Stories for April 2007

Monday, April 30

Job Growth

ABOUT THE LIST - Orange County employment agencies saw another year of revenue growth fueled by a tight job market

Real Estate Watch: Inland Empire

The office market in the Inland Empire saw another quarter of increased leasing activity and new space added. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Device IPO

Medical device maker Masimo filed plans for an initial public offering earlier this month, hoping to raise up to $150 million

Avocado Distribution is Green Gold for Prime Produce

Prime Produce International is seeing avocado green, in the Small Business column

Sun Healthcare Wraps Up Its $350M Buy of Harborside

Sun Healthcare Group just closed its $350 million buy of Harborside Healthcare, in the Healthcare column

TECHNOLOGY

GILBERT FRANK AMELIO

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

TriZetto Posts Decline in Q1 Profit

TriZetto Group Inc., a Newport Beach healthcare software company, said Monday that its first-quarter net income exceeded an earlier forecast, though it was down from a year earlier.

INDUSTRY & SERVICES

ANNE ELIZABETH B & #201;LEC

CALENDAR

A listing of events happening all around Orange County

MARKET WATCH

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

Irvine's Linc Breaks Last Enron Link

Irvine's Linc Group has severed its last tie to Enron

March Incomes Up; Core Prices Steady

U.S. incomes rose a greater-than-expected 0.7% in March, but core consumer prices were surprisingly unchanged, a Commerce Department report showed on Monday.

Centex Wants Out of Tustin Base Partnership

Homebuilder Centex Corp. is looking to get out of a partnership that's developing the largest part of Tustin's former Marine base, according to city officials.

Pow Wow: County Could See $350M in Travel Business

Anaheim's Pow Wow event plugs OC as an international tour group destination

Startup Financer Opens in County

A startup financer plans to further its West Coast presence with a Costa Mesa office it's opened

GOVERNMENT & INSTITUTIONS

LAWRENCE ALAN AGRAN

BKM Sells Out Space at Industrial Projects for $42M

BKM Development has just sold out two of its larger local industrial projects for a total of $42 million, in the Real Estate column

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Anaheim's Pow Wow event plugs OC as an international tour group destination

HEALTHCARE

SCOTT T. GARRETT

State of The State

The California Supreme Court's ruling in a recent wage and hour case is a setback for business.

Beckman Likely to Raise Biosite Bid, Sources Say

Beckman Coulter Inc., the Fullerton-based medical testing company, most likely will raise its bid for San Diego's Biosite Inc. to at least $88 a share before this Wednesday, according to a report in Monday's Financial Times that cited two analysts and an

HP Gains PC Market Share, Gateway Nabs 8% in U.S.

The number of personal computers shipped worldwide by Hewlett-Packard soared past rivals, in the Technology column

Source Says ISE Board Accepts D. Boerse Offer

International Securities Exchange's board of directors accepted a $67.50 per-share takeover offer from Deutsche Boerse, a source familiar with the situation said on Monday.

Delta Air Lines Exits Bankruptcy

Delta Air Lines Inc. emerged from bankruptcy on Monday, after completing a $3 billion restructuring over the past 19 months.

Salt Creek Grille Expanding With El Segundo Location

Salt Creek Grille will debut at Plaza El Segundo on Tuesday, plus the 20th anniversary of Zov's Bistro, in the Executive Dining column

Startup Raises $95M, Woos Big Computer Makers

Aristos Logic is set to see its latest design in the next generation of computers from the likes of Dell, Gateway and others,

Transition Teams Stand Out Among 2007 OC 50

Some notable transitions played out among this year's list of OC's 50 most prominent businesspeople

APPAREL

JAMES HENRY JANNARD

REAL ESTATE DEALS

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

REAL ESTATE

GEORGE LEON ARGYROS

Grad Program for Soka U's Campus; Photo-Finish Lawyer

Grad Program for Soka U's Campus; Photo-Finish Lawyer

VIEWPOINT

The Senate recently killed a bill that would have imposed price controls on Medicare's Part D drug benefit, prompting another round of drug company bashing by the media, in a Viewpoint by MICHAEL ARNOLD GLUECK

Fashion Island Getting French Swimwear, No Speedos

Vilebrequin, a French luxury swim trunk store, opens at the end of the year at Fashion Island, in the Marketplace column

ReVision Targeting Fuzzy Vision, Nabs $25M

ReVision Optics has received $25 million in a fourth round of venture funding

Kudos

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

Centex Looking to Exit Tustin Base Partnership

Homebuilder Centex is in discussions to withdraw from the partnership that's building Legacy Park at Tustin's former Marine base

Friday, April 27

Citigroup Secures Control of Japan's Nikko Cordial

Citigroup cemented its biggest-ever Asian acquisition for $7.7 billion after a majority of shareholders in Japanese brokerage Nikko Cordial Corp. accepted a buyout offer.

AT & T; CEO Whitacre to Retire

Edward Whitacre Jr. , who led AT & T; Inc.'s expansion into the largest telecommunications company in the nation, said Friday he will retire as chairman and chief executive on June 3.

Broadcom Slumps Day After Offering Soft Outlook

Shares of Broadcom Corp. finished down about 5% Friday, a day after the Irvine chipmaker gave a murky outlook for the current quarter.

Economic Growth Slows in First Quarter

Economic growth slowed to a near crawl of 1.3% in the first three months of 2007, the worst performance in four years. The main culprit: the housing slump.

Disney Group: Close to Signature Mark

A Walt Disney Co.-led initiative effort is close to collecting enough signatures to put the issue of homes in the Anaheim Resort area to a vote, according to backers.

Linc Group Ditches Houston for Irvine

Linc Group LLC of Irvine has closed a chapter in a history that's been "stranger than fiction," in the words of Chief Executive Tracy Price. Earlier this year, the company officially moved its headquarters from Houston to Irvine. In doing so, Linc severed

Thursday, April 26

Apple Shares Up After Blowout Earnings

Shares of Apple Inc. rose more than 6% early Thursday, continuing to soar above $100 for the first time after the company walloped Wall Street expectations with quarterly profit that jumped 88 percent on strong sales of its iPod players and Macintosh comp

Unemployment Claims Down Sharply

The number of laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits fell last week by the sharpest amount in nearly two months, indicating the labor market remains healthy despite the sluggish economy.

Ford Results Beat Estimates

Ford Motor Co. posted better-than-expected results on Thursday, helped by cost-cutting and improved results from its European and luxury vehicle operations, sending shares up 5% in early trading.

Beckman Coulter: Biosite Prefers Inverness

Beckman Coulter Inc., the Fullerton-based medical testing company, said Thursday that Biosite Inc. of San Diego prefers Inverness Medical Innovations Inc.'s $1.64 billion takeover offer over Beckman's original $1.55 billion bid.

Western Digital Counters Nervousness With Strong Results

Lake Forest-based Western Digital Corp. reported a 19% rise in profits for the recently ended quarter on a 27% jump in disk drives sales.

Wednesday, April 25

New Century's Sale of Lending Unit OK'd

Irvine's New Century Financial Corp. has received bankruptcy court approval to auction off its loan lending unit within a week, the company said on Wednesday.

RBS Makes Rival $98.1B Bid for ABN Amro

A consortium of banks led by Royal Bank of Scotland said Wednesday it would make a rival bid to Barclays' offer for ABN Amro, setting up one of the largest takeover battles in corporate history and sending shares in the Dutch bank up more than 5%.

Filtronic Sells Off Last of Powerwave Shares

Britain's Filtronic PLC said it sold the last of its stake in Santa Ana-based Powerwave Technologies Inc. that it gained through a deal with the maker of wireless network gear.

AMO Up on Q1 Earnings, 2007 Outlook

Shares of Santa Ana medical device maker Advanced Medical Optics Inc. rose nearly 10% on Wednesday after the company reported better-than-expected first-quarter results and reaffirmed guidance for the year.

WellPoint Posts Higher Quarterly Profit

WellPoint Inc. reported a 7% rise in first-quarter profit on Wednesday, helped by gains in membership, but the insurer projected a key medical-cost gauge would be worse than expected for the year.

New Home Sales Up 2.6% in March

Sales of new U.S. homes rose 2.6% in March but fell short of the pace expected by analysts while the number of new homes for sale was little changed, according to a government report on Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 24

AT & T; Profit Doubles, Wireless Growth Lags

AT & T; Inc.'s first quarter profit doubled and beat analyst estimates, helped by the purchase late last year of BellSouth Corp., but its shares fell 2% as revenue and wireless growth were weaker than expected.

Home Prices Up From February

The price of an Orange County detached home increased from February to March but was down 1.5% from the median price seen a year ago, the California Association of Realtors said on Tuesday.

April Consumer Confidence Falls

Consumer confidence slipped in April to its lowest since last August, reflecting worries that rising gasoline prices could ignite inflation and crimp economic growth, a report showed on Tuesday.

Beckman Bid Now a Waiting Game

The ball in a "three-way tennis game" between Beckman Coulter Inc. and Inverness Medical Innovations Inc. lies in Biosite Inc.'s court.

Existing Home Sales: Biggest Drop Since 1989

Sales of existing homes in the United States dropped 8.4% in March, their biggest tumble in more than 18 years, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday in a report that was much weaker than expected.

Monday, April 23

GIVING

Fund-raisers and charitable donations from companies and people

Bank of America to Buy LaSalle for $21B

Bank of America Corp. agreed to pay $21 billion for ABN Amro Holding NV's LaSalle Bank Corp. unit, filling a big hole in its nationwide branch network by becoming Chicago's largest bank, and also becoming the biggest bank in slower-growing Michigan.

2006 Market: Less Deals; Office, Industrial Sales Down

Retail buildings were the exception when it comes to sales last year, in the Real Estate column

REAL ESTATE DEALS

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

Newport Film Festival: Starbucks, Vodka and, Oh Yeah, Movies

The business of show business,a look at the Newport Beach Film Festival

EGGMAN

Ranch Hand First Sold Eggs From Truck; Now $130M in Sales

Bixby's Halford Makes Office Push With Buy

Bill Halford's Bixby Land Co. plans to buy $345 million worth of OC office buildings

AMO, Beckman Not Only Deals For Healthcare Sector

Big names aren't the only healthcare companies making deals in OC, in the Healthcare column

AROUND THE COUNTY

Projects, developments and other activity in cities in and around OC

Hutton Centre Tower Sells for $64 Million

Triple Net sold off another Santa Ana Building

Edwards Q1 Profit Declines on Costs

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. said Monday that its first-quarter profit declined on higher costs.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

Big A Hopefuls Making Rounds; Folino for Rudy

Big A Hopefuls Making Rounds; Folino for Rudy

QLogic Director Offers Take on Company, Managing in a Kilt

Thirteen years on the board of QLogic has taught George Wells a thing or two about management style

Beighley, Onetime Stock Tracker, Joins Business Journal as Reporter

Beighley, Onetime Stock Tracker, Joins Business Journal as Reporter

OCBJ SUPPLEMENTS and GUIDES

SECURITIES

Chicago Tops SoCal Again

Thoughts on Chicago winning the 2016 U.S. Olympics bid, in an Editorial by Rick Reiff

Mindspeed Narrows Quarterly Loss

Newport Beach-based networking chipmaker Mindspeed Technologies Inc. narrowed its loss in the quarter ended March 31.

Ingram Vying in Microsoft Review

Santa Ana's Ingram Micro is in a review by big source of business, Microsoft Corp.

Wanted: Fast-Growing OC Private Companies

Fast-Growing OC Private Companies

Former Blizzard Executive Joins Venture Capital Firm

An Israel-based venture capital firm hired a local gaming executive from Irvine's Blizzard Entertainment, in the Technology column

Walton's Buy Makes it Likely No. 2 Industrial Landlord

Walton Street Capital LLC suddenly has found itself as one of the largest industrial landlords in Orange County, following its estimated $2.8 billion buy of a national portfolio of buildings.

Barclays Agrees to $91B ABN Buy

British bank Barclays PLC has agreed to buy Dutch rival ABN AMRO for about $91 billion in shares as it attempts to fight off rivals to clinch the world's biggest bank takeover.

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

MARKET WATCH

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

Beckman Awaits Biosite; Some Expect Higher Bid

The ball in a "three-way tennis game" between Beckman Coulter and Inverness Medical Innovations lies in Biosite's court

L-3 Profit Up on Military Electronics

L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. said on Monday first-quarter profit rose 17% on strong sales of its military electronics and intelligence network services.

H & M; Frenzy: Long Lines, Campouts All for Cheap Chic

H & M; causes a frenzy as it opens three stores in OC in two days, in the Marketplace column

RV Park Reopening on Planned Tower Site

The last thing developer Urban West expected when it bought an Anaheim RV park last July was to be reopening it

READER LETTERS

A look at John Wayne Airport traffic for the March quarter, in Letters

Revenue Surges at Smaller Public Companies

Orange County's 50 smaller public companies grew by leaps and bounds last year

Real Estate Watch: Inland Empire

Inland Empire's industrial markets continue to see demand. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Walton's Industrial Buy Pushes It to Likely No. 2

Walton's Industrial Buy Pushes It to Likely No. 2. Co. getting $400M in local buildings as part of buy

Caf & #233; 207: Intimate Setting; American, Global Cuisine

San Clemente's Caf & #233; 207 may be small, but it gets the local stamp of approval, in the Executive Dining column

Friday, April 20

Clear Channel Selling Television Group for $1.2B

U.S. broadcaster Clear Channel Communications Inc. said on Friday it will sell its television group to Providence Equity Partners Inc. for about $1.2 billion.

IndyMac Tightening Lending Practices

The Irvine subprime lending unit of IndyMac Bancorp Inc. on Friday said it's raised its minimum borrowing standards and cut back on loans to borrowers who aren't able to document income.

Option One Mortgage Sold

H & R; Block Inc. has agreed to sell its Irvine-based Option One Mortgage Corp. unit to private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, the Kansas City-based tax preparer said Friday.

Xerox: Quarterly Earnings Up About 17%

Xerox profit jumped by nearly 17% in the first quarter of the year, to $233 million, with a lower than expected restructuring charge for Fuji Xerox Co., the office equipment manufacturer announced Friday.

Oakley Surges on Results, Outlook

Shares of Foothill Ranch-based sunglasses maker Oakley Inc. surged more than 10% on Friday, a day after reporting first-quarter results and upping its outlook for the year.

Pfizer Q1 Profit Falls 17.5%

Pfizer Inc., the world's largest drug maker, said Friday its profit fell 17.5% in the first quarter, hurt by one-time charges and disappointing sales of diabetes drug Exubera. Adjusted results beat Wall Street expectations by a wide margin.

Thursday, April 19

AMD Sees First-Quarter Loss

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. reported a greater-than-expected loss in the first quarter as the chip maker continued to struggle amid a fierce price competition with larger rival Intel Corp.

I-Flow Shares Up on Clinical Study

Shares of I-Flow Corp., a Lake Forest medical device maker, rose some 13% after it said a clinical study of its lead device showed positive results.

New Century's Loan-Servicing Unit OK'd for Sale

Irvine's New Century Financial Corp. received bankruptcy-court approval on Thursday to sell its loan-servicing business for a minimum of $133 million.

Google 1Q Profit Up 69%

Google Inc.'s first-quarter profit rose 69%, maintaining the online search leader's penchant for blowing past analyst estimates.

Wednesday, April 18

MetroPCS IPO Raises $1.15B

MetroPCS Communications Inc. rallied more than 10% in its stock-market debut Thursday as the first initial public offering of 2007 to raise more than $1 billion.

Bank of America Quarterly Profit Up 5%

Bank of America Corp. said Thursday its first-quarter earnings rose 5%, helped by growth in fee income despite a challenging credit environment.

Dow Closes Above 12,800 for First Time

The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 12,800 for the first time Wednesday, signaling Wall Street's recovery from its steep decline in February as investors rewarded companies with strong earnings.

Clear Channel Accepts Higher $19.3B Bid

Clear Channel Communications Inc. agreed to a private equity group's sweetened $19.35 billion bid, an almost 4 percent increase aimed at mollifying shareholders who think the billboard and radio company is being sold for too little.

Printronix Lowers Q4 Outlook, Shares Fall

Shares of Irvine-based industrial printer maker Printronix Inc. fell Wednesday on news that the company expects lower earnings for the quarter ended March 30.

Cogent Following CEO to Nashville

Cogent Healthcare Inc., a venture-backed company that provides doctors for hospitals, is moving its headquarters from Irvine to Nashville.

UnitedHealth Quarterly Profit Rises 4%

UnitedHealth Group Inc., the nation's second-largest health insurer, said on Thursday its first-quarter profit rose 4%, but the results were hampered by payments related to its stock options problems and weak enrollment in Medicare-related programs.

Tuesday, April 17

Motorola: Quarterly Loss, Revenue Down

Motorola Inc., the world's second-biggest mobile phone maker, on Wednesday posted a quarterly loss on weak handset sales and gave new forecasts that raised doubts over when the company would be profitable.

JPMorgan: Quarterly Earnings Up 55%

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the nation's third largest bank, on Wednesday reported a 55% increase in first-quarter profit reflecting strength across most of its primary business lines, although it increased reserves to offset subprime mortgage losses.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to Offer Subprime Aid

Mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae have new programs to help troubled subprime borrowers avoid foreclosure, the companies' chiefs will say Tuesday, according to prepared testimony for a congressional hearing.

EMC Profit Up With Software Sales; Shares Rise

EMC Corp., the top maker of corporate data storage equipment, on Tuesday reported higher first-quarter profit, spurred by growth in software sales and its Asia business, sending its shares up 3%.

Beckman Gets Antitrust OK; Up to Biosite Shareholders Now

Fullerton-based Beckman Coulter Inc. got U.S. antitrust approval to buy San Diego's Biosite Inc. Now if only Biosite shareholders would sign off on the contested deal.

MSC.Software Expects to Post Q1 Loss

Santa Ana's MSC.Software Corp., which makes software used by manufacturers to test their designs, said Tuesday restructuring charges would lead the company to post a loss in the first quarter.

Masimo to Raise Up to $150M in IPO

Irvine medical device maker Masimo Corp. on Tuesday said it plans to raise up to $150 million in an initial public offering.

Mellon Profits Rise as Assets Reach Record

Mellon Financial Corp., one of the world's leading asset managers, reported higher quarterly earnings on Tuesday as assets reached a new record, helped by growing demand and several acquisitions.

Washington Mutual Commits $2B for Subprime Help

Washington Mutual Inc., the largest U.S. savings and loan, on Wednesday said it will refinance up to $2 billion of "subprime" home loans at discounted rates to help borrowers who might otherwise struggle to keep up with payments.

Monday, April 16

Allergan Could Gain on Inamed Deal, More Botox Uses

An analyst is bullish on Allergan and the company's latest portfolio of products, in the Healthcare column

Venture-Backed Cogent Relocating to Nashville

A venture-backed company that provides doctors for hospitals is leaving OC

Conexant Starts Search; Analysts Want Chip Vet

Conexant is on the hunt for a leader after its longtime chief announced retirement plans

Skin Care Company's Products Hawked by Rick Dees

A skincare startup first saw some not so pretty skin

Report: Laguna Beach Art Galleries Do $20M in Yearly Sales

Report: Laguna Beach Art Galleries Do $20M in Yearly Sales

Manufacturing Jobs Steady, But Booms Likely Thing of Past

OC's manufacturing sector has seen steady job growth the past few years

San Diego Stats

Office, Industrial, R & D; and Retail Highlights in Q1

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

CALENDAR

A listing of events happening all around Orange County

Brokers See Drop in Deals As Office Leasing Softens

Brokers See Drop in Deals As Office Leasing Softens

Retail Sales Rise in March

Retail sales rose slightly more than expected in March but February sales were much higher than first estimated, pointing to continued strength in consumer demand as the manufacturing sector still falters.

Uncertain Times

Despite Vacancy Increase, Office Still Healthy; Subprime Effects Unknown

MARKET WATCH

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

Citigroup Profit Tops Forecasts

Citigroup Inc. and Wachovia Corp., the first major U.S. banks to report quarterly results, posted higher-than-expected profits on Monday, helped by keeping operating costs down.

Defying Logic

Local Office Market Holding Strong, Rents Not Expected to Come Down Any Time Soon

REAL ESTATE DEALS

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

Corinthian Looks to Grow After Two-Year Slump

A slowing economy could be just the thing for Santa Ana's Corinthian Colleges

Stack's EMC Ties Prove Worth $28M in Agilysys Buyout

An Irvine network services provider was bought for $28 million, in the Technology column

Bixby Pays $345M for Maguire Buildings

Newport Beach-based Bixby Land Co. said Monday it is paying $345 million for a number of Orange County offices put on the market by Maguire Properties Inc. following its February buy of Equity Office Properties Trust's local buildings.

El Pollo Loco Narrows Q4 Loss, Talks Up Efforts to Check Costs

El Pollo Loco narrowed its fourth-quarter loss

Investor Group Buying Sallie Mae for $25 Billion

Sallie Mae said on Monday it had accepted a $25 billion takeover bid from two private-investment funds along with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. in one of the largest ever buyouts of a financial company.

READER LETTERS

Congress needs to slow down and take a breath before acting on the subprime issue, in Letters

REAL ESTATE WATCH - Mid-Counties

Gross activity was down the Mid-Counties' industrial market. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Shady Canyon $7.9M Lot Sale Sets Irvine Co. Record

Dana Point's Strand at the Headlands is getting some high-end competition, in the Real Estate column

Toshiba Tries Hand at Portable Consumer Drives

Toshiba's local disk drive unit is following rivals into consumer drives

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

Orange County's Saab Dealer Has Market to Himself

A local Saab dealer has the market all to himself, in the Marketplace column

Analysts Eagerly Await Look at Quest Software

Quest's lack of reporting full financial results is a sticking point for Wall Street

Shares of Netlist Fall 15% on Lowered Q1 Outlook

Irvine's Netlist Inc., a maker of memory products, lowered its outlook for first-quarter results, citing unsold products and weak demand from two big customers.

Fremont General: Buyer for Subprime Unit

Santa Monica-based Fremont General Corp. said Monday that it is close to selling its shuttered Brea-based subprime mortgage division.

Golden Truffle Offers 'Not Your Average Cooking Class'

Truffle's Alan Greeley is cooking up another not so average cooking class, in the Executive Dining column

KUDOS

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

Analyst: Inverness Could Pull Off Biosite Buy

Inverness Medical's bid for Biosite might not be just all talk

Bellantonio's Back, Between Feedings, Diaper Changes

DGWB is busy rolling out several campaigns this month, in the Media & Marketing column

Space Masters

ABOUT THE LIST 2 - Recent Buyout Deals Fuel Gains Seen By County's Top Property Managers

Flanders: Freedom Will Keep It All In the Family

Flanders: Freedom Will Keep It All In the Family

VIEWPOINT

Lawsuit Tax. Opinion by Michael Arnold Glueck, visiting fellow in Economics and Citizenship at the International Trade Education Foundation of the Washington International Trade Council.

Inside First American

The executives behind First American are a mesh of old and new, in Corner Offices

Friday, April 13

Broadcom Escalates Legal Fight With Qualcomm

Irvine's Broadcom Corp. stepped up its legal attack on Qualcomm Inc., moving beyond patent fights to an assault on Qualcomm's way of doing business.

Medical Diagnostic Company Being Bought for $34M

EGene Inc., an Irvine-based maker of machines for DNA and RNA analysis that trades on the low-profile Bulletin Board exchange, said Friday it is being bought for $34 million in cash and stock by Qiagen NV, a Netherlands-based diagnostic products maker.

Trade Gap Narrows, Producer Prices Hold Steady

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed unexpectedly in February while producer prices excluding volatile food and energy were unchanged in March, data showed on Friday, suggesting the economy continued to chug along while inflation pressures remained muted.

Nokia: Qualcomm Top User of Nokia Patents

Nokia said on Friday Qualcomm Inc. is the largest user of its technology and patents, firing the latest volley in a battle over patent royalties.

Judge Denies Irvine Co. Bid to Set Aside Damages

A Superior Court judge has denied The Irvine Company's bid to set aside a nearly $38 million judgment stemming from a long-running San Diego land deal dispute.

Thursday, April 12

Nokia: Qualcomm Top User of Nokia Patents

Nokia said on Friday Qualcomm Inc. is the largest user of its technology and patents, firing the latest volley in a battle over patent royalties.

Magna Confirms Possible Role in Chrysler Bid

Magna International Inc. on Friday confirmed its involvement in the potential sale of DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler division.

Allergan Eye Drug Patent Upheld on Appeal

Allergan Inc., the Irvine drug maker, said Thursday that a federal appeals court upheld an earlier ruling protecting its Acular eye drug patent from generics.

OC Home Prices Up Slightly in March, Sales Lag

The median price of an Orange County home rose slightly in March to $629,000, but the market again saw slow sales compared to a year earlier.

Countrywide Mortgages in Foreclosure Nearly Double

Countrywide Financial Corp., the largest U.S. mortgage lender, said on Thursday the amount of mortgages in its portfolio that are in foreclosure nearly doubled, amid a difficult U.S. housing market.

Nestle to Buy Gerber for $5.5 Billion

Nestle SA, the world's biggest food and drink company, said Thursday it will buy Gerber Products Co. from pharmaceutical maker Novartis SA for $5.5 billion, giving it the largest share of the global baby food market.

No Typo: Big Surge in Pacific Sunwear Sales

Shares of Anaheim-based Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. jumped Thursday after the struggling mall retailer reported its best same-store sales in months.

Jobless Claims Rise to 2-Month High

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level in two months.

Wednesday, April 11

Target Same-Store Sales Up, April to Slip

Discount retailer Target Corp. said on Wednesday that sales at its stores open at least a year rose 12% in March, in line with its expectations, and that April same-store sales should fall 2% to 4%, due to the earlier timing of Easter.

Game Maker Blizzard Taking Former Broadcom HQ

Irvine's Blizzard Entertainment Inc. is taking over Broadcom Corp.'s recently vacated three-building campus in the Irvine Spectrum, marking a big expansion for the county's top video game maker.

Citigroup to Slash 17,000 Jobs

Citigroup Inc. on Wednesday said it will eliminate 17,000 jobs, or about 5% of its workforce, in a broad restructuring designed to cut costs, boost profit, and bolster a lagging stock price.

BioLase Bomb: Updated Q1 Outlook Sends Shares Plummeting

Investors hammered Irvine-based BioLase Technology Inc. Wednesday after it said it would post a first-quarter loss and lower-than-expected revenue, sending shares down about 21%.

Mortgage Applications Slip, Spring Sales Murky

U.S. mortgage applications declined for the fourth straight week, as falling demand to refinance home loans outweighed a rise in applications to buy houses, an industry group said on Wednesday.

Cooper Set for CEO Shift, Possible HQ Move

Lake Forest-based Cooper Cos. has seen shipping delays, sluggish contact lens sales, buyout speculation and delays with a key product. The latest chapter for the contact lens maker: Its veteran chief executive plans to leave his post by the end of the yea

Tuesday, April 10

TriZetto Sees Q1 Results at High End; Offering Debt

Newport Beach healthcare software company TriZetto Group Inc. said Tuesday it expects first-quarter results to come in at the top end of expectations.

D.R. Horton Orders Down, Spring Sales Weak

D.R. Horton Inc., the largest U.S. home builder, said on Tuesday orders for new homes tumbled 37% last quarter and the spring selling season has been slower than usual, suggesting the U.S. housing market has not yet hit bottom.

Beckman's Battle for Biosite Heats Up

San Diego's Biosite Inc., which Fullerton-based Beckman Coulter Inc. hopes to buy for $1.55 billion, has agreed to talks with a rival suitor.

Nokia-Qualcomm Licensing Pact Expires

A licensing agreement between Nokia Corp. and Qualcomm Inc. expires Tuesday, potentially heralding a new wave of lawsuits between the wireless industry heavyweights.

Alcoa Profit Beats Estimates on Higher Prices

Alcoa Inc., the world's largest aluminum company, said on Tuesday first-quarter profit rose 9%, driven by higher metal prices and strong demand from aerospace and industrial customers.

Consumer Confidence Falls in April

Confidence among U.S. consumers slumped to an 18-month low in April, spooked by fears of a recession along with high gasoline prices and inflation worries, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

William Lyon Homes Sees Order Pickup, Though Sales Lag

Newport Beach homebuilder William Lyon Homes Inc. reported a pickup in orders for new homes in the first quarter, though the number of closed sales lagged from a year earlier.

Monday, April 9

New Century Loan Sale Hits Snag

A U.S. bankruptcy trustee opposes an auction of loans by Irvine's New Century Financial Corp. because of a $1 million breakup fee with a key bidder and creditor.

6. BROADCOM CORP.

Year in review: Chief Executive Scott McGregor logged his second year on the job in 2006 and saw a good part of it dominated by a backdating scandal that predated him and a slowdown in the chip sector.

4. GATEWAY INC.

Year in review: Amid booming sales through stores but a slump selling directly to businesses and governments, turnaround chief executive Wayne Inouye stepped down in a move that surprised many.

Cosmo's Gives Diners Family Style Food at Great Prices

Cosmo's brings us back down to earth with family style dining, in the Executive Dining column

Blizzard Taking All of Vacated Broadcom HQ

There's a Blizzard at Broadcom's old headquarters.

QB Great Aims for OC End Zone; Real Estate Romance

QB Great Aims for OC End Zone; Real Estate Romance

CALENDAR

A listing of events happening all around Orange County

Defense Contractor SRS Selling for $195M

Newport Beach-based SRS Technologies Inc., a privately held engineering contractor for the government, said Monday it inked a deal to be bought by ManTech International Corp.

SenoRx's $45M IPO Marks First for County in '07

SenoRx's initial public offering was the first for the county this year, in the Healthcare column

1. INGRAM MICRO INC.

Year in review: Ingram Micro, the largest distributor of technology products, had one of its best years yet, generating $31 billion in sales.

9. BECKMAN COULTER INC.

Year in review: The company reaped the benefits from its continuing restructuring of operations, including its 2005 change on how it accounts for leases of its medical testing instruments.

Honest Mechanics Expands Office, Adds Two Workers

Honest Mechanics doubled its digs and added two workers, in the Media & Marketing column

2. FIRST AMERICAN CORP.

Year in review: First American saw the rapid title industry growth of recent years come to a halt in 2006.

Corinthian Colleges Gets Boost From Analyst

Corinthian Colleges Gets Boost From Analyst

5. STANDARD PACIFIC CORP.

Year in review: Amid a housing slowdown, the homebuilder saw a decline in the number of homes it sold,the first after years of gains.

Executives Tour Israel With Eye Toward Investment, Trade

A Jewish group of local executives is back from a "business mission" to Israel

Lennar Stays Upbeat on Housing Sales Amid Slowdown

Lennar hasn't seen a spring pickup in housing sales, but it's still upbeat on the local market, in the Real Estate column

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Beckman's Garrett: called competing offer "highly speculative"

Swift Sales, Wind Down Seen for New Century

Now that New Century is in bankruptcy court, it might not take long for the bulk of the company's operations to be sold off

10. QUIKSILVER INC.

Year in review: The past year saw a series of warnings from Quiksilver sparked in part by integration and sales issues at Rossignol.

EPA Greenhouse Rules? No Shock to Companies Here

A ruling requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions could be a good thing for local companies

Broadcom Gaining Over Qualcomm? Too Soon To Tell

It's too soon to tell if Broadcom's beating Qualcomm in their patent battle, in the Technology column

Qualcomm: Upaid Systems Drops Patent Suits

Upaid Systems Ltd. has agreed to drop all patent claims against Qualcomm Inc. over pre-paid and pre-authorized communication services and transactions, Qualcomm said on Monday.

7. ALLERGAN INC.

Year in review: Allergan spent a good portion of 2006 integrating and digesting its big prize: Inamed Corp., the Santa Barbara-based medical cosmetics maker it bought for $3.2 billion early in the year.

C28: T-Shirts, 'Witness Wear,' Prayer at Every Store

C28 will charge you for the T-shirt, but the prayer is free, in the Marketplace column

AMD Sees Revenue Below View, Plans Overhaul

Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices said on Monday it expects to report first-quarter revenue of about $1.23 billion, well below Wall Street forecasts, and it announced a restructuring to cut costs.

Group Eyes $50 Billion Bid for Dow Chemical

A consortium of Middle Eastern investors and American buyout firms is preparing a $50 billion approach for Dow Chemical Co. in what could be the world's biggest ever leveraged buyout, a paper said on Sunday.

Cooper's CEO Shift Could Include HQ Move

Cooper's latest chapter: Its longtime chief executive is stepping down, bringing a likely headquarters shift

VIEWPOINT

If John Edwards jumps out of the presidential race, will Al Gore jump in? a Viewpoint by Denny Freidenrich, the founder of First Strategies LLC of Laguna Beach.

GIVING

Fund-raisers and charitable donations from companies and people

New Bridge Linking OC, Corona Started

Work is under way on a $21 million bridge linking Corona to the 91 freeway and the county

MARKET WATCH

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

3. WESTERN DIGITAL CORP.

Year in review: Western Digital started 2006 with talk of price cuts by rival Seagate Technology of Scotts Valley to gain back market share grabbed by Western Digital.

EDITORIAL

Let's hope the Business Journal's latest neighbor at 2600 Michelson will stay for a while, in an Editorial by Michael Lyster

Beckman's Rich Offer Priced in Bidding War

Beckman's high price for Biosite is a little clearer now

Real Estate Watch: West Orange County

Trade continues to spur the absorption of industrial space in west Orange County. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

AROUND THE COUNTY

Projects, developments and other activity in cities in and around OC

8. NEW CENTURY FINANCIAL CORP.

Year in review: New Century Financial had a pretty good 2006. Of course, it's been an entirely different story this year. In February, the wheels began to fall off from what was once the country's second-largest subprime mortage lender.

Public Cos. Sales, Profit Rally Slowed Last Year

The county's 75 largest public companies saw sales and profit gains,though they tempered with the slower economy

Makar Buys Hilton Anaheim

Don't expect such sweeping changes to the Makar Properties' newly acquired Hilton Anaheim & Towers

Conexant Updates on Quarterly Sales Decline

Newport Beach-based Conexant Systems Inc. said revenue fell 18.5% for the quarter ended March 30 from the previous quarter on slower sales and shipment delays for DSL chips.

Friday, April 6

Citi Gets Credit Line for Nikko Bid

Citigroup is arranging a $14.3 billion line of credit from Japan's three top banks and others to fund its acquisition of Nikko Cordial Corp., sources close to the deal said on Friday.

Swift Sales, Wind Down Seen for New Century

Wall Street was predicting New Century Financial Corp. would file for bankruptcy nearly a month before the Irvine-based subprime lender made it official a week ago.

Kerkorian: $4.5B Offer for Chrysler

Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian is making another bid for Chrysler, adding a new contender to the list of those vying to own the troubled automaker.

Public Cos. Sales, Profit Rally Slowed in 2006

Orange County's 75 largest public companies posted another round of sales and profit gains in 2006, though their surge tempered from the peak of the prior two years.

March Job Growth Strong, Jobless Rate Falls

The U.S. economy added a stronger-than-expected 180,000 new jobs in March, largely because of a bounceback in construction hiring, and job growth was stronger in the two prior months than previously thought.

Thursday, April 5

Beckman Buyout Target Gets Rival Offer

San Diego's Biosite Inc., set to be acquired by Fullerton-based Beckman Coulter Inc. for $1.55 billion, has received a competing bid from Inverness Medical Innovations Inc. of Waltham, Mass.

Jobless Claims Rise Amid Sluggish Growth

Newly laid-off workers signed up for unemployment benefits at a faster pace last week as companies try to cope with sluggish growth in the national economy.

Mulally Gets $28M Despite $12B Ford Loss

Ford Motor Co., which posted a loss of $12.7 billion last year, said on Thursday Chief Executive Alan Mulally received $28.18 million compensation in 2006, including an $18.5 million bonus.

AT & T; Open to Italian Partners

AT & T; says it is open to Italian partners in Telecom Italia as it and America Movil aim to buy a controlling interest in Italy's biggest telecoms operator, where investors are at loggerheads over the sacking of its chairman.

Wednesday, April 4

New Century Looks to Keep Workers to Lure Buyer

Irvine-based New Century Financial Corp. plans to keep a large number of loan officers who no longer are making loans to help it attract a buyer for its shuttered loan lending business.

Grocers Fight back at Union Strike Threat

Grocers Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons said on Wednesday they have entered an agreement giving them measures such as an employee lockout if grocery unions call a strike as they negotiate a new contract with workers in Southern California.

DaimlerChrysler: in Chrysler Sale Talks

DaimlerChrysler acknowledged for the first time on Wednesday it was talking with prospective buyers of its loss-making Chrysler Group unit, but would not commit itself to selling the U.S. business.

Executives' Outlook Slips on Subprime Woes

The region's subprime mortgage woes are weighing heavy on the minds of Orange County chief executives, business owners and managers.

Best Buy Profit Up; Circuit City Struggles

Best Buy Co. said on Wednesday that strong flat-panel TV sales helped quarterly profit top expectations, while smaller rival Circuit City Stores Inc. posted a loss after taking charges to close stores.

Corinthian Gets Boost From Analyst; Acquisition?

Shares of Corinthian Colleges Inc. got a boost early Wednesday after an analyst said the Santa Ana-based vocational college operator could benefit as more people return to school amid the slowing economy.

Slow Service Growth Latest Sign of Weakening Economy

Growth in the dominant U.S. service sector fell to a four-year low last month while the job market showed only modest improvement, according to reports on Wednesday that reinforced views of a weakening economy.

Tuesday, April 3

Nikko Cordial Investor Pressures Citi to Raise Offer

Orbis Investment Management, a major shareholder of Nikko Cordial Corp., stepped up pressure on Citigroup to raise its $14 billion bid for the Japanese broker by offering to sell its stake on the open market at a higher price.

Analyst Upgrades Quiksilver, Company 'Undervalued'

Shares of Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc. rose 6.5% Tuesday after an analyst upgraded the apparel maker saying it's undervalued by the market.

Chipmaker Mindspeed Warns on March Quarter

Newport Beach networking chipmaker Mindspeed Technologies Inc. on Tuesday lowered its outlook for the recently ended quarter, sending its shares down 6% on the news.

Cooper Cos. CEO Stepping Down at Year's End

Cooper Cos., a Lake Forest-based contact lens maker, will be looking for a chief executive soon.

February Pending Home Sales Index Up 0.7%

Pending sales of existing U.S. homes rose only narrowly in February as bad weather and weakness in the subprime lending sector put a crimp on the housing market, a real estate agents' trade association said on Tuesday.

Qualcomm: New Patent Suits Against Nokia

Qualcomm Inc. said on Tuesday it had filed two new lawsuits in the United States against Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone maker, alleging infringement of five patents.

Monday, April 2

REVIEW

AIR COMBAT USA - in Fullerton teaches basic pilot and dogfight training, then puts you in control of a series of air battles,

John Laing Signs Pact For Scholle Center HQ

Homebuilder John Laing Homes has struck a deal to move its headquarters to Scholle Center in Irvine

InSight's 87% Stock, $200M Debt Exchange is Official

InSight Health Services Holdings has offered creditors nearly all of the company in exchange for forgiving a huge amount of its debt, in the Healthcare column

New Century Files for Bankruptcy

Irvine-based New Century Financial Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday after weeks of speculation about an imminent filing.

St. Regis Hosting Elite Far Niente Winemaker Dinner

St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach and Taps in Brea are hosting some memorable dinners, in the Executive Dining column

Edgy Mickey

Walt Disney Co. is using one of its Anaheim stores as a test bed for a line of edgy toys geared toward adults

THEY SAY

The state's focus is shifting beyond the strip of land between the coast and its first line of mountain ranges

KUDOS

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses. on Walk of Stars in Anaheim. A look at people, companies and institutions

Western Digital Questions Arise in Hitachi Drive News

Questions for Western Digital arise on news of Hitachi closing a Mexico plant, in the Technology column

Restaurant Deals Led Investor to Midwestern Meat Processor

A Yorba Linda private equity firm picked up a meat processor for $127 million

Wachovia's Irvine Lease Part of Larger Push

Wachovia has a new centerpiece for its amassed empire in Orange County

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

Tribune Accepts $8.2B Offer From Zell

Tribune Co. has accepted a buyout offer from real estate investor Sam Zell in a deal valued at about $8.2 billion and plans to sell the Chicago Cubs at the end of this season, the media company said Monday.

Hansen Descendants Start Own Family Juice Business

Hansen descendants have started their own juice business, in the Small Business column

Investors Back Pair of Heart Device Makers

A couple of Orange County heart device makers landed more funding last week

Subprime Meltdown Weighs On Executives' Outlook

The region's subprime mortgage woes are weighing heavy on the minds of Orange County executives

Air Board Takes Aim at Pollution From Harbor Vessels

State air regulators are clamping down on pollution from commercial fishing vessels, ferries and other harbor craft, in Regulation Watch

Real Estate Watch: Research & Development

The research and development sector saw a steady 2006, slowing some in the fourth quarter. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

REAL ESTATE DEALS

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

CALENDAR

A listing of events happening all around Orange County

Makar Buying Hilton Anaheim

The Hilton Anaheim, the largest hotel in Orange County, is being sold to Newport Beach-based Makar Properties LLC.

T. Boone Pickens' Clean Energy Increases Public Offering Size

Seal Beach-based Clean Energy Fuels Inc. has upped the size of its pending public offering to $345 million from $287.5 million

Amelio Ascends at Jazz, Offers Business Outlook

Gil Amelio's calling the shots now,and he'll be giving investors an update on Jazz Technologies' outlook

Company Eyes Automakers, Dealers for Emergency Data

Roadside Telematics in Newport Beach has been working on a medic bracelet for your car, in the Marketplace column

First Data Accepts $25.6B Buyout

Credit card transaction processor First Data Corp. said Monday that it is being acquired by an affiliate of private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. for about $25.6 billion in cash.

PR Shop Zeno Opens Office To Be Near Kia, Ventura

Zeno Group opened an office in Irvine to be closer to Kia Motors America and another client, in the Media & Marketing column

Avanir's Unwinding

Aliso Viejo drug developer Avanir Pharmaceuticals tries to stop the bleeding after setbacks

CORPORATE GIGS

Pete Jacobs' Wartime Radio Revue and other bands know corporate gigs pay the bills

U.S. Manufacturing Expands in March

The nation's manufacturing sector expanded at a slower-than-expected pace in March but still extended its growth spurt into a second month, a trade group said Monday.

MARKET WATCH

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

Los Angeles Law Firm Hires From Greenberg To Open in Costa Mesa

A Los Angeles law firm has lured a partner and an associate from Greenberg Traurig to open a Costa Mesa office

One Less 'A' at Anaheim's Big A; Aitken for Edwards

One Less 'A' at Anaheim's Big A; Aitken for Edwards

OCBJ SUPPLEMENTS and GUIDES

EVENT PLANNING GUIDE 2007

Foreclosures to Rise on Subprime Fallout, Consultant Says

The effect of the subprime industry's meltdown could be worse than homebuilders are expecting, in the Real Estate column