Stories for April 2010

Friday, April 30

Register Parent Exits Bankruptcy

Irvine-based Freedom Communications Inc., owner of the Orange County Register, has exited bankruptcy, according to the newspaper's Web site.

QLogic's Shares Continue Slide on Outlook

Investors shrugged off Aliso Viejo-based QLogic Corp.’s positive outlook for the current quarter and sent shares plummeting on Friday.

Allergan’s Quarterly Profit Surpasses Expectations

Irvine’s Allergan Inc. on Friday reported a first-quarter profit that beat analysts’ expectations and raised its 2010 outlook at the lower end.

Goldman Shares Fall on News of Federal Probe

Shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. fell as much as 8.5 percent on Friday, the day after a source said that federal prosecutors in New York had begun investigating the company.

Chevron Profits Jump on Oil Price

Chevron Corp., the second-largest U.S. oil company, reported on Friday a sharp rise in quarterly profit, as oil prices bounced back strongly in the past year, offsetting lower earnings from its refineries.

United, Continental to Announce Merger Monday

UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and Continental Airlines Inc. are expected to announce that they are merging to form the world's largest airline on Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.

Volcom Up on Results, Upbeat Sales Forecast

Costa Mesa-based clothing maker Volcom Inc.’s shares were up Friday, a day after the company reported better than expected quarterly results and offered a sales forecast that at the high end surpassed what Wall Street had been expecting.

Thursday, April 29

Investors Shrug Off Lower Beckman Coulter Outlook

Beckman Coulter Inc., a Brea-based medical testing company, saw its shares rise 8% Thursday despite lowering its financial outlook for 2010 a day earlier.

Ingram Micro Shares Rise on Sunny Outlook

Shares of Santa Ana’s Ingram Micro Inc., the biggest distributor of computers, software and consumer electronics, rose on Thursday after the company gave a rosy outlook for the current quarter and the balance of the year.

FDA Approves Drug for Company with Seal Beach Plant

Shares of Dendreon Corp., a Seattle biotechnology company that’s building a plant in Seal Beach, shot up Thursday after regulators approved its new prostate cancer treatment.

Foreclosures Fall in Most of Top Metro Areas

Foreclosure activity fell in 14 of the top 20 metropolitan areas in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, even though total foreclosures rose, RealtyTrac said on Thursday.

Jobless Claims Underscore Fragile Labor Market

The number of workers filing new applications for unemployment insurance fell slightly less than expected last week, government data showed on Thursday, implying only a gradual labor market improvement.

Euro Gains Foothold on Hopes for Greek Aid

The euro rebounded on Thursday from one-year lows, helped by hopes that a bailout plan for Greece will be larger than earlier thought and allow it to avoid restructuring its debt.

First American Tops Estimates, But Data Unit Lags

Santa Ana-based First American Corp. reported quarterly results that topped Wall Street expectations but saw profits and revenue fall at its information services business that’s set to be the basis of the company after an upcoming spinoff.

Wednesday, April 28

Epicor Slumps on Sales Outlook

Shares of Epicor Software Corp., a maker of business software, on Wednesday reported an outlook for the current quarter that falls short of Wall Street’s top-line expectations.

Beckman Coulter Tops Expectations, Lowers Outlook

Brea-based Beckman Coulter Inc. on Wednesday reported first-quarter results that beat Wall Street’s expectations but lowered its 2010 profit outlook after a March recall of a test to diagnose heart disease.

Fed Renews Low Rate Promise, Upbeat on Economy

The Federal Reserve offered a more upbeat view of the economy and employment prospects on Wednesday, even as it left interest rates on hold near zero and promised to keep them low for an extended period.

Restaurant Dealmaking Hits Two-Year High

Restaurant dealmaking is heating up again with the start of a consumer spending recovery and greater access to capital that has whetted private equity firms' appetite after a two-year fast.

Greek Aid Decision Seen Soon, Package May Grow

The international bailout of Greece is likely to total up to 120 billion euros, a German lawmaker said on Wednesday after International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn held talks in Berlin.

Western Digital Picks Up Assets of Japanese Glass Maker Hoya for $235M

Lake Forest’s Western Digital Corp., the top maker of disk drives for computers, portable storage devices and consumer electronics, acquired some assets of Japanese glass maker Hoya Corp. for $235 million.

First American To Take CoreLogic Name After Spinoff

Santa Ana-based First American Corp. has selected the name CoreLogic Inc. for its remaining information services group after a planned spinoff of its dominant title insurance unit in coming weeks.

Conexant Slumps on Outlook, Profit Miss

Newport Beach chipmaker Conexant Systems Inc. saw its shares slump a day after reporting big gains in sales and profits for the recently ended quarter but falling short of Wall Street's profit expectations and disappointing analysts with a weak outlook for the current quarter.

Another Valeant Deal with Buy of Canadian Skin Products Maker

Aliso Viejo-based drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International is paying $10.4 million for a Canadian maker of skin care products sold at stores, doctor offices and spas.

Tuesday, April 27

Broadcom Results Top Estimates

Irvine-based communications chipmaker Broadcom Corp. on Tuesday reported results for the first quarter that beat Wall Street’s expectations.

CIT Posts Surprise Profit After Bankruptcy

CIT Group Inc. posted an unexpected profit in its first full quarter after emerging from one of the largest U.S. bankruptcies, as the small- and mid-market commercial lender wrote off fewer bad loans.

Lawsuit Exposes Wal-Mart to Billions in Potential Damages

A landmark sex-discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. may proceed as a class-action case, a federal appeals court said, dealing the retailer a major blow and exposing it to billions of dollars of potential damages.

Senate Panel Says Goldman Inflated Housing Bubble

The conduct of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. during the financial meltdown was assailed on Tuesday by a Senate panel, which accused the Wall Street powerhouse of inflating the housing bubble earlier this decade and then profiting from its collapse in 2007.

Emulex Continues to Slide on Outlook

Shares of Costa Mesa’s Emulex Corp., a maker of electronics for data storage networks, slumped afterhours Monday after the company gave a sales outlook for the current quarter that falls short of Wall Street’s expectations.

Ceradyne Tops Forecasts as Diversification Plays Out

Costa Mesa-based Ceradyne Inc. reported better than expected first-quarter sales and profits on Tuesday.

Monday, April 26

Chipmaker Mindspeed Sees Sales Jump, Profit

Newport Beach-based chipmaker Mindspeed Technologies Inc. on Monday reported higher quarterly sales that topped Wall Street expectations while matching what analysts were looking for on profits.

Biotech Company CombiMatrix Moving to Irvine

CombiMatrix Corp., a biotechnology company, is going to move its corporate headquarters to Irvine from a Seattle suburb.

Edwards Testings New Type of Valve in Japan

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. said Monday that it started to enroll patients in a Japanese clinical trial for one of its less-invasive heart valves.

Caterpillar Beats and Raises Outlook

Caterpillar Inc. reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit on Monday and raised its full-year sales forecast above Wall Street estimates, citing an improving global economy, especially in Asia and Latin America.

Hertz to Buy Dollar Thrifty for $1.2B

Car rental company Hertz Global Holdings Inc. agreed to buy smaller rival Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. for about $1.2 billion in a deal that is expected to make it the market leader.

Financial Reform Nears Test in Senate

The most sweeping overhaul of financial regulation since the Great Depression appeared unlikely to clear its first hurdle in the Senate on Monday as Republicans held out for a bipartisan deal.

Shea Exiting Stalled Base Redevelopment

The developer tapped to turn 820 acres of Tustin’s former Marine base into business, shops and homes said it plans to pull out of the stalled megaproject.

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Sunday, April 25

Analyst: Medicare Advantage Insurers to Raise Rates

Grubb Buys $17.4M in Medical Offices; Fitch ‘Neutral’ on Reform’s Effect on Some Hospitals

One analyst says health insurance companies such as UnitedHealth Group soon will cut benefits and raise premiums, in the Healthcare column

One Small-Business Financing That Didn’t Go Away: Export Guarantees

TRADE: Medical device, model plane maker tapped Ex-Im Bank

INTERNATIONAL TRADE: If there was one bright spot for small businesses during the downturn, it was that Uncle Sam continued to help buoy their exports

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Most Influential Businesspersons

The Business Journal’s annual listing of the who’s who in Technology in OC

Staffing Firms Breathe Easier After Devastating ’09

ECONOMY: Revenue drops 20% in ’09; firms seeing some pickup

Local employment agencies saw a long and horrible 2009, but now they’re seeing signs of a budding recovery. Includes the 2010 OC's Top Employment Agencies list for download (pdf)

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Most Influential Businesspersons

The Business Journal’s annual listing of the who’s who in Industry & Services in OC

Shea Exiting Stalled Base Redevelopment

The developer tapped to turn 820 acres of Tustin’s former Marine base into a hub for business, shops and homes says it plans to pull out of the stalled megaproject

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Most Influential Businesspersons

The Business Journal’s annual listing of the who’s who in Government & Institutions in OC


Most Influential Businesspersons

The Business Journal’s annual listing of the who’s who in Healthcare in OC

2010 OC 50 - REAL ESTATE

Most Influential Businesspersons

The Business Journal’s annual listing of the who’s who in Real Estate in OC

2010 OC 50 - APPAREL

Most Influential Businesspersons

The Business Journal’s annual listing of the who’s who in Apparel in OC


More For Money

One Business Journal reader has some opinions about John Wayne’s expansion, in Reader Letters

REAL ESTATE WATCH: Greater Los Angeles

Greater Los Angeles Office, Industrial Markets See Tough First Quarter

The greater Los Angeles industrial and office markets saw a tough first quarter, in Real Estate Watch


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

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First American To Take CoreLogic Name after Spinoff

Irvine Developer to Finish L.A. Condo Project; Manufacturer Buys Garden Grove Warehouse

First American is preparing to rename itself CoreLogic upon completion of its long-planned split, in the Real Estate column

Hyundai to Stick with Ad Push, Searches for New Exec

Freedom Makes Newspapers Available on Smartphones; Social Media Battle for PR, Ad Shops

Hyundai Motor America doesn’t plan to alter its advertising push as it searches for a new head of marketing, in the Media and Marketing column

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Seal Beach Maker of Solar Power Panels Raises $129M

Broadcom Makes Headway in GPS Patent Case; StrataCare Buys Unit of Insurer March Inc.

Seal Beach-based Amonix Inc. said it raised $129 million in a second funding, in the Technology column


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

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Tustin Co. Expands Wind-Up Toy Sales to Global Market

Tustin-based California Creations is making wind-up toys for adults

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

Eaton Aerospace Unit Brings on Workers with New Markets Push

AEROSPACE: Eaton’s local aerospace operations are seeing more work than they have in years

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Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses


This past week’s news from and other sources

Eaton Vance Taps Manager for Fund; Focused on Commodities, Then Some

FINANCE: Armored Wolf founder used to run similar fund at Pimco

FINANCE: A former money manager at Pimco and his Aliso Viejo firm have been tapped to manage a commodities mutual fund

Irvine Chipmaker Changes Sales Tactic: Direct to User

TECHNOLOGY: Solarflare sees more profits from circuit board deals

One of the area’s best-funded chip startups is carving out a niche for itself

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Homebuilder Standard: $105M in Land Deals

REAL ESTATE: Builder targets developer-owned land in Calif.

Standard Pacific is ramping up its land-buying activity despite lagging sales

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Printer Buys $11.2M Anaheim Warehouse

REAL ESTATE: Advantage Mailing set to move HQ, offices

An Orange-based provider of print and direct mail services is moving its headquarters to Anaheim after buying a prominent industrial building in the city

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UCI, Chapman Ace Report Cards; Want a Boat Slip?

OC INSIDER Column by Rick Reiff

Horror Writer Balances Business, Simple Life

You may know Dean Koontz the horror writer, but not many know Dean Koontz the businessman

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Dental Offering Backdrop: More Insurance Coverage

HEALTHCARE: Insurers spur revenue growth, some drawbacks

More dental insurance coverage and moves by dentists to hand off administrative duties are behind a planned initial public offering by Smile Brands

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Newcomers, Subtle Shifts for Power Elite

ECONOMY: Class of 2010 includes top executives, academics, politicos

OC 50—Overview of the Business Journal’s annual listing of the who’s who in business and beyond in OC

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Friday, April 23

Wall Street Gives Much to Lawmakers in Reform Debate

Democrats and Republicans in the Congress may want to look tough on financial reform in front of voters but that has not stopped them from filling their re-election war chests with plenty of Wall Street cash.

New Home Sales Jump 26.9% in March

Sales of newly built single-family homes rebounded strongly in March to touch their highest level in eight months as buyers rushed into the market to take advantage of a homebuyer tax credit, a government report showed on Friday.

Western Digital Jumps on Outlook

Shares of Lake Forest’s Western Digital Corp., the world's top maker of disk drives, jumped on Friday on a better than expected outlook for the current quarter.

Microsoft Profit Rises, Shares Fall

Microsoft Corp. beat analysts' estimates with a 35 percent jump in quarterly profit, lifted by sales of Windows 7, but its shares fell more than 3 percent as investors expected the company to benefit more from a recovering technology sector.

First American Paying $318M for Rest of Subsidiary

Santa Ana-based First American Corp. is making another deal to firm up its data services group as it readies for an upcoming spinoff.

Pacific Mercantile Returns To Profitability

Costa Mesa-based Pacific Mercantile Bank, the county's largest bank or thrift by assets, climbed back into profitability in the first quarter as its stock kept outperforming by reaching a new 52-week high.

Thursday, April 22

Microsemi Slumps on Tepid Outlook

Irvine’s Microsemi Corp., a maker of chips for aerospace, military and industrial uses, slumped on Thursday after the company gave a tepid outlook for the current quarter that fell flat with investors.

Home Prices Rise $10,000 in March

The median price of an existing Orange County home rose by more than $10,000 in March from February, spurred in large part by low mortgage rates and generally affordable prices, the California Association of Realtors said on Thursday.

Economic Signs Show Modest Recovery, Point to Low Rates

The number of workers filing new claims for jobless aid fell last week as the labor market gradually heals and producer price data showed inflation remained muted despite a surge in food costs last month.

CenturyTel to Buy Qwest for $10.6B in Stock

CenturyTel Inc. said it will buy Qwest Communications International Inc. in a $10.6-billion stock deal that would combine two of the largest landline phone companies in a bid to cut costs.

California Leads in Borrowing for Jobless Benefits

The Golden State has borrowed $8.8 billion so far to cover jobless benefits during a recession where the national unemployment rate crested above 10 percent.

Wednesday, April 21

Edwards Profit In Line, Shares Slip

Shares of Irvine-based heart valve maker Edwards Lifesciences Corp. were down Wednesday, a day after reporting a lower quarterly profit that fell short of Wall Street expectations.

Seal Beach's Amonix Raises $129M; Among County's Largest Fundings

Seal Beach-based Amonix Inc. said it raised $129 million in a second funding round in what’s likely one of the biggest venture investments to date in Orange County.

Boeing Profit Beats; Outlook Cut on Healthcare

Boeing Co., the world's second-largest plane maker, reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, despite making fewer deliveries as the company held down costs at its commercial airplane division.

Banks' Loan Losses Easing but Demand Down

Banks including Wells Fargo & Co. reported first-quarter results that showed the loan losses that have plagued the financial sector amid the recession are easing.

Chrysler Posts $4B of Losses Since Bankruptcy

Chrysler reported net losses of nearly $4 billion since it emerged from bankruptcy last year, but it had an operating profit in the first quarter and affirmed that it was on track to break even in 2010.

Angels, MLB Outline $5M in All-Star Giving

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Major League Baseball plan to give $5 million to local and national charities as part of July’s All-Star Game in Anaheim.

Drug Maker Valeant Makes Another Brazilian Buy

Aliso Viejo-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International has struck a deal to acquire its second Brazilian drug maker in as many months.

Tuesday, April 20

Tepid 2010 Job Growth Forecast

Job growth is seen for Orange County later this year but at a slower rate than originally predicted, according to an updated forecast by California State University, Fullerton economists.

J&J Profit Beats Forecast, but Drug Sales Slump

Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings, with strong sales growth of medical devices offsetting revenue declines for its prescription drugs and tepid growth for its array of consumer products.

Goldman Earnings Beat Overshadowed by UK Probe

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reported blow-out quarterly earnings on Tuesday, but investors appeared to focus on the U.S. fraud case against the bank as Britain's market watchdog launched its own probe.

State Banks Facing Financial Reform Side Effect

A Senate proposal to strip the Federal Reserve of some of its regulatory powers could have an unwanted side effect: drastically higher fees on smaller state-regulated banks.

ICU Shares Fall on Quarterly Profit Miss

Shares of San Clemente-based ICU Medical Inc. fell Tuesday a day after reporting a sharply reduced first-quarter profit.

Monday, April 19

Chipmaker Microsemi Cleared in Patent Dispute

Irvine-based chipmaker Microsemi Corp. was cleared Monday by a federal trade watchdog in a patent lawsuit it was named in by Santa Clara-based 02Micro International Ltd., according to reports.

Venture Funding Rose 57% in First Quarter

The value of venture capital deals in the county rose 57% in the first quarter to $201.6 million from a year earlier, according to Dow Jones VentureSource.

Herbst Lists Newport Mansion for Sale; $31.8M Asking Price

A Newport Harbor mansion that set an Orange County record as the area’s most expensive home on its 2008 sale is back on the market at a reduced price of $31.8 million.

Citigroup Turns in Profit, Shares Rise

Citigroup Inc. posted a $4.43 billion first quarter profit, as it set aside less money to cover credit losses.

Obama to Press for Financial Overhaul in New York

President Barack Obama will push for his plan to tighten Wall Street regulations in New York on Thursday, the White House said on Monday, as he attempts to overcome solid Republican opposition.

Toyota to Pay $16.4M U.S. Fine

Toyota Motor Corp. said on Monday it will pay a record $16.4 million fine to U.S. safety regulators to settle a complaint that the company delayed a recall over defective accelerator pedals.

Standard Reports Unexpected Loss, Misses on Revenue

Shares of Standard Pacific Corp. were down early Monday after the Irvine-based homebuilder reported an unexpected quarterly loss and revenue fell short of Wall Street expectations.

Sunday, April 18

Analyst: $20B Tax to Stir M&A, Increase Hospital Costs

Report: Electronic Medical Records No Panacea; ChromaDex Purchases Rights to Compound

Some smaller medical device makers are worried about the effects of a $20 billion, 10-year tax on the industry, in the Healthcare column

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ASR Response

Apparel Trade Show Adjusts to New Reality, Upstart Rival

Like the industry it represents, the Action Sports Retailer trade show is finding its way in a new era

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John Wayne Nears Midway Point in Three-Year, $543M Expansion

TRAVEL: Adding terminal, parking; Air Canada starts international flight

The $543 million expansion of John Wayne Airport might be one of few bright spots for construction projects around the county

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Wall Street Eyes Chip Buildup in Q1 Results

Earnings season for local chipmakers is off and running and the big Wall Street watchword is "inventory,"

Wireless Network Growth Boosts Powerwave’s Stock

Powerwave Technologies has been getting some love from Wall Street lately

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Local Chef Shuffle Leads to New Concepts, Restaurants

Marché Moderne Celebrates 3rd Birthday with Spanish Event; Preview of Newport’s Festival

The latest on OC’s dining scene, in the Executive Dining column by Fifi Chao

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John Wayne On the Lookout for Retailers, Restaurants

Mood, Buying Up at Recent Newport Boat Show; ASR, Concours d’Elegance Set Event Dates

The John Wayne Airport is looking for retailers for terminal C, in the Marketplace column by Sherri Cruz

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Foremost Buys Lots at Riverside Project, Eyes Rest

Backstory on City Ventures’ Dead Land Deal; JPMorgan Chase Signs Another Big Irvine Lease

A venture headed up by Irvine’s Foremost Communities has made a nearly $10 million investment in Riverside, in the Real Estate column


Inland Empire Industrial, Office Markets Show Signs of Life

The Inland Empire’s industrial and office markets are showing some signs of life, in Real Estate Watch


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

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State of the State

The business community’s campaign to suspend the state’s controversial greenhouse gas reduction law appears headed to the ballot.


REVIEW: Afterhours, BlackBerrys optional

Spa Gregorie’s in Newport Beach, Rancho Santa Margarita. Soothing stone massage.

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Goodness! Con Turned Pastor Hires Religion Writer Turned Atheist

OC Insider column by Rick Reiff

SunCal Files Ch. 11 on Massive N.M. Project

REAL ESTATE: Lender prompts move; D.E. Shaw has 92% stake

SunCal and D.E. Shaw file for bankruptcy protection on their giant New Mexico project

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Bren Homebuilder Tapped To Build 125 Irvine Homes

REAL ESTATE: Dormant co. revived by Irvine Co. project

Irvine’s California Pacific Homes is back

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Institutional Investors, FDA Progress Push Avanir Up

HEALTHCARE: Stock up 50%, filing for drug Zenvia ‘gets close’

Investors in Avanir Pharmaceuticals have driven up its stock shares this year

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Veteran Architect Turns to China, Starts to See Some U.S. Recovery

SERVICES: Doing hotels, malls, offices in China; quick schedule

ARCHITECTURE: A veteran local architect has turned to China

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This past week’s news from and other sources

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Chipmaker Teridian Bought for $315M

In what could be the biggest local chip deal in years, Irvine’s Teridian Semiconductor Corp. said it’s set to be acquired by Sunnyvale’s Maxim Integrated Products Inc. for $315 million in cash.


Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Downturn Pares Ranks of Smaller Public Cos.

ECONOMY: Acquisitions, moves, disappearances cut group’s size

ABOUT THE LIST: The economic woes of the past two years or so played out on the Business Journal’s list of second-tier public companies. Includes the 2010 OC's Second-Tier Public Companies list for download (pdf)

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MegaPath of Costa Mesa Combines With San Jose Co.

Federal Judge Reverses Ruling in Broadcom-Qualcomm Case; Kingston Buys Elpida Shares

Costa Mesa’s MegaPath is combining with a data services provider to form a new private company, in the Technology column

Debt Ensnares Parent Companies of Local Publications

Hyundai Ramps Up Upscale Push with Equus Sedan, IPad Owner’s Manual, Service App

The fate of three OC publications could be up in the air as their parent companies struggle with debt, in the Media and Marketing column

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Friday, April 16

Small Business Lending Surges

Small business loans in the county jumped to $80.7 million in the first quarter, a 172% rise from a year ago, according to the Small Business Administration’s Santa Ana district staff.

County's Unemployment Rate Up In March

The county's unemployment rate returned to more than 10% in March, but the pace of yearly layoffs slowed with a gain in jobs from February to March.

Hotel Owner Sunstone Forecasts Some Improvement

San Clemente-based Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. said Friday it is seeing some recovery at its hotels in an early glimpse at its first-quarter results.

Goldman Sachs Charged with Fraud by SEC

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was charged with fraud on Friday by securities regulators in the structuring and marketing of a debt product tied to subprime mortgages.

Home Construction Rises, Consumer Morale Ebbs

Permits to build new homes unexpectedly surged in March to their highest level in more than 1-1/2 years, but a surprise dip in consumer confidence tempered optimism over the broadening economic recovery.

BofA Profit Beats Expectations, Revenue Lower

Bank of America Corp. posted its first quarterly profit since summer 2009 as it generated outsized bond trading revenue and set aside less money to cover bad loans.

Thursday, April 15

STEC Soars on Bullish Bets

Shares of Santa Ana’s STEC Inc., a maker of flash memory drives for corporate and industrial uses, soared Thursday on what seems to be bullish expectations by investors.

Foreclosure Actions Spike Despite Aid

Home foreclosures actions spiked in March and set a quarterly record despite federal programs to combat the unrelenting pace that homeowners are defaulting on mortgages, RealtyTrac said on Thursday.

Business Battles Moves to Expand FTC Power

As the Senate turns its attention to a massive overhaul of financial regulation, business is battling plans to include measures that would increase the power of the Federal Trade Commission.

Schwab Profit Drops, Says Worst Has Now Passed

Sluggish trading and low interest rates led to a 45 percent profit drop at Charles Schwab Corp., matching its own worst-case-scenario forecast, but the brokerage said the worst has now passed.

Bright Now Updates IPO: Plans to Raise up to $133M

The parent of Santa Ana-based dental services company Bright Now Dental Inc. has updated its plans for an initial public stock offering with expectations of raising up to $133 million.

Local Fortune 500 Contingent Grows to Seven

Shifting fortunes in a down economy and a newcomer boosted Orange County’s contingent on the 2010 Fortune 500 list of the nation’s largest public companies to seven, up from four a year ago.

Wednesday, April 14

Quiksilver Sells Swimsuit Line

Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc. has sold a line of swimsuits for undisclosed terms.

Broadcom Shares Rise on Intel's "Blowout" Results, Outlook

Shares of Irvine-based communications chipmaker Broadcom Corp. jumped Wednesday, a day after industry bellwether Intel Corp. gave a better than expected outlook for the current quarter.

JPMorgan Earnings Set Bar High for Banks

JPMorgan Chase & Co. reported quarterly profit that beat forecasts as investment banking earnings gained and loan losses slowed, and sounded a bullish note on the overall economy.

Treasury Seeks to Protect Federal Benefits

The Treasury department will release new rules on Wednesday that would prevent banks from seizing a borrower's social security to recover unpaid debt, the Wall Street Journal said.

March Retail Sales Rise More than Expected

Sales at retailers rose more strongly than expected in March as consumer stepped up purchases of vehicles and wide range of goods, government data showed on Wednesday, suggesting a broadening of the manufacturing-led economic recovery.

Fremont Bankruptcy Reaches Final Phase

FINANCE: Three plans compete to turn subprime lender into bank

Fallen subprime mortgage lender Fremont General is moving closer to emerging from bankruptcy after nearly two years of wrangling

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Tuesday, April 13

Device Maker Raises $14M, Eyes Revenue

HEALTHCARE: Stroke device maker doing U.S., Europe studies

Device maker Reverse Medical has raised $14 million as part of a bid to start selling its devices to treat stroke patients

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GE Shareholders Looking for Signs of a Turnaround

With last year's panic selling fading from memory, shareholders of General Electric Co. are looking for signs that the largest conglomerate's slump is nearing an end.

Lehman Used Entity to Shift Assets Before Collapse

Lehman Brothers used a small company called Hudson Castle to shift investments off its own books before it collapsed, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

Ford Says Cautiously Open to Partnerships

Ford Motor Co. is open to partnerships in green car technology but will be cautious in committing to any alliance, Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. said on Monday.

Broadcom GPS Chip Patent Dispute to Resume

A patent dispute between Irvine-based Broadcom Corp. and CSR PLC is set to resume after an appeals court ruled against the British chipmaker in an ongoing case involving global positioning system chips.

First American Gets Credit Lines for Spinoff, Launches Debt Buyback

Santa Ana-based First American Corp. said it has closed on nearly $1.3 billion worth of credit agreements and launched a $350 million debt buyback in preparation for the upcoming spinoff of its core title insurance business.

UCI Law Professor Lerach?

Bill Lerach, the famed trial lawyer released from prison last month, could teach a course at the University of California, Irvine School of Law next year.

Monday, April 12

Irvine Chipmaker Teridian Semi Scooped Up for $315M

In what could be the biggest local chip deal in years, Irvine’s Teridian Semiconductor Corp. on Monday said it’s set to be acquired by Sunnyvale’s Maxim Integrated Products Inc. for $315 million in cash.

Clean Energy Slumps on Critical Barron's Story

Shares of Seal Beach-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp., which runs natural gas fueling stations for fleets of taxis, buses and other vehicles, fell Monday after investor publication Barron’s took a critical eye toward the company.

Alcoa Q1 Profit Seen, but Aluminum Prices Drag

Alcoa Inc. is expected to report a small quarterly profit next week but Wall Street is unconvinced the company can post higher numbers with the price of aluminum only slowly inching up from the recession.

Cerberus to Acquire DynCorp for $1.5B

DynCorp International Inc. has accepted a $1.5 billion takeover bid, including the assumption of debt, from private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, the defense contractor said on Monday, sending its shares up 48 percent.

Regulators Failed to Supervise Washington Mutual

Regulators did not properly supervise Washington Mutual Inc., even as the savings and loan began to crumble because of the subprime mortgage crisis, a federal investigation concluded, the New York Times reported.

Skilled Strikes Financing Deal, Expects Higher Interest

Skilled Healthcare Group Inc., a Foothill Ranch-based nursing home operator, said Monday it’s struck a financing deal worth $460 million that stands to raise the amount of interest the company pays this year.

Edwards Plans Stock Split After Run-Up

Irvine heart valve maker Edwards Lifesciences Corp. plans to split its stock after its shares have risen more than 70% in the past year.

Sunday, April 11

Startup VeriComply Has Known Chief, Need for Angel Funds

TECHNOLOGY: Company, like others, finds venture funding tough

Roger Cohen has a famous name and a common problem—raising venture funds for his tech startup

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“The Language Archive,” at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa

“The Language Archive,” at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa through April 25, $20 to $65

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Deal Value Drops as Small, Short Leases Drive Brokerages

REAL ESTATE: Leases up 10.5% in past year; dollar value down by 10%

Orange County’s commercial brokerages didn’t see a turnaround in 2009 but were able to stop some of the bleeding after a brutal 2008.

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Musical Chairs

Brokerages Looking to Attract, Retain Top Talent As Sluggish Market Prompts Moves

Brokerages are fighting to attract and retain top players

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Office Market Showing Signs of Recovery in First Quarter

REAL ESTATE: Vacancy rates moderating; smaller leases reign

Orange County’s beleaguered office market might not yet be in recovery, but there are signs that a turnaround is dawning.

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Affordable Housing


A new kind of housing crisis is brewing, in Viewpoint

Art of Blizzard

Collection Could be Goldmine; Held Tightly for Now

Blizzard Entertainment is sitting on a potential goldmine

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John Laing Land Behind Some of Biggest Local Sales

Advanced Real Estate Buys Norwalk Apartment Complex; Extron Breaks Ground on Expansion

Local assets previously owned by defunct builder John Laing are driving some of OC’s largest land sales this year, in the Real Estate column

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Microsemi Buys Phoenix Chipmaker White Electronic

Irvine Startup YouMail Counts a Million Users; WebVisible Plans Doubling of Workforce

Microsemi is set to acquire a Phoenix chipmaker for $100 million, in the Technology column

Hyundai Agency Expands, Plans Move to Huntington

Milk Marketer Debuts Latest Commercials; Brand Affinity Goes After Online Newspaper Ads

Innocean Worldwide is looking to move closer to client Hyundai Motor America, in the Media and Marketing column

Allergan Strikes Up Drug Deal as Part of Urology Push

Watson Seen Benefiting from Medicare Drug Gap Plug; Testing Company Hycor Gets CEO

Allergan is adding to its drugs for treating urinary disorders, in the Healthcare column

Latest OCBJ Web Site: Same News, New Look

The Orange County Business Journal debuted a remodeled Web page last week with breaking daily news and stories from our print edition in a stylish, updated format.


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

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

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Soup Kitchen Serves Needy with Help from Segerstrom, Wahoo’s

Someone Cares Soup Kitchen started in the 1980s with a 45-gallon pot and 100-pound sacks of lima beans

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Pacific Sunwear CEO Makes Another Hire

The new chief executive of Anaheim-based mall retailer Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. has made another hire


Stradling Yocca Hires Malik as Tax Department Chair

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses


This past week’s news from and other sources

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Former Comarco Unit Attempts To Recast Fading Call Boxes

TECHNOLOGY: CEO behind $3 million business buyout

Irvine’s Case Systems has had to reinvent a business model built on obsolete products

All-Star Game Helps Prop Up Angels Sales

SPORTS: Matsui brings Japanese advertisers, TV game coverage

Fledgling economic recovery hasn’t brought more season tickets for the Angels but the All-Star Game has helped.

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CHOC Expansion Set for Milestone This Year

HEALTHCARE: Construction ongoing, fundraising set to launch

CHOC is ramping up work on a $563 million expansion

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Loretta’s Leverage; Mark Sanchez Nears Endorsement Deals

OC INSIDER by Rick Reiff

There was the “Cornhusker kickback,” the “Louisiana purchase”—and the “Santa Ana sweetener.”

Valeant Ups Bond Offering to $400M

Aliso Viejo-based drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International upped the amount of a debt offering last week.

Real Estate Loans a Concern for Some Banks

Debt Issues Linger

Real estate investors aren’t the only ones concerned about a possible wave of commercial mortgage defaults

$2.7B in Office Mortgage Bonds Due by 2015

Debt Issues Linger

Nearly $3 billion worth of mortgage bonds tied to office buildings in OC is coming due in the next five years

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Price Cuts Stir Ultra High-End Homes

REAL ESTATE: Sellers more realistic; Q1 escrows up

A look at the changing market for ultra high-end homes

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Expansion Man

Disneyland Boss Oversees $1.1B Anaheim Makeover

George Kalogridis is known for opening and expanding Disney theme parks

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Friday, April 9

Toyota Litigation Consolidated in Santa Ana

A slew of consumer and shareholder suits against Toyota Motor Corp. are being consolidated in federal court in Santa Ana.

Ex-Fannie CEO Apologizes, Faults Business Model

The former chief of Fannie Mae, the giant firm that dominates America's deeply troubled housing finance system, apologized and accepted responsibility on Friday for its failings.

Regulators Probe Risk of Brake Failure in 6M GM Trucks

Safety regulators are investigating a potential for brake failure in General Motors Co. vehicles that could affect up to 6 million trucks and SUVs sold from the model years 1999 through 2003.

Report: Major Banks Masked Risk Levels

Major banks temporarily lowered their debt levels just before reporting in the past five quarters, making it appear their balance sheets were less risky, the Wall Street Journal said, citing data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Register Investor Set to Gain Stake In L.A. Times Parent

A New York-based distressed buyout firm that has acquired a stake in Irvine-based Freedom Communications Inc. is making a bid for part of another media company, the parent of the Los Angeles Times.

Thursday, April 8

QLogic Slumps on Downgrade

Shares of Aliso Viejo’s QLogic Corp. closed down on Thursday after the maker of electronics for data storage networks was downgraded by a Wall Street analyst.

Judge Drops Sanctions Against Qualcomm Lawyers in Broadcom Litigation

A federal judge ruled in favor of a handful of lawyers for Qualcomm Inc. in a case that stemmed from a 2008 complaint by Irvine-based chipmaker Broadcom Corp.

Greece Plunges Deeper into Crisis, Banks, Euro Hit

Markets pounded Greek bonds and banking stocks on Thursday, driving the debt-stricken euro zone member's borrowing costs to new highs and pushing it closer to tapping a last resort EU/IMF safety net.

Apollo is Rival Bidder for CKE Restaurants

Private equity firm Apollo Management is the alternative bidder for CKE Restaurants Inc., rivaling an existing bid by Thomas H. Lee Partners, two sources briefed on the situation said on Wednesday.

Wet Seal: Second Straight Monthly Sales Gain

Foothill Ranch-based mall retailer Wet Seal Inc. reported its second straight month of higher sales in March.

Wednesday, April 7

Pacific Mercantile Bank Narrows Loss

Costa Mesa’s Pacific Mercantile Bank, the largest based in Orange County, reported a narrowed fourth-quarter loss on Wednesday.

GM Posts $4.3B Loss, Says 2010 Profit Possible

General Motors Co. posted a net loss for 2009, but said it was possible to make a profit this year and that it was laying the foundation to return to public ownership.

Goldman Takes on Critics in Shareholder Note

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. issued a spirited defense in its annual shareholder letter against allegations that it had benefited unduly from government help and bet against its own clients during the financial crisis.

Standard Pacific Up on Cramer Nod

Shares of Irvine-based homebuilder Standard Pacific Corp. rose Wednesday a day after being talked up by Jim Cramer.

Tuesday, April 6

Partial Debt Holder Takes Over St. Regis

One of the debt holders on the foreclosed St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort has become the sole owner of the Dana Point luxury resort.

Green Mountain Extends Diedrich Buyout Offer

Vermont-based Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. has again extended its offer to buy Irvine-based coffee seller Diedrich Coffee Inc. after running into regulatory issues.

FDA Warns Edwards on Devices; Shares Fall

Edwards Lifesciences Corp., the Irvine-based heart valve maker, received a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration concerning some of its devices.

Greek Deal Worries Hit Euro, Wall Street

The euro fell broadly on Tuesday and U.S. stocks opened lower on a report that Greece wants to renegotiate its financial aid package and prospects of higher interest rates in the United States.

Pacific Sunwear CEO Makes Another Hire in Turnaround

The new chief executive of Anaheim-based mall retailer Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. has made another hire as he seeks to turn around the seller of clothes inspired by surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding.

Valeant Ups Bond Offering to $400M

Aliso Viejo-based drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International said Wednesday it upped the amount of a debt offering announced a day earlier.

Monday, April 5

Welcome to Our New Site

Welcome to the new Web site of the Orange County Business Journal. We are pleased to launch our new Web site. As you explore the site, you will discover many new features designed to help us deliver the latest breaking news, information and data directly to your desktop. Feel free to explore the new site and discover all that we have to offer. Email any questions you may have about the content or functionality of the new site to Emily Weisburg at

Oil Surges to 18-Month High on Improving Economy

Oil prices surged to 18-month highs on Monday, after data on Friday showed the United States added the most jobs in three years, boosting prospects for economic recovery in the top oil consumer.

Services Sector Grows at Fastest Clip Since '06

The services sector grew in March at its fastest pace in nearly four years, data showed on Monday, while pending sales contracts for existing homes rose in February, suggesting steady economic improvement.

Spectrum Sees Quarterly Profit

Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc., an Irvine cancer drug maker, said Monday that it posted a fourth-quarter profit on a onetime gain.

Reports: Broadcom Chips in Blockbuster iPad

Broadcom Corp. could see a boost from Apple Inc.’s latest toy—the iPad tablet, according to reports.

Sunday, April 4


Fundraisers and charitable donations from companies and people

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This past week’s news from and other sources

Honda Center Lands College BBall Tournament, Longs for NBA Team

SPORTS: Arena hopes marketing can draw fans to Big West final

Anaheim’s Honda Center is gearing up for its own piece of March Madness next year

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Cisco Makes Linksys Niche Brand, Taps Flip Model for Others

TECHNOLOGY: Easy to set up models, a la Flip, go by just Cisco

Cisco’s Irvine unit is taking a page from its hit Flip camera

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Pimco Readies More Funds in ETFs Push

FINANCE: Plans in works for six more funds; $900M invested so far

Pimco is expanding its move into exchange-traded funds

L.A.’s Abraxis Moves R&D to Costa Mesa

HEALTHCARE: Company plans to add workers; future spinoff HQ?

Los Angeles-based Abraxis BioScience has moved its research and development unit to Costa Mesa

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‘Arabia’ New Kind of Imax Adventure; Disney-OCTA Deal


Column by Rick Reiff

Hines Shopping Leased Irvine Tower

REAL ESTATE: Developer plans to reinvest in OC; $100 million price?

2211 Michelson, the 12-story tower built by Hines Interests, is up for sale

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Execs Turn Solidly Positive

ECONOMY: Q2 outlook highest in two-plus years

Executives have turned solidly optimistic in their outlook for the second quarter

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On Deck

Yacht Racers Seek Thrills, Victories, Camaraderie

Yachters race for the thrill, the best of what Mother Nature can throw at them and the Bloody Marys after.

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Distressed Investor Grabs Stake in Register Parent

MEDIA: Angelo Gordon cited as key investor; rebound forecasted

A New York-based private equity firm specializing in distressed debt is set to become a leading investor in Freedom Communications

Chinese Co. Buys Online Game Maker Red 5 of Irvine

Blizzard Dispels Rumors and Keeps BlizzCon in Anaheim; Epicor’s Former No. 2 Lands Gig

Irvine’s Red 5 Studios was acquired by a Chinese video game developer, in the Technology column by Sarah Tolkoff

Sales Slip at Public Cos., Profits Restored on Cuts

ECONOMY: Some companies defy 2009 downturn with gains

The largest public companies here got smaller for the second straight year in 2009. Includes the 2010 OC's Largest Private Cos list for download (pdf)

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Capsules on the county’s 10 largest public companies. No. 6 - No. 10

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Capsules on the county’s 10 largest public companies. No. 1 - No. 5

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A listing of events happening all around Orange County

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REAL ESTATE WATCH: West Orange County

West County Industrial Market Sees Glimmer of Hope

The West County industrial market is seeing a glimmer of hope, in Real Estate Watch


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

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Conference Points to Upswing for Local Homebuilders

City Ventures Set to Do a Live-Work Loft Project; Promofill Doubles Space with Irvine Lease

Optimism is up among local homebuilders, in the Real Estate column by Mark Mueller

Apria, Others Take on Medicare Competitive Bidding

Eye Device, Drug Makers, Investors Meet; Cortex Sells Compounds, Patents for up to $25M

A home healthcare trade group is taking on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in the Healthcare column by Vita Reed

Boost Steps Up Marketing as Rivals Follow in Footsteps

Mazda Puts Exec in Charge of Agency Review; That Time of Year: Restaurants Push Fish

Boost Mobile is stepping up its marketing, in the Media and Marketing column by Michael Volpe

South Coast Plaza Gets Vehicle Chargers, Indy Drivers

Triangle Square’s New Owner Also a Tenant; Feb. Auto Sales See Return to Typical Patterns

South Coast Plaza is getting an electric vehicle charging station, in the Marketplace column by Sherri Cruz


Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Saturday, April 3


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

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Friday, April 2

Edwards Wins $74M in Heart Valve Patent Case

Edwards Lifesciences Corp., an Irvine medical device maker, said a federal jury found that rival Medtronic Inc.’s CoreValve infringed a patent for a less-invasive heart valves and awarded it $74 million in damages.

Kingston Invests $200M in Japan's Top Memory Chipmaker

Fountain Valley’s Kingston Technology Co., the top maker of memory products for computers and consumer electronics, on Friday said it made a $200 million investment in Japan's biggest memory chipmaker.

Quiksilver, Pacific Sunwear up on Jobs News

Shares of surf-inspired clothing maker Quiksilver Inc. and retailer Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. continued on a tear Friday on signs of national improvement in jobs.

Thursday, April 1

El Pollo Loco Sees Loss, Lower Sales

The Costa Mesa-based parent company of El Pollo Loco Inc. reported lower sales and a loss for 2009, which the Mexican fast food chain’s chief executive called “among the most challenging years in our 30-year history.”

Hyundai, Kia See March Sales Soar as Industry Rebounds

Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America and Irvine’s Kia Motors America Inc. again led local automakers with big gains in March sales as part of a larger industry rebound.

Allergan Makes Deal for Urinary Drug

Irvine drug maker Allergan Inc. said Thursday that it signed a deal to develop a drug to treat a urinary disorder.