Stories for February 2009

Friday, February 27

Economy Shrank at Faster Rate in Fourth Quarter

The economy contracted at its sharpest rate since early 1982 in the fourth quarter, revised data showed on Friday, as exports plunged and consumers cut spending by the most in more than 28 years.

Lake Forest's Primoris Lands $13M Parking Contract

Lake Forest-based Primoris Services Corp., the parent company of construction and engineering business ARB Inc., said on Friday it won a $13.1 million contract to build a parking structure in Harbor City.

Former Broadcom CFO Wins Round in Early Trial Jockeying

Former Broadcom Corp. chief financial officer Bill Ruehle won a round in the early phases of his upcoming trial over backdated stock options at the Irvine chipmaker.

Beckman to Buy Olympus Unit for $800M

Fullerton-based Beckman Coulter Inc. said Friday that it will spend $800 million to buy Olympus Corp.'s laboratory-based medical diagnostics business.

Govt. Boosts Stake in Citigroup

The government will boost its equity stake in Citigroup Inc. to as much as 36%, bolstering the bank's capital base in the latest emergency effort to prop up the ailing banking giant.

Thursday, February 26

JPMorgan Sees Home Equity Losses and 12,000 WaMu Cuts

New-home sales tumbled to a record-low annual pace in January and there's no relief in sight as mounting damage from the collapsed housing market pushes the country deeper into recession.

Obama Budget Pushes Change, Carries Risks

President Barack Obama has pulled out his most potent weapon -- the dry federal budget -- to try to carry out his promise of change, including winding down the Iraq war, expanding health care and tackling global warming.

First American Profit After Charges Beats Expectations

Santa Ana-based title insurer and business data provider First American Corp. posted a lower fourth-quarter profit that beat Wall Street's expectations while revenue came in below what analysts were looking for.

Standard Pacific Puts Acquisitions on Hold

A bleak outlook for the housing industry has forced Irvine-based Standard Pacific Corp. to back off from plans to expand through acquisitions.

GM Posts Deep Loss, Auditors May Question Viability

General Motors Corp posted a loss of nearly $31 billion on Thursday for 2008 and said its auditors were likely to cast doubt on its viability as it seeks an expanded federal bailout to stay afloat.

Grubb & Ellis Gets NYSE Warning Letter

Santa Ana-based Grubb & Ellis Co. said on Thursday it has received notice from the regulators of the New York Stock Exchange that the company's stock could be delisted from the exchange unless its share price improves.

Wednesday, February 25

Standard Pacific Replaces CFO, General Counsel

Standard Pacific Corp. has replaced its chief financial officer and general counsel, the Irvine-based homebuilder said on Wednesday.

Epicor Strikes Deal with Hedge Fund Investor

Irvine's Epicor Software Corp. reached an agreement with activist investor Elliott Associates LP, a New York-based hedge fund that has agitated for change and sought to buy the maker of business software in a hostile takeover last year.

Valeant Profit Beats Estimates, Ups 2009 Outlook

Aliso Viejo-based drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International reported higher fourth-quarter income and upped its profit outlook for 2009 on Tuesday.

Unceremonious Sale for Medical Device Maker

The assets of Alsius Corp., an Irvine medical device maker, are being bought by Zoll Medical Corp. of Chelmsford, Mass, for $12 million.

Advertisers Tell Consumers: We Feel Your Pain

When Hyundai Motor Co. launched a new incentive program allowing buyers who lost their jobs to return just-purchased new cars, Rick Case was blown away by the consumer response.

Bernanke Confident Can Keep Inflation at Bay

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday that he had an exit strategy from the central bank's recent massive monetary expansion that will keep inflation under control as the economy recovers.

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Sales of previously owned homes plunged in January, reversing the previous month's surprise jump, and prices spiraled down to a six-year low as the deep recession and rising joblessness took its toll.

Chapman Buys Irvine Building, Largest Office Deal This Year

Chapman University College has bought a 115,000-square-foot building in the Irvine Spectrum, which it will use as its new administrative headquarters and Irvine satellite campus.

Tuesday, February 24

Home Prices Fall at Record Pace, Consumers Fret

Home prices plunged at a record pace in December, data showed on Tuesday, while consumer confidence also hit a record low in February as Americans feared an already deep recession was likely to get even worse.

Ceradyne Profits Down, Lowers Guidance

Costa Mesa-based body armor maker Ceradyne Inc. posted a fourth-quarter loss and lowered its guidance for 2009.

Bernanke Fears Recession Could Extend to 2010

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned on Tuesday that unless government efforts succeed in restoring financial stability, the nation's recession may not end this year.

Consumer Confidence Plunges to Record Low in February

Consumer confidence plunged to another record low in February with expectations that already dire economic conditions will continue to weaken and the jobs market will further deteriorate.

Monday, February 23

Fullerton Inventor Pitching Invisible Cloaks

A man who wants to sell invisibility is trying to make the most of being seen

Worst Since Great Depression?

It's just idiotic to put today's economy in the same sentence as the Great Depression. Commentary by Charlie Crumpley, editor, Los Angeles Business Journal

Device Maker Plans to Hire 300

B. Braun Medical is planning a big expansion in coming years

UAW and Ford Reach Deal on Retiree Health Care Trust

Ford Motor Co. has reached a tentative deal with the United Auto Workers union on changes to a retiree health care trust, becoming the first Detroit automaker to secure union concessions on the key issue.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

KUDOS

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

Alpine Biomed Makes Push into Sleep Disorder Devices

Alpine Biomed is making a push into devices that diagnose sleeping disorders

Device Maker B. Braun Plans to Hire 300

Medical device maker B. Braun Medical Inc. is planning a big expansion in the coming years.

MARKET WATCH

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

Beckman Coulter Details Move to Brea, Decline in Asia

Beckman Coulter has put a hefty price tag on its upcoming move to Brea, in the Healthcare column

Ingram Micro Cuts Jobs

Santa Ana's Ingram Micro Inc. started a round of layoffs last week that's set to slash roughly 300 jobs.

Bank Think

Bankers on Stimulus, Prospects for Economic Recovery

Deja Vu

Why today's financial crisis is deja vu all over again

L.A. Times to Cut Costa Mesa Workers, Change Printing

The Los Angeles Times is making some dramatic changes, in the Media & Marketing column

Standard Pacific Puts Acquisitions on Hold

An update on Standard Pacific's strategy

Western Digital Sells Media Hub,Without a Disk Drive

Western Digital is pushing a device for TVs that lacks its signature disk drive

Medtronic Buying Irvine Device Maker for $700M

Medtronic Inc. said Monday that it is buying CoreValve Inc., an Irvine heart valve company, for $700 million and future milestone payments.

CALENDAR

A listing of events happening all around Orange County. February 23 - March 4, 2009

Mazda Lays Off 110 Workers, Sales Better than Industry Average

Irvine-based Mazda North American Operations is reportedly laying off 110 workers with a large percentage of them coming from its Irvine headquarters.

Laing Filing Undoes Deal Once Seen as Insulation

The fallout from John Laing Homes' bankruptcy filing

FDIC Adds About 30 People a Week for Irvine Bad Asset Hub

Why the FDIC can't start operations in Irvine soon enough

Swimsuit Maker L*Space Forecasts Double-Digit Sales Increase

The Business Journal's first bimonthly apparel column by the writer of Shop-Eat-Surf.com

Pimp My Ride

How a luxury auto customizer is weathering the down economy

AROUND THE COUNTY

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

Economy Seen Starting Recovery in Second Half of '09: Poll

The economy is set to contract sharply in the first quarter, with the current cyclical downturn on track to rival the 1973-75 slump as soaring unemployment depresses demand, a survey showed.

Mazda Sales Off Less Than Industry, Eyes Market Gains

How Mazda is fighting the industry slump

Report Predicts More Retail Job Cuts, Store Closures

Retail's pain isn't expected to end any time soon, in the Marketplace column

Google Shuts Down Radio Advertising Venture in Irvine

Another company built by Newport Beach's Steelberg brothers is being shut down a few years after it was sold to a big name for big bucks, in the Technology column

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Chapman's Prop. 8 Divide; A-Rod Taps OC Crisis Manager

Chapman's Prop. 8 Divide; A-Rod Taps OC Crisis Manager

Inside Resources

A look into the corporate culture of Resources Connection, in Corner Offices

U.S. May Boost Stake in Citigroup: Source

Citigroup Inc. is in talks to give the government a larger stake, a person familiar with the matter said, providing Washington with a far greater say in the affairs of the ailing banking giant.

Decision on Santa Ana Condos Unlikely Before Midyear

The fate of Skyline MacArthur Place in Santa Ana still is up in the air, in the Real Estate column

Metal Tool Maker Leasing Build-to-Suit Warehouse

Mitsubishi Materials U.S.A. is moving its headquarters in OC

REAL ESTATE DEALS

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

Friday, February 20

Advanced Medical Beats Street in Q4

Santa Ana-based Advanced Medical Optics Inc. on Friday said its fourth-quarter earnings, its last as an independent public company, beat Wall Street's expectations.

J.C. Penney Profit Tops View; Sees Q1 Loss

Department store operator J.C. Penney Co. Inc. posted a 51% drop in fourth quarter profit on Friday, and said its loss in the current quarter would be deeper than Wall Street estimates as shoppers hold off on spending.

Costa Mesa Bank Approved for Federal Investment Program

Costa Mesa-based Pacific Mercantile Bancorp, operator of the largest bank based in Orange County, has gotten approval to receive $25.5 million in federal money aimed at spurring lending.

Volcom Reducing PacSun Dependence, Like It or Not

As goes Pacific Sunwear of Anaheim Inc., so goes Volcom Inc. The Costa Mesa-based clothing designer said it saw sales to stores run by Anaheim-based Pacific Sunwear fall 27% to $10.4 million in the fourth quarter.

Lowe's Posts Sharp Drop in Profit

Lowe's Cos. reported a sharp drop in quarterly profit on Friday as it marked down prices to lure consumers in the recession and it gave profit forecasts that fell short of Wall Street estimates.

BofA, Citi Shares Fall on Nationalization Fears

Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. shares plummeted for a sixth straight day on Friday, hammered by fears that the government could nationalize the banks, wiping out shareholders.

Thursday, February 19

Universal Electronics Buys Assets of Chipmaker Zilog

Cypress-based Universal Electronics Inc., a maker of remote controls for home electronics, said Thursday it bought the assets of a company it tried to take over in a hostile bid a year ago.

Irvine's John Laing Files for Bankruptcy

Irvine-based homebuilder John Laing Homes filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Thursday, citing turmoil in the housing market.

Volcom Warns About Q1, Pulls 2009 Guidance

Costa Mesa-based clothing designer Volcom Inc. warned of a big shortfall in profits and sales for the current quarter after reporting mixed results for the fourth quarter.

Home Prices Fall, Foreclosures 46% of Sales

Orange County's median home price took another tumble in January, as bargain hunters focused on buying distressed properties in more affordable areas of the county.

Seagate Drops Suit Against Santa Ana's STEC

Disk drive maker Seagate Technology LLC dropped its patent infringement lawsuit against Santa Ana's STEC Inc., a maker of flash memory drives for corporate networks and industrial uses.

Unemployment to Top 9%, Recession to Deepen

Unemployment will top 9% before the recession is over, according to a Reuters poll of economists that points to a significantly bleaker economic outlook than just one month ago.

UBS Tax Deal is Swiss Bank Secrecy's Waterloo

UBS's landmark settlement deal with U.S. tax authorities could be the final nail in the coffin for Switzerland's prized bank secrecy and will have far-reaching consequences for the whole offshore financial industry.

Sprint Customers Flee, But Loss Smaller than Feared

Sprint Nextel Corp. posted a fourth-quarter loss as 1.3 million subscribers left its mobile phone service, but the results were not as bad as some had feared, and its shares rose 24%.

Wednesday, February 18

Brokers Look to Courts, Lenders for Work

Commercial real estate brokers are going to court over the downturn in commercial real estate,but not for the reasons you might think.

Kaiser Aluminum Slumps After Results; Seeks Acquisitions

Shares of Foothill Ranch-based Kaiser Aluminum Corp. slumped Wednesday,a day after the company reported a charge-laden quarterly loss and was cautious about the current quarter.

Ingram Micro Sees Weak Demand, Slower Q1 Sales

Ingram Micro Inc., the Santa Ana-based distributor of consumer electronics, technology products and software, warned on Wednesday about slumping sales and softer demand in the current quarter.

Housing Starts, Permits Plumb Record Lows

Housing starts and building permits dropped to record lows in January, data showed Wednesday, as builders shelved construction plans to try to clear a glut of unsold houses caused by a slump in demand.

Stanford Depositors Swarm Banks

Hundreds of people lined up to withdraw money from banks in Antigua and Caracas affiliated with Texas billionaire Allen Stanford, a day after the tycoon was charged with an $8 billion fraud.

Obama Unveils Plan for Troubled Housing Market

President Barack Obama on Wednesday unveiled the next step in his multi-pronged efforts to lift the United States out of recession Wednesday, pledging up to $275 billion to help stem a wave of home foreclosures that sparked the U.S. financial meltdown.

Tuesday, February 17

Wal-Mart Profit Beats Wall St. View

Wal-Mart Stores Inc posted a profit that beat Wall Street forecasts, fueled by sales at its namesake U.S. discount stores, and said it expects to outperform rivals as a global downturn forces shoppers to seek low prices.

Pacific Sunwear Fires Back in Looming Board Fight

Directors at Anaheim-based Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. on Tuesday called a planned board battle by a takeover-minded shareholder a waste of time and money and said they back efforts by the retailer's chief executive to turn around the business.

GM and Chrysler Ready Survival Plans

Daimler swung to a hefty loss, hit by exposure to Chrysler, and Opel and Saab braced for news of General Motors' survival plan, as European carmakers saw their fates tied closely to their U.S. peers.

Ingram Micro Cuts Jobs

Santa Ana's Ingram Micro Inc., the top distributor of technology goods, software and consumer electronics, started a round of layoffs Tuesday that's set to slash roughly 300 jobs.

Toshiba Getting Drive Business Once Sought by Western Digital

The disk drive business of Fujitsu Ltd. that was sought by Lake Forest-based Western Digital Corp. late last year is being sold to Toshiba Corp., the Japanese companies said Tuesday.

With No Budget, California to Cut 20,000 State Jobs

California, which is on the brink of running out of cash, will notify 20,000 state workers on Tuesday their jobs may be eliminated, a spokesman for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Monday.

Monday, February 16

OCBJ SUPPLEMENTS and GUIDES

Toshiba Classic Golf Tournament Guide 2009

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

VIEWPOINT

Two local executives say California needs to brace itself for the onslaught brought by trial lawyers.

Lantronix Chief Cuts, Then Looks to Customers

Lantronix's chief executive came to the company to give it an overhaul

READER LETTERS

Letters to the Editor. Theme Park, Golf Tax

Environmental Consultants Grow Government Work

OC's largest environmental consulting companies saw higher billings in 2008

Allergan Coupon Aims to Spur Business, Please Doctors

Allergan is offering coupons for Botox, in the Healthcare column

Mailing List Provider Melissa Data Acquires Business

Melissa Data has acquired part of a struggling public company, in the Technology column

Japan's Economy Slumps As Global Crisis Widens

Japan sank deeper into recession with its worst quarterly contraction since the oil crisis in the 1970s, its reliance on exports and soft domestic demand dragging down the world's second-largest economy.

CALENDAR

A listing of events happening all around Orange County

Meg Taps OC; St. John Goes Back to Black

Meg Taps OC; St. John Goes Back to Black

REAL ESTATE DEALS

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

Brokers Look to Courts, Lenders for Work

Brokers are looking to courts and lenders for business

REAL ESTATE WATCH: HIgh-RISE OFFICE MARKET

High unemployment and excess space have created a tenant-friendly office market, in Real Estate Watch

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

Standard Pacific Looking for Lower Price on TOUSA

Standard Pacific might walk away from its proposed acquisition of TOUSA, in the Real Estate column

Microsoft Sees Sales Impact from Economy: CEO

Microsoft's revenues will be impacted by the economic slowdown, Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said on Monday.

Burnham Buys Home Decor Mall for $35M

Costa Mesa's South Coast Home Furnishings Center has traded hands again at a fraction of what the struggling shopping center was worth just a few years ago.

Obama Drops "Car Czar" Idea

President Barack Obama has decided to launch a government task force for restructuring the struggling auto industry instead of naming a "car czar" with sweeping powers, a senior administration official said on Sunday.

Auto Magazine Is Latest to Stop Publishing in Downturn

Haymarket Worldwide stops putting out its IndyCar Series magazine this month, in the Media & Marketing column

Plane Parts Maker Makes Acquisition

Synchronous Aerospace has acquired an Oklahoma maker of parts for helicopters, fighter jets and cargo planes

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Smaller Roth Conference Plans To Party On

Newport Beach-based investment bank Roth Capital Partners LLC kicked off its annual growth stock conference Monday at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel hotel in Dana Point, promising visitors company presentations and nightlife with live entertainment.

Sullen Clothing Relocates to Expanded HQ in Surf City

Sullen Clothing has moved from Irvine to Huntington Beach, in the Small Business column

Hyundai, Volkswagen Gain Market Share in Tough '08

New auto registration trends in Orange County, in the Marketplace column

Building Bridges

Obama's stimulus plan makes local environmental engineers very hopeful

Beckman Expects Profit Growth on Cuts as Sales Stay Flat

Beckman Coulter's chief executive will test his ability to restructure and drive profits this year

Track Record Drove Microsemi Decision

The fallout is still happening from Microsemi's chief executive lying on his resume

Friday, February 13

Consumers, Economists Unanimously Grim

Consumers and professional forecasters have cast off the last remnants of economic optimism, reports showed on Friday, as they confronted the grim reality of a long and deep recession.

Sunstone Shares Slump as Hotel Downturn Plays Out

Shares of San Clemente-based hotel owner Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. slumped Friday a day after the company reported lower fourth-quarter results and said it could have to rework a line of credit.

Standard Pacific Posts Narrowed Quarterly Loss

Irvine-based Standard Pacific Corp. reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $398 million on Friday, after seeing revenue fall nearly 60% from a year earlier.

Restaurant Operator BJ's Jumps on Results

Shares of Huntington Beach-based BJ's Restaurants Inc. closed up 17% Friday a day after the restaurant operator reported a profit that beat what Wall Street had expected.

Chrysler Says Restructuring Talks Making Progress

Chrysler LLC is making progress in talks with creditors and the United Auto Workers union on a restructuring plan required under a federal bailout, a senior Chrysler executive told Reuters on Friday.

Adrenalina Names Pacific Sunwear Board Candidates

Small retailer Adrenalina Group of Miami has named its candidates for directors at Anaheim-based Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. as part of a board fight at the struggling surf-inspired mall store chain.

PepsiCo Profit Meets Wall St. View, Sees Buybacks

PepsiCo Inc. reported a quarterly profit on Friday that met Wall Street expectations and said it may buy back up to $2.5 billion of its stock this year, sending shares up 2% in premarket trading.

Thursday, February 12

Foreclosures Push Home Prices to 5-Year Low

Prices of existing single-family homes dropped a record 12.4% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier to the lowest level since 2003, the National Association of Realtors said on Thursday.

Telescope Maker Moving to Smaller Irvine Building

Restructuring telescope maker Meade Instruments Corp. is moving to a smaller Irvine building to cut costs after shifting production to Mexico and Asia last year.

Adrenalina Launches Board Fight at Pacific Sunwear

Small retailer Adrenalina Group of Miami is launching a board fight at Anaheim-based Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. after its earlier bids to buy the struggling surf-inspired mall store chain were rebuffed.

Google Sheds Local Radio Business

Search engine kingpin Google Inc. said Thursday it's shedding an unprofitable business that it first got into via an Orange County acquisition.

Retail Sales Rebound, New Jobless Claims Slip

Sales at retailers rebounded in January, government data showed on Thursday, likely boosted by post-holiday discounts and providing a rare glimmer of hope for the recession-hit economy.

Coca-Cola Profit Tops View

Coca-Cola Co reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, helped by double-digit volume gains in China, India and Eastern Europe, and its shares rose more than 7%.

Wednesday, February 11

Merrill Secretly Moved Up Bonus Payments: Cuomo

Merrill Lynch secretly accelerated bonus payments last year and gave at least $1 million to each of nearly 700 employees, even as the brokerage was amassing billions of dollars of losses, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said in a letter to U.S. Rep

Congress, White House Near Final Deal on Stimulus

Lawmakers and the White House were moving toward a final deal on Wednesday for what could be a stimulus plan of under $800 billion that Democrats say is crucial to rescuing the struggling economy.

Cherokee Parent Files Plans With State to Cut 200 Tustin Jobs

The parent company of Tustin-based Cherokee International Corp., a maker of power supply gear for electronics, has filed plans with the state to cut more than 200 local manufacturing jobs.

Wall Street CEOs Feel the Rage in Washington

Wall Street bank executives felt the rage of Democrats and Republicans in Congress on Wednesday over how they used $176 billion in bailout money without making a noticeable impact on the anemic economy.

Pimco's Gross Returns to Mortgage Debt

Pacific Investment Management Co.'s Bill Gross has bought more mortgage bonds for his Total Return Fund, the largest bond fund at $136 billion in assets under management.

Ambassadors Selling Businesses, Moving to Seattle

Newport Beach-based Ambassadors International Inc. said Wednesday it's selling off businesses to focus on cruises and is moving its headquarters to Seattle.

Tuesday, February 10

Treasury Lays Out Plan to Mop Up $500B in Bad Debts

The Treasury Department on Tuesday unveiled a revamped financial rescue plan to cleanse up to $500 billion in spoiled assets from banks' books and support $1 trillion in new lending through an expanded Federal Reserve program.

GM to Cut 10,000 Salaried Jobs

General Motors Co. will slash its global salaried work force by about 10,000, or 14%, this year and impose pay cuts on most remaining white-collar U.S. workers as it scrambles to reduce costs under a restructuring mandated by its government bailout.

New Day, New Analyst Report on Western Digital

If it's Tuesday, then there must be a new analyst report about Lake Forest-based disk drive maker Western Digital Corp.

Quiksilver Slumps on Downgrade

Shares of Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc. fell after an analyst downgraded the struggling clothing maker's stock on Tuesday, saying its large debt in a weak economy could make it difficult for it to post profits.

Quest Tops Sales Expectations, Slips on Profits

Aliso Viejo's Quest Software Inc., a maker of business software, reported fourth-quarter results Tuesday that surpassed sales expectations but fell short on profits.

STEC Cuts Jobs as It Shifts Work to Malaysia Plant

Santa Ana's STEC Inc., a maker of flash memory drives for industrial uses, is set to cut some 200 local jobs as it moves work to a new factory it built in Malaysia.

Monday, February 9

Seafood Chain Opens Plant, Plans Casual Eateries

King's Seafood has big plans as it navigates the worst industry downturn in recent memory

Analyst Sees Eventual Western Digital Rebound

An analyst is optimistic about a rebound at Lake Forest-based disk drive maker Western Digital Corp., but not before spring when the sector starts to stabilize.

Noodle Co. Execs To Restart Plant in Irvine

Some corrections and clarifications on the Business Journal's Jan. 26 story "Noodle Maker Takes Over Local Plant,"

Upstart Green Luxury Automaker's Pointman: Doolan

Irvine's Fisker Automotive Inc. is backed by a top-notch designer from BMW AG and Aston Martin and has a buzz surrounding its sexy, environmentally friendly luxury cars. But the upstart automaker's greatest asset just might be Victor Doolan's Rolodex.

Former Volvo Executive Courts Dealers at Fisker

Fisker Automotive's greatest asset just might be Vic Doolan's Rolodex

OC's Baseball Owner; Sanchez Against Bailout Before She's For It

OC's Baseball Owner; Sanchez Against Bailout Before She's For It

Nissan to Slash 20,000 Jobs

Nissan Motor Co. said it would cut 20,000 jobs and joined a growing list of automakers warning of red ink this year in what would mark its first loss since Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn took the reins a decade ago.

Medical Scanning Cos. Set To Gain from Medicare Decision

Two OC medical scanning companies are hoping a possible decision by Medicare will bring more business for them

Shopoff Fund Closing on Two Distressed Land Deals

A new real estate investment trust that's looking to buy raw land is starting to make some deals, in the Real Estate column

Smaller Roth Conference Plans To Party On

The party goes on at Roth Capital Partners' annual stock conference

MARKET WATCH

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

Fletcher Jones' '08 Sales Beat Mercedes-Benz Average

Fletcher Jones finished at the top of a much shorter heap in 2008, in the Marketplace column

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

OCBJ SUPPLEMENTS and GUIDES

Romantic Getaways 2009

Allergan Hunkers Down for Tough '09, Analysts Mixed

Allergan is gearing up for a challenging 2009

GM in Talks to Buy Back Parts of Delphi

General Motors Corp. is in talks to buy back parts of bankrupt auto supplier Delphi Corp., a source with direct knowledge of the talks said on Monday.

Land Buyers Look for Opportunities as Building Slows

Opportunistic investors are looking for ways to profit from OC's tough housing market

CALENDAR

A listing of events happening all around Orange County. February 10-18, 2009

UCI Set to Receive $3.3M Grant for Stem Cell Research

UCI is touting a $3.3 million grant it's slated to receive from the state as a way to boost its stem cell training program, in the Healthcare column

Builders See 34% Drop in Home Sales, Condos Fare Better

OC's homebuilders saw a 24% decline in new home sales in 2008

REAL ESTATE DEALS

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

THE RECESSIONAIRES

A look at some businesses that are doing well because of the recession.

John Laing Speculation: Sale? Return of Webb?

It's a guessing game predicting the next steps of John Laing Homes

Microsemi Audits, Supports Peterson in 'Diplomagate'

Microsemi's chief executive has been having a tough go these past few months, in the Technology column

READER LETTERS

A Business Journal reader recommends a Toxic Executive Removal Program, in Reader Letters

REAL ESTATE WATCH: orange county construction

Commercial real estate construction ground to a halt in the fourth quarter

AROUND THE COUNTY

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

Beckman's Profit Soars, Mixed 2009 Outlook

Fullerton-based Beckman Coulter Inc. reported a big jump in fourth-quarter profits that fell just shy of Wall Street expectations and upped its profit forecast for 2009 while being cautious about revenue.

Two Surf Magazines Cut Print Editions, Focus on Web

Surfline/Wavetrak ended publication of its Water magazine to focus on the Web, in the Media & Marketing column

McDonald's Same-Store Sales Rise

McDonald's Corp. said on Monday that worldwide sales at its restaurants open at least 13 months rose 7.1% in January, driven by strength at home and abroad.

Friday, February 6

Jobless Rate 7.6%; 598K Job Cuts Most Since '74

Recession-battered employers eliminated 598,000 jobs in January, the most since the end of 1974, and catapulted the unemployment rate to 7.6%. The grim figures were further proof that the nation's job climate is deteriorating at an alarming clip with no e

Barclay's Takes 11% Stake in Standard Pacific

A unit of Britian's Barclays PLC has taken a sizable stake in Irvine-based homebuilder Standard Pacific Corp.

Toyota Losses Mount

Toyota, the world's top carmaker, said its losses were ballooning as world car sales drop, while truckmaker Volvo swung to a fourth-quarter loss and Italy readied aid for the ailing industry.

Circuit-Board Maker M-Flex Down on Outlook

Shares of Anaheim's Multi-Fineline Electronix Inc., a maker of flexible circuit boards for cell phones, continued their downward slide a day after the company gave a weaker-than-expected sales outlook for the current quarter.

UCI Interim Chief Could Vie for Permanent Post

The incoming interim head of UCI Medical Center is a veteran who's run big hospitals in Long Beach and Orange.

Pimco's El-Erian Says No Room for "Policy Gradualism"

Mohamed El-Erian, the chief executive of bond giant Pacific Investment Management Co., said Friday's data showing a precipitous drop in non-farm payrolls in January underscores the need for aggressive government response and leaves no room for policy grad

Thursday, February 5

January Sales Fall for PacSun, Wet Seal

Mall retailers Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. and Wet Seal Inc. saw another month of declining sales in January but held their forecasts for the recently ended quarter.

Jobless Claims Surge to 26-Year High

The number of workers filing new claims for jobless benefits hit a 26-year high last week, according to government data on Thursday that showed the economy remains on a deep downward track.

Retail Sales Off But Wal-Mart Bucks Trend

Retailers mostly reported lower monthly sales for January, although discounter Wal-Mart Stores bucked the trend with a stronger-than-expected increase as shoppers stocked up on food and other necessities.

Cisco Outlook Misses Expectations

Cisco Systems Inc. Chief Executive John Chambers forecast revenue will drop far more sharply in the current quarter than Wall Street expected, and said the network equipment maker is cutting up to 2,000 jobs.

Microsemi's Peterson Gives Up STEC Board Seat

Microsemi Chief Executive Jim Peterson is set to give up his seat on the board of Santa Ana's STEC Inc., after he was was found to have lied on his official biography after an investor spurred an inquiry into his education background.

Powerwave Reverses Loss, Stock Jumps on Results

Shares of Santa Ana's Powerwave Technologies Inc., a maker of gear for wireless networks, jumped Thursday after the company narrowed its losses and surprised analysts, who weren't expecting a profit.

Irvine Device Maker Pulls IPO

TherOx Inc., an Irvine-based medical device company, has dropped plans for a $100 million initial public offering.

Wednesday, February 4

Obama Caps Pay

President Barack Obama set a $500,000 annual compensation cap on Wednesday for executives at companies getting taxpayer bailouts as part of a wider process to clamp down on excessive corporate pay.

Madoff Whistleblower Feared for His Safety

Harry Markopolos, a former financial executive who tried to blow the whistle on accused swindler Bernard Madoff, will tell lawmakers he feared for the safety of his family when securities regulators ignored evidence in the case, the Wall Street Journal re

Companies Bleed Jobs, Service Slump Slows

The economy is hemorrhaging jobs and may not stop bleeding for at least another year even if the government acts quickly to stimulate the economy, according to reports released on Wednesday.

Irvine's Epicor Software Gives Worse Than Expected Outlook

Irvine's Epicor Software Corp., a maker of business software for retailers and manufacturers, gave an outlook for the current quarter that falls short of Wall Street's expectations.

Allergan's Profit Falls, Announces Job Cuts

Irvine-based Allergan Inc. said Wednesday its fourth-quarter profit fell 6% and it plans to lay off 460 employees, or 5% of its workforce, including 100 locally.

Tuesday, February 3

Chrysler Sees U.S. Sales Down 35%

Chrysler LLC said on Tuesday it expects U.S. light vehicle sales to decline 35% across the industry in January to the lowest level in 26 years, extending a downturn that has forced major U.S. automakers to seek government aid.

Hyundai, Kia Reverse Months of Decline With Jan. Sales Gain

Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America Inc. and sister company Kia Motor America Inc. of Irvine reversed months of declines by growing auto sales in January, the companies said Tuesday.

Pending Home Sales Rebound

Pending sales of existing homes rebounded in December, data showed on Tuesday, as buyers waded back into the market to take advantage of lower prices and mortgage interest rates.

Corinthian Beats Expectations, Raises Outlook

Rising unemployment continues to bolster Santa Ana-based vocational school operator Corinthian Colleges Inc., which reported better than expected quarterly results and upped its outlook for the current quarter on Tuesday.

Edwards' Profit Beats Expectations

Irvine heart valve maker Edwards Lifesciences Corp. on Tuesday posted a fourth-quarter profit that topped Wall Street's expectations.

GMAC has $7.46B Profit, Main Units Still in Red

Finance company GMAC LLC, which won a government bailout in December, posted a $7.46 billion fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday as a gain from a debt swap offset billions of dollars of losses in its auto and mortgage units.

Monday, February 2

Game Over: Arte Swallows Legal Fees; Dana Helps Debbie

Game Over: Arte Swallows Legal Fees; Dana Helps Debbie

New Del Taco Boss Turned Around Bagel Chain

Del Taco is getting its third leader in less than a year

Economy Center Stage at National Auto Dealer Meeting

What went on at the National Automobile Dealers Association meeting late last month, in the Marketplace column

Size Matters

Toshiba has gone against the grain by not rushing to sell netbooks

Digital Printer Maker Grows

AnaJet wants to makes its imprint on the apparel industry through digital color printers, in the Small Business column

Car Buff Magazine Velocity Turns to Web TV Shows

Velocity magazine is looking to become a "digital media company," in the Media & Marketing column

KUDOS

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

REAL ESTATE WATCH: LOS ANGELES COUNTY

The Los Angeles office market is slumping while the industrial market is holding steady, in Real Estate Watch

THEY SAY

Excerpts of some scathing reviews of outgoing SEC chairman Christopher Cox, in Viewpoint

Consumer Spending Falls, Savings Jump

Consumers cut spending for a sixth straight month in December and their incomes shrank, according to a government report on Monday that underscored the rapid deterioration in the economy.

Newport Beach Builder Signs on to $20B Miami Project

A glut of unsold condominium towers and delayed developments across Miami haven't scared away Centurion Partners, in the Real Estate column

Restaurants Carve Out Niches to Open in Tough Times

The latest in OC's dining scene, in the Executive Dining column

Restaurants Brace for Menu Labeling Costs

How OC's restaurant chains are grappling with a new law requiring them to display nutritional information

Western Digital Closes Higher on Upbeat Analyst Note

Shares of Lake Forest's Western Digital Corp. jumped Monday after an analyst said he's expecting the disk drive maker to rebound later in the year.

Unemployed Patients Crowd Local Emergency Rooms

Uninsured do not pay at ER, strains trauma care

Zehntner Gives Advice as UCI Medical Searches for New CEO

New Head Will Have to Oversee $555 Million Hospital Expansion; Tough Business Economy

UPDATED: Microsemi Keeps CEO, SEC Investigates Peterson's Statements

Microsemi Corp. said Chief Executive Officer James Peterson will be retained and required to pay financial penalties after an investigation found that he did not obtain bachelor's or masters of business administration degrees. But the company is facing a

Boost Doing Biggest Marketing Push Yet

Boost Mobile is starting its biggest advertising push yet

Epicor Falls Back on Former CEO

George Klaus is back at Epicor's helm after a year-long stab at retirement

St. Joseph Hospital-Orange's Cancer Center in National Trial

Newly Running Center Brings Together All Aspects of Care; Patients Influenced Design

Hospitals Review Fundraising to Offset Waning Donations

Foundations focus on personal, Web appeals

Allergan Keeps Buffer by Buying Office Site

Allergan has created its own real estate island in Irvine

OCBJ SUPPLEMENTS and GUIDES

Education Training & Distance Learning 2009

Recession-Proof?

Economy Affecting Hospitals, Which Watch Hiring, Rising Uninsured Patients, Spending

Analyst Cautions on Obama Run-up for Quality, Others

Some OC healthcare information technology companies got a dash of cold water from an analyst last month, in the Healthcare column

Report: Broadcom Faces Renewed Shareholder Suit for Options Backdating

A Los Angeles judge gave the green light to a cadre of Broadcom Corp. shareholders on Monday looking to sue the Irvine-based chipmaker for options backdating.

JPMorgan Eyes BofA, Wells in WaMu Redo

Washington Mutual is making some big changes in OC as it folds into JPMorgan Chase

Mattel Shares Sink After Profit Disappoints

Mattel Inc. posted a fourth-quarter profit far below Wall Street forecasts on Monday, crushed by disappointing holiday sales and a stronger dollar, and its shares dropped 17.5%.

MARKET WATCH

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

OC Prep

Harbor Day School in Corona del Mar is run like a business and teaches the offspring of many of OC's prominent families

Software Reseller Blytheco Buys Maryland Counterpart

Blytheco is continuing its consolidation run, in the Technology column

Hospitals' Pretax Income Dropped 84% from Year Earlier

Top operators still saw revenue increase by 7%

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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