Orange County Business Journal

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Hat Wholesaler Set for Move to Brea

APPAREL: Shift of West Coast HQ comes on steady growth

A run of steady growth has hat maker Flexfit LLC slated to move its West Coast operations from Fullerton to a larger facility in Brea in coming months.

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OC Gains Jobs, Jobless Rate on Steady Decline

Orange County employment grew by about 2.4% last year, boosted by December gains that helped push the unemployment rate down to 5.2% from 5.7% in November and 6.8% a year earlier.

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Plaza Bank Profits Up

Irvine-based Plaza Bank more than doubled its profit in 2013, rounding out the year with a boost in net income in the final quarter.

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VC Funding Up for 2013 Despite Q4 Dropoff

Venture capital funding for Orange County-based businesses rose 13% in 2013 despite a steep dropoff in the fourth quarter.

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VC Funding Up for 2013 Despite Q4 Dropoff

Venture capital funding for Orange County-based businesses rose 13% in 2013 despite a steep dropoff in the fourth quarter.

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Santa Ana Golf Retailer in Florida Deal

Santa Ana-based Worldwide Golf Enterprises Inc. has acquired Edwin Watts Golf Shops LLC, a retailer in Ft. Walton Beach that filed for bankruptcy late last year.

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Pimco Outlines Executive Changes in Wake of El-Erian Resignation

Newport Beach-based Pacific Investment Management Co. announced a roster of new appointments in portfolio management and business leadership positions in the wake of word that Mohamed El-Erian will step down as chief executive and co-chief investment officer.

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New CEO for Western Dental

Orange-based Western Dental Services Inc. has named Simon Castellanos its new chief executive officer.

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Robinson to Be Installed President of ABOTA

Mark Robinson Jr., managing partner of Newport Beach-based law firm Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Shapiro Davis Inc., will be installed as this year’s president of the American Board of Trial Advocates on Jan. 25.

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El-Erian to Leave Pimco

Mohamed El-Erian is stepping down from his chief executive and co-chief investment officer roles at Pacific Investment Management Co.

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Windjammer Exits Drink Dispenser Company

Newport Beach-based private equity investor Windjammer Capital Investors has sold its stake in Automatic Bar Controls Inc. to Middleby Corp. on undisclosed terms.

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Kareo Gets $29.5M

Irvine-based healthcare software developer Kareo Inc. got $29.5 million in venture funding it said will go toward sales and marketing, among other areas, to help “accelerate growth.”

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Santa Ana’s Intellectual Property

Federal Courthouse, Bench Raise Profile on Patent Law

Orange County’s federal district judges have been a key to the emergence of Santa Ana as a venue of choice for patent litigation among lawyers throughout the U.S.

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Firm Expects Business Boost From Healthcare Reform

Boutwell Fay Specializes In Employee Benefits Law

Legal work related to healthcare reform has been taking up a growing share of business at Boutwell Fay LLP, an employee-benefits specialist whose partners said they expect the trend to strengthen through 2014 as various parts of the Affordable Care Act take effect.

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Firms Continue Attorney Cutbacks, Combine for 2% Dip

30 of Largest Firms Trim Their Orange County Ranks

Orange County’s largest law firms trimmed their workforces last year, marking the second straight year of modest cuts in the number of lawyers here. Includes the 2014 OC's LARGEST LAW FIRMS list for download (pdf)

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Terms of Engagement

Activist Investor Prefers Low Profile But Will Take Fights Public

Much of Engaged Capital LLC’s work gets done behind the scenes.

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ClearVision Bucks Trend With Growth

FINANCE: Mortgage lender plans to double workforce

Wholesale mortgage specialist ClearVision Funding is planning to double its workforce and lend more in 2014, filling a gap in homebuyer demand as larger commercial banks exit or pull back from mortgage lending.

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Fluidmaster Buys Slovenia Company

San Juan Capistrano-based toilet-parts maker Fluidmaster Inc. has acquired Kolektor Liv in Postojna, Slovenia.

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Wescoat New CFO at Emulex

Costa Mesa-based Emulex Corp. has named Kyle Wescoat as its new chief financial officer in a continued restructuring effort.

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LoanDepot Taps Former Pimco Manager as CIO

Foothill Ranch-based mortgage lender LoanDepot.com LLC has named Bryan Sullivan its chief investment officer.

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Alliant Buys Consulting Firm

Newport Beach-based Alliant Insurance Services has acquired Sagewell Partners, a consulting firm in Pittsburgh that specializes in disability and life benefit plans.

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LoanDepot Taps Former Pimco Manager as CIO

Foothill Ranch-based mortgage lender LoanDepot.com LLC has named Bryan Sullivan its chief investment officer.

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Alliant Buys Consulting Firm

Newport Beach-based Alliant Insurance Services has acquired Sagewell Partners, a consulting firm in Pittsburgh that specializes in disability and life benefit plans.

Wescoat New CFO at Emulex

Costa Mesa-based Emulex Corp. has named Kyle Wescoat as its new chief financial officer in a continued restructuring effort.

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Pimco Total Return Fund Sets Record on Outflow

Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Total Return Fund had a total outflow of $41.1 billion in 2013, topping the prior record of $33 billion set in 2011 by an American Funds’ stock fund.

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Natural-Products Maker Gets $62M Deal

Irvine-based ChromaDex Corp., a maker of ingredients for dietary supplements and other natural-products companies, has signed a four-year, $62 million supply contract with 5Linx Enterprises Inc., a marketing firm in Rochester, N.Y.

NB Law Office Combines with Sacramento Firm

Weintraub Tobin Chediak Coleman Grodin Law Corp. in Sacramento has expanded into Orange County through a combination with Waldron & Bragg LLP, a litigation firm in Newport Beach.

Top 10 in OC Continue Gains on Patents

The number of patents received by Orange County companies grew by nearly 7% in 2013 to 3,141, with the top 10 companies accounting for 56%, according to data compiled by Bruce Itchkawitz, a patent attorney at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP.

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Natural-Products Maker Gets $62M Deal

Irvine-based ChromaDex Corp., a maker of ingredients for dietary supplements and other natural-products companies, has signed a four-year, $62 million supply contract with 5Linx Enterprises Inc., a marketing firm in Rochester, N.Y.

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Pimco Total Return Fund Sets Record on Outflow

Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Total Return Fund had a total outflow of $41.1 billion in 2013, topping the prior record of $33 billion set in 2011 by an American Funds’ stock fund.

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Advantage Buys NY Marketing Firm

Irvine-based Advantage Sales & Marketing LLC has acquired BoxTop Media LLC in New York on undisclosed terms.

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Costa Mesa Bank Gets “Needs to Improve” Rating

Costa Mesa-based Commercial Bank of California received a “needs to improve” rating from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act.

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Local Executives Regain Optimistic Viewpoint

ECONOMY: CSUF index back up after last year’s late dip

Orange County’s executives have regained some optimism as they head into 2014, according to the latest business expectations index published by the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at California State University, Fullerton.

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BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR - Finance: Bill Link

Versant Venture’s Co-Founder Stirs Startup Scene in Healthcare

Healthcare-focused venture capital firm Versant Ventures is bucking the trend as it continues to actively locate deals and draw investors to fund startups.

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Irvine Financial Analysis Firm Acquired

Irvine-based Financial Tools Inc. has been acquired by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services Inc. in Minneapolis on undisclosed terms.

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Buena Park’s “Koreatown” Shopping Center Readies for Kickoff

A new Korean-American shopping center in Buena Park is gearing up for an official launch in coming weeks.

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New OC Managing Partner for Troutman Sanders

Troutman Sanders LLP has named a new managing partner to oversee its Irvine law office.

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New OC Managing Partner for Troutman Sanders

Troutman Sanders LLP has named a new managing partner to oversee its Irvine law office.

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Buena Park’s “Koreatown” Shopping Center Readies for Kickoff

A new Korean-American shopping center in Buena Park is gearing up for an official launch in coming weeks.

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Irvine OTC Company Fetches $120M in Sale

Irvine-based surgical products maker Patient Safety Technologies Inc. has agreed to be acquired by Kalamazoo, Mich.-based Stryker Corp. for $120 million in cash.

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Greenberg Gross Taps OC Register Columnist

Costa Mesa-based law firm Greenberg Gross LLP has tapped former Orange County Register columnist Frank Mickadeit as an associate as part of a hiring round in anticipation of increased “large-scale trials” in 2014.

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D.C. ‘Powerhouse’ Opens Irvine Office

LAW: Partner in charge also member of Committee of 100

Global law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has established an Orange County office in a move to expand its presence on the West Coast and heighten its “commitment … to the cross-border market.”

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2014 Preview: FINANCE

Banks may face “fiercer” competition in 2014 as an improving economy fuels more business spending.

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OC Adds Jobs, Unemployment Inches Down

Orange County added 8,700 jobs in November, buoyed in large part by seasonal hiring in retail.

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American Vanguard Projects Weaker Q4

Newport Beach-based agriculture chemicals maker American Vanguard Corp. projected weaker fourth-quarter revenue, citing increased inventory levels held by its customers.

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Alliant Buys NY Firm

Newport Beach-based Alliant Insurance Services Inc. has acquired PRB Administrators NY, a retirement services company in New York.

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Gardner New Director of Federal Reserve Bank of SF

Steven Gardner, chief executive of Pacific Premier Bancorp Inc., has been elected to the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

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Opus Bank Taps Former Mayor of Seattle as Director

Irvine-based Opus Bank has appointed former Mayor of Seattle Norman Rice to its board of directors.

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Gardner New Director of Federal Reserve Bank of SF

Steven Gardner, chief executive of Pacific Premier Bancorp Inc., has been elected to the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

State Treasurer Lockyer Joins Law Office in Irvine

California Treasurer Bill Lockyer has joined the Irvine office of Boston-based law firm Brown Rudnick LLP on a part-time basis.