Tejon deal reached: The developer of the massive residential project agrees to set aside 178,000 acres and offer up an additional 62,000 acres for public purchase. In exchange, a coalition of environmental groups will not oppose plans for more than 26,000 homes, as well as hotels, condos and golf courses. Tejon Ranch is about 60 miles north of Los Angeles. From the LAT:
Eight times the size of San Francisco, the unfragmented 270,000-acre property embraces the juncture of four ecosystems: Mojave Desert grasslands, San Joaquin Valley oak woodlands, Tehachapi pine forests and coastal mountain ranges. The 165-year-old ranch, first cobbled together by Edward Fitzgerald Beale, was owned for decades by an investment group led by former Los Angeles Times owner Harry Chandler and land developer Moses Sherman. "For Southern California, this is the ecological equivalent of the Louisiana Purchase," said Bill Corcoran, senior regional representative for the Sierra Club.
Retail scorecard: April's sales numbers have the discounters doing well and the mall-based apparel stores doing badly. Wal-Mart had a good month because folks are looking for lower-priced grocery and health items. (AP)
Murdoch confident on Newsday: The News Corp. CEO says he'll prevail in the bidding war for the Tribune-owned Long Island newspaper - even though Cablevision submitted an offer that appears to be $70 million higher. "I trust Mr. Zell absolutely,” he said, referring to Tribune’s CEO. “He's famous for being a man of his word. We think everything's in hand." He hopes the Newsday deal will be completed "within the next week, and I don't mean the end of next week, I mean in the next seven days. It takes two to agree, but we're at a pretty advanced stage." (Chicago Tribune)
Janitors authorize strike: The Service Employees International Union wants to narrow the gap between janitors with the highest and lowest pay. A two-tier system exists in L.A. County, with janitors in downtown and Century City earning an average of $1.30 an hour more than janitors on the Westside and in Burbank. Walkouts were scheduled to begin Wednesday night. In Orange County, members voted to authorize a strike. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants to meet with the players today. (LAT)
AFTRA nixes SAG request: The Screen Actors Guild insists that it was within a few hours of cutting a deal with the media companies on Tuesday afternoon, the deadline for coming up with an agreement (the studios and networks say they were still miles apart). In any event SAG leadership asked the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists to hold off on its primetime negotiations. AFTRA said no. (Variety)
L.A. all-news channel?: NBC is launching one for NY - similar to Time Warner's New York 1 - and if it goes well the format will be taken to Los Angeles, perhaps as early as next year. Rather than an add-on, the initiative looks like part of an effort to refashion local news coverage for a digital world. It could be the beginning of the end of local TV news, at least as we know it. The NY news channel will be available to customers who have digital service. From the NYT:
Although WNBC will continue to broadcast local news, [John Wallace, president for local media,] said the new structure “will be organized around the content, not the show,” with effort concentrated on creating many news segments instead of one news program. The Channel 4 news will be simulcast on the new 24-hour news channel, which will be called New York’s Newschannel.
Redford sells Sundance: The cable channel, that is. It's being purchased by Cablevision's Rainbow Media, which already owns AMC and IFC, for $496 million. Owners include NBC Universal, CBS/Showtime and Redford. From Variety:
Deal also triggered speculation that Rainbow's long-term goal is to fold IFC and Sundance together. Several execs in on the transaction insisted that Redford, whose film persona and thriving festival business is bound up in the channel, had personally been assured that would not happen. Many cable operators carrying both IFC and Sundance, however, are unhappy that they're paying hefty license fees for nets that don't subscribe to Nielsen and thus can't offer any ratings guidance.
Amgen's unhappy shareholders: If you owned stock in the Thousand Oaks-based biotech firm and saw the price plummet 30 percent from its 52-week high, you wouldn't be thrilled either. "Last year was awful. I deeply, deeply regret that," said CEO Kevin Sharer, whose compensation in 2007 was $13.2 million. That was 29 percent less than in 2006. "I felt real economic pain," he said (we should all feel that kind of pain). From the LAT:
Theodore Goldberg, a 73-year-old retired Los Angeles accountant, said he believed the board should consider changing Amgen's management in light of its poor financial performance and Sharer's compensation. "The board has a fiduciary duty to protect stockholders," Goldberg said before receiving loud applause. Sharer said he was prepared for the scrutiny. "This is a democracy and I anticipated hard questions," he said to one questioner. "I regret what has happened this past year, and I understand" your anger.
Studios get copyright win: A U.S. District judge has ordered the owner of the file-sharing Web site TorrentSpy.com to fork over $111 million for nearly 3,700 illegal movie and TV show downloads. Valence Media has sought bankruptcy protection in a United Kingdom court and is requesting that the judgment be stayed. TorrentSpy was once one of the most popular indexes of BitTorrent files before it shut down in March after a two-year copyright battle with the Hollywood studios. (CNET)