Stories in this week’s Orange County Business Journal
Hiring for the summer tourism season drove Orange County’s unemployment rate in April to its lowest level in nearly two years. The county added 12,100 jobs in April from March, according to the state Employment Development Department. The number of nonfarm jobs here rose to 1.36 million as the unemployment rate fell to 8.6% from 9.1% in March and 9.4% a year earlier. The gain marked the ninth month of consecutive yearly improvements. Leisure and hospitality added 6,800 jobs—more than the seasonal bump seen in recent years—with hotels and restaurants accounting for nearly 67% of the increase (see Special Report on tourism).
The parent of shoe brands Simple and Ugg is paying $120 million to buy Irvine-based sandal maker Sanuk USA LLC. Goleta-based Deckers Outdoor Corp.’s offer includes Sanuk and its exclusive licensee C&C Partners Ltd. It could include additional payments based on performance benchmarks. Privately held Sanuk and its licensing company had combined sales of $43 million last year.
San Clemente-based medical device maker Cameron Health Inc. raised $107 million in venture funding, one of the larger rounds for a company based here. Palo Alto-based Alloy Ventures and Delphi Ventures in Menlo Park led the round. Cameron makes an implantable heart defibrillator that provides an electric shock to interrupt potentially fatal heart rhythms during a heart attack. It has raised nearly $200 million in financing. It plans to use the latest money to push sales of its device in Europe and for an upcoming U.S. clinical trial. Natick, Mass.-based Boston Scientific Corp., a Cameron investor, has the right to buy the company.
UP: The profile of the legal profession in Orange County, where average pay for lawyers was seventh highest among metro areas nationwide at $157,950 annually in 2009, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau.
Irvine-based Kofax PLC will pay up to $9.7 million for a maker of software for viewing documents online. Kofax makes scanning software that helps businesses avoid the use of paper and speed up productivity. It is paying $4.7 million in cash at the close of the deal for Easthampton, Mass.-based Atalasoft Inc. and as much as $5 million more based on Atalasoft’s performance. Kofax has yearly sales of about $125 million.
A unit of France’s Sanofi-Aventis SA has sued over royalty payments it claims are owed based on sales of Irvine-based Allergan Inc.’s wrinkle treatment Juvéderm. Allergan makes eye drugs and medical cosmetics, including Juvéderm and Botox for wrinkles and other uses. Sanofi’s Genzyme filed suit in federal court in Boston, according to a Bloomberg report. Juvéderm accounted for $88.2 million of Allergan’s $1.27 billion in sales in the first quarter.