Optimism Stays Near Peak In Survey of OC Execs

Hiring Plans Goose Index Amid New Concerns

In looking to the second quarter, Orange County executives kept up the optimism. That’s according to California State University-Fullerton’s Orange County Business Expectations Survey, whose composite index held near its all-time high, dipping slightly quarter-over-quarter from 95.2 to 94.4.

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Cybersecurity Firm Nubeva Grows OC Operations

To Provide Blockchain-Based Cybersecurity Solution

Take away the hype around digital cryptocurrency—some claim it’s bogus, given that the virtual coins aren’t backed by anything but the value people give them—and what’s left is blockchain technology.

Cryoport Soared to Best-Performing Stock of Bunch

FINANCE: Netlist was worst performer in TTM

Now the envelopes for the five best- and five worst-performing stocks during the year ended March 29:

Sunwest Hires Well Fargo's ex-OC Chief

Sunwest Bank has hired Ben Alvarado, Wells Fargo & Co.’s former chief for Orange County and San Diego.

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Nekter to Add Two States

Nekter Juice Bar Inc. in Santa Ana will open franchised locations in Ohio and Minnesota this summer, new markets for the healthful food and juice bar chain.

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Josephine Garrett has been named chief financial officer of Irvine-based nonprofit MIND Research Institute.

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Alliant Buys Firm to Expand into Asia

Alliant Insurance Services Inc., a Newport Beach-based insurance broker, is expanding into Asia with the acquisition of Dumortier Risk Management Inc. Terms weren’t disclosed.

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Inari Medical Gets $27M

Irvine-based Inari Medical Inc. received $27 million in a series C round to support commercialization.

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Axonics Secures $40M

Irvine-based Axonics Modulation Technologies received a $40.1 million financing comprised of $20.1 million in equity and a $20 million credit facility.

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FivePoint to Bring $200M City of Hope

Five Point Holdings LLC and City of Hope said today they plan to build a $200 million cancer center at the Great Park Neighborhoods in Irvine.

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Fujifilm Buying Irvine Scientific

Fujifilm Holdings plans to buy a pair of cell culture media businesses owned by Japanese oil and metals conglomerate JXTG Holdings for about $800 million.

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Unemployment Falls to 3.1%

Orange County’s unadjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.1% in February, compared with a revised 3.2% in January but well below the 3.8% reported a year earlier, according to the state’s Employment Development Department.

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Del Taco Operator to Triple Michigan Sites

Del Taco Restaurants Inc. in Lake Forest said franchisee Team Schostak Family Restaurants will open 12 locations in the Detroit market; it currently runs five in Michigan, with a sixth in development.

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Screen Printer to Close, Sell 100,000 SF in Brea

Absolute Screenprint Inc. in Brea will lay off 170 people effective March 31, a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) filed with the California Economic Development Dept. said, and its 100,000 square foot building is on the market for $16.3 million.

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Acquired Sensor Maker Cuts 54 Jobs

Chicago-based Littelfuse Inc. will lay-off 54 workers in Orange, following its purchase of U.S. Sensor Corp. in July for $24.3 million.

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PIMCO Hires Bolten as Adviser

Newport Beach’s Pacific Investment Management Co. added Joshua Bolten, former White House Chief of Staff to U.S. President George W. Bush, to its Global Advisory Board.

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Airport GA Plan Advances

Supervisors approved an initial framework for John Wayne Airport’s general aviation improvement plan on March 13 by a vote of 4 to 0, with one supervisor absent from the afternoon session tally.

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El Pollo Loco Opens in Cajun Country

El Pollo Loco (Nasdaq: LOCO) opened a restaurant in Lafayette, Louisiana, a new market and the first of a two-location franchise deal with Listo Way LLC.

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Candy Man Wants Crack At Toys

Ellia Kassoff, candy maker to legacy cookie and candy lovers, said on LinkedIn that in the wake of the Toys ‘R’ Us demise, he’ll resurrect decade-dead brand KB Toys.

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Banc of California Victim of $13.7 Million Fraud

Santa Ana’s Banc of California Inc. (NYSE: BANC) reported that it may have been the victim of a $13.7 million fraud.

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Habit Chief Marketer Departs

Habit Restaurants Inc. Chief Marketing Officer Matt Hood plans to leave the fast-casual burger chain for another job, the company said.

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Del Taco Down on Results

Shares in Del Taco Restaurants Inc. (Nasdaq: TACO) in Lake Forest fell about 10% in Thursday trading following yesterday's release of its fourth quarter and full-year results.

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Laguna Beach Hotel Sells

Art Hotel in Laguna Beach sold for $7.7 million.

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Juice It Up Sold

Juice It Up was sold to SJB Brands LLC, a partnership of three investors: Dover Shores Capital LLC, Britt Private Capital LLC and Jupiter Holdings LLC.

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Clean Energy Posts Big Q4 Sales Drop

Newport Beach-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp. in the fourth quarter recorded a steep sales drop and wider losses.

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