Stories for March 2011

Thursday, March 31

Healthcare Real Estate Owner Sabra Makes First Buy

Irvine healthcare real estate investor Sabra Health Care REIT Inc. said Thursday that it made its first deal since its November spinoff from Sun Healthcare Group Inc.

Sokol Affair Casts Shadow on Buffett Style

So much for Warren Buffett's philosophy of leaving his managers alone. A key Buffett lieutenant resigned this week, and said he bought shares in a company he later pitched to his boss.

Jobless Claims Fall, Midwest Hiring Jumps

The number of Americans claiming jobless benefits fell last week and factory employment in the U.S. Midwest hit a 27-year high in March, more signs that an improvement in the labor market is under way.

Rate on 30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rises to 4.86%

Fixed mortgage rates rose slightly this week, but the average rate on the 30-year loan remained below 5%.

County Visitors Flat in 2010, Spending Up

Orange County drew 42.7 million visitors in 2010, about even with 2009, while spending by tourists and business visitors rose 4% to $7.4 billion, according to the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau.

Wednesday, March 30

Netlist Jumps on New Patents

Shares of Irvine-based computer memory products maker Netlist Inc. jumped Wednesday on word of newly granted patents.

Grubb & Ellis Lands $18M Financing; Shares Jump

There’s another big move in shares of Santa Ana-based Grubb & Ellis Co. on word the real estate brokerage has secured $18 million in financing.

Private Sector Adds 201,000 Jobs in March

Private employers added 201,000 jobs in March, while February's figure was revised down slightly, a report by a payrolls processor showed.

U.S. CEOs Becoming More Willing to Hire

U.S. chief executives' view of the economy brightened in the first quarter, with more than half now ready to add jobs -- a critical step if the economy's recovery is to gain steam.

Obama Calls For Deep Cuts in U.S. Oil Imports

President Barack Obama set an ambitious goal to cut U.S. oil imports by a third over 10 years, focusing on a source of anxiety for Americans as high gasoline prices threaten economic recovery.

Former OC Drug Maker Valeant Makes Waves With Hostile Bid for Cephalon

Drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which moved its headquarters from Aliso Viejo to Canada late last year, is the story of the day on Wall Street with a hostile takeover bid for Pennsylvania biotechnology company Cephalon Inc.

Tuesday, March 29

Device Maker Cardiogenesis Being Bought for $22 Million

Irvine-based Cardiogenesis Corp. is being bought for $22 million by CryoLife Inc., the companies said Tuesday.

February Auto Sales Rose Sharply

Sales at Orange County auto dealers rose sharply in February, increasing 49% from a year earlier to 8,727 autos, according to the Newport Beach-based Orange County Automobile Dealers Association.

Consumer Morale Ebbs, Home Prices Near 2009 Lows

Consumer confidence fell in March as households worried about inflation, while home prices fell for the seventh straight month in January, pointing to a loss in momentum in the economy.

BP Shares Hit by Manslaughter Report, Downgrade

Shares in oil major BP fell on a report the company's managers could face manslaughter charges following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which could lead to much higher fines over the disaster.

U.S. March Auto Sales Seen Up, But Gas Prices Weigh

U.S. auto sales in March are expected to rise about 12% from last year's depressed levels, but high gasoline prices and production problems caused by the Japanese earthquake could slow a recovery, analysts and investors said.

Another Wild Swing for Grubb & Ellis Shares

Shares of Santa Ana-based Grubb & Ellis Co. rose Tuesday after a big swoon on Monday.

Monday, March 28

Raj Manufacturing Signs Licensing Deal with Nautica

Tustin-based Raj Manufacturing Inc. said it struck a deal to sell women’s swimsuits under the Nautica Apparel Inc. brand.

Quarterly Outlook Index Notches Another Gain

Orange County executives are more optimistic about the economy than they’ve been since before the recent recession, according to economists at California State University, Fullerton.

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EADS Unit to Buy Canada's Vector Aerospace

EADS has ended a three-year acquisition drought in North America with a $640 million cash bid for Canadian overhaul and repair firm Vector Aerospace.

Consumer Spending Up, Inflation Accelerates

Consumer spending rose for an eighth straight month in February, but much of the gain went to cover rising food and energy prices, providing little lift to the economy.

EBay to Buy GSI for $1.96B Cash

EBay Inc. plans to buy e-commerce company GSI Commerce for $1.96 billion in cash in a bid to draw more buyers and sellers to its online marketplaces.

Sunday, March 27

REAL ESTATE DEALS

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

Jazz Links to French Nonprofit in Bid for Global Deals

Deal Calls for Joint Effort on “Multi-Project Wafers”

Jazz Semiconductor inked a deal with a French nonprofit, in Technology

NEWS OF THE WEEK

Stories in this week’s Orange County Business Journal

Post-Recession Planning

New Mix Shows More Comfort With Risk, Little Taste for Treasuries

The ongoing economic recovery and rising stock indexes have some of the top wealth advisers in Orange County shifting strategies to meet market conditions and their clients’ needs.

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Spotting Opportunity in Yet Another Crisis

Marc Foster is buying Japanese blue chips.

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Retired Clients’ Views: Talking to Adviser Helps; Kids Still Cost

Merrill Lynch survey says local wealth managers more likely to get call for strategy discussions

Local retirees are discussing investment strategies and portfolio allocations more often with their financial adviser compared to their peers across the country.

Plugging In

Viewpoint

Commentary. Shelley Hoss, president of the Orange County Community Foundation, offers ways for OC residents to get more connected

Steelbergs Grow Recession Baby, Latest Venture for Brothers

MARKETING: Brand Affinity ties celebs, jocks with marketers

ENTREPRENEURS: Profiles of the Business Journal’s Entrepreneur of the Year award winners: Ryan and Chad Steelberg, Brand Affinity Technologies Inc.

How to Survive and Prosper: Strategy, Focus, Communication

Leading wealth managers used new mixes to keep clients during downturn, grow with recovery

ABOUT THE LIST: The county’s top wealth managers held on to most of their clients through the downturn and are picking up new business as the economy recovers. Includes the 2011 OC's TOP WEALTH MANAGERS list for download (pdf)

Top Wealth Managers

A look at the Business Journal’s list

Quarterly Outlook Index Notches Another Gain

ECONOMY: Executive sentiment highest in four years

Local executives are more optimistic for the second quarter

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Cold War Legacy Fuels Hopes for Heart Device

HEALTHCARE: Device maker in Europe trials; spy technology

Advanced Cardiac Therapeutics has started a European trial

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All Smiles

Dental Services Exec Eyes $600M in Sales

ENTREPRENEURS: Profiles of the Business Journal’s Entrepreneur of the Year award winners: Steven Bilt, chief executive and cofounder of Smile Brands Group Inc., an Irvine provider of management services to dentists.

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Koontz Has Real Scare; Congress VIPs Visit OC

OC INSIDER Column by Rick Reiff

PacSun’s Latest: Cut Stores, Boost Brands

RETAIL: Could close 150; “has to win” warm-weather quarters

Pacific Sunwear of California’s turnaround has been slower than expected

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REAL ESTATE WATCH: Manufacturing & Warehouse

Industrial Market Tightens, Sees Big Deals

The county’s industrial market had several big deals go through last year

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Office Market Getting Stronger, Still Reaching for Peak

List of Top Deals Up 70%, Investor Interest Increasing

Office deals in the country are steadily increasing, in Real Estate

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Japan Earthquake Aftermath: Challenges for Device Makers

Distribution Hurdles Seen, Some Production Exposed

Japan’s earthquake may disrupt sales for local device makers, in Healthcare

Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Starts Own Marketing Agency

360 Creative Lab Signs On Client, Looking for More

360 Commercial Partners is getting into advertising, in Media and Marketing

From $100 to $280M

Drumwright Started Trace3 With Nearly Nothing, Eyeing $500M in Sales by 2014

ENTREPRENEURS: Profiles of the Business Journal’s Entrepreneur of the Year award winners: Hayes Drumwright, founder and Chief Executive, Trace3.

Clarke: Ups, Downs, Growing Stability for Local Search Site

TECHNOLOGY: Local.com’s seen boom, busts, Web scrutiny

ENTREPRENEURS: Profiles of the Business Journal’s Entrepreneur of the Year award winners: Heath Clarke, Local.com Corp. cofounder and Chief Executive

Sheet Metal Executive Overcomes Family Death, Housing Downturn

MANUFACTURING: Kurtz diversifies into solar, other areas

ENTREPRENEURS: Profiles of the Business Journal’s Entrepreneur of the Year award winners: Mari Kurtz, chief executive of Santa Ana-based Cal Pac Sheet Metal Inc. and OC Metals Inc.

Higher Food Costs New Hurdle for Still Struggling Restaurants

DINING: Big chains in better shape to handle; bankruptcies?

Rising food costs likely will affect local restaurants

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Well-Funded Device Startup Eyes Big Global Market

HEALTHCARE: Glaukos has lured $126M for glaucoma stents

Laguna Hills device maker Glaukos has big plans for its eye implant

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Strasmann Switches to CB Richard Ellis to Lead Industrial

REAL ESTATE: Plans to grow revenue, market share in OC

Kurt Strasmann is leaving Voit for CB Richard Ellis Group

Anaheim Industrial Buildings in Works

REAL ESTATE: Project planned on speculation; nearly 900,000 SF

Panattoni Development is moving ahead with plans for industrial buildings

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Bixby Spends $58M on Industrial Buildings

REAL ESTATE: Buys in Mira Loma, La Mirada, Vegas area

Bixby Land bought four industrial buildings for $58 million

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Friday, March 25

County Adds 8,800 jobs in February, Unemployment Back Under 9%

Job gains in the government, professional services, and education and health sectors sent the county unemployment rate in February below 9% for the second time in three months.

Fourth-Quarter GDP Growth Revised Up to 3.1%

The economy grew more quickly than previously estimated in the fourth quarter as businesses restocked shelves to meet rising demand and maintained fairly solid spending.

Loss of Faith in RIM Deepens as PlayBook Debut Nears

Research In Motion is facing skeptical investors unsure the BlackBerry maker can pull off a difficult transition as it promises strong growth based on a tablet and operating system few have seen.

March Consumer Sentiment Lowest in Over a Year

Consumer sentiment in March fell to its lowest level in more than a year as gasoline and food prices rose, a survey showed.

Wet Seal Shares Surge on Outlook, Results

Shares of Foothill Ranch-based Wet Seal Inc. surged Friday, a day after the mall retailer beat sales forecasts for the recently ended quarter and projected another gain in the current quarter.

Thursday, March 24

Heart Valve Maker Edwards Joining S&P 500 Index

Standard & Poor’s said Thursday it is adding Irvine-based Edwards Lifesciences Corp. to its S&P 500 index, effective March 31.

El Pollo Loco Sees Lower Sales, Loss

The parent of Costa Mesa-based El Pollo Loco Inc. reported lower sales and a loss in 2010 as the company continued to struggle with high unemployment and a competitive environment for the restaurant industry.

Durable Goods Orders Fall, Job Market Healing

New orders for long-lasting manufactured goods fell in February, hinting at some unexpected softness in manufacturing activity and business investment plans.

Walgreen to Buy Drugstore.com For $429 Million

Walgreen Co. plans to buy drugstore.com for $429 million, expanding the online presence of the world's largest drugstore chain.

Best Buy Profit Tops View; Forecast Falls Short

No. 1 U.S. electronics chain Best Buy Co. said that its fiscal fourth-quarter profit fell 16%, hurt by lower sales of televisions, notebook computers and video games.

Microsemi Pops on Analyst's Bullish Sales Outlook

Shares of Irvine-based Microsemi Corp., a maker of chips for military, aerospace and consumer uses, jumped on Thursday after an analyst said its March quarter sales could come in above its outlook.

Wednesday, March 23

Broadcom Outlines Settlement

Irvine-based chipmaker Broadcom Corp. has outlined the terms of a preliminary settlement with a current executive and two former executives to resolve a shareholder lawsuit dealing with stock options backdating.

InSight Health Services Completes Bankruptcy

Lake Forest-based InSight Health Services Holdings Corp. said Wednesday that it has emerged from bankruptcy protection.

San Clemente's Legacy Electronics Moving HQ to South Dakota

Legacy Electronics Inc., a local maker of memory boards for computers, is moving its headquarters to South Dakota from San Clemente.

Fed Tells Bank of America to Rein In Dividend Plan

The Federal Reserve objected to Bank of America Corp.'s plans to boost the dividend and told the bank to revise its proposal, sending its shares down 2.7% in morning trading.

Conoco May Double Asset Sale to $20 Billion

ConocoPhillips, the third-largest U.S. oil company, said it might double its planned sale of less-desirable assets to $20 billion, with proceeds going to buy back stock.

Sales of New U.S. Homes Tumble 16.9% to Record Low

Sales of new single-family homes collapsed in February, the Commerce Department reported, as a combination of high unemployment, tumbling prices and a glut of cheaper alternatives brought activity to a near-standstill.

Tuesday, March 22

Report: Pimco Setting Up Fund To Buy Bank Assets

Newport Beach-based mutual fund manager Pacific Investment Management Co. is said to have raised more than $1.5 billion to buy assets from banks looking to shore up their balance sheets.

RIM's PlayBook to Take On IPad From April 19

Research In Motion's long-awaited tablet, the BlackBerry PlayBook, will go on sale in North America on April 19 at a base price of $499, matching the pricing for Apple's latest iPad.

Walgreen’s Profit Rises 10%; Shares Tumble

Walgreen Co. said that its second-quarter profit rose 10%, helped by Valentine’s Day sales, a late flu season and more prescriptions filled, but shares of the drugstore chain dropped sharply.

Shareholders Offer 16.5M Express Shares

Express Inc.'s largest shareholder and others plan to sell 16.5 million shares of the fashion retailer in a public offering, according to a regulatory filing.

First American Names McKee, McKernan to Board

Santa Ana-based title insurer First American Financial Corp. has made two notable appointments to its board of directors: Thomas McKernan and Michael McKee.

Monday, March 21

Wet Seal Names President, COO

Foothill Ranch-based mall retailer Wet Seal Inc. on Monday appointed a former discount retailer executive to be its president and chief operating officer.

Grubb & Ellis Hires Strategic Adviser, Exploring Sale

Santa Ana-based Grubb & Ellis Co. said on Monday that it has hired an investment bank to explore a potential sale of the company.

Investors Cheer AT&T-T-Mobile USA Deal

Investors cheered AT&T Inc.'s deal to snap up Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile USA in a $39 billion transaction that reshapes the U.S. wireless landscape.

Home Sales Dive, Prices Near 9-Year Low

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes plunged in February and prices hit their lowest level in nearly nine years, implying a housing market recovery was still a long way off.

Citi to Resume Dividend, Sets Reverse Stock Split

Citigroup Inc. will slash the number of common shares outstanding and reintroduce a dividend, taking another step in its long recovery from the brink of failure during the financial crisis.

Cameron Schavee Brushes Teeth

This is the tease of the story.

Broadcom Buying Israeli Wireless Network Chipmaker for $313M

Irvine-based chipmaker Broadcom Corp. is buying Israeli chip startup Provigent Ltd. for $313 million.

Sunday, March 20

Busy January Sales Give Way to Quiet February, Early March

Six Luxury Homes Sold in Jan.; Priciest $11.5M

Luxury home sales have slowed down in the last month and a half, in Luxury Homes

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Fisker Looking to Make Cars for Others at Plant

AUTO: Seeking to use excess space at 3.2 million sq. ft. plant

Fisker Automotive looks into producing vehicles for other automakers

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Parker Aerospace’s Clark, Emulex’s Bowman, Other HR Execs Honored

HONORS: Awarded for work in downturn, expansions, deals

OC’s National Human Resources Association recognized local executives

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Surging Cotton Prices Forcing Clothing Makers To Up Prices

APPAREL: Squeeze comes at delicate time in industry rebound

Local clothing companies grapple with rising cotton prices

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AccentCare Relocating HQ to Dallas

HEALTHCARE: Company leaving about 300 workers here

AccentCare is moving its headquarters from the Irvine Spectrum to Dallas

Medical Device Maker ICU Weans From Hospira, Eyes More Products

HEALTHCARE: Custom items drive company’s diversification

ICU Medical has lessened its dependence on its largest customer

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Pimco’s Push: Adding 300 People This Year

FINANCE: ‘Brain scans’ for fit; new HQ, stock funds in works

Pimco is making a hiring push as it diversifies into stock funds

OC’s World Ties: Fest Aids Japan, Turbi Blasts Gadhafi

OC INSIDER Column by Rick Reiff

Software Maker Set To Open Santa Ana Office

TECHNOLOGY: Ultimate set to join local cluster, employ 50 here

Florida’s Ultimate Software Group plans to open an office in Santa Ana

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Brea Project Part of Housing Comeback

REAL ESTATE: 1,350 homes moving ahead at La Floresta

A big housing development in Brea is ramping up construction

‘Bullish’ on Botox and More

HEALTHCARE: Allergan gets strong start on migraine use; eye drugs steady

Allergan is set to see growth on Botox for migraines and other drugs

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Japan Fallout?

Kingston Had Banner 2010, $6.5B in Sales; Earthquake Poses Questions for This Year

Japan’s recent earthquake and tsunami could disrupt production for Kingston

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Volume Up, Headcounts Down, Outlook Wary for Title Firms

Interest rate hikes expected to cut refinance business after 16% boost in dollar volume in 2010

Orange County’s largest title insurers saw a second straight year of gains in 2010 but remain on the defensive due to expectations of higher interest rates that could bring a slowdown in refinance work. Includes the 2011 OC's LARGEST TITLE INSURERS list for download (pdf)

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Most Likely to Sell at Discount

Lot of Big Deals From Class of 2007 Fell Short of Peak Potential, Sold Cheap Last Year

ABOUT THE LIST: If the Business Journal’s list of largest deals in 2007 was a school yearbook, most of the companies featured in it would long ago have tossed it into the back of their closet.

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Comeback on Track

Top deals near 2007 peak; buyers find few opportunities; big corporations fuel leasing

A frenzied pace of headline-grabbing deals toward the end of the year helped make 2010 the most active year for single-asset commercial real estate sales in Orange County since 2006.

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‘Stars Align’ Over Apartments

Sector set pace for big deals in 2010; demographics, roster of shoppers point to more of same

Recent sales trends indicate that the apartment sector in Orange County has picked up where it left off during the peak days of the last real estate boom.

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REAL ESTATE DEALS

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

REVIEW

“Wicked,” Segerstrom Center for the Arts, through April 3

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REAL ESTATE WATCH: NORTH & CENTRAL ORANGE COUNTY

North County Industrial Tightens: Higher Rents, Development?

North County’s industrial market could see higher rents and development soon

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BofA Lease in Brea Among Biggest in Nation This Year

Renewal for More Than 600,000SF at Call Center

Fulfillment Corporation of America is relocating to Brea, in Real Estate

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Cancer Drug Maker Spectrum Sees Surge in Revenue

Posts Unexpected Profit; Competition Increasing

Spectrum Pharmaceuticals topped expectations last quarter, in Healthcare

CHOC Mounts Advertising Campaign To Raise Profile

Effort Includes Print, TV, Online Spots by DGWB

CHOC debuts a new marketing campaign, in Media and Marketing

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EA Planning Push Into Blizzard’s Realm: Online Games

Console King Eyes Profits in Multiplayer PC Games

Blizzard’s top rival plans a new online game, in Technology

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NEWS OF THE WEEK

Stories in this week’s Orange County Business Journal

Pac Life Profits Up, Sales Push Proceeds

FINANCE: Stock market gains help, price cuts pinch annuities

Pacific Life Insurance is turning a corner after an industrywide downturn

Drug Researcher Pharmaron Raises $40M, Grows in China

HEALTHCARE: Company has 5 Beijing plants, 1,200 workers

Irvine’s Pharmaron Holding recently raised $40 million in funding

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Friday, March 18

Report: Samueli, Nicholas Turn Over Options To Help Fund Broadcom Settlement

Broadcom Corp. cofounders Henry Nicholas and Henry Samueli have agreed to pay the company more than $50 million as part of the chipmaker’s settlement of a shareholder lawsuit dealing with stock options backdating, according to a report.

Fed to Allow Some Big Banks to Boost Dividends

The Federal Reserve will allow some of the largest U.S. banks to boost or restart dividends payments this year but will restrict the amounts to 30% or less of the company's anticipated earnings, the central bank said.

General Mills Set for $1.1 Billion Yoplait Stake Buy

General Mills is set to pay $1.12 billion for half the Yoplait yogurt brand, allowing the company to settle a management dispute and pursue emerging markets growth.

CVC Set to Buy Kabel BW For $4.17 Billion

Private equity firm CVC is the frontrunner to seal Europe's biggest private equity buyout of the year for German cable operator Kabel Baden Wuerttemberg, people familiar with the situation said.

Fletcher Jones Revives Plans for Ontario Dealership

Fletcher Jones Motorcars, whose Newport Beach Mercedes dealership is the largest in the county, is reviving postponed plans to open a dealership in Ontario.

Thursday, March 17

Smile Brands Executive, Other Entrepreneurs Honored

Steve Bilt, cofounder of Irvine-based dental services company Smile Brands Group Inc., was honored along with five others at the Business Journal’s 10th annual Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards in Irvine.

Energy Lifts Inflation, Jobless Claims Decline

Consumer prices rose at their fastest pace in more than 1-1/2 years in February, driven by higher food and energy prices, but underlying inflation pressures remained generally contained.

FedEx Outlook Bright on Growing Demand

FedEx Corp., the world's largest cargo airline, forecast improved revenue and margins in the current quarter and beyond, and sees more shipments for reconstruction in Japan.

IPO Could Value Groupon at Up To $25 Billion

Daily deals website Groupon could be valued at as much as $25 billion in an initial public offering, Bloomberg reported, citing two people with knowledge of the company's discussions with banks.

Fitch Ratings Upgrades Allergan Debt

Irvine-based Allergan Inc. has had its debt ratings raised by Fitch Ratings Inc.

Kings Basketball Team Looking at Names for Potential Anaheim Move

The Sacramento Kings basketball team has filed for rights to several names should the team move to Anaheim’s Honda Center.

Wednesday, March 16

Pacific Sunwear Slumps After Results, Forecast

Shares of Anaheim-based Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. fell Wednesday, a day the mall retailer missed expectations with quarterly results and offered a disappointing outlook for the current quarter.

Standard Pacific Names President

The chief operating officer at Standard Pacific Corp. was named president of the Irvine-based homebuilder Wednesday, putting him on a path to potentially become chief executive.

Wholesale Prices Rise on Energy Costs

Producer prices rose by 1.6% in February, as energy and consumer goods saw a strong increase, suggesting building inflationary pressures in the economy.

Oil Rebounds on Mideast, Japan Fears Weigh

Oil prices jumped due to escalating violence in the Middle East and worries about oil supply from the region but retreated later on fears Japan's nuclear crisis was spinning out of control.

Starbucks and Peet's in Recent Deal Talks

Peet's Coffee & Tea Inc. recently held talks with Starbucks Corp. about a potential sale to the large coffee shop chain, CNBC reported, citing a DealReporter report.

Tuesday, March 15

Home Prices Slide $5,000 in February

The median price paid for an Orange County home was $410,000 in February, a $5,000 or 1.2% decrease from the prior month, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick.

CoreLogic Pays $32M for San Mateo Software Co.

Santa Ana-based CoreLogic Inc., a provider of data to real estate and mortgage companies, has bought the remaining stake in a San Mateo–based mortgage software company it doesn’t already own for $32 million.

Wall Street Drops for Second Day on Japan Fears

Stocks fell 1% as fears of a nuclear crisis in Japan fanned caution in equities and the market looked likely to extend its bearish trend.

Apollo Management to Price IPO at $18 to $20

Private equity firm Apollo Management is expected to price shares in its initial public offering at $18 to $20 each and sell 26 million shares, according to a CNBC report.

Northrop Grumman Plans Shipbuilding Unit Spin-Off

Northrop Grumman Corp. said its board has approved the spinoff of its shipbuilding business.

Monday, March 14

Corinthian Shares Jump on Fewer Student Loan Defaults

Shares of Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges Inc. surged Monday on word from the vocational school operator that fewer students defaulted on loans in the past two years.

Pimco, Irvine Co. Strike Tower Deal

A high-rise office tower in Newport Center is set to be built for investment manager Pacific Investment Management Co. starting this summer.

Buffett Pulls Trigger to Buy Lubrizol for $9 Billion

Billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. struck a deal to buy lubricants maker Lubrizol Corp. for $9 billion, betting on a global economic recovery.

Wall Street Lowest in Six Weeks on Japan Fears

U.S. stocks fell to a six-week low as investors worried about the fallout of Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Hacker Group Releases BofA Employee Correspondence

Anonymous, a hacker group sympathetic to WikiLeaks, released emails that it obtained from someone who said he is a former Bank of America Corp. employee.

Movie Theater Operator Sanborn Hires Adviser, Exploring Options

Newport Beach-based Sanborn Theatres Inc., a family-owned movie theater operator, has hired an investment bank to explore a possible sale, financing or other options.

Kingston Technology: 2010 Sales of $6.5 Billion

Fountain Valley-based Kingston Technology Co., the top maker of memory products for computers and consumer electronics, reported a big boost in 2010 sales after a year of rebounding prices for memory chips and improving demand.

Sunday, March 13

Sabra Debuts First Results, Seen as Demographics Play

Nursing Home Building Owner Reports in Line

Sabra Health Care is holding its own so far, in Healthcare

NEWS OF THE WEEK

Stories in this week’s Orange County Business Journal

Sea School

Ocean Institute Teaches Kids; Hoteliers, Quiksilver’s McKnight on Board

BEYOND WORK - Businesspeople at play, charity: Dana Point’s Ocean Institute counts many OC executives as board members

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Western Digital Clear No.1 with $4B Hitachi Buy

Western Digital is set to become the leader in drives with a recent buy

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Opus Adds Seattle Bank, Aims to Close More Deals

FINANCE: Irvine-based CEO says buys due here, Bay Area

Opus Bank made its first acquisition with a buy in Seattle

Apartment Projects OK’d on Jamboree

REAL ESTATE: Rentals touted for business complex makeover

Construction on three apartment complexes in Irvine has been approved

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Stock Gains, Interest Rates Help Healthcare Buyouts

Deals don’t depend on products in pipeline, find favor over IPOs

The healthcare industry here already has seen a pair of big deals this year, and buyouts could be the story for the rest of this year.

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Redevelopment and Affordable Housing

VIEWPOINT

Laura Archuleta says that cuts to redevelopment agencies could hurt children.

REAL ESTATE DEALS

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

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REAL ESTATE WATCH: Airport/central Coast area

Falling Lease Rates Spur Industrial, Office Activity in Airport Area

The John Wayne Airport Area is seeing declining rents. Includes Real Estate Watch industry performance charts.

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UCI Buys Orange Land for Parking From MPG Office

Land Was Part of Maguire Buy Here Back in 2007

UCI bought land in Orange from MPG Office Trust, in Real Estate

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Anaheim Ducks Roll Out Mobile Marketing Promotion

Hockey Team Eyes Ticket Sales With Games, Alerts

The Ducks are using cell phone marketing, in Media and Marketing

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Premium Propositions

Pent-Up Cash Meets Downturn’s Survivors for Burst of Action at Higher Prices

The window for bargains on mergers and acquisitions could be closing amid signs that private equity and corporate buyers are deploying stockpiles of cash amassed during the recent recession.

Meeting of Minds on Tech Valuations

Low-Ball Offers Disappear, Potential for Stronger Exits Improves

Technology buyers and sellers seem to be finding a happy medium in their valuations, prompting a growing number of deals this year.

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Broadcom Engineer, Helicopter Buff Visits Science Fair

Hoped “I Inspired Some”; Toy Helicopter Raffled

Broadcom sponsored an Irvine science fair for kids, in Technology

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Grants, Initial Development Work, Suits Spur Environmental Lawyers

LAW: Federal incentives drive projects; state rules spur suits

Environmental work for lawyers is growing

Women-Owned Businesses Bounce Back With Sales Growth

ECONOMY: $2.2B total for 2% increase after 2 years of declines

ABOUT THE LIST: Businesses owned by women saw an uptick in sales last year. Includes the 2011 OC's LARGEST WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES list for download (pdf)

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Video Play

Online Ad Company Specific Media Focuses on Web Commercials

Irvine’s Specific Media is betting on streaming video commercials

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Better Economy, Wall Street Gains Point to Record Attendance at Roth

FINANCE: Boost from Chinese contingent; Joan Jett set to play

Roth Capital Partners expects the largest turnout ever for its stock conference

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Wet Seal’s New CEO Tempers Stores Expansion

RETAIL: Aggressive plan cut in half, on par with 2010 openings

Wet Seal is scaling back an aggressive expansion plan

Executive Plans to Move Device Maker Here

HEALTHCARE: Former Apria president now heading startup

Breathe Technologies plans to move its headquarters here from the Bay Area

Check Out These Political Bedfellows; $300M ‘Handshake’

OC INSIDER Column by Rick Reiff

Irvine’s Smarthome: Skymall Gadgets, Then Some

TECHNOLOGY: Website, mail order catalog are techie nirvana

A look at Irvine gadget maker Smarthome

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Affliction Plans Stores Push

APPAREL: Maker of edgy clothes aims to get past $150M sales mark

Affliction is planning to expand with more store openings

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Friday, March 11

Pimco's Gross Addresses Bond Selloff, Japan

Bill Gross, co-chief investment officer at Newport Beach-based Pacific Investment Management Co., elaborated Friday on his recent move to sell all U.S. bonds from his $236.9 billion Pimco Total Return fund, the world’s largest mutual fund.

Shoppers Shake Off High Gasoline Costs in February

Retail sales posted their largest gain in four months in February as shoppers stepped up purchases of autos, clothes and other goods even as they spent more for gasoline.

Consumer Sentiment at Five-Month Low in March

Consumer sentiment fell to its lowest level in five months in early March as gasoline prices rose, a survey showed.

99 Cents Only Stores Gets $1.34 Billion Buyout Offer

99 Cents Only Stores has received a bid from the family that runs the company and a private equity firm to take the company private for $1.34 billion in cash, though some analysts said the company might be worth more than that.

Clean Energy Jumps on Q4 Results

Shares of Seal Beach’s Clean Energy Fuels Corp. jumped Friday a day after the operator of natural gas fueling stations reported better than expected earnings.

Thursday, March 10

Quiksilver Loss in Line With Estimates

Huntington Beach-based clothing maker Quiksilver Inc. reported an adjusted quarterly loss of $8.1 million on Thursday in line with Wall Street’s expectations.

Trade Gap Widens on Imports While Jobless Claims Up

The trade deficit widened much more than expected in January as surging imports of oil, capital goods and cars overpowered record exports in a signal of strengthening demand.

Moody's Cuts Spain Rating, Cites Higher Bank Costs

Moody's downgraded Spain's sovereign debt rating by one notch and warned of further cuts to come as it expects bank restructuring will cost more than twice what the government expects.

AOL to Cut 20% of Global Workforce

AOL Inc. will cut more than 900 jobs, or 20% of its global workforce, as it struggles to catch up to faster-moving rivals, a source close to the Internet company said.

Ceradyne Invests in Japanese Materials Maker

Costa Mesa-based Ceradyne Inc., a maker of military and industrial ceramics, has taken a minority stake in a Japanese maker of materials for nuclear power plants, solar power, optical networks and chip making.

Pimco's Gross Sells Off U.S. Treasuries

Bill Gross, co-chief investment officer at Newport Beach-based Pacific Investment Management Co., has sold all U.S. bonds from his $236.9 billion Pimco Total Return fund, the world’s largest mutual fund.

Wednesday, March 9

Olenicoff Up Among Locals on Forbes World’s Billionaires List

All but one of Orange County’s entries slipped in ranking on Forbes’ 2011 list of the world’s billionaires released Wednesday.

Alliance HealthCare Reports Mixed Quarter, Affirms Outlook

Newport Beach-based Alliance HealthCare Services Inc. reported mixed fourth-quarter financial results and reaffirmed its 2011 outlook on Wednesday.

Ceradyne Boosts 2011 Guidance, Shares Up

Costa Mesa’s Ceradyne Inc. on Wednesday upped its profit forecast for 2011, citing better sales expectations and improved profits as business picks up.

Mortgage Applications Surge to Highest in Three Months

Applications for home mortgages jumped to the highest level in three months last week, buoyed by improvements in the job market, an industry group said.

Dynegy Warns of Chapter 11

Dynegy Inc. said it may be forced to seek bankruptcy protection if it is unable to renegotiate credit agreements with its banks.

Walgreen to Sell Unit for $525 Million

Drug-store chain Walgreen Co. plans to sell its pharmacy benefits management unit to Catalyst Health Solutions Inc. for $525 million.

Tuesday, March 8

Quiksilver Up on Analyst Comments

Shares of Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc. were up Tuesday after an analyst said it’s a good time to buy the stock as the company shifts its focus on growing its three major brands.

San Clemente Development Plan Goes to Voters

San Clemente voters today are taking up a controversial plan to redevelop part of the city’s North Beach area into shops, restaurants and office space.

Boeing Wins $10 Billion Deal From Chinese Airlines

Boeing Co. sealed deals worth $10 billion with two airlines in China, the world's fastest growing market that is likely to buy more than 2,000 aircraft over the next five years.

Deutsche Telekom, Sprint Jump on U.S. Merger Talk

Shares in Deutsche Telekom AG and Sprint Nextel Corp. jumped on renewed talk the two companies may be in discussions to combine their operations in the United States.

Bank of America Sees Relatively High Expenses

Bank of America Corp. could have relatively high expenses for the next two years as it wrestles with mortgage losses, but longer term it plans to cut costs to improve profitability, its chief executive said.

Allergan President Tapped for Hospira CEO Job

F. Michael Ball, president of Irvine drug maker Allergan Inc., is the new chief executive of Hospira Inc.

Monday, March 7

Alstyle Apparel Closing Anaheim Plants

Anaheim-based clothing maker Alstyle Apparel Inc. is laying off workers as it moves toward closing its two manufacturing facilities here.

Oil And Gold Hit Records, Stocks Fall on Libya

Crude oil prices jumped to a 2-1/2-year peak and gold hit an all-time high as investors worried that widening unrest in Libya could spread to other oil-producing nations in the Middle East.

Moody's Downgrade Tips Greece Closer to Brink

Moody's slashed Greece's credit rating by three notches due to an increased default risk, raising the specter that the distressed euro zone sovereign may have to restructure its debt, perhaps before 2013.

Global Central Banks Point to More Acute Price Risks

A spike in food and oil prices has made the threat of inflation more acute, leading central banks said, but they warned tightening of policy in response will not proceed at the same pace.

Western Digital to Lead Disk Drive Market with $4.3B Hitachi Play

Shares of Irvine’s Western Digital Corp. soared on Monday on the announcement that it’s set to buy Northern California’s Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Ltd., a move that will make it the undisputed top disk drive maker.

Sunday, March 6

Westinghouse Keeps Toehold as Vizio, Samsung Rule TVs

TECHNOLOGY: TV seller has 1% of market; hawked at Target

Westinghouse Digital is holding on as big rivals gain market share

Revived Auto, Aerospace Markets Boosting Kaiser Aluminum

MANUFACTURING: Demand growing; new plant to cut costs

Kaiser Aluminum is seeing a boost as its customers begin to recover

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Trendy Shoemaker Auri Seeks To Raise Money with Ticker Symbol

APPAREL: Now traded on low- profile exchange after acquisition

Shoemaker Auri in Laguna Beach has gone public in a reverse merger

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La Jolla’s Diversification Plan Includes Motor Brand License

APPAREL: Move to add FMF Racing follows new skate deal

La Jolla Group added a motorsports brand to its lineup of clothes

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Juice Bottler Buys Land for Expansion

ANAHEIM: $6M deal; plan in works, expected in about a year

Sacramento’s Nor-Cal Beverage is expanding its Anaheim plant

Bargain Price, Leasing Challenge in Santa Ana

REAL ESTATE: Industrial deal about half price from 2007 peak

A high-end Santa Ana industrial building has been sold out of receivership

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Conexant Boss Set Under Buyer Golden Gate

TECHNOLOGY: Chittipeddi tapped, buyer called “hands-off”

Conexant Systems’ chief executive position has been settled

Chapman’s New Dean: Credentials, Quips, Less Controversy

OC INSIDER Column by Rick Reiff

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Southland’s CEO-in-Waiting

ENGINEERING: Lynch now is president, set for top job in 2013

Southland Industries has completed a five-year plan for picking its next CEO

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CB Consolidates to Bayview Flagship

REAL ESTATE: More space, 300 staffers; smaller shop in North OC

CB Richard Ellis is seeing a local restructuring

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Behind $7.4B Buy: Deal Timing, Size, Wave of Boomers

HEALTHCARE: Nationwide’s being absorbed after long courtship

Nationwide Health Partners is set to be bought by Ventas

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REAL ESTATE DEALS

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

Chef of the Year

Eddie Meza Started as Dishwasher—the Rest Is Anaheim White House History

Fifi Chao names Eddie Meza of the White House in Anaheim as Orange County’s Chef of The Year

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Casual Consideration

Burgers and Pizza That Go Beyond the Ordinary Are Just the Beginning of Our Culinary Bargain

Fifi Chao profiles restaurants with more casual fare, in Fifi’s Best

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REAL ESTATE WATCH: SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY

South County Leads Office Market Rebound

South County is leading a turnaround in the office market.

Commercial Real Estate Deals Drive First American

Unit’s Profits Up 50% in Q4 From Year Ago

Commercial deals are boosting First American Financial, in Real Estate

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Danaher Prevailed in Final Hours of Beckman Bidding

PerkinElmer’s $5.1B offer Topped in Final Hours

Danaher and PerkinElmer competed for Beckman Coulter, in Healthcare

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Western Digital’s Singapore Operations Expanding

Drive Maker Set To Hire, Spend $400M at Factory

Western Digital is expanding operations in Singapore, in Technology

Draftfcb in Irvine Lands Petco’s Agency of Record Gig

Agency Hired After Early Work on Pet Food Push

Draftfcb is Petco’s new agency of record, in Media and Marketing

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Changing Market: Rival Cash Offers, Big Bear Signing

Corona del Mar Deal Set To End Yearlong Listing

Selling luxury homes here can take six months plus

Automakers Reflect Sales Rebound With New Hires

AUTOS: Net gain for nine here comes after three years of cuts

ABOUT THE LIST: Automakers with operations here saw a small uptick in hiring. Includes the 2011 OC's AUTOMAKERS list for download (pdf)

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Auto Dealers See 2010 Sales Rise After Two Years of Declines

AUTOS: Sales up 6% to $3.4B; trend seen sticking for 2011

ABOUT THE LIST: The largest dealers here saw a jump in 2010 sales. Includes the 2011 OC's AUTO DEALERS List for download (pdf)

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Western Digital Tops Seagate in Disk Drives in 2010

TECHNOLOGY: Seagate still tops by sales, trails by shipments

Western Digital topped Seagate by market share but still trails in revenue

Valve Rival

Medtronic, Edwards Vie in Emerging Market; Makings for Epic Rivalry

Medtronic CoreValve and Edwards Lifesciences are facing off

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Friday, March 4

County Loses 21,300 Jobs in Jan. From Dec. Amid Seasonal Cutbacks

Seasonal cutbacks across industries sent the unemployment rate in the county back above 9% in January as more job seekers entered the market.

Drug Maker Ista Asks FDA to Not Approve Rival Generic

Irvine drug maker Ista Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Friday it asked the Food and Drug Administration to reject a generic version of its drug for treating eye pain after cataract surgery.

February Payrolls Jump, Jobless Rate Near 2-Year Low

Employers hired more workers in February than in any month since May last year and the unemployment rate fell to a near two-year low, the strongest sign yet the recovery has become self-sustaining.

Wal-Mart Hikes Dividend 20.6%

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it is increasing its annual dividend nearly 21%, citing its ability to generate cash in a fiscal year that disappointed investors with weak U.S. sales.

Factory Orders Up in January, Helped by Airplanes

Businesses ordered more manufactured goods from U.S. factories in January, but excluding a big surge in demand for airplanes, the rise in demand was the smallest in three months.

Thursday, March 3

Irvine Drug, Device Researcher Gets $40M Funding

Pharmaron Holding Ltd., an Irvine research and development company, has raised $40 million in a third round of funding.

Jobless Claims at 2-1/2-Year Low, Buoy Jobs Outlook

New claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to their lowest level in more than 2-1/2 years, signaling an acceleration in job creation could be taking shape.

Retailers' Sales Rise, But Gas Prices Threaten

Top retailers posted stronger-than-expected sales gains for February, a show of strength that could dissipate this spring as rising gasoline and food prices take their toll.

Trichet Flags April ECB Rate Rise, Stuns Markets

The European Central Bank may hike interest rates next month, far earlier than markets expected, though any rise would not signal a series of increases, President Jean-Claude Trichet said.

Wet Seal Sees Feb. Sales Gain

Foothill Ranch-based mall clothing retailer Wet Seal Inc. reported better than expected February sales.

Wednesday, March 2

Sabra Unveils First Results Since Spinoff

Sabra Health Care REIT Inc., an Irvine owner of nursing homes and other healthcare buildings, on Wednesday reported its first financial results since its November spinoff from Sun Healthcare Group Inc.

Report: Broadcom Rumored to Buy Israeli Chipmaker Provigent

Irvine-based chipmaker Broadcom Corp. is thought to be in talks to buy Israeli chip startup Provigent Ltd.

Private Sector Adds Jobs in February

Private sector employers added more jobs than expected last month in a sign of steady improvement in the labor market, ahead of the closely watched non-farm payrolls report from the Labor Department.

Fed's Bernanke: U.S. Budget Cuts Could Trim 200,000 Jobs

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said a Republican spending cut plan would not cause a big dent to U.S. economic growth, but could cost around 200,000 jobs.

Yahoo In Talks on $8 Billion Japan Exit

Yahoo Inc. is in advanced talks to leave its Japanese joint venture in an effort to sort out its dysfunctional Asian partnerships and free up as much as $8 billion to fight Google and Facebook.

Edwards Gets European Approval for New Heart Valve

Irvine-based medical device maker Edwards Lifesciences Corp. said Wednesday that European regulators approved a new, larger version of its Sapien XT less-invasive heart valve.

Tuesday, March 1

Automakers Post February Gains

Automakers here continued to see sales rise in February.

Conexant's Chittipeddi Set to Run Chipmaker Under Private Equity Firm

Newport Beach chipmaker Conexant Systems Inc. plans to keep its top guy in place as chief executive under its new private equity parent.

GM U.S. Sales Surge as Incentives Catch Fire

General Motors Co.'s sales in its home market surged by 46% in February as sales incentives including lease deals and cash offers for existing GM owners drove shoppers to dealerships.

J. Crew Shareholders Approve Takeover

J. Crew Group Inc. will once again be a private company after shareholders approved a $2.86 billion deal for the retailer to be acquired by TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners LP.

Retail Sales Seen Up in February

February sales numbers that top chains report later this week will be the first sign of shoppers' ability and willingness to pay more for clothing and household items now that gas prices are rising.

Standard Pacific Strikes $210M Credit Line

Irvine-based homebuilder Standard Pacific Corp. has struck a $210 million credit line that the company plans to put to use buying land to build homes on.