Los Angeles Business Journal

Tuesday Rundown: Hot Topic Buys Geeknet, Legion Partners Claims Victory, 99 Cents Chief Resigns

City of Industry teen retailer Hot Topic Inc. announced Tuesday that it has agreed to buy Geeknet Inc. in Fairfax, Va. for $122 million in cash and stock.

Survey of Doctors Has MannKind Breathing Easy

BIOTECH: Study finds more physicians willing to prescribe inhalable insulin.

Physicians’ willingness to prescribe MannKind’s inhalable insulin gives company shares a rush.

Amid ETF Boom, Managers Prepare for Selloffs

INVESTMENT: Firms stock up on credit in case ETF investors want out fast.

Exchange-traded funds just can’t stop reeling in assets and it’s not hard to see why.

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Data Feast

Bridg hopes to serve up old, new customers to eateries

Bridg taps a range of customer data to serve up business strategies for restaurants.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Beverly Hills firm Levine Leichtman Capital Partners announced Wednesday that it has made an investment in Tampa, Fla., foam manufacturer Allied Aerofoam Products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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Assets a Plus

FINANCE: New B. Riley lending arm cares little about cash flow.

Investment Bank B. Riley sets up subsidiary to give asset-rich borrowers the credit banks can’t or won’t.

Yield-Seeking Investors Look to Corporate Debt

Some of L.A.’s wealthiest look to secure yields from assets such as corporate debt.

Fight for Ticket Goes His Way

Adrian Watson had been thinking of attending the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight since the matchup was first floated years ago.

Father Goes To Bat for Baseball

Richard Murad fields complex for son with $2 million tune-up.

Baseball facility proves a diamond-in-the-rough investment for skin care executive.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Beverly Hills firm Platinum Equity announced Monday that it has completed the acquisition of acquisition of Irving, Texas, construction fastener maker PrimeSource Building Products Inc. from Japan’s Itochu Corp. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

On Assignment To Purchase Creative Circle

On Assignment Inc., the publicly traded Calabasas staffing firm, said Monday it had agreed to acquire Mid-Wilshire staffing company Creative Circle for $570 million in cash and stock. Another $30 million could be thrown into the pot if certain performance benchmarks were met.

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Small Business Administration Makes Big Gains

LENDING: East West among banks seeing more demand for loans backed by agency.

Many small businesses still find it hard to get a traditional bank loan, as tightened regulations and higher capital requirements have made lending to those companies less profitable for banks.

Bank Will Give In Order to Get

LENDING: City National hopes concessions ease RBC merger.

City National spends time with community activist coalition to help ease union with a Canadian bank.

Greenlining Institute Withdraws Opposition to City National CRA Plan

Berkeley’s Greenlining Institute, a nonprofit organization that advocates for economic opportunity for ethnic minority communities, has withdrawn its opposition to downtown L.A.’s City National Bank’s Community Reinvestment Act plan and proposed merger with Toronto’s Royal Bank of Canada. That should help ease the merger.

Local Factoring Firms to Combine

Calabasas specialty finance firm Fast A/R Funding announced Monday that it has acquired Continental Business Credit in Woodland Hills, a fellow specialty finance firm and asset-based lender. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Design Team Gives Shoemaker Leg Up in Sales

FOOTWEAR: Skechers’ finance chief credits new items for record quarter.

Skechers credits its design team for stepping up and helping deliver the shoemaker’s best earnings ever.

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Lender Hits Road With Rideshare

LENDING: Westlake Financial puts Uber’s drivers behind wheels.

Westlake Financial Services gets on board with Uber by providing loans to the ridesharing service’s low-credit drivers.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Beverly Hills firm Platinum Equity announced Monday that it has acquired Ying Shing Enterprises Ltd., a Hong Kong injection molding and metal stamping company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

City National Sued by Labor Department

The Department of Labor announced Tuesday that it has filed a lawsuit against downtown L.A.’s City National Bank and several of the company’s officers, alleging the bank charged the company’s retirement plan excessive fees that cost employees more than $4 million, violating the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

Community Bank Reports Profitable Quarter

Pasadena’s Community Bank reported strong first quarter earnings after markets closed Friday, growing its net income by 8 percent from the same period last year.

Banks Pursue Big Payoff in Private Equity Firms

LENDING: Local institutions to challenge national names for piece of growing sector.

Private equity firms have built a reputation of moving fast and doing big, flashy deals that banks can’t – or won’t – do.

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Future Comes Down to Wire

FINANCE: Startup hopes to spur remittance shops to jump online.

WireCash looks to help remittance shops get a line on the future by translating their business to the Internet.

Earnings Roundup: City National, Skechers and Reliance Steel Perform Well

City National Reports Strong Earnings Downtown Los Angeles’ City National Corp., parent of City National Bank, reported first-quarter earnings on April 23 that met analyst expectations.

Ares Chief Antony Ressler to Buy Atlanta Hawks

Antony Ressler, the chief executive of Century City private equity and debt firm Ares Management, has agreed to buy the National Basketball Association’s Atlanta Hawks for about $850 million, sources told ESPN.

Earnings: Wilshire Beats, BBCN Meets Street Estimates

Koreatown’s Wilshire Bancorp Inc. reported second-quarter earnings Monday that beat Wall Street expectations by 20 percent.

Kicking Luxury Into High Gear

Fast Toys Club’s event to put public behind wheel of exotic, expensive cars.

Fast Toys Club looks to buckle up fans of fancy cars with its driving tour of Los Angeles.

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Investor Betting on Troubled Bank

LENDING: Alex Meruelo looks to vault NCAL into billion-dollar tier.

Alex Meruelo is ready to invest in transforming troubled NCAL Bancorp into the base of a larger institution.

True Religion Subcontractors Charged With Insurance Fraud

The California Insurance Commissioner announced Thursday that two subcontractors working with Vernon denim company True Religion Apparel Inc. and their accountant had been arrested and charged on 18 felony charges. The three are accused of having engaged in a conspiracy to conceal hundreds of employees and $78.5 million in payroll to avoid paying workers’ compensation premiums and payroll taxes.

Ares to Trim Stake in Smart & Final

With shares of warehouse grocer Smart & Final Stores Inc. up more than 50 percent since the company’s initial public offering last year, the chain’s biggest shareholder is taking some of its chips off the table.

Money Manager’s App Declares War on Robots

INVESTMENT: Chief exec of Gerber Kawasaki promises customers real-life advisers.

Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management in Santa Monica is the latest money management firm to adopt an automated financial adviser product.

Wi-Fi Provider Details Deals to Investors’ Delight

INTERNET: Boingo shares rise after analyst praises strength of revenue sources.

Boingo Wireless’ breakdown of financial details helps the Wi-Fi provider’s shares break out on Wall Street.

Small Business Administrator Sees Big Role to Play

LENDING: Cabinet member talks jump to private sector, L.A.’s bank consolidation.

Small Business Administration’s Maria Contreras-Sweet discusses how her agency sows seed money.

SEC Charges L.A. Firm With Fraud Over Life Settlements

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Tuesday that it has charged Century City firm Pacific West Capital Group Inc. and its owner, Andrew Calhoun IV, with fraud related to the sale of life settlements to investors.

Facilities Manager Key to Broker’s Stock Bounce

REAL ESTATE: CBRE’s deal for GWS opens door to steady revenue stream.

Interest in CBRE’s stock picks up with the broker’s acquisition of a facilities management company.

Lawsuit Comes to Reel Life

When Brentwood lawyer E. Randol “Randy” Schoenberg decided to help a family friend retrieve a painting stolen by the Nazis during World War II, some joked that the tale could be made into a movie.

PE Roundup: Private Equity Deals Announced This Week

Publicly traded Santa Monica real estate investment firm Colony Financial Inc. announced Thursday that it has completed its combination with related Santa Monica private equity and investments firm Colony Capital.

Wilshire Bank Opens First Georgia Branch

Koreatown’s Wilshire Bancorp Inc. announced Tuesday that it has opened its first full-service bank branch in Georgia, located in the city of LaGrange. The bank, Los Angeles County’s ninth-largest, primarily caters to the Korean-American community.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.


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