Stories for December 2007

Monday, December 31

Fractious Dana Point Seeks to Redo Harbor, Downtown

Sleepy beach town Dana Point is growing, with some pains

READER LETTERS

Letters to the Editor. Mortgage Bailout; 1% Plan;

Existing Home Sales up in November

The pace of existing U.S. home sales edged up in November to a 5 million-unit annual rate and the median price fell from a year earlier, the National Association of Realtors said on Monday.

Rainbow Sandals Blings Up Flip-Flops

Jay Longley, owner of San Clemente-based Rainbow Sandals, has added some bling to his popular leather flip-flops.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

Spanish Newspaper Adds Section for Younger Readers

Excelsior newspaper wants to lure younger readers with its bilingual entertainment section, in the Media & Marketing column

Pimco, Merage, Sim Circle Over Mortgage Mess; Legal 'Brief'

Pimco, Merage, Sim Circle Over Mortgage Mess; Legal 'Brief'

REAL ESTATE DEALS

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

Home Sales Slump; Business Activity up

New home sales fell a steeper-than-expected 9% in November, but business activity elsewhere perked up this month, according to reports on Friday that showed pockets of strength in the economy despite a housing sector meltdown.

Businessperson of the Year: Masimo's Joe Kiani

Joe Kiani, chief executive of Masimo Corp., is the Business Journal's businessperson of the year for 2007 after taking the Irvine medical device maker public and having the best performing local stock of the past year.

At-Ease Plans Bigger Store at Crystal Cove Promenade

Men's retailer At-Ease will open a larger store at Crystal Cove, in the Marketplace column

Mortgage Applications Fall to Lowest in a Year

Mortgage applications sank last week to the lowest level since the end of last year despite falling borrowing costs, an industry trade group said on Thursday.

Wells Taps Bank Customers to Build Investing Operation

Wells Fargo is looking to cross-sell banking clients on its investment services

Wachovia may Face new Mortgage Writedowns

As more banks report writedowns tied to the global credit crunch, analysts say Wachovia Corp. may have losses lurking in an area that has garnered less investor attention.

Real Estate Watch: Investment Properties

A look at the 2007 commercial real estate market. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Report: IBM to buy Israeli Startup for $300M

IBM Corp. is in advanced talks to buy Israeli start-up XIV Information Systems for $300 million to $350 million, financial daily Globes reported on Monday.

GIVING

Fundraisers and charitable donations from companies and people

Bixby Land Tallied More than $600M in 2007 Buys

Bixby Land saw a busy year in 2007, in the Real Estate column

Allergan's Botox May Have a Cheaper Rival in Reloxin

Allergan's monopoly on the anti-wrinkle market could see some competition soon, in the Healthcare column

Report: Merrill Lynch Plans To Lay off 1,600

Merrill Lynch & Co. plans to announce about 1,600 layoffs after disclosing fourth-quarter writedowns.

Soap Star Primal Elements Expanding Product Offering

Soap maker Primal Elements is looking to expand its products, in the Small Business column

CALENDAR

A listing of events happening all around Orange County

Maguire's Leadership Unrest Costs It Leases

The unsettled struggle over who should run Maguire Properties is starting to give some tenants pause about signing leases with Orange County's second-largest office landlord

Law Firm Newmeyer & Dillion Growing Real Estate Practice

Newport Beach law firm Newmeyer & Dillion LLP is gearing up for more hiring despite its main practice being hit by a slowdown

Cymetrix On Track for Growth After Private Equity Infusion

Cymetrix tapped a private equity firm for its growth

Minimum Wage Increase Takes Effect This Week

For restaurant operators, retailers and others, the new year will ring in an unpleasant shock as California's minimum wage jumps for the second time in two years

Australia Chocolate Company Adapting to U.S. HQ in Tustin

Aussie company Chocolate Graphics International is looking to beef up its U.S. operation

Wireless Chipmaker Buying GPS Chip, Software Maker

Irvine startup u-Nav Microelectronics is being bought by Atheros Communications Inc. for $54 million, in the Technology column

Looking Back at Great Meals; Restaurants Lost, Gained

A look at OC dining during the past year, in the Executive Dining column

Subprime Greenspan

Subprime Greenspan. Plus - Predictions. Editorial by Rick Reiff

KUDOS

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

Device and Conquer

The Business Journal's businessperson of the year: Masimo's Joe Kiani

CES Caters to Consumers with Flash, Celebs

Las Vegas will be all tech next week at the annual International Consumer Electronics Show

Rainbow Sandals Goes Upscale; $50M in Sales

People are taking a liking to Rainbow Sandals "bling" flip-flops

AAA Cuts 40 Jobs at Costa Mesa HQ

Automobile Club of Southern California is cutting more than 40 jobs as part of a shift in resources

Companies Readying for Yearly CES Show

A handful of Orange County companies are readying for the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early January.

Thursday, December 27

Wall Street Down on Bhutto News, Economic Concerns

Stocks fell on Thursday after weaker-than-expected durable goods data raised concerns about the outlook for the economy and profits. Global political worries also rattled the market with news Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was killed in an att

Register Parent Delays Buyout of Private Equity Investors

The parent company of the Orange County Register has pushed back plans to buy out two private equity investors that took a sizable stake in the family-controlled company in 2004, according to the Wall Street Journal.

El Pollo Loco Gets $45M Private Equity Investment

Costa Mesa-based Mexican fast food chain El Pollo Loco Inc. raised $45 million in private equity funding from Los Angeles private equity firm Freeman Spogli & Co.

Durable Goods Weaker Than Expected in November

New orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rose by a much less-than-forecast 0.1% during November and a key gauge of corporate appetite for investment also unexpectedly shrank, government data on Thursday showed.

Housing Bailout Designed To Avoid Lawsuits but Won't

The Bush administration's strategy of having major lenders help design its plan to handle the subprime mortgage crisis means that it will avoid most litigation, but not all, according to lawyers who specialize in constitutional and contract law.

Wednesday, December 26

Minimum Wage Hike Leads 2008 Laws

For restaurant operators, retailers and others, the new year will ring in an unpleasant shock as California's minimum wage jumps for the second time in two years.

Berkshire To Pay $4.5B for Marmon Stake

Warren Buffett's investment company announced Tuesday it will pay $4.5 billion for 60% of Marmon Holdings Inc., a private company of more than 125 manufacturing and service businesses.

Report: Powerwave Could Benefit From AT & T; Spending

Santa Ana's Powerwave Technologies Inc., a maker of gear for cell phone towers that fell short of Wall Street's expectations in the third quarter, could see an uptick in business in the current quarter.

October Home Prices Post Record Decline

Home prices fell in October for the 10th consecutive month, posting their largest monthly drop since early 1991, a widely watched index showed on Wednesday.

Gordon, Others OK'd at Fremont General

Fremont General Corp. has received federal and state approval for its new executive management team at its Brea-based bank, Fremont Investment & Loan.

Monday, December 24

Wyeth Suing Teva Over Generic Protonix

A patent dispute over the heartburn drug Protonix escalated Monday when Wyeth said it will sue to recover lost profits from sales of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.'s generic version.

Businessperson of the Year on Tap

Happy holidays from the Orange County Business Journal. The next print edition of the Business Journal is set for Dec. 31, when we name our annual Businessperson of the Year, plus a handful of honorable mentions.

Merrill Lynch Raising up to $6.2B From Investors

Merrill Lynch & Co., hit by huge subprime mortgage losses, said on Monday it would boost its capital by raising up to $6.2 billion in a private placement with Singapore's Temasek Holdings and Davis Selected Advisers.

Airline MAXjet Files for Bankruptcy

MAXjet Airways ceased operations on Monday & #226; & #128;"leaving jets on tarmacs and stranding passengers on Christmas Eve & #226; & #128;"as the all-business class airline filed for bankruptcy protection.

Friday, December 21

Consumer Spending Surges in November

Consumers put aside worries about slumping home sales and soaring gasoline prices and headed to the malls in November, pushing spending up by the largest amount in 3 1/2 years.

Report: Merrill may get $5B from Singapore Investor

Merrill Lynch & Co. may get up to $5 billion in a capital infusion from Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

GPS Chipmaker GloNav Selling for $85M

Newport Beach chip startup GloNav Inc. is set to be bought for $85 million by NXP Semiconductors, the former chip arm of Royal Philips Electronics NV.

Nov. Employment Up from Oct., Down From Year Earlier

Orange County gained jobs in November from October as retailers added workers for the holidays, though employment was down from a year earlier.

SEC Probing Washington Mutual

The Securities and Exchange Commission is probing how Washington Mutual Inc., the nation's largest savings and loan, handled mortgages that were possibly based on inflated home appraisals.

Thursday, December 20

Bear Stearns Posts Q4 Loss

Bear Stearns Cos., the No. 5 U.S. investment bank, said Thursday a bigger-than-expected writedown in its mortgage portfolio caused the first quarterly loss in the company's 84-year history.

Economy: Q3 Strong, Jobless Claims up

The U.S. economy grew at its fastest rate in four years during the third quarter, the government confirmed on Thursday, but a surge in new claims for jobless benefits showed the labor market is softening.

Broadcom Pushes for Qualcomm Investigation

Irvine-based chipmaker Broadcom Corp. is pushing a federal trade agency to investigate San Diego rival Qualcomm Inc. for allegedly skirting a ban on some of its chips.

MBIA Says it has $30.6B Exposure to CDOs

MBIA Inc., the world's largest bond insurer, said it has exposure to $30.6 billion in complex mortgage securities that it insures, an amount that eclipses its entire net worth.

U.S. Regulators OK $3.1B Google-DoubleClick Deal

U.S. antitrust regulators approved Google Inc.'s $3.1 billion purchase of DoubleClick Inc. Thursday, removing a key obstacle to a formidable combination in the burgeoning online advertising sector.

Impac Mortgage Slumps After Reporting Huge Loss

Shares of Irvine-based Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc. were down nearly 20% Friday as investors weighed in with concerns about the company's future after it report a staggering net loss a day earlier.

Valeant Sells Hepatitis C Drug

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International said Thursday that it will sell Infergen, a hepatitis C drug, to Three Rivers Pharmaceuticals LLC for $91.3 million.

Key Downey Financial Director Stepping Down

Downey Financial Corp. vice chairman Cheryl Olson,daughter of chairman and dominant owner Maurice McAlister,is leaving the board of the Newport Beach-based savings and loan operator.

Wednesday, December 19

Report: Emulex Acquisitions, Design Wins Could Boost Sales

Costa Mesa's Emulex Corp.'s acquisitions and market share gains should continue driving sales growth, according to a report from a Banc of America Securities analyst.

Fed Auctions off $20B at 4.65%

The Federal Reserve said on Wednesday it auctioned $20 billion in a special operation to thaw credit markets at an interest rate of 4.65%, a higher-than-expected rate that suggested banks were eager to pad their cash reserves.

U.S. Foreclosure Filings up 68% in Nov.

U.S. homeowners increasingly failed to keep up with their home loan payments in November, as the number of foreclosure filings surged 68% nationwide compared with the same month a year ago, according to a mortgage research company.

Morgan Stanley Posts Loss on Writedown

Morgan Stanley, the No. 2 U.S. investment bank, reported a $9.4 billion writedown on Wednesday from bad bets on mortgage-related debt, leading it to take a $5 billion infusion from an arm of the Chinese government.

Norsk Hydro 4Q Earnings Plunge 68%

Oil and aluminum group Norsk Hydro ASA said Monday fourth-quarter profit fell 68% as the company reported earnings a day earlier than scheduled after financial information was leaked.

Ceradyne Gets $18M Order for Military Vehicles

Costa Mesa-based Ceradyne Inc. said Wednesday the Pentagon has ordered 20 of its new armored cars for soldiers in Iraq.

Tuesday, December 18

November Home Starts Down 3.7%

Home building projects started in November fell by 3.7% as the pace of single-family home construction was the slowest in more than 16 years, a government report on Tuesday showed.

Home Sales Drop 45% in November, Southern California Sets 20-Year Low

Orange County home prices inched up in November from October, but still remain well below prices of year earlier, while the pace of sales in the county remained slow.

Fed Proposes new Mortgage Protections

The Federal Reserve Board on Tuesday proposed new protections for high-cost mortgage borrowers to avoid a repeat of the loose lending standards that have put many Americans at risk of losing their homes.

Fletcher Jones, GM Starting Temecula Dealership

To many, Fletcher "Ted" Jones Jr. is the face of Fletcher Jones Motorcars Inc., the Newport Beach Mercedes-Benz dealership that features him in its commercials.

Embarq's Hesse new Sprint Nextel CEO

Sprint Nextel Corp. on Tuesday named Dan Hesse, the chief executive officer of wireline company Embarq Corp., as its new chief executive officer, effective immediately.

Assembly Passes Landmark Healthcare Bill

Landmark health insurance legislation that would extend coverage to millions of California's uninsured residents was approved by the Assembly late Monday afternoon on a 46-31 vote.

Advanced Medical Moving Laser Gear Production

Advanced Medical Optics Inc. said Tuesday that it is moving production of recently acquired lasers to correct vision from Irvine to plants in the Bay area and Puerto Rico.

Developer Olen Cancels Irvine Apartment Plans

Newport Beach-based Olen Properties Corp. has withdrawn plans for building close to 900 apartments around John Wayne Airport in Irvine, the latest sign of a cooling market for local home developers.

Monday, December 17

Chipmaker Invests $4M in Plant, Ramps Up For More Business

Chipmaker Semicoa Semiconductors is ramping up production at its Costa Mesa plant after seeing bigger demand from aerospace and defense contractors

Acer Grabs Notebook Market Share with Gateway Buy

Taiwan's Acer,with Irvine's Gateway and Europe's Packard Bell,grabbed market share from the top two computer makers during the third quarter, in the Technology column

Crow Bar and Kitchen Expands the Gastropub Title

Orange County is getting into the gastropub game with Crow Bar and Kitchen, in the Executive Dining column

Source: Ford set to Pick Jaguar Frontrunner in Days

Ford Motor Co. is set to choose a frontrunner to buy European brands Jaguar and Land Rover around the end of this week as it moves towards a sale early in 2008, said a person close to the matter on Monday.

Pacific Sunwear Looks to Surf Roots for Sales

Wall Street's pleased that Pacific Sunwear is getting back to its surf roots

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

Boeing Closes on 60-Acre Sale to Panattoni

Boeing Co. has closed on a deal to sell 60 acres of industrial and office space it owns in Anaheim to Sacramento-based developer Panattoni Development Co.

Developer Olen Cancels Irvine Apartment Plans

Newport Beach-based Olen Properties is the latest developer to withdraw housing plans

OCBJ SUPPLEMENTS and GUIDES

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2007

Apria Jumps on Analyst Note

Shares of Apria Healthcare Group Inc. shot up Monday after a UBS analyst upgraded the stock based on easing concerns about Medicare reimbursement.

Aon to Sell two Units, Boost Buyback

Aon Corp., one of the world's largest insurance brokers, said on Monday it has agreed to sell two units for about $2.75 billion and will use the proceeds to buy back shares.

Bank Startup Plans to Use Record $52M Funding To Stay Local

A Newport Beach bank startup has raised a record $52 million and hopes to have staying power in Southern California

Real Estate Watch: North & Central Orange County

The North and Central Orange County industrial markets have managed to steer clear of the doom-and-gloom predictions. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Datallegro Grows on Pacts With EMC, Dell, Others

Datallegro has wrangled partnerships with some of the biggest names in data storage

READER LETTERS

A big thank you to San Clemente residents for their help during October's San Diego fires, in Letters

AROUND THE COUNTY

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

Direct Mailer Relocates HQ; More Hiring Plans

A direct mail company has moved into bigger space in Garden Grove in a bid to grow the company,

Epicor Buying Software Maker for $323M

Epicor Software Inc. said Monday it plans to buy Quebec-based NSB Retail Systems PLC for $322.9 million.

Black Starr: Friedman to Oversee Jeweler's Expansion

Michael Friedman will head the expansion of jeweler Black Starr & Frost, which has a shop at South Coast Plaza, in the Marketplace column

LOOKING AHEAD

Predictions for Orange County's economy call for declines, gains or little change from a year earlier, depending on the industry.

Ingersoll-Rand Buys Trane for $10.1B

Ingersoll-Rand Co. will acquire Trane Inc. in a $10.1 billion deal that would create one of the world's largest makers of air conditioners, the two companies announced Monday.

REAL ESTATE DEALS

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

Local Investors Dropping Money in Houston Buildings

The number of Orange County companies making plays in Houston has grown recently, in the Real Estate column

Edwards Sells Off Vessel Treatment to Focus on Valves

Edwards is selling its treatment for diseased blood vessels for $140 million, in the Healthcare column

Vans, Skechers Locked in Legal Fight over Shoe Pattern

Two Southern California shoe companies have gone to war over a checkerboard pattern,even though the black-and-white design can be found on more than a dozen other shoes

Fletcher Jones, GM Starting Temecula Dealership

Fletcher Jones' owner is selling an ownership stake in a new dealership to his right-hand man

Truckers Can't Come Up with Alternative to Clean Air Plan

More than 1,000 port trucking companies face the possibility of going out of business thanks to a clean air plan

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Carl's Jr. Getting New Office in Anaheim

Redevelopment plans are moving ahead at one of Anaheim's business landmarks

Y & R; Scores Big Accounts, Celebrating Las Vegas Style

Young & Rubicam Brands has worked hard this past year. Now it's time to party, in the Media & Marketing column

MARKET WATCH

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

GIVING

Fundraisers and charitable donations from companies and people

CALENDAR

A listing of events happening all around Orange County

Friday, December 14

Boeing gets $2.3B order from lease firm AWAS

Boeing Co. said on Friday aircraft leasing company AWAS has placed an order for 31 single-aisle 737 planes worth about $2.3 billion at list prices.

I-Flow Buying Company for $25M

I-Flow Corp., a Lake Forest maker of post-surgery pain control devices, said Friday that it is going to buy AcryMed Inc. of Beaverton, Oregon, for $25 million in cash.

Inflation hottest in two years

Consumer prices rose the most in more than two years in November as energy costs surged and a host of other prices marched higher, damping prospects of further interest-rate cuts from the Federal Reserve.

Corinthian Selling Canadian Campuses

Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges Inc. is selling 12 Canadian schools to Eminata Group, a Canadian operator of vocational schools.

Fannie CEO: housing trouble until 2009

The chief executive of Fannie Mae told shareholders Friday that he does not expect a recovery for the ailing U.S. housing market until 2009, and that the mortgage-finance company is strong enough to ride out the storm.

Medical Device Maker Withdraws IPO

Devax Inc., a Lake Forest medical device maker, has withdrawn plans for its $85 million initial public offering.

Downey Down on Rise in Bad Mortgages

Shares of Newport Beach-based savings and loan operator Downey Financial Corp. fell Friday after the company reported another rise in bad mortgages.

Thursday, December 13

Countrywide Nov. Loan Funding Drops 40%

Countrywide Financial Corp. said on Thursday that mortgage loan funding tumbled 40% to $23 billion in November, sending its shares down nearly 4% before the market opened.

Trade Judge Rules for Nokia over Qualcomm

Nokia won a round in one of its many patent battles with chip maker Qualcomm Inc. as a judge with the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled for the mobile telephone maker this week.

H & R; Block Could Have to Raise Money to Offset Option One

Irvine's Option One Mortgage Corp. continues to haunt Kansas City-based tax preparer H & R; Block Inc. as the company said Thursday it may need to raise money to offset losses and charges from closing subprime lender Option One.

Lufthansa pays $300M for JetBlue stake

Germany's biggest airline, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said Thursday it is paying $300 million for a 19% stake in JetBlue Airways Corp., whose stock has lost about half its value since an operational meltdown last Valentine's Day.

U-Nav Being Bought for $54M

Irvine startup U-Nav Microelectronics Inc., a maker of GPS chips and software, is set to be bought by Santa Clara-based Atheros Communications Inc. for $54 million.

November Retail Sales Jump 1.2%

Sales at retailers posted a much stronger-than-expected 1.2% rise in November, government data showed on Thursday, as holiday shoppers coped with high energy costs and the fallout from a housing slump.

Green Power Consultant Raises $20M

Costa Mesa-based Energy and Power Solutions Inc. has raised $20 million for its environmental consulting, design and construction business.

Quiksilver Slumps on Lowered Outlook

Wall Street's enthusiasm for a turnaround at Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc. faded Thursday as the company forecast a loss for the three months through January and lower-than-expected profits for the 12 months through next October.

Wednesday, December 12

Irvine Co. Plans More Newport Homes, Offices

The Irvine Company has received approval from Newport Beach to build more than 400 homes and additional offices near its headquarters in Newport Center.

Bank of America sees Disappointing Q4

Bank of America Corp. expects its fourth-quarter results to be disappointing due to write-downs and lower trading revenue, Chief Executive Ken Lewis said on Wednesday.

Quiksilver Rises on Analyst's Note

Shares of Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc. rose nearly 8% on Wednesday after an analyst said the company's strategy will help results.

Fed Teams with Central Banks on Credit

The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday it planned to offer $40 billion in emergency funds to other central banks next week through an auction process to deal with the global credit crunch.

Developer Olenicoff Strikes Plea Settlement in Tax Case

Igor Olenicoff, founder and president of Newport Beach-based Olen Properties Corp., plead guilty Wednesday to a charge relating to the billionaire developer's long-running tax dispute with the government.

Maguire Properties to Consider Sale

Maguire Properties Inc., Orange County's second-biggest office landlord, said it has formed a special committee to focus on strategic alternatives, including a potential sale of the company.

Cooper Falls on Profit Forecast

Shares of Cooper Cos. were on pace to hit a new low Wednesday after the company forecasted a lower than expected profit for the 12 months ending October 2008.

Report: Retail Season off to Solid Start

Holiday sales were off to a strong start, according to data from SpendingPulse released on Wednesday, easing concerns about a possible sharp pullback in consumer spending this season.

Tuesday, December 11

Smith Micro Shares Jump on Acquisition

Shares of Aliso Viejo software maker Smith Micro Inc. soared Tuesday as Wall Street gave a thumbs up to its $60 million cash buyout of a unit of Chicago's PCTEL Inc.

Fed Cuts Interest Rate

The Federal Reserve cut a key interest rate by one-quarter of a percentage point Tuesday, trying to keep the country out of recession.

As Credit Crisis Festers, Fed Set To Cut Rates

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to cut interest rates on Tuesday by at least a quarter-percentage point to fortify the economy against a credit crunch and housing slump that some economists fear could bring a recession.

Unisource Moving L.A. Workers to La Palma

One of the country's largest paper suppliers is shipping its entire Los Angeles operation to its bigger and more modern La Palma warehouse.

H & R; Block Stock Down After Loss Wider Than Expected

H & R; Block Inc., slammed over the past year by exposure to risky mortgages, on Tuesday reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss after shutting down its Irvine-based Option One Mortgage subprime lender, sending its shares down nearly 7%.

Conrad Black Gets 6.5 Years in Jail

A U.S. judge sentenced former media mogul Conrad Black on Monday to 6-1/2 years in prison for obstructing justice and defrauding shareholders in one-time newspaper publishing empire Hollinger International Inc., and ordered him to report to prison in 12 w

Monday, December 10

REAL ESTATE DEALS

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

Woodworker Now Builds for Disney, Cheesecake Factory

Pacific Westline generates about $13 million in yearly sales making furniture and wood, metal, glass and stone fixtures for restaurants, in the Small Business column

Deal of the Year Struck By Blizzard, Activision

A complex $19 billion deal is set to form the world's biggest video game company.

Napa Rose GM Passes Tough Grand Sommelier Exam

The general manager and sommelier of OC's Napa Rose has just garnered one of the most prestigious titles in the wine world, in the Executive Dining column

Perry Ellis Works to Revive Gotcha's Cool Factor

Perry Ellis is working to bring back surfwear maker Gotcha's cool factor

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

VIEWPOINT

After decades on the political sidelines, liberalism is making a comeback.

Unisource Moving L.A. Workers to La Palma

One of the country's largest paper suppliers is shipping its entire Los Angeles operation to its bigger and more modern La Palma warehouse

Picture Perfect

The Pageant of the Masters is the picture of profitability

All Cylinders

All Cylinders. Mitsubishi has bounced back from earlier financial woes.

MARKET WATCH

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

High Fashion

Orange County now has its very own brand of jeans

GE Consolidates Two Offices in Jamboree Center

General Electric's consolidating two of its big local offices at Irvine's Jamboree Center

Realtors' Forecast Bucks Common Wisdom

Bucking conventional wisdom, a trade group for real estate agents on Monday said the battered housing market is on the verge of stabilizing and inched up its outlook for 2007 and 2008 home sales.

Axiom Speeds Growth with Funding, Move, New Execs

An Irvine startup is making headway in a bid to get its chips in cell phones

UCI Medical Continues Chief Executive Search

UCI Medical still is on the hunt for a chief executive

Increased Broadband Use Could Add 186,000 Jobs

The popularity of broadband Internet could spur job growth in Orange County

OCBJ SUPPLEMENTS and GUIDES

EXECUTIVE HEALTH & FITNESS 2007

UBS Makes $10B Writedown, Raises New Capital

Swiss bank UBS announced $10 billion in fresh subprime writedowns on Monday and said it had obtained a huge injection of fresh capital from a Singapore government entity and an unnamed Middle East investor.

REVIEW

"A Christmas Carol"

Analyst: Beckman Could Gain From Streamlining

Shares of Fullerton-based Beckman Coulter Inc. rose Monday after an analyst said the maker of medical testing equipment could boost profits by streamlining operations.

AROUND THE COUNTY

Projects, development and other activities in and around OC

Beckman Joins Push for More Medicare Money

Beckman Coulter is gearing up to push for Medicare to pay more for medical diagnostic tests run on its machines

Real Estate Woes Worsen; Nobelist Opts for Lease

Real Estate Woes Worsen; Nobelist Opts for Lease

Kofax Image Links with HP to Integrate, Sell Software

Irvine's Kofax Image Products inked a deal with top PC maker Hewlett-Packard, in the Technology column

UnitedHealth Plans to Hit Profit Target, Grow in 2008

It looks like UnitedHealth is making good on its strong profit expectations for 2007, in the Healthcare column

Lennar Sells 19,000 Sites, Others May Follow Suit

Lennar's decision to sell 11,000 lots for homes could prompt other big homebuilders to make similar land sales

Analysis: Midsize Industrial Deal Volume Drops Off

Recent data suggests the market for midsize industrial tenants is seeing the least amount of activity, in the Real Estate column

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

How We Did

The Business Journal Assesses its 2007 Picks to Watch

Smith Micro Buying PCTEL for $60M

Shares of Aliso Viejo software maker Smith Micro Inc jumped in afterhours trading after the company said it's set to pay $60 million for a unit of Chicago's PCTEL Inc.

Boeing Pushes Unmanned Submarine

Boeing's Anaheim operation may have finally come up with something the Pentagon will want

Ingram's Own Brand

The biggest distributor of technology products is making a push for its own line of computer-related gear

FINANCE - IN BRIEF

Gross: 'Tumultuous' 2008, Rates at 3% or Lower

KUDOS

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

UnitedHealth, Brocade Change Options Landscape

Companies and executives facing allegations of stock-options backdating may have to change defense tactics against a widespread government crackdown after a major conviction and a record-setting settlement in two key cases this past week.

Real Estate Watch: Airport/Central Coast Area

The airport area manufacturing and warehouse leasing market experienced lower demand and increasing vacancy levels in the third quarter. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

XPR Moves to Bigger Space After Nabbing New Clients

PR and marketing shop XPR has moved into bigger digs after bringing in some new clients, in the Media & Marketing column

Quest Up on Filing of Delayed 2006 Results

Shares of Aliso Viejo-based Quest Software Inc., a maker of business software, closed higher Monday after the company filed results after a long-running probe into misdated stock options.

Black Starr Owner Trying to Restore Jeweler's Cachet

The owner of jeweler Black Starr & Frost is looking to build up its cachet, in the Marketplace column

Business of Beauty

The founder of a mineral makeup company is looking to grow the business just months after selling a majority stake to a private equity firm

Friday, December 7

Solid Job Gains, Wage Growth in Nov.

Employers added a modest 94,000 jobs to their payrolls in November, the unemployment rate held steady at 4.7% and wages grew briskly, encouraging signs the nation's employment climate is holding up in the face of turbulence in the housing and credit marke

Cell Phone Chip Startup Gains Ground With Vodafone

Irvine startup Axiom Microdevices Inc. is making headway in a bid to get its chips in cell phones after a rocky start in the past few years.

Edwards: Higher 2008 Profit, Selling Off LifeStent

Irvine-based Edwards Lifesciences Corp. said Friday that it expects higher profits in 2008 and is making moves to focus on its core heart valve operations.

Consumer Confidence Near 2-Year Low

Consumer confidence barely budged from a two-year low as housing troubles, a credit crunch, high energy prices and turbulence on Wall Street continue to make people uneasy about the economy and their own financial situations.

Macrovision to Buy Gemstar-TV Guide for $2.8B

Shares of Macrovision and Gemstar plunged Friday as investors soured quickly on a deal that would have the media technology company buyout the television listings business for $2.8 billion in cash and stock.

Ex-UnitedHealth CEO settles with SEC

Getting former CEO William McGuire to give back hundreds of millions of dollars in tainted stock options cures one of UnitedHealth's biggest headaches from its backdating scandal. But there are others.

Gigante Deal Includes Anahiem, Other Southland Stores

Mexican retailer Grupo Gigante Grupo Gigante SA de CV, which has its U.S. headquarters in Santa Ana, is selling its 200-plus stores in Mexico and Southern California.

Jobs Added But Consumers Gloomy

Employers added 94,000 jobs in November, the Labor Department said on Friday in a report showing a slowdown in job creation in recent months that raises chances for a modest cut in interest rates next week.

Thursday, December 6

Bush Set To Unveil Mortgage Relief Plan

President George Bush is expected to unveil a plan on Thursday to prevent a wave of home loan foreclosures that has threatened to knock the U.S. economy into recession and rattled investors worldwide.

Mixed Nov. Same-Store Sales for PacSun, Wet Seal

Orange County's two mall retailers took different paths in November as Anaheim's Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. posted a gain in sales at stores open at least a year and Foothill Ranch-based Wet Seal Inc. saw a decline.

Shareholders Approve NNN, Grubb & Ellis Deal

Santa Ana-based real estate investor NNN Realty Advisors Inc.'s buy of Chicago-based brokerage Grubb & Ellis Co. was approved by both companies' shareholders on Thursday.

House Prices Seen Falling 30%

Housing markets from Punta Gorda, Fla., to Stockton, Calif., will crash and suffer price drops of more than 30% before the housing crisis is over, a report from Moody's Economy.com said on Thursday.

New York Subpoenas Wall St on Mortgages

New York state prosecutors have sent subpoenas to Wall Street firms seeking information related to the packaging and selling of debt tied to high-risk mortgages, according to a perrson familiar with the matter.

UCI Unveils Plans for $40.5M Medical Education Building

The University of California, Irvine School of Medicine is spending $40.5 million on a medical education building.

Wednesday, December 5

Gross Sees 'Tumultuous' 2008

2008 will be "tumultuous" and the Federal Reserve may need to bring its interest rate below 3%, bond fund manager Bill Gross of Newport Beach-based Pacific Investment Management Co. said.

Fannie Cutting Dividend, Selling Stock

Fannie Mae has joined rival mortgage financer Freddie Mac in cutting its dividend and selling billions of dollars worth of special stock to raise capital to cushion against mounting losses from high-risk home loans.

Western Digital Ups Outlook, Shares Jump

Shares of Lake Forest disk drive maker Western Digital Corp. soared Wednesday after the company upped its earnings expectations for the current quarter.

Source: Bush to Outline 5-year Rate Freeze Plan

President George W. Bush will outline on Thursday a plan to freeze mortgage rates for five years for many homeowners facing sharp interest-rate resets, an industry source said on Wednesday.

Advanced Medical Adds Activist Investor to Board

Advanced Medical Optics Inc. said Wednesday that it elected two new directors, including one from ValueAct Capital Partners LP, an activist hedge fund that's the Santa Ana company's largest stockholder.

Chapman: Recession, Local Job Losses in 2008

Chapman University is predicting a national recession with the first decline in jobs locally in five years in 2008.

Private Sector Adds 189,000 Jobs in November

Private employers added 189,000 jobs in November, a report by a private employment service said on Wednesday, much higher than market expectations and the biggest monthly increase in a year.

Tuesday, December 4

Ford Reduces His Stake in Downey

Billionaire Texas investor Gerald J. Ford on Tuesday said he reduced his stake in Newport Beach-based thrift Downey Financial Corp. to 4.9% from 6.8%.

Paulson: Mortgage Plan Ready This Week

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said he hoped a plan to spare homeowners facing mortgage-rate spikes would be ready by week's end and expressed faith the economy would dodge recession despite the deep housing slump.

Game Industry in Play After Blizzard Deal

The video game industry faces the prospect of more consolidation after the surprise move by French media conglomerate Vivendi SA to buy a majority stake in U.S. game publisher Activision Inc.

Impac Gets NYSE Warning Letter

Irvine-based Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc. said on Tuesday it has received notice from the regulators of the New York Stock Exchange that the company's slumping stock could be delisted from the prestigious exchange unless its share price improves.

Option One Sale Falls Through

Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management has backed away from a deal to buy Irvine-based Option One Mortgage Corp., according to the subprime lender's parent company, H & R; Block Inc.

Countrywide CEO: Bankruptcy Not an Option

Countrywide Financial Corp. Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo said he doesn't expect the largest U.S. mortgage lender to file for bankruptcy protection, saying the "elements are certainly not there."

Monday, December 3

It's About Time

Timeshares making a comeback here

Youthful Discretion

Aliso Viejo is a masterplanned success with some growing pains

More Tourist Shoppers Help South Coast Plaza

More tourists shopping at South Coast Plaza helps high-end importers' sales, in the Marketplace column

GIVING

Fundraisers and charitable donations from companies and people

Shoemaker Moves Portland Office to Aliso Viejo

American Sporting Goods moves Portland office to Aliso Viejo

Real Estate Watch: South Orange County

Industrial space stays strong in South Orange County as office struggles. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Former Lawyer, Partner Start Site to Track Gift Cards

A former lawyer and her partner start a Web site to track gift cards, in the Technology column

Paulson Outlines Mortgage Aid Plan

State and local governments should be permitted to issue tax-exempt bonds that would fund programs to prevent foreclosures, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said on Monday.

OCBJ SUPPLEMENTS and GUIDES

HUMAN RESOURCES GUIDE - DEC. 2007

Biggest Nonprofits Post Gain in Sales; Less Giving in 2008

Biggest nonprofits post a gain in revenue; less giving seen in 2008

Report: Manufacturing Growth Slipped in Nov.

Growth in factory activity slipped in November to the lowest since January as tight credit conditions and the housing downturn restrained production, according to an industry report released on Monday.

Britain's Tesco Starts Small in U.S. To Win Big

British retailer Tesco's new U.S. venture Fresh & Easy, which stores open and planned in Orange County, has unveiled ambitious expansion plans including wanting shoppers in the urban centers it targets never to be more than a mile from one of its stores.

Building Supplier Thompson Aims To Keep Growing; Corona Move?

Orange-based building supplier Thompson Enterprises could move to Corona

VIEWPOINT

It's time to stop California's plan for high-speed rail, in Viewpoint

Buck Johns, Victorville Plugging into Hybrid Power; China Critic

Buck Johns, Victorville Plugging into Hybrid Power; China Critic

Escape From the Strip to Find Las Vegas' Best Eateries

A look at the best restaurants off The Strip in Las Vegas, in the Executive Dining column

CALENDAR

A listing of events happening all around Orange County

LIVING

REVIEW: Playing the new Pelican Hill Golf Course

Blizzard, Activision Combine in Local Deal of the Year

Irvine's Blizzard Entertainment Inc., the top maker of video games played on the Web, is combining with Santa Monica-based Activision Inc. in a complex $19 billion deal that's set to form the world's biggest video game company.

REAL ESTATE DEALS

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

Downey Gets Big Investor; Loan Woes Could Be Issue

Downey Financial lands a big investor. Could sale speculation be for real

Valeant Losing Tyson Recruit to Canadian Drug Maker

Valeant is losing a key recruit to a Canadian drug maker, in the Healthcare column

Kingston Turns $1B Flash Into Own Unit

Kingston starts a division around its $1 billion flash memory business

Apria Down on Medicare Concerns

Shares of Lake Forest-based Apria Healthcare Group Inc. fell Monday as an analyst said that a proposed Medicare bill could hurt home healthcare providers.

Hank Blank: Agency Reviews Reveal Shops' Mistakes

Hank Blank highlights the common mistakes ad shops make when seeking out business, in the Media & Marketing column

Panel Backs Reduction in Harbor Emissions

A California panel backs a cut in harbor emissions, in Regulation Watch

Wet Seal Up on Turnaround Plan

Shares of Foothill Ranch-based mall retailer Wet Seal Inc. got a boost Monday after analysts responded to the company's turnaround plan.

Greenlaw Partners Buys Office in Platinum Triangle

Greenlaw Partners buys an office tower in the Platinum Triangle, in the Real Estate column

Software Maker Memeo Raising Second Round

Software startup Memeo set to close on venture funding

Roth Capital Finds Niche: Stock Sales for Chinese Companies

Roth Capital finds niche in selling stock for Chinese companies

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Despite Slowing Economy, Hospital Projects Deliver

Orange County's hospital building boom starts to deliver

Tarsadia Eyes Building Luxe Anaheim Hotels

Tarsadia Hotels plans to build two high-end hotels in Anaheim

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

Selling Its Story

Bella Terra mall tries to sell identity after a major remodel