Stories for September 2007
Friday, September 28
Irvine chipmaker Broadcom Corp. has a new legal adversary at rival Qualcomm Inc.
3Com Corp., a maker of networking hardware and software, will be sold to affiliates of private equity firm Bain Capital Partners LLC for $2.2 billion in cash, 3Com said Friday.
The two remaining founders at New Century Financial Corp. of Irvine have resigned from the bankrupt mortgage lender's board.
Newport Beach's The Irvine Company has bought Regents Square, a three-building office complex in La Jolla.
The probability of a recession in the United States has increased but is still less than 50/50, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said in comments broadcast on Friday.
Thursday, September 27
The U.S. economy grew at a slightly slower but brisk 3.8% annual rate in the second quarter, and fresh signs of a surprisingly buoyant job market emerged last week, government reports on Thursday showed.
KB Home on Thursday posted a loss on write-downs for land values, and revenue fell 32%, reflecting the swelling supply of homes and tighter standards in the mortgage market that kept potential buyers on the sidelines.
One of the country's top electrical contractors is moving its headquarters to Orange County.
New-homes sales tumbled in August to the lowest level in seven years, a stark sign that the credit crunch is aggravating an already painful housing slump.
Fullerton-based Beckman Coulter Inc., a maker of medical testing gear and supplies, has signed a $10 million contract with a Midwestern laboratory operator.
David Einhorn, head of New York-based activist hedge fund operator Greenlight Capital Inc., has sold his remaining stake in bankrupt subprime mortgage lender New Century Financial Corp.
Wednesday, September 26
Ista Pharmaceuticals Inc., an Irvine eye drug maker, said Wednesday that it paid $2 million for U.S. rights to an allergy drug.
The United Auto Workers union and General Motors Corp. reached a tentative contract on Wednesday, ending a national strike by 73,000 workers with a groundbreaking deal that includes a health-care trust fund.
Bank of America Corp. said it will lay off about 2,500 workers in Illinois and 1,500 in Michigan over the next two years in connection with its $21 billion purchase of LaSalle Bank Corp.
Shares of Irvine-based accounting consultant company Resources Connection Inc. fell 23% on Wednesday, a day after reporting quarterly profits and sales that were short of Wall Street expectations.
Irvine-based Lantronix Inc., a maker of networking gear, said Wednesday its chief executive is set to resign.
Demand for big-ticket manufactured goods plunged in August by the largest amount in seven months, with widespread weakness signaling a slowdown in the nation's industrial sector.
Tuesday, September 25
Virgin Mobile USA Inc, a venture of Sprint Nextel Corp. and Virgin Group, filed on Tuesday for an initial public offering of up to $467.5 million to raise money to repay debt and for general purposes.
Consumer confidence fell more sharply than expected in September while the pace of existing home sales swooned in August.
Apparel companies, technology consultants and an avocado distributor were among the companies honored at the Business Journal's first fast-growing private companies luncheon in Irvine.
Qualcomm Inc. said on Tuesday it would beat its target for fiscal fourth quarter earnings and would meet or beat the high end of its target revenue range.
Lennar Corp., the Florida-based homebuilder with its operational headquarters in Aliso Viejo, reported a big quarterly loss Tuesday as it accounted for land and homes that aren't as valuable as they used to be.
A change of strategy is at hand for Irvine-based auto financier United PanAm Financial Corp.
Monday, September 24
Dell Inc. announced a deal Monday to launch a retail presence in China by selling computers through the country's biggest chain of electronics stores as it struggles to capture a bigger share of the booming market.
Fullerton-based Beckman Coulter Inc.'s 12% stock run-up since July is good enough, according to an analyst that downgraded the maker of medical testing gear on Monday.
Quest Software might be seeing some light after its dark options scandal
A look at the corporate culture of Costa Mesa's Automobile Club of Southern California
Commercial Bank of California is looking to tap the county's manufacturing base with an office in Brea
Birtcher Anderson has teamed up with GE's real estate unit for a local buy
Architects Strive to Learn Green Building. Slowdown in Housing Gives Firms Time to Get Ahead of Client Demand.
One of the country's top electrical contractors is moving its headquarters to OC
Irvine-based homebuilder Standard Pacific Corp. said Monday its board cut its quarterly cash dividend amid the housing slump.
Habitat for Humanity is hosting its charitable event at one of Laguna's legendary restaurants, in the Executive Dining column
The default rate on U.S. mortgages is stabilizing, an American housing official said Monday, adding she didn't expect last week's cut in U.S. interest rates to significantly affect the number of defaults.
Is The Sky Falling? Commentary by Wallace Walrod, vice president of research at the Orange County Business Council in Irvine.
Sybron's seeing a more operations focus after being acquired by Danaher
A state agency has opted not,yes, not,to impose indoor heat illness requirements on businesses.
Triple Net's healthcare real estate unit has bought a medical office building in Long Beach, in the Healthcare column
The 314-room Radisson Maingate in Anaheim is set to be acquired by Red Lion Hotels Corp. for undisclosed terms.
A pair of developers has pulled back from condo plans in Irvine
Lennar Going Slow, But Not Retreating; Chemerinsky, Cont'd
Strong sales continue to spur absorption of industrial space in West County. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates
Falling Bridges Catch Engineers' Attention. Local Firms Expect More Business From Infrastructure Bonds, Inspections
Manu Shah is a tiny man behind a big stone company
A look at people, companies and institutions receiving awards, accolades, grants and other honors
Fashion Island's getting OC's first Pinkberry, in the Marketplace column
Advanced Medical Optics is back selling its Complete contact lens solution
The United Auto Workers has launched a national strike against General Motors Corp., GM spokesman Dan Flores said Monday. It's the first nationwide strike during auto contract negotiations since 1976.
A German network security services company is looking to tap the county's slew of businesses, in the Technology column
Nexus is well under way with construction of its $350 million condominium project,sales are another story
The county's brands pushed everything from "green" clothing to revamped sunglasses and other garb at ASR, in the Media & Marketing column
Orange County's getting its own version of "The Apprentice," in the Real Estate column
Friday, September 21
Orange County's unemployment rate continued to inch up in August to 4.2%, up from 4.1% in July and 3.9% in June.
Newport Beach-based Makar Properties LLC's plans for turning the Wyndham Orange County in Costa Mesa into a boutique hotel and condominium tower were delayed for a few months by an airport commission ruling on Thursday night.
A unit of San Francisco-based activist hedge fund ValueAct Capital LP has reduced its stake in Irvine homebuilder Standard Pacific Corp.
The personal computer industry is in for a wave of consolidation, the president of Acer said on Friday, adding the Taiwanese PC maker did not plan any buys itself for up to two years.
Shareholders of Bausch & Lomb Inc. approved a proposed $3.67 billion takeover by private equity firm Warburg Pincus on Friday, the eye care company said.
A big overhang of property will bring U.S. house prices down further, but it is too early to say if the economy will plunge into recession, former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan was quoted as saying on Friday.
Thursday, September 20
Bear Stearns Cos. said on Thursday quarterly profit plunged 61% to its lowest level in five years on bad bets on subprime mortgages and disrupted fixed-income trading.
Irvine's Newport Corp., a maker of lasers, light filters and other gear used by researchers, on Thursday said Chief Executive Robert Deuster is set to retire.
The number of laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in seven weeks, an unexpected sign of improvement for the jobs market.
Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs was asked by U.S. securities regulators to give a deposition in a lawsuit against the company's former general counsel involving stock options backdating, Bloomberg reported, citing two people familiar with the matter
Donald Bren of The Irvine Company leads Orange County's contingent on this year's Forbes 400 listing of the richest Americans at an estimated $13 billion.
Hologic Inc., a Bedford, Mass.-based medical device maker, said Thursday it completed its $70 million buy of Aliso Viejo's BioLucent Inc.
Wednesday, September 19
Irvine-based medical device maker Masimo Corp. on Wednesday reported lower second-quarter profits but offered a full-year outlook that surpassed Wall Street expectations.
Consumer prices unexpectedly dipped 0.1% last month and new home construction hit a 12-year low, data on Wednesday showed, underlining concerns about the country's economic outlook.
Oil will continue to trend higher after hitting fresh highs over $82 a barrel but is unlikely to puncture the $100 level this year, Seal Beach-based Clean Energy Fuels Inc. chairman T. Boone Pickens said on Wednesday.
Irvine's Blizzard Entertainment Inc., Orange County's top video game maker, said it's set to open a new European base in Ireland.
San Diego's Qualcomm Inc. plans to shift its legal tactics after a string of losses to rival Broadcom Corp. of Irvine, Qualcomm Chief Executive Paul Jacobs said Wednesday.
Irvine-based Allergan Inc. is paying $370 million for New Jersey's Esprit Pharma Inc., maker of a drug to treat overactive bladders.
Morgan Stanley on Wednesday said third-quarter profit fell as the summertime freeze in mortgage and corporate loan markets forced the bank to mark loans down by $940 million.
Like the tides, the wave of good feelings that swept over Wall Street and Main Street with the Federal Reserve's big rate cut could ebb just as quickly.
Tuesday, September 18
The Federal Reserve cut a key interest rate for the first time in four years, seeking with an aggressive half-point move to prevent a steep housing slump and turbulent financial markets from triggering a recession.
Walt Disney Co. plans to expand its Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in Anaheim, adding a wing with more than 200 rooms and 50 timeshare condominiums, the company said Tuesday.
Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co., a struggling subprime mortgage lender, on Tuesday posted a $260.2 million quarterly loss and said it remained unsure it would survive the fallout from a slumping U.S. housing market.
The number of foreclosure filings reported in the U.S. last month more than doubled versus August 2006 and jumped 36% from July, a trend that signals many homeowners are increasingly unable to make timely payments on their mortgages or sell their homes am
Shares of Irvine drug maker Allergan Inc. could gain as it finds new uses for its flagship Botox drug, an analyst said Tuesday.
Irvine-based Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc. said on Tuesday it was shutting down most of its mortgage lending operations, including for riskier Alt-A mortgages.
Monday, September 17
Could Lawyers Solve UCI Law School Flap? Shady Canyon Haircut
Smith Micro's been on a tear working on diversification of its customer base
Advanced Medical Optics and Edwards Lifesciences have stepped up their activity in Europe, in the Healthcare column
Bixby's recent acquisitions are the latest in a string of buys
Aliso Viejo-based Quest Software Inc. has come up with an official bill of $143 million in its long-running probe into misdated stock options.
Southern California is the second biggest boat market,OC is making up a nice chunk of that, in the Marketplace column
The cofounder of Downey Financial is a little impulsive
Deutsche Telekom mobile phone division T-Mobile USA has agreed to buy SunCom Wireless Holdings Inc. for about $1.6 billion, the companies said on Monday.
A not-so-typical public relations firm in Huntington Beach is branching out, in the Media & Marketing column
Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center is the latest to jump into the building boom, but not because of seismic safety
Biomerica is putting health to the test, in the Small Business column
Microsoft Corp. suffered a decisive antitrust defeat on Monday when a European Union court upheld a landmark ruling that the world's largest software maker had abused its dominant market position to crush rivals.
Fountain Valley-based memory products maker Kingston Technologies has reached a turning point at its largest site in Asia, in the Technology column
Despite what you've read, the law school dean issue at the University of California, Irvine, wasn't about academic freedom. It was about finding the right dean to head a law school.
The buzz at the Action Sports Retailer trade show wasn't just about beer and bikinis
Some are wondering whether Gateway's struggling brand name will have staying power under Acer
The robust rent increases on industrial the county's seen may temper a bit in coming months. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates
Shares in one of Britain's largest lenders tumbled another 30% Monday as customers, driven by fears of insolvency, made run on the bank and withdrew billions.
The University of California, Irvine, has rehired Erwin Chemerinsky to be the dean of its law school, the university said Monday.
Evangelical Christian Credit Union is tapping a misunderstood market
Koll has some big redevelopment plans for a site that housed the headquarters of Kyocera Tycom, in the Real Estate column
Z'Tejas is hosting a charity event featuring fire fighters and a Chile Fest menu, in the Executive Dining column
Local telecommunications companies posted a decline in workers, thanks to Verizon's job cuts
Watch out Al Gore,Sole Technology's chief executive vying to be poster child of green practices
Irvine-based homebuilder Standard Pacific Corp. said Monday that new home orders in July and August were up 20% from a year earlier.
Friday, September 14
Retail sales edged up in August but they posted the biggest decline in almost a year when car sales were stripped out as consumer spending softened, a government report on Friday showed.
Merrill Lynch & Co. warned on Friday that shaky credit markets forced the world's largest brokerage to adjust the value of securities linked to risky subprime mortgages and other products, in a move that could hurt third-quarter profit.
Irvine-based real estate investor Bixby Land Co. paid $116 million for two office properties in Vista and Santa Clara.
There was a buzz at the recent Action Sports Retailer Trade Expo held in San Diego. But this time the whispering in the aisles wasn't fueled by the beer and bikini-clad babes.
Consumer confidence tumbled to its lowest point in nearly 1 1/2 years as a deep housing slump and a credit crunch made people more worried about the country's economic health as well as their own.
Thursday, September 13
Irvine's HireRight Inc., which screens job applicants for employers, reported higher second-quarter sales and operating profit on Thursday, its first quarterly results since going public in August.
Shares of Irvine-based Broadcom Corp. weren't phased on Thursday after a federal judge ruled to halt a ban imposed by a government trade group on rival Qualcomm Inc.'s chips in cell phones.
Countrywide Financial Corp., the largest U.S. mortgage lender, said on Thursday that it had lined up $12 billion of secured financing to help cope with a housing slowdown that has reduced loan demand and will lead to widespread layoffs.
Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc. has three offers for its struggling Rossignol division, according to French newspaper La Tribune.
A global credit crisis has increased the threat to growth, the European Central Bank said on Thursday, as G7 governments asked for a report on the genesis of the turmoil for next month's meeting of finance chiefs.
Clean Energy Fuels Inc., the Seal Beach company backed by legendary oilman T. Boone Pickens, has started building a liquefied natural gas plant in the Mojave Desert, the company said Thursday.
McDonald's Corp. on Wednesday raised its annual dividend by 50% as part of a plan to return up to $17 billion to shareholders through 2009, sending its shares up more than 2%.
Wednesday, September 12
Edwards Lifesciences Corp., the Irvine-based heart valve maker, has given $5 million to the University of California, Irvine's Henry Samueli School of Engineering to start a research and development center for heart devices.
Shareholders have filed two lawsuits over Irvine-based Gateway Inc.'s pending sale to Acer Inc. of Taiwan.
The University of California, Irvine, rescinded an offer to Duke University's Erwin Chemerinsky to become its law school's inaugural dean because of his political views, according to published reports.
Orange County's housing market continued its divergent trend of the past few months as sales fell again in August but the median price for a home inched higher.
Mortgage defaults and a "sustained lull" in home building will weigh on California's economy for at least another year but will not tip the state into a recession, according to a forecast released on Wednesday.
Texas Instruments Inc., the world's largest maker of chips used in cellular phones, expects third-quarter earnings to come in on the higher end of a range it had previously forecast.
Option One Mortgage Corp. of Irvine is cutting 575 jobs as part of the troubled subprime mortgage lender's ongoing restructuring, according to parent company H & R; Block Inc.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Wednesday that the turbulence that has hit financial markets will take some time to be resolved, especially in the area of subprime mortgages.
Tuesday, September 11
Health insurance premiums paid by workers and their employers rose an average of 6.1% this year, outpacing inflation and pay increases and taking a bigger chunk out of families' budgets, according to a new survey.
Shares of Lake Forest-based Comarco Inc. rose Tuesday after the company said it hired a financial adviser to "improve shareholder value."
The United States and other countries must work together to right a skewed pattern of trade and investment around the globe, a move that would help worldwide economic stability, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested Tuesday.
The National Association of Realtors on Tuesday lowered its forecast 2007 existing home sales for the eighth straight month, predicting a drop of 8.6% from last year.
Money manager Mohamed El-Erian is returning to Newport Beach-based Pacific Investment Management Co., this time as co-chief executive.
Monday, September 10
ZMI Real Estate is selling nearly $160 million in holdings, including a few OC buildings
A maker of tiny motors for dental and medical tools has struck a lease for a bigger facility in Irvine
Headwaters MB LLC is buying its way into OC
Blame the Federal Reserve, not the lenders, for the financial panic, a Viewpoint by Katy DeLay, a freelance writer who lives in Marina del Rey
Sue Klug of Albertsons is helping to change the male-dominated industry, in the Marketplace column
Santa Ana's Digital Media Center is part classroom, part incubator
Bristol Park Medical is moving its headquarters after buying a building in Tustin
Lake Forest's Western Digital Corp., a maker of disk drives, on Monday upped its outlook for the September quarter.
Acer is poised to pass big rival Lenovo once it wraps up its $710 million buy of Gateway, in the Technology column
Sole Technology pushing its etnies girl brand, in the Media & Marketing column
Costa Mesa's MetroCenter at South Coast office complex has been landing some good-sized leases as of late, though it looks like its in the market for a new anchor tenant, in the Real Estate column
Wachovia Corp. is grabbing more mortgage business as a result of the recent shakeout in the industry, Chief Executive G. Kennedy Thompson said Monday.
The county's tight medical office market is getting some breathing room with Irvine Heritage Medical Plaza, in the Healthcare column
TTM's working to get back in Wall Street's good graces
Placentia Medical LLC spent $4 million to buy the Linda Vista Professional Center in Placentia
A hearing with ties to Broadcom Corp.'s battle against Qualcomm Inc. gets under way Monday in Washington, D.C.
Construction has begun on what will be one of the largest office complexes in the Inland Empire
Shea Properties is gearing up for a busy next few years
The Fountain Valley School District is wrapping up $88 million in land sales
Doti Runs Dollar Marathons, Too; Mortgage Rebound?
The Red Claw in Fountain Valley offers savory meals quite reminiscent of Louisiana in the Executive Dining column
Reclusive billionaire Joseph C. Lewis, who made his fortune trading currencies, has taken a 7% stake in Bear Stearns Cos., snapping up the investment bank's sagging stock to become one of its largest shareholders in less than a month.
Intel Corp. on Monday raised its third-quarter revenue forecast and said global demand for computing products was stronger than expected, sending its shares up 2.8%.
HKS is powering up Nissans and Infinitis with its supercharger
OC's retail vacancy is slightly up, but rents have increased. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates
Friday, September 7
Employers sliced payrolls by 4,000 jobs in August, the first such decline in four years and a stark sign that a painful credit crunch that has unnerved Wall Street is putting a strain on the national economy.
Ford Motor Co. has offered to pay $78 million for the Romanian government's majority stake in troubled carmaker Automobile Craiova SA, officials said on Friday.
Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc.'s forecast for the 12 months through October could be tough for the apparel and sports gear maker to meet, an analyst said Friday.
Three Orange County offices and an industrial park are trading hands this month, as part of nearly $160 million in Southern California sales by Newport Beach-based investor ZMI Real Estate Inc.
Recent credit market turmoil has increased downside risks for the economy, but the U.S. Federal Reserve would refrain from taking action to bail out investors who made bad decisions, top policy-makers said on Thursday.
NeoMatrix Inc., an Irvine medical testing company, has raised $9.6 million in a third round of funding.
Thursday, September 6
Shares of Newport Beach chipmaker Conexant Systems Inc. jumped 17% on Thursday after an analyst upgraded the company, citing positive management changes.
Foothill Ranch-based Wet Seal Inc. has hired back its former president as the retailer's new chief executive.
The rate of home loans entering the foreclosure process rose to a record high in the second quarter of 2007, driven largely by failing subprime mortgages, an industry trade group said on Thursday.
Chrysler pulled off a major coup Thursday, hiring away the highly-regarded Jim Press, Toyota's top North American executive, to run its sales and marketing operations.
Cooper Cos., a contact lens and women's surgical company that is moving its corporate office from Lake Forest to Pleasanton, reported lower quarterly earnings Thursday and cut its profit outlook for the year.
Medical device maker Medtronic Inc., feeling the pinch of a slowdown in one of its key markets, will eliminate about 900 jobs through early retirement packages, voluntary and involuntary separations, the company said in a filing.
August sales at Anaheim-based mall store operator Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. surged a surprising 9.6% last month, while the county's other major retailer, Foothill Ranch-based Wet Seal Inc., was up 1.7% last month.
Wednesday, September 5
Newport Beach-based chipmaker Conexant Systems Inc. has hired a chief financial officer from Freescale Semiconductor Inc., a Motorola Inc. spinoff based in Austin, Texas.
Newport Beach-based chipmaker Mindspeed Technologies Inc. said Wednesday it is buying startup Ample Communications Inc., which makes controllers that speed up communication between computers in a wide-area network.
Mortgage insurer MGIC Investment Corp. and bond insurer Radian Group Inc. agreed to terminate their pending merger, the companies said on Wednesday, citing market conditions.
Pending sales of previously owned homes plunged 12.2% in July and planned layoffs by companies surged 85% in August due to turmoil in the subprime mortgage market, independent reports showed on Wednesday.
Irvine computer maker Gateway Inc. is selling its struggling business selling computers and services to businesses for $90 million, ahead of its own $710 million sale to Taiwan's Acer Inc.
Boeing Co.'s new 787 jetliner will not begin flight testing until mid-November or mid-December, months later than originally planned, because it's taking longer than anticipated to get the first plane ready, the head of the company's commercial airplanes
Tuesday, September 4
Anaheim-based Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. has seen investment manager Adage Capital Partners LP of Boston nearly double its stake in the mall retailer to 11.4%.
Construction spending took a surprising fall of 0.4% in July, its largest drop since January 2007, as gains in commercial building failed to offset declines in home building, a government report showed on Tuesday.
Anaheim-based SyncCast Corp., which offers services for making video available online, has been bought by a unit of France's Thomson SA, a maker of consumer electronics and broadcasting gear.
Companies showed signs of shrugging off the caution that has enveloped the world economy since a credit crisis broke, as investors looked on Tuesday to U.S. data to gauge the likelihood of a Federal Reserve rate cut.
Huntington Beach surfwear maker Quiksilver Inc. is headed to court against a Los Angeles company in a dispute over its Roxy brand of clothes.
Santa Ana-based First American Corp. said on Tuesday it plans to cut 1,300 jobs during the third quarter, primarily in its core title insurance business, as a result of the slumping housing market.
Manufacturing expansion slowed in August from the previous month as a decline in new orders had factory managers opting for caution, according to the Institute for Supply Management on Tuesday.
Monday, September 3
As analysts predicted, Cooper Cos.' chief operating officer is taking over for its departing chief executive, in the Healthcare column
Airport, Central Coast: Tight Vacancy Pushing Rents Upward. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates
Lasco Bathware has updated its Anaheim facility and products to compete in down market
Quiksilver is suing a Los Angeles company over the Roxy brand
Walgreen Co. plans to open a store in a closed Tower Records, in the Real Estate column
Freedom Communications is targeting online advertisers, in the Media & Marketing column
Larry Ellison's Pillar Data Systems is opening an Irvine office
Foundation 9 buys a British video game developer with site in India, in the Technology column
Leading tofu maker beefs up Fullerton facility
The Irvine Company lands a tenant for Jamboree Business Center
Mozambique serves up fine Southern African fare, in the Executive Dining column
Device Makers Post Worker Gains; Beckman Posts Decline
Con-way Freight Co. is closing its regional HQ in Buena Park
Drug Makers Post Modest Gain in Employees; Little Movement
Spending on roads, bridges and other necessities has paled that of stadiums and convention centers
Glitzy belts drive B.B. Simon's $13M in yearly revenue, in the Small Business column
A chip turnaround weighs on Broadcom's stock more than the lingering options issue
Lindora is expanding its Rite Aid healthcare clinics, in the Marketplace column
Foundation 9 buys a British video game developer with site in India, in the Technology column