Orange County Business Journal

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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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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New CEO for Pimco Parent

Pacific Investment Management Co. parent Allianz SE announced plans to replaced its chief executive in the first half of next year.

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9 OCers Make Forbes 400 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.

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Ingredients Developer Gets $5M Debt Funding

ChromaDex Corp., an Irvine-based maker of ingredients for dietary supplements, has closed a $5 million venture debt financing from Hercules Technology Growth Capital Inc.

5 Honored With General Counsel Awards

A crowd of more than 400 members of Orange County’s corporate and legal communities gathered to honor this year’s top in-house lawyers at the Business Journal’s fifth annual General Counsel Awards.

Anton & Chia in San Diego on Latest Buy

Newport Beach-based accounting firm Anton & Chia LLP has acquired W. Michael Corson & Co. in San Diego on undisclosed terms, its second buy in recent months.

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Gross to Janus, Will Stay in Newport Beach

Bill Gross, founder and chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Co., will leave the Newport Beach-based company to join Janus Capital Group.

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Report: Fox Head Looks to Sell

Irvine-based motorcross apparel company Fox Head Inc. is reportedly on the sales block and seeking more than $200 million.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 dipped 0.1% to 1,991.66 in midday trading.

Growth By Design

Alternative Lender Translates Conditions Into 2,236% Revenue Jump

Growth for Quick Bridge Funding LLC was fast but not too fast.

Midmarket Movers

73 Companies Combine for $2.2 Billion in Revenue

The 73 fastest-growing private companies in Orange County with revenues between $10 million and $100 million collectively grew their combined top line by 76.1% over the past two years to $2.2 billion.

Palace Entertainment Sells 15 Parks

Newport Beach-based leisure park owner and operator Palace Entertainment Inc. sold 15 of its entertainment center locations to Apex Parks Group in Aliso Viejo on undisclosed terms.

Little Big List

$4.3B Revenue Increase Spread Over 13 Largest Fast Growers

Far fewer but much bigger. That’s one way to sum up the biggest of the fastest-growing private companies based in Orange County—13 companies that combined for $16.1 billion in revenue, a 37% jump.

Double Time

Companies Under $10M Mark on Revenue Combine for 100% Jump

The fastest-growing companies in Orange County with revenues of less than $10 million combined to nearly double their sales over the past two years to $399 million.

Windjammer Sells Portfolio Company

Newport Beach-based buyout firm Windjammer Capital Investors agreed to sell its portfolio company, BBB Industries LLC, to an investment firm in London on disclosed terms.

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Unemployment Rate, Jobs Fall

Orange County’s unemployment rate dipped to 5.4% in August despite a decrease of 1,900 jobs over the month.

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Entertainment Parks Operator Sells 15 Locations

Newport Beach-based leisure park owner and operator Palace Entertainment Inc. has sold 15 of its entertainment center locations to Apex Parks Group in Aliso Viejo.

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Windjammer Sells Auto Parts Maker

Newport Beach-based buyout firm Windjammer Capital Investors has agreed to sell its portfolio company BBB Industries LLC to an investment firm in London.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 fell 0.22% to 1,981.24 in midday trading.

Aristotle Capital to Newport Center

Aristotle Capital Management LLC is doubling its office size in Orange County with a move from Irvine to Newport Beach.

HK Billionaire’s OC Connection

Chan, Brother Head Foundation That Gave $350M to Harvard Last Week

You won’t find mention of Orange County in the ongoing talk of the biggest single donation in Harvard University’s history.

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PE Firm Invests in Propane Engine Maker

Newport Beach-based private equity firm Solis Capital Partners LLC has made an equity investment in LEHR Inc., a manufacturer of propane-powered engines and tools for home and commercial uses.

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Pac Merc Names COO

Costa Mesa-based Pacific Mercantile Bancorp has promoted Robert Sjogren to chief operating officer, a position that had been vacant for some time.

Equipment Firm HQ to Irvine in Expansion

Equipment leasing company Pacific Rim Capital Inc. has expanded its headquarters in a move from Aliso Viejo to Irvine.

Irvine-Based Bank Sells $60M in Notes

Irvine-based Pacific Premier Bancorp Inc. sold $60 million worth of notes to private investors.

Kofax to Pay $34.7M for German Firm

Irvine-based software maker Kofax Ltd. agreed to pay $34.7 million in cash for Softpro GMBH, a German company that specializes in electronic signature services and software.