Peter J. Brennan

Executive Editor

Email: brennan@ocbj.com
Phone: 949-833-8373 Extension: 229

Recent Stories

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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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.

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.

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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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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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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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.

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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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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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 was flat in midday trading at 2,924.59.

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Pacific Mercantile’s Vertin Leaving; New CEO Named

Costa Mesa-based Pacific Mercantile Bancorp (Nasdaq: PMBC) named Brad Dinsmore as chief executive, effective Sept. 3, succeeding Tom Vertin.

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BigGrowth For BigRentz

‘Expedia for Contractors’ Plans Sales Surge, Public Listing

Scott Cannon’s office was full of balloons and a big poster-size card last week in honor of his 47th birthday. The chief executive of Irvine-based BigRentz Inc. has a lot more to celebrate than merely another candle.

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CoolSys Names New CFO

CoolSys, a Brea-based parent of refrigeration and HVAC services companies, said it’s hiring Ed Dunlap as its new chief financial officer.

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Local Fitness Companies Bulk Up Annual Sales

SERVICES: Five among 100 biggest

Orange County’s cluster of fitness chains pumped up their sales last year, according to data from trade publication Club Industry.

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Midday Stock Roundup

Markets were higher after data indicated American consumer spending remained strong. (continue reading)

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OC Unemployment Rises to 3.2%

Orange County’s unadjusted unemployment rate rose to 3.2% in July from a revised 3.0% in June and unchanged from the year-ago estimate, according to the state Employment Development Department.

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SEC Charges Stuart Frost

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Stuart Frost of Laguna Niguel and his investment advisory firm Frost Management Company LLC, with fraud and breach of fiduciary duties for charging over $14 million in undisclosed and excessive incubator fees to start-up companies.

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UCI Tops School Ranking List

The University of California at Irvine ranked No. 1 on Money magazine’s 2019-20 list of the nation’s “Best Colleges.”

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Midday Stock Roundup

Indexes declined after President Trump suggested a September trade meeting with China might not occur. (keep reading)

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Lower Rates, Higher Expectations

FINANCE: OC’s new bank bosses meet Wall Street

New Opus Bank Chief Executive Paul Taylor gave Wall Street a big hint at what may happen with the third-largest bank based in Orange County.

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Glaukos to Buy Avedro

Glaukos Corp. (NYSE: GKOS), a San Clemente-based maker of devices to cure glaucoma, will purchase Avedro Inc. (Nasdaq: AVDR) to add what it calls “disruptive bio-activated pharmaceuticals.”

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Midday Stock Roundup

Stocks and bonds continued to decline after President Trump yesterday threatened more tariffs on imports from China.

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CoolSys Buys Midwestern Company

Brea-based CoolSys, a provider of refrigeration and HVAC services, said it bought Agape Mechanical to expand its presence in six Midwestern states. Terms of the deal were not revealed.

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Alteryx Sales up 59%; Shares Pop

Irvine’s Alteryx Inc. today reported second quarter results that topped analysts’ expectations and the shares rose as much as 6%.

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Vinny Smith’s Investment Picks

FINANCE: Top VCer points to potential winners

Did Vinny Smith catch a 75-bagger with his early investment in Alteryx Inc.?

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Nike May Sell Hurley: Reuters

Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE), the world’s largest sportswear maker, is considering selling Costa Mesa-based Hurley International, Reuters said, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

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Adderton Loses Bid to Buy Boost

Peter Adderton, the founder of Irvine-based Boost Mobile, said he was unsuccessful in his attempt to acquire his old firm from Sprint Corp.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 rose 0.7% to 3,023.16 in midday trading.

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Taco Bell Hires CEO

Yum Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM) appointed Mark King as the chief executive of its Taco Bell Division that is based in Irvine.

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JPMorgan Completes InstaMed Buy

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) closed on its acquisition of InstaMed Inc., a company owned by Newport Beach private equity firm Carrick Capital Partners LLC.

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Goldman Sachs Completes United Capital Buy

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) has completed its acquisition of Newport Beach-based United Capital Financial Partners Inc. for $750 million in cash.

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Stearns Bankruptcy Kicks Off Brawl

FINANCE: PIMCO, Blackstone at odds

Stearns Holdings LLC, a one-time Santa Ana-based mortgage powerhouse, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week.

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LoanDepot Bullish On Economy

MORTGAGES: To hire 1,300 companywide

While some executives fear a slowdown or worse, a recession, loanDepot LLC is going full steam ahead.

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Blackstone’s Stearns Files BK

Santa Ana’s Stearns Holdings LLC, the country’s 20th-largest mortgage lender, filed for chapter 11 protection this morning in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 fell 0.2% in midday trading to 2,988.86.

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Iran’s Loss is Orange County’s Gain

COMMUNITY: Persian execs explain their successes

It was 40 years ago that the Shah of Iran fell, replaced by a theocracy that resulted in millions leaving the country.

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Astro Pak Outlasts Cold War, Flourishes

SERVICES: Finds niche cleaning precision components

Astro Pak Corp. is a byproduct of the 1950s Cold War between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.

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Restaurant365 Raises $88 Million

Irvine-based Restaurant365, a cloud-based restaurant accounting software, said it’s closed an $88 million minority investment led by ICONIQ Capital, a Silicon Valley-based growth equity firm.

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Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 was up 0.2% in midday trading to 2,921.72.

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Mechanics Bank to Have 2 CEOs

Mechanics Bank (OTCBB: MCHB) announced it will have two chief executives after its acquisition of Rabobank, N.A., a subsidiary of Rabobank Group.

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Allied Universal Buys SF Security Firm

Santa Ana’s Allied Universal, the biggest private security firm in the U.S., today said it acquired a San Francisco-based firm with more than $40 million in annual sales and 1,300 employees.

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Q&A

State of the County: Accounting & Consulting

Taxes are always a high-stakes game; we’ve got the players.

Accounting Firms Increase Local Headcount 6.9%

Big 4, Acquisition Spurs Jump; 54 Employ 5,400

Orange County’s largest accounting firms boosted their local headcount 6.9% in the year ended May 31, the eighth straight year of increases.

Management Consultants Employ 4,400 in OC

Deloitte, Blythe, Tevora Lead Local Expansions

Orange County management consulting firms increased local consultant count 7.2% to 1,849 and overall employment by nearly 9% to more than 4,400, the Business Journal’s annual list shows.

Hottest Companies’ Accountants

Who counts the money?

Acorns Keeps On Growing

Fintech Nears Unicorn Status

Acorns Advisers LLC is growing much faster than a typical oak tree.

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OC’s Financial World

Global Reach, International Size

If the county were a country, OC’s annual GDP of nearly $250 billion would put it in the low 40s of rankings by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and United Nations—nestled among the likes of Finland or Egypt, depending on who counts.

RIAs Find Their Models Paying Off

Wealth Managers Report Boom; Duran Sells to Goldman Sachs

It turns out being a money manager can be a profitable investment itself.

Check’s Mates in Omaha

How Check Capital Checks on Berkshire Bet

Steven Check, founder of Check Capital Management Inc., a Costa Mesa registered investment adviser with $1.4 billion assets under management, for the 24th straight year attended Berkshire Hathaway’s famous annual meeting in Omaha, Neb., last month. Check and Jeremy Saltzberg, senior investment officer, spoke about Berkshire, their biggest holding. Their edited responses:

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