Stories for September 2019

Monday, September 30

Kathmandu to Buy Rip Curl

Outdoor retailer Kathmandu Holdings Ltd. said Monday it plans to buy Australian surf brand Rip Curl Group Pty Ltd.

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Anaheim’s LT Platinum Center Site Sold

Hong Kong-based LT Commercial Real Estate Ltd. has quietly sold a nearly 14-acre parcel next to Angel Stadium, where an LA Live-type, mixed-used development was planned, the Business Journal has learned.

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Avanti Restaurant Solutions Names COO

Costa Mesa restaurant services provider Avanti Restaurant Solutions named Gary Coburn chief operating officer.

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Nordstrom Exec to Tilly’s Chief Merchant Post

Irvine retailer Tilly’s Inc. said Monday it hired Tricia D. Smith to be its head merchant.

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Chris Britt

Runs Britt Private Capital LLC … co-CEO, Ed St. Geme, runs Jupiter Holdings LLC … duo bought NorCal pizza chain 2017, moved it to NB Corporate Plaza digs … bought Juice It Up 2018 … Britt previously at Marwit Capital LLC … MMP 14th-largest OC-based chain; annual sales $156 million, 200 units; JIU $35M annual sales, 90 locations … MMP’s new president, COO a Yum Brands vet

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Allied Esports Gets New CFO

On the heels of its tapping of public markets, Irvine-based Allied Esports Entertainment, Inc. (Nasdaq: AESE) named Anthony Hung CFO, replacing Kenneth DeCubellis, effective Sept. 24.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 rose 0.7% in midday trading to 2,981.41. (continue reading)

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OC Executives Turn Up Optimism

ECONOMY: Most not seeing recession

Since California State University-Fullerton’s Orange County Business Expectations Survey reached an all-time high of 98.1 in the third quarter of 2018, local executives began adopting a less sanguine view of their own futures and the overall economy.

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Hezy Shaked

Born, raised in Israel; Navy captain … moved to U.S., sold clothes at swap meets … opened Los Alamitos store … cofounded Tilly’s 1984 with then-wife Tilly Levine … no vacation first seven years … 225 stores, 30 states; $550M market cap … first job: construction … first car: Chevy Impala … wants to meet Einstein, Churchill … backs Tilly’s Life Center, Pac Symphony, CHOC Children’s (see Tilly Levine, John Forsyte, Kim Cripe)

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Local Insurance Brokers Report 12% Increase in Sales

Epic, Marsh Risk, Burnham Lead Growth

Orange County’s largest insurance brokers as a group saw their revenue grow 12% last year, up from a 6.3% jump in 2017. The 23 biggest brokers with headquarters or significant operations here combined for more than $782 million worth of policies.


How to Drive Down Your Legal Costs Through Strategic Use of Liability Insurance

I have seen it many times with my clients in Orange County. Your company is sued and you are caught completely off guard by the lawsuit and have to scramble to respond within the various statutory deadlines.

Solar Firm Lands $210M Loan

Texas Solar Plant Could Support 30,000 Homes

Irvine-based solar energy company 174 Power Global Corp. is moving forward with a major project in western Texas.

Broker, Insurance in His Blood, Builds New Company

McIntosh Helps San Diego Agency Expand in OC

Tony McIntosh sells insurance, just like his brother, father, grandfather, and uncles. “I was born into insurance,” McIntosh told the Business Journal.

L Squared Eyes $60M For Defense, Aerospace M&A

Seeks to Consolidate Mission-Critical Cos.

L Squared Capital Partners of Newport Beach sees a consolidation opportunity in a corner of the defense and aerospace industry.

FivePoint Donates $1M to USC

Funds to Support Real Estate Faculty, Scholarships

Irvine-based FivePoint Holdings LLC (NYSE: FPH) has given $1 million to the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy to bolster support for real estate faculty and scholarships.

Avanir Ups Aliso Viejo Presence Again

Drugmaker’s Summit Deal Runs 112K SF

Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc., a drugmaker whose products focus on disorders of the central nervous system, is significantly upping the size of its footprint at its Aliso Viejo headquarters.

Unlocking Cancer Coverage

Lab Co-Op Tests Get Insurance OK

Genomic Testing Cooperative added insurance approval for two cancer tests, a move it said will cut medical costs and boost care.

Veritone Sees Upside In Microsoft Opportunities

Firm’s aiWARE Aids US Agencies on Azure

Veritone Inc. President Ryan Steelberg sees further opportunities for working with Microsoft, following an agreement to put the Costa Mesa company’s aiWARE artificial intelligence operating system on the computer giant’s Azure Government cloud platform.

Familiar Start, With Makani, Microdermics

Koa Accel didn’t have to look too far for one of its first investments. This year, it invested $550,000 in Makani Science, an Irvine-based developer of a wireless, wearable sensor designed to continuously monitor a patient’s breathing rate and pulmonary volumes during medical or dental procedures.

Innovators Honored at Business Journal Event

More than 400 Orange County businesspeople gathered on Sept. 25 to honor notable innovators within the local community at the Business Journal’s fifth annual Innovator of the Year Awards at Hotel Irvine.

Afin Makes $25M Couponing Deal

MARKETING: Buys iconic Entertainment book company

Marketing firm Afin Technologies Ltd., which started in the U.K. in 2013 and saw its founders and top two executives move to Newport Beach in 2016, this month snapped up coupon promotions firm Entertainment Publications LLC in a $25 million deal that’ll link two companies looking to make a go at next-gen couponing.

Medical Device Accelerator Unveiled

INNOVATION: K5, Edwards vets involved

Koa Accel, a recently unveiled accelerator for early-stage medical device startups, is betting on its experienced team to achieve success.

Costa Mesa Focus for Space Investment Partners

REAL ESTATE: Buyers see retail corridor ‘renaissance’

Space Investment Partners, an Irvine-based real estate investment firm backed by the former boss of STEC Inc. and the former local head of commercial brokerage HFF, is doubling down on its retail investments in Costa Mesa.

OCBJ Calendar

Sept. 30-Oct. 9, 20191

This week's business and other event listings.


Nearly 400 supporters of Laura’s House came together to celebrate its 25th anniversary on Sept. 7 at the Fashion Island Hotel in Newport Beach. The gala, themed “25 Years of Silver Linings,” netted $835,000 for services benefiting domestic violence victims, spanning residential shelter services, counseling and legal services, as well as prevention and community outreach programs.


Irvine-based GigX Inc., an online job directory that caters to professionals seeking part-time, long-term work at a variety of C-level positions, has launched.

Food Innovation, Streetwear in Downtown Santa Ana

Property Owner Talks Testing New Concepts

Santa Ana’s 4th Street continues to see traction, as the largest private property owner in the city’s downtown area remains aggressive about testing new concepts in the central business district.

Chronic Tacos To Lone Star State

Fast-Casual Chain On Growth Push

Aliso Viejo-based Chronic Tacos Mexican Grill continues to see growth, with a recent push into Texas following one in Asia.

OCADA Exec Director Positive on Auto Show

Consumer-Focused Event Continues to Be a Draw

“Well it’s going to be a horrible show,” the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association’s John A. Sackrison deadpanned.

Anaheim RV Park Eyed For Rental Project

6-Acre Site Sells For $26 Million

A 6-acre site in Anaheim that has long served as a family-run RV park has traded hands, with plans for new apartments in the works.

Friday, September 27

Stance Names New CEO

San Clemente-based Stance promoted cofounder John Wilson to chief executive.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P was down 0.6% in midday trading Friday to 2,959.

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Benefits Firm Bought

Atlanta-based OneDigital Health and Benefits bought Moore Benefits Inc. in Irvine on undisclosed terms.

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Chronic Tacos to Texas

Aliso Viejo-based Chronic Tacos entered Texas with a location in Montgomery.

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Avanir Up Two-Thirds in Aliso

Avanir Pharmaceuticals is adding 43,000 square feet to its 69,000 square feet of space in Aliso Viejo.

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Solar Co. Raises Temp to $210M

Irvine-based 174 Power Global Corp. said it closed $210 million in construction financing for a project near Odessa, Texas.

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An Art Building On the Rise

OC’s Museum of Art’s Next Showing: Groundbreaking

After a decade of planning and a few controversies, the Orange County Museum of Art is a step closer to getting a new home.

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Laura Khouri

Runs 25K units, 160+ rental properties, SoCal, Nev., Utah, for Western National Group (see Mike Hayde), others … joined 1985, president 2010 … Community work includes: Chapman U, Prentice School, JSerra, Laura’s House shelter

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Thursday, September 26

Trump Target CrowdStrike Stands Firm

CrowdStrike Holdings Inc. reiterated its findings regarding a 2016 computer hack of the Democratic National Committee; President Donald Trump had mentioned the company in a phone call with the leader of Ukraine.

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Midday Stock Round Up

Cypress-based KushCo Holdings (OTC: KSHB) fell 38%

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Before the Butcher Plants Meat Alternatives

FOOD: Aims for 3,000 stores by year’s end

Irvine’s Before the Butcher earlier this year became the first vegan brand to see its products hit the meat counter at the supermarket chain Bristol Farms.

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Robert Iritani

38 years in industry … top local rep … $1.4B deposits, up 9% in one year … 150+ workers, growing … emphasis on wealth management, OC—‘tremendous room to grow’ chief exec Russell Goldsmith said—aerospace, defense work, SoCal … CNB backs literacy, $1.5M since 2005 … Iritani: Colorado U grad … golfer, skier

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Wednesday, September 25

Vans Growth Tear Continues

The parent to Costa Mesa-based Vans Inc. has revised its revenue target for the skate shoe company as its aggressive growth streak continues.

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OC Innovators Honored

Orange County businesspeople gathered to honor notable innovators within the community at Hotel Irvine for the Business Journal’s fifth annual Innovator of the Year Awards Wednesday.

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Disneyland’s D’Amaro to Disney World

Josh D’Amaro will move from president of Disneyland Resort to president of Walt Disney World Resort.

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McClure Leaving Cylance

Stuart McClure, who co-founded Irvine-based security company Cylance in 2012, has decided to leave the firm following its purchase by BlackBerry Ltd., the Canadian company’s CEO said.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 rose 0.3% in midday trading to 2,976.05. (continue reading)

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Tuesday, September 24


Future Thinkers

This month’s passing of legendary oilman T. Boone Pickens is being felt locally.

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Ralph Opacic

Started 1987, 125 students, $190K budget … now $26M state funds, $8.5M private … third campus, Oceanside 2019 … acting, dance, voice, creative writing, design … third-best charter HS, Calif.; ninth U.S., 2018 … … from Annandale, Va. … roots for Redskins: ‘I would watch games with my father and brother; that was our team’ … first job: movie theater snack bar … former tenor soloist, Crystal Cathedral … bucket list: African safari

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LoanDepot Hires Tech-Focused CMO

Foothill Ranch-based loanDepot named David King its chief marketing officer, a new position.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 fell 0.7% to 2,970.78 during midday trading. (continue reading)

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CareTrust Buys Down the Road

San Clemente-based CareTrust REIT Inc. (Nasdaq: CTRE) bought Vista del Lago, a memory care facility in Escondido, for $12.6 million.

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Gorjana Retail Path Helps It Approach $100M

FASHION: Laguna jeweler at 11 stores and counting

Barneys New York Inc. is winding its way through Chapter 11 and rumors swirl of a restructuring at Forever 21 Inc.

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Travis Brasher

Launched with Travis Johnson, John Kruger, 2007 … golf apparel, expanded to tennis … Andy Roddick minority investment at one point … retailers have included golf—PGA Tour stores, Golfsmith, Roger Dunn—and high-end department stores—Nordstrom, self-branded stores at Fashion Island, La Jolla, Santa Monica … sold to Callaway Golf Co. in 2017, $126M, cash, debt

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Design Firm Adds Execs

Irvine-based workspace design firm PeopleSpace named Daniel Delaney its chief customer officer, joining Michelle Sample, chief marketing officer, as new C-Suite additions this year.

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Monday, September 23

Hotel Rates Up, Occupancy Down

Local hotels saw higher daily rates and revenue per available room on lower occupancy levels in July, CBRE Hotels said.

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Midday Stock Roundup

Major U.S. indexes rose 0.1% apiece during midday trading.

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OCTANe Sees Next Gen Growth in Irvine

INNOVATION: Group partners with FivePoint

OCTANe, best known for its role as a business accelerator for area technology and life science companies, is getting a new home and well-backed development partner to help with its stated goal of adding some 55,000 high-paying technology jobs to the region by 2030.

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OCCF Names First COO

Orange County Community Foundation named Tammy Tumbling its chief operating officer, a new position.

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Jim Jannard

Founded Oakley 1975, took public 1995, sold to Luxottica 2007; $2.1B … launched Red Digital 2005, handed reins to President Jarred Land, 2013 … now Hydrogen One … AT&T, Verizon to offer service on upcoming smartphone … multidimensional content sans headset … investor in A3D: ‘surround sound’ with no headphones for phone; Leia Inc: light-field tech for screen … holds 90 patents; Business Journal OC’s Wealthiest, OC 50

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HCP Paying Top Dollar for Boston Offices

$332M for Medical Buildings Near Harvard

Irvine-based real estate investment trust HCP Inc. (NYSE: HCP), which is Orange County’s fourth-most valuable public company with a $16 billion market valuation, has announced its largest acquisition of the past year, shelling out $332.5 million for a 224,000-square-foot life sciences building in Cambridge, Mass.

Moon Shot: Tyvak Part of Lunar Project

AEROSPACE: NASA funds $13.7M Capstone contract

Small-satellite developer Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems Inc. of Irvine will be playing a key part in a NASA-funded lunar-orbit project.

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MicroVention CEO Exits Amid Growth Push

DEVICES: Search for replacement underway

MicroVention Inc., Orange County’s sixth-largest medical device maker with about 1,150 local workers, has expansion plans in its hometown of Aliso Viejo, with a sizeable new lease recently signed just up the road from its 2-year-old headquarters, and close to 50 open jobs for its operations in the city.

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Eagle Four Kicks Off $80M Project

Sheraton Denver Hotel Getting Big Makeover

A joint venture including Newport Beach-based Eagle Four Partners is investing $80 million for a major renovation at one of its largest hotel properties: the Sheraton Denver Downtown.

Startups & Innovations

Seal Beach-based Cuddly Inc., a fundraising platform for animal organizations that likens itself to Amazon, GoFundMe, and WishGo all in one, recently announced its new pet adoption tracker product, created in collaboration with San Francisco-based globaliD Inc.

UCI Institute Gets $24M Grant

Wants to Turn Research Into Cures

An institute at University of California-Irvine has won a $24 million grant to “pursue better health for all.”

Cryoport in Deal To Better Track Products

Vineti to Provide Higher Visibility

Cryoport Inc., the fast-growing Irvine transporter of cryogenic biological material used in clinical trials, is teaming up with a San Francisco-based company co-founded by GE Ventures and the Mayo Clinic.

Evolus Wins Round Against Allergan

Tests Suggest Supplier Didn’t Copy Toxin

Newport Beach-based Evolus Inc., which is trying to compete with a new, cheaper version of Allergan’s Botox, has apparently won a significant round in a legal dispute in South Korea.

Americor Picks Idaho For Major Expansion

$20M Offices To Hold 500+ WorkersIrvine-based Americor Funding, a consumer debt relief company, is getting a new 75,000-square-foot office building built for it in Idaho; it will be the company’s firs

Irvine-based Americor Funding, a consumer debt relief company, is getting a new 75,000-square-foot office building built for it in Idaho; it will be the company’s first branch outside of California, and will nearly double its base of workers.

Mobile Tech Devices Boost Driving Risks

Online Shopping Common; CSUF Awareness Efforts

When it comes to using a mobile device behind the wheel, drivers in Orange County and nearby Los Angeles County take even more risks than the national average.

Kingston Presents Super-Secure USB Sticks

Encryption-Protected; Trade Show Display

With governments tightening up on data privacy requirements, Fountain Valley-based Kingston Technology Corp., OC’s largest consumer electronics maker, put its encryption-protected USB sticks on display at major tech show this month in Chicago.

Toshiba Sees Greater Demand for Labeling

Back-Office Uses; Pharmaceutical Clients

Toshiba America Business Solutions of Lake Forest is helping businesses improve their back-office printed labeling efforts.

Custom Home Push in Corona del Mar

New, Rebuilt Homes Remain Top Sellers

As Orange County faces a slight lull in ultra-luxury sales volume, new is king. One Newport Beach coastal submarket appears poised to benefit from this demand, with demand surging for its collection of new and custom-built homes.

Irvine Eye Exam Products Distributor Bought

DEVICES: Latest roll-up for Advancing Eyecare

Irvine’s Ophthalmic Instruments Inc., a family-owned distributor of medical devices, equipment and other supplies for eye exam rooms that had grown to be the largest business of its type on the West Coast, has a new owner

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OC Drugmakers: Short List, Big Dollars, New Ideas

Local Employment 19% Up to More Than 2,800

To be shortlisted is a good thing. So, too, with Orange County drugmakers. This year’s edition of the annual list ranks 10 companies by employee count topped by Allergan PLC in Irvine, with more than 1,300 workers and some seven decades of work in the county.

Edwards Lifesciences Leads Device Maker List

22% of Workers at 26 Cos. Employed by Edwards

It’s a shorter list this year. Don’t tell Edwards Lifesciences Corp. Orange County’s largest public company (NYSE: EW) by market cap—at $45 billion last week—is also its biggest medical device maker by a wide margin.

Can Quantum Physics Help Lessen People’s Pain?

Pushing ‘Alternative Medicine’ Envelope

Say words like “quantum physics” or “alternative medicine” and some very visible things start to happen.

Fertility Upscale, Confidential at Newport Beach Eden

Operator’s Second Site In OC Officially Opens

It isn’t easy to find the entrance to Eden Fertility Management’s second OC office along Birch Street in Newport Beach.

Friday, September 20

Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P was down 0.4% in midday trading Friday to 2,995.3.

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Flying High

PacLife Sells Stake in Aircraft Leasing Co. for $3B

Aviation Capital Group gets little attention as the relatively quiet affiliate of the giant insurance company Pacific Life Insurance Co.

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OC Unemployment Down in August

Orange County’s unadjusted unemployment rate fell to 3% in August from a revised 3.2 % in July and below the year-ago estimate of 3.1%, according to the state Employment Development Department.

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HCP Bets Big On Boston

Irvine-based health facilities REIT HCP Inc. (NYSE: HCP) is buying a 224,000-sqaure-foot life sciences building in Cambridge, Mass., for $332.5 million. The deal closes in December.

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UCI Institute Gets $24M

University of California-Irvine’s Institute for Clinical and Translations Science snagged a $24 million grant from National Institutes of Health.

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Michele Johnson

Member, firmwide exec committee, ex-OC managing partner … securities, corporate control litigation; M&A … clients have included Quality Systems (see Rusty Frantz), STEC (see Manouch Moshayedi), Henry Segerstrom … roots for Arizona Cardinals … first job: Taco Bell drive-thru … first car: 1978 Toyota Corolla … bachelor’s, ASU; JD, Georgetown … would like to meet Shirley Chisholm, first black woman presidential candidate

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OC Drivers Risk More on Tech

California State University-Fullerton hosted a public policy presentation by a unit of insurance giant Travelers this month that focused on the risks of using mobile technology while driving.

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Thursday, September 19

Eagle Four Denver: $80M

A joint venture that includes Newport Beach-based Eagle Four Partners is moving ahead on $80 million in work at the Sheraton Denver Downtown.

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Cryoport Improves Product Tracking

Irvine-based Cryoport Inc. (Nasdaq: CYRX) will use technology from Vineti Inc. in San Francisco to help its clients track packages the company ships.

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Kingston Sticks Require Access

Kinston Technology Corp. added layers of protection to a line of memory sticks.

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Cannalysis Gets $22.6M

Santa Ana-based Cannalysis said it’s raised $22.6 million in Series A funding from CanLab, a cannabis testing network.

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CSUF/Disneyland Report: $8.5B Impact

A study by California State University-Fullerton credits Disneyland Resort with creating $8.5 billion in economic impact and more than 78,000 jobs in Southern California.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and Nasdaq were flat in midday trading. (continue reading)

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John Kao

5th fastest-growing large OC private co. … two-year revenue up 116% to $534M … healthcare services to Medicare recipients … 450 employees … Kao previously at TriZetto (see Jeff Margolis), PacifiCare, FHP … 2017 Warbug Pincus $115M buy-in … 2014 General Atlantic: $125M investment … bachelor’s, finance, Santa Clara; MBA, UCLA

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Leases in the Air

Laguna Beach residents and the area’s LGBTQ community likely remember the multiyear “Save the Boom” campaign of local activist Fred Karger, which attempted to save and then resurrect the city’s iconic Boom Boom Room, a gay bar that closed in 2007.

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Wednesday, September 18

Midday Stock Roundup

Stock indexes had declined in early trading prior to the U.S. Federal Reserve cutting its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point.

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Boardriders Announces Executive Changes

Huntington Beach-based Boardriders Inc. announced several changes to its executive ranks in the first major announcement since its acquisition last year of the Billabong group.

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Monster Beverage Duo To Buy Law Firm’s HQ

REAL ESTATE: Knobbe Martens will stay on as tenant in tower

Knobbe Martens, Orange County’s largest law firm by local attorney count, is selling the 14-story office tower that holds its Irvine headquarters to the two top executives of Corona-based Monster Beverage Corp., the Business Journal has learned.

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Jay Carnahan

CRE brokerage, founded 1999 … career 50M+ SF acquisition, development, management, marketing, leasing, high-end office space… previous roles, Cushman & Wakefield (see Jeffrey Cole, Eric Paulsen), Transpacific Development Co., PM Realty … also Irvine Co. office leasing, management … on UCI Merage Center for Real Estate advisory board

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Tuesday, September 17

John Wayne Traffic Dips 4.5%

John Wayne Airport passenger traffic decreased 4.5% in July to 946,000 compared with the same month last year. Flights to and from the OC airport dipped 3.3% to 27,500 from July 2018.

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Long Beach Airport Down 11%

Long Beach Airport traffic decreased 11% year-over-year in July to about 319,000 passengers; year-to-date traffic is down nearly 15% to 2 million.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 was flat at 2,996.78 during midday trading.

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Del Taco Promotion: New COO

Lake Forest-based Del Taco Restaurants Inc. (Nasdaq: TACO) promoted Chad Gretzema to chief operating officer, a new position.

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CBD Focus for Ex-LifeLock CEO

RETAIL: $10M+ raised; $50M ad budget

Todd Davis, co-founder and former chairman and chief executive of Tempe, Ariz.-based identity protection firm LifeLock Inc., has set his sights on a new industry: CBD.

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Ken Long

One of OC’s fastest-growing large private cos. … 24% two-year sales growth to $465M … 1,450 employees … pours cement at big construction projects … co-founded, co-owned with family … work includes Disneyland-area hospitality, parking; Segerstrom Concert Hall; USC University Gateway: 1M-SF cast-in-place concrete slabs, eight stories residential, eight parking levels … bachelor’s, Georgetown

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Monday, September 16

Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 was down 0.4% in midday trading at 2,996.31.

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Alignment Aims To Be $1 Billion Company

HEALTHCARE: AI platform; 91% growth in 2 years

Alignment Healthcare, which began in 2013, is well on its way to becoming a billion-dollar business.

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Jason Hughes

Business Journal Best Places to Work, 2018, third time in four years … CRE tenant rep … wife Shay, president … 10 ‘core values’ wall mural at SD HQ: ‘do the right thing’ … ‘relationships based on trust’ … ‘deliver excellence’ … early work included washing windows, ‘you name it, I did it’ … first car: VW Rabbit … bucket list: ‘traveling around the world with my family’

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New Heights For Climbing Gym

More Locations on The Way; Pushing $8M

Sender One Climbing, an indoor rock climbing gym—where, full disclosure, I coached youth climbers for nearly three years prior to joining the Business Journal—is scaling new heights.

If You Rebuild It, They Will Come Back

30-Year-Old Restoration Contractor Makes It New

When you visit the newly redesigned, renovated, redone, and more than lightly refreshed Anaheim headquarters of American Technologies Inc., ask to use the restroom.

Passco’s Next Push: Senior Housing

32% Jump for Rental Buyer; $800M 2019 Buys Planned

Record demand is driving record numbers at Passco Cos.

Cooking Up Healthy, Deliverable Food

Sibling Owners Lean In On Ready-to-Eat Meals

Sister-and-brother owned, ready-to-eat food-maker and deliverer Fresh n’ Lean in Anaheim is bringing some of the best sales growth of any area food company.

Juicing In Stores Next At Nékter Juice Bar

148-Door Chain Refines Its Multiple Experiences

Opening doors is the way to scale; continuing to iterate on the in-store experience builds brands.

Fast Grower Lists Show 48% Sales Rise

No Industry Dominates; Irvine Attracts Most

From electric bikes to dental technologies to customized sandwiches, Orange County’s eclectic mix of private companies continue to thrive.

Coloring Bikes Red, White, Blue; 9,997 Other Hues

Electric Models Made In Orange County, USA

Electric Bike Co. in Newport Beach has an update on Henry Ford’s dictum, “Any color you want, as long as it’s black.”

New Deals Broaden Manna Kadar’s Beauty Reach

Urban Outfitters, Ulta Among New Retailers Added to Roster

Before Manna Kadar’s beauty business became a multi-brand portfolio, retail buyers were being greeted at Island Tan, passing tanning beds before getting to the 100-square-foot showroom of Manna Kadar Cosmetics.

An Insider’s View Of Cypress:

Mayor Stacy Berry

What makes your city special to businesses and residents?

Ingram, Microsoft Ink HoloLens 2 Deal

Irvine Heads Distribution Of Mixed Reality Headset

Ingram Micro Inc. sees more opportunities to work with Microsoft following a global distribution deal for the software giant’s HoloLens 2, said Eric Hembree, an executive of the Irvine-based company.

Clean Energy on Growth Push After Latest Deals

$2B Valuation Possible, Newport Beach Exec Says

When Clean Energy Fuels Corp. of Newport Beach looks to the future, it thinks big, very big.

Lantronix Showcases IoT at Summit

Ingram Micro Hosts Event in Spectrum

Computer networking products maker  Lantronix Inc. showcased its latest devices to link various products to the internet for business purposes at a tech summit in Irvine this month.

TRI Pointe Eyes More M&A Deals

VP McMillen to Target New, Existing Markets

Mergers and acquisitions are set to be a big part of Irvine-based TRI Pointe Group Inc.’s (NYSE: TPH) growth plan going forward.

Costa Mesa Marriott Sells for $38M

Second Summer Sale For Host Hotels

Host Hotels & Resorts has sold its second local hotel of the summer.

William Lyon Homes Expanding in Arizona

$40M Community To Hold 662 Homes

William Lyon Homes (NYSE: WLH) is preparing to close on 163 acres in Arizona, to build what local reports peg as a $40 million master-planned community.

Vans Marketing Blitz Continues to Ramp Up

Events Aid Growth As $5B Target Remains

No one ever hit the $1 billion mark on cruise control.

Tilly’s Exec To Step Down

Anker-Morris Leaving At End of Month

Irvine-based retailer Tilly’s Inc. is set to lose longtime Chief Merchandising Officer Debbie Anker-Morris, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

El Pollo Loco, Del Taco Double Down on Delivery

Postmates Partnerships Expand Service Options

Restaurant operators continue to play the convenience card in the race for consumer wallet share.


SimRated, a simulation-based e-learning tool, has developed software that allows students and other healthcare practitioner users to learn and practice a variety of medical procedures.

OCBJ Calendar

Sept. 16-25; Oct. 5, 2019

This week's business and other event listings.

Real Estate Deals

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

New Pacific Realty Corp. purchased a research and development building from the Oddo Family Trust for $16.5 million, or $281 per square foot.

Local SAP Team Focus on AI, Machine Learning

TECHNOLOGY: Company creating ties to UCI

The new offices of SAP SE in Newport Beach combine a trendy interior with a relaxing view to the scenic harbor front outside—just the mix to spur more innovation for the Germany-based enterprise application software giant, company officials believe.

World Gym Moves HQ to Costa Mesa

FITNESS: Expanding new studio concept

Add another storied gym chain to Orange County’s collection of fitness businesses that call the area home.

Rivian’s Latest Cash Infusion a Boost for Irvine Ops

AUTOMOTIVE: Cox joins Amazon, Ford as backers

Cox Automotive Inc.’s $350 million investment in Michigan-based automaker Rivian Automotive LLC is expected to bolster the electric vehicle maker’s retail and customer service programs—and hiring in its growing Irvine operations hub—as its market launch looms.

Study Rejects Link Between Screen Time, Mental Health

EDUCATION: UCI research cites positive teen impact

Good news for Orange County’s contingent of gaming software companies, esports firms and smartphone app makers, not to mention concerned parents: there is “little evidence” to support the popular notion that tech time creates mental health problems for teenagers glued to their smartphones, a new report says.

The Business Journal Adds 2 Reporters

The Orange County Business Journal has added a pair of reporters to its growing staff, Kari Hamanaka and Jessie Yount.


The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s 12th Annual Pipeline to a Cure took place on July 13 at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa.

Friday, September 13

Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P was flat in midday trading Friday at 3,009.4.

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A Sun Worshiper, Illuminated

Trophy Home Architect Jeannette Explains His Art

Brion Jeannette loves the sun.

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Robbin Narike Preciado

Took on post 2011 … OC’s fourth-largest commercial bank … $6.5B deposits, 1,350 workers, 50 branches … unit of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group … opened OC’s first Tesla Supercharger station at San Juan Capistrano branch, 2014 … previously 21 years Wells Fargo … board, OC Business Council, SD Regional Chamber … bachelor’s, UCLA

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Thursday, September 12

Midday Stock Round Up

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both rose over half a percent at midday trading to 3,017.9 and 8,217.36 respectively. (continue reading)

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Daniel Jay Lubeck

Started firm 2002 … raised, deployed $52M, 2003-2008 … committed fund $61M, invested 2012-2018 … buys into cos., $15M to $100M sales … holdings include Lindora (see Will Righeimer) … former chairman, SoCal Young Presidents Organization … on Team Kids board … UCSD grad; USC law … can’t miss: ‘my wife’s birthday’ … first car: used Dodge Colt, ‘I paid half, my parents paid half’

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A Harbor Hit

Craig Atkins has the high and low ends of OC’s housing market covered.

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Wednesday, September 11

Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 rose 0.5% in midday trading to 2,995.05.

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Banc of California Says Defrauded of $36.1M

Shares of Banc of California Inc. (NYSE: BANC) plunged as much as 10% after revealing it would take a $36.1 million charge involving an alleged fraud.

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UCI Names Andriola IT Chief

University of California-Irvine named Tom Andriola its vice chancellor of information technology and data, a new position.

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Veritone Plants AI Flag At Microsoft

Costa Mesa-based Veritone Inc. (Nasdaq: VERI) said its aiWARE artificial intelligence system launched on Microsoft Azure Government, which works with federal and other government agencies to secure and store data in the Cloud.

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Daniel S. Robinson

Specializes civil litigation … trials incl. $14.5M for plaintiff after motorcycle accident 2011 … ex-NY prosecutor … Best Lawyers, America since 2013; Super Lawyer since 2014 … sec’y OCBA 2018 … bachelor’s, Williams College, JD, Loyola … dad, Mark (see entry) … first job: minimum-wage painter at 15 … first car: Jeep … favorite team: Angels; can’t miss social function: ‘Trout Jersey Night’ … bucket list: South America

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WeWork Latest: Full Office Near JWA

COWORKING: 3 floors now, 2 more later

WeWork has struck a huge deal to occupy the bulk of a five-story office near John Wayne Airport, its latest notable lease in Irvine this year.

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Tuesday, September 10

Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 fell 0.3% to 2,970.90 during midday trading.

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Casual Expansion for Wahoo’s on Menu

RESTAURANTS: Chain plots next phase of growth

Part of the challenge in diversifying Orange County’s food scene is people like Wahoo’s Fish Taco co-founder Ed Lee.

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Alain Monie

Largest local firm by revenue, $46B … 14th-largest foreign-owned by 900 local workers … 29K global employees, 45 countries after 30+ acquisitions in five years … has continued under China-based HNA owner: Dec. 2017 buy, Cloud Harmonics … HNA paid $6B for IM in Dec. 2016; now said to be shopping the global tech products and services provider … Business Journal OC 50

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Monday, September 9

L Squared Invests $60M in Aerospace Testing

Newport Beach-based L Squared Capital Partners said it has formed Raptor Scientific LLC with a $60 million investment to acquire companies in the fragmented aerospace and defense-focused testing and measurement Industry.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 was down 0.1% to 2,976.61 during midday trading.

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PacLife to Sell Aviation Unit

Newport Beach-based Pacific Life Insurance Co. said it will sell its aviation unit for an estimated $3 billion to minority stockholder Tokyo Century Corp.

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Double the Money For Happy Money

FINANCE: Fintech raises $70 million

Scott Saunders is on a mission “to transform sad money” at Happy Money.

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Ken Cruse

Buys, renovates, repositions, boutique hotels in secondary, gateway, markets … owns in Colo., Ore. … ex Sunstone CEO (see John Arabia, Bob Alter) … Alpha Wave execs also ex-Sunstone … 2018 launched branding arm Soul Community Planet; internal use for proof of concept; possible rollout to third-party properties … wife, four daughters … would meet Buddha or Ayn Rand

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New No. 1 Among Local Architects in Strong Year

17 Firms See Double Digit Growth; List Tops 8% Up

A strong year for architecture firms may or may not presage more development and construction in the not-too-distant future, but it definitely altered the upper echelons of the Business Journal’s list of top local shops ranked according to OC office billings for 12 months ended June 30.

Chapman School of Engineering Debuts

5 Years in Making; Focus On Computing, High Pay

Five years in the works, Chapman University’s new engineering school is ready for its close-up.

Visions for a Multi-Mixed-Use Project

ARCHITECTURE: New hotel, food hall, shark tank

“There’s nothing like this in Orange County,” said Tom Bergerson.

Econolite Sees Green With Stoplights Connected to Cars

ENGINEERING: Says AI cars to speed commute

The next time you’re sitting in traffic waiting for the light to turn green, think of Econolite.

Cloudvirga’s HQ Move Will Lead to More Jobs

New CEO Says 50 Hires Likely

Dan Sogorka, the new chief executive of Cloudvirga Inc., said the fast-growing mortgage software company will probably add 50 more Orange County employees over the next 12 months.

Eitan Makes Deal For Infusion Pumps

DEVICES: Michigan firm handling maintenance in US

Eitan Group, a developer of infusion therapy medical devices and related technologies that set up its North American base in Aliso Viejo a few months ago, has inked a deal with a Michigan firm that promises to help get one of its core drug delivery products to hospitals and pharmacies in the U.S. and Canada faster and more reliably.

Tilly’s Enters Holiday Season on Stronger Footing

RETAIL: Retailer’s riding high after strong Q2

The key holiday selling season’s looking cheerier for retailer Tilly’s Inc.

Pacific Mercantile Gets New CEO

BANKING: Replacement has deep roots in OC

For three years, Tom Vertin made a long commute to his job at Costa Mesa-based Pacific Mercantile Bank.

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Richer Poorer Sets New Course After Turmoil

APPAREL: First store, elevating basics, $100M goal

Apparel company Richer Poorer has a pair of matching goals—corporate stability and ambitious sales growth—after a roller-coaster ride over the past five years that included multiple company sales, a change in product focus, and a near brush with bankruptcy.

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Real Estate Deals

Sales of offices, industrial buildings, retail space and apartments

The Lamplighter, an apartment complex in Huntington Beach, was purchased by an affiliate of A&M Properties for $20 million, or $317,460 per unit.

OCBJ Calendar

Sept. 10-18; Sept. 25, 2019

This week's business and other event listings.

Hot Summer

$126M in Luxe Newport Beach Sales Since June

August brought a flurry of high-end home sales in Newport Beach.

‘Duffy Home’ Sets Newport Harbor Record

$35M Sale For Custom Mansion

A sprawling Newport Harbor estate that garnered its share of local and international attention in the past year sold late last month for $35 million.


Irvine-based Huckleberry Labs Inc. is incorporating artificial intelligence into its baby tracker app, which helps parents maintain and improve their child’s sleep patterns.

Urovant CEO Cites Progress of New Drug

Katkin Still Unhappy With Stock Price

Irvine-based Urovant Sciences Ltd. (Nasdaq: UROV) is making a market comeback with some positive feedback regarding its new drug Vibegron, which it believes can treat overactive bladder symptoms, among other uses.

KushCo Secures $50M For Expansion Plans

Chicago Lender Entering ‘Hyper-Growth Industry’

KushCo Holdings Inc., a supplier of cannabis packaging products, is starting to create believers on Wall Street.

Medtronic Exec Swap Felt Locally

Irvine Unit Chief Wall Gets Big Promotion

Medical device maker Medtronic’s hiring of a new chief executive will have ripple effects in Orange County.

Surf City Industrial Project Moves Ahead

Trio of Buildings Will Run 610K SF

Sares Regis Group has started ground-up construction on Huntington Gateway Business Park, the largest new industrial project currently on the books in the county.

KBS Assets Hitting Market

Six Properties Include LA Tower

Newport Beach-based KBS Realty Advisors plans to sell the remaining office portfolio of KBS REIT II, one of the firm’s nontraded investment trusts.

Prologis Buys 12-Acre Site in Anaheim

Fry’s Electronics Store In Line for Reworking

With empty land scarce for industrial developers in Southern California, San Francisco-based Prologis Inc. is taking a new approach: converting sites now used by retailers into warehouses.

WD Offers Gamers A Helping Hand

Products Avoid Fave Game ‘Sacrifice’

Memory products maker Western Digital Corp. (Nasdaq: WDC) has come to the rescue of gamers running out of storage space.

Vizio Aims to Improve Cinematic Experience

TV’s ‘Filmmaker Mode’ Has Scorsese’s Backing

Irvine-based smart TV maker Vizio Inc. is joining an industry move to make sure you can watch movies and TV shows at home the way the director intended.


In my most recent OC Leader Board article, I showed that year-to-year changes in job growth had declined rather steadily from 1.91% growth in January of this year to 1.49% in July. Last Friday, Sept. 6, it was reported that job growth slid to 1.39%. This drop-in job growth continues a trend that will push job growth ominously close to 1%, as shown in Chart 1.

Two Public Engineering Firms: Triple-Digit Growth

Big Firms Hit High Notes; Salas O’Brien Up 311%

Engineering firms with operations in OC posted 13% growth to $1.2 billion in local annual billings—and only about a third of that expansion came from the perennial big three.

Friday, September 6

Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P was up 0.3% in midday trading to 2,984.5.

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Thursday, September 5

Cloudvirga Plans to Hire 50

Irvine-based Cloudvirga plans to add 50 employees over the next year following its move to UCI Research Park.

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Prologis Buys 12 Acres for $40M

San Francisco-based industrial developer Prologis (NYSE: PLD) paid $40 million for a 12-acre site in Anaheim.

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KushCo Credit: $50M

KushCo Holdings Inc. (OTC: KSHB) secured a $50 million line of credit from Monroe Capital LLC in Chicago.

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Angels In Action

Pujols Combat Human Trafficking

Where to begin? That’s one thing Deidre Pujols didn’t know when she first encountered human trafficking: how to help the tens of millions of people, often children, violated in terrifyingly intimate ways, daily and worldwide.

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Arturo ‘Arte’ Moreno

17-year owner, also team’s flagship radio station KLAA 830 AM; 25% of TV deal with Fox … ‘Big A’ got big upgrades in videoboards, sound system, display … Forbes valuation: $1.8B; $334M 2017 revenue, $25M operating income … 2018: Shohei Ohtani joined perennial fan fave, MVP qualifier Mike Trout … Moreno: Angels Baseball Foundation, 2004 … Business Journal OC 50

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Kia, Hyundai Lead OC Automaker August Gains

Orange County’s largest automakers notched mostly gains in August as they pushed through the final days of summer.

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Fintech with Credit Card Alternative Gets $70M Funding

Fintech upstart Happy Money has raised $70 million.

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Midday Stock Round Up

The market rallied today after the U.S. and China said they would hold talks in October.

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Incipio Gets New CEO

Irvine-based Incipio Group named Brian Stech chief executive, effective immediately.

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Chapman Looks to Expand Irvine Science Campus

EDUCATION: Student count from 500 to 906

Chapman University is moving ahead with a sizeable expansion plan at the Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus, the Orange-based school’s graduate health science campus in the Irvine Spectrum.

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John Carpino

15 years with team … first job: hawked programs at Arlington Park racetrack, Chicago … first car: ’80 Buick Regal … can’t miss Barefoot Canyon Classic, The Ranch, Laguna Beach … wants to ‘learn how to sing and play the guitar’ … with wife, Elizabeth, involved in ‘CHOC to CASA to Ark of San Juan pet adoption’ … ‘and of course, Angels Baseball Foundation’ … favorite team: ‘that’s an easy one’ (see Arte Moreno, Dennis Kuhl)

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Wednesday, September 4

Ingram Micro to Distribute Microsoft Goggles

Irvine-based technology wholesale distributor Ingram Micro Inc. will market, sell and support the Microsoft HoloLens 2 mixed-reality headset globally, starting in North America.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 rose 0.8% in midday trading to 2,930.27. (continue reading)

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Mechanics Bank Completes Rabobank Purchase

Mechanics Bank said it completed its acquisition of Rabobank, N.A., a subsidiary of Rabobank Group, for $2.1 billion.

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Look North for OC’s Fastest-Growing City

ECONOMY: 22 cities see population drop

Orange County’s new hot spot is Brea, when looking at population growth in the Business Journal’s annual ranking of cities by population.

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Dennis Kuhl

Angel in the trenches for groups battling leukemia, lymphoma, breast cancer— Pink Tie Guy—cerebral palsy … Bud Kuhl Wood Bat Invitational annually backs city’s Boys & Girls Club; honors late father, Aloyious ‘Bud’, WWII vet, Cardinals fan … Dennis’ middle name his father’s first … ‘every win and every loss brings a reflection of the grace and goodness of my father’

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Tuesday, September 3

Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 fell 0.8% to 2,903.93 during midday trading. (continue reading)

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Evolus Flagship Drug Grabs Botox Business

DRUGMAKERS: Allergan trade secrets disputed

The initial release of Evolus Inc.’s first product appears to have gotten the attention of doctors and patients looking for an alternative to Botox.

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John Cruz

State roles 2005 to 2010 include appt. sec. to then-Gov. Schwarzenegger … bachelor’s, CSUF; Michigan Law … OC Hispanic Bar, Santa Ana schools … wants to meet: Louis Zamperini … roots for Dodgers (see Matt Parlow) … first car: 1955 Chevy … first job: busboy at 16, Villa Sweden smorgasbord eatery, Main St., HB ... also washed dishes ‘when the dishwasher, who had an alcohol problem, was no-show’

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Monday, September 2

DreamHack Event Coming to Anaheim

1st West Coast Stop Next February

Attention, gamers and esports fans in OC: the DreamHack gaming lifestyle event is headed this way.


Community and real estate developer FivePoint Holdings LLC has created an opportunity for Orange County residents to be part of history by participating in Stories from the OC, an interactive experience and cultural archive that invites people to listen to and learn from each other’s life experiences. It debuted this month at Cadence Park in Irvine, part of FivePoint’s Great Park Neighborhoods, and continues through the end of the year at no cost to participants.


The Future of the Boy Scouts In Orange County

Thirty years ago, I was one of the first three women to join Orange County’s Scouting board. At that time, the board was made of some of Southern California’s most influential business leaders like George Argyros and General William Lyon.

Fashion Icons Aim To Get in the Green

Industry Heavy Hitters Presented Their Ideas

The latest in the fashion industry’s attempt to reduce its impact on the environment is a new deal that gleaned plenty of buzz late last month, as an initial set of heavy hitters signed on to do their part.


Newport Beach-based Protecht Inc., an event ticketing and insurance company, has announced a partnership with Spectra, a venue management and hospitality services firm based in Philadelphia.

Doing Well, Vinifying Good

More Events Offer Grapes, Giving Opportunities

Three more wine and food celebrations, some with a charity twist, take place this month.

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Festival of Tastes

OC Wine & Food; OC Chefs in LA

The sixth annual Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival, planned for Oct. 3-6, is a wine lover’s dream.

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Spectators Only

Winery Tops Locally On Annual Awards List

Comedian George Carlin once asked, “What wine goes with Captain Crunch?”

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Former PIMCO Exec Counting Heads, Telling Tale

Mission Up Founder Consults To Charities, Companies

Sarah Middleton is not knowingly related to Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, who one day may be Queen of England.

OCBJ Calendar

Sept. 2-11, 2019; Sept. 25

This week's business and other event listings.

PacLife New No. 1 for Local Corporate Giving

Also Up: Edwards, Angels, Broadcom, Sunwest

Newport Beach-based Pacific Life Foundation, affiliated with the largest private company headquartered in OC, Pacific Life Insurance Co. with $10.7 billion in annual revenue, is the biggest cash giver locally, at $4.7 million.

OC Retail Roundup: PacSun in DTLA

Changes at Pacific City, Outlets at Orange

Movement continues within and among Orange County retailers.

OC Epilepsy Chapter Opens

NONPROFITS: 38,000 to help in county

A new player walked on the local nonprofit scene with late July’s debut of Epilepsy Foundation’s chapter in Orange.

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Driving Home Vet Support Message

Semper Fi Jeep Makes Rounds

You’re tooling around OC and you see this jeep.

Oakley Scores With NFL Partnership

SPORTS: Tinted visors; $200 glasses for fans

Oakley Inc. was able to do what New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown couldn’t this offseason: get the National Football League to revise its stringent rules on the types of helmet-related gear its players can wear.

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Core Values, Good Things, $7.5M

Big Gifts Back Hometown Boy’s Local Youth Efforts

It’s hard not to be changed by Robert Santana.

Edwards Gets OK For Low-Risk Work

HEALTHCARE: FDA recall on some valves

Edwards Lifesciences Corp., the most highly valued publicly traded company based in Orange County, in recent weeks reported good news—including a significant milestone—and some not-so-good news.

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Top Price for Newport Heights Medical Campus

REAL ESTATE: 60K-SF complex fetches $840 PSF

A newly built medical office complex in Newport Beach has traded hands at one of the highest per square foot prices ever seen for a non-hotel property in Orange County.

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Adding Security

This week’s edition is bookended by a pair of notable charitable endeavors, a cover feature on Deidre Pujols and her family’s efforts to combat human trafficking, among other causes, and a Leader Board from Squar Milner’s Deborah Harrington on the rich tradition of the Boy Scouts in OC, much of it running along Jamboree Road.

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Real Estate Deals

Sales of offices, industrial buildings, retail space and apartments

O’Shea Properties Inc. purchased an office building from Eric Hommer for $6.3 million, or $286 per square foot.

What Wine Goes With Octopus?

Fleming’s Answers That Question

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar’s new wine dinner experience, dubbed “Taste of the Future,” is a sensory journey up the California coast.

Puttin’ on the Ritz

For Too Long Gone, The Dining Writer Returns

Call me the prodigal diner.

A Recall’s Stock Impact

Recall notices have caused huge shifts in other device makers’ stocks.

Taco Bell’s Latest: Redefining ‘Lifestyle Brand’

Back-to-School Means A Stop at Online Shop

Taco Bell Corp. has always pushed the marketing envelope.

KBS Exec: No Downturn on Horizon

Schreiber Notes Strong Leasing

Chuck Schreiber, CEO and co-founder of Newport Beach-based KBS Realty Advisors, struck an optimistic tone when discussing current commercial real estate market conditions at a recent industry conference.

Bascom Refi For 11 Complexes

Santa Ana Site Among Portfolio

Irvine’s Bascom Group, one of the largest apartment owners based in Orange County, has refinanced 11 properties it owns, spread across five states.

Buchanan Street Adds More Rentals in Colorado

$54.5M in Colo. Springs; Big Millennial Market

Newport Beach-based Buchanan Street Partners is ramping up its multifamily portfolio outside of California.

Podcast Network Links up with Veritone

Using Costa Mesa Company’s AI Software

Podcast host ART19 will be using Veritone Inc.’s (Nasdaq: VERI) artificial intelligence software to provide target ads based on the content of an individual episode.

Rocket Lab’s Latest: Maritime, Air Force Satellites

CEO Beck: 100% Mission Success to Date

Rocket Lab, the aerospace manufacturer and small satellite launcher of Huntington Beach, launched its eighth Electron space mission late last month, taking another step toward its goal of vehicle reusability and more frequent missions.