Orange County Business Journal

OCBJ WEEKLY EDITION

Mohamed’s Moxie; NB’s Big Week; I Heart Ballet

The Insider has heard more than once that former Pimco CEO Mohamed El-Erian is a favorite for a cabinet-level job if Hillary Clinton wins the White House in 2016.

Register Publisher Refocuses Growth Plans

MEDIA: Sees potential in local focus, baby boomer audience

The days of “entrepreneurial expansion” at the Orange County Register have given way to more modest hopes for growth based on “ultra-local” coverage and baby boomers as a key readership group.

Western Realco Eyes More Industrial in Brea

REAL ESTATE: 3rd speculative project would be 216,000 SF

Newport Beach-based Western Realco has bought nearly 10 acres of land in Brea, where the developer is planning its third big speculative industrial project in the city since 2012.

Quality Systems Buys Into Big Data

Irvine-based healthcare software maker Quality Systems Inc. continued its diversification effort with the recent acquisition of a “big data” specialist.

CapRock Buys Irvine Office, Plans Creative Redo

REAL ESTATE: $9.6M estimate for 55,474-SF low-rise

Irvine-based CapRock Partners LLC has snapped up an office just off the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway for its latest local creative-office project.

Ups, Downs Even Out as Aerospace Holds Steady on Jobs

THE LIST: IFE sector offsets cuts at top-ranked Boeing

Employment at Orange County’s largest aerospace and defense contractors was roughly flat for the third straight year.

Solar Outfit Buys Los Al Aerospace Firm

Los Alamitos-based Alliance Spacesystems LLC, which manufactures composite structures for the aerospace industry, was acquired by SolAero Technologies Corp., an Albuquerque, N.M.-based solar panels maker.

Startup Raises $23M for Investment App

Newport Beach startup Acorns Grow Inc. raised $23 million in a Series C round to fuel the growth of its smartphone app, which aims to bring microinvesting to the masses.

Share Sale Cuts Top Habit Owner’s Stake

The private equity firm that has controlled Irvine-based Habit Restaurants Inc. since leading an investor group in a 2007 buyout of the fast-casual burger chain was expected to trim its holdings to less than a majority stake through a secondary share offering.

Vietnamese Paper Files for Bankruptcy

The Little Saigon News Inc. in Garden Grove filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to documents filed with U.S. Bankruptcy Court Central District of California in Santa Ana.

Private Companies Wanted for Annual List

Special Issue: List will be centerpiece of June 22 edition

The Business Journal is preparing its annual list of privately owned companies for publication in June.

PHILANTHROPY

The Orange County chapter of JDRF, a global organization that provides funding for Type 1 diabetes research, hosted its annual Dream Gala “Join the Revolution” on March 28 at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach.

ADDENDUM

Other items of interest Orange County Business Journal Vol. 38, No. 16

The U.S. Department of Education fined a subsidiary of Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges Inc. $29.7 million for alleged misrepresentation of job placement rates in 947 cases by San Francisco-based Heald College.

Way Up In Arts District

Proposal for Luxury Condo Tower to Costa Mesa Planners

The owners of the Avenue of the Arts Wyndham Hotel are moving ahead on plans to build the first high-rise condominium tower in Costa Mesa’s arts district.

Signs of Fresh Start for Fisker

AUTOS: Company circles April 20 amid buzz about new name, model

It appears April 20 will mark another milestone in the tumultuous run of the Fisker brand.

How to Unchain Your Dragon

Apparel Maker’s Ambitions Tied to Costa Mesa HQ, China Production

Dragon Crowd Garment Inc. relocated its headquarters three years ago from downtown Los Angeles to Costa Mesa to be closer to a bunch of OC-based customers, including Oakley Inc., Vans Inc., Quiksilver Inc. and Pacific Sunwear of California Inc.

Broad Range for UCI’s Push on Innovation

EDUCATION: Blueberries to microchips, toothpaste

The $5 million in seed funding that Newport Beach-based Beall Family Foundation provided for the University of California-Irvine’s new Institute for Innovation is bearing commercial fruit.

Panel’s Prediction: Predictive on Rise

Industry Execs Caution on Trade-Off of Privacy

The chief marketing officer of the future could look more like Star Trek’s Captain Kirk than the guys from the “Mad Men” show.

Ad Agencies Top $1 Billion, Led by Gains at Top

Newcomers Help Boost List’s Total, Account for 40%

Orange County’s largest advertising agencies posted an estimated 9% gain in revenue last year, enough to push the group over the $1 billion benchmark.

Printers Reach Beyond Paper, Ink for Revenue Gains

Use of Data to Help Clients Refine Targets One Key

The largest commercial printers based in Orange County combined for $585 million in revenue last year, a 7.5% increase from their total in 2013.

Aitken on Angels; Segerstom Memorial; OC-China Update

Anyone who doubts Wylie Aitken’s will probably hasn’t seen him in a court of law.

Medical Office Project Moves Ahead in NB

REAL ESTATE: Land buy, redesign for Birch Street project

A long-planned medical office development in the Santa Ana Heights area of Newport Beach is moving ahead following a recent sale of the nearly 4½-acre site and a redesign of the proposed project.

Pac Life Offers ‘Swell’ Idea for Younger Investors

FINANCE: ‘Cause-themed’ portfolios include big givers

Pacific Life Insurance Co. has rolled out a research subsidiary that’s targeting younger people with the prospect of adding an element of social consciousness to their portfolios.

Sun’s AVP Inks Deal With NBC

SPORTS: Broadcast, cable streaming part of picture

Donald Sun has inked a new broadcasting deal with NBC Sports Group, ensuring his Costa Mesa-based Association of Volleyball Professionals with a significant chunk of revenue and exposure before players hit the sand next month for the 2015 tour opener in New Orleans.

ReShape Gets Pass on FDA Panel for Obesity Device

HEALTHCARE: Could get final approval for market in June

A San Clemente-based medical device maker cleared a big regulatory hurdle and landed on a faster track to commercialization.

Toshiba Unit in Irvine All Over New Arena in Vegas

MARKETING: Joins Coke as “co-founding partner”

Toshiba America Business Solutions Inc.’s sponsorship of AEG and MGM Resorts International’s $375-million Las Vegas Arena comes with the sort of perks that are in the spotlight lately.

Irvine Firm Buys 35 Pilates Studios

Irvine-based LAG Fit Inc. acquired Club Pilates, a franchised chain of 35 Pilates studios in the U.S. and Australia.

CareTrust REIT Adds Nursing Home

San Clemente-based CareTrust REIT Inc. bought a nursing home in Washington state for $9.1 million.

New Executives at Top for Kia Motors

Kia Motors America Inc. in Irvine named Jang Won Sohn president and chief executive to replace Byung Mo Ahn, who will become a company adviser.

Bella Terra Gets New Ownership

Prudential Real Estate Investors said it acquired a 75% stake in the Bella Terra Shopping Center in Huntington Beach.

ADDENDUM

Other items of interest Orange County Business Journal Vol. 38, No. 15

Quick Bridge Funding LLC, an alternative lender specializing in short-term financing moved its headquarters from Orange to Irvine, taking 17,000 square feet at Market Place Center.

Investors, Developers Drawn to Luxury Spec Homes

See Potential for Big Returns in Luxe Approach

Investors and developers are putting their time and resources into building luxury spec homes along the Southern California coast, from The Strand in Dana Point to the Balboa Peninsula and beyond.

OCBJ Calendar

April 13-22, May 30, 2015

This week's business and other event listings.

Griffin-American Inks $353M Worth of Deals in Q1

Adds 18 Properties Spread Over 11 States

Irvine-based real estate investor Griffin-American Healthcare REIT had a busy first quarter, with $353.7 million worth of acquisitions encompassing 18 healthcare properties in 11 states.

Autobytel Brings ‘Digital Concierge’ to Scion Website

Has Stake in Firm That Developed Technology

Online car shopping does not have to be a solitary experience, according to folks at Autobytel Inc.

Low-Rise Market Hot in Q4 and Getting Hotter

Low-rise office buildings might not get the same amount of attention in the news as the high-rise buildings in Orange County, though they’re a significant part of the office market, accounting for more than half—nearly 55.2 million square feet—of the county’s office space. One can’t ignore the level of recent activity in the low-rise market.

Apple Nears Samsung at Top of Broadcom’s List

Brisk iPhone, Phablet Sales Account for $1.4B

Record sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus helped push Apple Inc. last year to the cusp of overtaking Samsung Electronics Co. as Broadcom Corp.’s largest customer.