Stories for September 2010

Thursday, September 30

Resources Connection Tops Wall Street Expectations with Quarterly Results

Irvine-based professional services company Resources Connection Inc. on Thursday reported quarterly results that topped what Wall Street was expecting.

Governor Vetoes Bill Banning Debit Card Purchase Fees

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill that would have banned merchants from charging fees on debit card purchases.

AIG, U.S. Agree On Plan To Pay Back Taxpayers

American International Group Inc. and the government laid out a plan for the insurer to repay its $182.3 billion taxpayer bailout, just over two years after it was rescued from the brink of collapse.

Ireland Faces "Horrendous" Bank Bill, Spain Downgraded

Ireland disclosed a "horrendous" worst case price tag of over $68 billion for bailing out its distressed banks and said it would have to make more drastic budget savings.

Mattel's Fisher-Price To Recall 10 million Products

Fisher-Price, a unit of toymaker Mattel Inc., said it will recall about 10 million toys and other items in the U.S. and Canada due to the potential for serious injuries.

Biolase Names Chairman, Largest Shareholder as CEO

Irvine-based dental laser maker Biolase Technology Inc. on Thursday named the company’s chairman and largest shareholder as its permanent chief executive, making him the company’s fourth leader in the past three years.

Wednesday, September 29

Edwards CEO, Officials To Mark Opening of Utah Plant

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. Chief Executive Michael Mussallem is set to join Sen. Orrin Hatch and other officials in Utah Monday for a ceremony marking the opening of the medical device maker’s facility south of Salt Lake City.

Western Digital Up on Options Action

Shares of Lake Forest’s Western Digital Corp., the biggest maker of drives for computers and consumer electronics, defied a down day on Wall Street Wednesday with a flurry of bullish options trading activity.

AIG's Miller Says U.S. May Profit on Bailout

American International Group Inc. is close to finalizing a plan for the government to sell its stake in the insurer and is hoping it will yield a profit for taxpayers who bailed out the company, Chairman Steve Miller said.

Barry Diller Steps Down as Live Nation Chairman

IAC/InterActive Corp. Chief Executive Barry Diller has stepped down as chairman of Live Nation Entertainment after a brief and controversial reign as chair of the struggling concert promoter and ticketing company.

House Set to Pass Bill Aimed at Chinese Yuan

The House of Representatives was set to pass a bill to put pressure on China to let its currency rise faster, fanning the flames of a long-running dispute over trade and jobs.

Circuit Board Maker DDi Strikes Credit Line

Anaheim-based DDi Corp. has struck a $25 million credit line with an option to grow it to $40 million, the circuit board maker said Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 28

WSJ: Lehman Seeking To Hold SunCal CEO to $230M in Guarantees

The chief executive of Irvine-based master developer is battling former financier Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in bankruptcy court over guarantees that made him personally responsible for as much as $230 million related to stalled real estate projects, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Done Deal: Valeant Acquired

Canada’s Biovail Corp. on Tuesday closed its $3.2 billion buy of Aliso Viejo drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, amid objections from California lawmakers and Biovail’s founder.

US Confidence Lowest Since Feb; Home Prices Slip

U.S. consumer confidence fell to its lowest level since February in September, underscoring lingering worries about the strength of the economic recovery, while home prices dipped in July.

Walgreen Profit Beats Expectations

Drugstore operator Walgreen Co. said strong prescription drug sales and improved pricing boosted its earnings above Wall Street's expectations, sending shares up more than 9%.

Apple Slides On Rumor About No. 2 Executive

Shares of Apple Inc. dropped more than 2% in early trading, as rumors swirled that the company's No. 2 executive was departing.

Monday, September 27

Driver Convicted in Death of Angels Pitcher

A man was convicted on three counts of second-degree murder on Monday over the killing of Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher Nick Adenhart while drunk driving in Fullerton in 2009.

Valeant, Biovail Shareholders OK Deal as Objections Raised

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International of Aliso Viejo and Canada’s Biovail Corp. said Monday their shareholders approved Biovail's $3.2 billion buy of Valeant.

Dental Laser Maker Biolase Shares Soar on Restructuring, Order

Irvine-based dental laser maker Biolase Technology Inc.’s shares shot up Monday after it said it would be profitable after a restructuring and landing a big order.

Convicted Bank Robber Arrested in Donald Bren Check Heist

A convicted bank robber has been arrested on suspicion of being behind a bank and identity fraud case involving Donald Bren that made national headlines last month.

Judge Refuses to Dismiss AIG Class-Action Lawsuit

A federal judge refused to dismiss a class-action lawsuit accusing American International Group Inc. of misleading investors about its exposure to subprime mortgages, which led to a liquidity crisis and $182.3 billion of federal bailouts.

Southwest Expands Presence With AirTran Buy

Southwest Airlines will purchase AirTran Holdings for $1.04 billion in cash and stock in a deal that will allow Southwest to expand its presence in major East Coast markets.

Wal-Mart Bids $4.26B For South Africa’s Massmart

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s No. 1 retailer, made a proposal to buy Massmart Holdings Ltd. for $4.26 billion in its biggest deal in more than 10 years, as it seeks entry into the rapidly growing African market.

Sunday, September 26

REVIEW - SCR's "Misalliance"

“Misalliance” South Coast Repertory, through Oct. 10

A review of “Misalliance” playing at South Coast Repertory

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

Bank Thief Arrested in Bren Check Heist

COURTS: Suspect tied to 2003 robberies; “Give Me More Bandit”

A suspect was arrested in the bank and identity fraud case involving Donald Bren

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Loyalty, Longevity

Momentum Group Keeps Employees by Making Them Part of Decisions

Profile of Momentum Group on the Business Journal’s second annual Best Places to Work list

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McCarthy: Employee Owners, Company Condos

CONSTRUCTION: Healthcare, other projects keep office busy

Profile of McCarthy Building Cos on the Business Journal’s second annual Best Places to Work list

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Builder Acquiring Irvine Land for Upscale Homes

REAL ESTATE: Deal could be biggest for homes in years

Startup homebuilder New Home Co. is set to buy 50 acres in Irvine and build upscale homes

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Tale of Two Cities: Irvine, Anaheim See Big Population Gains

CITIES: Spillover from boom; gains may be hard to sustain

ABOUT THE LIST: OC’s cities saw an increase in population, but revenue for the county’s 34 cities was down. Includes the 2010 OC CITIES List for download (pdf)

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Big Audition: 70 Vie to Succeed SCR’s Founders

OC INSIDER Column by Rick Reiff

Maloof Eyes Surf City for Possible Skatepark

SPORTS: Site could be regular home of annual skate contest

Joe Maloof is looking to build a skatepark in the county that will host his annual skateboarding competition

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Corinthian Fires Back at Proposed Rules

EDUCATION: Proposal could cut off funding to some schools

Santa Ana’s Corinthian Colleges is pushing back against education reforms that could potentially cripple it

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New Era

Von Hemert Has Furnished Upscale Homes; Going After Everyday Folks with New Line

Luxury furniture seller von Hemert Interiors is in its fourth generation of family ownership

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Shoemaker Blends Fashion, Love of Hawaii, Family Culture

Profile of OluKai Inc. on the Business Journal’s second annual Best Places to Work list

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Construction Company Builds by Own Moral Compass

Profile of HBA Inc. on the Business Journal’s second annual Best Places to Work list

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Where Little is Big

Construction Company Questar Touts Less Rigid Structure for Workers

Profile of Questar Construction on the Business Journal’s second annual Best Places to Work list

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Aspen Rewards Early, Often; Workers Have Say on Workplace

HEALTHCARE: Boss seeks input, sets tone; regular bonuses

Profile of Aspen Medical Products Inc. on the Business Journal’s second annual Best Places to Work list

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Workers at Tech Consultant Award Part of Pay to Each Other

Profile of Trace3 Inc. on the Business Journal’s second annual Best Places to Work list

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Blended Family

Jones Lang Gels After 2008 Acquisition; Bonding Over Bowling, Catalina Outing

Profile of Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. on the Business Journal’s second annual Best Places to Work list

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ABOUT THE LIST - Best Places To Work in Orange County

The Business Journal’s Best Places to Work is the result of months of surveying workers and management at nearly 100 local employers. Includes the 2010 OC BEST PLACES TO WORK List for download (pdf)

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Bryan Cave: Bell Ringing Parties, Fun Committee

Profile of Bryan Cave LLP on the Business Journal’s second annual Best Places to Work list

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Team Work

Bingham Connects Employees Through Sports, Open-Door Policy, Charity Work

Profile of Bingham McCutchen LLP on the Business Journal’s second annual Best Places to Work list

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Gala Honors Recycling Entrepreneur Art Kazarian

More than 300 businesspeople attended South Coast Repertory’s annual Gala Ball.

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Moving Target Estate Tax: Work for Lawyers, Accountants

PROFESSIONS: Retroactive threat prompts work on wills

Local lawyers and accountants expect an increase in work as uncertainty about estate taxes comes to a head

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Ingram Micro Makes Cloud Computing Buy in Belguim

Newport, QLogic Add Directors; Fleet Tracking Software Maker Telogis Signs Chilean Seller

Ingram Micro bought a small software company in Belgium, in the Technology column

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Better Prices Could Bring More Microsemi Buys

TECHNOLOGY: Q2 valuation surge tempers; ‘back to normal’

Microsemi recently bought two companies and could be eyeing more deals

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REAL ESTATE WATCH: Manufacturing and Warehouse

Activity Stirs in Manufacturing, Warehouse Space

Vacancy rates and rents are down in OC’s manufacturing and warehouse sector, in Real Estate Watch

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Beckman CEO Search: Insider or Outsider?

HEALTHCARE: Analyst urges outsider; search in early phase

Beckman Coulter is starting its search for a new chief executive but isn’t in any rush

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Reader Letters

Maryann Maloney Marino correctly points out the continuing problem of “shakedown” lawsuits in California

Irvine Building Caught Up in Condo Bankruptcy Sells

Another KBS Buy: Del Mar Heights Office Complex; Apartment Investor Buys in San Diego

A local investor snapped up an Irvine office building for $12 million, in the Real Estate column

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Investor Websites Take Note of Sun Healthcare’s Split

UCI Researchers: Fruit Fly Analysis Yields Broader Insight; CardiAQ Unveils Valve Results

Investor websites are taking notice as Sun Healthcare prepares to split itself into two separate companies, in the Healthcare column

Hyundai Marketing Rolls On During Executive Search

Mazda, Others Use Social Network Games for Marketing; Morgan Lands Dance Restaurant

Hyundai is looking for a new vice president of marketing after losing its last two to General Motors, in the Media and Marketing column


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

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Medical Offices Going up in Tustin, Santa Ana, Gym in Fullerton

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

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This past week’s news from and other sources

Friday, September 24

August Auto Sales Decline

Sales at Orange County auto dealers declined in August, mostly because sales were compared against the “cash for clunker” incentive sales surge in August 2009.

Corinthian Sees Delay in Proposed Regulations

Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges Inc. and other for-profit college operators got a reprieve from proposed federal rules that could cut funding for students at some of the company’s schools.

NBCU Boss Zucker To Leave After Comcast Deal

NBC Universal's top executive Jeff Zucker will leave after Comcast Corp. takes control, Zucker wrote in a memo to the company.

Petrobras Down After Pricing of Massive Share Sale

Petroleo Brasileiro SA shares fell after the state-run oil giant sold about $67 billion in new stock, the world's largest share offering.

Deals Return in Q3, But Outlook Still Cautious

Buoyed by the busiest August in more than a decade, global mergers and acquisitions have risen 21% so far this year, with stable activity in the United States and growth in emerging markets offsetting a drop in European dealmaking.

Thursday, September 23

Corinthian Colleges Shares Rally on Possible Regulation Delay

Shares of embattled Santa Ana-based vocational school operator Corinthian Colleges Inc. rallied Thursday on speculation of a delay in proposed federal rules that could cut funding for students at some of the company’s schools.

Irvine's Microsemi Seen Doubling Sales to $1B

Irvine-based Microsemi Corp.’s recent addition of new chip technologies for the Department of Defense could help it to double sales in the next few years, according to one Wall Street analyst.

Edwards Lifesciences Stock Shoots Up on Trial Results

Shares of Irvine-based Edwards Lifesciences Corp. shot up Thursday on positive trial results for a new type of heart valve and regulatory approval for further study of the device.

Home Sales Up 7.6% in August; Sales Still Weak

Sales of previously occupied homes rose last month, but not enough to keep August from being the second-worst month for sales in more than a decade.

Leading Indicators Rise 0.3% in August

A gauge of future economic activity rose modestly in August, suggesting that slow economic growth will continue this winter.

BioMed Stock Down After $298M Deal, Stock Offering

Shares of BioMed Realty Trust Inc. fell after the real estate investment trust announced a $298 million property acquisition and a 15 million stock offering.

Wednesday, September 22

Bren Leads Local Forbes 400 Pack; Olenicoff Up Big

Irvine Company’s Donald Bren leads a contingent of nine Orange County billionaires on this year’s Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in the nation.

Home Prices Drop Below $500,000 Mark

The median price of an existing Orange County home slipped below the $500,000 mark in August, while sales here also saw a second straight month of declines, the California Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

Volcom Outlines Five-Year Plan with Doubling to $550M in 2014 Sales

Costa Mesa-based clothing maker Volcom Inc. is looking to double yearly sales to $550 million by 2014, the company told analysts this week.

Blockbuster Expected To File Chapter 11

Blockbuster Inc. is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy within the next few days, a source familiar with the video rental chain's plans said.

Gold Hits Record High After Fed Rates Signal

Gold hit record highs for a fifth consecutive session after the Federal Reserve signaled it stood ready to inject fresh cash into the economy, knocking the dollar and whetting investor appetite for bullion.

Potash Files Complaint Against BHP

Canada's Potash Corp. is asking a U.S. court to block a hostile takeover by mining giant BHP Billiton.

Study: Newport Beach Nation's Priciest Home Market

Newport Beach is the nation’s most expensive housing market, according to a report by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC.

Tuesday, September 21

Edwards Shares Rise on Trial Anticipation, Bullish Analyst

Shares of Irvine heart valve maker based Edwards Lifesciences Corp. rose Tuesday on optimistic expectations for a clinical trial of its less-invasive heart valve and an analyst’s bullish comments.

Report: Broadcom to See $70M in Revenue from Apple in Second Half

A Wall Street analyst said Tuesday Irvine-based Broadcom Corp. could see roughly $70 million in revenue tacked on to its top line during the back half of the year from sales of Apple Inc.’s popular consumer gadgets.

Home construction jumps 10.5% in August

Home construction increased last month and applications for building permits also grew. The gains were driven mainly by apartment and condominium construction, not the much larger single-family homes sector.

Stocks Waver Ahead of Federal Reserve Decisions

Investors are holding back from making big moves in the stock market as they wait to see if the Federal Reserve might take new actions to stimulate the economy.

BHP's Potash Bid Seen Running Into Next Year

BHP Billiton's $39 billion battle to take control of Canada's Potash Corp. is expected to drag on into next year after it failed to win immediate backing from Canadian authorities.

Broadcom Foundation Backing Science Fair

Irvine-based chipmaker Broadcom Corp.’s corporate foundation said Tuesday it’s set to give $6 million over six years to launch a middle school competition geared to promote science, technology, engineering and math for students and teachers.

Monday, September 20

In-N-Out Opening Second Restaurant in Texas Expansion

Irvine-based In-N-Out Burgers Inc. took another step in an aggressive eastward expansion Monday with plans for a second restaurant in Texas.

SunCal Loses New Mexico Land to $148M Foreclosure Sale

A 55,000-acre housing project in New Mexico planned by Irvine-based master developer SunCal Cos. has been sold at a foreclosure auction to three of its largest creditors, according to local reports.

Recession Ended In June 2009

The recession ended in June 2009, making it the longest downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the National Bureau of Economic Research said.

IBM To Buy Analytics Firm Netezza For $1.7 billion

IBM Corp. said that it would buy data analytics company Netezza Corp. for $1.7 billion to expand its business of helping clients analyze market information.

Verizon Names McAdam COO, Likely Next CEO

Verizon Communications Inc. said it named Lowell McAdam its president and chief operating officer, setting the veteran executive up as the successor to Chief Executive Ivan Seidenberg.

Homebuilder Sentiment Unexpectedly Flat in September

Homebuilder sentiment unexpectedly held steady in September, according to a survey that pointed to a still-weak housing market.

Corinthian Starts Marketing Campaign Against Proposed School Regulations

Embattled vocational school operator Corinthian Colleges Inc. is mounting a marketing campaign that highlights its graduates and takes issue with proposed federal rules that could cut funding for students at some of the company’s schools.

Sunday, September 19

Koll's Words

Developer on Early Work, Legacy, Current Downturn

Q & A: The Business Journal’s Mark Mueller asked Don Koll about his legacy and the current economic downturn

REAL ESTATE WATCH: Research and Development Space

R&D Space Sees Subtle Uptick in Asking Rents

The research and development market saw a small rise in asking rents, in Real Estate Watch

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

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Ambrosia, Five Feet and Hush Restaurants Close Down

Tour de France Tasting Menu at La Vie en Rose; Oktoberfest Fare at Five Crowns, Balboa Bay

Some of OC’s most recognizable restaurants have closed their doors, in the Executive Dining column

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From Afghan Warlords to Deputies Union

OC INSIDER Column by Rick Reiff

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REVIEW - "Young Frankenstein", Orange County Performing Arts Center

A review of Young Frankenstein, currently playing at the Orange County Performing Arts Center

Electric Cars Expected To Grab Attention at Auto Show

Hyundai Dealership Moves To Tustin Auto Mall; Big Boats Hold Sway at Lido Boat Show

The Orange County Auto Show will showcase electric cars from Nissan and General Motors, in the Marketplace column

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Real Contrarians

Green Street Breaks with Wall Street; Valuing Real Estate in Shorts, Sandals

Green Street Advisors built a name for itself by doing things its own way,

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AvalonBay Buys Tustin Apartments at 20% Discount

Macquarie Gets Extra 5 Years on Anaheim Development; Raintree Buys Riverside Units

One of OC’s largest apartment complexes was sold at a 20% discount, in the Real Estate column

Allergan, Generic Rival Apotex Tussle Again with Suit

Healthcare Payment Processor InstaMed Raises $6 Million; Medtronic Gets Catheter Clearance

Allergan is battling a Canadian drug maker over a generic version of one of its drugs, in the Healthcare column

Fortune’s Fast-Growing List: M-Flex’s Only Local Co.

Permlight Raises Round of Financing; DealGooder Launches Website with Charitable Side

Anaheim’s Multi-Fineline Electronix was ranked No. 35 on Fortune magazine’s list of 100 fastest-growing companies, in the Technology column

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Nursing Home Operator: Settlement Stems Tumult

HEALTHCARE: Skilled set to pay $50M, fraction of $677M jury verdict in July

Skilled Healthcare settled a potentially crippling lawsuit for a fraction of the original verdict amount.

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Developer Shaped Airport Area, Spawned Vast Network of Proteges

Donald Koll’s legacy in the Orange County real estate industry can be measured in square feet, and disciples

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St. Jude Medical Irvine Site: Catheters, Not Heart Valves

HEALTHCARE: Unit here faces off more with J&J than Edwards Lifesciences

St. Jude Medical in Costa Mesa competes with major device makers with local operations.

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Hyundai Pushes into Luxury Market with Equus

AUTO: Automaker looks to continue market share growth

Hyundai Motor America is gearing up to release its second luxury vehicle

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Costa Mesa Office Complex Set to Trade Hands

REAL ESTATE: Investor with IPO plans is the rumored buyer

Costa Mesa’s Pacific Arts Plaza has a rumored San Diego investor as a potential buyer

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Celebrity Software Lures Brand Affinity Investment

Clothing Maker Sullen Does IPad Catalog for Tradeshows; Pimco Debuts Reworked Website

Irvine-based Brand Affinity Technologies has developed software for tracking celebrities and athletes, in the Media and Marketing column

Credit Check

Allergan Has Highest Debt Rating, Quiksilver, Standard Pacific Improving

A look at credit ratings for some of OC’s largest public companies

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This past week’s news from and other sources

AT&T, Verizon Lead Local Telecom Employment Cuts

TECHNOLOGY: About 1,000 local jobs cut in past 12 months

ABOUT THE LIST: OC’s telecommunications companies cut jobs in the last year. Includes the 2010 OC TELECOMMUNICATIONS COS List for download (pdf)

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Telecom Turn

Industry Rebound Projected This Year; Business Picks Up Locally

Telecom companies expect business to improve as corporate customers slowly recover from the downturn

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Fewer ‘Job Killer’ Bills Make It to Governor’s Office

Greenhouse Gases from Development Projects at Issue; Big Workers’ Comp Hike Proposed

Business lobbyists managed to keep a number of “job-killer” bills off Gov. Schwarzenegger’s desk but were less successful pushing through business-friendly proposals, in State of the State column


Fundraisers and charitable donations from companies and people

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Sales Wind Down TV Station Owner Acme

MEDIA: Quiet end to company once coveted by Tribune, others

Acme Communications in Santa Ana is selling off its TV stations and winding down operations

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Friday, September 17

Government Cuts Drive August Job Loss; Private Sector Hiring Grows

Government employment cuts caused the county to lose jobs in August from July, but the private sector showed encouraging signs of growth last month.

Bicycle Trade Show Returns to Anaheim

The Anaheim Convention Center has signed San Juan Capistrano-based Interbike International Bicycle Expo to return to the convention center after a 14-year hiatus.

Consumer Sentiment Weakest Since August 2009

Consumer sentiment unexpectedly worsened in early September to its weakest level in more than a year, as distress over jobs and finances intensified among upper-income families, a survey showed.

Johnson & Johnson Aims To Buy Vaccine Maker Crucell

Health care company Johnson & Johnson is in talks to pay $2.3 billion to buy Dutch biotech Crucell as it seeks to catapult itself into the global vaccine market.

Ireland Slams IMF Rumors As Tension Looms Over Budget

Ireland's finance ministry and the International Monetary Fund sought to calm markets after a newspaper report on the possibility of an IMF bailout sent investors running for cover.

Thursday, September 16

Smith Micro Software to Build New R&D Center

Aliso Viejo’s Smith Micro Software Inc., a maker of compression and connectivity software for cell phones, laptops and other mobile devices, is set to build a new research and development office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Ingram Micro Picks Up Belgian Distributor

A unit of Santa Ana’s Ingram Micro Inc., the biggest distributor of technology products, software and consumer electronics, is said to have purchased a small distributor in Belgium.

Jobless Claims At Two-Month Low

New claims for unemployment benefits hit a two-month low last week, hinting at some stability in the labor market, while factory activity in the Mid-Atlantic region contracted more slowly in September.

FedEx Delivers Int'l Profits But Cuts US Jobs

FedEx Corp. indicated that the global economic recovery remains uneven. It said strength in international shipments are driving profits, but also announced plans to cut 1,700 jobs in an attempt to fix its money-losing U.S. trucking business.

Average Mortgage Rates Rise to 4.37%

Rates on 30-year mortgages climbed for the second straight week, but remain near the lowest level in decades.

Wednesday, September 15

Quiksilver, Volcom Up on Analyst Comments

Shares of clothing makers Quiksilver Inc. and Volcom Inc. rose Wednesday after some upbeat comments from an analyst.

Another Day, Another Microsemi Buy

Irvine-based Microsemi Corp. bought its second small company in as many days.

Dollar Soars As Japan Steps in To Weaken Yen

The dollar rose more than 3% against the yen as Japan intervened to weaken its currency for the first time in six years, but traders said Japan may struggle to keep the yen weak for long.

Industrial Production Rises 0.2% in August

Production at U.S. factories grew in August for the 12th time in 14 months, but at a slower rate than earlier this year as consumers spent cautiously.

Savient Shares Rally As FDA Approves Gout Drug

Shares of Savient Pharmaceuticals Inc. jumped 27%, a day after the company's gout drug Krystexxa got U.S. regulatory approval making it the first approved treatment for gout in adults who do not improve with conventional therapies.

Hyundai Expanding Fountain Valley Headquarters

Hyundai Motor America Inc. is looking to double the size of its Fountain Valley headquarters.

Tuesday, September 14

Analyst Downgrades Skilled Healthcare

Foothill Ranch-based Skilled Healthcare Group Inc. was downgraded Tuesday by an analyst who said the nursing home company’s stock now trades about where it should.

Home Sales Continue to Fall as Prices Jump Around

The median price of an existing Orange County home in August rose to $440,000, a jump of more than $12,000 from a year earlier, but sales fell 9%.

Irvine's Microsemi Rolls Up Cell Phone Chipmaker

Irvine-based Microsemi Corp., a maker of chips for military, aerospace and industrial uses, said Tuesday it acquired Atlanta-based VT Silicon Inc. for undisclosed terms.

August Retail Sales Up 0.4%, Best In 5 Months

Retail sales rose in August by the largest amount in five months, adding to evidence that a late spring economic swoon was temporary and not the start of another recession.

Best Buy 2Q Net Income Jumps 60% On Sales Rise

Best Buy Co.'s fiscal second-quarter net income rose 60% as shoppers bought cell phones, appliances and tablet computers.

Nokia Chairman Expected To Stay On Until 2012

Nokia Corp. says Chairman Jorma Ollila has signaled readiness to stay on at the helm of the world's leading handset maker until 2012.

Monday, September 13

Corinthian Rallies After Student Loan Defaults Less Than Feared

Shares of embattled vocational school operator Corinthian Colleges Inc. rallied Monday after a federal report on student loan defaults wasn’t as bad as feared.

Irvine Software Startup Kareo Nabs $9.5M Investment

Irvine-based software startup Kareo Inc., a maker of software that helps manage small doctors’ offices, said on Monday it raised $9.5 million in venture funding.

HP to Pay $1.5B for Security Firm ArcSight

Hewlett-Packard Co. announced a deal to buy security software firm ArcSight Inc. for $1.5 billion in a bid by the world's top personal computer maker to cash in on growing demand for security technology.

Dollar Thrifty Shares Rise on Raised Hertz Deal

Shares of car rental companies Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group and Hertz Global Holdings rose a day after Dollar Thrifty agreed to a sweetened $1.56 billion offer from Hertz.

College Loan Default Rates Rise, Report Says

The number of college students defaulting on their federal student loans is climbing, and those who attend for-profit schools remain the most likely group to default, according to new government data released Monday.

Conexant's Mercer Joins QLogic's Board

Aliso Viejo-based QLogic Corp., a maker of electronics for data storage networks, has added two directors, including the chief executive of Newport Beach-based chipmaker Conexant Systems Inc.

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Sunday, September 12

Nonprofit Survival Skills


Orange County Community Foundation’s Shelley Hoss outlines how nonprofits are surviving in a bad economy, in Viewpoint

Corporate Foundations Reduced Giving 13% in 2009

GIVING: Assets grew 7% as programs waited out downturn

ABOUT THE LIST: Local corporate foundations decreased their giving but assets went up. Includes the 2010 OC CORPORATE GIVING List for download (pdf)

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Second Quarter Leasing’s a Bright Spot for North County Industrial Market

The North County industrial market saw its second quarter of signification absorption, in Real Estate Watch

Lennar Buys Mission Viejo Site for Condos, Townhomes

CT Realty Seeks Tenant for Ontario Building; Executive Suites Operator Expands in Santa Ana

Lennar bought more than 7 acres in Mission Viejo and plans to build condos, in the Real Estate column

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Private Foundations Kept Up Giving Despite Drop in Assets

GIVING: OC’s wealthiest up donations in trying times

ABOUT THE LIST: OC’s private foundations held their giving steady. Includes the 2010 OC PRIVATE FOUNDATIONS List for download (pdf)

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'More with Less’

Local Nonprofits See Another Year of Increasing Demand for Services, Dropping Donations

OC’s nonprofits are barely getting by as demand increases but giving is down.

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Hospital Operator Memorial Opens Clinics in Albertsons

HEALTHCARE: Pilot program aimed at bringing in patients

MemorialCare has opened three retail express clinics in OC as part of a pilot program

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Integrien Buy Part of Wave of Cloud Computing Deals

Western Digital Adds Director; Gartner Forecasts Jump in Chip Sales, Slower Growth in ’11

Integrien in Irvine is being bought by a software company in Palo Alto, in the Technology column


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

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Hospitals Could Get Another Extension on Earthquake Rules

HEALTHCARE: Bill could aid hospitals in Laguna, Anaheim

An amendment to a state bill could buy local hospitals more time to meet earthquake requirements

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Extron Tops Out on Anaheim HQ Building, Country Eatery

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

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This past week’s news from and other sources

Data Center Operator Grows Irvine Facility

TECHNOLOGY: Latisys adds 100,000 square feet; 150K in all

Data storage company Latisys is tripling its space in OC

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CEO Reworked Beckman; Recall Proved Undoing

HEALTHCARE: Garrett ushered in big changes; Wall St. lost faith

Beckman Coulter Chief Executive Scott Garrett has stepped down as concerns over a test recall continue

Wind Energy Startup Moves to Huntington

ENERGY: Modular Wind set to develop lightweight blades

Modular Wind Energy is moving its headquarters to Huntington Beach from Long Beach

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OCer’s Big Gift To MIT; Ready, Cameras, Triplets!

OC INSIDER Column by Rick Reiff

New Era for Broadcom’s TV Set-Top Box Chips

TECHNOLOGY: Chipmaker looks to emerging markets, technology

Broadcom’s chips for TV set-top boxes continue to evolve as consumer demands change

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Two Years in, Chase Steps Up Local Push

FINANCE: Branches, workers being added; still distant No. 3

JPMorgan Chase is looking to expand its market share in OC

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Big, Growing Church Eyes Expanded Space

REAL ESTATE: Deal could be biggest in North County this year

Eastside Christian Church in Fullerton is looking for a bigger space as its congregation continues to grow

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Room Upgrade

Sunstone’s Defaults Give Way to Acquisitions

Sunstone is recovering from the loan defaults that plagued it during the downturn by looking into new acquisitions

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Report: Demand, Revenue Rising for Device Makers

Sun Healthcare Repaying Some Debt Before Spin-off, Planning Another Debt Offering Soon

The medical device industry will see a big boost in sales as people live longer, in the Healthcare column

Atlanta Publisher Takes Over Riviera, Other Luxury Titles

St. Joseph, Radio Disney Promote Kids Health; Motorcycle Magazine Cycle News Shuts Down

Luxury magazine Riviera was sold to an Atlanta-based publisher, in the Media and Marketing column

Friday, September 10

STEC Up on Dell Acquisition Rumor

Shares of Santa Ana-based STEC Inc. rose Friday on rumors the data storage device maker could be a takeover target of Dell Inc.

Claim Jumper Files Bankruptcy, Sells Assets to Private Equity Firm

Irvine-based Claim Jumper Restaurants LLC files for bankruptcy and looks to sell its assets to a Los Angeles private equity firm.

German Shares Weighed Down By Bank Refunding Talk

German stocks underperformed their European and U.S. counterparts following reports that Deutsche Bank AG is planning to raise as much as $11.4 billion to lift its stake in Deutsche Postbank AG and shore up its capital base.

BCE To Buy Remaining 85% of CTV

BCE Inc., Canada's biggest telecom company, has agreed to pay $1.26 billion for the 85% of broadcaster CTV it does not already own, aiming to capitalize on the growth of video over internet, wireless and other media.

Oil Rises To More Than $75 On Supply Outage

U.S. crude rose more than $1 a barrel to more than $75 due to the shutdown of a major pipeline, but a leading forecaster said demand would stay tepid.

Thursday, September 9

Embattled Corinthian Surges on Takeover Speculation

Shares of Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges Inc. surged Thursday on speculation the embattled vocational school operator could be acquired.

Allergan Sues Rival To Block Generic Latisse

Irvine’s Allergan Inc. has filed a patent lawsuit against a Canadian company seeking to make a generic version of its Latisse eyelash-growing drug.

Valeant Offering Bonds, Striking Credit Line in Deal Runup

Aliso Viejo-based drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals said Thursday that it would offer $1 billion in bonds and is arranging $1.9 billion in credit as part of its pending $3.2 billion acquisition by Canada’s Biovail Corp.

Hopes Rise As Jobless Claims Fall, Trade Gap Eases

The number of people signing up for unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level in two months, an encouraging sign that companies aren't resorting to deeper layoffs even as the economy has lost momentum.

UK Watchdog Fines Goldman Sachs $27 million

Britain's financial watchdog fined Goldman Sachs Group Inc. $27 million for failing to tell the regulator that it was the subject of a U.S. probe, reviving disclosure headaches for the Wall Street powerhouse.

Burger King Buyer Names Rail Exec As Future CEO

The investment firm buying Burger King has named a former Latin American railroad executive to be chief executive of the fast-food chain after it completes its $3.26 billion acquisition.

Wednesday, September 8

Western Digital Downgraded on PC Demand Concerns

Lake Forest-based Western Digital Corp., the top maker of disk drives, was downgraded by a Wall Street analyst on Wednesday on concerns about slowing demand for computers.

Apartments Sell in Pair of Deals Worth $170M

Two apartment owners have bought complexes in Anaheim and Tustin in separate deals worth $170 million.

Skilled Shares Jump on Settlement News

Skilled Healthcare Group Inc. of Foothill Ranch’s shares shot up Wednesday after the nursing home operator said it settled a potentially crippling lawsuit for well below what a jury had originally awarded plaintiffs in the case.

US Gains, Portugal Bond Sale Help European Stocks

Gains on Wall Street and a relatively successful Portuguese government debt sale helped Europe's stocks recover early losses, though fears of a flare-up in the region's debt crisis lingered amid news that Greece's recession deepened in the second quarter.

BP Blames Contractors For Oil Spill

BP attempted to place much of the blame for the rig blast that led to the country's worst-ever oil spill on its contractors, Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton Co.

Irish Government Will Split Anglo Irish Bank In Two

The Irish government said it will split nationalized lender Anglo Irish Bank into two separate businesses in an effort to minimize the cost to taxpayers of bailing out the failed firm.

Tuesday, September 7

Pacific Mercantile Strikes Deal with Regulators to Shore up Bank's Finances

The parent of Costa Mesa’s Pacific Mercantile Bank, the largest homegrown bank in the county by assets, has struck a consent order with federal and state regulators to reduce problem loans and assets while strengthening capital reserves.

HSBC Chairman Green To Step Down

Change swept through the top of Britain's banks as Barclays PLC said its investment banking supremo Bob Diamond will take over as chief executive and HSBC Holdings PLC said its chairman is leaving to go into government.

Oracle Up As Former HP's Hurd Joins As President

Oracle Corp. shares rose as much as 7.7% the day after the company said it had hired former Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive Mark Hurd, who resigned amid a scandal.

Treasury Announces New Warrant Auctions

The government said it will auction warrants it received from two giant insurance companies as part of its efforts to recoup costs of the $700 billion financial bailout.

Mixed Martial Arts Clothing Maker Silver Star Acquired

Irvine-based Silver Star Casting Co., a maker of clothes inspired by mixed martial arts, has been acquired along with Grand Terrace-based TapOut LLC for undisclosed terms.

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Beckman CEO Garrett Steps Down

The chief executive of Brea-based medical testing equipment maker Beckman Coulter Inc. has abruptly stepped down.

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Sunday, September 5


Lawsuits Retort

Letter to the Editor: continuing problem of “shakedown” lawsuits in California

REVIEW - Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, Buena Park

A review of Buena Park’s Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament

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REVIEW - Laguna Cliffs Marriott, Dana Point

A review of the recently renovated Laguna Cliffs Marriott in Dana Point

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South County Sees Absorption, But Falling Rents in Q2

South County saw positive absorption in the second quarter but rents continued to fall, in Real Estate Watch

Fullerton Bill Processor Buys $5.1M Anaheim Building

Aliso Medical Offices Sell for $7M; Grubb & Ellis Handling Leasing for Foothill Ranch Mall

InfoSend in Fullerton is moving its headquarters to Anaheim, in the Real Estate column

Allergan Reworks Development Deal for Dry Eye Drug

UC Irvine Researchers See Positive Stem Cell Test Results; Apria Grows in Kansas City Area

Allergan has reworked a deal that will allow it to switch its focus on a dry eye treatment, in the Healthcare column

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Shops at Mission Viejo Seeing Several Stores Move In

Ford’s U.S. Launch of Gas-Friendly Cargo Van Selling to Entrepreneurs, Few Big Businesses

The Shops at Mission Viejo are seeing an influx of new stores, in the Marketplace column

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Emulex Names Benck President, Closes Key Acquisition

Smart Card Maker CardLogix Plans To Raise Money, Targeting Healthcare as Growth Area

Jeff Benck took over the No. 2 spot as president at Costa Mesa’s Emulex, in the Technology column


Fundraisers and charitable donations from companies and people

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This past week’s news from and other sources

Automakers Saw Sales Drop in August, Down from Cash for Clunkers Numbers

Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America Inc. and other local automakers saw declines in August sales as part of a larger industry hiccup resulting from the government’s “cash for clunkers” program a year ago.

Bag Bid

Supplier to Quiksilver, Others Strikes Out on Own with Reusable Shopping Bags

American Joe in Costa Mesa is developing a line of fashionable reusable grocery bags

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ICU Medical Readies Eastern Europe Plant

HEALTHCARE: Plant to make custom IV devices for hospitals

San Clemente medical device maker ICU Medical is opening a plant in Eastern Europe

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Big Winners in Bren Case: Lawyers; Barney Does OC

OC INSIDER Column by Rick Reiff

KBS Unit To Buy L.A. Office Tower for $208M

REAL ESTATE: Deal’s record this year; one of many for KBS

KBS is buying an office in downtown Los Angeles for $208 million, the largest deal in Southern California this year


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

Hybrid Auto Parts Maker Readies Solar Panel Plant

CLEAN TECH: Irvine plant set to employ 100; big strategy bet

Hybrid auto parts maker Quantum Fuel Systems is gearing up to make solar panels at its Irvine plant

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Lawyers See Deals Surge; How Long?

LAW: Some fear capital gains hike could stem M&A rebound

Local corporate lawyers saw work ramp up last month with an increase in mergers and acquisitions deals

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Freedom Looks To Streamline Media Outlets Operations

Custom Comfort Mattress Launches Marketing Campaign; Hybrid PR Shop Caters to Startups

Chief Executive Mitch Sterns is looking to find a more efficient way to run Freedom Com-munications, in the Media and Marketing column

Architecture Awards

The Gold Nugget awards recognized architects for work that either makes a significant cultural difference or is significant design-wise. Here’s a look at some of the work recognized in 2010 with Orang

The Gold Nugget awards recognized architects for work that either makes a significant cultural difference or is significant design-wise. Here’s a look at some of the work recognized in 2010 with Orange County ties.

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Idealistic Vision

Proposal for Civil Engineering in 2025 Charges Engineers with Public Policy Decision-Making

A new global initiative will give engineers a more active role in project decisions and public policy

Awaiting Recovery

Top 30 Architecture Firms Saw Second Year of Lower Local Billings as Construction Lags

ABOUT THE LIST - OC’s architecture firms continued to struggle last year and don’t see much changing in the near future. Includes the 2010 OC ARCHITECTURE FIRMS List for download (pdf)

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Engineering Cos.’ Billings Fell 8%, Second Year of Decline

ABOUT THE LIST: The county’s engineering companies saw a decline in local billings for the second straight year. Includes the 2010 OC ENGINEERING COMPANIES List for download (pdf)

Bankrupt Homebuilder Hits Financing Snag

REAL ESTATE: California Coastal misses funding deadline

Irvine homebuilder California Coastal Communities is having a tough time getting out of bankruptcy

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Girl Power: Life Skills, Then Some at Nonprofit


Girls Inc. in Costa Mesa has the support of many local female executives

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Sluggish Summer Marks Turnabout for Kingston

TECHNOLOGY: Falling demand, chip prices ground soaring forecast

Kingston Technology is bracing for a slowdown amid falling chip prices and consumer demand

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Global View

Worldly Canadian Has Grown Ingram

A look at Ingram Micro’s Greg Spierkel

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Friday, September 3

Companies Add 67K Workers, But Jobless Rate Rises

Private employers hired more workers over the past three months than first thought, a glimmer of hope for the weak economy ahead of the Labor Day weekend. But the unemployment rate rose because not enough jobs were created to absorb the growing number of people looking for work.

Brazil Oil Firm Petrobras Plans $65 billion Stock Sale

Brazilian state oil company Petrobras will sell up to $64.5 billion in new stock—one of the largest sales in capital markets history—to raise funds for the world's biggest oil exploration investment plan.

Pharmacy Chain Walgreen, Omnicare Trade Businesses

Walgreen Co., the biggest U.S. drugstore chain, said Friday it will acquire the home infusion business of Omnicare Inc. in exchange for its long-term care pharmacy business.

Sunstone Calls off Bid for San Diego Hotel

Aliso Viejo-based hotel owner Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. has called off plans to buy Southern California's largest hotel, the 1,625-room Manchester Grand Hyatt in downtown San Diego.

Quiksilver Slumps on Weak Sales Outlook

Shares of Huntington Beach-based clothing maker Quiksilver Inc. slumped Friday as investors looked past improving profits and focused instead on the company’s tepid sales outlook for the current quarter.

Thursday, September 2

Japan's NGK Moving Spark Plug Production from Irvine to West Virginia

Japan’s NGK Spark Plug Co. is moving production of spark plugs from a longtime Irvine factory to West Virginia.

Quiksilver's Profit Up, Reworks Credit Line

Huntington Beach-based clothing maker Quiksilver Inc. reported a quarterly profit that topped Wall Street’s expectations and said it reworked a credit line with a lower interest rate.

HP Wins 3PAR For $2.4 billion, Dell Bows Out

Hewlett-Packard Co. won the bidding war to buy data storage company 3PAR Inc. for $2.4 billion, after rival Dell Inc. bowed out of a drawn-out bidding war on Thursday.

Pending Homes Sales Rise and Jobless Claims Dip

Pending sales of previously owned homes rebounded unexpectedly in July and new claims for jobless benefits fell last week, hopeful signs for the sputtering economic recovery.

Burger King Agrees To Be Sold For $3.26 billion

Burger King Holdings Inc., the No. 2 U.S. fast-food chain, agreed to sell itself to investment firm 3G Capital for about $3.26 billion in a deal analysts said would give the restaurant breathing room to fix its business.

Wet Seal Sees First Same-Store Sales Gain Since March

Foothill Ranch-based mall retailer Wet Seal reversed four months of falling sales with a gain in August that topped Wall Street expectations.

Wednesday, September 1

Hyundai and Other Automakers see Declines in August, Blame Cash For Clunkers

Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America Inc. and other local automakers saw declines in August sales as part of a larger industry hiccup resulting from the government’s “cash for clunkers” program a year ago.

Regulators Defend Actions on Lehman, Wachovia

Federal bank regulators are defending their actions leading up to the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the purchase of Wachovia at the height of the financial crisis.

GM Reports 7% Sales Dip Compared With July

General Motors Co.'s August sales dipped 7% compared with July as fears about the shaky economy discouraged customers from buying new cars and trucks.

Buyout Firm Denies It's in Talks Over Burger King

A private equity firm denied it's in talks to acquire Burger King Holdings Inc., after a published report linked 3i Group PLC to the fast-food chain.

Smile Brands Moving to Irvine

Smile Brands Group Inc., a provider of business services for dentists, is moving its corporate headquarters from Santa Ana to Irvine.

Allergan Paying $600M To Settle Government Botox Probe

Irvine-based Allergan Inc. is paying $600 million and pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge to settle a government probe of its marketing practices for flagship drug Botox.