Stories for February 2008

Friday, February 29

After Strong Q4, Several Companies Iffy on Q1

The fourth quarter ended on an upbeat note just two months ago for many of Orange County's largest public companies. But it could end up seeming like years ago when those same companies start reporting results for the first quarter.

Private Equity Raising Billions for New Funds

Private equity firms including Apollo Management and KKR are raising tens of billions of dollars for new funds, the Financial Times reported on Friday.

Pimco's Gross Looking to Buy Firesale Mortgage Bonds

Bill Gross of Newport Beach bond fund manager Pacific Investment Management Co. plans to invest in mortgages as hedge funds and other investors look to unload the debt.

County Lost Jobs in January

Orange County lost jobs in January on a monthly and year basis, the state Employment Development Department said Friday.

Report: Merrill To Shut Down Subprime Lending Unit

Merrill Lynch & Co. plans to wind down most of its First Franklin subprime mortgage lending unit, responding to continued deterioration in mortgage markets, business news channel CNBC reported.

Survey: Consumers' Mood in Feb Signals Recession

Consumer sentiment slumped to a 16-year low in February, hitting levels that usually sound alarm bells for recession, on worries about inflation, income and unemployment, a survey showed on Friday.

Thursday, February 28

Valeant Disappoints With Q4, Reviewing Business

Drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International said Thursday that it plans to review its business after posting weak fourth-quarter results.

New Day, New Low for Dollar

The dollar dipped to another record low Thursday as the Commerce Department reported that the economy braked to a near halt in the final quarter of 2007.

Low on Cash, Fremont Weighs Options, Possible Sale

Brea-based Fremont General Corp. says it's running low on cash and is considering putting itself up for sale.

Apple Shares Rise Over iPhone Demand

Shares of Apple Inc. rose more than 4% on Thursday amid optimism on Wall Street that the maker of consumer favorites such as the iPod media player and iPhone can weather economic troubles.

Broadcom, Western Digital Lead Local Tech Decliners

Local technology companiess stocks got dinged by investors Thursday after a handful of analysts gave warnings about slowing demand for consumer electronics and the possibility of a chip glut.

First American Swings to Q4 Loss

Santa Ana-based First American Corp. on Thursday reported a loss of $67.5 million for the fourth quarter, a result of declining revenue in its core title insurance business, higher taxes and $26 million in restructuring charges.

Freddie Mac Posts $2.5B Loss in Q4

Freddie Mac on Thursday said its loss widened to $2.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007 as mortgage defaults mounted and falling interest rates hurt certain investments.

Wednesday, February 27

William Lyon Posts Loss on Selloffs, Write-Downs

Newport Beach homebuilder William Lyon Homes Inc. on Wednesday reported a charge-driven loss of $186 million for the fourth quarter, the biggest quarterly loss its seen during the current housing downturn.

Medical Device Maker Raises $9M

Cianna Medical Inc., an Aliso Viejo-based women's healthcare device company, has raised a $9 million first round of venture capital financing.

Bernanke Signals Another Rate Cut

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned Congress that the nation is in for a period of sluggish business growth and sent a fresh signal Wednesday that interest rates will again be lowered to steady the teetering economy.

Western Digital Ups Quarterly Outlook

Lake Forest-based disk drive maker Western Digital Corp. upped its outlook for the March quarter as its own drives on hand and those available through distributors, PC makers and stores are "well controlled."

EU Fines Microsoft Record $1.35B

Microsoft Corp. was fined a record $1.35 billion by the European Commission on Wednesday for using high prices to discourage software competition in the latest sanction in their long-running battle.

New Home Sales fell 2.8% in January

New U.S. single-family home sales fell 2.8% in January to the lowest rate in nearly 13 years while the median sales price slipped and the housing overstock shrank, according to a government report on Wednesday that delivered more grim news for the ailing

Tuesday, February 26

Feb Consumer Confidence Slumps to Five-Year Low

Consumer confidence fell to a five-year low in February and expectations slumped to a 17-year trough in a tightening jobs market, a new survey showed, fueling fears the economy was already in recession.

Standard Pacific Plans to Raise $600M

Irvine-based homebuilder Standard Pacific Corp. plans to raise up to $600 million, the company said in a regulatory filing Tuesday.

Masimo Q4 Results Beat Expectations

Masimo Corp. on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter results and a 2008 outlook that beat Wall Street's expectations.

Home Prices Plunge at Record Rate in 2007

The collapse in home prices accelerated to a record pace in the fourth quarter of 2007, with prices plunging 8.9% last year, according to a national home price index released on Tuesday.

IBM Board Approves $15B Share Buyback

IBM Corp. said on Tuesday its board has authorized a $15 billion share buyback program that could boost 2008 earnings by 5 cents a share, sending its stock up 3%.

Ceradyne Plunges on Lower Profit, Outlook

Costa Mesa-based Ceradyne Inc. on Tuesday said it plans to cut 234 jobs as it posted a drop in fourth-quarter earnings and lowered its forecast for the year.

Monday, February 25

Oakley Founder's Movie Camera Startup Is Expanding

A camera startup backed by Oakley's Jim Jannard has bought property next to its head-quarters, in the Real Estate column

Circuit Board Maker M-Flex Weans From Motorola

Multi-Fineline Electronix has made good on its promise to diversify its customer base

Economic Woes

Local Bankers Said Weakness Will Affect Customers, But Not Hurt Business


Mortgage Makeover, Recession. Commentary by Charlie Crumpley, Editor of the Los Angeles Business Journal

Banks Restructure to Deal with Fallout of Bad Loans

Banks Restructure to Deal with Fallout of Bad Loans


Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Worth the Money?

Ad execs are bracing for another tough year in terms of companies' spending

Nationwide Health Buys Up Buildings

Nationwide Health Properties Inc., a Newport Beach owner of healthcare real estate, said Monday it's buying a $915 million portfolio from San Diego-based Pacific Medical Buildings.

Fletcher Jones Hires Salespeople from Rival Dealership

Fletcher Jones snatched a few hires from rival House of Imports, in the Marketplace column


Tournament fishing is definitely a sport for the wealthy


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

Electronic Arts Bids for Take-Two

Video game giant Electronic Arts on Sunday said it had made an unsolicited $1.9 billion offer for "Grand Theft Auto" publisher Take-Two Interactive Software, escalating its battle with Activision for the title of biggest video game maker.

Wall Street Was Not Wowed By Skilled's Q4 Growth

Skilled Healthcare's positive fourth-quarter earnings received a temperate response from Wall Street, in the Healthcare column


This past week's news from and other sources


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

Commercial Condos Taking Longer to Sell

Developers of smaller, industrial and office condominium buildings haven't shown too many signs of slowing down

Slowing Laser Eye Surgeries Clouding Advanced Medical

Advanced Medical Optics is worried that an economic slowdown might put off people from laser eye surgery

Home Prices Continue To Drop

The price of an existing Orange County home fell 4.6% in January from December, while the pace of sales remained squeezed by the liquidity crunch, the California Association of Realtors said on Monday.

Visa Sets Possible Record $18.8B IPO

Visa Inc, the world's largest credit card network, said it may raise up to $18.8 billion in the largest U.S. initial public offering, amid concern the global credit crunch could eat into transaction volumes.

Existing Home Sales Fell 0.4% in Jan.

The pace of existing home sales in the United States fell in January to an annual rate of 4.89 million units while prices slid and inventories swelled, the National Association of Realtors said on Monday in a report that showed continued weakness in the h


A listing of events happening all around Orange County

Phase 3 Films Eyes More Business By Upping Services

Production shop Phase 3 Films is going after more business by upping its services, in the Media & Marketing column



Party On: Tony Thompson Plans to Start Vulture Fund

Party On: Tony Thompson Plans to Start Vulture Fund


Commercial real estate investors and tenants closed out 2007 watching how the weakening national economy will affect them. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Bigger Grubb Shakes Up Execs

It's clear who's running the new Grubb & Ellis after a deal with NNN Realty

Vizio Falls to No. 3 in Flat-Panel TV Market; Samsung Now No. 1

Irvine-based Vizio's reign as the top seller of flat-panel TVs was short lived, in the Technology column

Circuit Board Maker DDi Eyes Comeback,Again

Circuit board maker DDi thinks its on target for a turnaround

On Tap

TSG Consumer Partners is pushing big growth at Yard House

The Cannery Hosting Third Annual Guest Chef Nights

The Cannery in Newport Beach is launching its third year of Meet the Chef Dinners, in the Executive Dining column

Sunglass Company Takes Leap of Faith with Investors

Eyes Cream Shades turned to investors for growth, in the Small Business column

Corinthian Colleges: Sallie Mae Halts Further Student Loans

Santa Ana-based vocational college operator Corinthian Colleges Inc. said Monday that student loan company Sallie Mae won't fund additional loans to its students but doesn't expect the change to impact its already lowered yearly results.

Satellite Company: Astronaut Founder, Big-Name Investor

A satellite communications company has some big customers,and a big backer

Smith Micro Shares Fall on Downgrade

Shares of Aliso Viejo-based Smith Micro Software Inc., a maker of cell phone software, fell Monday after an analyst downgraded the stock.

Friday, February 22

Starbucks Cuts 600 jobs Amid Stagnant U.S. Growth

Starbucks Corp. said on Thursday it would eliminate 600 jobs as it works to turn around stagnating U.S. coffee shops in the face of a weak economy.

CFO: Jazz Semi Needs to Double in Size

Newport Beach-based contract chipmaker Jazz Technologies Inc. needs to double in size, either by buying another company or being bought, the company's chief financial officer told analysts this week at Roth Capital Partners LLC's stock conference in Dana

Revisions Show Slower Wholesale Inflation

Wholesale price inflation was more muted at the end of 2007 than previously thought, according to revised data published on Friday by the Labor Department.

Freddie, Fannie Lead Financials Lower

Shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac retreated Friday, falling sharply after Merrill Lynch analysts turned sour on the grounds that they face continuing pressure arising from the meltdown in the U.S. mortgage markets.

Circuit Board Maker Mixes It Up

Multi-Fineline Electronix Inc. has made good on a promise to mix it up.

Thursday, February 21

Universal Shares Up on Outlook

Shares of Cypress-based Universal Electronics Inc., a maker of universal remote controls, rose Thursday after the company gave a positive outlook for the rest of the year.

January Jobless Claims Fall

The number of workers applying for jobless aid last week fell to 349,000 from an upwardly revised 358,000, but the less volatile four-week moving average of these applications stood at the highest level in more than two years, government data on Thursday

Fed Lowers Economic Forecast

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday lowered its projection for economic growth this year, citing damage from the double blows of a housing slump and credit crunch. It said it also expects higher unemployment and inflation.

Allianz Cuts Jobs, Structured Finance at Dresdner

Europe insurance powerhouse Allianz, parent company of Pimco in Newport Beach, is axing hundreds of jobs at its Dresdner Kleinwort investment bank and slashing its complex structured finance business, after suffering big fourth-quarter writedowns.

Corinthian Shares Fall on Student Loan Concerns

Shares of Santa Ana-based for-profit school operator Corinthian Colleges Inc. dropped 10% on Thursday after another education company said it is having more student loan requests rejected by lenders.

Volcom Q4 Earnings Solid; Q1 Mixed Bag

Costa Mesa-based Volcom Inc. offered no surprises with fourth-quarter and 2007 earnings, but did offer some mixed guidance for the current quarter.

U.S. Concerns Stall Bain, 3Com Deal

Bain Capital Partners and China's Huawei Technologies have withdrawn their application for U.S. security approval of a $2.2 billion purchase of 3Com Corp. after failing to satisfy the concerns of a U.S. government panel.

3Com's U.S. Rroadblock Seen Deterring China Investors

Bain Capital Partners and China's Huawei Technologies failure to win U.S. national security approval for their acquisition of 3Com may deter Chinese companies from considering similar investments.

Societe General in Record Loss, May Take New Writedowns

Societe Generale confirmed a record fourth-quarter loss after absorbing a huge rogue trading scandal that has made France's second-biggest listed bank a potential takeover target.

Wednesday, February 20

Pimco's Gross: Inflation a Threat

Newport Beach-based Pacific Investment Management Co.'s Bill Gross says inflation could put the breaks on Federal Reserve interest rate cuts.

Two Gift Retailers File for Bankruptcy

Troubled retailers Sharper Image Corp. and Lillian Vernon Corp. have filed for bankruptcy, pointing to the effects of a weak holiday season and a struggling economy.

Bain, 3Com Withdraw Security-Review Application

Bain Capital Partners said on Wednesday it withdrew its application for U.S. national security approval for its planned $2.2 billion acquisition of network-equipment maker 3Com Corp.

Local.Com Jumps on Profit Prediction

Shares of Irvine's Corp., which hosts two Web sites that help users search for local businesses and products, jumped Wednesday after the company said it expects to be profitable by the end of the year.

Higher Food Costs Push Up Consumer Prices

Rising food costs helped push consumer prices up for a second straight month in January by 0.4%, more than offsetting a moderation in energy price rises as inflation showed signs of gaining steam, according to a Labor Department report on Wednesday.

Inflation Gathers Steam, Housing Slides

Inflation accelerated in January in a worrying sign for the Federal Reserve's campaign to bolster the flagging economy, while a separate report on Wednesday showed more troubling signs for beleaguered housing market.

Private Equity Firm Buys Bank, Plans More Deals

Irvine-based Spectrum Bank has been bought by a San Francisco-based private equity firm looking for more deals in Southern California.

Top Court Rules for Medtronic in Devices Case

The Supreme Court handed a victory to Medtronic Inc. on Wednesday, ruling that patients cannot sue medical-device manufacturers in state court over harm from a device that has approval from federal regulators.

Poll: Majority of Americans Expect a Recession

A majority of Americans expect a recession in the next year as the housing downturn deepens, inflation rises and credit conditions tighten, a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday showed.

Tuesday, February 19

Toshiba to Quit HD DVDs, Ends Format War

Japan's Toshiba Corp. surrendered in the high-definition home movie war on Tuesday, giving up on its HD DVD format after losing the support of key studios and retailers to the Blu-ray technology backed by Sony Corp.

Broadcom Falls on Analyst Note

Shares of Irvine's Broadcom Corp. fell Tuesday after an analyst said he anticipates delays in chips that are set to go into new phones made by Nokia Corp.

Shimano American Buys Pearl iZumi for $70M

Vancouver, Wash.-based Nautilus Inc. announced today that it is selling its Pearl iZumi apparel line to Irvine-based Shimano American Corp., a division of Japanese cycling and fishing equipment maker Shimano Inc.

Buyout Chatter Sends Corinthian Shares Up

Shares of Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges Inc. shot up Tuesday on buyout speculation after an investment by Washington Post Co.

Epicor Software Names New CEO

Irvine's Epicor Software Corp., a maker of business software, on Tuesday named a new chief executive, replacing longtime chief George Klaus.

Penny-Pinching Shoppers Boost Wal-Mart Profit

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. posted better-than-expected fourth quarterly profit on Tuesday as penny-pinching U.S. shoppers scoured its discount stores for low prices on necessities like food to offset tough economic conditions.

Kaiser Aluminum Q4 Profit Up, Expands to Michigan

Foothill Ranch-based Kaiser Aluminum Corp. on Tuesday said its quarterly profits more than doubled from a year ago, sending its shares soaring.

Bren Donating $8.5M to Santa Ana Nonprofit

Donald Bren, chairman of The Irvine Company, has given $8.5 million to a Santa Ana nonprofit that offers after-school education for kids.

Credit Suisse Reveals $2.85B in Writedowns

Credit Suisse has written $2.85 billion off the value of its asset-backed investments and found mismarking and pricing errors on its books, it revealed on Tuesday, sending its shares plummeting.

Monday, February 18


A listing of events happening all around Orange County

Online Game Company Moves to Irvine

NHN Corp., South Korea's top online video game developer, has moved its U.S. headquarters from Silicon Valley to Irvine.


This past week's news from and other sources

Source: Alibaba has Say in Yahoo, Microsoft Talks

Alibaba Group, the Chinese Internet firm, will seek a stronger voice for its management team in Microsoft's talks to acquire Yahoo, Alibaba's largest shareholder, a source said on Monday.


Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Register Reworks But Faces Tough Going as Web Gains

The Orange County Register faces tough going as Web advertising gains, in the Media & Marketing column

Medical Scanner Eyes Growth in Cancer Care

Alliance Imaging invests in cancer treatment centers to spur growth


Projects, developments and other activity in cities in and around OC

Securing Affordable Housing Funding

The need to secure an affordable housing fund, by Peter Villegas, chairman of the board of governors of the Orange County Housing Trust.

Developers Posted 13% Drop In 2007 House, Condo Sales

New Homes at Villages of Columbus Helped Lennar,William Lyon Homes Keep Top Spots

Development Drought

Builders Slow Down Projects While Trying to Sell Vacant Houses



Roth's 20th Investor Event's Gonna Rock

Roth Capital plans a big bash for its 20th annual stock conference

Maguire Properties' Orange County Buildings 72% Full

Maguire Properties offices are 72% full, in the Real Estate column

Toshiba Taps Two Executives to Lead Office Gear Arm

Toshiba taps two executives to lead office gear arm, in the Technology column

Legal Aid Society Starting Fundraising to Hire, Add Software

Legal Aid's using its 50th anniversary to make fundraising push

QLogic Widens Lead in Market Share Race With Emulex

QLogic widened its lead in a market share race with Emulex

Antonello, Zov's, White House Hosting Wine Dinners

A few wine dinners to choose from this week, in the Executive Dining column

Sales Slow Going as Buyers Get Cold Feet on Condos

Some builders halting sales, projects until market stabilizes

Flynn Emerges at Stradling Yocca, Puts Mark on Firm

Mike Flynn has emerged as the point man for Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth

Edwards Braces for Rival Heart Valve's Debut

Edwards Lifesciences braces for a rival heart valve's debut

Retailers Prepare for Tough Year: Layoffs, Advertising

Retailers are preparing for a tough 2008 with promotions, layoffs

Nick Adds Another Ex-Times Guy; Mears & Capaldi

Nick Adds Another Ex-Times Guy; Mears & Capaldi

Private Equity Firm Buys Bank, Plans More Deals

A private equity firm buys Spectrum Bank

Northern Rock Still Open for Business

Ron Sandler, the new executive chairman of Northern Rock, on Monday reassured customers that the bank remains open for business and said he has no intention of running the lender down to nothing.

Edwards Restructures Management, Business Units

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. said Monday that it is reorganizing its businesses and as a result three of its corporate officers will be leaving the company.

Valeant Gets Boost From Epilepsy Drug Clinical Trial Results

Valeant Gets Boost From Epilepsy Drug Clinical Trial Results

No More Mr. Coffey for Turnaround Success Diedrich

No more Coffeey for turnaround success Diedrich, in the Marketplace column

Toshiba Shares Jump on DVD Rumor

Shares of Toshiba Corp. were sharply higher at midday in Tokyo Monday as investors cheered a rumored decision by the technology giant to withdrawal from a costly format battle over the future of DVD technology with rival Sony Corp.


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

Castaway Products, Corn Drive American Vanguard

American Vanguard grows on pesticide sales


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


The retail sector is feeling the effects of slow housing market. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Allergan: Familiar Strategy in Handling Botox News

Allergan's Botox is making headlines again, in the Healthcare column

Friday, February 15

Countrywide: Foreclosure Rate at New Record

Countrywide Financial Corp, the largest U.S. mortgage lender, said on Friday foreclosures and late payments rose in January to the highest on record, reflecting the nation's deepening housing and credit crunch.

Golden State Building North Carolina Warehouse

Irvine's Golden State Foods, one of the largest distributors to McDonald's Corp. and one of Orange County's largest privately held companies, is building a North Carolina warehouse that's set to employ as many as 225 workers.

Roth Capital Readies for Annual Stock Bash

Work all day, rock all night. Next week, Newport Beach-based investment bank Roth Capital Partners LLC hopes to thrill investors and analysts at its 20th annual growth stock conference.

Downey Sees Rise in Bad Loans

Newport Beach Downey Financial Corp. reported another rise in bad debt. For January the thrift operator said the number of loans in default was 9.14% of total assets, up from 7.77% in December.

Consumer Confidence Plunges

Consumer sentiment fell sharply in early February to levels associated with previous recessions, dragged down by concerns a bleak economic outlook would raise the unemployment rate, a survey showed on Friday.

Best Buy Lowers Guidance on Slow Sales

Best Buy said a slowing economy will hurt fourth-quarter profits and it reduced its guidance, as consumers held back on high-end TVs, digital music players and cameras.

Thursday, February 14

Yahoo Seen in News Corp. Talks but Analysts Dubious

Yahoo Inc is in talks on a possible deal with News Corp., but analysts said an alternative was unlikely to emerge to rival Microsoft Corp.'s bid for Yahoo, now valued at $42.1 billion.

BJ's Profit Jumps, Warns on Softer Sales

Huntington Beach-based pizza chain operator BJ's Restaurants Inc. on Thursday posted a quarterly profit that beat Wall Street expectations, but its stock fell on a statement that warned of softening sales.

Mortgage Servicers Next Victim of Housing Crisis

The halcyon days of the U.S. housing boom were a veritable gravy train for companies in the business of collecting monthly mortgage payments from homeowners.

SEC Seeks More Financial Transparency

The Securities and Exchange Commission aims to increase the transparency of Wall Street's disclosures and has more than 3 dozen investigations underway amid the fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis, Chairman Christopher Cox said on Thursday.

Fed to Act as Needed to Support Growth

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress on Thursday the central bank will act as needed to help the struggling U.S. economy, but it has to be mindful that growth should pick up later in the year.

UBS Reveals New Loans Exposure

Swiss bank UBS has revealed $26.6 billion in exposure to risky mortgages distinct from subprime loans, increasing its vulnerability to the global credit crisis and sending its shares sharply lower.

Advanced Medical Shares Up on Cost Cutting

Santa Ana-based eye surgery device and contacts lens solution maker Advanced Medical Optics Inc. posted a fourth-quarter loss driven by charges and gave a more cautious outlook for 2008. But shares of the company closed up 10% on Thursday in what some ana

Subprimes Push UBS to First Annual Loss

UBS AG on Thursday posted a fourth-quarter net loss of $11.28 billion, and a loss for the entire year, besieged as other banks were by investments in U.S. subprime mortgages.

SunCal Makes First Buy in Florida

Irvine-based master developer SunCal Cos. is buying a 1,600-acre plot of land in Central Florida, its first acquisition in the eastern part of the U.S.

Wednesday, February 13

Buffett Offers To Reinsure $800B in Muni Bonds

Warren Buffett said on Tuesday that he had offered to reinsure $800 billion of municipal debt guaranteed by bond insurers, but shares in MBIA Inc. and Ambac Financial Group Inc. slid as investors recognized that the billionaire investor's plan was far fro

Home Prices Tumble Again in January

Orange County home prices fell 8% in January from December, while home sales dropped 25% from a month earlier as most potential buyers and sellers opted to wait out the ongoing turbulence in the real estate market.

Chipmaker Jazz Hires Strategic Adviser

Newport Beach-based Jazz Technologies Inc. has hired UBS Securities LLC to look at "various strategic alternatives" for the maker of chips for other companies.

Retail Sales Stage Unexpected Rebound

Sales at retailers unexpectedly rose 0.3% in January, partly reflecting stronger sales of new cars and gasoline, according to a Commerce Department report on Wednesday.

Paulson Sees Slower Economy, To Rush Tax Rebates

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on Wednesday stood by his view that the economy will avoid recession this year and grow at a slower pace, and that the Treasury will act quickly to distribute tax rebate payments.

Ingram Micro Slumps on Q1 Outlook

Shares of Santa Ana's Ingram Micro Inc., the top distributor of electronics and other technology gear, fell after the company's first quarter outlook was short of analysts' expectations.

Tuesday, February 12

Valeant's Stock Shoots Up on Positive Clinical Trials for Epilepsy Drug

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International said Tuesday that a late-stage trial for retigabine, a potential epilepsy treatment, showed that the drug reduced seizure frequency.

IndyMac Records First Annual Loss

IndyMac Bancorp Inc. reported the first annual loss in company history Tuesday and scrapped its dividend to shore up capital.

GM Posts Biggest Annual Loss

General Motors Corp. reported a $38.7 billion loss for 2007 on Tuesday, the largest annual loss ever for an automotive company, and said it is making a new round of buyout offers to U.S. hourly workers in hopes of replacing some of them with lower-paid he

Quiksilver President Out, Could Buy Rossignol

Bernard Mariette, Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc.'s No. 2 and a key force behind the company's 2005 buy of France's Skis Rossignol SA, is leaving the company and could try to acquire the struggling ski brand.

Stocks Rise as Credit Concerns Ease

Wall Street surged higher Tuesday after billionaire investor Warren Buffett offered to help out troubled bond insurers, easing some of the market's concerns about further deterioration in the credit markets. The Dow Jones industrials rose more than 180 po

Edwards Sues Heart Valve Rival CoreValve

Irvine-based heart valve maker Edwards Lifesciences Corp. is suing small rival CoreValve Inc. of Irvine for alleged patent infringement.

Fed Auctions $30 Billion

The Federal Reserve, seeking to combat the effects of a serious credit crisis, said Tuesday it had auctioned $30 billion in funds to commercial banks at an interest rate of 3.010%.

Monday, February 11

aBroadcom High-Def Chips Land in Toshiba Laptops

Broadcom chips are going into Toshiba's PCs, in the Technology column

Landlords Seek Out-of-Town Tenants for Empty Offices

The county's landlords still see hope of landing big tenants, in the Real Estate column

Chance Meeting With Clinique President Drove Allergan Deal

Allergan's skincare deal with Est & #233;e Lauder happened by chance, in the Healthcare column


A listing of events happening all around Orange County


This past week's news from and other sources

Behind Blizzard Deal: Key Dinner, Haggling

A dinner meeting between Blizzard's top brass and Activision's chief led to last year's biggest local buy


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

Struggling Valeant Looks to Turnaround Specialist

A turnaround consultant is taking his hand at leading Valeant Pharmaceuticals

Big Names Drive Billings Gain at Local Environmental Firms

Big Names Drive Billings Gain at Local Environmental Firms

Countrywide to Aid More Borrowers

Countrywide Financial Corp., under pressure to help stem growing home loan defaults, says it will expand programs to help borrowers manage their mortgage payments regardless of the type of subprime loan they have or whether they have already fallen behind

Pacific Communications To Market Botox for Sweating

Pacific Communications has been tapped to market Allergan's Botox for severe underarm sweating, in the Media & Marketing column


Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses



Yahoo Rejects Microsoft's $44.6B Bid

Yahoo Inc. spurned Microsoft Corp.'s $44.6 billion takeover bid as inadequate Monday, betting that it can elicit a higher offer from the world's largest software maker or find another way to deliver a comparable payoff to its shareholders.

Nationwide Health Selling Buildings for $305M

Nationwide Health Properties Inc., a Newport Beach owner of healthcare buildings, said it plans to sell up to 24 assisted living and dementia care facilities to Emeritus Corp.

Sheppard Mullin Adds 10 to Real Estate Practice

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton has added a few more lawyers to its practice

Sources: Indictment Soon in Broadcom Case; McCain's Backers

Sources: Indictment Soon in Broadcom Case; McCain's Backers

Mesa Safe Profited on Gamble Moving to Bigger Space

A maker of depository and fire safes made the right move into bigger space, in the Small Business column


The Harlem Globetrotters are here, at Honda Center, Anaheim

Bank Bringing Lending Operations in Irvine

Texas-based Guaranty Bank is consolidating its lending operations into an Irvine office

Old Time Brass

Kanstul Musical Instruments in Anaheim does things the old-fashioned way

No. 3 OC-Based Bank Relocating to Newport

American Security Bank, one of the largest commercial banks based in Orange County, is moving its headquarters from Santa Ana to Newport Beach.

Report Shows No Recovery for Auto Dealers Until 2010

Orange County auto dealers will have to wait until 2010 for a strong recovery, in the Marketplace column

Rising Print Prices Latest Factor for Orange County Register

The parent of the Orange County Register has another issue to deal with,rising printing costs

Seeking Profits in Peru

A trade agreement with Peru could boost local companies' exports


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


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

Consultants Eye Boost in Government, Commercial Projects

Consultants Eye Boost in Government, Commercial Projects

L.V. Tao Brings Peace, Pleasure

A couple of dining treasures in Las Vegas, in the Executive Dining column


OC's low-rise office buildings are attracting some companies. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Former Boeing Engineer Arrested

A former Boeing Co. engineer and Orange resident has been arrested on suspicion of spying for the Chinese.

Acer's Profit Surges 77% After Gateway Buy

Acer Inc., the world's third-largest maker of personal computers, posted a 77% gain in profit after its acquisition of Gateway Inc. helped boost market share.

Developer Crown Makes Out-of-State Push

Irvine-based Crown Realty is making a big push outside Southern California

Friday, February 8

Bank Bringing Lending Operations in Irvine

Texas-based Guaranty Bank is regrouping its California lending operation into a new Irvine office.

FDA Reviewing Botox Safety

The Food and Drug Administration said Friday that it will review the safety of Irvine-based Allergan Inc.'s Botox and a competitive product after reports of deaths and serious reactions in some patients.

Beckman Q4 Profit Beats Expectations

Beckman Coulter Inc. reported a fourth-quarter profit before charges Friday that beat Wall Street's expectations.

Bush Will Sign Economic Stimulus Bill Next Week

U.S. President George W. Bush said on Friday he would sign a $152 billion economic stimulus package into law next week.

Chrysler to Cut Models, Dealerships

Chrysler LLC plans to significantly reduce its product lineup and number of dealerships as the automaker rolls out a new corporate initiative, a Chrysler dealer in Texas said Friday.

Amazon Approves $1B Share Buyback Inc. said on Friday its board authorized the repurchase of up to $1 billion of the company's common stock over the next two years.

Thursday, February 7

Cisco Gives Weak Outlook

Cisco Systems Inc. gave a disappointing outlook on Wednesday and warned of a rapid slowdown in U.S. and European orders, driving its shares down 8% and adding to broader fears of a U.S. recession.

Jobless Data, Retail Sales add to Recession Fears

Jobless ranks continued to swell despite a dip in new weekly claims on Thursday, and major retailers reported sluggish sales for January in fresh signs of an economy limping into the new year.

PacSun, Wet Seal Jan. Sales Slump, But Both Up Outlooks

Orange County's two major mall retailers, Anaheim-based Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. and Foothill Ranch's Wet Seal Inc., reported disappointing January sales at stores open at least a year but upped their profit outlooks for the three months through

Epicor Reports Solid Q4, Ups 2008 Outlook

Irvine's Epicor Software Corp., a maker of business software, upped its 2008 outlook on higher licensing revenue and a sooner-than-expected payoff from a recent acquisition.

AutoNation Profit, Sales Fall

AutoNation Inc., the nation's largest auto retailer, said Thursday its fourth-quarter earnings fell 31%, falling short of Wall Street expectations as the decline of vehicle sales in California and Florida continued due to a slumping housing market.

Allergan Predicts Big Growth for Bladder Drug

Irvine-based Allergan Inc.'s chief executive on Thursday said he expects big growth for an improved formula of a drug that's designed to treat overactive bladders.

Grand Jury Looking Into Tax Filing for Estate of Alacer Founder

The battle over the estate of Vitamin C entrepreneur Jay Patrick and his Foothill Ranch-based Alacer Corp. has taken a new twist.

Wednesday, February 6

Clinton, McCain Take OC; San Clemente Says No to Homes

Orange County voters largely followed the state trend with Democrats backing Hillary Clinton and Republicans going for John McCain, while voters in San Clemente rejected a plan to build homes on a golf course.

Apria Q4 Beats, Ups Guidance; Shares Jump

Lake Forest-based home health provider Apria Healthcare Group Inc. reported fourth-quarter results that beat expectations and upped its outlook for 2008.

Disney Posts Lower Q1 Profit, Higher Revenue

The Walt Disney Co.'s quarterly profit fell 26% from a year earlier, when it benefited from the sale of a magazine and entertainment channel, but the media conglomerate notched a 9% jump in revenue powered by growth in its cable and television division.

M-Flex Shares Soar on Surprising Earnings

Shares of Anaheim's Multi-Fineline Electronics Inc. soared Wednesday, a day after the maker of flexible printed circuit boards surprised Wall Street with stellar earnings for the quarter ended Dec. 31.

Wachovia Accused of Aiding Telemarketing Fraud

Wachovia Corp., the fourth-largest U.S. bank, is fighting a lawsuit accusing it of letting fraudulent telemarketers use its accounts to bilk millions of dollars from consumers, court papers show.

Toll Brothers Sees Depressed Home Market

Toll Brothers Inc., the largest luxury home builder, said on Wednesday it expects to report a 22% drop in fiscal first-quarter home-building revenue, amid a depressed housing market.

Tuesday, February 5

Source: Yahoo May Consider Google Alliance

Yahoo Inc. would consider a business alliance with Google Inc. as one way to rebuff a $44.6 billion takeover proposal by Microsoft, a source familiar with Yahoo's strategy said on Sunday.

Edwards Profit Falls on Charges

Irvine-based Edwards Lifesciences Corp. reported a fourth-quarter profit before charges Tuesday that beat Wall Street's expectations although it was basically flat from the year-ago period.

Powerwave Shares Plummet on Q4 Loss

Investors hammered Santa Ana-based Powerwave Technologies Inc.'s stock Tuesday after the company posted wider losses for the fourth quarter.

Services Index Plummets, Points to Recession

The U.S. services sector retrenched sharply in January to levels not seen since the 2001 recession, renewing fears about an economic slump, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

Yum Profit Beats Street but Shares Down on Outlook

Yum Brands Inc., operator of the KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut chains, beat Wall Street's quarterly profit target on Monday, but forecast 2008 earnings below analysts' expectations and shares fell 2.3%.

Quest Software Q4 Sales, Forecast Beat Expectations

Aliso Viejo's Quest Software Inc. on Tuesday reported better-than-expected quarterly rsales and gave a 2008 revenue forecast that beat analysts' expectations.

CorVel Shares Rise on Quarterly Results

Shares of CorVel Corp. rose 7% on Tuesday after the Irvine-based healthcare service company posted strong results for the December quarter.

Standard Pacific's Stock Up Despite Big Fourth-Quarter Loss

Irvine-based Standard Pacific Corp. posted a much larger than expected fourth-quarter loss, but saw a boost in its stock on Tuesday as analyst worries over the homebuilder's liquidity issues were eased.

Monday, February 4

Fremont General Moves HQ to Brea

Fremont General Corp. said Monday that it has moved its headquarters from Santa Monica to Brea.

Vegas Guys Double Down on OC; Long-Drive Sheriff

Vegas Guys Double Down on OC; Long-Drive Sheriff

Association Still Plans to Push Forward With Health Reform

Association Still Plans to Push Forward With Health Reform


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

Oceanfront Cottages Sell for $100 Million

A big stretch of beach cottages on the northern tip of San Clemente has sold for about $100 million

Hospitals Push Recruitment Methods in Hiring Nurses; Still Competitive

Hospitals Push Recruitment Methods in Hiring Nurses; Still Competitive




The county's office market took a slide in the fourth quarter. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Microsoft Expects Yahoo to Accept Bid Quickly

Microsoft Corp. said on Monday that its $44.6 billion unsolicited offer for Yahoo Inc. was generous and it expects Yahoo's board and shareholders to agree to the buyout quickly.

Beckman Coulter's Brea Move Marks End of an Era

Beckman Coulter's move to Brea marks the end of an era, in the Healthcare column


A listing of events happening all around Orange County

Western Digital Sees Big Gain in Disk Drives for Laptops

Western Digital Corp. has more than doubled its share of disk drives for laptop computers in the past year


Drink of the Week - Sangrias at Habana Restaurant & Bar in Costa Mesa

Beard Boy: Work is Steady; Keeping Eye on Economy

Beard Boy Productions is dealing with a slow economy, in the Media & Marketing column


"U2 3D" concert film in 3D Imax at Irvine Spectrum Center

Saunders Buys Shorecliffs Mobile Home Park

Saunders Property Co., a Newport Beach-based real estate investment firm, has acquired Huntington Shorecliffs, a mobile home park in Huntington Beach.

Patent Firm Knobbe Opens Office in Seattle

Knobbe Martens just opened a Washington, D.C., office. Now it's opened a Seattle location

Quest Software: Nine Buys in Past Three Years

Quest Software plans to keep on buying,just at a slower pace


This past week's news from and other sources

Investors, Lenders, Developers Gloomy Over Credit Downturn

There was a lot of glum among investors and developers at a recent real estate conference, in the Real Estate column

2008 Could Be Year of Buyouts in Health Sector, Some Say

2008 Could Be Year of Buyouts in Health Sector, Some Say

Health of the Nation

Executives weigh in on what they hope to see in an election year

December Factory Orders Rise 2%

New orders at U.S. factories rose a less-than-expected 2.3% in December, though it was the steepest gain since July, on strong aircraft sales, a government report showed on Monday.

Bush Unveils $3.1T Spending Plan

President Bush unveiled a $3.1 trillion budget on Monday that supports sizable increases in military spending to fight the war on terrorism and protects his signature tax cuts.

Students Compete in Automotive Technology Contest

The Orange County Automobile Dealers Association kicked off its annual automotive technology competition, in the Marketplace column

Buzz, Then Some

Atwater Clothing is creating a buzz

First Allergan's Cautious Outlook Roils, Then Downplayed as 'Under Promising'

Wall Street is shaking off Allergan's cautious outlook.

More Intimate Arches Replaces Aubergine, Adds BBQ

The county is buzzing about The Arches Grill & BBQ, in the Executive Dining column


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

Tyson Out at Valeant, Turnaround Specialist In

Tim Tyson is out as chief executive of Aliso Viejo drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International and has been replaced by a turnaround specialist from McKinsey & Co.

Former K2 Network Execs Start Online Gaming Site

Two guys from online video game operator K2 Network have teamed up to start their own online game company, in the Technology column

Lasco Lays Off 150 in Anaheim, Changes Sales Tactics

A maker of bathroom fixtures has laid off 150 workers

Newport Center Holding Its Own; Latest Lease at Record $6 a Foot

The upscale offices around Fashion Island are a bit of an anomaly when it comes to OC's office market


Fundraisers and charitable donations from companies and people

Universal Electronics Offer for Zilog Rejected

Universal Electronics Inc.'s bid to buy San Jose-based chipmaker Zilog Inc. was rejected Monday after Zilog's board turned down the unsolicited offer.


Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Friday, February 1

Blizzard's Yearly Sales Nearly $1.2B

Sales from Irvine's Blizzard Entertainment Inc., which develops video games in which millions of players face off over the Internet, are proving to be the big breadwinner for parent company Vivendi SA of France.

Payrolls Drop for First Time Since 2003

Nervous employers cut 17,000 jobs in January & #226; & #128;"the first such reduction in more than four years and a fresh sign that the economy is in danger of stalling.

Microsoft Offers to Buy Yahoo for $44.6B

Microsoft Corp. has made an unsolicited offer to buy Yahoo Inc. for $44.6 billion in cash and stock, seeking to join forces against Google Inc. in what would be the biggest Internet deal since the Time Warner-AOL merger.

Edwards Sued Over Heart Valve Patent

Medical device maker Cook Inc. said Friday it is suing Irvine's Edwards Lifesciences Corp. over alleged patent infringement in Germany.

Slumping Conexant Gets Delisting Warning

Shares of Newport Beach chipmaker Conexant Systems Inc. dropped Friday after the company received a notice from Nasdaq officials threatening to delist the stock.

Fed Plans $60B Auctions to Banks in Feb.

The Federal Reserve said Friday it will provide $60 billion in fresh cash to commercial banks in two auctions in February and will keep holding auctions every other week for as long as needed to ease the credit crisis.