Stories for March 2016

Thursday, March 31

Panorama City Immigration Office Charged

The city of Los Angeles has filed criminal charges against a San Fernando Valley woman and her Panorama City immigration consulting business.

Cattle Tags Will Incorporate Semtech Components

Ear tags that detect sick cattle will use radio frequency technology developed by semi-conductor manufacturer Semtech Corp., the company announced Thursday.

Camarillo Hospital Gets Biggest Donation Ever

An unnamed philanthropist and ex-patient donated $5 million to St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo, which officials say is the largest donation in the hospital’s history, according to the Ventura County Star.

Wednesday, March 30

Rams Sign Deal to Move to Thousand Oaks

It’s official. The L.A. Rams are moving to Thousand Oaks, at least temporarily.

Qualstar’s Loss Deepens; Seeks ‘Strategic Alternatives’

Qualstar Corp. widened its net loss and had a decrease in revenue for a period of six months, the company announced Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 29

CrowdGather Sells Gaming Unit

CrowdGather Inc. has sold off its social gaming subsidiary to a Nevada company in a deal valued at $3.5 million.

PR Agency to Promote Quail

JMPR Public Relations has been named the public relations agency of record for The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, the company announced Tuesday.

Monday, March 28

Interlink Reports Rising Revenue, Income

Interlink Electronics Inc. increased revenue and earnings last year, the company announced Monday.

Unico Reports Widening Loss

Unico American Corp. has reported a widening net loss for the fourth quarter and a million-dollar loss for the full year.

Friday, March 25

Medical Group Buys Palmdale Offices for Nearly $4.9 Million

A Palmdale office campus has sold for nearly $4.9 million, according to commercial real estate brokerage Lee & Associates-LA North/Ventura Inc. in Sherman Oaks.

Oxnard Office Building Sells for $24 Million

The Johnston Group in Agoura Hills has bought an iconic six-story office building overlooking the 101 freeway in Oxnard, according to the commercial real estate company.

Metro Board Approves $120 Billion Plan

The board of Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Thursday approved a plan for a new transit tax that would bring in more than $120 billion for projects, including several in the Valley.

Thursday, March 24

Viking Takes Delivery of Second Ocean Cruiser

Viking Cruises took delivery Thursday of its second ocean cruise ship, the Viking Sea, and will christen it on May 5 in London.

Agoura Hills May Score Rams’ Temporary HQ

The Los Angeles Rams are looking to lease office space in Agoura Hills, which would serve as the team’s temporary headquarters until its Inglewood stadium is completed in 2019.

Canoga Park Apartments Sell for Nearly $10 Million

Variel Court Apartments, a 72-unit apartment building in Canoga Park, has sold for $9.85 million, according to commercial real estate brokerage Sperry Van Ness - Rich Investment Real Estate Partners in Los Angeles.

InterMedia Hires New VP

InterMedia Advertising has hired media public speaker Nick Cavarra as vice president of new business development.

Wednesday, March 23

Exec Appointment at Princess Cruises

Santa Clarita’s Princess Cruises has appointed a new head of guest operations to help drive its marketing initiatives and offer new guest experiences.

Simi Valley Shopping Center Sells

A Simi Valley shopping center with many independent, long-time tenants has changed hands for $7.1 million, according to Investment Real Estate Associates, an Encino investment advisory firm.

Providence Gets New Exec

The chief executive of Tenet Healthcare’s Northeast Region, Erik Wexler, has been appointed as Providence Health and Services’ senior vice president and chief executive of its Southern California region.

Pasadena Towers Sell for $257 Million

The massive, two-tower Pasadena Towers office campus has been bought by a fund advised by L.A.-based CBRE Global Investors, an independently-operated affiliate of CBRE Group Inc., the investment firm announced Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 22

Rams to Build Practice Facility in Conejo Valley

The L.A. Rams have filed a proposal with the city of Thousand Oaks to build athletic facilities at California Lutheran University, according to the Ventura County Star.

Regulators Conditionally Approve Health Net Acquisition

Two state regulatory agencies conditionally approved Centene Corp.'s acquisition of Health Net Inc., the agencies announced Tuesday.

LAU Enterprises Leases Warehouse in North Hills

A picture frame distributor, relocating from Van Nuys, is moving to warehouse space in North Hills, according to commercial real estate brokerage NAI Capital Co. in Encino, which negotiated the new lease.

Monday, March 21

Daily News Parent to Buy Freedom Communications

A federal judge has approved the sale of Orange County Register parent company Freedom Communications Inc. of Santa Ana to Digital First Media, which owns the Los Angeles Daily News, among other newspapers.

Viking, the Cruise Line, Sponsors Viking, the Exhibition

Viking Cruises announced Monday it is sponsoring the Viking Exhibition, a showing of centuries-old artifacts that debuted in New York City’s Discovery Times Square museum last month.

Kohl's to Close Valley Store

Kohl’s Corp. has announced it will close 18 underperforming stores in the next quarter, one of which is in West Hills.

Amgen Osteoporosis Drug Passes Test

Amgen Inc. of Thousand Oaks and UCB Pharma of Brussels announced Sunday that a study on the effects of romosozumab in treating men with osteoporosis produced positive results.

Sea Change

River-faring Viking Cruises heads for ocean ports

Viking River Cruises grows its fleet with ocean ships.

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SPECIAL REPORT: Keeping the Crowd Spell-Bound

Today’s theme parks are built around movies, and Valley studios control some of the world’s hottest properties — including a certain boy wizard.

Behind the curtain with Valley studios on development.

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Law Office Gets Startups Started

TECHNOLOGY: Stubbs Alderton’s accelerator covers lots of bases.

Sherman Oaks law firm goes full-speed with a business accelerator.

Cal Lutheran Professor: Keep Truckin’

Students learn by promoting on-campus mobile retail day.

Retail trucks visit Cal Lutheran University to help students learn event planning.

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Counter Programming

CONSTRUCTION: One Week Bath touts software as means to cut costs, time for projects.

One Week Bath in Van Nuys aims to reverse remodeling’s negative image with technology.

Valley Journal Names New Publisher

San Fernando Valley Business Journal gains publisher from sister publication.

Applebee’s Root Beer With a Kick

Craft brew containing 5.9 percent alcohol added to menu.

Hard root beer lands a spot on Applebee’s menu.

Dry Cleaner Caters to Costumers

Movie studios keep full-service shop busy round-the-clock.

Drycleaning shop finds success processing Hollywood costumes.

Insulin Pump Sweet Target for Hacks

HEALTH CARE: Cyberattack nurses security fears of device makers.

How a Bioness executive and the Al Mann Foundation plan to protect implants from cyber hijacks.

Developers High On Eyes in Sky

AVIATION: Drone usage takes off at construction projects.

Why construction sites are the newest subjects for drones and cameras.

Split Roll Would Harm Valley

George Runner thinks “Split roll” amendment to Prop. 13 would burden business owners with higher operating costs.


Calendar of events

Around the Valleys

News and notes from the greater San Fernando Valley

The Metro Gold Line extension opened using rail cars manufactured in Palmdale by Kinkisharyo International.

Brokerage Network Bulks Up in Brand Revival

EXPANSION: Coldwell Banker Commercial Advisors steps into Valley with acquisition.

Coldwell Banker Commercial real estate wants to rebuild the 110-year-old brand and its most recent step toward that might bring a higher level of customer service – such as a private jet and helicopter – to the San Fernando Valley.

Southern Cal Still Soars With Aerospace Industry

ECONOMY: Region serves up advantages that power sector, according to study.

The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. released a study earlier this month on the aerospace industry in Southern California that says the region remains the best place for such work due to legacy companies, workforce and innovation.

CSUN Made Grade With Future Marketing Exec

EDUCATION: R6S’ Ash Sobhe launches scholarship to aid students at his alma mater.

Most entrepreneurs can pinpoint the pivotal moment that led to the creation of their firm.

Reagan Funeral Provides Economic Stimulus

RETAIL: Restaurateurs benefit from influx of visitors who came to say last good-byes.

Trickle-down economics: Crowds visiting for Nancy Reagan’s funeral pack Simi Valley eateries.

Friday, March 18

Metro Funding Plan Includes Valley Projects

Three transit projects in the San Fernando Valley are included in the first draft of an expenditure plan proposed by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority connected with a potential ballot measure.

NetSol Signs Data Visualization Deal

NetSol Technologies Inc. announced earlier this week it has signed a collaboration agreement with 3-D mapping company eeGeo.

Preview: Keeping the Crowd Spell-Bound

Special Entertainment Report: The new wizard haunt in Universal City could change the theme park business, especially for many San Fernando Valley-area companies that design and build attractions.

Preview: Insulin Pump Sweet Target for Hacks

Former IBM Corp. senior threat intelligence analyst Jay Radcliffe hacked into his own insulin pump and managed to manipulate the amount of insulin delivered to his body at potentially fatal levels.

County Unemployment Rate Falls

L.A. County’s unemployment rate fell to 5.6 in February, the lowest it’s been in more than eight years.

Thursday, March 17

Credit Card Identity Thief Convicted

A Studio City man was convicted for stealing information from 1,400 credit cards at Valley region gas stations, according to the Justice Department.

Amgen Prevails in Patent Fight

Amgen Inc. prevailed in federal court Wednesday when a Delaware jury determined that the cholesterol drug Praluent infringed on two Amgen patents for its cholesterol drug Repatha.

Startups Click at App-Making Contest

A device that monitors the workout routines of physical therapy patients won $10,000 in funding at Startup Weekend Ventura County.

Wednesday, March 16

Refinancing Aids Hospital District

The Antelope Valley Healthcare District announced Tuesday that it has refinanced its debt into a fixed-rate, long-term public bond issue that will improve the district’s financial flexibility.

Not-so-Jarring Routes for Bullet Train Proposed

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has proposed three new routes between Palmdale and Burbank that would be less disruptive because much of it would be underground.

Some Kaiser Nurses Strike

About 200 registered nurses have begun a weeklong strike, picketing at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. Officials said they were able to find fill-ins to replace the missing nurses.

Tuesday, March 15

MannKind Misses With $277 Million Loss

MannKind Corp. announced on Monday its fourth quarter and end of year financial results that fell far short of analyst expectations.

Real Industry Satisfies Wall St.

Real Industry Inc. matched Wall Street expectations on earnings but fell short on revenue in the fiscal fourth quarter.

Tutor Perini Wins Hudson Yards Contracts

Tutor Perini Corp. has won contracts to manage the building of a residential tower and a retail complex at the Hudson Yards development in New York City, the company announced Tuesday.

Monday, March 14

Glendale Targets Tech Firms

Glendale Economic Development Corp. has hired a Los Angeles consulting firm to study how the city can attract and retain technology companies, it announced Monday.

Amgen Exec Moves to MannKind

MannKind Corp. has appointed Dr. Michael E. Castagna as its new chief commercial officer, effective immediately, the company announced Monday.

Pasadena Assisted Living Homes Sells for $10.9 Million

JCH Consulting Group Inc. in Anaheim Hills, a real estate brokerage focused on long-term care facilities, said it has negotiated a three-facility portfolio sale in Pasadena for $10.9 million.

Friday, March 11

Marcus & Millichap Beats Estimates, Shares Jump

Calabasas brokerage firm Marcus & Millichap Inc. broke yearly records in 2015 with financials that beat Wall Street estimates and gave a 3-plus percent boost to its share price.

Amgen Invests in Tizona Therapeutics

Amgen Ventures, the venture capital division of Thousand Oaks biotech Amgen Inc., recently invested in Tizona Therapeutics Inc., in both its Series A and Series B rounds.

Thursday, March 10

Publisher Named for Business Journal

Charles Crumpley, the longtime editor of the Los Angeles Business Journal, has been named editor and publisher of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. The change will be effective Monday.

Glendale TV Studio Sells for $15.4 Million

Commercial real estate brokerage Avison Young (Canada) Inc. in Los Angeles said it has negotiated the $15.4 million sale of a Glendale television studio.

Burbank’s Avjet Acquired

Jet charter and management firm Avjet Corp. has been acquired by Jet Aviation of America Inc., the companies announced Wednesday.

Simulations Plus Reports Revenue Gain

Pharmaceutical software developer Simulations Plus Inc. announced preliminary revenue for the second quarter of 2016 on Thursday.

Wednesday, March 9

Hallmark to Take Crown Media Private

Hallmark Cards Inc. announced Wednesday it plans to buy all outstanding shares of Crown Media Holdings Inc. and take the company private.

Salem Media Grows in Q4

Salem Media Group Inc. reported quarterly earnings that exceeded Wall Street expectations on Wednesday, noting a sizable increase in its broadcast and publishing business.

TV Tax Credits Announced

The California Film Commission selected nine television series to receive $37.6 million from the state’s Film & Television Tax Credit Program 2.0.

Tuesday, March 8

Rams Look to Conejo Valley for Spring Camp Site

The Los Angeles Rams are looking for a temporary in-season training facility with Thousand Oaks’ Cal Lutheran University in the running.

AeroVironment Sees Growth From Switchblade Drone

AeroVironment Inc. beat Wall Street expectations on earnings in the fiscal third quarter but fell short in revenue, the company announced Tuesday.

MRV Loss Widens

MRV Communications Inc. widened its net loss and saw a revenue decrease in fourth quarter results released Tuesday.

Monday, March 7

Westlake Village Shopping Center Sells for $40.5 Million

The Village Glenn Plaza shopping center in Westlake Village has sold to a New York developer and investor for $40.5 million, according to brokerage firm Westcord Commercial Real Estate Services, also in Westlake Village.

Kinkisharyo Cars Enter Gold Line Service

The Metro Gold Line extension opened Saturday using rail cars manufactured in Palmdale by Kinkisharyo International.

Taking Flight Risk

Insurance broker wings way to drone coverage

As drones proliferate, agents start selling coverage for the flying machines.

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Security Startup Locked Into Phones

INTERNET: Medical sector-focused mPulse gets healthy investor boost.

Venture capitalists ring up $12 million for medical mobile phone company mPulse.

Modern Aging

Scott Kaiser, chief innovation officer at the Motion Picture and Television Fund, wants to reinvent geriatric medicine.

Dr. Kaiser, director of innovation at the Motion Picture & Television Fund, wants to improve aging.

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Film Firm Sees Supporting Role for Extra Space

DEVELOPMENT: Topaz takes aim at industrial market with build-out for leasing.

Simi Valley film distributor Topaz Distribution is taking advantage of a tight industrial market and expanding its headquarters building to lease out extra space.

Film Producer Focuses on ‘Salvation’

Faith-based movie called the Christian ‘Wall Street.’

Evangelical movie promotes faith by mixing high finance with religion.

Mojave a Magnet for Space Tourist

Sir Richard Branson unveils replacement for crashed craft.

SpaceShipTwo debuts to potential passengers.

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In a Blink, Eye Beauty Firm Rebrands

GladGirl has moved beyond lashes and brow extensions.

Cosmetics firm changes name to GladGirl as product line grows.

Takeaways from Take-Back Plan

L.A. County shouldn’t penalize pharmacists and drug makers for products post-sale.


Calendar of events

Around the Valleys

News and notes from the greater San Fernando Valley

National health club chain LA Fitness plans to build a 45,000-square-foot fitness center on a 4-acre property at 29431 Agoura Road next to two planned hotels, according to brokerage Lee & Associates-LA North/Ventura.

Aerojet Sky High Over New Air Force Orders

AEROSPACE: Valley facilities to benefit from military rocket engine contract.

The Chatsworth campus of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. was already on the cusp of a growth spurt as the location for the development and manufacture of an engine slated for use by the Space Launch System, NASA’s new heavy lift rocket.

Lawmaker Wants to Zap Ransomware Attacks

TECHNOLOGY: Health care providers vulnerable to digital extortion plots.

A new bill introduced by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, aims to protect computer systems by criminalizing the practice of hijacking networks and holding them hostage until a ransom is paid.

Bowlero Strikes Family-Fun Note With Remodel

SPORTS: Will new arcade and floor-to-ceiling videos attract customers?

Though the greater San Fernando Valley does not have a thriving bowling scene, one Woodland Hills establishment is clinging to the idea that consumers will loosen their wallets and spend freely now that the economy is on the mend.

Al Mann Leaves Legacy of Biotech Innovation

REGION: Serial entrepreneur founded and funded Valley-area startups.

Medical device entrepreneur Alfred Mann dies at 90.

Clearing Air On Housing

REAL ESTATE: Brokers say Aliso Canyon leak didn’t hurt market, but may impact future.

Residential market normalizes after the Aliso Canyon gas leak.

The Number

Parents can relax: CSUN graduates earn livable wages.

Oil, Gas Firms Losing Ground

ENERGY: Companies chop staff, ditch drilling as prices plunge.

Local oil and gas companies ride a slippery slope as prices plunge.

Ex-Rice Maker Pans Contractor

FOOD: Pine Valley bags court win over loss of Trader Joe’s deal.

Pine Valley food processor goes hungry after its manufacturer sidesteps it to sell direct to Trader Joe’s.

Friday, March 4

Sherman Oaks Apartments Sell for $4.9 Million

A Sherman Oaks apartment complex has sold for nearly $4.9 million, or $243,750 per unit.

Baxalta to Lay Off 100 in Thousand Oaks

Illinois biotech Baxalta announced Tuesday that the company will lay off approximately 239 employees, starting with 100 at its Thousand Oaks office, according to the Pacific Coast Business Times.

VEDC, Chase Expand African American Funding

The Valley Economic Development Center and JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced on Friday the expansion of a lending program for African American-owned small businesses in Los Angeles.

Legendary Hires 'Revenant' Producer

Producer Mary Parent will take on role as Legendary Entertainment’s new vice chairwoman of worldwide production.

Thursday, March 3

Sports Authority Bankruptcy Will Close Valley Stores

Sports Authority announced Wednesday it has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will close 140 stores nationwide as a result – roughly five of which are located in the greater San Fernando Valley region.

Semtech Gains on Profitable Q4

Semtech Corp. beat analyst expectations for the fourth quarter, sending its stock up nearly 9 percent Thursday.

Cynvenio Launches Breast Cancer Clinical Trial

Cynvenio Biosystems Inc. launched a clinical trial Thursday that utilizes the company’s non-invasive liquid biopsy platform to monitor and detect early signs of metastasis in women diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer.

Wednesday, March 2

Marcus & Millichap CEO Retires

Marcus & Millichap Inc. announced on Tuesday that its Chief Executive John Kerin will retire at the end of this month.

Acquisition Contributes to DTS Fourth Quarter Results

DTS Inc. beat Wall Street estimates on earnings on an adjusted basis for the fourth quarter.

Mission Valley Bank Appoints New Exec Team

Mission Valley Bank announced on Wednesday that it has promoted four of its senior vice presidents to executive vice president positions after closing its most profitable year in history.

Discount Ticket Seller Increases Income, Earnings

Tix Corp. showed an increase in net income and earnings in the fourth quarter, the company announced.

Tuesday, March 1

Aerojet to Build Air Force Rocket Engines

Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. announced Monday it is partnering with the United Launch Alliance and the U.S. Air Force on a new rocket engine to launch military payloads into Earth orbit.

Adventist Health Names CFO

Ronald Wehtje has been appointed as the new chief financial officer for Adventist Health’s Southern California Region, which includes two Valley hospitals — Glendale Adventist Medical Center and Simi Valley Hospital.