Los Angeles Business Journal

Nazarian Scores License Contingent on Drug Tests

Members of the Nevada State Gaming Commission, who planned to reject nightlife mogul Sam Nazarian’s application for a gaming license after revelations of drug use and payouts to a felon, changed course and granted him the license on the condition that he takes frequent, random drug tests and creates a $50,000 credit line to pay for them, along with any additional commission investigations, the Los Angeles Times reports.

American Apparel Stock Rises on Possible Takeover

American Apparel Inc. has been approached by Irving Place Capital about a possible takeover, sources told the Wall Street Journal.

Sony Cyberattack Hacks at Hollywood Relationships

Prominent members of Hollywood’s creative community were angered when Sony Pictures pulled “The Interview,” a move they saw as a failure by the studio to make a stand for artistic freedom, the New York Times reports.

Sony Execs: ‘The Interview’ is ‘Desperately Unfunny’

Even before Sony Pictures canceled the release of “The Interview” due to hacker threats, studio executives were concerned that the film was “desperately unfunny” and would tank at the box office, leaked emails reveal, according to Reuters.

Port of L.A. Warehouse Workers Sue Over Pay and Working Conditions

A group of warehouse workers at the Port of Los Angeles filed suit against California Cartage Co., a major trucking and distribution company, claiming they have been underpaid and subjected to harsh working conditions, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Microsoft Sues Its L.A. Impersonator

Microsoft Corp. sued Los Angeles company Omni Tech Support, a division of Customer Focus Services, accusing it of using the Microsoft name to scam customers into buying hundreds of dollars in support services to fix nonexistent bugs, then stealing personal information or installing malicious software, Bloomberg reports.

Creditor Will Fight San Bernardino Bankruptcy Plan Favoring Calpers

Once hearings resume next year, a major creditor of bankrupt San Bernardino will push against a deal the city reached with Calpers in November that will see the pension fund paid in full, a source familiar with the creditor's strategy told Reuters on Thursday.

Billionaires Buy, Sell in Beverly Hills

Eric Smidt, chief executive of hardware retailer Harbor Freight Tools and No. 41 on the Business Journal’s list of the Wealthiest Angelenos, has sold a Beverly Hills estate for $39.9 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. Smidt’s not leaving town, though: He owns another Beverly Hills estate, known as the Knoll, once owned by oil and entertainment tycoon Marvin Davis. Meanwhile, another billionaire is moving in: Markus Persson, the Swedish creator of video game “Minecraft” who sold his company to Microsoft for $2.5 billion this year, just paid $70 million for a Beverly Hills mansion, according to the Times.

Oops: Purse-Snatcher Robs Councilman’s Granny

The Los Angeles Police Department is on the lookout for a skateboarder who snatched a purse from a 94-year-old Wilmington women -- who happens to be the grandmother of Los Angeles City Councilman and former LAPD officer Joe Buscaino, the Daily Breeze reports.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 13 points in Friday morning trading to 17,790. The S&P 500 was up five points to 2,066. The Nasdaq was up nine points to 4,757.

Sony Attack Came From North Korea

U.S. officials announced Wednesday that North Korea was “centrally involved” in the Sony Pictures Entertainment hacking that led to the studio’s decision to pull the theatrical release of “The Interview,” reports the New York Times. The dark comedy revolved around an ill-planned plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Seth Rogen, James Franco Tap Bodyguards

Seth Rogen and James Franco, the two stars behind Sony Pictures Entertainment’s “The Interview,” have retained bodyguards after hackers threatened violence against anyone who watched the film, according to the New York Daily News. The actors had already canceled promotional appearances for the comedy.

New U.S.-Cuba Ties Create Tourism Hopes

The travel industry is quietly taking note of new tourism opportunities to Cuba following President Barack Obama’s announcement Wednesday to reinstate relations with the island country, reports ABC News. Americans had been banned from traveling to the Communist nation and spending money there for more than 50 years.

U.S. Jobless Aid Applications Decline

Fewer Americans filed for state unemployment benefits for the week ending Dec. 13, reflecting growing confidence in the labor market, reports Reuters. The Labor Department said jobless aid applications fell 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 289,000, the lowest level since October.

Playa Vista Office Attracts Tenants with $8 Million Upgrades

A once vacant Playa Vista office complex has leased space to digital media company Fullscreen and investment company GroupM after completing an $8 million makeover, reports the Los Angeles Times. The space, I|O, is one of many new buildings that are attracting creative and tech types — Google and Yahoo to name two recent renters — looking to set up in Playa Vista.