New calls for NBC sale: Fallout continues from GE's surprise earnings tumble last week, with analysts and investors once again wondering whether the company should dump NBC (along with appliances and the consumer financing unit). "The company has to convince investors that something is going to change," Steve Tusa, an analyst with JPMorgan Chase, told the NYT. But former CEO Jack Welch, whose shadow still hangs over the GE empire, told Fox News that an NBC sale is "all crap, that's all nonsense." For now, probably. But the coming quarters had better be to the liking of big shareholders.
Flim-flamming in Industry: How else do you explain the efforts by the city that Ed Roski built to get millions of dollars in tax subsidies for an NFL stadium? The city had asked for the power to divert $829 million in county property tax revenue from basic government services to subsidize unnamed development projects. The legislation, which was pulled back after objections from the L.A. County Supervisors, had been pushed by Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero and Sen. Alex Padilla - both of whom received healthy campaign contributions from the Roski folks. It would have allowed the city of Industry's expiring redevelopment program to be extended while no longer requiring state review or proof that there is still blight. From the LAT:
County Supervisor Gloria Molina, whose district also includes the city, denounced Industry's effort as "an abuse of power," saying that it would use redevelopment money improperly. "They are not using it to reduce blight," she said. "They are using it to attract a football stadium. . . . Everybody wants an NFL stadium, but I'm not so sure taxpayers should be footing the bill for that." Molina was joined by county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, the county's lobbyist, firefighters and others in calling state legislators to voice opposition. "This is a rip-off," Yaroslavsky said in an interview, explaining his message to legislators.
Back in Roskiville: Big press conference today where the billionaire will unveil plans for a proposed NFL stadium near the intersection of the 57 and 60 freeways in the City of Industry (you know, somewhere down there). Roski has the land and an environmental impact report for the site. What he doesn't have is a team - and the NFL doesn't seem interested in helping him get one. (LAT)
Pushback on immigrant crackdown: L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says the federal raids on factories employing illegal immigrants could damage the region's economy and he'll be meeting today with Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff about the policies. The L.A. Area Chamber is also crying foul. From the WSJ:
In a phone interview Wednesday, [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] chief Julie L. Myers said workplace operations will continue across the country, including L.A. "We can't exempt any city or state from the governing immigration laws," she said. Concern over immigration raids in L.A. spiked after ICE agents rounded up more than 130 illegal workers at Micro Solutions Enterprises, a manufacturer of computer imaging supplies, in February. Earlier this month, agents arrested an additional 69 workers during a routine inspection of warehouses next to the Los Angeles port complex. ICE officials have also been asking Los Angeles businesses, including garment maker American Apparel Inc., to submit I-9 hiring forms and other payroll documents for scrutiny.
Lonelygirl getting paid: EQAL, the L.A.-based company behind the famous Internet video, has received $5 million from a group that includes Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, Conrad Riggs of Mark Burnett Productions, and former Google director Georges Harik. The funding isn't tied to a specific new project; EQAL is to hire programmers, developers and ad sales workers. "Lonelygirl" and "KateModern" - another popular Internet drama- employ production units of 12-14 people apiece. (THR)
Zell talks to lenders: He's scheduled a conference call today to provide an update on the Tribune travails. We'll see if the rumors about David Geffen buying the Times come up.
SAG signs interim pact: The actors guild has cut a deal with movie production company the Film Department that will allow performers to continue working on select projects even if a strike occurs. This is a similar maneuver to what the Writers Guild did during its contract impasse with the majors. SAG's guaranteed completion contracts are only available to independent feature productions. Meanwhile, SAG enters its third day of talks with the networks and studios. The plan is to negotiate every day - except for Sundays - through April 26. (Variety)
Another retailer is teetering: Women's clothier Talbots said Bank of America and HSBC will no longer finance its apparel imports. Other sources of financing should be enough for the company to keep going for a while, but it's another sign of how reluctant lenders have become. At the least, retailers like Talbots can expect steeper borrowing costs, which of course will eat into earnings. (NY Post)
Culver City complex approved: It's a 12-story office planned near Centinela and Sepulveda (near the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center and Westfield Fox Hills Mall). Westchester residents and neighboring community groups have been trying to block the project, in part because of height issues. A divided Culver City Council finally approved a design plan for a 176-foot-tall building topped with a 5- to 13-foot rooftop barrier. (Daily Breeze)