Orange County Business Journal

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Gross-Managed Fund Gets $500M from Soros

Billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros has put $500 million in a fund managed by Bill Gross at Janus Capital Group Inc.

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OC Adds 15,800 Jobs, Unemployment Falls to 5%

Orange County employers added 15,800 jobs in October, helping push down the unemployment rate to 5%.

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NB Title Company Acquired for $36M

Newport Beach-based title insurance company Experience 1 Inc. has been acquired by Solutionstar Holdings LLC for $36 million in cash.

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Universal Protection Buys Guard Services Firms

Universal Protection Service in Santa Ana has acquired two guard services companies on undisclosed terms.

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Allergan Acquired by Actavis for $66B

Irvine-based Allergan Inc. has agreed to be acquired for $66 billion by Actavis PLC.

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Cal Republic Raises $90M, Swings to Profit in Q3

Irvine-based California Republic Bancorp has raised about $90 million in equity and debt offerings.

Biggest Credit Unions Account for Bulk of Growth

Group’s Assets to $16.9B, Despite Declines for Most

Orange County’s credit unions built assets at a faster clip over the past year, when the biggest of the group pulled most of the gains.

Banks Post Biggest Jump in Assets Since Predownturn

23 Together See 35% Rise To $18.5 Billion In Year

Orange County-based commercial banks have notched the biggest year-over-year asset growth in the ongoing economic recovery and even since the few years prior to the recession.

Q&A

The Business Journal’s Jane Yu asked local bankers to discuss their and their clients’ thoughts on how to manage operations in a changing interest rate environment, where rates are expected to rise. Here are edited excerpts of their responses:

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Subprime Auto Lender in Deal, Loses Irvine HQ

The owner of CarFinance Capital LLC is combining the Irvine-based subprime auto lender with another such company in its portfolio.

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Irvine Mortgage Bank Sold

Irvine-based mortgage lender American Interbanc Mortgage has been acquired by Seashine Financial LLC, also in Irvine.

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LoanDepot Buys Massachusetts Firm

Foothill Ranch-based mortgage lender loanDepot.com LLC has acquired Mortgage Master Inc. on undisclosed terms.

LED Manufacturer Sets Up in Anaheim

MANUFACTURING: Shifts West Coast center from IE

MaxLite Inc., a lighting products manufacturer in New Jersey, has relocated the base for its West Coast operations to Orange County, where it has expanded its facility space as part of a bid for growth.

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Irvine Insurance Brokerage Acquired

Irvine-based NuWest Insurance Services Inc. has been acquired by Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC on undisclosed terms.

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Pimco Brings Exec Back as Co-CIO

Pacific Investment Management Co. has re-hired Marc Seidner as a chief investment officer, making him the firm’s sixth co-CIO.

Fastest Growers Keep Pace

Public Cos. Combine for 24% Hike to $83B in Sales

The latest batch of Orange County’s fastest-growing public companies kept pace with last year’s mix, combining for a 24% growth rate on revenue.

Kodiak to Buy $5M in Alt Energy Stock

Newport Beach-based investment firm Kodiak Capital Group LLC agreed to buy $5 million worth of common stock of Cirque Energy Inc., a Detroit-based developer of alternative energy sources.

Need for Speed

Why Fast-Growing Companies Matter to Local Economy

Fast growth matters. Having a deep pool of fast-growing public companies is a plus on many fronts for Orange County’s economy and community.

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Opus Misses Estimates on Q3 Profit

Irvine-based Opus Bank’s third-quarter net income fell short of Wall Street estimates.

Financial Firms Add Advisers, Cut Total Workforces

Reps Jump 3.4%, Overall Staff Down 5% at Top 23

Orange County’s financial advisory firms combined to deepen the pool of registered advisers here while reducing the size of their overall employment bases.

Pacific Premier to Acquire Bank

Irvine-based Pacific Premier Bancorp Inc. has agreed to pay $71.5 million to acquire Independence Bank in Newport Beach.

Boot Barn Holdings Gives IPO Details

Irvine-based Boot Barn Holdings Inc. has announced details of its initial public offering, including the number and price of shares to be sold.

OC-India Connection’s 2-Way Street

Financial Services Here Look for Roles on Both Ends of Deals

A number of financial services firms in Orange County are setting themselves up as conduits for deals in India, drawn by the country’s growing upper and middle classes, a raft of highly educated workers, and a number of industries that offer potential for cross-border links.

Irvine Renewable-Energy Firm Eyes $270M Loan From China Ex-Im Bank

The Export-Import Bank of China last week signed a letter of intent to provide a $270 million loan to Irvine-based BlueFire Renewables Inc.

OC Lures Professionals in More Ways Than One

Chance for Independence, Creativity Part of Appeal

Sunny winters aren’t the only draw for financial industry professionals to move to Orange County from Wall Street and other finance centers on the East Coast.

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El-Erian Backs Costa Mesa Startup

Mohamed El-Erian, former chief executive of Pacific Investment Management Co., has joined Costa Mesa-based startup Payoff Inc. as an investor and board member.

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Pac Merc Narrows Q3 Loss

Costa Mesa-based Pacific Mercantile Bancorp narrowed its third-quarter loss to $693,000, versus a loss of $1.4 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

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Irvine Renewables Energy Firm to Get $270M Loan from China

The Export-Import Bank of China has signed a letter of intent to provide a loan of up to $270 million to BlueFire Renewables Inc., an Irvine-based renewable fuels company.

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First Foundation to List on Nasdaq

Shares of Irvine-based First Foundation Inc. will start trading on the Nasdaq exchange next month.

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Quarterly Profit Up for CalFirst Bancorp

Irvine-based California First National Bancorp reported net income of $2.5 million in the September quarter, an increase of about 34% from the same time a year earlier.

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Pacific Premier Acquires Independence Bank

Irvine-based Pacific Premier Bancorp Inc. has agreed to pay $71.5 million to acquire Independence Bank in Newport Beach.

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Plaza Bank Q3 Profit Dips on Lower Noninterest Income

Irvine-based Plaza Bank reported $1.4 million in net income for the third quarter, down about 2% from the same time a year ago.

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Boot Barn Gives IPO Details

Irvine-based Boot Barn Holdings Inc. has announced details of its initial public offering, including the number and price of shares to be sold.

Companies Look to New Generation for Future

Recovery Growth, Offshore Jobs Return, Spur Hunt

Manufacturing companies and industry organizations are aggressively searching for young talent, with schools and businesses coming together to showcase advanced technologies and provide opportunities for hands-on work experience.

Manufacturers That Survived Storm on Path of Growth

Expanding Local Plants, Adding Training Facilities

Manufacturing in Orange County is in growth mode, with many local companies—those that have weathered the recession and managed to notch consistent business gains—making investments in facility expansions and upgrading their training resources.

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OC Adds 12,100 Jobs, Unemployment Falls

Orange County employers added 12,100 jobs in September, helping bring down the unemployment rate to 5.1%.

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VC Funding Drops in Q3

Venture capital deal flow slowed in Orange County in the third quarter.

Gross Pushes ‘Small, Flexible’ as Calling Card at Janus

FINANCE: First comments in public focus on new nimble

Bill Gross chose to field two questions out of nearly 200 in his first public comments as part of Janus Capital Group Inc.—and his answers to both emphasized his contention that “small and flexible” is good for an investment management firm.

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Santa Ana Label Maker Sold

Santa Ana-based custom labels maker The Label Co. has been acquired by Resource Label Group in Franklin, Tenn.

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Santa Ana Label Maker Sold

Santa Ana-based custom labels maker The Label Co. has been acquired by Resource Label Group in Franklin, Tenn.

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Confie in 2 More Deals

Huntington Beach-based Confie Seguros Insurance Services has made two more acquisitions, the latest in a recent string of buys.

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Pyott Leaves Edwards Board

Allergan Inc. Chief Executive David Pyott has resigned as a director of Edwards Lifesciences Corp.

OC Insurance Brokers Aim for Middle to Offset Corporate Migration

Credit some of Orange County’s biggest insurance brokers with quick adjustments to shifts in California’s corporate landscape.

CSUF Index: Outlook Inches Up for Q4

ECONOMY: Most OC execs expect revenue gains; 42% plan to add jobs

Orange County company executives started the fourth quarter with improved expectations for overall business activity, according to the latest quarterly index of business sentiments published by the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at California State University-Fullerton.

OCers Make Forbes’ Wealthy List

Nine members of the Business Journal’s annual OC’s Wealthiest list were included in the recent Forbes 400 list, which ranks and profiles the wealthiest Americans by estimated net worth.

Q & A

The Business Journal’s Jane Yu asked local insurance brokerage executives to discuss their concerns about recruiting and developing talent at their firms, especially considering the anticipated retirement of baby boomers and the increasing roles of Millennials—people born roughly between 1980 and 2000— in the workplace. The executives talked of the challenges they’re encountering and the various investments they’re making to draw and nurture talent. Here are their edited responses:

Insurance Brokers Notch 8.6% Revenue Jump in 2013

Firms Benefit From Brighter Economy’s Boost to Clients

Orange County’s top insurance brokers picked up the pace in growing their revenues last year, benefiting in part from a generally improved economy that helped boost business prospects for their clients.

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Pyott Leaves Edwards Board

Allergan Inc. Chief Executive David Pyott has resigned as a director of Edwards Lifesciences Corp.

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Confie Buys 3 Brokerages

Huntington Beach-based Confie Seguros Insurance Services has acquired three brokerages, all on undisclosed terms.

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Irvine Commercial RE Lender in Sale to Walker & Dunlop

Johnson Capital, an Irvine-based commercial property mortgage lender, has sold its loan origination and servicing platform to Walker & Dunlop Inc., a commercial real estate financial services company in Bethesda, Md.

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