp. is buying North Fork Bancorp. Inc. in a stock and cash transaction valued at nearly $15 billion.

Dubai Demise

Dubai Demise - An Editorial By Rick Reiff and Michael Lyster

Rate Hikes: Global Markets Coping

Financial markets are coping well with a shift in the global interest rate cycle, including Japan's ending of its superloose monetary policy, G10 central bankers' chairman Jean-Claude Trichet said on Monday.

Hospitable Henry

Henry Schielein Keep Elegant Balboa Bay Club Running Strong

Real Estate Watch: South County

South County's office and retail sectors were strong in the fourth quarter. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Soon, More Will Drive From L.A. to OC

Commuting patterns in and out of OC are changing. A look at the flows to and from Los Angeles and the Inland Empiresplashac

Kia to Build $1.2B U.S. Auto Plant

South Korean automaker Kia Motors Corp. said on Monday it will invest $1.2 billion in building its first U.S. factory in Georgia, shifting more output overseas to help offset a strong won currency.

Lennar Pays $55M for Land at A-Town 2 Site

Lennar has closed on another big land buy in Anaheim's Platinum Triangle

Business Again in Sacramento's Regulatory Crosshairs

Sacramento legislators have businesses in their crosshairs

Downtown Parcel Draws Interest, Differences

The closing of a citrus plant in Fullerton has raised differing views on redevelopment in the city

Pac Life To Enter Talks on Keeping Tennis Sponsorship

Pacific Life Insurance plans to begin talks on its continuing role as sponsor of a tennis tournament in Indian Wells

Lennar: More Land at Platinum Triangle

Lennar Corp. has closed on another plot of industrial land in Anaheim's Platinum Triangle, a few blocks from the heart of its massive A-Town development.

Auto Dealers: Fletcher Builds Lead, Crevier Takes No. 2 Spot

Fletcher Jones retained its No. 1 spot among Orange County auto dealers

STATE of the STATE

Wondering where the workers' compensation insurance rate cuts are, in State of the State

Friday, March 10

Payrolls Grow, Jobless Rate Up

U.S. employers added a stronger-than-forecast 243,000 jobs in February but the unemployment rate edged up, the Labor Department said on Friday in a report that left analysts divided about whether inflation was heating up.

Oakley Restating on Hedging Shift

Foothill Ranch-based sunglasses maker Oakley Inc. plans to restate five years of results and reduced its guidance for 2006 after changing the way it accounts for hedging against currency exchange rates.

Wal-Mart Threatens Financial System

A group of lawmakers on Friday said an industrial bank owned by Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, could threaten the stability of the U.S. financial system and drive community banks out of business.

Trade Talks Postponed With UAE

Free talks between the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates were postponed Friday, a day after a Dubai company succumbed to pressure and backed out of a deal to take over operations at six major American ports.

Liebert Laying Off 140 Workers

An Emerson Electric Co. division is cutting about 140 jobs at an Irvine plant that makes cooling units, surge protectors and other devices used to protect electronic systems.

Quiksilver Falls On Outlook

Shares of Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc. fell 4.4% Friday after the surfwear maker lowered its outlook for the current quarter.

Thursday, March 9

Japan Ends Super-Loose Rate Policy

Japan's central bank scrapped its super-loose monetary policy on Thursday but, reflecting concerns about fallout for world markets and the domestic economy, said it will keep short-term interest rates around zero for now.

SEC, Business Group Clash

The largest business lobbying group criticized federal securities regulators on Thursday for bringing what it described as a "wave" of losing cases against businesses, drawing a sharply worded reply from the nation's top market regulator, Christopher Cox.

Ingram on Track to Meet Targets

Ingram Micro Inc. backed its profit and sales guidance for the first quarter, sending its shares higher on Thursday.

Trade Gap Widens

The trade deficit widened more than expected in January to a record $68.5 billion, as record imports fueled by high oil prices outstripped record exports propelled by stronger foreign demand, a Commerce Department report showed on Thursday.

Allergan Settles Claims Against Alcon

Eye drug makers Allergan Inc. of Irvine and Alcon Inc., which employs about 500 people across town, said Thursday they're settling two patent fights.

Dubai Co. to Give Up Stake in Ports

Bowing to ferocious opposition in Congress, a Dubai-owned company signaled surrender Thursday in its quest to take over operations at U.S. ports.

30-Year Mortgage Rates Jump

Rates on 30-year mortgages jumped to the highest level in 2 1/2 years this week, driven higher by inflation worries in financial markets.

Wednesday, March 8

Fed's Poole: Housing to Stabilize

Housing already may be cooling but it should level off at high levels and ought not undermine the country's economic expansion, St Louis Federal Reserve President William Poole said on Wednesday.

Best Buy to Focus on Small Businesses

Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy Co. Inc. plans to focus on small business customers as a source of growth, the executive vice president of its Best Buy for Business division said on Wednesday.

Bernanke: Need to Close Industrial Bank "Loophole"

A "loophole" in U.S. law that allows commercial firms to buy industrial banks undercuts efforts to keep banking and commerce separate and should be closed, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.

NYSE Shares Up 23%

The New York Stock Exchange began life as a public traded company on Wednesday with a bang, ending its first day trading up 23 percent and valued at over $12.6 billion.

Micron to Buy Lexar Media

Micron Technology Inc. on Wednesday said it has agreed to buy Lexar Media Inc. in a stock exchange deal.

Valeant Settles Dispute With Serbia

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Costa Mesa, said Wednesday that it agreed to resolve a long-running dispute with the Health Fund of Serbia and the Republic of Serbia over their joint venture, Galenika.

Gateway Boss: Work Cut Out

Irvine-based Gateway Inc. has its work cut out building direct sales of computers to consumers and businesses, the company's interim chief executive said Wednesday.

VNU: $9B Bid, Shareholders Resist

VNU, the largest market research firm, has agreed to be bought by a group of private equity firms for $9 billion cash, but the offer received an icy reception from some shareholders.

Allergan, Inamed Done Deal

It's official. Allergan Inc. now is in the breast implant, obesity treatment and skin filler business. Regulators said Wednesday that they cleared the Irvine-based drug maker's $3.2 billion buy of Santa Barbara's Inamed Corp.

Tuesday, March 7

Qualcomm Ups Outlook, Dividend

Wireless technology company Qualcomm Inc. on Tuesday raised its outlook for the fiscal second quarter, citing stronger sales of handsets and wireless chips, and boosted its quarterly dividend 33%.

Q4 Productivity Revised Up

U.S. nonfarm business productivity fell less sharply in the fourth quarter than first thought, the government said on Tuesday.

Public Storage Buying Shurgard

Shurgard Storage Centers Inc. has accepted a $3 billion bid from larger rival Public Storage Inc., the companies said on Tuesday, ending a seven-month takeover battle.

GM Tweaks Retirement Benefits

General Motors Corp. on Tuesday said it would freeze accrued pension benefits for U.S. salaried employees and begin a shift toward a broader reliance on defined contribution plans, in a move that will cut its year-end 2006 pension liability by about $1.6

New Century Posts Annual Loan Gain

Irvine-based New Century Financial Corp. said Tuesday that it made $4 billion in mortgage loans in February, up 17% from a year ago and in line with January's production.

Starbucks: No Danger of Overbuilding

The head of Starbucks Corp.'s U.S. business said on Tuesday the No. 1 coffee shop chain is in no danger of overbuilding in its flagship market as it expands into smaller cities and along major highways.

Western Digital Falls on Price Fears

A Western Digital Corp. downgrade led to a wide selloff in the disk-drive sector Tuesday as investors braced for a price war.

Ex-Enron CFO: Thought He Was "Hero"

Former Enron Corp. chief financial officer Andrew Fastow, the financial mastermind of the energy trader's most illicit deals, testified on Tuesday he believed he was a hero by helping the company inflate profits.

Interchange Could Sell Off Business

Irvine-based Interchange Corp. is going local. The company, which links advertisers to searches on the Internet, said Tuesday it's hired investment bank Merriman Curhan Ford & Co. as it considers a possible sale of its national search business.

Monday, March 6

Data: Housing Boom Over

The five-year housing boom is indeed over, judging from growing statistical evidence and the performance of some of the nation's leading builders, and the slowdown is already rippling through the economy.

Contact Lens Maker's World Blurrier With Restatements, Suits

Contact lens maker Cooper is getting hammered on several fronts

Aerospace Company Taking Kia HQ

A British aerospace and defense company is combining three of its Orange County military units and moving them to the Irvine Spectrum.

UK Weapons Parts Maker Masses in Irvine

British aerospace company taking over automaker's headquarters

Yard House Following Eastern Migration to Inland Empire

Restaurant operator Yard House is planning another Inland Empire eatery

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Orange County's top news of the week

HOT ROD KING

Foose Design in Huntington Beach designs and builds million-dollar hot rods

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

AT & T; Buying BellSouth for $67B

AT & T; Inc. said it would buy BellSouth Corp. for $67 billion to acquire the rest of Cingular Wireless it does not already own, and expand into the southeastern United States to gain heft to battle growing competition from cable television and Internet comp

Centex, Shea Moving Ahead With Plans for Tustin Base

One of the largest pieces of the 1,500-acre development puzzle at the former Tustin Marine base is starting to take shape, in the Real Estate column

GM Unloads Suzuki Stake

Embattled General Motors Corp. said on Monday it would sell most of its stake in Suzuki Motor Corp., which has its U.S. base in Brea, back to the Japanese carmaker, raising about $2 billion in much-needed cash to restore its tattered balance sheet.

Bella Terra Mall Tops Retail Sales at $224M

Bella Terra Mall Tops Retail Sales at $224M. Largest OC retail sales in 2005

Real Estate Watch: Retail

The retail real estate picture looks bright. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Allergan: Inamed Buy This Week

Allergan Inc. said Monday it expects to receive antitrust approval for its acquisition of Inamed Corp. this week.

Blackstone Buying CarrAmerica

Private equity firm Blackstone Group has agreed to buy commercial real estate company CarrAmerica Realty Corp. for $5.6 billion to give it a platform for future investments in the office sector, the companies said on Monday.

MARKET WATCH

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

HOTEL SALES

Locals Notch Largest Deal in 2005; Number of Total Sales Declines

PORT FIGHT

Business groups are battling emissions legislation aimed at the Southland docks

Morton's Event: Calling All Chocoholics, Wine Lovers

Morton's is calling out chocoholics and wine lovers, in the Executive Dining column

AT & T; to Cut 10,000 Jobs

AT & T; Inc. expects to cut 10,000 jobs by 2009 following its $64.5 billion acquisition of BellSouth, in an effort to reduce costs and help it compete in the increasingly crowded telecoms sector.

U.S. Office Market Bounces to Best Year Since '00 Excesses

U.S. Office Market Bounces to Best Year Since '00 Excesses

Aerospace Company Combining, Moving to Irvine

A British aerospace and defense company is combining three of its Orange County military units and moving them to the Irvine Spectrum.

LETTERS

On workers' comp and port management, in Letters

KUDOS

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

BALANCING ACT

National Leasing Strengthened, Rents Rose and Availability Fell Last Year

Growing Cash Could Drive Edwards Acquisitions

Edwards Lifesciences is loading up with cash. Could acquisitions be far behind?

BIG BANG

Office, Industrial Sales Top Prior Year; Mortgage Lenders Fuel Lease Activity

INSIDE SAN DIEGO

Office, Industrial and R & D; Highlights in Q4, 2005

Merit/Andrew: High-Def Bays to Keep Up With L.A.

Film and video production shop Merit/Andrew has some new toys, in the Media & Marketing column

MetroCenter in Costa Mesa Traded Hands for $261M

MetroCenter in Costa Mesa Traded Hands for $261M. Largest OC office sales in 2005

DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT

Los Angeles Renaissance Now Has a Price Tag: $12.2 Billion

Broadcom's Lease at University Research Park Tops 2005 Activity

Broadcom's Lease at University Research Park Tops 2005 Activity. Largest OC office leases in 2005

Title Insurers Fall Again, But Not as Hard

The slowing housing market hit title insurers' business last year

Santa Ana May Be Next Hot Spot for High-Rise Condos

Santa Ana may be the next hot spot for high-rise housing

Stuart Moore Himself on Hand for Fashion Island Send-off

Jeweler Stuart Moore was on hand for a key employee send-off, in the Marketplace column

Coronado at Newport South Top Sale in 2005

Coronado at Newport South Top Sale in 2005. Largest OC apartment complex sales in 2005

Bedrosians Signs for 375,000 Square Feet in Largest Deal

Bedrosians Signs for 375,000 Square Feet in Largest Deal. Largest OC industrial leases in 2005

TOP CONSTRUCTION

Biggest industrial and office construction under way at the end of 2005

Just What Gateway Needs Now: Lenovo

Lenovo's pushing into Gateway's sweet spot: consumer sales, in the Technology column

Hunky Researcher Gets Fame, Fans; UCI Slighted

Hunky Researcher Gets Fame, Fans; UCI Slighted

Conexant Debt Sale: Can't Wait for Jazz

Conexant's debt sale helps the company's position

NBC Universal to Buy iVillage for $600M

General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal on Monday became the latest "old media" company to make a further foray into the fast-growing world of online advertising, announcing plans to acquire women's Web site company iVillage Inc. for about $600 million.

Majority Investors Sell Shares in Drug Hopeful Aeolus

Stockholders of Aeolus Pharmaceuticals are looking to sell off some shares, in the Healthcare column

Santa Ana: Tower Homes Envisioned

High-rise condominiums like those going up in Irvine and Anaheim are in the works for Orange County's most urban city.

Lennar's Platinum Triangle Deal Tops Industrial Buys

Lennar's Platinum Triangle Deal Tops Industrial Buys. Largest OC industrial sales in 2005

Friday, March 3

Deal Values Grocery Marketer at $1B

Irvine-based Advantage Sales & Marketing is seeing Merrill Lynch & Co. and J.W. Childs Associates take a majority stake in the grocery products distributor in a deal valuing the company at $1.05 billion.

Jobs Picture Posts Annual Gain

Orange County's unemployment rate was 3.6% in January, up from 3.2% a month earlier but down from last year, according to a report from the state Economic Development Department on Friday.

Cash Building, Edwards May Eye Buys

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. is loading up with cash and could be in the market for acquisitions.

Automakers: Incentives Short of War

Automakers plan to extend sales incentives to draw buyers into showrooms as they gear up for the start of the spring selling season, but say they will not repeat the deep-discount wars of 2005.

Boeing Upbeat in $3B Russian Deal

Boeing Co. said on Friday it hoped to win a $3 billion contract to deliver 22 new long-haul planes to Russia's flag carrier Aeroflot, even if its rival Airbus SAS has offered a discount.

Intel Cuts Sales Forecast

Intel Corp. cut its first-quarter revenue forecast on Friday, citing weaker-than-expected demand and a dip in market share, sending its stock to a 17-month low.

Thursday, March 2

Retail Sales Chill

February brought a chill to retailers, which had stocked up with spring merchandise to catch shoppers wielding gift cards but had little to offer in the way of winter coats when the weather turned cold.

Boeing: Directors to Be Elected Annually

Boeing Co. said on Thursday all directors of its board would stand for election annually, abandoning its staggered board structure, where only a portion of the board members stood for election in a given year.

Spitzer Probing First American, Others

Santa Ana's First American Corp. is among several big title insurers being investigated by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Angels 2, Anaheim 0

The city of Anaheim lost another round Thursday in its battle with the Los Angles Angels of Anaheim over the baseball team's name.

Tenet Posts Narrower Quarterly Loss

Hospital chain Tenet Healthcare Corp., which is in the midst of restating several years of earnings, on Thursday posted a narrower quarterly loss, but said results were hurt by stubbornly high levels of unpaid bills by uninsured patients.

30-Year Mortgage Rates Fall

Rates on 30-year mortgages edged down slightly this week, the second consecutive decline, according to a nationwide survey of rates.

Wet Seal Bucks Feb. Bloodbath

Foothill Ranch-based Wet Seal Inc. said Thursday that its same-store sales rose 29% in February, the 14th consecutive month of gains for the rebounding teen retailer.

Flat Screen TV War Heats Up

Consumers are cheering their good fortune, watching prices for big flat-screen TVs tumble while makers slug it out to decide which display standard will become dominant, liquid crystal or plasma.

Ford Sees $1B Restructure Tab

Ford Motor Co. expects to spend $1 billion before taxes this year on restructuring in North America and Europe, according to the company's annual report.

Wednesday, March 1

Wachovia Wraps Up Westcorp Buy

Wachovia Corp. said Monday it has completed its $4 billion acquisition of Irvine-based Westcorp Inc. and affiliate WFS Financial Inc.

Edwards Building Singapore Plant

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. said Wednesday that it plans to build a heart valve plant in Changi North, Singapore.

Handset Makers Locked in Merger Dance

Your new handset is certainly better and may be cheaper than your previous phone, but the choice of brands will reduce drastically in the coming years as smaller players exit the cut-throat market.

Gateway Settling HP Patent Dispute

Irvine-based Gateway Inc. said it has agreed to pay $47 million to settle its two-year patent dispute with Hewlett-Packard Co.

UAE Port Row May Spook Others

Opposition to a United Arab Emireates company taking over U.S. ports will not deter the Arab state from more investments there, but could make other countries divert funds to Asia and Europe, the UAE's economy minister said on Wednesday.

AmerisourceBergen to Buy Brecon

Drug wholesaler AmerisourceBergen Corp. said on Wednesday it acquired Brecon Pharmaceuticals Ltd., a privately held, United Kingdom-based provider of contract packaging and clinical trial materials services, for about $49 million in cash.

Honda Stars in Automaker Sales

Honda Motor Co. was a star in an otherwise ho-hum February for automakers, posting a 9% increase in U.S. sales over a year ago on the strength of its redesigned Civic sedan. Others reported more modest gains and declines on Wednesday, but said sales shoul

Consumers Spent in January

Consumers, lured out to the stores by the warmest January in more than a century, spent at a rapid clip that outpaced their incomes.

Autobytel Names CEO, Ends Talk of Sale

Irvine-based Autobytel Inc. is shifting gears again. The online auto marketing company on Wednesday named a new chief executive and said it will not continue pursuing a sale of the company.