Los Angeles Business Journal

University Aims to Make Waves in Silicon Beach

TECHNOLOGY: Venture by Arizona State seeks to link to new class of entrepreneurs.

Alumnus helps Arizona State University teach L.A. tech entrepreneurs how to launch a business.

Latest Offer for Mall Operator Proves Tough Sell

DEVELOPMENT: Shares slide as Macerich investors question chance of deal.

Wall Street isn’t sold on rival mall operator’s latest offer for deal-averse Macerich.

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Investment Firm Looks North to Tap Into Tech

EXPANSION: Bel Air opens outpost in San Francisco to help connect to startups.

From its office on Avenue of the Stars, Bel Air Investment Advisors has built a reputation as wealth manager to the stars. But today’s young A-listers are often found in Bay Area tech incubators, not Hollywood hot spots.

Coffee Maker Heats Up Machine War

Touch looks to crack Keurig’s dominance with speed, quality.

Touch looks to push rival Keurig’s buttons with a brewing machine built for speedy, tasty cups of joe.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Century City’s OpenGate Capital announced Monday that it has completed the sale of Kotkamills Oy, a Finnish specialty paper and wood products company, to Finnish private equity firm MB Funds.

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Six local bank executives address regulatory, economic issues that have spurred institutions to seek deals to combine their strengths.

Bidders are going big for small and midsize institutions as bankers team up.

Strong Quarter Bulks Up Shares of Market Chain

RETAIL: Smart & Final credits strategy to attract typical grocery shoppers.

Investors buy shares of Smart & Final in bulk after a strong quarter from the market chain.

Former FBI Agent Now Hunts for Cooked Books

ACCOUNTING: War stories of Ernie Cooper added plus for VLS’ forensic clients.

Ernie Cooper taps into his FBI past to make a case for VLS’ forensic services.

SPECIAL REPORT: Civic Life May Suffer With Loss of Local Firms

Royal Bank of Canada’s deal for City National is another example of L.A. losing a headquarters.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Westwood’s Leonard Green & Partners announced Monday that it has agreed to acquire health club chain Life Time Fitness in Chanhassen, Minn., alongside affiliates of other private equity firms.

Leonard Green, TPG Agree to Buy Fitness Chain

West Los Angeles private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners and fellow private equity shop TPG in Fort Worth, Texas, announced Monday that they have agreed to acquire publicly traded health club chain Life Time Fitness Inc. in Chanhassen, Minn. in a deal valued at about $4 billion.

Money Manager Hopes New China Office Pays Off

INVESTMENT: Industrial park in Suzhou tapped for Wilshire Associates outpost.

A lot of Chinese money has come to Los Angeles in recent years. Now, a big local money-management firm is heading east, seeing opportunities in China.

Wet Seal Slips Through B. Riley’s Grasp

West L.A. investment bank B. Riley Financial Inc. missed out on a chance to snap up Foothill Ranch teen retailer Wet Seal Inc. in a bankruptcy auction.

Philly Transplant High on L.A.’s Pot Businesses

MARIJUANA: Founder of Kind Financial sees green in banks’ shyness in sector.

Kind Financial looks to become buds with pot businesses as banks remain wary of the industry.

PacWest Pays Premium for Bank’s Cheap Deposits

BANKING: Analysts see PacWest’s bid for Square 1 as play for low-interest cash.

Analysts see PacWest securing its loan business through its move to acquire Square 1.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Platinum Equity of Beverly Hills announced Tuesday that it has completed the sale of Neovia Logistics, an Irving, Texas, industrial logistics firm, to affiliates of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in New York and New York investment firm Rhône Capital

Briefs: Wilshire Associates Opens China Office, Aecom CEO Named Chairman, New Boss at Marlborough School

Wilshire Associates Opens Office in China Santa Monica investment firm Wilshire Associates has opened an office in Suzhou, China.

PacWest Continues Buyout Binge, Grabs Tech Lender Square 1

Century City’s PacWest Bancorp announced Monday that it has agreed to buy Square 1 Financial Inc. in Durham, N.C., which specializes in lending to venture capital-backed companies, in an all-stock deal valued at about $849 million.

Exchange-Traded Fund Garners Mutual Respect

INVESTMENT: DoubleLine puts money on booming popularity of new product.

Jeffrey Gundlach has become the latest money manager to plant his flag on the booming exchange-traded fund landscape.

Lawyer Books Side Job as Author

Rumors started swirling that Michael Kun must have died after he published his first novel in 1990.

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Michael Pinsker

Foreign-born business owners talk about how they sowed success by putting down roots in Los Angeles.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Century City private equity and debt firm Breakaway Capital Partners announced Wednesday that it has provided a senior credit facility to Wave Technology Solutions Group Inc., an IT consulting firm in Irvine. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Restraining Order Closes Collective, Shareholders Approve Pacific Commerce Bank Purchase, Blackline Hires CFO, Lion to List on Nasdaq

San Dimas Man Arrested in $9 Million Scheme to Defraud East West Bank

The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that it has arrested Chung Yu “Louis” Yeung of San Dimas for his alleged role in a scheme that Pasadena’s East West Bank said cost it more than $9 million. Yeung’s alleged co-conspirator, Guo Xiang “David” Fan, remains at large.

Pair of Acquisitions Delivers for Postage Business

ONLINE: Stamps.com has investors in bag with hefty quarterly performance.

Stamps.com proves a popular address on Wall Street after strong fourth quarter.

Chinese City Opens Doors To L.A.

Coastal city Zhuhai sets up local office to raise business profile.

Chinese city of Zhuhai gets down to business at its new office in downtown Los Angeles.

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Bank Activists Get Say on Deal

LENDING: Hearing set on CIT’s acquisition offer for OneWest.

Community coalition achieves goal of getting CIT and OneWest to defend their merger.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

West L.A. private debt firm Crescent Capital announced Monday that it has provided a credit facility for the recapitalization of Interfloor Group Ltd., a Lancashire, England, flooring accessories company. Loan terms were not disclosed.

L.A. Firm to Buy Fresno’s Security First Bank

Downtown Los Angeles investment company SunPac Financial announced Wednesday that it has agreed to acquire Security First Bank in Fresno, its first step in establishing a new bank serving Los Angeles.

Herbalife’s Fifth-Largest Shareholder Sells

New York hedge fund manager Richard Perry, who recently became the fifth-largest shareholder of multi-level marketer Herbalife Ltd., liquidated his 5.6 million share stake in the company during the fourth-quarter, according to a Feb. 13 Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Who’s Who in Banking & Finance: At Home With Region’s Appeal

I lead the syndication division of Bank of the West’s commercial banking group, raising capital by coordinating syndicated deals to help fuel growing businesses in Los Angeles and across the United States.

Fund Manager Puts Money on Fee-Free Product

INVESTMENT: Cambria hopes cutting management costs will draw customers.

Cambria hopes its new exchange-traded fund without a management fee pays off in new business.

Chief Exec’s Departure, Death Revealed After Deal

lENDING: Manhattan also sold mortgage loan division in wake of pickup by Plaza.

At first glance, Irvine lender Plaza Bank’s agreement to buy El Segundo’s Bank of Manhattan last month seemed like just the latest deal between two small Southern California institutions, as many of them have been feeling the pressure from a more expensive regulatory environment.

special report WHO’S WHO IN BANKING & FINANCE: L.A.’s Assets

Execs for out-of-town banks detail market’s advantages

Business Journal homes in on the local leaders of nine large banks with out-of-town headquarters.

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Who’s Who in Banking & Finance: Banking on Past Careers

Betty Rengifo Uribe’s customers range from startup entrepreneurs to corporate executives to second-generation family-business owners.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Beverly Hills PE firm Platinum Equity announced Tuesday that it has completed the sale of Fishing Holdings, a Flippin, Ark., boat manufacturer to Bass Pro Group, the Springfield, Mo., outdoor gear retailer. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Merrill Lynch Hires Wealth Manager Bruce Munster from Morgan Stanley

Merrill Lynch, the private wealth and investment banking arm of Bank of America Corp. in Charlotte, N.C., announced Wednesday that it has hired local money manager Bruce Munster and his nine-person wealth management team from New York investment bank Morgan Stanley.

Oaktree Capital Reports Smaller Fourth-Quarter Profit

Downtown Los Angeles money manager Oaktree Capital Group reported fourth-quarter earnings that fell short of the previous year’s numbers, citing lower investment and incentive income in a challenging environment for distressed investing, the firm’s bread and butter.

Pro Athletes Add Up for Accountant

Steve Piascik fields Beverly Hills office to cover roster of clients.

Steve Piascik looks to score points with his pro athlete clients thanks to his new office in Beverly Hills.

Service Shift Leaves Debit Card Business at Loss

FINANCE: Move to scrap MoneyPak sends shares of Green Dot tumbling.

Green Dot’s shift away from MoneyPak debit card service leaves investors and prison gang in lurch.

Regulators to Hold Hearing on CIT-OneWest Deal

The Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced Friday that they would hold a public hearing on the proposed acquisition of Pasadena’s OneWest Bank by lending company CIT Group in Livingston, N.J., responding to pressure from community groups opposing the union.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Marlin Equity Partners of Hermosa Beach announced Monday that it has acquired Pendum, an Elmhurst, Ill., ATM service provider. Pendum will be combined with another Marlin portfolio company, payments processing technology firm Burroughs Inc. of Plymouth, Mich. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

OpenGate Portfolio Company PennySaver USA Cuts Distribution

Brea discount mailer company PennySaver USA, a portfolio company of Century City private equity firm OpenGate Capital, announced Monday that it would cease distribution to several areas, mainly in Northern California’s East Bay and South Bay regions.

B. Riley Enters Wealth Management Business With Acquisition

West L.A. brokerage and investment bank B. Riley Financial Inc. announced Monday that it has acquired MK Capital Advisors, a New York financial advisory firm that caters to ultra-high net worth clients. It’s B. Riley’s first foray into the wealth-management business. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

History Cuts Recent Bank Pickup Down to Size

M&A: RBC-City National transaction trails mammoth acquisitions of late ’90s.

RBC’s hefty bid for City National comes up short when compared to the massive bank deals of the late ’90s.

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New Deal

Warren Woo back in business after bad breakup

Dealmaker Warren Woo is ready to invest time in his new firm after resolving a rough exit from his last employer.

Deal’s Paper Trail Points to Document Processor

TECHNOLOGY: Pickup of Cetera by RCS followed acquisition of Docupace.

When RCS Capital Corp. in New York acquired El Segundo independent brokerage firm Cetera Financial Holdings Inc. in April for $1.2 billion, it came as a big surprise to many industry observers.

Drinking in French Wineries’ Appeal

Plenty of L.A. lawyers claim to be into wine. Then there’s Matt Kanin.

World Cup Vet Has High Goal for L.A. Promotion

TOURISM: Alan Rothenberg says an improved LAX will give city a lift from Asia.

World Cup proponent Alan Rothenberg hopes to get the ball rolling on Los Angeles as a destination city.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Video advertising company Imagine Communications in Frisco, Texas, a portfolio company of Beverly Hills firm Gores Group, announced Monday that it has agreed to acquire RGB Networks Inc., a multiscreen video technology company in Sunnyvale. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.