Stories for July 2006

Monday, July 31

SanDisk to Buy Msystems for $1.55B

SanDisk Corp., a maker of flash memory used in cell phones and digital cameras, said on Sunday it would buy Israel-based Msystems for $1.55 billion in stock.


The debut of Corner Offices: Profiles of the management group of Orange County's top companies.

Big Changes at the Pond Include Hirings, Promotions

The operator of the Arrowhead Pond and Ducks hockey team continues to add staff and promote workers, in the Media & Marketing column


The past week's news from and other sources

Mindspeed Slips on Outlook

Mindspeed Technologies Inc. said Monday it posted an operating profit in the quarter ended June 30. But shares slumped after the announcement when the company said it expected to slip back to a loss in the current quarter.

Anaheim Plans Wet Lab, Tool Training Center

Anaheim is pushing a facility for cutting-edge machine tool training and a biomedical wet lab

Real Estate Deals

Sales and leases of offices, industrial buildings, retail space and apartments

Hager Pacific Properties Stepping Up Out-of-State Buys

Newport Beach-based Hager Pacific is stepping up the number,and size,of its out-of-state deals, in the Real Estate column

Kingston Propels Revenue Gain at Minority-Owned Companies

Kingston Technology led the way as the county's top minority-owned businesses posted a gain in revenue last year


Huntington Beach should look at the success of closing off a road for pedestrian traffic in Netanya, Israel, in Readers' Letters

Real Estate Watch: Los Angeles County

Office, Industrial Markets See Lower Vacancy and Higher Lease Rates. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Fed Hints Rate-Hiking Cycle Near an End

The Federal Reserve is nearing the end of its two-year run of interest rate increases as the United States economy enters a stretch of slower economic growth, Fed officials said on Monday.


California's Enterprise Zone Program is in need of reform, in They Say


Week's Best, Worst Performers; Roth OC50, Billion Dollar Club, OC Tech; Index Watch, 52-week Performance


A look at people, companies and institutions receiving awards, accolades, grants and other honors

Toshiba, Hitachi Post Promising Results

Hitachi Ltd. trimmed its losses and Toshiba posted its first profit since it began reporting first-quarter earnings in 2002 in the latest signs of recovery among Japanese electronics makers.

Touring the Napa Valley With Fleming's as the Guide

A tour of the Napa Valley wine region with Fleming's as the guide, in the Executive Dining column

Fashion Island Gets 'Bounce Back' From Weekly Gigs

Bill Medley's kickoff of the Fashion Island Summer Concert Series drew a huge crowd, in the Marketplace column

Packard Bell Eyed by Ex-eMachines Owner

A prominent OC computer industry insider may be angling to buy Packard Bell

Powerwave Down on Q2 Results

Shares of Powerwave Technologies Inc. dropped about 10% in afterhours trading Monday after the company said second-quarter sales fell short of estimates and demand from a key customer was falling.


Freedom Communications' Flanders is getting to know OC, where the company has expansion plans

Insider Buying May Be Good Sign for Battered Cooper

The past year hasn't been the greatest for Cooper Cos., though some insider buying could signal better times ahead, in the Healthcare column

Dell Warning Doesn't Exactly Bode Well for Gateway

Gateway could be headed for a tough report when it details the second quarter next month, in the Technology column


Boeing's consolidation in Huntington Beach is a product of the location's campus-like environment

Poole Split on Need for Rate Hike

Federal Reserve Bank President William Poole said on Monday he feels evenly split about the need for an 18th consecutive interest-rate hike at the Fed's meeting next week.


Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Former eMachines Owner Eyes Packard

A couple of local computer industry veterans,Lap Shun "John" Hui and Wayne Inouye,may come out of retirement to take on Europe.

Delphi: June Loss of $1.86B

Bankrupt auto parts maker Delphi Corp. on Monday reported a $1.86 billion net loss for June, largely reflecting a charge for a pension and post employment benefit curtailment.

Mideast Conflict Spills Into OC; Cisco Mind Grant

Mideast Conflict Spills Into OC; Cisco Mind Grant

Friday, July 28

Wal-Mart Pulling Out of Germany

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Friday it will sell its 85 stores in Germany to Metro AG, a move that effectively ends a nearly decade-long effort by the world's largest retailer to crack the market in Europe's biggest economy.

Justice Dept. Starts Bristol-Myers Probe

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said Thursday it is the subject of a criminal antitrust probe over a pending deal with a generic drug maker involving its best-selling product, Plavix, and reported a 33% drop in second-quarter profit.

Anaheim Pushes Lab, Training Center

In the wake of Boeing's decision to leave Anaheim, city officials and others see an even greater need to set up a business center to train employees to use state-of-the-art machine tools and have access to super-clean wet labs for biomedical research.

Head of Register Parent Lays Plans

Scott Flanders, chief executive of Irvine-based Freedom Communications Inc., is getting to know Orange County well. And not from behind a desk in an air-conditioned office.

Volcom Drops Sharply on Outlook

Shares of Costa Mesa-based Volcom Inc. slumped about 30% Friday after the company said it was seeing fewer orders from its top customer and a general slowdown on the retail front.

Economy Slows, Inflation Heats Up

The economy's growth slowed sharply in the second quarter, logging just a 2.5%pace as consumers tightened their belts and spending on home building dived. Inflation, however, shot up.

Thursday, July 27

Profit Falls at Irvine Homebuilder

Higher interest rates, more unsold homes, falling affordability and weaker homebuyer confidence contributed to a drop in profit at Irvine-based Standard Pacific Corp. in the second quarter.

Orders for Manufactured Goods Gain

Orders to factories for big-ticket manufactured goods shot up in June at the fastest pace in three months, powered by a rebound in demand for commercial aircraft.

Apria Posts Higher Q2 Profit

Lake Forest-based Apria Healthcare Group Inc. on Thursday said cost-controlling efforts helped it to post a higher second-quarter profit.

Factory, Home Data Point to Slower Growth

Housing data and a gauge of business spending in June released on Thursday signaled slower U.S. economic growth ahead, leading many to believe the Federal Reserve is less likely to raise interest rates next month.

Raytheon May Sell Aircraft Unit

Raytheon Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp. reported greater-than-expected profit increases on Thursday. Raytheon, best known for its Tomahawk and Patriot missiles, also said it was looking at selling or spinning off its aircraft division, which makes Hawker

ProLogis Quarterly Results Soar

ProLogis, the largest owner and developer of industrial real estate, on Thursday said quarterly funds from operations, a key performance measure, rose 57% and the company raised its forecast, citing strong global demand for distribution facilities.

Boston Scientific Posts Q2 Loss

Heart device maker Boston Scientific Corp. said Thursday it swung to a second-quarter loss because of costs related to its recent $27 billion acquisition of Guidant Corp. The deal helped boost sales by more than 30%.

Anaheim Memorial Medical May be Sold

Memorial Health Services Inc. said Thursday it's considering a sale of its 224-bed Anaheim Memorial Medical Center.

WDC Profit Jumps; Probing Options

Western Digital Corp. had some good,and not so good,news for investors on Thursday.

Wednesday, July 26

First American Managing Mortgage Turn

Market share gains and acquisitions helped offset a slowing housing market at First American Corp., which Wednesday reported higher revenue in the second quarter compared to a year earlier.

Software Makers Rise on Q2 Results

A pair of Orange County business software companies saw their shares climb higher Wednesday after reporting better-than-expected results for the second quarter.

AOL Expected to Scrap Charges

Investors in Time Warner Inc., whose shares touched a two-year low in mid-July, are seeking signs of a turnaround on Aug. 2, when the world's largest media company is set to introduce its fourth plan in five years to save its online unit AOL.

GM Posts Strong Operating Profit

General Motors Corp. on Wednesday posted a larger-than-expected operating profit and raised its cost-cutting target by $1 billion as its restructuring took hold, sending its shares to a 10-month high.

Fed: Some Economic Slowing Seen

The U.S. economy grew overall during June through mid-July but some regions reported slowing activity, and there were scattered reports of rising prices, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.

Settlement, Delay Prompt Boeing Loss

Boeing Co. on Wednesday reported a quarterly loss as it took $1.1 billion of previously announced charges to settle government investigations into its defense unit and to cover the costs of delayed surveillance aircraft.

William Lyon Homes Goes Private

After a tumultuous year and a half, the General has succeeded in taking his company private.

HP Paying $4.5B for Mercury Interactive

Hewlett-Packard Co. agreed on Tuesday to buy Mercury Interactive Corp. for about $4.5 billion in stock, or $52 per share, in a bid to expand the computer maker's business software operations.

Blackstone May Bid on HCA

Private equity firm Blackstone Group may try to trump a $21 billion agreed takeover of the No. 1 U.S. hospital chain HCA Inc. by a consortium of rivals, according to a newspaper report.

Tuesday, July 25

Disneyland Boss Leaving

Matt Ouimet, the executive who oversaw Disneyland's 50th anniversary marketing push and its biggest surge in attendance since 2000, is leaving as president of Walt Disney Co.'s Anaheim theme parks, hotels and shops. Q2 Earnings Fall 58% Inc. said Tuesday that second quarter earnings plunged nearly 58%, missing Wall Street expectations, as the company focused on investing in a shipping deal and new technologies.

Lennar Wants 5,800 More El Toro Homes

Lennar Corp. proposed Tuesday to boost the number of homes it plans to build at the former El Toro Marine base in Irvine.

Cox: Hedge Funds Will Be Regulated

Securities regulators are continuing to eye possible ways to tighten regulations on hedge funds in the wake of a U.S. court decision striking down a rule requiring the funds' advisers to register with the government, the chairman of the Securities and Exc

Detached Home Prices Inch Higher

Orange County home prices showed a modest increase in June, though the number of sales in the county showed a sharp decline from a year earlier, according to a report Tuesday.

Existing Home Sales Decline

The pace of sales of existing homes in the United States fell 1.3% in June to their slowest pace since January, the National Association of Realtors said on Tuesday.

Existing Home Sales Fall

Sales of existing homes fell in June for the eighth time in the past 10 months while home prices edged up at the slowest pace in more than a decade , more signs that the housing market has slowed dramatically.

Consumer Confidence Up in July

U.S. consumer confidence rose in July amid cautious optimism about job prospects, but overall sentiment in months ahead would likely stay below levels touched earlier this year, a survey showed on Tuesday. Sales Solid, Bigger Loss

Aliso Viejo-based Inc., which canceled a public offering bid late last year, said it saw solid sales growth in the second quarter, though its net loss widened.

Judge Rejects Skilling's Request

A judge on Tuesday summarily rejected a request by former Enron Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling to overturn his convictions of fraud, conspiracy and other charges for helping perpetuate one of the most notorious corporate frauds in history.

Ingram Records Sales, Profit Gain

Technology bellwether Ingram Micro Inc. said Tuesday that it continued to see solid global demand in the second quarter, though there was some weakness in prices.

Monday, July 24

Builders Starting Sales at Irvine Co.'s Portola Springs Project

Builders have started sales at The Irvine Company's Portola Springs project

Ssh: Google Relocates to Impac Center

Google has consolidated its OC operations at the Impac Center in Irvine

Concrete Firm Draws Hard Line; UCI Provost in Demand

Concrete Firm Draws Hard Line; UCI Provost in Demand


A startup looks to offer high-quality print reproductions of local artists' work

Industrial Landlords Catching Up With Office Owners

Industrial landlords are finally starting to see some of the same rent increases that their office counter parts have recorded, in the Real Estate column

Bidding Under Way for Delphi Battery Site

The first round of bidding for bankrupt Delphi's former battery plant is set to wrap up by the end of the month


Calendar of OC Business events and announcements


Sales and leases of offices, industrial buildings, retail space and apartments

ProLogis Buys Buena Park Paper Plant

ProLogis has bought Meadwestvaco former plant in Buena Park with an eye to a revamp of the site

Meade Delays Quarterly Filing

Irvine-based telescope maker Meade Instruments Corp. said Monday it needs more time to file quarterly results to finish a look into its stock options grants.

HCA: $21 Billion Leveraged Buyout

HCA Inc., the biggest U.S. hospital chain, on Monday agreed to be acquired by an investor group for about $21 billion, plus the assumption of about $11.7 billion in debt, making it one of the largest leveraged buyouts in history.


The Sarbanes-Oxley fueled surge in demand for accountants has changed the hiring landscape

Big Redevelopment Slated for Brea Unocal Site

A former Unocal research center in Brea is set to give way to 1,100 homes and 110,000 square feet of stores, restaurants and offices

HCA to be Bought for $21.3B

The board of HCA Inc. is recommending the nation's largest for-profit hospital operator accept a $21.3 billion deal to take the company private in one of the largest leveraged buyouts ever.

Hiring Boom at Accounting Firms Continued During Past Year

The hiring boom at accounting firms continued during the past year


Blame 404: An Expected Decline in Audit Fees Didn't Happen


Forensic Accounting Takes Turn Under Sarbanes-Oxley


Fund-raisers and charitable donations from companies and people

Paul Frank Moves On With New Stores, Growing Youth Lines

Paul Frank Industries is pushing an expansion, despite a legal squabble with the company's namesake and cofounder


California's business climate is unfriendly to white collar employers, according to a study

Kingston Eyes Latin America

Kingston Technology is boosting its investment in Latin America in a bid to grow sales


National City has put its Lake Forest lending unit, NationPoint, up for sale

The Loft at Montage: Superb Restaurant, Killer Sights

The Loft at Montage is a formidable restaurant surrounded by great views, in the Executive Dining column,


More history on Valeant Pharmaceuticals' Costa Mesa headquarters


Quotes from this week's Business Journal


Week's Best, Worst Performers; Roth OC50, Billion Dollar Club, OC Tech; Index Watch, 52-week Performance

Mission Inn Owner Plans To Make Chain of Hotel Eatery

HOSPITALITY - The owner of the Mission Inn in Riverside is looking to make a chain out a Mexican restaurant at the hotel

Lennar Executive Evacuates Family From Beirut Bombs

Lennar executive Emile Haddad tells how he got his family out of Lebanon

Hipster Meets Hispanic on Costa Mesa's W. 19th Street

EVocal is selling pricey artist-designed T-shirts and hats at its recently opened store in Costa Mesa in the Marketplace Column

Real Estate Watch: Inland Empire

Activity in the Inland Empire was strong in the second quarter, though some sectors saw vacancy rates increase. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

PacifiCare Proves Bright Spot for Troubled United

PacifiCare has proven to be a bright spot for troubled parent UnitedHealth Group, in the Healthcare column

Olson, GE, Parker Hannifin Spur Growth at Netscope

Netscope's advertising pacts with GE, Parker Hannifin and Olson spur a hiring push, in the Media & Marketing column,

Texas Instruments: Higher Profit, Sales

Texas Instruments Inc., the biggest maker of chips for cellphones, said on Monday that its second-quarter earnings and revenue rose on strong demand for cellphones.

Unions, Businesses Face Off Over Who's a Supervisor

REGULATION WATCH - Unions and businesses are facing off over who is considered a supervisor

Forget Options, Broadcom Outlook Takes Toll on Stock

Broadcom's shares stabilized a bit after it made an options backdating announcement, in the Technology column

Software, Compensation, Sarbanes Key to Consulting Gains

Software, Compensation, Sarbanes Key to Consulting Gains

Funds Ready bids for Philips Chip Unit

Some of the biggest private equity firms will submit final bids this week for the semiconductor unit of Philips Electronics in a bid battle that could reach $10 billion, sources close to the matter said on Monday.

Big Redevelopment for Brea Unocal Site

A former Unocal Corp. research center in Brea is set to give way to 1,100 homes and 110,000 square feet of stores, restaurants and offices.


Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Edwards Beats Q2 Expectations

Irvine-based Edwards Lifesciences Corp. on Monday reported second-quarter profit that beat Wall Street expectations.

AMD Buying ATI for About $5.4 Billion

Advanced Micro Devices Inc., the No. 2 supplier of computer processors, said on Monday it would buy graphics chip maker ATI Technologies Inc. for $5.4 billion to expand its product mix as it battles Intel Corp.


Orange County's top news of the week


Jefferson Wells is among a handful of accounting-related companies that defy easy classification

Turnaround Plan on Course, But Stock Back to 2004

Conexant shares have been in freefall despite some good news

Friday, July 21

Boeing, Airbus Battle Over Jumbos

In this year's sweltering Farnborough air show, executives have been getting hot under the collar about claims and counter-claims from bitter rivals Airbus and Boeing.

Oakley Q2 Sales Up, Profit Down

Foothill Ranch-based Oakley Inc. reported a mixed quarter on Thursday, with sales rising sharply but operating profit falling from a year earlier.

Dell Slashes Outlook

Dell Inc. slashed its outlook on Friday, warning that quarterly earnings would fall about 30% short of forecasts because of a slowdown in the computer market, driving its stock to nearly five-year lows.

Caterpillar Raises Outlook

Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. posted a better-than-expected 38%rise in quarterly earnings on Friday and raised its forecast for the full year, bolstered by strong sales to the mining industry.

Taco Bell Sales Fall

Same-store sales at Irvine-based Taco Bell Corp. fell 3% for the four weeks through last Saturday in what one analyst called "the most surprising" part of a sales slowdown at parent Yum Brands Inc.

Boeing Closing Sprawling Anaheim Site

Boeing Co. plans to shut down and sell its sprawling operations in Anaheim and move about 3,700 employees to its Huntington Beach site.

Thursday, July 20

Hyundai Eyes Performance Car, Truck

Hyundai Motor Co., which has its U.S. base in Fountain Valley, is looking to build a performance car in the U.S. to attract buyers to its showrooms, and it also would like to enter the pickup truck market, an executive said.

Broadcom Reports Q2 Sales

Irvine-based Broadcom Corp. said Tuesday revenue climbed 56% in the second quarter but delayed reporting earnings, pending an investigation into stock option grant timing.

Ford Posts Quarterly Loss

Ford Motor Co., which has been working to slash costs and stem market-share losses, on Thursday posted an unexpected second-quarter loss as sales of large sport utility vehicles slumped on higher gasoline prices and it took charges for employee buyouts.

Pfizer Profit Rises Before Charges

Pfizer Inc. on Thursday said second-quarter earnings from continuing operations rose more than 10% on higher sales of medicines such as cholesterol fighter Lipitor and Celebrex for arthritis.

Wednesday, July 19

June Core CPI Up More Than Expected

Rising rents pushed up core consumer prices an unexpectedly steep 0.3% in June, but energy costs were lower, a government report showed on Wednesday in a report that could send mixed signals to the inflation-wary Federal Reserve.

GUS On Track for Experian Spinoff

Britain's GUS PLC said Wednesday at its annual meeting that it was on track to spin off its Costa Mesa-based Experian Group unit in October.

Allergan Plans Irvine Lab Expansion

Allergan Inc. plans to build a laboratory on its Irvine campus to make small quantities of neurotoxin, a component used in its flagship anti-wrinkle drug Botox.

Bank of America Quarterly Profit Up rises

8:50 AM ET

Downey's Profit Falls

Newport Beach-based savings and loan Downey Financial Corp. saw second-quarter profit fall 23% on higher expenses and a decline in loan and mortgage revenue.

Pond to Become 'Honda Center'

Honda Motor Co. has signed on as the new sponsor of the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, which plans to change its name to Honda Center in October.

Bank of America Profit Up rises

Bank of America Corp., the No. 2 U.S. bank, on Wednesday said second-quarter profit rose 18% topping Wall Street forecasts, as credit card fees surged and retail banking earnings doubled.

Disney Cuts Jobs, Movie Production

Walt Disney Co. said late on Tuesday its high-profile chief of film production would leave the company, part of a move to boost profits at its studio division that include cutting annual movie production and eliminating 650 jobs.

Tuesday, July 18

SEC to Launch Options Fraud Case

The government will start legal action in a major stock option fraud case in the next few days, probably the first in a recently uncovered scandal over the timing of options for top executives, a Securities and Exchange Commission member said.

Home Prices Up on Slowing Sales

Orange County homes prices rose to another high in June, even as sales for the month showed another steep drop from a year earlier.

J & J; Profit Up; Stock Off

Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday posted a 9% rise in quarterly profit on higher-than-expected sales of its consumer products and prescription medicines, but the stock fell on concern over long-term growth prospects.

SimpleTech Jumps on Outlook

Shares of Santa Ana-based SimpleTech Inc. soared 17% Tuesday after the company said surging demand would result in a higher second-quarter profit.

Koll, Partner Pay $273M for Offices

Newport Beach-based real estate developer and manager The Koll Company is paying $273 million for 12 offices buildings in three states.

Food Drives Producer Prices Up

Producer prices rose a steeper-than-expected 0.5% last month as food prices posted their biggest gain in more than 1.5 years, but prices outside of food and energy rose just 0.2%, the government said on Tuesday.

Monday, July 17

TI Contractors Post Big Revenue Gain, See Landlords Shifting

TI Contractors Post Big Revenue Gain, See Landlords Shifting

Office Vacancy Rises; Mortgage Cutbacks Not a Factor

The office market took a breather in the second quarter, in the Real Estate column

Drake Sees His Way at UCI; Baugh Bummed

Drake Sees His Way at UCI; Baugh Bummed


Northgate Gonzalez Market, OC's largest Hispanic grocer, has opened its first San Diego store

June Output, Capacity Strong

Output at factories, mines and utilities rose by a bigger-than-expected 0.8% in June and capacity use also topped expectations, a report showed on Monday in a sign that a hot economy could weigh on an inflation-wary Federal Reserve.


Calendar of OC Business events and announcements

Allergan to Expand Laboratory Space in Irvine

Allergan is planning to build a lab on its Irvine headquarters campus to create neurotoxin, a key component of its Botox treatment

Axiom Looks to Raise VC Round

Axiom Microdevices, an Irvine wireless chip designer, is looking to raise a round of funding after winning a favorable patent ruling

Remaking Convention Centers: Infill, Theaters and 'Greening'

Remaking Convention Centers: Infill, Theaters and 'Greening'


Orange County'stop news of the week

Japan: Enticing But Taxing for Medical Device Makers

Japanese regulations frustrate medical device makers, in the Healthcare column

Valeant Looking to Sell Headquarters

Drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International is looking to sell its longtime Costa Mesa headquarters and lease elsewhere in Orange County by the end of the year.

Real Estate Watch: Mid-Counties

Gross absorption in the Mid-Counties industrial market was strong in the first quarter. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Housing in the IBC: Another Condo Plan in the Works

A condominium proposal would remake a big chunk of the Irvine Business Complex

Plastics Packager Eyes Anaheim Move

A La Mirada plastic products maker is shopping for an Anaheim site to move its headquarters and give it room to expand


Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Valeant Looking to Sell Headquarters, Relocate

Drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals is looking to sell its longtime Costa Mesa headquarters and lease elsewhere in OC

G8: Global Growth Strong

Global economic growth is strong and becoming more broadly based, the Group of Eight nations said on Monday at their summit in St Petersburg.


Week's Best, Worst Performers; Roth OC50, Billion Dollar Club, OC Tech; Index Watch, 52-week Performance


A look at people, companies and institutions receiving awards, accolades, grants and other honors


Michael Cho has made a name as the county's liquor license lawyer


Dick Sim was right on the Great Park: Irvine needs to be reined in, in Letters

PR Shop Antarra Wins Work for Video Software Maker

Antarra Communications in Garden Grove won work from video software maker TMPG, in the Media & Marketing column


Monarch HealthCare is among the state's bigger doctors group with $200 million in yearly sales

Absolut's Ruby Red Taking Center Stage at Morton's

San Francisco's Boudin SF has opened at South Coast Plaza, in the Executive Dining column

Hispanic Department Store Chain Transforming Former Kmart

La Curacao, a sort of Kmart for Hispanic shoppers, is set to open its first local store in Fountain Valley in the fall

Lost in Broadcom's Stock Dive: Most Valuable Bragging Rights

Broadcom's stock dive has cost it bragging rights as the county's most valuable company, in the Technology column

The Cushy Federal Sector

Pay for federal workers is out of control, a Viewpoint by Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C.

Loan Software Lets Dealers Get You in That Car Today

Software from Finance Express helps used car dealers line up loans for buyers, in the Marketplace column

More Irvine Condos in Works

Plans for more housing near John Wayne Airport are moving forward, even as city officials continue to debate zoning issues and development fees for the area long known for its offices, plants and warehouses.

Beckman Finds No Accounting Error

Fullerton-based Beckman Coulter Inc. filed its delayed first-quarter earnings report Monday after finding no substance to allegations made by a former worker that its accounting procedures were flawed.

Report: Toyota May Block Nissan/GM

Top executives at Toyota Motor Corp. are considering options to head off rivals Nissan Motor Co. and Renault from forging an alliance with General Motors Corp., according to BusinessWeek.


Business groups bemoan more than 30 "job killer" bills making their way through the state Legislature


Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses


RSM EquiCo has tapped a Bank of America veteran to lead a mergers and acquisitions group

Friday, July 14

Consumer Sentiment Slips in July

Consumer sentiment slipped unexpectedly in July, a report showed on Friday, as consumers' view of their current conditions and expectations declined modestly.

Business Groups Battle 'Job-Killers'

A coalition of statewide business groups has listed 32 bills making their way through the state Legislature as "job-killers" and is mounting a full-court press to stop them.

Broadcom Restating Over Options

Irvine-based Broadcom Corp. said Friday it's likely to restate more than five years of earnings and take a charge of more than $750 million to account for the timing of stock options.

Hispanic Retailer Readies Store

Los Angeles-based La Curacao, a sort of Kmart for Hispanic shoppers, is set to open its first Orange County store in Fountain Valley in early September.

Russian Oil IPO to Raise $10.4B

Russian oil giant Rosneft on Friday priced its initial public offering at $7.55 a share, valuing the company at $79.8 billion and making the issue the world's fifth-largest IPO and the largest ever for a Russian company.

GE Profit Outlook Disappoints

General Electric Co. on Friday posted a higher quarterly profit, but shares fell to their lowest level in nearly two years after its third quarter outlook disappointed Wall Street.

Thursday, July 13

Intel Cuts 1,000 Managers

Intel Corp. said on Thursday it will lay off 1,000 managers, or about 1% of its work force, as it seeks to streamline its business amid heated competition with rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

M-Flex Slumps on Profit Warning

Shares of Multi-Fineline Electronix Inc. dove about 23% Thursday after the Anaheim company warned it would fall far short of its earnings expectations for the quarter ended June 30.

States Sueing Memory Makers

Thirty-four states will sue seven computer memory chip makers on Friday, including Micron Technology and Infineon Technologies, over charges they conspired to rig the market to keep prices artificially high.

Sony Ericsson Upbeat on '06

Sony Ericsson launched the reporting season for leading mobile phone makers with a doubling of second-quarter earnings to a record high on Thursday and raised its forecast for total industry sales this year.

Auto Sectors Drives Jobless Claims

New applications for unemployment benefits jumped by 19,000 last week on the back of the traditional summer shutdown at automobile plants, according to government data released on Thursday.

Jury: Vioxx Not Heart Attack Factor

A jury on Thursday found Merck & Co.'s withdrawn pain medicine Vioxx was not a substantial factor in the heart attack of a 68-year-old New Jersey woman.

FCC Set To Approve Adelphia Sale

The Federal Communications Commission is set on Thursday to approve the sale of bankrupt Adelphia Communications Corp. to rival cable operators Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Inc. despite objections from consumer advocates.

Ceradyne Buys Plant, Products

Ceradyne Inc., a maker of ceramic armor for troops and vehicles, said Thursday it bought a Quebec plant and a new product line for $14.1 million as part of its diversification strategy.

Gateway: CEO Search On Track

Gateway Inc. is on track to name a permanent chief executive by late September or early October, acting chief Rick Snyder told Associated Press on Thursday.

Wednesday, July 12

Lay Remembered as Devout, Family Man

Houston's political and business leaders, including former President George H.W. Bush, turned out for Kenneth Lay's memorial service on Wednesday, less than a week after the Enron founder's sudden death.

Lyon Pledges $5M to Arts Center

Gen. William Lyon's foundation has pledged $5 million to the Orange County Performing Arts Center's $200 million expansion campaign.

Activist Investor Ups Autobytel Stake

A onetime cable TV software maker has built up a 9% stake in Irvine's Autobytel Inc. and plans to talk with the online auto marketer's management about its "undervalued" shares, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Corinthian: Internal Review of Options

Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges Inc. said Wednesday it's begun a review of past stock option grants, making it the fourth Orange County company tied to the widening option backdating controversy.

Tuesday, July 11

Blackstone Closes $15.6B Fund

U.S. investments and advisory firm Blackstone Group on Tuesday said it closed the world's largest private equity investment fund, Blackstone Capital Partners V, with total commitments of $15.6 billion.

Housing Steel Metal Maker Bought

Huntington Beach-based Morgan Sheet Metal Inc., which supplies steel panels to homebuilders, has been acquired by building products company MiTek Inc. based near St. Louis.

WL: Home Orders Drop, Cancellations Up

Newport Beach-based William Lyon Homes Inc. on Tuesday said second-quarter home orders were down and order cancellations were up.

Trade Deficit Widened in May

The U.S. trade deficit widened by 0.8% in May to $63.8 billion as both imports and exports set monthly records, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

Gates: 80% Chance of Vista in Jan

Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates said Tuesday there was an 80% chance the company's next-generation operating system, Vista, would be ready in January.

Microsoft Sued for Defiance

European Union regulators fined Microsoft $357.3 million on Wednesday for defying a 2004 antitrust ruling, and warned the company to comply or face bigger fines from next month.

Budget Deficit Under Estimate

President Bush touted new deficit figures Tuesday showing considerable improvement upon earlier administration predictions, saying it shows the wisdom of his tax cuts.

Genzyme Results Lift Biotechs

Biotechnology company Genzyme Corp. said on Wednesday second-quarter earnings rose nearly 9% on higher sales of its drugs for rare and chronic diseases.

Delphi Reports $828M Q4 Loss

Bankrupt auto parts supplier Delphi Corp. on Tuesday reported an $828 million fourth-quarter net loss, pressured by charges, declining production in North America and rising commodity costs.

AMO Jumps on Alcon Settlement

Shares of Santa Ana-based Advanced Medical Optics Inc. rose Tuesday after the company said it would receive $121 million from Alcon Inc. to settle a patent dispute over devices used in eye surgeries.

Genentech Profit Up Cancer Drug Sales

Genentech Inc. said on Tuesday its second-quarter profit rose 79% on higher sales of colon cancer drug Avastin and its other cancer medicines.

Google May Hire 1,000 in Michigan

Google Inc. plans to open a new facility in the Ann Arbor, Mich., area that will employ 1,000 people within five years to handle advertising generated by the Internet search engine, people familiar with the deal said Tuesday.

Monday, July 10

Huntington Beach Tests Closure of Main Street to Cars

The city of Huntington Beach is looking to stifle cruising and boost shopping, in the Marketplace column

Fifi on Chinese Eats, Three Gorges Dam

Touring China's great eateries, hotels and sights, in the Executive Dining column


Orange County's top news of the week

Alcoa Profit Up, Sales Disappoint

Alcoa Inc., the world's largest aluminum producer, said on Monday that second-quarter profit soared on higher metal prices and strong aerospace demand, although revenue fell below Wall Street expectations and the stock fell.

Take-Two Options Under Informal Probe

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., owner of the blockbuster "Grand Theft Auto" video game series, on Monday said regulators have launched an informal investigation into its stock options policies dating back to 1997.

OC Lost Tech Jobs in '04; Still State's No. 5 Tech Hub

The technology downturn hit employment here for a surprisingly long time, in the Technology column

Kimco Buying Pan Pacific for $2.9B

Kimco Realty Corp., a leader in purchasing, developing and operating shopping centers anchored by supermarkets, agreed to buy Pan Pacific Retail Properties Inc. for about $2.9 billion, the companies said on Monday.

Tenet Sidelines Federal Medicare Issue

Tenet Healthcare is paying a steep price to settle its Medicare-related woes, in the Healthcare column

Q3 Outlook High, Despite Stocks, Rates

Business expectations of Orange County chief executives, business owners and managers retreated some for the third quarter after two quarters of rising optimism.

New Century Boosts Q2 Loans

Irvine-based mortgage lender New Century Financial Corp. said it made more loans in the second quarter than a year earlier and boosted what it charges borrowers.

Qualcomm: ITC to Launch Nokia Probe

Qualcomm Inc. on Monday said the U.S. International Trade Commission was investigating whether handset maker Nokia engaged in unfair trading practices by importing and selling mobile phones that infringed on Qualcomm's patents.

DisplayWorks Considers IE, Decides to Remain in OC

Mice DisplayWorks in Irvine is bucking the trend of OC companies by keeping its distribution and warehouse operations here, in the Real Estate column

EMC's Results Miss Forecasts

EMC Corp., the top maker of corporate data storage equipment, said on Monday second-quarter results fell short of its own forecasts, saying it underestimated demand for a key new product.


Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Behind the deal

Washington Mutual almost lost out on its acquisition of Commercial Capital Bank

Fletcher Is Benchmark; Waterfall, Game Room, 120-Year-Old Palm Tree

Newport Lexus opened with an eye to giving Fletcher Jones' nearby luxury dealership a run for its money

Q3 Expectations High; Stocks, Rates a Factor

Business expectations for the third quarter remain strong, though local executives were a little less optimistic than a quarter ago


Week's Best, Worst Performers; Roth OC50, Billion Dollar Club, OC Tech; Index Watch, 52-week Performance

Fox Racing Set to Tweak Name

Fox Racing plans to tweak its name as it looks to appeal to a wider audience

Tower Deal Breaker: Where to Park Cars

Parking is a big issue for high-rise condo and office towers


Sales and leases of offices, industrial buildings, retail space and apartments


Calendar of OC Business events and announcements

Aerospace, Defense Makers Post Gains

Orange County's largest aerospace and defense contractors added workers during the past year

Halford Makes First Industrial Buy at Bixby

Bixby has completed its first acquisition under new chief Bill Halford


Immigration and Competitiveness. Commentary by PAUL MERAGE and MICHAEL GOTTFREDSON

Register Scraps Short-Lived Ad Insert Pact With Times

The Orange County Register has called off a venture with rival the Los Angeles Times to deliver advertising inserts, in the Media & Marketing column

Medegen Files Suit Against ICU

A medical device maker on Monday said it filed a patent infringement suit against San Clemente-based ICU Medical Inc.

Aluminum Maker Emerges From BK

Kaiser Aluminum is emerging after more than four years in bankruptcy court

Growth in Consumer Borrowing Slows

Americans increased their borrowing at a 2.4% annual rate in May, significantly slower than in April, as a big jump in credit card borrowing was not enough to offset a slowdown in the growth of auto loans, the Federal Reserve reported Monday.

'Housewives' Gearing For Second Season; Beachfront Bonanza

'Housewives' Gearing For Second Season; Beachfront Bonanza


Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast By Douglas Brinkley. Harper Collins Publishers.

Real Estate Watch: West County

Cypress is key to West County's office gains. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Friday, July 7

Halford Makes First Bixby Deal

William "Bill" Halford has made his first deal at Bixby Land Co. The privately held real estate investment trust, which recently moved from Long Beach to Newport Beach, just finalized an $18 million industrial complex buy in Ontario.

June Job Growth Weaker Than Expected

U.S. Employers added a fewer-than-expected 121,000 workers to their payrolls last month, but the jobless rate stayed at a five-year low and hourly earnings rose, a government report showed on Friday.

Verizon Plans Directory Spinoff

Verizon Communications Inc. on Friday said it planned to dispose of its phone directories business by the end of the year, reflecting its increasing focus on Internet and wireless communications.

3M Shares Decline on Q2 Warning

3M Co., the diversified maker of Scotch tape and films for computer and television screens, warned on Friday that its second-quarter earnings will fall below previous expectations, hurt by lower sales volumes. Its shares sank on the news.

WaMu, Irvine's Commercial Capital: the Billion-Dollar Deal That Almost Wasn't

Washington Mutual Inc. almost missed out on buying Irvine-based Commercial Capital Bancorp Inc.

Kaiser Aluminum Shares Debut

Kaiser Aluminum Corp. is back. Shares of the aluminum products maker started trading on Friday after more than four years under the watch of bankruptcy court.

Thursday, July 6

Retailers Post Lackluster June Sales

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other top retailers posted disappointing June sales on Thursday as soaring energy prices and record-breaking rains in the Northeast curbed consumer spending.

Multi-Fineline Down on Target's Woes

Shares of Multi-Fineline Electronix Inc. took a hammering on Thursday after a Singapore company that it's buying said sales would fall short of expectations in the June quarter.

Merrill: $29.5M to Settle Enron Claim

Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. will pay $29.5 million to settle claims that it helped Enron Corp. commit fraud, Enron said on Thursday.

SunCal: $250M for New Mexico Land

Irvine-based developer SunCal Cos. has upped its ante for 57,000 acres of historical, contentious New Mexico land with an eye toward developing homes there.

Jobless Claims Fall

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits declined slightly last week, indicating continued strength in the labor market despite a spring slowdown in the economy.

Same-Store Sales Fall at PacSun, Wet Seal

Anaheim-based retailer Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. posted a 2.7% drop in June same-store sales and warned second-quarter earnings would fall short of projections. Orange County's other major retailer, Foothill Ranch-based Wet Seal Inc., saw a 4% dr

Microsoft Allows Open Document Format

Responding to government requests for interoperability, Microsoft Corp. said on Thursday it will offer free software that will allow Word, Excel and PowerPoint to handle documents in rival technology formats.

XM Posts Slower Subscriber Growth

XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. reported slower growth in new subscribers for the second quarter Thursday, which the company attributed to problems with product availability and softness in retail sales.

Wednesday, July 5

Quest to Restate Over Options

Shares of Aliso Viejo-based Quest Software Inc. fell nearly 10% Wednesday after the software maker said it plans to restate results from 2000 through the first quarter of this year as part of its ongoing look at stock option grants.

Japan Stocks Off After Missile Tests

North Korea's brazen missile tests sent Japanese stocks lower Wednesday, snapping a four-day winning streak, and the dollar higher. Auto, electronics and retail shares led the market's decline.

DaimlerChrysler Sticks to '06 Forecast

DaimlerChrysler AG Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said on Wednesday the German-U.S. auto maker was sticking to its operating profit forecast for 2006 despite sales difficulties at its U.S. Chrysler division.

IndyMac: No Reverse-Mortgage IPO

IndyMac Bancorp Inc., which runs its mortgage business from Irvine, onWednesday said it will not pursue an initial public offering of a growing unit that provides loans to older Americans.

Enron Founder Ken Lay Dies

Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay, who was convicted of helping perpetuate one of the most sprawling business frauds in U.S. history, has died of a heart attack in Colorado. He was 64.

Unicredit to Cut Jobs Over Next 3 Yrs

UniCredit SPA, Italy's largest bank, announced Wednesday that it will cut 6,840 jobs, or 5.1%, over the next three years as part of a plan to boost annual earnings by 27% following last year's acquisition of Germany's HVB Group.

Factory Orders Climb in May

New orders at U.S. factories rose more than expected in May and private-sector job creation surged last month, according to reports on Wednesday that showed signs of strength in the economy.

Enron's Lay Dies From Heart Attack

Enron Corp. founder Ken Lay died of a heart attack on Wednesday, six weeks after he was convicted of fraud in the financial scandal that brought down the once-mighty energy conglomerate.

GUS Sticking With Experian Spinoff

GUS PLC, the British parent of Experian Group in Costa Mesa, has rejected bids to buy the credit reporting business and plans to stick with its plan to "de-merge" the company.

SEC Ends Wet Seal Probe

Foothill Ranch-based retailer Wet Seal Inc. said Wednesday the Securities and Exchange Commission has ended its formal investigation of the company with no enforcement action taken.

Monday, July 3


Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

PacSun Plays Up California Roots in Marketing Effort

Pacific Sunwear of California is playing up its California roots in the retailer's latest marketing campaign, in the Media & Marketing column


An OC high school's symphony goes to Carnegie Hall, in Letters


Week's Best, Worst Performers; Roth OC50, Billion Dollar Club, OC Tech; Index Watch, 52-week Performance


A look at people, companies and institutions receiving awards, accolades, grants and other honors


Calendar of OC Business events and announcements

November Vote Big on Business Issues

California's November's ballot is shaping up to be one of the most crucial in years for business,

Real Estate Watch: Research and Development

Vacancy for research and development space is falling as development remains sluggish. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Birtcher Doing Industrial in Riverside; Office Too Pricey

Birtcher Development has mostly shelved office projects for industrial ones, in the Real Estate column

Developers Plan More Condos on Jamboree

Guess what, there are more high-rise homes planned for the Jamboree Corridor

Media Execs Like OC; Lockyer Sits Out 241 Fight

Media Execs Like OC; Lockyer Sits Out 241 Fight

Conservative PAN Candidate Claims Victory in Mexico Presidential Vote

Mexico's conservative presidential candidate Felipe Calderon declared victory on Monday in a bitterly contested election result as official returns showed him ahead of his left-wing rival.


Sales and leases of offices, industrial buildings, retail space and apartments

Broadcom Challenges Qualcomm in Korea

Irvine-based Broadcom Corp. has charged San Diego-based Qualcomm Inc. with stifling competition in South Korea's modem chip market.

Ceradyne Gets Five-Year Armor Pact

Ceradyne Inc. said Monday that it inked a five-year pact worth up to $612 million to supply ceramic body armor to the Army.

Dual Format DVD Players Could Play Well For Broadcom

Pacific Sunwear of California is playing up its California roots in the retailer's latest marketing campaign, in the Media & Marketing column

Salon Spa for Guys: Xbox, $45 Haircuts

Profile Spa and Salon looks to lure men for haircuts, tanning and manicures, in the Marketplace column


Orange County's top news of the week

Tempered Profit Hopes for Wal-Mart

Disappointing June sales data from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. heightened concerns that the biggest retailer may trim its quarterly profit forecast later this week, analysts said on Monday.

Sunstone Buys W Hotel San Diego

San Clemente-based Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. has bought the W Hotel San Diego for $96 million


The report includes a look at some of the longer-running restaurants in Orange County; These Restaurants Have a Long History for Good Reason

Broadcom, Linksys Work Out Kinks on Latest Wireless Gear

A couple of OC companies were quick out of the gate with the latest wireless Internet gear, drawing some criticism, but grabbing retail shelf space at the same time

Valuation Fears Cloud Airbus Parent

Airbus parent EADS failed to rouse its recently trampled share price on Monday after the European aerospace giant forced out two top executives blamed for a two-week crisis over A380 superjumbo production blunders.

Sage Sets the Bar With Two OC Locations

Sage Sets the Bar With Two OC Locations

Report Shows Doctors Taking Pay Cut

Doctors have taken a pay cut, in the Healthcare column

Oakley's Changes Make Way to Stores

Oakley has boosted its marketing as it focuses more on sunglasses and tweaks its clothes and shoes

Contact Lens Maker Cooper Entering 'Critical Period'

Cooper could be in for a long summer as it works through questions about a product launch and earnings woes

More Condo Tower Plans for Irvine

Slowing home sales aren't dampening interest in building high-rise condominium towers near John Wayne Airport. A couple of planned projects targeted for industrial land along Jamboree Road in Irvine would raise the number of condo towers built or planned


Once highflying Powerwave has hit a rough patch


Rich Mead of the Sage restaurants is Fifi's Restaurateur of Year

OC Plays Key Role in L.A. Startup Bank

A cadre of former Mellon 1st Business Bank senior executives with ties to Orange County have jumped ship to form their own business bank