Orange County Business Journal


Kia Loads First Full Luxury Sedan With Expectations

AUTOS: Seeks halo effect for whole lineup with new model

Kia Motors America Inc. sees 2014 as the year of the luxury sedan—and the time to push up market perceptions of its brand.

Vizio Sticks With ‘Beautifully Simple’ for Marketing

MARKETING: Targets Hollywood with ultra-HD

Vizio Inc.’s marketing strategy for 2014 is just like its latest ad campaign: “beautifully simple.”

$2.6B Edison Mission Asset Sale Approved

A bankruptcy judge in Chicago approved the sale of most of the assets of Santa Ana-based Edison Mission Energy, a unit of Edison International, the Rosemead-based parent of Southern California Edison.

Swiss Manufacturer Puts U.S. Unit in OC

A Swiss commercial printing equipment maker established its North American headquarters in Laguna Niguel.

Mitsubishi Electric to Consolidate in HB

Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America Inc. plans to consolidate its regional operations in Huntington Beach.

Irvine Medical Device Maker Seeks IPO

Lombard Medical Inc., a British medical device maker with U.S. headquarters in Irvine, filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an $80 million initial public offering on the Nasdaq exchange.


Min Kun Kim, who most recently served as chief executive coordinator at Kia Motors America Inc.’s headquarters in Irvine, was promoted to president and chief executive of Kia Canada Inc.


“Mentorship is one of the single most important gifts you can give to youth, especially those facing adversity,” says Melissa Beck, chief executive of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County.

OCBJ calendar

March 17, 2014

This week's business and other event listings.

LA Kiss Shoots for Touchdown With Preseason Ads

Tries to Get More Bang for Its Limited Pile of Bucks

Professional arena football team LA Kiss, with less than a month till the start of its inaugural season, has a flurry of marketing activities in the works.

British Heart Team Uses Edwards Valve in Implants

Doctor Said Device Could Extend, Improve Lives

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. recently hit another milestone with one of its less-invasive heart valves.

Microsemi Prevails in Lawsuit On Old Business Line

Wins $5.3M in Damages From Local Company

Aliso Viejo-based chipmaker Microsemi Corp. was awarded $5.3 million in damages from another local technology company in a breach-of-contract lawsuit filed four years ago.

real estate deals

A family trust sold the Lakeside Plaza office building in Mission Viejo to a private investor for $3.3 million.

Greater Airport Area Office Market Dips, Lease Rates Up Slightly

Absorption in the Greater Airport Area office market in the fourth quarter was negative 42,007 square feet compared to positive 83,307 square feet in the third quarter.

Irvine Co. Nears Blockbuster Lease in Santa Clara

Ericsson Eyes 440,000 SF in Silicon Valley Project

Newport Beach-based Irvine Company is making more waves in the Silicon Valley office market, with a blockbuster lease for a development reportedly in the works.

Nonlocal Investors Drive Top Real Estate Sales in 2013

Distressed Deals Down, Development on Comeback

Nonlocal investors produced the bulk of activity last year in Orange County’s commercial real estate market, the first year since the onset of the recession that distressed deals didn’t make up a large portion of sales activity.

Title Insurers Turn to Buys As Refinancings Dry Up

Interest Rate Hikes Bring 13% Decline in Business

Business for Orange County’s largest title insurers took a step back in 2013 as rising interest rates brought about a steep drop in refinance work during the second half of the year.

Top Minority-Owned Businesses Reach $12.8B in Revenue

ECONOMY: 5.5% increase in sales; 2.2% gain on OC jobs

The biggest minority-owned businesses based in Orange County combined for $12.8 billion in revenue last year, a 5.5% increase from a year earlier.

Convention-al Wisdom: Size Matters

Convention centers throughout Southern California and the nation battle in a never-ending contest to win the business of everyone from comic book geeks to medical device makers.

Costa Mesa Firm’s Route to Hollywood Runs SXSW

Hotel Conference Producers Take Bow at Austin Film Festival

There’s no business like show business, suggests the popular tune by Irving Berlin.

Pacifica’s Play: Stay at Beach, Add Services

HOSPITALITY: Hotel operator looks to grow management services

Investing in coastal properties has been a no-brainer for Pacifica Hotels ever since 1993, when it got started in Santa Barbara as the hotel investment and management wing of private equity firm Invest West Financial Corp.

Thumbs Up, ‘Hands Down’ for New Merage School Dean

Eric Spangenberg must be feeling plenty flattered over the recruiting job done by UCI to land him as dean for its Paul Merage School of Business.

UCI Cancer Center Adds Trial, Treatment Options

HEALTHCARE: $5M paves way for more advanced trials

A new center for cancer research and clinical trials at the University of California, Irvine, has the potential to give patients who want to use advanced therapies a chance to stay in Orange County for treatments.

Ad Shop’s Future Uncertain After Client, Staff Losses

MARKETING: 27-year-old Costa Mesa agency goes quiet

A midday knock on Marshall Advertising & Design’s front door last week went unanswered. So were calls to the Costa Mesa-based advertising agency. And its website was also down.

Freedom Community Papers Weekly Again

MEDIA: Two had gone daily in circulation push for Register

Santa Ana-based Freedom Communications Holdings Inc. is reverting to a weekly publication schedule for its community newspapers that serve Irvine, Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.

DJM Hears Skeptics, Gets ‘Aggressive’ on Pacific City

REAL ESTATE: Joins list of OC retail projects in works

DJM Capital Partners Inc. has more than a big hole to fill along Pacific Coast Highway when it comes to its long-awaited Pacific City retail project in Huntington Beach.

Company’s Tough Computers Produce Steady Growth

TECHNOLOGY: Irvine-based Getac supplies military, cops

Getac Inc.’s line of rugged computers are built to withstand the harshest conditions on the battlefield and some of the most extreme climates on earth. Its U.S. operation, headquartered in Irvine, supplies the Department of Defense and several U.S. law enforcement agencies with specialized laptops and tablets.

Google Capital Puts $50M in

Irvine-based, an online real estate auction company, reportedly received a $50 million investment from Google Capital, an investment arm of the Internet giant.

10 OC Residents Make Top Billionaire List

Ten of Orange County’s wealthiest were named on Forbes’ latest list of top billionaires in the world.


Banc of California in Irvine acquired RenovationReady in Greenwood Village, Colo. on undisclosed terms. RenovationReady provides home-renovation lending services. Its president and co-founder, Jim Fraser, will join the bank as senior vice president and director of construction and renovation lending.

Home Sale Sets Four-Year San Juan Capistrano Record

Nets $5.6M, Most Per Square Foot Since 2010

A home at 31831 Paseo Cielo sold on Feb. 20 for $5.6 million, the highest price per square foot in San Juan Capistrano and the nearby city of Laguna Niguel and community Coto de Caza since 2010.

Volcom Returns to Silver Screen for Brand Push

In 70 Theaters Around the World, Previewed Online

Volcom Inc. released “True To This,” an original feature film that “captures the energy and artistry of board-riding in its purest forms.”

Medical Device Tax Repeal Bid Emerges in New Form

Latest in String of Efforts To Kill 2.3% Revenue Tax

A longtime effort to repeal a federal tax on medical device makers’ revenue is bubbling up again.

Lantronix Wows With Cool Products It Helps Power

Small Embedded Wireless Device Key to Innovations

Irvine-based Lantronix Inc. turned some heads late last month at the Embedded World 2014 show in Nürnberg, Germany, with some cool demos of its networking technology using a humanoid robot, a drone and a Wi-Fi-enabled electric bike.

West OC Industrial Sees Decrease in Vacancy, Rise in Sale Prices

The fourth quarter in West Orange County continued to demonstrate positive trends the submarket has been consistently witnessing.

Uptown Newport Alters Ownership, Moves Ahead

Shopoff Buys Out DRA, Brings in Picerne Group

The Uptown Newport mixed-use development on Jamboree Road is preparing for its first major round of construction following a few changes in ownership for the high-visibility Newport Beach project.

Real Estate Deals

John Higman sold an industrial and manufacturing building in Brea for $5.5 million to Air Treatment Corp., an HVAC systems equipment and design contractor.