Stories for December 2010

Thursday, December 30

Auto Financier Consumer Portfolio Strikes $120M in Financing Deals

Irvine-based Auto financier Consumer Portfolio Services Inc. said Thursday it has struck deals for $120 million in financing that it plans to use to fund auto loans and sell them as bonds to Wall Street.

Jobless Claims, Factory Data Buoy Recovery Hopes

New claims for jobless aid hit their lowest level in more than two years last week and factory activity in the Midwest grew in December at its fast pace since 1988, evidence the recovery was gaining steam.

Hancock Tower, Iconic Boston Skyscraper, Sold for $930 Million

Boston's 62-story John Hancock Tower, the tallest building in New England, has changed hands for the second time in two years.

Minnesota Sues 3M Over Pollution Claims

The state of Minnesota sued 3M Co., saying that the company contaminated the state's waters for decades with chemicals used in some of its best known products, including Scotchgard stain repellent.

Wednesday, December 29

Retail Sales Down 4.1% Last Week

Retail sales fell 4.1% in the week ending on Christmas Day, according to research firm ShopperTrak, largely because Dec. 26 fell on a Sunday this year and was not included in Christmas week sales.

Home Foreclosures Jump in Third Quarter

Home foreclosures jumped in the third quarter and banks' efforts to keep borrowers in their homes dropped as the housing market continues to struggle, bank regulators said.

Microsoft Cofounder Relaunches Tech Patent Suit

Microsoft Corp. cofounder Paul Allen relaunched a wide-ranging patent lawsuit against Apple Inc., Google Inc., Facebook and others with specific allegations that the companies are illegally using technology owned by his company.

Monday, December 27

Report: Three Stalled SunCal Developments Could Be Sold

A trio of properties run by Irvine-based master developer SunCal Cos. could soon be put up for sale at a fraction of their former value, following a recent decision in Santa Ana’s federal bankruptcy court, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Sunday, December 26

Insurance Brokerage Raising $160M, Acquisitions in Works

FINANCE: Alliant makes buys of brokerages here, East Coast

Alliant Insurance Services in Newport Beach is raising $160 million to fund two deals aimed at boosting business in California and on the East Coast

Beckman Sale Talk Sparks Speculation

HEALTHCARE: Private equity, J&J, GE cited as possible buyers

Rumors that Brea’s Beckman Coulter is looking to sell itself have many Wall Street analysts buzzing about potential buyers

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REAL ESTATE WATCH: West Orange County

West County Reflects Subtle Economic Rebound

Positive economic forecasts by two local universities bode well for the county’s real estate market, in Real Estate Watch

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Daphne’s Boss Eyes Revival From San Clemente Base

RESTAURANTS: Greek chain plans makeover, eyes dinner gap

Daphne’s Greek Cafe owner Bill Trefethen is looking at ways to revamp the company’s restaurants and boost business

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Del Taco Uses Giveaways To Spur Gift Card Sales; Freedom Names Head of Albany Stations

This past week’s news from and other sources

Hyundai, Kia Mount Holiday Season Marketing Push

Del Taco Uses Giveaways To Spur Gift Card Sales; Freedom Names Head of Albany Stations

Hyundai Motor America in Fountain Valley is making a big marketing push to promote year-end specials and introduce new models, in the Media and Marketing column

Key Congressman Set to Probe Medical Device Costs

Tenet Bucks Investor Cheer on Takeover Bid; Dentists Reach for Help on Business Services

A Republican congressman who will head an investigating committee in the House aims to cut medical costs for government-sponsored programs, in the Healthcare column

KBS Keeps Skyline Strategy Going at Denver Tower

Mystery Fund Leaves Anchors Out of Akron Deal; Irvine Builder Taps Teachers’ Pension

Newport Beach’s KBS Realty is capping a busy year with the purchase of a Denver skyscraper, in the Real Estate column

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

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Seagate Rebuff Could Mean Rising Tide for Western Dig

Spierkel’s Pair of Influential Listings; Tech Sector Ranks 14th; Lawyer Blogs Latest Patents

Western Digital’s recent failed attempt to buy its biggest rival may bode well for the Lake Forest chipmaker, in the Technology column

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

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Taco Bell Parent Sees Expansion for Chain

DINING: More eateries planned; helping to drive profits at Yum

The parent company of Irvine’s Taco Bell is planning to open more restaurants next year as the Mexican-inspired chain continues to see growth

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Shopoff Back With Deal for Newport Beach Land

REAL ESTATE: Offer in on Conexant’s 25 acres, 2 buildings

Bill Shopoff is involved in the purchase of a 25-acre parcel of land in Newport Beach that is already approved for home development

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Irvine Co. Spree, Plans Point to Rebound

REAL ESTATE: $1B in recent deals, talk of office development

Irvine Co.’s recent buying spree and plans for the future signal that it sees a stronger economic rebound than many others expect

Life After ICN: Milan Does China, Russia, Sacramento

OC INSIDER Column by Rick Reiff

Surf Shops Cautiously Await Rebound

RETAIL: Break-even battle this year, seeking sustained growth in 2011

Shops that sell surf, skateboarding and snowboarding clothes and gear are hoping for better sales next year

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Vizio’s Growth Play: Upgrade, Grab Share

MARKETING: New features, add-ons; sights on bigger players

Irvine’s Vizio is looking to grab more market share from its competitors in the maturing market for flat TVs

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Sea Life

Dana Point Charter Business Spans 40 Years

Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching is expanding the services it offers in an effort to stay profitable in a tough economy

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Favorable SBA Loans Spur Lending; Provisions Set To Expire

FINANCE: Loans used to buy buildings, expand operations

The government’s soon-to-expire fee waiver for SBA loans is spurring some local companies to get a good deal on financing while they can

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Thursday, December 23

Jobless Claims Dip, Consumer Spending Rises

New claims for jobless benefits dipped last week and consumer spending increased in November for a fifth straight month, reinforcing views of a solid economic growth pace in the fourth quarter.

New Homes Sales, Prices Rise in November

New single-family home sales rose in November but to a lower-than-expected rate, a government report showed on Thursday, highlighting the weakness in the housing market even as the broader economic recovery gains momentum.

Wall Street Flat in Light Preholiday Trade

Stocks were little changed on Thursday despite a preholiday flurry of data that reinforced views of a solid economic growth as Wall Street sought to notch a fourth straight week of gains.

Accent Care Buys Tennessee Home Health Provider

AccentCare Inc., an Irvine home healthcare company, said Thursday that it was buying a Tennessee-based home health provider for an undisclosed price.

CoreLogic Selling Units for $265M

Santa Ana-based CoreLogic Inc., a provider of data to real estate and mortgage companies that emerged from a June split of title insurer First American Corp., is selling two units for $265 million and plans to put the proceeds toward acquisitions.

Wednesday, December 22

Broadcom Wins Early Round in Patent Suit Against Emulex

Irvine-based chipmaker Broadcom Corp. said Wednesday it won an early round in a patent dispute with onetime acquisition target Emulex Corp. of Costa Mesa.

Home Prices Top $500,000 Mark, Sales Lag

The median price of an existing Orange County home inched back above the $500,000 mark in November, although the pace of sales here remained weak.

JPMorgan Tops Fee Pool, Equity Business Takes Hit

JPMorgan took a hit in its equity capital markets business in 2010 even though its dominance in debt markets allowed it to cling on to the global top spot for investment banking fees.

Activision Seeks $400M Damages from EA

Activision Blizzard Inc. is seeking $400 million damages from Electronic Arts Inc. in a lawsuit related to its "Call of Duty" video game franchise, court filings showed.

Third-Quarter GDP Raised, Home Sales Bounce Back

Sales of previously owned homes rose in November, offering the latest sign the economy was ending the year on a more solid footing after a sluggish third-quarter performance.

Nursing Homes Could Get Medicare Payment Boost

Orange County’s three publicly traded nursing home chains and rivals are likely to see gains from changes in Medicare payments in 2011, according to an industry analyst.

Report: Sunstone CEO Left in Clash Over Pace of Deals

The former chief executive of San Clemente-based Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. left in a clash with the company’s board over the pace of acquisitions, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Tuesday, December 21

San Clemente's Pick Up Stix Sold

An investor has bought San Clemente-based Pick Up Stix and plans to move the restaurant chain’s headquarters to Minnesota.

El Pollo Loco Narrows Search for Ad Agency

Costa Mesa-based El Pollo Loco Inc. said it expects to select a new advertising agency in February after narrowing its search down to three candidates.

Ernst & Young Sued by NY for Fraud Over Lehman

Accounting firm Ernst & Young was sued by New York state prosecutors on Tuesday, accused of helping to hide financial risks at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. before the Wall Street firm's 2008 collapse.

TD Bank to Buy Chrysler Financial for $6.3B

Toronto-Dominion Bank will buy Chrysler Financial from private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management for $6.3 billion, joining the throng of Canadian institutions expanding foreign operations.

Healthcare Sector Ripe for More Deals in 2011

The healthcare industry is poised for a robust year of dealmaking in 2011 as a wider variety of players from scientific tool makers to hospital companies looks for new growth.

Insurance Brokerage Alliant Makes Acquisition

Newport Beach-based insurance brokerage Alliant Insurance Services Inc. has acquired a San Francisco-based employee benefits firm.

ICU Medical Wins Patent Infringement Suit

San Clemente-based medical device maker ICU Medical Inc. said Tuesday that it won a patent infringement case earlier this month against a Tennessee company.

Monday, December 20

Irvine Co. Buys Chicago Skyscraper

Irvine Co. said on Monday it closed on its acquisition of Chicago’s 48-story Hyatt Center office building.

AT&T To Buy Qualcomm's Spectrum Licenses for $1.93 Billion

No. 2 U.S. mobile service AT&T Inc. said it agreed to buy mobile television spectrum licenses from Qualcomm Inc. for $1.93 billion, to provide advanced 4G mobile broadband.

JPMorgan Buys London HQ, Undecided On Skyscraper

U.S. bank J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. has bought two major office properties in London, including the former Lehman Brothers building, holding off on plans to build a skyscraper as its main European headquarters.

Genzyme To Argue Campath Value in Sanofi Fight

Genzyme Corp., which is fighting off a hostile $18.5 billion bid from Sanofi-Aventis SA, is taking another stab at persuading investors that its experimental multiple sclerosis drug is worth more than Sanofi's projections.

Beckman Coulter Reportedly Drawing Bids

Beckman Coulter Inc., the Brea-based medical testing and research products maker, is drawing interest from several bidders, according to a Bloomberg report.

CEO of Hotel Owner Sunstone Steps Down

The chief executive of San Clemente-based Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. has stepped down after two years of turning hotels over to lenders and acquiring others.

Friday, December 17

County Adds Jobs in November; More Job Seekers Inch Up Unemployment Rate

Seasonal hiring in the retail sector largely accounted for the 1,600 jobs the county added in November from October, but that growth wasn’t enough to push the unemployment rate down as more job seekers entered the market.

Report: Drive Maker Western Digital To Stay on Top in Q4

Lake Forest disk drive maker Western Digital Corp. can expect a happy holiday due to an end-of-the-year boost in shipments, according to recent data from El Segundo-based market researcher iSuppli Corp.

Chicago Private Equity Firm Buys Brea Health Benefit Manager

New Century Health, a Brea-based healthcare benefits manager, has been bought by Chicago private equity firm Water Street Healthcare Partners for an undisclosed amount.

Congress Passes Obama Tax Deal

Congress gave final approval to the deal President Barack Obama and Republicans made to extend expiring tax cuts -- a high-stakes gamble to create jobs at a cost of deepening the U.S. debt.

Irish Debt Downgraded as EU Eschews Crisis

Ratings agency Moody's gave an emphatic thumbs-down to Europe's efforts to resolve a debt crisis, slashing Ireland's credit rating as EU leaders took no new action to prevent market turmoil from spreading.

Estate of Madoff Insider Settles $7.2 Billion Claim

The estate of Jeffry Picower settled a $7.2 billion lawsuit filed by the Madoff firm trustee, significantly increasing the amount available to repay investors swindled in the epic fraud, U.S. officials said.

Thursday, December 16

Quiksilver Tops Estimates With Quarterly Results

Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc. reported quarterly sales and profits that topped expectations and said it expects further gains in the current quarter.

November Auto Sales Rise

November sales at Orange County auto dealers were up nearly 18% from a year earlier to 9,288 autos, according to the Newport Beach-based Orange County Automobile Dealers Association.

Sage Software CEO Swenson to Step Down

The chief executive of Irvine-based Sage Software Inc., one of the highest ranking female technology executives in the area, is set to leave the company next year.

Jobless Claims Fall, Regional Manufacturing Up

New U.S. claims for jobless aid fell last week and factory activity in the country's Mid-Atlantic region grew at its quickest pace in more than 5-1/2 years this month, indicating the economic recovery is gaining traction.

Mortgage Rates for U.S. Loans Jump to Seven-Month High, Freddie Mac Says

Mortgage rates for 30-year U.S. loans jumped to a seven-month high, increasing borrowing costs for homebuyers as the real estate industry struggles to recover.

Gold Slips 1.3% as Euro Retreats

Gold fell 1.3% to close in on $1,360 an ounce as a recovery in the dollar pushed the metal through key support levels, though losses were limited by persistent concern over the euro zone debt crisis.

Wednesday, December 15

Chipmaker Conexant Secures $20M Credit Line

Newport Beach chipmaker Conexant Systems Inc. said Wednesday it renewed a $20 million line.

Icahn Strikes Deal to Buy Dynegy for $665M

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn struck a deal to buy power producer Dynegy Inc. for $665 million in cash, just three weeks after he helped block a bid by private equity firm Blackstone Group to buy the company.

Obama Urges Congress to Pass Tax-Cut Package

President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged lawmakers to pass as quickly as possible a package to extend Bush-era tax cuts that he said would spur economic growth and hiring.

Novartis Wins Alcon with Cash Sweetener

Novartis AG wrapped up its long-awaited buyout of the remainder of eyecare group Alcon Inc. for $12.9 billion, after sweetening its original offer with cash.

Billabong USA Parent Lowers Profit Outlook

Delayed orders at Irvine-based clothing maker Billabong USA helped drive a downward profit revision by Australian parent company Billabong International Ltd.

Report: Irvine Co. Buying Chicago High-Rise

Irvine Company is extending its buying spree to Chicago with a deal to acquire the Windy City’s 49-story Hyatt Center office building for about $625 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Tuesday, December 14

Irvine Co. Buys Newport Center Office, Announces Reinvestment Plans

Newport Beach’s Irvine Co. is making a big reinvestment push in the area around its Newport Center headquarters, after buying a three-building office complex and announcing more renovation plans for its Fashion Island shopping center.

Broadcom Narrows Sales Outlook at High-End of Prior Range

Irvine-based chipmaker Broadcom Corp. forecast sales for the current quarter to come in at the high-end of an earlier projection.

Retail Sales Boost Growth Prospects

Retail sales were stronger than expected in November as consumers shopped despite high unemployment and producer prices rose, evidence the economic recovery gathered steam in the fourth quarter.

Best Buy's Dismal Sales Raise Holiday Concerns

Best Buy Co. surprised investors with a drop in quarterly sales at existing stores and lower-than-expected earnings as demand for televisions plunged, sending shares down more than 14%.

Conexant Selling Newport Beach Property for $23.5M

Newport Beach-based chipmaker Conexant Systems Inc. said on Tuesday it has reached a $23.5 million deal to sell buildings and land next to its headquarters.

Yahoo to Lay Off More Than 600 Staffers

Yahoo Inc. plans to lay off more than 600 employees, two sources familiar with the situation said.

Monday, December 13

Epicor Makes Small Buy, Forms HR Software Unit

Irvine-based Epicor Software Corp., a maker of business software for manufacturers, retailers and distributors, said Monday it agreed to buy Denver’s Spectrum Human Resource Systems Corp. for $16 million.

Edwards Says It Expects U.S. Sapien Launch in Late 2011

Irvine-based Edwards Lifesciences Corp. said Monday that it expects to launch its highly touted Sapien replacement heart valve domestically in next year’s fourth quarter.

GE To Buy UK Oil Pipemaker Wellstream For $1.3 Billion

General Electric Co. reached a deal to buy Wellstream Holdings PLC by raising its bid for the British oil drilling pipemaker by 6% to $1.3 billion.

BofA Looks To Sell Toxic Mortgages Worth $1 Billion

Bank of America Corp. has put up for sale at least $1 billion worth of toxic mortgage assets, the New York Post said, citing sources.

Dell To Buy Compellent For $960 Million

Dell Inc. plans to buy data storage company Compellent Technologies Inc. for about $960 million, to expand beyond PCs and catch up with rivals Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM Corp. in technologies like cloud computing.

Blizzard's "Catclysm" Shatters Sales Records

Irvine’s Blizzard Entertainment Inc., the world’s biggest maker of video games for computers, said its latest game release sold more than 3 million copies in the first day, making it the fastest-selling PC game of all time.

Provider of Medical Scanning Files for Bankruptcy

Lake Forest-based InSight Health Services Holdings Corp., which runs medical imaging centers and provides diagnostic services to hospitals and doctors’ offices, has filed for bankruptcy reorganization for the second time since 2007.

Sunday, December 12

Analyst: Good Time to Buy Western Digital

Shares of Lake Forest disk drive maker Western Digital Corp. rose Tuesday after an analyst started coverage of the stock with an upbeat view.

Exports Projected To Grow 6%, But at Slower Rate From 2010


The Business Journal previews what’s ahead in 2011 for trade.

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Tustin Hopes Roadway Will Spur Base Project

REAL ESTATE: Still no developer; Olson in talks about nearby hotels

The city of Tustin is hoping an expansion of a key roadway will spark interest in an 820-acre development at its former Marine base

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Focus on Surgery Infections Boosts ASP

HEALTHCARE: J&J unit sees new demand; hospital spending resumes

Irvine’s Advanced Sterilization Products is seeing growing sales as hospitals focus on preventing healthcare-related infections

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Swimwear Companies Expanding Operations

APPAREL: Tyr, Manhattan add 95,000 square feet of space

Swimsuit makers Manhattan Beachwear and Tyr Sport have expanded their operations by nearly 100,000 square feet in two separate deals

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FDA Fees Get Mixed Review from Drug, Device Makers

Orange Coast Memorial Adds Eye Center; Quality Systems Adds Former TriZetto Executive

A recent survey that polled 50 drug makers indicates mixed feelings about the effectiveness of FDA user fees, in the Healthcare column

UCI on Hiring Spree; Tiger Talks Up His Foundation

OC INSIDER Column by Rick Reiff

Bankrupt Homebuilder Seeks Fast $15M Financing

REAL ESTATE: Lenders of California Coastal on board

Irvine homebuilder California Coastal Communities needs $15 million in financing to stay afloat

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China Now Major Market for Local Exports

TRADE: Country set to surpass Japan as No. 3 export market

A recent report from Cal State Fullerton shows the county’s exports to China have more than quadrupled in the past decade


This past week’s news from and other sources.

No 1990s, But Spending Uptick May Make Tech a Bright Spot


The Business Journal previews what’s ahead in 2011 for technology industry. Includes Person and Company to watch

Incremental Gains, Mixed Signals Seen on Way to Recovery


The Business Journal previews what’s ahead in 2011 for the real estate industry. Includes Person and Company to watch.

Big Product Year on Tap, Job Gains Forecast for Medical Sector


The Business Journal previews what’s ahead in 2011 for the healthcare industry. Includes Person and Company to watch.

Blizzard Wishes Electronic Arts Best With Challenger

Price Right Again on Linc Sale to ABM; Broadcom’s Residual Honors From Beceem Deal

A Northern California rival of Blizzard Entertainment is coming out with its own multiplayer game, in the Technology column

Strategic Storage Takes Tactics to Canada for 2 Buys

RiverRock Catches Quail; Standard Pacific Affordable in Austin; Melia Homes Fills In Here

Ladera Ranch-based Strategic Storage Trust has bought its first building in Canada, with plans to turn it into a self-storage facility, in the Real Estate column

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REAL ESTATE WATCH: North & Central Orange County

Summer Slowdown Ends With Positive Turn

North OC’s industrial market is seeing a slow rebound with a couple of big deals and better-than-expected vacancy rates, in Real Estate Watch

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Retail To See Gains, But Still Light Years Away From Boom


The Business Journal previews what’s ahead in 2011 for the retail industry. Includes Company to watch.

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Rebound Set To Lift Hotel Occupancy, Average Room Rates


The Business Journal previews what’s ahead in 2011 for the tourism industry. Includes Company to watch.

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Asian Demand, Lower Dollar Will Help Manufacturers


The Business Journal previews what’s ahead in 2011 for the manufacturing industry. Includes Person and Company to watch.

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New Year: Consolidation, New Regulations, Ongoing Rebound


The Business Journal previews what’s ahead in 2011 for the finance industry. Includes Person and Company to watch.


The outlook for the county’s economy in 2011 is the best it’s been in years, but a return to the boom it won’t be.

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Boost Mobile Hopes To Firm Up Payments With Ads

Bausch Hires Florence Henderson as Spokeswoman; Pharris Shoots General Motors Video

Irvine-based Boost Mobile’s latest advertising campaign is pushing a discount program to prompt its prepaid cell phone customers to renew their plans each month, in the Media and Marketing column

Retail Expansion Still Soft, But Some Looking for Space

Park Place Lexus Sold, Renamed; Malls, Dealers, Eateries Spur Mission Viejo Sales Tax Gain

Retailers in the county still are cautious about expanding and are becoming pickier when it comes to space, in the Marketplace column

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Company’s Software Market Share Focus of Rival’s Litigation

TECHNOLOGY: Vision rules niche; rival claims unfair edge

Software maker Vision Solutions in Irvine is tangled up in a false advertising and anti-trust lawsuit with a rival company from New Zealand

Friday, December 10

Irvine Co. Buys Pacific Arts Plaza

Irvine Company has closed on its purchase of Costa Mesa’s Pacific Arts Plaza, the Newport Beach-based landlord said Friday.

$1.9B Pulled from Pimco's Largest Fund in November

Some $1.9 billion was pulled from Newport Beach-based Pacific Investment Management Co.’s largest bond fund last month, the most in two years and a possible indication investors are willing to take on more risk in stocks.

Discount Websites Combining

Two Orange County website operators that offer discount deals from businesses are combining.

Consumer Sentiment And Trade Point To Firmer Recovery

U.S. economic data painted a picture of a firming recovery as consumer confidence rose to its highest level in six months and the country's trade deficit narrowed much more than expected.

Citing Liver Damage, Pfizer Withdraws Thelin

Pfizer Inc. said it is pulling its blood pressure drug Thelin off the market and stopping all clinical trials because the drug can cause fatal liver damage.

China Raises Bank Reserves Third Time in a Month

China's central bank raised the amount of money the country's lenders must keep on reserve for the third time in a month, following a spate of robust data that strengthened the case for policy tightening.

Report: Beckman Coulter Exploring Sale

Brea-based medical diagnostic and research products company Beckman Coulter Inc. is considering a sale of the company, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Thursday, December 9

European Regulators Approve New Use for Medtronic's Irvine-Developed Heart Valve

Medtronic Inc., a Minnesota device maker with an estimated 675 workers in Irvine and Santa Ana, said Thursday that European regulators approved a new usage for its replacement heart valve for treating patients with severe aortic stenosis, or narrowing arteries.

Jobless Claims Fall, Bolster Recovery Hopes

New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week and the four-week moving average slipped to a fresh two-year low, reviving hopes a labor market recovery was under way.

Mortgage Rates Hit 4.6%.; Refi's Could Slow

Rates on fixed mortgages rose for the fourth straight week this week. The surge could slow refinancings and further hamper the housing market.

Dell Near $876 Million Deal For Compellent

Dell says it is near a deal to buy data storage provider Compellent Technologies for about $876 million.

Report: France's PPR Interested in Quiksilver

The Paris-based parent of Gucci, Puma and other brands is interested in buying Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc., according to a report in French newspaper La Tribune.

Wednesday, December 8

United Way CEO Maria Chavez Wilcox Resigns

Orange County United Way’s Chief Executive Maria Chavez Wilcox, one of the most high-profile nonprofit leaders here, has resigned to join her husband’s consulting business and to pursue other opportunities.

AIG, Treasury Plan Large Stock Sale

American International Group Inc. and the Treasury Department are planning a large stock offering for the first half of 2011 which could see the government cut its stake in the bailed-out insurer by as much as 20 percentage points, sources familiar with the matter said.

Reid Says Tax Bill Nears Completion

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday said the Obama-Republican proposal to extend all Bush-era tax cuts could move quickly in the Senate, in a sign Democrats may be conceding on the deal.

Despite Volatility, 2010 Set to Be Record IPO Year

The amount raised globally from initial public offerings in 2010 is on track to beat any other year on record, according to Ernst & Young, despite waves of market volatility which disrupted many planned listings.

Natural Gas Station Operator Clean Energy Makes Acquisition

Seal Beach’s Clean Energy Fuels Corp., which runs natural gas fueling stations for fleets of taxis, buses and other vehicles, is acquiring a builder of fueling stations for $11 million.

Tuesday, December 7

Standard Pacific Offering $650M in Bonds

Irvine-based homebuilder Standard Pacific Corp. said Tuesday it plans to sell $650 million worth of debt to pay off existing bonds and loans.

Tax Deal Won't Worsen Long-Term Deficit: White House

The White House defended the proposed tax deal championed by President Barack Obama, saying an extension of all Bush-era tax cuts over two years would not worsen the medium- and long-term deficit.

Job Openings in U.S. Rise, Pointing to Bigger Payroll Increases

Job openings in the U.S. rose in October for the first time in three months, a sign gains in payrolls will accelerate in early 2011.

Citi Share Sale Stokes New Trading Dynamic

Citigroup Inc. shares rose after the Treasury said it is selling its remaining 2.4 billion-share stake in the firm, ushering in an expected wave of institutional buying.

Monday, December 6

Chapman Forecast: Moderate Job Growth in 2011

The county is projected to add jobs at a small clip, see median home prices rise marginally and consumer spending improve slightly next year, according to a forecast Monday from Chapman University.

Quiksilver Details $266M Bond Offering

Huntington Beach-based clothing maker Quiksilver Inc. has outlined terms for a $266 million bond offering in Europe, taking another step in the reworking of its finances.

Wal-Mart Class-Action Appeal Goes to Top Court

The U.S. Supreme Court said it would decide if the largest sex-discrimination class-action lawsuit in U.S. history against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. can proceed, a case involving women workers who seek billions of dollars in damages.

AOL Mulls Breakup, Then Merger With Yahoo

AOL Inc. is actively exploring a breakup of the company in a complicated series of transactions that may lead to a merger with Yahoo Inc., sources close to the plans told Reuters.

Pfizer CEO Switch May Mean New Strategy, Shares Up

Investors welcomed the sudden departure of Pfizer Inc. Chief Executive Jeffrey Kindler by pushing up the stock in the hopes that a new leader will more act more aggressively to revive the giant pharmaceutical company.

Sunday, December 5

Netlist Turnaround: Problems, Progress

TECHNOLOGY: Wins for new products; lawsuits unresolved

Netlist in Irvine is optimistic about several recent contract wins, even as it continues to deal with unresolved lawsuits,


Fundraisers and charitable donations from companies and people

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Gladstone Gives Free Advice in Book From PR News

MyPrint Tracking Software Spurs Growth; Nicoletti’s New Post at Disney; District’s Debt

Crisis public relations veteran Joan Gladstone authored a chapter in a book published by PR News, in the Media and Marketing column by Kari Hamanaka

Nick Gets Jim’s Yacht Impounded; Tait Aims at Regs

OC INSIDER Column by Rick Reiff


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

REAL ESTATE WATCH: south orange county

South OC Leads Office Winning Streak

Lease rates in South OC continue to drop with positive absorption pointing to a slowly improving market, in Real Estate Watch

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Westcore Gets Into Office Market on South OC Buy

Former Grubb & Ellis Fund Goes East; Voit Takes on Bella Terra; Tri Pointe’s New Hires

A San Diego real estate investor has snapped up a set of office buildings in San Juan Capistrano built by Mission Viejo’s Mammoth Equities, in the Real Estate column

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Apria’s November Worth the Wait for Medicaid Wins

‘Happy Ending’ Seen on Endologix Buy; Mild Progress for Vertos; Grubb & Ellis in Carolina

Lake Forest-based Apria Healthcare recently won several Medicaid contracts, in the Healthcare column

Conexant Puts Chittipeddi in Charge, Next in Line

Broadcom Keeps Buying; E-Reader Price Cuts Won’t Hit Chips; Microsoft Vet for Predixion

Newport Beach’s Conexant has promoted Sailesh Chittipeddi to president and chief operating officer, putting him next in line for the top post, in the Technology column


The Business Journal Assesses Its 2010 Picks to Watch

The Business Journal takes a look at our year-ago picks of local companies and people to watch, including Costa Mesa’s Emulex, Broadcom’s Henry Nicholas and Sunwest Bank in Tustin.

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No Shortage of Local Restaurants Good for Gift Cards

Newport’s Revitalizing Sage; Just Alessá in Laguna; True Food at Fashion Island; Yoshi’s Zen

Chef Alessandro Pirozzi has opened his third OC restaurant, Alessá in Laguna Beach, in the Executive Dining column

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

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This past week’s news from and other sources

Developer Forged Aliso Viejo Corporate Hub; Generous Backer of Children’s, Other Causes

OC real estate icon John Parker, known for his South County development and charitable work, passed away last month

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Biggest Malls Rebound, Combine for Slight Sales Gain

RETAIL: Increases at five offset nine decliners; leasing up

ABOUT THE LIST: The county’s largest shopping malls saw a slight increase in sales overall as the retail slump of the past two years started to lift. Includes the 2010 OC's LARGEST SHOPPING CENTERS List for download (pdf)

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French Drug Maker Puts $259M on Inspiration

HEALTHCARE: 20%, options for more; hemophilia is focus

A French drug maker has invested nearly $260 million in Laguna Niguel’s Inspiration Biopharmaceuticals

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Broadcom Leading in Market Value Derby

WALL STREET: Chipmaker passes Allergan with fall surge

Allergan lost its top spot as the county’s most valuable public company to Irvine chipmaker Broadcom

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Cashing In On ‘Cataclysm’

TECHNOLOGY: Blizzard adds to flagship franchise

Irvine’s Blizzard Entertainment is gearing up to release the latest addition to its flagship game “World of Warcraft,”

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Dental Products Maker Sybron Moving to Anaheim Next Year

HEALTHCARE: New building near Disneyland has learning center; some operations staying in Orange

Dental products maker Sybron Dental Specialties is moving a large chunk of its operations from Orange to Anaheim next year

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Deal in Works To Buy Irvine Office Campus

REAL ESTATE: Quintana once was hub for Washington Mutual

A Palo Alto-based investor has agreed to buy Irvine office campus Quintana, the onetime home of local operations of Washington Mutual

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In the Swim of Things

New Brands, Sales Abroad Keep Raj Growing

Tustin-based swimsuit maker Raj Manufacturing has continued to grow in a down economy by focusing on global markets

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Friday, December 3

Report: Western Digital Made a Play for Rival Seagate

Lake Forest-based disk drive maker Western Digital Corp. made an attempt to buy its top rival, Seagate Technology LLC, in October, according to Bloomberg.

Payrolls Barely Rise, Jobless Rate Jumps

U.S. employment barely grew in November and the jobless rate unexpectedly hit a seven-month high, hardening views the Federal Reserve would stick to its $600 billion plan to shore up the fragile recovery.

Deficit-Cut Plan Falls Short, Offers Framework

A bold plan to slash the U.S. budget deficit fell short of winning support needed from a presidential commission to trigger congressional action, but it was expected to help shape future budget debates.

Traders See No Fed Rate Hike Until 2012

U.S. short-term interest rate futures traders boosted bets the Federal Reserve will wait until mid-2012 before raising rates, after a government report showed the U.S. jobless rate unexpectedly rose in November.

Pimco's McCulley Leaving for Think Tank

Paul McCulley, one of Pacific Investment Management Co.’s more high-profile investment managers, is leaving the bond fund manager.

Thursday, December 2

Trade Report: OC Projected to See $17B in Exports This Year

Orange County exports are projected to hit $17.4 billion this year, up 17% from 2009, according to data released Thursday by the Institute for Economic and Environmental Studies at California State University, Fullerton.

Automakers See November Gains

Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America Inc. led the area’s auto companies with the most vehicles sold in November.

Irvine's Linc Group Bought for $300M

Irvine’s Linc Group LLC, which runs a mix of building maintenance service companies and once was part of Enron Corp., was acquired by New York-based ABM Industries Inc. for $300 million.

October Pending Home Sales Show Surprise Climb

Pending sales of existing U.S. homes unexpectedly surged in October, data from a real estate trade group showed, despite concerns that problems in the foreclosure process might curtail activity.

Jump in Holiday Retail Sales Pushes Stocks Higher

Stocks are extending a rally on signs that the retail and housing markets are improving.

Jobless Claims Rise, But Trend Shows Improvement

More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, but the broader trend in layoffs points to a slowly healing job market. The average over the past month fell to a two-year low.

Retailer Wet Seal Sees Big Nov. Sales Gain

A strong Black Friday helped Foothill Ranch-based mall clothing retailer Wet Seal Inc. report a better-than-expected gain in November sales.

Wednesday, December 1

KOCE Moving to Costa Mesa

Huntington Beach-based KOCE-TV is moving to Costa Mesa as it prepares to become the regional Public Broadcasting Service station for Southern California.

FDA Says Allergan’s Lap-Band Effective for More Patients

The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that Lap-Band, a weight loss device from Irvine-based Allergan Inc., is effective for treating more obese people than it’s now approved for.

Pimco Borrowed $7.1B from Fed in Financial Crisis, $4.3B Outstanding

Newport Beach’s Pacific Investment Management Co. owes the Federal Reserve more than half of $7.1 billion it borrowed since early 2009 under a government program aimed at reviving consumer lending during the financial crisis, according to data released Wednesday on the central bank's website.

Irvine's Specific Media Picks Up Netherlands Co.

Irvine’s Specific Media Inc., which runs an online advertising network, has made its second buy in as many months.

GM Posts 11% U.S. Sales Increase

General Motors Co.'s U.S. sales rose 11% overall in November, in line with gains projected for the industry amid a slow but steady return in consumer demand from the depressed levels a year earlier.

Private Employers Add Jobs, Manufacturing Grows

U.S. private sector payrolls rose by the biggest amount in three years in November, lifting optimism about the job market ahead of Friday's key employment report, while manufacturing data showed growth was intact.

Portugal Under The Gun as Borrowing Costs Rise

Debt-ridden Portugal suffered another blow when its borrowing costs rose sharply in a government Treasury bill auction, but officials insisted the country could survive without an international bailout.