Stories for May 2010

Sunday, May 30

Malls Filling in Holes Created in Downturn

RETAIL: Rebound comes sooner than expected; ‘worst behind us’

Malls are beginning to fill empty space with rebounding retailers

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Bausch & Lomb Doubles Office Space in Aliso

REAL ESTATE: Surgical eye co. signs 10-year lease at 30 Enterprise

Bausch & Lomb is doubling its space in Aliso Viejo with 10-year office lease

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Adios Petri Dish? High-Tech Test for Ocean Water

OC INSIDER Column by Rick Reiff

Co. Spending on Technology Set To See Modest Growth

Small, Midsize Businesses Expected To Be Slowest To Boost Buying of Gear, Services

Spending on technology is starting to slowly come back.

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Western Digital Planning $1.2B Malaysian Expansion

BlizzCon Tickets To Go On Sale This Week; Christie Digital Systems Outfits Cannes Theaters

Western Digital is planning a $1.2 billion expansion in Malaysia, in the Technology column

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Computer Product Makers Shed Jobs in Spending Slump

TECHNOLOGY: Western Digital bucks trend with 8% hiring bump

ABOUT THE LIST: Top computer product makers shed employees. Includes the 2010 OC's LARGEST COMPUTER PRODUCTS MAKERS List for download (pdf)

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Sliding Sales

Software Makers Saw a 4% Drop in Annual Revenue; Even Blizzard’s Online Games Affected

ABOUT THE LIST: Top software makers saw a drop in sales. Includes the 2010 OC's LARGEST SOFTWARE MAKERS List for download (pdf)

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Retail Landlords Need To Aggressively Market Space

Retail landlords need to act aggressively to fill space with quality tenants, in Real Estate Watch

Tease photo Eyes Japan Through $250M Sale

Buyout's Back is selling to a Japanese company for $250 million

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

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Suzuki Restarts Free Gas Promotion to Help Spur Sales

Casanova Pendrill Pushes Water Campaign; Local Appliance Maker Part of ‘Ellen’ Giveaway

Suzuki is pushing a free gas promotion to try to drum up sales for fuel-efficient vehicles, in the Media & Marketing column

After Two Years, Anaheim Warehouse Sells for $13M

Donahue Schriber Cofounder Retires; Huntington Construction Co. Drops Plans to Raise $20M

An Anaheim warehouse that’s been on the market since 2008 trades hands for $13 million, in the Real Estate column

Cal State Impact


Californians need to invest in higher education here to ensure a good work force, in a Viewpoint

Beckman to Run New Clinical Trial Early Next Year

Children’s Hospital of OC Looks to Raise $125M by 2013; FDA Clears Allergan Eye Drug

Beckman Coulter plans a clinical trial after making changes to a heart disease test, in the Healthcare column

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


A listing of events happening all around Orange County

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Surveys Show Improving Consumer, Retailer Confidence

5 Auto Dealers Make National List; June Auto Auction Planned for OC Fair & Event Center

Five local automobile dealer groups made a national ranking, in the Marketplace column

Niche Brings Sales Gains for Medical Device Maker

HEALTHCARE: Co. vies with J&J, Covidien

A look into niche medical device maker Applied Medical’s growth

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Early Subprime Detractor Takes Aim at Corinthian

A hedge fund manager who cashed in on an early bet against subprime mortgages has turned his attention to for-profit school operators

Lens Maker Raises $35M; Starting U.S. Trial, European Sales

HEALTHCARE: ReVision eyes 2014 U.S. approval, big market

ReVision Optics raised $35 million for a clinical trial and European sales push

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Father-Son Startup Pushes Line of Changeable, Zipper Shoes

APPAREL: Zipz see sales abroad, eyes gains here with retail rebound

A small Irvine company is peddling interchangeable zipper top shoes

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Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Split Caps Long Comeback for Sun Healthcare

HEALTHCARE: Company set to split operations, real estate by Q4

Sun Healthcare plans to split into two publicly traded companies

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This past week’s news from and other sources

Big Housing, Stores Project Set for Brea

REAL ESTATE: Early work to start later this year, some building in 2011

Brea’s City Council gave the green light for Chevron’s 212-acre housing and retail project

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Diedrich Saw Bidding War, Federal Scrutiny Before $290 Million Buyout Could Close

Buyout's Back

A look into the drawn-out regulatory issues surrounding the now closed buy of Diedrich Coffee

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Saturday, May 29

Federal Prosecutors Drop Appeal Bid in Options Cases of Samueli, Nicholas

The federal government has dropped its bid to appeal the December dismissals of illegal stock options backdating charges against the founders of Broadcom Corp.

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Friday, May 28

Drug Maker Teva Says It Will Stop Making Sedative

Israeli drug maker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. plans to stop making a sedative that came under scrutiny by regulators for production issues at its Irvine plant.

Fed to Auction $1B in Term Deposits June 14

The Federal Reserve on Friday announced three auctions of short-term deposits, stressing that it is merely testing its ability to withdraw the massive amount of credit it has pumped into the economy, but not tightening monetary policy.

Consumer Spending Flat in April

Consumer spending was unexpectedly flat in April after six straight months of gains, but growing consumer confidence in the economic outlook suggested consumption will remain strong this quarter.

Quality Systems Profit Misses Expectations; Shares Fall

Quality Systems Inc., an Irvine medical software maker, on Friday posted a profit in its most recent quarter that fell short of analysts’ expectations.

Shell Pays $4.7B for Shale Gas Company

Royal Dutch Shell said it would pay $4.7 billion cash to buy privately held East Resources Inc., giving it more exposure to promising shale gas reserves in North America.

Highflying Edwards Splits Shares

What traded for $100 on Thursday now goes for about $50 as shares of Irvine-based heart valve maker Edwards Lifesciences Corp. underwent a 2-for-1 split Friday.

Thursday, May 27

Schulman: 50% Chance of Landing Honda Center Basketball Team in Next Five Years

There’s a 50% chance Honda Center will add a professional basketball team in the next five years, according to the chairman of the company that runs the Anaheim arena.

Ingram Plans $100M Stock Buyback

Santa Ana’s Ingram Micro Inc. is the latest in a string of local technology companies to put their cash to use buying up their own shares.

Billabong Buying Surf Shop Operator Becker Surf & Sport

Irvine-based clothing maker Billabong USA is making a deeper move into retail by buying Torrance-based Becker Surf & Sport, which runs four Orange County stores.

Corinthian Slumps as Subprime Sage Takes Aim

A hedge fund manager who cashed in on an early bet against subprime mortgages has turned his attention to for-profit school operators including Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges Inc.

Microsoft CEO Unconcerned with Apple Market Cap

Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Steve Ballmer was unperturbed a day after rival Apple Inc. shot past his firm as the world's biggest tech company by market value and said his aim was to develop a good product line and earn more profits.

Wal-Mart's Asda to Buy UK Rival Netto for $1.1B

Retailer Wal-Mart is buying Netto UK from its Danish owner for 778 million pounds ($1.1 billion) and will convert the stores to its Asda brand, cementing its position as Britain's No. 2 grocer.

Economic Growth Lowered in First Quarter

The economy grew at a slower pace than previously estimated in the first quarter as business investment slackened, while hard-hit state and local governments reduced spending at the steepest rate since 1981.

Wednesday, May 26

Report: Kingston Grew Share to 40% in 2009

Fountain Valley’s Kingston Technology Co., the biggest maker of memory products for computers and consumer electronics, widened its market share lead last year.

New Home Sales at Two-Year High

New home sales surged to their highest level in nearly two years in April, while orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rose sharply, pointing to resilience in the economic recovery amid the debt turmoil in Europe.

BP Readies Another Attempt at Stopping Oil Spill

Under intense pressure from the Obama administration, the chief executive of BP PLC said he would decide later on Wednesday whether to approve a tricky procedure to try to choke off a gushing oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Geithner Calls for Action on Euro Debt Crisis

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Wednesday that financial markets want to see euro zone countries put into action their $1 trillion standby package designed to stabilize the European currency.

Big Fullerton Housing Project Denied by City Council

Development plans for West Coyote Hills, a 760-home and retail project proposed on an abandoned oil field in Fullerton, were struck down Tuesday night by Fullerton’s City Council.

Networking Chipmaker Raises $24M

Irvine-based chip startup Clariphy Communications Inc. said Wednesday it landed $24 million in a third round of venture funding.

Tuesday, May 25

Ingram Micro's Locklear, Other Businesswomen Honored

Ingram Micro Inc. finance executive Lisa Locklear and four other businesswomen were honored Tuesday at the Business Journal’s 16th annual Women in Business awards luncheon in Irvine.

FDA Warns J&J Irvine Unit over Manufacturing Issues

Advanced Sterilization Products, an Irvine-based unit of Johnson & Johnson, received a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration concerning manufacturing issues.

Obama Renews Push for $30B Small Business Plan

President Barack Obama is to renew a push on Tuesday to persuade Congress to approve a $30 billion plan to spur lending to small businesses and trigger job creation.

Microsoft to Shake up Phone, Xbox Unit

Microsoft Corp. is set to overhaul management of its division focused on mobile phones, videogames and other consumer devices, the Wall Street Journal said on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Jack in the Box Strong Candidate for Private Equity Takeout

As private equity firms continue their hunt for potential targets across the mid-tier restaurant landscape, rumors on who's next to be taken private tend to swirl around fast food chain operator Jack in the Box.

Corinthian Slumps on Downgrade, Enrollment, Regulatory Concerns

Shares of Santa Ana-based vocational school operator Corinthian Colleges Inc. closed down Tuesday after an analyst downgraded the stock.

Monday, May 24

Sun Healthcare Group Plans Spinoff

Sun Healthcare Group Inc., an Irvine-based operator of nursing homes and other health businesses, said Monday it plans to split in two, with its real estate operations and its operating subsidiaries becoming two publicly traded companies.

Local Online News Site Shuts Down

Costa Mesa-based Orange County Local News Network has ceased operations after four months.

Home Prices Slide $2,000 in April

The median price of an existing Orange County home declined by $2,000 in April from March, with demand still strong for lower-priced distressed properties both here and across the state, the California Association of Realtors said on Monday.

April Auto Sales Rise

Orange County auto dealers saw their third straight month of sales gains with results for April.

Supreme Court: NFL Sports Apparel Suit Can Proceed

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday, in a dispute over an exclusive licensing deal for sports merchandise, that a lawsuit against the National Football League under federal antitrust law can go forward.

IBM to Buy AT&T's Sterling Commerce for $1.4B

IBM plans to buy Sterling Commerce from AT&T Inc. for about $1.4 billion in cash, extending the technology behemoth's portfolio of business software.

Senate Committee to Examine United and Continental Deal

A Senate subcommittee is set to examine the proposed airline deal between United Airlines and Continental Airlines on Thursday that will study the implications for airline consumers.

Sunday, May 23

Ballot Rundown


A taxpayer advocacy group weighs in on initiatives on the June 8 primary ballot, in Viewpoint


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

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Lennar To Start Selling Central Park West Homes Again

Loan for WaMu’s Former Irvine Office for Sale; Buchanan, Partner Buy Hawthorne Complex

Lennar is restarting sales at its stalled Central Park West in Irvine, in the Real Estate column


Low-Rise Office Space Showing Signs of Improvement

Low-rise office vacancy rates are showing signs of improvement in the first quarter, in Real Estate Watch

Allergan Stands to Profit from Boomer Vanity Spending

Doctors’ Group Talbert Medical Bought; Healthcare Software Maker Enclarity Gets Funding

Allergan could benefit from an aging population spending on its looks, in the Healthcare column

Three Companies Vie for Mazda’s Advertising Account

T3 Motion Cruisers Make a Cameo in Iron Man 2; South Coast Magazine Hits Newsstands

Three companies are vying for Mazda’s advertising account, in the Media and Marketing column


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


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

Don’t Stop the Presses

Largest Printers Here Trim Costs, Consolidate, See 11% Drop in Annual Revenue

The downturn brought consolidation among the county’s printers, which are starting to see business pick up. Includes the 2010 OC's LARGEST PRINTERS for download (pdf)

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Irvine Software Startup Integrien Raises $8M in Funding

Toshiba Consolidating N.J. Operations into Irvine Unit; Vizio Launches Canada Web Site

Irvine-based software startup Integrien recently raised $8 million in venture funding, in the Technology column


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

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Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses


This past week’s news from and other sources

STEC Sees Return of EMC; Issue of Diversification Remains

TECHNOLOGY: Solid state drive maker aims to boost sales

Storage drive maker STEC has seen EMC start ordering again, but diversification still is the challenge

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Real Estate Program Draws Key Players, Downturn a Factor

EDUCATION: Execs teach, mentor at UCI; name sponsor?

UC Irvine’s Center for Real Estate is weathering the industry’s downturn

Security Software Maker Splits Off Marketing Unit

TECHNOLOGY: Uniloc looks to start fresh after big Microsoft win

Security software maker Uniloc has split off sales and other operations as a separate company

Sage Sheds Space, Relocates Office in Irvine

TECHNOLOGY: Software maker downsizing headquarters

Security software maker Uniloc has split off sales and other operations as a separate company

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May 24-28, 2010

A listing of events happening all around Orange County. May 24-28, 2010

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Valeant’s Cost Cutting, Small Buys Find Favor with Wall Street

Valeant’s chief has managed to do what his predecessors couldn’t—please Wall Street

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CoreLogic Looks To Buy After Spinoff

REAL ESTATE: First American expecting deal to close June 1

First American’s planned spinoff of its title insurance unit stands to be the biggest here in years

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Stem Cell Center Brings Incubator Hopes for UCI

EDUCATION: School’s produced few companies so far; licensing deals?

UC Irvine hopes to see research done at its new stem cell center turn into business

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Chip Charity

Broadcom Foundation has $50M, Plans to Give $2.5M-Plus a Year

Broadcom’s foundation is up and running with a $50 million endowment

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Cofounder Regains Split Clothing Brand, Plans Retail Push

APPAREL: Brand is second buy for newcomer Life Distribution

Split, a surf-inspired clothing line that was big a few years ago, is back in the hands of a cofounder

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Friday, May 21

First American Spinoff Gets Government OK

Santa Ana’s First American Corp. said on Friday that it received government approval for the spinoff of its core title insurance operations from the company’s growing information services division.

April Job Market Shows Signs of Continued Improvement

The county’s job market continued to improve in April, with employment growth from March, lessened losses from a year earlier and the unemployment rate back below 10%.

Toyota Gets Tesla Stake, Tesla Gets Toyota Factory

Toyota Motor Corp. said it would take a $50 million stake in electric carmaker Tesla Motors, a move that gives the Japanese automaker a chance to repair its dented public image and vaults the California start-up on to the world stage.

U.S. Sets Sights on Auto Fuel Efficiency for 2017

President Barack Obama will announce on Friday a government push to boost auto fuel efficiency standards for model-year 2017 vehicles and beyond, government and industry officials said.

Abbott to Pay $3.7B for Unit of India's Piramal

Abbott Laboratories Inc. will pay $3.72 billion to acquire the branded generics business of India's Piramal Healthcare, as global drugmakers look to boost their presence in emerging markets.

Pacific Sunwear Slumps on Disappointing Outlook, Then Rebounds with Recovering Wall Street

Shares of Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. slumped as much as 10%—a day after the Anaheim-based mall clothing retailer warned of a bigger than expected loss for the current quarter—before rebounding with a recovering Wall Street later on Friday.

Thursday, May 20

Volcom's Woolcott Reflects on Earliest Ventures: Wastebaskets, Golf Balls

It all started with selling wastebaskets, Volcom Inc. Chief Executive Richard Woolcott said Wednesday while being honored with the first Entrepreneur of the Year award by the Leatherby Entrepreneurship Center at Orange's Chapman University.

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Lawmakers to Urge BP to Idle Its Atlantis Rig

A group of lawmakers will recommend BP be ordered to idle its Atlantis oil and gas platform in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico until federal regulators can prove the region's second biggest rig is operating safely.

Toyota Again Faces Congressional Scrutiny

Congressional Democrats sharply questioned on Thursday efforts by Toyota Motor Corp. to investigate vehicle electronics to see whether they are linked to unintended acceleration of its vehicles.

Memorial Day Travel Seen up 5.4% by AAA

Travel over the Memorial Day weekend will jump 5.4 percent this year as an improved economy from a year ago prompts more Americans to take to the road, travel and auto group AAA projected on Thursday.

Del Taco Refinances Debt, Becomes Stand-Alone Company

Lake Forest-based Del Taco LLC said Thursday it has completed a refinancing of its major debt to help the company weather the restaurant industry downturn and aid in expansion plans. Being Bought for $250M

Aliso Viejo-based online retailer Inc. is being acquired for $250 million by Japan’s Rakuten Inc.

Wednesday, May 19

Quest Software Shares Spike on Bearish Wall Street

Orange County’s big up stock on a down Wednesday on Wall Street? Aliso Viejo-based Quest Software Inc.

Loan Demand to Buy Homes Sinks to 13-Year Low

Demand for loans to buy homes shriveled to a 13-year low last week, following the expiration of federal tax credits, while near-record low mortgage rates stoked refinancing, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday.

Jury Decides $250M Damages Against Novartis

Drugmaker Novartis AG must pay $250 million in punitive damages to more than 5,000 current and former women employees, a jury ruled on Wednesday, two days after finding a U.S. division of the company discriminated against women over pay, promotion and pregnancy.

Honeywell to Buy France's Sperian for $1.1B

Diversified manufacturer Honeywell International Inc. said on Wednesday it has reached a deal to buy French personal protection equipment maker Sperian Protection for $1.1 billion.

Tesla Opens Newport Beach Dealership

San Carlos-based electric automaker Tesla Motors Inc. opened a dealership and service center Wednesday at a former Rolls-Royce building on Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach.

Garden Grove Condos, Shops Project Goes to Receiver

Garden Grove Galleria, a condominium and stores development in Garden Grove’s Korean enclave of Little Seoul, has been put into receivership.

Tuesday, May 18

Eye Device Company ReVision Optics Raises $35 Million

Lake Forest-based ReVision Optics Inc., a maker of replacement eye lenses, said Tuesday in a regulatory filing that it received $35 million in venture funding.

Home Prices Fall $2,000 in April

Orange County's median home price edged down $2,000 in April from March, but still stands $50,000 higher than the prices seen here a year ago.

Solar Panel Maker Amonix Plans Plant in Las Vegas Area

Seal Beach-based solar panel maker Amonix Inc. plans to build a $20 million factory in the Las Vegas area.

Western Digital to Expand Malaysian Operations

Lake Forest disk drive maker Western Digital Corp. is set to invest $1.2 billion in the next five years to expand its manufacturing operations in Malaysia, according to reports.

Pfizer to Cut 6,000 Jobs

Drugmaker Pfizer Inc. will cut 6,000 jobs, or 18 percent of the workforce, at its 78 manufacturing plants over the next five years as it pares back operations following last year's purchase of rival Wyeth.

Housing Starts Hit 1-1/2-Year High

Housing starts touched a 1-1/2-year high in April, but a drop in building permits to a six-month low suggested the housing market recovery may struggle to gain momentum without more government aid.

Home Depot Boosts Outlook After Strong Spring

Home Depot Inc. boosted its forecast for the year after a strong spring selling season, but investors questioned the strength of sales trends for the home improvement industry during the rest of 2010.

Monday, May 17

Solarflare Raises $20M

Irvine’s Solarflare Communications Inc., one of the area’s best-funded chip startups, raised $20 million in additional venture funding.

Irvine's Vision Solutions Acquiring Counterpart in $242M Deal

Irvine-based data management software company Vision Solutions Inc. is buying a Massachusetts maker of disaster recovery software in a deal valued at $242 million.

Quarterly Sales Down at El Pollo Loco

The parent of Costa Mesa-based Mexican fast food chain El Pollo Loco Inc. continues to see slumping sales.

Report: Apollo in Talks for Hefty Bag Maker Pactiv

Private equity firm Apollo Management LP is in discussions to buy Pactiv Corp., the maker of Hefty food storage and garbage bags, a source familiar with the situation said on Monday.

Hospital Operator To Buy Psychiatric Solutions for $2B

Hospital operator Universal Health Services Inc. said it will buy mental health facilities operator Psychiatric Solutions Inc. for about $2 billion in cash, ending a bidding war with private-equity firm Bain Capital LLC.

Washington Mutual Amends Bankruptcy Plan

Washington Mutual Inc. proposed an amended plan of reorganization on Monday that would return $7 billion to creditors, but it was unclear if the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. would support the plan.

Netlist Shares up on Texas Instruments Settlement

Irvine’s Netlist Inc., a maker of specialized memory products for computers, said Monday it settled a lawsuit filed against Texas Instruments Inc.

Sunday, May 16

Dwight Decker Gives Up Seat at Chipmaker Conexant

Sales at Sage Continue Downward Slide; Irvine Software Maker Bought for $40 Million

Dwight Decker gave up his board seat at Conexant, in the Technology column

Promise of New Valve Driving Edwards

HEALTHCARE: Mussallem sees ‘big growth potential’; early lead paying off

A look at the lure of Edwards’ less invasive heart valves

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How They Roll

Lawn Bowlers Play for Sport, Fun, Camaraderie

SPORTS: Who knew that OC was hub for lawn bowling, and what the heck is lawn bowling?

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Big Fullerton Housing Project Up for City Council Approval

Fullerton’s getting ready to vote on a long-disputed plan to build 700 homes and condos on undeveloped land

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Upstart Clothing Brand Tavik Turns Corner with Duke Line

APPAREL: John Wayne, other licensing deals help pull through slump; company still in survival mode

APPAREL: Tavik Industries is a smaller OC clothing maker that’s found a friend in a household name here—John Wayne

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Will Carona Beat Rap? Chick-fil-A Screens Like CIA

OC INSIDER Column by Rick Reiff

Oracle Consolidating in Former Taco Bell Tower

REAL ESTATE: 47,000-sf lease; streamlining space after Sun buy

Oracle is consolidating extra office space from its Sun Microsystem acquisition

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Big Tech Companies Sitting on More Than $5B in Cash

TECHNOLOGY: Some deals seen, more dividends, buybacks

A handful of local technology companies is sitting on mountains of cash

SenoRx Buy Sets Benchmark for Device Maker Acquisitions

HEALTHCARE: Bard expected to reverse losses at SenoRx

SenoRx was public for only about two and a half years, and now it’s being sold to C.R. Bard

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BofA, Merrill Integration Progresses; $25B Under Management

FINANCE: Company expects to wrap up integration by August

Bank of America is looking to largely wrap up its local integration of Merrill Lynch by August

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This past week’s news from and other sources


Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Law Firm Rutan Starts Practice Focused on Clothing Companies

LAW: Group counts 11 lawyers; clients include Volcom, startups

Rutan & Tucker is opening an apparel practice

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Fundraisers and charitable donations from companies and people

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Chronic Taco Opens Eateries, More Due

San Clemente-based Chronic Taco Enterprises is set to open several restaurants this year.

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Small Plates Dominate at Laguna’s Sapphire, Sorrento

Restaurants Opening in Newport, Huntington Beach; Cha Cha’s Reinvents Latin Food in Brea

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

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Tesla Finalizes Plan for Dealership on PCH

Dealer Group Picking Ad Shop; Rock Relic Store Once Sold Elvis Hair

San Carlos-based Tesla Motors Inc. has signed a lease to move into the former Rolls-Royce building on Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach, in the Marketplace Column

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May 17-24, 2010

A listing of events happening all around Orange County. May 17-24, 2010

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Pacific Life Hires Ad Agency, Pulls Out of College Bowl

Auto Buff Magazine Shares Content with Web Site; Publicist Moves to Irvine, Adds Clients

Pacific Life has hired San Francisco-based Engine Company 1 as its creative agency of record, in the Media and Marketing column

Ensign Group Buys 3 Facilities, Looks for Opportunities

Valeant, Partner Get Canadian Approval for Cancer Drug; Masimo Starts Nonprofit Foundation

Ensign Group is making good on its promise to buy more facilities, in the Healthcare column

CB Richard Ellis Brings Back Sherry Bower as Director

Sharp Electronics Selling Huntington Site; Daum Buys Newport Brokerage Collins Commercial

The end of first quarter brought a sense of optimism in the high-rise office market, in Real Estate Watch


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

REAL ESTATE WATCH: High-rise Office Market

Company Moves in High-Rise Office Space Encouraging to Landlords

The end of first quarter brought a sense of optimism in the high-rise office market.

Lending Leap

Small-Business Loans Jumped in Q1 on Government Provisions, Local Bank Involvement

Small-business loans jumped in the first quarter

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Small-Business Owners Find Different Ways to Grow in Recovering Economy

The Business Journal took a look at four such small-business owners and their efforts to build bigger customer bases as the county moves out of recession and into recovery.

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Angel Investors Want Accomplishments, Frugality in Startups

These days, angel investors are looking for companies that know how to stretch a dollar.

Lenders More Than Doubled Local Small-Business Loans


The amount of loans made by the largest 20 Small Business Administration lenders in the county jumped to $155 million for the six months through March, according to this week’s Business Journal list. Includes the 2010 OC's SBA LENDERS for download (pdf)

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

Nonprofit Leases Up New Office Building

REAL ESTATE: Lease is among biggest of late; came at discount

Santa Ana’s newest office building is full after landing a state-funded nonprofit to take up all of its space

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Friday, May 14

Gold Seller Spectrum Sees Loss, Despite Revenue Surge

Irvine-based Spectrum Group International Inc., a gold trading and auction company that moved to Orange County from Connecticut last year, reported a big quarterly sales gain but shifted to a loss with the rising price of gold.

InSight Health Spends $8.5M for Medical Imaging Centers

InSight Health Services Holdings Corp., a Lake Forest-based medical scanning company, said Friday that it’s buying eight imaging centers for $8.5 million.

Report: Adaptec Closing Foothill Ranch Site

Milpitas-based Adaptec Inc., a devolving maker of data storage networking gear, has closed its Foothill Ranch operation, according to a report on a technology news site.

Euro Drops to 18-Month Low on Growth Worries

The euro declined to a 18-month low against the dollar on Friday on growing worries that deep government spending cuts in the euro zone would stifle a fragile recovery.

Boeing Allies Aim to Boost EADS' Tanker Bid Price

Twin bills that could help Boeing Co. best Europe's EADS for a potential $50 billion Air Force contract were introduced in the House of Representatives and Senate on Thursday by Boeing supporters.

Card Issuer Shares Decline as New Regulation Looms

Shares of four major credit card issuers fell amid a broad industry selloff on Friday after a Senate vote to limit credit and debit card fees.

Thursday, May 13

Medical Device Maker Sequent Raises $15.6 Million

Sequent Medical Inc., an Aliso Viejo medical device maker, said Thursday it raised $15.6 million in a second round of venture financing.

Pimco's El-Erian Sees Inflation in Medium Term

Although price pressures are currently muted, the U.S. will get an uptick of inflation over the medium term, the world's biggest bond fund management company said on Thursday.

Cash Hoard Piles Ever Higher at Top Tech Cos.

Though companies like Apple Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have vastly different business models and skill sets, they have all become particularly adept at one activity: printing money.

New British Leaders Say Coalition Will Rebuild Economy

New British Prime Minister David Cameron said the country's first coalition government since 1945 would be strong enough to survive a full five-year term and tackle the worst economic crisis in decades.

Judge Hears From Lawyers Hoping to Lead Toyota Litigation

A federal judge in Santa Ana on Thursday heard from lawyers hoping to lead litigation against Toyota Motor Corp. in what could be the largest class action case ever handled in the county.

Wednesday, May 12

Software Maker Smith Micro Rises on Upgrade

Shares of Smith Micro Software Inc., a maker of software for cell phones and other mobile devices, rose Wednesday after an analyst upgraded the stock.

Senate Votes to Bar Mortgage Kickbacks, Liar Loans

The Senate on Wednesday voted to end mortgage kickbacks and so-called "liar loans," two lending practices that played a role in the meltdown of the subprime mortgage market.

Wal-Mart in $86M Settlement of Wage Lawsuit

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. agreed to pay as much as $86 million to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing it of failing to pay vacation, overtime and other wages to thousands of former workers in California.

Morgan Stanley Probed by Federal Authorities

Federal investigators are probing whether Morgan Stanley misled investors about mortgage derivative products it helped create and sometimes bet against, The Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Buyout Firm Wins Fremont General Out Of Bankruptcy

Distressed buyout firm Signature Group Holdings LLP has been chosen to revive fallen subprime mortgage lender Fremont General Corp.

Tuesday, May 11

Former Sunstone President Launches Hotel Fund

Newport Beach-based Clearview Hotel Trust Inc. plans to raise up to $375 million for a fund to purchase more than a dozen hotels.

SEC, Exchanges Agree to Boost Market Safeguards

Market watchdogs and six major exchanges agreed new safeguards were needed to curb trading in plunging markets, an effort to address last Thursday's mysterious market free fall.

Oil Executives Face Congress on Gulf Spill

Protesters and angry lawmakers greeted top executives of companies involved with the Gulf of Mexico's massive oil spill at a congressional hearing in which the company leaders were poised to blame each other for the unfolding environmental disaster.

FDIC Floats Bank Wills, Securitization Rules

The largest banks would be required to submit plans to regulators for their dismantling in times of severe distress, and securitizations with higher standards would get federal protection, under two rules proposed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Tuesday.

Grubb & Ellis Narrows Quarterly Loss

Santa Ana-based Grubb & Ellis Co. on Tuesday reported a narrowed first-quarter loss.

Irvine Software Startup Integrien Nabs $8M

Irvine-based software startup Integrien Corp. said on Tuesday it raised another $8 million in venture funding.

Green Mountain Clears Regulatory Hurdle, Wraps Up Diedrich Buy

Vermont-based Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. has wrapped up its buy of Irvine-based coffee seller Diedrich Coffee Inc. after clearing regulatory hurdles.

Monday, May 10

Spectrum Posts $39M Quarterly Loss

Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc. said on Monday that it swung to a net loss in the first quarter.

Sunstone Reports Q1 Loss, Predicts Hospitality Rebound

San Clemente-based hotel owner Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. saw a first quarter loss but is starting to see life returning to the hospitality industry.

Obama Nominates Kagan for Supreme Court

President Barack Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court on Monday, choosing a moderate who may not spur a damaging political fight in a congressional election year.

Investment Adviser M&A Seen Rising This Year

Sales of independent wealth advisory firms are likely to rebound this year after slumping in 2009 as an aging population of principals nears retirement and markets recover from their crisis lows.

Fannie Mae Seeks $8.4B From Government After Loss

Fannie Mae, the largest U.S. residential mortgage funds provider, on Monday asked the government for an additional $8.4 billion after the company lost $13.1 billion in the first quarter.

Climbing Back Up

Brokers Starting to Make More, Larger Industrial Deals; Q1 Still Saw Negative Absorption

The local industrial market is climbing its way out of the recession

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Office Market Slows Downward Slide in Q1


The Orange County office market continues to ride the tide of these uncertain times with optimism that a recovery is near.

Property Managers Saw Rebound in Work Last Year

REAL ESTATE: Distressed sales, outsourcing switched up rankings

ABOUT THE LIST - Property Managers. Includes the 2010 OC's COMMERCIAL PROPERTY MANAGERS LIST for download (pdf)

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Industrial Market Shows Signs of Recovery in Q1


Signs of a stronger recovery for Orange County’s industrial market began to emerge in the first quarter following modest improvements during the fourth quarter.

Sunday, May 9

Distinctive Designs

Handbag Designers Revamp, Harveys Cope with Economy by Expanding Designs, Sellers

Handbag designer Harveys Industries is making some changes; Local purse maker Revamp Productions is venturing into clothes

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Five Guys Burgers & Fries, 11411 S. Street, Cerritos

Just across the county line in Cerritos is the staging ground for a march into In-N-Out land by Five Guys Burgers & Fries.

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Californian Exodus


VIEWPOINT: One local executive believes that the greenhouse gas reduction law will lead to a California exodus.

Riviera Magazine Parent Looking for Potential Buyers

Hispanic Ad Shops See Demand for Social Media; Jim Jannard Buys House for Red Digital

The parent company of Costa Mesa’s Riviera magazine is on the market, in the Media and Marketing column


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

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SunCal Stalls Project During Legal Fight with Lender

Bixby Hires CFO, Looks to Grow Holdings; Tommy Bahama Signs 20 Year Lease in Laguna

Legal wrangling, rather than construction work, appears likely to be the biggest near-term source of activity at SunCal Cos.’ largest proposed project, in the Real Estate column

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

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Seal Beach Plant To Produce Recently Approved Drug

Teva Warned Over Sedation Drug Made in Irvine; Edwards Prevails in Germany Patent Case

Seal Beach is set to play a key role in making a highly touted biotechnology drug come 2011, in the Healthcare column

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Western Digital Acquires Glass Maker Hoya for $235M Hires AOL Exec With Local Search Know-How; MegaPath Hires Sales Veteran

Western Digital acquired some assets of Japanese glass maker Hoya for $235 million, in the Technology column


May 10-16, 2010

A listing of events happening all around Orange County

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


Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Lawyers Vie For Lead Roles in Toyota Suits

LAW: Robinson, Aitken in mix for suits being combined in Santa Ana

Two local lawyers are vying for lead roles in suing Toyota in what could be the largest class action case ever handled in the county

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Affordable Housing Jamboree

Nonprofit Housing Developer Has To Get Approvals, Funding, Just Like For-Profit Guys

Complexes such as Granite Court in Irvine are the hallmark of Jamboree Housing, one of the largest nonprofit housing developers in California

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This past week’s news from and other sources

Golden State, Vizio Prop Up Private Companies

ECONOMY: Group sees flat 2009 sales of $51B, thanks to big gainers

ABOUT THE LIST: The county’s largest private companies were buoyed by a few big revenue gainers in 2009. Includes the 2010 OC's LARGEST PRIVATE COs LIST for download (pdf)

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Applied Signal Expands Anaheim Hills Operation

DEFENSE: Company has about 25 people, looking to double

Defense contractor Applied Signal has relocated its local operations within Anaheim

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Centra Looks to Sell Medical Office Site

REAL ESTATE: Project next to hospitals; market off from boom

Irvine developer Centra Realty is trying to sell a 41-acre site planned for medical offices

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No Last Laugh From Fortunate Heir Tim Hoiles

OC INSIDER by Rick Reiff

Feds Seek More Time in Broadcom Appeals

Federal prosecutors have filed for more time as they consider appealing the dismissal of stock options backdating cases against Broadcom Corp. cofounders Henry Nicholas and Henry Samueli, according to a court filing.

Lawsuit Filed Over Freedom Bankruptcy

Former directors and the current chief executive of Orange County Register parent Freedom Communications Inc. are being sued for issues related to the Irvine-based company’s recent bankruptcy.

Rising Tide

Marina Space Freed in Recession Starts To Fill Up

Another sign of the county’s fledgling economic recovery: Boating is coming back

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Emulex Leader: Co. Set To ‘Ride Wave’

TECHNOLOGY: Recent outlook disappoints; Wall Street cautious

Emulex “feels vindicated” that it’s standing on its own after a Broadcom takeover attempt

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Brea Church Lender Looking to Raise $100M

FINANCE: Ministry Partners sees more troubled loans as churches struggle

A company that specializes in mortgage loans to churches is trying to raise $100 million

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Botox, Medical Cosmetics Boost Allergan’s Profits

HEALTHCARE: Sales driven by drug maker’s marketing efforts

Allergan saw a smoother first quarter for Botox and other medical cosmetic sales

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Friday, May 7

Report: Smile Brands Halts IPO

Santa Ana-based dental services provider Smile Brands Group Inc. is dropping plans for an initial public stock offering, according to a Reuters report citing an undisclosed underwriter.

Circuit Board Makers Rise on Outlooks

Shares of two local printed circuit board manufacturers continued their bullish run on Friday, a day after the companies gave rosy outlooks for the current quarter.

Nokia Broadens Legal Battle with Apple, Includes iPad

Nokia Corp., the world's top handset maker, broadened its patent battle against Apple Inc. on Friday to include the iPad, deepening the legal battle between the two smartphone rivals.

Goldman Sachs in Settlement Talks with SEC

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s lawyers are in talks with representatives of the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle the fraud charges brought against it by the regulator, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the situation.

Employers Ramp Up Hiring in April, Jobless Rate Up

Employment grew at the fastest pace in four years in April as private sector businesses ramped up hiring, showing the labor market recovery gaining steam.

Clean Energy Slumps on Wider Than Expected Loss, Revenue Miss

Shares of Seal Beach-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp., which runs natural gas fueling stations for fleets of taxis, buses and other vehicles, were down sharply Friday, a day after the company disappointed investors with quarterly results.

Thursday, May 6

Toshiba Combines Local Laptop Unit with TV Division

Japan’s Toshiba Corp. said on Thursday it’s set to combine two consumer electronics divisions, which includes a big business unit in Irvine, beginning in July.

STEC Jumps on Better Outlook; Bucks Tough Day on Wall Street

Shares of Santa Ana’s STEC Inc., a maker of flash memory drives for corporate and industrial uses, jumped on Thursday after the company gave a better than expected outlook for the current quarter.

Suit Filed Against Executive, Former Directors of Orange County Register Parent

As expected, former directors and the current chief executive of Orange County Register parent Freedom Communications Inc. are being sued for issues related to the Irvine-based company’s recent bankruptcy.

Dealmakers More Positive of M&A Growth

Merger and acquisition activity will likely pick up in the next six months, led by the healthcare and life sciences and manufacturing and distribution sectors, a survey of dealmakers showed on Wednesday.

Jobless Claims Dip, Productivity Growth Slows

Productivity grew solidly in the first quarter, although not as fast as in previous periods, and data also showed the number of workers filing claims for jobless aid fell slightly last week.

Greek PM Presses Austerity Plan, Vows to Fight Graft

Greece's prime minister urged the nation on Thursday to accept draconian budget cuts that have spurred tens of thousands into the streets in protest and promised to heed their call for a crackdown on corruption.

Early Easter Brings Down April for Wet Seal

An earlier Easter made for a strong March and weak April for Foothill Ranch-based mall retailer Wet Seal Inc.

Wednesday, May 5

Quest Software Slumps on Q1 Results

Shares of Aliso Viejo’s Quest Software Inc., a maker of business software, slumped on Wednesday after the company reported first-quarter results that missed Wall Street’s expectations.

Sales Slip at No. 2 Software Maker Sage

Irvine’s Sage Software Inc., a maker of business software, saw sales slip for the six months through March, capping two years of declines.

Home Loan Demand Up in Tax Credit's Last Days

Demand for loans to buy homes raced to a seven-month high last week in the last hurrah for federal homebuyer tax credits that ended April 30, Mortgage Bankers Association data showed on Wednesday.

GM Recalls Over 126,000 Hummer H3s

General Motors Co. is recalling about 126,130 Hummer H3 models to address the risk that part of the hood could detach from the vehicle while driving.

FDA Finds Grime at Johnson & Johnson Plant, Urges Use of Generics

Inspectors found thick dust and contaminated ingredients at the Johnson & Johnson plant that produces Children's Tylenol and dozens of other products that were recalled last week.

Device Maker SenoRx Being Acquired for $213M

SenoRx Inc., an Irvine-based developer of breast cancer devices, is being acquired for $213 million by New Jersey’s C.R. Bard Inc.

Tuesday, May 4

Dwight Decker Steps Down from Conexant's Board

Dwight Decker, a local tech executive whose name was once synonymous with Newport Beach’s Conexant Systems Inc., is giving up his board seat at the chipmaker.

Masimo Beats Wall Street Estimates

Masimo Corp., an Irvine maker of patient monitoring devices and supplies, on Tuesday posted first-quarter results that beat analysts' projections.

Pfizer, Merck Results Beat Estimates, Shares Rise

Drugmakers Pfizer Inc. and Merck & Co. posted better-than-expected first-quarter results on Tuesday and stood by their long-term forecasts, sending their shares up 2 percent.

Pending Home Sales at Five-Month High, Orders Jump

Pending sales of previously owned homes hit a five-month high in March as buyers rushed to sign contracts before a tax credit expired, while a jump in factory orders pointed to manufacturing strength.

Voting Begins in Senate on Wall Street Reform

The Senate will cast its first votes on Tuesday on a sweeping Wall Street reform bill, with passage of a handful of uncontroversial amendments expected and a key procedural question still unsettled.

Corinthian Warns About Current Quarter

Santa Ana-based vocational school operator Corinthian Colleges Inc. topped Wall Street expectations with results for the recently ended quarter but offered a profit outlook for the current one that fell short of expectations.

Monday, May 3

Government Seeks More Time as It Weighs Appeals of Samueli, Nicholas

Federal prosecutors have filed for more time as they consider appealing the dismissal of stock options backdating cases against Broadcom Corp. cofounders Henry Nicholas and Henry Samueli, according to a court filing.

Valeant Beats Estimates, Boosts Outlook, Acquiring Company

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International on Monday posted first-quarter financial results that exceeded Wall Street estimates and upped its full-year profit outlook.

GM April Sales Rise 6%

General Motors Co. posted a 6.4 percent gain in U.S. April sales on Monday, helped by strong demand for newly launched vehicles such as the Chevy Equinox crossover and the Buick LaCrosse sedan.

Feisty Buffett Supports Goldman, High on Economy

Warren Buffett on Sunday intensified his feisty defense of a controversial mortgage transaction marketed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., saying the investment bank's behavior does not warrant public fury.

UAL, Continental to Form Largest Airline

United Airlines parent UAL Corp. will buy Continental Airlines Inc. for $3.17 billion to form the world's largest carrier, moving to better withstand the hazards that have battered airlines in recent years.

Chipmaker Microsemi Boosts Sales Outlook

Shares of Irvine-based Microsemi Corp., a maker of chips for military, aerospace and industrial uses, rose Monday after the company lifted its sales outlook for the current quarter.

Green Mountain Extends Diedrich Buyout Offer; Set To Close Soon?

Vermont-based Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. again has extended its offer to buy Irvine-based coffee seller Diedrich Coffee Inc. with some indication the long delayed deal soon could move forward.

Sunday, May 2

Stalled Hotel Expansion Prompts Some Recovery in Room Rates

TOURISM: Disney hotels still renovating; few things in pipeline

ABOUT THE LIST: The expansion of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa was the only real growth this past year in an otherwise dead hotel construction market. Includes the 2010 OC's LARGEST HOTELS LIST for download (pdf)

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Managing Editor Julie Leupold’s trip to Stagecoach Music Festival

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Real Estate’s Turning Point


A real estate executive thinks that the tide is turning, in Viewpoint

REAL ESTATE WATCH: Orange County Construction

Construction’s Near Standstill

Construction is pretty much nonexistent in OC right now, in Real Estate Watch

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

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Tustin’s Concessions Not Enough for Legacy Developers

NAIOP’s Night at the Fights Fundraiser’s Coming Up; Irvine Land Broker Brings on Adviser

City documents shine more light on the failed talks between the city of Tustin and Tustin Legacy Community Partners to salvage redevelopment plans for the city’s former Marine helicopter base, in the Real Estate column

Freedom Communications Nixes Pay Wall for Web Sites

Costa Mesa’s Rauxa Growing in N.Y. on Verizon Business; Doner Unveils Web Site, Logo

Freedom Communications doesn’t see a future in requiring readers to pay for news on its Web sites, in the Media and Marketing column

Auto Sales Rise in First Quarter, Forecasted up in 2010

Anaheim High School Wins National Car Competition; Foothill Ranch Chevy Moves to Irvine

OC’s new automobile sales rose in the first quarter, in the Marketplace column

Former Integrated President Center of Hospital Drama

Chapman Medical Opens Spine and Neurology Center; UCI Hosts Healthcare Reform Talk

A former president of Integrated Healthcare has beaten back an attempt to oust him from his current job, in the Healthcare column

Microsemi Cleared of Patent Infringement Charges

Western Digital Makes Software Application for Apple Products; YouMail Buys Customer List

Microsemi was cleared last month by a federal trade watchdog of infringing on patents owned by 02Micro International, in the Technology column


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


May 3-8, 2010

A listing of events happening all around Orange County

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National Travel Promotion Act Stands to Help Local Tourism

The Travel Promotion Act could help the local tourism industry


This past week’s news from and other sources

Regrouping UBS Expands Locally, Plans to Add to Ranks of Advisers

FINANCE: $14B managed here; tax scandal, mortgage issues linger

The investment advisory arm of embattled UBS AG has gained business in OC and is looking for a bigger piece of the local market

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Teridian’s Corner on Growing Market Fostered High Price

TECHNOLOGY: Irvine chipmaker for energy meters bought for $315M

There was something surprising about Maxim Integrated’s purchase of Irvine’s Teridian—the price

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Mindspeed Keeping Newport Beach HQ

REAL ESTATE: Landlord wooed chipmaker with discounted rent

Newport Beach chipmaker Mindspeed Technologies is staying put after all

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New Office Rents On Par With County Average

REAL ESTATE: Owner changes, aggressive landlords drop rates

Office space in Irvine’s newest buildings can be had for about half as much as real estate watchers had expected

Seattle Biotech Tester Moving to Irvine

HEALTHCARE: CombiMatrix consolidates operations to cut costs

A biotechnology company based in suburban Seattle is moving its corporate headquarters to OC to cut costs

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Chancellor Does 80 In Hydro Car; Wise Men Write

OC INSIDER Column by Rick Reiff

Beckman Revises Forecast, Analysts, Investors Unfazed

HEALTHCARE: Heart test recall, euro crimp profits; seen as temporary setback

Beckman Coulter recently reported first-quarter results that beat Wall Street’s expectations but lowered its 2010 profit outlook

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Early Venture Funding Still Hard to Come By

FINANCE: Venture capital firms nurse prior investments; thawing under way?

Where have all the venture capitalists gone?

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Subtle Summer

Tourism Rebound Takes Hold; No Boom, But Better Than ’09

Hotels, theme parks and other tourism businesses are looking for the start of a rebound this summer

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Moves Due in Broadcom Appeals

LAW: Government hopes to reinstate cases; observers skeptical

Federal prosecutors are moving ahead with an appeal of the dismissals of stock options cases against the cofounders of Broadcom

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Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses