Housing index falls: L.A. home prices in April fell 23.1 percent from a year earlier, according to the closely watched S&P/Case-Shiller index. Thatís not quite as bad a drop as in Miami, Phoenix and Vegas - but it's close. In 20 major metropolitan areas, home prices dropped 15.3 percent from a year earlier, a record decline. They were all down from a year earlier.(Bloomberg)
Volatile start for stocks: Oil is up again and consumer confidence took a dive - not the best climate to be betting on the market. After being down sharply in early trading, the Dow is only off four.
Naming the Coliseum: It will help finance more than $100 million in renovations for the beaten-up, 85-year-old facility. Boosters are looking for revenues of $6-million to $8-million a year, but naming rights deals for college football stadiums Ė and thatís what the Coliseum is these days Ė have yet to fetch more than $2 million a year. From the WSJ:
What's more, selling the name of an existing building is more difficult than one under construction. "A company has to think hard about whether people are just going to call the stadium what they have been calling it for years," said T.J. Nelligan, principal of Nelligan Sports Marketing, a sports marketing firm based in New Jersey. The start of the naming-rights process also means a likely end to the prospects of the NFL's returning to the Coliseum. Since the Raiders left Los Angeles in 1994, the NFL has repeatedly flirted with returning a team to the region and to the Coliseum itself, at least temporarily until a new stadium could be built. The prospect of a naming-rights deal could have helped lure a new pro team.
Ralphs clips coupons: The L.A.-based chain is eliminating double coupons for many of its items. Under the new policy, coupons worth 25 cents will still be worth an extra quarter, and a 50-cent coupon will be doubled for a net savings of a dollar. Any coupons for more than 50 cents but less than $1 will only increase to $1 (and I thought derivatives were tough). From the LAT:
In 2006 the Vons supermarket chain, owned by Safeway Inc., did away with its double-coupon redemptions, citing decreased usage as the main reason for the change in policy. At the time, Kroger Co.'s Ralphs was one of the few major supermarkets in Southern California to continue offering double-coupon promotions to its customers. Vons has since reinstated a policy offering double-coupon redemptions; however, it only doubles up to $1.
Fandango buys Movies.com: The Web site name alone provides an extra marketing punch for Fandango, which sells movie tickets online and is owned by cable giant Comcast. Movies.com is owned by Disney. This is still a niche business that picks up a lot of its traffic from major releases (Fandango accounted for 16 percent of the opening ticket sales for "Sex and the City"). No purchase price disclosed. (LAT)
Speaking of tickets: Ticketmaster, which is being spun off from IAC/InterActiveCorp. (that's the Barry Diller-run conglomeration), will likely take on about $750 million in debt and have $450 million in cash. CEO Sean Moriarty sees profit growth in 2009 despite the departure of concert promoter Live Nation, which accounts for about 15 percent of revenue. (Reuters)
Obama fundraiser: Lots of VIPs expected today at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for a $2,300-per-person reception. There's also a dinner for donors giving $28,500 per couple. Some of the stars anticipated: Samuel L. Jackson, Seal and Heidi Klum, Sidney Poitier, Will.i.am, Cedric the Entertainer, Dennis Quaid, Kal "Kumar" Penn, Sugar Ray Leonard and Jennifer Beals. An analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics found that Obama had collected more than $4 million in Hollywood money. McCain has received $636,000. (AP, ABC News)
Lacter on radio: This morning's business chat on KPCC is with Mark Austin Thomas, subbing for Steve Julian. We talk about the prospect for an actors strike and possible cuts at the LAT. Available at kpcc.org or on podcast.