Stories for February 2011

Monday, February 28

Resources Connection Jumps on Upgrade

Irvine-based professional services company Resources Connection Inc. saw its shares higher Monday after analysts at Barclays Capital upgraded the stock.

Consumer Spending Edges Up, Manufacturing Strong

Consumer spending rose modestly in January, getting the year off to a soft start, as households took advantage of tax cuts to rebuild their savings.

U.S. Stocks Gain on M&A, Rise in Income

U.S. stocks were mostly higher on a larger-than-expected rise in personal income, more signs of life in corporate deal-making and moderation in oil prices.

Blackstone to Buy Centro Malls For $9.4 Billion

Private equity firm Blackstone Group LP has struck a deal to buy nearly 600 U.S. shopping malls and other properties from Australia's Centro Property Group for about $9.4 billion, a person with direct knowledge of the transaction said.

Nationwide Health Properties Being Bought for $7.4 Billion

Nationwide Health Properties Inc., a Newport Beach healthcare real estate investor, said Monday it’s being bought for $7.4 billion by Chicago-based Ventas Inc.

Sunday, February 27

Big Builders End 5-Year Losing Streak With 35% Increase

Much of new construction on Irvine Ranch; 11 new players on list; still well off high mark

ABOUT THE LIST: Orange County’s homebuilding industry reversed a long-running streak of declining sales last year thanks to a big boost in construction on Irvine Ranch land. Includes the 2011 OC's LARGEST HOMEBUILDERS list for download (pdf)

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Speed Drives Executives at Circuit Board Maker

A look at the fast-paced culture at Santa Ana’s TTM Technologies

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Workers’ Comp Manager CorVel Sees Steady Growth

HEALTHCARE: Double-digit sales gains boost earnings, stock

CorVel is seeing steady growth with customers looking to control workers comp costs

BofA Commercial Real Estate Exec Adds Local Market President Duties

FINANCE: OC native to handle $2 million in local philanthropy

Alan Staff is the new top local official for Bank of America

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BJ’s Founders Blend iPads, Custom Menu

RESTAURANTS: Aim to offer more choices, cut labor costs

The founders of BJ’s are opening a casual dining restaurant that features iPads

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Grubb Undoes Big Deal Under Turnaround Plan

REAL ESTATE: Assets from deal going to new company

Grubb & Ellis is shifting one of its problem units

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EVENTS - Directors Honored

Scenes from business, social, charity and other events

FDA Impact on Funding, Jobs Eyed in Congress, Report

Critics: Delays Stifle Both; FDA Seeks More Funding

The FDA’s slow approval times are hindering device makers, in Healthcare

Quest Software Turns Jab Into Social Media Pay Off

Response to Logo Critique Uses YouTube, Twitter

Quest Software turned a jab into a marketing boon, in Media and Marketing Picks Up Division, Boss From Digital Post

Sawtell Back in Executive Suite; Second Buy of Year’s latest buy has ties to a past executive, in Technology

Medical Scanner InSight Set To Exit Bankruptcy

HEALTHCARE: Company eyes growth, acquisitions; goes private

Insight Health Services is set to emerge from bankruptcy with no debt

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Stories in this week’s Orange County Business Journal

Judge Clears Testing Lab Acquisition

HEALTHCARE: FTC fought LabCorp’s buy of Westcliff

A federal judge’s ruling will allow the purchase of Westcliff Medical Laboratories

Expansion Under Way in Fullerton

RETAIL: Historic building adding space, seeking tenants

An historic building in downtown Fullerton is adding 3,000 square feet

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Electric Bike Wins Exec Fans, Eyes Pizza Deliveries, Others

TRANSPORTATION: Pimco exec, Argyroses among riders

Thrust Electric Bikes is targeting small business owners

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Kings Move Could Leave Laguna Niguel Company Hanging

SPORTS: Power Balance in pact to sponsor Sacramento arena

Power Balance could be left hanging if the Sacramento Kings move to Anaheim

Companies Betting on Pot as Emerging Industry

Market Has Legal Issues, Risk Takers, Ex-Smuggler

Medical marijuana sales have spurred a support industry in the county

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Suzuki Counts on Kizashi to Drive New Image

AUTOS: Sedan, Super Bowl ads a push to be “relevant” here

Suzuki is counting on its recently released Kizashi sedan to revamp its image

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Great Park Fights Brown’s Tax Plan; Old O’s in OC

OC INSIDER Column by Rick Reiff

Private Equity Firm Wins Conexant; CEO?

TECHNOLOGY: Top spot was set under Standard, unclear now

Questions remain about who will run chipmaker Conexant Systems

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Land Sales Largely Private Affair

Recovery has spurred more but publicly traded builders still in no rush to make deals

The pace of land sales has picked up amid recent signs of a homebuilding recovery in Orange County

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Back to Building

Irvine Co.’s Move to Shutter Executive Homebuilding Program a Nod to Better Conditions

Newport Beach-based Irvine Company is phasing out its headline-making executive builder program

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

Cash Flow Key as Lending Eases on Self-Storage Deals

Loan-to-Value of 70% or More on Solid Properties

Talonvest started a financing company for self-storage investors, in Real Estate

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Retail Cautious on Road to Recovery

The county’s retail market is seeing a promising recovery.

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Friday, February 25

WebVisible Slashes Jobs, Looks to Consolidate HQ

Irvine-based software startup WebVisible Inc., which helps businesses buy and target online ads, is set to cut its workforce by half and consolidate its Southern California operations.

Homebuilder California Coastal Emerging from Bankruptcy

Irvine-based homebuilder California Coastal Communities Inc. said it plans to emerge from bankruptcy next week.

Fourth-Quarter Growth Revised Down Unexpectedly

The economy grew more slowly in the fourth quarter than initially estimated as government spending shrank more sharply and consumer spending was less robust, a government report showed.

Saudi Raises Oil Output as Libyan Exports Disrupted

Saudi Arabia has raised oil output about 8% to above 9 million barrels per day to make up for a near halt in Libyan exports, an industry source said, helping prices fall further from the highest since 2008.

Boeing Shares Gain Following Surprise Tanker Win

Shares of Boeing Co. gained 4% on pre-market trade after the company won a $30 billion contract for 179 new U.S. Air Force refueling planes a day earlier.

Thursday, February 24

Volcom Slumps on Outlook

Shares of Costa Mesa-based Volcom Inc. fell in afterhours trading after the clothing maker warned of a projected profit and revenue shortfall for the current quarter.

Vizio Still No. 1 in U.S., Grew Share in 2010

Irvine’s Vizio Inc., which designs and markets flat TVs here, said Thursday it grew its market share last year and stayed on top as the biggest seller of liquid-crystal display sets.

Ceradyne Tops Earnings Estimates, Misses Revenue Target

Costa Mesa’s Ceradyne Inc. on Thursday reported fourth-quarter profits that topped what analysts were looking for as revenue fell short of Wall Street expectations.

Brent Backs Off $120, Eyes on Libyan, Saudi Supply

Oil surged more than 7.5% to its highest since August 2008 on concern that uprisings in Libya could spread to other major oil producers in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia.

GM Posts Profit, Shares Under Pressure

General Motors Co. posted fourth-quarter results that topped Wall Street expectations, but its shares dipped below its IPO price as investor concerns shifted to the pressure ahead from rising oil prices and other costs.

New-home Sales in January Drop 12.6%

Sales of new homes fell significantly in January, a dismal sign after the worst year for that sector in nearly a half-century.

First American Posts Quarterly Profit, Warns of Challenging '11

Santa Ana-based First American Financial Corp. posted a better than expected fourth-quarter profit, while officials for the title insurance company are bracing themselves for declines in business related to mortgage originations this year.

Wednesday, February 23

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Westcliff Medical Laboratories Sale

The purchase of Santa Ana-based Westcliff Medical Laboratories Inc. by Laboratory Corp. of America can go through over regulatory objections, a federal judge has ruled.

Drug Maker Questcor’s Results Miss Expectations

Anaheim drug maker Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc. on Wednesday posted fourth-quarter financial results that fell short of Wall Street projections.

Existing Home Sales Rise, Prices Hit 2002 Low

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose unexpectedly in January, but prices tumbled to the lowest in nearly nine years, an industry group said.

Brent Climbs Above $110 On Libya Unrest

Brent crude futures rallied above $110 a barrel, posting the biggest three-day percentage gain in a year, as the escalating violence in Libya could further reduce its production.

Citigroup, BofA, 4 Others Cut HP Price Target

At least six brokerages cut their price target on Hewlett-Packard Co., citing its weak outlook and larger-than-expected shortfalls in consumer PC sales.

Conexant Selling to Private Equity Firm

Chipmaker Standard Microsystems Corp. is folding in a brief contest to acquire Newport Beach-based Conexant Systems Inc., which now is set to be sold for $282 million to a San Francisco private equity firm.

Tuesday, February 22

Clean Energy Sees Shares Jump on UPS Deal

Shares of Seal Beach’s Clean Energy Fuels Corp. jumped 10.1% on Tuesday after the company announced a multi-year deal with Atlanta-based United Parcel Services of America Inc.

Consumer Confidence at 3-Year High, Home Prices Slip

Consumer confidence rose to a three-year high in February, but a drop in home prices for the sixth month in a row in December suggested the economy still faces significant hurdles.

Wal-Mart Needs More Time to Fix Its Main Business

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s attempts to fix sales at its U.S. discount stores are taking longer than expected as the world's largest retailer loses shoppers to lower-priced dollar stores.

Home Prices Hit Post-Bust Lows in Most Big Cities

Home prices in a majority of major U.S. cities tracked by a private trade group have fallen to their lowest levels since the housing bubble burst.

Tilly's Names CEO

Irvine-based action sports clothing retailer Tilly's Inc. has named a former Coldwater Creek Inc. executive to lead the company.

Conexant Sides With Private Equity Offer, Appeals to Standard

The board of Newport Beach-based chipmaker Conexant Systems Inc. has sided with a higher buyout offer from a private equity firm and appealed to original suitor Standard Microsystems Corp. to up its bid.

Monday, February 21

Aluminum Products Maker Kaiser Tops Expectations With Results

Foothill Ranch-based aluminum products maker Kaiser Aluminum Corp. on Monday reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that beat Wall Street expectations.

BP Partners Reliance in $7.2 Billion Indian Oil Hunt

BP lined up one of the biggest foreign direct investments in India to date with a $7.2 billion tie-up with the country's Reliance Industries to explore for deepwater oil and gas.

Diageo Raises Its Spirits With Turkish Deal

Diageo PLC, the world's biggest spirits maker, agreed to buy raki spirits maker Mey Icki for $2.1 billion in cash to give it access to the fast-growing Turkish market. CEO Resigns After Jump in Fraudulent Sales has replaced its chief executive and chief operating officer after a noticeable increase in fraudulent transactions at the Chinese e-commerce firm's website.

Sunday, February 20

My Desk - Blizzard’s Mike Morhaime

A look at Blizzard chief Mike Morhaime’s office, in My Desk

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Grit Park


Jerry Sullivan sees the potential for Irvine’s Great Park


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

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Low-Rise Office Market Makes Fundamental Gains

The county’s low-rise office market has seen a string of deals recently

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Empty Nesters Selling Laguna Beach’s Hershey Estate

Home Was Getaway for Chocolate Family in ’20s

Laguna Beach’s Hershey Estate is up for sale, in Luxury Homes

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Turner’s Turn: From Development to Management

New Name Reflects Shift; ‘More Deals Than Dollars’

Turner Real Estate Investments has a new name and focus, in Real Estate

Blogger: Dendreon Has Challenges, Upside Potential

Biotech With Seal Beach Plant Reports on March 1

Biotech company Dendreon’s cancer drugs have potential, in Healthcare

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Hurley Makes Patented Boardshorts a Marketing Focus

Company Does Print, Store Ads, Scannable Barcodes

Hurley International is marketing a pair of patented boardshorts, in Media and Marketing

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GPS Software Maker Buys Rival, Boosts Customers

Acquisition is Second for Telogis in Recent Months

Aliso Viejo’s Telogis picked up a New Jersey-based rival, in Technology


Stories in this week’s Orange County Business Journal

Business Loans Start to Flow

A look at banks and thrifts with operations here

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Drug Maker Ups Sales View

HEALTHCARE: Spectrum sees big gain, driven by key drugs

Spectrum Pharmaceuticals raised its sales forecast for the fourth quarter

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Irvine Company Details Next Irvine Homebuilding Project

REAL ESTATE: Sales set to start in spring; $600K to $1M

Irvine Company plans to start building homes near Laguna Canyon soon

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Deal for Self-Storage, Open Parcel in Ladera

REAL ESTATE: Strategic offers $20.9 million as part of ramp-up

Strategic Storage Trust is buying a facility near its Ladera Ranch headquarters

Masimo Renews Expiring Covidien Royalty Pact

HEALTHCARE: Deal avoids more litigation, locks in revenue

Irvine’s Masimo renewed a royalty settlement with a longtime rival

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Wilson Bets Against Toyota ‘Tsunami;’ Bill Gross Does Pebble

OC INSIDER Column by Rick Reiff

Mazzo: Product Push for Abbott Medical

HEALTHCARE: 20 launches by 2014; expansion into eye drugs?

Eye products maker Abbott Medical Optics is readying a product push

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City Ventures Has Amassed 3,500 Lots for Homebuilding

Santa Ana’s City Ventures is one of the busiest homebuilders in the county

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Yard House Looks to Expand

RESTAURANTS: Chain fought through downturn, ready to grow

Yard House is planning an expansion into Northern California and other states

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New Solid State Players Hit STEC Profits

TECHNOLOGY: Margin down as Western Dig, others get in

STEC is seeing more competition in the solid state drive market

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Anaheim Plastics Maker Starts Inland Plant, First Outside OC

MANUFACTURING: Brewer still has Anaheim, Irvine sites

Anaheim plastics maker C. Brewer is opening a plant in San Bernardino County

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Spectrum Office Building Up for Sale as FDIC Sets Exit Date

REAL ESTATE: Deal close, feds to end nearby lease in year

Yard House’s Irvine Spectrum headquarters building is rumored to be up for sale

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Smaller Banks Don’t Count on Cut in FDIC Premiums

FINANCE: Shift aims to give relief; doubters say feds off on estimates of future losses

The FDIC is set to close its Irvine office, signaling a recovering economy

Allergan’s Lap-Band OK’d for Wider Use

The FDA has approved Allergan’s Lap-Band for more patients

Stradling Brings on IP Shareholder, Planning More Laterals, New Hires

LAW: Firm looking to bring on more hires, grow in other areas

Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth made hires with more plans to expand

Howrey Sees Irvine Lawyers Dwindle

The Irvine office of Howrey has lost most of its lawyers in recent months

Quest Acquisition Part of Larger Focus on Network Security

TECHNOLOGY: Four recent buys, investments, partnerships

Quest Software has been on a buying spree in the past year

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Blizzard Turns 20, Enters New Era

TECHNOLOGY: New titles in works; playing key role as Activision retools

Blizzard kicked off its 20th anniversary with banners, parties and special awards

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Local Deposit Gains Moderate for Banks, Way Up for S&Ls

BofA holds off Wells for lead; OneWest top thrift

ABOUT THE LIST: The county’s 30 largest commercial banks saw deposits rise modestly through June while the local field of savings and loans made big gains through acquisitions and internal growth. Includes the 2011 OC's LARGEST COMMERCIAL BANKS and LARGEST SAVINGS & LOANS lists for download (pdf)

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Q&A: Gauging Growth

Banking executives talk about how they plan to get new business this year

TARP Scorecard

A look at local banks that participated in the federal bail-out

Friday, February 18

Sports Shoe Maker American Sporting Goods Acquired for $145M

Aliso Viejo-based sports shoe company American Sporting Goods Corp. has been acquired for $145 million by Brown Shoe Co. of St. Louis.

China Rejects Key G20 Imbalance Indicators

China rejected plans to use real exchange rates and currency reserves to measures global economic imbalances, casting doubt on the ability of Group of 20 major economic powers to reach an agreement at a meeting on Friday.

China Raises Bank Reserves to Record in Inflation Fight

China raised required reserves to a record 19.5%, adding to an increasingly aggressive effort by Beijing to stamp out stubbornly high inflation.

Campbell Soup Cuts '11 Forecast Again

Campbell Soup Co. cut its full-year forecast for the second time in three months, hurt by another winter of weak U.S. soup sales, and its shares fell 3.3% in premarket trade.

Acquisitions Fuel Sales Gain for Billabong USA

Acquisitions by Irvine-based clothing maker and retailer Billabong USA helped drive higher revenue for its Australian parent for the six months through December.

Thursday, February 17

Sunstone Hotel Reports Improved Results

Aliso Viejo-based hotel owner Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. reported fourth-quarter results that beat Wall Street’s expectations.

Ensign Shares Jump on Quarterly Results

Mission Viejo nursing home operator Ensign Group Inc. saw its shares rise a day after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ projections and issuing a forecast that topped what Wall Street had been expecting.

Regulators OK Allergan's Lap-Band for Wider Use

Regulators have approved Irvine-based Allergan Inc.’s Lap-Band weight-loss device for more patients.

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Wednesday, February 16

Irvine Co. Opening Laguna Altura Homes Project in Spring

Newport Beach’s Irvine Company plans to open a housing development in south Irvine near Laguna Canyon this spring.

Sanofi to Buy Genzyme For Over $20 Billion

French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis SA agreed to buy Genzyme Corp. with a sweetened $20.1 billion cash offer, plus payments tied to the success of the U.S. biotech group's drugs, the companies said.

Dell Shares Jump on Strong Profit, Solid Margins

Shares of Dell Inc. jumped 11%, a day after the world's no. 2 personal computer maker reported strong quarterly profits, allaying the fears of sustainability of its margins.

Borders Files For Bankruptcy, to Close 200 Stores

Borders Group Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection and said it would close about one-third of its bookstores, after years of shriveling sales that made it impossible to manage its crushing debt load.

Tuesday, February 15

Spectrum Forecasts Big Revenue Jump, Shares Rise

Irvine drug maker Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Tuesday it expects fourth-quarter revenue to come in at nearly twice as much as analysts had been expecting.

Home Prices Inch Up $5,000 in January

The median price paid for an Orange County home was $415,000 in January, a $5,000 or 1.2% increase from the prior month, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick.

Deutsche Boerse Unveils NYSE Mega-Exchange Deal

Deutsche Boerse will take over NYSE Euronext to create the world's largest exchange operator in a deal that dodges key questions that could yet threaten its completion.

Retail Sales Slow, Business Inventories Up

Sales at U.S. retailers slowed in January as extreme weather in large parts of the country kept some shoppers at home, but the underlying improving trend in spending remained intact.

Euro Zone Growth Stable, Below Forecasts

The euro zone economy ended last year with stable growth, failing to meet expectations for an acceleration as expansion in the three largest nations fell short of forecasts and Greece and Portugal contracted.

Deals Spur Grubb & Ellis Revenue; Losses Persist

Santa Ana-based real estate brokerage and investor Grubb & Ellis Co. reported higher fourth-quarter revenue as it handled more deals, though profits proved more elusive.

Monday, February 14

STEC's Results Top Expectations, Investors Focus on Competition

Shares of Santa Ana’s STEC Inc., a maker of flash memory drives for corporate data networks, slumped Monday, despite a better than expected outlook for the current quarter.

Sunstone Names CFO

Aliso Viejo-based Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. on Monday appointed a former hotel industry analyst to be its chief financial officer.

FDIC Closing Irvine Office Next Year

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. will be shuttering its office in the Irvine Spectrum early next year, in what it says is a reflection of improving health in the banking industry.

Obama Budget Attacks Deficit, Sets Up Fight

President Barack Obama proposed halving the U.S. deficit by 2013 and cutting $1.1 trillion over the next decade in a budget he called a "downpayment" on fiscal control.

U.S. Lawsuits Against China Companies Face Hurdles

As more Chinese companies trade on U.S. stock exchanges, investors are increasingly suing them for securities fraud in U.S. courts -- and slamming into a host of legal and bureaucratic barriers.

Banks Face Ratings Downgrade in Moody's Review

Some banks' credit ratings will be cut as governments make it easier to wind up failing lenders and force debtholders to pay for rescues, rating agency Moody's said.

Quest Acquires Security Software Company

Aliso Viejo-based business software maker Quest Software Inc. on Monday said it purchased Morrisville, N.C.-based e-DMZ Security LLC, a privately held maker of security software for corporate networks.

Sunday, February 13

Taco Bell Takes Beefy Beef to Court of Public Opinion

Company Takes Out Ads Firing Back at Lawsuit

Taco Bell has gone on the defensive about its beef, in Media and Marketing

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Western Dig’s HQ: Back to the Future

TECHNOLOGY: Drive maker’s settling into Irvine’s Park Place

Western Digital was thrifty in its design of a new headquarters

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Cool Factor

Riders Bring Cachet to Apparel Companies

Sponsoring fresh athletes is part of the game for action sports companies.

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Beckman Likely To Retain Iconic Name

HEALTHCARE: Buyer Danaher has history of taking a light hand

Beckman Coulter buyer Danaher likely will rule with a light hand

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Previous Chief Part of Rival Bid for Conexant

A rival bid for Conexant is being headed by the company’s former leader

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UCI Prof Teaches Live from Cairo; SCR’s Next Act

OC INSIDER Column by Rick Reiff

Jacobs’ Office to Irvine in Michelson Deal

REAL ESTATE: Move from Santa Ana; occupancy at 80%

One of the county’s largest engineering companies is moving to Irvine

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SunCal Plans to Fight 5,000-Acre Auction

REAL ESTATE: Bids due next month; $45M minimum seen

Three of SunCal’s housing developments could be on the auction block soon

Clothing Upstart Index Ink Eyeing Growth After Agenda Show Buzz

APPAREL: $3 million in sales projected this year; urban styles

Startup Index Ink is looking to grow after a strong Agenda trade show

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Report’s Perspective on Clean Tech Here: Small But Growing

Job gains during recession; government incentives key

A report shows the county’s clean tech industry is growing

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Condos Under Way in Santa Ana, Apartments in Tustin

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


Stories in this week’s Orange County Business Journal

Incipio Is Accessory to Verizon’s iPhone Sales Record

Phone Cases Seen Lifting Sales 300% for February

Incipio Technologies is profiting from soaring iPhone sales at Verizon, in Technology

EVENTS - Action Sports Awards

Scenes from business, social, charity and other events.

Surf Industry Manufacturers Association Image Awards, in pictures.

Investors Put $43 Million in Medical Device Startups

Glaukos Raises $29.5M, $14 Million for VertiFlex

A couple of local device makers have raised nearly $45 million in funding, in Healthcare

Distressed Portfolio of Shuttered Mervyns Up for Sale

Four Local Buildings On Sales Block, Three Empty

A portfolio of former Mervyns buildings is up for sale, in Real Estate

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Rents Still Falling, Bottom Looks Near

The county’s high-rise office market still is seeing falling rents.

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

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Rebranding Tet


Jerry Sullivan sees a rebranding of Tet in Little Saigon

Hospitals’ Profits Up 10%

THE LIST: Hoag keeps top spot; Anaheim General recertified on Medicaid payments for elderly

ABOUT THE LIST: OC's largest hospitals combined for a healthy increase in pretax net income last year. Includes the 2011 OC's HOSPITALS list for download (pdf)

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Reaction to Reform

Hospitals Look to Boost Revenue, Relieve Emergency Rooms

Reduced reimbursements from insurers and increased competition have led a number of hospitals here to branch out as the effects of last year’s healthcare reform begin to settle in.

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State Healthcare Exchange on Back Burner in Budget Battle

GOVERNMENT: Full board pending legislature’s choices; private administrator possible

Groundwork continues on a public healthcare exchange aimed at getting coverage for more individuals and small businesses, but significant progress will have to wait until state officials decide on a plan to address the looming $25 billion budget deficit.

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Early Effects of Reform: Light So Far, Uncertainty on Future

REGULATION: Initial rules bring few changes on everyday basis; reimubursement cuts seen

The initial provisions of healthcare reform haven’t yet led to many major changes in everyday operations at local hospitals

411 on EMR

Update On Healthcare Industry Switch to Digital Records

Several OC hospital executives were asked how they’re progressing on electronic medical records, and the role government incentives have played in the process. Here is an edited version of their answers.

Consultant Morgan Drexen Moving to Costa Mesa

FINANCE: Company works with law firms on consumer debt

Irvine Company has landed its first new tenant at Pacific Arts Plaza

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Friday, February 11

Rockwell Collins Closing Irvine Plant

Aviation electronics maker Rockwell Collins Inc. plans to lay off 140 workers by summer at an Irvine plant.

Egypt's Mubarak Steps Down

Hosni Mubarak stepped down as Egypt's president on Friday, handing over to the army and ending three decades of autocratic rule, bowing to escalating pressure from the military and protesters demanding that he go.

Report: Kingston's $3M Investment in Taiwanese Chipmaker Confirmed

Fountain Valley’s Kingston Technology Co., the top maker of memory products for computers, on Friday was confirmed to have made a roughly $3 million investment in Taiwanese chipmaker JMicron Technology Corp., according to reports.

Trade Gap Widens in Dec., Swells 33% in 2010

The trade deficit widened in December to its highest level in four months, the government said on Friday in a report that also showed the annual trade gap expanded nearly 33% in 2010 as imports from China hit record levels.

Long Road Ahead for Obama Housing Overhaul Plan

The Obama administration nailed a "condemned" sign on the wrecked housing finance system on Friday, but did not offer a clear blueprint for a rebuilding project that could go on for years.

Former SenoRx CEO Gets New Job

John Buhler, a former chief executive of SenoRx Inc., which was based in Irvine, is the new president and chief operating officer of Natus Medical Inc., a Bay Area device maker.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Resigns

Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down as president of Egypt as thousands of Egyptians flooded the streets of Cairo.

Thursday, February 10

CoreLogic CFO Steps Down

CoreLogic Inc. Chief Financial Officer Anthony “Buddy” Piszel has resigned from the Santa Ana-based mortgage and data services company amid legal issues from his prior job.

Ingram CEO Gives Muted Q1 Outlook, Investors Shrug

Santa Ana-based Ingram Micro Inc., the biggest distributor of computers, software and other technology products, on Thursday gave a muted outlook for the current quarter.

Circuit Board Maker TTM Technologies Slumps on Outlook

Shares of Santa Ana-based TTM Technologies Inc., a maker of printed circuit boards for networking gear and consumer electronics, slumped on Thursday after the company gave a lukewarm outlook for the current quarter.

El Pollo Names Ad Agency

Costa Mesa-based El Pollo Loco Inc. has hired a Hollywood company to be its advertising agency of record.

Cisco Falls Nearly 13% as Outlook Shocks Again

Cisco Systems Inc.'s shares fell nearly 13% in early trade, after a weak outlook and eroding margins stoked fears its growth was being stunted by increasing competition and falling public sector spending.

Jobless Claims At Two-And-a-Half-Year Low

New U.S. claims for jobless benefits dropped to a two-and-a-half-year low last week, pointing to a firming undertone in the labor market as the economic recovery gathers momentum.

Verizon IPhone Launch Greeted by Small Crowds

Thin crowds greeted Verizon Wireless' launch of Apple Inc.'s iPhone, falling short of what some had expected.

Wednesday, February 9

Epicor Gives Tepid Outlook, Q4 Results Miss Expectations

Shares of Irvine-based business software maker Epicor Software Corp. fell on Wednesday after the company gave an outlook for the current quarter that failed to woo investors.

NYSE, Deutsche Boerse in Advanced Merger Talks

Germany's Deutsche Boerse is in advanced talks to buy NYSE Euronext, and the London Stock Exchange has agreed to buy Canadian stock market operator TMX, as exchanges globally look for ways to boost their markets and cut costs.

JPMorgan Fires Back in $6.4 Billion Madoff Lawsuit

JPMorgan Chase & Co. accused the trustee seeking $6.4 billion for victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme of doing an end run around the law in pursuing his case, and said it has a right to a jury trial.

Smith Micro Plummets on Outlook, Slowing Orders

Shares of Aliso Viejo’s Smith Micro Software Inc., a maker of connection management software for mobile devices, plummeted Wednesday after the company lowered its sales outlook for the current quarter, citing a sudden drop off in orders and a slower roll out of next-generation wireless networks.

Coca-Cola Sales Beat Estimates as it Gains Share

Coca-Cola Co. reported higher-than-expected quarterly sales, as it gained market share and also saw growth in each of its major markets for the first time in years.

Court Denies Edwards Bid To Block Medtronic Valve Launch

Irvine heart valve maker Edwards Lifesciences Corp. said its request to stop production of a valve from rival Medtronic Inc. was denied by a federal judge.

Tuesday, February 8

Sun Healthcare Shares Rise on News of Rival’s Deal

Sun Healthcare Group Inc., an Irvine nursing home operator, saw its shares rise on news of a competitor buying another company.

Chipmaker Conexant Soars on Rival Buyout Offer

Shares of Newport Beach-based Conexant Systems Inc. soared on Tuesday to reflect a rival buyout bid by San Francisco’s Golden Gate Private Equity Inc.

Hedge Fund Managers Face Insider Trading Charges

Three hedge fund managers, including the head of an $80 million fund raided by federal agents in November, and an analyst will be charged with insider trading, U.S. prosecutors and people familiar with the matter said.

China Raises Rates to Battle Stubbornly High Inflation

China raised interest rates for the second time in just over six weeks, intensifying a battle in the fast-expanding economy against stubbornly high inflation that threatens to unsettle global markets.

Job Openings Dip in December, But Layoffs Decline

U.S. job openings slipped in December, a government report showed, but a decline in layoffs supported views of a gradual labor market recovery.

Monday, February 7

Bids on Freedom Communications Expected Within Weeks

Bids for all or parts of Irvine-based Freedom Communications Inc. could come as soon as the next few weeks, with a single deal or several expected to follow quickly.

Irvine's Kofax Reports Higher Profit; Bullish Sales Outlook

Irvine software maker Kofax PLC doubled profits for the six months through December and sees sales rising 14% in the first half of the year.

Drug Maker Questcor Shares Drop Over Product Concerns

Shares of Anaheim-based Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc. were down in Monday trading after a published report raised concerns over sales of its lead drug.

Blizzard Sets Date for Local Fanfest

Irvine’s Blizzard Entertainment Inc. got a jump on things this year and announced on Monday the dates of its annual fan convention, which attracts nearly 30,000 people to Anaheim.

Oil Driller Ensco to Buy Pride For $7.3 Billion

Ensco PLC will buy its rival Pride International Inc. for about $7.3 billion in a deal that would create the world's second-largest offshore oil and gas driller, according to the companies.

AOL To Buy The Huffington Post For $315 Million

AOL Inc. will buy Arianna Huffington's influential website for $315 million, looking to the high-profile liberal pundit to rescue it from the dustbin of Internet history.

Deposit Insurance Costs Climbing For Big Banks

Mega-banks will have to pay more for U.S. deposit insurance under a new regulation set for final approval on Monday as the government advances a boatload of financial oversight changes.

Danaher Buying Beckman for $6.8 Billion

Brea-based medical instruments maker Beckman Coulter Inc. is being acquired for $6.8 billion—or about 33% more than what the company was worth on Friday—by Danaher Corp. of Washington, D.C.

Sunday, February 6

Quest Software Invests in Network Security Startup

TECHNOLOGY: Quest did thorough due diligence; buyout?

Quest Software has taken a stake in Irvine’s SecureAuth

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Revenue Up, Jobs Down at Environmental Consultants

THE LIST: Billings back from doldrums; some consolidation

ABOUT THE LIST: The county’s largest environmental consultants saw an uptick in billings last year. Includes the 2011 OC's LARGEST ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANTS list for download (pdf)

Pimco: More Control, Still in Allianz Fold

FINANCE: Exec: recent moves no indicator of pending split

Pimco is gaining more autonomy from its parent company

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Diagnostic Company Expands in Spectrum

REAL ESTATE: Bio-Rad adding space; Beckman Coulter rival

Bio-Rad Laboratories expanded its office and laboratory space in Irvine

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“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Costa Mesa’s South Coast Repertory, through Feb. 20

A review of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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Technology: Secret Ingredient for Nonprofits


Shelley Hoss thinks information technology is the key to success for nonprofits


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

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Cautious Optimism in L.A.: Ports Pick Up, Growth in Office Jobs Seen

L.A. County is seeing an increase in activity at its ports.

Australia’s Dexus Spends $40 Million on SoCal Deals

Folds in Local Company, Has $60M More to Spend

Dexus Property Group has spent $40 million on Southern California deals, in Real Estate

UCI’s Healthcare Forecast to Gauge Future of Reform

Business, med schools seek outlook on effects, changes

UCI’s annual Health Care Forecast Conference will focus on recent legislation, in Healthcare

Super Bowl Caps Two-Week Pushes for Hyundai, Kia

Suzuki Took Out Its First Big Game Spot for Kizashi

Hyundai and Kia got a head start in Super Bowl advertising, in Media and Marketing

Wedding Dress Maven Cole Adds de la Renta Exclusive

Label Joins Wang, Lhuillier Custom Accessories at Shop

Erin Cole bridal shop exclusively sells a number of designer dresses, in Marketplace

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Acacia Patent Licensing Shifts to Texas, HQ Still Here

Broadcom Engineer Wins Thurlow;’s Deal

Acacia Research is moving its patent licensing unit to Texas, in Technology

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Stories in this week’s Orange County Business Journal

Fifi Plays Cupid With Valentine’s Dining Suggestions

15 Fifi Chao gives top picks for Valentine’s Day

HQ Lease Deal for Jack’s in Surf City

RETAIL: 52,000 square feet; discount store potential seen

Jack’s Surf & Sport’s new lease doubles its HQ space in Huntington Beach

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Law Firm Dorsey Takes Top Floors at Plaza Tower

REAL ESTATE: Firm strikes long-term lease for 30,000 sq. ft.

Dorsey & Whitney has leased the top two floors at a distinctive building

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Del Taco Expands Headquarters, Adds Test Kitchen

DINING: Chain plans push in new markets after refinancing

Del Taco has renewed its headquarters lease in Lake Forest

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Smith Micro’s Shares Fall Back to Reality on 4G Concerns

TECHNOLOGY: Long rollouts dim outlook; hot-spot boost?

4G’s bumpy path for Smith Micro

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$55 Million for Apartments in Tustin, Lake Forest

REAL ESTATE: One of largest recent sales includes older units

Three local apartment complexes sold for $55 million

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Argyros Cables in Wikileaks Disclosures; Koontz for Moorlach

OC INSIDER Column by Rick Reiff

Memory Products Maker Viking Retools, Diversifies

TECHNOLOGY: Battling STEC on solid state drives

Viking Modular Solutions is looking to diversify

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Allergan Readies for Lap-Band Expansion

HEALTHCARE: Device could see more patient eligibility

Allergan is looking to get FDA approval to sell its Lap-Band to more people

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Art Empire

Wyland’s Work Funds Charity, Conservation

A look at marine life artist Wyland’s business empire

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Friday, February 4

Billabong, Rvca, Others Honored at SIMA Awards

More than 650 apparel companies, retailers and others in the action sports clothing industry gathered Thursday night for the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association's annual Image Awards.

Quest Continues To Slide on Mixed Results

Shares of Aliso Viejo’s Quest Software Inc., a maker of business software, continued their bearish slide on Friday, a day after the company gave mixed fourth quarter results.

Payrolls Barely Grow, But Jobless Rate Plummets

U.S. employment rose by a meager 36,000 jobs in January, far less than expected, as severe snow storms slammed large parts of the nation, but the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since April 2009.

Verizon Halts IPhone Sales After Best "First Day"

Verizon Wireless ended online sales of Apple Inc.'s iPhone evening after what it said was "the most successful first day sales in the history of the company."

Aetna Announces Big Dividend, Profit Jumps 30%

Shares of Aetna Inc. shot up 11% in early trading after the health insurer announced a significantly higher dividend payment for shareholders and predicted its 2011 profit will be much bigger than what Wall Street expects.

Local Super Bowl Advertisers: Hyundai, Kia, Taco Bell; Where's Vizio?

Automakers with operations here are set to lead a contingent of Orange County advertisers during Sunday’s Super Bowl, while other locals are sitting out the big game.

Thursday, February 3

Eye Device Maker Glaukos Raises $29.5M

Glaukos Corp., an eye device startup in Laguna Hills, said Thursday that it has raised $29.5 million in a fifth round of venture capital funding, according to a report on Thousand Oaks-based news site Makes "Social Shopping" Buy

Aliso Viejo-based Inc., an online retailer, said Thursday it agreed to buy Maryland-based DecisionStep Inc. for undisclosed terms.

Wall Street Rally Fading as Egypt Concerns Mount

Wall Street tumbled as concerns over increasing disorder in Egypt and signs of exhaustion in the recent market rally weighed on investor sentiment.

Retailers Beat Estimates, Snow in January

Major U.S. retailers shrugged off the snowiest January in six years to post sales that blew past analysts' estimates, easing concerns that consumers were all spent out after the holidays.

Economic Data Points to Strong Growth Momentum

Growth in the U.S. services sector in January was the fastest in more than five years, another sign the economy started the new year on a solid footing, with measures of employment showing some strength.

Wet Seal Sees Big Jump in Jan. Sales, Ups Profit Outlook

Foothill Ranch-based mall clothing retailer Wet Seal Inc. reported a better than expected surge in January sales and upped its profit outlook for the recently ended quarter.

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Wednesday, February 2

Edwards Profit Tops Expectations

Irvine replacement heart valve maker Edwards Lifesciences Corp. on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter results that surpassed Wall Street’s expectations.

Standard Pacific Sees Loss After Big Charge

Irvine-based homebuilder Standard Pacific Corp. reported a fourth-quarter profit after a big charge stemming from a reworking of its debt.

Apria Healthcare Buys Home Health Business

Apria Healthcare Group Inc., a Lake Forest-based home healthcare provider, said Wednesday that it bought the assets of Praxair Healthcare Services Inc.’s home healthcare services division.

Allergan’s Profit Misses Expectations, Issues Cautious Forecast

Allergan Inc., the Irvine-based maker of Botox and other drugs, on Wednesday reported mixed fourth-quarter results and issued a cautious outlook for 2011.

Private Sector Jobs Gains Beat Forecasts

Private employers added more jobs than expected in January, the 12th consecutive month that companies took on staff, adding to hopes that the weak American labor market is slowly improving.

Time Warner Revenue, Profit Up on Cable Ad Sales

Time Warner Inc.'s fourth-quarter profit and revenue beat Wall Street expectations, thanks to a 21 percent jump in cable advertising sales from programs like Conan O'Brien's late night talk show.

U.S. Probes BP for Gas Market Manipulation

BP said regulators were considering filing charges against it related to alleged manipulation of the gas market.

Tuesday, February 1

Automakers See January Gains

Cypress-based Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. led the January sales gain for automakers with operations here.

Broadcom Results Top Expectations, But Shares Sag: Focus on Margins?

Shares of Irvine-based chipmaker Broadcom Corp. slumped Tuesday as investors looked past fourth-quarter results that topped expectations and an in-line forecast for the current quarter and seemed to seize instead upon a slip in profit margins.

Manufacturing Powers Ahead in January

The U.S. manufacturing sector grew at its fastest pace in nearly seven years in January, and signs of inflation jumped more than expected in the latest sign the economic recovery is gaining traction.

GM January sales up 22%

General Motors Co. posted a 22% rise in sales for January, outperforming expectations for the market as a whole on gains in demand for its pickup trucks.

New Pfizer CEO Slashes R&D to Save 2012 Profit View

Pfizer Inc., the world's largest drugmaker, is shrinking its operations to deliver on its profit forecast for 2012 -- the first full year its $10 billion Lipitor cholesterol drug faces cheaper U.S. generics.

Regulators Give Pacific Mercantile Bank More Time

The parent of Costa Mesa’s Pacific Mercantile Bank, the largest homegrown bank in the county by assets, said it wasn’t able to meet terms of an August deal with regulators as scheduled but is being given more time to do so.

Corinthian Rises on Outlook; Cutting Jobs, Raising Tuition

Shares of Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges Inc. rose Tuesday after the company said profits and revenue for the current quarter could come in better than expected as the company cuts jobs and raises fees at its vocational schools.