Stories for December 2015

Wednesday, December 30

Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 was down 0.3% in midday trading to 2,072.13.

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Squar Milner Buys in LA, SD

Squar Milner LLP is buying Solomon, Winnett & Rosenfield in Los Angeles and McLean, Rotherham & Co. in San Diego and plans to bring the accounting firms under Squar Milner’s name with headquarters in Newport Beach.

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Tuesday, December 29

Disney Area Hotel Seeks 180 Rooms

Owners of the 86-room Park Vue Inn envision more rooms and smaller restaurants as part of a redevelopment, according to documents filed this month with the city of Anaheim.

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Midday Stock Roundup

Stock indices were higher in midday trading as an economic index of consumer confidence rose 4% in December compared with the prior month and a gauge of home prices rose about 5% year-over-year in October.

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JWA 2015 Numbers Keep Rising

John Wayne Airport processed nearly 877,000 passengers in November, a year-over-year increase of more than 100,000, or 14%.

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Monday, December 28

Apparel Maker Takes Equity Stake

La Jolla Group LLC in Irvine acquired an equity stake in Laguna Beach-based apparel maker Roark Revival for an undisclosed amount.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 was down 0.59% in midday trading to 2,048.87.

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Wednesday, December 23

Kaiser Aluminum Puts $150M to CapEx

Kaiser Aluminum Corp in Foothill Ranch said it will spend $150 million on equipment upgrades at its Spokane, Wash. facility over the next five years.

Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 up 1% in midday trading to 2,059.43.

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Tuesday, December 22

REIT Buys Again in Colorado

Steadfast Apartment REIT, an affiliate of Irvine-based Steadfast Cos., has acquired a 222-unit apartment complex in Colorado for $44.2 million.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 was up 0.7% in midday trading to 2,035.42.

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Monday, December 21

Opus Joins S&P Indices

Opus Bank in Irvine was added to Standard & Poor’s Regional Banks Select Industry and Total Market indices on Dec. 18.

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Retiring Longtime Mazda Exec Replaced

Mazda North American Operations in Irvine appointed Masahiro Moro its new president and chief executive to replace Jim O’Sullivan, who will retire from the company on Jan. 1.

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Mall Manager Changes With Sale

Westfield MainPlace in Santa Ana will get new management as Sydney-based Westfield Corp. sold a majority stake in the mall to a partnership that includes USAA Real Estate Co. in San Antonio, Texas, Dallas-based Centennial Real Estate Co. and Montgomery Street Partners LLC in San Francisco.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 was up 0.6% in midday trading to 2,016.90.

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Sunstone Sheds NY Hotel for $540M

Aliso Viejo-based hotel investor and operator Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. said that it has sold its leasehold interest in New York City’s Doubletree Guest Suites Times Square for $540 million.

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Jacobs Buys Rail Specialist in Orange

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. in Pasadena has acquired Orange-based J.L. Patterson & Associates Inc. on undisclosed terms.

Microsemi Prepares for Expected Lift From PMC

TECHNOLOGY: Execs say breathes life into storage efforts

Microsemi Corp. has wasted little time in initiating its game plan after buying chipmaker PMC-Sierra Inc. for $2.5 billion.

Lido Village Waterfront Office Bought for Redo

REAL ESTATE: Burnham pays $16.6M for Olen sites

Burnham USA is the latest developer looking to help revamp the Lido Village area of Newport Beach.

Expect Sparks to Go Sooner; Kelly’s Tour de Fleur

Tough to top the New Year’s plans of a couple of the best of the better halves around these parts.

Newport Dunes Land Could See Pair of Hotels Built

275 Rooms,‘Value-Oriented Accommodations’ Planned

Brighton Management LLC, an Irvine-based hotel developer and manager, is looking to double down on plans at the Newport Dunes marina property in Newport Beach.

Greater Airport Area Industrial Market Posts Solid Q3

The Greater Airport Area industrial real estate market performed well in the third quarter and is projected to finish out the year strong.

Real Estate Deals

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

Arrimus Multifamily Capital LLC sold Coast Apartments in Costa Mesa to the Cypress School District for $20.1 million, or about $308,000 per unit.

TTM Streamlines, Shifts Leadership in Year-End Move

Lays Off 80 More, Now Has 3 Main Business Lines

The nation’s largest printed circuit board maker will enter 2016 with a spate of new executives leading newly defined market segments.

Asics Pulls Sponsorship of Another Major Marathon

Shoe Brand Still Backs Dozens of Other Races

Asics America Corp. said its last sponsorship of the TCS NYC Marathon will be next year, ending a relationship that commenced 25 years ago with the inaugural race, which drew fewer than 100 people to New York’s Central Park and has grown into an event with more than 500,000 runners.

Deals Bolster Edwards’ Capacity on Mitral Valves

Harpoon Investment Follows CardiAQ, IP Acquisition

Edwards Lifesciences Corp.’s investment in Baltimore-based Harpoon Medical Inc.—announced this month, with an option to buy the startup—is the latest of several deals by the Irvine device maker over the past 12 months to bolster its portfolio of mitral heart valves.

OCBJ Calendar

Dec. 21-28, 2015

This week's business and other event listings.

More Luxury Homeowners Create Own Private Spas

Stereos, Steam, and Smart Big As 2016 Approaches

"Today’s master baths are becoming places to linger,” says award-winning interior designer Lisa Dunlevie of Dunlevie Interiors in San Juan Capistrano.


Other items of interest Orange County Business Journal Vol. 38, No. 51

Footwear manufacturer OluKai Inc. in Aliso Viejo acquired Newport Beach-based eyewear brand Kaenon for an undisclosed sum.


Retailers will likely continue to search for new ways to connect with their customer bases, providing services that add to the shopping experience at brick-and-mortar stores—touches such as valet parking, concierge or personal shopping services.

2016 Preview: HOSPITALITY

Look for continued strength in the hotel market here in 2016, with additional gains at the operating level bringing another brisk year for sales.

2016 Preview: TECHNOLOGY

Several uncertainties cloud the outlook for Orange County’s tech scene in the new year.

2016 Preview: HEALTHCARE

Hospital affiliations, after being overshadowed by large deals involving Allergan Inc., which was based in Irvine, are poised to come back as a major activity to watch as 2016 begins.

2016 Preview: REAL ESTATE

Expect to see a lot more construction cranes join the skyline this year.

2016 Preview: FINANCE

Orange County banks can expect to see local businesses take a more proactive approach to growth plans next year, according to Ted Tragos, a market manager with Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

PacSun Eyes HQ Sale to Raise Cash

REAL ESTATE: Company would lease back Anaheim property

Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. is exploring a sale of its Anaheim headquarters in an effort to raise cash.

Advantage Sees New Name as Solution

MARKETING: Change reflects turn toward digital as company nears $2B

Advantage Sales and Marketing LLC has outgrown its name.

2016 Preview: OC Poised to Set Pace

Orange County’s recovery has gone from the Great Recession to a moderate recovery and onto a leading place in Southern California’s return to economic health over the past year.

Paddling Along

MEDIA: Rumors of print’s demise have been exaggerated

The fate of the Orange County Register will likely begin to take shape early next year with the expected bankruptcy auction of Freedom Communications Inc., the daily newspaper’s Santa Ana-based parent.

Movies Part of Pacific Mercantile’s Move

Recast Puts Emphasis on Relationships, Convergence of Tech, Entertainment

Pacific Mercantile Bank is a different kind of bank as 2016 approaches.

Friday, December 18

Midday Stock Roundup

Major indices declined in midday trading on declines in transportation and utility stocks and continued low oil prices.

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County Unemployment Rate Down

Orange County’s unemployment rate dropped slightly in November, when several job sectors added positions in the runup to the holiday shopping season.

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Thursday, December 17

CoreLogic to Pay $475M for Appraisal Tech Co.

CoreLogic Inc. will buy FNC Inc. for $475 million.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 was down 0.7% in midday trading to 2,058.75.

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Kaiser to Launch Med School

Kaiser Permanente plans to open a medical school in Southern California.

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Habit Holders Cleared to Sell 14.5M Shares

About 50 shareholders in Irvine-based Habit Restaurants Inc. can sell up to 14.5 million shares in the burger chain for up to $23.42 at a total value of about $340 million, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange filing.

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Wednesday, December 16

Shoemaker Buys Eyewear Brand

Footwear manufacturer OluKai Inc. in Aliso Viejo acquired Newport Beach-based eyewear brand Kaenon for an undisclosed sum.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 was up 0.3% in midday trading to 2,049.11.

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PacMerc Names New Board Member

Industry veteran David Munio has been named to the board of Costa Mesa-based Pacific Mercantile Bancorp and Pacific Mercantile Bank.

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Tuesday, December 15

Skateboard Co. Buys SD Helmet Maker

Bravo Sports in Santa Fe Springs bought helmet manufacturer Pro-Tec from Dye Precision Inc., both in San Diego, on undisclosed terms.

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Midday Stock Roundup

Major indices rose in midday trading as oil prices rose.

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Ex-PIMCO Exec to Give $1.5M to UCI Business School

Kristen Monson has pledged to give $1.5 million to the University of California-Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business to help pay for a recently completed second building.

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Monday, December 14

Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 was down 0.2% to 2,008.51.

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Fire Destroys SCP Christmas Tree

An early morning blaze consumed a 96-foot Christmas tree at Town Center Park in Costa Mesa, just outside Westin South Coast Plaza.

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Tribune Yields on Freedom Financing

Tribune Publishing Co. withdrew its objection to Santa Ana-based Freedom Communications Inc.’s proposed debtor-in-possession financing deal with Silver Point Finance LLC, according to documents filed Friday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s Central District of California.

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New Flight Path for PacLife Aircraft Subsidiary

Tran Tapped as CEO; IPO Under Consideration

The new year will see Khanh Tran go from chief advocate for Aviation Capital Group to chief executive of the aircraft leasing company.

South OC Industrial Market Has Mixed Q3

The South Orange County industrial market had a mixed third quarter, with the research and development segment recording negative net absorption and the manufacturing and warehouse sector seeing positive net absorption.

Greenlaw, Stillwater Partner for 2nd San Gabriel Buy

JV With CrossHarbor Pays $35M for Lakes Offices

Two local investors have teamed up to buy a second office campus in the San Gabriel Valley.

FantasyAces Metrics Balloon as it Gains Traction

Grows, Untouched By Legal Troubles Rivals Face

The holding company of Aliso Viejo-based startup FantasyAces LLC posted big growth figures in several key metrics, according to some of its first regulatory filings as a public company.

2015 YEAR IN REVIEW: Technology

Blizzard Entertainment Inc. Chief Executive Morhaime led the Irvine-based video game maker into new segments and partnerships this year, proving our pick of him as one to watch over the course of this year hit the mark.

Stance Videos Depict ‘Wild’ Day in the Neighborhood

Play on Mister Rogers Points Up Underwear

Stance Inc. in San Clemente launched a series of videos to promote its inaugural collection of men’s underwear, “Wildly Comfortable, and Comfortably Wild.”

Real Estate Deals

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

Wells Fargo Bank sold a multitenant office building in Orange to Xchange Solutions Inc. for $3.3 million, or about $127 per square foot.

Griffin-American Purchase Builds in Growth Potential

REIT Completes Buy, Enters Senior Care Sector

Irvine-based Griffin-American Healthcare REIT III Inc. has completed its $1.1 billion buy of privately held Trilogy Health Investors LLC in Louisville, Ky.

OCBJ Calendar

Dec. 14-23, 2015

This week's business and other event listings.


Other items of interest Orange County Business Journal Vol. 38, No. 50

News reports said Foothill Ranch-based Oakley Inc. will eliminate more jobs following a 170-job trim earlier this year.


Los Angeles-based radio station KFI 640AM partnered with Anaheim White House restaurant owner Bruno Serato for the fifth consecutive year in a daylong radiothon to collect pasta, sauce and cash to help Serato’s charity, Caterina’s Club.

2015 YEAR IN REVIEW: Retail

Thomas had a busy year, to say the least. In the months after we pegged him as one to watch, he helped the Foothill Ranch-based Wet Seal emerge from bankruptcy in April with a pared-down lineup of 171 stores and under the ownership of Mador Lending LLC, an affiliate of Philadelphia-based private equity firm Versa Capital Management LLC.

2015 YEAR IN REVIEW: Restaurants

Trojan is chief executive of Huntington Beach-based BJ’s Restaurants Inc., a casual-dining chain that reported several quarters of results overlapping 2014 and 2015 that exceeded analyst expectations.

2015 YEAR IN REVIEW: Media & Marketing

We said Mirman was one to keep an eye on last year as he took on the challenge of getting Freedom Communications Inc. “back on a trajectory of growth.”

2015 YEAR IN REVIEW: Hospitality

Our tip to keep an eye on “YouTubers” in 2015 has paid off—the celebrities of online streaming video and the fans who watch them, as an increasing cohort of businesspeople turn that viewing relationship into an industry.

2015 YEAR IN REVIEW: Healthcare

We selected Mussallem—chief executive of Irvine-based Edwards Lifesciences Corp. and a dean of the OC device sector—as the person to watch for 2015 for a variety of reasons, including the heart valve maker’s ascension to become the largest publicly traded healthcare company based here.

2015 YEAR IN REVIEW: Finance

PIMCO last year named a battery of chief investment officers during internal turmoil and top executive changes that included the departure of co-founder Bill Gross.

2015 YEAR IN REVIEW: Real Estate

Development action at the Platinum Triangle in Anaheim moved into overdrive this year, despite lingering uncertainty over the area’s biggest tenant: the Angels baseball team.

Morgan to Exit Namesake Firm

MARKETING: PR vet sells building, strikes deal with staffer

Melinda Morgan Kartsonis’ last pitch was for her own agency, Morgan Marketing & Public Relations in Irvine.

Workout Equipment Maker Moves to New HQ

MANUFACTURING: Startup goes from Irvine to Lake Forest

Fitness equipment maker XFit Brands Inc. has relocated from Irvine to a 26,000-square-foot headquarters in Lake Forest.

Irvine’s Reputation Draws German Valve Maker

HEALTHCARE: JenaValve joins heart valve cluster here

Irvine’s reputation as a center for makers of transcatheter replacement heart valves has attracted a German company.

Oyler the Toiler; Dapper Doti; Trieu Enough

Sound out this apt email address for Tennyson Oyler, VP of brand management and public affairs for Pac Life:

Year of Gains, Deals for Nonbank Lenders

FINANCE: Smaller group of bigger firms claim ground on mortgages

The recent halt to a proposed initial public offering by loanDepot Inc. served as a check on a rally in the mortgage finance industry here.

2015 Year in Review

The general consensus taking shape holds that Orange County, the rest of California, and the U.S. are all in for another year of modest growth.

UCI’s Next 50-Year Plan: Bigger Future

Birthday Celebration in Books, New Ad Campaign to Raise Profile

It’s an alma mater to tens of thousands, a major research hub, and one of Orange County’s biggest employers.

Another Insurance Firm Places Bet on OC Office Market

REAL ESTATE: New York Life affiliate snaps up tower near airport

One of the buildings at the Von Karman Towers office complex near John Wayne Airport is the latest local property to be purchased by a large insurance company.

Friday, December 11

TTM Announces More Job Cuts

TTM Technologies Inc. today announced it will lay off 80 workers worldwide in a restructuring move, its second significant job-cutting initiative in less than three months.

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Midday Stock Roundup

Major indices declined in midday trading on a continued oil glut and Chinese currency concerns.

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Freedom Seeks OK on New Financing

Freedom Communications Inc. in Santa Ana is asking the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s Central District of California to allow it to accept $4.5 million in financing from Silver Point Finance LLC.

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Edwards Invests in Baltimore Startup

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. in Irvine has invested in Harpoon Medical Inc., a Baltimore-based start-up company developing a “minimally invasive” product to surgically repair mitral valves in the heart.

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Thursday, December 10

Kurion Acquires U.K. Robotics Maker

Irvine-based Kurion Inc. has acquired a U.K. company that specializes in robotics and remote systems for handling hazardous materials.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 was up 0.5% in midday trading to 2,058.55.

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PacMerc Replaces Retiring CEO

Pacific Mercantile Bancorp in Costa Mesa said commercial banking President Thomas Vertin will replace Chief Executive Steven Buster, effective Jan. 1, after Buster retires at year-end.

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Wednesday, December 9

Volcom Names CEO

Volcom LLC appointed Todd Hymel as its new chief executive, effective immediately.

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Chapman: OC Jobs to Grow 2.5% in 2016

Chapman University in Orange said Orange County employment in five key industry sectors remains “well below” prerecession levels and that payrolls will grow by 2.5% next year after finishing 2015 up 3.2%.

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Midday Stock Roundup

Major indices were down in midday trading as oil prices stayed low, bellwether company Costco missed on revenue and earnings, and Yahoo shelved a planned spinoff of its Alibaba holdings.

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Tuesday, December 8

Supervisors Award $102M Airport Contract

The Orange County Board of Supervisors awarded a $101.8 million contract to Swinerton Builders in Irvine for upgrades at John Wayne Airport.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 was down 0.6% in midday trading to 2,065.06

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PacLife’s Tran to ACG; IPO in Sights

Khanh Tran will move from president of Newport Beach-based Pacific Life Insurance Co. to chief executive of its Aviation Capital Group, effective Jan. 1, a shift that comes with a public spinoff of the commercial aircraft leasing company under consideration.

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PIMCO Forms Advisory Board

Pacific Investment Management Company in Newport Beach named five current and former international financial and political leaders to a new board to advise the investment manager.

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Monday, December 7

Midday Stock Roundup

Major indices were down on higher oil production, lower oil prices and a general energy sector sell-off.

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Lantronix Taps OC Tech Vet

Irvine-based Lantronix Inc. named Jeffrey Benck president and chief executive.

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Alphaeon Names Two Board Members

Irvine-based Alphaeon Corp. has named former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson and James Xiaodong Liu, chief executive of Hong Kong-based Sailing Capital Management to its board of directors.

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Nonprofits’ Income Up a Tad as Client Base Rises 9%

88 Biggest Serve More In OC, Up Volunteers 10%

Most of Orange County’s nonprofits should be pleased with the way 2015 turned out, based on the averages in the Business Journal’s annual list.

Dine in Holiday Style With the Best Seasonal Trimmings

Eateries Put as Much Time Into Decoration as Food

This is the time of year when all sorts of nostalgia takes over. We used to stop by and see the decorations at some of the upscale restaurants—there are now so many.

New Look for Old St. John Knits Site?

REAL ESTATE: LBA envisions offices, hotel, movie theater, retail

LBA Realty, the owner of much of the Park Place mixed-used campus in Irvine, is looking to build a companion project on a nearby parcel of land that would feature offices, a movie theater, a hotel, retail and other features.

All Enterprises Might Profit as Nonprofits Reinvent Sabbaticals

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” —Peter Drucker

Nonprofit Choreographs Future to Reach Kids Across US

Santa-Ana based nonprofit organization The Wooden Floor is taking a new approach to growth, recently licensing its unique curriculum to Washington, D.C.-based CityDance.

Changes to Lineup at Disneyland Resort

HOSPITALITY: New top execs for both parks, as well as hotels, retail

Disneyland Resort has recast its executive ranks, creating a senior vice president position as the lone report to President Michael Colglazier and bringing in two new faces from other parts of parent Walt Disney Co.

Irvine Company Drills Down on Drought

HQ Execs, Field Vets Join to Tap Best Practices, Top Sacramento Mandate

What does the biggest property owner in Orange County do when it gets hit with aggressive mandates from Sacramento to cut water usage?

Friday, December 4

Alphaeon Names Two Board Members

Irvine-based Alphaeon Corp. has named former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson and James Xiaodong Liu, chief executive of Hong Kong-based Sailing Capital Management to its board of directors.

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Midday Stock Roundup

Stock indices were higher in midday trading on a positive jobs report.

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Thursday, December 3

Midday Stock Roundup

Stock indices declined in midday trading as the European Central Bank moves to improve the economy in Europe fell short of investor expectations.

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OC Alzheimer’s Chapter Leaves National Group

The Orange County chapter of the Chicago-based Alzheimer’s Association has left the national group and changed its name to Alzheimer’s Orange County.

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Ex-Allergan President Tapped by DC Drug Developer

Chase Pharmaceuticals Corp. said that it has appointed Douglas Ingram, a former president of Allergan Inc., which was based in Irvine, as its chief executive.

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Wednesday, December 2

NB Investor Buys Resort in Desert Hot Springs

Newport Beach-based CCL Holdings, led by hotel investor David Chang, bought the Two Bunch Palms Resort & Spa in Desert Hot Springs.

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Tilly’s Reports Mixed Q3

Shares of Tilly’s Inc. were down about 2% in Thursday morning trading for a market cap of $172 million after the Irvine-based apparel, footwear and accessories retailer reported results yesterday that beat Wall Street expectation on sales in the October quarter but slipped on earnings.

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PacSun Reports Loss

Shares of Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. were down in midday trading as it reported a loss for its most recent quarter.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 was down 0.4% in midday trading to 2,094.93.

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Vanguard U. to Get $2.6M Grant

Vanguard University in Costa Mesa will receive $2.57 million over five years from the U.S. Department of Education to “strengthen and expand educational opportunities for Hispanic and low-income students.”

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Credit Unions Combine

Anaheim-based Credit Union of Southern California bought Fairview Employees Federal Credit Union in Costa Mesa on undisclosed terms.

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Tuesday, December 1

OC Automakers Beat U.S. Sales

All four Orange County-based automakers met or exceeded the national sales pace for new vehicles in November, according to New Jersey-based market researcher Autodata Corp.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 was up 0.6% in midday trading to 2,092.32.

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